OVERCOMING TODAY'S TRIALS
by Cooper Abrams
Introduction: Have you ever watched an airplane take off. First the engine is started and the pilot makes his cockpit checks, makes sure all is in order. Next he pulls the plane onto the runway, revers up the engines and applies the power. Then with the burst of power the plane rolls down the runway gains speed and then takes off and is airborne and turns toward its distination. It will arrive safely and reach its destination as the power must continually be applied. If power begins to weaken the plane begins to stall and is in serious trouble
All believers, in varying degrees, find times in our Christian lives when we lose the power of God in our lives. Sometimes the power is applied through our disobedience to the Lord or at other times when we forget the Lord and go on our own.
The Bible says we forget the fuel of the Christian life is faith. Faith can be compared to the accelerator that we use to apply the power of God. For the Christian it is never a matter of having an empty tank because we have the power of God in our lives. The problem is that we pull back on the controls by not trusting in the Lord and we began to stall...and to waver in our faith.
ILLUS: A student was taking a flying lesson when the plane began to run into to a strong head wind. The plane lost speed and began to stall. The student panicked and cried, "Were are going to crash!" The instructor reached over pulled the throttle out further and the engine increased in power and the plane began to climb. The instructor said, "Did you forget the throttle?" The student replied "Oh, yea, I forgot that." The instructor then replied...if you forget it when flying by yourself your lapse in memory will kill you. This is not a perfect illustration, but it does make an important point. Two reactions to lives perils can cause us to lose our peace and joy. One is that we do not know what God's word says and therefore are ignorant of His promised comfort and help. Second is that we may know, but like the student pilot, forget to apply what we know the Lord promises. God's promises are absolute and real and are to be lived by faith. Often it does not seem like God is working and in those times our faith may wane. But the key is that we by faith know God's promises and we trust Him, knowing that He will never forsake us.
I WONDER HOW MANY OF US HAVE STALLED IN OUR FAITH OR COME IN DANGER OF STALLING BY NOT FULLY TRUSTING IN THE LORD.
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 10:23; 32-39, 11:1, 12:1-2
In Hebrews 10:22-38 are six things that God tells those that waver to do.
V22 Let us draw near with a true heart.
V23 Let us hold fast our profession of faith w/out wavering.
V24 Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and good works.
V32 Let us call to remembrance the former days.
V35 Let us not cast away therefore your confidence
V38 Let the just live by faith.
2. Our heart in Scripture represents the very center of both our physical and spiritual life.
2. Easy believism rules our day. The churches have become a place of entertainment instead of worship. Preaching has become a practice of making people feel good rather than preaching the Word of God and having people to learn and be convicted of their sin by the Holy Spirit. People join a church and feel they have done their responsibility to the Lord so they come to church once and awhile and have spirits of faithfulness or getting involved in the ministry of the church, but it is not really a priority. When other things conflict with worshiping the Lord, their worship is set aside. Sadly, they are not even concerned about it. They are told they are going to heaven so why worry too much about worship and being faithful to God's house.
3. However, the Bible says that true salvation brings a full commitment to the Lord, yet it is easy to get in the routine and only give lip service to the Lord. Most people who fall into this trap do not set out to do it. It comes in small stages and grows larger and larger until it become the rule.
< 4. To be saved is more than getting a ticket to heaven, joining a church it is a life long conversion to following the Lord. Jesus in Luke 6:46 said, " And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" To say one is your Lord and not follow them is a lie.
Jesus also spoke in Matthew 7:21 saying, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Clearly Jesus was saying that lip service is worthless.
2. Salvation is the work and gift of God alone. Living by faith is our responsibility and the normal way of life for believer.
A. Before you were saved..doubts, insecurity, never able to be satisfied..afraid of death..living only for fleeing pleasures.
B. You heard the gospel message...Christ died for your sins. Death/burial/resurrection of Christ. As you heard the message you received the strength to:
So did Adoniram Judson who God sent to Burma. In 1810 he helped form the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions; two years later he and his new wife, Ann, sailed for India. When the Indian government refused them entry into the country, they went to Burma where they worked for six years before winning a convert. During those years they were plagued with ill health, loneliness, and the death of their baby son. Judson was imprisoned for nearly two years during which time Ann faithfully visited him, smuggling to him his books, papers, and notes which he used to translate the whole Bible into the Burmese language.
