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August 12, 2021 4:00 am
Good clear godly biblical thinking leads to spiritual alertness, spiritual watchfulness, it leads to the ability to view things in the eternal perspective in the divine perspective to establish right responses. This is indispensable the gospel of Jesus Christ. You need to remember that God's Word promises hostility toward believers, it guarantees that your way of looking at life is going to be hated and attacked. That doesn't mean, however, that you should have a run and hide mentality, nor does it mean waging cultural morality, war today on grace to you. John MacArthur explores the biblical strategy for making a difference in a hostile world and standing strong against whatever threats you might face.
John has titled this study from first Peter faith through the fire now to show you the habits that can help you honor Christ, encourage other believers and love your enemies. In any crisis stay here as John continues his current study, there are the patterns of life that must be established. They fall into three categories personal holiness. Love and service. 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. 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 guard it protected.
Keep it clear another way to put that would be to fix it on spiritual priorities fix it on holy things, to borrow Paul's statement of the Colossians set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth. It also could imply here not to be swept away by emotion, not to be swept away by passion that could be part of it is the same word used in Mark 515 where it talks about the maniac you remember whom Jesus delivered from the legion of demons and it says he was clothed and in his right mind.
Same term is used in Romans 12. Three. We are not to think more highly then we ought to think what to think sanely, to think soundly, to bring our mind is at work captive to divine truths and everything proceeds out of the mind. The Bible says as a man thinks, so he acts a sound mind, sound judgment is reflective of the holy orientation. The sinful self indulgent deceiving demonically influenced world in which we live is a very easy place to lose your spiritual mindedness, is it not the great place to lose your mental and moral balance and so Peter says be spiritually seen what you mean. Think on God think on spiritual things, think on holy things.
Think God's thoughts takes me way back to a verse I learned as a little boy. Joshua 18 this book of the law shall not depart from your mouth but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success from the very beginning way back at the start. God said you must think on my word in Philippians chapter 4 verse eight finally, brother, and whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things, saving your mind keeping it saying holding onto it is vital to Christian holiness. Colossians 316 gives us another insight into that. It says let the word of Christ. Do what dwell in you richly that guards the mind protects the mind keeps the mind focused on pure things. Paul writing to Titus reminds us that the grace of God is appeared, bringing salvation to all men, and with it, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously, and godly in this present age dear people, you must bring your mind captive to Christ to the word of God, the great characteristic of sound judgment. The great characteristic of a spiritually sane mind is that it sees things in their proper proportions.
Their proper priorities. Their proper perspectives. It sees what is important, it sees what is not important, isn't swept away by sudden emotion isn't swept away by changing fancies is not unbalanced fanaticism. It is not foolish indifference.
Beloved, the only people who have this kind of sound judgment are those whose mind is the songwriter said is stayed on the this is a poised, this is a balanced Christian other forms of this word appear in the New Testament, one in first Timothy 32 is translated sensible or prudent another in second Timothy 17 is translated with the word discipline or self-control. Another in Titus two to again sensible that used three or four times. I remember in that one chapter having a sensible disciplined prudent self-control mind.
All of these usages of this term and its various related terms carries the idea of balanced discipline here comes self-control thinking or better God -controlled thinking. This insulates the believer from being victimized by temptation and leads him to personal holiness and when that becomes the pattern of daily living in the moment of crisis, there is Christ likeness. The mind is the key. Peter is not done with just that look again at verse seven he says, be of sound judgment and then adds and sober spirit in this is a synonym, or very close to a synonym, it means basically to keep a clear head to take serious things seriously to be vigilant to be alert Matthew 2442 it's translated be on the alert Matthew 2640 and 40 1B. Watching you might combine these two terms by putting it this way, good and clear godly biblical thinking leads to spiritual alertness, spiritual watchfulness, it leads to the ability to view things in the eternal perspective in the divine perspective and to establish right responses.
This is indispensable and it is indispensable to one very very essential element of Christian living. That is noted in verse seven. Please come to the climax of the thought sound judgment and sober spirit are for the purpose of prayer.
Why, because holiness flows out of die racks communion with a holy God. And when that communion is hindered by a cluttered mind and imbalance mind that which is most significant in Christian experience is lost or confused mind, self-centered mind mind knocked out of balance by worldly lusts and pursuits. A mind victimized by emotion or passion out of control. A mind that is ignorant to God's truth. A mind that is indifferent to God's purposes is a mind that cannot know the fullness of holy Communion in prayer with God. After all, you bring your mind to that communion. Don't you so your relationship to God in a very real sense, which is expressed in this matter of prayer is determined by the attitudes that you bring which attitudes are the result of your thinking and if you are to pray effectively and if you are communion with God deeply and spiritually. Then you must think biblically and spiritual as well. Prayer is the heart of our life, the heart of our power. And I don't mean a formal prayer, I mean that on ending living communion with God, which is born out of thinking God's thoughts. You know, I find this is a personal choice I find when I'm deeply involved in the study of the word of God in my mind is just searching deeply through and sorting out great truths about God in the times of study that there is a flow of communion. It is inexplicable because I am touching the mind of God. If ever so lightly. I am touching the heart of God.
