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Bringing God to Life, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
March 2, 2022 12:00 am

Bringing God to Life, Part 2

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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March 2, 2022 12:00 am

Not many people in our culture are taking time to read the Bible or get their facts straight about who Christ is. What they hear in the media and in secular classrooms is sometimes the extent of their education. So in the message 'Bringing God to Life,' Stephen reminds us that it is our responsibility

Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier
Delight in Grace
Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
Core Christianity
Adriel Sanchez and Bill Maier

That word engage, it's a word that refers to initiative. So now look what you've got.

You've got intentionality plus creativity plus initiative. I mean, this person's going to make an exceptional, beneficial mark wherever they go. It could be mundane, could be behind the scenes.

They're just doing good. It might be public. It might be apparent.

Maybe not. It doesn't matter really to them. They're just remarkable Christians who've adopted this lifestyle that is so remarkable, it is driven to benefit somebody else. It's not always easy or pleasant to be different or to go against the flow of the group you're in, but that's what God calls his children to do. As God transforms our thoughts and actions that creates a distinction between how we think and live and how those without Christ think and live. Knowing and embracing that reality gives us the opportunity to reflect Christ to those who need to know him. Stephen Davey explores this challenge on today's broadcast.

This is Wisdom for the Heart. Last time, Stephen began a message that we're going to conclude today. This message is called Bringing God to Life. An undeniable demonstration of a changed life gets notice. That's why Paul throughout this letter, by the way, even as he's describing the great doctrines of our faith, you'll notice dotted through this letter are references to good deeds. Maybe you could take out your pencil as I've done, and you can just circle this phrase.

It's going to show up several times. Go back to chapter 2 and verse 7. Be an example of good deeds. All right, you notice that you might circle that and draw a line down to chapter 2 and verse 14. Notice the last part, a people for his own possession, zealous for good deeds.

There it is again. Chapter 3, look at verse 1. Be ready for every good deed. Look at verse 8.

We're looking at that. Be careful to engage in good deeds. And verse 14, notice that. Our people must learn to engage in good deeds to meet pressing needs.

This isn't a document of social gospel. This is the truth of the gospel demonstrated in a life that's applying itself to engaging our world with good deeds. Oh, so you mean there's more to Christianity than learning our doctrinal p's and q's? Oh, you know how committed I am to that. You know I'm committed to that. Paul isn't repeating himself with his good deed, good deed, good deed, good deed, because he's running out of material and he really wants to make it to chapter 3 and verse 15.

No. Remarkable Christianity isn't just an education in good doctrine. It is a life of application in and through good deeds.

We have received the kindness and goodness and mercy of God. Remember, don't keep it to yourselves. Open up a franchise. Open up a counter.

Get out there and demonstrate it. Become a distributor of kindness and mercy and grace, which by the way reflects the character of our Lord. The gospel of Luke records for us that our Lord himself was kind even to ungrateful and evil men.

Luke 6 35. Now I want you to notice one other word here. Paul says that we should be careful to engage in good deeds.

You notice that? Be careful to engage. Be careful to do good deeds.

Now when I was growing up, I heard that verb over and over again. Be careful. Be careful. Be careful, right?

Interesting that this is the only time this verb appears in all of the New Testament and it would be related to this. Be careful. You could think what he could tell us to be careful about. He says, Be careful to engage in good deeds compound verb that means to think upon or we might say it this way to think about or to be intentional.

We like that word. Be intentional. Think about it. I mean, how many times you've ever gotten up out of bed and thought, Okay, I want to think through two or three ways to do good things today. I want to come up with two or three things. What can I do today?

What can I do today? What can I intend to do to be good? It implies being creative. It implies this for being thorough, thinking upon with intentionality of how and what to do in the form of good deeds.

And again, it's in the present tense, which means this isn't one solitary isolated act. It really goes beyond those two or three things you might come up with on your list. This has to do with the mindset. You get up and you go out there and I've got a mindset on that says I will do good deeds.

That's right here. You know anybody like that? It just seems every time you bump into them, they're looking for something good to do.

It just seems second nature. They're the first ones to take on, you know, that extra assignment. They're the ones to take on the distasteful chore. They get their hands dirty without any complaint around here. You see them, you know, they're coming early. They're leaving late. They're setting up, taking down, making coffee, meeting friends, doing all teaching, discipling, just all kinds of stuff. They literally it's almost like they look for good things to do.

They are an exception to the rule, aren't they? That's why you notice them. People at school know who they are. The teacher knows who they are in his classroom. The coach knows who they are on the football team. Those employees know who they are at the job.

