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Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey, Part 4 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 22, 2020 8:00 am

Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey, Part 4 (cont'd)

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 22, 2020 8:00 am

Practical lessons we should learn from Pauls personal journey from enemy of the cross to prominent apostle.

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Watch and pray, Jesus said, that you may not enter into temptation, for the Spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. Hello and thanks for being here for this Tuesday edition of Destined for Victory. Coming up next, Pastor Paul Shepherd talks about the battle between the flesh and the Spirit in his message, Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey.

But first, he joins me now from his studio in California. Well, Pastor, there's no doubt that churches have been affected by the coronavirus, of course. Churches have had to go online. Your own church has been going online and you've been preaching to a camera.

I'm wondering what kind of experience that's been for you. Wayne, let me just be real candid with you and with our audience. I dislike very passionately the fact that I don't get to preach in the sanctuary full of people. My particular preaching style kind of thrives on the face-to-face time with the people.

I need to not only see them, I need to hear them. You know I use a lot of humor and that sort of thing, and I need to know that I'm connecting, so I love the verbal responses I get at our church and all of that. The fact is I haven't been able to enjoy that since March, early March or whenever it was when I last preached in our sanctuary, and I've been pretty miserable just talking to a camera. But what I have to remind myself of is that what makes the difference is not so much my style, although people enjoy my particular style of engaging with people live. The power is not in the style, the power is in the message. And so I'm trying to be faithful to share the good news, to preach timeless truth in timely ways that will engage people's hearts and help us understand God's will even in difficult times like this, and I hope I'm getting through successfully. You know, whether it's shared in person, online, or in any other format, there is great power in the Word of God.

The power to save, to transform into comfort. God is moving mightily through the Destined for Victory broadcast. At a time when there's so much pain and uncertainty in the world, the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ remains a source of hope for all who embrace it.

And now, more than ever, many are searching for that hope. This is why your prayers and financial support of Destined for Victory are so critical. As our way of saying thanks for your generous donation, we'd like to send you a study guide from InterVarsity Press called Fruit of the Spirit. It's a great companion to the series you're hearing now from Pastor Paul Shepherd, one that will encourage you to go out and be to others what Jesus has been to you. That's Fruit of the Spirit, our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destined for Victory. Just call 855-339-5500 to give your gift over the phone, or visit pastorpaul.net to make a safe and secure donation online.

And you can also mail your gift to Destined for Victory, Post Office Box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. And let me tell you something. When you have your will, your will, the Bible says, is always going to oppose God's will. That's the nature of living according to the flesh.

The flesh is always going to fight what the Spirit is trying to do in your life. Jesus gave us the perfect example of what a healthy relationship with God looks like. As he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the night before his crucifixion, he said, Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me, but nevertheless not my will, but thine be done. Today Pastor Paul Shepherd talks about the importance of learning to submit to God's will, because the only other option is to follow our own will and our own fleshly desires. So now let's join Pastor Paul for today's Destined for Victory message, lessons from Paul's spiritual journey. Sometimes your best ministry is on the other side of your worst tragedy. Sometimes your best ability to be used of God is on the other side of everything falling apart in your life. One songwriter said, when you come to the place that he's all you have, you'll find he's all you need. Some of us haven't been to that place yet, so you think you've got a lot going for you, you're feeling really good. But I'm here to tell you, sometimes the Lord will allow a shakeup to come into your life, because he needs to shake you from everything you would depend on except Christ himself. Because your salvation is only in Christ.

So now, look at how this plays out. For Peter, it's self-confidence. For some of you, you think too much of yourself. Now there's a healthy kind of self-confidence, where you realize things like the Bible says, I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength. But remember, my focus there is on Christ giving me the strength, it's not on my ability to be all that. And so for some of us, it's a challenge of self-confidence.

Too much of it. For others, it's low self-esteem. You are mired in this sense of, I can't be anything, I can't do anything.

And the Lord, in order to use you, has to say, you have to learn to anchor yourself in me and not in you. Do you know that people who are stuck up and people who have low self-esteem have the exact same problem? Just two different extremes of the same problem. The same problem is they're focused too much on them. The person who is stuck up, who is conceited, not you but somebody on your row, is focused on themselves. They think they're all that. They think they can do anything they want to do, be anything they want to be.

