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Strengthen Your Heart

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 25, 2022 4:00 am

Strengthen Your Heart

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 25, 2022 4:00 am

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As I said, Paul's emotion is not simple personal love is just that he's concerned about the people he likes a lot is never even met the church. The church planted and pastored churches. Now you might think that all of those trials would cause Paul's love for God's people to Wayne but it only seemed to grow.

Why is that what fueled Paul's love for the church and what can fuel yours, John MacArthur takes you to Scripture, and shows you the answer today on grace to you as he continues his study complete in Christ. It's a study that can help you recognize and rejoice in the blessings of salvation in Christ like never before.

John will be looking at Colossians chapter 2 today so turn there now.

If you're able and here's the lesson coming to the first seven verses of the second chapter. Paul is in the midst of his argument against the false teachers and his argument of course for the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ and the sufficiency of Christ without any other needed additions.

But here he is also discussing something of his own view of the ministry and so we find from chapter 1 verse 24 through the beginning of chapter 2 a real inside look at how Paul viewed his own ministry as we look at chapter 2. See the.

The opening statements in it were going to get an idea of the goals of Paul's ministry not so much the attitude toward his own responsibility, but the result that he was after. By way of introduction, let me say this, people might argue and they have over the primary requisite for an effective minister of Jesus Christ, they might debate about what if there was one quality that a minister would have what would it be what would the one thing be that would make the shepherd the true shepherd of the sheep. The pastor, the true pastor of the flock.

Some people might say the most important ingredient would be intelligence so we can understand the Bible.

Others might say knowledge he should already know the word of God. Some might say education. He should have a lot of input he should have a lot of experience. Others might say.

Some might say any combination of those foregoing and others would say no. The most important ingredient for the pastor or the leader or the minister already Christian servant would be leadership ability.

Or others might say boldness or holiness or purity or preaching power or sympathy or whatever whatever whatever and multiples of combinations of all of those and I grant you all of those have apart.

That's why I thought of all because they all fit in somewhere behind it all.

I think the most basic, the most effective. The most necessary ingredient in the life of any minister is the love of the church, the love of the church because that becomes the catalyst that motivates him and every other dimension loved the church. In Ephesians chapter 5 in verse 25 it says husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it. It was Christ's love for the church that prompted him to give himself for it. Jesus love the church and gave himself for it. He didn't love the institution, particularly he didn't love the organization particularly, it wasn't the structure he loved the people that are the church and he was willing and able to die for them. I hasten to add that the apostle Paul was not far behind. His death was not substitutionary. Paul's was not efficacious. It was not atoning. It was not divine. But Paul of the church and again it wasn't the institution that he loved wasn't a denomination that he loved.

It wasn't the organization that he loved. It was the people that he loved and gave his life for them there so many scriptures that speak of this that I don't even want to begin to get into all of them with the apostle Paul's love for the church becomes manifest again and again and again and again. I'm thinking of second Corinthians 3241 where he says you are our epistle written in our hearts. You are inscribed on our hearts, we care about you, as we shall see later, and I just mentioned at this time in second Corinthians chapter 6, verse 11, he says all you Corinthians are speech to you is candid. Our heart is wide open. We love you. Second Corinthians chapter 12 that very very melancholy statement in verse 15, I will very gladly spend and be spent for you though, the more abundantly.

I love you.

The left side below.

I'll die for you.

He says even though the more I love you, the less you love me all of the church love the church so much that in the pursuit of it and its maturity gave his life. He suffered pain all the way along the way until finally he was executed. We've seen again and again in the epistles Philippians, Colossians, primarily love of the apostle for his church.

In Philippians 17 and he says because I have you in my heart I have you in my heart and Colossians chapter 1 we saw earlier in verse 24 that he literally rejoiced in suffering for the sake of the church of which he was made a minister, all of the church and you have to say. I think that his entire life was a love affair with the church the people believing community and the reason he love the church so much is because you love the Lord so much and if you love the Lord you love whom the Lord loves. It was never really Paul's church. It was Christ's church and he loved Christ so much that he loved what Christ love, and he would give his life for what Christ gave his life for, and it was that motivation that made him purify his life that made him preach with power that made him act was sympathy that made him apply his mind to the things of God but made in bold was all of that there was a byproduct of a deep down love for the church and I say to you this Christian you will never serve God on the behalf of God's people with any kind of motivation, other than an outright and total love for the church necessary report out his life.

