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Essentials for Growth in Godliness, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
August 14, 2020 4:00 am

Essentials for Growth in Godliness, Part 2 B

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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August 14, 2020 4:00 am

Christians are to live not only with uncompromising integrity, but to do so with joy. Discover how, today on Grace to You as John MacArthur looks at Paul’s epistle to the church at Philippi—in his series titled “Joy Rules.”

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To the glory of God. Everything God has saved us. God has made us fruitful for his glory. We are to bring him honor, bring him glory by our life.

Now, listen, beloved, a life of love and a life of excellence and a life of integrity and a life of good works brings glory to God.

During World War One, an Army chaplain wrote his son and asked him to pray that God would give him the strength to serve honorably.

The chaplain said that prayers for his safety should be secondary because after all, he said, daddy dead is daddy still. But Daddy dishonored before God is something too awful for words. A question for you to consider with John MacArthur today on Grace to you. How do you cultivate that kind of uncompromising integrity? And what does integrity have to do with your joy? For practical answers. Stay here as John continues his series titled Joy Rules. Here's today's lesson.

Philippians, chapter one we're looking at vs. nine through eleven.

Paul's prayer for the Believers. He writes.

And this.

I pray that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God.

Now, in this prayer, which Paul prays for the Philippine Christians, he focuses on the essentials for sound spiritual health. He's focusing on the features of true spirituality, elements of spiritual life, which every Christian must pursue love, excellence, integrity, good works and glory. All of Christian living begins with love. Everything in our Christian experience must be built on a foundation of love. In fact, the whole text versus nine to eleven is sequential.

Love leads to excellence, which leads to integrity, which leads to good works, which leads to the praise and glory of God.

So love is the great foundation of Christian living. It is the most surpassing virtue of the Christian life and really the distinctive of our faith.

Love and excellence lead to integrity, verse 10 in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ. And he then is praying for personal integrity, bound up in that word, sincere.

No cracks in your jar. Nothing is covered over with the with the wax of hypocrisy. You're not hiding some sin, some flaw, some blight in your life. That is a current flaw in your character. But you're covering it over so that when the testing comes, you're going to melt and be shown to be a crackpot.

No pun intended. And the word, by the way, will accomplish this. The word is alive and powerful, sharper than any do it it's and is able to discern that deep thoughts and intense of the heart. The word is the sun, if you will, that discern your true character. Paul says, look, I want you to have a life without hypocrisy, Romans twelve nine says it. Second Corinthians one 12. Paul talked about the confidence that he had in his own sincerity, Second Corinthians to 17, he said, we're not like others who peddle the word of God, but we preach sincerely. There was genuineness in his life.

And that's what he's calling for. Personal integrity. Not a flaw in your life, which you've masked over. But reality? True spiritual integrity. You see, these are the ingredients of spiritual life. A dominating love. A pursuit of excellence. And a life without flaw. A life with a character that can stand inspection. A life at which people can look with scrutiny and walk away and say is real. Not perfect, but real, genuine. Not a fake. Not a phony. Not a second. Not a factory reject.

Real first class.

That's personal integrity, second word is relational integrity in verse 10. He says you are to be sincere and blame less.

That word means not causing others to stumble, and that's relational integrity. Not living a life that causes others to stumble. That's very important, it's equally important. You're to live the kind of life that doesn't cause other people to stumble. You know, there are a lot of folks if you look at them on the surface, it looks like their life is inoffensive. It looks like they wouldn't cause another believer to stumble.

As Paul teaches so clearly in First Corinthians, Chapter eight.

And Romans Chapter 14, he talks about the fact that we're not to cause someone to stumble or be offended in Romans 14. We're not cause someone to stumble or be offended. We know that First Corinthians, Chapter 10, whatever you do, were to do it all for God's glory, never offending anyone else, not the Jew, the Greek or the Church of God, or to be very cautious in how we live in. There are some people who look at their life as a boy. It's an inoffensive life that that's a consistent life. Relationally, they're not causing anybody to stumble. Their life looks pure, looks right. It looks wholly. And then in a little while you begin to watch. And some of the people they influenced the most, like their children and close friends, begin to betray something that's missing.

And while we can't blame parents for all the misbehavior of their children, very often if the pattern is consistent, we find out down the road that what we thought they were in the church was certainly not what they were in the home. Right. Somewhere there was a floor that was somehow waxed over when we were around. But when the reality was known, there was a very large floor and under scrutiny and the pressure of another environment and away from where they wanted to wear the mask, they were really revealed to be less than perfect.

Maybe it's at work.

Maybe someone in the church looks like they've got it all together, but their Christianity on the job, that has so many cracks in it that they're causing all kinds of people to stumble about the reality of Christianity and maybe even offending other Christians on the job.

Certainly, that's a common thing. Maybe as a student.

