The Starting Block

August 7, 2001 PM
Pastor Chris Abernathy
Columbus, Georgia

Philippians four. Tonight we're going to touch on a few things. Glory to God. In Philippians chapter four, beginning with verse ten, the apostle Paul said,

10. But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11. Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

And our main Scripture is verse thirteen.

13. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Let us pray.

Most holy and gracious heavenly Father, we come before You with thanksgiving in our hearts, humbling ourselves before You, seeking Your face, Lord God, Father, thanking You for the Anointing that removes burdens and destroys yokes.

Father, hide Your servant behind the cross tonight, that Your people would see You and not me. Father, as I decrease I ask that You would increase, Lord God. Oh Father, I thank You for Your Anointing right now, God.

I thank You for minstering to the hearts of Your people, and that Your Word shall go forth and accomplish everything that You sent it forth to accomplish. And Father, we'll be careful to give You the glory, the honor, and all the praise. I the holy, mighty, magnificent name of Jesus we pray.

And the people said, "Amen."

How many of your realize that God does not call us to get involved with the things of God so that people can see us? He calls us to different assignments. He calls us to different things in the ministry. He calls us to do the work of the Lord. Glory to God.

And when He calls us to do the work of the Lord, He will call us to something that's bigger than we are. He'll call us to something (glory to God) that we will realize that there's on way on God's green earth that we could do it in our own ability. Oh, hallelujah to Jesus. He'll call us to something that's stupendous, tremendous, horrendous. Glory to God. He'll call us to a vision (glory to God) that it would take divine intervention to bring to pass.

Let me tell you something about a real husband. A real husband will realize that he can't do it all by himself. A real husband will realize that he needs divine power from up on high to be able to minister life to his family.

That's how it is in the ministry. When God calls you to do a thing, Sister Felicia, He realizes (glory to God) that it's going to take His power, His Anointing to bring it to pass. There's nothing that you can do, so you need to stop worrying about that situation or that circumstance, because it's all God. God is the one that's got to take care of it all. We can't do it on our own.

Immediately when we begin to receive an assignment from God, there becomes a crisis in our belief system. Whenever (glory to God) we hear from the Lord and God gives us instruction, there becomes a crisis in our belief system. In Hebrews eleven and verse one and two, it tells us that now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

When we look at that word "substance" in the Hebrew, it's translated "assurance." Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

When we look at the man in John chapter five, when he was by the pool of Bethesda (glory to God), Jesus came to him. Hallelujah, Holy Spirit. And Jesus began to speak to him. He said, "You want to be healed, don't you?" And I'm paraphrasing.

He said, "Yes. But you know, I have no one to set me down into the pool." Oh, hallelujah to Jesus.

But when Jesus spoke the word of life in him, something began to leap on the inside of him. When Jesus begins to speak to your spirit man, something needs to leap up on the inside of you. It'll cause you to realize that, "It's not me. It's Him in the first place. And all I got to do is believe."

Somebody's at a critical point right now. It's critical. You need God to do something yesterday. But all He's waiting on is your faith to get the point where it needs to be.

The Bible says that faith cometh by what? And hearing by what? So I need to get the Word in me. While I'm in my crisis, I need to spend time in this Word. Because the more Word I got in me, the more faith that I'm going to have. And that's how I'm coming out of my situation.

When we look at that word "evidence" in Hebrews eleven, it's translated to, "conviction." A belief is something you hold on to. A conviction is something that holds on to you. Did you hear what I said? A belief is something that you hold on to. But a conviction is something that holds on to you. It'll hold you up when you need to be held up. You can't shake loose from a conviction, because it's holding on to you.

Listen. I don't know what it is that's going on right now. But regardless of what it is, you need to believe. Whether it be in your personal life, whether it be ministry, whatever it is, all you need to do is believe.

This is a turning point where most Christians miss out on the move of God, because they refuse to believe. If they can't see exactly how God is going to do it, they come to a standstill. Oh hello, somebody. If they can't see exactly how God is going to work it out, they won't proceed any farther. They'll stop.

