Sermons of David Chadwell
THE WAR AND ME
Click here to listen to this sermon read by Greg McAbee.
Failed expectations are the graveyard of personal faith. When
Christians look for the reasons [there are more than one!] that the conversion
rate is lower than it was fifty years ago or the church is not growing as it did
fifty years ago, they tend to blame everything but themselves. They see evil
ghosts lurking behind every bush. They blame a society that no longer favors
expressions of Christian faith. They blame changes in social views. They blame
the justice system. They blame globalization. They blame radical conservatives.
They blame radical liberals. They long for the past and seek to revive it.
They fear the future and the additional changes it will bring. As they cry about
change and blame everything that frightens them, the one thing they never blame
In the past Christians counted on their children becoming "the next congregation
of Christians." No more.
Why? Again, the are many contributing reasons. Those reasons include: the
destabilization of marriage so some parents inconsistently behave one way in
private and another way in public; the disassociation of the family unit--the
family rarely spends time together as they learn to enjoy each other [everyone
is busy doing "my own thing"]; the desire to follow a path that produces what
"I" define to be pleasure; the surrender to material ambitions; the conviction
that the most powerful influence in life is money; the tendency to regard
Christianity as a religion of habits rather then a life; the substitution of
faith in Jesus or God for faith in a movement; the death of faith.
There are many reasons for this enormous generational transition. Those just
mentioned are some of the more obvious factors. May I focus you on a cause that
I regard to be in my top five reasons for so many children rebelling against the
convictions of their parents. That reason is failed expectations.
Faith in God does not produce the results that Christians often say it will.
When something wonderful happens, we quickly call it a miracle and cite the
happening as proof of divine intervention. When something terrible happens, we
often ask, "Why? Why did God refuse to act on my behalf?" We go into shock when
bad things happen to people we regard as good people.
Expect Satan to be angry with your faith in Jesus Christ. Never blame God for
the work of Satan. Never expect God to do for you what He never promised. Always
know God will never abandon you. Try to constantly see God at work, and when you
do not see it, never doubt that He is at work.
- May we begin with Jesus at the end of his earthly life.
- Matthew 26:36-46 gives an account of Jesus' Gethsemane prayers he prayed just
before his arrest.
- Basically, he prayed the same request three times--persistence.
- His request was simple: "If there is a way to achieve Your will without my
having to die, please go the other way; but your will be done."
- Please understand this is a request made by an obedient son to his Father.
- This is a request made by a son who always did as his Father requested (see John
5:19; 6:38; 8:28; 12:49, 50; 14:10; etc.).
- This is a son who also prayed a lot (see Mark 13:5; Matthew 9:18, 28 14:23; Luke
- I doubt that anyone of us would think that his or her faith in God even compared
to Jesus' faith in God.
- God can answer our prayers in at least one of three ways.
- He can grant our request.
- This is our preference.
- We typically regard our desire as "the best way to go" when we urgently pray
about a matter.
- He can give us the strength to cope with the situation.
- When we cope, our lives continue as if the problem did not exist.
- We feel the irritation and inconvenience of having the problem, but our lives do
not reflect the problem.
- He can give us the strength to endure the problem.
- When we endure the problem, the problem generates situations that change our
- He gave Jesus the strength to endure his arrest and death.
- He gave Paul the strength to endure his thorn though this miracle worker asked
three times for the thorn to be removed (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
- Commonly, we are not wise enough to know what is in the best interest of our
- Many American Christians are prone to see only the immediate rather than the
- Many of us react to the inconvenience of the moment thinking only of the
material rather than the spiritual.
- God took the horrors of Jesus' crucifixion and sealed the defeat of evil plus
guaranteed all blessings found in Jesus--God took a crucifixion and made an
- Are you not grateful for all God does through Paul's writings?
- God did not respond as they requested, but He responded.
- Their ultimate best interest resulted from His response.
- The irony to me is this:
- Christianity is founded upon suffering from its very beginning.
- Jesus predicted that faith in him would result in unthinkable suffering and
rejection in Matthew 10:34-39.
- While Christ extends internal peace to those who struggle inwardly (Matthew
11:28-30), accepting his peace may result in external hardships!
- It certainly did among the first century Jews!
- It also created stern reactions from first century idol worshippers! (see Acts
- The peace is real and internal, but the suffering took the forms of rejection,
persecution, injustice, and hostility [including martyrdom] (see Hebrews
- Death was often the price of faith.
- Christianity is founded on the death and resurrection of Jesus!
- Stephen was martyred (Acts 7:58-60).
- James was executed with the sword (Acts 12:2).
- Historical records indicate all the apostles but John died violent deaths.
- Paul certainly anticipated execution (2 Timothy 4:6-8)
- Have you read 2 Corinthians 11:23-33 lately?
- Revelation indicates the Christians in Asia Minor questioned the survival of
Christianity because opposition was so severe.
- The irony: how can American Christians expect Christianity to be a religion that
does not experience struggle when it began and spread by Christians' reaction to
- Are we more concerned about our physical desires than about our eternal
- Do we want God to yield to our material desires if it would cost us our eternity
- Do we not realize how determined Satan is to cause us physical hurt because we
choose to reject him and find hope in Jesus?
- Satan is no amateur!
- None of us are a match for him if we seek to oppose him alone!
- It seems he is continually confronting us and asking, "Do you trust Jesus this
- Though Satan opposes us, God will always be there for us.
1 John 4:4 (in context)
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He
who is in you than he who is in the world.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 (in context)
No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is
faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but
with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be
able to endure it.
- Romans 8:28-39 (in context)
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who
love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He
foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so
that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He
predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and
these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these
things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son,
but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us
all things? Who will bring a charge against Gods elect? God is the one who
justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather
who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who
will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or
persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written,
For Your sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as
sheep to be slaughtered. But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer
through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor
angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us
from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- God can use anything Satan does to us for our eternal salvation!
- We are God's property--He will take care of us eternally!
- Satan cannot accuse us as He did Job!
- We cannot, without our consent, be taken from God's love!
- 1 John 1:9 (in context)
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and
to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
- Our salvation is not without opposition, but it is ours by God's promise if we
keep our faith in Jesus Christ.
- The how do I prepare for opposition from Satan?
- I grow in awareness of where the opposition can originate.
- Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against
the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual
forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.
- I do not expect life to be easy if I place it in Jesus Christ!
- I prepare for the onslaughts of Satan.
- Ephesians 6:13
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in
the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.
- I expect Satan to attack me, cause me pain, and test my commitment to Jesus
- I am personally serious about my devotion to Christ.
- Ephesians 6:18
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in
view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints,
- I am not in this battle alone! The rest of the family also faces opposition!
- Never is there any question of where my loyalty lies.
sermon posted 6 February 2007
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