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Four Habits of Highly Effective Christians

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
July 13, 2021 12:00 am

Four Habits of Highly Effective Christians

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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July 13, 2021 12:00 am

Do real men cry? Can Christians show emotion without damaging their testimony and reputation? Yes! As a matter of fact, it's one of the Four Habits of Highly Effective Christians displayed in the life of the Apostle Paul.

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Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. Here's what Paul draws from the analogy of Ezekiel chapter 33 verses 1 to 6, where the watchman is responsible to blow the horn of warning of impending danger. And once he has blown that horn of warning is no longer responsible for the people that he had been appointed warn all the facts as I have been the Herald of Christ.

I have been blowing the trumpet of the grace of salvation. And now that I blunted all that business has heard, I now have a clear conscience clears your likes you, not it's discouraging to feel like you're doing a poor job. Sometimes that mindset can creep into how we view our spiritual life. But instead of focusing on what we might be doing wrong. It's usually more helpful to focus on how we can do things right today on wisdom for the hearts we returned to acts 20. In this section we discover four habits of highly effective Christians. These are habits that were present in Paul's life and that you can foster in your life as well.

Would you like to know what they are here Stephen Devi with today's message you're not there already were in the book of action. Chapter 20 verse 70 and from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the church now verse 18 when they had come to him. He said to them, you yourselves know from the first day that I set foot in Asia how I was with you the whole time.

In other words, you elders know me better than anybody else knows, you know, it moves me. You know what troubles me. You know it makes me laugh. You know it makes me cry you know me real well by what you've observed. Verse 18 serving the Lord. Here's what you've observed with all humility with tears and trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews. How I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable in teaching you publicly and from house to house solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks or Gentiles of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus. Christ is the end of just one sentence, the long pole line way of writing, but in that long sentence.

He summarizes his past. He says you have seen me over three years serving the Lord, the Lord serving can be rendered in the noun form the bondservant or even more wooden leaders lay of Christ. One of the favorite expressions of Paul talks about his relationship to the Lord in Romans chapter 1 in Galatians chapter 1 of Philippians chapter 20 says Paul Jesus Christ, the last bondservant in that day was one of voluntarily many times attached himself or herself to the household of the master and own nothing had nothing except what the master gave and did nothing other than what the master wanted. That's Paul's attitude is as I am attached to the house of God, and he, the master gives me all that I have and I do his bidding and his will.

I'm a slave will how did Paul perform is Christ slave freeways verse 19.

First of all Paul says I serve the Lord with all humility, I serve the Lord with all humility is a way to save them. That's only proud thing to say.

You have seen the man how I have serve the Lord with all humility disqualifies over the humble man by saying that than this prove his expression. How can a person say they serve Christ with all humility, not be incredibly self-promoting and the very diverse say the word for humility is a long original word.

15 letters make it up and I can't pronounce it. I could try. Would it hurt my pride so I won't put it means two things. It means to recognize on the one hand, your personal weakness. And yet, on the other hand recognize the power of God. You can write in the margin of your text. The little word balance. This is true humility is a recognition of what Jesus Christ said and that what he said was true when he said, without me you can know some things you can do a few things you can do nothing while our need for the power of Jesus Christ is not partial it is total. Our dependence upon his strength is not intermittent.

It is permanent. So what Paul is saying here is that he is true, little humility is nothing more or less than recognizing how deeply his need was and his weakness was and how great and powerful. His God was truly dependent.

He was upon the strength got so the first element to an effective true Christianity is stable perspective. A person recognizes their weakness and yet the perspective I can do all things.

How, through Christ who strengthens me. The person who says oh I can't do anything for God. I can't do that I can teach a class, I can't.

I can't serve the Lord. Nothing is not a humble person. In fact, they are a very proud person seeking to enlist supporters in their self-pity and hunger for complement. The 2nd Way, Paul says he serves as the slave of Christ is found in the next rather surprising expression as I serve the Lord. Verse 19 with all humility and tears. The second element of effective true Christianity is a sensitive spirit to Paul here characterizes his ministry in Ephesus is a ministry of emotion, resulting in tears.

