don’t often talk to myself; however, the other day as I was thinking about what
I might say in my last sermon in the role of senior pastor of Ocean View
Baptist Church, I found myself asking a question. What would I want to be
remembered for? Would it be the number of people who join the church over the
last 13 years, would it be the number of baptisms? Would it be success in the
minds of those in the community? What would it be? What really matters?
Sure I would have hoped to have a church membership of 300, as nice as those numbers might be, what I really want is others to have a relationship with Christ. A relationship with Christ that empowers you to always rely on His strength. A relationship that will give you a force to be reckoned with when any trial comes your way.
The title of this sermon today is’ “A relationship with Christ.” You take a few letters out of that word relationship and you can end up with the word REAL. Don’t we all want to end up with a real-lationship with Christ! A relationship that keeps us a float when the floods come, a relationship that puts up a force field when the fiery darts of sin try to penetrate that armor of God.
“You should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you.” 2 Timothy 4:5 (NLT)
Text: Philippians 4:10-13 (ESV)
“I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. 12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”
I will always have fond memories of a sermon delivery class I took at Southeastern Theological Seminary. One of the first steps that was always important in proper sermon preparation was to break down the chapter into key verses, look for points, sub points and even sermon ideas. And an application that will leave the audience pondering on the scriptures for that message. Philippians has always been one of those books that I have always found something to share from. It has always helped me to experience a real sense of Joy and completeness. It always directs me toward a real–lationship with Christ. My whole message today is built around one verse; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
1. I am able:
The Holman Christian Standard Bible’s translation says: “I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.” Through Christ we are able to do so much. Some of the greatest stories in all the scriptures that were ever told are about people who were able to do great things because of their faith and trust in God. Paul Does Not Say “I Can't” That is the language of PESSIMISM. You hear this kind of talk everywhere. Churches can't grow or be great for God. Christians can't witness, pray, be effective, and they defiantly can’t merge! So they say.
Paul Does Not Say “I Can” That is the language of PRESUMPTION. People say, “I can run my own life! I do not need God, the church or the Bible. I am the captain of my own soul and the master of own fate.” I did it my way! Take Christ out of Christian and what do you have? IAN = “I am nothing”
He Said “I Can…through Christ” That is the language of POWER. This is dynamic contentment; this is dynamic Christian life. This is victory over every temptation; grace for every trouble; strength for every task. Jesus gives power to face life's adversities. He gives the power to cope. He gives the power to enjoy contentment regardless of the circumstances. People surrender because they can't cope. He gives the power to face anything that comes your way with true contentment. “I am able!”
2. To do all things:
All the great men and women of the Bible, and through history, were men and women of great faith! They did all things through that power. “I can do all things,” they had faith in their abilities. Never say, “I can’t – say I can. They had faith in their ambitions: (The little engine that could - didn’t stop half way up the hill and say I can’t, no he didn’t – HE SAID I THINK CAN, I THINK I CAN, I did!) Also they had faith in their attitude. Use that attitude with prayer, you would be surprised how God does answer!
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
3. Through Him:
Through Christ (as a faithful servant) you can experience a practical faith, a pleasing faith, a personal faith which equates to a real-lationship. Through CHRIST you will have a powerful faith, Through CHRIST you will have a praying faith and Through CHRIST you can count on being persecuted!
4. Who strengthens me:
Faith brings strength, God promises all things are possible if we only believe: “Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Mark 9:23 Four things hinder faith: doubt, worry, fear, and unbelief. These four always destroy faith.
“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.” 1 Timothy 6:7-8 (NKJV)
A real relationship with Christ can give us strength!
Illustration: Playing with a 17 month old grandchild. Interesting what you can learn playing with a child. I made the attempt to build something from a bucket full of blocks. It only took seconds before Jacob would knock down anything I tried to build. If I was able to stack 4 or 5 blocks on top of each other before Jacob knock them over it was a success. I don’t know what is going on in his mind, but the minute he sees grandpa trying to build something he wants to destroy it.
Now if we were to apply a spiritual application to these building blocks, several things quickly come to mind. Is it possible God is trying to build something? Is it possible you feel like you are constantly destroying your life? Maybe it is possible through Him you can build anything?
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 (KJV)
This is one of those verses that doesn’t really change much no matter what translation you refer too. “All things to them who love God and are called.” I believe the idea here speaks of a real-lationship with Christ. Even though the blocks fall he can rebuild! Gods plan requires faith, a faith that understands all things work together for good to those who love Him, do not question God—believe Him! He is a block rebuilder.
In verse 11 Paul uses the word “content”, This word speaks of “being satisfied with what one has, regardless of how small it might be.” Are you a contented person? Are you satisfied with your lot in life? If you are, then you possess great treasure: “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6
We live in a world of discontented people! You might be saved and have much in this world and still not be content. Rather than living lives of grateful contentment, our lives are often filled with complaining. We “whine, pine and recline.” We complain when children are noisy, instead of being thankful that they are healthy, happy and in right mind. We complain about our home when thousands have no home. We gripe about work when many have no jobs. We fuss about our cars when many have never seen a car. Why? We have never learned the secret of contentment! Benjamin Franklin said, “Contentment makes poor men rich; discontentment makes rich men poor.”
“There is one who makes himself rich, yet has nothing; And one who makes himself poor, yet has great riches.” Proverbs 13:7
Paul learned through a real-lationship with Christ to be satisfied, to be content, at peace. Paul shared the secrets to a special society. This is: “The Secret Society Of the Satisfied.” “We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”
“In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.” Ephesians 1:11 (NKJV)
Poor farmer worked hard and had nothing. When he died, his property was found to be sitting on a sea of oil. He had a treasure he had never tapped into! Are you content? Are you saved? Are you tapping the well of His power? Do you have a real-lationship with Christ?
I hope you will agree with me - what we should all want to be remembered for is helping others have a relationship with Christ!
Posted by Pastor Steve Siegrist. Posted In : Sermon