The Strength God Offers
We are strengthened by commiting ourselves to God's willing. Believe God for the strength to do the right thing.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends. How in the world are you? You doin’ all right, today? I trust so, bless your heart. Or maybe it’s tonight for some of you who listen late in the evening, I know. So whether you’re just waking up or just about to fall asleep, don’t worry, I’ve spoken in many people’s sleep. So, (Laughs) like Dr. Ironside used to say, “If you get drowsy while I’m talking, take a little nap. You’ll feel better when you wake up.” Anyway, God bless you. This is your good friend, Bob Cook and I’m glad, so glad to be back with you. The miles drop away, and we’re together again around the Word of God. Now I like that, don’t you?
We’re looking at 1 Peter 5:10, “But the God of all grace who hath called us unto His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
Now we were, the last time we got together we were dwelling on that word ‘strengthened’. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” The verb that he uses in this verb, in this verse, is sthenoó ‘s-t-h-e-n’, we would, we would spell it, if we Anglicized it. And it means ‘to make strong’, that’s what it means, ‘to make strong’; or as he uses it here, ‘to strengthen’. Christ strengthens. You remember I went over to Colossians 1 just for a commentary on that. And we looked at the elements of, of being strengthened.
What, what’s the first thing? “Commit yourself to the will of God, filled with the knowledge of His will, and all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” Commit yourself to the will of God, no matter what. Many a person has responded to a missionary appeal, where the missionary who was speaking would say, “How many of you are willing to go to the mission field, if God calls you?” And then different ones would respond. Young people have come to me after such an appeal and said, “Do you think the Lord really wants me to go to Africa, or to Indonesia, or to South America, or wherever,” you know. And I would have to answer, “I don’t know. But I do know that God wants you to, to be willing to go.” In the case of a number of people, the missionary call was only the beginning of something wonderful that God did for them.
I was speaking to Kay Arthur who heads up what is called, ‘Precept Ministries’. And when she tells the story about how God dealt with her; she answered the missionary call, went to Mexico, and there was beset by a number of, of physical trials which resulted in coming back – a bitter disappointment, for there was the feeling that God had called them to the mission field. And then to come back, to labor in this country. Bitterly disappointed, but willing, whatever God wanted.
And in the process, to see God guiding in the direction of Bible teaching, and ministering to people, and discipling, and training others who could teach the Word of God. And so today there’s a great far-flung ministry in this country, and on across the seas, to other countries. It isn’t that, that, that God always wants you to go the mission field, or to become let us say a, a pastor, or evangelist, or whatever. That’s wonderful, if He does. But He wants you to be willing to do anything, anything, anything.
I remember Ron Hutchcraft was speaking on this subject. And he said, “I want to leave a few words with you in connection with the will of God. The first thing is, anything, anything, willing to do anything, God asks.” And the second word he gave us was, “Anytime, anytime, whenever God speaks, I’ll obey.” And then the second, the third thing was, “Anyplace, anyplace.” And the fourth, as I recall was, “Anyhow.” (Laughs) Oh, how God takes the life that is yielded to Him without any strings tied to the agreement!
The knowledge of His will, that’s commitment. Then, obedience, “Walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful and doing good work.” See, there’s something to be done. You can’t sit and sing yourself into sanctified senility, and expect that you’ll be accomplishing something for God. Now I know some people who are so heavenly-minded, that they are no Earthly-good. And so indeed all probability, do you? And that is not God’s best way and, and we know it, don’t we? There’s something to be done, in obedience to God.
You know, I’ve found something: whenever I pray earnestly and yield myself to God afresh, there’s always something He asks me to do – some step of commitment, or obedience, or both that God has for me when I really seek His will, and, and want to do it. So there’s commitment, the commitment of faith, there is the obedience of faith, and then he says, “Strengthened with all might,” there’s the enablement of faith, the enablement of faith. When you believe God for something, He does the work.
How often this has been true in many of our lives, I’m sure? Can you recall something that you thought was impossible, but when you, you really trusted God, you saw things fall in place? Well, so can I. When I came to the college back in 1962, we were short of a number of professors. You know the highest salary that we paid in those days… well I won’t tell you, but it was ridiculous. Ridiculously low, that is. And nobody wanted to come and work there. And yet, I was, I was president and, and I was charged with the task of securing professors that were qualified educationally, and who were, to begin with, dedicated Christians. A big order.
Well it just about floored me, I don’t mind telling you. And then came a day when someone who was supposed to be helping, brought a huge pile of files and said, “I’m not going to work on this any longer.” (Laughs) Ohhhh! When he left the office, I got down on my knees, I remember, I knelt beside the corner of the desk. I had a desk there that stood out from the, the window a bit, out on into the middle of the room, so that people could gather around it if we had meetings. And there was that huge pile of folders and, and Cook kneeling down by the corner of the desk.
