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November 2, 2020 7:00 am
Countries today are struggling to find a man without 15 wives and what that means to that culture where women are commodities, not to be cherished and protected but to be collected and effectively misused. If not discarded the Bible simply records the polygamy of so many Old Testament believers. Keep in mind that just because the Bible reports something doesn't mean the Bible recommends something the Bible is honest good and the bad of the people it mentions some assume that the Bible is recommending or allowing those bad behaviors. The reality is that the behavior the Bible actually recommends and commands his holiness. When a person truly lives out the principles of God's word.
They stand out from the way the world typically lives and that's exactly what God's word has called us to do.
God calls us to live out his word. This is wisdom for the heart with Steve and David Stevens calling today's lesson.
What makes us different in his work. Why church matters. The author began one of his chapters with the following true story that came out of his own pastorate. Robert lives in Gilbert Arizona.
He loves life and people and enjoys laughing himself to a good job faithfully attends our evangelical church, but if you really want to see Robert get excited. Ask him about his Jeep inserts for over two years to find just the right yellow black Wrangler. It was spotless. He said it was gorgeous.
Once I got the Jeep, of course, I joined the Jeep club.
Robert explained the local club here has over 1500 active members. It offers meetings, parties, trail runs in a website where members can exchange Jeep tips and information. It's an entire Jeep community. Once he became a member of this club. Robert connect with guys he thought of the finer points of four wheeling, and Robert's commitment only deepened the said I was totally hooked every free moment was consumed. I was either working on my Jeep planning a Jeep rod hanging out talking Jeep going online to check out our cheap website that conference on the nature and subject of the church began in Robert realized he had no real passion for the church or its assembly. He said to his pastor, I would do anything for the guys in my club but I struggle to do anything to serve here.
He was challenged with this question. At the conference. If the church is central to God's purpose as seen through history and the gospel.
How can we take so lightly what God takes so seriously. The author then made this application. We all have our own temptation. We have a temptation that can push the gospel and the church to the outskirts of our lives and we have our own version of the Jeep club some interest some pursuits might be a hobby of sports a career education. It might be preoccupation with technology, health, a political cause or even a relationship that pushes the gospel to the side. The signs he ends with this of our passionate commitment are already here. We often simply do not recognize them for what they are telling us not open without an and I don't want you to think this illustration is directed at people who own Jeep's of unity don't slink out of the parking lot after you know I feel sorry for you that you don't own a pickup truck.
But at any rate, you got a Jeep, not frankly, your Jeep might be your children soccer early. Your your Jeep might be your garden, your retirement, cottage or set of golf clubs.
What is it that drives the real passion where you light up when you talk is any of its spiritually related church as a community of believers who effectively promise one another that they're going to accept the reminder of what ought to be the priority in life to hold ourselves accountable to the gospel and to the call of Christ upon our lives. The church reminds us as we gather that there are things more important than our own version of RG. Now we have begun working through several promises 20+ promises that were making to each other as members of this local assembly. We began last Lors day we've categorized them into three different sections promises related to our conduct promises related to our church promises related to our community.
All of them coming from the New Testament pattern that we find in him, and let me say this, but the promises we talked about last Lord's day in the promises we can talk about today are for every believer. If you're visiting here from another church or your listening online and some of the state or country. These are for every believer. If you're not a believer.
I'm glad you're here listening. We are putting ourselves as an assembly on notice delivering a message like this puts us all on notice. This is how you should see us live. This is how our unbelieving world should sentence our priority what they should observe in our lives. Thus far we have covered three promises are as a relates to personal conduct first. The promise to submit to the authority of Scripture is the final authority on all matters. Secondly, we covered this promise.
The promise to pursue holiness in all areas of life is a joyful act of worship to our triune God and in the last one we covered was the promise to avoid sinful habits and entanglements and we put a few here in the list. Illicit drug use and drunkenness, gossip, gluttony, and all other such sinful behavior taught in Scripture and and I made a comment last Lors. David everything is a little legalistic dad a few things we took you. If you are here to list after list and the lists are rather long where the apostle Paul and Peter and other sort of put everything they can think of into the list that would be sinful behavior so there's no question today what I want to do is cover the final promises related to our personal conduct, and there are three more and is as we get ready to do this. Let me encourage you. These promises are not something will get nailed down perfectly isn't something you master about you but but I love history and and that big fat orange copy of the history of Western civilization and I thought I would be teaching that for the rest of my life.
I could read that and I could study that and I could memorize it, and I could put that book on the shelf and say I got it I got it now. On the other hand, algebra two, I can work on that and work on that and work on that line high school didn't allow me to graduate until I went to summer school to take algebra two all over again and I had to get at least a deal I did. I got a D did everything I could to get that by the way I was slouching I was I was struggling. I got in the college on on the what's it called, thank you probation know you to okay escrow got into college, on probation and I do take it over again and I made a D minus and survived this, I could become your pastor so I did. I did eventually correct that never sell method that this book you never will. None of us and that's why you if you're realizing going back to that person.
