Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. The school was founded in 1927 by the evangelist Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. His intent was to make a school where Christ would be the center of everything so he established daily chapel services. Today, that tradition continues with fervent biblical preaching from The University Chapel platform.
Today's speaker is Alan Benson, Vice President for Student Development and Discipleship. Take your Bibles and turn with me this morning, if you would, to 1 Corinthians chapter 16. 1 Corinthians chapter 16, we're going to look at two short verses that the Apostle Paul, by way of inspiration, pens for us at the end of this book. I think we know a good bit about the church at Corinth because of the well-known passages throughout 1 and 2 Corinthians. So I won't take the time this morning by way of introduction to work through all of that, but basically we know that Corinthians would be in our mind identified as a church that had questions and had problems. And if you look through the book, actually go back to chapter 1, about verse 30 there, you'll find that I think Paul actually lays out kind of a theme for the book. 1 Corinthians in particular kind of breaks down into sections and those sections are kind of twofold. One is dealing with questions that this seems this church has had and needed answered. And the other is problems that this church had that needed fixed. And Paul is somewhat, in these letters, responding, it seems, to correspondence that he received.
And so a lot of this letter actually takes the tone of correction and I think we can categorize that correction in a number of ways. As you find Paul answering questions and you find Paul dealing with problems, I think there's a theme of gospel focus or gospel living throughout this book where Paul basically says to them, know the gospel in light of this question that you have or this problem that you're facing, the divisions that are going on and whether or not you should be going to court. You know what? Know the gospel. Know your position in the gospel.
And that's a two-edged sword. At times, knowing my position in the gospel is going to speak to my pride because of who I was in the gospel equation and that I brought nothing to the table. And at times, knowing my position in the gospel is actually going to speak to the other side, that I may because of sin or failure or falling, live with a diminished view of who I should be in Christ and the boldness I ought to have in living for Him. So know the gospel. Know your position in the gospel. And then Paul challenges them throughout this book in very practical ways to do something about that.
And basically he says, live your position. You need to live who you are in Christ. If you're struggling in a culture that is filled with tumult and a world that is redefining everything, know the gospel. Know your position in the gospel and then live your position. Live out your identity in Christ instead of living in a way that is constantly striving for identity.
Live out who you are in Christ instead of being caught up in a culture that is constantly striving for recognition. Live gospel relationships instead of fighting and striving to find your worth in those relationships. And so Paul deals with all of these issues throughout, particularly 1 Corinthians. And he comes to the end and he gives us two simple little verses. So follow along as I read 1 Corinthians 16 verses 13 and 14. Paul says this, watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong, let all your things be done with charity. I believe what he lays out for us here is a central thought that has four things around it that actually help identify what he means by that central thought.
The King James, that central thought is this idea. Quit ye like men. I thought about titling this message, real men quit.
But I didn't think that was a good idea, but maybe now you'll remember what I preached. So what does this little statement, quit ye like men mean? Well, he's saying, equip yourself or behave as a man.
He's not here making a comparison that is gender based, meaning men as opposed to women. He actually is dealing with the idea of growing up, of being a man, of being a grown up rather than a child elsewhere. He talks about the fact that when he was a child, he did childish things, but when he became a man, he put away childish things. This is the idea. So the question I think that Paul is actually going to address for us is, what does it look like to grow up spiritually?
Or he's going to address the matter of maturity. We have had two themes this semester, one focusing on the word of God, the other focusing on what it means to walk in the spirit. And this morning, I hope that all of that information is in your mind. As we come to these two little verses, you can probably tell by looking at me that I am not a regular attender at the gym.
I know what they look like. I could probably describe for you a lot of the equipment that is in the typical workout facility, but I don't normally go there. I'm one of those people that every now and again decides that would be a really great idea for my health. And so usually when I decide to do something like that, I go and do everything in the gym. Can't walk for the next three days and quit. That's usually the way that routine goes for me.
It doesn't seem to work the same way though at things like Thanksgiving dinner. Like I go in, I overdo it, I feel very similar and yet I'm willing to do that again. But the gym's a different story. So anyway, there's a sense in which I want that in your mind because if you go into the gym, if you're doing this on any basis, at least the experts tell me that there are different stations that are focusing on different parts of your body.
