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Christian Maturity (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 11, 2020 4:00 am

Christian Maturity (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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August 11, 2020 4:00 am

The Bible teaches that believers have been set free from the chains of sin and death. So why do we continue to struggle with temptation? Hear the answer when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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The Bible makes it clear that when we trust Jesus, we are set free from the chains of sin and death. And since this is true, why is it we continue to struggle with temptation. Why do we still fall and fail.

Alastair Begg addresses these important questions today on Truth for Life as we continue encore 2020 or in Philippians 3 verses 12 through 16. Speaking as a tortoise, do you know what a pain in neck it is to be surrounded by spiritual hairs always leaping and bounding about always making great aspirations always saying where they're going. What they're doing what they're achieving how well they're doing quoting all the various sources they learned. Letting everybody know how well it's all going and how that on their journey and how dispiriting it is as you just try and keep along the Christian life you find yourself saying I don't even know if I'm in this Christian life.

I even know if I want to wear this uniform. I don't know if I want to stand up to the plate but the wonderful wisdom of the apostle Paul. He says now listen guys, let me just tell you here, let me tell you the things that are fundamental to me and I want to summarize it for you in this way, called And pressing on. What is the call come from what it comes from God, look at what he says I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me Paul is refitting to the summons of God which produces its desired effect on like some of our calls were just would you get up but nothing happens. Would you come for your meal and nothing happens, but this call of God is an authoritative call. It is a life engendering call. It is the call of Christ outside the tomb of Lazarus. Lazarus, come out and out he comes. He speaks and listening to his voice new life. The dead receive its Romans 828 we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Two Timothy 19 Timothy let us bless God the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has saved us and called us to a holy life. The call of God came to Saul stirrings of it. Probably as we said last time as he stood there and the people put their jackets down at his feet and this Stephen gave his sermon in this Stephen knelt and looked up to heaven with a face of an angel and as the stones finally entombed and took his life from where there and claims they are certainly the voice was clear on the Damascus Road.

Paul reiterates this truth many times he gives his testimony says and I have a voice and I had a voice from heaven say is you never begin the Christian journey until you hear God's voice to understand receipt you mean audibly you're asking me no not audibly what and how is God's voice. Herod, if it is no longer Herod audibly. It is paired when the word of God is brought home to our hearts by the spirit of God. The hymn writer says. I hear the voice of Jesus say, come unto me, and rest. Lay down now. Maybe one lay down your head upon my breast and I came to Jesus as I was really and worn and sad and I found in him a resting place, and he has made me glad the hymn writer is describing his experience of conversion. He presumably had Herod sermons. Many times the way you have shared many sermons he had known about Christ from before.

The way many of you he'd been able to sit and absorb it all and then one day he Herod the voice of God, he Herod the call of God, and it reached into his soul and it was an irresistible call. There was nothing he could do except see yes except follow except embrace it you Herod God's call and that is God called hope to we, as he has today.

If you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts called heavenward in Christ Jesus, called upward called on. Secondly, cat.

That's the emphasis on this phraseology about taking hold of things you will notice I press on. He says in verse 12, to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me to be a Christian is to be taken hold of by Christ.

That's the real kind of question we need to be asking my enjoying religious pursuits. Plenty of people do not of my attending religious observances and functions. Many people do whatever I responded to God's call and I and I might By Christ.

I'm thinking I only explain my life this morning in relationship to called and kept then. I know that what I'm experiencing is genuine Christian faith because the Christian faith that goes on to maturity is grounded in the call and in the keeping power of Christ. Jesus says in John chapter 10 my sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me how you know you're a Christian, you listen to his voice, and you finally.

So you don't listen to his voice, and you don't follow it.

Probably not a Christian. Why would you think you're in the flock. If, when the shepherd comes by and says, no sheep, Bob Obama.

Let's all go now when they all go here over here going on guys, but I'm not with them. When Peter describes the experience of being born again in first Peter chapter 1 he describes it in the exact same terminology.

He says we been born again to a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that is imperishable and undefiled, kept in heaven for you. Notice verse five, who through faith are shielded by God's power In Scotland, we used to sing a hymn light went like this when I fear my faith will fail. Christ can hold me fast when the temperature would prevail. He can hold me fast second verse. I could never keep my whole he must hold me fast for my love is often called. He will hold me fast. I am precious in his sight. He will hold me fast those he seems out his delight he will hold me fast.

