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October 26, 2020 8:00 am
Brings glory to God. Does God get some of the glory or all of the glory to Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, whatever you do, do all the glory of God.
Whatever you do what ever you do, do all to the glory of God first. Stanford what that means. The way you write that term paper student studies the way you teach that class teacher, what do we do we get what ever you do to expand the glorious reputation of God. Truth is something that apply to each and every aspect of your life but you know what it also applies to believers who join together in the context of the local church. Churches have ministries and programs and activities, and everything that the church does should be done to the glory of God. How can we know if a church is bringing glory to God and how can we do it well will look more closely at that idea in today's Bible lesson. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi Stevens in a series on the church called upon this rock, this lesson is called why we exist. Here's where one letter dated one year before the birth of Christ from a man named Larry and was wyvern rights. If you have our child while I am away.
As a boy let it live. It is a girl expose it and let it die. No illegal Seneca. In fact, one of Nero's court advisors wrote these words that give us a little hands into how how little human life was valued during the days of the early church. He wrote these words was a brilliant senator and corn advisor. He said as he simply expose their culture quote we slaughter of fear socks. We strangle a mad dog and the child was born, we performed we drown.
And this is the generation when God effectively says you know this is the perfect time to create the New Testament church is no better time than now.
Sprinkle the earth with people like salt to have them shine like light.
What a perfect time to reveal that there is a way out of enslavement to the darkness of the world and in the kingdom of light. Peter would motivate us all to proclaim the excellencies of the waters called us out of darkness into a marvelous light.
First Peter 29 Paul reminded the Corinthians that they had received the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the person of Jesus Christ segment is 46, Paul described the Ephesian believers as those who once belonged to the darkness, but are now lights in the Lord, to the Roman Christians you challenge them to put on the armor of light shine is why we exist. Jesus is your you are polite of the world. The word for world and this text is cosmos which refers to the world system. My right of the margin. Your Bible, the world system and we know that Satan is the chief ruler. He has delegated authority is given permission by God to do whatever he does for the purposes of God, but he has created this incredible complex kingdom. We call the kingdom of darkness and we have this world system ruled it's under his thumb, as it were.
We have that the organization of of Paul writes to the Ephesians of rulers. Speaking of Satan and his hierarchy rulers and powers and world forces of this darkness, so you and I are lights, individually and collectively lights in the midst of a world system under the influence of Satan and our world system is wandering around in the darkness of sin is lost, it is entirely confused was ironic to me in the midst of studying for the sermon that I got this past week's edition of Time magazine. Its front cover if you saw it it's it's red completely red and then all over the cover art?'s all these?'s and underneath each? Is little question the headline of the top cover reads is monogamy over? In the subtitle reads 21 other questions about the way we live now to the world is open about its questions. Are we open about the answers.
I found it interesting. The question that provoked me.
In fact there were several by the way I read through the whole article they are dealing with question.
Some important, some not so important but one of the questions is related to public nudity and authors you know weigh in on why it's good or what bad is there is there a way to call offensive art, blasphemous art, you know good and they weigh in on that is polygamy to be accepted in authors weighed in on that on both sides, but the one question that really stood out to me on the front cover down near the bottom and they didn't deal with it on the inside but it is the question what will we regret the answer that everything every listener dark of the world system the more necessary and more distinctive and more dramatic and more different and more disliked your light will be cultures response. In fact, it's gonna be like you showing up flashlight in someone's face tell you turn off that light get the light out of my culture that you are so dark when we gonna do. Let's stop crying in her suit. For one thing, there's no better time to be light in a dark place. God is as much on the throne today as he was in first century Rome right yes Satan is loose buddies on a leash and that lease is held in the hand of our sovereign Lord and he is chosen us to be in this generation. In this location in this world in this country with his influence now to shine in the be salt church doesn't need freedom in order to be fruitful, and I think it's important to remember talk our brothers and sisters in China were evangelical believers are now estimated to outnumber members of the Communist Party. The church doesn't need approval from its culture in order to receive the approval of God, say the church is way off the mark when all it wants to do is receive the approval of man and not the approval of God.
But just as in, supply down the darkness that was not played on the darkness regularly ignore.
But we do need to say that the issues of our generation are far greater than any political system can ever solve it needs the gospel the issues of our generation are deeper than any other false religion can ever hope to address these the gospel and in fact we need nothing less today than an awakening by means of the spirit of God in the church. First and foremost is the is the church stops living like the unbelieving man and stops pursuing a life like the unbelieving man and stop seeking to fit in a culture like the unbelieving man gaining the approval of unbelieving man and we become soft and light. We understand what that's going to mean an perhaps then God will choose to use us to deter some of the decay dispel some of the darkness in the lives and hearts of those whom I believe by his grace this and we pray we offer no solution to the world or no answer.
If we exist for anything other than to exhibit spiritual reality and expose sinful corruption and expel satanic darkness and here's another number four. We exist to expand the glorious reputation of God.
