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Content In Everything - Part 7

David Wright

Presenter

David Wright

Lead/Senior Pastor, Hendersonville SDA Church

Recorded

  • March 14, 2020
    12:30 PM
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This morning I'm going to ask a very simple question I suppose how do you deal with pain well when I'm so like to talk about pain we don't like to think about it if you're like most men you don't like to be in pain sometimes as men can be the biggest babies when it comes to pain I don't know but I'm speaking more of the trials if you will that come your way with situations that are anything but ideal How do you handle it I mean you spend much time on Facebook and it seems to make life look really easy doesn't it one long vacation and work is great and friends are great families great everything's great or is it we come to church and we say Happy 7th but perhaps for you maybe this morning maybe another time it's been a stretch for you to say Happy 7th because on any given day it may not be that for you I know in this church many have lost spouses just very recently and they're mourning that deep loss of their best friend in fact today marks the 3rd Sabbath in a row that on Saturday afternoon we have a memorial service for somebody in our congregation and we have still 2 more on the calendar to come and I know Elizabeth Uncle Jim Vollmer he's watching his wife as she continues to come close to dying in fact we thought 3 weeks ago that this was the the end we made a rush visit over her breathing was very labored the stokes the whole thing but she rallied and then she goes down again and then she rallies again you know how this can go back here's a picture of them Jimmy there described the situation like a bouncing ball it keeps bouncing back but not quite as high as the last time some of you know exactly what that's like and she is confused at times sometimes not as much experience as some pain I know this past week there was some seizure activity she actually vomited at one point I mean it's a challenging thing to watch somebody that you love and care about so deeply. Give the same time feel so helpless to really offer much of any help I guess that's why they call health the great equalizer there's very little that can be done about it also my sister in law and her husband Bob and Catherine rank were members here many of you know them I spoke to both of them and they gave me permission to share but their premiums been the nicu for I believe it's 3 weeks now will remain there for the next 3 months that's how premature this child is and for any of you that have gone through anything like that you know this means multiple trips to the hospital every day and Katherine has 3 little ones at home that also need attention and feeding all the rest the situation is rather overwhelming and there's constant ups and downs sometimes little Joshua sometimes he's doing well sometimes not as well he has to be in today is something from time to time which is just allowing him to breathe a tube that just brings the air down into his lungs sometimes they take that out he does well for a while and then he has to go back about a week ago they got the report that there was bleeding on the brain signs of a stroke and so that sent them whirling then we have learned that sometime to this young age they can absorb that and be fine and other times they can have lifelong impacts one of the challenges is you don't know at this point in the game what you will be until the child grows and develops and so the pain is real as they hold one another as they weep into the night and I imagine we could go on and on there's no shortage of pain in this world is there there's plenty of uncertainty and heartache to go around and I imagine we could pass the mike but we're not going to do this morning but it brings us back if you will we've been going through talking about Paul and at this point he's still soul but will look at some of the writings where he was Paul anyway gets look confusing but you know who we're talking about Paul a man of grace and grit and we've been looking at some stories chronologically but this morning we're going to look more in the aspect of how Paul viewed life because the reality was that the. Day rarely passed in his Christian experience that he did not experience intense pain or suffering or pressure but thankful for us he bears his soul with us in the scriptures and lets an edited truth flow and so we're going to delve into that topic this morning the message today is entitled content in everything sermon number 7 in this series on poll content and everything is that possible do you ever like me find that extremely challenging or you may even just plainly say that's impossible as we jump into this topic of pain uncertainty and bite you to open your Bibles I hope you brought your Bibles this morning we're going to be turning to 2nd Corinthians and we're going to begin in chapter one and we're going to be looking through a lot of scripture verses today and I don't make apologies for that I believe God's word is living an active it's powerful it's instruction for daily living and so we want to see what the word has to say to us this morning but we're going to stay in 2nd Corinthians all the way through we're going to just March our way through this book a little bit grabbing bits and pieces along the way but we're starting here in 2nd Corinthians Chapter one verses 3 and 4 and I read blessid be the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of mercy and God of all what does it say comfort who comforts us in all our should be lation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God it's an interesting thing specific pain and able to comfort others specifically perhaps you've lost a spouse perhaps you've been close to someone that's gone