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The Tapas Chapter, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
April 11, 2023 9:00 am

The Tapas Chapter, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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April 11, 2023 9:00 am

In this message on 1 Corinthians 16, Pastor J.D. continues to walk through Paul’s concluding thoughts to the Corinthian church, through which we get a helpful look into the biblical motivation for giving and how to make a Spirit-led decision.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. When you get knocked down, get up, fight another day. Because you know what? The mercies of God are going to be new tomorrow morning and there is abundant tomorrow morning as they were today so you can get up and keep going because God's got a fresh supply of grace that he's got right for you. So get up and keep going.

Future generations depend on you getting out and fighting again. Welcome back to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer. I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. You know, I think it's safe to say that we can often learn as much by watching how someone lives as we can from listening to what they teach. Today, Pastor J.D. continues to walk through Paul's concluding thoughts to the Corinthian church, through which we get a helpful look into the biblical motivation for giving and how to make a spirit-led decision. We're finishing up our teaching series called Cutting Through the Noise today with the last couple bites of rich theology as Pastor J.D.

serves up our final message titled The Tapas Chapter. When you have to make a decision, you're supposed to consult these four, the word of God, the counsel of the church, prayer, and then to open and close doors around you. And you've got to hold all four of them in tension just like Paul is doing. Paul knows what God has put in his heart.

That's the direction his compass points. He's been open to words of prophecy and counsel from the church. You can read about that in Acts. And now Paul is watching for open and closed doors as indications of where the spirit wants him to go.

One of the most important practical pieces of wisdom I've ever learned in this subject came from a guy named Henry Blackaby in a study he wrote 20-some years ago. It's a classic Bible study called Experiencing God. And I still remember the central point of that Bible study.

It went like this. You need to look for where God is at work around you and then join him in it. The single most important piece of counsel, biblical counsel in pursuing the will of God is look for where God is at work around you and just go join him in it. Look for places where he's already at work, where he's creating opportunity, where he's growing your passions and then join God in what he is doing.

God's always the initiator. Dr. Blackaby then shows you that for person after person in the Bible, including Paul, this is how God guided them. Look around you for where God is at work. Ask God to open your eyes to that and then join him in it. So the first thing I find helpful in verses five through nine are these principles for how to be guided by the spirit. The second helpful thing in those verses is tucked in right at the end of verse nine. Paul says, a wide door for effective ministry has opened for me, yet there are many who oppose me.

I want you to see that. God has opened a wide door for me yet and there are many who oppose me. I point that out because a lot of people assume that difficulty and opposition somehow indicates that you're on the wrong path. Listen, every significant thing I've ever done for God came with a lot of opposition. You're trying to do the right thing at work and your boss has given you a hard time.

He's even threatening to fire you. You're trying to raise your kids the right way and all the other parents are criticizing you. You're getting pushback from members of your own family. You share the gospel with somebody and they tell you that you are an arrogant bigot.

Opposition is not always a sign that you're on the wrong path. It's often a sign that you're on the right way. You see, after God calls you to something, he wants to teach you to trust him. He wants to show you that it's his power who accomplishes these things, not your own. Paul would say in the first chapter of his second letter of the Corinthians, he would say, man, everywhere I've gone, it's felt like the sentence of death has been on me, but the reason for that is so that I would learn to hope in only God who could raise people from the dead.

My life feels like a constant death, but God gives me the resurrection. Opposition sometimes is your invitation to trust God. Some of you are like, wait a minute, pastor. You just said closed doors can be one of the ways God leads you. So how do you know when opposition and obstacles are God's way of closing a door and how do you know when you're supposed to press through them? That's a great question. You got to be in touch with the spirit and you got to be seeking counsel from other believers to discern that.

That's all I got to say about that. All right, that's our third and fourth courses. Verse 10, here she comes again, our waitress. Y'all, I love this verse.

Verse 10, this is awesome. If Timothy comes, if Timothy comes, see that he has nothing to fear while with you because he's doing the Lord's work just as I am. Why would Paul say that? How horrible was Timothy's job? Timothy had to take Paul's letter to the Corinthians where Paul basically punches them in the face. Y'all, it was customary in those days for the letter deliverer to read the letter out loud to everybody and then answer any questions they had.

