Summary: The apostle Paul gives us more ways to overcome life’s difficulties.
II Thess. 3:1-5
INTRO.- ILL.- A university student was seen with a large "K" printed on his T- shirt. When someone asked him what the "K" stood for, he aid, "Confused." "But," the questioner replied, "you don’t spell "confused" with a "K." The student answered, "You don’t know how confused I am."
ILL.- President Harry Truman enjoyed telling the story about the man who was hit on the head at work. The blow was so severe he was knocked unconscious for an extended period of time. His family, convinced he was dead, called the funeral home and asked the local undertaker to pick him up, which he did. Early the next morning the man suddenly woke up and sat straight up in the casket. Confused, he blinked several times and looked around, trying to put the whole thing together. He thought, "If I’m alive, what in the world am I doing in this casket? And if I’m dead, why do I have to go to the bathroom?"
Our lives are somewhat like these two stories. Life is sometimes so confusing that we don’t where we are or what we are doing or how we got here. We often wonder: Is this for real? Am I for real? Is my life for real? Where am I headed? What’s going on?
To add to our confusion, many unexpected things come into our lives to upset the apple cart.
ILL.- Nearly two years ago one of our church members accidentally sent me a computer virus to our home computer. It was called the “Happy 99” worm. And he didn’t even know he sent it to me. That little squirmy worm, that little bug, that little virus caused me all kinds of trouble. I didn’t have a de-bugger on my computer at that time, no anti-virus program so I eventually had to completely reprogram my computer with Windows 98. It took hours to repair. It was really frustrating.
Likewise, our frustration increases when certain bugs or viruses hit our lives. The kinds of viruses I’m talking about are those that plague the soul and drain the emotions right out of us. Such as: marital discord, divorce, prodigal or problem children, work hassles, road rage, grocery store rage, restaurant rage, stand-in-the-line rage, can’t-get-in-the-line rage, ill health, death in the family, financial woes, family squabbles, etc. All these and more contribute to our frustration and confusion in life. Right? You know this is true. And they happen to all of us.
What can we do about them? How can we endure? How can we overcome?
ILL.- Professional golfer Paul Azinger was diagnosed with cancer at age 33. He had just won a PGA championship and had ten tournament victories to his credit. He wrote, "A genuine feeling of fear came over me. I could die from cancer. Then another reality hit me even harder. I’m going to die eventually anyway, whether from cancer or something else. It’s just a question of when. Everything I had accomplished in golf became meaningless to me. All I wanted to do was live."
Then he remembered something that Larry Moody, who teaches a Bible study on the tour, had said to him. "Zinger, we’re not in the land of the living going to the land of the dying. We’re in the land of the dying trying to get to the land of the living."
Golfer Paul Azinger recovered from chemotherapy and returned to the PGA tour. He’s done pretty well. But that bout with cancer deepened his perspective. He wrote, "I’ve made a lot of money since I’ve been on the tour, and I’ve won a lot of tournaments, but that happiness is always temporary. The only way you will ever have true contentment is in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I’m not saying that nothing ever bothers me and I don’t have problems, but I feel like I’ve found the answer to the six-foot hole."
Golf pro Paul Azinger has hit a hole-in-one. He’s right on target. He’s found the answer to life’s frustrations. And that answer is Christ and His Word.
PROP.- In our text, the apostle Paul gives us some specific things that we can do to endure and/or overcome life’s frustrating viruses.
1- Spread the message
2- Stop the evil
3- Strengthen the obedience
4- Secure the love
I. SPREAD THE MESSAGE
V. 1 “Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.”
ILL.- Only one person showed up on Sunday morning to hear the preacher’s sermon and he was a farmer. The preacher asked him, “Do you think I should preach my sermon to you?”
The farmer replied, “Well, Reverend, if I put hay in the wagon and go down to the pasture to feed the cows and only one shows up, I feed her.”