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All the Power You Need

Scripture Reading: Text: Philippians 4:10-13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (NKJV) I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses inner strength to me. (Amp) I am ready for anything through the strength of the one who lives within me. (JBPV) Proposition: In Christ Jesus we have a source of strength that is available to us for each and every situation that life affords us.

Introduction I believe that the every resource that we need, all the strength we need, all the power for living that we need can be found in Christ Jesus. My God can never fail He’s been proved time and again Trust Him you’ll see He’s got all the power you need He saves, forgives and heals Takes back what the devil steals My debts been paid in full And every day He does miracles Got dreams turn them into plans Too big for human hands Trust Him you'll see He's got all the power you need He’s real; He’s real Faith’s a lot stronger than what you feel He’s real; He’s real He’s got all the power you need

Complete Confidence - (I can do...) This statement is a bold statement. It says “I can”. In other words there is certainty in this sentence; there is complete confidence that Paul can cope with each and every situation in which he may find himself. The words “I can” have been translated from the Greek word ίσχύω. This word, ίσχύω means strength or ability, and is occasionally translated “powerful” or “good”. It speaks more of the nature or characteristic of the person or object than of the act itself. We can see this best by way of

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example: Jesus used this word (translated “good”) in the sermon on the mount when he talks about salt. He says: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything.” Matt. 5:13. What Jesus is saying is that salt is salty. If salt loses its saltiness then it is no longer good (the literal translation would be strong) enough for anything. The essence, the character, the substance of salt is that it is salty. If it’s not salty, then it’s not salt. In the Epistle of James ίσχύω is translated “powerful”, when James writes: The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16) So just as salt is salty, so the character, the essence, the nature, the reality of prayer is that it is powerful. If it’s not powerful, then its not prayer. And so ίσχύω tells us something of the nature, the character, the reality that is innate within the person or thing about which we are talking. And so Paul is saying here, I can do all things because that is my character, that is my nature, that is the reality that is within me. Of course he is not talking about his old nature, he is not talking about his natural character, but he is talking about is new nature. How many of us know that once we are born again we not the same? We are a new creation. We run a nurture group for new Christians in our Church. On one occasion we asked the folks what change they have seen in their lives since becoming Christians. I was amazed at the answers these very new Christians gave: · · · · · · I have found a new peace; I have experienced a new joy; I am less aggressive; My heart has been softened; I am more patient than before; I have found a new creativity within me.

Our God is a powerful God, and He’s in the business of changing people: · · · · John 3:3 - Born Again 1 Corinthians 6:11 - Washed Hebrews 10:17 - Forgiven Romans 8:30 - Justified

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· · · · · · · ·

Galatians 3:13 - Redeemed Titus 3:5 - We have been renewed 2 Corinthians 5:17 - We are a new creation John 3:16 - We have eternal life Ephesians 1:5 - Adopted as Sons (and daughters) of God 1 Corinthians 6:19 - Our bodies have become the Temple of the Holy Spirit Romans 8:37 - We have become more than conquerors 2 Corinthians 3:18 - We are being changed from glory to glory

And so Paul is talking about the new nature, the new character, and this enables him to say: I am ready for anything and equal to anything because there is a power, there is a strength, an energy within me that sustains and energises me and motivates me in every situation. Now this is a very bold claim. This is an easy statement to make; its much harder to live in this reality. But, Paul’s confidence is not a false confidence. It is not a confidence born out of delusion, but out of experience. He had learned this. Not through theoretical study, but through life experience. Notice:  Verse 11: I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I can be content, because this has been my experience. Throughout my life I have seen God’s hand at work and I have learned that God teaches me and matures me through all my circumstances.  Verse 12: Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can truly say that in all my circumstances, God has never let me down.

Complete Confidence in this strength, this energy, this ability that is our new nature does not mean that we will have an easy life. Neither does it mean that we will always find things to be easy. Roger Bannister was the first man to run the mile in less than four minutes. The power, the strength, the ability to run the mile in less than four minutes was there within him. That does not mean that it was easy to do; he didn’t walk round the track; it wasn’t a jog in the park. He had to run extremely hard; he had to dig really deep to find the strength and the determination to achieve his goal. Paul often likened the Christian life to running a race; and he says: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b - 14 Complete confidence doesn’t mean that its not hard; we need can do Christians.

