Friday, May 16, 2008

Little Strength

This Sunday morning I will be preaching on the 6th Church mentioned in the beginning of the Book of Revelation. I have titled the message “The Faithful Church. “ The Church at Philadelphia can be considered a faithful church because of their commitment to Christ. Jesus said:

"“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name." (Revelation 3:8, NKJV)

As I considered the implications of “you have a little strength” I thought of George Mueller. If you remember George was a preacher who lived in England in the 19th century. He is mostly remembered for the many orphanages he founded.

What I mostly remember about GeorgeMueller was the many stories that were told about how he would pray for God to supply his needs and feed the children. For example, it was often reported that they would have no food for dinner, so they would pray and God miraculously provide for their needs. Truly George Mueller, his church, and his ministry was a group of God’s people with little strength. They like the church of Philadelphia depended on God to supply all their needs.

"And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19, NKJV)

It is one thing to say that you depend on God it is quite another to put your belief in practice. I have always been impressed by someone like George Mueller who truly practiced his faith. As I looked further into the life of George Mueller I found out that the basis of his great faith was that it rested on the sovereignty of God.

George Mueller came to England from Germany and began to understand the grace of God. In his own words George remarks,

Before this period I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption, and final persevering grace; so much so that, a few days after my arrival at Teignmouth, I called election a devilish doctrine. . . I knew nothing about the choice of God's people, and did not believe that the child of God, when once made so, was safe for ever. . . . But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the word of God

In addition he adds,

In the course of time I came to this country, and it pleased God then to show to me the doctrines of grace in a way in which I had not seen them before. At first I hated them, “If this were true I could do nothing at all in the conversion of sinners, as all would depend upon God and the working of His Spirit.” But when it pleased God to reveal these truths to me, and my heart was brought to such a state that I could say, “I am not only content simply to be a hammer, an axe, or a saw, in God's hands; but I shall count it an honor to be taken up and used by Him in any way; and if sinners are converted through my instrumentality, from my inmost soul I will give Him all the glory; the Lord gave me to see fruit; the Lord gave me to see fruit in abundance; sinners were converted by scores; and ever since God has used me in one way or other in His service

George Mueller had little resources and little strength in this world, so he rested in the sovereign power of God. Mueller also encourage others to depend on the faithfulness of the sovereign God of the universe who is always in control.

"Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." (Matthew 6:26-34, NKJV)

Click on the link below for further reading on George Mueller

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