FAITH – HOPE – FORGIVENESS by Growing Older


A SPIRITUAL PARADOX

Matthew 16:25

Introduction: There are endless Paradoxes in life. A Paradox is: “An assertion seemingly self contradictory which never the less may be true to fact.”

I. “We Are Weakest When We Are Strongest and Strongest When We Are Weakest.”

A. II Corinthians 12:10 (read vs 7-10)

1. Vs 9 – when we live in entire dependence on Christ, we are strongest where we are Weakest.

2. This is because … at our weakest point, the strength of Christ has its fullest opportunity

B. When we live on our own = self sufficient

1. “I can do it myself ”

2. You do it in your own strength

3. We are then, at our weakest point. Why? Because, at that point, we are the most liable to a surprise attack.

a. II Corinthians 12:9 b. Ephesians 3:20 & 5:20 c. II Corinthians 10:12

(1) you may say or think: I’m a stronger Christian than ……

(2) I am a better person than ……

(3) I am more qualified than ……

(4) It will never happen to me ….

(5) I Corinthians 10:12-15

II. Check Out The Following Two Examples

A. A friend, Jerry, growing up, his dad owned a bar in Wisconsin

1. They lived above the bar

2. Jerry grew up in the tavern and when he was old enough, he became a bar tender

3. Years later, Jerry & I worked together in sales ( in a furniture store)

4. Talking, one day, I was surprised to learn he had never drank a drop of anything Alcoholic. His dad never drank either

5. Seemed strange so I asked why?

6. He said, growing up, he saw how booze had destroyed men, their lives and families etc. And he didn’t want to be like those men

7. Jerry was strongest because he set his strongest guard at his weakest point

B. Another friend, Jim, grew up in a Christian home

1. He was a good witness for Christ

2. He was a faithful young man to the Lord’s work

3. He was invited to a party with those he shouldn’t have gone with  a. I Thessalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil”

b. there was alcohol at the party

4. Jim took his first drink of alcohol because he wanted to be accepted by the “In Crowd”

5. Sometimes, Christians fall prey to the weakness of being accepted by those outside of Christianity.

6. They want the worlds ‘stamp of approval” and so many Christians are willing to compromise.

Proverbs 13;20-21

7. The weakness of peer pressure

8. The weakness of popularity

9. That first drink led to others and soon, he had forsaken Church and serving the Lord

10. Jim became a drunk and lived in ruin for many years

11. Years later, through many circumstances, Jim repented & came back to the Lord

12. He said: “That first drink ruined me” “Wanting to be popular with the worldly crowd was my downfall”.

a. He thought, because he came from a Christian home, Godly parents, etc. he was safe

b. It was his strongest point. So … he did not set a guard there.

c. He was weakest where he was strongest

III. This Is True In Countless Other Situations

A. Whether gambling, immorality, drugs, pornography, the social scene, etc.

II Corinthians 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”.

B. In ourselves, we are weak, even when we are strong

C. In Christ, we are strong, even when we are weak

1. Set a guard against sin

2. Get your strength from the Lord & His Word

3. Don’t ever think that you are above falling into sin

4. When you do, you are headed for a humbling experience.

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