And even with an unspoken communion. There is a sense of overwhelming presence that only comes in those moments when our minds are making sound judgments and treating divine truth soberly, alertly, then communion really flows.
So says Peter the Christian life summed up is as simple as this.
Think God's thoughts. What does that mean that means every day in the word of God every day, meditating, thinking, absorbing, drawing out learning to think God's thoughts as I often say it should come to pass that you are so deeply filled with Scripture that you're in voluntary responses are godly because you're so controlled and then comes the sweetness of communion then comes effective prayer then comes power. That's the vertical link in Christian living and then again with the genius of the Holy Spirit, we come to the horizontal link.
The second area which is of concern to Peter in this matter of instruction has to do with love.
I don't suppose much more can be said about love that hasn't been said a thousandfold.
I don't want to big the issue, but I do want to emphasize what Peter says look at verse eight.
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins be hospitable to one another without complaint. Here, Peter turns from the vertical aspect of living a holy life before God for the horizontal aspect of living a loving life before men and is primarily concerned about relationships with other Christian. You say, wasn't he concerned about evangelism. Yes, but you remember the words of Jesus that if we love one another.
By this shall all men know that we are his.
What disciples that is the substance of our witness and soul Peter introduces us again to this matter of loving is an essential word for us to notice the importance he gives it in verse eight he says. Above all, first in importance in terms of relationships is love after you have strengthened your relationship with the Lord through developing intense times of study the word of God and communion with the Lord so you think with a biblical mind and the spiritual attitude and you have a flowing prayer life with God that readies you for any crisis then your first concern should be to turn to those around you and keep fervent in your love for one another is tremendous richness in this term, it sounds very much like Paul's words in Colossians 314, above all things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity Paul in Philippians 2 says let everybody the same verb here, by the way, is a participle and modifies the verbs of verse seven.
It's as if to say that if your sound in mind and sober in spirit and having sweet communion with God.
Then as you look at where that flow, the first thing should be that you keep your love fervent. This is a corollary to a biblical balanced mind and spirit. I love the word fervent Becton Ace because it's an anatomical word, it means to be stretched to be strained.
It is used of a runner who is running at maximum output with taut muscles, straining and stretching to the limit is used in some extra biblical literature of the horse straining the great muscles and running full speed it means intense strenuous reaching as far as you can reach to the limit of your capacity. This is a fundamental Christian truth is not calling for a mushy kind of sentimentalism which some used to call sloppy agave he's talking about a demanding love is talking about an intense love is talking about a sacrificial love is a will.
How do I stretch.
How do I get intense highlight stream and the answer is by crossing the barriers of human emotion that is to say, loving the unlovely, the unlovable, loving your enemies loving those who have not treated you kindly, loving when it doesn't seem rational doesn't seem reasonable, loving to the point of sacrifice that it cost you something cost you much. Maybe cost you everything.
The kind of love that requires all your spiritual muscle stretching to love the unlovable in spite of insult in spite of injury in spite of being rejected in spite of being treated unkindly ungraciously in spite of being treated with hostility in spite of being misjudged, mistreated, misrepresented that's for and why should we love each other this way. I'll tell you, I listen very carefully verse eight because love covers a multitude of sins. And I'll tell you, beloved, if as a church we ever get to the place where were running around poking at each other because of our sins were shattered.
We are not perfect and as long as we are in this fallen flash. We will see in and the only thing that is going to ride over the top of that, and keep us together is love. Love is always hiding Pluto.
Love is always hiding a multitude of sins.
That is its character to put it simply, love forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives and we don't have it in the church were in real trouble.
Peter thinking himself to arrive at the point of spiritual maturity and to be more magnanimous than anybody could imagine said to the Lord. How many times are we forgives seven no doubt that himself on the back for his generosity because the Talmuds had three. Think how far he'd come in the Lord, said Peter.
How about 70×7. Because love covers a multitude of sins and beloved, we are sinners and we got have something to cover that right.
By the way, that statement Peter borrowed departed from Proverbs 1012 hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins present tense here I think indicates that which is constantly true. It is axiomatic. It is a self-evident truth, love is always by very nature, hiding a multitude of sins. It forgives and forgives and forgives and forgives and the great great model of that is God, why did God show mercy to us. Why did God forgive our sins, Ephesians 245 says for his great love wherewith he loved us. It's true God. It's true of us commentators through the years have battled with that statement. Love covers a multitude of sins and some of said it's referring to God. God's love covering our sin in others it said no it's referring to last us covering each other's sins because we love each other and I believe the answer is very simple. It's an axiom. It just refers to love through a gap, a true willful spiritual love, whether from God to man or Christian to Christian is going to cover sin. It's axiomatic at self-evident is the nature of that look.
The only way we could be saved is because God so loved the world, only love could cover our sins while we were yet sinners. Paul says to the Romans, Christ died for us.
Why because he loved us, and it's only as we love one another that we can cover sins. Beloved. This is the heart of the church. To be honest with you would take care of this. We fulfill the whole law is that not true. The whole law you can see again. The genius of the spirit of God. How in an economy of words.
