Finding the Strength to Stand
Sermon by: Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - April 18, 2012
(Updated from sermon preached at McClendon Baptist Church - Jan. 15, 2006)
*Last Sunday we talked about the power of a tornado, and I told you that an F5 tornado can have winds of over 300 mph.
A storm that powerful can literally peel the asphalt off of a road bed.
And I once saw video of a place where that happened.
*Sometimes life feels like an F5 tornado.
How are you going to stand in something like that?
How can I find the strength to stand in the storms of life?
We can see right here in the Word of God.
First of all, we must look to the Lord.
*That’s why in verse 10, Paul tells believers to “be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”
*I promise you that when it comes to your spiritual life, when it comes to the most important things in life, the only way to be strong is to be strong in the Lord.
King David knew that.
Here is part of the song David sang to the Lord after God delivered David from the hand of all his enemies.
*From Psalm 18:
I will love You, O LORD, my strength.
2. The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
*In Psalm 27:1, David said: “The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”
*And in Psalm 19:14, he said: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart Be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.”
*David knew for sure that the Lord was his strength.
And now on the resurrection side of the cross we can be even more sure!
We can be “strong in the Lord, and the power of his might,” because the Lord is our ever present source of strength.
*This is why in Philippians 4:13, with all of his suffering, hardship and trouble, the Apostle Paul could say: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
*And when Paul wrote his very last letter, he told Timothy this:
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me.
May it not be charged against them.
But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear.
Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.
*Paul was “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might.”
He never could have stood in his own strength, and neither can we.
We must look to the Lord.
*Kent Crockett told an old story about a pastor traveling on a bus down a bumpy road.
A college student was seated next to the preacher, and he noticed that the pastor was reading his Bible.
*Almost out of the blue, the preacher asked: “Are you spiritually ready for the temptations that you will face in college?”
The young man answered: “I don’t have a problem with temptation.
I have strong willpower.”
*The preacher then took a pencil out of his pocket and said: “I can make this pencil stand up on the cover of this Bible even though the bus ride is bumpy.”
*The young man said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.
I don't think you can do it.”
-“Look, I am doing it,” the pastor replied.
*“Yeah, but you didn't tell me you would hold the pencil up with your hand.”
-“I didn't have to tell you,” the pastor said.
“Have you ever seen a pencil stand up on its own without someone holding it?”
*Then the preacher let go of the pencil.
Of course, it instantly fell over and the preacher said: “The only reason you stand, is because God is holding you up with His hand.”
*How can I find the strength to stand?
-- We must look to the Lord.
2. But also recognize your real enemy...
*We can see our enemy in vs. 11-12, where Paul said:
Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
*Of course Jesus and His followers do have real flesh and blood enemies in this world.
Paul was not suggesting otherwise.
In Phil 3:18, he said, “Many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ...”
*In 2 Timothy 4, Paul even called one of the enemies of the cross by name.
There Paul said:
Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm.
May the Lord repay him according to his works.
You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words.
*Also remember that James 4:4 says, “Whoever wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.”
And Rom 5:10 tells Christians that “when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son”
*There are certainly flesh-and-blood enemies of the cross in the world today.
But here in Eph 6, Paul is reminding us that our greatest enemy is the devil.
Satan and the other fallen angels are still very much at war with the Lord and His church.
*Most people have no idea about the real struggle they face in life.
A lot of people don’t even believe the devil is real.
Christopher Roberts told of a study on this he saw in the New York Times.
*The Times story said: “Two-thirds of Americans do not believe in the devil as a living creature.
In a randomly selected survey of over 1,000 Americans, pollsters asked whether they agreed that Satan is ‘not a living being, but a symbol of evil.’”
Sixty-two percent agreed with that statement.
*That means over 150 million Americans believe that Satan is just a symbol of evil, but the Bible tells us that Satan is just as real as you are.
And in these verses, Paul reminds us that our greatest struggles are not with people; they are with the unseen forces of spiritual darkness in this world.
*You may not want to wrestle with the devil, but he most certainly wants to wrestle with you, so we must recognize our real enemy.
-How can I find the strength to stand?
-- Recognize your real enemy.
But also apply God’s armor.
*God shows us His armor in vs. 13-17, where the Apostle Paul said:
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness,
15. and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
16. above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;
*Christians, we’ve got some great armor!
*I like the story about a teacher who injured his back and had to wear a plaster cast around the upper part of his body.
It fit under his shirt and wasn't noticeable at all.
*On the first day of the term, with the cast still under his shirt, this teacher was assigned to the toughest students in school.
But he walked confidently into that rowdy classroom, opened a window, and then got busy with his work.
*Soon a strong breeze made his tie flap.
That’s when the teacher picked up the stapler from his desk and stapled his tie to his chest.
He had no trouble with discipline that term.
*That teacher had invisible armor, but so do we.
-And our armor is a whole lot stronger!
*Thinking on these verses, Brian Fullerton reminds us that Paul was under arrest as he wrote this letter.
He probably had a Roman guard standing right by him.
-So, man-made armor is a model here.
But it can never be a match for the Spiritual armor we have in Jesus Christ.