And so you have a leg day and you have an arm day and you have a chest day and you know, whatever. That being said, I want us to think of this passage of scripture as Paul is saying, be maturing or be becoming mature in light of like there's different apparatus, that there's different things for me to be working on that helped me progress in areas of application in spiritual growth. What are some specific areas that I can be focusing on or thinking about with regard to how can I be growing spiritually?
And I want us to look at those four things. So look what he says first of all, he says in King James, watch ye, watch ye. I've used the word here to be sober. It's a word that we'd be familiar with actually from other passages of scripture that use a similar idea. We know from first Peter that Peter writes to be sober, be vigilant for your adversary, the devil is walking line, walketh about seeking whom he may devour. The idea here of watching you, the Greek word is to be alert or to be awake. Paul actually wrote to this church at Corinth with regard to the resurrection and he said to them, awake to righteousness for some have not the knowledge of God. And so I want us to consider this idea of being sober or being awake in two ways, both a positive and a negative, both a positive and a negative.
The positive, I think he is saying to them, when you're awake, when you're living with a sense of alertness, there actually is truth that informs you. Dr. Weathers and I recently had the opportunity of going to India. We were in Hyderabad, India, a city of about 13 million people. And most of the time that we were there, as best I could tell, only three of them were at home. All the rest of them were on the road while we were on the road. And most of the roads were laid out with neat lines. They had two lanes that meant absolutely nothing. At any given time, there would be six lanes of traffic and then sprinkled throughout that, there were these millions of little yellow cabs and then sprinkled throughout them, there were mopeds. I took a picture, I didn't bring it for you this morning, but I actually sat at an intersection and took a picture of a family of six on one moped.
And they weren't bothered at all. It was like, this is what we do every day. I was very thankful that one, I wasn't driving, that two, Dr. Weathers wasn't driving. I've driven with him. And number three, that this principle was true of those who were driving.
They were alert. You know, we find the horn here really offensive. Anybody really get bothered, somebody beeps the horn at you? It really bothers me.
Yeah, just anyway, you can pray for me. But over there, it is a means of survival. Nobody's offended by the horn. Like if I'm coming up on the right and you move over and I'm going to kill you, I beep the horn so you don't move over and I kill you. That's and we all appreciate that. That's just the way it works. It's like this constant communication the whole time you're there, which is telling people, hey, you better be sober right now.
That's the idea. In the positive, it is think in light of the truth that you know or stated this way, understand your values. Young people, if you want to grow spiritually, it is time to take the truth you know and live it actively.
To take what you know as truth and move it from passive application to active application. What decisions should I be making? What is right and what is wrong?
What is good and what is best? How will I best further live out in my life the things that I actually value? You see, you will not live the truth you know by accident. Nobody becomes more spiritual, if you will, by osmosis. To grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ takes an intentional, disciplined pursuit. Paul said to this church at Corinth in chapter 9, and every man that striveth for the mastery is tempered in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible, I therefore so run, not as uncertainly, so fight I, not as one that beateth the air, but I keep under my body and bring it into subjection lest that by any means when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. You see, Paul is here personalizing this truth.
He says, I myself. This is the process of you living by your values, of personalizing what you know, what you believe, and living it out. So asking yourself, what do I believe? Why do I believe what I believe? And do I believe that what I believe is really real?
Should it actually matter in the decisions that I make in life? And so I think this is a positive, but I think also there is a negative to this, and that is that we should understand our vulnerability. Understand our vulnerability.
You see, if you're not intentionally walking with carefulness, you are walking in a world that is dangerous and you are vulnerable. Think about what the Scripture tells us about how a man might end up in sin that has matured to the place of destroying him. Every man is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. And when lust has conceived, it brings forth sin, and sin when it is finished brings forth death. I have to realize that built within me are tailor-made lusts.
They're not the same as yours, but I have them, strong desires. And if I'm not careful about my vulnerabilities and the connection points of those strong desires in the world, and I'm not intentionally living by my values, I will find connection points in the world that begin to draw me away from what I actually believe. And so I have to understand my vulnerability. You see, this is what it means to be awake spiritually. There are things I probably shouldn't do. There are priorities that I ought to be working at keeping in line.
There are things that I ought to be rehearsing in my mind. Your word have I treasured up in my heart so that I might not sin against Thee. This is a call to be awake, to live actively in light of what I believe.