Maybe as far as the church knows, ENDA and the administration of Europe's Christian school environment. You're just a perfect little child. But when you get away from their control and their oversight and get with your friends, the cracks begin to show up.

And you might even cause those other kids to stumble because of your own sin and your own offense.

So what Paul is saying is, look, I want you to have integrity, personal integrity, relational integrity. You don't stumble. You don't cause others to stumble. You don't have cracks. And you don't cause others to have cracks.

Now, that means you've got to have a no compromise attitude. We're really talking about not compromising life, a life that is lived according to the word of God without any deviation standing true to biblical conviction.

We have to live by being deeply planted in the rich soil of biblical truth so that our roots tap deep into the divine revelation and we flourish and flourish.

Now, if you're going to have integrity personally and not compromise, you've got to stand against the world. That's the basic thing. Back to Romans 12 again. Be not conformed to this world. Back to James. He says, friendship with the world is enmity against God. Back to first John to fifteen. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.

You've got to resist the pressure of the system because the system is what put the cracks in our life. We succumb to it. It happened so suddenly. Can I give you just a little sequence of steps, how it happens? This is how you get sort of engulfed by the system. The world sucks you in, sucks me. And here's how. First step, accommodation, accommodation.

We just tolerate the world. Sinister values. Sin, wickedness. What do you mean by that? Well, we stopped being shocked by it. We're not shocked by it anymore. Well, we just did it. We accommodate ourselves to it. We may think it's wrong. We may say it's wrong, but it really doesn't shock us. That's accommodation. The second word is legitimation. We legitimize it. How? Well, we finally accepted as normal. Well, that's that's normal. That's just part of our culture. The third word is assimilation.

Now we're in real danger. We personally begin to cooperate with these skewed values by saying nothing.

It just passes off the scene, it's not even an issue anymore. We don't even discuss it.

I mean, to put it simply, when's the last time you heard a preacher preach against bikini bathing suits?

The culture is just assimilated that.

The fourth word is participation. That's when you go out and buy one. What does that mean? Well, that's personal involvement in attitudes and actions.

Now you don't mind you're not only not shocked by it. You not only think it's a part of your culture, you not only don't say anything against it. You go to the movies and watch it or you turn on your television or watch or you read books about it or whatever you participate.

The fifth word is amalgamation, and that's where. The worldly values are so fuzed with your values that you can't tell the difference.

Amalgamation, the worldly values are so fuzed with your values, you can't tell the difference. And the last word is ID and there is no difference.

You've identified with it.

You see, that's the process of the world's second you in first, you accommodate yourself to it by tolerating it, not being shocked by it.

You legitimize it by accepting it as a part of culture. You assimilate it by never saying anything. You participate in it and your attitudes, even if they're at arm's length. Finally, you're amalgamated with it. It's fuzed into your own values. Until you're so identified with the world, can't tell the difference.

You've got to stop it at the start. Way back at the beginning.

When John Wesley went away to school to Oxford, his mother wrote him a letter, probably wrote him a lot of letters, but I only read one.

This is what she said. Great wisdom. She wrote to her son.

These words, whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience.

Obscures your sense of God or takes off the delight for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of your body over your mind. That thing is sin.

End quote. Great advice. Great advice.

The world is so subtle. Compromises so subtle. That it takes us in before we even realize what is happening.

You see, it's just like the old story of the of the frog in the pan of water. The frog sits in the pan of water, you slowly turn up the heat and it'll fry before it'll jump because it's so gradual. For it knows that it's dead.

That's the process of accommodation, legitimation and all the rest, until finally you come to ID and you don't know anymore what world this is and what it isn't, right?

So we don't want to succumb to that kind of pressure.

We don't want to get engulfed in that kind of thing. So we've got to deal with integrity. And that's what Paul is saying. Back to verse 10. You want to make sure that you're genuine in your life and you have integrity and that you have integrity in all your relationships, which means you don't fall prey to the compromises of society. Now, how are you going to insulate yourself against that? By having a dominating, pervasive love control by the word of God, which is able to pursue what is excellent and maintains a personal integrity which will not compromise.

Takes you right back to the beginning.

You say, well, how long am I supposed to live like that? Well, says inversed him till the day of Christ.

Till the day of Christ, you're to have integrity until Christ comes the day of Christ is a phrase referring to the return of Christ for the believer, the day of the Lord is the return of Christ and the judgment of the unbeliever.

The Day of Christ is a special term, referring to the reward and the assessment of the believers works. So we are called upon to faithfulness until the Lord Jesus comes to reward us.

The day will come when we see Christ. It says we must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. Second Corinthians five nine 10 to receive the things done in the body, whether they're good or bad, to see whether our works are gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble. First Corinthians. Chapter three. First Corinthians. Chapter four. The day when the Lord will assess the hidden things of the heart, reveal our motive and our intent. So until Christ comes to reward us, we are faithful never to compromise. We are faithful to maintain personal and relational integrity.

