I want to speak with you this morning about power failure. I like power. Anything to do with power just really impresses me. Big engines, massive motors. As a boy I found myself going through the Sears and Roebuck spending a long time looking at the motor page. Horsepower! I like bulldozers, tractors, water wheels, windmills, generators, locomotives, big steam engines, generators... the list goes on and on. I'm a little guy and power is just awesome. Big things impress me. I like power! That is one of many reasons why I like Jesus. I love Jesus. His incomparably awesome and great power is better yet because it is available to me! You know, as a boy looking at those catalogues, living on an allowance of ten cents a week, I could never afford one of those motors. But I can afford Jesus! Because it is free. His power is available to me. It's free. His mighty strength can be mine. And his mighty strength can be yours.
I am weak, but I will tell you He is strong. What a great and awesome Savior we have! Praise God! Power is great. But there is one problem with power....it can fail. Have you ever had a power failure? You car runs out of gas. You're dead on the water or the asphalt or someplace. Power can run out. The electric line can go down in a storm. Can God's power fail? Can you experience a power failure of God? Well, His power won't fail, but, as a Christian your connection to Jesus Christ can fail, I can tell you that.
I would like to make a proposition to you, that all Christians, and that includes you, that all Christians can avoid a spiritual power failure in their life. And I'm going to tell you how to do it. You can get victory over that evil habit, that sin in your life, whatever it is. You can get the victory over that through the mighty power of Jesus Christ. You can do that! You can avoid power failure and experience the power of God in your life by practicing ten Bible principles that I am going to list for you today: How you can be victorious in life.
1. Recognize that within yourself, there is no power.
You can't do it on your own, ok? You may say "well I don't have power in my life." Well, I know you don't. We don't have power in our life. We have no spiritual power in ourselves. We are weak. But praise be to Jesus Christ; He is strong. Let look in our Bibles at 2 Corinthians 12:9: But he said to me, "My grace is enough for you. When you are weak, My power is made perfect in you." We are weak, aren't we? We need to recognize that we are weak and that He is powerful. This is a key factor. One of the very criteria for experiencing God's power in your life is the recognition that you are weak. You don't have it. So don't try it on your own. Don't go out there and do hand-to-hand combat with the devil because you will loose. You don't have that power. We are about as helpless as a sea weed that is tossed up on the hot, dry sandy beach. We just can't do it. Jesus said in Mark 10:18 (NIV), No one is good--except God alone. Nobody! We don't have that power.
2. Know that Jesus is your source of power.
Recognize that. Number one was "You don't have any power." Number two is "Know that Jesus is your source of power." Mat 28:18. And Jesus came to them and said, "All power in heaven and earth is given to Me. All Power! Jesus has all power! Jesus is a very powerful being. Swe need to recognize that. He is the engine of the universe. "All power is given unto me..." He is omnipotent! He has a monopoly on power. You can tap into the great powerhouse of the universe if you can tap into Jesus. And, can you tap into Jesus? Yes you can. His power is available to you.
Look at Col 1:11. God will strengthen you with his own great power so that you will not give up when troubles come, but you will be patient. God will strengthen you! With His great power, with His awesome power, you can have the power of God in your life. You can experience the Power of God in your life and he has promised to strengthen you and to give you that power.
3. Receive Jesus Christ as Your Personal Savior.
In order for you to experience the power of God in you life, you need to receive Jesus Christ as your personal savior. You just have to do that. Look at John 1:12 in your New Testament. This speaks about how we get the power. John 1:12 (KJV). But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. Now what do we have to do to get that power? We have to receive Jesus Christ, receive him as your personal Savior. "As many as received him, He gave power to become. If you want to become on this level, and you want to become something great on a higher level, to be mighty for God, He will give you power to become. He can do that! And only He can do that.