Everything about that when you get up in the morning that my mission today is to expand the glorious reputation of God. Whatever 16 of Matthew five Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your father who is in heaven. So will. So what are you shining here's a clue. What are you shining to the world.
Your good works, you are good work. You know good works include it includes working so well doing such a good job that your supervisor or that Secretary of War CEOs sees the work you do and says while that's good we think of good works is somehow related to what we doing here that the world as it currently does. We meet is a guaranty versus you memorize anything to get up early in the morning to pray or read is not is not interested nor will it ever see that, but it does see your work that is good. What kind of worker are you she Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers, whatever you do, do all the glory of God. Whatever you do whatever you what ever you do, do all to the glory of God first 2010. Three. What that means. The way you write that term paper student that means the way you teach that class teacher. That means the way you keep house and manage that family housewife means the way you deliver that report. The way you show up the way you stay late. No matter what it is I'm minimizing me the way you grill that hamburger cookout. I inspected weekly to doing a great job by the way the crew whatever what ever we do we get that what were you do can expand the glorious reputation of God your good work.
You dress good to talk good to invest good what you do your good works, build a bridge of credibility over which you carry the gospel of God. If you'll do good work just just please don't tell her you go to church. In fact, don't tell me belong to Christ right you build a bridge and if you're good and dedicated, intelligent and honest and pure and wholesome and humble and kind you explain to them you're doing all of that. Not so much because of them, because you belong to a fatherless in heaven or over the heavens as it were, to say you know what I'd like to know more about him and that kind of bridge gives you the credibility were ultimately God's glorious reputation is expanded the individual members of the church have to resurrect 500-year-old Reformation doctrine we talked about before. Called location gives a sword location vocational mean sacred calling, sacred calling, over the years that had been lost prior to the Reformation and in many ways been lost today because of the building of a sacred location they think of what I'm doing. Yes, even yet the sacred job I'm doing all the stuff know Martin Luther, the converted Roman Catholic monk who wrote this resurrect this idea location which Calvin and Luther another's visa all resurrected. He said this way all our work in the field. He's talking to farmers. All our work in the field in the garden in the city in the in government these are the masks of God behind which he is hidden yet does all things even run this way I could. God himself is mounting the towels through the Locascio of the milkman sacred both of the Colossian believers the very same thing. Do your work heartily as unto the Lord rather than for men. Knowing that from the Lord, you will receive your reward. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve. Colossians 3 verse 23 in verse 24. In other words, you literally demonstrate the glory of God in your diligence at work do you work good.
Are you a good worker good works. Of course, expand doing things for others that are kinder, compassionately good.
This carries the idea of shalom, the wonderful concept and we gotta change a little bit of our vocabulary. The ideas of Jews bringing shalom peace into Babylon where they were exiled Babylon of all places was to experience the goodness of Jewish labor and effort and investment like Daniel and his pagan court was benefited by his integrity, the prophet Jeremiah tells the Jewish exiles is there heading in the Babylon that they are to seek the peace of Babel and the prosperity of Babylon and the pray to the Lord for Jeremiah chapter 29 verse seven and in the paragraph you discover they are told build houses and grow gardens get married and raise families. Whatever they do it as it is the bringing of shalom in that city. That wasn't simply by the way, to plant trees and grow gardens because Babylon needed some shade. Babylon is like fresh vegetables that really was in the core of it. Shalom was building houses and planting good gardens and raising families in the core purpose was the fact that God's people were effectively bringing in the fallen corrupt culture, faithful presence and testimony of integrity which was so remarkably different from the Babylonian, the glory of God would be revealed. People around, but still they lived, and to this day see how you take care of all your things that you take care of your money and how you manage your household and see how you prioritize your time and they can tell if you're different.
While the road that these Jews in Babylon were live and we today is God's people placed in deposited in our culture. And yet in their reflecting in our daily practices are distinctive identity as believers in Christ, and the darker culture becomes, the easier it becomes for us to be distinct when we say the same thing a little differently is number five were were turning the last letter number five.
We exist to exemplify spiritual passion and purpose is the principal in the form of a question. What is it about your life and mine that if under close observation would lead someone to believe or come to the conclusion that we have a different kind of passion we have a different kind purpose than everybody else. Is there something different. Is there something compelling us.
Is there something that we believe is so compelling is there something that we believe is so interesting that we live in and communicated. It is the gospel compelling enough and we can talk about you know the latest athletic event or the dyad or the automobile or the house or whatever is the job and we all circulate in the world but is there anything beyond that. That is compelling to us. It is interesting to us world picks that up. I can smell it sent Harnack the German church historian, wrote that the early church advanced so dramatically in the first century because every member believed they were informal missionaries. When the church is first created. Understand you got 3000 believers soon six and seven, 8000 believers surrounded by millions of unbelievers. What we can do now. Everyone sends this compelling interest.
