Super Power 3 – Invincible and Invulnerable

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Super Power 3 – Invincible and Invulnerable

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One super power that is often overlooked is invulnerability. Super heroes often need to be invulnerable to withstand the relentless attacks of their enemies. We can become invulnerable as well, but protecting ourselves and hardening our heart does not make us more like Jesus. Instead we must become vulnerable by sharing in God’s love and showing compassion to others. Jesus can never be defeated; if we are united with Him in His vulnerability, we will also share in His invincibility.

 

Super Power 3 – Invincible and Invulnerable

Sermon Notes by Marshal Blessing

Welcome

We’re talking about Super Powers

If you could have any power, which one would you have?  Facebook.

Today I would like to talk about some powers that are often overlooked

Invulnerable/Invincible

Story from Dial H.E.R.O.

These terms are easily confused – “Invincible” Iron Man

Start with Invulnerable – impossible to harm or damage

Lots of heroes have this power: Superman, Hulk… one in particular

Super Hero Trivia Question of the Day: What comic book character has the real name Ben Grimm?

The Thing – Fantastic Four, “It’s clobberin’ time,” made of rock, looks invulnerable

Wouldn’t that be great?  Burning building? No problem… Runaway bus? No worries…  Ebola? Ha…

We love invulnerable characters.  We like to feel invulnerable.  We can be invulnerable to limited extent.

Problems with being invulnerable

1.)    We over-use it.

God already gave you the ability to get tougher.  Calluses, bone density, antibodies, tolerance to poisons

We develop invulnerability in response to the things to which we are vulnerable.

We face emotional and mental stress.  Look at the news.  Look at life.  We try to become resistant to it.

Some people use substances.  Some distract themselves with work, entertainment, etc.

You can harden your heart. (The Thing)

Proverbs 28:14 NIV Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.

You can harden your heart against the suffering of others.

You can become invulnerable to your family, friends, almost anything.

You can become invulnerable to the call of God in your life.  It may not even be intentional.

Eventually we can become hard hearted and stiff necked, but we call it invulnerable.

2.)    It’s not achievable.  We can never be completely invulnerable.

This one should be obvious.  No one has ever become completely bulletproof.

But we want to be invulnerable, we want to safe.  We can insulate our lives and try to protect ourselves from everything.

But if I’ve learned anything from comic books, no one is completely invulnerable.

Every super hero and every super villain has a weakness.  They all have an Achilles Heel

Superman, Green Lantern, Indiana Jones, Samson

Achilles, one of the first super heroes.  Dipped in the river Styx.  Fought in Trojan War. Heel vulnerable.

We can try to become invulnerable to many things, even God, but we are never completely invulnerable

It may not be snakes or spiders or the color yellow.  You have a weakness, a vulnerability.

Friends and family – that’s why super heroes have a secret identity

It may be yourself – your desire to be invulnerable.  Lots of villains seek invulnerability.  Green Lantern

Paradoxically, your invulnerability may be your weakness.  Metalo – numb

No matter how well you protect yourself, you’re eventually going to die.  You will eventually face God.

As Jesus says “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

If you’ve spent your time focusing on how to secure your earthly life, then you have left your soul vulnerable.

3.)    We’re not expected to be invulnerable.

We like to feel strong.  We like to feel safe.  We admire people that seem stoic and invulnerable.

You might get the idea that Christians are expected to be “invulnerable”

Psalm 23:4 NIV Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of darkness, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 23:5 NIV You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.  You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Isaiah 54:17 NIV no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.  This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from Me,” declares the Lord.

Psalm 91:5 NIV You will not fear the terror of night, not the arrow that flies by day,

Psalm 91:6 NIV nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Psalm 91:7 NIV A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand may fall at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Isaiah 50:7 NIV Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced.  Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.

These are good verses, and there are others, but they’re out of context.

You could get the idea that if you’re not invulnerable, you’re not doing it right.  If you have problems…

If you pray enough, if you give enough to church, if you do things the right way, you can reach some higher state where nothing can touch you.

That’s not true.  The Bible never says if you follow God you won’t have problems.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have problems.”

