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Ishmael vs. Isaac, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard
The Truth Network Radio
September 29, 2020 8:00 am

Ishmael vs. Isaac, Part 1

Destined for Victory / Pastor Paul Sheppard

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September 29, 2020 8:00 am

Developing a healthy appreciation for our spiritual leaders. Lessons Paul helps us draw from contrasting Ishmael with Isaac.

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1 John Chapter 4 Verse 1 Hello and thanks for watching.

I plead with you brothers. Become like me because I became like you. You have done me no wrong. As you know it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.

What has happened to all your joy? I can testify that if you could have done so you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me. Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? Those people are zealous to win you over, but for no good. What they want is to alienate you from us so that you may be zealous for them. It is fine to be zealous provided the purpose is good and to be so always and not just when I am with you. My dear children for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.

How I wish I could be with you now and change my tone because I am perplexed about you. Tell me you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way, but his son by the free woman was born as a result of a promise. In our last message in this series we saw that according to what Paul said at the end of Galatians chapter 3, we are sons of God and we made the note that that is not a gender oriented statement, but that concept of sonship applies to both male and female. And what it has to do with is entitlement, is inheritance, is having passed on that which came from our predecessor. And we noted that we are all sons of God. God has made us his own children and we have certain rights and privileges because we are the children of God. And we noted specifically that as the sons of God we are legitimate, we are also liberated, and we are loved by God.

And we expounded those three points. Now as we continue to move through this study, I want you to note the fact that there is a section here in the middle of chapter 4 where Paul expresses some personal concern about his relationship with the Galatians. And perhaps as you read this book you say, well those are just sort of personal comments that had to do with his relationship with them, doesn't really apply to me.

But I want to suggest that there are principles and there are lessons to be learned in all portions of Scripture, even where such comments are being made. Now look closely at it and we just read through that passage and you will note that Paul is expressing the fact that he had quite a sense of intimacy and connectedness with these people. They were his spiritual children and he felt very, very closely connected with them.

And he talks about the history of their relationship. He says, when I first came to you, I came at a time when I was ill and you embraced me and you loved me. You did not treat me with scorn or contempt.

You took real good care of me. In fact, he said, if you could have, you would have plucked out your eyes and given them to me. Many scholars believe as a result of that comment that the illness that Paul had referenced to was some sort of eye disease or eye problem that he was afflicted with at that time in his life. They say that that comment about them plucking out their eyes simply points us to what his problem was. Perhaps that is true.

We can't speak with any real certainty because we don't have more information about it than that. But Paul's point is very clear. He's saying that you all took really good care of me as your spiritual father.

We had such a great relationship and you can tell in those comments that what he is saying is something has gone wrong. And what has gone wrong is the Judaizers, who he's been talking about throughout this letter, have come in and infiltrated that congregation and let the people know that Paul is really illegitimate and he's teaching false doctrine because they said, you've got to become Jews. You Gentiles who have accepted Christ as your savior, that's fine that Christ has extended the offer of salvation to you as well as to us Jews, they said. But if you're going to truly be accepted of God, you have to become Jews. So the Judaizers came in and insisted that all the Gentiles had to be circumcised and that they had to begin to follow Jewish law to the T in order to be saved.

That's the legalism and that's the law orientation that Paul is addressing throughout this letter. And he is saying, as a result of the influence of these people, your attitude toward me has changed. We used to be tight. We used to be close.

You all would do anything and everything for me. And now I get the clear impression that something is radically wrong. Have you ever had that happen in relationships with you where you had a great flowing, easy flowing relationship with somebody and then the next time you run into them, there's a chilly breeze even if it's the summer. Have you ever had that happen? Just all of a sudden, somebody you used to be tight with, somebody you used to just have a free flowing conversation and you all would hang and there was laughter and all of that and now when they look at you, there is something stiff and there's something distant. Have you ever run into an invisible wall and you go to embrace them and bam, what in the world happened? I've had that happen.

You've had that happen where something changed and it's worse when you have no idea. Now why are you different toward me now? And Paul surmises that it is because you have allowed yourselves to be influenced by these Judaizers who he says have no good intentions in your life. So before I move through that section and get on and talk about the rest of the chapter, I want us to pause and note that there's a lesson in there for all of us which is to be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Be careful who you allow to influence you because they will change you and not always for the better. You can't just let any old raggedy person come up in your life and have impact and have influence because there are some people who have a personal agenda and do not have God's plan and purpose for your life in mind. And they come into your life to influence you, to make you like them, to cause you to get on board with their program.

There are some people, listen, don't fool yourself. There are some leaders who don't have a title. But anybody who you allow to influence you is a leader in your life. And Paul was saying, I am a legitimate leader. I'm the one who came through that area of Galatia and established the churches that I'm writing to now. I am your spiritual father. I came preaching the good news that salvation was available to both Jew and Gentile. I'm the one who stayed and prayed and got you all saved and got you out of sin and began to teach you the word of God. I have proven my spiritual fathership in your life.