Jesus is like a 1000 megawatt power station, a power plant. Here in Chattanooga we are connected to the Tennessee Valley Authority grid. And TVA works really well until the wind blows or the ice comes or the snow falls. And then what happens? Well you know. Some of you went through the super-storm of '93. We were without electricity. And the electricity goes off a lot. But with Jesus no tree limb can fall down breaking that connection. Why is that? It is because of the location of the power. Where is the power? It is not a Sequoia power plant. It's not some other plant. The power of Jesus Christ is actually within your heart! No tree limb can separate you from it, because it is in here. You understand that? There will be no power failure when you have Jesus Christ in your heart. It's impossible to have a failure.
Martin Luther was asked how he overcame the devil. He said, "When Satan comes knocking at my heart's door, he asks, 'Who lives here?' And Jesus goes and answers the door and says, 'Martin Luther used to live here but now I live here. And I am Jesus.' And then the devil goes away."
So, if you want power in your life, invite Jesus in to your heart. No amount of steam will drive a steam engine until it is confined within a boiler under great pressure. All the water of Niagara Falls will never generate even one watt of electricity is tunneled and contained under great pressure. No amount of Gasoline will run your automobile until that gasoline is contained. Not until that small drop of Gasoline is confined within the cylinder of the engine will it exhibit its potential power.
Now let's continue with that thought. Jesus is the most powerful force in the universe. But not until Jesus is confined within your Heart will you experience true power. That is why we preachers keep telling you, "You've got to have Jesus inside your heart." Invite Him in to your life. And how do you get Jesus in your heart?
4. Ask for God's Power.
Matthew 26:41. "Stay awake and pray for strength against temptation. The spirit wants to do what is right, but the body is weak." So, we need to pray. And, praying, we're asking the Lord for strength. Ask Him for strength and he will give you strength.
And when we are too busy to pray, therefore we are too busy to have power in our life. Spiritual power won't come unless you are a person of f prayer. It just won't happen. We have all the materials for a great spiritual Christian life, but we have a very little fruit. We have lots of activity, but very little spiritual growth. Maybe we should stop the hubbub and get on our knees and ask God for strength or spiritual power. Invite Jesus' power to come into your heart. Ask Him for strength and he will give you that strength.
5. Make Jesus the Foundation of All that you Do.
Now, if you're going to have true spiritual power in your life, then you need to have Jesus as the platform of your whole experience. You're not in this world to gain money. You're not in this world to have self-importance. You're in this world for Jesus. Make Him the foundation of all that you do. Look at Acts 4:13 (NIV). When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. Make Jesus the focus of your life. Make Him tghe foundation of all that you do. They were vastly different because they had been with Jesus
One day the nine disciples (three were with Jesus) tried and tried to cast a demon and they couldn't do it. The boy was in epileptic fits all the time. Why couldn't they do it? Well, their faith in Jesus had gone flat like a tire. They just didn't have it any more. Matthew 17:19,20. Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." So, make Jesus the foundation of all that you do.
6. Recognize your Enemy.
Corrie Ten Boom said, "The first step on the way to victory is to recognize the enemy." Who is our enemy? Satan? Yes. But possibly even more so, there is another enemy just as effective as the devil. Let me throw out a proposal to you. J. W. Henson were talking about this.
What if the devil died at 11:45 PM tonight. The devil is dead. And all his evil angels died? What if... Would our spiritual life be easier? So, you say yes, "It surely would." Are you sure that it would be easier?
There would still be funerals. There would still be floods, tornadoes, car crashes, heart attacks. Houses would still burn down or get eaten up with termites. We would still smash our thumb with the hammer. Pollution would still poison our world. Would temptation cease? Would all of us who struggle with our weight suddenly stop eating potato chips?
