Summary: All of us get to the point where we feel we can’t go any further. By looking at the words of Paul, we can learn how to keep going when we can’t go on !
How To Keep Going When You Can’t Go On
2 Cor. 4:1-18
I believe my sermon title tonight would be called a oxymoron. It doesn’t hardly make sense does it.
Yet, there are times when we must keep going when we just feel like we can’t. Have you ever said, " I just don’t know how much more of this I can take." or " I don’t know how much longer I can keep doing this."
Sometimes when we make those statements it may be in reference to a job, or in our marriage, or perhaps even concerning something at church. It may be said during times of trouble or sickness..........but regardless of our situation, we most all certainly feel like there are times when we just can’t go on.
I think sometimes we are mislead into believing that the people of the Bible were superhuman in some way. Yet, a closer look at the word of God will reveal to you that they were human...and that they experienced much of the same things in life as we do.
Paul is one of those guys. He knew a little bit about "how to keep going when you can’t go on". Tonight I want us to look at some things that will help us when we get to those points in our lives.
I. The Adversity & Attitude
a. He was crowded but not crushed.
V. 8 "troubled on every side, yet not distressed"
The word "troubled" means "to crowd". Paul experienced troubles, and trials to the point to where it all was closing in on him. I think we refer to this condition today as being "stressed". Yet, Paul said though I am crowded, I am not crushed !
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b. He was doubting but not despairing. V.8
The word "perplexed" means "to have no way out".
There were times in his life when he literally felt "at a loss." Yet, Paul said, I am not in despair. Now this statement is definitely a play of words. Literally Paul is saying..."There are times when I feel "at a loss" but not "totally at a loss". He was filled with doubt about what was going to happen. He may have been full of questions, but he refused to be in despair, and despondent.
c. He was followed, but not forsaken. V.9
The word "persecuted" means "to be pursued or followed". The word "forsaken" means "to be deserted or left behind"
Every where that Paul went...it seemed that trouble followed him. He was threatened, imprisoned and faced death on several ocassions, yet he said...I am not forsaken.
d. He was ditched, but not destroyed. V.9
I heard the late Dr. Jack Hyles preach on this text once, and he said that Paul was "knocked down, but not knocked out."
He had been cast down, knocked off his feet, but he had not been destroyed as a result.
The question we all want to have answered tonight is how did Paul maintain this kind of attitude in spite of his adversity. How can we keep going when we can’t go on ?
II. The Answer
a. The Faith will keep us going when we can’t go on.
Hymn: Have Faith In God
Illust: Our children jumping into our arms !
Leading Psych. at John Hopkins says that 70 % of people with clinical depression recover quicker, and more often if they are people of faith
b. The Facts will keep us going when we can’t go on.
2 Cor 4:14
"Knowing that he which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up us also by Jesus, and shall present us with you." We know that after death Jesus is going to raise us up ! But that same resurrection power is able to lift us up now. Lift us up above sin....above our sorrows, above the shadows !
When the armies of Napoleon swept over Europe, one of his generals made a surprise attack on the little town of Feldkirch, on the Austrian border. As Napoleon’s formidable army manoeuvred on the heights above Feldkrich, a council of it citizens were hastily summoned to decide whether to surrender or attempt a defence. In this assembly the pastor of the church arose to declare: "This is Easter Day. We have been counting on our own strength, and that will fail. This is the day of our Lord’s resurrection. Let us ring the bells and have services as usual, and leave the matter in God’s hands. We know only our weakness and not the power of God." The council accepted his plan, and in a few minutes the church belfry chimed the joyous bells announcing the Saviour’s resurrection. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night, broke up camp, and before the Easter bells had ceased, the danger had been lifted.