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WHAT I NEED IN MY CHRISTIAN LIFE… (1)

 

Strength

Victor M. Eskew

 

INTRODUCTION

 

A.  The Bible exhorts us to do an evaluation of our spiritual lives (II Cor. 13:5).

 

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

 

B.   There are several things that are difficult about a spiritual examination.

1.    It is hard to be honest about who and what we are.

2.    Once we see a shortcoming or a need, we are often at a loss as to how to fix it.

 

C.  When I look at my spiritual life, there are several things that I need.  Because of this, I have started this series of lessons entitled:  “What I Need in My Christian Life.”

 

D.  One of the things that I need is STRENGTH.

 

I.         EXHORTATIONS TO BE STRONG

 

A.  I Corinthians 16:13

 

Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

 

B.   Ephesians 6:10

 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

 

C.  Revelation 3:2

 

Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:  for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

 

II.       STRENGTH OFTEN ELUDES US

 

A.  There are times when I need more strength to endure temptation.

1.    Satan is referred to as “the tempter” (Matt. 4:3).

2.    He places his enticements before us that lure the lusts or desires that we have within (James 1:13-15).

3.    When he puts these enticements before us, we must resist.

a.    “…resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

b.    “Whom resist stedfastly in the faith…” (I Pet. 5:9).

4.    Sometimes the temptations are strong.  Rather than resisting, I yield. 

5.    It is in those times that I need more strength to resist temptation.

 

B.   There are times when I need strength to persist.

1.    The Bible teaches us that we must keep on keeping on regardless of how difficult or how discouraging the path may become.

a.    “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast…” (I Cor. 15:58).

b.    “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end” (Heb. 3:14).

2.    Keeping on not always easy, especially keeping on with the right motivation and with great enthusiasm. 

a.    When others are not interested

b.    When problems develop in the church

c.    When our efforts are not successful

d.   When our efforts are not appreciated

3.    It is in those times that in need more strength to persist.

C.  There are times when I need strength to do the difficult.

1.    Some things that God requires us to do are difficult.

a.    Rebuke the sinner (II Tim. 4:2).

b.    Restore the erring (Gal. 6:2).

c.    Reach out to the lost (Mark 16:15)

d.   Resist hatred and love my enemy (Matt. 5:44)

e.    Rejoice in sufferings (Matt. 5:10-12)

2.    Again, in times of difficulty I need more strength.

 

D.  There are times when I need strength to uphold others.

1.    Romans 15:1

 

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

 

2.    It is easy to encourage or help another person one time.  It is not easy to hold them up over a long period of time.  We grow extremely weary.

3.    Once again, I stand in need of strength when seeking to support others who are in trails and difficulties.

 

E.   There are times when I need strength to love God as I should.

1.    Jesus tells us how to love God in Mark 12:30.

 

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

 

2.    The key is the word “all” that is repeated four times in this verse.  I am to love him with “all” of my strength.

3.    Sometimes my love grows weak.  Sometimes I want to do more for self.  Sometimes my love for other things gets in the way.

4.    When these things happen, I need strength to love more.

 

 

 

III.      WHERE CAN SPIRITUAL STRENGTH BE FOUND?

 

A.  As children of God, we must remember that God is always working on our behalf, and He is a mighty God.

1.    The Scriptures refer to Him as the Almighty God (Gen. 17:1).

 

And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.

 

2.    He has demonstrated His strength in so many ways in the past.

a.    The creation

b.    Performing miracles

c.    Defeating enemies

d.   Victory over death

e.    Conquering Satan

3.    Hebrews 8:10

 

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:  and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.

 

B.   Our Lord Jesus Christ is another source of strength in our lives.

1.    Paul’s familiar words (Phil 4:13)

 

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

 

2.    Jesus has promised that He will never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5b-6).

 

…for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

 

C.  The Holy Spirit has put power in the Word of God, and it can strengthen us as well.

1.    Hebrews 4:12

 

For the word of God is quick, and powerful…

 

2.    Psalm 119:25

 

My soul cleaveth unto the dust:  quicken thou me according to thy word.

 

3.    The strength we get from the Word of God comes from obeying its commands and embracing its promises.

 

D.  Prayer is another way to find strength to live the Christian life.

1.    The Scriptures exhort us to make our requests known to God (Phil. 4:6).

 

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

 

2.    God hears our prayers and longs to answer them on our behalf. 

a.    Temptations to be removed

b.    Enemies to be overcome

c.    Obstacles to be removed

d.   Wisdom to handle situations

 

E.   Strength can come from others helping and assisting me.

1.    God has given us a family of believers.  This family has many one another obligations to fulfill (See Hebrews 3:13).

 

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened though the deceitfulness of sin.

 

2.    Proverbs 27:17

 

Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

 

3.    Two examples:

a.    Jonathan strengthened David (I Sam. 23:16)

b.    Barnabas with Saul (Acts 4:36; 9:27)

4.    What others can use to strengthen us:  their presence, their words, their prayers, their financial assistance, their physical assistance.

 

IV.      STRENGTH IN WEAKENSS

 

A.  One thing that we need to learn, understand, and come to accept is that sometimes God does not grant us strength.  He wants us to continue in our weakness.

 

B.   He does this so His strength can shine through.

 

C.  Example:  Paul

1.    Paul had a thorn in the flesh (II Cor. 12:7).

2.    Three times he prayed for the thorn to be removed (II Cor. 12:8).

3.    God did not grant his prayer and told him why (II Cor. 12:9).

 

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:  for my strength is made perfect in weakness.

 

4.    When those times came, and Paul experienced his own personal weakness, he rejoiced (II Cor. 12:10b-11).

 

Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake:  for when I am weak, then am I strong.

CONCLUSION

 

A.  We have before us an interesting concept.

1.    We are to be strong and there are many sources from which we receive strength.

2.    But, there are times when it is better that we remain weak so God’s strength can be made perfect.

 

B.   When we live in God’s strength, we can never be overcome by the enemy.  We can always live victoriously.