But the Bible says we walk by faith and not by sight. The just shall live by faith. Keep on going in spite of your warfare. What He called you to is bigger than you in the first place.

To truly follow God we're going to have to start walking by faith. You remember doubting Thomas? He said, "I won't believe unless I can see the wounds."

In modern day Christianity, many of us won't believe until we see Him crack the sky. We have a head belief but not a heart belief. We grew up in Christianity, and that's why we're staying in Christianity.

But if it was really checked out, we really don't believe. Because every time something comes up (glory to God), we look to fix it the way the world tries to fix it. But you can't fix it the way the world fixes. You got to get a hold of God. You got to get a hold of faith. You got to believe.

If you would, turn in your Bibles with me to Exodus chapter three. In Exodus chapter three we find a man of God named Moses. God gave Moses what we'll can an invitation to work with Him.

Many of us have received an invitation to work with the Lord. But we have a crisis in our belief system.

If He calls you to do a work, He's equipped you to do the work. And He'll provide for you to do the work. Sometimes you just got to wait on the Lord. And at the same time be of good courage and wait on the Lord.

In Exodus chapter three and verse eleven (are you there?), it said,

11. And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?

Look at verse thirteen.

13. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

Moses had a problem with his belief system. He was speaking directly to God, and yet he still questioned God. He still had a spirit of doubt there, that there was a man in the earth that was greater than God.

Let me tell you what our problem is. Our problem is we don't realize that He is that He is and that I AM that I AM. We think that somebody in the earth or some situation in the earth has more power than He has.

But the Bible says the earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof, the world and everything that dwell... Oh, you don't hear me in this house tonight. ...everything that dwell therein. He's able. If He said it, that settles it. And I just got to believe it.

He kept on questioning God. It's alright to ask questions to get instruction. But it's not alright to ask questions because you're afraid. The Bible says in Psalms, "Whatsoever time I am afraid, I will trust in Thee."

Every now and then fear is going to come, because the Bible also says, "Fear comes suddenly." But when I recognize that it's fear, I got to get the Word of God in my mouth and speak what thus says the Lord.

God hasn't given me the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. I'm not afraid of what man can do to me. I fear Him. Oh, you don't hear me in this place.

Where are you? Are you just trying to receive instruction, or are you really afraid?

I don't have to worry. Because if He can take care of the birds in the air, if He can feed them, surely He can feed me. If He called Paul to do His ministry and He called me, and Paul finished his ministry with joy, surely He's not a respecter of persons. And I can finish mine with joy.

If you feel like you're stuck in a place in your life, just start walking by faith. Get in your Word and walk by faith. Don't worry about what it looks like. You got to say, "I'm coming out of it."

In verse thirteen he said,

13. And Moses said unto God, Behold (in other words, "Look."), when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?

Verse fourteen. He said,

14. And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

I don't worry when I come into a place to minister. Because when the devil tries to stand before me and ask by what authority am I in this place, I just respond, "I AM has sent me."

When David was in trouble, when he was (glory to God) coming against that giant Philistine, he had a revelation that he wasn't coming in his own name. He said, "I don't come to you in my own name, but I come to you in the Name of the Lord of hosts."

See, a lot of times we have a problem because we're still coming in our name. The devil don't recognize your name. It's at the Name of Jesus every knee shall bow. He's not going to bow because of who you are. He's going to bow because of who He is.

In chapter four of Exodus and verse one, it said,

1. And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.

Wait a minute. Look at your neighbor and say, "The Anointing will speak for itself." When God is with you, He's more than the world against you. It doesn't matter... Glory to God.

You see, a lot of times people think that you need a great army to go forth and to do the work of the Lord. But God wants to move by a remnant.

