So tonight we're going to be going to the book of 2nd. Anybody know what book we're in?
Hey, look at you. Yeah. 2nd Corinthians. So if you got your Bibles, let's jump over to 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 verse 15 through 22. I want to talk about character tonight.
Character. And we're going to work through this this section. So once you find your place, if you would honor the word as we stand, we're going to read just verse 15 down to verse number 22. The Bible says in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1 verse 15. And in this confidence, I was minded to come unto you before that you might have a second benefit and to pass by you into Macedonian to come again out of Macedonia unto you and of you to be brought on my way towards Judea. When I therefore was thus minded.
Did I use my word? Is lightness or the things that I purpose do I purpose according to the flesh that with me there should be yay yay and nay nay. But as God is true, our word toward you is not yay and nudge just means yes and no for the son of God. Jesus Christ who was preached among you by us, even by me and Sylvanus and Timothy is was not yay and nay, but in him was yay for all the promises of God in him or yay and in him. Amen unto the glory of God by us.
Now he would establish with us with the word. With you is Christ and hath anointed us as God who has also sealed us and given us the earnest of the spirit in our hearts. Father, we thank you for the word of God that is before us is our joy and our wisdom.
We pray for your continued blessing tonight as we study this great book. And God, I pray as we examine the character of the great apostle Paul that Lord, we would examine our own character in light of these five truths that we will be looking at. Help us to be men and women of character. Help us to be those who are in our hearts. Whose lives reflect the truths of Scripture God that other people see us and they would see the light of your son in our lives. And we ask if anyone tonight doesn't know the Lord Jesus Christ that tonight would be the night that they might come and trust in you.
We ask it in Jesus name and God's people said, man, you may be seated this evening. Create an expectation on who they are as a person. Just consider that when you examine the life of an individual in your life. Do you do you see them and what they've accomplished and placed value upon them based upon those accomplishments or do you based value on something that's than that. In our society, we can often elevate someone based on performance and not on principle. We see that, especially in the world of sports. People lift up certain athletes, say in basketball, that sometimes you wanna ship them over to China and let them live there for a while because they love them so much, amen.
Michael Jordan's better than LeBron. Anyway, look at that, I'll probably get somebody send a letter, you know, but we elevate people and give them such value based upon things they can do performance wise, but with God, it is not the external show that a person can put on, but rather the internal character and integrity of the person that God is interested in. Puritan John Owen said, a minister may fill his pews, his communion roll, the mouth of the public, but what that minister is on his knees in secret before God almighty, that he is and no more. And so ask yourself, who are you before God? Who are you when no one else is around? What does the integrity and character of your life reveal? What would God say you are in private?
Because people can clothe themselves in some kind of external show or appearance and leave that setting and become something that is totally different. Robert Murray McShane, the great 19th century preacher, Scotland said, it is not great talent, God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. When you look at the life of Paul, he had all the external evidence of somebody who was wildly successful. He was the greatest missionary in church history. He went through the Roman world at that time on three great missionary journeys. And he was so effective, churches were being birthed.
He wrote 13 books of the New Testament, extremely influential, but Paul knew that his success was not based upon his own external successes or his ability, but he knew that his value was based upon God's view of him. First Corinthians four, he says in verse four, for I know nothing by myself, but am I not hereby justified, but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time until the Lord come who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. And then shall every man have praise of God. It is the day that we stand before God and God whose eyes are like a flame of fire, Revelation one says, who will burn through all the external facade and examine our lives.
And what will we be then? Because God used Paul in such a tremendous way, he was clearly a vessel to be attacked by Satan. In fact, he faced incredible persecution and opposition throughout his ministry.
He had many enemies. But the thing that hurt him most was the accusations and attack that he received from the churches, especially the church at Corinth where he faced incredible assaults. At Corinth, there were false teachers who were attacking Paul's character and seeking to undermine his authority.
The reason they did this was because they wanted the platform. They wanted to have the authority in the church and as a result, they had to undermine Paul's character. And so they sought to attack him. And that's why he writes, one of the chief reasons he writes 2 Corinthians is because he's got to defend himself on these attacks. He's not at Corinth at this time. He's 350 miles away and he's in Ephesus and he's dealing with hearing these assaults on his character from hundreds of miles away, A, G and C between him and Corinth.