So Paul says to Timothy, hey, Tim, I got a job for you. I need you to take this letter to Corinth and read it out loud to them. I would suggest you try not to make eye contact with the guy dating his stepmom when you read that section. I'd also make sure I stood a pretty good distance from those ladies that I'm going to command to be silent in the church.

And be warned, somebody might walk on stage and try to smack you, okay? Thank you, buddy. All right, good luck with this. So Paul basically at the end of this letter says, listen, y'all take it easy on my man Tim.

He's just literally just the mailman. He's doing the Lord's work just like I'm trying to do. Verse 13, be alert, Paul says. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. By the way, some of your translations there say act like men, which is literally what Paul wrote in Greek. That's a literal translation. Be courageous like men. Ladies, don't read too much into that, okay? He's not trying to say that only men can be courageous.

He's just encouraging equality that was normally celebrated among men. He was saying, be courageous like the most valiant warrior you can think about and then be strong. Verse 14, do everything in love.

I would argue to you all that those five commands sum up everything Paul has taught in 1 Corinthians. Be alert, pay attention. Your enemy is at work all around you. Your enemy is trying to deceive you. The enemy is at work and that gossiping and pride that's at work in your heart. He's trying to divide you from your brothers.

It's not just an argument. It is actually, he is sowing discord because he wants to separate friends in the church. That's his game. Be alert. He's at work in that sin that you guys are tolerating in your midst. He's at work in that habit that you won't deal with.

Be alert, sir. He is waiting for you at that computer terminal at midnight. He's got the tools in his arsenal to destroy your marriage. He's lurking for you.

He's looking for a place to sabotage your life. Be alert. Be alert, sister, because he's waiting for you in that flirtatious glance from that guy at the gym. Be alert, church. Be alert, church. He often masquerades as a teacher of the church. We see that in Corinthians, don't we? We see that all through Paul's letters. He comes in under the guise of a teacher in the church teaching really clever things, having a podcast, writing some cool blogs and some books, while suddenly undermining confidence in God's word. Y'all know that not everybody who publishes books or does podcasts or appears on Oprah and says they speak for Jesus actually does. Y'all know that, right? Be alert, church.

Just because a political leader says that he or she is your friend, that doesn't mean that they are. Y'all, our enemy loves to seduce Christians away from dependence on the Holy Spirit and the power of the gospel with offers of alternative counterfeit forms of power. Be alert, church. Be alert, parents. Be alert because there's an enemy after the souls of your children, and you need to pay attention to what they're being taught at their schools, on social media, and from our entire society.

Listen, I'm not an alarmist. I feel like I've demonstrated that over 20 years, but increasingly we are seeing what can only be called an agenda pushed with our children on things like gender and sexuality. If you do not believe me, just type in on a Google search Orange County School Controversy or Wake County School Board Controversy, or pay attention to the discussions going on at Disney or the things taking place down in Florida right now. And for goodness sake, do not give your kids unfiltered access to social media or let them keep their phones in their rooms at night, especially in their preteen years. Parents, there are a lot of forces out there trying to disciple your children. It is your and my job to guide that process and to protect our children, and you can only do that if you're alert.

Be alert. Paul says, secondly, stand firm in your faith. Theirs was a hostile age, and following Jesus might put you in the lion's den. And if you're going to hold on to the faith, he says, it's going to be a fight because everything in your world goes the opposite direction. Now here in our day, we're not getting thrown in the lion's den, but the forces are just as strong and just as seductive. Y'all, listen, I love our community. I love our nation, but you know that everything in this society pulls against Christ.

Business, government, education, entertainment. The world has always trended toward self-exaltation, unbelief, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. Doesn't mean those things are bad in and of themselves, or you shouldn't be involved in them. I'm just telling you, if you're not actively fighting to stand firm against those things in your heart and your family, you are falling.

