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Strength of heart
Sunday 28th November


And may He so strengthen your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 3:13

 

 

 

Thought: To live the life that God has called us takes strength of heart and mind.  Strength of heart in holiness speaks of an attitude that trusts God to work in us by His Holy Spirit. We are called to be different or other or separate. In other words - holy. A strong holy heart in a different mindset.

 

Introduction:

 

Paul writes here to the church and it’s like he is praying for his church.  He says night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you face to face and restore whatever is lacking in your faith.

 

This morning we are talking about knowing what or who makes the difference in our lives.  We all face challenges, they are individual and personal. Our struggles may be different to others but no less real. God wants us to be strong with his Spirit and be different from the world around us.

 

What a difference the Holy Spirit makes in our lives. We have a different spirit different attitude, different mindset. We know the power of prayer.  We are spiritual beings we understand where our authority comes from where our strength comes from which enables us to be Living to a different standard, Living from a different perspective, Living under a different culture. 

 

 

Outline:

 

  1. A different standard.

 

As new creations, we live our lives to a different standard. We are of a different attitude, our understanding of spiritual matters is awakened.

 

The sermon on the mount, (Matt 5). Jesus calls us to live differently but the pressure is on us to conform.   Confirm social attitudes or trends, opinions being swayed by social media.

Jesus asks in his sermon to think different.

 

You have heard it said ..hate your enemy but I say love your enemy and pray for those against you.

 

How can we do all this difficult stuff? Go the extra mile turn the other cheek.  How can we love our enemies when our natural reaction is to hate them? How can we store up treasures in heaven when our instinct is to gather treasure on earth? And how can we ever be perfect as our father is perfect?

 

The key is "what we do flows from who we are."

 

When God wants to change our behaviour, he first transforms our hearts spiritually. This is right at the heart of what being a Christian is. 

 

We can't get there by changing our behaviour, whitewashing the outside because the changes needed to fulfil  Jesus' commands are simply contrary to human nature; but God gives us a new nature!

 

If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

2 Corinthians 5:17.

 

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. - 

Galatians 2:20.

 

As clear a picture as you could wish for of a completely fresh start. 

 

The Result: a different Spirit

 

  1. A different perspective.

 

Finally, brothers and sisters, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus that, as you learned from us how you ought to live and to please God (as, in fact, you are doing), you should do so more and more.

1 Thessalonians 4:1

 

With this new attitude comes a whole new life, not the spirit and attitude of the world and culture around us. Especially when it comes to true love, rather than lust, a calling to purity and right living. What we set our hearts on is often where our lives follow.

 

He continues a few verses down…

 

to aspire to live quietly, to mind your affairs, and to work with your hands, as we directed you, so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and be dependent on no one.

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 

 

Paul asks his church in Corinth, Who can know the LORD’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. 

 

The mind of Christ is spiritual, we are renewed in our attitude by the way we think differently. There is spiritual wisdom that comes from heaven, we start to think different. that all of a sudden we have the strength of heart and courage and we see a way forward where there seems to be no way.

 

This is the different perspective that Christ gives us. A different outlook on life. It's often where we put our focus that makes the difference.

 

The Spirit of God allows us to see what we have He lets us see all the wonderful things that God has in store for us.   

 

The spirit of the world only sees the problems.

 

3.    A different culture

 

The culture of this world carries a heaviness about it. The culture around us doesn’t understand the true peace and joy that comes from the spirit of God.

 

It hangs its head low, not daring to look people in the eyes, the soul can be filled with darkness, with negative thinking even times of desperation.

 

People can be troubled by many things today so they do their best, only to end up with a heart full of worries and pain. And things don't seem any better!

 

We live in a culture that loves to blame others, claim their rights and not take responsibility.

 

They think that if this world or the people around them would change then things will be better.

 

It would be nice if God fixed those around me then my life would be so much easier.

 

We tend to think that the people around us are the problem. When we don’t get the promotion or job we want, we blame our others and colleagues. 

 

When we lose our temper, we blame others, I wouldn’t be so angry if it wasn’t for ….

 

However, God wants us to stop looking outside and to start looking to him for his kingdom to come and his will be done within us. 

 

God says to us, “Don’t focus on the problem. Instead, seek first My kingdom culture, which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 

 

Being conscious of the righteousness we have is a gift from God’s Son. Keep our inner being flowing with God’s peace and joy, and God will take care of the problem.

 

The abundance of the kingdom of God is already inside us. As we seek first God’s kingdom and follow His righteousness, peace and joy, the abundance within us will flow out and become a reality in your circumstances. (Matthew 6:33) 

 

We will find that God has not only taken care of what is troubling us but has also added blessings to us.

 

In Ephesians 3 Paul puts it this way.   Talking about understanding the wonderful plan God has for us and the inner strength that come through the spirit.

 

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. 

Ephesians 3:16

 

 

When we allow our roots to grow deep into God’s love it will give us strength. We will experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then we will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 

 

So the next time something troubles us, we don’t focus on just correcting the problem. Or complaining or comparing ourselves to others, we act as if we are in a different culture. So Instead we seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness. 

 

When we make it a priority to have our inner being flowing with His peace and joy, and He will take care of that problem for us!

 

 

Conclusion:

 

So as we know that we have been given the gift of the spirit of the living God, not the spirit of the world. We can grow in the strength of our hearts by knowing thawe have a different spirit and understanding that we live by a different standard. As Christ followers we have a different perspective and we can be conscious of our righteousness in Christ and just be conscious of our sins and problems.   Peace and joy flow when we know that all our sins have been forgiven because of Jesus’ finished work.

 

But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. 

Jude 1:20-21

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