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040108 Strong Christian Sermon

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040108

 We see in Romans a description of Abraham and how his faith in God led to strength in God to bless him with an heir.

(Rom 4:20-4:25)  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

Recently I sent a letter to the office of my state representative asking him to vote against expanding gambling in Kentucky.  Specifically, the governor was trying to railroad a bill through state congress which would amend Kentucky’s constitution to allow casino gambling and further establish the guidelines under which these establishments could operate and specify the locations where they would be granted permission to be built.

I referred to Scripture when asking my representative to vote against these bills.

Prov. 22:16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

1.        Oppressing the poor:  Many poor people spend the money which their family needs in order to play the lottery which was sold to Kentuckians a few years ago as the great hope for our state economy.  It wasn’t the answer.  Our state is in financial crisis as never before.  And those poor people, relying on a false hope and a long shot that’s not even comprehendible, keep spending their money so that they might flee poverty. 

There are many false hopes:  drug addictions, possessions, and covetousness.

Have we come to want?  Absolutely!  God gave us His Word not only so that we know how to conduct our lives, but the Word also tells us exactly what will happen to us if we do not follow HIs directions for our lives.  Hence, the financial crisis which our state faces now because we have disobeyed God.

Don’t get the idea that God is sitting in heaven waiting for us to mess up so that He can bring judgment and pain and suffering to us.  The Bible is very clear to say that God hates sin. God doesn’t hate us and he doesn’t hate the state of Kentucky because we have a lottery.  God hates the sin of gambling and He will allow us to experience the suffering that comes along with engaging in that sin so that we may see that He is a perfectly just God who keeps all of His promises.

2.      He that giveth to the rich:  Our governor promised us that if we will allow casinos to come into Kentucky that we will experience economic prosperity to the tune of a half billion dollars per year.  The governor didn’t say where that money would come from.  Most of it would come right out of the pockets of the citizens of Kentucky, a sort of voluntary taxation.  But what makes that so wrong, is that a sizable percentage of those profits will go into the pockets of the casino owners and gambling barons who have gained their wealth at the expense of many who have become addicted to their games.

After a few days I received a call from his office and a nice young man left on my answering service a message which thanked me for my interest in this issue.  The man went on to say that my representative had no intentions of ever voting for expanding gambling, stating that he is a “strong Christian”.  When I started thinking about that statement, I realized that, if you are a Christian, you don’t have any choice but to be a strong Christian.  There may be some Christians who are stronger than others, but there is absolutely no such thing as a weak Christian.

In the following week, there was an article in the Courier-Journal saying that “Governor Admits Defeat of Casino Bill”.  Some of these state legislators got a hard time in the following days for standing up for what is right.  But, I’ll bet that it was almost surprising to them how easy it was to defeat that bill when they showed faith in God.  That’s one of the big problems today is that people think they are powerless to fight evil in the world.  We don’t fight it.  We let God fight it through us!

(Luk 1:80)  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel.

This verse speaks of the young Israel wandering in the desert until they became strong enough in their obedience and faith in God to inherit the Promised Land.  We get our strength only from God.  Our own strength is so frail that we would never have any hope of defeating Satan were it not for the strength from the Holy Spirit of God.

We see in Romans a description of Abraham and how his faith in God led to strength in God to bless him with an heir.

(Rom 4:20-4:25)  He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.  And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.  And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;  Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification.

This means that we all can experience strength through the Holy Spirit.  No matter what we face or what we try to fight in God’s name, we will have the strength to overcome diversity if we trust in and have faith in God.

Currently we are facing a wet/dry vote in one precinct of the city of Greensburg.  I have heard people say, “Well, it’s a shame that this has to happen.”  What do you mean, “It has to happen.”

I don’t serve or worship a weak God.

 

(Rom 15:1)  We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

The weak may include:         1.  People who are sick.

                                           2.  People who are fighting addictions.

                                           3.  People who are lost.

                                           4.  People who are imprisoned.

                                           5.  People who are abused or underprivileged.

And certainly we as Christians should try to help these people and try to enable them through visitation, counseling, and prayer to overcome their adversities.  Intercessory prayer is very important in the life of a true believer.

But there is also another weakling that we as Christians often ignore:  the babes in Christ.  These are young Christians who don’t realize their strength.

Newly saved people are like the ninety year old man with the brand new Corvette that he’s never driven over 40 mph.  He hasn’t experienced the  strength of this powerful automobile, but Oh the Potential!

If you have young people in your church, you need to show them that you are fired up for God.  Don’t let them believe that once they are Christians they are doomed to a life a pew sitting, coming to church for entertainment, or just waiting for the trumpets to blow.  We are the children of the Almighty God who has come to save us so that we may have everlasting life.  Oh the power, and we should be eager to demonstrate it!

When you get involved, you will suffer, but not from lack of strength!

(2Co 12:10)  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

John Wesley:  Weaknesses - Whether proceeding from Satan or men. For when I am weak - Deeply conscious of my weakness, then does the strength of Christ rest upon me.

Places from which to get strength as a Christian:

1.  Our salvation – we are justified by faith.  Faith in Christ gives us our strength.  The other side of the coin is that lack of faith in Christ is weakness.  People who are not save are weak and without hope, like someone dying of a chronic disease.

2.  The Word of God -

1Jn 2:14  I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him who is from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome the evil one.

Satan is already defeated!

Sin is already conquered by the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is truly the King of Kings!

3.  Confessing our sins to God, repenting, and living in fellowship with God.

Living in fellowship with God is important because we are His children.

God is all-powerful and He gives us power in His name to carry out His will for our lives.

There is absolutely no need to live in weakness and spiritual poverty when we can live in strength and riches beyond anything imaginable through our Father who lives in Heaven.

Amen

Songs:

What a Day That Will Be –

Near the Cross           - 97 Baptist Hymnal

How Great Thou Art

Oh Lord my God when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

  • \\
    When Christ shall come
    With shout of acclamation
    To take me home
    What joy shall fill my heart
    Then I shall bow in humble adoration
    And there proclaim my God how great Thou art.*
  • \\
    Then sings my soul my savior God to Thee
    How great Thou art 
    How great Thou art 
    Then sings my soul my savior God to Thee
    How great Thou art how great Thou art.*

 

Amazing Grace – 188 Baptist Hymnal

 

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