But then secondly, notice that he actually challenges them with a second thought, and that is to stand fast or stand firm in the faith. The language here actually is about commitment. It's an idea of being committed. And so I want you to see that he actually identifies here in a sense what I'm calling a posture. That there is a position that I must live, but I do so in light of a posture. This doesn't mean that I stand around with a sense of stubbornness or inflexibility. The idea is not just one of not caving in under pressure, but it's actually the idea of not allowing something I currently hold to be eroded. That's the idea of standing firm.
It is the idea of continuing to be standing. And so there is this sense of resistance, that God has been at work in my life, and I have been growing and developing as a person. I've been in the process of maturing.
And you know what? I'm not going to put that at risk by some short-term decision that I might make. I think about going somewhere or doing something or clicking on something, of doing something that is questionable, and I process that and say, wait a minute. This has been a journey. This has been a lot of work, the Holy Spirit working within me that I might be strengthened by His power in the inner man. That it's God that works in me both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
That I have been being transformed from glory to glory. This has been a journey, and I am not willing in this moment of weakness to throw that away. I'm going to stand firm.
There's a resistance, young people. The world would love nothing better, and your adversary the devil would love nothing better than to come to you at your moments of weakness and tear down all of the work that's been going on in your life. I am challenging you.
Paul is challenging you here to say, if you're going to grow up, there must be a decision in your mind that says, you know what? I value that. I'm not throwing that away.
I'm not setting that aside. No matter what the short-term pleasure might be right now, I am not going to throw away this persistent work of the Holy Spirit in my life and the diligent pursuit that I have had in working with Him to grow to the place and become the person that I am. It means something to me. There's a sense of resistance, but then also there's a sense of resilience.
And why do I say that? I wish I could say to you that this would be a one-time test. That every believer is going to come to a place and there's going to be a crisis and this moment will come for you, and if you pass the test, then that's it.
On you go with flying colors. But young people, I believe that the call to persevering faith is actually due to the reality that this is the experience that we all live as believers. That we come to a place that rather than living in fear of failure or looking at the possibility of destruction from a failure, that as we mature, our mind actually changes and we value something more than what that short-term pleasure might bring me.
If you put it in big terms, it really is looking at life and all of the temptations that come your way in life and saying you know what? I value Jesus more. I value my relationship with Christ more than that short-term thing. I can find hope in Christ. I can find comfort in Christ.
I can find joy in Christ. I can find strength in Christ that that short-term opportunity of release will never bring me. So this idea of standing firm here is a commitment.
But notice that it's a commitment that has a sphere to it. It is standing firm in the faith. This isn't just pull yourself up by your spiritual bootstraps.
This isn't just put up, stand up, pull yourself up. This actually has a sphere to it and that sphere is the faith, the once for all delivered to the saints truth that Jude refers to. This little combination of the and faith, the definite article and faith appears 26 times in the New Testament and every time that I can find that it appears. It's not talking about your personal belief. It's actually talking about the delivered Word of God.
You must strengthen and deepen your commitment to Christ by deepening your commitment to Him through His Word. In a sense, it is finding a source of truth that helps you understand and define the relationship. Some of you are sitting here coming back after Thanksgiving and you've kind of had this, you know, I don't understand the terms anymore. You guys talk when we used to date. So like I'm out of touch with a bunch of that, right? So there's some of you that you've been, you've been talking, whatever that means, you've been talking. And you're back now after Thanksgiving and it's this downhill slide, really busy time till Christmas. And some of you are wanting to have the, let's define the relationship conversation before Christmas. And some of you really don't want to have that conversation. But that conversation, when it happens, actually it has some concreteness to it, doesn't it?
Like I remember October the 4th of 1990. There's this young lady that I was madly in love with. And some dweeb asked her to go to lunch. And she reached out to me and said, hey, this guy asked me to go to lunch, what should I do? And I said, well, I guess you should go. And then I started my journey of a panic attack.
What if she really likes him? What if I'm not all that? And I wasn't all that, believe me. So what did I do? I went to lunch. And who do you think I saw at lunch?
Them. And I was so mad. So I reached out to this young lady and I said, hey, before you go to your freshman class party tonight, I really need to talk to you. And she said, okay, where do you want to do that? And I said, the dating parlor.
It was serious at that point. And so I said to her, I said, you know, this guy reached out and asked you to go to lunch. I really didn't want you to do that. And she said to me, what does that mean? And so October the 4th, 1990, I started dating the young lady that two years later would become my wife. The applause are for me because I won in that deal. I promise you.
