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That They May Know the Truth

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
November 22, 2020 6:00 pm

That They May Know the Truth

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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November 22, 2020 6:00 pm

Pastor Greg Barkman teaches from Paul's letter to Timothy in this Sunday morning message.

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Well, November has been designated as Missions Month at Beacon now for more than 40 years. And every year, some weeks before November, your elders discuss and choose an appropriate motto and a corresponding text from Scripture for the purposes of highlighting Missions Month in the present year. And for this year, 2020, the motto we chose, it's at the top of the Faith Promise Cards that you have received. The motto is that they may know the truth.

Those words come out of 2 Timothy 2.25. The suitability of those words to the cause of missions is very obvious, that they may know the truth. We have no difficulty applying that to the work of missions. And yet, every year as I preach the Missions Month text on Harvest Day, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I discover that sometimes these texts, which have a very suitable phrase within them that applies to missions, do not always, as far as the text as a whole, do not always apply directly to missions. Some have a different focus, and only secondarily are they related to missions.

And such is the case this year. And so my task, as always, is to explain the text, what it says, what it means in its context. That's always my first responsibility. But then, also, to go beyond that and to show how this text relates to the cause of missions. So that's what we're going to do this morning.

Please follow me. As we deal, first of all, with the context, because we have to do that to get a text. To properly understand the text, we have to understand it in its context. Secondly, we will examine the text itself to see what it says. And then thirdly, we will apply the text to missions.

But first of all, the context, the broader context. And for this, I'm going to have to give you a brief summary of the epistle in which it is found. The second epistle to Timothy and what was going on in that epistle that lends understanding to the text.

And I think this is very important, or I wouldn't take the time to do this. The author of this book, from a human standpoint, is the Apostle Paul, and it is the very last epistle that he wrote, at least of the ones that are collected for us in the New Testament Scriptures. It was written from the city of Rome during Paul's second Roman imprisonment and his final imprisonment, the one from which he was not released.

And it was written shortly before his execution by Nero, the Roman emperor. The recipient of this particular epistle, which is pretty obvious to know, is none other than Timothy, who we have learned is the most trusted and faithful partner with Paul in his missionary endeavors, and is in fact, like Titus and a few others, a protégé of Paul, one that Paul has not only worked with in the ministry, but one that he has trained for ministry. Timothy that he took is a very young man and took with him on his missionary journeys and helped him to develop his gifts and to use them in the cause of Christ until he had become a very valuable and trusted partner in missions. Timothy, at the time this epistle is written, has been assigned to the city of Ephesus in Asia Minor as what I would call an apostolic emissary, that is one who has been sent by Paul the Apostle to oversee the work of the church in Ephesus.

Now we don't know all the details of why that was done and why that was considered necessary. We are aware that there already were appointed elders in the church at Ephesus. In fact, we have a very substantial passage in the book of Acts where Paul calls the Ephesian elders to meet him on his journey back to Rome where the ship stopped and he called them to meet him on the beach and he addressed them. So there were elders in the church at Ephesus, but evidently from the fact that Paul sent Timothy to provide some additional oversight and from what we read even in this epistle before us, it's pretty clear that the elders there somehow had more than they were able to handle. There were difficulties going on in the church that they were just not sufficient to address. And so Paul sent Timothy. Paul himself couldn't come. He was in prison.

But Paul sent Timothy, his most trusted partner and one who had proved himself faithful over many years, and told Timothy to take oversight, to become, as it were, the senior pastor, to help direct the elders and to help direct the work of the ministry there so that it did not flounder. I'm hearing some competing... Technology, isn't it wonderful? Just a reminder, it would be a good idea to turn your cell phones off when you come into the auditorium.

I know I don't always remember myself and they do go off at strange times at some times, don't they? Well, let's see. I'll try to pick up my train of thought.