And I want you to understand that I'm playing a God ordained role in your life. But these people have inserted themselves as leaders because you've allowed them to have influence over you. So you don't have to have a title to be a leader. There are a lot of people who are leaders who don't have titles.

They're in every church, they're in every group, every organization, in every club, every committee, all that. You'll find folk who have a title and then you'll have other folk who are leaders. Hopefully you have a title and leadership.

But don't fool yourself. There are a lot of people who are leaders who don't worry about titles because they've understood the clear truth that leadership is not about titles. Leadership is about influence. He who thinks he leads and has no one following is merely taking a walk. You're not leading any place, anybody, and no one is with you.

And there are plenty of folk who are leaders. God has not ordained them, but you have allowed them to have influence in your life. The lesson to be learned here is be careful who you allow to speak into your life. Destined for Victory is a listener support of ministry, and as we continue to live in a season of uncertainty, your support is critical because now more than ever, people are looking for answers that only God can give. Give online safely and securely from our website,, or give us a call at 855-339-5500.

Again, the number is 855-339-5500. And when you give, we have a gift of our own to share with you. I'll tell you all about it after the message. Consider the people in your life and ask, did God bring them or did I bring them myself?

Here's Pastor Paul with the rest of today's Destined for Victory message, Ishmael versus Isaac. Be careful whose opinion you listen to. Be careful whose ideas you pay attention to.

Be careful whose philosophy you buy into. Because not all of the people who come your way are sent by the Lord. Some of them are sent by themselves.

See, some people were sent and others just went. And some people just came into your life, ordained themselves to speak into your life. And if you allow them, they will gain influence over you and they will begin to shape and form how you think and what you do.

And you can tell when an ungodly or a flesh-oriented relationship has taken control and had influence over you because they will begin to change your orientation toward people that God himself has sent into your life. Paul said, I'm a legitimate leader in your life. God made me a leader in your life. The Bible is clear that when we identify those persons that God has brought into our lives, God is the one who raises up spiritual leaders to help us.

It is God. Listen, you got to understand the reason why you want to be in a healthy Christ-centered church led by godly people is because God has ordained them to speak into your life. God said way back in the Old Testament through the prophet Jeremiah, I will give you shepherds after my own heart. And they will lead you and they will guide you. They will teach you the word of God.

They will shepherd you in the path of righteousness. God said that's my doing. Don't despise godly leadership. We live in days where a lot of folks want everything to be flat.

I just love flat organization. I like everybody to be equal. We're all equal in significance before God, but we have different roles that God has given us. I'm your brother in Christ and we all have rights standing with God, but God has made me a pastor. God has made me a teacher to speak the word of God into your life.

It's God ordained. So I have a right to speak into your life. You have a right to see that I do so in a Bible-oriented way. You don't want to follow anyone blindly. If someone begins to speak and it's inconsistent or contradicts the word of God, you've got to realize, no, no, that is not true.

I can't follow that. See, Paul said follow me as I follow Christ. If I stay in the word and lead you according to the word, you're supposed to follow. That's God's plan for your life. And it will result in maturity.

It will result in growth. It will result in blessing. When God wants to bless us, one of the ways he does it is he puts us as leadership so that you can graze in green pastures and be led beside still waters and have your soul restored. That's God's plan and purpose. So we've got to learn to respect and appreciate leadership God brings into our lives. And you've got to also learn to respect and appreciate the people who come into your life, not as a pastor or a teacher, but the people who come into your life as just spiritual brothers and sisters that you can walk in accountability and fellowship with. God brings us together in a fellowship.

Remember, Christianity doesn't come in a do it yourself kit. We're supposed to be connected to one another. Our job is to help each other get to heaven. We're to sharpen one another. We are to encourage one another. At times we have to rebuke one another.

At times we have to say, listen, I love you, but you are dead wrong on that. We need to have a talk. I need to pull out my Bible and show you some things. That's all part of the process of being connected in the body of Christ.

Because without that kind of connection, you can go astray. You know why the Bible calls us sheep? One of the most common analogies for believers, for followers is sheep. And this might hurt your feelings, but understand that God was intentional about calling us sheep. Sheep aren't particularly bright.

They need good leadership. And the Bible calls all of us, me included sheep. I happen to be a sheep who also has a job to be an under shepherd under the great shepherd. So I have to lead a group of God's people, but I myself am a sheep. We're all sheep in the Lord's pasture. And we need help.

We help one another. If you leave a sheep to think by him or herself, they'll go wandering off. All the green pastures right over here, by hanging out over here.

She said, oh, let me go here, see what's going on over here. That's why when you read Psalm 23, it's David who spent his early years as a shepherd showing us spiritual lessons he's learned. He said the Lord is my shepherd.

I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul.

He leads me in the path of righteousness for his name's sake. He said, I'm learning that I need to follow him because as a sheep, I'll get caught up over here. I'll go wandering over here. Next thing I know, I'm caught in the thicket.

Supposed to be over there in green pastures with everybody else. I'm over here and caught in the thicket. And now the thorns are sticking me and every time I move, I'm being stuck. And God said, that's why you need people to help you, to keep you from going over there. Next thing you know, you're over there stuck in the thicket. You know, you've had some bad moments in your life.

