The Super-Human Strength of a Christian to Do the Will of God
August 2, 2020 AM
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Introduction (Philippians 4:13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A. What an amazing promise!
B. This promise is not a Superhero Quote
1. It sounds like something Superman would say… “I can do all things…”
2. But it is not.
3. It’s spoken by a weak, sickly, nearly blind, bent over, pain racked old preacher named Paul, while sitting in a prison cell, in Rome.
4. It was HE who said, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
5. He was NOT defeated, ruined, discouraged, but victorious, confident, excited at the promises of God!
C. I love the promises of God
1. There are over 300 hundred specific promises made by God and written down in the Bible to the believer today
2. Many of them found in the Psalms, and Proverbs, and throughout the New Testament
D. But we must be careful with just grabbing and thinking you have won the lottery over and over every time you read something positive in the Bible!
1. Every word of the Bible is written to the believer, to learn from
2. But not every word is written FOR the believer.
3. That means, not every promise can be claimed by everyone.
4. There are usually some terms and conditions
a. Like, is it a promise to only the Jewish people? There are many just for THEM
b. Is it a promise for only a certain time period? Some are under the Old Testament, others for now, and some other for the new heaven and new earth!
c. Is it for every believer no matter what, or only those that are doing God’s will?
E. This promise in Philippians 4:13 is specifically for believers who actually are doing the will of God instead of their own will.
F. It promises that we can do whatever God asks of us, no matter how hard it may be! And believe me, it is getting harder and harder!
A. Paul Starts with Rejoicing in the Lord (4:10)
1. He rejoices a lot in this letter
a. Philippians 1:4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy…
b. Philippians 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
c. Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.
d. Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.
e. Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
2. The Philippian Christians were some of Paul’s closest friends in the ministry (4:1)
a. They were the first church he started when he came over from Turkey in Acts 16
b. Loved the brethren – beloved
1) He loved them as family!
2) And they loved him
c. But more than that, they proved their love
1) Sent to his need, time and again
2) There was no government program or welfare to help people
3) You were either on your own, or there were Christians who helped you
3. So, Paul was glad to be a Christian!
a. Because he was LOVED – really loved! Thoroughly loved!
b. Cared for - Prayed for…
c. Learned from – not too busy to make time to sit and learn from the man of God
4. That’s what it meant to rejoice in the Lord – he was glad to be IN the Lord, instead of in the world now!
a. He rejoiced at their close relationship as Christians - family
b. He rejoiced in their love
c. And he rejoiced, and was thrilled because their CARE that was flourishing again
5. For a while their care had been missing
a. The Philippians were 800km away Rome
b. Paul had travelled far and wide through the years – hard to send mail to him
c. They had no idea Paul was now in Rome, sitting in prison - very slow communications – so they had no way to send anything to him to keep him going!
6. But that was okay with Paul…
a. He wasn’t upset with them, or rebuking them
b. He had a strength they didn’t know about yet! But is available to all!
B. Paul was Learning the Hardest Lesson (4:11,12)
1. To be content
a. Quiet in heart and mind; having a mind at peace; at ease; satisfied.
b. What a way to be!
2. “No matter what state I am in”
a. No matter What condition I am in
b. Or, What environment I am in
c. Or, What pressure I am under
d. Because of Jesus, I am happy and quiet and content
3. I can just continue on doing the will of God, without any demand for change in my circumstances – thank about that!!!
4. Listen to Paul’s experiences
a. He had been Abased
1) That means he was humbled, pushed down, brought very low, humiliated, did not have enough to live on, was in poverty
2) You would think that a passionate, faithful, consistent follower of Jesus Christ would always have what they need, yet, Paul often had nothing
3) He lost absolutely everything when he got born again! His powerful position as a Jewish ruler, money, etc
4) Paul often was rejected by everyone who heard him – not much applause – only stones
5) Often wore old clothes – no money to replace them
6) Often travelled hundreds and hundreds of miles by foot, no one stopping to give him a lift
7) Was in nearly constant troubles and afflictions
8) He spent most of his time at the bottom of society
b. And then there were the days when he Abounded
1) That means there were time he had money - more than enough – and was successful
2) Paul preached at the pinnacle of Mar’s Hill in Athens
3) Paul started well over 50 churches, and evangelized tens of thousands of people
4) Paul got answers to prayers like no once since Jesus
5) He had times when he was surrounded by faithful men like Luke, and Timothy, and Titus, and so many others
6) These were rare times, but he experienced them and knew what it felt like
7) But instead of striving for success, and wealth, he learned CONTENTMENT!
5. Jesus personally teaches all His followers to be content
a. Be Full and yet Hungry
b. Have everything, and yet have nothing
c. To not ever complain or be ashamed of their lot in life
d. But to simply be content
1) Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
2) Matthew 6:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
3) Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
4) Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
5) Matthew 6:32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
6) Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
e. No wonder Paul was able to confidently say in 1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment [JUST FOOD AND CLOTHING] let us be therewith content.
6. How are YOU doing with that lesson?
C. Paul’s Rock Solid Confidence (4:13)
1. Now we come to the main point – to the promise “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
2. So, what do you think Paul is talking about when he says, “I can do all things…”?
a. Is he claiming to be able to walk on water?
b. Fly through the air like superman?
c. See through walls
d. Ace all his exams?
e. Just blink and destroy all his enemies?