Comprehensive Coverage - (...all things...) This statement covers each and every situation and circumstance - I can do all things.

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it covers all tremendous challenges From time to time God will set us challenges to perform. This applies to us both individually, and corporately. Corporately we have a challenge to be an effective witness is this city. Part of our challenge is to plant a Church in Meir. As individuals we also have challenges in our Christian lives. For some it will be a call into full time ministry, for others it will be a call to serve in part time way (either in this congregation or in the Church plant), for others the challenge will be something else. We are all called to be His witnesses wherever we are; our mission field is within our own families, within our social circle, or at our place of work. The point is that God sets us all tremendous challenges. Paul says “I know how to abound”, I know how to excel, I know how to be blessed. ....the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 Don’t you know that God never sets us a task to perform without first preparing us, strengthening and equipping us to perform that task. Look at the way in which Paul was able to be effective in his missionary ministry: Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said... Acts 13:7 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. Acts 14:3
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God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:11-12 And so when Paul says: I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. He means that he can fulfil all of the tremendous challenges that God has sent for him to do. He is ready and equal to any task that God may assign to him. 

it covers all trying circumstances But that is not all that is covered by this statement. Paul says: I know to be abased, and I know how to abound... I know how to excel, I know how to be blessed, but I also know to be abased, I know how to be humbled, I know how to live in difficult circumstances. So the statement

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covers not only the tasks which we are given to perform, but it also includes the circumstances in which we find ourselves. So many Christians think that their spiritual walk should be one which is free from problems. But my experience is the reverse. I find that as a step out in faith, things happen which test my faith. Paul often found himself in difficult circumstances, but he never let his circumstances undermine his faith in God. On one occasion Paul and Silas were severely flogged, and thrown into jail, despite being innocent of the charges against them. What did they do? About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25 And so, even in difficult circumstances, Paul found an inner strength that enabled him cope with the situation. This strength not only saw him through, but it also allowed him to sing praises to God though he had been ill treated, severely flogged, and unjustly imprisoned. 

it covers all terrible catastrophes And so when Paul “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” it covers both exciting challenges and difficult circumstances. However, that is still not the end of the story because this statement also covers all terrible catastrophes. It covers not just difficult times, but it extends even to those times when things couldn’t get any worse. When Paul wrote Philippians he was actually in jail in Rome. One of the last books that Paul wrote was the Second Epistle to Timothy. During that time, Paul was awaiting execution. This is what he wrote:
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For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day 2 Timothy 4:6 Right to the very end Paul was able to testify to Christ, the source of the strength that he needed in each and every circumstance. I don’t know the details of your life right now. Some of you God may have called you to some particular ministry or task. Some of you may have stepped out in faith to do something for God, but have hit problems or difficulties, and you are not sure whether you can deal with the situation. Some of you may have severe difficulties in your lives, and you just can’t see how you’re going to make it through. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me - it covers every situation, from the very best to the very worst.

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Christ Centred (...through Christ who strengthens me...) But there is a condition attached “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Our strength lies in Christ. Our strength is not our own, but it is the strength that Jesus has placed within us. In John’s Gospel (John 21:15-17) there is a wonderful account of a conversation between Jesus and Peter: The full significance of this passage needs some understanding of the Greek text. We see here that Jesus asks Peter three times “do you love me”. And that seems to be rather a strange thing to do. Yet what we cannot appreciate from the English is that this conversation actually uses two different Greek words which are translated “love”. The first word is γαπάω. This speaks of the highest form of love, an undying love. If you have agape love for someone it means that your love is so deep for them that you would happily die for that person. The second word for love is φιλέω. This form of love is a love between good friends. It is not an undying love, and it is not the sort of love where someone would lay down his life for his friend. So if we revisit this conversation: Jesus: Peter, do you love me more than anyone else; enough even to die for me? Peter: Lord, you know that you are my best friend. Jesus: No Peter, that’s not what I asked. Do you love me enough to die for me? Peter: Lord, you know that you are my best friend. Jesus: Peter, can I be your best friend? Peter: Lord, you know all things, you know that you are my best friend. It puts a different complexion on the account. You see, Jesus’ question puts Peter in a real spot. How could he answer, “yes Lord, I love you enough to die for you”, when just a couple weeks before he had deserted Jesus, and then denied him three times? Surely, by his own actions Peter had proved that his love for Jesus was not that deep. And so he replies in the way he could “Lord, you are my best friend”. But Jesus presses Peter again, just to clarify and confirm Peter’s position. Peter gives the same answer. Finally Jesus comes down to Peter’s level - “Peter, can I be your best friend?” But then Jesus went on to say: “when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:18 This was talking about Peter’s death. Peter’s love for Jesus would be so strong that he would actually

