The Power of Weakness
Because the subject of God's frequent working through weakness so fills the pages of Scripture and the paths of our lives, I thought it might be appropriate to provide a brief synopsis of our consideration from last week in outline form.
I. God alone possesses inherent being, nature, and ability.
"Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside Me there is no God" (Isaiah 44:6).
"Thou art God alone" (Psalm 86:10).
"Be thou exalted, LORD, in Thine own strength: so will we sing and praise Thy power" (Psalm 21:13).
II. Created beings derive their being and capacities from the one living and true God.
"All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made" (John 1:3).
"By Him all things consist" (Colossians 1:17).
"Without Me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
"Man's goings are of the Lord. How can a man then understand his own way?" (Proverbs 20:24).
III. The angel Lucifer originated sin and evil by rejecting the truth of one God, and by believing that the being, power, and beauty that flowed into and through him originated in and of himself.
"Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee. By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire. Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness" (Ezekiel 28:14-17).
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the Most High" (Isaiah 28:12-14).
IV. Through, Adam and Even, humanity joined Lucifer in his deception by responding to his temptation that we could "be as gods, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:5). The delusion involved the false notion that created beings can independently exist and possess nature and ability in and of themselves.
"In Him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
"The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts" (Psalm 10:4).
"O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23).
V. God's grace in the Lord Jesus Christ redeems those who believe the Gospel by rescuing us from the delusion of believing that we independently possess life, being, and ability.
"By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
"We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh" (Philippians 3:3).
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
VI. God's eternal purpose in Christ involves the revelation of His strength and the need of created beings in order to overturn Satan's delusion of independence and being apart from God. The Lord Jesus lived such a life as a human being in order to provide both the example and the empowering of our own life of dependence on God.
"I can of Mine own self do nothing… The Father that dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works… I live by the Father" (John 5:30; 14:10; 6:57).
"Though He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, but we shall live with Him by the power of God toward you" (II Corinthians 13:4).
VII. As the Spirit of Christ lives and walks in us, He will lead us along the same path of sometimes openly manifesting His power, but more often quietly revealing His strength in ways that can only be seen by the eyes of faith. Thereby in both Christ and in us, the truth is revealed that "the weakness of God is stronger than men" (I Corinthians 1:25). And stronger than devils. Thus, we expect this blessed, but challenging way of God in our lives.
"When I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).
"We walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7).
"I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God" (I Corinthians 2:3-5).
"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him" (I John 4:9).
"Without Me, ye can do nothing… I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (John 15:5; Philippians 4:13).
"But by the grace of God I am what I am: and His grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me."
(I Corinthians 15:10)
"LORD, make me to know mine end, and the measure of my days, what it is; that I may know how frail I am" (Psalm 39:4).
"My strength is made perfect in weakness" (II Corinthians 12:9).
Weekly Memory Verse
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.