I do believe that God can protect us.  We pray “deliver us from evil.” He can protect us from temptation. I believe God can give us supernatural protection at times.

And I believe we can reduce problems we face by making better choices and involving God in our lives.

But God never promises us a problem-free life. The Bible doesn’t say we should be invulnerable in this life.

Instead we can look to Jesus.  He is the example for everything our life should be.

Jesus is fully God and fully man.  Of all people he could have been invulnerable.  But he wasn’t.

Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. He used some proof texts, and asked aren’t you supposed to be invulnerable?

Psalm 91:11 NIV For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Psalm 91:12 NIV they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

But Jesus values His relationship with God above anything else.  Jesus wasn’t invulnerable.

He got hungry.  He got thirsty.  He wept.  He suffered.  He bled.  He died.  He took on our afflictions.

If we are supposed to be like Jesus, then we are not supposed to be invulnerable.

The truth is you’ll never be invulnerable and you weren’t meant to be invulnerable.

The good news is there is something better.  Through Christ we are invincible.

Invincible – impossible to conquer or defeat

Hard to think of an example from comics.  Since we talked about The Thing as invulnerable…

Swamp Thing  Alec Holland, opposite of The Thing.  Thing is rock.  Swamp Thing is mushy.
He embodies all plant life, can be stabbed, shot, burned, turned into mulch,
as long as there is one plant left he survives.  So you can understand that he is difficult to defeat.

But our victory, our invincibility, our life doesn’t come from plants.  It comes from Jesus Christ.

1 John 5:11 NIV And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

As Jesus said

Matthew 16:25 NIV For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.

Again, if you work to preserve you life, to be invulnerable, you will lose it.

Romans 6:5 NIV If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.

Invincible doesn’t mean things can’t hurt you.  It means they cannot defeat you.

2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair;

2 Corinthians 4:9 NIV persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

“Light and momentary troubles”?  Sometimes the things we face in life don’t seem light or momentary.  But remember, this was written by Paul, who was beaten, imprisoned, shipwrecked, bitten by a poisonous snake, stoned to death and prayed back to life, and eventually executed.  Read 2 Corinthians 11 for his list.

He wasn’t invulnerable.  He was focused on God.  Look at what he says in our memory verse:

Philippians 4:12 NIV I know what is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.

Philippians 4:13 NIV I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Jesus is the source of our strength and our life in every situation.  But look again at

2 Corinthians 4:17 NIV For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

Our troubles achieve eternal glory for us?  Jesus achieved our salvation, but when we persevere through trials we are becoming like Jesus.

James puts it this way

James 1:12 NIV Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

We are to be conformed to the image of Christ.  Jesus was vulnerable.  We have to be

Vulnerable to be Invincible

We usually associate vulnerability with weakness.
But as we learned last week, God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.

You can try to protect yourself, and secure your life, or you can live for God and live for others.

Jesus said we must take up our cross and follow him.  Only if we lose our life for him will we find it.

Love is vulnerability.  For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…       ***MUSICIAN***

We are called to love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves.   We are called to be vulnerable.

1 John 3:16 NIV This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

You can’t lay down your life if you are invulnerable.
We have to be vulnerable in order to bear one another’s burdens and minister to each other in our time of need.  We have to be willing to let God and let others touch our heart.

And there’s the problem, for me at least.

We live in a difficult, dangerous, depressing world, and we naturally develop resistance to things that cause us pain.  Our hearts get hardened by the world around us.  Sometimes we harden them.

In my life I’ve hardened my heart…  Or look at the news:

So what can we do?  If your heart is a rock, it’s almost a super power to let it feel; to let it be vulnerable.
God can do all things…

Ezekiel 36:26 NIV I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.                                     Are you willing?

We have the freedom to be vulnerable because in Jesus Christ the victory is already won.
With Jesus we are invincible.

SUPER POWER REDEMPTION CHURCH

Author: Marshal Blessing

Marshal Blessing serves Redemption as Care Pastor. He is blessed to be married to Jessica Blessing and father to Lazarus.