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Be like Christ

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
August 29, 2020 4:00 am

Be like Christ

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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August 29, 2020 4:00 am

As Christians, we know we’ve been set free from sin’s enslavement. Why, then, do we continue to struggle and fall? Study along with us on Truth For Life as Alistair Begg addresses this question head-on.


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As Christians we believe the blood of Jesus has paid a spiritual death. It has set us free from the power of sin, yet we continue to struggle with temptation and we often fall back into our old vices. Why is that Alastair Begg explains the answer today on Truth for Life weekend is titled this message be like Christ. Let's read just a couple of verses from Romans chapter 8 beginning in verse 28, Paul writes, and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and those he predestined he also called those he called he also justified and those he justified he also glorified. I don't know if there's any truth in the notion that people become like their pets, or they look like their pets, but it is a truism as Neil hear people say, well, you know, people look like their parents, and I'm not actually sure whether the process is one whereby the Pat begins to look like a human being or the human being begins to live like the Pat I have a sneaking suspicion in certain cases in our neighborhood, but I would never be so bold as to estimate the point I am not qualified to talk in these matters, but it is also suggested that couples husband's and wife and married for a long time become so interwoven with one another that it is not infrequent that they are asked if an actual fight there brother and sister because they've taken on so many characteristics of one another.

It would make some sense, wouldn't it, it would testify to the fact that we become like the company that we keep that the presence that we engage in. The people that we spend time with have an impact on others and we on them. That's why incidentally, friendships formed are so important. That's why it is inevitable that we have to teach our young people, especially as they grow into their teenage years that have friendships are seldom neutral.

There are people in his company is easy to be good people in his company is easy to be bad.

Therefore, it is vitally important that we establish friendships that nurture and help and encourage and so on. While here we find that God from all of eternity is nurturing his children, so that the children those who are following after he who is the firstborn among many brothers. Many brothers and sisters are actually being fashioned into the likeness of Jesus. Now it is in light of that that I think we ought to study the verse, which is a far better known verse which is a verse that precedes it. Romans 828.

Many of us would probably have neglected verse 29 sticky verse. It raises all kinds of questions and we we tend to retreat into verse 28. We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him been called according to his purpose and we translated into all kinds of service but it is actually verse 29 that helps us to understand the good towards which God is working and what is that good, that we might be conformed to the image of his son in the King James version. I think it is and we know that all things work together for good, as if somehow or another the things with that that are working are working to good alien IVs a better translation doing you and we know that in all things God works for the good. It is God who works who is at work in and through all the different things and aspects of our life and he works according to his good purpose. You can read of his eternal purpose in Ephesians chapter 1, we one turn there, but it reinforces this notion that when you think about your life wherever you are today. Whatever is happening and you said yourself well as I try and understand where I fit in the great panorama of God's redemptive purposes. It is an immense thought to recognize that God from all of eternity has purpose to make me like his son Jesus, what, when will that day.I mean hopefully were a little more mature than we were last time we were together little more towards completion. There are so many gaps in uncertainties. That is why we recognize that there are lessons learned in those experiences a purposes that are accomplished in those experiences that are mixed accomplished any other way and I think many of us would testify to the fact that more spiritual progress has been made in our lives. By way of disappointment and failure in tears. That has actually been made in the realm of success and laughter we were going seek these things out but that we would recognize that father knows best and nothing is taking him by surprise and then from all of eternity in the ebb and flow of life and I was really God is good and bad and sometimes horrible and impossible to deal with and the challenges that we face that sometimes appear to never go away in the experiences of unanswered prayer, or at least the answer comes back in a prolonged way or in an apparent no, that's still in the midst of all of that God's eternal purpose is at work in the lives of his children, so that when we read Christian biography and we say to ourselves what is God doing in the life of his children was he doing when they took their jackets and laid them down at the feet of a fellow called Saul of Tarsus was he doing in the life of Stephen he was accomplishing his eternal plan to make Stephen just like Jesus doesn't seem right to set specially know when we been bread on the notion that the way that all of these things happen is in tranquility and blessing and learning is going fine and are we having a wonderful time and is it a great day it is a lovely day, but I can guarantee you that I speak to a congregation this morning that is marred by all kinds of difficulties and challenges by lengths that are marred if we were honest by at least significant spells of quiet desperation that if ever we were to come clean about what it is that were pushing in our wheelbarrow. There would be so much that mitigates against this. What is it then gives is equilibrium to get up in the morning to say that it is raining or sunny whether I am frail or forceful. I thank you today gracious God, that you are my father that in Jesus. You have made me your child that you have plans and purposes from all of eternity that you will definitely accomplish and that today is another opportunity for me to make progress down that road. That's a first for this morning. It begins with P is the word purpose. The second word also begins with P and is the word process and for this we go forward to two Corinthians 3 in verse 17 now the Lord is the spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory. Notice here, the present continuous are being transformed into what into his likeness.

