Welcome to the Kerwin Baptist Church broadcast today. Our desire is for the Word of God to be spread throughout the world so that all may know Christ.
Join us now for a portion of one of our services here at Kerwin Baptist Church located in Kernersville, North Carolina. Why don't you look at 2 Corinthians chapter 8, look at verse 1. Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God, or that word wit means to declare, to make known of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality. For to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power, they were willing of themselves, praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God. In so much that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also. Therefore, as ye abound in everything in faith and utterance and knowledge and in all diligence and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this, here we go again, grace also. I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, boy there's grace again in verse 9, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. There's grace in a nutshell. Do I need to read it again? Now you all seem a little dead for 2016.
You're still worn out by 2015, aren't you? Alright, let me read this verse again. This is grace. This is the entire description of grace in one verse.
Let's look at that again, verse 9. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. Grace means that Christ was rich, he came and became poor so that you and I could now be rich.
That's grace. It's beyond us. It's beyond what we deserve.
It's beyond what we earn. And by the way, God's grace doesn't just give you beyond what you've earned and beyond what you deserve. God's grace allows you to have power beyond yourself. Everything in the Christian life can only be lived through the grace of God. And that grace is all those riches that you and I don't deserve, but he has given them to us and promised them to us so that you and I should never get into a point where we say, I just can't do this. I just can't go on.
Oh dear friend, yes you can. God's grace is sufficient for thee. Look at verse 10. And herein I give my advice.
I don't know about you, I wouldn't mind listening to Paul's advice. For this is expedient for you who have begun before not only to do but also to be forward a year ago. That means not only to start but to keep growing. Look at verse 11. Now therefore perform the doing of it, that as there was a readiness to will, which a lot of people have, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have, which there's not a lot of that.
A lot of people talk about it and want to and have a will to, but very few actually do it. Look at verse 12 when we're done. For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. Our theme for this year, beyond their power. By the way I want you to know that in the end of January we have our missions conference and we're very very excited about that. And our missions conference theme is also out of this passage word for word in verse 5. The Bible says that as they did not as we hoped but, and this is our theme for our missions conference for 2016, first gave their own selves. You know I challenge you to give to missions but let me tell you the most important thing you'll ever give to missions is you.
And we'll talk about that more later on. Let's pray. Lord we love you, help us as we begin 2016 dear God, hopefully centered and focused on the right things. And we ask you this in Jesus name we pray, amen. Now listen to me, you and I have nothing without grace. I don't think you and I ever can or ever will fully understand grace.
But dear friend let me try to explain. Grace is everything that Christ has access to. He has now given us access to it. You've all heard the acronym God's riches at Christ's expense and it's absolutely true. But dear friend I want you to understand grace is everything in our life that enables us to do anything. We have salvation because of grace. Now listen to this, everything we have because of salvation is also because of grace. We're saved by grace through faith and so now that we're saved then we're given all these promises and all these blessings and all these things that we now have access to and that's grace. It takes grace to be saved and now it's grace that gives us all the things we get after we got saved. One day if you're saved you'll end up in heaven and heaven itself is grace.
Because we didn't deserve heaven. Grace if you'll notice in verse one, notice this, grace was given in verse one. Moreover brethren we do you to declare or wit of the grace of God, notice this, bestowed on the churches of Macedonia. Listen to me, grace was given to these churches and news bulletin for you this morning, grace has been given to this church. Who's the church?
The people in it not the building. Dear friends I want you to know grace has been given to you. It has been made available to you. Now listen to me, grace is always given or it's not grace. If grace was earned by the church it wouldn't be grace.
It would be payment. Grace means that this was given, it was bestowed, it was laid on you. You didn't do one thing to earn it or deserve it. It's given.
Am I the only one excited about this today? I know I've been dwelling on this longer than you have but dear friends you got to understand this. Grace means we get something that we don't deserve and we didn't earn. Verse three shows what the grace of God can supply in your Christian life and that's what we're going to talk about today.
And that's what we're going to focus on for this year. That Christ by providing grace through his blood, God can perform beyond our power. Now dear friends look at me. If there's any area of your Christian life in which you are defeated then there's a lack of grace there. And dear friend the lack of grace is not that God's not given it, it's that we've not accessed it. Look at me dear friend I want you to get this.
Please get this. God's grace is sufficient. And many times you and I are trying to operate in what we can do, what we can figure out. We're trying to live this Christian life in our own ability. And I'm here to tell you in 2016 you've got to stop that. Your pastor's got to stop that. I can't pastor you wonderful people on my own ability. There are too many times I've tried and every time I fall flat on my face. I just can't get it done and I just can't accomplish it and dear friend I'm here to tell you.
