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Paul's Burden for the Church

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
March 29, 2022 4:00 am

Paul's Burden for the Church

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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March 29, 2022 4:00 am

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Paul says I pray that their hearts might be comforted. Know what's being knit together in love, being together and why you want someone mindedness of Mars that are knit together in one less about is how that invasion has also energize the church. Christians in Ukraine and Russia and throughout the globe, began praying fervently for Ukrainian believers and nonbelievers people they don't know and probably will never meet. And now it's great to see Christians passionately love and care for one another in a crisis. But how do you do that in normal noncrisis times. How do you demonstrate love to your congregation week after week Scripture has the answers and John MacArthur points you to them today on grace to you as he continues his study called complete in Christ and now here's John were looking at chapter 2 verses 1 to 7 discussing Paul's burden for the church because of his great love for the saints.

He says in verse one of chapter 2, I would that you knew what great agon agony I have for you and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flat and we have seen in the passage at least an introductory since the first of what amounts to five basic things that he really wants for the Colossians to experience these items become a checklist for every church in a checklist really for every Christian number one strong in heart verse two that their hearts might be strengthened and we translated that term strengthen rather than comforted, because we think that that is the more particular emphasis that the apostle is making here the word means the comfort to console or to strengthen it embodies all that idea. It even means to grant endurance so it it it's a lot of things, but it seems to me that the sum of it all and what Paul is really working on is that their hearts would be strengthened. That brings us to a second thing. The second thing that the apostle wishes for the Colossian Christians in the second thing we should wish for ourselves is that we be united in love strong and heart united in love and this of course is the beautiful balance the number one we don't want to get carried away with the intellect. We don't want to turn Christianity to something that is coldly academic because that is in it.

There's a great beating pulsing heart of Christianity and that is love so hastily. Paul says I pray that their hearts might be comforted. Now Watson being knit together in love, being knit together in love. He wants a one mindedness of hearts that are knit together in love… As I said this is the balancer to Dr. the word knit or knit together simply means to unite, but it really is a it's a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. All of us being knit together and indivisible kind of oneness your body is a combination of billions of cells all knit together. You can't pick any one of them apart because they blend indiscriminately together and that's the thing that the apostle Paul is is after as a cells of the body are indistinguishable because there lost in the mass so should you be indistinguishable as your lost in the unity of love that exists among the brothers sense of the word here as it appears, and also it appears later on in chapter 2, verse 19 you'll see it knit together again they're talking about the body again being joined knit together is the idea of all the parts being put together in a way that leaves them almost without any personal identity. Love is the thing that ties believers together now. All Christians are connected by a common life that we are like in one since were like a whole bunch of beads strung on a screen in the spring that runs through every one of us is the common eternal life.

That's why first Corinthians 617 says he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit. That's why first Corinthians 12 says we've all been made to drink of one spirit. We've all received one spirit.

We've all been baptized into one body by one spirit, there's a basic positional unity. We've all come to Christ in the same way we are all saved by the same method by the same God. We were placed in the one body by the same Spirit in the same way and indwelt by the same divine life in the same fullness as every other Christian so there's a basic positional unity that ties us all together common eternal life. We are knit together.

We are knit together by this fact of life as if we were all people who existed in a special place only able to breathe a special air and all able to do that, and thus having communist we are Christians in the same sense there are absolutely no differences in the basic identity of our common life in Galatians 328 there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither bond nor free, neither male nor female. You are all one in Christ Jesus. Verse 26. You are all the sons of God by faith. For as many as you have you had have been baptized under Christ have put on Christ. So there you see the positional unity.

There is a oneness that is a part of every Christians identity in Romans and they give another passage chapter 10 verse 12. There is no difference between the Jew and the Greek the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be say you be saved and you receive the same benefits on the same riches in the same spirit and the same life in the same eternity in the same every so he says I pray that you, being knit together and we all say, but we are knit together.

John just proved it to.

We are already knit together.

Yes, we are knit together positionally, positionally, and I think this in the primary sense answers the prayer of Jesus in John 17 Jesus prayed father I pray that they may be one, and I believe primarily that prayer has been answered in the identity of the church is the body of Christ. I believe that Jesus was basically talking about a positional thing and it was answered the prayer was answered in the unity of the spirit, but there is still a part of it that is unanswered and that's the part that Paul is dealing with here because if you'll notice carefully. Colossians chapter 2, he says being united or being knit together, not in common life positionally, but in what, in love and that's practical. Paul says I want you to be practically united, experientially united experimental united as you are positionally in other words, make your life match your position. You are one now act like it.