What would make the great apostle, the great defender of the sovereignty of God and the purpose of God, one with such a stable perspective in his weakness in God's power will ever cause a man like that to try to say that my ministry with you was banked into their doctrinal would make him cry.

First of all Paul wept over the unbelieving loss. Romans nine records Paul saying in verses two and three great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart. Why, because he wrote I could wish that I myself were cursed separated from Christ for the sake of my brother and imagine ladies and gentlemen, so feeling burdened by lost unbelievers that you would be willing to trade your heaven for their eternal hell.

He wept over those who didn't believe. Have you ever he wept. Secondly, over the rebellious sending believers. Second Corinthians 2 for a road for out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote to you with many tears, the tears blotted with being because you wrote not that you should be made sorrowful, but that you might know the love which I have, especially for you imagine this man writing to these sending disobedient believers and Aaron church saying I just want you to know that that as I write to you. I'm weeping because I love youse. He wept third over the vulnerability of church sex 20 where we are looked on in verse 29 Paul wrote. I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples. Here's the key after them therefore be on the alert remembering the night a day for a period of three years. I did not cease to admonish each admonish each one with tears eBay is ministry with tears. Have you ever cried for the sake of the church. Have you and I cried at our church become effective. Truly Christ like.

As we serve as the slaves of Christ third element of true Christianity, we are to be selfless in persevering again. Verse 19, Paul, the slave of the Lord with all humility and with tears in her. Here's the third way serve Dan with trials which came upon me through the plots of the Jews. In other words, the same people and he's weeping over that would come to Christ. In fact, he would trade his heaven for their hell if he is now living in such a way that these agonizing over them, and yet their agonizing over a way to kill. He summarized his suffering for us and almost unbelievable passage just Rick just listen as I read second Corinthians is he just kinda rolls out the trial just sort of spells it all out.

He says I have been beaten times without number. Often in danger of death five times I received from the Jews 39 lashes three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked night and a day I've spent in the deep water after having been shipwrecked I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brother and I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights and hunger and thirst, often without food and cold and exposure. Apart from these external things, there is the daily pressure upon me of concern for the church. Paul Shirley God wouldn't allow you to have to go through all that supper. You are his sleigh.

His choice surely not.

But God did.

Did how did Paul not only survive but selflessly persevere. If we just had a fraction of what he went through week we look for the bench.

Any entity persevere the same way, James Culver, the young missionary pioneer persevered.

He was headed for the Fiji Islands to serve among the cannibals hundred years ago, and he with a small missionary party were on a ship bound for the Fiji Islands in the sea captain was really concern for them and he kept trying to dissuade Calvert and his company of going risking their lives, until finally he cried and he said young man, don't you realize that you will lose your life and the lives of those they go with you if you persist in following the Lord to those island to which he responded, we die before we K we died before we K Paul wrote I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live yet not I the Christ lives in me.

Galatians 229 a day away.

He also wrote in first Corinthians 1331 one. Dad had to do with his state in his position in Jesus Christ. I am crucified with him and wine his daily experience I die before I come.

When you get up with that kind of attitude you can persevere. The fourth thing. The fourth element of effective Christianity is steadfast ministry. We would all like to be steadfast when we what we have to be selfless in persevering sensitive in spirit stable and perspective in here now steadfast verse 20 but I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable in teaching publicly and from house to house solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ give Denver's 27 for I do not shrink. There's that same phrase I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole purpose or counsel of God. In other words, Paul is implying there is good reason for the shrink back.

The application is that he was tempted to hold back. Why, because the truth is sometimes not only painfully here. It's painful to deliver the whole counsel of God. Paul says with you Ephesians you know I didn't pull any punches.

I gave it to you straight. I didn't hold anything back.

So in spite of personal discomfort, Paul delivers the whole counsel of God.

