Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem.
This series from 1 Peter is titled, Live as People Who are Free. Today we want to consider how the freedom Christ bought for us changes the way we face hardship. On a visit to Egypt, Rich spoke to a man selling leather wallets at an outdoor market. The man held a lighter up to the wallet to prove its quality.
Because it was genuine leather, the flame didn't ruin it. Like leather, genuine faith in Christ endures through trial. 1 Peter 1, 6-9 delves into the beautiful work God accomplishes in His people through hardship. Let's listen in on this message titled, More Precious Than Gold.
Here's the third part of the message, which was first preached on July 24, 2022. Listen to this. This is important. I want you to understand this, alright? Words mean things. The concept of commitment, because faith is commitment, right?
The concept of commitment is meaningless without challenge. We were at a wedding Friday, and they're committing to each other, and Bobby did such a fabulous job in explaining the meaning of marriage, the necessity and the importance of marriage, and they exchanged their vows. They're not just expressing, oh, you make me feel so happy. No, they're exchanging vows.
I mean, they do, you know, feel happy, right? But they are exchanging, and they're promising to each other, I commit myself to you and your flourishing. It is a beautiful thing. Now, it was also made known in the wedding that difficulties are going to come. Can I have a witness?
Anybody here have had a perfect and flawless marriage? If you think so, let's talk. Okay, we need to talk.
I'll set you up an appointment with Chris, our director of counseling. Anyway, no, there is friction, there is challenge, and the whole idea of commitment is meaningless if there is no challenge. I think that's why we have Genesis 3 in Scripture. Os Guinness said, this is a really good point, progress is made only in resisting material.
You don't drift in a positive direction. See, the Lord knows that. And that's why He says, He gives us the book of James that James wrote. James in chapter 1 and verse 2, and Bobby covered that this morning in the ABF, trials are an occasion for joy. Consider it all, what? Joy when you fall into various trials.
Remember what joy is. It is a settled satisfaction in God's goodness, His love, and His sovereignty. And so these trials, this tribulation, this tribulum rolling over you, separating the wheat from the stock, that's opportunity for joy, for you to grow in that settled, and to expose that settled satisfaction that you have in God's goodness, His love, and His sovereignty. Malcolm Muggeridge was a British journalist who actually came to faith in Christ, a brilliant man, and he came to faith in Christ later in life. And he wrote a book, The Testimony of the Twentieth Century, published this in 1978. He writes this, I can say with complete truthfulness that everything I have ever learned in my 75 years in this world, everything that has truly enhanced and enlightened my existence, has been through affliction and not through happiness, whether pursued or attained.
In other words, if it ever were to be possible to eliminate affliction from our earthly existence by means of some drug or medical procedure, as Aldous Huxley envisioned in Brave New World, the result would not be to make life delectable, but to make it too banal and trivial to be endurable. This, of course, is what the cross signifies, and this is the cross, and it is at the cross, more than anything else, that has called me inexorably to Christ. It's a powerful testimony.
So the aim of adversity is to prove, put the fire to it. You remember Job? This is why Job is in scripture. Because Satan goes before the Almighty, and he's accusing him, saying, you don't deserve to be worshipped.
You just bride people, and that's why they worship you. Who brought up Job? God did. God says, I see genuine leather out there.
Put the fire to him. That's why Job is in scripture. This is what Peter is talking about. So that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. So the first aim of Christian adversity is to prove.
The second is to purify. Now we know this well-known hymn, how firm a foundation, and one of the verses goes like this, When through fiery trials thy pathways shall lie, my grace all sufficient shall be thy supply. The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design, thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. Thy dross to consume. What is that?
That's all the impurities that there might be in gold. Thy dross to... Let me talk about three things that are dross. The adversities that God is walking with you through these adversities. He's got you in his hand. And you are experiencing the subtle satisfaction in his goodness and his love and his sovereignty. He's got you in his hand, but he's walking with you through these trials.
He's saying, my child, as your loving father, here is the dross that is being burned out of you. Three things. Number one, self-sufficiency.
Self-sufficiency is dross. It is a delusion of contingent beings. We are contingent beings, every one of us.
You had nothing to do with your existence. We are contingent beings. And we have a real tendency to be so enamored with, it could be even with our own faith. Look at this tremendous faith I have. And faith could be the object of your faith.
And it's an insufficient object. And that is dross that God needs to burn. We could be trusting in our own goodness. I'm a good person. I do good things.
I help people. You could be trusting in your own savvy. I know how to do that.
I know how things work. You could be trusting in that. You could be trusting in your ideology. Innumerable things that you could be trusting. But the dross that adversities consume is one of them is self-sufficiency.
Secondly, number two, seeking only the here and now. Short-sightedness. Short-sightedness is dross when it comes to faith. Remember the illustration that I gave of the line versus the dot? From that wall to that wall is a line that represents all of eternity. What is your life on that line? It is but a tiny, tiny speck. And if we're living simply for that tiny speck and we have completely ignored and neglected the line, we're living for the dot and not for the line.
That's very short-sighted. This is why Paul says in Colossians chapter 3, set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth. Set your mind on.
Where is your mind settled? Where is the focus of your attention? 2nd Corinthians 4 18, we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. Now that doesn't mean that we ignore stuff, but it means that we engage, we perceive and engage the stuff of this earth through the lens of the eternal. That's what faith does.
That's the focus of the Christian mind. Here's the third thing of dross. Security in created things. Shaky object of trust. Security in created things.
We all have this very real tendency and lure in our lives. Why is security in created things really a foolish thing? Why is it the dross that the Lord is trying to purify us from?
What about what do we know about these created things? It will be taken away from you. What do you have that's material that cannot be taken away from you? They are not worthy objects of trust. You see, Romans 1 bears this out very clearly. It is the folly of humanity to worship and serve the creature rather than the creator. We have such a propensity to put our trust and security and satisfaction in something that is made and fashioned and that, by the way, we can manipulate instead of trusting the one who made it all, who has no beginning and no end. That is the folly of humanity. That's dross.
And we all have a tendency to do that. That is the dross that needs to be purified and burnt up from our faith as God is walking us through that. More precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire. Thy dross to consume and thy gold to refine. And what he says here, John says this, the Apostle John, he says, when He is revealed, we shall be like Him. Isn't that powerful?
Isn't that beautiful? The perfect man who walked this earth and gave himself wholly and entirely, sacrificially for others. We shall be like Him in His perfect character. This is why Paul writes to the Corinthian church and he's speaking of their afflictions, he's speaking of his own afflictions. He says, for this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. Folks, if you're going to meditate on something, meditate on something like that. This light momentary affliction, why does he say that? Remember the line? In contrast to that tiny little dot. That tiny little dot represents maybe your 70, 80, 90 years of life.
That's it. This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. He also says in Romans chapter 8, I consider that the sufferings of this present time aren't even worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed to us. Wonderful truths, Scripture. He comes then, he wants to make sure that if we are going to have genuine faith that can stand up to the fire, what is the object of Christian faith? Look at verse 8 with me. Let's read verse 7 again, so that the tested genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
When he appears again, he's coming back. 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, 7 Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's Word the very purpose for which you were designed. 7 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 / 2023-03-10 14:25:15 / 2023-03-10 14:30:11 / 5