Oh, yes. Timothy to Ephesus. I pondered this situation where Ephesus required an apostolic emissary to evidently bring things back into order, and yet Corinth didn't seem to require that much additional help. Now, we look at the epistle to the Corinthians and we say that church was just riddled with problems. It had more problems than any of the churches that Paul founded. Well, there were some pretty serious problems, and yet evidently Paul was confident that the people there, the elders there, the leadership there, was capable of steering that ship, that church, through their problems to a safe landing. But in Ephesus, that we would look at from the information we have in the Bible and consider that that church was probably in better shape than Corinth, was for whatever reason not able to do that without some outside help.

Now, there's something I want to talk to somebody about when I get to heaven. Paul or whoever is qualified to give me some answers to this, I would really like to understand this a little bit better. But at any rate, that's where Timothy is.

He's in Ephesus overseeing the work there. And Paul is now writing from prison, and in the four chapters of 2 Timothy, I'm going to give you a quick summary of what takes place. In chapter 1, there's strong emphasis to Timothy on you be faithful to your call. You've been called to ministry, gifted for ministry. You be faithful to your call.

You be faithful to your commitment. You have committed yourself to ministry. You have publicly committed yourself to ministry. You have been set aside by the hands of the elders, by ordination to the work of ministry.

Now be faithful to that call. Chapter 2, train others for ministry. The chapter opens by saying the things which you have learned from me, the same commit to faithful men who shall be able to train or to teach others also.

This is an ongoing process. Paul trained Timothy for ministry. Timothy must now train people in Ephesus for ministry. And as I say, it's evident that they needed some good, strong leaders in that church. And so train others, but the chapter goes on and also emphasizes to Timothy, be willing to endure hardships and correct errors. And it's that correcting errors part that comes into our text for this morning. Chapter 3, expect opposition, expect defectors, expect persecutions.

This isn't the kind of job that most people would willingly sign up for when you realize what's involved here. And this is what Paul is communicating to Timothy. And then in chapter 4, there are two things that I think are emphasized. Number one, preach the word. That's the solution to all of the problems. Preach the word. Keep preaching the word. Be constant, be instant, in season, out of season, reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. Preach the word.

That's the answer. And the last part of chapter 4, Timothy, come to Rome. I don't have much time. Come, come, come quickly. Bring my cloak, bring my books, bring a few other things. I need those things and I need to see you before I die.

Come to Rome. And that would be an overview of what's going on in this epistle. Now, zeroing in to the context a little more precisely to chapter 2 where our text is found, and a few more of the details there.

I've already given you some. What do we find in chapter 2? As I've already said, it opens with an emphasis upon discipling others. The transmission of the burden and responsibilities of the ministry to others who are faithful and capable. Train faithful teachers. So, discipling.

I've got four D's for chapter 2. Number 2, discipline. There's a pretty good section here, verses 3 through 13, that talks about the self-discipline. We're talking here about personal disciplines, the self-discipline that's necessary for successful ministry. Paul talks about soldiers and how they have to be disciplined to be in the military, to endure hardships.

About farmers, how they have to be disciplined if they're going to be able to be successful in the work of farming and so forth. To endure the necessary hardships that are attendant with ministry. Number 3, disputes. That's a long section, verses 14 through 23, where Paul takes a lot of time to tell Timothy, avoid unprofitable arguments. Of all the things that Paul could talk about, this might be one of the last ones that would occur to us. Lots of serious matters out there.

Paul considers this serious. Avoid unprofitable arguments. That'll get you sidetracked. That'll get you derailed.

That will keep you from carrying out the proper focus of your ministry. Don't get sucked into frivolous arguments. There are people who want to argue, who want to raise questions, who want to keep you going round and round. As soon as you answer one question, they're going to raise another one. You should probably try to answer a question or two from people like this, because you don't know what they're like until this goes on for a little while. When you have ascertained that they're not really interested in answers, they're just interested in arguing, then stop it. It's not profitable.

In fact, it's damaging. Stop it. Disputes.

Avoid unprofitable arguments. And then finally, the chapter concludes with what I've called diligence. Patiently teach the truth. And that gets us to the text, which is our chosen text for today. So now we come to our text, verse 25.