3. He was confident that he could endure the hardships and the extremes of the Christian life
a. That he could continue to preach, even though in prison
b. He could sing, and praise God, even though he felt defeated, and no one was listening
c. He could keep winning souls even though it was just getting harder and harder for him in his later years in life
1) The word of God is never limited (2Timothy 2:9) Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.
2) Defeats and Disappointments never change our faith (Acts 16:22-25)
a) Act 16:22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
b) Act 16:23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:
c) Act 16:24 Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks.
d) Act 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
3) Souls can still get won to Christ, if we just stay at it! (Philippians 4:22)
a) Philippians 4:22 All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household.
b) PAUL GOT TO WIN SOME OF EMPEROR NERO’S EXTENDED FAMILY AND SERVANTS TO FAITH IN CHRIST!
4) Paul was able to wake up every day encouraged, and hopeful, no matter the circumstances around him (Acts 27:20-25)
a) Act 27:20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
b) Act 27:21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
c) Act 27:22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship.
d) Act 27:23 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
e) Act 27:24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.
f) Act 27:25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.
e. Why? Because “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
f. Oh dear Christian, it is still true! Because of Christ, you have more strength than you know
D. Paul’s Thankfulness (4:14-18)
1. Paul was so grateful for these Christians in Philippi
a. Not because they sent him a lot of money and clothes
b. But simply because they cared enough to do something for him!
c. Paul had NOTHING in prison unless someone came and brought him food, clothing, or water
d. It is like this in many prisons around the world, and even in hospitals – patients only eat when their family brings them food!
e. Just imagine him dancing and smiling and laughing and praising God at a letter that had just arrived from them, with a few coins in it!
f. It made him feel rich!
g. THAT is what KINDNESS does to a content Christian!
2. They DID WELL when they communicated with his afflictions
a. Do you want to do well? Take the time to listen and understand what people are going through, and do something to he!p them!
b. These Philippian Christians understood his affliction, and did something to meet his need
c. Didn’t just hear about it and talk about it – they did something about it!
d. They connected with him
e. Met his needs
3. They Were Unusual
a. No other church had cared for Paul, except those Christians in Philippi – think about it
4. They were Faithful
a. They had done this from the very start of the Gospel ministry in Europe in Acts 16
b. Not every Christian, or even every church cares about missionaries
c. Most do not pray for their pastors – take them for granted
d. But these Christians sent supplies/money/clothes/letters of encouragement to Paul time and time again throughout all the years
5. They were Fruitful – had grown to where they were supplying the needs of others
a. Paul did not want anything from them – he wasn’t writing them a laundry list of needs
b. He wrote them because their giving was proof they were maturing – were becoming fruitful
1) A fruit tree only just sits there is good for nothing until tit starts producing fruit!
2) Too many Christians “just sit there” and never produce fruit
c. THAT is what a mature Christian is like – a giver (Psalm 1:1-3)
1) Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2) But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3) And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
6. Listen to Paul as he continues… But I have all, and abound… I am full now!
a. Because of the gift and letter of encouragement from those Christians in Philippi
b. Paul was full – blessed – encouraged – ready to go on!
7. Paul calls what the Philippians did “sacrifices” that pleased God
a. He knew they couldn’t afford to give
b. He knew how hard it must have been for the messenger to travel all 800km and try and find Paul to give the letter and money to him
c. Their kindness, and time, and prayers were great effort and at great cost – at great sacrifice
1) like the aroma of a perfectly seared steak – Mmmmmmmm!
2) Throughout the Old Testament, when someone gave a gift to God, it was their best
3) And it was burnt up
4) And it always smelled wonderful
E. The Promised Payback (4:19)
1. Paul makes a promise to those Christians
2. That because THEY had worked so hard to supply HIS needs, then God would take care of THEIR needs!
a. If you are a selfish, self-centred scrooge – never think to help out people
b. You never tithe, or give to missionaries
c. You just hold onto all your money, and use up all your time on yourself
d. You will never do more than the least amounts expected
f. When it comes time that you are having a hard time (and you will), don’t expect God to rush to your side and carry you!
g. Nope! You are on your own!
a. If you have loved unlovely people
b. If you have served them, and let them walk over you
c. If you have suffered while doing the right things
d. If you have put others ahead of yourself and your own family
e. If you have given when it was hard and uncomfortable to do so
f. And faithfully tithed and given to missionaries…
g. If you have stood up and given out Gospel tracts, and testified of people’s need to repent
5. THAT is when you can trust God will take good care of your needs when YOU are in trouble
6. That is when you can claim this precious promise!
7. You reap what you sow, in every way!
a. Give and it shall be given back to you
b. Humble yourself and you will be exalted
c. Forgive and you will be forgiven
d. Philippians 4:19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
III. What Could God be Asking of You?
A. To endure hardness?
B. To humble yourself and admit wrongs – repent?
C. To surrender to God’s will for your life – for the rest of your life?
D. To go soul-winning and go and go until someone gets born again and starts living for God?
E. What could God be asking of you?
F. I ask myself this question a lot!
G. You can do anything He asks of you, through the strength of the Son of God!
A. Do you feel full, or feel empty?
B. Learn the promises of God – how can you enjoy what you are ignorant of?
C. Prove those promises true – experience them yourself!
D. The most important promise – Romans 10:13