Live out your oneness that's inside Paul says to the Corinthians, he says, I beseech you, brother, and by the name of the Lord Jesus that you speak the same thing there be no division among you.

You be perfectly joined together in the same mind in the same judgment.

In other words, you are one now act like it and practice behaviors one and second Corinthians 1311. Finally, brother, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, unity of this is something folks that we have to work because basically speaking, we are one. But practically speaking, we have a lot to be desired. We don't manifest that unity and that's one of the things it confuses the world. The Bible says that the world would know the father had sent the son. If the church is one part of the problem that the world has in defining Christianity and who Christ is our failure to practically live out our unity in Philippians 127 he says you should stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, one spirit, one mind in June we studied recently verse three he says, beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write and exhort you, even though there was a common salvation. There were some believers wavering away from what should've been a unified kind of lifestyle within a common kind of salvation is very important that we live out our unity say will John.

How do you do that will look at Ephesians 43 and I'll show you. Basically, what is the key to everything. Ephesians 43 Alice endeavoring to keep or to guard if you will, the unity of the spirit and the bond of peace now know something very important here. He says you should endeavor to guard the unity of the spirit, listen, and we do not have to create unity. The spirit has already created it. We just have to what guard it. We have to guard that unity say how do you guard it by being a peacemaker is the unity of the spirit that is guarded by the bond of peace. That is that you and I have a covenant that we will be at peace with each other.

That's the bond of peace that you and I agree that we will argue that we will not fight that will not hassle, but that we will be at peace were peacemaker and we will keep we will guard the unity. The spirit is already put their positionally we will guarded an allowance practical manifestation by peacemaker I say John, what's at the heart of being a peacemaker.

How can I be a peacemaker right that takes you back to Colossians chapter 3 how can you be a peacemaker watch verse 12, Colossians 312 put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, tender mercies, and that's really the heart of compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering, forbearing one another that is tolerating one another, forgiving one another, if any man is a quarrel against you, even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. And above all things put on what love which is the bond of perfectness or which binds everything perfectly together.

Allison, what is the bond of peace. Then bond of peace is love. He says, first of all put on this put on this put on this. All these humility things and then he says above everything else. The key ingredient put on love, love, what is what binds everything together.

How do you keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. The bond of peace is love. The thing that makes me at peace with you is what I what, when, I love you, what was the basis of everything. Now you say I still understand how this thing works out to me take a step further. Look at Philippians chapter 2 in Philippians chapter 2 verses 1 to 8. We have a great illustration of how love works apostles if there is any any consolation in Christ any comfort of love any fellowship of the spirit, if any tender mercies and compassion over Jeff there are any of these.

Good thing, comfort and love, fellowship and mercy toward one another and suffering with each other.

If there's anything at all to this stuff fulfill you my joy that you be like-minded know what having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind now watches bosses. I want you to be like-minded was at watch old piercing what children like Corinthians 1 want to speak the same things at the same minds and same judgment. I want to have beautiful unity. All I want unity for the church he say, but how could you have that kind of unity it's impossible you can just get all these people to have unity.

How does it happen. Notice verse two like-minded is based on having the same what same love you not having the same love means loving everybody the same, so you mean I gotta let everybody this that's impossible. That's impossible. Not if you understand what love is say what's love. How can I let everybody the same. Some people are much more wonderful than others. Some people more deserving of my love to talk and I love them all the same.

We answer comes in the next verse unity is built on love. Then in verse two, and love is built on in verse three. Humility. Let nothing be done. Here's the key to love through strife or vainglory seeking self glory.

But in lowliness of mind let each esteem others. What better than themselves. Alice, if you believe that everybody in the world in the church of Jesus Christ is better than you. You're on the ground that you have to be on the level that that's where you have to be unity. Spirit gave it to us positionally. Practically, we can maintain it.

Where were at peace with one another. We will be at peace with one another.

