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April 14, 2022 4:00 am
The apostle Paul encourages us to be on guard against temptation to stand firm in our faith to be strong to be courageous to how we do that find out today on Truth for Life as Alister Meg shares the key ingredient should permeate all calls. Alister is teaching from first Corinthians chapter 16 verses 13 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 Bibles and worship at all kinds of shrine. No one is actually concerned that we would have convictions about Christ or about the Bible were allowed to hold just 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 luck if you find yourself responding to that by saying I sound 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 noticed ability 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 get a bottle of milk that reason, I have to give you bottle milk is because you're still immature your worldly said I'll show you how your worldly are always arguing with one another about who Paula says new ball is new peters said if you were able to grow up and you be able to get good food.
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 to one of those teats say 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 under CM 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. Indeed, the King James version reads quit you like men. The reason it reads that way is because it is one word in Greek did the rest. And there is no feminine equivalent for those of you will get your feminine antennae going up in these moments, why would it sacred you like men very simply because men are supposed to be courageous so you should be my husband while I be glad to meet your husband the last time the fire alarm.
The last time the burglar alarm went off. He sent me down the stairs for, says the way okay so you're married to a woman that's fine that's a problem we can address that in another case, or the last thing you can get the top of the marmalade and and he couldn't hear the you you want to write off so okay, so he's weak and the wind. That's a problem will do what I do in another context, by the way that God is design things is that men are supposed to be strong women are supposed to be and that's why he says be manly. He's talking about style. He started about a maturity he wants women in spiritual terms, and children in spiritual terms to bring this guy mentioned to bear upon their Christian experience and let's cut through it. We all understand the distinction we all believe the distinction, and anyone who plays golf and leaves a pot short whose name begins with a specially if you have a name like Alister Lena pot short. What is somebody say nice pot.
Alice all right, that's what they always say nice pot.
Alice now you ladies may not know this because you haven't played makes for some, but that's what they always say I found it a lot, and I know what they're saying you're too weak to get the ball to all your clown may be very unkind to ladies and I think it probably is but that's the picture that is supposed to be on manliness of bravery and unflinching courage. Christian manliness is a great virtue, and man as man are supposed to be examples to the church man of courage strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord says the psalmist.
Psalm 31 and verse 24. How then are we going to grow to this level of maturity and courage in our Christian lives. Again we come back to the place and priority of the word of God as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word says Peter in first Peter two that you may grow thereby that is why God has given pastors and teachers to the church as Paul in Ephesians 4 so that they may edify the sins by the teaching of the Bible so that they may grow to maturity, so that in maturity. They may not be blown around by every wind of doctrine. We don't want them to be our Christians to be little waves that can be blown here and there.
We want them to grow strong and courageous, and that is why the word of God. If it is to have impact in our lives is not simply the word understood that it is the word apply first Peter to the priority of taking in the word Ephesians for the priority of proclaiming the word.
James chapter 1 verse 22 the priority of seeing the word apply.
Do not be merely hearers of the word he says. But be doers of the word. Don't simply read the manuals do the exercise and some of us are in danger of thinking that another manual will do the job when appointed by the first manual. If we done the exercise would've already dealt with the situation.
We were running here and there and everywhere for another manual as if the manual would make the change. It is our response to the instruction of the manual which makes it possible for progress in our life. Fourthly, we are to be strong to be strong got a military mentor for the runs through all of this. I think you can pick up this idea of strength and conviction, courage and guard business and firmness, be strong. I don't know about you, but as I read these imperatives. I find myself saying how how how like to do this be on your guard okay stand firm in the faith fine. Be a man of courage, fine, be strong, how my going to be strong where it is my strength come from is not a question of the psalmist in the summer hundred 21 I lift my eyes to the hills from whence cometh my a my help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and there you see it is a chronicle of despair simply to be told to be strong going to a weight room and look at these huge big things. As we mentioned before, and you can save yourself now. I will be strong and you can try and pick the thing up crusher toes within you can break the floor, whatever, because just simply endeavoring to be strong doesn't make you strong.
What does Paul have in mind what I think the key to it is Philippians chapter 4 in verse 13, where Paul says there to the Philippian believers I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength is talking there about contentedness and plenty are in want. He says it is actually possible to live a contented life was a somebody. I'm not sure how it's possible to do that while he says I can do all things through Christ who makes me strong. Elsewhere in his Corinthian letters. He says when I am weak, then I am strong. I delight in my weaknesses, he says, so that God's power and glory may rest upon the same picture that you have in Isaiah chapter 40 they that wait upon the Lord will renew their strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles, they will run and not be weary, and they will walk and they will not. Some of us have come to a morning like this. The very opposite of guarded nests, firmness, courage and strength come to an end of ourselves in relationship to these things were buffeted to and fro by the winds that are blowing around us dreadfully susceptible to temptation. We find that were easily moved off our course with a soon as the turbulence gets bad around us find it very very difficult to hold our wings on and even school and here is the great promise of God's word that they that wait upon will renew their strength is why Paul when he prays for the Colossians in chapter 1 he says.
I pray that you will be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, so that you may have great endurance and patience. They in flux of the power of God may not reveal itself in dramatic displays of effectiveness but it would be enough for for some of us to discover endurance and patience in a New Way, George Matheson captures this very very well and is great him make me a captive Lord and in the third verse he puts it like this.