The assurance of Scripture about going on to maturity is this that we will persevere to the end of the race because he it is who keeps is going. Philippians 1. Since I am confident that he began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

Now is that not a great encouragement to us this morning. It ought to be so prone to wander, so easy to stumble so neglectful of the things of grace so dull, so ineffectual, so cold, so hardhearted, so poor about sharing my faith. How in the world. I'm I have are still here for you say that you spell you drag your sorry tale into worship shape. You may have a sorry tale. I don't well sorry I'm sorry to mention it as you come along to worship 2% yourself. I wonder how it is that I'm still here. I do all the time and the only explanation I have for is that he called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

And because he called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

He keeps me and that's amazing that he keeps me as if you knew what I was really like you and even listen to me preach and if I knew what you were really like.

I would even waste my time on should only scan each other. The great mystery. Is this that he call centers to himself and that he keeps us When you think of the psalmist on so many occasions resemble some hundred and 21 as he makes his way to Jerusalem, presumably roads that in later years that for example in the story of the good Samaritan were dangerous roads. Remember, the man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among thieves, and you have the traveler making his journey and dizzy as he makes his journey. Presumably he's fearful of bandits and beasts and all kinds of things and as he looks up at the hills around him and as he walks.

He says I lift my eyes to the hills where does my help come from and then he says my help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth called kept and pressing on.

I'm not yet perfect, says Paul, but I am pressing on one of the marks of maturity is in learning to look forward rather than constantly look back when we when we ran in our first school sports data.

One thing our mothers told us was now look, I will be standing at the end of the thing at the end of the hundred yards will be a piece of string. When the guy says go just run like crazy and just don't take your eyes off me and I'll be there at the end, and our mothers and our father stood at the end and watched without as we looked here and we look there looked black and looked everywhere and we finally stumbled into oblivion at the end of the race and nevertheless they said hey, nice job Vito nice nice job.

I stunk God stands at the end of the tape. Is it where is our father, and he says no, come on, come on. I know you're not perfect. I know you haven't run the web or just just keep your eyes on me and keep coming which we so wait a minute I wait wait wait RB Hank dongle. Let me just let me go over here right and do deal with this here we go over to the garbage can of sins in the past, the evil one drives before us. We go to root around in them again. We get them out. We re-examine them. We put them back.

God doesn't intend for us to do that we go back over here to some of our shrines are not altars. Those were the great days when I was good and strong and brave and I did this and I did that night gives as a fat head and makes us totally useless in the present. Some of us are so trapped we cannot let bygones be bygones.

We follow up our marriages because we're soaking were angry were regretful and were guilty of the worst kinds of recrimination and in our spiritual pilgrimage the evil one is pleased when we live looking over our shoulders when we live in the glory days or the gloomy days. Paul says that's not it. Don't allow your regrets to be debilitating. Don't allow your achievements to drag your neck down. What is it that he forgets not the mercies of God, to them clearly not God's provision for them in the past says I put that behind me. My goal is clear is a goal setter, Paul.

I like him. He's a man with a plan. I like a man with a plan. He states his goals all the time throughout his letters resemble in first Corinthians 9, he says, is my goal to win as many as possible in Colossians 1 he says is my goal to present everyone perfect in Christ. In Philippians 310 he says is my goal to know Christ and in Philippians 314. He says it is my goal to win the price and God gives to us in him the power of example that's why says in verse 17 join with others in following my example, if anybody followed your example where were the end up summary follows my example where the random civil were not supposed to do that response essay follow Christ. The principle is this, as I follow Christ. You follow me that's the challenge of spiritual leadership.

And that's exactly the call that he issues he is in many ways the New Testament counterpart of one of the great heroes of the Old Testament and with this character I conclude Kayla described in the book of Joshua in this dramatic fashion as he recounts the events of God. He says in Joshua 14 verse seven I was 14 years old when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from K – bar Neo to explore the land and I brought him back a report. According to my convictions. I like that, according to my convictions in a sea of consensus. He has convictions. He stands out immediately.

Remember the 12 spies or send up to spy out the land of Canaan to see what it's like when all 12 come back in 10 say you know it's a nice place and everything but the Giants and we shouldn't go up there and two fellas. One, Joshua, on the other. Caleb said let's go up because in God's strength we can certainly do.

He says my brothers who went up with me made the hearts of the people sink made the hearts of the people sink. I however follow the Lord my God wholeheartedly, you know how easy it is to make the hearts of people sink how easy it is to go with a 10 the dispirited discourage and disable but not Caleb know he was 14 years old at that point, the agent some of you are midpoint in his life and he could have after that tremendous success. Simply presumably have settled down but he didn't because he was called and he was Capt. he was pressing on. And here he says now then, just as the Lord has promised. He's kept me alive for 45 years since the time he said this to Moses. So here I am today. Get this, here I am today 85 years old.

I'm still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out the not sound like your grandfather, come on, put them up. I may get you now get to God and your going grandpa don't do it. Don't don't. Please run a fall over. Grandpa don't please her bird-dog. John, I figure I'll get you going. You tell your mother. Grandpa was really losing it.

