Our Inner Strength

Eph 6:10-13

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the Wiles of the devil.12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. NKJV

This message was preached June 29, 2003 at FBC Toulon, by Albert Harmon. See it at ToulonBaptist.com

Different places promote inner strength. One place is the Martial Arts programs. Another is Siddha Yoga. Some sports programs talk about building inner strength. One of our own school officials indicated that the students involved in sports were much better off than those who were not.

There was even one website that claimed that a Garden Essences Set of BROCCOLI - gives a "Sense of fortification of our inner strength and the ability to experience and express confidence."

Some elementary courses offer inner strength to students by getting them to be quiet and to seek a spirit guide to lead them. This is a great invitation to demon possession.

Among many liberal Christians inner strength is some warm feeling with a very ambiguous source but most probably that great inner strength that all beings have. As described on one website "about making a connection with our Higher Power, our inner strength, our spirit that we believe in and trust."

This fits into the pattern of many of the New Age forms of Christianity.

But the power that Paul is referring to comes from God, a real living being. Not just some confusing notion of a cosmic power that filters through the universe.

A so called faith without a real living God is just about as close to worthless as one can get. When Jesus comes into our lives he literally takes up residence in us. Through the work of the Holy Spirit God works in us. It is His power that we must have to live the Christian life.

  1. The Holy Spirit begins our spiritual life.
    1. Jesus talks about the new birth.
      1. John 3:5-8 5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.7 Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit." NKJV
      2. This tells me that Christians were not always Christians for a birth indicates a beginning.
      3. But Jesus says that this birth is brought about by the power of the Holy Spirit.
      4. It is not the result of education or good upbringing.
    2. James refers to this as a birth.
      1. James 1:18 In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures. NRSV
      2. James goes a little farther and indicates that divine truth, God's word is also works to bring about this new spiritual life.
    3. Paul refers to this as a quickening from the dead.
      1. Eph 2:1 AND YOU [He made alive], when you were dead (slain) by [your] trespasses and sins AMP
        1. This is important because it helps us see our total helplessness without God.
        2. It helps us see the foolishness of all the world's systems of inner strength.
        3. We were dead, not just sick.
        4. And it took great power to bring us to life.
        5. Eph 1:19-20 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead NKJV
      2. Rom 8:11But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. NKJV
    4. Martyn Lloyd-Jones puts it this way, "No-one ever becomes a Christian except as the result of the working of the almighty power of God within him. No man, as he is, can decide to accept Christ, for he is 'dead'! spiritually dead! And in addition, and as a result of that, as the Apostle has reminded us in chapter 4, verses 17 and A: 'This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart'. These words describe man by nature. 'The natural mind is enmity against God; it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be' (Romans 8:7). The natural man can do nothing, he is utterly helpless, spiritually dead. What makes us Christians? He hath 'quickened us'. He has done it by His power, the power of the Spirit. What brings us into salvation is that the Spirit of God begins to work in us and to act upon us, to convict us of sin, to open our eyes. He does it all -'by grace ye are saved'. It is 'the power of God unto salvation'. And there would be no hope for anyone but for this. It starts in that way by the power of God working in us and bringing us to a knowledge of salvation. Lloyd-Jones, The Christian Soldier p 33-34
  2. The Holy Spirit continues to dwell in us to lead, comfort, guide us.
    1. Rom 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. NKJV
    2. Eph 1:19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, NKJV
    3. Eph 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us NKJV
    4. Phil 2:12-13 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. NKJV
    5. Col 1:29 For this I labor [unto weariness], striving with all the superhuman energy which He so mightily enkindles and works within me. AMP
  3. But many Christians, instead of seeking the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives grieve Him.
    1. Eph 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. NKJV
    2. Eph 5:18 Don't be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, let the Holy Spirit fill and control you. NLT