Transforming Stories: How your story points to His Story! (Week #21)

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No More Excuses

Hebrews 11:32-40

Pastor Ken Durham

June 25, 2017


32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

INTRODUCTION:         

As this passage is wrapping up the ‘Hall of Faith’, it is almost like a parent talking with their children:  “How many more things must I tell you?!  Okay, here are a few more examples…” But it was also a reminder that these people trusted God to bring them through tough, sometimes death-defying situations.  If they can do it, so can you, because God is there to help you!  No more excuses!

ILLUSTRATION:  2009 Greatest Thriver  (Henry Co.’s version of Biggest Loser)  *No More Excuses pic

We are not to just sit idly by and wait for Jesus to come back, but rather we are to be doing the Father’s work until He comes.  God is not looking for ability, but our availability to step up and do what He is calling us to do.

 I. Don’t look down in doubt, but look up to God in faith.

~ Gideon was hiding in the bottom of a wine press

“Mighty hero…”               Judges 6

“Why has all this happened?”

Fleece testing

Army called:  32,000 to 10,000 to 300

Won the battle w/ torches, pots, &  trumpets

~Barak would only go if Deborah went too

10,000 warriors              Judges 4

Ultimate honor to a woman

Went into battle knowing God was with him.

~Easy for us to doubt ourselves, but we are not in this by ourselves. God is on our side!

Testify to power of prayer:  Kensington

*Doubt and fear go hand in hand, but we are told to “Cast all our cares (fears, anxiety) upon him…”

OT:  Psalm 55:22                  NT:  I Peter 5:7

II. Don’t look around, but look to God in faith.

~Samson          Judges 13-16

When the Spirit was upon him…

Looked around for tools to use

Was not a perfect man

Betrayed by a pretty face            28×300=8400 x leaders

Final victory killed more than his entire life

~Jephthah                                          Judges 11-12

Great warrior/rejected by own flesh & blood

They call for help, and God gives him victory

Others were jealous of him

Their jealousy cost them

~We cry out for things to be fair at the least sign of injustice, but according to who’s standards?

~God’s plans are found in His Word:

        For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.                                 Isaiah 55:8-9

          “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”                  Matthew 5:44-45

~There are times we cry out, seeking God, wanting to hear His voice, but many times He wants us to be still and know.

ILLUS:        (Set up for video clip:)  Desmond Doss, Christian, conscientious objector to carrying gun in WWII, belittled in boot camp, wanted to be a medic, found himself on Hacksaw Ridge, an Okinawa battlefield.

SHOW VIDEO

~This prayer, this type of attitude, is what needs to drive us, to keep us from making excuses.

~When we become a Christian, we are not promised an easy life, but we are promised that God will never leave us nor forsake us.

~That is keeping the faith at all costs.

The New Spirit Filled Life Bible says, “Faith is not a bridge over troubled waters, but is a pathway through them.

HYMN:  It Will Be Worth It All

“It will be worth it all when we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small when we see Christ; One glimpse of His dear face all sorrow will erase, So bravely run the race till we see Christ.”

CONCLUSION:  Life is a marathon, not a quick sprint then we are done.  No where do I see in the Bible that we “retire” from serving God or each other in love.  We are not to look down because we think we can’t do something, nor are we to look around and make excuses as to why we can’t or that someone else should be.  But rather, we are to keep our eyes on the prize, fixed on Him.  Which means we are to:

“Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.”      Philippians 2:12-13

And that can only happen when we totally surrender all of our wants, our lives (time, treasure, talents) and allow the Holy Spirit to lead us where He would have us to go.



 

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