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A Double Blessing - 10

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman
The Truth Network Radio
January 30, 2022 6:00 pm

A Double Blessing - 10

Beacon Baptist / Gregory N. Barkman

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January 30, 2022 6:00 pm

Pastor Greg Barkman completes this teaching series in 2nd Thessalonians with Paul's concluding words of encouragement.

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Well, as I said, we're coming to the conclusion of our study in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, two of the earliest epistles that were penned by the Apostle Paul as guided by the Holy Spirit of God. They are written to the church in Thessalonica, which was founded by Paul on his second missionary journey. You recall that the team consisting of Paul and Timothy and Silas and Luke came to the city of Troas in Asia Minor, and we're not quite sure where the Lord wanted them to go from there until Paul had a vision. And in that vision, during the night, he saw a man from over in Macedonia calling out to them to come over and help them. And when he related that to the other members of the team in the morning, they all agreed that this was indeed the Lord God guiding them to leave Asia and to open up a mission in the continent of Europe for the first time. And so crossing the Aegean Sea, they landed in the seaport of Neopolis and traveled from there to the significant city of Philippi, where they had a very fruitful but very challenging ministry which landed them in prison, and where God released them from prison with the earthquake in the middle of the night, and where Paul was invited, we might say, to leave the city, and he did. And he traveled on a southwesterly direction for about a hundred miles until he came to the largest city in Macedonia, Macedonia being the northern part of the Greek peninsula. He came to the city of Thessalonica. And there he preached, as was his custom, in the synagogue for three Sabbath days until, as was also, we might say, his custom.

It wasn't what he planned, but it seemed to happen this way every time. After a period of ministry in the synagogue, he was invited to leave. Invited might be too mild a term, but nevertheless, he was kicked out of the synagogue, and so he went out into the community and continued his ministry there. And we really don't know how long he was there. If you read the Book of Acts just on the surface, you might conclude that he was only in the city of Thessalonica for a total of three weeks, but that certainly seems unlikely, if not impossible, when we read all of the other evidence of what took place while he was there, and the church that was established, and the teaching that was done. And we realize when we examine the Book of Acts carefully that Dr. Luke, the human author of Acts, often skipped over large portions of the history and the narrative simply because there was a scarcity of space.

As it was, Acts is one of the longest books in our New Testament, 28 chapters long, and if he had included everything, it would have filled up the whole Bible, and that was not appropriate. And so we're quite confident that Paul was in Thessalonica for a matter of some months. Nevertheless, in Thessalonica, as in nearly every place, eventually persecution drove him out. He went to Berea, had a fruitful ministry there, but again persecution drove him out.

He went south, I think about 400 miles, to Athens, and after a short ministry there, west from Athens to Corinth, and there he settled down and ended up staying in the city of Corinth for a year and a half, and he was not only ministering to Corinth, he was also touching bases with the churches that he had founded in Macedonia, and no doubt those that he had founded in Asia as well. But the church at Philippi, the church at Thessalonica, the church at Berea were very much on his heart, and the church in Thessalonica, we know his communication with them. He had a concern for these people. He knew that they were being persecuted. He knew that they were subject to various temptations.

He recognized that they had some misunderstandings about the teaching that he had given them when he was there. And so he sent Timothy initially to visit them, to assess their situation, and Timothy came back with a generally favorable report, which greatly encouraged the Apostle Paul, and also gave him more information as to exactly what he could do to best help them, and so he sat down and wrote the first Thessalonian Epistle and sent that to them to be a help to them, and that was sent by a courier. We don't know for sure whether that was Timothy, Titus, or somebody else, but that courier delivered the letter, stayed some time with them, probably a matter of a few weeks, returned to the Apostle Paul with another report of how they were doing and responding to the letter, and again, that report was generally positive, but one problem kept cropping up, didn't it? Those people who I identified while I was founding the church as being unwilling to work and expecting to live off the labors and resources of others that I commanded to get to work to change their habits, didn't change their habits while I was there, didn't change their habits when I came to Corinth, didn't change their habits when Timothy visited them, didn't change their habits when I sent the first Thessalonian Epistle to them, and taught them again what they needed to do, and so he comes now to write the second Thessalonian Epistle, which continues to respond to the information that he had received, and he realized that even yet, number one, they still had some misunderstandings about the second coming of Christ, and so there's a lot of that in the short three chapter epistle, the second epistle to the Thessalonians, but then as we know in chapter three, he says, alright, enough's enough, time's up. Those of you that I have patiently been teaching and urging to stop loafing and start working, it's time to get with it, and if you don't, here's what the church must do to deal with you.