I won in that deal. She's still trying to figure out exactly what happened 30 years later. But anyway, the conversation, my point being, had some real terms to it. In a sense, the conversation about your relationship with Christ actually has real terms. And the terms of that relationship are found in the Word of God, young people. They're not found in social media. There's some of you right now that are engaged in social media while I'm speaking. And social media is not going to help define the terms of your relationship with Christ. The Word of God is.
Make it a priority. And so he says, secondly, to be stable. Thirdly, I want you to see that he says, be strong. And as I wrap this up, I want you to see that actually what he is saying to them, the Corinthians were all about being strong. This would kind of be an insult to them. In fact, they attacked Paul because they didn't think Paul was strong enough. They talked about his weakness and it was part of why they didn't want to listen to him. And Paul turns around and writes to them about them being strong. And in doing so, I want you to see that he actually uses a passive here.
And I don't want to make too much of that. But the idea here is of becoming strong. And to do that, he actually is calling them to get over their pride and acknowledge their weakness. You know, one of the things about us as I'm a second generation believer, I actually believed in between the time my mother got saved and my father got saved. All seven of us got saved in a seven month period and were baptized on the same day. So there's a sense in which I'm a first generation believer, but my parents are saved and I was raised by growing Christians. And so second generation, my children will be third generation. One of the challenge for us as second and third generation Christians is this, that so much of what we know and believe, we believe by osmosis. We've just always believed it. It's the priorities that we have lived. It's the ethic that was in our home.
It's the way I've always lived. And you're living in a world that is intentionally wanting to challenge that. One of the things that you must acknowledge is this, that you don't necessarily know all you know because you learned it.
You actually just know it because you've lived it. That's not a bad thing, but it is a weakness that ought to challenge us to say, I am going to go to the word and be convinced by God through his truth of what I believe. And young people, what you don't realize is that is actually the process of growing up spiritually. Study to show yourself approved unto God a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. Acknowledge that, you know what, I need to get in the word and I need to get the word in me.
I must acknowledge my weakness and then I must accept God's help. You know, one of the things that is amazing about the opportunity that you are living is that you will never have the opportunity again when these days are over to live in this kind of community. To have a four or five year span of an age group of young people who all are pursuing what it means to be a mature believer is an incredible opportunity. God doesn't intend for you to live your spiritual life in isolation.
He actually intends for you to live it in community. Do you realize this is part of why we try to do discipleship groups? So that intentionally you are with a group of people that you can begin to actually make application and bring accountability into your life about the truth that you've all been learning. And there's a sense in which we need to make the decision of accepting that help. You have every kind of layer of relational community while you're here at Bob Jones University.
Use them all. There are some of you right now that need to be doing that with your friends. There's some of you right now that need to be doing that with your faculty. Some that need to be doing it with your RA or your discipleship group leaders.
Or some of you that need to be taking this and saying, you know what, this is what our dating relationship should really be about. Let God's help in community with regard to your spiritual growth. And then lastly, I want you to see that he closes by saying be selfless. Let everything that you do, let all your things be done in love. Young people, if I'm ultimately going to grow in Christ likeness, I must come to the place where I choose to live selflessly by carrying out simply what we know as the Shema.
I'll live selflessly by loving God with all my heart, all mind and strength, and loving my neighbor as myself. Let's use these pieces of equipment in God's gym to become spiritually mature. Father, thank you for your truth. Dismiss us with your blessing in Jesus' name.
Amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by Dr. Alan Benson, Vice President for Student Development and Discipleship at Bob Jones University. I'd like to thank you for listening to The Daily Platform.
I hope that you've enjoyed it. I hope it's been a blessing and an encouragement to you. We're living in very unusual times, and this is just such a crucial time for all of us as believers to walk closely with the Lord. So I hope you'll take the opportunity to follow us up on these other things that we have at bju.edu and find out what it is that God is doing in through the ministry of Bob Jones University with our 2,500 students who are coming here to get a biblical world view and see life from God's lenses and then go out with an accredited first-class education and go out into the world and make an impact for Jesus Christ in the workplace as they go out and serve in local churches, not only here in the United States, but our students are globally in-demand Christ-centered servants who are trying to serve the Lord throughout the world for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. So thank you again for listening. I encourage your friends to listen and to be nourished and strengthened through God's Word. God bless you. We hope you'll join us again next week as we study God's Word together on The Daily Platform.
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