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Overcoming Impossible Odds

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Sermon shared by Brian Matherlee

August 2007
Summary: Last in a witnessing series emphasizing the ability of God to accomplish anything.
Denomination: Wesleyan
Audience: Believer adults
Sermon:
OUT OF THE SALTSHAKER AND INTO THE WORLD
Part Six—Overcoming Impossible Odds
Luke 18:27
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Pastor Brian Matherlee

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

What do you think is impossible?
What do you think God finds impossible?
• Strictly speaking, nothing is impossible for God. But let me explain the limiting factors of the work of God by asking a question. Can God make a rock so big He can’t move it? You can’t answer the question without allowing that God purposefully chooses to limit one aspect of his character in order to allow the other.
• Because God doesn’t forcefully impose his will upon people we are free to tell God no.
• Because people say no to God we effectively say yes to many things that bring heartbreak, destruction, turmoil, pain and suffering.

What keeps us from seeing God’s work in our lives?

1. Doubt-“believe and not doubt”; Philippians 4:13
a. Who did believe in the Bible?
i. Widow with young son that listened to Elijah and saw oil fill every jar in her house plus the ones she got from neighbors.
ii. Centurion who brought his child’s illness to Jesus’ attention and saw healing take place
b. Logic is the first cousin of doubt
c. Fear is the second cousin of doubt
d. Worry is the third cousin of doubt

2. Shame-Luke 9:26; Romans 1:17
a. Shame can be good and it can be bad.
i. It is good when it causes us to turn away from evil and towards good. There’s not a lot of that kind of shame. People aren’t easily shamed of the way they act anymore. We have become immune, numb to our acts. It’s like the frog in the pot being cooked by increasing the temperature one slow degree at a time.
ii. Shame can be bad when it causes us to turn our back on the Christ who died for us. It is bad when we shrink back from proclaiming Good News because of the fear of rejection, embarrassment, or inability to do it ‘right’.
b. Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. Players would stomp on his feet and kick him. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.
c. Christianity is increasingly coming under fire. We are no longer a “Christian” nation. We need to be like Pee Wee Reese and fully embrace the Gospel. It may be jeered and opposed with great hostility but we must stand with our Jesus because it is right.

3. Excuses-Luke 9:57-62
a. In this brief Scripture we see examples of why people say they can’t join Jesus.
b. People told Jesus they wanted to follow Him and He told them how tough it would be. They decided to come up with an excuse. They weren’t coming back.
c. The problem with excuses, though, is that they’re like armpits. Everyone’s got a couple and they usually stink.
d. Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. --George Washington Carver

4. Emptiness-Matthew 23:37; John 20:19 & Acts 1:8
a. In Phillip Yancy’s book entitled “Church: Why Bother”? He quotes
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