We Can Trust In the Lord
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 24, 2014
*I don't know how much faith you have right now, but I know God wants you to have more. God wants us to have bigger, growing faith in Him. He even wants us to have great faith in the Lord. We know this is true, because Jesus often criticized His disciples for their lack of faith.
*In Matthew 8, the Lord was asleep in the boat while a big storm raged on the Sea of Galilee.
25. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, "Lord, save us! We are perishing!''
26. But He said to them, "Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?'' Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. And there was a great calm.
*Later in Matthew 14, Peter tried to walk on the wind-tossed sea to Jesus, "but when he looked around at the high waves, he was terrified and began to sink. 'Save me, Lord!' he shouted." (Matthew 14:30 NLT) And in Matthew 14:31, "Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?'"
*God wants us to have bigger, growing faith in Him. We also know this is true, because Jesus praised people who had great faith. We see this happening at least three or four times in the New Testament. For example, please listen to the Lord's praise for a Roman soldier in Matthew 8:
5. Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6. saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.''
7. And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him.''
8. The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.''
10. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!"
*God wants us to have great faith. He wants us to trust Him more every day. And we should! Today's Scripture gives us 3 great reasons why.
1. First: Trust Jesus, because He came to destroy Satan.
*Verse 14 explains: "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." God the Son became a man, "a partaker of flesh and blood," so that through His death, He might destroy the one who had the power of death, and that's the devil.
*Since this is true, what should we do about the devil? -- A wise man once gave this very good advice: Don't underestimate him, and don't overestimate him.
 Never underestimate the devil.
*Verse 14 tells us that he had great power, even the power of death, and the devil still has great power. We are reminded of that every time we hear about the barbaric atrocities of ISIS over in Iraq. They have murdered thousands of Christians, and anyone else who refuses to submit to their evil religion. They gleefully love to behead people or bury them alive. In John 10:10, the Lord called the devil a thief, and Jesus said: "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy . . ." We must not underestimate the devil.
*As David Holwick said: "Your devil is too small if he is consigned to long-ago times and faraway places. Job 1:7 tells us that Satan roams over the whole earth. John 12:31 & John 14:30 call him 'the ruler of this world.'
*Your devil is too small if you decide he is not capable of performing miracles. The Bible says he can in 2 Thessalonians 2:9 and Revelation 13:13.
*Your devil is too small if you assume he leaves Christians alone. 1 Peter 5:8 tells us: 'Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.' The Devil tried to tempt Jesus, and he will try to tempt you. He cannot steal your salvation, but he can ruin your spiritual effectiveness, and he will try." (1)
*Priscilla Shirer said: "The enemy knows he can't destroy you. But the rest of your life he will be trying to distract you." (2)
 So don't underestimate the devil. -- And don't overestimate the devil.
*His great power could only be broken by the power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Satan's power of death could only be overcome by the death of our Savior, and it was!
*Remember that in vs. 14, God the Son became a man. And why? -- So that "through (His) death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil." Jesus Christ has the power! He certainly has power over death.
*In John 10:15-18, Jesus talked about His upcoming death on the cross, and Jesus said:
15. "As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep.
16. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again.
18. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.''
*Then in Matthew 28:18, after He rose again from the dead, Jesus said, "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth." Jesus Christ has the power! And He uses it for good.
*Please listen to this testimony from Robert Kramer from Leesburg, Florida: "For years my daughter, Candi, and I had talked about canoeing on the Yellow River in the Florida panhandle. Finally, during one of her college breaks, we decided to go for it.
*We were only half an hour into our trip when the sky turned dark and thunder rumbled in the distance. The current picked up, and I grew uneasy about the rising water. The rain came down quickly in wind-whipped sheets, and the river tossed us wildly over submerged logs and rocks.
*'We've got to dock!' I shouted. Candi bailed water furiously while I searched for a clearing along the dark, tree-lined bank. The rain was so heavy I couldn't see more than a few feet ahead. Every time I'd spot a place to come ashore, we were already past it.
*Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the water directly in front of us. We've got to get off this river now! Just then I saw a faint glow in the distance. -- A house? I steered the canoe toward the glow. It was a porch light. And there in front of the house was a cleared section of the riverbank. By the time we got the canoe up on dry land, the porch light was off. 'Lucky it was on when we needed it!' I said to Candi.
*A woman standing on the porch ushered us inside the house. 'Thank you,' I said to her as we dried ourselves off. 'I don't know how we'd have made it to shore if your porch light hadn't been on.' 'But it couldn't have been,' she said. 'The power's been out all day'" (2)
*We may not understand that. But God turned on the sun, and I guarantee you He can turn on a light bulb anytime He wants. Jesus Christ has the power! And when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He turns on His power in us!
*We receive His power, because we receive Him. The Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ comes to live in us. And these great words from 1 John 4:4 are for us: "Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world."
*Here is some more great news for Christians from James 4:6&7:
6. He gives more grace. Therefore He says: "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.''
7. Therefore submit (yourselves) to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
*Only Jesus Christ can give us that power, because He has the power! So don't underestimate the devil, and don't overestimate the devil. Revelation 20:10 tells us that one day the devil will be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone for all eternity.
*God wants us to trust Him more every day. And we should trust Jesus, because He came to destroy Satan.
2. But also trust in the Lord, because He came to deliver sinners.
*Jesus Christ came to deliver sinners! And we find this great truth in vs. 15-17. There we see that God the Son became a man to:
15. . . deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.
16. For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.
17. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.
*Verse 17 says "Wherefore in all things it behoved him. . . That means it was the Lord's duty or obligation, but not because He owed the debt. It was the Lord's obligation of love. Jesus loves us so much that He was willing to leave the glories of Heaven and become a man for us. He loves us so much that He was willing to take on all of our sin debt, and pay the price of death on the cross for us.
 Why was this necessary? -- Verse 15 tells us that it was necessary in part to break our bondage.
*Jesus came to "deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." In other words: Before Christ came, all people were in bondage to the fear of death.
*William McDonald explained that: "Before the cross, the fear of death held men in lifelong slavery. Though there are occasional flashes of light in the Old Testament concerning life after death, the general impression was one of uncertainty, horror, and gloom. What was hazy then is clear now because 2 Timothy 1:10 tells all who believe that Jesus 'has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!'" (3)
*Without Jesus Christ, people are in bondage to the fear of death. -- But even worse, they are in bondage to sin. As Jesus said in John 8:34, "Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin." But Luke 4:18 tells us that Jesus came "to preach deliverance to the captives" and "to set at liberty those who are oppressed."
*Jesus came to set the captives free! That's why in Romans 5, Paul could say this to Christians:
22. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
23. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
*And in Romans 8:
1. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
*Jesus Christ came to deliver sinners! -- And that includes breaking our bondage.
 But there's more! -- It also includes becoming our brother.
*In vs. 17: "In all things it behoved him to be made like unto his BRETHREN. . ." Christians: That's us!
 And there's more! -- Jesus also came to give us a new beginning.
*That's why vs. 17 says that Jesus came "that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make RECONCILIATION for the sins of the people." Reconciliation: That's the Lord Jesus Christ bringing us back together with God.
*In 1820, a young African boy named Adjai was kidnapped by local slave traders and sold into slavery. By God's grace, British sailors intercepted the slave ship, and turned the slaves over to a missionary in Sierra Leone. The missionaries raised Adjai well. He became a Christian, and grew up to become a dedicated pastor.
*Years later, he was preaching on the streets of Freetown in West Africa, when an old woman wandered into congregation. Her face was marked by years of sorrow, and Adjai stopped preaching long enough to ask about her troubles.
*The woman told him of losing her children to death or slavery. She especially missed her little boy, Adjai. That day, Adjai Crowther was reunited with his mother. And soon she too became Christian, brought together with her son, and brought together with God. (4)
*That story means a lot to me, because I had the privilege of helping my own mother come to know Jesus. It happened 30 years ago, when we were living in the church parsonage at McClendon.
