Summary: 1. Direct your delight to the Lord (vs. 4-5). 2. Take your troubles to the Lord (vs. 6-7). 3. Turn your thoughts to the good things of God (vs. 8). 4. Follow the footsteps of the faithful (vs. 9).
How to Be an Overcomer
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Oct. 7, 2012
*Pastor Steve Brown tells about a car he saw one day on the way home. It was the ugliest car he had ever seen. Steve said this car wasn't just ugly. It was ugly on top of ugly. That car had a big gash on one side and one door was held together with wire. Several other body parts were almost completely rusted out. The car's muffler was so loose that it hit the street with every bump, sending sparks flying in every direction. Steve couldn’t tell the original color, because the rust was so bad, and so much of the car had been painted over with different colors.
*But the most interesting thing about the car was the bumper sticker. It said: “This is not an abandoned car.” (1)
*Christians: Sometimes we may feel just about as junked up as that car. But God has not abandoned us. He wants us to be overcomers.
35. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36. As it is written: "For Your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.''
37. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
*Christians: God wants us to live in victory.
-And in these verses, God gives us 4 ways to be overcomers.
1. First: Direct your delight to the Lord.
*Or as Paul said in vs. 4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”
*Now when you think about who Jesus Christ is, and all that He has done for us, it’s mind-boggling that we have to be reminded to rejoice in the Lord. But Paul stressed rejoicing 7 times in this short letter.
*We can’t always rejoice in our health or our looks.
-We can’t always rejoice in our finances, our family, our jobs, or our grades.
-We can’t always rejoice in our houses, our cars, our toys, or our accomplishments.
-But we can always rejoice in the Lord!
*Jesus wants to be our source of constant joy.
-God wants us to have a nonstop celebration of the Lord in our lives.
-And it’s important to remember that when Paul wrote these words he had been a prisoner of Rome, -- bound in chains possibly as long as 4 years.
*Paul’s only crime was telling the truth about Jesus Christ. And in Phil 2:27, Paul tells us that he almost had sorrow on top of sorrow. Paul could have been filled with bitterness. But he overflowed with the joy of the Lord. And we can too!
*Our hands are not in chains today. And we are blessed far more than most people in the world. But if all of that was taken away, we would still have grace, we would still have Heaven, and we would still have Jesus!
*I really like this story about Professor William Phelps. He taught English Literature at Yale from 1892-1933. One year Dr. Phelps was grading tests shortly before Christmas, and he saw a note that a student had written next to a tough question on the test. The student had said, “Only God knows the answer to this question. Merry Christmas.”
*The professor returned the test with his own note under the student’s comment. Dr. Phelps wrote, “God gets an A. -- You get an F. Happy New Year.” (2)
*I like that statement: “God gets an A.” When your world is falling apart and nothing seems to be going your way, God gets an A! Forever and always, God gets an A! He is wonderful all the time, so we can rejoice all the time in His goodness, love and grace.
*One of the best ways to overcome is direct your delight to the Lord.
2. But also take your troubles to the Lord.
*This is God’s message to us in vs. 6&7, where Paul said:
6. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
7. and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
*Here God gives us 6 great ways to pray:
 First, pray confidently: Paul said “Be anxious for nothing.”
 Also pray consistently: Paul said to pray “in everything.”
 And pray earnestly: Paul mentioned both “prayer and supplication.”
*That word “prayer” means “asking.” -- But this word was only used to describe asking God for help. So it includes the dimensions of worship and reverence, plus the understanding that there are some needs that only God can supply.