You don't have to. God has given grace beyond our power. I think so many times you and I we walk around the Christian life defeated and some people stay defeated year after year. And I'm here to tell you grace the very definition of grace means that God has provided something above what we can do beyond what we're able and we have access to it.
Would you access it today? I want you to notice number one in verse two the Bible says that God can give us joy beyond our power. Look at verse two if you would. How that in a great trial of affliction. Remember verse one the grace of God was bestowed on the churches. God just gave it to them like he's given it to you and here they are in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy. Notice this and their deep poverty. None of that makes sense. Great trial of affliction deep poverty abundant joy.
Those don't normally go together folks. Normally when there is a great affliction and normally when there is great poverty there ain't much joy. But let me tell you what happened to this church. They're in a great trial of affliction.
They are in deep poverty and there was an abundance of joy. Dear friend I'm here to tell you some of you some of us lack joy. Can I challenge you in 2016 why don't you get your joy back. You say well I've tried. Well that's the problem you're trying.
It's got to be beyond your power. That means you can have joy in the midst of a trial. You can have joy in the midst of affliction. You can have joy in the midst of poverty. Dear friend you can have joy whatever the circumstances in your life whatever the doctor's report is whatever's going on you can still have joy. You say preacher it doesn't make sense. I can't have joy with what I'm going through.
Dear friend no you can't but with God's grace you can. I want you to notice this number one that they had joy beyond their power. Number one in the midst of problems. The Bible says they were in a great trial. How many of you have had a great trial this past year?
Raise your hand. Yeah I know what some of you have been through. Some of you have lost your sons. Some of you have had chemo and radiation. Some of you have had funerals that you've had to plan and put together. Some of you are still going through things and belongings of your family members that have moved on to heaven. Some of you have been in and out of the hospital with loved ones or with yourself.
I know. I know you've had trials but dear friend I'm here to tell you. You can still have joy beyond your power. Even in the midst of problems. Because problems are going to come but joy doesn't have to leave when problems come. Notice number two that they had joy beyond their power not only in the midst of problems but second in the midst of pain.
The Bible says they were in a great trial. Notice this of affliction. It wasn't just a trial it was a trial that brought great pain. Now many of you have had some pain this year.
I've had some pain this year. But I'm going to be honest with you as I look back I think boy it could have been even more painful and God spared for a lot of things. But I want you to understand none of us know what 2016 is going to hold. And when you look at me I had no idea what 2015 was going to hold. And I'm glad I didn't. Because I wouldn't have preached the first Sunday of last year.
I would have crawled up in a fetal position and went and hid somewhere. Dreading the year. Dear friend God doesn't tell us everything that we don't need to know. All you need to know is that you are going to only get through this thing beyond your own power. You and I are going to have to access the power of God. And that itself is grace. That it's even there for us is grace. They had joy beyond their power in the midst of problems.
In the midst of pain. But notice this in the midst of poverty. It says that they were in their deep poverty. Didn't have nothing. Didn't have much.
Didn't have a lot of what this world has to offer. And there might be many of you that might be in that exact same boat. You say preacher I can't even pay bills. I'm having trouble with this and I'm having trouble with that. Dear friend those things are in life sometimes but they do not need to rob you of your joy.
You say preacher that doesn't make sense to me. You don't know what I'm going through. And dear friend listen to me and I mean this respectfully. I don't have to know what you're going through.
You don't know what I'm going through. I only have to know God's word. And God's word says that whatever you're going through God's grace is sufficient.
And that he has provided grace beyond your power. You and I have got to let go of what we think we can process and what we think we can do. It's not our power. It's beyond us.
Let me put it this way. It's over our head. It's over our head. That would have been a good theme for this year.
Over my head. Wouldn't that have been a good theme? Notice number two. There was joy beyond their power. Notice number two that the grace of God in this church provided willingness beyond their power.
Look at verse three. For to their power I bear record yea and beyond their power they were willing of themselves. There was a willingness among these people.
Listen to me. They were willing at times that you wouldn't think they would be willing. I mean they're going through affliction. They're going through trials.
They're in deep poverty. Not only did they have their joy, but there was a willing spirit about them. By the way, there's never willingness where there's not joy. You let Satan rob you of your joy, there's no willingness. Notice if you would, verse 12.
For if there first be a willing mind, it is accepted according that a man hath and not according that he hath not. That's why God's saying it's so important that you just have a willing spirit. If you're just willing, it doesn't matter to me what you have and what your talent is and what your capability is. If you're willing, God says, I can use you.
Can I challenge you in 2016? Could you and I just decide I'm going to be more willing this year? There's times where I'm tired and I don't feel like doing more, but I am going to have willingness beyond my power. I'm going to have a willing mind.