> Soon after his release from prison, Ann and their baby daughter, Maria, died of spotted fever. Judson withdrew into seclusion in the interior where he completed the translation of the Bible into Burmese. In 1845 he returned to visit America, but the burning desire to win the Burmese people sent him back to the Orient where he soon died. As a young man he had cried out, "I will not leave Burma until the cross is planted here forever." Thirty years after his death, Burma had sixty-three Christian churches, one hundred and sixty-three missionaries, and over seven thousand baptized converts.
> In writing home to England sets a great example of why God used him so greatly in Burma. Many thought him a failure and because of all the difficulties urged him to quit. He begged the churches to have patience. He wrote home to England and said, "If a ship were here to carry me to any part of the world, I would not leave my field. Tell the brethren that success is as certain as the promise of a faithful God can make it."
> God gave them nothing that He has not given to each of us. We too have the power to overcome and excel for the Lord if we will trust Him and let Him use us. What made these men different. Do you not think that they struggled with being homesick, tired and heart broken when they seemed to be getting no where. In the midst of Judson struggles his friend back home wanted to cut his support and bring him home because he did not seem to be making any progress. Do you think that was a good feeling and made things worse with all the pressure on him it caused?
B. We call families "dysfunctional" when they are not protecting, providing for, preparing and supporting the family members in their daily lives and in their preparation for the future.
2. A family cannot function and achieve its propose if its members are not each understanding their responsibility to each other.
3. There can be no love unless there is a commitment to love each other.
4. There can be no happiness unless each person takes their responsibility to help the other.
5. There can be no peace if each member is not committed in love to "seek the other's well being" and to live unselfishly.
2. Can't be apart of a family if you are never there.
If you want to make a church weak....just stay home. Sadly, who then suffers? You do first. You miss the fellowship, the instruction, God fellowship, because you forsake His house and His people.
If you spend all your time in the world with worldly people you will be worldly too. You will begin to love the world, think like the world, and dress like the world. This new fad of church promoting that they call casual dress services does not honor the Lord.
ILLUS: It is like the Christian who got all involved in tournament bass fishing. He joined all the clubs, brought expensive new tackle and a new fast bass boat. The tournaments were on the week-ends so he missed church. He said he never had been able to tithe because he did not have enough income.....yet he spend thousands of dollars on his hobby. His family too dropped out of church because they needed to be with him to support him. He got involved in drinking because his bass buddies had a lot of parties. He still professed to be a Christian and that he really loved the Lord, though...!
ILLUS: This past week I Carolyn and I returned from Logan where I was getting prices on material for our new building. We came through the country and passed several LDS churches. The parking lots were full and we met couples dressed in suits and ties headed to church. The children were dressed nice and many of the boys had on ties and the girls pretty long dresses. I thought about this...these dear people are worshiping a god that does not exist... but they honored their god by their dress and in their worship.... Yet, some many who have the truth....do not seem to understand this clear biblical principle. These things are not important to us.
2. Sometimes we get discouraged..sometimes when we grow weary of waiting for God to work we jump ahead.
3. We start blaming God or others when the problem is really ourselves.
4. Our intentions and motives are true..but instead of exhorting..we judge and condemn!
5. We don't need to compromise with sin. Look at verses 30 & 31
6. Christ is the judge and will judge, BUT John 3:16-17 says he came not to judge or condemn but to save.
7. This is the age of Grace..Not judgment, but grace must be accepted and received.
B. We must understand and accept what has happened. That means confess our sins to the Lord and ask for forgiveness. Look back at when you professed Christ.
2. Remember that nothing has changed.
3. You are still a Child of God and in His care.
B. What is faith? Let me paraphrase Heb. 11:1.
2. Enoch..He pleased God.
4. ABRAHAM: Left UR of Chaldees, father, house, kindred, country! God did not tell him where he was going! Long time before Abram became Abraham, he lived by the promise of God to make him a great nation and that the Messiah would come from His decedents.
2. Look back at your Christian life.