Today on Renewing Your Mind... ... ... .... ..... . His last will and testament, His final legacy before His death, many of you have had the opportunity of being in attorney's offices when you heard the reading of a will of a departed loved one, in which the testament is given, the last will and testament, and I bequeathed so-and-so this particular piece of property and so on. Jesus does that.
He He reads His will before He goes to His death in the presence of His friends, in the presence of those whom He called to this intimate association of discipleship. And what was His last will and testament? He didn't have any place to lay His head. He didn't own a house. He didn't have a car.
He didn't have a chariot. What He had was this. He said, peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you, not as the world gives, give I unto you, let not your hearts be troubled. That's one of the most difficult things for a Christian to do is to go through this world with an untroubled heart. But any person whose heart is ruled by the peace of Christ is truly unflappable.
This isn't stoicism where one practices the imperturbability of the stiff upper lip. But it is a calm acquiescence into one's assurance of the character of God and who God is. And whatever else happens, no matter how much pain we endure, no matter how much persecution we have to face, we should be people of a peaceful, untroubled spirit.
That is not an easy thing. But it's the corollary to love. If we put on the love of God and allow the peace of Christ to rule in our hearts, then life moves to a whole new plateau, to a whole new dimension, doesn't it? And of course, this was the great desire of the ancient Jew that was so important, so central to their theology, that the word peace became a substitute for the word hello. To this day, when a Jew meets another Jew in Palestine, he doesn't say, hello.
What does he say? Shalom, aleichem, peace be unto you. And the response is, aleichem shalom, and unto you, peace. And so Jesus was familiar with that Old Testament priority of peace, but he achieved a level of peace as the Prince of Peace that no mortal had ever achieved. Thomas Aquinas speculated on the question of the beatific vision, that which is promised to the people of God in heaven, when the veil between our eyes and the very being of God is removed, and the promise that John gives us in his epistles is that we shall see Him as He is, in His unveiled glory. And we call that the beatific vision because no human experience, no sensory experience, could do anything close to flooding the soul with joy and happiness than be able for the believer to see the unveiled glory of God.
This is the highest and supreme state of blessedness. That's why it's called the beatific vision. And remember when Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount gave the promises to those who endured certain deprivations, blessed are the poor, and He goes through the blessings of the beatitudes. Again, who is promised the vision of God? Who is promised the beatific vision? Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Because Jesus had perfect purity of heart, wouldn't that mean that He enjoyed in this world the beatific vision, that He always beheld the Father's face? And that was what it would be that would keep Jesus' heart and soul in perfect peace, because He could see the Father. He could bask, as it were, in the glory of the Father, and it would give Him peace. And these people that followed Him around and saw Him in the firestorm of controversy, everywhere He went, being the target of ridicule and hatred and animosity, nevertheless remained so calm in the midst of the storm. He had an indescribable measure of peace that no one had ever seen in a human being before.
Now how do you think they felt when they're gathering in the upper room and He says, well, here's when we're going to leave you, fellas, I'm not going to give you My robe. The Romans are going to take that, but I'm going to let you have My peace. What a legacy that He would give to His disciples and that He would give to us.
I mean, so Paul's not just talking in religious terms here. He's talking in terms of a quality of life that he himself had participated in, and he is reminding the Colossians of how central to the Christian life the legacy of the peace of Christ is, that it should not simply be tasted occasionally, but it should be in a position of dominance in the soul so that the life of the person is ruled by that peace. He will keep that one in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him. So when you find peace slipping away from your soul, and you find turmoil racking your spirit, look to the Prince of Peace and remind yourself of your inheritance, of who it is that owns you, who it is who has adopted you into His family. Let the peace of God rule in your hearts to which also you were called in one body and be thankful.
Oh, there's so much here, but I'm going to move on. Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly. Let the Word of Christ richly dwell in your soul. That is saying immerse yourself in the Scriptures, immerse yourselves in the Word of God.
What did David say in the Old Testament? Thy word have I hid in my heart. I haven't just read it occasionally, I didn't just listen to it, let it bounce off my ears, but I've taken it as a prized possession, and I've sought a place where I could conceal it from those who would steal it from me. It's a treasure, and I have buried that treasure where? In my heart, so that that which is in my heart is the most valued thing of my life. Let the Word of God dwell in your heart richly.