So what would actually change? Perhaps very little. We don't really need a personal devil, because the truth is that we furnish our own. Now, hear me through on this. The devil gets way too much credit for the evil that man generates through himself. We are little evil ones ourselves. Something happened there in that tranquil Garden of Eden that made man a genetic sinner. You can read this in the Bible in James 1:14 (NIV) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. What draws him away? The devil? No, he's actually drawn away of his own lust. You do it yourself. Temptation is locked into our DNA and can only be removed when the Lord comes. For then ... in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. (1 Corinthians 15:51,52 NIV) At the last trup we're going to be changed. And until then, we are genetic sinners. We do not need a personal devil. What we need is a personal Savior. (See J. W. Henson, Thoughts "of Good and Evil")
It is true that the devil is our enemy. Now, I want you to understand that. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the devil is real, he is alive, and he adds to the complication of temptation of course, but we ourselves are often just as much or more so involved in our own personal spiritual ruination. It's our problem because we are drawn away by our own lust, and enticed. We have met the enemy and the enemy is us!
There was a man who went on a diet. "You gotta lose some weight!" He was so serious about the diet that he even changed the route that he drove his car to work so that he would not pass the donut shop. But, one morning he came in the office carrying a dozen fresh hot donuts. And, everybody said, "I thought you were on a diet. I thought you were not going to eat any more donuts." He said, "Well, God must have wanted me to have these donuts this morning, because I accidentally drove by the bakery and the sign said: 'Hot Now!' And I just had to pull in. And I prayed, 'Lord, if you want me to have a fresh delicious donut, help me to find an empty parking space right in front of the donut shop. It's up to you, Lord.' And lo and behold, the seventh time I drove around the donut shop, there was an empty space just for me! So I brought a dozen."
Do you understand we need to protect ourselves from ourselves. We don't need a personal devil, we need a personal Savior. Do you know what part of yourself is the most dangerous? It's your thoughts.
There is a famous scene in Peter Pan. Peter pan is in the children's bedroom. They have already seen him fly and they want to fly. They practiced flying and it doesn't work. They tried jumping off the bed and it doesn't work. And they wished they could fly, but all their efforts result in failure. Finally John said, "How do you do it?" And Peter Pan answered: "You just think lovely, wonderful thoughts and they lift you up in the air." Well, there is some truth to that. If you think nasty, lustful, evil thoughts, they will drag you down. And if you think noble, heavenly thoughts of Jesus, they will lift you up. We are no more than what we think about every day. The only way to defeat evil thoughts in your mind is to replace them with good thoughts.
You see, the mind is a garden that could be cultivated to produce the harvest that we desire. The mind could be likened to a workshop where the important structure of life and eternity are fabricated. The mind could be likened to an armory where we forge the weapons for our victory or our destruction. The mind could be likened to a battlefield where all the decisive battles of life are either won or lost in the mind . When did Adam first sin?
If we can extend the analogy of power a little bit further: let's suppose Jesus is our 1000 megawatt power station. Let's assume that. And He's putting out 1 million volts of electricity. Would that be helpful to us? Well, it might not. If every receptacle in your house had one million volts and you plugged in your toaster, would that be good? No. We would need 120 volts to run our light bulbs or else we would need light bulbs that required a million volts to operate.
In the spiritual realm, do we need a transformer to step God's power down to our level, or do we ourselves need to be transformed up to His level? Well, the bible answers that question in Romans 12:2 (NIV). Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. How do you get that transforming power? By renewing your thoughts, your mind. So, we don't want to change God's power and transform it down to our level, what we want to do, we want to change our potential so that we can fit in with His awesome power. And we want to be transformed. By changing our thoughts we elevate our potential for using God's mighty power.
7. Give your new energy to His Service.
Now, you may say, "How does that help me to get more power in my life?" Well, Matthew 10:5-13 - Jesus sent out the 12 disciples. And, more power comes when you use the power you have for God's work. By using God's power and energy for others you will have more power for yourself. When you help someone else you help yourself. If you use the power that you have in God's work, and by using God's power and His energy to help others, you are going to have more power and more spiritual strength in your life. When you help somebody else, you help yourself. You've all heard these stories about snow storms, how somebody goes out and they're about to die and they discover some other person that's about to die and they help him, and they help themselves in the process. Both are saved.
