How would you like for God to remove the greatest problem in your life? How would you like for God to completely destroy that problem? How would you like for God to heal and mend your life as if that problem never existed? How would you like to spend the rest of your life as if you had never experienced any of the consequences that problem produced?

Suppose God, independent of any suggestion or request that you made, searched your life with His perfect vision as He looked for your greatest problem. I am talking about the number one problem in your life, the source of your greatest distress. And when God identified that problem, he removed it and destroyed every consequence that it produced. Would you like for that to happen?

What if God did that, but the problem God removed was not the problem that you considered to be your number one problem? What if God removed your true number one problem, but it was not the problem you wanted removed?

  1. Some men brought a paralyzed man to Jesus to be healed (Luke 5:17-26).
    1. Jesus was teaching in a house when the men arrived.
      1. The house was so full of people that these men could not get in.
      2. They took the man on a stretcher to the roof, opened a hole in the roof big enough to let the man down through the hole, and lowered the man to Jesus--they must have been very determined men!
      3. When the man was lowered to Jesus (can you imagine the distraction to Jesus as the men tore the roof up?), Jesus saw their faith and said to the man, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you."
    2. They brought the man to Jesus to be healed, not to be forgiven.
      1. Healing would take care of a temporary problem; forgiveness took care of an eternal problem.
      2. A healed body would get sick and die; a healed soul would live with God.
      3. I wonder if the men were disappointed when they heard Jesus say, "your sins are forgiven?"
      4. Jesus saw the man's greatest problem and addressed that problem.

  2. Does entering Christ, belonging to Christ, giving your life to Christ offer us solid solutions?
    1. Last Sunday night I emphasized this point: we should not create false expectations when we present people with genuine hope in Christ.
      1. First, Satan does not cease to exist when a person who in faith and repentance is baptized into Christ.
        1. Personal weakness does not stop.
        2. Temptation does not suddenly become a minor, easily conquered force.
      2. Second, false expectations are spiritually devastating.
        1. They make a person think God has no power.
        2. Or, they make a person think that God lied to him.
        3. Or, they make a person think that God does not care.
        4. Or, they make a person feel like she has been deceived.
    2. Does that mean that you are on your own, that God cannot help you, and that Christ's solutions are not real?
      1. No, emphatically no, to all three questions.
      2. You were on your own before coming to Christ; you are not on your own after coming to Christ.
      3. You were outside of God's help and grace before coming to Christ; you are inside God's help and grace after coming to Christ.
      4. Christ solutions are real beyond your imagination.