And here's what we read. In humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if God, perhaps, will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth. Now, this text is actually in the middle of a larger unit. You really can't even consider this text, this verse as a text by itself, because it's in the middle of one long sentence that begins in verse 24 and concludes at the end of the chapter. You can see that in most Bibles, the way it's punctuated. So I go back now and read verses 24, 25, and 26. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient. In humility, correcting those who are in opposition, if God, perhaps, will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth.

And that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. So our text, taking it now in this larger unit, I'm going to break down into these three parts. Number one, ministerial manner, that's verse 24. Number two, ministerial requirement, that's the first part of verse 25. And then number three, ministerial reward, that's the last part of verse 25 and verse 26. Ministerial manner, Paul talks to Timothy about the manner in which he is to conduct his ministry. And I'm going to give you what he says, and then we'll go back and read the verse again. It's in verse 24.

But here are the elements. Here are the requirements. Here's a description of the manner in which Timothy is to conduct his ministry. First, he must be humble. Two, he must not be quarrelsome. Three, he needs to be gentle. Four, able to teach. And five, he needs to be patient. Do you see that in verse 24?

I just gave it to you one by one. Verse 24, and a servant of the Lord must not quarrel, but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient. First of all, humble, and where do I find that in the verse? By what Paul calls Timothy.

He is a servant of the Lord, literally a bondservant of the Lord, which actually is a slave. Not much area for pride in that, is there? When you realize who you are, you are a slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. That'll take the wind out of your sails. That'll reduce some of the pride that we all have too much of. Keep that in mind. Keep in mind that you are a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. Recognize your place as a servant, a bondservant. And don't forget that. That will keep you humble.

You need that. Number two, don't be quarrelsome. And as I said, there's already been a long section that deals with that, but he returns to it again with this phrase, don't be quarrelsome. Don't be drawn into senseless arguments. And for your part, don't delight in debates. See, there's two sides to this.

Number one, don't let yourself be sucked in. Some people are almost like a quarreling vacuum cleaner. They just come along and sweep up quarrels wherever they can find them. And they're going to try to sweep you into their quarrelsome personality, their quarrelsome lifestyle, their delight in arguing in quarrels. And you've got to watch out for that. You've got to keep yourself from being sucked up into that kind of environment. But you yourself may have that tendency.

That's a personality trait of many people that they just enjoy. They would call it debating. And there is a place for legitimate debate, of course, but you've got to be careful.

It crosses a line very quickly from legitimate discussions that can be profitable if they're carried out in the right way, but legitimate discussions that can pretty soon just turn into a quarrelsome lifestyle where some people are just never really happy unless they're arguing with somebody about something. Now, you've got to guard against people like that around you that you don't get pulled into their problem. But you've got to guard against that in your own heart because many times we have that tendency, don't we, if we're honest. And we have to recognize that a good minister of the Lord Jesus Christ cannot cater to that tendency if he has it.

Some do, some don't. But anyone who does needs to recognize it and squelch it. Don't be quarrelsome. You can't conduct your ministry in a proper way if you are quarrelsome. We're talking about ministerial manner. The way to carry out a profitable ministry of the Word of God is not to always be arguing. It's not to carry it out in an argumentative manner, in an argumentative tone, in a fighting, feisty approach.

That will come as a surprise to some people. But here it is in the Word of God. Now, Ironside had a very perspicuous comment at this point, and he said, It is difficult to be faithful to the truth without becoming quarrelsome. It's difficult. Because on the one hand, we are to contend for the faith. We are. We must. We must. If we don't do that, we have not fulfilled our responsibility. But, as we're told here, we've got to do that.

We've got to do that. But we've got to do that in a meek and quiet spirit, in humility, not in a quarrelsome manner. So humble, not quarrelsome. Gentle.

Some of these characteristics overlap. Gentle means approachable, not intolerant and scornful. Apt to teach, a skillful teacher. And a man shouldn't be in the ministry if he doesn't show that aptitude, of course.

But, obviously, this is something that can be developed, something that you work on, hopefully for the rest of your life, always trying to improve your skill as a communicator of God's Word. This aptitude to teach, the word that is found here, that's translated just able to teach, is found two times in the New Testament. The other time is at 1 Timothy 3.2, where it's found on the list of qualifications for an elder or a bishop. A bishop, among other things, must be able to teach or have a teaching aptitude. That's not said of deacons, but it's said of bishops, overseers, elders, pastors.