And he has to address these things because he launched the church at Corinth, he started that church, he administered there for a year and a half and now false teachers crept in and were seeking to undermine him. In his book, Profiles on Courage, John F. Kennedy wrote great crisis produced great men and great deeds of courage. The great challenges in crisis people face reveal character.
Put somebody in a furnace and you'll see what they're made of, right? We see that in history where great men arose. I mean, you read about Abraham Lincoln and what kind of man he was in the furnace of life that he went through.
You read about George Washington. I don't know, some of you have probably read his prayer journal. The things he wrote in his prayer journal are just unbelievable.
He would write a morning and evening prayer every week or every day. And I mean, he was facing battles where he was getting, one battle he was in, he had multiple bullet holes in his jacket, in his jacket. Later, he talked to the chief. This was like years and years later. He was bringing the Indians, their children, into where they could be taught the word of God in Christian schools.
Pretty awesome, isn't it? And they said, we wanna talk to the chief of your people who cannot be killed. And the chief wrote that we had all of our expert guns, guns on that guy, and they said, we shot at him and he could not be killed. They said, we wanna talk to the chief who could not be killed. That's what the Indian chief said about George Washington.
He had multiple bullet holes in his jacket, it was crazy. I've shared these years ago with you guys, but just the character. And I look around America and I'm like, the different crisis is going on. Where's the character of men arising at? Well, we see a gap, don't we?
We see this lacking. And just because you have a crisis doesn't mean men of character, doesn't mean that positive character comes out, sometimes negative character comes out. Think about Pontius Pilate when Jesus was before him and he had the Jewish Sanhedrin before him and they were accusing Christ and he was dealing with this incredible pressure from the Jewish people to crucify Jesus, Pontius Pilate knowing Jesus is innocent, caves to the crowd and jurisprudence goes out the window and he delivers Jesus to be crucified.
He caves in his frailty and washes his hands of the matter. The crisis of the wilderness journey exposed the weakness of faith of the nation of Israel. But it also showed the great courage and character of men like Moses and Joshua as well, didn't it? But here in this crisis situation and challenge to Paul, his character shines through in this section of scripture and I wanna look at that this evening, the character of a faithful minister and look at five truths that come out as we're working through this verse by verse study through the book of 2 Corinthians. First of all, those with character have a clear conscience and we talked about conscience last week but I felt this needed to be pulled back in because it's in this section of scripture but we examined in detail verse 12 through verse 14 so I'm not gonna labor into those verses but I wanna mention that in this area of character.
Verse 12 of chapter one says for our rejoicing is this the testimony of our conscience that in simplicity and godly sincerity not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God we have had our conversation that's talking about their conduct in the world and more abundantly to you word. Last Wednesday we asked the question is your conscience clear? Conscience is a word that refers to the soul of man reflecting on itself. God has given everybody a conscience and conscience is to your body what your nervous system is. Conscience is to your soul what your nervous system is to your body. It stings you. It's designed by God as a way to deter you from sin to encourage you when you do right.
It applauds good behavior. It disciplines you internally of wrong behavior and we said it's really the highest court in the land, isn't it? Because you could claim your innocence before a court and they may wrongly justify someone who did something wrong but that person's conscience could slay them on the inside. So conscience is the highest court.
It's not perfect. We talked about how conscience can be skewed. The Bible talks about you can sear your conscience. You can manipulate your conscience but you need to know that God has given us that. Paul uses the word conscience 23 times in his letters. And notice what he says in Acts 24, 16. He says, herein do I exercise myself to have always a conscience void of offense toward God and toward men.
And I want you to think about that. Do you strive as a character of a man or woman of God? Do you strive to have a clear conscience with people and with God?
That you could say, you know what? There's nothing in my soul that is against that person. Nothing in my soul that's doing some sin and secret that would be offensive to God.
I am clean before God and man. Paul was accused by false teachers of facing all kinds of trials and hardships and persecutions in his life. And they were saying it's because he's got some sin in his life.
This guy's got something going on that's causing all of this. They mention it in 2 Corinthians 10 verse two. Paul says, some which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. Paul was not one who lived in open or known sin, though Paul spoke very clearly in Romans 7 of the battle with sin.
