Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. Author Edmund Clowney wrote, Full righteousness and satisfaction are coming when we are eternally with Christ. There's only one before whom we will stand in the end, so we must live with His opinion in mind. My reflection of Christ and the glory of God are higher priorities than protecting my rights, my comfort, and my survival. Today is the third part of this sermon titled Faithful Through Sorrow, first preached on October 16, 2022.
It overcomes evil with good. We are not called to rise up and revolt and overthrow a system. The church is not called to do that. The church is called to spread the gospel. And instead of victims in servile drudgery, even if a New Testament household slave would find them still in the position of slavery, and even if their master was an unjust master, instead of victims in servile drudgery, they are now free in Christ, serving Him. Therefore, they're being the best workers they possibly can.
Did you get that? That sanctified subversion because ultimately you're serving Christ. Let me fill in these quotes for you.
First one is by Edmund Clowney. It is the privilege of those who are sons and daughters of the Most High to imitate the magnificence of their father's mercy. The magnificence of their father's mercy. They rise above simple justice to reflect God's goodness and love.
Unthreatened by evil, they can overcome evil with good and in the midst of suffering, show mercy to those who would show no mercy towards them. That is the spirit of the New Testament, practically. That is living the gospel in a broken, fallen, created order. And then David Helm says this, the true grace of God, which is a phrase that Peter uses later on, the true grace of God is revealed in the world when Christians who are treated unjustly nevertheless act honorably and good.
Honorably and good. Now, unfortunately, it is the practice of many when we come across a text like this, and you know here at Grace, it is the word of God that sets the agenda. This is the text of the word of God. So I'm going to teach the text of the word of God.
I'm not going to use this this morning as a springboard for, so here's how we Americans need to speak truth to power. That's not what this text is about. Except that we do it through sanctified subversion.
OK, we're going to we're going to look at the text, the true grace of God. OK, so now you say, Rich, our context, our experiences, our reality is so different from first century, Mid-Eastern world, Palestine, Roman Empire, very different. We don't have slaves today. We're not engaged in slavery. It's only a part of our past, our history.
We don't do slavery anymore. And in fact, we have liberties. We enjoy liberties and we even enjoy legal recourse today.
To keep power in check. And it's true, we do have all of that. And we have the gospel to thank for that.
Because of a Judeo-Christian worldview, that introduced the rule of law and the governance of a self-governing people, of a people who have a conscience towards God. So we do experience liberties with legal recourse today. So how does this text apply to us today? Now, there is going to be later on, I'm developing a teaching, maybe a Sunday night seminar or something, but I'm developing a teaching entitled, How can Christians champion what is right and good? How can Christians champion what is right and good? That's not the focus today, necessarily.
OK, it is indirectly. But how can Christians champion what is right and good? And whether we have liberties and recourse or not, our mission does not change. The gospel does not change. If you are a Christian, your mission does not change.
If you are a Christian, you are in ministry, you have a mission. That does not change, regardless of whether or not you have liberties and legal recourse. It was true then, it is true today. And this is where we must draw in the context of all of scripture. Let me just give you here, first of all, five principles, five principles for understanding how we approach a text like this today. Number one, we are citizens first of God's kingdom. Everything else is secondary. We are citizens first of God's kingdom.
Everything else is secondary. Again, why Peter began with the big picture that he did in chapter one, verses three to nine. In fact, all the way back, because we are his chosen and beloved. We can't forget that we're his chosen and beloved, whether we're a household servant or whether we're a noble man in Christ. We are citizens first of Christ's kingdom. Christians, listen to me. If your public behavior does not reflect this, your gospel is not working and you're casting a shadow on it. If you are first an American before you're a Christian, you're casting a shadow on the gospel.
I might get some emails on that one. That's OK. But we are citizens first of Christ's kingdom. Number two principle, scripture commands a disposition of humility and submission, period. Scripture demands, commands a disposition of humility and submission. Our ultimate freedom is through surrender. And if we are following Christ, we are living with the mind of Christ and the mind of Christ is considering others more important than ourselves. So any text we approach and applying it to us today must be through this understanding of the general revelation of scripture.
Number three. We are not called to win, but to be like Jesus. I'm quoting Luke Goodrich in his book Free to Believe, which is an excellent book on understanding what religious liberty is.
Let me read a paragraph here. Scripture calls us to a radically different approach than anger, hostility, frustration, and despair. We are not called to win, but to be like Jesus. Not to fear suffering, but to fear God. Not to be surprised at hostility, but to expect it. Not to complain when we lose, but to rejoice. Not to lash out at our opponents, but to love them. We are called not to avoid losing at all costs, but to glorify God at all costs. I highly recommend that book, Free to Believe by Luke Goodrich. You should read it.
Principle number four. We must reflect Christ by living the gospel. We must reflect Christ by living the gospel. Look up earlier in chapter two. Look what he says, verse nine.
Here you are. This is who you are. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That's our mission. We must reflect Christ by living the gospel. Any action that I take socially, politically, that does not do that, I am guilty of casting a shadow on the gospel. And that's sinful.
Principle number five. People need to be reconciled to God. That is the single greatest need of humanity. God sent a savior who can reconcile us to himself. He did not send a teacher, a philosopher, a mechanic, a builder. He sent a savior.
He didn't even send a politician. Thank God for that. People need to be reconciled to God. And if any of your endeavors and behaviors in public that would obstruct an opportunity for you to help someone be reconciled to God, you are walking in sin.
You are placing the lower kingdom above the higher kingdom, the higher eternal kingdom. The greatest need of humanity is not social, political. All right. So let's finally let's look at this now.
All right. The secret to freedom. Live as people who are free. People who understand and know the nature of their freedom. The secret to freedom.
Applying it today. Injustice from Frana. We know who Fran is.
I'm introducing you to Frana. Friends, relatives, associates, neighbors and authorities. Some of us may feel injustice from authorities. How do you engage that? How do you perceive it?
How do you engage it? There is something in the text today that could be very, very easily overlooked as we read it superficially. But look at it with me again. Verse 18. Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the just.
Here it is. Verse 19. For this is a gracious thing when?
Next three words. Mindful of God. Mindful of God.
What does that mean? It means you acknowledge God at the very least. It means that you are aware of God's will.
You are familiar with his character and his purpose. And you are exercising your conscience towards God. 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 Web site. W w w dot delight in grace dot 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 / 2023-04-26 14:11:26 / 2023-04-26 14:15:43 / 4