On June 3, 2018, at The Church at South Lake, the sermon was delivered by a guest speaker (but no stranger!) Reece Mashaw. The sermon title was “Winning by Losing.” It should be available on the church’s website (watch or listen) or podcast feed in the next few days.
Notes from the sermon follow. If something is in brackets it is a question or thought of mine.
We erect a tower of things we do, strengths, accomplishments, roles, achieve, etc. and on top of it sits our basket of “status” in which our weight of value goes.
- Value by achievement
- Life becomes a competition > Breakdown with others.
- You can never feel secure > Breakdown with self.
2 Cor. 11:21b and following:
Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn? (NIV)
Background: Think about the humanity of Paul being turned away because he had no credentials for his authority. After spending a year and a half in Corinth establishing that church. And he says, in essence, “If I am going to boast in anything I am going to boast in my weaknesses.”
He is not saying we don’t play to our strengths but that we don’t boast in our strengths. How does Paul roll out a list of failures and not have his self-worth shattered?
- The status you really need can’t be earned, it is given.
- My status is fixed by Christ. Not performance. Not achievement. Not strengths. There is no such thing as “earned grace”.
- We can spend our entire life trying to earn something that is offered for free.
- Why? A life built on our strengths is too limiting for what God has for us.
- There’s a secret you must know:
- 2 Cor. 12:9-10: 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (NIV)
- We will never know true strength unless we allow ourselves to be weak.
- What great thing could be left undone if you live the natural life where we play it safe going on our strengths rather than being defined by the grace of Christ.
- The transaction with Christ is a one-time event. However, Every day we decide where to put our value.
- [Who gets the honor in where we place our value?]