He says so much you want to take care of the whole dimension of living before God get a biblical mind spiritual mind be deep in communion with Christ and other powerful life you want to know how to function in the complex city of the church. Just be so full of overflowing love that you cover sin. Hatred will stir up strife, selfishness will stir up strife, self-centeredness will stir up strife.
Love will hide sin.
Love will conceal it. Love will pass it by in silence.
And what a transformation that would bring to the church.
It is that which is at the very base of all our spiritual relationships.
Peter goes one step further in this matter. Love in verse nine he says be hospitable to one another without complaint. The word here means to love strangers, he has to add this because we tend to be lovers of our friends and we tend to readily cover the sins of our friends, and he says would you please extend that to strangers when you be affectionate toward strangers. He has here.
I'm sure a spiritual kind of love that covers more than that. He also has in mind the opening of our hearts in our homes for those in need for love is intensely practical and the father was was verse eight we might assume that this was just some emotional feeling and so he brings it down to very pragmatic level, and what uses the term hospitality. He simply saying love strangers in a practical way. Most of associated this word with opening the home. Everybody studies New Testament background understands the traveling Christians, traveling ministers and preachers couldn't stay in the enemies of those days which were little more than houses of ill repute.
The early Christians probably couldn't have existed if there wasn't a hospitality that was offered by the church.
But there's more to it than that. Certainly that's part of it, open your home embrace someone I love what it says in Hebrews, be careful how you treat a stranger you might be dealing with an angel reminiscent of way back in Genesis 1 got in a couple of angels visited Abraham and Sarah hospitality was commanded in Exodus 2221 Deuteronomy 1428 and 29.
Certainly Jesus emphasize giving a cup of cold water to the least of his in his name, and certainly in Luke 14, you have the call of Christ to go out into the highways and call the poor and the line of blind and the lame and bring them into your home and feed them. God certainly honors those kinds of sacrifices, but the whole spirit of this is bigger than just providing a meal and opening a door. It's embracing the fact that we are to love people outside our normal circle and do it without grumbling without murmuring without grudging without what I call the poor Richard's almanac mentality, Richard almanac says fish and visitors smell in three days there is to be a generous hospitality toward those we don't know in opening of our heart to what then is the Christian's duty in a hostile world is to pursue holiness with God to pursue love with others so that we cover their sins so that we meet their needs, be they friend or stranger and you been listening to John MacArthur. Explain how you should respond to those who mock Christ and persecuted his followers the title of John's current study here on grace to you faith through the fire along with teaching each day on the radio. John also serves as Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary John in the early lessons.
You said that Christian should be so deeply filled with scripture that all of our reactions, especially our involuntary reactions, godly responses, and yet I know you wouldn't say that it's enough just to know what the Bible says what else do we need well obviously we need to know what the Bible means.
That's the point right what is it matter if you can read the words.
But understand the meaning of the Bible is propositional truth no matter what format it comes in.
Whether it's the wisdom literature.
Whether it's historical narrative or whether it's didactic a theological presentations like the apostle Paul gives in Romans and Galatians all of that is propositional truth, all of it is revealing divine truth and you want to know what the Bible says, but more importantly you want to know what the theological truths are behind the words and so what is most important is interpretation that said this a lot through the years. The meaning of the Scripture is the revelation of God's revelation can only be known to you if you know the meaning of the Scripture. Look, if you don't get the meaning right you see what happens. Every called every false form of Christianity has the same Bible but they don't get the meaning right so getting meaning right is critical along that line just to remind you that we have many formats for the MacArthur study Bible. It is the Bible the whole Bible, and on every page. There are footnotes explaining the meaning of essentially every Scripture text the MacArthur study Bible comes in the new King James version.
The new American Standard version, the English standard version we we have it in Spanish, French, Chinese, Italian, German, Russian, Portuguese and Arabic and probably more languages to come so this is a one stop tool for you to understand not not only what the Bible says, but what it means all these versions of the MacArthur study Bible are immediately available to you through grace to you.
Take advantage of that in order one today, yes and each edition of the MacArthur study Bible has the footnotes. John talked about plus introductions to every book, cross-references, maps, many other tools to help you understand and apply God's word to purchase a copy. Call or go to our website today. Our toll-free number is 855 grace and our web address is Jide TY.org. Our prices for the MacArthur study Bible are probably the best you'll find anywhere and again you can choose from the new King James version. New American Standard version, the English standard version, all in a variety buying door from several of our non-English translation as well to order the MacArthur study Bible dial toll-free 855 grace or go to Jide TY.and while you're at Jide TY.org. Remember, you can listen to more than 3500 of John MacArthur sermons free of charge, or you can download them in MP3 format. Also, you can use daily devotionals you will find Bible study guides and watch videos or comment on John's blog or locate grace to you television in your area and express your financial support if you're able.
All that is available at our website Jide TY.now for John MacArthur and the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John looks at how you can strengthen your church during times of trials and persecution. It's part of his current study faith through the fire.
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