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Mr. Temporary?

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
October 31, 2021 4:00 am

Mr. Temporary?

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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October 31, 2021 4:00 am

We can all learn from our mistakes—but it’s also helpful to learn from the mistakes of others. Hear about an example we shouldn’t imitate, on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The ovals hopefully will learn from our own mistakes, but it's also helpful to learn from the mistakes of others, especially if that can keep you out of trouble today on Truth for Life weekend. Alastair beg presents us with an example to avoid any urges us to turn from sin persevering in our obedience to God were in second Timothy four verses nine and 10. Many of you have read Pilgrim's progress. Some of you have yet to dip into the enjoyment of that great ally very and when you do, you will discover what others who have read it. No bad among the host of characters to them where introduced by Bunyan towards the end of the book Christian is in conversation with hopeful and in their conversation with one another.

They pass comments on one whose name is Mr. temporary and the significance of the conversation is on account of the fact that this particular individual had made a great protestation of his desire to reach the celestial city that he had embarked on the pathway, leaving behind him all that had represented and before, and yet now he was nowhere to be found. He had disappeared entirely from the path and in conversation with one another hopefully explains that amongst the various reasons for this. Having happened in this man's life, which of course is an allegory off the Christian life itself. Among those reasons is this. He says he is like a number of people who quotes though the consciousness of such men are awakened yet their minds are not changed. And sooner or later they returned to their old course where is Mr. temporary now Dimas tumor introduced here in verse 10, as were going to see fits this bill almost to a T. And what we've come to are the personal instructions that Paul concludes his letter with in verse nine, Paul makes a request in verse 10, he explains the reason for his request. It's a straightforward as that and we will notice both in turn, first of all, than the request contained in verse nine, a few words do your best to come to me soon. Not hard to understand and easy for us to interact with for Paul to be in a cold and dark dungeon in Rome was obviously a lonely existence. And in that context are you will remember he had penned this letter to Timothy, his young friend and at the beginning of the letter.

You can see this in verse four of chapter 1 of the compassion of Paul and his interest in Timothy comes across as he says I remember your tears and I long to see you, that I may be filled with joy while here we have just finished verse eight, where he describes the longing of his heart and the love of his heart for the crown of righteousness, which the judge the righteous judge is going to give him so another words he has this longing for the appearing of the one who will bring the crown of righteousness, but that does not remove his interest in the arrival of Timothy others. A simple lesson in this that that that that some of us need to learn because every so often we we do we seek to impress one another with our great transcendent longings you know why I'm only looking for. There's I'm only longing for that, you know, and doesn't really matter if you come for vacation or if anything happens along those lines at all when I survived a longing for the appearing of Jesus ought to make far more precious. The arrival of friends see Paul's heart may be in heaven but his feet are firmly on the ground and when I say that his head is still in the game. He has declared that his mission is been accomplished but he doesn't then go on and say and because my mission is accomplished. All these other things that are relevant and fight because his mission is accomplished. They seem to be even more relevant because although we have in Christ transforms all that we have everywhere else. You see, so that the engagement with the transcendent reality of divinity does not take us up and out it brings is dominant in so that the scientists should be a better scientist because he is a Christian. The grass cut at a better grass cutter because he didn't simply say. Isn't it amazing that grass grows, he says, is that amazing God that you clothe the grass of the field, which is here today and is now cast off from here. So Paul says I am longing for this crime and that will come but also I need a cloak because unfreezing I need some books and parchments because I'm more and I need you to get here Timothy because I'm lonely. I'm help by that, I will be you are to many uses one of his familiar phrases. Do your best. Do your best and there's a lesson in this as well and I want you to see what it is the way that Timothy's going to get the Rome is not as a result of some kind of mystical experience, not as a result of some kind of emotional journey but as a result of being sensible, being practical and making preparation for the journey that could last as long as to months to get there just making a plea for some down to earth, practical Christianity that so do your best, you have to think about you have to be sensible you have to be practical you have to figure these things out is a really is a shame when the Christian population talks as if somehow another we we are where above and beyond this, because none of us are now. He wants them to come soon. In verse 21 is hoping that he will get there before winter. If you're thinking, which narrows it down significantly. But if you are thinking you will be saying to yourself, well, wait a minute. He spent all this time explaining why it's so important for them to be in Ephesus and now he doesn't want to be in Ephesus and I want to become the wrong are you mean you don't think God can look after Ephesus, in the absence of the pastor. Do you think he's that crucial do you think the problems will dissipate well is gone or will be waiting for him when he gets back.

