Summary: The Gulf Coast doesn’t want a 2nd wind, but the Apostle Paul needed a spiritual one, and so do we at times. *3 promises God gave Paul and offers us to help us keep on keeping on. Link included to formatted text, handout, and PowerPoint template.
A Spiritual Second Wind
I suppose all of us at some time or another get depressed, or want to give up and quit. In the heat of a moment we’ll say, "I’ll just leave this job, this church, or this family, and they’ll miss me…they’ll wish they had treated me different!"
Often we have some of these feelings:
“there’s no use/harder I try, worse things get/don’t witness, no one listens/just spinning wheels/getting nothing at church/daily stresses and problems are all vanity/job/ever find happiness?/daily grind”
(life is just mundane, repetitive, like Chinese water torture!)
I know this is true for 2 reasons:
I talk to many of you going thru it
I’ve gone thru it!
Sometimes God’s people need a spiritual 2nd wind…
The Greatest leader, handpicked by God!
Had God’s power on his life, but in Numbers 11:15 he said to God, “if thou deal thus w/ me, kill me, I pray thee!”
Greatest General, handpicked by God to lead Israel into the Promised Land…but in Joshua 7:7, he said, “would to God we had been content and dwelt on the other side of Jordan” (so this is what we get for serving God, he said, after a great defeat!)
He felt like quitting! He got over it, thankfully!
Greatest prophet of OT/willing to challenge the idolatry of his day/called fire down from heaven/won a face off w/ prophets of Baal, but in I Kings 19:4 after it was all over, he requested for himself that he might die, and said, it is enough now, O Lord, take away my life!
We talk about his patience and faith, and he was truly a great man…he had a great beginning and a great ending, but in-between, when he lost everything, he wished he had not been born, became suicidal, extremely depressed for a period of time!
Job 3:3 he said, let the day perish in which I was born!
He wanted God to kill him, and was spiritually depressed and not even happy for the all the souls that just got saved in Nineveh!
In Acts 18 we find Paul in his 2nd missionary journey, arriving from Athens to Corinth experiencing a low time in his life (of depression)
I Cor. 2:3 Paul says of that time in Acts: “I was w/ you in weakness and in fear, and in much trembling” (could be translated: “I was far from strong, nervous, and rather shaky!”
-He was fatigued (53 mile walk)
-He was alone
-He was bi-vocational (v. 3: tentmaker)
-Stressed-v. 5 “pressed in the spirit” (spiritual stress)
Had a sense of failure (not much success in Athens/called a “babbler” (bird brain)
-Frustrated, leaving a city of idolatry and heading for the worst in the world for immorality! (Sin city! The Temple: Aphrodite, goddess of sex, and a thousand prostitutes sold their bodies in the temple in the name of religion!)
-unappreciated…he later wrote to the people of Corinth:
2Co 12:15 -
And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.
At this point on this trip alone, he’s been beaten and jailed at Philippi, persecuted at Thessalonica and Berea, ridiculed in Athens, and now he has to face Corinth! He was at a low point, a crossroads in his ministry, and he was just about to quit!
But the Lord came to Paul on this day, and showed him that trying times are not the time to quit trying!
v. 11—he didn’t quit, he continued! Why? Because God told him in 9 and 10: “it’s too soon to quit!”
3 Promises for the ‘Winded’:
We have the promise of …
1. God’s presence
v. 10 “I am with thee”
• In times of loneliness
Heb. 13:5, Jesus said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee! (gk. Word “never” there 3 x’s…never, no never, no never!)
Joke—young bible college kid taking greek/tried to impress a shut-in at his church/told her the above, what do you think of that? “Well, God may have to tell you greek fellers 3 x’s but once is enough for me!
Gospel of Matthew, 2 wonderful bookends:
Beginning: “Emmanuel, God with us”
Ending: Great commission, where Jesus said, “Lo, I am with you always” (don’t fly!)
Your best friend my stab you in the back, but He’s a friend that sticks closer than a brother!
• In the valley
When defeat comes /discouragement/sickness/ financial reversal/heartaches/family probs…remember that the God of the mtn. is still God in the valley!
Ill.—little boy went home after school very sad/told mom about Billy, his best friend, who had been absent for 3 days/found out today why when he returned to class…his daddy died, and when he told us, he cried and just laid his head flat on his desk/mom: “what did you do?”/I didn’t know what to do, so I just laid my head on my desk and cried, too!