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Practical Christianity, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
July 28, 2022 9:00 am

Practical Christianity, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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July 28, 2022 9:00 am

As Pastor J.D. concludes our study in the book of Hebrews, we’re looking at how the power of the gospel connects to real-life—in our work, our marriages, our finances, and our churches.

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Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. When we are amazed at Jesus then all the things that we should be doing for God will come naturally because Jesus is the sinner and when you worship Jesus you become what Jesus wants you to be. So I would encourage you to evaluate any church you go to by the centrality of that message. The message that it's not about what you do but about what Jesus has done that doesn't change, evaluate the church by the centrality of that message in the church. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D.

Greer. As always, I'm your host Molly Vidovitch. Today Pastor J.D. concludes our powerful study in the book of Hebrews called Christ is Better.

Although we've come to the end of this series you can always listen again or share it with others when you visit us online at jdgreer.com. Today's message is titled Practical Christianity. We're looking at how the power of the gospel connects to real life in our work, our marriages, our finances, and our churches.

Let's join Pastor J.D. as he steers us into Hebrews chapter 13. Now one important thing I want you to notice before we jump into it is how Hebrews chapter 12 ends because Hebrews 12 sets up Hebrews 13 and one of the last verses in Hebrews 12 is this one. Let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship with reverence and awe so that the instructions that he's given you in Hebrews 13 are how we worship with reverence and awe. You see this is all supposed to be a response of worship and Christian living is always a response to something. You worship something when you're amazed by it, when you're overwhelmed by it, when little Gabby Douglas does her perfect floor routine and you want to stand up and cheer.

That's a mild form of worship. That wasn't something that you were forced to do by command. It was something you wanted to do.

It just grew out of your heart. So it is as you come to know the glorious gospel that has been given that you will then find that these things that he's going to command in Hebrews 13 come naturally. All right, here we go.

Here's the first one he brings up. Practice hospitality. Practice hospitality. Let's start in verse one. Let brotherly love continue and do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers.

So he is talking about a love that starts among the brotherhood and just spills out into the streets. You show me a place where the gospel is really at work and I will show you a place that is characterized by such graciousness, by such patience, and by such generosity that it starts with people on the inside and just flows into all the streets of the community. Church, here's the thing.

Listen to me. Our belief in the gospel is demonstrated by our hospitality. Here's sermon number two. He says avoid immorality. Avoid immorality. Verse four. Let marriage be held in honor among all and let the marriage bed be undefiled because God will judge the sexually immoral and the adulterous.

Here's what I want you to notice because I don't have a long time to spend on this. I want you to notice that in the first four verses the top two things he brings up are Christians loving the poor and sexual purity. Love the poor. Avoid immorality.

Number three, fleet your third sermon. Flee materialism. Flee materialism. Keep your life free from the love of money and be content with what you have because he has said I will never leave you nor forsake you. So we can confidently say the Lord is my helper. I will not fear.

What can man do to me? There are two things in there that you ought to kind of circle. One is contentment. The other is, in verse six, confidence.

Those are the commands. Be content and be confident. Sermon number four, last sermon. Honor the church. Honor the church.

What follows, you guys, I don't know if we've been here, but hang with me on this one because this is an important one. What follows in these verses are a set of ways that you should relate to your church. It's kind of a report card for a church, what I'm about to give you. By the way, for those of you that move away from here and have to go to a new church, people always ask me, what should I look for in a church? These things that he's about to give you are what are important in a church. These are the things that you should be looking for. This is the church's report card.

We're going to move through them quickly, all right? Here's number one, verse seven. Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the Word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith. Number one, observe the life of your leaders and imitate their faith. Hopefully you are attending a church where the pastors are examples of integrity, sacrifice, and faith.

Is it the kind of church that values pastoral care? You see, one of the things we know at this church is that effective discipleship is not just hearing somebody teach no matter how good that person is. Effective discipleship only happens by observing somebody's life up close. There are certain things that can only be done life on life. It don't matter how many podcasts you listen to or how good the preacher is, there's only a certain level that you can get from this angle.