You are disorderly, and the church has a responsibility to discipline you in an appropriate way. And then all of that concludes with the three verses that we're going to look at today, which I have called a double blessing, because in three verses we have two benedictions, not one. All of Paul's epistles conclude with some benediction, some kind of benediction, and most of them are very similar.

There's a general benediction, a general form, that Paul followed in all of his epistles, not identical wording, but nevertheless a very recognizable form, and we see that in the second benediction in the second Thessalonians, but the first one in verse 16 is totally unique to the Thessalonians and is obviously custom designed for their particular circumstances. And so in analyzing these three verses, here's what I have for you today. Number one, a customized benediction, verse 16.

Number two, a necessary authentication, verse 17. And number three, a customary benediction, verse 18. Customized benediction, verse 16. Customary benediction, verse 18. A double blessing.

Sixteen, now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all. A customized benediction. What is a benediction? We hear that term.

I think we know what it is, but we need to remind ourselves from time to time. A benediction is an invocation of a blessing. Generally, in our experience, it comes at the end of a worship service, and often the pastor or whoever's leading the service will pronounce a benediction upon the congregation before they depart. The invocation of a blessing. Well, what is an invocation?

We'd better get that one straight, too. We've heard that term, and we think we know what it means, but what does that mean? An invocation is a petition for assistance. Now, this is rather interesting because petition suggests prayer, and indeed, a benediction is very closely intertwined with prayer, but it's not exactly a prayer. It's very prayer-like, but it's not a prayer. At least not a normal prayer. It's not an obvious prayer because, just this very simple distinction, a prayer is addressed directly to God. But a benediction is addressed to the congregation. Who is Paul addressing in verse 16? Now, may the Lord of peace himself give you peace always and every way.

The Lord be with you. He is not saying, God of peace, bring peace upon the Thessalonians. He's not saying, the Lord of all things, be present with the Thessalonians. He hasn't addressed this to God, and yet it is so intertwined with his appeal to God because the whole benediction depends upon God doing what Paul is, very frankly, appealing to God to do, even though he's addressing these words to the congregation. So, a benediction is not exactly a prayer, but it's very closely related to prayer. It's almost difficult to separate a benediction from prayer. Sometimes people call a benediction a benedictory prayer. It's not the normal format of prayer because God is not being addressed directly, but it can't be accomplished without an appeal to God to do something, which is a petition to God to accomplish something on behalf of his people. So, a benediction is addressed to people with an appeal to God, and they are linked almost inseparably together. But this customized benediction, what can we say about it?

I have several questions to ask, and I think that'll make it clear. Number one, what is the primary focus of this first benediction? The primary focus is peace. Paul is calling upon God to grant peace to the Thessonian church. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace, always and every way. The Lord be with you all.

Peace. No doubt, in light of the passage that we have just studied previously, the disorderly busybodies who were not only failing to work, but they were also stirring things up in the church. They were getting their nose into the business of other people in places where it didn't belong, and that of course was creating tension and turmoil and conflict and misunderstanding and uneasiness in the congregation. And these disorderly busybodies were disturbing the peace, and so Paul now customizes a benediction to appeal to God to bring peace to the congregation. But not only in light of disorderly busybodies, but in light of Second Coming concerns, because we know from studying these two epistles that there were some questions and some concerns about the Second Coming of Christ, particularly going back to the first epistle and the doctrine of the rapture of the church. There was this question, now, if the Lord comes and raptures living believers, what about those who've already died?

They were just unanswered questions that left them a little uneasy. Are we going to be separated from our loved ones not to be joined to them again? And Paul had answered that in the first Thessalonian epistle, and then more things about the Second Coming in the second Thessalonian epistle, but it's clear that there were some areas of misunderstanding in regard to the Second Coming which were creating some disturbances in the hearts and minds of the Thessalonians. And so, in this first benediction, Paul calls upon God to grant them peace. And furthermore, it's clear that the Thessalonian church was being persecuted, and that's mentioned more than once. 1 Thessalonians 2, verse 14, For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus, for you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Judeans. We're well aware that Jewish Christians were widely persecuted by unbelieving Jews, very vigorously persecuted. Paul says the Thessalonian church is being similarly persecuted by your countrymen, Gentiles, just like the Jewish Christians are being persecuted by their Jewish countrymen.