through all timers Nabi know what it's like to hear the diagnosis you have cancer maybe you've been through chemo or radiation perhaps you've lost a child in fact it was 8 years ago today that Stella was too. Taken from us little Stella Wilkie and that pain is still very real it's vivid to us maybe you know what it's like to flunk out of medical school to care for a special needs child perhaps you struggled with infertility perhaps you know the struggle of being unemployed or being in financial crisis perhaps you felt the pain of divorce or abandonment and perhaps the God of all comfort has helped you walk through that and as a result the comfort that he has given to you you can offer in specific and tangible ways to other people and the reality is when you have walked that path before when you've been down that road it means a 100 if not a 1000 times more to the individual that is just now experiencing it I remember when Elizabeth and I met another Alexander Disease family for the 1st time and there was this instant connection for the 1st time we felt like somebody understood what we were going through have you had a similar experience and it's in our pain it's in our heartache in our struggles that we're driven to our knees that we search the scriptures for answers for promises for hope for reassurance and often times in those darkest moments that God speaks most audibly to us the God of all comfort comforts us in our tribulation and then down the road days later weeks months years later I believe he gives us opportunities to comfort others with the grace and the hope that we have found in Jesus Christ I don't believe God ever wastes our pain so a little later Paul gets even more specific I'm trying to put the text on the screen as I jump around because I don't want you to get lost but we're now in verse 8 same chapter and we read there for we do not want you to be ignorant brother in of our trouble which came to us and Asia where we were burned beyond measure of strength so that we despaired even of life I mean it became so bad Paul is despairing even life Paul does not present some theological. Speculation divorced from his own real life experience gives a recent example of his experience of affliction and God's comfort here the man of God you so my the lead is despairing even of life he wasn't sure he would make it through perhaps it was riots or fatal illness or imprisonment a life threatening experience persecution depression we do not know but we know it got so bad that Paul was despairing in life but notice that God still held him together verse 9 yes we had the sentence of death in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead Paul is saying I'm not despairing of life I learned to trust in God and He showed me his remarkable power the same power he used to raise his son Jesus from the grave is now it is said who raises that is one amazing perspective on his own suffering on his own pain and a few chapters later he continues on in the same vein turn with me if you will still and 2nd print the end to chapter 4 a few pages over Chapter 4 beginning verse 8 2nd print in chapter 4 version 8 and I'm reading we are hard pressed on every side yet not crushed We are perplexed but not in despair persecuted but not for sake and struck down but not destroyed always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body for we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake that the life of Jesus also may be manifest in our mortal flesh I mean you leave out all the triumph and here is what Paul faced he says I was hard pressed I was perplexed I was persecuted I was struck down I mean that was his life in a nutshell that was his lot if you will but despite all of that he says we're not in despair we're not for saken we're not destroyed but rather preserved by the grace of Jesus Christ were. Not cast down that Christ may be glorified but as Paul in there you know flip over to chapter 6 verse 4 still in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 6 verse 4 but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God and much patience and should be les sions in needs in distress is in stripes in imprisonments and to Moltz and labors and sleeplessness in fastings as if that isn't enough continue over to chapter 11 verse 23 I love to hear your Bibles and your pages turning 7 Corinthians 11 now verse 23 it says are they ministers of Christ I speak as a fool I am more and labors more abundant in stripes above measure in prisons more frequently and death often from the Jews 5 times I received 40 stripes minus 13 times I was beaten with rods once I was stone 3 times I was shipwrecked by night and a day I have been in the deep and journeys often in perils of water and perils of robbers and perils of my own countrymen and perils of the Gentiles and perils in the city and perils in the wilderness and perils in the sea and perils among faults brother and in weariness and toil in sleeplessness often in hunger and thirst and fasting often in cold and nakedness here Paul is telling us as he developed his theology is tried again and again and again in this crucible of suffering that he knew 1st hand he knew what it was like to be misunderstood to be mistreated or for saken or forgotten abused maligned shipwrecked attacked starved imprisoned and left for dead Paul knew all about those things but what's amazing to me is that we don't find Paul boasting in his remarkable grit or his ability to face enormous odds with unflinching curch physical stamina or emotional stability but rather he boasts of his own weakness I mean read verse 30 he. Here if I must boast I will boast in the things which concern my and firm and team the New Revised Standard Version says if I must boast I will boast of the things that show my weakness When's the last time you boasted in your weakness Honey I have something to