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Stability, Maturity, and Charity (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
April 13, 2022 4:00 am

Stability, Maturity, and Charity (Part 1 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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April 13, 2022 4:00 am

Wearing a jersey doesn’t make you a football player. To be on the team, you need to play the game! Similarly, effective Christian living is about more than outward appearances. Learn how to do the “basics” well on Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.


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If I put on a football uniform and trotted out with all the other players I might for a minute fool you, but would be in the game.

You'll quickly learn I am not part of the team today on Truth for Life will find out how being a Christian is about more than simply looking good on the outside. Alastair Ben continues in our study. In first Corinthians invite you to take your Bibles and turn with me to first Corinthians chapter 16 to the 13th verse be on your guard, stand firm in the faith.

The man of courage, be strong, do everything in love before we look at these verses we pause in prayer make the book live to me oh Lord, show me thy self within thy word. Show me myself and show me my Savior and make the book live to me for Jesus sake. Amen we are now in the final run into the conclusion of our studies in first Corinthians. And here in the 16th chapter as Paul begins to draw things to a close.

He makes a number of personal statements. Certain greetings. The reference to various individuals and in the midst of it all.

Here in verses 13 and 14. He inserts this interesting and important series of imperative statements they common rapidfire succession. Just a short burst as Paul is aware squeezes them into other material.

Another greetings that he is bringing and they common as a very effective and helpful reminder to us that effective Christian living. When we observe it in the lives of other people is most often seen amongst those who by God's grace are doing the basics well most of the time. As with most other areas of life. When you take away the extreme highs and the dreadful laws, our lives are lived within a fairly limited framework and it is imperative if we are to be useful either in business or in what area of employment during sport athletics or whatever it might be that we learn what it is to be able to do the basics well most of the time and here in this little section of these two verses, Paul gives basic instruction for Christian living.

From time to time we meet people who are consumed with the question what am I supposed to do the same.

Always to be asking for guidance and unable somehow or another to make very much progress at all and didn't relationship to Christian living.

There are some people who find it very easy to simplify Christian life and give a person, just a freeze. For example, you may have great difficulties in your business, you may be concerned about your marriage. You may have concerns about your children.

Whatever might be you go to somebody and they'll say just pray about their wallet and anything else are no just pray about course that is wonderful advice. It's good advice.

Jesus was the one who said may not always to pray and not to faint. I get to simply say just pray about it is not necessarily the answer to the question that is before us indeed that kind of approach is akin to the individual who when asking advice concerning how to hit a golf ball effectively is responded to by somebody who says just grip it and rip it so it's very simple invite.

It is oversimplified because the individual then grip said with a grip of that of an orangutan and proceeds to try and rip it in the way previously mentioned, I know they may be doing is actually ripping the tendons in their shoulders because the ball may go nowhere at all, or if it chooses to go somewhere no one in the world knows where it's planning on going by the advice of course, was succeeding with simple, riveting grip it.

I can simplify it says somebody to a phrase is thank you, but not necessarily particularly helpful.

On the other side.

Of course there are individuals who suffer from the opposite extreme. They couldn't simplify anything they have to complicate everything, everything is phenomenally complicated and in the world of golf you'll find that there are the complicated individuals like to instruct in that way to the most famous event in relation to this in my own life was when is a younger man. My father arranged for me to meet with an elderly gentleman who my father said was out quotes crank golfer and he felt that this man would be a great help to me in that and learning. Play the game of golf.

So we met at a prescribed time and the calf can bring is in overlooking Glasgow and the man was exceptionally nice man praying kindly and PE started off and said you know your father sent me up and just just take a couple swings while I just swung and then he said no, wait a minute, wait, stop right there and so I stop right there and he proceeded to tell me things about the stance that my stance was, you know, to wipe too narrow to open to close.

Who knows what it was but he started to prescribe on that Dysart got this it now take another swing. I do ministries stop it right now. He said let me see your grip. Many started on the grip.

Well, I tried to hit a golf ball.

Remembering the two things moved down the fairway a little and then he started on what he referred to as the coming from the top and he told me I was to ring the bell, and which I didn't understand a thing.

But you to pull down like this and make the ring the bell couple holes later he told me to slam the barn door to a non-ringing a bell slamming the barn door keep my stance right opening my grip doing everything I was a complete within five holes here me so much information if I had put it on file paper I needed a small donkey to carry around with. Eventually, I thought I said you know you're a very nice man when we go for coffee because this is this is over. This is pathetic.

Now, in the same way. In Christian living.

As I go through my days. I made both extremes that led just pray about it.

Individual and the people were going around with books and manuals and tapes and charts and diagrams and they cannot put 1 foot in front of the other because of all of this material other than moving around and in the you need a donkey to carry and of course if we would just go to our Bibles and a lot of the balance of Scripture to be our instructor, then we would be seeing from the extreme of oversimplification and over complication we would be allowed to understand what Paul gives to us here in these five succeeding essential practical principles for effective Christian living and I want simply to go through them with you this morning there in front of you in your Bible and I will take each one in its course and make our way through verses 13 and 14 one. What am I supposed to do.