8. Try hard! Give it your Best.
Mark 12:30 (NIV). Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. We've got to try. It's not going to be easy. If you want to have victory in your life, then you have to try. Every day Jesus stands knocking at our heart's door. Every day we must reconnect to God's power. You must invite Him into your heart every day. You can't just do it once. You may say, "Back in 1982 I invited Him into my life." No! You've got to do it every day. Just because you ate supper yesterday does not mean you will be strong today. Our spiritual being is like our physical body again. Every day we must take on a new allotment of fuel. Every day we must invite Jesus into our heart. This requires daily effort. Daily commitment. We find victory only as we starve the old nature and we keep feeding the new nature. That's how we get victory.
You see, different behavior will never come by indifferent effort. We must have hard stern efforts with self. Tough, rigid strict struggles, never quit trying. "A noble, all-round character is not inherited. It does not come to us by accident. A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected." - EG White, Christ's Object Lessons, p. 331.1 Never quit trying. The last shot may give us the victory. Resist for 5 more minutes. This is often the difference between defeat and victory. Hebrews 12:3 Do not get tired and stop trying. Try hard.
9. Visualize Yourself as Being Victorious.
Think about yourself as being a victorious person, a person with spiritual strength in your life. On one occasion Michelangelo turned to his fellow artists and said with frustration in his voice, "Why do you keep filling gallery after gallery with endless pictures on the one theme of Christ in weakness, Christ on the cross, and most of all, Christ hanging dead?" he asked. "Why do you concentrate on the passing episode as if it were the last work, as if the curtain dropped down there on disaster and defeat? That dreadful scene lasted only a few hours. But to the unending eternity Christ is alive; Christ rules and reigns and triumphs!"
Michelangelo was right. Even though the cross is vitally important because of the redemption Jesus accomplished for us there, we must not emphasize His death to the exclusion of His resurrection victory. We should think of Him now in His glorified state in heaven. Picture the all powerful Christ on His Eternal Throne.
Think of yourself a winner against temptation. Philippians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ, because He gives me strength.
10. Be Alert and be Vigilant.
1 Peter 5:8. Control yourselves and be careful! The devil, your enemy, goes around like a roaring lion looking for someone to eat.
So watch the little things. One day last month about half a mile from our house a large pine tree 2 feet in diameter fell down with a crash. It down the power line with it and out electricity went off. We had a power failure. So, I went over to that pine tree and looked at it. I found out that there was no wind that morning. No car crashed into the tree. It just toppled down. There was no wind and no earthquake. WHY did it fall? I examined the tree only to discover that thousands of carpenter ants had made a home in it's heart. I suppose one day an ant began to chew a small hole that eventually opened a passage way for many others to enter. Pretty soon the tree was eaten out and finally that mighty tree fell. When it fell, it cut off my electricity.
I will tell you that in life, power failure starts with a small lie or like that ant getting into that tree, a small drink of beer, or forsaking church attendance for the wooded trail or the TV. Long before our feet carry us where we ought not to go a small thought has taken root in our heart. Quickly nip that evil thought. Hide God's word in your heart which will make it sin proof. Psalm 119:11. I have taken your words to heart so I would not sin against you.
Don't go one inch down the path of a bad life, but go toward Jesus. Our life is like a fresh new sheet of paper. You've noticed that it is much easier to tear a piece of paper along the line in which it has originally been folded. Keep your paper as crisp and new as possible. If you never turn on that pornographic site the first time, the temptation will not be much to resist it tomorrow. Each fold in our sheet of paper makes a power failure more inescapable.
Are you an overcome or an overcoming Christian? You can experience power in your life by these ten steps. Ask God to prevent power failure in your life and give you the horsepower of His mighty Strength. And He will do it. And you can live the Christian life. But it takes time to be holy. It takes time to spend with Jesus.
Hymn of Praise: #11 The God of Abraham Praise Scripture: Mt. 17:19, 20 Hymn of Response: #500 Take Time to be Holy
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last updated July 11, 2004 by Bob Beckett.