Here's the analogy we use in our church. What I'm doing here right now, think of this like air war. If you've ever studied any kind of battle strategy in modern warfare, air war never wins a battle totally. Air war can weaken the defenses of the people who hold the ground, but they're going to dig in, they're going to go into caves, so you can weaken up their defenses through air war, but then you got to send in the ground troops to go in and actually secure the area. So what I'm doing here on the weekends is I'm just doing air war. You're bringing your friends and I'm just carpet bombing them.

I'm blowing stuff up. But if their lives are ever going to change, it's because you are going into the caves of their life, metaphorically speaking, and you are showing them this is how the gospel addresses this particular situation. A church has to value discipleship and being up close to leaders so that you can observe their life and imitate their faith. Here's number two, verse eight, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Verse nine, do not be led away by diverse and strange teachings, for it is good for the heart to be strengthened by grace, not by foods, which have not benefited those devoted to them. Number two, evaluate the church's message by the gospel. Evaluate the church's message by the gospel.

Notice what the author says. There's been one primary message, one for all of Christian history, one, Jesus. And Jesus never changes. And the message about Jesus is not even a bunch of stuff that you're supposed to go and do for him.

The message about Jesus was what he accomplished 2,000 years ago, which doesn't need editing or updating. Fads change all the time. You ever notice that? Different churches get different fads that are new. So some churches are all about spiritual gifts.

Can I get your spiritual gifts? Some churches are all about discovering your potential and your inner champion and how to become better at who you are. And some churches are all about rules.

You know, it's like, oh, you got to look like this, you got to do this. Some churches are all about, you know, action, like, oh, you got to be relevant. But we need messages that are relevant. So I'm gonna preach them five ways to be a good husband and three ways to be generous and four ways to get along with annoying people or whatever.

You know, it's just like, just a constant string of like relevant life application lessons. Sometimes churches are fixed on some slant of theology. You know, it's like, oh, the new Young Reform Movement. It's all about Calvinism. So pastors only preach out of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd John.

John Piper, John Calvin, John MacArthur. That's the only thing they ever preach out of. For some it's all about relevant music. For some it's about social justice and racial reconciliation. You know, many of those things are great.

They really are. But the center of the Christian message is Jesus, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. And not a new agenda about what we're needing to do for Him, but the timeless message of what He's done for us. All those other things, whether they're spiritual gifts or relevant steps or racial reconciliation, these are things that flow out of the Gospel.

They're not the Gospel. The Gospel is the news that Christ did for us, what we couldn't do for ourselves, by saving us. The Gospel's not a new list of things we need to go do for Him. What we do for Him flows out of what He's done for us. Summit, there is one thing I pray will always be true about our message and our ministry, and that it is primarily about the glory of Jesus, who He is and what He has done, that we would be in love with Jesus, that we would stand amazed at Jesus, because He never changes. And when we are amazed at Jesus, then all the things that we should be doing for God will come naturally, because Jesus is the center, and when you worship Jesus, you become what Jesus wants you to be. So I would encourage you to evaluate any church you go to, including this one, evaluate any church you go to by the centrality of that message, the message that it's not about what you do, but about what Jesus has done.

That doesn't change. Evaluate the church by the centrality of that message and the church. That's the central message of the Bible. It's what every verse and what every story of the Bible is about, and you should evaluate any teaching, any teaching based on the centrality of the Gospel.

Does this leave me adoring and hungering for Jesus? Verse 12, so Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through His own blood. Therefore, let us go to Him outside the camp and bear the reproach He endured, for here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come. I see two implications there for a church. Number three, just because the church is sharply criticized by the community doesn't mean it's doing something wrong, because Jesus was outside the camp. He was so unpopular among the religious and the secular people that He didn't have any role in the city. They just threw Him out. So when a church is thrown out, that doesn't mean it's doing something wrong.