And it comes up again here. Paul is talking to Timothy in that capacity. And anyone who's going to be an effective minister must be a skillful teacher.

If he's not, he shouldn't be in that office. And then patient. Some of these things keep going back around to the same idea. Patient. Patient when wronged. Patient with slow learners.

It's hard. Some people, you teach them gently, they don't get it. You teach them again, they don't get it. You teach them again, they don't get it.

It takes wisdom to know, are they just being obstreperous or are they just slow? Be patient. Be patient. Be patient. Teach them again.

Be patient. And be patient when you are wronged. You've got to be able to tell the difference between personal slights and attacks upon Christ and upon the Bible and upon truth. And, of course, those kind of attacks we are required to defend against. But personal slights, we need to, by the help and grace of God and by following the example of our Lord and Master, turn the other cheek. The personal ones, they're the hardest ones actually to our flesh. We're more prone to rise up in indignation and anger with personal slights than we are perhaps about attacks upon the doctrine of God's word.

But it's got to be the other way around. Defend against those attacks upon truth. But just let those personal insults slide by. Don't take them personally.

They probably are meant personally, but don't take them personally. Be patient when wronged. That's the ministerial manner. That's the way you've got to conduct your ministry, Timothy.

What's the ministerial requirement in the first part of verse 25? And it's two things primarily. Number one, correct those who are in error. And number two, trust in God's sovereignty.

This is our text, our mission text. In humility, correcting those who are in opposition. Correcting those who are in opposition.

They must be corrected. You don't ignore it. Those who are opposing sound doctrine, those who are opposing the gospel, those who are opposing the word of God.

Those who are causing Christians to be confused and turning away from the truth. You've got to correct them, but how do you do it? Again, the emphasis, how do you do it? In humility.

Meek humility, not easy, but that's the way it must be done. That's the way it must be done, correcting those who are in error. He's talking here about false teachers who are affecting the church. They are false professors. They're not genuine believers, but they're either in the church or around the church.

It's hard to tell exactly what the relationship is, but they're very much in view. In fact, going back to the overview of 2 Timothy again, this reference to defectors and false teachers is peppered all the way through the epistle. You find something about it in every chapter. This helps us to understand who he's talking about in our text. Look at chapter 1 verse 15. This you know, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. There's a reference to defectors and opponents. Chapter 2 verses 17 and 18.

And their message, he's referred to them earlier, their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection has already passed and they overthrow the faith of some. Defectors, false teachers, chapter 3 verses 5 through 9. He's talking about people who, having a form of godliness, that is, they profess to be Christians, having a form of Christianity, an outward form, having a form of godliness but denying its power, because they've never experienced the regenerating power of the new birth. To them it's all in their minds and all in their ceremonies and rituals and what they identify with as Christians, but though having a form of godliness, denying its power, and from such people what? Turn away. I thought you were supposed to bear with them patiently up to a point, but when you realize what you're dealing with here, there comes a point when you just have to cut them off from such turn away. For of this sort are those who creep into houses and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away with various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We'll say something about that phrase in a moment. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, now we don't know who these men were, but they were somebody who openly opposed Moses in the Old Testament when he was leading the people of God. Some people think they were a couple of the magicians in Egypt who duplicated some of Moses' miracles, but whoever they were, Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also. The people he's talking about here, these false teachers, they resist the truth. Men of corrupt minds disapproved concerning the faith. They don't qualify as true believers. They are really not in the faith. Disapproved concerning the faith and so forth. And then chapter 4, verse 3, For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers. He's talking about church members now, and when they turn from the truth, what do they want? Well, they want pastors who will encourage them in their error. They want teachers who will reinforce their error. They want teachers that will tell them that their ungodly lifestyle is okay.

You don't have to go very far to find that kind everywhere, even here in Alamance County. Chapter 4, verse 10, For Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world. Verse 14, Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm.