tell you you already knows I mean this isn't something that we see today in 2019 is it nobody ever boasts of their weakness social media is filled with just the opposite I just did this amazing thing my spouse is the most incredible I just got a new job look at my new house my new toy my vacation if you see how in say by am. I don't see people taking pictures of their broken down car or their love handles their 2 week notice slip that's what Paul does he boasts in his weaknesses not suppose weaknesses well I only got 99 out of 100 shucks hash tag fail no he's real with the changes or sorry challenges I should say and his life and how can he boast and glory and his weaknesses you may ask the answer I think comes in the same letter to the Corinthians in chapter 12 you may not even have to turn the page chapter 12 beginning verse one lab I will reads It is doubtless another translation of that is it is necessary not profitable for me to boast maybe the wording is a little confusing other translations I think say it more clearly basically saying boasting is necessary though it is not profitable so let me go on to talk about visions and revelations of the Lord verse 2 I know a man in Christ 214 years ago pause again I know a man commentators agree that Paul is speaking of himself how do we know that well 1st off the fact that this reference to Visions is in the midst of an account of events connected with his own life and ministry gives us a bit of a clue Secondly the fact that in verse 7 he designates these visions and revelations as made directly to himself that's another clue and so here Paul every. One agrees is using the 3rd person in order to avoid the appearance of boasting so he's referring to himself and so says verse 2 I know Manny speaking of himself in Christ who 14 years ago when would that have been the date of this pistol is about $57.00 a.d. I will get into how they they figure all that together but 14 years previous would have been about the same time that Barnum is brought Paul to Antioch that's what we talked about last time and so now we're going to read it one more time verse 2 and I know man this is Paul in Christ who 14 years ago environments came to get me whether in the body I do not know or whether out of the body I do not know God knows such a one was caught up to the 3rd heaven what is he talking about well he's given revelations he's given visions and this whole part about in the body out of the body this is not talking about what happens to you when you die Paul is in vision and he's in the presence of the Lord but Paul himself is unclear what is this that is going on am I physically in God's presence in my some house mentally in God's presence in a dream type state and the end of it always is I don't know but he mentions the 3rd heaven later in verse 4 he calls this paradise the idea of his time 1st heaven of Scripture is the atmosphere the 2nd is the Stars the 3rd is the abode of God and the heavenly beings he's telling us I was in the presence of God Almighty and what form and what shape how I got there I don't know but I was there and so Paul is merely saying I was caught up to the presence of God verse 3 and I know such a man whether in the body or out of the by I do not know God knows how he was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words which it is not lawful for a man to not lawful liberty either is not permitted we have examples of that in Revelation with the thunders What are they we don't know he's not permitted or is just simply not possible I mean if you're in the presence of God and you see these things unfold before your eyes. Yes How do you describe them how do you put them on paper how do you communicate them and so Paul is describing being in the presence of the Lord receiving profound and wonderful truths that were not permitted or perhaps too deep for human expression think about that for a moment what would be the most natural human response to be given an experience such as what he's describing and a personal audience with the God of the universe in one word I would say Pride enormous pride maybe not at 1st had 1st you feel your smallness in the presence of a holy God but as time passes Have you had that experience how about you or anybody on this side oh it was just me let me tell you all about it and as time goes on and as people Marvel This is incredible shared again tell us more what else did he reveal I imagine spiritual pride could grow and perhaps that's why in God's grace he allows this painful affliction that Paul will soon speak of as the thorn in the flesh you know at looking at this passage I cannot help but think of another prophet of God who also was given incredible insight and saw incredible things coming out of visions he would just say oh it's so dark it's so dark it's so dark I don't want to come back here I've seen a better land who also was plagued her entire life with various health ailments that on many occasions almost took her life incredible privilege yet incredibly humble skipping diverse 7 Paul speaking and lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations a thorn in the flesh was given to me a messenger of Satan to buffet me lest I be exalted above measure here God allowed this store and to pledge Paul to remind him constantly day early. His human frailties keep him humble trusting not himself but in God And so this form is allowed this scoops is the word which really is the word for a sharpened metal spear or stake if you will that was a torture device to actually drive through an individual and stake them to the ground not in a way to kill them but to cause incredible pain and lay them writhing there on the ground this is the word Paul uses not just a scratch and there's much speculation on what the thorn was and we could get into that but I don't want to take that time this morning I personally