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August 11, 2021 4:00 am
The only way that you are ready for the crisis is when you have been prepared by the spiritual discipline of walking in obedience to the revealed principles of Christian living in the day-to-day spiritual discipline are strength and the courage makes us perform in the moment of that is becoming increasingly hostile to the God of the Bible and to those who love him. Our current study from first Peter is titled faith through the fire.John before today's lesson I want to ask you some questions about the medium of radio. I know your father was on radio, grace to you has been on the radio for more than four decades now and during that time. Technology has shifted. We use the Internet. People can get Grace to you on their cell phones and listen to it in their cars. Other ways often get asked why is grace to you still on the radio, what would your answer to that. Be because radio is still viable rate radio still high demand. There are plenty of people in line who would love to have their ministry fill a slot that grace to you holes now because they know how important radio is in radio is sort of the entry level for people who connect with Grace to you literally tens of thousands if not millions of people tens of thousands connect with us, actually.
But millions of people listen to Grace to you on the radio.
It may not be looking for it, but there it is that you don't have to Google anything and it's there, it's in the air so no radio is tremendously important. It is viable. It is, it is that the way that we can catch somebody unaware so we we love that about it. Also because of the technology. Today somebody can talk to whatever device they use and say play Grace to you radio, no pop up immediately, so no radio is very very viable wheat. We know people who enter at that point and then become very very involved in our ministry at deeper levels with all the material that we have with millions of people downloading sermons from Grace to you website, we might say, well, why would we produce 1/2 hour broadcast Monday through Friday and once on the weekend and the answer would be because there are still hundreds of thousands if not millions of people who hear Grace to you and when you supported Grace to you. You help us pay the bills to keep us on the radio not only in the United States but all across the world so we think this is vital. This is available for us and we want to take every opportunity to see this as a God-given gift and a God-given partnership with Christian radio stations to proclaim God's word from Grace to you so stay with us and pray with us on radio yes and friend. The Lord is using you and people like you to bring about real and profound spiritual transformation through grace to you. Thank you for your prayers and for all you do. Now let's get back to God's word stay here as John continues his study faith through the fire.
We are going through the great text of first Peter and so I invite you to take your Bible with me and turn to first Peter chapter 4, we are looking again at verses seven through 11 and considering the theme Christian duty in a hostile world before we dig into the text at hand. Let me try to introduce the theme by referring to yet another text taken from the gospel of Luke the words of Jesus.
Chapter 14 in verse 26 if anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple for which one of you when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it otherwise. When he is laid a foundation and is not able to finish all who observe it begin to ridicule him, saying, this man began to build and was not able to finish or what king when he sets out to meet another king in battle will not first sit down and take counsel whether he is strong enough with 10,000 men to encounter the one coming against him with 20,000 or else while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asked terms of peace. So therefore no one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions without going deeply into that particular text and reserving such depth for another occasion, at least we can discern from that text that no one should become a follower of Jesus Christ without counting the cost and it is apparent from that text that the implication is the cost is very high. Being an authentic Christian demands a willingness to pay the price and when we talk about being a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is with that in mind, we need to encourage people to count the cost to measure the price to consider what it is that Christ asks of us. It is costly to follow Jesus Christ.
We remember in the parable of the treasurer and in the field in the parable of the pearl of great price that in each case, it says the man sold all that he had to purchase the treasure or the pearl in the case of the rich young ruler, Jesus asked him to take everything you possess. Selleck take his money given to the poor, and then follow him.
Jesus told some would-be disciples that he expected them to drop everything and immediately follow him at the cost of whatever other enterprises they might've involved themselves in. They were reluctant, and said they had to do things like take care of family affairs, bury my father and so forth. Jesus also confronting those who became his disciples simply said to them, drop your nets and follow me give up your way of life.
The matters of your life in exchange for following me. We will not argue the costliness of salvation any further. But what I would like to remind you of is a truth that was articulated at least once by a man by the name of Soren Kierkegaard or philosopher who said this, it costs a man even more to go to hell. Proverbs 1315 puts it this way, the way the transgressor is hard. The way of the disciple may be costly but the way of the disciple is not hard for Jesus said take my yoke upon you and learn of me for my yoke is what easy and my burden is light. The real prices paid by the one who will not pay the price of discipleship. The hardness belongs to the way of the transgressor and all of Scripture in all of human experience merely records the reality of that fact to reject righteousness to reject salvation to reject being a disciple of Jesus Christ is to choose the hardest way a life of crushing guilt, a life of unanswerable questions. A life of hopeless disappointment. A life of endless and unsolvable problems and off after all of that to spend forever in hell. So we should conclude and be reminded.
I think regularly that though the cost of discipleship is high, and though it demands a willingness to give up all we are to follow Christ is small when compared to the high cost of refusing to become a follower of Jesus Christ, to follow Jesus Christ is costly but easy and that is the wondrous paradox of discipleship infected. First John 53. John even reminds us that his commandments are not burdensome. We are called to follow Christ.
