Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Faint Not

I wrote and delivered this sermon at the last Youth Sunday my church had. I was so glad when it came together so seamlessly as God guided me through my studies. I hope you gather from it as much as I did.

In our Christian walk it can get very difficult to actually be a Christian. This is expected; nowhere in God’s word does He say anything like “Serving Me will be easy.” In fact, many followers of Christ endured many hardships. Paul, for example gives a sort of synopsis in II Corinthians 11:23-33 of all of his sufferings:

Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labour more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent in deaths oft. . .

I won’t read the entire passage, but he goes on to describe the hunger, the beatings, the stoning, he went through. Today many Christians around the world suffer these same trials and I believe they make it through each one with constant encouragement from the Lord. He didn’t just put in his Word how to become his child and then say, “Well, good luck, see you in Heaven.” No, he gave us many words of encouragement and comfort and reasons to keep contending for the faith. II Corinthians 7:5, 6 says:

For, when we were come into Macedonia our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears. Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus.

That tells me that God is there to comfort us even when everything inside and outside of us is in chaos. Also, God knows it’s hard, and in his wisdom he gives us these words through Paul from I Corinthians 15:58:

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

You don’t work in vain church. Even during these trying times when America is falling away from the righteous principles that made it great in the first place, God is still working. According to a recent The Voice of the Martyrs newsletter, an estimated 100 million unregistered Christians are living in China. What’s even more awesome about this is the fact they outnumber the 73 million members on the Communist Party in that same country. This brings me to Galatians 6:9 where Paul writes:

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Judging from the article I read recently, the Christians in China are definitely laboring in well-doing. Despite their oppression in a country that considers them criminals, they still work to bring the good news of salvation to others. This verse also reminds me of a saying my mother would tell me that her father told her. “You can’t get tired.” If I complained about being sick of school and tired of this, that, and the other thing she’d say, “You can’t get tired.” As I was writing this message to bring to you all I realized how much that can apply to our Christian walk. We can’t get tired church, not when a dying world needs to hear about the liberating, infinite, true God. II Chronicles 5:7 says:

Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded.

Again, you can’t get tired. You can’t let weakness over take you and whether you actually get to see it while you’re living on earth or not, you will be rewarded. In the Christian fight the end certainly justifies the means. The means being the persecution, suffering, and trials we have to go through. One last verse I would like to speak on that I believe has some very fundamental, but profound truth and encouragement. Actually, it’s my favorite verse, Romans 12:21:

Be not overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.

I find this verse most encouraging because it basically tells me that evil can be overcome. It’s not an invincible enemy despite its prominence. Sometimes I think we forget that. In closing, church, don’t faint; don’t get tired, because you do not work in vain. Evil is not an indestructible enemy as long as you stay in prayer and stay in God’s Word.