*Before my mother met my dad, she had a tragic life. Both of her parents were alcoholics, and she went through a terrible marriage at 17. It was so bad that she never once even talked about it.
*Mom's life brightened after World War II, when she met and married my dad. But he passed away at the young age of age 55, and she blamed God. Mom was so mad at God for taking my dad. But 8 years later she saw God's Hand at work through those sad circumstances, and she was ready to trust in Jesus.
*Her bondage was broken. Jesus Christ, the Almighty Son of God became hew new big brother! And at the age of 68, she had a brand new beginning in life, all because she trusted in the Lord. That's what you should do today: Trust Jesus, because He came to deliver sinners.
3. But also trust in the Lord, because He came to defend the saints.
*We see this truth in vs. 18, where the God's Word says this about Jesus: "For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted." "Succor" there just means to bring relief or help to someone. And Jesus Christ is here to help us! He is here to help us, and bring relief to everyone who trusts in Him.
 If you are ever tempted to doubt that, just remember the penalty He suffered.
*Verse 18 tells us that Jesus suffered, and He truly suffered in all kinds of ways. But the Lord's greatest suffering was on the cross. He suffered so that we could be forgiven.
 If you are ever tempted to doubt God's help, remember the penalty He suffered. -- And remember the ability He shows.
*Verse 18 says: "He is ABLE to succor them that are tempted." Jesus Christ is able! And He has shown it time after time to those who are willing to see.
*Pastor Richard Andersen gave this testimony in 1997: "About 10 years ago I was fortunate enough to travel to Switzerland and see the magnificent Alps. But I am never content just looking at mountains. I must climb them as well.
*So while I was there I decided to hike to the top of one of the smaller mountains just above where I was staying. It was a gorgeous day when I began and since the trek wasn't very steep I didn't bring along much equipment. I thought I'd get to the top and be back for supper. When I reached about the halfway mark, suddenly an enormous black cloud came swooping down.
*Before I even had the chance to put my jacket on it began to rain. I was soaked to the skin. But then the rain turned into snow, and things began to look very, very bad. I didn't even a warm jacket. I was above the tree line so there was no shelter whatsoever. I knew it would take me hours to get back down. And by then I could be frozen to death, as the storm became more and more fierce. But what choice did I have?
*I began to pray asking God to show me the way. And suddenly I had the impulse to start heading upward, towards the top. My mind kept telling me this made no sense at all. I should at least try to get down, but here I was struggling to go even higher. How foolish. And yet I somehow sensed this is where God was directing me.
*After a short time I could hardly walk. I was so cold and everything seemed hopeless. And yet I was given the strength to reach the ridge that was above me. Lo and behold, on the other side of that ridge there was a small cabin, with smoke rising out of the chimney. It was a cabin that seemed to come out of nowhere for it was the first one I had seen all day.
*I made my way down to it and was greeted by a wonderful Swiss couple, who were just as surprised to see me out in such terrible weather. They fed me and put me up for the night. And just before I went to bed, the old man said to me, 'Thanks be to God that you found this place.' (5)
*God led Richard up the mountain to the only safe place he could possibly reach. It didn't make sense to Richard, but God was leading him the right way. And your life may not make sense to you right now, but Jesus Christ will lead you in the way you should go.
*He wants to lead us on the upward path to Him. He wants to give us great faith along the way, and we can trust the Lord. Have you ever done that? Put your faith in Jesus Christ right now, as we go to God in prayer. And keep trusting in the Lord.
*Would you please bow for prayer
(1) Adapted from online sermon #1287 - "PRINCIPALITIES AND POWERS" by David Holwick - Ephesians 6:10-13
(2) Adapted from "Guideposts" - June, 2000 - p. 25
(3) "Believer's Bible Commentary" by William McDonald - Edited by Arthur Farstad - Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, Copyright 1995, 1992, 1990, 1989 - Hebrews 2:1-18
(4) "Dynamic Illustrations" - April-May-June, 2001 - Conversion
(5) Dr. Richard Andersen quoted in Dynamic Preaching, April, May, June, 1997