And I put my head down on the desk and I said, “Dear Father, I can’t handle this. I don’t know what to do, I don’t know anybody, and I can’t pay anybody, and I have to do it. Please help me,” and words to that effect. I just cried out to Him. And do you know what happened? God sent me qualified people who were willing to work for the meager wages that we paid. And we, we began bucking for regional accreditation, for the college was not then accredited regionally by the Middle States Association. And so we began seeking that actively. And a little later on, as the years had gone by, we got full accreditation, and the, the job was done.
People were there, and they were qualified, and they were teaching. But best of all, they loved Jesus with all their hearts. That’s why when I, when I talk about the college oftentimes, I say, ‘A fully accredited, frankly Christian, Liberal Arts College.’ Brother, we don’t wince at the name of Jesus; we stand a little taller and say, “Praise His name.” Well, what I’m saying is, when you commit yourself to God, and you start doing His will, God strengthens you and puts the pieces in place. Hallelujah, for that. I’m so grateful that our heavenly Father does this for us, and He does it again, and again, and again.
He’ll even take care of your critics, beloved. The Bible says, “If a man’s ways please the Lord, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace, with him.” God can take care of your critics. You don’t have to answer them, aren’t you glad? If we spend all our time answering our critics, we won’t get anything done. Don’t worry about gossip. Straighten up and, and clean up your act, and live for God, and the comment about you will start to be good.
I remember a young man who came in and complained that people were talking about him. I said, “What are they saying?” He said, “They, they say that I pursue the girls one after another and, and that I’m not serious.” “Well,” I said, “is it true?” “Well…” then he hesitated. I said, “Well tell me, have you, have you sort of been playing the field?” And he smiled and he said, “Well, yes.” Well I said, “Why don’t you just straighten up and, and change your ways.” Yeah well, he did. (Laughs) Fell in love with a beautiful girl, there at the college. Later on they married and they’ve had a fine ministry through the years.
Don’t worry about gossip. Clean up your act and start living for God, and you’ll find that the comment is good. All you have to do is last, did you know that? If some of you pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries – I’m talking now especially to Christian workers. Because you’re so highly visible, you’re subject to more gossip than others. Don’t worry about people talking about you. If you were a clod and didn’t amount to anything, they wouldn’t talk about you, you know that. But because you’re so highly visible, you are subject to more gossip and more criticism than other people.
But did you know, you don’t have to answer every criticism? You don’t even have to answer every rumor about you, even though it’s untrue. No you don’t, you don’t have to answer every hot letter you get. File it in file 13 and go on, “Praise the Lord!” Well I threw that in free, somebody probably needs it today. If you’re discouraged and down, and people have been criticizing you, just specialize in obeying God. You don’t have to go off the deep end, with something wild and hysterical. Just good, sensible, day by day, obeying God on the basis of His infallible Word. God’s going to take care of you and your reputation. Amen. (Laughs)
Strengthened with all might. And by the way, God strengthens you for long-suffering, and patience with joyfulness and thankfulness. Strength shows up not in musculature – not in showing off your spiritual muscle – but in doing some things that are even harder. What are they? Patience – Greek word hupotasso, ‘stay down’, ‘stay under’, ‘don’t give up or blow up’. Patience; Long-suffering – Greek word makrothumia, ‘large-heartedness’, ‘room in your heart for people with their faults’; and joyfulness – the joy of the Lord just spilling over, out of your life; and then thankfulness, verse 12 in Colossians 1. Thankfulness, this is part of the evidence that God has strengthened you.
People who are spiritually weak, are impatient; people who are spiritually weak are small-hearted, small caliber people; people who are spiritually weak are, are not joyful, they’re, they’re, they’re gloomy oftentimes, and despondent, and disappointed. And people who are spiritually weak are unthankful. So we give you the trademarks of spiritual strength. What are they? Strengthened unto patience, long-suffering – that’s large-heartedness, joyfulness, and thanksgiving. Yeah? That’s quite a passage, isn’t it? We’ll go back to 1 Peter now, and, and finish up our discussion of these words, strengthen.
Now he says, “Settle, settle.” Oh, this is a good word. It means ‘to lay the foundation’, ‘to make stable and to establish’. Lay the foundation. What do you use as an illustration of that? Well I’ve got a good one, and time is gone so we’ll have to get into it the next time we get together. But you who study your Bible probably know that I’m going over Matthew 7, where our Lord Jesus told about the right kind of foundation. We’ll talk about that the next time we get together.
Father God, Oh may we be committed and obedient and filled with the Spirit of strength from God. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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