Summary: We can only walk through the doors that Christ has already opened for us…

Title: Did we in our own strength confide?

Text: Rev

FCF: We can only walk through the doors that Christ has already opened for us…



The general point: We walk in his strength:

See if you can finish these verses for me:

- I can do all things [how?] through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)

- My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9)

- God chooses the ____ things of this world to confound the wise (foolish) (1 Cor 1:27)

- OT: For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him (2 Chr 16:9)

- For me to live is [what] Christ? To die is gain!

- I have been crucified w/Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.

Here’s another one:

- He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

You want to hear it from Jesus?

- Matt 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

- Matt 5:5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

I could keep going, but I think the point is pretty clear in Scripture – We walk not in our power, but in his. This morning, being July 4th & all, I want to do something a little different – I want to focus on the application of this truth in American history – and I want to start in the American city of Philadelphia….

(William Penn’s treaty w/the Indians)

I read through the treaty he made– and the words of mutual respect are quite amazing in light of the predominant ethic of the times, but I would also argue they are profoundly Christian, more Christian in fact than the predominant ethic of the times!

This attitude of respect and mutual submission comes straight out of Quakerism (Quakers are even more Baptist than Baptists – like Baptists they believe that God’s power is given to everyone, the Quakers believe it so much that they refuse to name a single pastor!)

If we will not be governed by God, we must be governed by tyrants. (William Penn)

Again the power principle applied during Penn’s time period – Have you ever asked yourself why the Americans ever broke away from the British in the first lace? The basic answer – and I would suggest that divine providence had a role in this – is that from the 1600s until the 1760s, the British were basically too busy with their own affairs to bother with the colonies. This open space allowed a unique American identity to develop – one that was far less interested in Ecclesiastical or Political hegemony. (Charles II had essentially overturned the result of the English Civil War – but I’m not sure the Americans ever really did!) Indeed when the Revolution finally broke out, the only real asset the American insurgency had was its ability to wait out a British public that was tired of paying for a war an ocean away. How many victories other than Yorktown can you name? We lost many more battles than we won.

This principle has continued in every single war we fought – The later we were to the war, the better we fared.

WWI, WWII? Great victories – both times we came in 2 years late.

War of 1812? We agitated for its start, and oh, I’m sure it was just so incidental that Napolean was keeping the British busy everywhere else. Let’s see the British invaded, burned D.C., and we sued for peace within weeks of Napoleon’s surrender.

Vietnam? Iraq? Again – the longer we waited, the more realized in what little power we were really operating, the better we did.

Several weeks ago, George Bush was treated to a Soviet style military parade in Red Square. I’m glad we don’t do celebrate the 4th of July that way here, because it is precisely the opposite of this principle of power –we Americans are much better at walking through open doors then blowing them down. I believe wholeheartedly that Germany is one country again because of the United States. We have exported democracy, peace, and even material prosperity to much of the globe. But we have never been great at ….

My little bit about our abuse of powers in Gitmo & Abu Gharib to again press the point, when we operate in our own power, we behave badly.

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