He mentions it again in the second epistle, chapter 1, verse 4, So that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God, for your patience and faith, notice this, in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure. So there is ample evidence of several areas of disturbance, conflict, difficulty, trials, threats to the peace of the church, and therefore how fitting for Paul to customize this benediction and call upon God to give them peace. The primary focus of this benediction is peace. Question number two, what is peace? Now you might think that's so obvious that it wouldn't need to be addressed, but though there's certainly a good area of overlapping between our normal concept of peace and the way the word was used in the Bible, they are not identical, though they do interlock at one point. But biblically speaking, peace, both in the Old Testament and the New, as the word is used, have to do more with the cessation of disturbances outwardly than with the sense of tranquility inwardly. The first thing that usually comes to our mind when we say, peace, I want some peace, what do you mean? I want to be able to get away from things and feel calm inside, not have to feel this conflict that's going on around me. Now you can't separate what's causing the loss of peace with the loss of peace, but we usually think inwardly first.

For some reason we tend to think of our feelings first and then the objective side of things second, but in their understanding of peace it was just reversed. Similar, I suppose, in the way we view the word love and the way the Bible generally views the word love. In our thinking, love is almost always a feeling. It's something romantically, it's something we fall into and fall out of. Well, I fell in love, wonderful, I feel so good. I lost my, I fell out of love, nothing I can do about that.

I guess I've just got to divorce and move on or something like that. That's kind of the way we look at it. Our romantic ideas of love is kind of like the hiccups.

We can't explain how and when they come and we don't know how long they're going to last and we don't know why they left, but there it is, it just happens. But as we know, the Bible definition of love has more to do with our actions, actions of helpfulness, actions of giving, actions of reaching out for the benefit of others. It is our showing kindness, loving kindness to others. And that comes first and then the feelings follow in the idea of love and the same thing is true in peace. The cessation of outward conflict comes first and of course when that is accomplished, then that does bring tranquility to our hearts and minds, doesn't it?

So I'm not saying that they don't have any relationship. I'm just saying that we need to understand the emphasis of Scripture. So biblically speaking, peace is the cessation of disruptive circumstances plus the beneficial results that follow. So the cessation of disruptive circumstances, if we're talking about military conflict, war and peace are opposites. War is the ongoing conflict and then the truth comes, the war is over, the conflict stops and we say we have achieved peace. The Bible probably wouldn't say we have achieved peace when the treaty is signed.

The Bible would probably say we've achieved peace when enough time has passed for the ravages of war to be restored because war of course damages lives and families and property and jobs and economy. It disrupts everything. It creates problems. And peace, on the other hand, allows prosperity.

It allows work. It allows the opposite of the results of conflict. And so peace is the cessation of conflict plus the benefits that come as a result of that. In the Thessalonian situation, if the busybodies will stop being busybodies, then peace will follow. But right now, as long as they are acting in this way, these are the outward circumstances that are disturbing the peace, as long as they continue to act this way, there's not going to be peace. But once they stop doing that, then the peace that is disturbed by that particular conduct will go away and tranquility will come in its place.

That will be the benefit that follows. When their proper understanding of the second coming of Christ is secure, then some of their anxieties concerning that will follow. Objective first, the truth, will then cause the right result internally, the feelings which everyone would desire to have. As far as the persecutions go, that's a little tougher, because on the one hand we are to expect persecutions for the cause of Christ, but there are times when God and His goodness will push those persecutions back and give God's people a period of peace and tranquility. And no doubt that is included too in what Paul is saying here. Prosperity, harmony, tranquility, general well-being define peace. Question number three, what is the source of peace?

And this is important, of course, and Paul makes it very clear. The source of peace is Christ. Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way.

The Lord be with you all. The Lord of peace, Christ Himself. I have no emphasis upon who is doing this, because that's the only source of peace, and He's the only one who's able to bring peace. He's the only one who's able to deal with these circumstances that have caused the lack of peace, which brings us therefore to ask the question, who or what are you looking to for peace?

And people look to all kinds of different things. If I could just gain a larger income, then I would be at peace. You're wrong.

You think so, but you're wrong. We all read about, if we'll pay attention to it, we all read about immensely wealthy people who find their lives so miserable that they commit suicide, and in their lives they can't stand it anymore. Money didn't fix their problem. Money didn't take away their lack of peace, did it?

