I Can Do All Things
I Can Do All Things!
Hide ‘em in Your Heart – pt 4
October 5, 2008
Dr. Rick Isbell - New Church Memphis
<<TALENT RECAP & TESTIMONIES>>
Magicians of yesteryear used to get ready to do a magic trick and at the moment of reveal they would say: “abracadabra.”
- Those seemed like magical, powerful words to us
- Ali Baba of the Arabian Nights would say: “Open Sesame” and the entrance to the magical cave would open.
- Captain Kangaroo had some magical words and they were: “Please and Thank You.”
As a Christian, we don’t have “magical” words but we do have powerful words that come from God’s Word and I want you to hide this phrase in your heart today.
- This phrase won’t give you magical powers, but it is a statement of spiritual power.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ...” NKJV
In Paul’s writings to the Philippian church, he expressed that his heart was made glad (I rejoice greatly in the Lord) because of the continued interest the Philippian Christians showed in him.
- They had not forgotten him;
- through them God had met his needs.
- Paul did not beg God’s people to help him in his work.
- He just placed the need before them and trusted God to meet it.
Paul had also learned the lesson of contentment.
- Changing circumstances did not affect the inner contentment he enjoyed.
- Paul referred to a divinely bestowed sufficiency, whatever the circumstances.
At times Paul experienced definite financial and material needs, and at other times he had an abundance
- (12) He learned how to cope with both need and plenty.
- The words I have learned the secret (memyēmai from myeō), occur only here in the New Testament.
- In the mystery religions it was a technical term meaning “to initiate (into the mysteries).”
- Paul used it here to suggest a kind of “initiation” (by his experiences) into being content when well fed or hungry,
- Content when in plenty or in want.
Paul said he could do everything— including handling poverty and living in abundance—through Him who gave him strength.
- This was not an expression of pride in his own abilities but a declaration of the strength provided by Christ.
So now with that backdrop, let’s go back and read the verse in contest:
Phil 4:10-13 (NIV)
10I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. 11I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Let’s contrast what the world tells you verses what God tells you here in His Word through the Apostle Paul.
The World Says: “YOU”
- in a derogatory, put down tone.
- Wagging it’s finger in your face
- Looking down on your beliefs, hopes and dreams
Paul Says: “I”
- A simple word of confidence that rings out “here is a man of faith”
- God uses people to accomplish his will in this world.
- One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 2:10 which states, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”
Sometimes he uses angels in His Word.
- Sometimes he uses a rock or a mule to do his work
- But over and over God uses men and women and teens and kids to do His best work.
And as I look at God’s Word and as I have watched ministry unfold through the years, I have noticed that God uses the most ordinary of the “I’s” to do His greatest work
- At least in the standard of measure that He uses.
- If God used a man of great wealth to do the impossible then people would credit the money
- If God used a man of power or position to do the impossible, then people would credit the influence
- If God used a man of great fame to do the impossible, then people would credit the celbrity
Instead, God takes the ordinary “I” and turns them into the extraordinary.
- Paul said it best in I Cor 1:26-29 “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”
So the God who spoke these Words into Paul’s life is the same God who is speaking them into our lives today
- And just as Paul was the “I” in his statement, then we are the “I’s” in the statement today.
Not just the talented people… but I
Not just the exceptional people… but I
- With money
- BUT ‘I’
The World Says: “CAN’T DO”
- Don’t try that… you can’t do it
- Look at the stock market… can’t do
- Don’t dream that dream… can’t do
- Don’t aim so high… can’t do
Paul Says: “CAN DO”
If the “I” is a person of faith, the “Can Do” is a perspective of faith.
We rarely accomplish more in this life than we think we can.
- If at the end of this message I determine that I can no longer walk down these steps to the bottom level, then I guess I’ll be spending the night here on the stage.
- I know that I can walk down these steps, therefore I will.
- Henry Ford, the maker of the modern car said, “Success begins with ‘I can’. Failure begins with ‘I can’t’.”