When Gideon was getting ready to go to war, God said, "Wait a minute, Gideon. You got too many folks with you. We need to cut this down a little bit, or else they're going to say that we won this thing by ourselves." That's why He said, "Where two or three are gathered (oh, you don't hear me) together in My Name, there am I in the midst." One will put a thousand; two will put ten thousand.

He don't need a whole bunch of folks to turn a place upside down. He chose twelve apostles, and they turned the world upside down. But they understood their assignment. And they realized that it was His assignment, and that they were working with Him.

You see, if you think that you're working all by yourself, you're mistaken. You're working with Him. He's going before you. You see, you got a problem when you think it's all about you. And if there need be someone else in the thing He's called you to do, He's able to send them.

Many of you are at a place where you're at a standstill, and you're standing right there. And you need to keep on going, keep on pressing. You done stopped. You may be doing something physically, but your heart is not in it no more.

You see, there's a problem when your heart ain't in it no more. You can do it all you want to. But if your heart is n to in it, it don't amount to a hill of beans. Busting down the church door don't make no difference if your heart ain't in it. You can come to church late, and if your heart is in it (glory to God) you'll get the job done.

In Exodus four and verse ten, he said,

10. ...O my Lord, I am not eloquent (Wait a minute. He's still questioning God), neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

He still has a problem. He still doesn't realize that he's still focusing on himself.

You know, when I walk into a place (and I've walked in many places by myself, with room full of people), I have the revelation that it's not me.

Let me tell you what happened. I was at a prayer breakfast in Atlanta. And (glory to God) in this hotel room, this banquet room full of people, and I started ministering. But I was like Moses, because I didn't have the revelation that it wasn't me ministering. And I got to ministering. And folks started crying and falling out. But I was still in self.

And a sister came and whispered in my ear. She said, "Brother Chris, the Lord said go ahead, because it's not you." And when she did that, a revelation, a light bulb went on in my head. It went on. It went off in my head. Wait a minute. This ain't me in the first place. I ain't got nothing to prove. And God moved by miracles, signs, and wonders in that place.

If you walk into a place and think it's you and you got something to prove, then you're going to wind up standing there off by yourself, and the assignment won't get taken care of.

He didn't have the revelation that it wasn't about him. But God was sending him on assignment. Listen, listen. Somebody needed to hear just that, because you're trying to do something. You're trying to do something. But you don't have the revelation yet that if God is sending you on assignment, it's not about you anyway. Hello, somebody.

So step back and assess the situation all over again. Assess it all over again.

There were times when my wife and I, when we would go different places to minister, we would pay for the ticket ourselves to get there. We would. We would pay to get there. And then the place would be packed. And they would take up the offering. And all we would get back for our offering was what we paid for our tickets to get there. We say, "Wait a minute. Something ain't right about this. Something ain't right about this."

When you go on an assignment, you've got to make sure God is sending you on that assignment. If God is sending you on that assignment, you will be blessed. Because the Bible says you are worthy of your labor. But if God hadn't sent you on that assignment, you better be grateful that He just do make ends meet, so to speak, just do meet the budget, so to speak.

But we've learned from that, that if God is really sending us on an assignment, then every need is going to be taken care of.

I look at other men of God like Benny Hinn. Benny Hinn says this. He won't fly and do a meeting anywhere unless they actually fly from where they are to him face to face, and ask him face to face.

What's the difference in Benny Hinn and me? What's the difference in Benny Hinn and you? Oh, you don't hear me. He's not a respecter of persons. His assignments are no greater than your assignments. Oh, I feel the Holy Ghost.

If He's sending you on assignment, He'll make provision. And when you get finished with that assignment, you will not be in the red. Hello, somebody. You'll be in the black.

He was still himself. He was still in himself. He did realize that this thing was bigger than him. But he still thought that it was about him. Hello, somebody.

In Exodus four, thirteen, it said,

13. ...O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send.

You know one thing about it? If God really wants you to go, no matter what you say, you're going to go. I hear about these folks saying that they ran from the Lord and all of this. If God said it, it's going to happen. He ain't going to let you go. Sometime or another, somehow you'll do what God has called you to do.

