Sunday Sermons

Sunday Sermons






While the Bible talks a lot about “confidence” or “boldness”, we need to be careful that we don’t conform to the world’s standards of what is healthy confidence.  When the world talks about confidence, it is often talking about complete reliance upon self, without any consideration of God.  The Bible always reminds us that God needs to be at the center of our plans and aspirations(James 4:13-16).  James says that a confidence that forgets about God and our human limitations is nothing more than evil boasting and arrogance. 


Confidence and God


When the Bible talks about confidence, it is always in relation to having confidence in God and His revealed will:  “O Lord God, Thou art my confidence from my youth” (Psalm 71:5); “That they should put their confidence in God” (Psalm 78:7); “For the Lord will be your confidence” (Proverbs 3:26); “In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence” (Proverbs 14:26); “And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and grant that Thy bond-servants my speak Thy word with all confidence” (Acts 4:29); “And such confidence we have through Christ toward God” (2 Corinthians 3:4).


·        The confidence preached among secular thinkers is something that the Apostles would have rejected, that is, confidence based entirely on human will power, skill, resolve, determination, or potential.  Paul said, “For we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Philippians 3:3). 


·        Therefore, when we talk about confidence, we are not talking about the popular claim that man can achieve anything upon which he sets his heart  (which makes man the measure of all things, and forgets about time and chance (Ecclesiastes 9:11).  Rather, we are talking about taking God at His word, believing what God says you can do, and acting upon an informed and intelligent faith.  Remember Jesus said, “For apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). 


Derive Your Self Image From God


One way to develop genuine and godly confidence is to quit comparing yourself with others.  1.  Remember, others are not the standard, God is (Matthew 5:48; Colossians 3:10,12-13).  2.  What is often praised and esteemed among people in the world is despised by God, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).  When we compare ourselves with others, we can fall into the trap of admiring a trait or quality that God despises.  The world often makes the mistake of glorifying a person’s external appearance, when God views the condition of one’s heart as being far more important (1 Samuel 16:7).  In light of these facts, no wonder Paul said, “For we are not bold to class or compare ourselves with some of those who commend themselves; but when they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12).


·        It is so easy to feel inadequate compared to the popular people in our society.  Yet, many of the “famous” people in ages past are not mentioned in the Bible.  God doesn’t praise Julius Caesar, Aristotle, Cleopatra, or many of the other figures of history that the world believes are noteworthy.  Just reflect upon all the great names of history that are ignored by God from the beginning of the creation to the end of the First Century. 


·        We need to stop allowing the world to define “greatness” or “success” for us.  God has given us His definition of success(Hebrews 11:1f; Jeremiah 9:23-24 “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me”; Luke 12:21).


Find What You Are Good At


Simply being created in the image of God means that you have many talents.  Your Creator has given you the ability to reason, think, feel, support, encourage, admonish, and understand the will of God. 


·        Distinguish between what is a talent and what isn’t.  There are things that God expects of everyone, without exception. Morality is not a talent!  God expects every Christian to manifest the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).  Every Christian is to work on resisting temptation, every Christian is expected to manifest moral purity, “But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints” (Ephesians 5:3).  “That each one of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor” (1 Thessalonians 4:4).


·        Don’t make the mistake of concentrating upon talents that you do not possess.  Remember, all of us possess what are the most essential and important abilities of all.  All of us can manifest true love, all of us can manifest compassion, faithfulness, courage, and all of us can understand God’s will (Ephesians 3:3-5; 5:17).  All of us can be good husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers.  All of us can be good and faithful friends. 


·        Don’t envy the talent that another person has, for your particular talent is just as important, “For just as we have many members in one body, and all the members do no have the same function…and since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let each exercise them accordingly” (Romans 12:4,6).


·        “If you accept the fact that you will not be outstanding in everything you attempt, you will not be devastated when your best is not good enough” (Maxwell p. 47).  In fact, we should rejoice that there are people who are better at various things than we are, because that means that a better job will be done, and God’s kingdom will benefit. 


·        It is easy to focus in on one talent with envy, without realizing the true impact and value of other talents.  Consider what Paul said to the Corinthians:


1       Corinthians  12:14-31 “For the body is not one member, but many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body," it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired. 19And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20But now there are many members, but one body. 21And the eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you"; or again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22On the contrary, it is much truer that the members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary; 23and those members of the body, which we deem less honorable, on these we bestow more abundant honor, and our unseemly members come to have more abundant seemliness, 24whereas our seemly members have no need of it. But God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, 25that there should be no division in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27Now you are Christ's body, and individually members of it. 28And God has appointed in the church, first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, various kinds of tongues. 29All are not apostles, are they? All are not prophets, are they? All are not teachers, are they? All are not workers of miracles, are they? 30All do not have gifts of healings, do they? All do not speak with tongues, do they? All do not interpret, do they? 31But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”


The Limitations of Confidence


The reason I bring up this point is because I hear many people in the world and even some in the religious community arguing that people can do anything with the right mental attitude.  We need to remember that confidence will not make up for a lack of knowledge, skill or hard work.  In addition, in the Parable of the Talents, the master didn’t give five talents to the two-talent man. “It cannot substitute for character, skill, or knowledge, but it enhances these qualities” (Maxwell p. 49)


Be Around Confident People


Confidence does breed confidence.  Someone noted that when Goliath defied the armies of Israel, there weren’t any “giant-killers” in Saul’s army (1 Samuel 17:11).  Yet after David the giant-killer became king, all of a sudden we find other giant-killers in David’s army (1 Chronicles 20:4-8).  The same is true today.  Congregations with dedicated elders will naturally breed another generation of like-minded men, whereas, congregations who believe that the qualifications are unattainable will never have elders.  Congregations that believe that the Bible is understandable and can be rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15) will resolve many issues that plague or paralyze congregations that believe that the Bible is too confusing. 


Confidence Boosters


1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, that you may be able to endure it.”   Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”; Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me”; Hebrews 13:5-6 “Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you," 6so that we confidently say "The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.  What shall man do to me?”


Mark Dunagan/Beaverton Church of Christ/503-644-9017