Now he understands perfectly doesn't you comment get here as quickly as you can because is important to me and then with a conjunction, which begins verse 10 he gives as the reason for his request. Dimas has fallen in love with the present world. He's deserted me and is going to Thessalonica. Now here's where Mr. temporary comes in. Where is Dimas while he's gone marvelously part of things was in the around in Colossians 4 and Philemon 24. In Paul's first imprisonment when he was under house arrest in Rome will yes he wants. We can relive it.

There, but sadly that's no longer the case. So Paul gives as the bottom line and the bottom line is that Dimas has left him in the lurch and consequently the prospect of the company of Timothy will go a long way to offsetting the sadness that he feels Dimas has broken my heart. He says this is not judgment on the part of Paul. Paul, if you like is Dimas is calling but is also his pastor. He's the one who is mentored and is the one whose influence them. He's the one who is benefiting from his company and so now he says look Dimas has fallen in love with this present world. In other words, he has re-oriented his affections and this has got them off track.

This is what happened to know he's not saying here that Dimas is love the cosmos and all of his creative beauty. He's using this terminology in a way that you find a use for example in James for her and forced John to date other words, the ordering of the present age. The view of the world that has disrupted this.

It's interesting God. Romans one. If you like that, although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but they're fully charge became darkened, and the began to worship the created things rather than the creator himself and the whole thing was flipped. It was out of that world that Dimas had come. But now apparently he has actually fallen back in love with all those kind of notion he's in love with it now were not told specifically what this meant for him what it mean for them to be in love with the present world. How did it express itself while one of the ways it expressed itself. For those he was no longer keeping company with Paul.

I don't be nave about this love once this is here in the Bible as a warning.

Paul the writer of the letter said of himself that he was concerned about himself. Last, having preached to others, he might become a castaway, so it is naivety on our part to think that somehow or another we will not become temporary, that our assurance of the promises of God remove us from the realm where that is even a possibility. They don't because the preservation of God is directly tied to the perseverance of you. He preserves as we persevere and it is that reality which needs to be framed and burned into our psyche. So as when we are tempted to step off the pathway for whatever reason to love things that we have decided they're no longer worth loving when the attraction pool of that is so strong present will wouldn't matter once, but it doesn't really matter.

What is only a small lie is that in every sin is an inside job. Every sin is an inside job. You can play the Tom Sawyer card, the devil made me do it and probably know the devil cannot make you do, but the devil does come and insinuate. Are you still hanging around with those people.

After all this time why do you still do these things. Why do you still care doesn't really matter. Look at what I've got for you over here if you just draw back from some of that stuff.

So the appeal is to the sinful propensities which are still within is even in Christ. Sin no longer rains but it remains so the evil one comes seeking to bring to as all these sights and sounds and attractions impossibilities that you really don't need to keep going the way thing going.

You don't need to be as strong as you once were sore this where the real test is finishing Dimas is in love with this present world and he is deserted me is dessert Denise forsaken me, the word is the same word you find in Psalm 22 and the forsaking was the geographical aspect of it was secondary to the five that Dimas had forsaken the very convictions that underlay his companionship with Paul. Paul was focused on the van and he changed his view of the now Dimas now has begun to focus on the now and it is altered his view of the van that when you look on you see that there are other placements and replacements to come, but this was a different matter. Apparently the affection and the loyalty that Paul had once enjoyed from Dimas and perhaps with Dimas has now evaporated in love with this present world is dessert to me and gone to Thessalonica well why is he going to Thessalonica. I don't know and neither do you. Because it doesn't tell us, but he's gone physically gone and his physical departure is representative of the fact that he's fallen in love for the present world, and here's what we know Dimas and love the present world is deserted me and he's going to Thessalonica. Here's what we do not know.

We do not know where his desertion was a temporary lapse oratorical collapse wasn't the result of a small compromise, here and there. The diminished interest in the ground that is A reluctance to face the inevitable cost was Dimas merely backslid or was he a prostate easy Dimas is here in Scripture as a warning. Instantly verify that we don't know the final answer to that question is purposeful, presumably because it causes the reader of the Bible to say now wait a minute. If someone like Dimas can become Mr. temporary if he fades from the biblical record without we without our ability to know whether he is actually faded from the from the. The pathway of faith in its entirety. We better learn from this we better think about and that's what were supposed to do when people who were once here turn their backs on the gospel that they have professed as they do, it is actually virtually impossible to tell whether they are backslidden and will recover, or whether they are apostate and will be lost forever because you see, there comes a time when from a human perspective, those two realities are indistinguishable. It should be no surprise to you that we as elders pray routinely for this congregation and in our prayers for the congregation. There is a significant section that contains the names of those who once walked with us and who no longer do. Our concern is not whether they are part of Parkside church per se but whether they are walking with the Lord Jesus Christ, whom he professed to 1.11 to serve. For now, and there is no indication at all that what they began they are continuing and will complete that we don't know. So we pray. Paul himself is already said to Timothy listen in, in a big house. There are vessels of gold and precious vessels. And then there are other vessels we want you to make sure that you are that the precious vessels that he says the Lord knows them that are his. Let those who name the name of the Lord depart from iniquity, so God knows we don't but we do know that those who belong to the Lord who are his depart from iniquity. So when I no longer depart from iniquity when I no longer take seriously the framework of the law of God, which is there not to impoverish my life but to keep me married to keep me safe to keep me wholesome to keep me in line. The stop sign is there to keep me not to prevent me when I begin to say, but it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter what speed you. God doesn't matter where you drive, the pavement, as is the pavement.