They're the ones who put the coffee filter in or maybe take the old one and dump it out and put fresh water. I mean, they just they just have this attitude. What can I do? What can I do for others? Paul is effectively writing here.

Look, if anybody is going to be like that, it ought to be the Christian. Be careful to engage in good deeds. That word engage struck me as well. It's a word that refers to initiative. So now look what you've got.

You've got intentionality plus creativity plus initiative. I mean, this person is going to make an exceptional beneficial mark wherever they go. It could be mundane, could be behind the scenes.

They're just doing good. It might be public. It might be apparent. Maybe not doesn't matter really to them. They're just remarkable Christians who have adopted this lifestyle that is so remarkable. It is driven to benefit somebody else. And they do.

Let me say that that kind of beneficial life is like a it's like a rocky throwing a pond. The circles just keep emanating from that spot, the spot of their lives affecting outward. So obviously, that kind of attitude is going to impact your home. Paul will use this this idea in the church, the local church. It would begin here, certainly. I mean, if one place ought to be overrun with people wanting to do good deeds, it would be the church, right?

In fact, Paul would write it this way to the Galatians in chapter six and verse nine. Let's do good to all people, especially those of the household of faith. I mean, if if we're people of creativity and energy and willingness and initiative, the first place that ought to benefit is the place we call our house of faith.

It would be the that that circle before you get too far out of the local assembly. This house then would be filled with people who are eager to do good deeds, which means I can become very practical. Should we ever have a vacancy in nursery help around here? Should people be in line? Would we ever need someone to set up chairs or make coffee or greet or usher or volunteer in a myriad of ministries around?

Wouldn't we be so benefited because we, above everyone, are committed to good deeds? I mean, do we really need, and I asked coming in today to get the statistic right, do we really only need six guys to park a thousand cars? What if they had 60 guys out there? I mean, then we could not ignore them. We would have to park where they tell us to park. There are 60 of them. There's one at every corner.

We really only need six guys getting wet out there today. I mean, I'm not talking about dramatic stuff, just people who get up ready, eager, careful, thinking through. I think about our choir and orchestra that's grown tremendously in the last year, but we have people showing up at seven o'clock who will play or sing, and they won't leave until after the third hour or playing in the third hour, which is near lunchtime. Wouldn't it be amazing if we had 300 people in the choir and 100 were only needed each of the three services? Now, I've polled each audience, so I'm going to poll you.

How many of you at some point in your life have sung in a choir? Raise your hand. Hold it up and look around. Look, I want to see you all after the service up here. That's unreal.

Every hour is like 80%. How many of you cannot sing? Raise your hand. Okay, you stay right where you are, and you just cheer along as these people get up here. You say, but wait a second, I'm not a member of this church.

Well, what are you waiting for? Join us or leave us? Did he just say that? Yeah, we need your parking space so those four guys can have a little easier.

No, my point is this. There is a church out there somewhere that needs you. There's a house of faith that needs you. Their efforts are missing your hands and your heart. We need you too, by the way. But if you don't need us, find a place that does and roll up your sleeves and get involved. One title of a book just jumped out at me.

I didn't read the book, but I read the title and it was powerful enough to preach. It simply said, stop dating the church. Find one, settle down. You'll never find a perfect one, by the way. I mean, you used to date that girl and then you married her.

Is that woman you married perfect? Yes. We got some bright guys in this eleven o'clock service.

Eight o'clock is too early to do that. One guy goes, no. And I thought, oh, my goodness. You poor guy. That was a trick question.

You weren't supposed to say no. Oh, my goodness. It is an unfortunate reality in the average church, and we're among them, that 20 percent of the people do 80 percent of the work. 20 percent of the people give 80 percent of the budget. And that's why we, as blessed as we are, still have needs in just about every department. In fact, I just happened to notice in the Communique Children's Ministry Volunteer Summit.

Wouldn't it be unbelievable if there was a waiting list to get in? Paul writes, if we could paraphrase this, be intentional to engage in every conceivable good deed. Now, that's going to extend out. You can talk about your family. We can talk about this house of faith. What about the broader church at large ministry that's taking place that is happening, perhaps in your own life, outside these walls, this campus, the influence of this church? Wonderful ministry is taking place.

Maybe God wants you to be involved in some way in that. We had a call just to give gifts to missionaries in September. Wouldn't it be great if we had to say to the body, stop, we just have too much, we can't afford the shipping. We're going to have a bag, I think, out there next week, I believe, for the bumper crop, and we're going to give all of this food to, with love from Jesus, they've got a food shelter.

