"THE ALL SUFFICIENT GOD"
I. WHEN ABRAM WAS 99 YEARS OLD, GOD SPOKE TO HIM AND SAID, I AM GOD ALMIGHTY. EL SHADDAI.
A. God established a covenant with Abram. God promised that He would:
1. Multiply his descendants exceedingly.
2. That Abram would be the Father of many nations.
3. That kings would descend from him.
4. That he would be a God to Abram and his descendants.
B. The sign of the covenant was to be the circumcision of every male child on the eighth day after his birth.
C. God told Abram not to call his wife Sarai any longer but Sarah, or princess. For God promised a son through her.
1. Abraham fell on his face and laughed saying, Shall I have a son being 100 years old and Sarah who is 90?
2. God answered "She shall indeed have a son and you are to name him laughter."
D. The name by which God revealed Himself to Abraham was "El Shaddai" The word El in Hebrew is God it literally means strength. The name Shaddai comes from a root word shad which is the word for breast. Hence the idea of nourisher. El Shaddai is translated God Almighty, but a more literal translation would be God All Sufficient.
E. When Paul declares that our sufficiency is of God, he is no doubt thinking of this name of God, El Shaddai, God All Sufficient.
II. Paul has been talking about our lives being an open book or letter of God known and read of all men.
A. You are the only Bible that many people will ever read.
B. They will form their opinions about God from what they observe in you.
C. Your life is turning people on to God, or off from God, for you are God's representative to this world.
1. It has come to our attention that sometimes the ushers are a little harsh as they seek to enforce certain rules that have been set forth here in the church.
2. Sometimes they have made snide or smart remarks.
3. These do not truly reflect what we desire of Calvary Chapel.
a. It is our desire to be known for the love of Christ working in and through the life of the church.
b. It pains whenever we hear of people being offended or hurt by a careless remark.
c. It is not a true representation of my heart.
D. But many of those who were offended were offended because they did not wish to conform to certain rules, and they refused to respond to the requests made to them by the ushers.
E. Many times both parties fail to be real examples of Jesus. A person watching and reading the situation may get a wrong impression of God.
F. This is why Paul asked, "And who is sufficient for these things?"
G. I realize that I am not sufficient. Many times as people read me they get a wrong impression of my Lord.
III. PAUL DECLARED, "NOT THAT WE ARE SUFFICIENT OF OURSELVES."
A. I think that it is very important for all of us to realize that we are not perfect.
1. I know that that is difficult for some of you.
2. When you are as faulty as I am it becomes much easier.
3. When you think that you are perfect, you have no desire to improve. There are some people who feel that they are never wrong, that they have yet to make their first mistake. I have a hard time relating to such people.
a. Paul wrote to the Galatians:
If a man thinks that he is something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.
b. When you recognize your inabilities to be what God desires you to be, you recognize that you must have help, or you can never make it.
4. Here Paul says, "To think anything as of ourselves."
5. The person who says "I can do it any time I want, I don't need any help."
6. There are those who teach that we should look within ourselves for that inward strength. The god in you idea.
a. It has been planted in us from early childhood with the little red "I think I can" train.
b. As we became adolescents we were introduced to the poem by Edward Guest. They said it couldn't be done But he with a chuckle replied, That maybe it couldn't, but he would be one Who wouldn't say so till he'd tried. So he buckled right in with a trace of a grin, On his face, if he worried, he hid it. He started to sing as he tackled the thing, That couldn't be done, and he did it.
c. I read a parody on the poem which I could relate to. The poem was the same till the last line which read: That couldn't be done, and you know what? it couldn't
d. In High School they required us to read Invictus Out of the night that covers me, William Henley Black as the Pit from pole to pole, I thank whatever gods may be For my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Under the bludgeonings of chance My head is bloody but unbowed. Beyond this place of wrath and tears Looms but the Horror of the shade, And yet the menace of the years Finds and shall find me unafraid. It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
e. I like much better what Dorothea Day wrote, in the verse called, My Captain.
Out of the light that dazzles me,
Bright as the sun from pole to pole,
I thank the God I know to be
For Christ the conqueror of my soul.
Since He controls my circumstance,
I would now wince nor cry aloud,
Under His rule which men call chance
My head with joy is humbly bowed.
Beyond this place of sin and tears
That life with Him, and with His aid,
Despite the menace of the years,
He keeps my soul, I'm unafraid.
I have no fear, though strait the gate
He cleared the punishment from the scroll.
Christ is the Master of my fate,
Christ is the Captain of my soul.
III. OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD.
A. Look at how limited our self sufficiency is.
1. We do not have to go very far until we recognize our limits.
2. How many people have fallen and are being held by the power and grip of sin today.
3. They have tried their best to quit, they have promised, cried, resolved, only to go right back to the sin that is destroying them.
B. When your sufficiency is of God, there is no limit to your power.
1. He is the all sufficient God. Sufficient for anything and everything I might ever face in this life or the life to come.
2. His grace has no measure, His love has no limits, His power has no boundaries known unto man, for out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.
C. When God called Moses to go to the Pharaoh and demand the release of the Israelites from Egypt. Moses objected and declared that he was not eloquent. He was slow of speech and had a slow tongue God responded who made man's mouth. He said, go, and I will be with your mouth. God's answer to his insufficiency was His all sufficiency.
D. When God called Jeremiah to go and prophesy to the nation of the coming judgment, Jeremiah responded, "Ah Lord God, I cannot speak I am only a child." God's response was, "Don't be afraid, for I am with you and I will deliver you." To Jeremiah's misgivings because of his insufficiency, God promised His all sufficiency.
E. God is calling all of us to live a life of victory that will bear witness to men of His love, grace and goodness. Many of us as Moses and Jeremiah are saying, "Ah Lord God, I cannot do it." But He promises that His sufficiency will more than compensate for our insufficiency.
F. Jesus said, "Without Me, you can do nothing." You are insufficient for the task.
G. Paul said, "I can do all things through Christ which strengeneth me."
H. As we read this morning in Isaiah,
He giveth power to the faint; and to [them that have] no might he increaseth strength.
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.
Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
I. My insufficiency should never be used as an excuse for indolence. I can't just lie back and say, Okay God, you do it all. I must step out in faith to do it, knowing that I can't do it by myself, but trusting in His all sufficiency to make up for my insufficiency knowing that His strength will be made perfect in my weakness, believing that I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.