He recognized that in his flesh was no good thing. Romans 7, 15, this is what he writes. And the reason I'm reading this to you is because he wrote Romans while he was at Corinth. So what you're reading here is stuff I'm sure he preached on there, right? So, Romans 7, 15, he says, for that which I do, I allow not for what I would that do I not, but what I hate that do I.
Looks like somebody who's really having some internal battles, right? He said, if then I do that which I would not, it is no more I that do it but sin that dwelleth in me, or I consider the law that it is good. Now that it is no more I that do it but sin that dwelleth in me, verse 17, verse 18, for I know that in me that's in my flesh dwelleth no good thing, for the will is present with me.
I wanna do what's right, but how to perform that which is good, I find not. So he begins, and he goes into this dialogue throughout this chapter from really verse 14 down to verse 25, but in verse 24, he says this, oh wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? So, reading between the lines, if I may, I would suppose that he probably shared some of those truths with the church at Corinth, and the false teachers took some of those words and used them against him. You know, Paul bears his heart and says, you know what, I struggle, there's some things that I'm battling in life, and things I don't wanna do, I do sometimes, things I don't wanna do, I do, and he's talking about this, and those false self-righteous Judaizers, oh, this guy must have some sin in his life, this guy must. You know, the truth is, the closer that you get to God, the more you will see your wretchedness.
W.A. Criswell, one of the great old-time preachers of the last 100 years said this, anytime that a man feels that he's worthy, that he is good, that he is righteous, he just hasn't seen the Lord. He's never been in the presence of God, for the closer a man comes to God, the more sinful and unworthy he feels. If you can leave a deep study of the word of God and say, you know what, I am such a good person. Have you ever read through the crucifixion of Christ and say, man, I am so awesome. Now I know why God loves me.
Well, I'm a really good person. No wonder my wife would love me, or if you're like, no wonder your husband would love you. No wonder, you know, no wonder God would save me. That's so foreign, isn't it?
That's ridiculous, it's laughable. Adam and Eve hid from the Lord in the garden. Their sin made them hide from him. When Job encountered the presence of God, his response in Job 40 verse four is, behold, he said, I am vile. That's how Job responded in the presence of God, after he lost everything. God comes to his, Job's starting to question God, God shows up, asks him 100 plus questions, and Job says, I'm vile. I've spoken once, he says, of things I knew not.
I will take my hand and place it over my mouth. I will not speak again. He said, I repent in dust and ashes. He saw himself as sinful. When Peter understood who Jesus was in Luke chapter five verse 18, or Luke five verse eight, it says, when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus's knees saying, depart from me, for I'm a sinful man, oh Lord.
There is a doctrine called perfectionism that's taught by some denominations that teaches you can become sinless. I've talked to people. I was talking to some guys before church about golf, and I remember being on a golf course one time with a guy, he's in his 80s, and he waxed me. I was so mad. Like, why don't you get off that cart and let's walk, old man? I'm catching up to him. My bad leg, he out-walked me, too.
I mean, he hit it as straight as an arrow the whole way down the field. And I shared the gospel with him. I started talking about Christ, and he says, you know what, he said, I'm perfect.
I almost fell over. I said, your golf game's nearly perfect. I said, but good night. And so I began witnessing to him, and he says, oh, I've been saved. He said, but I don't sin anymore. I said, let me ask you a question.
We golfed several holes. I said, why didn't you tell me about Jesus? You're so perfect, why didn't you bring Jesus up to me? He didn't have really a good answer. You know, that is such a, that's a person that's not walking close to Christ at some level.
How can you be in the presence of the Son and not see the darkness? John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim's Progress, who for 20 years stayed in prison, because he, they said, if you stop preaching, Jesus will let you out. He said, I will stay in prison till moss grows over my eyelids. He said, it was like, my children were growing up without me.
He said, it was like taking a rake and pulling my skin off my body to not be with them. He said, but I wouldn't deny my Christ. He wrote the book, Pilgrim's Progress, the third best-selling, second, I believe, second or third best-selling English book in the history of the English language. He wrote that while in prison.
If you've never read it, you need to read it. And this is what he said, quote, he said, the best prayer I ever prayed had enough sin to damn the whole world. The best prayer I ever prayed had enough sin to damn the whole world.
And you think you're perfect? I thought, dear soul, you know what Romans seven is? Romans seven isn't a man living in sin. Romans seven is a man walking close to Jesus. Says, I'm a wretched man.
