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Loving Community (Part 3 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
The Truth Network Radio
May 16, 2022 4:00 am

Loving Community (Part 3 of 3)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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May 16, 2022 4:00 am

How can a once-vibrant church be restored after it’s dwindled? The solution is to do the basics well, most of the time. Find out what that means and what’s involved in “doing the basics” when you study along with Alistair Begg on Truth For Life.



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Is it possible for a church in decline place to start is to do the basics well today on Truth for Life. Alister big shows us what's involved by taking us to Revelation chapter 2 verses one through seven notice for beginners. Its the folks who are to be commended for your commitment to the truth. You're to be commended for fulfilling the task, but it's I hold this against you, you have forsaken your first love. JB Phillips paraphrases this, you do not love as you did in the first tragic thing to see is in a marriage where people grown close to one another. There still together, but a living single formality to and you can see it in their eyes you understand it in the way they express themselves to one another. If there is no fresh discoveries. There's no vibrancy about it is just the same old jazz. It's pretty hopeless. Many times it is sustained simply by fear rather than by any genuine sense of undying affection down in Florida you're living amongst the newlywed and the nearly dead and there is nothing gives me a greater thrill than seeing these ancient couples walking in the morning sun still holding hands with each other. Now admittedly, in some cases is to prevent each other. Falling down, but they can do that with us, you know, my only assumption is that it is an expression still about love that exists between you see Christianity is about the explosive power of a new affection of falling in love with Christ.

The sense of the immensity of his pursuing energizing grace when that begins to go and will look a lot like this church when love for Christ is not what it should meet our love for each other will be sadly affected your miserable customer in your congregation.

I can tell you that you do not love Jesus. As you once did, or if you want. If your miserable soul in the community. Just a miserable soul when we love God we keep his commandments, for this is love for God. John tells us that we keep his commandments and his commandments are not burdensome. Therefore, failure to love God will mean disobedience. The demineralization of my love for Jesus will be directly related to disobedience in my life and disobedient Christians are not good people to plan on spending much time with and also what about love for the unbeliever, presumably in Ephesus there evangelistic zeal, which it made it the most significant church in the first century had begun to dissipate. Somehow or other, their words and their actions were no longer conveying the love of the Lord Jesus borders were growing tighter. Their actions were's smacking motive religious formalism they were going through the routines they still held onto it, but they didn't have that compassionate interest in in the non-Christian world. I don't know why my sense of application is going in this direction. This morning, but I'll just stay with that. In speaking to the student community and to the young people listen. I have grown weary listening to our young man are a young woman tell me again and again how, as a result of disobedience to Christ they got involved with the non-Christian person to whom they took a shine non-Christian person was a very nice person and not right and so long as the same story. A million times. They never ever told their unbelieving friend that he had an undying devotion to Jesus because invite the admin disobedient and therefore they had no undying devotion to Jesus. And when all of the thing had fallen apart and disintegrated. They wet and what happened. They had not love Jesus and the left is the love that the fires in the draining away of love expressed itself in disobedience. A backslidden condition made it easy for them to hang with the wrong loss of conviction about the absolute necessity of the curbs that are provided in the word of God to keep us on track and on the straight and narrow that we don't end up in doubters casserole and BiPAP metal don't end up listening to timbers and mistrust. We don't listen to formalist and hypocrisy. We stay on track. Unfortunately, I'm way off and all of some of your off this morning. You may have come out to this, we can use it maybe will be a word for me. Somewhere along the line is the absence of brotherly love.

Because if you have a non-Christian friend and you have an undying devotion to Jesus and you believe that your non-Christian friend stands between time and eternity, then presumably your undying devotion to Jesus is going to convey itself to this new non-Christian friend that you've made Jesus as you know, you are much better at this Ephesus than you are now, there's a discordant sound among you is a lot of resounding thongs clanging symbols it's replace the harmony of parts and twined with devotion to the Lord Jesus of the problem in Laodicea was that of spiritual complacency and the problem here in Ephesus are there there, staring in the face financial bankruptcy and Jesus now comes as the counselor if you like.

As a consultant and he says to them. If you are not to go down into bankruptcy, you're going to have to implement the plan that I have for you. That's the third were the praise that he offers the problem that he confronts and the plan that he provides the very simple plan. Remember repent and restore, remember, you mentioned yesterday the power of memory screened regarded in educational circles, at least in America for about 1/4 of a century absolutely taboo. The idea of memorizing anything.

Somehow or another.

It is beyond the bounds of real intelligent discovery so you don't learn phonetically how to spell Capt. Matt and dog and rug in that little red and white book that we have right up to primary whatever seven.

