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Practical Truth for the Christian Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
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May 16, 2020 12:01 am

Practical Truth for the Christian Life

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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May 16, 2020 12:01 am

The doctrines of grace are not cold, clinical truths. Today, Steven Lawson shows from the books of Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians that the Bible's theology of God's sovereign grace shapes Christians into people of humility and love.

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Today on Renewing Your Mind. These doctrinal trays are not called clinical trays that are reserved for an ivory tower someplace they are for the nitty-gritty of life as they are for even when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death, even when we are in chains and under house arrest. It is these truths that provide a vitality to our faith will not be in chains were under house arrest. As the apostle Paul was working for even going through the valley of the shuttle, but these certainly are challenging times. Welcome to Renewing Your Mind on the Saturday.

What are these doctrinal truths that provide vitality to our faith. How are we to live in light of the fact that we who are without hope and without God, have now been brought near to God, we continue our study of the doctrines of grace and we are in the book of Ephesians last time we began looking at the book of Ephesians and now for this session. I want to pick back up in chapter 4, Ephesians 4 and verse one as you're well familiar. The first three chapters of the book of Ephesians we call the doctrinal section, and chapters 4 through six.

We call that the practical section Ephesians 4 verse one which is the verse will be looking at here really is the transition from the doctrinal to the practical and what we find here really is how relevant and practical. The doctrines of grace are for our daily lives, and Paul will make the basis of the practical section. The foundation is the truce of sovereign grace. In other words, these truths form the very foundation of our Christian life. We stand upon these as we walk in our Christian life soon. Ephesians 4 verse one Paul writes therefore I the prisoner of the Lord really just pause there for a moment.

I find it remarkable that Paul sees himself in this Roman imprisonment by divine appointment. He is not the prisoner of Rome. He is not the prisoner of Caesar. He is the prisoner of the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords Jesus Christ. Even in stating this he has a high view of the sovereignty of God in human affairs. He understands even as he is in chains that he is held there by the invisible hand of God. So therefore I the prisoner the Lord implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called in this calling.

Of course you know is the divine summons by which God has drawn us to himself out of the world of sin into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and it is this high calling that mandates that we live with a lowly walk high calling lowly walk in the lowly walk is a walk of humility and lowliness of mind which is what he will say at the beginning of verse two with all humility and gentleness. You see, when we come to understand that God has effectually sovereignly irresistibly called us out of the world and out of our sin that should so humble us that we walk day by day with great lowliness of mind and some believe that Paul even coined the term humility here because it was such a non-virtue in the Roman Empire. No one wanted to be humble. Everyone wanted to be strong and be able to conquer and to overcome. Whether it be enemies or circumstances or any resistance it would be brought against us. Humility of mind was entirely a Christian concept in a Christian virtue, and it is on the basis of this high and glorious calling that has come onto our life.

In verse 17 through 19. He reminds us of what we have been called out of who we have not been called out of a state of neutrality. We have not been called out of the state of being a good person before we were converted know versus 17 to 19 reminds us of the spiritual state of darkness in which we once lived when the call of God arrested us and brought us into the kingdom of God's light soon. Verse 17 so this I say in a firm together with the Lord is a very emphatic statement that Paul is making that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walked in other words you once walked this way but now no longer in the futility of their mind futility here just means the vein is the emptiness the meaninglessness of their mind being darkened in their understanding so dark that they could not see the truth so dark they could not comprehend their need for the gospel. Excluded from the life of God. That's another way of saying Ephesians 2 verse one you were dead in trespasses and sin if you're excluded from the life of God that is a formal way of saying you are spiritually dead and then he adds, because of the ignorance that is in them, and Paul tells it like it is, they were spiritually ignorant and because of the hardness of their heart. Nothing could get through into their heart, the truth, which is always being repelled and they having become callous and there was just a sickness about their heart having given themselves over to sensuality that is live according to their flesh. The loss of their flesh for the practice of every kind of impurity, with greediness and greediness means they just live their life in it for themselves and whatever it is they had they just wanted more bait they were not content with what they possess.

No matter how much or how little it was they just always had to have more and probably because others had a little bit more so they wanted to get ahead of everyone else. This is the state in which these Ephesian believers once found themselves but it's not just down the same state in which we to once found ourselves.

This was true of every one of us. We were futile in mind.

We were darkened in our understanding. We were excluded from the life of God. We had a hard heart. We were callous we were sensual we were in pure we were greedy.