He things the things he invite me in, and all this is grandpa's hyperbole. I learned that ending the second spell it but III know that you're not really quite as strong as you think you are grandpa that insight Armstrong and fighter the core of my being. I feel the way I felt when I was 40 and I'm now 85 and just as strong, I'm just as vigorous to go out to battle now. Give me the hill country. So how do you get to be like that at 85.

I need to know that what the answer is what decisions that you make when you're 40 and 30 and 20 is a continuing do you know when I think back to the early days we were there on Fairmont Boulevard and then we said well were two were too big for Fairmont Boulevard when we going to do, so long as it will just get outta here. We will order we don't sell it will come from Scotland. You don't sell things in Scotland to me. You don't give anything away, keep it forever.

I will we do will move we will yeah you know some of the prime movers where you know where they are. Let me have them stand up there not here they knew they were never going to be here, but their vision was not related to their experience on it. Their vision was not related to their enjoyment of their commitment was directly related to the cause of Jesus Christ, knowing that they would never ever share many of them are in glory. Most of them have moved the spirit of Caleb.

I love that I still get notes from one another.

Same illegible handwriting same spirit of expectancy height swimming again today as I did yesterday and as I will do tomorrow still on track. Still going to start your still going son. Yes I am. Thanks for writing. Thanks for keeping going if you come in this morning and I said you know here's my message I have a message for you. I want to give it to you in one phrase press on to be a chronicle of despair for many of you would get a lousy week and the last thing the world you want to some joker in here going press on. Come on now pumping you up like the old cheerleaders I mentioned before, you can do it you can do it you can you can you can did you know that stuff totally bogus, groundless exhortation, now, press on George, let's go for a church and the people going on the basis of what because I feel miserable. I don't know which way to hold the bat. I am in a good week. I haven't done particularly well hey you know why I know so much about that because I am in a particularly good week myself. I haven't had a particularly striking 24 hours leading up to this need somebody to come and tell me to pray so I need someone to come and remind me your call. You can't help press on because it is his calling from all of the 10 and his keeping through all of time. The provides the basis for the encouragement to run another hundred yards and as I've told you many times before when I go out running I can only run to telegraph poles and only the next telegraph if you tell me you of only 85 more telegraph poles to run trash before you finish us all.

What I throw myself down right you tell me you can you make it one more telegraph pull. I think I can how I long for you with the narrowness long you will hear God's call that you will know yourself to be tapped by Christ and that together we will press encouragement to persevere in the race of faith because we are called kept by God your listing to Truth for Life, your biggest titled today's message Christian maturity will close with prayer in just minutes. So please keep listening first. So I'd like to tell you about a book. Our team has selected to go along with today's study. It's a biography called running the race and the tolls the remarkable life story of Eric little he was a world-famous runner who also persevered in the race of faith.

You may recognize his name from the Oscar-winning film chariots of fire that movie tells the story of Eric Lytle's victory in the 400 m race in the 1924 Paris Olympics a timeless moment in sporting history.

Actually, Lytle had refused to run the hundred meter which was his preferred event because the sheets were held on Sunday which is the Lord's day. He courageously risked his athletic career valuing the glory of God over the praise of men. It's really an amazing moment, but there is so much more to Eric little story than just the Paris Olympics and the biography you have a chance to gain a more complete picture of Eric Lytle's whole life from his childhood as the son of missionaries to his athletic career to his ministry in China. Through it all. You see a model of a life marked by faithful service to God. If you're looking for inspiration to continue running strong in the race of faith. This true story will be a wonderful source of encouragement requester copy of running the race when you get in touch with us today with the donation in support of this ministry. The book is our way of saying thank you for your support brings clear, relevant Bible teaching blisters all around the world without cost. Being a barrier.

We are so grateful and giving is quick and easy. You can visit us the Truth for or give us a call at 88858878848885887884 if you'd prefer to mail your donation along with your request for the book you could do that to our address is Truth for Life PO Box 39, 8000, Cleveland, OH 44139. Now here's Alastair to close with prayer. All God look upon as we pray, thank you for providing in your son. The perfect example of all of this as he walks the streets and says I delight to do your will or law, as he walks into the garden of Gethsemane and declares nevertheless not my will but thine be done. So ultimately we look not to Paul nor to Caleb, but to Christ. The author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the scorn and the abuse may we hear your call. May we know you're keeping and maybe Frank saw for Jesus sake, we ask Bob Lapine tomorrow we continue encore 2020 revisiting another list are favorite from the past year Alastair will be describing the power of proper thinking how our thoughts can actually shape our emotion sure to join us Wednesday, the Bible teaching of Alastair Beck is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living

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