Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem.
Today is the third and final segment of this message, first preached October 22, 2017. And now he can enjoy life in the freedom, in the liberty that is his. And how does he view the other POWs left behind? Does he view them with disdain and judgment?
No. He thinks of them promoting awareness of them. He thinks of them with compassion. He pursues their rescue. Why?
Because he was there. And it's not an us versus them. Stop it, Christians.
It's not us versus them. You were a prisoner in this dark prison cell of self-preeminence and God by His grace has rescued you. And for those who are still in that prison cell, our disposition toward them is not judgment and disdain. It ought to be compassion and pursuing them for their rescue. That'll preach.
Disclaimer number two. This is not about outward efforts to look right. Because that's what you can do with Ephesians four to six, isn't it? If you read Ephesians four to six, it's much easier to read, much easier to follow, much easier to preach and teach because the Bible says, do this, do this, do this, do this. And this is not about outward efforts to look right. It's not about a put on.
It's not about doing eye service because we can do that, right? Okay, I've made a decision to be a Christian. Well, let's see.
What do I have to do now that I'm a Christian? I go to Ephesians one to three. Oh, wow. Whatever.
Ephesians four. Okay, here's stuff I need to do, right? It says put off. Okay, I'm going to put off selfishness. I'm going to work hard not to be selfish and I'm going to put off my, the words that I say that are unkind. I'm just going to put that off and watch me put on. And it's all me doing it, isn't it?
How do I look? Why are you laughing? It's a put on, isn't it? That's not what Paul means by put on. It doesn't mean make it a put on.
It's not eye service. Do you know what used to frustrate me? And I couldn't understand why. In my formative years, that's the depth of our relationships. Good sermon preachers.
You really hit them today and that's the depth of our relationships, right? And then what happens? And I distinctly noticed this when I was a teenager in these kinds of circles, that this Christian that you see in church and smile and shake hands, how you doing, fine you, everything's okay, that you see them in the marketplace, you encounter them in the grocery aisle, in the grocery store and you see them and all of a sudden like, and you pass by and you do a cordial nod, you have nothing to talk about. And it's awkward.
Why is that? Because you've done this. What you are in church is a put on. It has nothing to do, what you do in church has nothing to do with what you do at the grocery store.
It has nothing to do with three o'clock in the afternoon in your cubicle at work. You see, it's all a put on. And you encounter somebody, an unbelieving Christian, an unbeliever in the grocery store, you say, oh, behold an unbeliever.
Oh, it's one of those people. Okay, I got to put on my ministry. Now I'm a godly Christian and I'm going to minister to this person. And when you're done ministering to that person, you go off, you take it off and you go home and you rail on your wife and your kids because they're not doing what you want. You see what I'm saying?
It's all put on. God rescue us from that. You see, that's not grace. This is not what Paul is talking about here, that your righteousness is just a put on. We are called to be, you ready for this? We are called to be renewed in the spirit of our minds.
Renewed in the spirit of our minds. This is living by faith. Now this takes us back to verse 20 and 21. That is not the way you learned Christ, that dark prison cell of self preemption. That's not the way you learned Christ. Verse 21, assuming that you heard about him and were taught in him as the truth is in Jesus. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Four steps in that, okay? Number one, the gospel. You learned Christ. You learned Christ.
And there is so much that is wrapped up in that one little phrase. What does it mean to learn Christ? That means you learned, you received the information, his revelation, his self disclosure about his person and his work of redemption that your creator, the second person of the trinity, put aside his glory and came here to die for you. Where Jesus said, the one, he is the one who said, I am the truth. As it says in verse 21, the truth is in Jesus. The truth is what sets you free. So being transformed, being renewed in the spirit of your mind begins with the gospel.
And by the way, that never stops. The gospel isn't just the door that gets you in. The gospel is the whole room. But you have to get in through the gospel. And secondly, discipleship. It says, verse 21, you were taught in him, forming your heart and mind with the truth, the character and the purpose of Jesus Christ. You are informing your heart and mind with the truths of Jesus Christ. And what's important to understand about this is that part of following Jesus is helping others follow Jesus. One of the distinctives of Grace Bible Church is that we're not really a program driven church. And some people come here, sometimes we get college students and say, I need something to plug into, something to get involved in.
I have an exercise I want you to do this morning. Look around you. And some of you are like, that's okay, you can still look around. What do you see when you look around?
People. Behold, ministry. To walk with someone else in a God word direction. And I can look out in the audience and I can see numerous examples of people who have taken the initiative in the mind of Christ to invest themselves in others, to come alongside them, to walk with them. Just last night, having an extended conversation with Cory, all the things that he's learning, the ways that God is developing spiritually, we're talking about that.
And he says, Dad, I am so glad that I was able to have and develop a relationship with Bobby, because I didn't recognize it as a discipling relationship back then, but that's exactly what it was. That's not a program, folks. Why do we have to have a program to do ministry?
I call you to that this morning, loved ones. If you are in Christ, you ought to be doing at least one of two things. You ought to be being discipled or discipling someone else. That's ministry. That's ministry. And that's how transformation happens because transformation isn't just information.
Transformation is following an example. That's why God gave us a person to follow. Jesus Christ. He's not just information. He's not just a concept. He's a person to follow.
That's why we're called to walk in his steps. And number three is transformation. Number one, the gospel. Number two, discipleship.
Number three, transformation. Be renewed in the spirit of your mind. That word renewed is the idea of transformation. Heart and mind informed by God's self-disclosure. God's character and purpose. Heart and mind informed by God's self-disclosure.
Folks, that's where we have to begin. It starts with the gospel through truth, through example, transformation. And when your heart and mind are informed by God's self-disclosure, then you are empowered by his spirit. And you come to grips with all the spiritual blessings of chapters one to three that are lavished upon you. And when that transformation of the inward being, of the heart and mind, where God changes you at the level of thought and desire, then what we have is number four, progressive life change.
And this is what the apostle means by put off and put on. Progressive life change. You are your life, what your life manifests from the inside out.
You are shedding the characteristics of the old nature, of living in the dark prison cell of self-preeminence. Father, I pray that you would do a work in our hearts today. Work in each one of us individually.
You know our needs. You know places and times where we're succumbed to walk back into the dark prison cell of self-preeminence. Father, rescue us. Help us to know the freedom in the light of new creation. I want to encourage you this morning in the quietness of the moment as the Lord through his spirit is speaking to your heart. What's your take home today? How has the Lord challenged you? How has the Lord challenged you?
What is your passion? What is your pursuit leaving here this morning? May God work in your heart.
Dwight's going to play a couple of moments quietly. Let God work and speak to you in your heart and mind this morning. If you are here this morning and you find yourself still in the dark prison cell of self-preeminence and you want rescue, you feel the spirit pulling on your heart and mind to rescue you, then I would just encourage you to surrender yourself to him. May God rescue us from darkness and lead us in the freedom of his light. Now to him who is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we ask or think according to the power that is at work in us, to him be glory in the church through Jesus Christ both now and forever.
And God's people say, Amen. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-18 14:24:00 / 2023-01-18 14:28:40 / 5