May the Lord repay him according to his works. Now, you see, this is peppered all through the epistle. And this is what Paul is talking about when he says, in verse 25, in humility, correcting those who are in opposition. First you try to correct them, and if they won't be corrected, then you turn away from them. But now you've got to bring correcting truth to the people who have been affected by them.

Watch out for this. Recognize that this that has been taught, and some of you have heard it, is wrong. Correcting those who are in opposition. And so the first requirement of a faithful minister is to correct those in error. But secondly, always, in everything you do, trusting in the sovereignty of God.

Because that's the last part of the text. If God, perhaps, will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth. You're correcting those who are in error is not, what should I say, it's not your responsibility to bring about their change, their correction. I mean, you're laboring with that goal in mind, but always remembering that the only one who can accomplish it is God Almighty. He must sovereignly do that. He must grant them repentance. He must grant them a knowledge of the truth. God is able to turn enemies into servants. Nobody knows that better than the one who wrote this epistle. Paul, who was, at one time, Saul on the road to Damascus, who was intensely persecuting Christians, and God struck him down and saved him and turned him into a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

He was an opponent, and he became a bondservant. God can do that. Don't forget that. God can do that, but you've got to rest in the sovereignty of God in that regard. And then, finally, there's the ministerial reward, and that is basically just God-empowered conversions. That's the reward on earth. There's going to be rewards in heaven, but what are you looking for here on earth? Well, here it is.

Here it is. If God, perhaps, will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will. God-empowered conversions, which involve God-granted repentance. God-empowered knowledge of the truth. The truth, knowledge, in the Greek is gnosis, but here, as often in the New Testament, it is epignosis, the full truth.

In this context, it would seem to be saying something like this. These people who claim to be Christians, but obviously are not, by their behavior and by their words, these people who say they know the gospel, and they do, they could probably tell you what it is. They haven't really experienced it. They haven't come to a full knowledge of the truth, but that's what you desire, and God's able to do it, and if you will be faithful, you will see that happen at times. That will be your wonderful reward, that people like this will come to a saving knowledge of the truth. Glory, hallelujah, praise the Lord, and when they do, they will become useful to the cause of Christ.

They will come to their senses. They will escape the snare of the devil, those who have been captive by him to do his will. These so that they may know the truth is used elsewhere in the Bible, particularly in the context of coming to saving faith. This is knowing the truth of the gospel in a personal, saving way. You've got it already in this book, chapter 3, verse 17.

No, chapter 3, verse 7, not 17. We already read it a moment ago of these, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. That verse used to puzzle me because I couldn't quite understand what he was talking about until I began to realize that phrase knowledge of the truth is related to salvation. That's what he's talking about. That's what he's talking about. Always learning, but never coming to the new birth.

There are people like that. There's a sense in which none of us ever come to the full knowledge of the truth in this world because we're always studying God's word and always learning more. So what's he talking about here? Always studying, but never coming to the knowledge of the truth. This is what he's talking about. People who know a great deal about Christianity, but they've never come to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

They've never come to a heart knowledge of the truth. That's what he's talking about here in our text. You see it again in Titus 1.1, probably right there on the page in front of you. Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God's elect and what? The acknowledgement or the knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness. That's saving faith, saving knowledge, the knowledge of God's elect, the knowledge of the truth. So the minister's reward is to see God-empowered conversions, God granting repentance, God bringing people to salvation, to a true saving knowledge of Christ. And this text, therefore, applies to pastoral ministry in its context. Paul is telling Timothy that pastoral ministry is challenging, and pastoral ministry requires patience, and pastoral ministry requires a forgiving spirit, and pastoral ministry requires courage to proclaim the truth.

Don't shave it. Don't shy away from it. You've got to proclaim the unwelcome truth, but in a quiet and patient and humble manner. Pastoral ministry requires diligence.

Now, that's the text. Let's look at it in its application to missions, shall we? And what it tells us in regard to missions is the necessity of two things. When it comes to missions, number one, the necessity of human activity, and number two, the necessity of divine activity.