They're going to give it away or sell it at a very, very low cost to those who need it. Looking for ways outside this body to benefit others. I remember as a missionary kid, I learned more just without knowing I was learning it. If you had told me I was supposed to be learning it, I wouldn't have been interested, but I just watched. And my dad, sometimes after a service, a guy would come up and he'd slip him a $20 bill and he'd say, half jokingly, half seriously, look, don't tell my pastor about this.

He won't be too happy. It wasn't given to the church. And how small can you be? I remember growing up with my three brothers and we spent time each summer on, we called it deputation back in those days, traveling with our family, our missionary parents, mostly up north, which was my father's home country. We would always end up traveling through Iowa.

I shared with the old timers about 15 years ago. If you heard that, then you'll remember their name to this day because it's just one of those unforgettable names. But every time we went to Iowa, we eventually stayed in the home of a faithful couple named the Peepers. My mother would give us a lecture as we pulled into the driveway. Don't you boys dare say anything about their name because we were already concocting several different things. We actually loved going there, frankly, because this couple didn't have kids. They kind of adopted us. And no matter what time of the day we arrived, Mrs. Peeper would be ready to serve us homemade sourdough cinnamon rolls with extra icing.

I know it's close to lunch, but hang with me. But we'd have to sing first. So us four boys, our feet couldn't even touch the carpet. We'd sit on the couch, just boom, boom, boom, boom, four of us. And we'd sing those old choruses.

They liked this one in particular. Why worry when you can pray? Trust Jesus. He'll be your stay. Any of you know that one?

Or am I just the only old guy in here? Okay. Don't be a doubting Thomas. Rest fully in his promise.

Why worry, worry, worry, worry, when you can pray. We'd sing that. They'd feed us cinnamon rolls. It was a great deal.

Small price to pay. I remember one time in Iowa, our car broke down. This couple drove across the state to get us, take us back to their home and help get that car repaired and back on the road. They weren't on church staff. They weren't a pastor and wife. They weren't former missionaries. They weren't church leaders.

They were farmers, ready to engage in good deeds, especially to those who were of the broader, whiter household of faith. Beloved, the gospel is not like a Broadway play where we sit in our chairs and we watch it. Rather, we get out of our seat, we put on a costume, we get out on the stage and we play a role as God directs. I want you to notice, though, what may be surprising because I've dealt with the analogy of scripture, what other passages say. But if you look here specifically at what Paul is saying, would you notice who benefits from our good deeds?

He goes on. These things, that is, these good deeds are good and profitable for men. That is mankind in general. He's telling us that the engagement of our good deeds will be profitable, beneficial to mankind in general out there.

Not just for the religious elite, not just for people who like us or who are like us or who are in our church or in our broader, whatever world that may be. He's talking about people in general. He's talking about unbelievers.

He's talking about culture impacted by the good deeds of you and me. I thought back through church history at how the gospel affected the first century during the days of Paul, infanticide was epidemic, that his children would be left out to be exposed to die if they weren't wanted. Christians began providing care for these abandoned children, baby girls especially at risk because they were costly and the dowry that would have to be provided one day. One second century Christian was even martyred by the Romans.

We have the record of his life. He supported and protected simply this, a number of deformed and crippled children who'd been saved from death after failed abortions or exposure. It was such an affront to Roman culture violating their cultural norm and of course, bringing down guilt on their heads. They wanted none of it and they put him to death. Seneca, a leading Roman philosopher who lived just before this period of time, communicated the majority opinion when he wrote these words that we know are tragic, quote, We drown children who at birth are weak and abnormal, end quote.

And you want to know where we are today. We've arrived once again, this time with medical sophistication and prenatal science, but to the same ethical pasture of decision making, certainly our world outside is having to decide why, because if a couple is found to be carrying a child with defects, he is encouraged and she is by the majority opinion that the best thing you ought to do is take its life while it's in the sanctuary of the womb. It's infanticide by another name. Christianity comes along and says, no, no, no, no. Life is precious no matter how difficult or disabled. What about the care of the sick? It would be Christianity that would be the foundation for healthcare, building the first hospitals. Dionysius, a church leader in the third century, wrote about a plague that swept through Alexandria in 250 AD. And he said this of those citizens. They quote, thrust aside anyone who began to be sick and kept aloof, even from their dearest friends, casting the sufferers out upon the public roads, half dead, and then left them unburied. I mean, we're not going to risk our lives, right? How different was the behavior of the Christian?

How beneficial were they to their culture? Dionysius writes, and I quote, believers did not spare themselves, but kept by each other, visited the sick without thought of their own peril, treated them for their healing, drawing upon themselves, their neighbors, diseases, and willingly taking over to their own persons, the sufferings of those around them. And the world says we can't miss that.

