Summary: Paul, here in his letter to the Thessalonian Church gives us five ways to frustrate failure, to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed by it, and to give us a gauge by which we can judge our own spiritual success – ie: our success before God!
5 WAYS TO FRUSTRATE FAILURE
INTRODUCTION: Failure is something we all want to avoid. No one likes to be known as a failure. No one likes to be associated with a failed anything. We all tend to look at people who have failed with a little cynicism. What’s wrong with them? They got what they deserved? Yet when we look at many of our American heroes, they “failed” first (at least in the eyes of others) before they succeeded. One who comes to mind is Abraham Lincoln.
"I do the very best I know how—the very best I can; and I mean to keep doing so."
Abraham Lincoln’s life is the best example of his own words. Consider the chronology of his career:
1831. Failed in business
1832. Defeated for legislature
1833. Again failed in business
1834. Elected to legislature
1835. Sweetheart died
1836. Had nervous breakdown
1838. Defeated for speaker
1840. Defeated for elector
1843. Defeated for Congress
1846. Elected to Congress
1848. Defeated for Congress
1855. Defeated for Senate
1856. Defeated for Vice-President
1858. Defeated for Senate
1860. ELECTED PRESIDENT
—Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations
Paul, here in his letter to the Thessalonian Church gives us five ways to frustrate failure, to keep ourselves from being overwhelmed by it, and to give us a gauge by which we can judge our own spiritual success – ie: our success before God!
1. Frustrate Failure By Enlisting God’s Help
a. How many times have we
i. sought to go it alone?
ii. turned to God at the end instead of the beginning?
b. Paul takes stock of his time in Philippi
i. To the outside it looked like a failure (fruitless, empty, and ineffective)
ii. He was beaten
iii. He was imprisoned
iv. All that happened was insulting – underserved and contrary to the laws of that time
i. On the contrary
ii. With God’s help
iii. We will keep on sharing the gospel
iv. We will deal with the heart and not our critics
Paul declares that it is God’s help that allows them to frustrate failure and keep on sharing the gospel
Paul declares that it is God’s help that enables them to minister to the Thessalonians
Paul also says that with God’s help there is no opposition strong enough to bring him to failure
The phrase “strong opposition” has the meaning of one being exposed to the greatest dangers of life!
SO BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER – HOW MANY TIMES HAVE TASKS, ACTIVITIES, JOBS, AND SITUATIONS FRUSTRATED YOU AND MADE YOU THINK YOU WERE A FAILURE BECAUSE YOU SIMPLY DID NOT ENLIST GOD’S HELP?
CHURCH, ONE OF THE REASONS WE HAVE A STRUGGLE GOING OUT IN FAITH IS BECAUSE WE HAVE FORGOTTEN THE GOD FACTOR – GOD WANTS TO HELP AND GOD WILL HELP!
2. Frustrate Failure By Embracing Truth
a. So much of our failure comes from our refusal to embrace truth
b. Let me give you a for-instance
Romans 7:14-8:2 We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. 15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
21 So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22 For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!
So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. 1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.