Loving the church in first Corinthians chapter 4 and I just have you look at verse 11.

He says this under this present are we both hunger and thirst, and her naked and are buffeted literally punched in the mouth and have no place to live and we labor working with our own hands being reviled, we bless, being persecuted, we endure it, being defamed we entreat. We are made is the filth of the world and the garbage, the refuse of all things.

To this day that's what we go through. That's what we endure, say, why do you keep it up all verse 14.

I write not these things to shame you, but as my what beloved son. The reason I do it is because your beloved to me.

That's what she that's the difference between the professional and the passionate. That's the difference between the one who cranks it out and fulfills it on a professional level and the one for whom it is a heart passion.

Now this is the thing. I believe more than anything else. The man of God must have. This is the thing above anything else in my own life that I would pray that God would give to me the kind of love for the church that would make me sacrifice my life for the sake of the church and this is the thing that made Paul different.

This is the thing that made him head and shoulders above any man that ever lived apart from Jesus Christ.

Since since the New Testament era, never a man like this man because of the from Mendez quality of his love for the church and added to that the marvelous gifts the spirit of God gave now is love for the church as he comes to chapter 2. He's looking at the Colossian assembly and is including whether the other two cities in that area higher Opelousas and Laodicea.

All three of them being sister cities located in the likeness Valley and he sees that church and those other two sister churches being attacked by false doctrine.

False teachers. There were a lot of different aspects to this false teaching. They were getting it from legalizes they were getting it from philosophizing as they were getting it from ascetics. There were getting all kinds of heresy from everywhere and he has such a tremendous love for them that even though he has never met them and even though he did not found that church when it passed for us who did found it and who was their pastor came to Rome as he was a prisoner for a period of three years and told him about it. It created it is hard such anguish that he sat down and wrote the letter to the Colossian and he says in verse one of chapter 2, I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you and them and Laodicea. Some manuscripts add and also them in parables and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh. I wish you nuisance how much I ache for you.

So he writes in the initial part of chapter 2 he pours out his love and you know it winds up being it winds up being the expression of the deepest desires that he had for the church. He pours out his heart. Listen what he says I have this great conflict. Verse two that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, namely Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words, for though I am absent in the flesh, and am I with you in the spirit joining and beholding your order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk he in him.

Having been rooted in being built up in him and being established in the faith, as you have been taught bounding with thanksgiving and what it comes down to folks and those simple verses is five things that Paul desires for the church to come pouring out of his love for people you never even seen for people is never even met.

But that didn't matter because you see now markets his love for the church was not predicated on the people in it. It was predicated on the Christ who died for you see, it was not discriminating love. It was not a love that was isolated to the ones he liked in terms of personality or even the ones he knew what he could love the church the whole church equally because he loved Christ, so he pours out his love and as a comes gushing out.

You can pick out of the outpouring of his love. Five things that he desires for the church and they come like a checklist for you and me. I went through these five things and just check my own life against because they're vitally important.

Now let's back up the verse one get a running start.

I would that you knew what great conflict I have for you. The word conflict picks up a word that he used in the previous verse, the word striving in verse 29 is the word agon the verb are going. It's all from which we get agonizing. It's a word that was specially related to athletic endeavor where somebody was agonizing and straining and striving to to win. He says you don't know the anguish and the pain that I endure the word agon maybe only has its ultimate understanding to an athlete, no one but an athlete who's been in the throes of the ultimate kind of competition where victory is everything, will understand what it means to pursue a goal experiencing pain that is beyond belief to attain.

What is your after I've experienced it sometimes.

I can never playing in a football game for 60 minutes with a separated shoulder so much desiring to win that I wouldn't acknowledge it to anybody just biting the bullet as they say. During the pain that kind of thing that Paul says I experience agony and as I said, Paul's emotion is not simple personal love isn't just that he's concerned about some people he likes a lot.

He has this agony over people you never even met because he loves the church.