It was and so consequently nobody can spell some of the worst spelling you've ever seen in your life as a marriage from this essay writing you just learn how to do this writing it is memorizing. The cat sat on the mat all known one another. That's pretty exciting. Anything we don't do that.

I see okay will find thank you for your letter of application. There is not a sentence in which you did make a glaring spelling error and I without reconstructing the English language and forced to tell you that we will not be hiring you anytime in the near future. Remember I like to build on memories are near the end of our days always left our photographs and memories is important to make good memories is important when you spend time with people with whom you may never spend time again spend time spend fewer time spend on regrettable time so that when you look back on the time you will have a memory that you can foster and cherish and hold, and this is what Jesus says I want you to take the power of your ability to recollect and use it as a stimulus for forward momentum.

Not everybody likes history. I love the story of the Americans were visiting Runnymede on the Thames. They were there to see the Magna Carta and they were standing there looking at the is in the Magna Carta.

I have to check and they were watching the events unfold on the guide was explaining this at night and we send our ladies in John one was here 1215 this great document was signed an American guy turns his wife, he says, honey, do you realize we missed that by just 15 minutes with apologies to my American friends in Pilgrim's progress.

You always go back on the road. Remember, the point where you got off you couldn't go in BiPAP meadow hundred and 50 yards down and then just climb over the wall and another point you had to come back to the point of departure, some of us in a as in the church in Ephesus need to go back to the point of departure. Where is the blessedness that once I knew when first I saw the Lord. Where is the soul wrenching view of Jesus and his one.

Remember, he says to present imperative is an ongoing cultivated mentality is characteristic of old people. I remember when I understand that and I moving there and so perhaps the emphasis but nevertheless Alzheimer's sad story disease closing down. Really the only wonderful benefit that is left to as of the end of our day. The ability to remember repent interest imperative make a clean, decisive break with your contemporary manner of life. He says no need for a big prayer meeting for guidance.

Just do it.

This is an emergency is a casualty ward situation is not a research project, here's my plan for you. He says remember the height from which you have fallen repentance.

Then restore your commitments to the things you did an hours doing the basics. Most of the time, silly as it may seem to some who are more advanced taking a right back down to some of the lessons in Sunday school that were so primary and compelling to remembering since our Bible has grown dust on the shelf now for a matter of weeks if not months, remembering that we used to sit with some of our friends and saying, read your Bible prayer every day and you will grow grow grow. Remembering that we used to say I met Jesus at the crossroads where the two ways meet and Satan to standing there and he said come this way. Lots and lots of pleasures I will give to you today but I said no Jesus here just see what he offers me down here. My sins forgiven and up their home in heaven praise God. That's the way for me. You see, that is been the point of departure when when we allow jealousy to grab our because we met Jean. We met seen the crossroads anything when you like the immediate benefit instead of the long term prospect when you like the immediate gratification is developing a critical jealous and bitterness towards Mr. X or Mrs. why feel a lot better to get it out of your system.

You know what will we done. We forgotten the basics. We forgotten that other crossroads, Jesus is there. We forgotten how we used to say cleanse me from my sin, Lord, and put your power within Lord and take me as I am, Lord, and made me all your long and she me day by day, Lord underneath your sway Lord and made your heart. My heart you Alex and your royal throne 78 nine years old when they taught me that I find myself driving constantly having to take myself back to where I now find myself for penitence is a daily expedience. If you remove the remakes and very clean. Most of us have got the impression some I should say I got the impression that repentance is something that we were supposed to do. It was a mechanism, if you like that open the door to faith in Jesus.

Once having dealt with that we moved on.

When did you last repentance for some of his repentance would become a routine in the formalized nature of our liturgical worship, but our hearts have never engaged online now Are just there back to the basics. Taking the initiative in greeting and caring for others because love always takes the initiative resolving to live in such a way that others will ask questions and being ready with the answer. When the acts the prospects that he describes the praise that he offers the problem. He confronts the plan that he conveys that in these prospects.

Notice the failure to implement the plan will result in the removal of their lampstand. If you do not repent their in the middle of verse five. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.

Many of us have lived long enough now to see one's vibrant congregations descend into darkness and complete ineffectiveness and in some cases actually to close their doors forever. We may be privy to some of the on goings that led to that many others are just look from the outside and wonder when the record books are opened, it may become apparent that the very Ephesian problem was the problem in many of those places OES Orthodox yes committed to doctrinal clarity absolutely centered in their endeavors in the tax. The love of the Lord Jesus had ebbed out. I tell my congregation regularly would only take a matter of a few months to turn our building into a carpet sealed. They always come from America and then return and say what happened to all those great churches there's nobody in my answer is always the same hang on because you're about to find out no church ever determined that it would eventually dwindle to nothing.

