Read I Corinthians 1:4-9


The time when we could imagine that we're Christian because our lives are half respectable and our hearts are full of good intentions is gone. The atmosphere of this world has become so turbulent that it's absolutely impossible to lie around and be respectable like an air mattress on the beach on a calm summer day.


You are either driven by the Spirit of God or you are driven by the winds of this world.


It's futile to complain that "things aren't like they used to be." When there's a hurricane it doesn't do any good to wring your hands and wish those winds would stop.


The New Testament was written during the hurricane that was raging at the dawn of the Church Age. Now we're living in the early phase of the hurricane which is raging at the end of the Church Age.


Never have the words of the apostles been more timely than they are today.


Never have the promises and warnings of Jesus been easier to understand.


The Spirit of God is moving in the midst of the turmoil calling all who will to come out of the grip of the winds of this world, to be delivered from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, and to put themselves into the grip of the Son of God. And those who enter into union with Jesus find that though they have life in Jesus as they never experienced life before, the battle is not over.


When you're a disciple you don't crawl into a cave away from the storm. You live in the middle of the storm. You walk with God through the storm.


It gets rough. Sometimes you wonder whether you're really going to make it. Trials beat against your life until it seems as though your whole frame is start­ing to crack. Temptations come urging you to take a short cut, compromise, go back to Egypt where there was some satisfaction for the flesh.


"How will I ever be able to keep going to the End?"


The Bible was written to show you what you need to know and do to make it to the end. The Bible was not written to convert people, although many have been con­verted by reading it. The Bible was written to make the converts steadfast,

                                                    to disciple them,

                                                    to make them strong to survive the storm.


The promises of the Kingdom are not for those who merely listen to the word, but for those who conquer.


He who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the paradise of God.         Revelations 2:7


He who conquers shall not be hurt by the second death.  Revelations 2:11


He who conquers and keeps my works to the end, I will give him power over the nations.     Revelations 2:26


So which is it? Are we sustained by Jesus? ....... kept by the power of God? Or do we have to conquer? Can anybody make it?....... or do only the strong survive?


Watch out for the people who say, "Don't worry, you just come up here and get saved and God will take care of the rest. Once you're saved, you can relax! You've got nothing to worry about anymore."


Some of the most loveless, bigoted, deceitful, hate-filled people I have ever met have told me with great confidence that they know they're saved. All I can say is that they're in for a surprise.


"For he that loveth not his brother abideth in death."


"Not everyone who says, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven but he who does the will of my Father which is in Heaven."


And watch out, also, for the people who say, "It's all up to you. God did every­thing He could. Now you're on your own." These are the people who try to get you stuck in Romans 7 so you never get out.


"The good that I would I do not and the evil that I would not, that I do.

0 wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?"

                                                                             Romans 7:19,24


When you do it on your own, the harder you try to live the life you know you ought to be living, the more troubled,

           and sick,

           and defeated you become.


Scripture says both that God will sustain you and that you have to conquer. These two truths belong together. They must never be taken apart. When we take them apart we end up with a false gospel.


It's true that you can't live the life of faith one day - much less make it to the end - unless God sustains you.


... who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.


God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.


If God brought you into this faith surely He is able to keep you in it.


          "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid,  

          neither be dismayed; for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."


The fact that you are reading this today with any faith in your heart is evidence that God has been sustaining you. If there is a flame of love burning in you, it's because God put it there. If you are able to open you mouth and pray in the name of Jesus, it's because you are being held in God's hand.


Surely He shall cover thee with His feathers,

and under His wings shalt thou trust;

His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night,

nor for the arrow that flieth by day,

nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness,

nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. Psalm 91:3-6 KJV


If God weren't keeping His hands on your life you wouldn't last five minutes.


You'd be lifted off your feet by the winds of this world.

You'd be carried away by the fierce desires of lust, envy, gluttony, covetousness, hatred, and bigotry.


"Wait a minute", you say. "I am having some problems with lust and envy and bigotry.

It seems like some of those winds are getting to me. Why isn't God holding me as tightly as He has those other saints?"


Listen carefully… While it's true that you can't live the life of faith one day unless God sustains you, it's also true that God can't sustain you one day,


- unless you walk in the light that He gives you......


- unless you do the things He has given you the power to do.


When you have the sustaining power of God underneath you,


- you don't lie down and go to sleep!


- you go forth in the name of His Son to conquer the enemy,

                                                  to overcome those obstacles,

                                                  to do the work He's given you to do.


God will sustain you only if you walk in that ever-moving circle of light He has put down in this dark world for you to walk in.


If you run ahead of that light with some brilliant scheme of your own and fall on your face, don't blame it on God. If you hold back through fear, or slothfulness, or self-indulgence, and that light keeps moving ahead and leaves you sitting there in the darkness, don't blame it on God.


Today, if we will gather around the Cross of His Son, God will pour out upon every single one of us the power to love our neighbor, our brothers and sisters. Now it's up to us to live in that love He's given us.


If we're indifferent to the stranger,


if we're impatient with some irritating brother,


if we have a hard attitude toward that stumbling sister, it's not because God isn't sustaining us - it's because we're not walking in his sustaining power.


God is giving us the power to love but he won't do our loving for us.


We have to conquer the lovelessness that still clings to us.


We have to conquer the lovelessness that comes at us from all sides by practicing the love of Jesus.


"Love one another as I have loved you."


"Love your neighbor as yourself."


"But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or in speech, but in deed and in truth."


God has given us the power to live a life that is pure and holy in the midst of a corrupt generation. But it's up to us to discipline our thoughts .... to keep our eye single.


"If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into Hell."


Notice God doesn't do the plucking: you do. You discipline your eye,

                                                                               your mind,

                                                                               your imagination,

                                                                               your memory.


God has given us the power to proclaim the gospel of His Kingdom to a world that must hear it.


"All authority has been given me in Heaven and on earth. Go, there­fore, and make disciples", says Jesus.


It's up to us to open our mouths and speak. We have to go out in the power of the Lord and proclaim the message of the Cross. You never experience the sus­taining power of God until you move out and do the things He commands you to do.


Don't expect God to sustain you with boldness until you start speaking that word.


Don't expect God to provide for you until you start seeking His Kingdom.


Don't expect God to give you victory until you come out of your hiding place and stand on the battlefield.


We may have lived through wars and depressions and riots and concentration camps. But none of us has lived through the kind of spiritual turbulence which is now sweeping people off their feet, driving them out of their minds, tearing their homes apart, dividing brothers from each other ..... and it's only beginning.


To make it through this hurricane we need to have God in us. And to have God in us we need to be walking in the light His Son is giving us right now.


If there is any part of your life that is not in that light, now's the time to get it into the light. Now's the time to repent, to make that change.


If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son, cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

                                                                                      I John 1:7-9