Some people are angry with God because He isn’t doing what you expected. God doesn’t want to meet your expectations because He wants to exceed them. His purpose is so much more important than our preferences.
Problems With The Paradox
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
O, what is it that enables me to turn a weak situation around and turn it into a position of strength. Its God’s Amazing Grace.
1. It’s Grace that brings me deliverance from the enemy’s snare.
2. It’s Grace that gives me confidence in presence of enormous opposition.
3. It’s Grace that gives me hope as an anchor of the soul.
4. It’s Grace that gives me strength to endure when the journey is long.
5. It’s Grace that helps me reach the throne room to find help in time of need.
6. It’s Grace that assures me that God hears and answers the prayers of fervent effectual praying.
7. It’s Grace that causes me to rejoice in the time of adversity and affliction.
8. It’s Grace that generates faith to believe that when the trumpet sounds our loved ones are going to get up out of graves and the sea will give up the dead that are in it and we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
1 Corinthians 15:9
9. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Paul now begins to use the language of an humbled man who has found grace in the midst of his struggles. I’m not so sure he is quite the one who should be the least of all the apostles for in the next verse he takes pride in saying that he worked harder than them all, but then says that was not me, it was the grace of God in me. We’re tempted to ask, “Well, which one was it?”
For Paul to say, “I am the least” is hard to process. For his very name is synonymous with the word Apostle. If I were to say The Apostle …What would you say? He wrote over half the New Testament. He is called the Aristotle of the Christian faith. He took the gospel to places that other apostles would not take it. But for one who is probably the most famous Christian to say, “I am the least.” seems to be a contradiction. He felt unworthy of the title. Paul is saying that the gospel was processed through the apostles, those who saw the Lord after his rising from the tomb, and finally down to Paul who had a glorious encounter with the Lord Jesus on a dirty Damascus road.
We need to connect the things God connects and separate the things God separates. What God has joined together, let not man put asunder. Grace and difficulty go together in the great economy of God. One is dependent upon the other; for the amount of grace dispensed is determined by the degree of the difficulty! Grace for every need! Grace for the Grind!
2 Corinthians 15:10
10. But (One of the biggest words in the Bible)by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.
The Message Bible version:
1 Cor. 15:9-10
9 It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don ‘t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence
10 But because God was so gracious, so very generous, here I am. And I’m not about to let his grace go to waste. Haven’t I worked hard trying to do more than any of the others? Even then, my work didn’t amount to all that much. It was God giving me the work to do, God giving me the energy to do it.
I’m just what I am! God made me this way! His grace gave me a new focus, a new attitude, a new goal and objective. In the absence of God’s grace, we start to make excuses, and the testing of the testing takes its toll on us, and we lose the cutting edge, and become dull, dull of hearing, and dull of doing the word of God.
That spirit of Popeye comes over us and we say things like, “I just am what I am, and that’s all that I am. People can like me or not, I don’t care. I’m doing my best. I can’t help it if I chase women, God is the one who made them look so good. I can’t help it if I need to drink to cope, I can’t help it if I have to snort, and take pills, and shoot up to deal with life. It’s God’s fault, he should not have made me like this.” You see, without the grace, life just beats you to death with all its offerings.
The trial can dissolve your reason and affect your praise and worship. You can be so deceived that alternative means of relating to God apart from His Word become an option for you. “I serve God in a different way, I get on with God through Fantasy Football brother, God is my best Quarterback.” “I relate to God through nature brother.” “I just get my spiritual needs met through just being out in the wide open spaces where my mind can get peace and quiet.”
Paul was it your thorn or was it God’s grace? IT WAS BOTH! THEY’RE CONNECTED! I have been walking out my calling. Five times I received 40 stripes save one, stoned and left for dead, fasting oft, floating a day and a half lost at sea, naked and in peril, in accusation among false brethren.” “Cast out but not forsaken, persecuted, but not destroyed.” What a grind this preaching of the gospel had been, but for every moment of the grind, there was sufficient grace to see Paul through the hardship. GRIND AND GRACE!
2 When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples
3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.
7 As John’s disciples were leaving, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind?
8 If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings palaces.
9 Then what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet
10 This is the one about whom it is written: I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way before you.”
John, who was in prison!
Faith means that a negative circumstance can still hold potential for developing purpose in my life. It means that I can walk into something dark and light it up because of my faith. Faith is an expectation to know that even if the sequence of events in my life don’t make sense, but God who is outside of time, and knows the beginning and the ending, so I must trust Him to lead in paths of righteousness for His name sake. He is the Alpha and the Omega, A to Z, The First and Last. A is an expectation and and Z is a testimony. My faith is an expectation that before the movie is even shot, He already knows the closing scene!
Faith allows me to know that I shall live to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living; that goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. So this is the day that the Lord has made, and my constant companions this day are goodness on my right and mercy on my left,. They are my body guards! The favor of the old are the filter through which I view the fights of my life. And know this, that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it. I don’t know how, and I don’t know when, but my faith gives me confidence to trust and obey!