In fact, if they're not being ostracized by the religious establishment, by the secular establishment, that means they're not that much like Jesus. We'll get back to our teaching in just a moment, but first let me tell you about our latest resource created exclusively for our Summit Life listeners. Just like God has always been there for the giants of the faith, helping them thrive despite hardships and persecution, our new study book is meant to help you do the same. The study includes 10 short sessions to help you flesh out, apply, and pray through what you're learning here on the program and in your personal study of Hebrews. You can complete the study on your own or maybe you'd like to do it with your small group or family.

Reserve your copy today by calling 866-335-5220 or visit us online at jdgrier.com. Now let's get back to the final moments of our teaching today. Once again, here's Pastor JD.

Here's the other implication. Number four, is your church going outside the camp to the lost? Summit, listen, Jesus had one mission, one mission. It wasn't politics. His mission was to seek and save the lost, and I never, I never want to be a part of a church where that is not paramount.

Never. I had a guy criticize our church recently. I'm not angry about this. I know I'm preaching angry, but that's just, you know, I'm not really angry. God was like, you're just a big megachurch. You're just consumed with numbers. And my answer was always, people were hearing the gospel and they're responding. What do you want us to do?

You want us to turn them away? Well, you shouldn't count the numbers. So I asked him, I said, well, do you count the offering in your church?

He said, yes. I said, why would you count the offering and not the people? Does this money matter more to your church than people?

Yes, there is an idolatrous way that you can count numbers where it's all about pride, it's all about you. But Jesus was such a meticulous number counting shepherd that he knew immediately when one of his hundred sheep had gone missing. I know that you can get off on this all together, but I'm just telling you that what drives this church is the understanding that Jesus came to seek and save the lost.

And if we're his followers, we're going to exist to seek and save the lost. Which is why we keep pushing ourselves to plant churches, to grow. A little trade secret, when this church hit 2,000, that was plenty big for me. When this church hit 600, it was too big for my wife. He said, I don't like churches this big. I was like, I don't like them either. And we hit 2,000. Everything I ever wanted in a church was there at 2,000.

I was like, I don't like them. But you want to know why we keep pushing ourselves? Because ultimately it's not about what I want and it's not about what you want. It's about following Jesus who gave everything so that he could bring people on the outside in. That's why we keep focusing on ministering to and loving our city. I never, God help us, want this to become a comfortable country club. It needs to be a ministry dispatch for the most broken parts of our city. That's why I love the words of Missionary to China, C.T.

Stud. Some people want to live in the sound of chapel bells. Some want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell. So when people come up to me and tell me they don't prefer this or that, I mean, if they're telling me that because they're thinking we can more effectively reach people doing something differently, I'm all ears. But when they got their, you know, spiritual passy out, I don't like that.

I like the old passy. I'm not listening. I'm nodding my head, but I'm not listening at all because this doesn't exist to pacify you. We don't choose things based on what makes us comfortable. We choose things as followers of Jesus that send us out to retrieve people that he died for. And he went to a cross, and at that point there should be no question about whether or not this is about our preferences any longer.

I'm not angry. I know I sound like it, but. So let me just ask you, are you engaged with the poor? Do you know lost people? I mean, if you died tomorrow and the only people who came to your funeral were church people, could you really call yourself the friend of sinners?

Like they said about Jesus. You going on mission trips. You ever been on a mission trip? You praying for missionaries?

Could we look at your life and say this is what it means to spend the life going outside the camp? If not, no offense, but you're not a follower of Jesus. You're just a cultural Christian. I guess that is offensive, but it's not mean offensive. It's friendly offensive, okay?

It should be offensive. Are you a follower of Jesus? You're just a cultural Christian who comes to get your God fixed by hanging out in a Christian country club. This is a dispatch, a yard from the gates of hell. Verse 15, through him will let us continually offer up a sacrifice and praise to God that is the fruit of our lips, that acknowledge his name. He's going to use the word sacrifice twice in these verses. Remember sacrifice? That was like the core part of Hebrew worship. You come to Hebrew worship and there'd be a, you know, goat would be sacrificed or something. We don't do that anymore. We're not going to end our service by sacrificing a cow, okay?

Thank God. But sacrifices are what are core to an experience together. And there are two things that he hits as the sacrifices in the church. The first one is worship that is centered on the gospel. Worship that is centered on the gospel.

