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Set Apart to Serve, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
June 5, 2024 9:36 am

Set Apart to Serve, Part 1

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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June 5, 2024 9:36 am

As the CityAlight song proclaims: What gift of grace is Jesus my Redeemer! It is lavish and life-changing!

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. As the City of Light song proclaims, what gift of grace is Jesus my Redeemer?

It's lavish and life-changing. Yet Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 6-1, not to receive the grace of God in vain. What does he mean by the grace of God, and how do we receive that grace as God intended us to? Today, Pastor Rich answers these questions from 2 Corinthians 6, 1-4.

Let's listen in. 2 Corinthians 6, verses 1-4, the title is set apart to serve. Look with me now at these scriptures.

2 Corinthians 6, beginning at verse 1. We then, as workers together with Him, also plead with you, do not receive the grace of God in vain. For, he says, in an acceptable time I have heard you, and in the day of salvation I have helped you. Now, behold, now is the accepted time. Behold, now is the day of salvation.

We give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed, but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God. In this text, the Apostle Paul is quoting an Old Testament prophecy. That prophecy is from the prophecy of Isaiah, and it specifically comes from chapter 49, and as he's quoted that, then he says in verse 3, now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. The text that he is quoting is specifically Isaiah chapter 49, in verse 6. And what we need to understand in Isaiah 49, Jehovah God is speaking to Messiah.

Now, let me put that to you in different terms so we understand what's going on here. The first person of the Trinity is speaking to the second person of the Trinity. This is a conversation within the Trinity on matters of redemption, on matters of reconciling man to himself. So, the Father is saying to the Son, I will give you as a light to the Gentiles that you should be my salvation to the ends of the earth.

The Father is saying that to the Son. And the reason why the Apostle Paul quotes that here, and he says now is the accepted time, what he's saying is, in the Old Testament that was prophecy, looking forward to a promise that God had made. Here we are now in the New Testament, now we're looking back at the fact that God has kept his promise. God has given Jesus as the Savior of the world, meaning salvation is now available to all today. Now is the accepted time. Today is the day of salvation. What we need to be careful here is that we don't use this text of scripture that the Apostle Paul says here in verse two, now is the accepted time.

We don't use that like a TV commercial. You know what TV commercials say, they tell you how much you need something because you need it. You don't know you need it, but you need it and you need to act now because the opportunity might not be there tomorrow.

So, you need to act now. That is not what the Apostle Paul is saying here. Although there is some truth to that because none of us has tomorrow guaranteed. What he is saying is that in the past, God made a promise. What he is saying now is the day of salvation. What he is saying is God has kept that promise. Salvation is now available to mankind. God is now in the business of reconciling people to himself based on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. So, this is why Jehovah says the first person of the Trinity says to Messiah, the second person of the Trinity, the Holy One of Israel has chosen you.

Remember who is talking here and who is being addressed. The first person of the Trinity says to the second person of the Trinity, the Holy One of Israel has chosen you. Now, we learned last week in the paragraph prior that we who are in Christ. What does that mean that we are in Christ? In this context, it says if Christ is God's chosen one, then we who are in Christ are what? God's chosen ones.

That means there is something very specific going on here, something very specific. And what is it that the first person of the Trinity says to the second person of the Trinity? Back in Isaiah chapter 49 verse 8, he says, I have heard you, I have helped you, I have preserved you, I have given you as a covenant to the people to restore the earth.

What is he saying there? There is privilege as the one who is the chosen one, Messiah, the second person of the Trinity. There is privilege, there is God's power, there is his protection, there is his purpose to accomplish. And as the first person of the Trinity says so to the second person of the Trinity, I have chosen you, you have my privilege, you have my power, you have my privilege, you have my power, you have my protection to go and accomplish my purpose. Now, the Apostle Paul brings that from Old Testament prophecy, which was spoken directly to the second person of the Trinity, the Messiah. Now we who are in Christ, those words become directed to us. You, as my chosen ones in Christ, have my privilege, my protection and my power to accomplish my purpose.

This is why the Apostle Paul begins this chapter by saying, look what he says in verse 1. We plead with you, do not receive the grace of God in vain. Do not receive the grace of God in vain.

Listen, the very fact that he would have to say this and admonish believers not to do this is because the possibility is there. Do not receive the grace of God in vain. What does in vain mean?

In this context, in vain means without result or without purpose. Let me put it a different way. Now that you have been reconciled to God and you are in Christ and God looks at you as one of his chosen ones, he has lavished this grace upon you, then we plead with you. Don't waste your life. Don't waste your life.

Let me refer to John Piper's book by the same title, Don't Waste Your Life, to illustrate what that means. Remember who we're talking about now, we who are in Christ. As Peter says, you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, God's own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. That's who we are. That's how God sees us. That is the grace that he has lavished upon us. What are we doing with it?

Have we received it in vain to no purpose, to no effect? Well, that would be just a tragedy. John Piper says this, I will tell you what a tragedy is. Not someone who has lived faithfully and have given their lives to serve other people and to help other people become reconciled to God. And even though they may die young, some of the greatest missionaries of the past died young. Some people that I have known in my life, they weren't necessarily vocational ministries or missionaries, but they served God, they loved God and they died young.

And I'm like, God, they loved you and they served you. Why did their life end so soon? But that's not a tragedy because their lives were invested in glorifying God and his ministers of reconciliation. Let me tell you what a tragedy is. Here's a tragedy. I will show you how to waste your life, says John Piper.

Consider a story from an edition of Reader's Digest, which tells about a couple who, quote, took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast several years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. There's nothing wrong with that, but bear with me here for a second. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida, where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells.

Again, nothing wrong with those things. At first, when I read it, I thought it might be a joke, a spoof on the American dream, but it wasn't. Tragically, this was the dream. Come to the end of your life, your one and only precious God-given life, and let the last great work of your life before you give an account to your Creator be this, playing softball and collecting shells. Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgment.

Look, Lord, see my shells? That is a tragedy. And people today are spending billions of dollars to persuade you to embrace that tragic dream.

Over against that, I put my protest. Don't buy it. Don't waste your life. Do not receive the grace of God in vain. What is this grace that God has lavished upon us? Well, let's look at that specifically. As we go back and we consider what he says in Isaiah's prophecy where the Father speaks to the Son, I have heard you, I have helped you, I have preserved you, I have given you as a covenant to the people.

What is that? Well, first of all, the grace that God has lavished upon us when he says, don't receive this grace in vain. What is that grace? First of all, it's God's privileges. We who are in Christ, God lavishes upon us his privileges.

His privileges. We are, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5, we are new creations. There exists within me a newness and a principle of life that did not exist before. Wow. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-06-05 10:09:02 / 2024-06-05 10:13:26 / 4

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