That whole counsel demands repentance toward God and faith in God you once belonged yourself but there's been a radical change in ownership, your desires, your plans, your will, your hopes are now exchange for his desires, his plans. His will is if you say that you have placed your faith in Christ. But there is no corresponding repentance where you have had this radical change of ownership your self. Theologians like to argue about which one came first, repentance or faith.

I would say that they are both the initiating acts of the sovereign God, but the evidence of my own heart.

Apart from the spirit of God that bears witness with my spirit that I am his that I have indeed become the servant of Christ is that there is the evidence of a change in ownership. So for you to not only in spite of personal discomfort did he deliver the truth, but in spite of a prejudiced culture. Verse 21 tells us that Paul delivered the truth not just to the Jew but to the Gentiles that ran counter culture. By the way, with his day. Judaism believed that the Gentile was a dog, a rabbi would wake up every morning and thank God that he had not been born in Gentile. Thank you Lord. They were deserving of the judgment and wrath of God.

But Paul is delivering the grace of the gospel of God to not just the Jew, the house of Israel, but to the Gentile. Those that they would feel were dogs. The ground at the foot of the cross is level. I found it interesting reading on a plane, an article that quoted from the autobiography of Mahatma Gandhi who was a student in England and while he was a student there. He writes in his autobiography seriously become considered converting to Christianity. Can you imagine the difference that Gandhi would've made in India. Had he come to faith in Christ.

He wrote it seemed clear to me from the Gospels that Christianity offered a real solution to the cast divided the people of been so one Sunday morning he writes he attended church services and decided to ask the Minister for enlightenment on salvation following. When Gandhi entered the sanctuary.

The ushers refused to give him a seat said that he should go elsewhere to worship with his own people.

Gandhi left and he wrote quote if Christianity has cast differences also. I will remain. Edwin Markham wrote this poem.

Some draw a circle that shuts men out race and position are what they flout.

But Christ, in love, seeks them to win.

He draws a circle that takes them. Paul now turns from doing the pastor facing the future to things quickly about what he will say first of all, he leaves with an uncertain path before him. Look at verse 22 and now, behold, bound in spirit. I am on my way to Jerusalem.

Not knowing what will happen to be there, except that the Holy Spirit solemnly testifies to be in every city, saying the bonds and afflictions wait, but I do not consider my life of any account is dear myself in order that I may finish my course of the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus to testifies solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God I found it very encouraging. Did you catch the fact that the great apostle. The one was chosen by God to introduce the Gentiles to the glory of God's grace doesn't know the details of his future. [22 first part I am on my way to Jerusalem. Not knowing what will happen to me. There is path is as uncertain as yours may be the day we have the misconception that when you sign on to become the servant of God, a slave of Christ. An effective Christian servant of the living Lord, that somehow God kind of unrolls the carpet to those choice servants and says I got for you. Here's what I'm going to do that is was coming around the corner. Here's what happening you and here's how you responded.

Servant hood means obeying without understanding means trusting without saying. Paul says I have an uncertain path before me, except for the fact that the Holy Spirit tells me that bonds and affliction, waving every city. Now imagine that what God has told Paul is every city you go to you to get into trouble. Well, sign me up for that. I want to be on his team. He also leaves Nunnally with an uncertain path before him, but a clear conscience within him.

Verse 25 and now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. Therefore, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. Here's what Paul draws from the analogy of Ezekiel chapter 33 verses 1 to 6, where the watchman is responsible to blow the horn of warning of impending danger. And once he has blown that horn of warning, he is no longer responsible for the people that he had been appointed warn Paul effects as I have been the heralds of Christ.

I have been blowing the trumpet of the grace of God, the coming judgment but also the grace of salvation. And now that I blunted all of that business has heard, I now have a clear time shines. Fascinating thought how clear is yours. Is your family heard as the one whose desk is next to yours heard is your roommate heard is your neighbor heard what a challenge to us. He is can we say that our city has heard no not yet.

Let me make two summary statements of application, number one, effective, true Christianity.