We are called to be his disciples. We are called as such, to obey his commands.
We are given clear instruction in the Bible and we are also given direct enabling power by the Holy Spirit to fulfill those commands and the result is joy.
If we are willing to obey the foundational doctrines of Christian living in the power of the Spirit filled life. Then we will find the yoke is easy and the burden is light. So while we must talk of the cost of discipleship. We must also talk of these of discipleship because of the great grace of Christ given in the spirit we live in a complex world. Nobody would argue that, however. Contemporary Christianity seems bent on assuming that because the world is complex. The solutions to the problems of Christians are also complex. That however is not the case. The yoke is easy, the burden is light wayfaring man that would be a fool need not air the wise and the prudent are not privy to this, the common the ignoble the base the week, the infant know the things of God. The foundations of the Christian life, I believe, are not complex but simple, direct, and I believe that what Peter shares with us in this text takes us to the simple basic foundational elements of living the Christian life is one of those great summary texts which says so much in so few words follow them.
As I read the end of all things is at hand. Therefore be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins be hospitable to one another without complaint.
As each one is received a special gift employed in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Whoever speaks let them speak as it were the utterances of God. Whoever serves, let him do so as by the strength which God supplies so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. So as we approach this text we approach, as it were, the ease of discipleship. The easy yoke. The light burden, made so by the provision of Christ in his spirit and through the revelation of his truth, we come to the basics for Christian living. A wonderful summation. But before we look again specifically at that summation. Let me encourage you with another sort of introductory thought. I believe that one of the characteristics of the Christian life. One of the manifestations of the new nature. One of the things that is implanted in the heart of a believer is a longing to be what God wants you to be. We find that expressed in Romans chapter 7, as Paul sees sin is something he doesn't want to do or something he does when he shouldn't do it or something he doesn't do what he should do it. In other words, there is a sense in which in Romans seven as Paul Kronner logs his spiritual experience. We get very clearly the message that he wants to obey the law of God, which is wholly just and good, and when he doesn't, it is that infernal flash that hangs on to his redeemed nature and causes him not to do the things he wants to do and to do the things he wants not to what I draw from that, among many things is the fact that there is within the believer, a desire for what is right longing for what is right, a longing for what is best we could sum it up by saying believers by virtue of the new nature hates sin and love righteousness. Now that may get clouded because of our fallenness, but that's the basic impulse of the new creation we want to do what's right. But, beloved that is not enough that longing is not enough to bring to fruition. What God would desire of us to assume that it is a sort of like the child you know who. Who decides he wants to be like somebody else. Maybe he has some dreams of being a major league baseball player and so he has his own little bat and he stands in the backyard and is got a picture of his baseball hero and he tries to stand exactly the way that hero stands and he tries to hold back the way that hero holds the bat and he tries to swing his little back the way that hero swings his big bet.
Or maybe he has an uncle who is a great medical doctor who is perhaps provided healing for hundreds of people in this little fellow is enamored with the capability of his own: long someday to be like his uncle and so he has his own little stethoscope, one that his uncle no longer uses which he drapes around his neck as he parades around the house and plays Dr. or maybe there's that little child who wants to be the great musician and so he squeaks and squawks interminably on a violin that you wish somehow could be destroyed.
I submit to you that wanting that does not get that wanting.
That is not enough. Somehow that little child has got to begin with the ability or the capability and then pursue an overall life of preparation during that life. He spends his time and energy building a foundation of habits of responses of strengths of timing, even a memory that will produce the performance of greatness that he wants but wanting it is not enough. It may be born in the wanting, but it is not come to fulfillment in the wanting we all know that a successful moment it bat in the crucial time in the World Series that turns the tide and wins the series that ability to perform in the crucial moment in the time of crisis, when everything is on the line is not determined by a strong wish, but depth of preparation is that not true. Being able to perform in the moment of crisis in the emergency room when life hangs in the balance and it depends on you to keep the patient alive does not happen by wishing that happens because of the depth of preparation that is made you ready for the moment of crisis. Being able to stand before that critical audience with an eye to discerning mistakes does not happen by wishing it will happen, but by depth of preparation. Yes, the life of preparation and I submit to you beloved that there are many Christians maybe most Christians who have the vision as it were, because they can see the image of Christ and the word of God, and they have the desire for spiritual excellence.
But listen carefully, have not the daily discipline which is required to produce it, and the wishing will not allow them to meet the moment of crisis. That is why many well wishing Christians come apart at the seams in the crisis as they get close to the crisis they would like to find a shortcut they would like to get a quick course in spiritual strength. As the crisis moment descends doesn't happen. The only way the yoke is easy and only way the burden is light. The only way that you are ready for the crisis is when you have been prepared by the spiritual discipline of walking in obedience to the revealed principles of Christian living and there are no shortcuts and there are no quick fixes in the day-to-day spiritual disciplines are built. The strength and the courage and the boldness and the depth it makes us perform in the moment of crisis. Christians seem very very hard-pressed to learn that you can't have a life out of control.
