Nevertheless God Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge [14/04/2019 AM]
Always the greater!
2 Corinthians 7:5-6 (NIV)
5 For when we came into Macedonia, we had no rest, but we were harassed at every turn—conflicts on the outside, fears within. 6 But God, who comforts the downcast, comforted us by the coming of Titus.
- God’s BUT is always bigger than any situation you face.
- Last week Pastor Kerrin brilliantly conveyed the principle of whatever is happening, whatever fears beset us, we need to be ready for the “Nevertheless God” interruption.
- The analogy of the Christian life being like a theme park ride…… we take the ride called “ the Christian life” for the excitement it brings, not to be religiously bored on our way to heaven.
- In the park but not living the life, is like regularly sitting in Church and not living the excitement of the faith life.
- “Only in the park, but not of the park”.
- In the Kingdom, but not living the Kingdom life.
- The Christian life is challenging, unpredictable, confusing, peaceful, emotion filled, celebratory, life changing.
Deuteronomy 29:29 (NLT)
29 The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.
- Excitement is building in the Church of God. We are seeing souls saved every week at Connect Church and the vision for the future is unfolding.
- The enemy hates you getting into the Christian Life. He wants you to be into boring religion.
- God’s favour is incredible. It is faith stretching and in God’s healing power we need to see our Never the less God moments.
- The Bendigo Bank believes in Chaplaincy and supports Bruce in his work.
- The Bank has offered Bruce an office where the staff can have someone to share their problems.
- Exciting things are unfolding in the Church.
- Part of God’s favour that will lead to miracles of healing power.
- We need a Never the less God moment in our lives.
Acts 16:16-40 (NIV)
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a female slave who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
19 When her owners realised that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.”
22 The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. 23 After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24 When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptised. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
35 When it was daylight, the magistrates sent their officers to the jailer with the order: “Release those men.” 36 The jailer told Paul, “The magistrates have ordered that you and Silas be released. Now you can leave. Go in peace.”
37 But Paul said to the officers: “They beat us publicly without a trial, even though we are Roman citizens, and threw us into prison. And now do they want to get rid of us quietly? No! Let them come themselves and escort us out.”
38 The officers reported this to the magistrates, and when they heard that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, they were alarmed. 39 They came to appease them and escorted them from the prison, requesting them to leave the city. 40 After Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and sisters and encouraged them. Then they left.
- The devil seduces people away from the truth.
- The result of Paul and Silas praising God in the darkness of the prison was the beginning of the push of the Christian Church into Europe.
- Sometimes you have to initiate something then God’s presence is there.
- Paul and Silas, in the darkest of dark places, praised God. Their praise brought in the presence of God.
- Never the less God addressed the issue regardless of the cost – demonic spirit which inhabited the slave girl.
We learn from this passage to:
1. Address the issue regardless of the cost
- Some life issues happen to us while others we need to initiate.
- Even in the midst of situations that we have no control over, the first faith step is ours.
- NRL star Israel Folau has addressed an issue that he feels very strongly about despite the fact that it will cost him around $4 million.
- George Müller founded orphanages which reached 10,000 children.
- George and 300 hungry children prayed and gave thanks when they had nothing to eat.
- A Baker was moved to bring loaves of bread and a Milkman’s cart broke down in front of the Orphanage and so bought the children milk.
- George made sure that when the children left the Orphanage he sent them out with a Bible in the left hand and a coin in the right hand.
- He explained to the young person that if they held onto what was in their right hand, God would always make sure there was something in their left hand as well.
- Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus. That statement began the Civil Rights movement.
- Never the less – God.
- Being bold enough to take the first step and address an issue often starts the excitement!!
2. Praise regardless of the situation. (vs 25)
- All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing.
- We need to understand that the enemy wants to confuse people. He is concerned about people finding out THE TRUTH about God.
- The devil knows the power of the Word of God.
- Heresy comes from misunderstanding alliance.
- Be alert as believers that we understand THE TRUTH.
- Address the issue – what have you got in your hand?
- Put it into God’s hands.
- Expect that He will create miracles like the loaves and fishes.
- We love to be spectators. God wants YOU to be His Heroes.
- William Wilberforce
- Hudson Taylor
- Mother Teresa
- Trust that God will come through with a Never the less God moment.
- Initiate your actions and pray.
- Praise God whereever you are.
- BUT GOD.
- Be assured that something will happen.
- Have a spirit of praise.
- Never the Less God moments have nothing to do with the darkness you are in.
3. EXPECT a never the less moment
- Paul and Silas knew that something would happen – a Never the less God moment.
Romans 5:1-5 (NIV)
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.
- In the middle of the darkness Paul and Silas expected God to do something.
- Their lives were like a Roller Coaster ride because they decided to do the ride as God intended.
4. Embrace the big picture of what God is doing
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.
- Everybody’s chains came loose.
- Paul and Silas’ actions impacted the jailer, his family, the Romans, the magistrates.
- We need to constantly hear God’s voice.
- God’s intervention is not about you.
- God’s plan is far bigger than we know.
- Be ready to share your faith when people see God at work in your life.
- Hundreds and thousands of people will be impacted.
- Address the injustices.
- Trust God and see what He will do.
As Believers we need to:
- Be involved.
- Praise God regardless of your situation
- People will be affected by your testimony
- Live pregnant with hope
- Expect God to intervene supernaturally
- Hope keeps your faith alive
- God’s got a much bigger plan
- Praise Him in your darkness
- We need to give God what’s in our hand and expect a Never the less moment!
Suggestions for Discussion Questions
- Can you see exciting things unfolding in the Church?
- Sometimes you have to initiate something. Are you prepared for that?
- Can you praise God regardless of your situation?