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A Pit Stop Called Encouragement

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2022 12:00 am

A Pit Stop Called Encouragement

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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November 11, 2022 12:00 am

While the book of First John is one of the most convicting in all of Scripture, it is also one of the most uplifting. So join Stephen once again in his series – After Darkness, Light – as we witness the Apostle John shift his tone from exhortation to encouragement.

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No matter how young or old you are in the faith, you've discovered that one of the most discouraging, disheartening things the enemy of your soul attempts is to try and literally bury you in the depths of your sins, right? Your eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ isn't ratified by the credibility of your signature or mine.

It's guaranteed by the credibility of his signature alone. I'm sure you realize this, but Satan wants to keep you discouraged. If he had his way, you would continually focus on your sin, your failures, and the fact that you're unworthy of God's grace. God, on the other hand, wants you to be encouraged.

He wants you to understand that as a Christian, your sins have been forgiven. In 1 John, the Apostle John wanted his audience to understand that encouragement. It's a message for you as well, and that's the theme of our message today.

This is wisdom for the heart. Stephen Davey is opening God's word with the message he's called a pit stop called encouragement. Now in chapter 2 of 1 John, we've arrived at verses 12 to 14, and it struck me that John pauses from giving these confrontational, in-your-face, no-holds-barred commands, challenges, demanding changes, and he pulls us over and basically lists blessings, positive perspectives, even optimism is found in this paragraph, and there are six positive statements or encouraging.

We'll call them six refreshing facts of encouragement. Now as we get into this paragraph, I want you to notice right away that you'll notice John is going to encourage everybody in the race. He's going to encourage children. He's going to encourage young men, those older in the faith, young adults in the faith, and then he's going to encourage fathers. All need encouragement. Every one of us in the assembly today will need what he has to say.

Now what I want to do is divide our exposition of this paragraph along the lines of these six statements, these six refreshing facts, and the first one is this. Your slate of sins has been forgiven, verse 12. I'm writing to you, little children, because your sins have been forgiven you for his name's sake. Now you need to understand that he'll refer to children a little later in this paragraph as those who are newborn ones.

He's actually referring to the entire body with this general term for children, technia. It literally refers to anybody who's been born again, no matter what age you're in. So this is sort of an opening categorical statement to all the children of God, to all those who've come by faith trusting in Jesus Christ alone. And the Bible, as you know in the New Testament, if you've been in the faith long enough, you know that the Bible refers to us as the children of God, the children of God.

Same word, technia, is used by John in his gospel account where he says, to them he gave the right to become children of God, John 1, verse 12. Now the opening line here in 1 John 2, 12, then is actually referring to every Christian. He'll change the word in verse 13 and talk about those who've just come to faith. But in verse 12 he's referring to every one of us, no matter what your age, no matter what your stage in this walk of spiritual maturity. And it's interesting to me that he wants every one of us to be reminded of something incredibly amazing and encouraging.

And this is something that can beat you down. He says, look, I want all of you to know that all of your sins have been forgiven by the atoning work of Jesus Christ on that cross that just moments earlier we were reminded to cherish. We are all children of God, not because we've earned our way into the family, not by the merit of the sinner, but because of the infinite merit of the Savior. No matter how young or old you are in the faith, you've discovered that one of the most discouraging, disheartening things the enemy of your soul attempts is to try and literally bury you in the depths of your sins, right? Your own depravity, the failing and the falling of your flesh. And one of the most encouraging things evidently to John that you can do is not to argue with him, but to agree with him.

But say, oh, you're not going far enough, let me take you to the cross. See, all that's been dealt with and my standing now is one of having been forgiven completely of all of my sins. Fact number two, your eternal security is guaranteed by God's own signature.

Did you notice verse 12 again, your sins have been forgiven you for what? For his name's sake. He has signed his name to this pardon. This deal is established and the security of our standing is based upon his signature. Your eternal relationship with God through Jesus Christ isn't ratified by the credibility of your signature or mine.

