Below are notes to a sermon preached Sunday morning, May 02, 2004, at Gospel Light Baptist Church, Albany, Georgia.
THE BATTLEFIELD OF FITNESS AND PHYSICAL INFIRMITY
By Michael D. O’Neal Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church Albany, Georgia
Scripture Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:1-11
Text: 2 Corinthians 12:7
2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
Introduction: Salvation is by no effort on man’s part whatsoever; it is the work of God’s marvelous grace. Salvation is received by faith when a sinner relies on the Savior and His work on the cross to pay for his sins and take him to heaven. It’s that simple.
However, the Christian life after conversion, while it is lived by faith, involves works. It involves not only effort, but it is actually a WARFARE.
PREPARE FOR WAR IN 2004! is our motto for the year.
On Sept. 11, 2001 our nation was wounded, and thousands of our citizens were killed by terrorists. Our people went to work that morning, not expecting that we would face people who were planning to murder us.
Likewise, Christians are under attack, and many of them do not even know it! The world, the flesh, and the devil are lying in wait for you, to stop you in your Christian growth and service to God.
One of the areas in which a believer is attacked is that of his physical health.
Paul had a thorn in the flesh. The Bible does not say specifically what it was, but it was some sort of bodily infirmity. He said that it buffeted him. To buffet is to batter, to pound, to beat. He was being struck by this physical problem, which he called the messenger of Satan, just like you would be struck by a club.
I want to point out to you that one of the great arenas of Christian warfare in America is:
THE BATTLEFIELD OF FITNESS AND PHYSICAL INFIRMITY
You may be in good health today. If so, praise the Lord! However, if you live long enough, you will suffer physical problems. You will get sick, you will require medical attention, and you will be in the hospital. It may happen gradually, it may happen suddenly, but it will happen. In those times, Satan will attack you, and he could knock you off track from serving the Lord.
How to win the battle:
I. REQUEST HELP FROM THE LORD
2 Corinthians 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
A. Ask for deliverance
1. Ye have not because ye ask not (James 4:2)
B. Ask for discernment
1. What is the purpose of the infirmity?
2. Am I being chastened?
C. Ask for direction
1. Where do I go from here?
II. REALIZE THAT GOD HAS A PURPOSE
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
A. To refine and purify
1. Job 23:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
2. 1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
B. To remove our pride
1. 2 Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
C. To replace our power with HIS
1. 2 Corinthians 12:9 above
III. RELY UPON GOD’S POWER
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
A. For God’s will FOR you
B. For God’s work THROUGH you
C. For God’s way to be shown IN you
1. The way of His power
2. The way of His peace
3. The way of His cross
Fanny Crosby was blind, but she saw clearly enough to write thousands of hymns that have been used to bless and bring people to the Lord.
C.H. Spurgeon was one of the most popular Baptist preachers of history, yet he had poor health, suffered depression, and had rheumatic gout which took his life at age 57.
Frances Havergal, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, A.B. Simpson and other well known figures of church history suffered with health problems. Yet they
influenced many people for the Lord.
IV. REDEEM THE TIME AND USE YOUR PRESENT HEALTH FOR THE LORD
Ephesians 5:16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
A. Embrace and enjoy the present
1. Don’t live in the past
B. Endure suffering
1. “The days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16) – harmful, destructive
2. Looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2)
C. Enlist in God’s work TODAY!
Michael D. O’Neal (Proverbs 11:30), Pastor, Gospel Light Baptist Church