Okay, so it is God's eternal purpose. Those he predestined to be conformed to the image of his son that his purpose in eternity.

What is this purpose today to continue the process. It is an ongoing process and the contacts and I'll need to leave you to read two Corinthians 3 homework by the context here is the contrast in between the reflected fading glory of the old covenant and the freedom to gaze upon the glory of God in the face of Jesus.

So for example if you look at verse seven. Now with the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone came with glory, which it did so that the Israelites could not look steadily in the face of Moses because of its glory feeding though it was Will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious the ministry that condemns manners, glorious and so far as by the law. No one could be set right with God. How much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness and then he goes on all the way down through their were not like Moses, verse 13. Who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away, but their minds were made. Also, to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It hasn't been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Now the Lord is the spirit and with the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and there you have it and we with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness.

Romero said that Moses face shone and he didn't know that his face shone and he didn't know his face shone even with the opportunity that he had and what Paul says is of the face of Moses Sean in that feeding dimming glory. Surely the faces of those who are in Christ are to really shine shine. You know that when they come into our churches is now the other group of people where something is happening. I don't know what is happening to them but they just shine.

They are the shining people. There is a glory about them. There is something about them see the work of the Holy Spirit is to turn our gaze towards the Lord Jesus and as we look at Christ.

So there is this reflection a glory that is revealed in the gospel itself.

The wonderful fleeing transforming story in the gospel that he died in our place to free us not only from the penalty of sin, as we have noted, but also from its power and its dominion. So for example rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in the that is in Jesus.

Let the water and the blood from your ribbon heart which float it's kind of archaic language from your ribbon heart which float deal of sin the double cure, cleanse me from its guilt and power so that we have been cleansed from all the guilt and stain of sin we are being cleansed from sin's power and that is why it is vital love ones that we have a solid grasp of the gospel so that we can preach the gospel to ourselves every day. I don't think it would be surprising if either the survey here and amongst an aggressive group of individuals like this for several people said we know the gospel is something to get you started. It is its way. In my past I II believe the gospel a long time ago and I moved on from that.

So I hope you haven't. I hope I hope you preach the gospel to yourself today because as the only way you stay sane is the only way you make progress because when Satan tempts you to despair and tells you all the guilt within what your answer going to be awkward.

I look and see him there, who made an end to all my sin is the gospel are standing in Christ is unalterable on our best week.

We are no closer to God on our worst week where no further from God because our standing with the father is all in the righteousness of Christ. We are not put right with God, on account of something done by us, nor we put right with God, on account of something done in us. We are put right with God, on account of something done for us, so that is.

Luther said in 1 Realistic Way. The gospel is all outside of us would you think about that.

It makes perfect sense, doesn't because if you set yourself up for a little inventory this morning and you see yourself now let me just do an inventory of how well I'm progressing is my prayer life and on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being hide what you want to give yourself brave enough to give yourself for they go for okay journeyman really meant for family meant a 50% mark. All right, a scale of 1 to 10 witnessing in the Speculator area.

Ever since I got here shining for Jesus and giving a word of testimony if the opportunity arises scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being high. Someone's innate you we need to we need you wait for tomorrow. Tomorrow is about humility. The rest of us will be hard-pressed to give ourselves a two and so we could go down the inventory because our hearts condemn us, and justifiably so.

Because if we constantly look within to see how well were doing as a basis of our standing with God. We will constantly feel that we have no standing with God. But when we realize that God's eternal purpose which he is definitely going to complete is to conform us to the image of his son and of the ongoing process in which we find ourselves engaged is that very selfsame thing that we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ notices in the passive, as well. We are being transformed into his likeness.

What is this passivity know, but it is a reminder to us that this is a process that is spirit in Jude and in which we are involved. We don't just sit back and let it happen.

