Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: Too many people fall in to the trap of feeling like they are a victim of their circumstances. John Leo, in the Dec. 8th, 2003 edition of US News and World Report writes: "Expert victimologists estimate that 91.2% of people in North America and Europe now

Troubled but Not Distressed (2 Cor. 4:8-18)

Paul reminds us that even though we may think we are at the end of our rope, we are never without hope.

Paul faced all kinds of troubles, hardships and adversity for the sake of the Lord Jesus and His kingdom’s ministries.

Regardless of the risks, humiliations and trials we can see all of these as opportunities for Jesus to demonstrate His greater power, purpose and plan in and through us for His greater glory.

Illustration: Too many people fall in to the trap of feeling like they are a victim of their circumstances. John Leo, in the Dec. 8th, 2003 edition of US News and World Report writes: "Expert victimologists estimate that 91.2% of people in North America and Europe now qualify as victims, at least in their own minds. This is because hurt feelings keep spreading, and "society" keeps grinding us down. Some examples included:

Illustration: Two student groups wanted to sponsor a pig roast at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams. Schoool authorities said no because the event might offend vegetarians.

Illustration: A high school student in Trento Italy, faced with the prospect of having to repeat her junior year because she failed math, hired a lawyer who argued that she was suffering from "irreversible psychological pathology," or math phobia. A regional court ruled that the condition made it impossible for her to study or master math and allowed the school to move her directly into the senior year.

Paul teaches us how not to be troubled on every side without giving in to distress through the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Here are a few guidelines for overcoming trouble instead of allowing yourself to become a victim of your troubles:

1. REVERENCE - Praise God for the trouble He has allowed in your life as He knows what is best in every situation.

David wrote, "God is our refuge and strength. A very present help in the time of trouble. Therefore, we will not fear. Though the earth be removed and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea. Thought the waters roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. There is a river the streams thereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High." (Psa 46:1-4)Praise God and draw completely from the river of living water found in the love of God the Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ the Son and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit

2. REST - Praise God and realize that our God is sovereign who can do whatever He pleases. It is the right for a sovereign, omnipotent, and omnisient God to know how trouble will work for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose. God is on the throne He does whatever He pleases. Job was able to say, "Though he slay me yet will I praise Him." Praising God helps us draw upon the goodness, love and all sufficient grace of Christ so that we are able to rejoice in our infirmities for when we are weak, then He is strong. The less we have the more we depend on Him for our strength, hope and will in our lives.

3. RELINQUISH YOUR RIGHTS - Paul wrote, "For we which live are always delivered to death for Jesus sake that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor. 4:11)

We need to release all our rights to comfort, pleasures and prideful self-justice. Even though Paul knew that humanly speaking, he did not deserve to be troubled for doing good, he followed the example of Jesus who though He was rich He became poor that we through His poverty might be rich. Paul wrote, "All who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer tribulation."

Be willing to give up your personal desires realizing that trouble, persecution and tribulation are a part of growing in Christ.

Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt 5:3)

John MacArthur points out the definition of poor in His Kingdom Living book p. 44,45:

"The poor is from the Greek ptokas, a noun that means poor in this world’s goods; a beggar, desparately ashamed even to allow his idenityt to be known. It is not just poor, it is begging poor...He is absolutely incapable, totally dependent on grace.

"In spirit means with reference to the inner man not the body. That’s all. He’s begging on the inside, not necessarily on the outside.

"But to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit and who trembles at My word (Isa 66:2) Psa 34:18 says The Lord is near to brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

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