But you know what? The more we see Christ, the more we see our sin and the more we see how much grace it took for him to reach down. And it shows how much love he must have to save a sinner like you and me, right? Well, doesn't that make you just wanna love Christ?
The closer you get to the light, the greater exposure. And so those with character, they have a clean conscience, void of offense to God and others. Though they see the total imperfection of their life in light of God's absolute perfection, they do not live in open and known sin or hidden sin. Is your conscience clear tonight?
Are you clean? Are you a man or woman of character? And only you can answer that right now, I think. Secondly, those with character are trustworthy. Look at verse 15 and 16. He says, in this confidence, I was minded to come unto you before that you might have a second benefit and to pass by you into Macedonia and to come again out of Macedonia unto you and of you to be brought on my way toward Judea. One thing Paul was being maligned for was being fickle, not somebody who was fully trustworthy.
They were saying he's careless. Paul had written in 1 Corinthians 16, verse two through eight that he had planned on coming to Corinth. He desired to come there and to actually spend a winter with them. And in 1 Corinthians 16, verse five, he says this. Now I will come unto you when I shall pass through Macedonia, for I do pass through Macedonia and it may be that I will abide, yea, winter with you that you may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go, for I will not see you now by the way, but I trust its area while with you.
And notice how he ends it. If the what? If the Lord permit. So he saw his travel plans. Oh, yeah, if the Lord permits. This is a man who lived under the sovereign hand of God. And so this was what Paul writes about in verse 15 through 16.
He says this confidence, basically, I was sure of this that I was mine to come before you. And what he planned on doing was leaving Ephesus, coming to Corinth on his way up to Philippi, and there were several churches up in Macedonia. And then he would winter there and then go up to Macedonia, get the funds for the hungry people and poor saints in Jerusalem, come back down through Macedonia to Corinth so they would receive a double blessing is what he's talking about here, and then pass over. And they would be the ones who would send him to Jerusalem. And he wanted them to have that honor to say, hey, I want you to be the church that's like sending me back to Jerusalem.
And that's what he's talking about here in verse 15 and 16. So he had made those travel plans. He had planned to do that.
But you know what? Paul had a change of plans. And he only visits them on his way back down from Macedonia.
He's not able to visit them on his way up to Macedonia. And his enemies jumped upon this and attacked Paul of being unreliable, untrustworthy. Paul didn't keep his word.
He said he was gonna come and winter with us. But church of Corinth, what did he do? He's not here, is he?
He didn't come through. And if we can't trust Paul's traveling plans, if we can't trust him with the physical words, why would we trust his letters? Why would we trust his spiritual words?
They were undermining Paul. First Corinthians 16, verse seven. He tells them, for I will not see you now by the way, but I trust to Terry while with you if the Lord permit. You know, God's word is clear not to make foolish, whimsical promises or deceitful oaths, but rather to let your yeses be yes and no be noes, right? When Paul made plans, he would always say things like if the Lord will, if the Lord permit, because he understood that he lived under God's guiding hand.
James 4.13 speaks to this. It says, go to now ye that say today or tomorrow we'll go into such a city, continue there a year, buy, sell, and get gain. You make all these plans, but the question is did you ever think about God being in those plans?
We can do that, can't we? Who's a planner? There's only one of you two that raised your hands. It's a husband or wife, okay? I'm married to a planner. Who's married to a planner? Yeah, you know what happens when you're married to a planner? You go on vacation, you just wanna relax. I remember going on vacation, one of our first vacations, kids were little, and it was a real busy time in my life, and I just, we was at the beach, and for me, it's like get up, when you get up, eat breakfast, do whatever you wanna do for a little while, you can go out to the beach, do whatever, and then, I mean, just, what's the plans today? Ah, we'll just kinda flow.
I'm a spur of the moment guy, man. I can change plans, I can flow with that, but a planner, it causes stress if it's not on the agenda, right, they, so, my wife's asking me, she's always gracious, what are we planning on doing tomorrow, da-da-da, and we're gonna go biking, yeah, we'll probably do that one time, I don't know, we'll just kinda see, just kinda go like that, but then, she's like, well, I was planning on, we get up at 6.30 or seven, then we're gonna eat from seven to 7.30, then we'll go biking from eight till 10, and then after that, we'll go to the beach, and then we'll come back, eat lunch, and then we'll take a nap for maybe an hour, and then we'll go back out, she had the entire day planned out. I mean, it was gonna be, we were gonna accomplish much. I mean, we're getting after it, baby, I mean, this is on. I was so stressed out, she was so liberated by going through these plans, and I'm like, so stressed.