  3. The moment you become God's son or daughter, God places three powerful sources of solutions immediately in your hands.
    1. The first power for solid solutions immediately placed in your hands is faith.
      1. In Matthew 17:1-8, on a mountain top, Jesus assumed his heavenly body in the presence of Peter, James, and John.
        1. When the four of them came down from the mountain, they encountered a huge crowd of people with the other nine disciples (Matthew 17:14-21).
        2. A father came running to Jesus.
          1. He brought a son to the nine disciples to be healed, and they were unable to heal the boy.
          2. Jesus healed the boy.
        3. Later, the nine asked Jesus why they could not heal the boy.
        4. He replied, "Because your faith is too little. If your faith were as big as a mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to move and it would move."
      2. That statement intrigues us.
        1. We speculate on how much power faith can generate today.
        2. We talk about the faith that will move a mountain.
        3. We discuss how much power faith should or should not have.
      3. But we commonly make an assumption that misses Jesus' point.
        1. We commonly assume that having a mustard seed sized faith would be simple, and we assume that we are near that level of faith.
        2. Jesus told his disciples that they failed to heal the boy because they did not have enough faith to equal a mustard seed.
        3. They left their homes; they left their families; they followed Jesus full time; they had successfully performed miracles; and they remained with Jesus in trying and dangerous moments.
        4. Do you think you have more faith than they had?
        5. If their faith did not equal a mustard seed, what measure of faith do you have?
      4. The foundation essential to finding solid solutions in Christ is faith.
        1. As your willingness to trust God grows, God's work in your life grows.
        2. God works in your life by invitation.
        3. You invite Him to work in your life by trusting Him.
        4. The more you trust him, the more powerfully He works.
      5. When my faith comes to life, there are some things that I know.
        1. I know that God is working in my life all the time--regardless of the problems I am experiencing, regardless of my circumstances.
        2. I know that because I love God, He will use every attack, every action of Satan to eternally benefit me (Romans 8:28).
        3. I know that the primary concerns of God in my life are eternal, not physical--the objective of everything He does for me is to bring me home.
        4. I know that I can in God's love spiritually survive anything that I confront (Romans 8:37).
      6. My biggest personal challenge in developing this faith is being patient enough to let God validate my faith.
    2. The second power that produces solid solutions that God immediately places in your hands is prayer.
      1. In Luke 18:1-8 Jesus gave a parable specifically to teach this lesson: "to show at all times they ought to pray and not to lose heart."
        1. He told a parable about helpless, powerless widow who had no influence who went to a judge to plead for him to correct an injustice.
        2. The judge was a dishonest, unconcerned man who had no respect for God.
        3. But the woman persisted until she wore the judge down.
        4. He corrected the injustice just to stop the woman's visits.
        5. Jesus said, "If that woman could move an ungodly judge who did not care about her, don't you understand that your cries to the God who is concerned for you quickly moves Him to correct your injustices?"
      2. I do not know how prayer works.
        1. There is far more about prayer that I do not understand than I do understand.
        2. I know effective prayer is not a mathematical formula.
        3. I know that effective prayer is not a repetitious ritual.
        4. I know that prayer does not obligate God.
        5. I know that prayer is the heart language of a human that communicates powerfully to God.
      3. But above all other things, I know this: prayer is real, and it works powerfully.
      4. Prayer is not a method of manipulating circumstances to produce the desired physical or pleasurable results that I want.
        1. I am thankful to see professional and college athletes praying when a contest is over.
        2. I am delighted to hear people give God thanks and credit.
        3. But I often hear them say something that sends a confusing message.
          1. Victorious athletes give God thanks and credit after a victory.
          2. They say that God answered their prayers with the victory.
          3. Often people who believe in and worship God are on the losing team.
          4. Does that mean the losers lost because God did not answer their prayers?
      5. Should we place anything off limits in prayer?
        1. No; I think as children of God that we should naturally and freely discuss anything that concerns us with our heavenly Father.
        2. But I strongly believe that our prayers should spiritually mature as we spiritually develop.
        3. As we grow, I think our prayers will increasingly focus on spiritual needs and realities in our own lives.
      6. One other thought about the power of prayer.
        1. We commonly pray about the things that deeply concern and trouble us.
        2. Often, for God to answer that prayer, something within us needs to change.
        3. May I suggest that when we pray for God to help us that we have the faith of surrender, the faith that says, "Do whatever You need to do in my life, God, to change me in order to address my troubles."
    3. The third great power to generate solid solutions that God immediately places in the hands of those who become His children is the power of meditation on God's teachings.
      1. It is important to read or hear God's teachings.
      2. It is even more important to study God's teachings.
      3. It is still more important to let your mind reflect on God's teachings.
      4. When Jeremiah predicted the new covenant that God would establish (the covenant God made through Christ), he wrote:
        "I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I shall be their God, and they shall be my people" (Jeremiah 31:33).
        Hebrews 8:10 states Jeremiah's words in this way: "I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them upon their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people."
      5. The way you allow God to place His teachings in your mind and write them on your heart is to meditate on His teachings.

Solid answers do exist and are more real than any of us have imagined. The highway to solid answers in Christ is a growing faith, a submissive prayer life, and a heart that lets God write His teachings on it.

If you are willing to let God help you change your life in any way it needs to be changed, you will discover rock solid answers in Christ.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 17 May 1998

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