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April 15, 2022 4:00 am
What would others who know you identify as the defining characteristics of your family or your lifestyle today on Truth for Life. Alastair Begg explores this question and takes a closer look at what should mark a Christian family first Corinthians chapter 16 section that is before us begins at $15 before we turn our minds to it. It's just turn our hearts again to the Lord in prayer the Lord our God, unless we know the enabling of your spirit both in speaking and in hearing we now engage in an exercise in futility. We do not believe that you've brought us here except for the express purpose that through your word you would speak to our lives.
So speak, Lord, in the stillness, while we wait upon for Jesus sake, we ask, what is your household, known for.
Do they know your house on the street. Do they know your house in the community to be able say in that house is such and such are from that house comes such and such a thing and maybe known for your dog. You may be no one for your mailbox. You may may be no one for the volume of your sons or daughters radio in their car when they come home in the later evening. Maybe known for a number of things houses have a look. Houses have a feel if I may say so graciously.
Houses also have a smell and aroma better word and aroma and don't go from here saying the pastor said to my house things I did not say that I said that your house has aroma. So much so that as a child my mother was able to identify the houses out of which I can't on the basis of the peculiar aromas that are part and parcel of some of the homes in our community ethnic cooking of the good Scottish variety, involving a tremendous amount of fat and as a result of that, there was a sort of fancy element to me when I came home that pervaded both my clothing and my hair and she would know now it was this flavor with which we ended our study last time. In verse 14, because we said that what was the emphasis of the Holy Spirit in relationship to the matter of these things was simply this, that there should be an all pervading element of love, which was marking the relationships among the Corinthian believers that they were to be seasoned by love and that that should be spilling over into the community that both as a church family and then as individual families, they would be learning that one of the great evidences of the fact that Jesus Christ is alive from the dead is to be found in the loving lifestyle of Christian families, the loving lifestyle of Christian families. The way in which father and mother relate to each other the way in which parent treats child and child parent and siblings sibling. There should be this Christ exalting spirit filled element which is part and parcel of these houses are quite challenging for now, the household of Stefanik's in verse 15 is just such a household, the household of Stefanik's is to be a household that's on its guard standing firm in the faith, courageous and strong. In other words, Christian living is to be marked by a courage that will never retreat, but the household of Stefanik's is also good to be one in which they are doing everything in love. Therefore, Christian living is to be marked by a love that will never fail on those two things frame a large part of what it will mean for us to live out the life of Jesus.
At this point in time we were to be those who are marked by a courage that does not retreat hens verse 13 and by our love that never fails. Verse 14 and now exemplified in verse 15 and following it was a word that was of vital importance to these Corinthian believers because you will recall from our earlier studies.
They were fairly selfish group of people. They were preoccupied with themselves and with their own peculiar concerns, and indeed in certain cases the teachers that they liked at the communion services they would need a rebuke because we were showing up badly just to meet all of the food and when people arrived in the hope that they would also be of the share in the meal what was known as a love feast had become actually a feast of selfishness.
And so it is not a matter of passing inboard. But as Paul draws this great epistle to a conclusion that he should give this vital instruction as to the nature of Christian law as we think about love, then flashing itself out in family life in the ministry to a family and through a family we do well to pay attention to the household of Stefanik's and that is why he is mentioned for us here. I five words that I like to use as the guiding lights. Is it where through these four verses this morning, and each word with the exception of one is actually in the text. The first word is the word conversion you know that the household of Stefanik's where the first converts in a KI. The first thing that we know about them is that they were once darkness, and now they're light in the Lord were not told that they were religious people were not told that they were churchgoing people were told that they were converted people, and indeed in the ministry which Paul had exercised in the city of Corinth, says Paul, according to my recollection when I think of those who came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Stefanik's in this family right at the front of the queue know if he turned back to acts chapter 18. You can see there the historical record of what to place when Paul went into Corinth to preach. We are told that in verse four on the Sabbath day. He reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks. There was a dialogue which was taking place. Paul was in the context of Judaism and he was reasoning. He was arguing. He was discussing disputing emphasizing the peculiarity particularity and exclusivity of the person of Jesus of Nazareth and of course this is a fairly daunting challenge insofar as he's in a synagogue doing so synagogue folks were monotheistic.
They believed in Jehovah God, and they regarded this Jesus of Nazareth as something less than the incarnate God. The people on the outskirts of the synagogue were living in an arena not dissimilar to contemporary Cleveland insofar as they were living in a world of pluralism. Everyone had their own idea.
Everyone had their own God.