You cannot coast uphill. You have to fight your way into the kingdom of God, Jesus said. He says, be strong or stand firm. Be courageous, or again, act like men.

Take bold risks for the kingdom. God did not call you Corinthians. He did not call us Summit, just to huddle up and sing Kumbaya and hang on until he raptures us off of this planet.

God called us to take Jesus to the nations, to see miracles and answers to prayer. Jesus promised us that through us, he was going to build his church and not even the gates of hell would prevail against us. You know this, gates are not an offensive weapon, right? Nobody attacks somebody else with a gate, like, ah, here I am.

I'm going to smack you upside the head with a gate. Jesus was not promising that he would protect us against Satan's attacks. He was promising us to make Satan powerless against our attacks.

He was like, be courageous. Don't huddle up in your Christian enclave and try to protect your children and just hang on. Invite that co-worker to coffee and ask him what you can pray for. Start a discussion with them about spiritual things.

Take that, invite that single mom to come live with your family. Take that step to begin the adoption or fostering process. Get involved in our prison ministry. Get involved Summit in our refugee resettlement ministry. Be courageous. Go on your first mission trip.

Better yet, take your family and go with one of our teams to live in a place where Christ's name is not known or the gospel has not been heard. Be courageous. Take God's promises seriously. God has not called us to huddle up and manage a slow retreat while we wait on the rapture. He has called us to storm the gates of hell. The other implication of this command to be courageous is to endure. In the King James Version, I memorized this verse in. All the verses that I memorized as a kid were in the King James Version and occasionally that comes out. And I remember learning this verse as a kid in Awana. Quit you like man. That was how the KJV said it. Quit you like man.

It just has a cool sound to it, doesn't it? Quit you like man. The translators translated it like that because they recognized in Paul's words a summons to endurance. Men at their best don't give up easily. They see things through. They get knocked down, but they get up again.

Ain't nothing going to bring them down. I think that's one of the psalms, I think, if I remember correctly. But they survive, they advance, and they live to fight another day. Paul's saying, look, don't get discouraged when you stumble. Don't let failure or setbacks keep you down.

Quit you like man. Reminds me of that famous definition of success that always gets attributed to Winston Churchill. Success is just going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm. When you get knocked down, get up, fight another day. Get up, get up, get up, fight another day.

Quit you like man. Because you know what? The mercies of God are going to be new tomorrow morning, and there as abundant tomorrow morning as there were today. So you can get up and keep going because God's got a fresh supply of grace that he's got right for you. So get up and keep going.

Future generations depend on you getting up and fighting again. Thanks for listening to Summit Life with J.D. Greer. We'll get back to today's teaching in just a moment, but first I'd like to take a moment to share a valuable resource that we offer to our Summit Life listeners for free. Every weekday, Pastor J.D. sends out a daily email devotional designed to help you grow in your faith while following along with our current Summit Life teaching series. These devotionals are a great way to start your day with God's word and establish a consistent routine of spending time with him. To access these devotionals, simply visit slash resources where you can also find Pastor J.D. 's sermon transcripts and our complete sermon library. We're incredibly grateful to our supporters for making these resources available to you at no cost, and we hope that these devotionals will help you build an even deeper love for God's word. Now let's return to our teaching with Pastor J.D.

Greer right here on Summit Life. Fourth, he says be strong. I read that as just a summary of all that he set up to this point. Christianity is not for the faint of heart. It's a struggle. It's a fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

Thankfully, our strength comes from the Holy Spirit, but y'all, it's still a fight. Finally, he says do everything in love. The Greeks and Romans that were in Paul's, you know, culture would have heartily affirmed the first four commands. Oh, but the virtue of being strong and courageous and standing firm. But that last one, do everything in love, that was a distinctly Christian virtue. But you know this, Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Seneca, and all of their voluminous writings on ethics never, not one time, lists love as a virtue.