think he probably had bad eyesight there's places that he refers to that in other places that could have caused severe migraine headaches but it could have been any number of things and I just like you I'm very curious to find out some speculate that it was some kind of a sin in his life I would disagree with that I think it was an ailment or something that was just hindering but it was not going anywhere it was continuing to be that thorn if you will but truly at the end of the day what that was doesn't so much matter and if God wanted us to know he would have told us but Paul called it a messenger from Satan to buffet me literally to slap me in the face it was the devil's means to discourage Paul to tear him down and try to defeat him to overthrow his influence and effectiveness to create a roadblock and to discourage Emmeline the messenger of God I was just talking to Uncle Jimmy last night and he says I'm so glad we have this great controversy ideas 7th Avenue the truth about the great country because it makes all these things so much easier to go through in the process Dunder stand that there is a saying that there is a god they're at war with one another and this is just plain out but some day God has the last word in many respects God's hands are tied for now but the time is coming friends when all will be seen and revealed for what it is yet in Paul's situation and maybe in yours to God allow. It to keep the gifted servant on his knees and the reality of the fact is that's not a bad place to be I mean sailors know that when a storm comes up you secure yourself to anything sturdy that you can you learn to cling to what is secure in a storm and that's exactly what the storms in our life do continue on verse 8 still in chapter 12 concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord 3 times in my Depart from me 3 times he pled that lowered taken away in a similar fashion 3 times Jesus pleaded if there is any other way and he said to me verse 9 My grace is sufficient for you for my strength is made perfect in weakness the reality of Paul's request no that was God's final answer at least no on this side of eternity and the challenge that we have to struggle with at times is that it's not always God's will that you be healed Eventually yes but right now not always it's not always the Father's plan to relieve you from your pain his answer is not always what we prayed for or hoped for or wanted God's goal is not to make sure your happy life is not about your being comfortable your happiness being successful being pain free We've said it before if that was the case the most selfish people on the planet would be christian No he's got a bigger agenda about you becoming a man or woman of God the man or woman that he has called you to be yes I believe God is more concerned that we are more like him rather than we become more we see the now he sees the eternity would you rather be comfortable now or comfortable for eternity I mean really and the other thing that we need to realize is that very glaring simple fact that life is not about you and it's not about me it's about God and in fact this. It is really not about polo it's about God His letters are not about him and his trials is about God in the midst of his trials in this fallen and broken world that we find ourselves in yet in this journey in this process he uses these things to make us more like Jesus and so at times God simply whispers My grace is sufficient for you and friends let me just remind you His grace is more sufficient than our strength his grace is more submission than any advice any medical care any perceived solution His grace is sufficient to carry you through whatever our own unique thorn may be do you believe that this morning and why well it tells us in the verse because his power is made perfect in weakness and all this time we bought into the world lie we thought power was made perfect through success we thought power is made perfect through it Cheve we thought power was made perfect through accolades and applause no those things merely make us proud self-sufficient and independent rather it's the painful form that makes us week but the good news is that when we are weak he pours his strength in to us which would give us an entirely new perspective on pain and suffering a new perspective on hardship and on pressure because those stresses and strains drive us to our knees that is the point I'm trying to say and it is then at that moment when we are on our knees that God comes through another trap we fall into if I can just find somebody else to blame something else to blame I know whose fault it is I'm going to rehearse it again and again and again befriend suffering is not about identifying the cause it's about focusing on the response and don't miss that it's about willingly accepting God's plan no matter what the circumstances and it's about finding contentment. God's grace regardless and Paul finally gets that and he lives it finishing the 2nd part of Verse 9 here it says therefore most gladly I would rather boast in mind Fermi's that the power of Christ may rest upon me Paul quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating God's gift and the weaker he got the stronger he became in Christ he stopped asking why is this happening to me and started asking how should I respond what is my next step look like what should my attitude be you see when we boast of our strength we get the credit but when we boast in what he is doing in the midst of our brokenness and inability and in adequacy Christ comes to the front his strength comes to our rescue so the very things we dread and that we run from is precisely what brought contentment to Paul did you hear that right the very things we dread and run from is precisely what brought contentment to Paul look at the list in verse 10 therefore I take pleasure in infirmities