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The Strength We Need - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
March 26, 2022 8:00 pm

The Strength We Need - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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March 26, 2022 8:00 pm

For when I am weak, then am I strong...

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The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder Lacerre Bradley Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer's praise! The glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!

This is Lacerre Bradley Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. Each still my soul, the Lord is on my side. There may sadly the cross of grief or pain Be to thy God to order and provide.

In every chain be thankful where we lay. Each still my soul, thy handside heavenly friend. Through thorny ways, reach to a joyful end. Each still my soul, my God of thunder day. To thy God, future and He that's the past. Thy hope, thy confidence, thy loving shake. All valiant periods shall be bright at last. Each still my soul, thou wait and wait still no more.

It pours through them while he can't below. Each still my soul, the hour is making on when we shall be forever with the Lord. When disappointment, grief, and fear are gone, sorrow forgot.

The purest joys restore. Be still my soul when change and fear shall pass. All safe and blessed we shall meet at last. Amen. I'm thankful we have the opportunity to come your way at the same time each week with a message from God's Word.

I'm glad that you're listening. I pray the message will be a blessing to you. We'd appreciate hearing from you. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. And I encourage you to visit our website at BaptistBibleHour.org. If you'd like to make a donation for the broadcast, you can do so there or, of course, by writing us.

We'd appreciate hearing from you and to know where you're receiving the program. You know, you sometimes feel weak, and if you're physically weak, get advice. Well, you need to take some exercise. You need to take more vitamins. You need to eat better.

And you can do all of that. And still, there's an area of weakness that you feel like I need help. When it comes to spiritual things, we may often feel weak. I feel like our faith is not as strong as it ought to be, that we're plagued with doubts and fears, apprehensions. We need strength because we are weak.

So my subject this morning is the strength we need. The Apostle Paul was caught up into the third heaven. He could not tell whether he was in the body or out of the body. But he heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for me to utter.

So this was obviously a most unique experience. Now, Paul had received various visions along the way. He heard the Lord call his name and speak to him at the time of his salvation on the road to Damascus. And he had had other revelations, but this was something far beyond all others.

Caught up into the third heaven, things revealed to him that no man could utter. So with that in view, we take up there to read from 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 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.

So the first thing we would observe here is that pride is a problem. Lest I be exalted above measure. You can imagine if somebody has gone to heaven and communicated directly with the Lord, you could begin to feel, well, I'm very special.

I've had experience like nobody else has had and it could become an area of pride. Well, God's not going to use or bless any man who's lifted up with pride. So although Paul was basically a humble man, yet in the weakness of his flesh, there was the possibility of being lifted up.

Obviously, God knew that. Now, Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15, 9, for I am the least of the apostles. And I don't think that was an insincere statement. Just trying to convince people that he had a humble thought of himself.

I think it was genuine and sincere. I am the least of the apostles. And he tells you why he thinks that. That I am not meant to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God, I am what I am. So he didn't take any credit to himself because of the amazing transformation in his life.

I am what I am by the grace of God. But even with this outlook, even with this humble spirit that we read here, the Lord knew the weakness of the flesh. He knows the weakness of our flesh far better than we know it. And he knew there was still the potential that Paul could be exalted. And God intended to use him, use him in a mighty way. The preaching of the gospel and the establishing of churches and the writing of the epistles. And so, God is going to deal with the matter.

Now, Paul had done remarkably well. This experience had been fourteen years earlier than what we're reading about here. Fourteen years ago, he had been caught up into the third heaven and had these revelations given unto him. But even with his current humble attitude, there was the possibility of pride. And God will deal with pride.

Pride is always a problem. We go to the Old Testament, read in the book of Proverbs chapter 16 verse 18. Pride goeth before destruction and an haughty spirit before a fall. I've encountered some haughty spirits along the way over the years.

I've sat down with people who said they had a problem and they wanted a solution. That's what we looked at, scripture. And here's what scripture said about it. They said, well, I can't agree with that. I don't want to take that course of action. I said, well, this isn't my opinion. I want you to read it out loud. Here's what the scripture said.

I said, well, I just can't go that route. What a haughty spirit for a person in the face of what scripture says to say, I'm not comfortable with that or I'm not going to follow that course of action. Well, pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.

In the book of Obadiah chapter 1 verse 3, Obadiah 1.3, The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the cliffs of the rock, whose habitation is high, that sayeth in his heart, who shall bring me down to the ground? Here's pride. The pride of your heart hath deceived you, and your soul lifted up, saying, who shall bring me down?