That was all Jesus. And yet Paul says love is the most important value of all of them. Back in 1 Corinthians 13, Paul told us that the other four virtues are worthless if they're not rooted in love. Parents, let's not raise Greco-Roman children who are strong and courageous for truth, who know how to write blistering letters to the editor, can call in on angry talk shows and defend the faith, but are not filled with love for their fellow men. You seminary students, you know that y'all are some of my favorite people in this church, and I'm one of you. But we had a lot of you that are zealous to fight for truth, but is your life characterized by love for others? When people describe you as zealous for truth or filled with love, because without love, Paul says, you're just like a clanging symbol that's cluttering up the message. All right, we're nearing the end.

She's bringing out dessert. Okay, verse 17. I'm delighted, Paul says, to have Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus present, for they have refreshed my spirit and yours. Give recognition to such people.

Y'all, I love that phrase. They refresh my spirit. I really, really want to grow in this. I want to refresh people. I want to be like a cool breeze on a hot day.

Typically, people tell me I'm more like a stout kick to the shins, and I want to be more refreshing. So y'all can pray for me about that. But there's a bunch of people who have been like this for me at our church. Some of them are sitting right here. These are people who have cared for me and refreshed me, and I can mention hundreds more.

And that's just with me. He says, give recognition to some people. What I want you to see from this summit church is this. Listen, in every age, God builds his church through people like Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus, just ordinary people. They don't have books of the Bible named after them. And if Paul had not mentioned them here, you would never have heard of them. They just faithfully gave and prayed and opened up their houses for hospitality and spoke words of refreshment to each other. And they literally changed the world. And by the way, they were messed up people, weren't they?

Have you picked that up in this letter? These Corinthians are not a neat and tidy bunch. They were fighting and arguing and strutting around like idiots.

One dude was sleeping with his stepmom during award ceremonies, and one of them walked on stage and slapped another one. Maybe that last one didn't happen, but based on what I read in 1 Corinthians, it could have happened. The point is these are not super Christians.

If they had Facebook pages, we would have been disgusted by a lot of what we saw on their Facebook page. And yet, this group literally transformed the world. You know, last week I had the privilege of visiting Rome, where I filmed the Bible study through the book of Romans on location for a group called Right Now Media. Being on location in Rome and filming all this teaching through Romans while standing at places like the Colosseum or in the very cell that Nero kept Paul in before executing him, it was just amazing. Because you just cannot escape when you're there that somehow a group of disorganized, ragtag, blue collar, backwoods people without money, political power, armies, or organization transformed an empire. Rome was this incredible place of power. The ruins that have survived 2,000 years point to this unbelievable civilization. And yet, in less than 300 years, the entire empire had turned its back on its heritage and converted to follow Jesus. Y'all, today that would be like a group of uneducated Bedouin nomads outside of Baghdad starting a new religion that within 300 years, most of America and Europe and Harvard and Yale all embrace. The birth of the church is absolutely miraculous and utterly inexplicable apart from the power of the Spirit. And the people that the Spirit used were ordinary people like Stephanus, Fortunatus, and Achaicus.

I just believe Jesus was real and they took him at his word. So when I look around now, what we got? We got our problems, don't we?

Right? I go on some of your Facebook pages and I'm embarrassed. But are we any less than they? Can't we see this again in our generation? I read this recently. Historians estimate, get this, the total number of Christians at the end of the first century, total, in the world, 7,500.

That's it. 40 years after this was written, there's still only 7,500 Christians. We got more than that in this one church this weekend. And yet, by 300 AD, that 7,500 had multiplied so that nearly half the population of the civilized world had confessed faith in Jesus. Don't we want to see that happen again?

What's stopping us? If God used ordinary, messed up people in the first century, can't he use us too? Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to cut through the cultural and sinful noise and to call this church back to the Gospel. That's what God is calling us to as well. And we will experience the same kind of power and transformation they experienced.

This letter is as relevant to us as it was to them. Amen? You ready for the last three verses? Verse 22. If anyone does not love the Lord, a curse be on him. You say, well, Paul, it's not a very nice thing to say in conclusion.

Yeah. But Paul's not being mean. I say that because in Romans 9, Paul explained that if he could, he would go to hell himself if it meant others could be saved. So see, I got a hard time believing that Paul is saying this with a hateful spirit.