And then when the crisis moment comes grab control of it and instantaneously live and react like Christ would can't do it if in the rest of your life, you're not living as Christ would want to live, but it is just that kind of shallow Christianity that feeds the shallowness of our time.
Dallas Willard writing a book entitled the spirit of the disciplines it says and I quote the on the spot episodes are not the place where we can even by the grace of God redirect un-Christlike but integrating the tendencies of action toward sudden Christ likeness. Our efforts to take control at that moment will fail so uniformly and so in gloriously that the whole project.
The following Christ will appear ridiculous to the watching world."
He further says some decades ago, there appeared a very successful Christian novel called in his steps. The plot tells of a chain of tragic events that bring the master of a prosperous church to realize how unlike Christ life, his own life had become the master then leads his congregation and vowed not to do anything without first asking them the question what would Jesus do in this case, now is the content of the book makes clear, the author took this about to be the same thing as intending to follow Jesus to walk precisely in his step is of course a novel. But even in real life, we would count on significant changes in the lives of earnest Christians who took such a valve, just as it happens in that book. Then he writes this, but there is a flaw in this thinking, asking ourselves, what would Jesus do when suddenly, in the face of an important situation simply is not an adequate discipline or preparation to enable one to live as Christ lived, no doubt will do some good. It is certainly better than nothing at all but that act alone is not sufficient to see us boldly and confidently through a crisis and we could easily find ourselves driven to despair over the powerless tension it will put us through."
The secret to being ready for the crisis of having the yoke be easy and the burden be light is to learn how to live the Christian life all the time so that we have developed the habits the resources the responses the timing, the strengths the memory the faith the spiritual courage to handle it.
That's the issue to behave like Jesus Christ is our goal, but to be able to do that is not the result of wishing it's the result of daily spiritual discipline.
Jesus said in Luke 640 only after he is fully trained will a man be like his teacher, the novelist Leo Tolstoy once wrote man's whole life is a continual contradiction of what he knows to be his duty in every department of life he acts in defiant opposition to the dictates of his conscience and his common sense." Now there is a comment on the tragedy of fallen man is unable even to do what he in his fallenness thinks is right. It is part of fallen human nature to be debilitated.
The only way a Christian, even in his regenerate life can overcome that impact the fallenness is by the cultivation of godly habits, and so beloved all that to say this, what Peter presents.
Here gives us patterns for daily living.
Summarizing how we are to live as believers three points in the text that I want to draw you to point number one.
The incentive the incentive is in verse seven the end of all things is at hand when he says and tell us he does not mean the cessation is not a chronological idea doesn't mean the termination, he means the consummation the reaching of the goal, the achievement, the purpose realize destiny is fulfilled, and I believe he has in mind the return of Jesus Christ. The incentive for holy living is to live in constant expectancy of Christ's sudden return.
Let's go to the second point from the incentive. Then come the instructions.
The instructions versus 7B through the first part of verse 11. Give us the instructions for godly living. How to conduct your life on a day-to-day basis so that you build the kind of habits that'll stand you strong in the crisis how to live the kind of life that though the cost of discipleship be high will cause you to say the yoke is easy and the burden is light that will cause you to say the commandments of God are not burdensome. Here are the patterns of life that must be established.
They fall into three categories personal holiness. Love and service. Those are the three dimensions on which we concentrate in our Christian living. The first personal holiness has to do with our relationship to God and his revealed word. The second love has to do with our relationship to others.
The third service again expresses responsibility to fulfill God's plan for us in terms of ministry within the body of Christ, holiness, love and service. Let's talk about holiness. Notice verse seven.
Therefore, he says, because the end of all things is near be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. This really does sum up holiness, sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer would mean that my life is so pure and so right that my communion with the living holy God is unhindered. What about that statement be of sound judgment. The term comes from a word that means to save in a word that has to do with the mind. I suppose we could extrapolate from that that the basic idea is to keep your mind safe save your mind guarded and protected. Keep it clear another way to put that would be to fix it on spiritual priorities fix it on a holy thing to borrow Paul's statements of the Colossians set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth. This is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary years titled our current study from first Peter faith through the fire and friend. As John mentioned before the lesson we're committed to using our resources wisely so that we can take God's word to more and more communities if you want to be part of that mission that helps strengthen believers with biblical truth wherever they are in the world. You can make a tax-deductible donation when you contact us today mail your gift to Grace to you ox 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 or call us toll-free at any time 855 race and you can also firstname.lastname@example.org and thank you again for standing with us. You never know who you're going to help reach maybe a friend or even someone in your own family again to make a donation, call 855 race or go to TTY.that's our website TTY.org while you're there, make sure to take some time to enjoy the thousands of Bible related resources we have available there free of charge. You can read articles on a wide range of issues at the grace to you blog you can catch episodes of this broadcast that you may have missed you could download any of John's sermons for free.
That's 500 messages covering every verse in the New Testament and many parts of the old address again TTY.org now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you. Television this Sunday on DirecTV channel 378 or check your local listings for channel and times then join us tomorrow for another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time, race