Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered December 6, 2003 by Pastor Donald J. Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

God is Able

If you would take your Bible and turn to Daniel 3:15-18, I would like to talk to you a little about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They bravely refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar's 90 foot tall image of gold there on the level plain of Dura. Brink's armored guards stood around the solid gold image. A goodly amount of the total gold of Babylon was there in that polished image. They were required to bow down to that image. Great plumes of dark smoke belched forth from the furnace that was prepared for anyone who did not bow down. The showdown came when the enraged king saw these three men refusing to bow, standing tall before the image. He summoned these three renegades and he said, "Now when you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, if you are ready to fall down and worship the image I made, very good. But if you do not worship it, you will be thrown immediately into a blazing furnace. Then what god will be able to rescue you from my hand?"

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." "Our God is going to deliver us, but if He doesn't, we're still committed to serving Him." What a great statement! That's the kind of person I want to be. You know, the fire in their hearts was stronger than the fire in the furnace.

This true story shows that the three Hebrew Worthy's did not bow down. Their feet, their bodies and their arms were wrapped in strong rope, they were thrown into the midst of the blazing furnace, and there, Jesus Himself came and neutralized the power of the flames, and rescued them. In God's sight they were far taller than that gigantic image because they served a God who was able to save them to the uttermost. And, your God is able to save you to the uttermost. You know that their God is the same God that we serve. He's still alive. His power is still just as great as it ever was. Our God is able to deliver, save, overrule, rescue, and spare His people from anything that could possibly harm them.

I heard an interesting story. A World War Two veteran told me this story about a great miracle that happened. From the island of Guam our men boarded a B-29, and several America bombers took off for Japan. One of them went to KO-KU-RA. The sleek B-29 arrived at the site, ready to drop its load of bombs. However, the entire area was obscured with a hundred percent cloud cover. They couldn't see the target. They circled the target for almost an hour, the fuel was running low, and so they diverted to a secondary target. It's such a shame to be over your primary target and not be able to drop your bombs.

Weeks later, the planners of that raid received information that chilled their hearts: Thousands of allied POWs, the largest concentration of Americans in all of Japan had been moved to this exact spot just one week before this bombing. Thousands of America's finest troops were down there praying to God for safety. "Here we were, waiting to drop our bombs, couldn't do it." The secondary target was finally arrived at and it was bombed that day. It was Nagasaki. That's where the second and last atomic bomb was dropped (not in this raid) and ended World War II. I tell you, we serve a God who is able.

Notice how really able our God is. Come over here to 2 Corinthians. Notice how really able our god is. 2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. Isn't that an amazing promise? Our God is really able and is an awesome God.

Our kid sing that song: He is able, He is able. Isn't that a great song? Our God is able. He is able to provide more than we could ever ask for, more than we could ever need! You cannot drain dry God's resources so low but what they are sufficient to help you. Imagine that you are a little fish in the great Tennessee River. Each day you worry that in drinking so many pints of water, you might drink the river dry (Fish do drink water, you know). Then you hear a voice say: "Drink away little fish, My river is sufficient for thee." And it is!

Or Imagine that you are a little mouse in the great granaries of Joseph in Egypt. And each day you think, "I'd better not eat too much. I might exhaust these great granaries here." No way! You hear a little voice that says, "Cheer up little mouse, my corn is sufficient for thee."

God's provisions are far more than our small needs. Imagine you are a preacher. You have been in your church over 16 years (like I have). You worry that you might exhaust the Bible and run out of sermon material. I'm worried about this. But I will tell you now that I am within four years of retirement and only have 150 more times to preach. I'm thinking, "Oh dear, what am I going to have to skip. There's so much here. Each verse says, 'preach me.' I will tell you that there is a vast reservoir in the Scriptures, is there not? God's supply is far greater than our limited need.

Ministry of Healing by Mrs. EG White, page 481, speaks of God's provisions: "In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief.... Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us of which we know nothing." How much do we know about them? A thousand different ways that we know zero about god can provide for your needs.

You may be sitting there listening to this sermon and saying, "All that's okay that you are talking about, but I think God has forgotten my address. He helps all these other people, but I'm haaving some bad problems here. I'm having big troubles and I'm getting no help of any kind. Zero help. My bills are too high. My body is wearing out. I go to the doctor every other day. My kitchen counter has more pill bottles on it than food. Nothing works anymore. I'm in bad pain and disease is eating away the very innards of my life. What About me, Preacher?"