They're fooled by all these self-help things and these slogans and all that. All you have to do is imagine it and you can dream it. Listen, don't buy into that garbage. When you hear people saying, you can be anything you want to be, you cannot. You don't want to be 6'1", all I want.

You cannot. That's foolish talk. You can be what God destined you to be.

You have potential in Him. Just play that out to its illogical conclusion. You can be whatever you want. If you can't throw, you can't be a quarterback in the NFL. You can think all the positive thoughts you want.

You can't do it. If you can't jump, you're not going to be a star in the NBA. You can think all the positive thoughts. I envisioned myself. I saw myself flying through the air. I put it up on a board.

I put up a board of Kobe Bryant at the height of a dunk and I just envisioned myself. I put myself in his place. All right, go to the playground and see what happened to you. You're going to look like a fool out there. That's what you're going to do.

You can't buy into this garbage. Remember, the truth is in the Word of God. The Word doesn't say you can be anything you want to be. The Word says you can be all things that Christ has destined you to be.

Big, big difference because who we are is anchored in who He is and who He's called us to be. And so whether you struggle with conceit or low self-esteem, you have the same problem, too much focus on you. You've got ingrown eyeballs focused on me, me, me, me. That's why when you're going through trials, all your friends got to hear about it constantly.

Everything you're going through, me, me, me, me. Your world revolves around you. Christ says I need to set you free from that because your life is not about you. Your life is about me.

You were crucified with me and the life you now live, you are to live by faith in the Son of God who loved you and gave Himself for you. So you've got to get the focus off of you. And that's going to be a journey. But you've got to die.

You've got to surrender. You've got to say yes to God. Lord, I want to reflect your glory, so I need you to walk with me out of these unhealthy patterns of focusing on my own abilities or inabilities, my strengths or my weaknesses, and teach me how to trust you and see you live your life through me. For some of us, we're trying to mix faith not so much with law. For some of us, we're trying to mix faith with our own will.

And let me tell you something. When you have your will, your will, the Bible says, is always going to oppose God's will. That's the nature of living according to the flesh, which we'll learn more about as we move through this book. The flesh is always going to fight what the Spirit is trying to do in your life. So if you're going to die so that Christ can live through you, you are going to have to crucify your own will.

You're going to have to do in your life what Christ had to do in the Garden of Gethsemane. He said to his father, if it's possible, I would like this cup I'm about to drink of to pass from me. Then he said, nevertheless, not my will but thine be done. In other words, he started by acknowledging, now here's what I really wish would happen, but I know your will is the only one that counts, so I yield to it. Many of us start out with saying, Lord, I know what the Bible says. Nevertheless, here's what I'm going to do.

You got it reversed. That's not dying to self, that's living to self. That's killing the will of God and saying yes to me. And that cancels what God is doing in your life. You can't mix your will with God's. You can't get God to go along with your program. You can't live on your terms and be blessed of the Lord. This is hard preaching because we live in a day when people just think they can just say, I love Jesus and live any old kind of way they want. And I'm here to tell you the Bible says, no, you got to get your own Garden of Gethsemane and say, Lord, here's what I would like to do. Nevertheless, I know your will is what matters and I say yes to your will. And we have to take time and teach this about every area of your life. Because the Word of God speaks to every area of your life. You can't customize your Christianity.

You can't take a little bit of faith. This is not Burger King, you can't have it your way. Remember, they don't have those commercials now. But a couple of decades ago, they used to have commercials about Burger King and the song was, have it your way.

And the big push for Burger King, the way they distinguish themselves back in those days was, your special order didn't upset them. You know, you could tell them, hold the pickles, hold the lettuce. Oh yeah, that was it, hold the pickles.

It just came back to me. Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders. There you all go. Come on, help me preach this message.

That was it, that was it. Hold the pickles, hold the lettuce, special orders don't upset us. All we ask is that you let us have it your way.

That works at Burger King. When you come to Jesus, you can't say, I want salvation, but hold the moral requirements. I want to live the way I want to live.