This was true of us and you can imagine being ensnared in such a state of depravity. It would take a powerful call to pull us out such a dark hole of of sin and depravity.

The pit in which we found ourselves how strong must the call of God be to pull us extract us from such a state of sin. As we continue to look, I want to look at chapter 5 and in verse two and I want you to say for whom Christ died. And I want you to see the glory of his death for us and in chapter 5, verse two Paul writes that in order to be an imitator of God.

Verse one we must walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave himself up for us, who is the you who is the us that refers not to the whole human race indiscriminately, that refers to those who were chosen before the foundation of the world. Those who were predestined according to the kind intention of his will. Those who have been called out of the. The mock in the mire of this world and sin.

This is for whom Christ has died. This is for whom he has given his life and he follows this up in the same chapter in verse 25 to verse 27 he says husbands love your wives, and so that husbands would have a good picture of this Paul now teaches some theology. He teaches some sound doctrine and husbands aren't supposed to give themselves, sacrificially, for every woman on planet Earth. There is a specificity to their love. There is a narrow focus to their love and they are to love their own wife, not someone else's wife like this, but uniquely their own wife exclusively their own wife now. He continues in verse 25 and makes the parallel comparison just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her.

There is this same specificity with the love of Christ at the cross, he uniquely and exclusively loved his own bride. He didn't love all of the people of the world in a redeeming sense. He loved his own bride, who was chosen by the father and given to him by the father in eternity past, he laid down his life for her. If not for everyone else, but for her to continue to read with me. Christ also loved the church, not the world.

The church and gave himself up for her. Notice verse 26 here's the reason why so that key Christ might sanctify her, you see the power of the cross was not only to take away the pardon of sin, but also to sanctify his own bride for the power of sin to be broken in her life so that she might now walk in a manner worthy of her calling. Having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word that he, Christ might present to himself the church not the world. The church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless.

These see the narrow focus of the cross.

Just as husband is to love his own wife and no one else in this unique sense.

Even so, Jesus at the cross with narrowness of focus exclusively gave himself for the church so that he might present the church back to himself in heaven one day, without spot or wrinkle or or any such thing.

What a glorious truth.

This is when Jesus went to the cross.

You were upon his heart you were upon his mind, which we can never come to the Lord's supper the same again. Jesus didn't die for an anonymous group of people out there who would have the good sense to love him back. No, Jesus at the cross, he laid down his life for the sheep.

He purchased the church. He gave himself up for his bride, the church must come now to the book of Philippians and Paul is still in prison in Rome as he writes these prison epistles.

There were four of them, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon is therefore a two-year period of time.

He is chained to Roman soldiers who are rotating through the house where he is held under house arrest. He is there awaiting his trial for Caesar. A trial that will not materialize.

He'll eventually be released and he will go back to preaching the gospel while he is held in chains while he is under house arrest. He writes these four prison epistles and you would think he is seated in the throne room of heaven has his heart is soaring with these glorious truth and it is these doctrines of grace that enabled Paul to live above his circumstances that enabled Paul to walk on the sunny side to Halley Avenue, even while he is sitting in this house arrest because he knows he's he's caught up with something that is far greater than himself that this love of God from eternity past has found him out and he is now riding a wave of destiny if you will, no matter where the circumstances may take him even here, he's the prisoner of the Lord at the prisoner of Rome, and he knows that his soul is glory bound, no matter what happens to them in this life.

He knows that even his death will mean to be with the Lord. That is why he will say in Philippians 1 verse 21 for me to live is Christ and to die is what is again because that's even better will be in the immediate presence of Christ, for whom I am living here upon the earth, so these doctrinal truths are not cold clinical truths that are reserved for an ivory tower someplace. Therefore, the nitty-gritty of life as they are for even when we find ourselves in the valley of the shadow of death, even when we are in chains and under house arrest.

It is these truths that provide a vitality to our faith. And so here in Philippians 1 verse six is what I want to look at first Paul writes, for I am confident of this very thing. I hope you're confident of this Paul is not stroking his chin and say well it seems to me know. Paul has an anchor for his soul. Paul has concrete poured into his backbone. Paul said, for I am confident of this very thing, not just this thing this very thing you see how emphatic he is. This is the way you and I need to be winningly confident of this very thing that he referring to God the father, who began a good work in you that refers to regeneration sovereign regeneration is that refers to the calling of God out of the world, and out of sin to be burst into the kingdom of heaven. That's when God began a work within us, is it being confident is very thing, that he who began a good work in you will, there's a certainty about this not hope to, but will perfect it when God starts, God will finish and what God begins, God will perfect will perfect it for how long we can next semester next decade, until the day of Christ Jesus, and the day of Christ Jesus is that day when we stand before God in heaven with Christ Jesus.