Now for the 12th time and you see something brand-new. Oh well, I can see that there before that application that new onset, meaning you never know yet… What's next. So we talk about the promises of the believer's life effectively. We understand were going to fail to stumble in a trip up from time to time will need regular reminders to live lives of of confession with our Lord.
The only mediator between us and God Christ Jesus were going to need reordering of our priorities because we get out of sync and we commonly assemble and we study together during the week, perhaps, and we have small groups meeting Mandan and and women in all kinds of ministries designed to take the word of God to apply to our lives. What we are saying is that these promises are going to be our pursuit that we line up on these, that this is going to be what we want to see is a pattern and were deeply grieved when it is. This is our passion were effectively saying the gospel and the church means more Thomas than a Jeep or set of golf clubs or whatever might. Here's the fourth promise to pursue fellowship with Christ and growth in the spirit of God through diligence in spiritual disciplines including prayer, Bible study, worship and service.
Again, this language is pointed we refer to prayer and Bible study and worship and serving our Lord not as spiritual entertainment or spiritual recreations notice that spiritual discipline really drop in on a number of tax and you can try to keep up all be here long enough to have you turn to first Corinthians will turn their Paul's letter to the Corinthians.
His first letter chapter 9 and I want you to notice how he refers to Christianity as an athletic contest.
First Corinthians chapter 9 verse 26 and I need go ahead and start reading here. Catch up you can. But he says this. Therefore I run in such a way not without aim. I box in such a way as not beating the air and others are not shadowboxing, I'm not punching at the air, but I buffet my body. Now stop in this one text alone. Paul is relating the Christian life to different sporting events like running and boxing. The Greeks said to great athletic festivals annually, the Olympic Games and the histamine games.
The games were held in Corinth.
So when Paul wrote this letter to the Corinthians in use this analogy, they immediately understood what he was talking about every athlete was involved in 10 months of of of training the last month before the contest month.
These exercises under supervision would take place in the city of card in their gymnasium. Which of these Greek city states.
That was really the central building around which everything revolved as well as practicing on the athletic fields on the track then they would then they would not contest athletes from all the city states and foot races. For instance, this is one of the references he uses here and the one and one would receive a wreath. It would be made out of pine twigs and pine needles.
Like Paul writes in verse 25. If you look up a birth certificate. He makes the point that wreath doesn't last. It's perishable. That is, it does what the pine needles do in your backyard. Eventually they turn around and wither away but for the Christian's reward lasts forever. They were first boxing the boxing champions in Paul's day were similar to the professional athletes of our day fame, attention, money, status so they probably knew the one who was the reigning champion in some way division in the games adjustment health but Paul does something unusual here he need turns it effectively says that the Christian isn't running a race against others isn't saying okay beat all the Christians you can to the finish line and then the more you beat the more you feel good about yourself, though he's talking about running against yourself, and then would boxing. It's a little more clear.
He said here in verse 27 I buffet my body were buffet needs to hid under the riots reference to giving someone a black but Paul is saying I'm effectively giving myself black eyes come buffeting my body. In other words I'm training and disciplining my own body in order to bring my lazy, undisciplined, desires into and under self-control by means of the spirit of God borrowing along the same lines to Timothy in his first letter.
Chapter 4, recess, train yourself for the purpose of godliness. Train yourself. I love that comes from the word Google's gives us our gymnasium. In other words, your pursuit of godliness has the image and would have in their minds of going into the gymnasium and working up a sweat eases go into the into the gymnasium and worked up a spiritual sweat from a good workout. Listen, if somebody says to you, memorizing the Bible is hard rising passages of Scripture's heart. Praying is hard studying the Bible is hard, you can tell them you are obviously doing it right because it is a discipline and it involves diligence when you're heading in the right direction is hard and you're working up a sweat.
Good for you. Paul wrote to the Ephesians and I love his realistic language where he says while presenting to us the go. He said we are trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Ephesians 510 I love that we are trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
One author wrote it this way when he defined spiritual disciplines. He said spiritual disciplines are those exercises that free us from the gravity pole of our present age.
Gravity never stops pulling and it doesn't pull you up and push it down. These exercises are designed with diligence and sweat free us from that pole every day as we try to learn what is pleasing to our Lord, some five promise to practice sexual purity before marriage and complete fidelity within heterosexual and monogamous marriage. My grandfather could've had in his church covenant. The same promise but he did need to use nearly as many were as we have in every word is freighted for our culture and our world couldn't help it go back in my mind to one short story that I have read.
Perhaps you have two written in 1820, Washington Irving wrote the short story fact, it was his first one became so immensely popular in the were reading it, hundred years later, nearly ideal credit to see how long it takes before you figure it out story about a man who walked into the woods one day with us favorite rifle is favorite dog. He met some strange men deep in the forest gave him a strange tasting brew and within a matter of moments under the influence of that magical brew. He fell into a deep sleep that would last for 20 years and that man's name was Rip van Winkle. 20 years later, he awakens and he hurries back in the town, none the wiser, only to discover that everything has changed.
