The Great Power of God

Home Church Service 6/26/2021

These sermons began as devotionals for my family as we met during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We have now begun to include our friends and the devotional has now become a full sermon. We are also recording our service and will begin posting those videos in the near future.

Part of our family is on a mission’s trip June 18 – 27, 2021 so these messages will be shorter than usual. Please keep them in prayer throughout the week as they share the gospel message in Allen, SD.   

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.”                                                  2 Corinthians 4:7-12 (NASB)

Life has always been challenging but it sure seems as if the past year has been especially challenging. With an unexpected pandemic and self-quarantines followed by the closing of just about everything you can think of, 2020 did not get off to a great start. Now we are facing shortages of people in the workforce, food items, household items, money and patience! If you look closely, you can spot those who struggle the most with the challenges of life, we all face them, but some seem to handle them better than others.

As Christians we face the same challenges as everyone else with the added struggle of trying to live a life for Christ in an atmosphere that is not pleasant, to say the least, to Christians. We too struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table, buy medications, pay our utility bills and mortgages all while trying to be a witness to those around us. As believers we have one thing the rest of the world needs but refuses to acknowledge…The Great Power of God.

We carry The Great Power of God in these earthen vessels, power that sustains us in tribulation, as we carry about the dying of Christ, being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, that others might see the life of Jesus is seen in our mortal flesh.

We carry The Great Power of God in our fragile body’s, power that see’s us through the storms of life, power to deny self that others might see the life of Christ is us as we die that others might live.

In this message we seek to answer the question, “What is the purpose of The Great Power of God in the believer’s life?”

The Great Power of God is to strengthens us to face the challenges of life, that others might see the life of Christ in us.

1). The first purpose of The Great Power of God is to strengthen us through the storms of life.

We will face many challenges but none of them will defeat us!

Most people would place their treasure, something of exceptional value, in a safe deposit box or a vault, hidden away from others where no one else can see them or find them. But not God, God has chosen to place His treasure in earthen vessels, or jars of clay. Why? Why would God place something so valuable in such a fragile container? And what, exactly, is this treasure that Paul says we have? Paul offers a contrast between the treasure and the apparently worthless vessel. This earthen vessel, in which God has chosen to place His treasure, is none other than the body of a believer. As believers we are a jar of clay, shaped and molded by the sculptor, it is the treasure inside that gives this vessel its value.

This treasure is the indwelling presence of God and the gospel message we have heard and received, a message that will last far longer than our fragile bodies. But why, why would God do such a thing? Behind this contrast Paul sees a divine purpose – God delights in empowering the weak to confuse the strong. Our Lord loves to answer the prayer of the weak and to bring down the strong, those who take pride in themselves. God works through the weak so it is evident that the power comes from Him and Him alone!

We must remember that the important thing about this vessel is that it is clean, empty and available to be of service. We are to be vessels that God might use us – earthen vessels in which the power of God is evident! Sometimes God will allow this vessel to be shaken, allowing some of the treasure to spill out and bless others. Paul expresses this weakness in forms of contrasting storms of life: the believer is afflicted, that is to suffer due to the pressure of circumstances but not crushed or to be pressed and broken.

The believer is perplexed, to be at a loss but not despairing or to be hopeless without a way through; we are persecuted, put to flight or driven away but nor forsaken, left behind, abandoned or helpless; finally, we are struck down – to be cast down or beaten down but not destroyed, that is to be utterly destroyed or to ruin, experience the loss of well-being. This suffering reveals the weakness of humanity but also the glory of our God!

It is plain to see that as believers we still suffer the storms of life. Jesus never promised our life would be easy, in fact, He said we would find trouble in this world, but He has promised He would always be with us. Though we face all kinds of trouble and difficult times in life, though the pressure and stress we feel may seem more than we can bear – as if the weight is about to crush us – God steps in, His power and His presence strengthen us to face the challenges of life.

The Great Power of God is to strengthens us to face the challenges of life, that others might see the life of Christ in us.

2). The second purpose of The Great Power of God is to strengthen us to deny self.

We carry the life of Christ in our body, therefore, is no longer room for self!

Jesus is the model we, as believers, are to follow. Jesus had the glories of heaven – all of its power and privilege – and He gave it up, all of it, to come to earth and suffer humiliation, insults and even death. Jesus died on the cross to save believers, to save us, in fact, to save all people, from our sins. The suffering we face, though not to the extreme that Jesus faced, is a reminder that we carry the dying of Jesus in our bodies – it is an extension of the suffering Jesus faced.

There is a time coming when believers will live in the face of death, but we know and must remember there is something greater than this life working here, now on earth, something working through us. God is working that our suffering will result in our eternal life through our faith in Jesus. There are some today who would shame the Christian who is suffering. Some will blame a weak faith or advise the person to pray and little harder or longer. Some go so far as to say the suffering Christian is an embarrassment to the faith and to God Himself.

But yet Paul reminds us we are to deny self and die to our sinful, selfish desires daily! In the midst of this death others will see the life of Christ in us, in these apparently worthless earthen vessels. We are to struggle against our sin, each and every day – we deny self to live for God. We struggle against those temptations that come against us daily, bringing our body into subjection, that is we discipline ourselves against our passions and urges. We conquer our will to do the will of God, wrestling against the forces of evil, never giving into them!

As we deny and die to self the life of Christ can be seen conquering the flesh, temptations and trials we face in life. By dying to self, struggling against temptation, conquering our will and wrestling against the forces of evil, we are demonstrating that Christ lives within our body – the life of Christ has been manifested in our mortal flesh. In doing this we die that others might receive life.

When others are witness to our struggles against temptation, dying to self and wrestling against the forces of evil, when they see Jesus conquering our flesh, temptations and the trials we face in life, they too will want to experience The Great Power of God! This is how we are to lead others to Christ Jesus and where they can then receive the life conquering power of Christ in them. This is how we lead people to life in Christ, abundant life in this world and eternal life in the next world.

The Great Power of God is to strengthens us to face the challenges of life, that others might see the life of Christ in us.

Everyone is facing new challenges these days. From the pandemic that affected everyone to the rising cost of simply buying and paying for the necessities of life, the challenges we are facing are handled better by some than others.

As Christians we too face these same struggles and challenges of life. It is tougher now to pay all the bills, buy medications and still live a life as a witness for Christ. We do, however, have one thing others in the world do not have…The Great Power of God.

How then do we move forward? What steps can we take that others might see Christ in us? First, remember it is the treasure you carry that makes your earthen vessel, your jar of clay, valuable. It is all about the treasure. We are not to hide this treasure away, hidden and unseen by others, we are to show off our treasure, so everyone sees it! Second, remember that God will, at times, allow your vessel to be shaken, thus allowing the treasure to spill over and bless others. The suffering, temptations and challenges you face in life serve a purpose – God is working in you to secure your eternal life in Christ.

Third, make sure your vessel is clean, empty and available to be of service. Confess and repent of your sins, empty yourself of anything that separates you from God and when you feel the Spirit nudging you to go or do – then go and do! Forth, deny yourself daily! Fight against your selfish, sinful desires and passions. Wrestle against the forces of evil trying to take you down. Conquer your will to do the will of God! Jesus never said this would be easy, but He did promise He would always be with you. Finally, do not hide your struggles. Let others witness Jesus working in and through all of the temptations and challenges life is throwing at you. Let others see you dying to self daily that they might receive life in Christ.

The deeper your experience of the trials, temptations and sufferings of life, the richer your experience of the joys and privileges of the Christian life in Christ.

We do all things for the glory of God through Christ our Lord.

Amen and Amen.

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