Well, it could be a problem with timing. Did God rescue Jesus from facing the cross? No. Jesus had to die an awful death. Did God eventually reward Jesus for His faithfulness? Yes. Jesus was delivered on resurrection morning. Will God eventually deliver you? Absolutely! You may say, "You mean I have to wait until I die and be resurrected?" Well, for some of you that might be true. It could be. But, God is going to deliver you. It's going to happen. He will eventually absolutely deliver you if you keep trusting in Him. If you don't give up, it' going to happen. Now, you might not be exempted from the or from pain or even some dreaded disease. That could happen to you. But big rescue is coming even if it is on the other side of death. You may say, " Well Jesus, He died, he was back in three days." Well, how soon are you going to be back? It could be three years or how many, we don't know how long. But it will seem like about three seconds. And the next thing you'll see will be Jesus' face. You are going to be saved from it.

"I believe that deep within every crisis lies a seed that if it is properly used, it has the potential to solve the problem. Every problem we face contains the seeds of its own solution. Let's turn that statement around: If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds!" - Norman Vincent Peale. Could that be true? Praise the Lord for problems, right?

Come to Romans 8:28, And we know that... How many things? Can you put the name of your problem right there? If you have cancer, just say, "Cancer works out" for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. Or what ever your problem is; high bills, marriage problems. But you say, "My problems have nothing to do with what you're talking about." Are you sure?

Suffering doesn't make saints out of everybody. Now, I want you to know that. It makes devils out of some. It doesn't make saints out of everybody. And what is the difference as to which your are gong to become: saintly or Satanly? The difference is your trust in God, your relationship with God. Jesus trusted God! And Job said (Job 13:15), "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him." It doesn't matter, does it. Let's keep trusting. That's what makes the difference. That trust that is placed in God, in the God Who is ultimately able to save you.

Saints are those in Romans 4:21 (KJV)...Come over here to Romans 4:21. Here is one definition of a saint: Saints are those who are ...fully persuaded that, what he had promised, He was able also to perform. And you are fully convinced of that. Even though you die, you're still convinced of that. Saints tap into God's abilities, and we have a God Who is able.

Have you noticed that the older your kids get the more they need? When they weree only babies all they needed was a pacifier and a dry diaper and a bit of food in their stomach. That's about it. But as they get older, they have bigger needs. In the beginning it's simple, but age complicates our needs. The older you get, the more needs you have. In the teen years one pair of shoes has to have these electric lights in them you know and all this stuff. The shoe strings cost more than a pair of shoes did in my day. And, there are music lessons, class trips, money for a date, lab fees, tuition, expensive haircuts and on and on. Parents have to say, "Go easy! I'm not made out of money. What do you think I am?".

I've never read in the Bible where God ever told anybody, "Go easy. I don't have very much. I have already strained Myself giving to others, I cannot give as much as you need. I've spent hours answering prayers in South Africa and I can't get to you till January." Have you ever heard God say that to anybody> God is not like that. Our God is able! He has unlimited resources. He is able to perform all that He has promised.

There's a prize of a quotation in the book, Education, p. 258.2 by Mrs. E.G. White: "The gift is in the promise, and we may go about our work assured that what God has promised He is able to perform, and that the gift, which we already possess, will be realized when we need it most."

Paul said in II Timothy 1:12, That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. Paul served a God Who is able. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego served a God Who is able. And you serve a God Who is able. He is able.

There was a chaplain, Captain Johnson, who served in the South Pacific during WWII. He went on a raid with the troops over some enemy occupied islands several hundred miles away. They were successful. They dropped their bombs. But as they flew back to their base the engines on their aircraft began to sputter and quit. They were out of fuel. They managed a safe landing on the wide beach of a strange island. They did not know what island it was. They flew in like a glider. Evidently no one saw them.

It was soon found that the enemy was about a mile down the beach in each direction. And they thought, "It's just a matter of time, and so they began to pray. They were surrounded by the enemy and they were out of gas. They prayed to God. They committed their lives into His hands. Nighttime came. Several were still praying and 2AM one of the men awakened who had fallen asleep and felt a strong compulsion that he should go to the waters edge. And he did. He discovered there a metal float that had drifted up onto the beach. It contained a large quantity of aviation fuel. In a few hours the crew reached their home base in safety.