Don't you even try it. I know you got your big Bible, but you've had some bad moments in your life. Every last one of us, including the dude talking to you, we have had some bad moments. Over somewhere, have no business over there. And all the green pastures over there, here you are over here. But thank God we have a shepherd who leads us and guides us. And when he finds us, the Bible says he has a rod and a staff. The staff has a hook on it and it can go over there and get the old crazy sheep and say, come on, I'm going to pull you out of danger. Now get on over here with the rest of the folks. And God shepherds us and he raises up people to shepherd us.

And then we can help encourage and strengthen one another. Stay in packs. Don't roam off somewhere by yourself. Stay with those people God has ordained for your life. There's safety there.

There's protection there. And that's a God ordained thing. But you've got to watch them because some people will insert themselves into your life and they're not God ordained. And one of the signs is they'll change your attitude toward the people who are God ordained. You don't let people speak negatively into your life.

That's not God's will. You've got to learn to discern those people who have come into your life for a personal agenda. And Paul said that's what's going on and you all have changed your attitude.

You used to embrace me and love me and there'd be a big smile. And now you're just looking at me and just saying, You don't let people change up. When someone has proven faithful in your life, proven that God is using them to speak into your life, do not let someone come between you with a personal agenda in the context of a church. Don't let some sour person sour you on a church because they had a bad experience with somebody.

First of all, you don't know what really happened. As far as I know, everything, we're having wonderful harmony and stuff like that, but I passed it long enough to know that you prepare for war in a time of peace. So in case the devil is trying to start some junk, let me put some word in you. You don't let people sour you when God is moving and God is showing himself in our midst. He is blessing. He is saving.

He is strengthening. The church is being encouraged and moving on. When you see signs of the activity of the Holy Spirit, don't let somebody come with that. Yeah, but you don't know.

Honey, I tell you some things. Listen, whenever you hear a person talking to you trying to sour you on somebody else or a church or whatever it might be, realize that you're only hearing a perspective. You're not necessarily hearing the truth. You don't hear the truth just because one person talked.

You've got to find out what the issue is and talk to all sides so that you can gain a real perspective of what's going on. And a lot of sour people love, that's their job, their self-appointed job to go around souring other people. And so you have to learn, no, no, God has brought these folks into my life. Don't go around looking for a perfect church because there is no perfect church. Everybody is on the same journey becoming more like Christ. But you can be imperfect yet healthy.

You want to look for signs of health. Don't look for perfection. There is no perfect church. Furthermore, if you found the perfect church and you joined, can we talk? If you're looking, going around looking for a church that suits you just right, these folks are just perfect.

I haven't found anything wrong with them. Well, wait till they meet you. They're going to have some issues now because they've got to deal with you. So the point is you ought to be looking for health and looking for the signs of what God is doing in your life because God is moving us on from glory to glory. You ought to be progressing on your journey of becoming more like Christ. And don't let anybody come along like these Judaizers did the churches in Galatia and sour you on God-ordained people in your life. Because they are not bringing the word of the Lord with them.

They are not there for any good purpose. Paul said they are trying to alienate you from us. See that's what people do if they want to gain control over your life. They'll find the God-ordained influences alienate you from them and now you're distant from them and then they insert themselves between and then they begin to speak into your life.

So you have to be careful. Pastor Paul Sheppard wants to encourage you today. Test everything you hear against the infallible Word of God and surround yourself with true believers in Christ who can help you when you have questions.

As King Solomon said, in an abundance of counselors there is wisdom. Thanks for stopping by for today's message, Ishmael versus Isaac. To hear any of Pastor Paul's recent messages on demand, log on to That's Well Satan is always fighting against the people who are trying to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

He seeks to kill, steal and destroy. And that's why it's been so important through the years that people like you have stood by Destin for Victory, lifting up the ministry in prayer and making donations when you can. Today we'd like to lift you up in prayer. From the home page at, click contact us and tell us how we can pray for you. And while you're there, be sure to ask for Pastor Paul's monthly letter of encouragement, yours at no cost or obligation.

And here's something else. For your generous donation to Destin for Victory, we'd like to send you a study guide from InterVarsity Press called Fruit of the Spirit. It's a great companion to the series you heard earlier this month from Pastor Paul, one that will encourage you to go out and be to others what Jesus has been to you. That's Fruit of the Spirit, our gift to you today by request for your generous gift to Destin for Victory. Call us at 855-339-5500 to give over the phone or visit to make a safe and secure donation online.

You can also mail your gift to Destin for Victory, post office box 1767, Fremont, California 94538. As long as you are trying to observe the law, as long as you are trying to be justified by your own strength and power, you will never be able to access the grace of God that will allow you to live in the freedom God has ordained for your life. That's tomorrow in Pastor Paul Shepherd's message, Ishmael versus Isaac. Until then remember, he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion. In Christ, you are Destined for Victory. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-05 14:23:37 / 2024-02-05 14:32:31 / 9

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