And now he says something, I think, somewhat strange in the text, very strange. Teaching and admonishing one another, now that's not so strange that Paul would call the people of God to be engaged in teaching each other and encouraging each other and admonishing each other, but note the methodology that he asked to be used. How are they to teach and admonish one another? Through hymns and psalms and spiritual songs. Luther understood that music is a preternatural gift that God gives to human beings. And that there's something that happens when the human person responds with music and responds to music.
You know, we say that music sues the savage beast, it does. When Saul was going through his periods of dementia, utter madness when he was king, what was the only thing that could calm his spirit? He would call for David, and David would come in, and he would play his instrument and sing, and the whole spirit of Saul would change, and he would calm down. Paul is saying that we encourage one another, teach one another, and admonish one another to spiritual growth by the singing together of hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. And now Paul gives again virtually the same list of practical instructions that he gives in his other epistles over and over, specific directions of behavior to various people in various circumstances. The first one, wives, submit to your own husbands as is fitting in the Lord.
In our day and age, this is seen as politically incorrect and totally unfitting. The apostolic testimony is the submission of the wife to the husband in the Lord is the fitting thing to do. We've seen before in other passages where we have that command for wives to submit. Paul doesn't say, wives, submit to your husbands. It's wives, submit to what? Your own husbands, your particular husbands.
Our translation could be your peculiar husbands. Children obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children lest they become discouraged. Elsewhere, he says, do not provoke them to wrath. Now, you can provoke your children to wrath by disappointing them. They can get angry. You can provoke them to wrath by disciplining them.
They can rebel. But that's not what Paul is talking about here. He's talking about, I believe he's talking about fathers who not only discipline but who tyrannize. That, yes, children are called to obey, but those who are in authority over the children are called to rule their homes in a just and godly manner, not exercising a tyranny and thinking that God has given us a license to abuse our children. Now, bondservants obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eye service, as men pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. Now, in Ephesians when the commands are given to various groups, people talk all the time about the relationship, the wife and the husband, what's the wife's responsibility, what the husband's responsibility was, the child's responsibility, the parent's responsibility. And then Paul ends that with a discussion of slaves who obey your masters. And there's almost no ink given to that text today.
Why? Because slavery has been abolished. And so we don't sense an application of this biblical mandate of submission of the slave to the master as being applicable to us because we've a bodily slave. We don't have slavery anymore, except for one little problem. Anyone who's a Christian is a slave. We are called the doulois, the slaves, the bondservants of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says you are not your own, but you have been bought with a price. He has purchased your redemption by his own blood.
He has paid the bride price to redeem you out of slavery and now he owns you. And that's Paul's favorite metaphor to describe himself and his own relationship to Christ where he says, Paul, a slave of Jesus Christ to the church at Rome and so on. And so every Christian bears this metaphor. And this is rooted not only in Jesus' thinking, but let's back up a minute. Let's go back to the Exodus. Why did the Exodus take place in the first place? What was the problem that God was acting to rectify? His people were enslaved, and they were under the tyranny of Pharaoh.
And they groaned under this burden that they had to endure for years and years and years. And finally, we read in Exodus that God hears the cry of his people, and he sends Moses and he says, Moses, you go to Pharaoh and you say to Pharaoh that I said, let my people go. And the whole Old Testament drama of redemption is about release from slavery.
But here's something you almost never hear. We know what God was freeing the Israelites from, but what was he freeing them to or for? Go tell Pharaoh to let my people go so that they can do what? That they can come and serve me. We are freed from slavery to service.
In a sense, what God is saying is, hey, Pharaoh, let them go. They're not yours. They're mine.
They're not going to serve you. They're going to serve me. And like man or Jesus says, hey, Satan, I'm taking them away from you so that they can serve me. They're mine.
I bought them. Now if you were a Christian, you are no longer in bondage to sin. You're no longer a slave of Satan, but you are now called to be a servant of Jesus Christ. And since we are called to be servants, we need to understand what God's law for servants was. And that's what I think is so rich about what Paul says here to the bondservants. He says, bondservants, obey in all things your master according to the flesh. Now, can we apply that to the Christian, Christians? Obey your master in all things.