Hang out with the folk I want to hang out, do what I want to do. And I still want your grace, your forgiveness, your love, and all that at the end. Can't do it, you're crucified with Christ. And you got to say no to the flesh. You can't have your way and impose it on God. Look at the scriptures. Whenever somebody tried to do that, God just lets their fleshliness turn on them. Look at Jacob in the Old Testament. He was a trickster, the man messed up his life royally.

And God just let him suffer the consequences of his own mess. And eventually he got to the place where he had to have a wrestling match and say, Lord, I need you to change me and transform me. I am tired of being the way I am. You got to get sick of being the way you are. You got to get sick of realizing that you can't impose your will on God. And so you've got to listen to the word and realize that God says you were crucified on the cross.

Nevertheless, you live, but it's really not you. It's Christ that's got to live through you. Stay with us. The second half of today's Destined for Victory message with Pastor Paul Shepherd is coming your way next. We want to thank all of you whose prayers and financial support help Pastor Paul share the gospel of Jesus Christ. We're a listener supportive ministry, one that depends on your faithful giving to fulfill the Great Commission, and to keep these messages coming your way year round. To make a safe and secure donation, visit pastorpaul.net. That's pastorpaul.net. Or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, the number is 855-339-5500. Now, let's join Pastor Paul for the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey. I'm here to tell you, you got to live your life God's way to get God's results.

Here's the good news. His power is available to you to do His will. His power is not available to you to do your will. That's why you got to surrender your way and say yes only to Him. So if you're trying to impose immoral living on Him, it's not going to work.

He won't allow it. I know these are days where people call themselves friends with benefits. It's very normal and natural in today's world. I've had to learn, pastoring this generation of people, I've had to learn that I can't take for granted that people understand that you can't live in sexual immorality and be in the will of God. I realize folk don't know that automatically because this generation wasn't raised primarily in Sunday school. So I'm being patient as a leader and I got to stop and explain things like that.

So here it is. If you're not married, you can't have sex. When you read your Bible, if you have certain translations, it'll use the old-fashioned word fornication. If you have a more modern translation, it'll say something like sexual immorality. What does that mean, pastor?

That means if you're not married to them, you can't hit it. Are we there? We there?

Work with me now. We got a mixed audience. We got kids in here. Don't make me get more plain than that.

Can't do it. I know we live in a society where people say, what's the big deal? The big deal is we were created to glorify God. And God said, that's not part of my will for your life. I've got a plan for your life. I've got a plan for your sexuality. But you've got to surrender to my will. You can't impose yours on me. God says, I'm not in the business of just moving with the culture, just because the culture said it's okay.

It's not okay. But we're committed. After all, what is marriage but a piece of paper?

It's a piece of paper you need. That's what it is, a piece of paper you need, because it sanctifies that commitment in the sight of God and earthly witnesses. Yes, we are in covenant with one another. We who are Christians and married. The Bible says that you marry till death do you part. There are some grounds where a spouse has dishonored the covenant, and there are grounds for divorce and all of that. We preach that very plainly because the word is very plain about it.

But all this stuff, divorcing folk because they get on your nerves? You didn't stand up there in front of God and a preacher and say, you know, I will stay with you for better or for worse, sickness and health, till you get on my nerves. That wasn't in your vows. So you promised before God and witnesses that you were going to be there, that this covenant was serious. And now we got just throwaway marriages like we got disposable everything else. You know, I drove this car for a while, but it's time for a new model.

Can't do that. You're crucified with Christ. You got to say, Lord, teach me how to make this marriage what it ought to be. Teach me how to work through it. When your car is not working right, you take it and get it fixed. If your marriage is messed up, get the thing fixed.

Don't trade them in for another model. Grass look green on the other side. Just water your grass. I'm not suggesting it's easy. I know life can take you through some difficult turns.

We've been mad 26 years. We know it's not always easy to do. You don't just wake up every morning just feeling in love. Life can take you through some challenges.

Sometimes you can look over at that person and say, hmm. That's just called life. But when you hit those times, Paul says you got to realize that you must die to everything but the faith of Christ. And so ultimately the question is, Lord, what do you want me to do here?

Here's how I'm feeling. Nevertheless, I want to see your will come to pass in my life. I need your help. I need your grace. I need your wisdom.