He questioned whether God could do it through him. He was doubting God more than he was doubting himself.

When you are on assignment and you are questioning God in the way Moses was questioning God, you're doubting God more than You're doubting yourself. You're putting God on a lesser level than what you are on. Hello, somebody.

Once God revealed His plans to Moses, the revelation became an invitation for Moses to join him. Hello. God has told you to do something, but it's an invitation for you to join Him, not you... Oh. He said, "I have chosen you. You have not chosen Me." Somebody needed to hear that. Sometimes we think we've chosen God. He chose us.

But in order for Moses to get where God wanted him to go, he had to make changes. Any time you're going to go from where you are to where God is, you've got to make changes. You can't stay where you are and go with God at the same time. You got to make changes. You have got to make your schedule meet His schedule. You've got to make your lifestyle line up with His lifestyle.

Moses couldn't stay in the desert and stand before Pharaoh at the same time. He had to move. He had to join God in what God was doing. Moses had to come to a place where he believed God could do anything.

Many of us here tonight have got to come to a place where we believe that God can do anything. Oh, yes. We know the Scripture. We can quote it, backwards, forwards, sideways, all around. But do we really believe that God can do anything?

I believe that God can do anything. You know, I sit around when I pray. And I talk to God. I say, "Now wait a minute, Lord. You know my faith is there, because I believe that You can do anything."

He can do anything. He can change anybody. He can change the heart of a situation, the heart of a person. He can change them.

After Moses made those changes, he was in position where he could obey God. He was going nowhere until he got into the right position. Uh oh. You want to go somewhere, don't you? But you're not going anywhere until you get in the right position. God is speaking to somebody tonight.

Once we have determined to follow God, by faith we have to obey him. As Moses finally obeyed God, God accomplished everything He intended at that particular moment through Moses, whereas getting His people out of Egypt. Every step of obedience brought Moses to a greater knowledge of God.

Every step of obedience in your life where you obey God will bring you to a greater knowledge of who He is. You say you want to know Him? Obey Him. I believe I better say that again. Do you want to know Him? Then obey Him. Don't follow Him for the fishes and for the loaves. Hello. Don't follow Him (glory to God) for the fishes and for the loaves. But follow Him because you desire to know Him.

Paul said, "I want to know Him in the power, in the fellowship of His suffering, in the power of His resurrection." He said, "That's how I know. I want to know Him."

If you suffer with Christ, you'll reign with Christ. I want to know Him. I don't just want the blessings. I want to know Him.

Many of us have come out of that place. We used to want to know Him. But now we're praising Him just because the blessings come down. We know Him at a certain level, and now we plateau-ed off. And now we're just waiting for the manifestation of a blessing. Hello, somebody. But the church has got to get back to that place where we want to know Him.

You remember the holy rollers, they would roll around in the floor? They'd stay in church all night if need be. Now we can't stay in church for three hours. God forbid. They would stay all night long to hear a word from the Lord, all night long, all night long, all night long, all night long.

But now God, He's so merciful. He moves through microwave words for us, because He knows after just a short time, our mind is going to start wandering, thinking about what's going on outside, instead of thinking about what's going on in the house of God.

What assignment do you have from the Lord? If God gave you that assignment, it's bigger than you. And He's got to bring it to pass. That husband is bigger than you are. You don't hear me. Those children are bigger than you are. You don't hear me in this house. Those finances that you need are bigger than you are.

It's going to take God to bring it to pass. Whatever assignment He's called you to is going to require faith. If He called you to it, then He can do it. Listen. If He called you to it, if He called you to it, then you can do it. Because you can do what? All things through Christ with strengthens you.

So stop fretting about your situation and lean not to your own understanding about it. But in all of your ways acknowledge Him. And if you come to a standstill and you don't know what to do, acknowledge Him. And the Bible says He will direct your path.

Give God a handclap of praise.

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