Faith is Expectations! John the Baptist was a miracle baby and an angel prophesied about his birth. Zecharias argued with the angel and contended that they were too old to have a child. Sometimes age can be an obstacle to overcome when faith is needed to receive an answer to prayer.
John, the promise, was to be the one who would prepare the way for the Messiah. He was the expectation of a nation, the forerunner of the light that would light every man that cometh into the world. He was the voice, crying in the wilderness, preaching to people who were weary with waiting, tired of hearing the same old story that a Savior would come and bring deliverance and healing. They longed to be free from the oppression of the Romans and the poverty, gloom, and despair.
Expectation is contagious. I hope you are seated beside a person here today who is contagious. People who are expecting need to join themselves to others who are expecting those same things. If you’re sitting beside someone who is playing Candy Crush or on Facebook, or texting their boyfriend, you might want to move. Like attracts like! If you want to get something from God today, you want to sit where people are listening, focused, and prayerful. You need to connect with people who are expecting!
In the Christmas story, an angel appeared to Mary and told her that she was highly favored among women, and that the Holy Spirit would birth a child in her, and He would become the Savior! Immediately when the angel left, she went into the hill country where Elizabeth and Zacharias lived. Elizabeth was expecting, and Mary was expecting, and their faith was made strong when they connected, and the child lept in Elizabeth’s womb and she was filled with the spirit.
Now, people tell me that they can watch on line and have church at home, but I would tell you that you need that connectivity with other people who are of like faith, expecting, hoping, believing for God’s promise and purpose. You can be a worship leader without a microphone.
You see, the baby in Mary made the baby in Elizabeth jump. Hey, there are people in this room who have the Lord Jesus in them also, and the Jesus in them can make the promise of God in you leap for joy! But now a lot has happened since that baby leaped in the womb his mother. He is now grown and in ministry. He has taken a stand for right and God’s commandments. When John first saw Jesus as an adult, he identified Jesus based
upon the essence of who He is. When we only relate to Him for what He does and not who He is, then our expectation will be attached to his activity. That’s dangerous. Here is where it gets difficult. Jumping babies is one thing, but now He is in prison for standing against a wicked king!
If he had a twitter account, he would be suspended. John’s message was repentance. He would call people names, “Brood of Vipers”. He would say things that brought conviction to the people. He was not the message, he was THE VOICE. His expectation was that The Lamb of God will take away the sin of the world. He knew who he was, and he knew who Jesus was! He said that Jesus had his winnowing fork in His hand. He would gather wheat into the garner and burn the chaff with unquenchable fire. Turn or Burn!
But now he is in prison! He is now doubting the things that he was born to proclaim. He was wondering, I’ve took a stand and I wound up in prison because I did what I was suppose to do. And I’m just wondering if you are really the One. Maybe the one I trusted in, is not the real One. He sent messengers to Jesus to say, “I thought you were gonna….” John was in the prison of his expectations. His version of what God is gonna do.
4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
Jesus said, “Go back and tell John that people are being healed, blind are seeing, deaf are hearing, lame are walking. Do you know what was not in that report? The winnowing fork, the fire, and the burning! In other words, “It is not what you expected.”
Some of you are sitting here today, angry with God because He isn’t doing what you expected. You’re in that same prison, but I’ve come to tell you that today is the day for you to come out of that prison of unrealized expectations. John was saying, “What is this!”
Well, really, God doesn’t want to meet your expectations because He wants to exceed them. The reason He doesn’t want to reward my faith is that He wants to raise the level of your expectations. His purpose is so much more important than our preferences!
In all the list of what Jesus said to tell John, He didn’t put that one in that was in Luke 4 about loosing people out of the prison. Liberty for the captives. Jesus was telling John not to rest his faith in what his earthly expectations were, but what His Word says He will do.
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; Again, put together the things that God puts together! FAITH and GRACE go together in Gods estimation. A decision of faith is a choice to trust God’s grace!
By faith, Moses chose to accept God’s grace to become Leader.
By faith, David chose to believe, and received grace to kill a giant.
By faith, Esther decided to trust God, and saw grace for a nation.
By faith, Noah found grace and built the ark.
By faith, Daniel experienced grace to shut the mouths of lions.
By faith, Samson found grace to destroy the enemy.
By faith, Paul and Silas found grace to sing and praise at midnight.
By faith, Peter found grace to walk on water to the Master.
32. And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33. Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34. Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the Sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
UPS! UNBELIEVERS PROPAGANDA SERVICE! GOT SOME PACKAGES FOR YOU.
WHAT ARE THEY?
ONE SAYS ANGER, ANOTHER SAYS ENMITY, ONE HERE SAYS STRIFE, ANOTHER GREED AND HATRED, ONE SAYS JEALOUSY AND ENVYING.
HEY, I DON’T WANT ANY OF THAT, JUST RETURN IT TO SENDER AND MARK DELIVERY REFUSED
FAITH+ GRACE = RIGHTEOUSNESS UNDER GOD’S HAND
The devil uses disappointment to destroy your faith.
God uses disappointment to build your faith.