Let those churches that think they stand, take heed lest he fall. So there is a prospect involved if we do not obey this plan implemented by the power of the spirit that is a wonderful prospect for us when we are ready to do as Jesus says, notice the progression once again. It begins with hearing verse seven he was an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes the crown of life will be with the King of glory will reign eternally healing overcoming and eating from the tree of life were going to the park. That's the prospect when going to the park and you love going to the park sounds so funny now after all this time, but I used to take trips and I'm done. Now you can relax, but this is a sort of closing something and we had an angle your car with my father and we took family holidays my father my mother myself.

My two younger sisters and also both of my grandfather my grandmother on my mother side in an Anglia which we drove to Cornwall from Glasgow. I had the arguably were seated in the operation. I used to sit on a very sturdy table. Matt taken from my grandmother's house with a cushion taken from one of her characters in between the driver and the passenger with the gear stick somewhere up here in my external and we drove through the night and I have a recollection of stopping in Bristol in the early hours of the morning completely embittered and we buy the whole sorry escapade and the prospect of Cornwall wherever in the world that was holding very dim expectation for me.

My grandfather, seizing the moment and say you know I think we could find a scooter with swings.

Yes and I shoot I things are beginning to look up now so my sorry little frame was transported from this dreadful predicament jammed up against the gear stick in the middle of this pile of humanity and now I'm on the swings and I'm sorting him down the chute. The roundabout and who cares if there's a Cornwall order tomorrow. This is fantastic resale you've gone off again. A bit like the source you roll thing yesterday. This is not good. Know you see, you're going to eat from the tree of life in the paradise of God. Paradise come from the Persian word which means apart Adam and Eve were in the park.

Adam and Eve send in the park close and the chair of God's entrance with a flaming sword, thus making intimate personal communion with the living God will unless one should come and open up a new and living way whereby we would have access into this amazing art into this wonderful paradox, where all benefits and the blessings of communion with the risen Christ and all the saints through all the ages would become parcel of the Ephesian believers as they listen to the word of encouragement and expectation which comes to the church this morning.

Yes, there's plenty I can praise you for consider the possibility of this problem. Pay careful attention to the plan that I have given you remember repent and keep listening, overcoming get ready for eating from this wonderful tree. If I may say so Jesus I'll meet you in the far church loses its first love quickly becomes ineffective but it's possible for the church to be restored. Listing the Truth for Life with Alister big Alastair will be back in just a minute here at Truth for Life. We received hundreds of letters from pastors who write to us to tell us how encouraged they are in their own ministries by the teaching that he run this program.

If you're a pastor and you are eager to learn more about leading your congregation.

We want to encourage you to check out a free-form module online study called the basics of pastoral ministry. This is a collection of sermons and lectures from Alister offering instruction, full sweep of topics, including how to establish a vision for your church. The benefits of expository preaching and the marks of a God-given ministry. This is an online course you can work through it at your own pace. Each module comes with a downloadable study guide so you can apply the concepts personally to your ministry. All four modules are available for free@truthforlife.org. Just search for the basics of pastoral ministry. In today's message we learned that we are to live in a way that causes others to ask questions and then were to be ready with a response. It's with that thought in mind that we have a book we want to recommend to you but titled mere evangelism.

10 insights from CS Lewis to help you share your faith, you're probably familiar with CS Lewis's writing is widely known for introducing others to Christianity through his books and his unique gift for sharing the gospel. So what made him so effective with the book mere evangelism 10 insights from CS Lewis examines Lewis's approach. It explores how he incorporated storytelling and imagery into his discussions. How he prepared ahead of time to overcome opposition as you read this book you will work through 10 specific strategies Lewis used, to tell other people about Jesus and you learn how to adopt those strategies to your own style you can request the book mere evangelism.

When you give a donation to support this ministry. Simply click on the image of the mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org/donate now here is Alister closed with prayer, Lord Jesus, and that your work may take root in our hearts transform when you quicken restored our lives make us catalysts within the congregations from which we come for a love that takes the initiative that is not sentimentalism devoid of truth for the commitment to the truth that is not some brittle legalism, devoid of love only you will, God can accomplish this you will take the balance of this day. Now banished from our recollection everything is untrue, unclear or unhelpful and give to us only that which is from yourself.

Look forward to seeing you. We thank you for getting us ready to retrain your lovely name Bob, thanks for listening program was described as the worst site has his throne. How can the church possibly remain loyal to Jesus in such a dark culture find out when you join us tomorrow.

The Bible teaching of Alister big furnished bike for life learning is prolific


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