It's ratified, it's secured, it's guaranteed by the credibility of his signature alone. Your forgiveness, your security is not permanent because God is concerned about you keeping your word. He happens to be concerned about keeping his word. So this is all true for his name's sake. Now that's the opening statement of John to all the children of God. Your slate of sins has been forgiven, cleaned, wiped away, the security of the believer is guaranteed. Now John is going to shift gears a little bit and he's going to write to all of us in differing stages of spiritual maturity. He's going to write to children and he's going to change the term to paideia. He's going to talk about someone who's new in the faith. He's going to talk to young men and then he's going to finally talk to fathers.

But before we dive in, let me give you fact number three. Your satisfaction is now in a personal relationship. If you've been with us in this study, you've noticed that John has been telling us what to do and what not to do. He's confronted us with actions or the lack thereof. You might get the impression that satisfaction in the Christian life is going to be by following the set of rules.

I really better get him down, right? I mean if I don't and I'm not perfect at this, somehow my satisfaction in him won't be what it is and his in me will not be as well. So he effectively begins by reminding the most vulnerable among us children that the issue is not the rules, the issue is a relationship. Notice how he addresses at the end of verse 13 children.

Again he's changed this term to paideia. This term refers to a young child still under the tutelage, still under the control, still under the teaching authority of their guardian or their parent. So he's referring to a believer who is still ignorant of much of the biblical truth that they have yet to learn, much of the gospel. They are unlearned, still being tutored in the basic elementary truths of the faith. They're still immature in the ways of grace. These are the little lambs Jesus commanded Peter and everyone who leads in the church after him to tend. All those who serve as elders, those who serve as leaders in the church are given the same command to feed the flock including these little lambs. Give them care and give them guidance and it's interesting, it's to this group that he reminds them they have a relationship because above all they're going to think I'm missing the rules, I'm not getting it all right, there's so much to learn.

I mean they can be easily intimidated. If you're new in the faith, I mean you've left everything that you knew and now everything's brand new. John says I am writing to you children because you know the Father. That's all I want you to think about. You know the Father. Of course the other side of that coin is the Father knows you. You have someone who loves you dearly. You happen to have a perfect heavenly Father. Yes you left everything but you've gained a family and a heavenly Father who is with you. You don't need to know much else at this point.

Just pull over and be refreshed that you belong to him and he belongs to you. It's as if John is saying I know you, the little lambs, you don't know so many things. You've never heard of so much stuff that you're going to hear from the pulpit or from conversations in the hallway and the Bible is new to you. You don't know the difference between the book of Malachi and the book of maps. I mean you've never heard of ordinances. Maybe that's ammunition.

Maybe we're storing it somewhere in a back room. You don't know what it means by fellowship. You're not too sure about communion. Children are susceptible, are they not, to viruses, to impulses, to weaknesses, to deceptions. You'd think that John would say what I need to do to encourage you is give you ten things to memorize then come back. Now he says here's what I want you to focus on. Isn't it wonderful that you know you have a father and that he knows you? Focus on your father. Frankly no matter how old you get in the faith you discovered early that real satisfaction never comes from perfectly keeping a list of rules because by now you've discovered you can't. It's by developing a relationship with your father who is in heaven.

Fact number four. Your service is in view of the final victory. Now with that he leaves children newly born and he moves to young men. Look at the middle part of verse 13. I'm writing to you young men that is adult believers, young adult believers, because you have overcome the evil one and you read that and you think I did. It doesn't feel like it.

In fact the battle has never been hotter or heavier. I mean what does he mean by this? Well John isn't saying that for young adults in the faith that the battle is over against the devil. The perfect tense verb is used translated here to overcome. It simply means they are assured of the outcome.

You can understand John to be writing. I'm writing to you young men to remind you that a victorious outcome is already yours over the evil one. In other words you are battling from the vantage point of ultimate victory. It may not feel like it.

It may not seem like it but our side wins and the devil's loses. Wouldn't that be encouraging to young people in the faith who engage in the heat of the battle who aren't satisfied to sit around a polished doorknob. I mean they want to go win something. They want to go build something. They want to go dream and they want to reach their world. I've never been more encouraged by the young adults of our church reminding us to be on mission with the gospel of Jesus Christ and we're doing that as a church family locally and regionally and nationally and globally young people.