Would that work? Now here's the kicker. Here's the painful part. Not with eye service as mend-pleasers. You've all been in work environments, work situations where there's a foreman or a superintendent, a planned superintendent or an office manager, whatever it is. I've walked through our own offices at Ligonier and walked in unexpectedly and see the computer on, the card game there or whatever, the pong game or whatever it is, computer game. These people are getting paid to work, and they're playing.
But normally when I walk through the building and people see me coming, there aren't any games on the computers. I look at these people and I say, how can they work so hard for so long with uninterrupted labor? Well, I mean, they're making sure I see them in that posture of work. Don't we all do that?
Don't we all sort of increase the output when the boss comes by? And when Paul says, not with eye service, he's meaning you don't serve your master only when your master's looking, only when your master's watching you. You're not to be a Christian just when you're in church or when the preacher's looking at you, but we are to be servants of Christ with sincerity of heart, not, he says, in eye service nor as men-pleasers.
I would say to you that the single greatest weakness of the church at the beginning of the 21st century is that the church has been infected with men-pleasing. Paul says you can't be a servant of Christ if you've got one eye on the crowd. How many of you have been in jail for your faith?
I haven't. How many of the disciples weren't? Every one of them, save one, was executed for their faith, and the one that wasn't was John who was banished and exiled from his homeland by the government because they refused to please the crowd. Now, that doesn't mean that we are called to be as obnoxious as we possibly can be as Christians. No, we're not supposed to do that. It doesn't mean that God has called us to be the police of the world, to correct everybody we see whenever we see them doing something that we know would not be pleasing to God. That's not what we're about. I'm not talking that way. I'm talking about being cowards for Christ because we know it's not politically correct to say there's one way to God and only one way. We know that doesn't go down in this country, but if we're not willing to say that, then we're not servants of Christ.
And so, we can learn much about what it means to be a Christian from looking at the New Testament mandate given to slaves because that's who we are. I don't own my life. My life was purchased. It's not mine. It's His. And so, He has a right to do with it whatever He wants, and I'm called to express that servitude in sincerity of heart.
I did skip over the responsibility of the husband, which it probably was a Freudian slip because that's the text I hate because if I had to choose the responsibility given to a wife or the responsibility given to a husband in the New Testament, I'd much rather take the easier responsibility, which is the one God gives to the wife because God calls me to love my wife as Christ loved the Church and to give myself to my wife as Christ gave Himself to the Church. That's R.C. Sproul with a message from Colossians, and you're listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Tuesday. I'm Lee Webb. Thank you for being with us.
This is classic R.C. Sproul material, and it's an example of why we so appreciate his teaching. The messages we're featuring this week come from our ministry partner archives, a collection of sermons and messages available only to those who sign up to give a monthly gift of $25 or more. Ministry partners are a special group, and we serve them with exclusive resources and other benefits. Their stable monthly generosity fuels everything we do here at Ligonier Ministries. If you have benefited from this ministry through the years, I hope you'll consider becoming a monthly partner. Friends like David are helping us reach more and more people with the gospel. Ligonier Ministries in total has had such a tremendous impact on my spiritual life.
I've listened to Renewing Your Mind for many, many years, and through Renewing Your Mind, through Table Talk magazine and the various teaching series. Frankly, Ligonier has had the most impact on my understanding of God's Word through the study of His Word in the Bible and theology in general. I'm so thankful for Ligonier. My wife and I are Ligonier partners, and we just feel so blessed for being associated with Renewing Your Mind and the whole Ligonier organization.
Thank you so much. David, we thank you and your wife. If you would like to have the messages you're hearing this week when you become a ministry partner, we will make them available in your learning library along with the rest of the ministry partner collection. Ministry partners also receive a subscription to Table Talk magazine and a Reformation Study Bible along with discounts to our conferences. I hope you'll contact us today and sign up.
You can do that by phone at 800-435-4343 or online at renewingyourmind.org slash partner. If you're already a ministry partner, let me ask you to prayerfully consider raising your commitment. We are grateful for your continued support. Tomorrow, as we return to this ministry partner archive, we'll hear a message that helps us interpret Scripture. The avenue to the heart is through the mind. If you try to bypass the mind, then what you get are empty emotional responses that mean nothing. The Word of God is intended to be understood. I hope you'll join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-20 01:38:33 / 2022-12-20 01:47:26 / 9