Summary: When we face a theological crisis because it seems like God has turned against us, we need to back up & look at the Cross and know that it guarantees the love of God & that God's will is to bless & save us. Keep believing!
KNOCKED DOWN, BUT NEVER KNOCKED OUT
1. I’m sure most of us have some kind of plans for the 4th of July. Many have gone camping, to the beach, and plan to watch some fireworks.
2. Sheila Settler is a school bus driver and likes to chat with the children while everyone’s getting on board. On the last day of school before the holiday, she asked one seven-year-old boy if he had any plans for the break.
3. "No," he replied. "I'm going to stay home and become a potato couch." (Reader’s Digest)
4. Farmer have speculated that the children of couch potatoes should be called “tater tots!”
B. ROCKY AND US
1. Last year (2015) the latest “Rocky” movie “Creed” (7th) came out. In it Rocky trains the son of his former opponent, Apollo Creed. Rocky helps "Hollywood Donnie" Creed defeat "Pretty" Ricky Conlan.
2. Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) is famous for his ability to look totally beaten, yet come back when his opponent’s victory seems sure. Rocky also overcame Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, the huge Russian Ivan Drago & Tommy Gunn.
3. Rocky is the poster child for being “knocked down, but never knocked out.”
4. Like Rocky, Christians, too, are in a fight — a veritable knockdown, drag out with the world, trials & bad circumstances, our own fallen natures, and the devil.
5. Although we, at times, are nearly knocked down, God’s Word assures us we are never knocked out.
C. PROMISE OF VICTORY
1. Because of persecution, first-century Christians often fought diligently for physical and spiritual survival. Such hardships caused them to wonder if their newfound faith would be defeated.
2. In Romans 8, Paul assured them that though they may have been nearly knocked down, they will be victorious.
3. By careful examination of this passage, we too can gain the assurance of knowing that victory is ours even in the most threatening situation.
31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom. 8:31-35, 37-39.
“We are knocked down, but we aren’t knocked out.” 2 Cor. 4:9 Common English Bible.
I. WE ARE NEVER KNOCKED OUT BECAUSE WE HAVE ULTIMATE POWER (v. 31).
A. EARLY CHRISTIANS Vs. ROME
1. There were crucial moments in Paul’s life where His belief in God was severely tested. Like at Lystra (Acts 14:19), where Paul was stoned by the townspeople and left for dead. Paul had just been preaching the Gospel and healed a cripple; how could God let this happen? Was the devil stronger than God?
2. We feel defeated when we are wronged even when we’re doing the right thing. Paul assured the Roman Christians that no enemy has greater power than Almighty Power!
3. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” The logical answer is “NO ONE!” ; no one can defeat US because God is the ultimate power.
B. NOBODY BIGGER(ILLUS.)
1. An old country preacher was challenged by a highly educated agnostic. The skeptic asked, “Why do you Christians constantly claim victory in the battle for eternity?”
2. The old preacher replied: “Well, Son, it says in the beginning of my Bible that God was in charge when time started up. Then I flips over to the end of my Bible and reads that God will be in charge when time runs down.
3. So I figure that twixt the beginning and twixt the end weren’t nobody else big enough to whoop ‘em.”
C. US & OUR PROBLEMS
1. At times, we all feel like we’re fighting against powers which are too great to defeat. How can we defeat forces strong enough to overturn the moral structure of our nation, wreck marriages, and bring so many hardships?
2. All down through history, there have been temporary victories of darkness: communism, fascism, war, immorality, persecution. But God has always brought down the wicked and brought the Church out Victoriously.