The church anywhere. God help us to have that kind of thing instead of bickering instead of being proud instead of rejoicing and the failure of other believers will not have the same agony in our own hearts and souls over those believers who do not fare as well as God would have. I wish you could understand it. He said I wish you could understand what I feel for you belonged that they would us that they would grow and mature as any of the congregations he himself administered.

I think this idea of being able love the church that you don't know really sets a pattern for all those who minister it in no way diminished his passion for the people mirroring, but it was right that he love them equal so out of this love comes the deepest desires for the church and let's look at the number one the first the first thing that he wants for the church is that it be strong in heart strong in heart verse two that their hearts might be strengthened, strengthened that their hearts might be strengthened even though you have not seen my face in the flesh, I have a great agony for you. I want you to fall in the fall stuck.

I want you to get sucked into air, I want you to be strong in heart. I will talk about this from you were heart that their hearts might be strengthened know we talk about the heart. When we meet we have to make that clear. Because otherwise we will not understand what he say because in the English language. The heart is the seat of what emotion my heart cries for you. We say I love you with all my heart. The heart is the symbol of emotion to the Hebrew. It was not the symbol of emotion to get that in the English language heart represents emotion to the Hebrew did not.

Now the Hebrews referred to two organs of the body, and I want to talk about these two. The two organs that they referred to many many times in the Scripture are the bowels on the heart that will take the bowels. First, okay.

There are many references in the Bible to the term bowels. They have been fairly well erased in the later translations but the pure translation of the Hebrew indicates that that is the word now is used in the Bible to speak of the womb of the stomach of the intestines and of several other abdominal organs. So it becomes a general term for the gut. If you will, when the Hebrew says my bowels such and such he means. I feel in the gut. That's what he say now watch this. The Hebrews did not know anything of speculative thinking, and they did not.

They did not know anything of interpreting things in abstraction everything to them was a concrete experiential physical reality turns me on so you turn with me to Psalm 2214 and here's a description of Jesus on the cross and this is a prophetic picture of him on the cross. But I want you to notice how the psalmist expresses what Jesus feet desiring across. I am poured out like water, all my bones are out of joint. Perfect picture.

Crucifixion was now my heart is like wax is melted in the midst of my bowels, and here he means my whole abdominal area is in people. I feel in the got is what he say I feel it in my stomach is in knots. A very experiential concept not abstracted all he wouldn't say Hebrew and RCI censored certain anxiety is the anxieties in abstraction to say what you mean by that, but he doesn't say that he doesn't speak in abstraction. He speaks and experiences. I feel in the stomach so you know that this is very interesting, song of Solomon chapter 5, and I know you're all racing song of Solomon chapter 5, verse four now this is very interesting just again give you an idea of how the Hebrew expressed his feelings that you have the picture, the bride is waiting for the bridegroom. It is time to consummate the marriage. This is a great hour. Ellis, the Hebrew says in verse four my beloved put his hand to the latch of the door, and my bowels are moving for him. I say who hated him that's in the Bible that's in the Bible. What is that mean John that means is that the bowels include that whole area, including the arousal of sexual desire in the human body. All of that area even feeling in the genital area was expressed by the Hebrews in that terminology.

You see, they didn't say and I begin to since grade overwhelming passion that's in abstraction. The Hebrew defined in its lowest level of experiential, I will hurry the lamentations to because we do not want to malingerer that particular point. Lamentations chapter 2 verse 11. Know the Bible is nearly as uptight about some things that people are uptight about what you know that Lamentations chapter 2 verse 11 that Jeremiah he was a patriot. I mean he was a real patriot Jeremiah wasn't a blind patriot.

He loved his country when his country love God. Lamentations 211 he says my my country is falling apart.

In essence, he seeing at the death of his country. That's why Lamentations is called Lamentations. It's the weeping of Jeremiah over the death of his country. He says my eyes do fail, with tears here terms.

My bowels are troubled. I feel it in the gut again. The pain in my stomach is I'm in Knox you'll experience that he is having psychosomatic recent responses in his body to anxiety.