That is the servant hood of the believer. Attached is a slave to Christ. First of all, is willing to stand for the truth regardless of any outcome. Can you imagine with me for just a moment imagine there's an interview taking place on the dock with the apostle Paul, we have for 20th century magazine editor or publisher is come to interview the great one. They arrive at a dock and stay up all we would like to to talk with you for a minute, could we interview you for our magazine. Sure, I guess Paul. We understand that some your finishing effective successful ministry so successful that the church is flourishing. Thousands of heard the gospel leadership is been trained and is been absolutely amazing unit you know your name is a household name. I suppose I'll Paul, we like to talk to you about getting the rights to the things you've written copywriting.

You know I understand thousands of people are reading and out.

I thought about that.

Well I imagining say I haven't the spirit of God has given that through me and I imagine he owns the copyright.

You have to ask him up okay will fall back to the point we we kinda like to know if you would just summarize your three years in Ephesus. Everybody in Asia minor's heard of you.

Everybody in Ephesus.

Wintersteen is hurting pretty and teach all ministry, could you summarize and let's say two words. The last three years in Ephesus. Two words sure tears and trials whole the second read very well in fact were trying member all those young people were encouraging to going to the ministry. Can you change it maybe to say challenges and victories that has better could know tears trials will have but about miracles and and healings.

No. Well Paul, would you would could you tweak a little bit of that in and change it. We want this thing to sell a little bit. Well okay Paul would say I could add a couple words, if you'd like oh we would like that a lot.

Can you give us a couple more words sure uncertainty and urgency and this forwards I would give you tears trials uncertainty and yet in spite of all projects. This is the caricature of true slaves of Christ willing to stand for the truth even though it runs against the grain of even the Christian regardless of any outcome. Second of all, these individuals are willing to follow the spirit, regardless of any guaranty simply the passion of the apostle Paul to share the gospel of the grace of God didn't have any guaranty of safety or comfort or happiness. He was given an uncertain future. He had a clear conscience within him, and he knew he was headed into more trouble but yet he was passionate about that. The kind of lifestyle that ladies and gentlemen, you and I frankly avoid closure Bibles and let me read you something that I can across Lewis pasture, who was the pioneer of immunology. I'm sure you've heard of him, lived at a time when thousands of people were dying each year from rabies so he works hard for years on a vaccine he was planning to experiment on himself. He was convinced his vaccine was the right vaccine when a nine-year-old boy named Joseph Meister was bitten by a rabid dog in his town. The mother knew of pasture and his experiments with this infection and she convinced pasture to to use the vaccine on her son Esther since he was convinced his vaccine would work injected Joseph for a period of 10 days and the boy lived. Decades later, pasture was preparing for his and his graveside. His service even his headstone and of all the things that this renowned physician could have chosen to have etched on his headstone. He simply asked three words to be written, carved their in his headstone. Joseph Meister left of all that he did. He considered that is greatest legacy that his efforts caused another to live in all that is the legacy of everyone who considers themselves a slave.

Our efforts are persistence our selflessness is to communicate to a needy world that is been in affected by terminals. The antidote of the grace of God by our efforts as individuals and as a church people laugh.

This is wisdom for the heart and the message you just heard is called four habits of highly effective Christians. It comes from our vintage wisdom archives in a series from the last portion of acts. If our teacher Stephen Devi sounds a little different from what you're used to.

That's why thanks for joining us today. If you tuned in a little late and would like to hear what you messed or if you just want to listen again. We've posted this message to our website you can find that, plus learn more about us@wisdomonline.org the archive of Stephen's teaching is available on that site free of charge and you can access it anytime you might be doing something that keeps you from taking notes as we broadcast live but you can go back later and download the manuscript free of charge. That site once again is wisdom online.org if you have a comment the question forward like more information you can send an email if you address it to info@wisdomonline.org you can also interact with us on social media will find us on twitter and Instagram, and you can subscribe to our YouTube channel. Thanks again for joining us today.

I hope you be with us next time. For more with


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