We call them tentmakers. I like the term or marketplace ministers could turn love that vocabulary I think we we need to go ahead and change the way we think and talk in our last discussion together. I suggested that we needed to change our terminology so that we didn't talk about being members, but owners now obviously the owner of the church is Christ is that I come to build my church, however, he gave us to one another. We talked about why we belong, I can rehearse it for the sake of time, but the effectiveness of any local church is based upon dependent upon its members having an ownership mentality.
So this isn't just a church or the church or this church. This is your church. This is our church. This is how God is demonstrating and living in and through us the gospel of Christ uniquely to us. We need to shift from thinking that we attend or even members to being owners. I think we need to make another change in her vocabulary. I think we'll need to think of ourselves so much as members as much as tentmakers another term.
Tentmakers originally comes out of the apostle Paul's own life experience. He's a tent maker is a literal maker of tenancy stitch together With his fingers would have been deeply calloused if you had met, he made tense. Any use that industry what he could to support himself to pay the bills and in the subsidize what he wanted to do and traveling and delivering the gospel of Christ around his particular world acceptor 18 so that term tent maker became a term for us over the last many decades is been used for someone who will leave this culture and take their particular skill is an engineer or a teacher or computer technician or a painter or whatever might be to another culture and get a job in that field. Knowing fully well that that job is a front it's a front.
It's simply something you do that opens the door to influence people in that world you never think of your job in that situation is what you're living for its totally foreign your living for that job your living for that job to open the door into those people's lives.
That job pays the bills that you can do what you really want to live for change. You are tentmakers here.
You want to go to China to be a tent maker. Where is it that the church and church members began to think that they live further job that wasn't anymore. They got special unique endowment gifting and training to place you in an area where people live. I live for their scrambling to go up one more you arrive and that job to you is nothing more than a front gain you entrance the lives of people who will never come here to hear the gospel love. This is why we exist to exhibit spiritual reality to expose sinful corruption to expel satanic darkness to expand the glorious reputation of God exemplify spiritual passion and purpose.
If you have a job and what we traditionally called the secular market that you understand what I mean. Your job is a sacred location when you work and what we would call the secular world knows you're not working for ministry. You're not working in an omission whose primary purpose is to promote the gospel and you cannot enter that rat race tomorrow. Right you work in that kind of environment. The IBM Ivy Sasse might be some mechanic shop. It whatever if you work with one of those kinds of vocations and that kind of role and you belong to Jesus Christ or to the stand your back on Monday morning to go back to that job.
You belong to Christ while we talk about commissioning mission teams. We talk commissioning missionaries in document commissioning church planters.
I think we ought a commission.
You is in a very real sense from the front lines. Your tent maker. Your job is a front don't tell them out there, that's true. Take this for us in here to know to front. It is something you live for is something where God has placed you to cross over the threshold and reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ. So I think we had a commission. You father I pray that he would give everyone of them courage and tact and grace to know when to speak how to speak and whom to speak for every CEO or perhaps business owner or partner if they have the ability to determine what kind of music plays over the loudspeakers in that waiting room that they would put on Christian music and in that testified your grace if they choose and have the power to choose the magazines got on the coffee tables were people wait that they put Christian magazines out there literature that introduces people to the gospel.
You allow them the creativity and courage to company to know that they are not there to just get another paycheck there is your minister's gospel of Christ, commission them together as a body and everyone said this was part two of a sermon called why we exist as Stephen continues through his series on the church entitled upon this rock.
Stephen is here in the studio with me today. Stephen we live in a day and age when politics is on everyone's mind here in America it's getting close to an election.
What are you hearing from people what's on your heart on this topic was good question. I will tell you it is indeed on everybody's mind and I get a lot of questions shall even vote, and I would say absolutely that we have a tremendous privilege living in a free society as bad as we might think are culture or our society is I'd rather live here than anywhere else on the planet. This is amazing country in all of this country and we are to enjoy the benefits of the society we have by being good citizens. As the word of God encourages a subject as good stewards of what God has given us. It's our responsibility to engage with our culture. One of the ways I engages his voting when I look at the apostle Paul.
For instance, you he exercised his right as a Roman citizen you remember when they were going to beat him in prison and he said that you're supposed to do this or Roman citizen, but I will head Paul didn't make it his life's mission to stop prisoners from being beaten. He didn't say that the church's mission is to keep this from happening.
He understood that as a person he could exercise his rights, but the mission of the church and as we talked about today will why does the church exist.
Why do we exist. That's actually you know a bigger question thank you Steven and friends. I want to make you aware of two resources that Stephen has available and that we want to make available to you today.
We have a new monthly magazine relatively new Stephen, I guess we been doing since April still feels new. But this month we published an issue on politics where you address some of these key issues regarding how a Christian should think about politics and friends. Even though October is almost done. We still have a few extra copies here in our office if you would like to receive one free of charge.
Just give us a call today at 86 648 Bible we want you to see this and have this resource when they give you that number one more time. That's 86 648 Bible or 866-482-4253 tomorrow at the same time Stevens going to continue through this series on the church called upon this join us for that right here on this