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die for Jesus. Jesus was basically saying: Peter, in your own strength you can only manage phileo love. In your strength you cannot love me enough to lay down your life for me. But in a few days I will send the Holy Spirit to be with you. He will come upon you, and will strengthen you, and transform you, and energise you, and inspire you, and motivate you, and sustain you, and guide you, and empower you. And in my strength, you can do all things. And we serve the same God. My God can never fail He’s been proved time and again Trust Him you’ll see He’s got all the power you need He’s real; He’s real Faith’s a lot more than what you feel He saves, forgives and heals Takes back what the devil steals He’s real; He’s real He’s got all the power you need I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me because in Him I can find everything that I need. This is what the Bible tells us about Jesus: · · · · · · · · · · · · · Romans (3:31-5:21; 6:1-8:39) He is our Righteousness; Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:30) He is our Wisdom and Holiness; Galations (2:20) - He lives within Us; Ephesians (5:27) - He is our Perfecter; Philippians (2:2) - He is the reason for our Joy; Colossians (2:9) - He is the Pre-eminent and All Sufficient One; Thessalonians - He is the Coming King; Hebrews - He is the Superior to all prophets, priests and angels; Peter - He is our Example and our Hope; John - He is the strength Within Us; Revelation - He is the king of kings and Lord of lords; Revelation - and He reigns, and He will reign forever and ever; Revelation - and all praise and honour and glory and power, belong to Him forever and ever.

“And it’s in Him we live, and Him we move and in Him we have our being” Acts 17:28

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When I was commuting backwards and forwards between here and London, I used to praise and worship and pray in the car as I drove. On one Thursday evening, as I was driving home late at night, I was asking “Lord what will it be like when your glory is revealed to all of mankind”. I pondered this question for a while, and then I came to a point on the motorway where the surrounding country was flat, and you could see for miles in every direction. At this point, the Lord touched my imagination. I saw a picture of Jesus riding a white horse in the clouds. Behind him were gathered the heavenly hosts. The skies were ablaze with his glory; it seemed that the whole sky was on fire. And a number of scripture passages were quicken to my mind:
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I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. 12His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no-one knows but he himself. 13He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. 14The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. 15Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron sceptre.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. 16On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16 This is Jesus. This is the source of our strength. He has all the power you need, and we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

Close - The Ten Fingered Prayer Dr Paul Walker met an old lady getting out of a car in the Church car park one Sunday morning. She asked him if he knew that he had angels in the Church. He was a bit bewildered by the question, but she introduced a younger woman from the fellowship, and said “this lady is an angel”. Then she went on to tell her story. She had suffered a severe stroke, and she was paralysed from the neck down. The doctors told her and the family that there was no hope, and that she should be put into a home to die. The family decided that if she was going to die then she would die at home. So she was taken home. All the necessary life support machines were installed, and there were nurses there round the clock. The younger woman was one of those nurses. She taught the old lady the ten fingered prayer. And through the ten fingered prayer the old lady started to talk. They said, well that’s good but you’ll never move; but through the ten fingered prayer she started to move. They said, that’s good, but you’ll never sit up; but through the ten fingered prayer she sat up. They said that’s good, but you’ll never stand up; but through the ten fingered prayer she stood up. They said that’s good, but you’ll never walk; but through the ten fingered prayer she started to walk. She had decided that on the first Sunday after she had started to walk she would come to Church. This was the first Sunday. Paul Walker had to admit that he didn’t know the ten fingered prayer, and so she taught it to him. She held up ten fingers, and she prayed: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”.

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