Says someone in living my Christian life for this is not all that we are supposed to do, but here are five things to be working on number 1B on your guard be on your guard, stay awake, stay alert. Avoid carelessness, avoid dreaminess, avoid indifference, keep your eyes open and learn to see what you're seeing. Most of us have seen photographs of the most famous military guards in the world. Arguably, those for whom thousands will be standing this week in London to watch the changing of the guards and if you've seen it in person. You will oppressed your nose up and through the gigantic, wrought iron gates and look there at the guards well trained who stand regarding Buckingham Palace looks great in front of themselves. They are immaculate they are unflinching. Their gaze is straightforward and they clearly understand what it is there to be doing.

They are guards and they are guarding anybody looking from the vantage point of the street, and on that would say they've got it under control. At least they thought they had until a few years ago the Queen awakened in the night to find a gentleman sitting on the end of her bed and it wasn't Prince Philip and some character had taken himself into the palace throughout the palace found the Queen's bedroom and was sitting on the end of her bed.

Wanting to engage her in conversation in the middle of the night, pointing to the fact that while from the outside it appeared as though they had the guarding issue down pat. It was simply a cover for the patent ineffectiveness of their security system stay with me here. How about your guard in your life and your family. Some of us have got it looking really good on the outside guard as they are standing straight, looking forward, apparently by our conversation and by the way we pass ourselves off.

We are on God. But if people were to see inside of our minds. If you were to drive in our cars if you will to come on our business trips. If you would to see our children they could be forgiven for assuming the while we have the externals rights are security system is patently in effect be on your guard. He says Jesus is the same thing in Matthew chapter 26 concerning the issue of temptation, watch and pray. He says to his disciples. Matthew 26 verse 41 so that you will not fall into temptation, watch and pray, stay awake, stay alert, or you will be caught off guard, Peter says the same thing he was there when Jesus said that in first Peter chapter 5.

Speaking of the activities of the evil one. He says in verse eight. Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Now it is just naivety to say that we have no reason for guard business that we have no reason to stay alert, it is imperative your whole future of this week in terms of effective Christian living and mine starts and ends with the issue of godliness. Do you realize that in one unguarded moment, you could be like Peter the total denier. I never knew Jesus I go to church now I will one unguarded moment in one unguarded moment URI could sell our marriage down the river in one unguarded moment, we can do something in business that would ruin our reputation for all the rest of our career in one unguarded moment, we could watch as our children are sure themselves into great chaos. Therefore, it is not superficial arms length instruction. It is imperative godliness.

And here's the thing. I am at my most vulnerable when I am unaware of how vulnerable I really the people who scared me most are the people say I will never happen to me that's what I told my mother about my friends motorbike when I borrowed it for a month when she said, you'll fall off that thing and I said I'll never happen to me and I fell off in front of all my friends. I had a dreadful job explaining my mother and of course she said, why do you think I warned you. First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 12 deals with the issue of this presumption in relationship to garden this if you think you're standing says Paul, if you think you are not in need of this gardeners you actually and more needed than anybody else for screen needs 10 verse 12 so if you think your standing firm. Be careful that you don't fall be on your guard. The elders are to be on their guard as well. First and in acts chapter 20 verse 31, as Paul gives instruction to the Ephesian elders and he tells them he says after I leave there will be wounds that appear from among your very selves. They will draw men after then they will distort the truth.

Therefore, my advice to the leaders of the church in Ephesus is that you would be on your guard.

Secondly, that we would be standing firm be on your guard stand for in the qualifies that he modifies it with the phrase in the faith stand firm in the faith, the nature and necessity of Christian stability. Incidentally, that little phrase in the faith not only modify stand firm, but I think it is the key to all the other statements be on your guard in terms of the faith and living out the faith stand firm. Be courageous. We, the faith be strong re-faith see the issue was that men and women in the time to which Paul was writing to the Corinthians were facing all kinds of false teachers they were seeking to distort the truth. They were seeking to dilute the truth and Paul knew that they must have a solid grasp of the Bible, a solid grasp of the faith.

If they're going to be able to take their stand upon stand firm in the faith, Shadrach me shack and Abednego were three young men were the world at their feet. Sure they were away from home. Sure they were in a foreign land. Sure they were in a context that was an ideal but Daniel their friend had put them in a solid position in life was going along really nice for them.

That was until Nebuchadnezzar came up with the bright idea of building a 90 foot monument will apply 9 foot wide overlay with gold and compelling everyone in his kingdom to bow down and worship the idle nobody really knew what the idle was, nobody knew for what it stood indeed in late 20th century terms. It was a perfect kind of icon insofar as it stood forever. Whatever you wanted it to stand for. They were asked to give up their Judaism. They were asked to renege on their faith.