When we love each other we will love each other when we get down the bottom shelf and see everybody else better than ourselves sets love and humility are talking that's getting pretty low verse forces look not every man in his own things, but every man things about you more concerned about somebody else in your yourself a single like that all here's one verse five let this mind be in you which was in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, thought it not something to hang on to be equal with God made himself of no reputation took on in the form of a servant was made in the likeness of men being found in fashion as a man humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. Now stop right there. Jesus, the perfect illustration of humility came from heaven to earth. He was rich. As Paul says in second Corinthians 8 became poor through his poverty, we might be made rich. Jesus, who was far beyond any of us consider that not something to hang on to beat with God, but made himself of no reputation took upon the form of a servant died for us. That's the mind.

Humility.

It's a mind that says I will do anything I will spend myself in total self sacrifice of it benefits you, whoever you are, the that's having the same love. That's loving everybody the same, and when you begin to be humble then you begin to love and when you begin to love. Then there will be unity and then the bond of peace will exist and you will be guarding that which the spirit of God desires you say I like to be humble in love. Folks, how does it manifest itself.

How do I love you. I sit in the corner and feel some form I get the spiritual will ease when I think about how how do I love you. I do like some places where they hug everybody all the time. How do I love people. First John 311 gives us a definition of how love manifests itself very basic. First John 311 for this is the message that you heard from the beginning that we should love one another what beginning the beginning when they first heard the gospel. This is the tradition of the gospel as long as they've heard it that we should love one another. That's not just a duty. That's a proof of being a Christian. That's a proof of son ship. The Holy Spirit energizes love in the believer. It's there, and we must exercise verse 12 he makes comparison. We should be like Cain who was of that wicked one Satan and killed his brother. And why did he kill him because his own works were evil and his brother's righteous can you put that in the one word. What was jealousy.

You know what jealousy stems from pride. Cain didn't love his brother killed his brother.

Jealousy was behind Cain's act and jealousy is life on the level of the children of the devil Satan first created the rebellion in heaven because he was what jealous jealousy is a thing of Satan and if it exists in the life of the believer.

Just stop and consider where it comes from.

Next jealousy you know doesn't stay where it's at. Verse 13 Marv about my brothers of the world hate you. We know that we passed from death into life, because we love the brother and he that loves not his brother abides in death. Whosoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. Jealousy progresses to hatred and hatred progress as to what murder and so you can have one form of one form of not loving people is jealousy to hate, to murder but is another form you say boy. A lot of people in the world don't do that. A lot of people don't murder more people hate and more people are jealous but they will all progress through that initially another form of not loving somebody. This is indifference. Verse 60 by this perceive we the love of God because he lay down his life for us and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. Whosoever hath this world's good, you have money supplies and you see your brother have need, and you shut up your bowels of compassion from him, how dwells the love of God in him.

In other words, it isn't just murder that results from a lack of love is indifference that results from a lack of love.

You see, you see a guy with a need, you could care less.

And even though you could supply is new you don't bother do it because you just don't care that much. That's indifferent. On the other loving is not spiritual will lease or anything loving is whoever has this world's good, and gives it to his brother. Loving is laying down your life for the brother verse 16. That's loving it is south sacrifice and that's what Paul says I want to see in the Colossian church. I want to see in the Colossian church. You people knit together practically in love. I want you to maintain the bond of the spirit. I want you to live out that inward unity of common eternal life and the whale manifests itself is in love and love is built on humility and humility has its consequences and acts of self sacrifice.

We ask you question when's the last time you sacrificed anything to meet somebody anything. When's the last time you ever made a sacrifice for anybody any kind of sacrifice whatsoever. That's the last time you loved. That's the last time you loved so Paul Van is saying in Colossians 2 my burden for the church is that they be strong in heart and united in love. Thirdly, thirdly, let's look at verse two. Again the third thing that he wishes for the church is that they be settled in understanding that they be settled in understanding strong in heart, united in love settled in understanding now say something to you because I think you have to follow Paul sequence when you know the truth in your head. I watched and you acted out in your life and deeds of love, you will give to yourself a tremendous sense of confidence and assurance. Because you not only hearing and seeing Christianity intellectually but you're watching operate in. That's building confidence. Somebody comes to be a tries to deny Christianity they can give me an intellectual argument then go through all intellectual arguments and I must say, but wait a minute. I have seen it operated my life I've seen the power of God within me. I've seen things happen that I know was God energizing me because I don't normally do those kind of things toward other folks I've seen God at work people's come to me as I well I have such doubts about my summation. I know all the verses I read all the books.

