I. I can do.
What was Paul doing?
a) Content with his circumstances (V. 12)
Paul has learned the secret of contentment . . . he can be hungry, or well fed . . . he has learned to be content with much, or with little. He was rejoicing in all things (V. 4).
b) He was pressing on towards the goal (Philippians 3:10-15)
How was he pressing on towards the goal?
1) Because of his intimate walk with the Lord. Philippians 4:4-7.
Paul can do (and so can you) if we will keep our eyes focused upon the Lord. Spiritually he was doing this.
2) He was also doing this physically.
See Colossians 1:28-29. With all his mind and heart and soul he was doing it . . . using his gifts and talents to bring people in, build them up, and send them out.
II. Everything through him.
How was Paul doing this?
a) Galatians 2:20
b) Job 42:2
The him is Jesus Christ. Foundational to the Christian experience is the belief that it is Christ, not us, who works.
A baby was born to slave parents, and he too was a slave. This little baby never knew anything other than getting up and being in the field before sun up and watching his parents work until sundown. From his earliest remembrance all he could remember is the sound of the whip slicing through the air and into someone’s flesh. Can you imagine what it was like to have someone say they owned you and could do anything they wanted to you. When this little boy was five years of age, Charlie’s, (the boy’s name), mother did something to anger one of the plantation bosses. No one knew what it was. A man took a whip and began to administer a cruel beating to his mother. Charlie went and held his mother’s head in his lap and within the hour his mother died. I wonder how you would feel if someone whipped your mother to death in your presence and then you held her head while she left this life? The next morning the plantation master was so mad that she died that he took Charlie’s father and sold him to another plantation. The boy never saw his father again. You are five years old and your mother is beaten to death and your father is sold never to cross your path again.
This plantation forbid the education of the slaves and forbid them from going to church. Up until age 15 all he did was work seven days a week and he could not read a single word and he had never been to church. His back was carved with scars from the bottom of his heals to the top of his head. The back of his head was so beaten that hair would never grow. At age 15 he is freed by the War Between the States and now he still works in the fields, but at night he is free. They said to Charlie, “What do you want to do the first night of your freedom?” Charlie said, “I want to go to church for the first time in my life.” He walked 12 miles to church and he heard for the first time that there was someone who loved him. Charlie said, that cannot be right, I am a former orphan slave . . . nobody loves me. The preacher told him he was wrong, God loved him so much that he sent his son to die for him. Charlie trusts Christ as his Savior and Lord. They gave him a Bible and Charlie said I cannot read. The ladies in this church taught him to read the Word of God.
Charlie was in church one day, and he announced that God had called him to preach. The church said what? That cannot be. Charlie said, “He did.” One of the men said, “Charlie, you have forgotten you are nothing.” Tears begin to flow down his checks and he said, “You are right, you know I am nothing and I know I am nothing and God knows I am nothing. But if the one who is everything wants to use the one who is nothing, that is His business.” He said, “Pray for me, I want to preach the Word of God.” They said, “You will fail.” He said, “If it is up to me you are right, but if God is in this, He will make it happen.”
He went over 250 miles to Cape Main, New Jersey. There Charlie announced he would be preaching. No one came, so he stood up and preached to himself. Had his second service and third same thing. Always preached an hour. They said, “Why do you preach an hour?” and he said, “Because I need the preaching.” He kept preaching to himself. Word got out that there was a nut preaching to himself. People started coming to hear this guy who had that much commitment. His messages were always the same, “He is everything and I am nothing”. And you will be amazed at the One who is everything. What He can do if someone will just admit they are nothing. People started getting saved and coming to church. The church went to 100, built a building, tore it down and built another. Pretty soon, the largest church in the state of New Jersey was pastored by Charlie.
Charlie then stood up and said, “God is calling me to Philadelphia.” Philadelphia was the second largest city at the time and the intellectual center. They said, ”You can’t go there.” Same story. No one came for several services. Same message. Folks started coming. One year running twenty, two years running a hundred. Ten years after he arrived they built a building that would seat 600 and it was full every service. 15 years later they had an auditorium that seated 3000 and they filled it 6 times every Sunday. And the largest church on the Eastern Seaboard was pastored by Charlie.
The man’s name was Charles Kindley. He wrote many songs. “How do you make sense out of losing your parents” and he wrote the Song, “We Will Understand it Better By and By”. They came to him and said, “What do you do with your burdens?”, “Take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” At the end of his life they said, “What is the secret of all God did in your life.” He said it is simple, “He’s everything, I’m still nothing. And all I got to be sure is, There is nothing between my soul and the Savior”, (he wrote this song).
III. Through Christ who strengthens me. Our God is attracted to weakness!
David Gibbs lived at church. His mom was an accomplished pianist. One day his life was turned upside down as he came walking downstairs and she said “Davie I think I’m sick, run get your dad.” His mother had polio. Within the hour his mom began to gasp for breath and struggle to swallow. They didn’t know if she would make it to the hospital. Davie didn’t see his mom for over two years. Two years is a long time for a boy. Put her on an iron lung. Reports were they wouldn’t make it. After three years she came home, paralyzed and she couldn’t even turn her head. First thing Dad said, “Let’s have family devotions.” Mrs. Gibb’s prayer request was, “Pray that God gives me something to do for him now.” Every night, “Pray that God gives me something to do for him.”
Brand new work and Sunday School is “a mess”. Would you be willing to work with this mess? Minute left, “We aren’t messing with His mess are we? We have enough messes in our lives.” Mrs. Gibbs said, “I asked God for anything and children aren’t scared of me.” This is the dumbest thing I have ever heard . . . for one hour she would practice Sunday School and then put her back in bed. Two kids here, who? You and your sister.
Couple of months later, “Take me down to the bus company for them to give us a bus.” David said, “I don’t think they give them away down there.” “I have been praying and we are going to watch God do what only God can do. Park under a window.” “We have come so that you can give us a bus.” The receptionist said, “We don’t do that.” The Vice President came down and said, “Lady we don’t do this. I have worked here 35 years and we are not going to give you a bus.” His mom said, ”Thank You. Before I leave can I ask a question? Do the buses belong to you?”
”I don’t own them but I am the Vice President.”
“No wonder you can’t give me a bus, they don’t belong to you. Can I talk with the owner?”
The owner says you parked in my window and I saw the pain you went through to get in here. I’m not giving you a bus, but I thought I should tell you personally, “No.”
God is going to be very mad. You could help me make a difference where children spend eternity.
“I will give you one bus and one driver for one Sunday”, the Vice President said.
She has already told you they don’t belong to you. She said, “I need three of them. There are three parts to town and God wanted to ask for three.”
“I will give you three, but you better be dead sure God knows about this.”
On the way home, “Mom look what you did.” I serve a God who can mold people and use what He molds them into.
The second Sunday he gave four. Within five years, 35 buses and 35 drivers every Sunday and did it for over 20 years and never charged a penny. The Sunday School with no kids in 7 years never had less than 5,000 children every Sunday and it was run by a lady who could not hold her own head up.
Wrote letter. . . every family member now Christian because they rode your buses (which were my buses). Almost all my bus drivers are Christians because a little lady would not let the drivers stay on the buses.