There is necessary human activity. It's a proclamation of God's word. In humility, correcting those who are in opposition. In humility, boldly proclaiming the truth, being willing to declare unwelcome truth, but not in a provocative manner.

It keeps coming back to that idea. I think one of the best examples of this is Paul on Mars Hill, and we don't have time to analyze that sermon, but it's a wonderful example of this. Paul was in hostile territory. Paul was preaching to learned, highly educated pagans, who he knew were going to find his message laughable, and they did laugh before it was over.

Well, that's one of the things we cringe from, isn't it? We're afraid that if we talk too much about our faith, people are going to ridicule it. Paul knew that, and he did get ridiculed before it was over, but he didn't come at them with his boxing gloves on. The sermon is a marvel of tact and kindness and wisdom. I see, he said, I've looked at all of these altars around here, all of these idols, he didn't call them idols, all of these statues, and he said, I can see that you are a very religious people. Well, that would be one way to describe them.

I could think of a few others, and I know how some others might have described you rotten, pagan idolaters, idolaters worshiping immoral people, repent or perish. But that isn't how Paul went about it, is it? It wasn't confrontational. So bold proclamation, and he was bold, he touched on things that the further he went along in his message, the harder they found to swallow. He talked about there's only one God, he's not made with hands, and you can't fashion an image of him, and that was a little hard for them to take.

He finally got down and talked to them about the resurrection from the dead, and that's when they started laughing out loud, that anyone would believe in the resurrection. But that sermon is a model of tact and humility and wisdom and truth. He just kept touching upon important truths. He did it with courage. He did it with boldness. He did it with humility.

He did not do it in a provocative manner. And he was patient, and that's the whole idea here. He's telling Timothy to do the same thing. The human activity is mannerly behavior, bold proclamation, and patient expectation, if God perhaps, if God perhaps will grant them repentance so that they may know the truth. We know that God is able to do that. We also know that God's enabling is indispensable. If He doesn't do it, they're not going to repent, they're not going to believe. We further know that God is sovereign, and we're patiently subject to His sovereign will. If God perhaps, none of this commanding God, none of this demanding God, like some people do so audaciously and wickedly today, humbly, here's the truth. I'm dependent upon God to apply it to hearts. Oh Lord, please, grant repentance. It's a gift of God. Grant repentance.

Unless God grants it, they'll remain proud and unrepentant. Grant repentance. And grant a knowledge of the truth. Give them understanding. Open their minds. Open their hearts.

Turn on the light. Show them the truth. Help them to understand who Jesus is and what He did upon the cross and why they need Him. Make them feel it in their souls. Make them understand their sin and their danger. Grant them repentance from sin and a full knowledge of the truth.

That's the necessary human activity. Mannerly behavior, bold proclamation, patient expectation, because we also note the necessary divine activity. God must grant repentance. We've made that clear. Here's what the Christians in Acts chapter 11 said when Peter reported to them about Gentiles who had come to believe in Christ. When they heard these things, they became silent and they glorified God, saying, Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life. We didn't know He was going to do that.

We didn't think He was going to do that. We thought He only granted repentance that brings eternal life to Jews. But God has granted that to Gentiles as well. But it's the gift of God. God must grant it. God must grant repentance. God must enable understanding. And God acts sovereignly. This is the necessary divine activity in missions.

We're talking about missions now, how it applies to missions. God acts sovereignly, and He doesn't tell us why He does what He does. And we can't demand that. He's not obligated to tell us why He does what He does. And we're being proud and arrogant and rebellious when we demand that.

There are many reasons that are unknown to us, but one, I think, is this. We are shut up to God's divine prerogative in order to teach us humility, in order to teach us surrender, in order to teach us that we are creatures, and He is the almighty Creator. And that's the relationship, that's the posture that we've got to come to as soon as possible.

The sooner the better, because that's what's necessary. And so being dependent upon God's sovereign activity is very important, both for us as well as the work that we are engaged in. When I was thinking about this, I thought about that hymn by Samuel Davies that I put somewhere, Great God of Wonders, All Thy Ways. Oh, here it is.