I am going to say, God, whatever you want me to do, if you want me to do it, if you want me to get involved in it, God, if you want me to start doing this, if you want me to stop doing this. Do you know that changes everything in your Christian life when you're just willing to do whatever God wants you to do? Willingness. Do you parents understand what willingness is? How many of you have teenagers?
Do you know what willingness is and what willingness is not? Alright, let me give you a scenario. Eating breakfast with your teenager? Nobody does that anymore. Eating supper with it? Well, nobody does that anymore.
You're texting your teenager. And you say, you need to clean your room up. Now you are either going to be greeted with willingness or unwillingness.
Now you tell me which one accomplishes more. And God in heaven has things he wants us to do too and we're either going to be willing or we're going to be unwilling. And you say, but preacher, it's just out of my comfort zone.
I just don't feel like, oh, that's because you're trying to do it in your power. You and I need willingness beyond our power. Notice first, and I love this, look at verse three. This thing of willingness, first there was personal responsibility. Notice verse three. For to their power I bear record, and beyond their power they were willing what? Of what? Themselves.
That's all they worried about. I can't make so and so willing, and I can't make this family and church willing. But like Isaiah, as for me and my house, we are going to serve the Lord. And dear friend, there is a personal responsibility that you and I have to the Lord himself to be willing Christians. It's not, hey, the preacher really wants me to do that. No, God wants you to do that.
You've got to be willing of yourself. It's personal responsibility. Notice secondly in verse 12 that there was powerful resources. You see in verse three they felt personal responsibility, and you know what, I'm going to be willing beyond my power. And then in verse 12, God says, well, if there's first a willing mind, notice God says if you take the personal responsibility, I am going to give you access to powerful resources. Notice this in verse 12, for if there first be a willing mind, he says it is accepted according to what a man hath, and not according to what he hath not.
You say, preacher, what are you saying? God says this, if you'll just take personal responsibility and be a willing Christian, and just be willing to do whatever I kind of lay on your heart to do, you don't even have to worry about what you have, I've got it all covered. I've got the resources. You don't even have to bring anything to the table. Just come like you are. If you're just willing, I'm going to use you to do great things. Not because of anything you have, because it's not accepted according to what you have. It's accepted according to what you don't have. The less you have, the more God gets the glory. Isn't that great?
It's going to be a long year. Number three. The grace of God produced praying beyond their power. Look at verse four. Now remember, verse three, he just mentioned beyond their power there was willingness of themselves and the sentence had not ended. Notice next in verse four, praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift. There was praying beyond their power.
I don't know about you, but for prayer to have power, it has to have God's power, not ours. Now notice this, I want you to, this is very, this verse preaches itself. Now notice in verse four, number one, there was selfless prayer. Verse four, he says praying us with much entreaty, us.
That means they were praying for us, selfless. May I challenge you in 2016, let's begin praying beyond our power. And as you do that, you're going to find that I'm going to begin praying for others more. Start making a list. Now listen, I told my Sunday school class today, now please, and this really might bother some of you and I really don't want to bother you. You say preacher, why don't you just say it?
Because I'm stubborn. I'm just going to say things because I would never endorse a lot of things, but I recommend, I really do, I'm not saying that there's probably, it couldn't be anything in there that's questionable, I didn't see it, but I didn't notice closely, but I'm going to tell you, you ought to rent or buy that movie The War Room. You ought to watch it. If nothing else, just to get some clean entertainment in your brain. But I am telling you, if anything that will encourage you to pray more, and it will. Now I'm not endorsing everybody that wrote it or I don't know anything, I don't know who did, so don't get me wrong.
I'm just saying the basic premise from what I saw, it was a decent thing, I'm not telling people to go watch movies if you don't have a TV, great, don't watch it. I'm just saying I think if you do watch TV and you do watch a movie, you need to get you something decent in, and I'm telling you that movie will motivate you to pray. And anything that will motivate you to pray right now, you need to do it, because I am telling you, you and I, this year of 2016, you and I have got to learn to pray beyond our power. And we have got to learn to pray for others. I find it immediately that it doesn't say anything about them praying for themselves. It says that as God gave grace, that they had joy in the midst of all this suffering, that they were willing even when you wouldn't think they'd be willing, and they were praying for others. Notice secondly there was selfless prayer, secondly there was scheduled prayer. It said they praying us with much what?
Entreaty. It means passion. It means that there was consistent prayer. It means they didn't just one time, hey brother, Lord, I pray you bless our brother in Jesus' name, never ever mention it again. No, no, no, they prayed us or for us with much entreaty. They just kept doing it. They were consistent. They just kept praying. They literally meant it. They really cared.