It's not possible for anybody to remove me from my high station. I've attained it. I deserve it.

I know where I am. Well, we learn from this that pride itself can deceive us. A person may make the assumption, well, I've got a lot of faults, but I am humble. Well, when you start bragging on your humility, you've already lost it. You're back in the realm of pride if you're proud of your humility. So here's one heart being deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.

Who can know it? You can be deceived. You can deceive yourself in concluding, but I'm not proud while all the time you are. And then we come to the New Testament in 1 Peter 5 and the fifth verse. Likewise ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. May all of you be subject one to another and be clothed with humility.

Be covered up with it, just like the clothes you're wearing have humility covering you up. For God resisteth the proud and giveth grace to the humble. The very thought of having God resisting me is terrifying.

Life is challenging enough. As you go through it and feeling like I can depend on the Lord, I can call on him and he's my helper. That gives us comfort and courage. But to think that I'm being resisted by God, that he's rejecting all of my prayers, that he's displeasing with all of my efforts, that's alarming. Well, God resisteth the proud. So if pride is welling up in us even when we've tried to overlook it, it's a serious problem. He gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time.

I've talked to people about their salvation when it became evident that they were full of pride. I say, well, I'm just not all that bad. I think I'll be all right. I'm not concerned. I believe God will accept me.

What's that? But absolute pride. Being unaware of their own sin and the fact that a holy God demands perfection.

And none of us are even close to that. Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. I talked to a lady one day at a store not far from the church here. And I forget what all led up to the conversation, but I finally asked her the question. Well, if you died today, what do you think would happen to you? Well, I believe I'd be okay.

I believe I'd go to heaven. I said, why? Because, she said, I do the very best I can every day. I try to do nice things.

I try to help people. I said, well, that's commendable, but it won't take you to heaven. I said, the fact all is we are all sinners. We've all sinned and come short of the glory of God. We're under condemnation. We're under wrath and would suffer forever if it would not be for the grace of God. The only hope for any of us is through the fact that Jesus Christ died for sinners and when we come by faith to rely upon Him, then we know where we're going, but it's not because we're doing the best we can. She said, well, thank you for telling me that.

I didn't know that. And I was amazed to meet somebody that nobody had ever shared with them the truth of the gospel. So, pride is a problem. The second thing we observe in this text is that suffering is the remedy. God is dealing with Paul in a unique way. 2 Corinthians 12, 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. For this thing I have sought the Lord thrice that it might depart from me. The messenger of Satan to buffet me.

This word buffet means that Paul was being constantly attacked and suffering the consequences of having this messenger of Satan to humble him. Well, suffering is the remedy for pride. It certainly was in the case of the Apostle Paul. Now, it's understandable that he would pray for this thorn to be removed. I think any one of us who had a thorn in the flesh, who were suffering and needed divine help would pray, Lord, whatever this trouble is, whatever this burden I'm carrying, relieve it, relieve me from it, take it away from me. In fact, in the original language, the word that is translated thorn indicates a stake that was used in times of warfare to drive into an enemy and to bring about their death. It was used in days of persecution, a stake. So this is no small thing.

This is not just a small thorn in the flesh that could be ignored. It was appropriate certainly for Paul to pray three times to remove the thorn. Jesus prayed three times when he said, let this cup pass from me. But Jesus also prayed, not my will, thine be done. And as we pray, we should always pray in faith with expectation. If you pray with an attitude, I'm going to pray, but I really don't think God's going to hear me.

I think this is an impossible situation and I don't know that there's really any need to pray, but I'll do it because I know I ought to. No, we're to pray in faith, expecting the Lord to do great things. He says, call unto me and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not, and that ought to be the spirit of expectation we have when we pray.

But the Lord spoke to Paul after these three requests and he doesn't directly speak to us today like he did to Paul. So we can't expect that when we have prayed three times or more that God's going to speak to us and say, here now is the direction that things are going. So we should continue praying. Scripture says pray without ceasing. So if you pray three times for something and it doesn't appear there's any kind of an answer, you don't quit.

Pray without ceasing. And yet we're always ultimately to do exactly what Jesus did when he said, thy will be done. We are to bow in submission, particularly when God doesn't answer the prayer in the way that we had hoped.

Part of the model prayer is thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven. So while we're praying with strong desire and strong faith, we ultimately must bow in submission to the Lord's will. So suffering was the remedy to be sure that Paul was not elevated in pride and would continue to be useful. How do we respond to suffering? Well, some become bitter and blame God. It just doesn't seem fair. Why do I have to go through this dark time? Why do I have to have this pain, this physical suffering? I know a lot of people out there who don't live as well as I do, and they don't ever seem to have a problem. And here I am suffering.