The road is the road is just a suggestion. You can do whatever you want as soon as I begin to do that, that I'm in great grave danger and that is the warning that is here.

I said you again the preservation of God does not take place outside of the perseverance of the saints. I may come back to Mr. temporary as we finish in the conversation between Christian and hopeful Christian says how does a person get like Mr. temporary hobos as I can tell you, and that he tells him number one the cease to think seriously about God, about death and about the coming judgment number two the castoff as he says, by degrees, not wholesaling, but slowly they castoff their private duties.

Private duties such as prayer, the reading of Scripture the curbing of lasts sorrow for sin, so then thirdly, they shun the company of lively and warm.

Christians will be around those crazy people anymore. I used to enjoy, but I don't enjoy them and then after that they grow cold to public duty. In other words, they say that you get to church whenever I need to do the things is that fitfully then you begin to pick holes in Christians and begin to pick holes in the Bible.

Then they begin to adhere to and associate themselves with carnal loose and one tin man.

There is it from another century, carnal, loose, and wanton man.

Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret and are glad if they can encourage others to do the same. Then they begin to play with little sins openly and then being hardened. They show themselves as they are thus being launched again into the Gulf of misery unless a miracle of grace prevented the everlastingly parish in their own seedlings.

We could have approached this in a different way we could've tracked this along the line of who loves what and plan because you have the love of the appearing of Jesus said in distinct contrast to Dimas who's in love for the present world. He's already in chapter 3. Talk about those who love themselves rather than loving God and so the real question at this level is who or what do I love my life, I'm talking just emotion here but when I'm not talking absent emotion either easy when a person falls in love is a really fun hinging experience because it dismantles certain things and begins to construct other things little things, simple things, but there there there evidences I was happened in reverse. The same thing happens in reverse. You start to love the world, you start love in this startle of sin yellow righteousness. You start love hanging with bad people you know want to hang with good people you love. Dimas presumably have started out on the journey with Nat King Cole.

If I fall in love. It will be forever or I'll never fall in love. If I give my heart, it will be completely never give my heart bash the great profession.

Where is he today when are these people is very solitary is not, let me finish with this at the end of this letter, you have Prudence and Linus and Claudia and every time I read this I think Charlie Brown have to be honest I did I did again this morning's it's not very spiritual thought, but it is dead on his cell, and as I was reading again this week. I said look, I just got a goal with a Charlie Brown motif, at least for once and though the one Charlie Brown, the one shoe thing that I remember more than any other is a picture of either Charlie Brown or Linus. I can remember which of the two by they have their PJs on. It's the there ready for bed and they are taking a drink from the water fountain and having press the button the water completely misses their characters mouth and just soaks his pajamas and then the caption says I don't mind how the day begins. It's how it ends up that bothers me so Dimas Dimas. I know how you began to realize how it's going to end up that are to bother you and other bother us to as we go on we'll see that the warning in Dimas is more than matched by the encouragement that is present in John Mark and will get to notice that there is restoration for the deserter. There is forgiveness for the backslider.

There is hope for the hopeless. But don't run too quick to the encouragement face straight on the warning that is Alister Greg urging us to heed the warning of Scripture so we can finish will listing to Truth for Life weekend message today is titled Mr. temporary, and it serves as an alarming reminder that not all who start strong in the gospel persevere to the end and sadly it's not only church members who walk away from the faith.

All too often the case for those in positions of Christian leadership as well. This is one of the reasons why we think your pastor or youth leader or anyone involved in Christian ministry will be encouraged by Rico Tice's new book which is titled faithful leaders and the things that matter most. Rico turns to Scripture in the book to show us what it takes to live a life and Toledo ministry in a way that's pleasing to God this is the last week and were mentioning the book, so be sure to visit our website Truth for to learn more about Lapine. Few of us would pick the word vulnerable to describe the apostle Paul and yet his final letter reveals his deep need for others will see why friendship matters. As we listened next weekend Bible teaching of Alister Greg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living

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