I mean they nip at your heels don't they. Let's go win something. Let's go do something. Think about church history. We're still talking about George Mueller. Why? Because at the age of 27 he said I believe God wants me to start an orphanage okay how much money do you have.

Well let's see none. So I'm going to do it by faith alone and at 27 he moves to Bristol England and begins his first he opens his first orphanage without a nickel to his name. John Bunyan barely 32 gets thrown into prison for preaching the gospel walks out of there with a manuscript of pilgrims progress in his hand. William Booth 36 when he founded the Salvation Army moves into East London to reach those who are destitute with the gospel of Jesus Christ. David Brainerd has an amazing ministry to the American Indians he starts it at the age of 25 that's such an incredible ministry that when he dies four years later his life is provided a model for that ministry. William Carey is in his 20s when he senses God's direction to become a formal missionary.

He's 32 when he lands in India and the church told him you're out of your mind. But even the youth in faith can get tired and weary even vigorous young men stumble yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength. They will mount up with wings as eagles they will run and not get tired they will walk and not become weary as they exchange their strength for his.

Isaiah 40 was written to young men and women running the race. Their strength is not in themselves that's what he's reminding us of here even though we're young even though we're fueled even though we're inflamed our strength comes from God. In fact John adds at the back end of verse 14 you might notice that another comment to these you know faith filled young warriors notice you are strong.

Why. Well the word of God abides in you. That is it's made a home in you.

Your your commander is the spirit through this sword with which you fight. The term John uses here for the evil one is a biblical term for the devil and it in this word this phrase it depicts his character his nature as vicious and destructive and one translates it utterly bad utterly bad. In fact the word for evil is a word that refers to someone who is not simply utterly bad but they're not satisfied unless they pull others down with them. That's a descriptive phrase of the devil. He's not happy being utterly bad.

He wants to pull everybody else down with them. So how in the world will the young adult in the faith growing vibrant visionary ready to go. You know in fact what am I doing it's been 13 seconds.

It's only supposed to be 12. Let me back out. He wants you to be encouraged that your strength fact number five your strength is found in the sword of the spirit. You notice their strength is abiding in dwelling in being immersed in saturated by the word of God. The great exodus that's taking place today there's a fresh exodus there's always been an exodus of those who weren't genuinely safe. There isn't an exodus that is now making news and gaining attention of those young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 even secular journals and newspapers and universities second universities are doing their own studies based on the fact that they're watching this generation literally abandon the church the evangelical church. One author reported that young adults who presently claim to believe in this faith and I use that term fairly loosely 2.6 million of them are going to leave their faith at some point between their 18th and 29th birthday.

Now that's true that means that 260 thousand of them will leave churches every year that's 712 who leave today and 712 that leave tomorrow and 712 that leave on Tuesday. And one of the reasons for this is the simple fact that the Bible had little to do with their shallow faith to begin with. One author said that 18 to 29 year olds have been reared by materialistic parents who effectively shoved God to the sidelines marginalized him out of their lives and thus develop their own view of God who now resembles a moralistic therapeutic deist that is some God that spouts the golden rule wants everybody to love everybody and really doesn't have anything to do with anything. He's way out there somewhere and they found in that this God is easy to abandon.

There's no call there's no fight there's no race there's no sacrifice. He wants me happy. So they found him easy to abandon. And again the problem is the faith he once believed was shallow at best corrupted at worst the church was to them and their parents a social gathering that you could take or leave. Isn't it interesting to you to think about the fact that when Jesus faced the devil in the wilderness he was 30.

He's barely out of his 20s and he's tempted in three ways. We don't have time to go back but I'll just sort of summarize every one of those temptations basically said you got to look out for yourself and you need to get whatever you want. In other words if you're really following the true God as your father why are you hungry and you should never worry about being hurt and you want to have all the stuff you want. In every response Jesus quoted scripture back to the devil. In fact every response all three times he's quoting from the book of Deuteronomy I wonder if we had to face Satan and all we had was the book of Deuteronomy how would we do.

It was nothing but a sword fight. The devil is taking scripture out of context. Jesus is quoting scripture correctly within its context and he effectively looks at the devil and his last response basically says you lose those kingdoms of the world.