Tonight I got all I have downloaded you in a while.

Let's just never been lived out they never convince themselves that Christianity is credible because they've lived it and seen it work you see that's the subjective side of it.

It's when we live in that kind of love that we become settled in our understanding that we become convinced that we become people of conviction and that's what he saying look at verse two that your hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding. There, the riches of the full assurance of understanding, I want you to have confidence.

That's what assurance assurance me.

I want you to be secure in your mind. A lot of Christians are a lot alike. Ephesians 414 are tossed to and fro, and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

You know why because it never been built up by love, by not only the knowledge the truth of the operation. So Paul says I want you to have a thorough gratifying insight into spiritual truth which includes the operation of it in a loving way in your life so that you become solidly entrenched in the knowledge of truth settled, confident, having full assurance of understanding. This is where assurance comes doesn't just come from reading books about assurance comes from living it out because it comes from having your life. So given over this pattern that the spirit of God is demonstrating and demonstrating and demonstrating and demonstrating through your life and your confident so truth finds solid footing and a strong heart and then works out in the love of the believers and it brings as a result, deep conviction receive the truth in your mind, your will is strengthened. It manifests itself in obedient love to others, and the result is a settled conviction that this is true so behave is a great deal to do with nailing down every good deed every act of love drives another nail in the year assurance doctrine in the mind love our and settled sure this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John is Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He has titled his current series complete in Christ will what we've been seeing in the past few lessons are Paul's goals for the spiritual growth or the sanctification of the Colossian church and so John let's talk about this doctrine, sanctification. You pointed out that in the church.

There is a fair amount of discussion about doctrines like justification and glorification in the sovereignty of God, but not so much interest in sanctification, I think that's absolutely true. It's very popular to talk about the sovereignty of God, and I get that. I understand that because that is the most comforting of all doctrine strength of there's an awful lot of discussion about justification, the doctrine of justification, we we hear so much about that and I understand that as well. There is less talk about glorification in heaven doesn't seem to have the appeal more successful prosperous life here would have at least it doesn't seem that people would they would rather have a happy life here. It seems to me then go to heaven which is bizarre because we don't do enough teaching on glorification but there's just a willingness on the part of evangelical people, evangelical teachers and leaders to ignore the doctrine of sanctification altogether, as if it didn't even exist.

People are basically labeled as reformed if they believe in divine sovereignty of the doctrine of election if they believe in the doctrine of justification by imputation there there there sort of okay good that stuff you've covered the bases. But what about sanctification and I think we've all seen the tragedy of people who hold to some elements of the doctrines of grace but have a week doctrine of sanctification that that should be the most that should be the most robust of all doctrines because the doctrine of the sovereignty of God. Once it's established its settled in your mind the doctrine of justification once it's established that settle in your mind, but to sustain the faithful belief in an devotion to sanctification is a 24 seven thing for your whole life. It's, it's, you can get away with things in the past like divine sovereignty justification things in the future like glorification, but where the church should live and move and have it's being is in the realities of sanctification. Thank you, John and Ann friend, a reminder that John has written a concise but powerful book on this doctrine of sanctification. It will renew your passion for obedience in holy living and show you how Christ modeled those attributes to order a copy of the book, simply titled sanctification. Contact us today.

You can call our order line at 855 grace or go to our website TTY.org you can probably read this book in an hour or two. But the truth is, you will learn stay with you for the rest of your life again to order John's book titled sanctification, call 855 grace or go to TTY.org and if you're looking for additional study tools for understanding the doctrine of sanctification really every part of God's word.

Let me encourage you to download our study Bible. It's a free app that gives you the text of Scripture in the English standard and new American Standard version along with instant access to thousands of online resources, including blog articles and study guides and more than 3500 sermon notes to our flagship resource MacArthur study Bible are also available wasn't affordable in app purchase. If you'd like to download the study Bible visit TTY.org now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson encouraging you to be here tomorrow when John looks at how to have assurance of your salvation is a crucial aspect of enjoying the blessings that come from being complete in Christ to another 30 minutes of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on recent


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