An investigation later revealed that an American ship had dumped a large amount of their gasoline cargo into the ocean so as to minimize the danger in case of a hit by torpedo. One of those large barrels had drifted 600 miles and beached itself on the very part of the beach that they were at the exact hour the praying men needed it and within 50 steps of where they were slept.

We serve a God Who is able!!!

An older Christian woman began to lose her memory. At one time she had memorized much of the Bible by heart. Eventually as she began to lose her mind as she got older and closer to death, only one verse stayed in her memory. This verse is in II Timothy 1:12 (KJV): ...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. As the weeks went on, she could only remember "That which I have committed to Him." Finally as she was dying, the day of her death, her family noticed her lipmoving and bending down they heard only one word: "Him." That's all she could remember. She had lost the whole Bible. And all she had was "Him." But I think she had the whole Bible in that one word. She hadn't lost Him. And that's what we need.

You need to commit your life to Him because He is able to keep you for all of eternity. He is faithful. God will never let you down. Desire of Ages, p. 244, by Mrs. E. G. White says, "God never leads His children otherwise than they would choose to be led, if they could see the end from the beginning, and discern the glory of the purpose which they are fulfilling as co- workers with Him."

Jude 1:24 (KJV) says, Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling... You know, that little phrase "Him that is able" appears many times in the Bible. That's what I'm basing this sermon on.

There was a long-winded minister preached a sermon. It was so long he almost missed his train- ride home. He just had time to run to the station and jump on the train as the whistle blew. But a young man had followed him. The young man had been in church. He was troubled. He had some problems and he was fighting with some things he could not overcome. He did not have the spiritual power in his life that he wanted. And the young man asked, "How can a fellow keep straight?" The whistle blew again and the mighty steam engine started to move.

The minister jumped on board and went to his seat and opened the window and continued talking with the young man. The young man said, "Tell me, how can I receive the help that I need?" The minister pulled a yellow pencil from his pocket and laid it on the palm of his hand. "Can that pencil stand upright on my hand?" "No, that can't happen." said the young man as he walked beside the window of the train. Then the pastor took the pencil and held it in an upright position in his hand. "Now, can the pencil stand in an upright position?" "Ah, but you are holding it now", said the youth. "Yes I am. Your life is like this pencil in my hand, helpless, but Christ is the hand that is able to hold you."

As the train pulled away, the young man could see the outstretched hand of the pastor holding the pencil upright. Twenty five years later they met in India. The once young man told how from that moment he had trusted his life to Christ and Jesus had upheld him and kept him from falling.

Jude 1:24. Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.

I'm in the process of reading my Bible through. I've been reading in the Old Testament, and I read over and over again here where these Israelites, these stupid Israelites... I shouldn't use the word "stupid." I only use it in reserve, but that's what they were. They would serve the Lord then they would fall back and worship idols. Then they would serve the Lord and be rescued and then they would fall back and worship idols. How bad they were, unintelligent. You know, every time they repented, God rescued them. Every time they depended on Idols, they fell. Why couldn't the get that straight? They were so bad. And yet, that's our problem today. We face all these problems in our lives, and yet, the solution is God. We turn to all these other things. You should go to the doctor. You should do the best for your health. You should eat right. You should exercise. But let's not forget He Who is able. Our God is able to save us. >"...the weakest soul who abides in Christ is more than a match for the hosts of darkness..." - Great Controversy, p.530 by EG White.

I am not able. I try but cannot be good enough to save myself in any situation because my deeds are like filthy rags. I can't save myself. I am weak, but He is strong. He is more than able to meet our needs. Our Savior is more than able to save His children.

Let's turn to our final text in Ephesians 3:20 (KJV). You should have this underlined in your Bible. It's really a beautiful verse. It's really a secret of life. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

He's able, wouldn't you agree? What a mighty God we serve! The secret of life is for you and for me to connect ourselves with the God Who is able. And if we do, we will have success.

Hymn of Praise: #119, Angels from the Realms of Glory
Scripture: Psalm 46
Hymn of Response: #122, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing


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