Summary: A sermon examining the fact that God is our hope and our help.
DELIVERED FROM DESPAIR
Soon after arriving in New Hebrides as a pioneer missionary, John G. Paton and his wife rejoiced in the arrival of a baby son into their family. But the joy was short-lived. Soon death took both his wife and child, and Dr. Paton had to dig their graves and bury his loved ones with his own hands. In writing of this experience, he testified, "If it had not been for Jesus and the fellowship and grace He afforded me, I am certain I would have gone mad or died of grief beside their lonely graves." Marvelously strengthened from above, the bereaved servant of God found that the promises of the Word were able to sustain him through the heartache and sorrow of his tragic loss. (
Many of you have faced troubles and trials and it seemed that there was no hope in sight. You have dealt with disappointment, discouragement and even doubt. Perhaps you were tempted to throw our hands up and quit... and then God came on the scene. Some of you may be at that place in your life as we speak. I have some good news for you... there is hope when it seems there is no hope!
In our selected text we read that about a time when Paul and his associates faced a time of great trouble.... they thought that they would lose their life, but God showed up and delivered them in a powerful way. Through Paul's account of the trouble he faced we can see that God is our source of strength and hope in the midst of the storms of life. I would like to walk through this passage and preach on the thought "Delivered From Despair".
Listen to what Paul and his fellow-laborers endured as they ministered in Asia. He states that they were “crushed and overwhelmed beyond their ability to endure” . Things got so intense that they “Thought they would never live through it.” … “They expected to die”. Something interesting came as a result of the trouble that they faced …Paul says that because of the trouble “we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God”. Notice v9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us". Paul was confident that God rescued them from danger before and He would do it again! He had this assurance because of what he had seen God do in the past.
His previous troubles had taught Him to trust in God. This is one of the reasons that we face storms in this life.
It has been said that "In order to realize the worth of the anchor, we must experience the storm”. I want you to know that if you are in a storm, there is an Anchor!
- As we consider the thought "Dealing With Despair" I want to examine the fact that:
I. TROUBLES WILL COME IN THIS LIFE - v8a For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia,
Paul faced intense troubles in Asia. He doesn’t describe the exact source of his troubles but he declares that they were real and they were severe.
In our day, many so called "preachers" erroneously teach that if you will simply turn to Jesus that you will never face hard times. They claim that if you face difficulty or don’t have a ton of money in the bank it is because of a lack of faith. I wonder what some of the men and women of the Bible would think about that false doctrine?
The Bible records many instances where God's people faced times of extreme difficulty.
1) Abraham - was called to sacrifice his own son on Mt. Moriah.
2) Moses - had to deal with thousands of grumbling people who couldn’t be satisfied.
3) Elijah - was threatened by Jezebel.
4) David - spent many days on the run while being pursued by King Saul.
5) Daniel - found himself in a lions den.
6) Shadrack, Meshach & Abednego - were put into a fiery furnace.
7) John the Baptist - was beheaded.
8) The Apostles- The majority of the Apostles lost their life for Christ’s sake.
9) Paul - was in and out of prison and eventually died for Christ.
Some of the most dynamic and devoted Christians I know have faced some of the worst situations and circumstances you can imagine.
Paul was perhaps the greatest Christian who has ever lived. God used him to write the majority of the New Testament. He spent his days planting churches and strengthening Christians. But he faced immense troubles as he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was writing from experience when he told Timothy that "all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12