What are you looking to for peace? You say, well, if we could just get the right political party in power, then we'd have peace in our nation. If you haven't learned by now, that's not going to work.

You are looking at things with your eyes wide open. That's not the solution. You can't look to government. You can't look to wealth.

You can't look to, if we could get everybody educated, then we would have peace. Then we'd quit having crime. Then we'd quit having all these problems in our society. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. You are wrong because at the heart of all these problems is sin. You can be a multimillionaire, but that doesn't deal with your sin, the problem of your heart, your sin that's causing your misery. You can have a favored political leader in power, but the problem is you're still a sinner and so is he. That's not going to get you very far. How much problem solving are you going to get from a sinful individual who's trying to govern sinful people, particularly if neither of those groups are looking to God for help?

That's not going to get you very far. Education, you can be an uneducated crook and you can be an educated crook. Some of the biggest crooked schemes have been hatched by people with incredibly high IQs and high levels of education, which enabled them to be particularly clever and successful crooks. So you can be a highly educated crook and steal millions of dollars.

You can be a lowly educated person and maybe just pill for a few dollars from the corner store, but a crook is a crook and education doesn't solve the problem, does it? What's the answer? It is.

Paul's telling us, don't miss it. May the Lord of peace himself grant you peace. That's where it comes from. Question four, how is peace acquired? Well, it's acquired, according to the apostle Paul, as a divine bestowment. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace.

It must come from him and he must bestow it as his divine gift. However, the context indicates that there is oftentimes, not always, a relationship between what Christ grants and the condition of those to whom he grants it, whether they are submitted to him or in rebellion against him. I say not always, because Christ obviously at times sovereignly bestows peace upon a nation when the majority of the people there are not submitted to him. Our nation has experienced, relatively speaking, a rather large measure of peace when you view it historically in comparison with many nations, and that just has to be the common grace of God, because we sure don't deserve it.

But there is a relationship, as I've already pointed out. Until the busybodies stop busybodying, there's not going to be peace. So the Lord of peace is going to grant you peace in that particular situation by working in the hearts of these people to change their hearts so they acknowledge their sin, repent of it, confess it, change it.

That'll solve that particular problem. It must come from Christ, but it also involves the obedient response of the people who are disturbing the peace in that case. And so we say peace is acquired by, first of all, if you want to seek peace, it's acquired by addressing your relationship with God. As long as you are unsubmitted to the Lord Jesus Christ, then you don't really have a basis upon which to appeal to God for peace. He may sovereignly and graciously grant it where it's not deserved, but you have no right to appeal to him for it. But it begins with the right relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

It continues by submitting every circumstance of life to him, and that's a lifelong process to learn because for some reason we commit these things to him, but then there's some things over here that we think we can take care of ourselves, thank you, and we'd rather take care of ourselves, thank you. I bestow these to you, O Lord God, to take care of for me, but this one and that one I'm going to take care of just fine. I don't need your help. So should we be surprised when God brings things into our lives to show us, oh yes, I do need your help here and here as much as I do over here and here and here.

I need your help in every circumstance of life. Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace in every way or every circumstance that is translated in some Bibles, every circumstance. If he's going to give you peace in every circumstance, you are going to need to submit every circumstance to him, your finances, your marriage, your health, your children, your job, your recreation, every area of life submitted to him, looking to him in every situation.

And then number five, how is peace maintained? It's maintained by Christ's active presence. Not only does Christ give it, but it takes the active presence of Christ to keep it going once it has been granted. Peace is not like justification once bestowed. It's forever without disturbance. Peace is more like sanctification. It can come and go.

It can increase and it can decrease depending on certain things in our lives. And so peace is maintained by Christ's active presence, which Paul indicates by that last phrase, the Lord be with you all. God must be consciously active with you at all times.

Obviously he is there, but you must be aware of that. You must respond to that. You must acknowledge that.

You must live in the light of that. May the Lord be with you all in every way continually, it says, doesn't it? Continually, the Lord with you continually. And it's interesting, the Lord be with you all.

You say it was Paul a southerner. Would the Lord be with you all? We love to slip that in, but of course that only works in English, or this was not written in English. But what is interesting is when you get to the second benediction, but I'll bring this part of it to bear right now because it's helpful. When you get to the second benediction, the standard form, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. You see, there's the you all again.