It is mine, but the Hebrew expresses it in terms of the psychosomatic symptom, not in terms of the abstraction so emotions biblically in the Old Testament particularly are not experienced as abstractions, but at the lowest level of experience and so now watch this. In the cases of the bowels being used in the Scripture. They have reference to emotional responses so that to the Hebrew mind, the heart is not the seat of emotion. What is the stomach. The bowels further look at first John chapter 3 and then I'm in a pose altogether and show you something interesting about this is interesting to something summarily interesting. First John 317 and I never understood this argument, arousal, kid.

I hear my dad preaching this before they re-translated this night always hear that writing know what he was talking about. So you may be in that same boat, but it says in first John 317. Whosoever hath this world's good, and sees his brother have need, and shuts up his bowels from him, how dwells a lot of God in him. What is strange that is straying what is he saying he is simply expressing what in the Hebrew mind isn't obvious he is saying luck when you see somebody have a need that need to cause a gut feeling and you it on a star. You can tighten up your stomach and make you feel some real anxiety, no notice in every one of those passages that I showed you the bowels are always responding. They respond to pain in the first when I told you about the respondent the sex and song of Solomon and responded to disaster.

In the case of Jeremiah and the respondent human need in the case of first John three so that that in the Hebrew mind, the bowel is always that which respond is emotion.

They fell it inside you say what it respond Hebrew. Mine always responded to the second organs.

They discussed the heart to heart disease, grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us today. John continued his compelling study from Colossians titled complete in Christ, along with teaching each day on grace to you. John also serves as Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. John anyone who follows your teaching knows that you have a particular affection for the apostle Paul effective said that Paul is really the model for your ministry so winded that connection with the apostle Paul take root. Does that go back to your seminary days what probably does go back to my seminary days in the sort of germ form, but I something was really until I got into the ministry of Grace Church and began digging into the epistles. Obviously preaching through the entire New Testament you're dealing with the apostle Paul, the time for you dealing with him for the majority of the book of acts starting in chapter 12 to the end of the book of acts, and then you know it. All the epistles that he wrote deal with him and so it's the overwhelming presence of Paul in the New Testament documents that make him this massive figure, and because it's both his theology and his life for me. You're following the pattern of his teaching, but also his life like in Galatians tremendous teaching on law and grace, but at the same time you see them having if sort of a fight with Peter so there's this personal reality to to that that comes through a lot in his even in his letters, as well as in the book back so he is that he's alive you what you you don't necessarily have that so much with John. You don't have it so much with Peter, because Peter and John sort of disappear early in the book of acts.

So in the John's epistles are are so much giving any personal information about John and neither is Peter focusing on his own life. But what you get with Paul this amazing man who is that there is the right model amine.

Paul said in in writing to the Corinthians is be followers of me as I am of Christ. So if you if you want somebody to follow. Who told you he was the guy that's Paul get started, and since we been doing this study and Colossians maybe a good place to start would be with the volume on Colossians and Philemon in the MacArthur New Testament commentary series of written 34 volumes on the whole New Testament, but the commentary on Colossians and Philemon you would find in credibly enriching experience reading that commentary. It's very extensive goes into detail and it would be a good place to start on them if you want to go for the whole thing. You can get all 34 volumes of the MacArthur New Testament commentary series and get them all. You will have a significant saving, but maybe just to start by one volume and see what you think. And Colossians, and Philemon would be a great one. That's right. Colossians is all about the majesty of Christ and all that he's accomplished for sinners like you and me to fully absorb those amazing truths pick up the MacArthur New Testament commentary on Colossians, and Philemon. When you contact us today to place your order. Call toll-free 855 grace or log on to and let me mention again, if you purchase all 34 commentaries at once you get a substantial discount on each volume or to order the Colossians, and Philemon commentary or any other volume for the entire commentaries call us at 855 grace or go to TTY.that's our website, and remember while you're there you will find thousands of free Bible study resource if there is a passage in the New Testament that has always confused you or you simply want to know more about it. John has a sermon on it or you can spend some time reading our blog. You'll find series on compelling topics like glorifying God in the gray areas of the doctrine of sovereign election moral purity.

Many others are website one more time. TTY.L4. John MacArthur, I'm Phil Johnson encouraging you to watch grace to you television this Sunday with your family.

Check your local listings for channeling time then be here Monday when John looks at the key to overcoming sin, growing in grace will continue his study complete in Christ with another half hour of unleashing God's true one verse at a time. Grace to you

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