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Staying Power

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STICKWITHITIVENESS

Staying Power

 

INTRODUCTION:

1.     Illustrations.

2.     We live in a day not so different from Paul’s

(1)         World that is at best - apathetic and at worst antagonistic towards gospel.

(2)         Brethren, departing from the faith, some even in this congregation.

A.       Some, never quite hit their stride in Christianity.  Die as babes, in infancy.

B.       Some were never nourished and never sought to nourish themselves.

C.       Some find it easier to live like the devil than labor for Lord.

D.       Some would blame their lack of biblical faith on you.  Some on me.

E.       Main reason = one’s commitment to Christ reigns and rules or it does not.

(a)       Attitude, emphasis, motive.

(3)         Government that seems to think nothing of compromising fundamental principles of morality and justice, that have stood firm for hundreds if not thousands of years.

(4)         The church stands upon the threshold of historic times.

A.       Then and now.

B.       Perched to do much good OR teetering on edge of secularism.

C.       Designed by God to save souls OR manipulated by men to be less than should.

3.     How will we be remembered?  How will your generation be remembered?

DISCUSSION: HOW’S YOUR STAYING POWER IN SERVICESTICKTOITIVENESS ?

I.            In It There Is Great Value For Us (vv. 1-7).    Paul Knew It!

·       Paul said, “It is our gospel!” 

1.      Mercy sustains us (v. 1) - “We don’t lose heart!”  (Cf. Lk. 18:1)

(1)           Same word translated elsewhere as dedicated.  Don’t lose courage.

(2)           Paul didn’t say he was never discouraged (Cf. 2 Cor. 1:3-11; 2 Cor. 11:23ff).

(3)           Paul said he never lost all courage.

(4)           Cf. 1 Tim. 1:11-13.

A.         God didn’t give up on me, and I should never give up on Him!

B.         The God we serve is bigger than problems.  The cause we serve is bigger…

(5)           Remember our wondering about those leaving faith?  ANS = forgotten the mercy of God!

2.      Integrity compels us (v. 2).

(1)           Integrity - Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code; The state of being unimpaired; soundness(How’s your integrity?)

(2)           Paul suffered attacks from friend, brethren, and foe alike, and often!

A.         Cf. 1:17; 2:17; 3:1; 6:3; 7:3

B.         Why?  ANS – Boldness in renouncing the hidden things of shame.

(3)           Jude 3.

A.         I think if you are looking for a fight, you need to think that over…

B.         BUT, if we are avoiding every confrontation…

(4)           Cf. Eph. 4:1-4.

3.      Coming condemnation of the world motivates us (vv. 3-7).

(1)           Hell exists, and Bible / Jesus say some people will go there!

(2)           The “Great Commission” is a task / talent given to each of us.

(3)           As frustrating as the Corinthians must have been, Paul stayed after it.  Why?  Because he never preached the gospel for self.  It was for Christ!

·       We have no choice!  Christians must preach the gospel!

(1)           It may be housed / presented by mere human / earthen vessels.

(2)           BUT, the gospel of Christ is like a billion $$ in a clay pot.

II.          Through It, Great Victories Await Us (vv. 8-12).   Paul Experienced…

1.      Danger, but not despair.

(1)           (v. 8) With Christ – We need not despair we may be hard pressed but…

(2)           “Hard pressed” = afflicted (pressed; squashed as grapes in a winepress).

(3)           Hard pressed in the present, but we are not perplexed about the future.

2.      Detour, but not destruction (v. 9) – persecuted not forsakenstruck down…

(1)           Friends and even family will let you down; leave in lurch… NOT CHRIST!

(2)           Even most faithful Christian gets down or dejected at times.

(3)           BUT NOT = powerful combination of words!

3.      Death, but not defeat (vv. 10-12).

(1)           Paul suffered greatly for cause of Jesus Christ.  Bore marks!  What you got?

(2)           Paul stared into the eyes of death on more than one occasion.  delivered

A.         Emotional exhaustion.

B.         Physical scars.

(3)           Christ’s sufferings & death brought about life.  Our sufferings for the gospel would do the same.

(4)           Paul knew that death was a distinct possibility.  How face?  Ans = Paul knew the greatness of the purpose being served.

A.         Religion of Islam = If you don’t convert… WE WILL KILL YOU!

B.         Religion of Christ = We will die in process of trying to save your soul…

III.         By It Great Vision Directs Us!  (vv. 13-18)

1.      Our communication (vv. 13-15).

(1)           The love of Christ controls / compels us (2 Cor. 5:14).

(2)           We don’t preach ourselves (human philosophy).  We preach Christ (2 Cor. 4:5).

(3)           We are assured of His existence, doctrine, death, and resurrection.

A.         I don’t know how or why some people tire of hearing about it.

B.         I don’t know what the fascination is with hearing something new or different.

2.      Our constitution (vv. 16-17).

(1)           Yes, we are all dying!  Our bodies are wearing our, fading away…

(2)           BUT, while that happens, the inner man / spiritual growing stronger!

(3)           The older I get… closer to death, BUT Older I get… closer to heaven!!!

(4)           Knowing this, makes our burdens light / slight / momentary!

(5)           Heaven will surely be worth it all!

3.      Our concept of God, Christ, Spirit, faith, and church.

(1)           Can you see it?  Can you see that which is eternal?

(2)           NOT with the eye, but if you work at it; look closely; rely heavily….

(3)           It is clear… permanent –vs- passing;  worthless –vs- worthwhile…

CONCLUSION:

1.     Paul knew and believed deeply of the value, victory, and vision available to a child of God.

2.     Paul, on that basis, had a sticktoitiveness which we should emulate.

3.     The church stands at the door of historic times.  How is your staying power?

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