So love begets excellence, begets integrity. Let's go to number four.

The result next is good works versus eleven, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ. Now, love produces excellence, produces integrity and integrity, will always produce good works.

Please notice having been filled is a perfect passive participle. And what that means is something that has happened in the past time with continuing results. And it looks at that Day of Christ, which is the theme from verse 10. It is at the Day of Christ.

The verb then looks back and sums up the life of the person and says, when you stand at the day of Christ, you will have been already filled with righteousness or the fruit of righteousness.

It views a completed state or completed condition.

It looks at the record of good works produced by God in a life of integrity, a life of excellence, a life of love.

So you have here then a view of the believer who arrives at the day of Christ. And because he has loved and because he has pursued excellence and because he has maintained integrity, he has filled his life with good works and he comes there having already been filled with the fruits of righteousness.

Which are the fruit of love, excellence and integrity. Now, what do we mean by the fruit of righteousness? Well, the fruit which righteousness produces.

The fruit, which righteousness produces, because if you're living in love and pursuing what is excellent and you're living a life of integrity, that's a righteous life and it will produce certain fruit.

Karplus fruit means good works, product results. And that's what he has in mind.

The fruit produced by the inherent divine energy in this kind of Christian life.

The fruit that righteousness produces. By the way, the fruit of righteousness is an Old Testament phrase found in Proverbs 11 30 and Amos six twelve. It's also used in James 318 to refer to the good works that are produced by God's righteousness in the believers life.

So his prayer is like a life of love, a life of excellence, a life of integrity, a life of good works, and that should be characteristic of every believer.

The fruit of our life is good works. Now, the New Testament talks about fruit.

In fact, there are two kinds, as I've told you many times. Romans, 113, says, Often I've planned to come to you and have been prevented. And here's why. In order that I might obtain some fruit. In other words, I want to see some people come to Christ. Fruit was winning someone to Christ the fruit of his life in the 15th chapter of Romans and twenty eighth verse, he says. Therefore, when I have finished this and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, in other words, again the result of their life with somebody else being converted.

So fruit is leading someone to Christ in Second Corinthians nine, verse 10, it says.

Now he who supply seed to the saw and bred for food that's God will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. In other words, righteous deeds. God is going to produce in your life because of your faithfulness to him in Ephesians. Chapter five, verse nine. It says The fruit of the light is goodness and righteousness and truth. And again, any righteous deed is fruit. But it's more than deeds. It's also attitudes. Galatians, five, says the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, gentlest goodness, faith make no self-control. Those are all attitudes. So God's one wants to produce in your life. Right attitude and right action.

Right attitude and right action.

But would you please notice a very important note in this verse? It says in verse eleven, Having been filled with the fruits of righteousness that is righteous deeds and righteous attitudes, which comes through Jesus Christ, you don't produce your own.

They come through Jesus Christ.

Working in you, so he gets all the glory and all the honor and all the credit.

And John fifteen, I am the true vine and my father is the vine dresser. Listen, every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit, he takes away every branch that bears fruity prunes it that it may bear more fruit. Verse four. Abide in me. And I knew as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine. So neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine. You are the branches. He who abides in me and I in him. He bears much fruit for apart from me.

You can do what? Nothing. So the idea is that fruit is the work of God produced in the life.

Not my work, but his work. The work of Christ.

Visas to 10 says that we are the workmanship of God created in Christ Jesus under good works, which God has before ordained, that we should walk in them.

So what are we learning here? We are a bear fruit, but that fruit is the work of Christ. We give an illustration member Lawrence of Arabia. Lawrence of Arabia on one occasion brought some Arabs back to London, put them in a beautiful hotel in London. And they were absolutely florid. They were better ones. The only thing that ever lived in was a tent.

And the thing that fascinated the most were faucet's.

Because living in a desert all their life, water was at a premium. They merely to turn a knob and all the water they wanted was their. When Lawrence packed them all up to leave and they were packing their. Bags or whatever they carried.

He discovered that they had taken all the faucets off of all the sinks and put them in their bags under the unbelievably ludicrous view that if they had the faucet, they had the water.

And I might remind you of that somewhat familiar story, just to say to you that the issue in your spiritual life is simply to recognize that you're a fosset unless you're connected to the pipeline, turning you on and off will produce absolutely nothing.

The power comes from the Lord Jesus Christ, and that's what he's saying here. You must realize that the fruit of righteousness comes through Jesus Christ.

He produces it in you.

So a life of love begets a life of excellence, which begets a life of integrity, which leads to a life of good works.

Good works, and that takes us to the last word. Glory. Why all of this? One great final truth versus eleven to the glory and praise of God here.