You're going to lose them. Jesus sets the stage for every one of us who follow him into battle against deception the doctrines of demons falsehood self-centeredness idolatry. John says to all those young adults in the faith who are in the battle even though the race is long and the battle is fierce and you got a long life ahead of you at least you assume you do you're going to think am I going to how can I keep up with this.

I think it's fascinating that John says pull over. Let me remind you you win in the end you might lose a skirmish or two but the war has already been decided. In fact one author wrote that every time you engage in battle remember you are facing a baffled conquered enemy. Remind your heart of that.

The reason he's so desperate is because he's already defeated. One more fact your savior is the everlasting sovereign. John now speaks to fathers in verse 13. You'll notice in verse 14 he says basically the same thing in both phrases he says in verse 13 I am writing to you fathers because you know him who has been from the beginning. Verse 14 I have written to you fathers because you know him who has been from the beginning.

What an encouraging statement to make. These are the older saints who have not just grown old in the faith they've grown up in the faith. You can be old and still in kindergarten spiritually but he's referring here when he talks about fathers as those who've actually matured in the truth of who God is. You know that he is your everlasting sovereign. One author said that these people in the body are rich in faith and ripe in grace.

I know that sounds like old fruit about ready to fall off the branch but that's who we are. Now the perfect tense verb translated you know him who has been from the beginning speaks of personal knowledge of him in the past and an abiding knowledge of him in the present knowledge gained by personal experience. These older believers in the faith know and cherish the truth that God is the God of ages past and their hope for years to come. Ever talk to a faithful believer who's walked with the Lord for 40 50 60 years.

Don't you just love it. Their perspective their confidence their vocabulary is laced with assurance and trust in their eternal sovereign Lord. No wonder as you remember Titus encouraged the older men to persevere in faith and in love.

We need them don't we. Maybe you have someone like that I have the privilege every Sunday morning as you know being called by one of them who is not only my biological father but a spiritual father called me at 7 o'clock I answered Hey dad how are you doing. And his response was Well I am the recipient of unmerited grace.

I said that once you preach for me I just I'm I'm not there right now. No wonder we sing of the faith of our fathers these kinds of people who in spite of dungeon fire and sword. Oh how our hearts beat high with joy when air we hear that glorious word faith that kind of faith of our fathers holy faith. Oh may we be true to the holy faith till death. That's sung by people who understand there is a race on there's a fight afoot. Two thoughts come to my mind by way of application the first one is this no matter what stage you are in spiritually you don't opt out of the battle. You see all three stages of maturity here have to pull over.

John knows they all need it. You've got to get refueled. Why.

Because every stage faces battles. You might be new in the faith and think you know if I can just get to the point where you guys are. Wow.

I can put away my sword. In fact I remember as a young seminary student in my 20s sitting down in the office of a really old guy. He was in his early 60s saying to him Dr. Peterson I I can't imagine at your age how easy the battle must be. He just smiled and he said Stephen the older I get the harder more difficult the battle becomes.

Was he ever right. No matter what stage you're in spiritually you don't opt out of the battle. Secondly no matter where you are in your spiritual walk you never outgrow the need to pull over.

Get refueled. John the apostle would have us consider refueling on these truths. Your slate of sins has been forgiven. Your safety is guaranteed by God's signature.

Your satisfaction is in a personal relationship. Your service is in view of the ultimate victory. Your strength is found in the sword of the spirit.

And your savior is the everlasting sovereign. If you rely on your own thoughts or the teaching of society you'll be left empty and discouraged. But God brings you life through his word and he wants you to be encouraged as you understand all that he's done for you in Christ. You're listening to Wisdom for the Heart the Bible teaching ministry of Stephen Davey. Stephen called this message a pit stop called encouragement. Stephen pastors the Shepherd's Church in Cary North Carolina. You can learn more about Stephen and this ministry at wisdomonline.org. The support we receive enables us to produce these messages and we're thankful for it. If we can help you today please give us a call at 866-48-Bible. That's 866-482-4253. We're going to continue through this series next time. I hope you'll join us for our next message from God's Word here on Wisdom for the Heart.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-11-19 08:18:23 / 2022-11-19 08:27:35 / 9

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