and reproaches in needs in persecutions in distress is for Christ's sake for when I am weak then I'm strong Therefore I take pleasure he says your translation might say I delight the New Revised Standard Version says I am content or I am content plus read that way I am content when I am weak I'm content with insults I'm content when I'm slandered I'm content in distress I'm content with persecutions I'm content with difficulties I'm content with pressures so tight I can hardly turn around why because when I am weak then I'm strong What a way to live your life content in everything I mean this makes no sense for the same time it makes perfect sense knowing that divine strength comes when human weakness is evident so we need to get rid of this idea that. Requires comfort because the reality is contentment is possible no matter how dire your circumstances if you don't believe me you need to go to a 3rd world country they have nothing dirt floors they're playing with scraps of whatever they can find and they're smiling gaily and happy the whole time no shoes have ever touched your feet but they're content you come back United States we have everything you can possibly imagine more gadgets and gizmos and things and garage door openers and we're upset we're frustrated and we're angry Don't tell me you have to have it all to be content which allowed Paul Years later while on death row to pen these words in this one for Libby and so I just put on the screen for you Flippy and for 11 to 13 Thank you Shane for reading that for us it's a verse you know well he writes I have learned to be content whatever the circumstance that's phenomenal and it doesn't come out of magic he says I've learned to be content whatever the circumstance I know what it is to be in the in I know what it is to have plenty and whether you're in need or whether you have plenty you can be discontented places I've learned how to be content I've learned the secret he says of being content and in any and every situation whether welfare or hungry whether living in plenty or in one I can do all things through through him who gives me strength and if you catch it the secret to Paul's contentment was knowing that Christ's strength was made perfect in weakness he got it I'm still trying to get it but he got it and how life changing that little paradigm shift can be in our lives in fact it's not just life changing is liberating this concept I don't have to achieve this and there's the doesn't have to be perfection all these areas I just have to show my weakness to be on my knees when Jesus can pour out His power upon me I can be content no matter the circumstance I've learned the secret Paul said and so today God wants that same biblical principle to be life changed. And liberating for us in the midst of the thorns of our lives and they're real they can be excruciating they can be torturous but even in the midst of those experiences we can say with Paul I've learned the secret of being content in any and every situation Jesus says My grace is sufficient for you David and Dick and Burt Brice whomever My grace is sufficient for you are high call in 317 prophet of God says this god adapts his grace to the peculiarities of each thing as opposed to one's necessities My grace is sufficient for the as your burden grows heavier look up and by faith claim more firmly into the hand of Jesus your mighty helper as difficulties thickened about his people amid the perils of the last days he sends his angels to walk all the way by our side drawing his closer and still closer to the bleeding side of Jesus and if you look to Jesus if you believe in Him as your personal savior you will be brought through every trial so where did you find that quotation Pastor Wright my sister in law Catherine sent to me this week here's a poem by no known Civil War soldier no name attached to b. says I ask God for strength that I might achieve I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey I ask God for health that I do great things I was given infirmity and I might do better things I asked for riches that I might be happy I was given poverty that I might be wise I asked for power that I might have the praise of man I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God I asked for all things that I might enjoy life I was given life that I might endure all things I got nothing I asked for but everything I hoped for almost despite myself my own spoken prayers were answered and I am among all men. Most richly blessed What is the secret to contentment the world says it's health wealth riches success but the reality is the secret to contentment is knowing His grace is sufficient the secret to contentment is knowing cry strength is made perfect in weakness and when we get that it liberates us it empowers us encourages us and enables us to truly be content in everything to somebody weak here this morning if so lean on Jesus and allow him to be your strength because he promises to bring you through every trial he will bring anything to you that you cannot bear with his help I can do all things Paul wrote to Christ who gives me strength they're well known him when peace like a river attendance my way when times are good when sorrows like see billows roll what ever my lot there has taught me to say it is well I am content in my soul help us to be content in all things recognizing that when we are weak we are strong in Jesus Christ help us to see our need drive us to our knees that despite all the things we ask for are unanswered prayers can be answered as we find all Our sufficiency is in Jesus Christ we pray in Jesus. This media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated to spreading God's word through sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse or if you would like this or service to the. Audio.

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