It refers either to the day of Christ's return when we will be taken home to glory or it refers to the day of our death when we will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ and he will usher us into the presence of the father, but he who began a good work in you bringing you into the kingdom he will perfect it and bring it to full realization as you will stay in one day faultless in the very presence of God and this is not bragging on us. This is boasting in the Lord that he will never abandon the work of salvation that he has begun in you. Now come to verse 29 Paul will talk about when God began this work in us and he makes a very strong statement about saving faith.

He writes in verse 29 for to you it has been granted for Christ's sake.

That means it has been given to you for a specific purpose, for Christ's glory not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for his sake we see Paul understands good theology.

He is been taught by the Holy Spirit saving faith is granted to us as a gift. It is bestowed upon us. No one can believe on their own and not when you're held in the in the chains of sin, not when you suffer the bondage of the will, it must be granted to you to believe and to whom does God grant such saving faith.

It's obvious at this point, those who are chosen by the father redeemed by the sun, called by the spirit. It is these to whom God grants saving faith that come to chapter 3 in verse 20 chapter 3 in verse 20 and 21 he who began this good work will carry it out all the way until we are in heaven.

Paul Rice for our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of his glory by the exertion of the power that he has even to subject all things to himself, your citizenships already in heaven, and it cannot be broken or revoked, and so were just waiting now for the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. And when he returns, he will certainly and surely transform even our bodies into the likeness of his resurrected glorified body will recognize one another in heaven and we will work we will saying we will serve will have a body that will be perfectly adapted to our new environment in heaven. It will never grow wary and praising God. It will never be tired. We will have boundless energy throughout all of the ages to come. In this new glorified body and we will serve the Lord forever and ever and we will derive great pleasure from serving him there. Now there's one more book that I want to look at the book of Colossians Colossians 110.

I just want you to note a couple of key verses, verse 27, at the end of verse 27 Christ in you the hope of glory. The certainty that we have of future glory is ours because Christ now lives within us, because Christ lives within us.

We have the hope of glory.

He who has begun this good work in us will take us all the way home to glory.

Now if you would please look at chapter 3 and verse 12. As Paul urges us to love one another.

He uses the truth of God's unconditional love for us to motivate us to love one another.

Now we were not very lovely when the Lord chose to love us and we were file we were filthy yet the Lord made the distinguishing choice to choose to love us and it is on this basis.

Now we must do the same with one another you is easy to love other people that are lovely. It's hard to love other people that are just may be different from us and we must as an act of our will choose to love them, by the grace of God. But it's all based upon the doctrine of election, so please note verse 12, Colossians 3 verse 12 so as those who have been chosen of God that refers to all believers were chosen of God, holy and beloved, now we are to put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, bearing with one another, forgiving each other, whoever's.

It has a complaint against anyone, just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. So Paul's reasoning here is that God chose us not because of us. But in spite of us as an act of his will, God chose to set his love upon us and it is on this basis. Now that we must love one another as an act of our will with intention and purpose.

We must love one another as he says they with all humility and compassion, etc. in his crisis forgiven us unworthy as we were. So we must forgive others unworthy at times as they may be before us is so this is the doctrines of sovereign grace which is collected some of the gems out of the larger treasure house of God's word in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and even as Paul addresses us and how to live the Christian life.

He uses the doctrines of grace as the foundation and the basis by which we are to love one another for May God seal these truths to our hearts, and may our hearts, sort of, the heights of heaven this day as we contemplate this amazing grace and love that he has set upon us, the doctrines of grace five biblical truths that summarize salvation as result of God's grace include total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the preservation of the saints.

The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 2 that were saved by grace through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God is not by works, so but no one can boast. Every Saturday here on Renewing Your Mind, Dr. Steven Wasson has been showing us these doctrines in the New Testament we like to make the entire series available to you today for your donation of any amount of this offer contains 24 messages on two DVDs. That's more than eight hours of study on the doctrines of grace in the New Testament to request this resource simply call us at 800-435-4343. You can also do that online. When you go to Renewing Your and that will be. Thank you in advance for your financial gift will after Wyatt in Thessalonica of the apostle Paul was forced to leave town, but he wrote letters to the church there and next week.

Dr. Wilson will show us how God's grace extended to the Thessalonians. We hope you'll join us next Saturday for Renewing Your Mind

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