Summary: This sermon looks at how God sustains us when we are: 1. Tempted 2. Tired 3. Troubled
God’s Sustaining Grace
To be an Olympic athlete you need three things going for you. You need: speed, skill and most important of all, you have to have endurance. If you don’t make it to the end of the race, you’re not going to win a medal.
The Bible tells us that God always finishes what He starts. In the book of Philippians it says:
“I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (HCSB)
Go ahead and circle the word "will". This verse doesn’t say, God “might” finish it, it doesn’t say, God “hopes” to finish it. This verse says God “will” finish it.
What does that mean?
It means if you have really given your life to Jesus Christ – if you’ve opened yourself up to God and said, "Christ, be number one in my life - be Lord of my life" – you are going to make all the way to heaven. There’s no doubt about it. Case closed! Done deal! Finished product! You are going to make it across the finish line. Because the race does not depend upon your performance – it depends upon God’s Sustaining Grace.
One question that is important, however, is: “How well do you finish the race?” You know as well as I do that some people finish a race in very poor shape – while others finish the race well.
In 1992, following five operations, British runner Derek Redman was hoping to win gold at the Barcelona Olympics. Everything seemed to be going well for the 400 meter race. He had recorded the fastest time in the quarter-final heat. He was pumped up – ready to go. As the gun sounded he got off to a clean start. But at 150 meters – his right hamstring muscle tore and he fell to the ground. When he saw the stretcher-bearers rushing towards him he jumped up and began hobbling toward the finish line. Despite his pain he continued to move forward. Soon another person joined him on the track. It was his father. Arm in arm – hand in hand – they moved toward the finish-line together. Just before the finish line – Derek’s dad let go of his son – so that Derek could finish the race on his own. The crowd of 65,000 stood to their feet cheering and clapping as Derek finished the race. Heartbreaking – yes! Encouraging – yes! Emotional - yes! We need to finish the race – and finish it well.
God who began a good work in you – wants you to finish the race. He wants you to endure. He wants you to be successful. He wants you to finish and finish well. God does not leave you to run the race alone but He gives you His Sustaining Grace.
What is God’s Sustaining Grace?
God’s Sustaining Grace is the power to keep you going even when you feel like giving up. Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel? Do you feel like quitting? Do you ever say, “I’ve had enough.” God’s Sustaining Grace is the power that helps you endure even when you don’t think you can.
Here is a secret that I have learned: Life is a marathon – it is not a sprint. There are valleys and there are mountains. There are bad times and there are good times and there are times when we could all use God’s Sustaining Grace to keep on – keeping on. God’s Sustaining Grace is the power that God gives to keep you going. I know of at least three times when we all need to seek God’s Sustaining Grace. Let’s look at them now:
1. I need God’s Sustaining Grace when I am TEMPTED
Temptation will happen to all of us. It will cause us to stumble. It will cause us to fall. In First Peter chapter five it says:
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NKJV)
The Message version says it this way:
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.” 1 Peter 5:8 (MSG)
You may not realize this - but the moment you become a believer – the battle begins. The Devil would enjoy nothing more than to see you stumble – to see you fail - to see you fall. When you become a believer you are no longer Satan’s property – you are no long on his side – but he wants to get you back. He does not want you to succeed. He is looking for every opportunity to pounce on you.