Under Pressure

Under Pressure

2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Mosaic Rockford – Dave Spooner – Nov. 25th, 2018

 

Intro:

  • Our text this morning is 2 Corinthians, chapter 1, verses 8-11. Please open your bible and turn to this passage with me. Today I am reading from the NIV.

 2 Cor 1:8-9a NIV

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our strength to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. 

  • Paul and his companions had just endured an excruciating time of life and ministry in the province of Asia. There is debate as to what exactly Paul was referring to, but you can take your pick between riots, death threats, beatings, imprisonment, hunger, sickness, lies, labors, concerns, toils, hardships, persecutions, etc. (see 2 Cor. 11:23-29) Any way you look at it, it was a very difficult time- full of pressure, complications, humiliations and difficulties. So much so that they did not have the strength to endure it, they hated even life itself, and felt like they were given a sentence of death.
  • Have you ever felt that way? That life was just too much for you? That it seemed like it was one problem after another, and the harder you worked the faster the issues plied up. Like you were working on a conveyor belt and the items just kept coming faster and faster and you could not keep up.
  • I think we have all felt this kind of pressure: that we could not keep up. Will you face things in life that are more than you? Yes, you will. In fact, Jesus warned us that this would happen. He told us that in this world you will have trouble, and we can say “amen” to that. Welcome to the way of the world.
  • Why does this happen? As children of God, why does He allow this to happen? The answer comes in the next verse: 

2 Cor 1:9b NIV

But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  

  • So, there you go. These things happen so we will not rely on ourselves, but on God who raises the dead. Why is this necessary? Because we are so prone to overestimate our strength and our glory. We think that we can do it, so we try, but we fail. God at times need to get us to come to the end of ourselves so that we will finally understand that we are not enough, and we cannot do enough. There is only one Savior. There is only one Messiah. There is only One who has all power and glory, and that is not us. God must get us to come to the end of ourselves so that we will turn to Him. He must wear down our pride so we learn to depend on Him and live in His power. So, here is what you need to do when you are “under pressure” when you are overwhelmed so you can overcome:

Number 1: Rely on God

  • You can handle all that is put on you and all that is coming at you. No matter how high capacity you are, you can handle it. Even the apostle Paul came to the end of himself. So, the smartest and most mature people start with that thought in mind, that they are not enough. They start knowing that this life works to overwhelm us. They start in humility, on there knees asking God for His power, His strength, His might, His wisdom, His heart, His Spirit, and His love to work in and through us. Paul realized this as well. That is why he said, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 2:10).
  • The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are not enough, then turn your heart, your head, and your eyes to God and rely on Him – put from His power and His resources.
  • The next thing you need to do is remember the past. 

Number 2: Remember the past

 2 Cor 1:10 NIV

He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us again. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,

  • We are all to prone to forget how God has worked in our past. It seems like when we are facing something new, or back in a similar position of pressure, we panic. Don’t panic – remember! Gain strength from remembering what God brought you through before. In doing so you will gain strength and grow in hope for the future. “He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and He will deliver us again”. We all have stories like this . . . that is why it is important to have “stones of remembrance” around us; to help us to remember. Stones of God’s goodness to us.
  • This will help you “set your hope” that He will continue to deliver us. Set your hope is tying on or up to something that will anchor you – like on a mountain or in a body of water. This is something beyond yourself; this is God, Who tells us to take shelter in Him, Who is the Hero of History and the Titan of Time. He delivered you, and He will do so again. So set your hope on Him, for He will continue to deliver you.
  • Thirdly, you need to recruit people to pray. 

Number 3: Recruit people to pray

2 Cor 1:10b-11 NIV

he will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many.

  • Do you see that prayers do matter? “He will continue to deliver us, as you help us by your prayer”. Your prayers matter. Your prayers make a difference. They move the hand of God. They are the channel that the power of God flows through. This is the importance of sharing your life in the context of a faith community, in a community of people who pray. Their prayers do make a difference.
  • God designed life this way because He values community. No person was designed to live alone and by themselves. No one. We are told over and over that we are to live in community and unity with one another and that we are to bear each other’s burdens. This means that we are to be in relationship with each other. This means we are to share our lives with each other. This means we are to share our burdens with each other along with our strengths. We are strong together. United we stand . . . and divided we fall. Every. Single. Time.
  • The gracious favor of God is granted to us in answer to the prayer of many. Why? So that many will give thanks to God, so that God will be seen for who He is, and so He will be glorified in His gifts of Himself and the gift of each other.

Conclusion

So, here is the deal. If you are “feeling the pressure” right now, if you’re in the process of throwing in the towel, I want you to do the three things that Scripture instructs us to do:

  • Number one, realize that you don’t have what it takes to endure all that is put upon you. Turn your heart and your head to God and rely on Him.
  • Number two, remember what God has done for you in the past and “set your hope” in Him today and He will see you through now and in the future.
  • Number three, recruit people to pray for you. Reach out to people for prayer and look to see what God will do in you and through you.
  • Prayer time.