My power is faint and low till I have learned to serve it once the needed fire to blow it once the breeze to nerve it cannot drive the world until itself be driven its flag can only be unfurled when the shell breeze from heaven, and stand underneath your flagpole and look up at it as it hangs limp down the side of the ball and exhorted flat you can say to hopefully there's no one around watching you or hearing you because they'll know that you're decidedly weird because by simply exhorting the flag. It will not flap in the breeze. Only when the wind blow. You sense and need in your life for God to common blow the wind of his Spirit in you and through you to create that kind of courage to put you on your guard to stand firm make you strong. Then finally, in verse 14 he says I want you to make sure that you do everything in love. I don't think this is so much 1/5 imperative. Although it is as it is the very seasoning in which all of the other ingredients are cooked. If you like to use a measure of her from the kitchen which is dangerous. You see, I think Paul understands that if it is possible for us to be guarded, firm, courageous, strong, and for all of us to produce itself in a kind of cold and metallic and refrigerated and unapproachable way very military like very strong, very guarded.
We are the contenders of the faith we know it. We've got it will) else is wrong.
Stand up here and listen while recognizing that says by the way, just in case any of you were tempted to go down that road. Here's the little important part do everything in love and love and love are the phrases I learned in living in this country is may I have it on the site. Please the first time I had that I didn't know what in the world.
The person was talking about said with the salad dressing.
You know there's only one kind of salad dressing written anyways as the first day you or what kind you have only other thing thing thing and doing doing doing daily is about 20 minutes and then the person says. After all, it I have it on the site was that yes, certainly on the site.
Here's the deal. You can't have love on the site. It's supposed to permeate everything. So when I'm courageous in love when I'm firm in love when I'm strong in love when I'm on guard and love is going to be through the whole mixture and sometimes when we asked the question, is it possible to have that on the site. The answer is no. It is prepared in that says of the problem that garlic bread stuff many of you could pick it offer some there be one thing, but it is pervasive thing is everywhere. You can even touch the stuff gets a great illustration of it 10 days ago when my wife and I and our children were invited to two the home of an African friend who meet as an Indian curry was. It was a very interesting event guy scream of the Zimbabwean accident making an Indian curry and he made a great curry. I wasn't far into it when I realize whatever this powder is power. This wasn't on the side. This was everywhere and just flavor the ingredients permeated the room and within a very short period of time. It was coming out of me, literally. I still laugh my father for this little ball he had used to wipe it with that with a hanky like this is to say to myself that because it was coming out of the Mustang to come out of me.
I can see my father and me.
I guess that's harassment to be okay. I'm running my hand and it's coming on my wrists and everywhere later in the day I went on people, me going over at Andrew's house so yeah how do you know a way this is love is the curry powder of Christian experience. You're not supposed to have to go looking for it. Amongst the people of God with a thundering great magnifying glass scares me looking for love in the Christian family. Their son know supposed to be. You come in the door. The whole place is just challenges do everything in love is so important when you think about the idea of standing for the fee being courageous, being strong and live. You see, if it is truth which prevents our love from degenerating into some kind of soppy sentimentalism. It is love which prevents our truth from sliding into a rigid dogmatism and again the Scriptures are perfectly clear, perfectly balanced first Corinthians 1613 and 14.
Paul calls the church in Corinth calls the church here in Cleveland to stability to maturity and to charity and I say in conclusion, along with the apostle Peter, I intend always to remind you of these things so that after my departure, you will be able to bring them to my it is clear from Scripture that love and truth are essential for effective Christian living Talisker bag your listing the Truth for Life. Keep listening. Alister will be back shortly here Truth for Life. Our desire is to see as many people as possible have access to Alister's teaching were grateful for your prayers and for your generous donations.
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It's titled lessons from the upper room.
It's written by author Sinclair Ferguson and he guides us through the intimate dialogue but took place between Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper just hours before his trial and crucifixion. You can request your copy of lessons from the upper room when you join the truth partner team or when you make a one time donation online at truthful, I.org/donate and by the way, if you know someone who hasn't yet trusted Jesus as their Savior encourage them to read lessons from the upper room, extra copies of the book are available to purchase in our online store for our cost of four dollars. This is a deep dive into Jesus final hours. It's also a great topic for your Bible study group to explore. Now here's Alister with prayer. Our gracious God and loving father, we thank you that we have the Bible to turn to in a day of confusion in a day of instability in a day of great change. We ask that you will write your word in the life of our church and in our individual lives and homes today, you will replace our sleepiness and dreaminess being guarded. Lord you will take our weakness and replace it with your strength are fear and replace it with your courage are immaturity and replace it with your maturity and when were tempted Lord to exalt ourselves to become proud, self-seeking, very opposite of what it means to love.
We pray that you would bring us down to where we need to be and then Phil is afresh with the love of the Lord Jesus, so that we may be able to say to one another.
I love you with the love of the Lord. Yes, I love you with the love of the Lord, for I can see in you Jesus and I love you with the love of the Lord grant that our church may increasingly become that biblically balanced place between holding fast to the truth and doing everything in love, to the glory of your name now may the Lord bless us and keep us in the Lord make his face to shine upon us and be gracious unto us. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon and give us his peace.
Today and forever more unpopular opinion is your lifestyle feel about you, but what others identify as the defining characteristics of your family join us tomorrow to find out what attributes should a Christian family Bible teaching of Alister bag is punished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living