And isn't that how it works? But praise God for the planners, because when you get to the vacation spot, you didn't forget anything. If it's left up to us, it's like, wow, we left our beach clothes, our towel, we have nothing.
But we're here, we're here. So Paul was making plans, and I think sometimes people make plans, but we have to always say, is God in the middle of that? Have I brought the Lord into this conversation? Nothing wrong with plans, okay?
Nothing wrong with making plans. But make sure that you know who is in control of your life. Because look what he says in James 4, verse 14. Whereas you know not what shall be on the mare, for what's your life?
It's a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. For that you ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that, but now you rejoice in your boastings. All such rejoicing is evil. You don't even know if you'll be alive tomorrow. So plan like you'll live like 100 years, and make sure the Lord's in all of those plans.
You know, this is what I'm planning to do next year, but if the Lord wills, this is what we're gonna do. So that's the way you need to navigate that according to scripture. Paul's circumstances changed, which caused his plans to change, but you know what, his character did not change. But those who opposed Paul accused him of not being trustworthy.
And look how he responds in verse 17 and 18 to this accusation. He says, when I was therefore thus minded, when I was minded to pass through Macedonia to be with you guys, didn't come back through to be with you, he says, did I use lightness? Was I fickle?
That's what that word means, wavering. Were the things that I purposed, do I purpose according to the flesh? In other words, he's saying, am I just being led by the flesh?
Am I just looking for what's convenient for me, ministering to myself to please me and not the Spirit? That with me there should be yea, yea, and nay, nay. What that means is, you ever said, you know that person talking out of both sides of their mouth? And what he's saying is, you think when I say yes, it doesn't really mean yes. But when I say yes, I really mean no. And when I say no, I really mean yes.
He's like, that's not the case. Verse 18, but as God is true, our word toward you is not yes and no. But we weren't saying yes, but really meaning no. That's not what we were doing. We were not untrustworthy. Paul is declaring his word was honest.
He was a man of integrity. Anybody here ever have a change of plans before that perhaps offended someone, you know? Honey, we were going to Longhorn, but the only thing left open is McDonald's. It's not a good change of plans. Now, that's not me.
That was Phil Worthington, know that? I'm teasing, I'm teasing him. Feels like that's the last time I'm gonna talk to Josh before church. He gets in his sermon. But sometimes we can change plans, and you know what, there's sometimes people can get really upset because something comes up, they don't understand, and things have to be changed. You know, misunderstanding can happen among people. It can happen in families, in marriages, among Christians. Sometimes those misunderstandings can create an entanglement that gets really messy. This can often lead to people attacking one another.
Once people start questioning someone's integrity or trustworthiness because of that misunderstanding, a lot of problems can arise. I want to highlight something that 1 Corinthians 13 says there's 15 qualities of love according to 1 Corinthians 15 that Paul writes, and he wrote this, again, to the church at Corinth. And in 1 Corinthians 13, one thing he says about love is this. In verse seven, he says, love believeth all things.
And what that means is this. If you love someone, if they do something, and what they do could be taken in one of two ways, love always opts for the most favorable position. Love would be worded like this in the court of law.
They're innocent until proven guilty. So when you get that text, could be taken one of two ways. I'm sure they meant it the other way. When somebody didn't shake your hand and when somebody forgets something, when somebody, there's a misunderstanding, it's like, I'm sure they didn't mean it that way. I'm sure they meant it the other way. You say, well, I don't want to be naive. Well, love is not naive. It is very discerning, but it's also very gracious. I was reading this week where one theologian said, God puts a lock on his judgment but a hair trigger on his mercy.
We're thankful for that, aren't we? Are you someone who is trustworthy? Do you have to lie and be deceitful about things in life? Are you honest before the Lord? Also, do you show a loving, gracious spirit with others if there's a misunderstanding? This is important in marriage, isn't it? Let me say this. If you ever communicate with somebody and it's about an important thing, please do not text about it.