What an advertisement. And it's happening to this day. In fact, I clipped this last year, a New York Times editorialist wrote a column remarking on the work of Christians. And he noted, by the way, that he wasn't a Christian.

I'll get to that in a minute. But here he says, and I'm quoting, in reporting on poverty, disease, oppression, evangelicals are disproportionately likely to donate their income. I like the way you put that. Compared to the rest of the world, they are disproportionately likely to donate their income, go to the front lines at home or abroad in the battles against things like hunger, malaria, prison rape, human trafficking, or genocide. He writes some of the bravest people you meet are these Christians who live their faith.

Interesting choice of words. He goes on to write, I am not particularly religious myself, but I stand in awe of those I've seen risking their lives in this way. See, that's the advertising campaign for the gospel of grace. We who have received mercy and kindness and grace effectively throughout our individual and corporate franchises disseminate it.

Hand it out. The world says labor is demeaning. Christianity says no, labor is actually a calling. It's honorable.

And they go the extra mile. Our world says children are a burden. Those who are aging and diseased are a burden. The Christian says children and life, any kind is a blessing from the Lord. The world says, hey, climbing over people, you know, on my race to the top is what it's all about. Christianity says no, serving everybody, even those at the bottom rung are what it's all about. The world says, I have never seen God. And the Christian says, let me show you what he looks like. And then he engages in good deeds that Paul writes are excellent and beneficial, profitable to all mankind. And the world takes note of our good deeds. And some of them say, how did you come by that? Well, let me tell you about the Father. And they join you in worshiping, giving glory to your Father in heaven.

I close with this. A Christian journal ran an online article about a Saturday morning effort by one church to kind of revitalize a street downtown Compton, California. They just people were poor, so they brought the paint and the nails and the lumber and just began working one house at a time.

All the volunteers would wear their bright yellow shirts. He says on one occasion, nearly 50 of us streamed out of the site, getting ready to head off for lunch, finishing one project on an old house. And this one guy writes, I was six or eight houses away when I passed a married couple working in their own yard. And he writes, I paused to compliment the woman on her rose bushes and she noticed my yellow shirt. She asked me what we were doing up the street. And I told her. During my conversation with this woman, her husband had been weed whacking on the other side of the front yard, but when he saw me stop, he turned off his machine, set it down and walked over to me. I will never forget his words.

He nodded approvingly toward that renovated house down the street. And he looked me in the eyes and he said, I love your heart. Where can I get a heart like yours? See, that's it. This man was then able to communicate that he was simply reflecting the heart of his God, who was truly alive. This is not original with me, but it's a quote I've often thought of and have said it before. The greatest obstacle to Christianity is a Christian who will not live out his faith. The greatest advertisement for Christianity is a Christian who brings his faith to life. See to a world that's convinced that jobs are real, sickness is real, houses are real, money's real, heartache's real, even chickens are real.

Man, you get eggs from them. There's a tangible benefit. That's real. Then a remarkable Christian comes along and advertises a gospel that's reliable because he's surrendered to a God who is personal and by virtue of that foundation initiates a lifestyle that is beneficial and brings God to life in the eyes of his culture.

And they spot it. Those who are careful to engage in good deeds, those things that are good and profitable for all men. So what are we going to do about it? Well, where are you serving? What role do you play? What are you giving?

Is there something holding you back? Maybe in a moment as we pray, you can commit to start something this week and ask the Lord to help you as you with intention and creativity and initiative look around for ways to serve not only your family, not only this local house of faith, not only the broader, larger households of faith, but even engage in benefiting mankind. Thanks for joining us today here on Wisdom for the Heart. This is the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. Stephen is the pastor of the Shepherd's Church in Cary, North Carolina. During the month of March, we have a free resource that we're making available to you. Stephen has a booklet called The Coming Tribulation. In it, he explores the future period of time known as the Great Tribulation.

It's a topic that has confused and divided Christians for many years. This is a free ebook that you can download from our website. Go to for information. We do have a print version of this booklet as well, but the ebook is free today and is available at If you have a comment, a question, or would like more information, you can send us an email. Simply address it to info at We have a special place on our website where Stephen answers questions that have come in from listeners like you. You might enjoy going online and looking at what other people have asked, but anytime you have a question regarding the Bible or the Christian faith, send that question to info at Well, thanks again for joining us today. We're so glad you were with us, and I hope you'll be with us for our next Bible lesson tomorrow, right here on Wisdom for the Hearts.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-28 13:15:45 / 2023-05-28 13:25:51 / 10

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