BEING THANKFUL FOR GOD'S DELIVERANCE
A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS
25 APRIL 1993
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor
1 Corinthians 15:56-57
1 Peter 5:6-11
If we are to be thankful to God for His deliverance, we must first come to understand and appreciate from what we are being delivered.
To enlighten our understanding, let's listen once more to the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:56-57.
56. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;
57. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
The sins in our lives condemn us to death, but the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ cleanses every truly repentant sinner of those sins; thus, we are delivered from eternal death, or hell; and, thus, we should be exceedingly thankful.
But why are we told that the power of sin is the law? I suppose that one would think that the power of sin was with Satan.
The answer is that it is really with both; but each of us plays a part in the things we do, and thus we have a responsibility.
Note what Paul tells us in Romans 5:12-13.
12. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned –
13. for until the Law sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
In other words, you couldn't be convicted of breaking the law, unless there was a law to break.
But once we have a law, such as a speed limit, and we drive faster than the speed limit, we know we are breaking the law, even if we don't get caught.
But this example refers to laws of the land, but the Scriptures are referring to spiritual laws, which we are to apply here on earth.
And unlike having to have a police officer catch us in our violation of the law, God is always aware of our sin.
So, because the law is there to remind us of what we are to do, or not to do, we are without excuse.
But how does the power of Satan come into play?
Note the answer to this question that John received, as recorded in Revelation 12:10-12.
10. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
"Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them before our God day and night.
11. "And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even to death.
12. "For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them. Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he has only a short time."
Now, we must remember that Satan is a liar and a deceiver, and will try to get us to do something against the will of God.
He's the one who whispers in our ears, and tells us that we can speed in our cars and not get caught; but we are the ones who actually do the act of driving faster.
And so it is with every other sin we commit; and once we do it, Satan assumes the role of accuser, and runs off and tells God what we have done.
So that we would fall from God's grace and end up with Satan in hell.
Evil loves company!
There are many people who have the character of the devil, for when they realize that they can't achieve what they want in life in a loving and righteous way, they resort to lies and deception to lead others into the destruction that awaits them.
Recently, we saw this happen in Waco, Texas.
The truth is always there for the wise to discern:
First of all, Jesus Christ will not come again in the body of a human, but will come in His glorified heavenly Person, and set His foot upon the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.
Secondly, true Christians would not stockpile arms and ammunition for defense or aggression, or even for the so-called “sport” of killing, for we are not to kill.
The power of God, the power of His word, and the power of the blood of Jesus Christ can and will protect us from such an evil outcome; that is, if we will use them.
Thus we, who are in reality citizens of heaven but only sojourners on earth, can and should rejoice: for one day the devil will no longer be able to accuse us, and we will never again be tempted.
Isn't this what we pray for in the Lord's Prayer?
“And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Listen to what Jesus said to Peter in Luke 22:31-32.
31. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat;
32. but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers."
Two times Satan asked for permission to sift Job, and God granted it to him each time. (Job 1:6-12, 2:3-7)
6. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.
7. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" Then Satan answered the LORD and said, "From roaming about on the earth and walking around on it."
8. And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil."
9. Then Satan answered the LORD, "Does Job fear God for nothing?
10. "Hast Thou not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land.
11. "But put forth Thy hand now and touch all that he has; he will surely curse Thee to Thy face."
12. Then the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him." So Satan departed from the presence of the LORD.
3. And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to ruin him without cause."
4. And Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
5. "However, put forth Thy hand, now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse Thee to Thy face."
6. So the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your power, only spare his life."
7. Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
It is obvious that Satan got permission to do the same with Simon Peter.
But, did you notice how Jesus prayed for him?
He did not pray that it would not happen or that Satan’s power would fail, but that Peter's faith would not fail.
And Satan, just as obviously, has been given permission to test us as well; and the answer to our prayer, that we not be led into temptation, but be delivered from evil, has been answered in the power of our faith, that it may not fail.
Be thankful that we have this power, and be even more thankful when we remember to use it, and be ecstatic when we see Satan fail because of the power of the Lord within us.
Likewise, remember that if we fall into temptation and evil, our prayers were still answered, but we were the ones who failed to do our part.
And don't forget that true believers can also be delivered from evil through death.
We spend so much of our time worrying about things and what can go wrong, or what has already gone wrong, that we forget that the power of God is within us; and we have the power to overcome such situations and not become part of them.
If others don't want to change their ways, if others want to fall into temptation and live in sin, that is their problem. Just be thankful we have the power of deliverance from such things.
Thank the Lord and pray to Him, as did the psalmist in Psalm 116, for such strength of deliverance. Note the first 4 verses:
1. I Love the Lord, because He hears
My voice and my supplications.
2. Because He has inclined his ear to me,
Therefore I shall call upon Him as long as I live.
3. The cords of death encompassed me,
And the terrors of Sheol came upon me;
I found distress and sorrow.
Does this sound like you at times?
Then remember to do as the psalmist did.
4. Then I called upon the name of the Lord:
"O Lord, I beseech Thee, save my life!"
And the Lord has, if you believe.
Since I know that many of us struggle with this problem, listen to what Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5:6-11, and let his words comfort us, assure us, and strengthen us, just as the Lord told him to do.
And above all, be thankful.
6. Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time,
7. casting all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.
8. Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
9. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.
10. And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
11. To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Your Comments are welcome
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