I need your power. Lord, I want to do your will. And you see God's results.

And it's about every area of life. You got to raise your kids God's way. You can't be abusive to your children.

God doesn't want that. You can't act all mean and cantankerous just because that's the way you were raised. You got to show love as you raise your children. You got to honor them. They are legitimate people. They're not in the process of becoming people. They're people. You got to honor them.

Look at the times. This is not your parents' generation. You got to take some time.

You got to spend quality time. You got to say, I wasn't raised with the right amount of attention and all, but I'm going to change that pattern as I raise my children because I want to do it in Christ. You were single parents. You got to believe God. It's unfortunate that they're not being raised in a two-parent home.

It's unfortunate that many people have not. The same two folks that made the child are not committed to each other and raising the child, but that's the reality in many cases. We have lots of single parents in the family of God. The church owes them love and support and encouragement and all of that. Equip them to help them to do this God's way, but you've got to surrender.

You can't start running a bunch of uncles through your house. Oh, pastor, you're rough today. That's because we've got to be crucified in Christ and live according to the faith of God. That's where our salvation is.

That's where our salvation is. You're messing your kids up. Every little man, they don't know who to put their trust in. Uncle Johnny, Uncle Timmy. Where's that guy that was here three months ago?

I haven't seen him in a while. No, no, don't do that. Don't dishonor them.

Say, I'm committed to you. If the Lord sends me a suitable spouse, then I will check them out outside of the context of my children. Check them out first. Don't run them by your kids.

See how they think about it. Check them out thoroughly. Let the church, let the pastoral staff help you check them out.

We've got to check out ministry. And I'm so glad I don't get to do the counseling like I used to. In the old days I did it, but now I thank God that some of our pastoral staff have gotten that same keen eye. I prayed, God, put the same anointing to discern crazy folk on them that you put on me. Because I can spot a joker afar off, I'm telling you.

I'm telling you, I've got a gift, an anointing. Sometimes I can just look at them and say, oh, uh-uh. I don't even have to hear them say hello, God bless you, nothing.

Sometimes just only a look. You say, now I know you're not trying to run that up in here. No, but pastor, see, you don't understand. I do understand. We've got to check in our ministry.

Let us check them out. Because you don't want to make a big mistake in your life. You think you're having it tough being, oh, you don't understand, it's tough being single. I tell you what's harder than being single is running somebody up in your life who has no business being there. And then you've got to fool with them and deal with their stuff and see them mishandle yours. You think you're having it tough now, trust me, pray for grace, Lord, help me.

Give me the grace to be alone in this season, to partner with my brothers and sisters, get involved with them in fellowship groups and stay connected with other folks. Sure, there's times when you feel like you want romance in your life, but this isn't your romance season. Why? How do you know that? Because the right person isn't there.

If they're not there, it's not your season. There's no rocket science to this. I know you got your favorite love songs and all, put that stuff in storage. Put it in storage.

Just put it away for a while. And pray for the day when you can bring it back out, whip Luther back out. Always and forever are back out. All your little favorite songs, back out, stylistics if you come from my era.

Bet you by golly, wow. You're the one that I've been waiting for forever. And ever will my love for you keep growing strong. You all too saved, you don't know nothing about the stylistics.

Wait for the season, bring it back out. In the meantime, say, Lord, give me the grace to live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me. Because I'm telling you, your power, your strength is in the will of God. That's where your endowment is, that's where your ability is to do what he's called you to do. You cannot mix faith with your own will.

When you try to mix the two of them, you have a disaster. And Paul said to Peter, and he says to us, by divine inspiration, we are crucified with Christ. And the life we now live, we don't live on our own terms.

We live by the faith of the Son of God who loved us, who gave himself for us. Thanks so much for being here with us for today's message, Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey. For more information about Destined for Victory, or to learn more about this month's special offer, be sure to stop by pastorpaul.net.

That's pastorpaul.net. There are some blessings that come along with being part of the family of God. One of the advantages of surrendering and realizing that you're crucified with Christ is you get to enjoy God's partnership. That's next time in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Lessons from Paul's Spiritual Journey. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are destined for victory.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 13:36:15 / 2024-02-05 13:46:23 / 10

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