Did you hear me? Please do not text about it. 93% of our communication is done nonverbal. What does that mean?
That means only 7% of our communication is understood through the actual words spoken. Really? Oh, really?
Really? You can take it so many different ways, diction, tone, facial expression, body language, emotional energy. So I do this with our class all the time when we're in our LBI, our Bible Institute, and they'll give me the answer and I'm like, I'll respond back, that's the answer? And they're like, isn't it?
And I'm like, well, yes. But just because of the way I respond, they think it's wrong and they haven't caught on yet. They just keep responding in fear and they, somebody said awe.
It's good for them. I like to stress them out. Must have been a mother. All the dads were like, lay it on them, lay it on them. You know, don't you appreciate when you're misunderstood and somebody says, you know, I know you didn't mean it that way, but where they give you the more favorable.
Let me ask you this. Do you think God could assume the worst in us easily? If God could assume the worst in us, but he is so gracious to us, should we not also be gracious to others? Thirdly, those with character also have consistent lives. They not only have a clear conscience, they're trustworthy, but they have a consistent life. He says in verse 19a, for the son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus. Paul argues here that the gospel is faithfully preached by him and to others. Like what Wiersbe said, he said, the witness and walk of the minister must go together for the work that we do flows out of the lives that we live. Does it matter to you how I live? It should. Does it matter to you how the deacons and trustees and teachers and leaders of the church live? It's a big deal, isn't it?
It should be. Paul had spent a year and a half preaching and ministering in the church, and they had seen his life and heard his preaching. That witnessed his faithfulness.
And here in verse 19, he argues that the gospel was faithfully preached. He says, Silvanus, that's the name. It's another way you could use the word Silas. So you could write that in the margin there if you'd like, but Silas is the traveling companion on Paul's second missionary journey with Paul when Barnabas had separated from him. And Timothy was his younger son in the faith, if you would. And he argues how foolish, how foolish is it to believe that the life-changing gospel as reliable and trustworthy as it is that was preached among us to you, but somehow now the messenger of that gospel is unreliable and untrustworthy? If we brought you a trustworthy gospel, do you think we're not trustworthy in our traveling plans? I mean, if we're trust, this is an argument from the greater to the lesser. If I'm faithful with the weightiest thing, how would I not be faithful with the lesser thing, right? How foolish to believe Paul concerning eternal truth, but then think he is untrustworthy about physical matters.
That's what he's talking about here. Paul's message lined up with his life. He was a man who was consistent both in preaching and living. He told them in 1 Corinthians 11, one, he says, "'Be followers together of me, "'even as I also am of Christ.'" He told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3, 10, "'But thou has fully known my doctrine, "'manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering.'"
Philippians 4, 9, "'Those things which you have "'both learned and received and heard and seen in me do.'" You know, one reason it's important for pastors to stay at churches and have long tenures is so that you see their life. You imagine a pastor coming in three years, leaving, and another guy coming in to leave, and just, you're like, I don't even know the guy long enough to know what he's like. You know, you don't see what their character is.
You don't get to know what their life is like. But as years go on, time and truth hold hands, don't they? You can see the character of a person, that they're not perfect, but they are faithful.
1 Thessalonians 1, 5, Paul said, "'For our gospel came not into you in word only, "'but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, "'and in much assurance, as you know what manner of men "'we were among you for your sake.'" Friend, when people see your life, do they see a faithful life? Does your walk match your talk? Like, would your spouse say that, you know what, their life is faithful? You know, one of the blessings is, my wife expects me to live what I preach here.
It's a good thing, isn't it? I have four children who sit in this sanctuary, and they watch me. And so, feel free to anytime say, what's he like at home? Well, he likes ice cream. He likes roast on Sundays. I think we had 50 people go to Bob Evans Sunday. I was preaching on roast, and then Bob Evans, I think the two married each other, and there's all these people down there trying to beat the Presbyterians to the Bob Evans restaurant. So, I'm telling you, when you preach on food long enough, like, they're just like ready to go, man. It was like, this is not good, you know. So, character is a big deal when it comes to how you live.
Just the last couple things and we'll be done. Fourthly, those with character have a consistent message. He says in verse 19, the second part of that verse, for the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanius and Timotheus, was not yes and no or yea and nay, but in him was yea. For all the promises of God in him are yea and in him amen unto the glory of God by us.