And as my father glorified that you bear much fruit. John 15 eight. To the glory of God. Everything God has saved us. God has made us fruitful for his glory. We are to be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 112. Ephesians 114. We are to bring him honor. Bring him glory by our life. Now, listen, beloved. A life of love and a life of excellence. And a life of integrity. And a life of good works brings. Glory to God and praise to God. By the way. Glory Doxa is the sum total of all of God's perfection.

Praise is the homage given to God for that perfection. So he receives the affirmation of perfection and then the praise which is elicited by that perfection.

So the love of God poured in our hearts, abounding and insightful knowledge of his word causes us to pursue excellence with spiritual integrity, which generates a life of power through Christ that produces good works, which redound to God's glory as a redeeming, transforming God worthy of eternal praise.

That's the sum of it all. Paul's prayer is my prayer for you. As well. And this, I pray, Paul said, and I say to this, I pray this, I pray for you that your love. May abound still more and more and real knowledge and all discernment.

So that you may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ, having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ to the glory and praise of God, Father.

This I pray for this people and father may they know that if they've done spiritual inventory and they see it decline in their spiritual life, that this is what they should pray for themselves. Father, help us to know. There are no formulas. There are no shortcuts. There are no gimmicks. There are no easy ways. If our life doesn't check out and we don't live up to these essential virtues that help us to know that we need to get on our knees, as Paul did, and pray for the same thing.

Daily, daily.

Lord God, may my love abound more and more and all real knowledge and all discernment.

May I approve the things that are excellent? Be sincere and blameless. Until the day of Christ. May I be filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes by Jesus Christ? And may I be to the glory and praise of God? Help us to pray that personally. Every day. Every day.

Till we begin to see the pattern of our life going the right direction. Lord, it's so simple. From our end, all we have to do is cast ourselves willingly on your resources and you produce your work in us. Help us to be willing to do that. For Jesus sake.

This is Grace to you. With John MacArthur, thanks for being with us. Joy Rules. That's the title of John's study. John teaches each day here on Grace to You. He also serves as chancellor of the Masters University and Seminary. John, I am I've loved this study. And it reminds me that there are lots of people who think Christianity is supposed to be joyless and severe and and they walk around without smiles on their face. But scripture really emphasizes this issue of joy. I think that may surprise a lot of people, and especially the idea that that joy is possible no matter what. Because these instructions in Philippians come to people who were suffering, going through difficult times.

Yeah. And I think sometimes in our suffering, our joy is most clearly seen, because if your circumstances are good, you don't know whether your joy is tied to the circumstance or not. But if the circumstances are all negative and you're suffering and you're full of joy, then you know where that joy comes from. Right. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy. So I know when my joy is the fruit of the spirit because it's joy in the middle of suffering. It's joy when there shouldn't be any joy. It's laughter and smiling and satisfaction and fulfillment when that is not what the circumstance dictates. So I would I would go so far as to say, you only know the level of your spiritual joy when it does not come from the outside circumstances. Life is tough. The world is complex. And as we said recently, you were exposed to so much tragedy all the time. And it may not be happening in your life, but it's happening all over the place and you're exposed to it. And it's so easy to lose joy from the culture or joy from the surroundings or joy from the circumstances because they're so dire and so disturbing. But in the midst of all of that, you know, when your heart is still settled, satisfied, you have a happy heart. You you want to praise the Lord. You're singing hymns. There's a deep down, untouched satisfaction that produces joy, you know, that comes from the Lord. And we all need to live with that joy. That's why we've done the series Joy Rules. And I would just remind you that we've packaged this series in six, c.D. It's an album you can get only from grace to you or you can download six MP three files from G.T. y dawg. Take time to review the material at your own pace however you'd like it. You can download it or you can order the C.D. available from grace to you.

The title again, Joy Rules and what this study says about the elements of joy and how to grow and godliness is ideal for really any believer to get John study. Joy Rules sits perfect for you or to give to a friend. Contact us today to order Joy rules on c.D. Call us toll free 855 Grace. Again, that's 800 five five Grace or shop online at G.T. y dot org. You can also download all six messages from Joy Rules Free of charge in audio or transcript format at the Web site G.T. Dawg and Friend.

If you have felt your joy slipping away, if you've lost the passion you once had for Christ, let me encourage you to get a copy of John's 31 day devotional book called Remember and Return. It will help you build a habit of studying God's word, meditating on its truth and and cultivating the kind of joy that can only be found in Christ to order the remember and return devotional or to pick up John. Study Joy Rules on c.D. Call us 855 Grace four. Visit our Web site G.T. y dot org. Now for John MacArthur. I'm Phil Johnson. Thanks for listening today. And remember to watch Grace to you television this Sunday on N.R. BTV or check your local listings for channel and times and then be here as John unfolds. A practical blueprint for spiritual growth in the study.

He launches titled A Course for Life that starts Monday with another half hour of unleashing God's truth, one verse at a time on race to.


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