It's just that, you know, listen to this. Paul understands and agrees with God's judgments that anybody who does not have love for Jesus is accursed. And that applies to us too. See, either we got love for Jesus or we're accursed. I don't know how to say this any more plainly, but the Gospel is a very serious matter.

The Gospel is that God loves you so much that he came to earth to die for you. He bore your sin. He bore the effects of your dishonesty and your betrayals and all those broken promises and the shame and all the things that you've messed up and all the shame and regret and sin you brought on yourself. He took that into his own body and he was wounded for it and he died for it. Then he went to a grave and he came out of the grave, but he left it there. He bore your sin. He became your sin and your sorrow.

He made those things his very own. And then he and the other apostles began to proclaim that there was only one way to be saved. They weren't saying that because they were jerks.

They were saying that because it was true. Only God could provide salvation. Only God coming as a human and living the life we were supposed to live and dying the death we were condemned to die, only he could save us. Who were you to be so arrogant as to say my preferred way of salvation is just as good as God's? You can't choose your own way of salvation.

He chooses it. So the apostles will say things like neither is there salvation in any other for there's no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Or Jesus who said I'm the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody comes to the Father except through me. There's only one way that you can be saved and that is the way that God has provided. And if you reject Jesus, if you reject him, you are choosing condemnation for yourself.

What other course do you have? So yes, you and I are bringing a curse on us by rejecting the incarnation of God here on earth. But for those who love him, the Lord says, Our Lord come in the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you all. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. And friends, that concludes our study of the book of 1 Corinthians called Cutting Through the Noise. What a powerful, practical book of scripture.

And if you missed any part of this teaching series, remember that you can listen to any of our messages free of charge at Pastor JD, as sad as we are to see our series in 1 Corinthians come to an end, we've got something exciting in store here on Summit Life. Our next teaching series is all about looking at the difficult sayings of Jesus. Yeah, I know I'm in the habit, and you make fun of me, Molly, saying that whatever series I'm preaching is my favorite series of all time. But this one, I actually really enjoyed because there's these difficult sayings of Jesus that people have heard.

And they're like, I'm not really sure what that means. One of my old teachers used to say, whenever you see a difficulty or what looks like a contradiction in the Bible, that's usually a sign of really deep wisdom underneath it. So I had just a load of not just fun, but just personal growth pressing into the difficult sayings of Jesus. Things like, what did he mean by judge not? What did Jesus mean by the son has no idea when he will return again? Only the Father knows that.

Questions like that, that he was like, I'm not sure what this means. What is my God, my God? Why have you forsaken me? Along with this series, I think you'll find helpful this resource that we're pairing with it called the Gospel Flipbook. Think of it almost like flashcards that will help you over the process of 40 days drive the gospel deeper in your heart.

It takes a key insight. It'll take some helpful context around scripture passages you're reading along with it, just some historical reference points that will help the scripture passages you're reading come alive. It'll give you ways that you can think about and pray the gospel in new ways. This is probably the heart of what we do here at Summit Life is that there is nothing more important in your spiritual life than saturating yourself with the gospel and driving it down deep. I think you'll be blown away at how much different you think and how much different you pray and how much different you act after the gospel has soaked down deep in your heart.

That sounds exciting, JD. I'm looking forward to this new teaching series, and I love the practicality of this new resource. We'd love to get you a copy of the all-new Gospel Flipbook today. You're welcome to request a copy when you donate to support this ministry with a gift of $35 or more. Feel free to give when you call us at 866-335-5220. That's 866-335-5220.

Or you can give online at Your support is essential to our mission, and we're so grateful for every contribution. I'm Molly Vidovitch inviting you to join us tomorrow as we kick off a new teaching series called The Difficult Sayings of Jesus. Remember when he said that he came to bring division and not peace?

What does that actually mean? Discover more of the real biblical Jesus Wednesday on Summit Life with J.D. Greer. Today's program was produced and sponsored by J.D. Greer Ministries.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-04-11 10:19:20 / 2023-04-11 10:30:12 / 11

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