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NO STRENGTH WITHOUT CHRIST
by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.
A sermon preached on Lord's Day Evening, March 11, 2007
"Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
Jesus Christ speaks to every true Christian when He says, "Without me ye can do nothing." He did not say, "Without me ye can do hardly anything." No, He said, "Without me ye can do nothing." Without Christ a Christian can do nothing that is right, nothing that is good. In everything we do, Christians are powerless apart from Christ.
Therefore it is a great mistake to try to live your life without Christ. It is a mistake to think, "I will trust myself as long as I can." You will stumble and fail if you do not depend on Christ.
You who are Christians know very well that you would never have been saved if you depended on yourself. You had to let go of your own ideas. You had to stop thinking you could do something to save yourself. You had to rest in Christ alone, and let Him save you. You had to know, in your soul, that Christ was right when He said, "Without me ye can do nothing." No one can be saved without knowing that.
Then, how is it different when you are confronted with the problems of life? Let's say you are having trouble in school, or problems on your job. Let's say that you feel you can't handle some situation, that you can't do it - whatever "it" is. To me, it has always been good when I knew, deep down inside, that I couldn't do "it," whatever it was. It is always, in those times, that I remember the words of Jesus, "Without me ye can do nothing."
Have you ever felt that you couldn't do the job? Good! That will make you remember, "Without me ye can do nothing." Have you ever felt that you couldn't concentrate on your studies? Have you ever felt that you were facing a problem that was too difficult for you? Good! That will make you remember, "Without me ye can do nothing." It is in times like those that Christianity becomes real and vital. It is in times like those that the words which the Apostle Paul said take on meaning: "When I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).
That is one of the great paradoxes in true Christianity, a seeming contradiction. As human beings, we tend to think, "When I am strong, then I have strength." But the Apostle said the opposite, "When I am weak, then am I strong" (II Corinthians 12:10).
What did Paul mean? Matthew Henry gave this explanation:
When I am weak, then am I strong. This is a Christian paradox: when we are weak in ourselves, then we are strong in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ; when we see ourselves weak in ourselves [as Paul did], then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and [then we] are qualified to receive strength from him, and experience [more] of the supplies of [God's] strength and grace (Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible, Hendrickson Publishers, 1996 reprint, vol. 6, p. 517).
When an unconverted person finally sees that he is too weak, too depraved and too ruined to do anything to save himself, then he may turn to Christ, rest in Him, and find salvation. Is it any different with a converted Christian? No, it is not. The key to success in the Christian life depends on seeing that you are helpless to live it on your own. As you were helpless in trying to convert yourself, so you are helpless in the many trials and burdens of the Christian life. You must see that you are powerless to live as you should, unless you have a daily dependence on Jesus. As Matthew Henry put it, "When we see ourselves weak in ourselves, then we go out of ourselves to Christ, and [then we] are qualified to receive strength from him."
We put a great deal of emphasis on getting lost people to come to Jesus and rest in Him. But we should also tell true Christians to come to Jesus and rest in Him throughout their Christian lives. When you are confronted with something very difficult, such as a class you find hard at school, or any other problem of life, you should go to God in prayer, asking for Christ's strength, and then resting in it.
That is why the Lord's Supper is so important. When we partake of the bread and the cup, we are reminded of what Christ did to save us, and we are reminded that it is through Christ's death, and through His Blood, that we find life. Thus the Lord's Supper is a constant reminder to the Christian that he is totally dependent on Jesus for salvation, and for everything that pertains to it, including our need for Christ's strength in our daily lives.
When you come to any difficult situation, turn back and rest in Jesus. Pray often in secret for His power and strength, and Christ will give it to you. Then you will be able to say with the Apostle, "When I am weak, then am I strong." And when, after prayer, you find that Christ did strengthen you, you will remember His words, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).
(END OF SERMON)
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