Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: This sermon is about Elijah the Prophet and the result of his defeat of Jezebel

The Wilderness Experience

Matthew 26:69-75

When Jesus finished sharing the Passover with the disciples, he took Peter, James and John with him to the Garden of Gethsemane. The Gospels describe Jesus as “sorrowful and troubled.”

The Gospel of John in chapter 21 reports that Jesus appeared to the disciples as they were fishing

In the Bible, the wilderness was both a geographic place, barren and harsh, and a metaphor for those times when life is difficult and filled with adversity. Wilderness experiences are seasons of loss, opposition, betrayal, abandonment, despair or failure

The question isn’t if you are going to have a wilderness experience in your life but rather

1. How will you respond?

2. What will you receive and learn from it?

Wilderness experiences will either push you away from God or draw you closer to God. It’s there that we can experience God’s presence

If we let them, wilderness experiences can be a rich time of personal and spiritual growth in both our understanding of God and ourselves. It’s not that God causes wilderness experiences, often they’re the result of

The Wilderness Experience

1. God is more concerned with our character than our comfort

2. Growth takes place in tension

Like going to the gym to lift weights and cause growth in our muscles, the wilderness experience can cause tension in our lives and circumstances which can lead to change and growth. They can become a catalyst for change. What we find is that if there’s not an intense catalyst

God doesn’t cause pain but can use the pain of the wilderness experience to challenge and change us to become…cross

3. God allows us to work through the wilderness

Most of the time, we would rather avoid the wilderness experience. We call on God to remove us. We try everything we can to go around it, avoid it and sometimes even simply ignore it rather than experience it. But the wilderness still remains and must be dealt with. God doesn’t remove

the Apostle Paul’s experience where in 2 Corinthians 11:24 he writes about his sufferings which included beatings, being stoned with rocks, being shipwrecked, in danger from rivers, bandits, fellow Jews, and Gentile. sleep deprivation, hunger and being cold and naked. And on top of that he says, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness…when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Cor. 12:9-10

Causes of the Wilderness Experience

1. Personal crisis

which is usually the result of sin in our lives and causes us to re-evaluate our life. Your life isn’t over, but you begin to feel the pain of your sin, its impact and begin to see the errors of your ways. Yet, the truth is that a personal crisis

2. Relational crisis

We are lied to, hurt or betrayed by someone closest to us, sometimes we even think it might be God. The reality is that we are often wounded the deepest by those closest to us. But a relational crisis can also occur when God often uses a friend

Nathan and David and Bathsheba

This is our responsibility to other for Galatians 6:1 says, “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.” There comes a time when it takes confrontation to help a person

3. Circumstances crisis

There may be a looming catastrophe when the bottom is about to fall out of your life. Alcoholics Anonymous calls this “hitting rock bottom.” You’re at the end of your rope, the pain of your ways is too great and you are about to lose it all

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God.” Matthew 5:3 The Message translation

Janet Hagberg and Robert Guelich in their book, “The Critical Journey” calls this “The Wall.” Others have called it the “dark night of the soul.” This is a time when we are confronted with who we are and what we have done or what others have done to us. In the midst of the wilderness, so often, our response is either to become a victim

But it’s in the wilderness that we are forced to wrestle with whether we are willing to surrender to God and let Him direct our lives. This was Paul’s lesson learned in His wilderness, “when I am weak, then I am strong

Hagberg and Guelich idenitfy Four Phases of the Wilderness Exper

1. Self-awareness

It is in the wilderness that we have to come to grips with who we are and what we have done. God brings a renewed sense of self-awareness and the parts of us that need healing and transformation. It means realizing who we really are as opposed to

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