And here he's saying his message is consistent. It was faithfully preached by Paul, by Silas, by Timothy. Their message was not untrustworthy. It was yes.
They didn't mean no by yes, they meant yes. They're faithful preaching, they faithfully preached a message that was true and honest because it was centered on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 19, for the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Verse 20, it says, or all the promises of God in him are yes and in him amen. The word amen comes from an Hebrew word, amen, and it just means truly, verily, so let it be. It's used in places like Deuteronomy 27, verse 15 and 16, like they would say, cursed be that man that maketh any graven image, molten image, and abomination of the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftman, putting in a secret place, and all the people answered and said, amen. Cursed be he that saith light by his father, his mother, and all the people shall say, amen. So what they were doing was, as they were pronouncing the decrees of God, the people were saying, yes, that's a righteous judgment.
Let that be. It is also used in the New Testament, as well as the Old Testament, as an affirmation of those truths and as a praise response. First Chronicles 16, 36 says, blessed be the Lord God of Israel forever and ever, and all the people said, amen and praise the Lord. So in our churches, you don't have to say, amen. You can say, amen. You can, I was going to say, you can say whatever you want, but that's not the case.
There's some things you should not say. But the New Testament, what's interesting is every writer of the New Testament ended their epistles and letters with the word, amen. Revelation 22, 21, you know what the last word of the Bible is?
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all, amen. So when you say, amen, what you're saying is, God, let that happen. God, I agree with your word there. That is true.
Let that come to pass. Amen to that. And what Wiersbe is saying is, Jesus Christ is our eternal amen, our eternal yes. Jesus will fulfill every single promise of scripture. Paul preached that faithful message.
He'd never wavered from this. In First Corinthians chapter two, he said, brethren, when I came to you, I came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God, for I determined not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and power, he says this, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. Paul preached Christ because Christ is the power of God. Christ will bring fulfillment to God's promises. You know, Paul could have changed his message to fit the desire of the modern culture of Corinth, but he doesn't do that. He held up the faithful gospel. This is a man of character. And we need character in our pulpits of our country.
We need men who hold to the gospel and are unashamed to speak about Christ and sin and repentance and holiness and righteousness. Those with character have a message that remains the same. They don't change the message based on their audience. You know, ministers and faithful Christians, we're not to be politicians, right?
We don't test the crowd and mold to those around us. Rather, the message flows out consistently. We don't praise God on Sunday morning and then we forget him on Monday at work. What would others say about your words? Do you have a consistent message that reflects a godly character? Are your words the same according to truth, according to Christ, no matter what crowd you're in?
Well, that's a big deal, isn't it? And then lastly, those with character are established by God. He says in verse 21, Now he that established us with you is Christ and hath anointed us is God who hath also sealed us and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
The word established there means firm, established, unshakable. You know, those who are true and faithful are upheld by the word of God and upheld by the God of the word. In Psalms 37, 23, it says, The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and he delighteth in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.
Isn't that good? Those with character are kept by God. Romans 16, 25, Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel. Colossians 2, seven, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith. Those with character remain faithful because God remains faithful to keep them.
They're kept by God. I mean, if we could lose our salvation, if we could fall away, if we would just abandon God, we would already done that. Peter would have done that, right? Luke 22, 31, And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. Anybody think you'd be a little nervous if Jesus said that? I'm gonna tell you, Satan's come after you, Peter. He wants to sift you like wheat. Look what Jesus says. What's he say in verse 32? He say, hey, you need to like get into a closet somewhere.
You need to hide somewhere. You need to get down to the temple. You need to, what's he do? You know what Jesus does? He does the best thing he could do for him. He says, but I have prayed for thee that thy faith fail not. You know how many times on my face before God, I pray this all the time. God, my God in Christ, Jesus, Jesus, would you pray for me like you prayed for Peter? Pray for me like you pray for, pray for my children, pray for the church.
Be with so and so that I know is going through a hard time. Keep them from falling. Present them faultless before your throne. That's what it means to pray the scriptures, right?
We've talked about this in the past. You take God's word and you take it to the Lord. And then Jesus says, and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. You know what Jesus is saying, my prayers work. Amen. Satan may come, but I win.