You all. And that now cannot help but be significant in the light of its variation from the benediction at the end of the first Thessalonian Epistle. If you turn back a page, you can see what that closing benediction is. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, but not you all.

With you. Of course that covers all, doesn't it, in a sense, but there seems to be a special emphasis upon all. The very same words, word for word, in the second benediction, in the second epistle as to the first one, except for the addition of that word all. So in verse 16, the Lord be with you, not just you, but with you all. In verse 18, the same thing again, the Lord be with you, not just with you all.

Well, what is so significant about that? This, the disorderly members, you have to deal with them, you have to bring to bear God-designed discipline upon them, but you don't treat them as enemies, you treat them as brothers, and therefore this benediction applies to them as well. The Lord be with you all, even with the disobedient brethren, that we are confident, if they are in fact brethren, and we're giving them the benefit of the doubt on that now, if they are in fact brethren, the disobedient brethren, who need to become obedient, but they are included in this benediction as well. A customized benediction, but now, how is peace, a rather unnecessary authentication?

Verse 17. The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is the sign in every epistle, so I write. Here is an authenticating autograph. I, Paul, wrote this greeting in my own hand.

This is the way I write. Well, what's so significant about that? It's significant because he goes on to say it's a distinguishing mark, or the sign, of every epistle. This is something that he does consistently in every letter, not only this particular letter, but all letters, and he makes specific reference to this in four other epistles, which I won't go into now, but you'll find it at the close of 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, Philemon, all make reference to Paul taking the pen and writing something in his own hand at the end of the epistle. It's also interesting as a side issue that this indicates that Paul has written a good many additional epistles besides 1 and 2 Thessalonians at this point, and these are early. As far as our New Testament Scriptures are concerned, we would say this is Paul's first and second epistle, the first and second one he ever wrote.

No, it's the first and second one that the Holy Spirit included in the canon. He'd written a bunch of others, clearly. The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle. He hadn't written 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Colossians, and Philemon yet, but he'd written other epistles in which he was also authenticating them with his handwriting.

And why was that? It was to combat forgeries. It was clear back in the first century, as early as Paul's earliest epistles, there were already people trying to mislead others by writing epistles and saying these are from Paul, and they weren't.

That was a real danger. It wasn't as easy to authenticate things in that day like we can today, but there was a way to do it. Good old handwriting. Remember in chapter 2 of this same epistle, 2 Thessalonians 2, 2, Paul says, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled either by spirit or by word or by letter, don't be troubled by a letter that comes to you, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Evidently they had received, or Paul suspected that they had received, a letter or letters that had given them misleading information about the second coming of Christ, as if Christ had already come.

Paul says he has it. Don't pay attention to any letter that tells you something the opposite of what I taught you, and you can authenticate every letter by looking for my handwriting at the end. You recognize that by now, don't you?

I've been with you long enough. You know how I write. He had a distinctive penmanship. He said in which of the epistles, I think it was Galatians, he said, look how large a letter I write with my own hand. He had a distinctive penmanship that was not normal. He wrote larger than most people.

It was easy to recognize, and Paul made sure that in every epistle he wrote, he took the pen from the amanuensis, the secretary, when he came to the end, and he wrote a verse or two in his own handwriting, and he said don't you accept any epistle as from me unless you find my handwriting, a necessary authentication to combat forgeries. But now that brings us to number three, a customary benediction. That's the last one. We've gone from the customized one to the customary one. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Familiar. It sounds like the closing benediction into virtually all of Paul's epistle.

Sometimes there are a few extra words, sometimes slightly different vocabulary, but it all follows the same format. And all of those primarily focus on grace. Customized benediction focus is what? Peace.

Specialized need in that particular situation. Not that it doesn't apply to all of us, and that's why it's included by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Scriptures, but it had particular application to that church in their circumstances. And so customized benediction focused on peace, but the general benediction that is the one that goes to everybody focuses on grace. In fact, Paul begins, as well as concludes, every one of his epistles with grace. Grace, grace, grace. How does 2 Thessalonians begin? Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

How does 1 Thessalonians begin? Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Go through the epistles of Paul, Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and so forth.

This is what you're going to find. The epistles begin with grace, they conclude with grace. The primary focus is upon grace. There is not a lovelier word in the Christian vocabulary than grace. Grace is God's divine bestowment. Grace is what God so freely and lavishly and willingly and delightfully gives to those who are undeserving. There's nothing in our lives that is needed that God's grace can't supply.