Acknowledge his name means that you acknowledge the centrality of who he is and what he's done. Now again, this should not need to be said, but worship is about God. I know this should not need to be said, but pet peeve alert. I hate those sappy worship songs that are all about how I feel. Oh God, this is how I feel about you. This is what I want to say to you. Like Crystal Gale love song to Jesus or anybody born after 1984 did not connect with that reference.

Like Colby Kilei, like singing songs like the one she writes. That's not what worship is. I'd rather center our worship on God's beauty than my feelings. I'd rather rejoice in how God feels about us and what he says about us than naval gaze at my feelings about him.

That's much more exciting to me. And by the way, church is not about discovering your potential or unleashing the champion in you. Yeah, you got potential because you're made in the image of God, but you also wrecked that so badly that you were condemned to hell and Jesus, who had the ultimate potential, was the real champion who came to absorb your hell for you.

No offense, but I'd rather think about him than be excited about you. And I want us to leave here adoring him than we are excited at our own potential. Because it's when you see the glory of who he is that you become what he intended you to be. Second sacrifice in verse 16. Don't neglect to do good and to share what you have because these sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Generosity, number six, both inside and outside the church should be a big deal. Because any time you've experienced the gospel, you become a generous person. Listen to me, that's why I'm always talking to you about your money. Because I know it is impossible for you to be a follower of Jesus and not be a generous person.

It's impossible. And that's why I tell you this without an ounce of dis-ingenuity in what I'm about to say. I tell you this all the time. It is so important, this is so central in your walk with Christ, that if you are one of those people who feels like every time I talk about this, this is a ploy to get your money out of your wallet into my hands.

Then I tell you this with full sincerity. If that really is how you feel, then I want you to give it somewhere else. Because it is more important for me for you to learn to be a generous person than it is to somehow figure out how to meet the budget of our church. There are enough people here who believe in the mission of this church and trust us enough to give and let this be the conduit for how they're giving generously. If you're like, I just can't, you got burned, you got burned by somebody else and you're like, I can't trust you.

Fine, maybe one day I hope you will learn to trust us. But until then, it is more important for me for you to learn to become a generous person than it is to meet some budget requirement. So if that's an obstacle for you, then when you hear me talking about it, you'd be like, good sermon preacher, I'm gonna go give somewhere else because I don't trust you.

That's okay, it really is. Because it's more important to me that you become a generous person in response to the gospel. Here's number seven, obey your leaders and submit to them because they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give an account.

Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, because that would be of no advantage to you. It just creates sermons like this one. Number seven, obey your church leaders and submit to them.

Now hang with me on this one, all right. God has ordained the church so that it's his instrument on earth. Doesn't mean it's led by perfect people. But God has put his spirit in the church and then the leaders that he's appointed at your church to be the conduit through which he speaks and guides and directs and counsels, spurs you on to good works. That doesn't make me proud because God chose a donkey in the Old Testament to speak and God let Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey. Old and New Testament show me that if I'm gonna be the vehicle for Jesus, I'm not that much above the pay grade of a donkey.

So I'm not getting proud off of that. I'm just understanding that God has begun to work through his church and if you are disconnected from the church, then that means you are disconnected from those graces. Now some of you are like, uh, obey? How could the writer of Hebrews say that? Well, he's not talking about, you know, the leaders showing up your house and saying, quit your job, give me your car.

Never tried that, okay. But he's not talking about me showing up and saying that. He's talking about matters of spiritual direction.

He's telling you that God has ordained leaders in your life and if this is the church he's led you to, you should consent to that leadership except in matters where they're clearly in violation of spiritual matters where they're clearly in violation of scripture. He's telling you that you ought to give them the benefit of the doubt. That's a cardinal rule, by the way, in all of my relationships. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume they are intelligent and they have good motives until they prove to you that they are neither.

