The Next Level

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Last night, we had a good time looking at Genesis 22 and how Jacob wrestled with the angel of God.  12 folks were out for the service with 1 first time visitor.

The lessons we looked at from Jacob were very helpful to me as we praying, plan, and desire to go to the next level.  The only way for the church to grow, to be able to take care of its own bills, and to be able to be a hub for evangelism in this country and around the world is for God to take us to the next level.  We can struggle and wrestle, but it is only through dependance and submission to God and the need for His power that this will be accomplished.

Below is the outline of what I preached last night:

The Struggle (32:24-25)

What is the struggle?

  • Between man and God; my will and His will

  • It seems to be between us and other people, us and the Devil, us and circumstance, but it is between really us and God.

Why the struggle? (James 4:1-5)

  • We don’t want to surrender and trust God.

  • We want to do things our own way.

  • We think we know best. (Gen. 3:17-19)  Life was never a struggle until sin entered.  When man rebelled, the struggle came.

  • God brings a man to wrestle with us.  God is more concerned with what we are to become than what we want.

  • God wants to break us of our pride. (32:25)  He uses the struggle to do that.  God broke his body but more importantly He broke his pride.  Just about the time we think we have it beaten, we find out that it is hopeless.  (32:25)

The Submission

  • The only way to blessing was through submission. (32:26-27)
  • Jacob had to confess who he really was.  Jacob = The cheat, the tricksterHad to be humble before God would bless (Ja 4:6-10)
  • Jacob had finally met his match.  He could not outsmart God.  Had had to bend and bow to God.  What will it take before we will be broken. Better to judge ourselves (1 Cor. 11:27-32) 

The Blessing

Comes not through wrestling but through humility and mercy (32:28)

How did God bless?

  • A new name –Israel (prince with God) (32:28)

  • A new power – through God not self (32:28).  We prevail with men through God.

  • A new reverence – awe of God (32:29-30)

  • A new life – of dependence upon God not self.  “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15). 

  • A new maturity (32:31-32)  1Pe 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishet

Out of terror and pain come blessings and faith.

Some terribly terrifying experiences in which you have to fight with everything in you can be an opportunity to discover new truth, to come to know God more fully, and to be made by Him into a more whole person.

Contrary to what might be expected, I look back on experiences that at the time seemed especially desolating and painful with particular satisfaction. Indeed, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my experience, has been through affliction and not through happiness.  Malcolm Muggeridge, in Homemade, July, 1990

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