What do you need? God in His grace can supply it. Go to Him and ask for this grace. God's grace brings the full blessings of salvation to our daily living. We are grateful for the grace of salvation that rescued us out of our death, our spiritual death and our destruction.

God graciously rescued us out of that. But our need for grace doesn't end there. We need it every day we live. We need it to think like we ought to think. We need it to act like we ought to act. We need it to walk like we need to walk as Christians. We need it to talk like we need to talk to one another, not just in church but to our wives and husbands and children in the home. We need the grace of God to be like Christians are supposed to be, day by day by day by day. And now Paul is calling upon God to grant sufficient grace to them in every area of need.

Well, let me wind up with three lessons in conclusion. Number one about peace. It's clear from this context that peace is the expected condition of churches. Churches are supposed to be at peace. People in churches, members of churches are supposed to be at peace with one another. That's the expected condition.

We would say the normal condition. Turmoil in churches is abnormal in one sense, and yet it's all too normal in another sense because we are sinners in a sinful world. But the sad thing is that too often rather than peace being the norm and disruption of peace being the occasional situation, and it will always occasionally happen. There's no church that's never had anything but peace from beginning to end over decade after decade after decade.

It should be that way, but it's not. But it's a sad thing that so many churches have it completely flipped upside down. Their normal condition is that there's always something stirring all the time. And turmoil is common and peace is rare. That's not a healthy church. That's not a very biblically minded church. Therefore, we ought to pray that our church and God's goodness will reflect the biblical norm. Peace is the expected condition of churches. And we ought to pray, every one of us individually, O Lord, don't let me be the disturber of peace in my congregation.

Protect me from that, O Lord. Secondly, we should learn a lesson about attacks upon the truth. And we realize that such attacks upon truth are going to be unrelenting as long as the devil is loose, and he is.

That was true from the very beginning of the first century. These counterfeit epistles already circulating attacks upon the truth, trying to distort the truth, trying to undermine the ministry of an apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ who spoke for Christ. And that was just one area of attack. The persecutions was another attack upon the truth. Attacks, attacks, attacks upon the truth constantly.

And what was true in the first century is ever much and more true in our day. But the focus of the attack upon truth is constantly changing. And by the time we wake up to an attack in this area and start recognizing it and marshaling our defenses against it, the devil has already left that one and he's gone someplace else and he's attacking us from the other side. And the attacks that are coming today are going to be different from the ones that are going to come tomorrow.

I mean, it could be literally tomorrow. The new attacks will arise. But I alert you to one in particular. The woke-ism that is alive and well in our nation politically is also working havoc in our churches. Which is not to say that there are not some legitimate problems that need to be recognized and addressed, but they need to be recognized and addressed in a biblical fashion. And the general ideas of woke-ism don't take it in that direction. And unfortunately, there are a lot of Bible-believing Christians who have bought into these unbiblical solutions for what are clearly genuine problems in society. This is an attack upon the truth. It is creating confusion.

It is creating problems in some of the significant conservative denominations in our day. I was so thrilled two or three decades ago when the Southern Baptist Convention seemed to pull itself back from the precipice of destruction and return to a Bible-believing conservative position and ferreted out the most conspicuous unbelievers, apostates and liberals that were controlling the seminaries and the publishing houses and so forth. What a wonderful day that was. Hooray! Hooray! Hooray! Truth won.

For how long? Already. Attacks are coming from other places and are tearing at the very fabric of that large denomination. And I could mention others. That's the way the devil operates.

He's always attacking, attacking, attacking. Be aware of that. And finally, what did we learn about grace? Well, grace is what we need more than anything else. We need it for salvation. We need it for persevering faith. We need it to face trials and temptations. We need it to look to God for provision in our lives. And therefore, all of us need to recognize our need and look to Christ for it, and particularly those who are outside of Christ or particularly those who recognize serious needs in your life.

Where can I get these needs met? Some people are baffled. Christ. Christ. Christ can do it. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.

Look to Him. I entitled this message, and I'm bringing it now to a close, a double blessing because they are two benedictions. Blessed are the sons of God. They are bought with Christ's own blood. They are ransomed from the grave. Life eternal they shall have. With them numbered may we be, here and in eternity shall we bow. Father, bless us by your grace, which we do not deserve, but we so greatly need, and we thank you that you are gracious in giving God. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-06-15 15:52:41 / 2023-06-15 16:09:25 / 17

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