But until they prove to you they are neither, then I'm going to give us somebody the benefit of the doubt and what they're saying. He's saying extend that to your leaders. Trust should be assumed in the church until it is violated. Now if you know they're in violation of scripture or you know you can't follow with a good conscience, then by all means you should withdraw from under their leadership and go somewhere else. You should always obey God rather than man. But what you should not do is stay in that church and just gossip.

I remember seeing this demonstrated, I think, by my father. Where my father, as a high school kid, I remember people saying the worst things about pastors and leaders in the church that I grew up in. And I remember my dad saying, that's the man God appointed to lead our church. And I'm not going to speak against him until I know he's in violation of scripture. He's got to answer to God.

He's got to give an account. I'm going to respect the position God gave him and follow him and give him the benefit of the doubt until he proves that he doesn't deserve it. I know you're like, well, this is a pretty self-interested pastor for you to say these kind of things. It's in the Bible. I couldn't be faithful to scripture and not at least tell you what it says and what it means. You obey God rather than men. But if God has led you to this church and he's put you in here, then he's also given pastors and leaders that are listening to God, trying their best.

They're fallible. But you should give them the benefit of the doubt because they are God's instrument, even though they're donkeys. Verse 18, pray for us because we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desire and act honorably in all things. Number eight, the pastoral team should be humble enough to know they need God's help. I am not the dictator of this church.

I'm underneath the authority of a board of elders who is underneath the authority of the congregation at large. And there are all kinds of mistakes that we make, so I would repeat this admonition to you. You pray for us because we are trying our best to hear from God and take the steps we need to take. But I know that at the end of the day, I'm just a fallible human being.

I'm the shepherd, yes, but I'm still a sheep. And you need to pray for me that God will speak and that God will guide despite our frailties and our faults. I know that we can be wrong, which is why we need your prayer, which is number nine. Pray for your pastoral team.

Pray for them. And then he concludes, verse 20, now may the God of peace who brought you again from the dead, brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. I appeal to you, brothers, bear with my word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly. Verse 23, you should know that our brother Timothy has been released, with whom I shall see you if he comes soon.

Greet all your leaders and all the saints, those who come from Italy, send you greetings. Grace be with you all. Amen. And with that, my friends, we end our study of the book of Hebrews. Hebrews is about learning to believe.

Has that happened for you? Are you ready to cross the line of faith? You were listening to Summit Life with Pastor Author and Theologian J.D.

Greer. And with that, we conclude our teaching series in the book of Hebrews. Now, J.D., today, as we reach the conclusion of this series through Hebrews called Christ is Better, it seems to me like the point. The main message of Hebrews is don't give up. Yeah, Molly, that is exactly right. As we walk through the book of Hebrews, we see that this is a book of the Bible that is written to people whose faith in Jesus was was lagging.

Right. Some of that was the difficulty of their surroundings, wondering why God wasn't delivering the Bible to them. God wasn't delivering them more quickly or just walking through pain or sometimes just through a time when it seems like, you know, God almost feels absent.

I'd say that many of us today struggle with some of those same feelings, and we find it harder and harder to maintain this robust faith in God that he is active, that he's working and that his goodness is flowing into our lives. So to help us as we daily seek to walk with God, we've got a Bible study to drive home that Jesus and Jesus alone is worthy of our trust and our devotion. We want every chapter of the book of Hebrews to challenge and to encourage you. And so this study is designed to take you deeper into the chapters so that you're hearing the Bible taught, but then you're also being able to examine it for yourself and let the Holy Spirit give you additional insight and help apply the concepts that you're learning to to your life so that your life changes.

Go to jdgrier.com and it'll tell you how you can get a hold of that study. Today is the final day it's available. The suggested giving level is $35 or more. And remember, every penny that you donate is used to advance the gospel through this ministry. Give today and ask for your copy of Christ is Better when you call us at 866-335-5220. It's even easier to give on our website.

Go to jdgrier.com. I'm Molly Vidovitch. So glad that you joined us today and remember to tune in tomorrow when Pastor J.D. Greer describes how we can know God personally. It's part of a brand new series called The Name here on Summit Life. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-18 22:47:13 / 2023-03-18 22:58:28 / 11

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