Everyone had their own belief system and the one thing that was absolutely taboo was that an individual should try and unsettle others in the convictions to which they had made us severe and vast and fast hold, especially in the matter of faith and so Paul is very politically incorrect insofar as he gives himself, says Luke to the matter of persuasion he was seeking to persuade the Jews and to persuade the Greeks he was doing all in his power to make clear that Jesus was the person he claimed to be that he was the Savior and it was a Savior that these individuals need.
He is bidding out in his actual ministry. The commitment that he makes reference to in second Corinthians 511 when he says, knowing the fear of the Lord we persuade men and women. I want to say to you believer this morning that you have been called of God to a ministry of persuasion argued to be persuasive to be persuasive in your approach to your children enough of this silly contemporary nonsense about when they're old enough to choose then will give them the information necessary. The greatest deprivation of choice is to deprive them of the information they need in order to make a cogent choice, and unless you as parents take it upon yourself to be persuasive in the things of faith than it is unlikely that there will be any others who will be able to fill the gap adequately.
It is to the ministry of persuasion that we are called amongst our friends and our neighbors, our work colleagues to whom we return tomorrow are interested as to what it is that makes us take with grace and with kindness with sensitivity with wisdom and with skill, we follow the example of Paul whereby he seeks to persuade them now as persuasive as he was, and is helped, as he was the responds were told was not exactly wonderful indeed in verse six we are told that the Jews opposed Paul and they became abusive. So here he is reasoning dialoguing, proclaiming, arguing, persuading the reaction of the people is get out of here and so what we are told this. Indeed, in a symbolic demonstration of his response to them.
He were told by Luke shook his clothes. He shook his clothes in protest the same picture that you have of Jesus.
When the disciples come back and see what I really doing to well over here Jesus said them to shake the dust off your sandals afterwards where I hear, shake the dust off your clothes and look at what he says to them, not exactly a user-friendly approach would you say your blood be on your own heads. I told you I'm not here by my own appointing. I have a message to proclaim.
I didn't create. I'm not trying to be unkind, not seeking to be abusive and anyway I'm seeking to speak to you the truth and live your reaction is opposition and abuse. Try Sierra. It's really a sorry picture of the contemporary church running after people saying excuse me with such a wimpy kind of church you know what you trying to say, "I didn't. I didn't want to say too much in one to insert a therapist it is person gone. When you finally get your eyes and your mouth open. The persons go polish Kaiser when you know about Jesus. I don't just want you to know I want to persuade you to believe in Jesus.
I want to do everything in my power if I could do myself. I want to make you a believer, but since you choose not to hear. I'm going next. If you want to come next-door. That's okay but I'm going next. And so he goes next-door. Okay, he does the exact same thing is quite good again is his landlord put them out, and he'd already built some kind of opportunity so we just try to your place next door which opened up for and perfectly he moves into the home of to.
She is justice who is a worshiper of God and he's no sooner move next-door than the ruler of the synagogue and his whole house become believers. The guy who leads the group that threw them out comes next-door. God opens his heart and he believes now while this was going on were told that many people believed at the same time. That's in verse eight, and many of the Corinthians who heard and believed and were baptized U-turn back to first Corinthians in chapter 16 cross reference a thing and he says you know that a household of savannas for the first converts and again right in the very beginning of this ministry. He says right in the front of the line stuff, anise and his family in keeping with the plan of God. In acts chapter 18 in verse nine. Hope you get your finger in it. Many people believed and the spirit of God tells them in verse 10, I am with you. No one is going to attack and harm you, because I have many people in this city understand this, the spirit of God says that I want you to know the greatest encouragement you could ever have. As you dialogue reason preach, proclaim, and persuade. I have people in this city who are going to believe because of your faithfulness to the preaching of the word.
The great encouragement to preach is the fact that God has purposed and planned to say you have this all the way through the Scriptures. Wonderful somebody other than second Thessalonians chapter 2 in verse 13 we always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth who did the choosing God who did the believing you did is and that something of a paradox and enter no make it absolutely is what we know.
We know that both truths sit side-by-side in the Bible God is about the business of choosing and we had about the business of believing and it was as a result of Paul's faithful preaching that men and women came to believe, and as a result of having come to believe as they walked down the road of faith in the turn and they look back, they say, isn't this a great marvel that God chose me before the foundation of that you see is God's plan. Paul's purpose in first Corinthians chapter 9 in verse 19 summarize very clearly that I might win, says Paul, as many people as possible. What was Paul doing he was seeking to win as many as possible. What a wonderful plan way to spend your life and as he sought to win as many as possible right at the front of the line was the household of Stefanik's and that accounts for his involvement in their baptisms U-turn back to chapter 1 in verse 16 when he addresses the issue of baptism and the confusion. This involved there. He says I'm thankful that I didn't baptize any of you except Christmas and Gaia's so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. I can imagine this is my imagination, of course, but I can imagine them dictating this we speaking out loud and his secretary is writing it down in the amanuensis. This who was more than likely sustenance is mentioned in verse one. Sustenance is writing it down and Paul says in a put down. I'm thankful that I didn't baptize anyone of you except Christmas and Gaia's so that no one can say you were baptized in my name. Then he said, pardon and sustenance said are you forgetting about the fantasies household and he says oh yeah I also baptized the household of Stefanik's beyond that I don't remember the picture of the way the New Testament works, but here's a letter written to Corinth acts chapter 18 gives you him in Corinth.