You may get sifted, but I'm gonna pull you out. First Peter 1.5, this is written later. Listen to what Peter says, talking about eternal salvation. He says, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time? Who keeps you, Peter?
He's like the power of God. You know what he says after verse 32? I didn't share it with you, but in Luke chapter 22, verse 33 and four, Peter's like, I will never deny you, Christ, I... And Jesus is like, is that a rooster right here?
Oh, that's you, Peter, but I'll hear a rooster here soon. 2 Corinthians 4, verse eight, nine. Paul says this, just a couple chapters later to the church at Corinth, he said, we're troubled on every side, yet not distressed. We are perplexed, but not in despair, persecuted, but not forsaken, cast down, but we're not destroyed. Why not?
You know why? Because God has established us. The word established there is the Greek word, the ba'o. It also was a business term. It speaks about fulfilling a contract. This is a contractual term.
It was an assurance that the seller gave to the buyer that the product was as advertised or that the service would be rendered as promised. You know what God has done for us? He has stamped us with his Holy Spirit. And we cannot be lost.
You are kept by God. 2 Corinthians 1 22, he says, who hath also sealed us and give us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. You know what earnest means? It means down payment. But like earnest money, like a down payment.
So when you buy a house, you put earnest money on that, right? God has sealed you with his Holy Spirit and placed him upon you as a seal of his promise. Ephesians 4 30 says, grieve not the Holy Spirit of God whereby you are sealed into the day of redemption. In Paul's day, being sealed, spoke about a letter where they would take a document and fold it up after it was written and they would take a signet ring, dip it in wax and stamp the letter. And if it was done by a king or another official, the seal would signify the document was official. The only person allowed to open a document was the person it was addressed to. When we get saved, Jesus literally stamps us with the signet ring, which the Bible refers to as the Holy Spirit.
The Arabon is the Greek word for this. So the only one who will open this is the Father. He has sent us to the Father to open on the day of redemption. No one has power to break that seal. You know, when they sealed the tomb when Jesus was crucified, they came and put a Roman seal on it. What they were saying is no one can break this seal or the judgment of Rome will fall upon you. But that morning a power greater than Rome broke that seal.
What's interesting too is the Greek word Arabon, where we get the word sealed at, also came to mean in the Roman world, it was a word for the engagement ring. You know what God has done? He has given you an engagement ring called the Holy Spirit, and that marriage supper is gonna happen, that marriage in heaven. You know what the Bible tells us? That Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us. That's what Jews would do. When they had a marriage coming up, they would go prepare their home, and when the home was ready, they would come and get their bride.
Jesus says, I'm coming back, coming back, and I think that coming is soon, isn't it? So tonight, what's your character like? What's your character like? Those with character, they have a clean conscience. Is your conscience clean tonight?
They're trustworthy, they live a consistent life, they speak a consistent message, and they're established by God. Praise God that he who began a good work in us will perform it to the day of Jesus Christ. You understand tonight the reason you're here is not because you're good.
The reason you're here tonight is because he's good. The reason you love the word is not because we are so good, it's because he put that love in our hearts for this. Some of us used to hate this, and grace took the scales off and open us to the reality of God and Christ, but we have so much to be thankful for. And so tonight, if there was ever a day in our world that we need to be people of character, it needs to be in 2023. Let our wives, our children, our husbands, let our neighbors, let our coworkers know that through our living, through our words, through our life, through being established in Christ, that we are people of character. If you don't know the Lord Jesus Christ tonight, why don't you come tonight? Could be a night you could give your life to Christ. Maybe you just wanna come and spend a moment in prayer, whatever your need is, you're welcome to come. Let's all stand as we conclude with the time of prayer.
The altars are open, and if you wanna come and spend a moment in prayer, you're welcome to do that. If tonight you need to make a spiritual decision, we have men and women at the front that could talk with you. Father, we thank you for your word tonight. It is our joy.
It is our wisdom. We thank you so much for the gospel. We thank you so much for grace. Thank you for being a perfect God. There is no flaw in you. There is no error in you, and I pray, Father, that you would bless each person tonight who's in the hearing of your word, that your word would produce great fruit.
You promised that your word would not return void. It would accomplish all your desire, and may you accomplish all your desire in our lives. We ask it in Jesus' name, amen. We ask it in Jesus' name, amen.
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