They were simply asked to bow down before the big 90 foot statue. Now what could be the problem. There you can still believe all you want to believe just bow down in my statue and Shadrach me shack and Abednego said we will then and Nebuchadnezzar said but you burn and Shadrach me shack and Abednego said we'll see about that and Nebuchadnezzar got in LA in the heat of the furnace seven times hotter than it normally was in the could get it somewhere between 700,000C they got it cooking cooking so large the chaps will open the door to throw the men they got totally and instantaneously fry and Shadrach and me shack and Abednego for the sake of bowing down before a 90 foot nameless unidentifiable object walked into the furnace and Nebuchadnezzar had put them in saying and which God will be able to see in you then and they walked into the furnace because it says in the Bible, you shall not make for yourselves any graven image of any graven thing and you shall not bow down and worship and they said, God said it that settles it. If we have to burn will burn. They were man of absolute firmness and when they look in from outside said Nebuchadnezzar to his age. I see 1/4 man walking with them in the furnace who looks to be as light on to a Son of Man. I believe that was a pre-incarnate appearance of Jesus Christ. Three men who stood for and found the presence of Jesus. Let's make no mistake, the time is coming and has now come when we are being asked to bow down to all kinds of idols and worship at all kinds of trying. No one is actually concerned that we would have convictions about Christ or about the Bible were allowed to hold to just pile down and only those who are firm in the faith will know enough to stand against the full you see what you say when somebody says the issues of Christian doctrine are divisive if we would only focus more on Christian love than we could all unite with one another. We could put aside all of these extraneous differences and we would all be fine.

On the basis of love and if you find yourself responding to that by saying I sounds like a perfectly good idea to me, and there's no cautionary flag goes up in your mind. Then I want you to know that we still got a lot more work to do with you and teaching you how to stand firm in the faith, because the answer to that assertion is this my dear friend the basis of our unity is Christian doctrine. We do not set it aside in order to unite, we unite on the basis of the truth. It conveys and we do so, as we will see in a spirit of love. When Paul was concerned for Timothy, his young with tenant in the faith, concerned that he would be able to grasp and hold to these things he says to them in first Timothy chapter 6 and verse 12 fight the good fight of the faith fight the good fight of the faith back in first Corinthians and 15 in the first verse he said brothers I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand and Jude in his one chapter and verse three. Dear friends, all I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. There is a great need for us not only to be those who are on guard, but to be those who are standing for now. Thirdly, he says you should be man of courage. This is a call not notice stability but to maturity to Christian maturity his readers. He had previously addressed in chapter 3 as those who are just babies. He says I wish that I could address your spiritual bike and I can only address you as infants in Christ. I wish I could give you a proper meal like and I can only give you a bottle of milk that reason, I have to give you bottled milk is because you're still immature. Every parent wants their children to grow and be a sad and sorry thing to see a 17-year-old boy sitting in here sucking on a bottle of milk he said goodness or something sadly wrong with that chap and there would be concern all around on the basis of it. You don't expect the boy to be walking around doing that, no, no, those were for the infant days we want to see them grow to maturity. Want to see them able to take the good food and to discriminate between that and the bad food and to get a proper diet, and to grow healthy and to grow strong and to grow up to be mature to be a man and that is the picture is a call to Christian manliness clear that the way to persevere. Godly living is by doing the basics well listening to Truth for Life. That's Alastair back with a message titled stability maturity and surety. We are the conclusion of this message tomorrow. Note, do you sometimes struggle trying to understand Jesus teaching and in doing the basics will if that's the case, you're in good company. Jesus disciples struggled with uncertainty about so many things as they shared their final meal together with their master, author and theologian Dr. Sinclair Ferguson has written a book titled lessons from the upper room where he helps us connect the dots between everything the Jesus told his disciples on the night before he died. And what is written in the rest of Scripture. You can request your copy of the book lessons from the upper room when you go to our website Truth for Alistair's message today was focused on are called to live according to God's instruction and that can be a challenge in a world where our beliefs run counter to the culture. Alastair has written a book titled brave by faith that draws from the life of Daniel to help us deal with what Alastair calls our new lack of status. Daniels experience living in an unbelieving society made him a part of the minority, but God enabled him to remain faithful. You will be encouraged to do the same as you listen to the brave by faith audiobook which we are making available today is a free download. Visit Truth for by faith to download your copy of Alistair's audiobook and when you request a free audiobook. You'll see there's also a corresponding study guide to go along with brave by faith that's available to download for free as well. Again, you'll find the audiobook and the study guide Truth for by faith Bob Lapine thanks for joining us should be with us tomorrow is will find out how love is the curry powder of the Christian experience Bible teaching of Alastair beg is furnished by Truth for Life with the Learning is for Living

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