It stands at two. Such deep transgressions to forgive, Such guilty sinners thus to spare, This is Thy grand prerogative, And in this honor none shall share, Who is a pardoning God like Thee, And who has grace so rich and free. In this honor none shall share. Oh, we want to get a little piece of the action. We want to get a little piece of the glory. We want to get a little piece of the credit. We want to get a little piece.

God says, No! And that's it in a nutshell. That's how this text applies to missions. On the one hand, we've got to remember that there is necessary human activity. Nobody's saved until they hear the gospel. And it's our responsibility to preach it to them. We've also got to remember God's sovereignty. Nobody is saved until God grants them repentance, until God grants them faith, until God grants them understanding. And we've got to bow to God's sovereignty in that.

Well, let me quickly close with a few lessons. Number one, personal evangelism. We all have friends and loved ones and strangers that we'd love to see come to faith in Christ.

What is necessary for that to happen? Number one, we must preach, and number two, we must pray. But we must recognize that God's got to do it.

Our loved ones, our friends, our relatives, our neighbors are not going to come to faith in Christ until they hear the gospel. Who's responsible for that? We are. It's our responsibility. Let's not shirk it. Let's not misuse the sovereignty of God to shirk our responsibility to declare the gospel. But we must pray.

Why? Because we beseech the throne of heaven that God will grant repentance, that God will grant understanding, that God will make these witnessing efforts effective. We need to understand that in personal evangelism. And we need to understand the same thing in worldwide evangelism.

We call that missions. Somebody's got to preach. That means missionaries are going to have to go to the ends of the earth. People in other places are going to hear the gospel.

Somebody must preach, which means somebody's got to go, which means somebody's got to give financially to enable missionaries to go. And it's a wonderful privilege for us to have a part in all of that. And also somebody must pray, and we can all do that. May we be faithful in it.

And I would add this reminder. I think if we're wise, we'll try to support those who best understand the gospel, who understand the human responsibility and divine sovereignty, not just one part of that formula, but understand both parts. They understand the gospel best, and they will then best represent Christ to others. That brings me then to just say in the Beacon Faith Promise Missions Program, these are some things that are going to be accomplished. Those who involve themselves in this will enlarge your involvement in missions, and together will enlarge our church's involvement in missions. In doing that, we're going to honor Christ with our believing activity.

We're taking the Great Commission seriously. We're taking the need to get the gospel to the nation seriously. We believe in that, and we demonstrate that not by simply saying so, but by truly getting involved. And therefore, we encourage and enable those who do go, who are willing to leave the comforts of home and go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel of Christ.

They need people to encourage them, they need people to pray for them, and yes, they need people to give the resources, the money necessary for them to be able to do this. Furthermore, our involvement in this teaches us biblical principles of giving. In fact, as I've tried to show you, faithful involvement in this over a period of time is going to improve your ability to handle finances in every area of life. As you learn how to give more biblically, you're going to learn how to manage your money more successfully. You're going to be a better steward, and no doubt a more blessed steward. God's going to bless you for your desire to give.

And so involvement in the Faith Promise Program blesses us in this life in many ways and lays up eternal rewards that can never be taken away. Where moths cannot eat holes in it, in those garments. Don't you hate it when you take a garment you haven't worn for a while, a nice wool garment, you put it out and you say, where did that little hole come from? Oh no.

Moths have gotten in and spoiled it. But in Heaven, moths shall not corrupt, and rust will not corrupt, and thieves won't break through and steal. And we've all heard the saying, you can't take it with you, yes and no.

You can't, but you can. You really can't take it with you, but you can send it on ahead. And that is the truth. It's not just being silly and trite. That is the truth.

You can send it on ahead. And it'll be waiting you when you get there. Now, where's the downside in that?

I can't find any. So, let's get involved, that they may know the truth, shall we pray. Thank you, Father, for the grace that saved us. Thank you, Father, for the privilege of being involved in the work of the Gospel Proclamation. Thank you, Father, for enabling us to do that. Help us, Lord, to be more faithful to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-01-25 16:03:03 / 2024-01-25 16:19:39 / 17

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