The baptism that he refers to in verse one in chapter 1 is directly related to his awareness of them. Hundreds and hundreds of people came to faith in Jesus Christ is as a result of Paul's ministry. He clearly could be involved in the baptism of the of the mall. He honestly didn't even remember them all and he needed his mind to be joined in relationship to Stefanik's but he was in no doubt about this fantasy and his household where convicted they were convicted, they were changed and I ask you this morning to people know of your household that it is a convicted household two people have they identify the fact that they would be able to come to you for information concerning this same Jesus, could they come to my door and say I think perhaps you could help me with this or without because the identifying factor of our lives is that where new people.
All were ordinary people we go the same places similar places we do the same kind of things we dress in similar ways, but there's been a mighty change brought about in our life's it is to this end, that we labor here, week by week and day by day, not to build a large number of people sitting in the seats, not simply to provide information not simply to give you religious principles that you may find in other places, but we labor. To this end, we might persuade you that you need a Savior in Christ, and that entrusting unreservedly in him, you may be changed for given grandson restored so your household converted second word is not conversion but it is devotion, devotion, these individuals are clearly understood that conversion is not a determinist it's a starting point. Paul were told in acts 1811 and stayed on and on in Corinth for 18 months, providing them with all the information that they needed to go on with Christ and this family had clearly understood that salvation was the pathway to blessing that now that he had been convicted and was not an option for them to be devoted.
It was only natural that they would be devoted you get married and you go down the front of the island. You say all those things and you go out the door. I don't know about you but I wasn't looking ongoing. We will will you want to do now you want to go out for coffee to do you know what I may go to my car go see my mother said I don't think I managed to place here. I don't know what to place your desire to see people going. Thank you for coming think everything's going goodbye there gone.
Why because they will be hopelessly devoted to each other hopelessly devoted and not an option is an understandable obligation and that's what conversion brings you show me people who claim to be converted without being devoted. I wonder what it was happened to have none of this silly teaching about the various stages involved in a progression of a walk with Christ is if you can have the convention package which includes heaven and that no Hal but nothing beyond that. Or if you would like a little more. You can have the devotion package which involves a little more commitment on your part, but use special benefits while you can have and so on and so many people I talked to the think of the Christian life just like that I'm just converted.
I'm not devoted I'm contracted but not devoted. I want to say to you if you're not devoted is questionable whether your convicted and the interesting thing is that there devotion reveals itself in service.
They devoted themselves to something.
What are you doing over there on just devoting it doesn't work like that, you know, devotion, in relationship to something and they devoted themselves specifically to the service of the saints. Phillips puts it, they made up their minds to devote their lives to serving others being imposed upon themselves a duty question, what is there about your Christian life and mine that speaks to the issue of self imposed duty to things that ought to mark our lives as believers courage that won't retreat a love that never fails listing to Truth for Life.
But Alistair Begg with part one of a message titled family ministry will hear the conclusion to this message on Monday in our world today being courageous and holding firm door Christian faith seems to put us more and more in the minority. Alistair Begg is written a book titled brave by faith where he draws lessons from the book of Daniel, who also lived in a society that did not uphold God's laws. Daniel however remained steadfast in his faith. Alastair helps us learn from Daniel's experience, so that we too can trust entirely in God even when we face fierce objections from a secular culture brave by faith is an audiobook read by Alastair and you can download it for free this email@example.com/brave by faith can also download a free companion study today is the last they were offering a book titled lessons from the upper room. It's written by Sinclair Ferguson and he gives us a close-up look at Jesus final hours with his disciples as described in John's Gospel, Sinclair walks us through the scene with the sensitivity of a pastor who is eager to help us understand and apply all that's explained for us in these important persons request lessons from the upper room when you give to support the teaching you here on Truth for Life. Just visit Truth for Life.org/donate. I'm Bob Lapine.
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Join us again Monday we will find out why Christian usefulness has more to do with availability than with any special ability, Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by truth for learning is prolific