They really were concerned. And dear friend, I'm here to tell you, prayer still works. We just don't do it. And I'm here to tell you that with God's grace, you can pray beyond your power. You can get to realms in your spiritual life that we've never been to. There was selfless prayer. There was scheduled prayer. Notice thirdly there was specific prayer. Praying us with much entreaty, what? That we should receive the gift.
What gift are they talking about? Exactly what God bestowed in verse one. The grace of God. Salvation. Not only being saved, but then all the grace that God makes available. They're praying for us that we would access it.
And I'm going to tell you something. I'm going to do my best in 2016 to pray for you as a church I'm going to pray for you individually at church. I've got a list of church members and all these things that I try to pray for during the week.
But I'm here to tell you, I'm going to start from praying even different. That you will get God's grace in your life. That you'll experience God's grace. That you'll access God's grace. And that it will take you places beyond your power.
And allow you to do things beyond your ability. Some of you have children that are as far away from God as you think they can get. Let me tell you something. I'm not there.
I hope I'm never there, but I might be one day. But I do know this. That prayer is your best chance. And you cannot pray in your power. You've got to pray beyond your power. And that takes the grace of God.
And it's available. There was praying beyond their power. Number four. We're almost done. There was ministering beyond their power. Look at verse four. Praying us with much entreaty that we would receive the gift and notice this. And take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
So what was going on here? Here's the church. Buddy in the midst of great trial of affliction. In the midst of deep poverty. In the midst of all the difficulty this church was going through. They had joy out the roof. They had a willing heart and a willing mind. And they were just ready to do whatever God wanted them to do. Not only that, man, they were praying. And they were praying for others. And they were reaching out. And not only that, they were busy ministering to people. They were reaching out and helping at a time when they're the ones that needed the help.
Is anybody getting this this morning? They're the ones in poverty. They're the ones in the trial. They're the ones with the affliction. And they were ministering to the other saints.
You say that just doesn't sound right. That's because that takes something beyond your power. And beyond my power. You know what it takes? Listen, it takes God's power to get our eyes off of what we're going through.
And on to what other people are going through. It takes God's power to get our eyes off of our needs and get our eyes on other people's needs. That takes the power of God.
Dear friend, that's what grace can make available to you. Ministering beyond their power. I notice this, that they put their prayers to action. You know it's one thing to pray for others, which absolutely we should do. But when you get up off your knees and then you go do something about it.
That makes all the difference. They put their prayers to action. You know the Bible says faith without works is dead. You know what this word ministering means in the Greek? It means to serve. It means this, that they had literally gotten to a point spiritually that they were serving others.
And they were doing it in a way that was beyond their own power. Now, we're jam packed full this morning. Thank you for being here and being faithful and I know our balcony's full. We've got a little room in that back corner, that's about it. And I know many of you are frustrated trying to get a seat, trying to get everybody together. We apologize and I thank you but it's encouraging to us to have a good full building.
But can I tell you this, look at me. If everybody in this room, and let's not even put it there because we have visitors and thank you for visiting. If everybody in this room that is members of Kerwin Baptist Church. Let's just say that you decided to start praying for others outside of this church. And then you began to reach out and minister to them. Can I tell you this, we would have to start a new building last week.
We already need a new building, but let me tell you something. If our members started praying and serving, we couldn't hold the people. Some people say, well you're not ever going to have a really, really big church because you guys preach a little too hard.
And dear friend, I don't believe that. I believe people want truth and I believe that they can take it, they really can. And I try sometimes, I don't want to come across mean or angry. I'm just trying to be honest and it's a very serious thing for me to try to rightfully divide. And I've got to deal with some things that aren't popular.
But I'm going to be honest with you, I don't think we do it in a mean way. But I'm going to tell you something, I don't think that people nowadays, I don't think they can't take the truth if they know the people in the building love them. What happens is over the years, people were preaching hard and they weren't loving the people. And then when people left, they said, see they just couldn't take the preaching. No, they could have taken the preaching, they couldn't take your sickening attitude. They couldn't take your arrogant spirit.
See, I want some of you back on my side now through all that. Better get on to something else, number five. Last one I'll cover this morning. The grace of God produced in this church giving beyond their power. Now remember, they were in deep poverty. Some of you this morning would say, I understand. I'm in deep too, preacher.
I'm in pretty deep. Now, notice this, look at verse five. And this they did not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord and unto us by the will of God. Look at verse two. How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty, notice this, abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
They became liberal givers at a time they were in deep poverty. Now, notice verse four. They were ministering to the saints that we just talked about. Now, you say, preacher, put this all together for me.
All right. How did they give beyond their power? Well, first we've got to ask what.
And in a minute, we're gonna ask to who. What did they give? Notice number one in verse five, they gave themselves. Look at verse five. But first gave their own selves to the Lord. To the Kerwin broadcast today. God bless you.
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