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Summary: Last in a witnessing series emphasizing the ability of God to accomplish anything.

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OUT OF THE SALTSHAKER AND INTO THE WORLD

Part Six—Overcoming Impossible Odds

Luke 18:27

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Pastor Brian Matherlee

“What is impossible with men is possible with God.” Luke 18:27

What do you think is impossible?

What do you think God finds impossible?

• Strictly speaking, nothing is impossible for God. But let me explain the limiting factors of the work of God by asking a question. Can God make a rock so big He can’t move it? You can’t answer the question without allowing that God purposefully chooses to limit one aspect of his character in order to allow the other.

• Because God doesn’t forcefully impose his will upon people we are free to tell God no.

• Because people say no to God we effectively say yes to many things that bring heartbreak, destruction, turmoil, pain and suffering.

What keeps us from seeing God’s work in our lives?

1. Doubt-“believe and not doubt”; Philippians 4:13

a. Who did believe in the Bible?

i. Widow with young son that listened to Elijah and saw oil fill every jar in her house plus the ones she got from neighbors.

ii. Centurion who brought his child’s illness to Jesus’ attention and saw healing take place

b. Logic is the first cousin of doubt

c. Fear is the second cousin of doubt

d. Worry is the third cousin of doubt

2. Shame-Luke 9:26; Romans 1:17

a. Shame can be good and it can be bad.

i. It is good when it causes us to turn away from evil and towards good. There’s not a lot of that kind of shame. People aren’t easily shamed of the way they act anymore. We have become immune, numb to our acts. It’s like the frog in the pot being cooked by increasing the temperature one slow degree at a time.

ii. Shame can be bad when it causes us to turn our back on the Christ who died for us. It is bad when we shrink back from proclaiming Good News because of the fear of rejection, embarrassment, or inability to do it ‘right’.

b. Jackie Robinson was the first black person to play major league baseball. Breaking baseball’s color barrier, he faced jeering crowds in every stadium. Players would stomp on his feet and kick him. While playing one day in his home stadium in Brooklyn, he made an error. The fans began to ridicule him. He stood at second base, humiliated, while the fans jeered. Then, shortstop Pee Wee Reese came over and stood next to him. He put his arm around Jackie Robinson and faced the crowd. The fans grew quiet. Robinson later said that arm around his shoulder saved his career.

c. Christianity is increasingly coming under fire. We are no longer a “Christian” nation. We need to be like Pee Wee Reese and fully embrace the Gospel. It may be jeered and opposed with great hostility but we must stand with our Jesus because it is right.

3. Excuses-Luke 9:57-62

a. In this brief Scripture we see examples of why people say they can’t join Jesus.

b. People told Jesus they wanted to follow Him and He told them how tough it would be. They decided to come up with an excuse. They weren’t coming back.

c. The problem with excuses, though, is that they’re like armpits. Everyone’s got a couple and they usually stink.

d. Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses. --George Washington Carver

4. Emptiness-Matthew 23:37; John 20:19 & Acts 1:8

a. In Phillip Yancy’s book entitled “Church: Why Bother”? He quotes a Pulitzer Prize winning writer named Annie Dillard. She described Church Worship this way: Week after week I was moved by the pitiful worship service in which no follower of Christ cheered. We had fatigued Bible readings and a laggy emptiness of worship, followed by a vacant sermon colored with the fog of dreariness, which caused me to ponder, “Why did we come? But we showed up week after week and we went through it.

b. Adrian Rodgers, the well-known pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, tells the story of a young man who came up to him one Sunday morning after the message. “Man,” the young man remarked, “this Christian life is really hard!” Dr. Rodgers wisely replied, “No, son. It’s not hard, it’s impossible.” Of course what he meant was that the Christian life is impossible for us in our power.

What’s the truth for us to cling to today?

God promises to fill every willing believer with His Spirit.

God promises to never leave or forsake us.

God promises that anything is possible (Mark 9:23-24)

What do you think is impossible?

I’m here to tell you that what is impossible for you is not impossible for God.

Your loved one can be saved. Your trouble can be overcome. Your confusion can be answered. Your heartbreak can be healed.

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