Summary: A sermon about relying on God’s power rather than our own abilities.
(Sermon delivered the week after a blooper in the pulpit brought the house down!)
I want to address the thought of protection today and as I do, I hope each and every one of you will apply this message to your life…to your heart…to your walk with Christ.
Last week as Debbie and I arrived home from Church she said, “I don’t know how you do it. I don’t know how you kept your concentration and finished the message.” (She, of course, was speaking about the happenings in the sermon.) And in addition to that, several people throughout the week have said to me, “You sure landed on both feet.” Or “You never missed a beat.” Or “That was sure quick thinking.”
Well, let me be perfectly honest with you. I’m convinced, and you should be too, of the fact that any capabilities, any competence you saw in the pulpit last week was not my own, but rather God’s. It was God working through me to accomplish his work despite me.
There were two things which confirmed that fact to me. The first is that following the service and over the course of the last week, several people said to me, “That’s exactly what I needed to hear today” or something similar to that. That was the first thing. The second thing which happened was, at 1:00 in the morning last Sunday morning, I was awakened and for the duration of the early morning hours my thoughts for the coming morning message were reformed and refined by God. (Now I didn’t know it at the time. I just thought I woke because of indigestion or something.) But after the message, when people started saying things, my sleeplessness made sense. It was one of those things you recognize afterward as you look back. God working in mysterious ways.
Now Here’s The Point:
God provides despite my incompetence. God protects despite my powerlessness. He does that for me. He’ll do that for you.
Most of you know that I have two granddaughters. Addie, is 4, and Mallorie, is 18 months. They are as different as night and day. Addie is very timid. Mallorie is the wild woman. Addie fears everything. Mallorie fears nothing. The Church for too long has been like Addie when it should instead be like Mallorie.
I could have quit preaching long ago, embarrassed about my turning words around or my mispronunciations. There have indeed been times when people have laughed at me instead of with me. But I determined long ago I would take the bumps and bruises brought on by my inabilities in the hopes that in some small way God could make something of the mess I make.
I don’t want to be safe I want to be sanctified. Safe is the world’s protection. Sanctified is God’s protection
Turn with me if you would to Gal. 1:16
“But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went immediately into Arabia and later returned to Damascus.”
Paul said, I have been set apart to preach, and I did not consult any man (flesh and blood) KJV either for permission or for instruction on how to do it. Who does it say he consulted? God. Now that’s not because Paul didn’t respect the other Apostles but rather because he understood the context of the struggle.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
Let me ask you something this morning. What is it that keeps you from freely and openly sharing your faith? What is it that keeps you from knocking on your neighbor’s door and confronting them with their need for Jesus? What is it that keeps us afraid to stand up against political correctness, to stand against the moral decline in our society, to stand against the indoctrination of our children, to stand against the secularization of our country, to stand against the attacks on Christianity? Is it not our fear of men? Is it not our fear of flesh and blood? Is it not our feelings of inadequacy and incompetence in the presence of men? So we seek safety rather than sanctification.
Paul says what he says in this passage of Ephesians to teach us that the conflict is not with men but rather with the devil.
IN THAT FACT THERE OUGHT TO BE GREAT CONSOLATION AND NOT JUST A LITTLE BIT OF CONCERN