It just doesn't seem fair. Well, we find in the book of Psalms that there were those in olden times that had that kind of struggle. But he said, when I went up to the house of God and realized the end of those that are going along without any problems, I repented.

I changed my thought and my attitude. So, to become bitter and blame God as though God made a mistake for bringing this trouble into your life is a sinful attitude. And then some just give up. They don't get any benefit out of the suffering which was intended by it because they're discouraged, they're disheartened. They say, there's no need for me to pray. There's no need for me to try to move forward and serve God. I'm just being dragged down by my suffering. Well, it makes us think of that passage we've looked at a number of times in James chapter 1, verse 2. My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations.

Somebody said, whoa, wait a minute. That's going a little far. It's one thing to have to deal with the suffering, but to thank God for it. Count it all joy. That doesn't mean that you say, I just love to suffer. I rejoice that I'm being taken to the hospital and I'm going to have to have surgery. No, it's not that you rejoice in pain. You rejoice in what is revealed in the rest of the passage and what God is doing. Knowing this, here's what you know, here's why you can rejoice, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that she may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.

In other words, don't look for the eject button. I've got to get out of this situation. I've got to have a release of pain at all costs.

He says, you be patient. Let patience have her perfect work, that you may get the benefit of the lesson, that you may be perfect, that you may be entire, complete, lacking nothing. Because in the trial that God has sent your way, there is a lesson to be learned.

So, from that standpoint, you can count it all joy. Well, there are other questions that come to mind as we talk about suffering. It's a big subject.

It's one that many people have very great difficulty with and questions about. And so one would say, well, why would God add suffering to the life of the apostle Paul, who was a man that already suffered a lot? We read that he was shipwrecked. We read that he was in great storms. We read that he was in prison.

We read that he was beaten. You say, isn't that enough? Well, obviously, God in his sovereignty knew Paul needed to suffer more. So, it was his purpose to use Paul and to keep him from sin. Pride is a sin. So, the idea is here to deal with the tendency in our weakness, in our flesh, to be lifted up in pride. And so it was God's purpose to give.

He gave him the thorn in the flesh. God gave it to him. And then somebody else would question, well, why would God use the messenger of Satan?

That seems strange to me. Well, the fact is God is sovereign, and he has the right to run his business the way he wants to. And if we don't understand it, we don't have the right to challenge it or complain. God is sovereign. God was sovereign in the matter in Job's life. And Satan came before the Lord and said, what about this man, Job? I believe that if you let me at him, take away from him his riches and his times of prosperity, he'll give up on you.

He won't serve you. And God says, all right, I give you permission to go after him, but you can't take his life. And so in short order, Job, who was a wealthy man, lost it all. His flocks, his herds, everything that he had in way of material possessions were gone.

And then a great storm came and blew down the house where his children were feasting and his 10 children were killed. Say, what a horrendous time of suffering that is. But Job said, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

And at a later time, he says, though he slay me, yet will I trust him. Now, I know as we go on through the book of Job, we find that he wasn't in that frame of mind every day. He later had some deep questions, and it was only when God came on the scene and spoke himself for several chapters that Job humbled himself, saw himself as he'd never seen himself before, and prayed for his friends, and then God restored him. And I heard a man preach one time that God had nothing to do with Job's trouble.

I think, how could you miss that? If you read the book of Job, you see that God had everything to do with it. God told Satan he could go after him. God had a purpose in this. It was to demonstrate that even when Job lost everything, he wouldn't give up on God. Now, Job's wife did.

She said, why don't you curse God and die? But here's Job in this dark time, even when his body was afflicted and he was in misery and pain, he still trusted God. And so there was an example set, a lesson set forth that we find reference to it in the New Testament. God had a purpose that we even hear today would benefit by reading the experience of Job and the experience of Paul, and God used the messenger of Satan to bring about these things.

Well, there's a lot to be learned from Job's experience, but one thing is clearly evident, that Job was not suffering because of sin, but God was working in his life as a display of how he would remain faithful to God in the most difficult of times. Oh, that we might learn that lesson, and in this message today, to learn that the strength we need is that which Jesus promised when he says, my grace is sufficient for thee. Till next week at the same time, may the Lord richly bless you all. Thank you and God bless you. Thank you. God bless you.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-15 03:09:30 / 2023-05-15 03:18:23 / 9

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