He went back to the tavern and were used to sit and talk to his friends underneath the sign that had a painting of King George III. Now it had the portrait of a different George. He didn't understand me reading Washington Irving's own words in the place of his friend who once ran the tavern was only looking fellow with his pockets full of handbills haranguing Mohammed Utley about rights of citizens elections, members of Congress liberty and bunkers Hill which bewildered the appearance of rip with his long grizzled beard is rusty rifle is strange.
Dress soon attracted the attention of the tavern politicians the crowd around him, eyeing him from head to foot with great curiosity. One man bustled up to him and drawing up early as I inquired on which site did you vote another short busy little fella pulled him by the arm and rising on tiptoe, inquired in his ear. Are you a federal or a Democrat. Eventually they all demanded doing was rip exclaimed. Edward said will not myself.
I was myself last night but I fell asleep on the mountain and now everything's changed during one long 20 year nap's world had indeed changed Washington Irving close by writing it was some time before he can be made to comprehend strange events of the taken place during sleep, there'd been a revolutionary war that the country thrown off the yoke of old England and that instead of being the subject of his Majesty George III.
It was now a citizen of this United States under the presidency of George washing. Can you imagine such breathtaking change in 20 years you can catch in the past 20 years we have experienced seismic shifts away from any semblance of a Christian worldview that is now long forgotten commands centered relativistic subjective pagan worldview. It still struggling with the nuances of Scripture. But it is rewriting them as fast as it can, perhaps unlike any other arena of life, the arena of sexual ethics, sexual relationships, marriage, and now gender have morphed into unrecognizable patterns that are based entirely upon your whim and belief no longer going back to the created order. Time magazine last month blaze. The question on its front cover is monogamy over and one of the authors I asked to give his opinion wrote quote monogamy is unnatural, but we should keep it for our kids sick. If you just woke up after 20 year nap. Or maybe your wanting to go back to sleep.
The cultural understanding of marriage has been reduced to mean virtually nothing, simply because the argument for same-sex marriage is the same argument for polygamy group marriage, and more. Your subjective feelings of love, determine now what is marriage. Consider how long it will take for other laws to fall out of favor in our cultural consensus.
Currently it's against the law to marry someone in your immediate family.
Currently it's against the law to marry someone is already married. Currently it's against the law to alienate the affections of someone's spouse through your own adulterous affection. Currently it's against the law to marry someone who isn't an adult and what exactly is an adult. In other words, having redefine marriage is something beyond its biblically and cultural parameters of been understood for several thousand years becomes anything we wanted to become. And that means it becomes nothing beloved monogamy is not man's idea. It's God's polygamy is man's idea that's easy to figure out just address that for the moment is to be the next court case all the way back to the days of Abraham and the patriarchs, their disobedience and multiplying wives brought heartache and division, and rivalry and jealousy, and war that is continuing to this day into this day, work, fidelity in marriage and monogamy of one man and one woman, and ending together in faithful union wherever that standard is eliminated and you can go to countries where it doesn't exist.
Look at the results or where it's ignored. You have incredible travesty if I for one thing, those hurt most will be women and children. Women become collectible like property travel through world history, go to countries today where there struggling to find a man without 15 lives and what that means to that culture where women are commodities, not to be cherished and protected but to be collected and effectively misused. If not discarded the Bible simply records the polygamy of so many Old Testament believers.
Keep in mind that just because the Bible reports something doesn't mean the Bible recommends something Bible recorded the Judas hung himself by the neck that's not being recommended to any of us either. Just what happened to Esther what happened after she won that contest and then her husband goes out with another sweep to add to his harem. Look what happened to David what happened to Solomon. You can go to Israel and still see when they call the hill of shame what happened to Hannah and Rebecca look at all that it records go back. However, in the created order to Genesis chapter 2, and that which is affirmed by Jesus Christ in Matthew 19 here's the pattern.
Here's the created order that a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife singular and they in fact the man and his wife interesting that Jesus actually emphasized by saying, and the two shall become one biologically physically and spiritually. One.
So what are we promising as believers, something that the church needs to get back to promising fidelity practicing and promising purity, but let me tell you, you are promising to be viewed in your village what they view rip fan winkle God's never changes what our culture does change, and it usually changes in the direction away from biblical standards. That means that living for Christ will get harder and harder. It also means that when we do we will become more and more distinct from the world. That's what were called to do. This message isn't complete. But we need to stop here and resume it tomorrow because were running short on time. You're listening to wisdom for the hearts with Stephen Davey Stevens working his way through a series on the church called upon this rock.
Today's lesson from that series is called what makes us different. Not long ago we received this short note, I'm a retired police officer who listened every morning on my way to work and it was your sermons that reconnected me with Christ. Thank you. With that came from Chad in Louisiana and Chad thank you for serving your community and thanks for sharing that with us. It's great to know that God continues to use the power of his word to transform lives. If you'd like to send Stephen a note you can address it to info@wisdom online or you can write to us at wisdom for the hearts. PO Box 37297 Raleigh, NC 27627. Thanks for listening today will conclude this lesson tomorrow.
So join us here on wisdom