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This sermon is a word in favour of weakness. Weakness and strength are not what they seem; God turns them upside down. What seems weak can be surprisingly strong, and what seems to be strong can be just disguising weakness. It is a fundamental message of the New Testament; appearances can be deceptive; what is going on on the surface is often different from what is going on deep down.
God is often calling us to be weak because there is a hidden strength in weakness. There are hints of this in the Old Testament, for example, the suffering servant of Isaiah, by whose wounds we are healed. In the New Testament Christ takes the form of a servant – to become weak, to become one of us. Jesus Himself says the servant is not greater than his master.
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Jesus became weak for our sakes: we are called to become weak too. But we can’t really give up strength unless we are first strong.
Paul talks a good deal about weakness – how he became weak to bring the weak to Christ.
For those who feel weak, the Lord can give you strength: ‘God is our hope and strength’. In the Old Testament, God was the strength of Samson. The key phrase in Samson’s story is ‘he did not realise that the Lord had departed from him’; it was when the mark of Samson’s dedication to God left him (his uncut hair), that he lost his strength.
There are many occassions in the bible when the weak find strength in God…