A little boy sat sadly under a tree as a door-to-door salesman walked by on his way to the next house. The little boy had a rough looking little, runt of a puppy sitting beside a sign saying, “Puppy for sale, cheap!” The look on the kid’s face was enough to tell the salesman he wasn’t having much luck. The man walked over and the little boy told him his plight. His dog had pups and his dad told him he could have the money for the runt of the litter if he could sell it, but nobody was interested. The salesman offered some advice. “You need to think positive. You need a “yes I can” attitude. You have to believe that you have the best product in the world. You have to make it look good. You have to make people believe this is the best dog ever.”
The salesman spent about an hour in the next house making a sale and when he came out he noticed that the little boy was now dressed in his best Sunday clothes and had a new sign that said, “World’s Greatest Puppy for Sale - $10,000.” Well the salesman about choked and laughed as he went on up the street. Late in the afternoon the salesman was coming back down the other side of the street when he noticed the little still outside but this time his sign was marked SOLD. Running across the street the salesman said, “Don’t tell me you really sold that runt dog for $10,000 dollars.” “Yes sir, I did,” said the boy. “Cash?” asked the salesman. “Well not exactly,” said the little boy, “but I did trade him for two $5,000 dollar cats.”
Isn’t it amazing what a little “Can Do” did for that little boy?
The teenager in the Bible named David brought out some ‘Can Do’ on Goliath…
- Caleb… conquered the Promised Land
- Joshua… Walls of Jericho
- Gideon… giant army that out numbered his
Faith is not just positive thinking, but faith is certainly not negative thinking.
- Do you know someone who is always negative?
- Then that person is NOT a person of faith
- Mountain moving faith begins in a heart that is burning with a “can do” attitude
When it comes to earth shaking, Kingdom building movers and shakers
- Can’t – should – would – could – might – are not operative words
- CAN DO is what Paul says we need.
The World Says: “NOTHING”
- You are nothing
- You mean nothing
- You are worth nothing
Paul Says: “ALL THINGS”
“I” is the person of faith
“Can do” is the perspective of faith
All Things—That’s the potential of faith.
There are several “alls” in the Bible and they are big deals:
- “God did spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us ALL.”
- “Christ died for ALL.”
Paul stated ‘all things’ because he had
- Been at the top of his game and at the bottom
- Had been hungry and had been full
- Had been sheltered and had been homeless
- Had been free and had been a prisoner
Yet in “all things” he said:
“I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
The he adds… I am content because… I can do all things…
Some of you know this by experience too.
- you have suffered loss.
- faced problems,
- confronted temptations,
- wrestled with habits, and
- struggled to make decisions.
- It wasn’t easy.
- You probably thought you wouldn’t make it.
- But you did.
- And because of it, you know the power of these words. “I can do ALL THINGS—
o not just the easy things,
o not just the things that everyone else is doing,
o not just the things I have always done before—
o I can do all things through Christ.”
The World Says: “ON YOUR OWN”
- You’re on your own
Paul Says: “THROUGH CHRIST”
I = person of faith
Can do= perspective of faith
All things= potential of faith
Through Christ = power of faith
Hear me well church… this phrase we are learning today is a statement of positive thinking
- You can catch an infomercial every night around 3AM that will describe the power of positive thinking
- Oprah will tell you every day at 4:00 that the real power in your life is how you feel about yourself
We use phrases like
- “pull yourself up by your bootstraps,
- aim for the stars and
- be all you can be.”
The problem is all we can be is a lost, mortal man who is without hope or help outside of the power of Jesus in our lives.
- Our potential is only realized in the power of Christ.
Not only Paul say, “ I can do all things through Christ,” he also said, in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
As Jesus reminded his disciples in John 15:5 that, “Apart from me you can do nothing”
The Old Testament prophet Zechariah declared, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”
“I can do all things through Christ” is not a phrase about my positive thinking; it is a phrase of Jesus’ spiritual authority and power in my life.
- It’s not about me! It’s all about HIM!
Look down the page at the words under the heading: The World. If you read it in a sentence it says: “You can’t do nothing on your own.”
- I realize that this is bad grammar and is a double negative which technically changes its meaning.
- But give me some latitude here and let me speak like the country boy I am: “You can’t do nothin’ on your own!”
Now look down the page at what God’s Word says:
“I CAN DO all things through Christ.”
That’s where I want to live my life. How about you?