There are means of grace which God has provided so that as we avail ourselves of the means of grace we make progress. So for example when the writer of the.

The Old Testament speaks prophetically of those of the sun.

He said he says about the sun that is Jesus.

You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

So I know that I'm not making much progress in being conformed to the likeness of Jesus.

If I've determined that I'm going to love wickedness and he righteousness just doesn't happen. You see, because the grace of God that has appeared. Titus two teaches us to say no to ungodliness, and all kinds of wickedness and to live upright and self-controlled lives in this present age spirit that teaches us through the word, enables us by his presence within us, but no more than God believes for us so that we might be saved because he doesn't we must believe in order that we might be saved. So the work of God within us to make us like Jesus is his work in which he includes our endeavors. So for example in Philippians work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, in other words, get up off your hindlegs and let's get going for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. The purpose from all of eternity. The process which is ongoing and finally promise that keeps our chins up and allows us to keep heading in the right direction. First John chapter 3 and verse two dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.

It's okay to say I don't know you came to the apostle John after one of the services at the apostle John, what are we going to be as well Friday I don't know the answers that question. I'm always very encouraged by the agnosticism that I find in the Bible, dear friends, now we are the children of God, and what we will be we don't know yet because it hasn't been revealed in fullness, but we do know this, that when he appears, here's our phrase, we shall be like him that we are not to be surprised by that because the very reason the Garter saved us is in order that I might be true that his purpose from all of eternity is that we would be conformed to the likeness of his son that what he's doing with us in the experience of our earthly pilgrimage is completing the process and finally even even though we know we are a ragtag and Bob Taylor gathering of people I with all our faults and all our foibles and are stumbling's and our feelings and so on. The fact of the matter is that when he appears, we will be like him. The brevity of John in relationship to these things I think is quite striking.

He tells us that Jesus will appear. He tells us that we will see him, and he tells us that we will be like him.

Paul interestingly and enter into this proposal when he talks about in Philippians 3 in a race as our citizenship is in heaven, and so on. He says in verse 21, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body and what he anticipates and hearing affirms, is the fact that not only will we be like him, but we will be with him and Frank you know when he says I really don't know whether I should leave or whether I should stay with you and so on. The fact of the matter is is is I don't know whether I should report and be with Christ or stay with you for a little while longer. So for Paul, the anticipation is that we will be with him for John. The anticipation is that we will be like him and for all the rest. We can wait confidently and contentedly to children songs as our is our close.

I wish to be like Jesus so humble and so kind.

His words were always tender, his voice always divine but no, I'm not like Jesus, is anyone can see, O Savior, and help me and make me just slightly. The final one cleanse me from my sin, Lord, and put your power within Lord take me as I am Lord and make me all your own and keep me every day. Lord, in the Narrow Way, Lord, and make my heart your palace and your royal throne, ethics is an expectation, become more were not the call of Christianity is to become what we are. You are in Christ, now let's be like Christ. Learning to be like Christ.

That's our goal today on Truth for Life weekend with Alister bag as Alister talk today about growing in holiness about breaking free from the bonds of sin, it can often be an encouragement for us to look at our own spiritual growth and see how it's progressing too often it's easy to fall into complacency to plateau on the path to spiritual maturity. That's why it's so important for us to regularly check ourselves and to keep our eyes on the goal that's a subject of the book. Our team is recommending today, written by Alister's friend, Sinclair Ferguson, the book is titled maturity. Growing up and going on in the Christian life. Sinclair takes us on a journey pointing out the steps and the pitfalls that come along with spiritual growth. He dives deep into the Scriptures and gives us clear guidance for how to identify dangers how to overcome temptation and how to press on patiently and diligently all the way to the end. If you'd like to understand the Bible's vision for Christian maturity in more than just understand it but to begin to experience it.

Be sure to get a copy of the book maturity by Sinclair Ferguson learn how you can request the book when you visit us the Truth for again the Truth for if you have an Amazon Alexa or Google home device to do know you can listen to Truth for Life at your convenience. With a few simple voice commands simply ask Alexa to play Truth for Life or ask Google to play Alister bag. Find out more about other voice commands you can use with your listing device go to Truth for Bob Lapine hope you can join us next weekend. As we continue learning how to know Christ more deeply. This program, the Bible teaching of Alister bag is furnished by Truth for Life. Learning is for Living

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