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Cleaning House

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey
The Truth Network Radio
January 23, 2023 12:00 am

Cleaning House

Wisdom for the Heart / Dr. Stephen Davey

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January 23, 2023 12:00 am

As we prepare for the end of this age and Jesus’ return, it’s all about attitude. Instead of seeking control amid growing chaos, we must choose surrender to the Lord’s plan. Instead of merely resting in our salvation and future glory, we must pity unbelievers for the eternal wrath awaiting them.

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Those who would reconstruct the Gospel without sin and shame effectively eliminate the Gospel.

Why? Because a Gospel without sin, a Gospel without shame, is a Gospel without a God who has anything to forgive. It eliminates the reason for a dying Savior. In fact, it eliminates the need for a resurrected Savior. Let's just all glory in ourselves and trust our instincts. A distorted Gospel is a false Gospel.

You need to let that truth sink in. When a person changes the message of the Gospel, it's no longer the Gospel. As we prepare for Jesus' return, the Gospel must be forefront in your mind.

You personally must surrender every day to the Lord Jesus Christ. But instead of merely resting and rejoicing in your salvation and future glory, pity unbelievers for the eternal wrath awaiting them. Stay with us as Stephen Davey opens God's Word and helps you maintain a biblical perspective in light of the return of Jesus.

Now Peter's going to add to his counsel for today's study. Let's work our way through the next two verses. And we're going to make special note of two attitudes for end time believers. Two attitudes for every end time believer. And the first attitude is what we'll call surrender. Surrender. Let's define what we mean by that.

Surrender in this context means we cannot refuse to embrace suffering as a purifying part of God's curriculum. In other words, those trials are not electives. They are core courses in his curriculum for you and for me. Peter's already informed us, remember, don't treat trials like strangers. What are you doing around me?

Treat them like tutors who've just arrived to teach you. Now notice verse 17, just the first phrase. For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.

Now we're going to have to stop a couple of times because some of these phrases can create a little confusion as to its interpretation and application. The idea of judgment being connected to the household of God has caused some to assume that Peter is not speaking about the church. He's speaking prophetically about the temple. He's referring to that as the house of God. Now judgment will come, in fact two or three years after he writes this letter, the temple will be destroyed.

That will be at AD 70. It's not a bad idea, but that would change dramatically the application of Peter's thought. As you study the Bible, it's interesting to keep in mind, of course, the context, what comes before and after it, and you'll notice that Peter doesn't change his contextual thoughts. He's not shifting to now refer to the unbelieving nation Israel. He's referring to the church. In fact, a little later he'll use the pronoun us. He's talking about us, the household of God.

It's not a new phrase. In fact, Paul wrote to the Galatians using the same metaphor he wrote, So then while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people and especially to those who are of the household of the faith. Galatians 6 10. Paul wrote further to the Ephesians church, so then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and are of God's household. Ephesians 2 19. One more, and this even confirms it more as Paul writes, I write to you, Timothy, so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, the same phrase, which is the church of the living God, the pillar of the support of the truth. So Peter now is using an expression that wouldn't be unique to them to refer to the believing church, informing us that God's judgment is a part of our lives.

What does he mean? Well, if you ransack the New Testament looking under the context or even the word judgment, you quickly discover that judgment for the believer is vastly different than judgment for the unbeliever. Judgment for the unbeliever leads ultimately to eternal condemnation.

For the believer, it leads to lifelong cleansing. The apostle Paul clarified God's judgment in the lives of the believers when he wrote to the Corinthian church. When we believers are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord.

1 Corinthians 11 32, the first part. Have you ever thought about the fact that disciple and discipline, being disciplined and being discipled are different nuances of the same word? Judgment or being disciplined is corrective. Being discipled is constructive. Being judged or disciplined is when you get off track.

Being discipled is when you're on track. God cares enough about you to periodically get out his dust rag and his mop. And because of his love for the church and every believer in it, he refuses to sweep dirt in his house under the rug.

That's a good thing. In fact, whenever the church faces a scandal from within, just think about it. God is doing a little spring cleaning, and it's a good thing to expose it rather than sweep it under the rug.

So suffering is often the way God leads us to do a little spring cleaning in our own lives. And certainly the church, which Peter is speaking about as a whole here, and by the way, by now he knows it's easy for the church to become lax. He knows it's easy for the church to settle in the ruts. The church has been around long enough, several decades, to simply skate along. Maybe he's picking up signs from the early church there in Ephesus that is already beginning to evidence telltale signs of losing their love and zeal for the Savior.

It's possible for any congregation to become saved, sanctified, galvanized, petrified, fossilized, right? How do you stay fresh? How do you stay on track? Suffering is a key tool. Peter wants us to know at the outset that suffering and hard times are taking place not because we don't belong to God, but because we do belong to God.

Not because God isn't interested in us anymore, because God is deeply interested in us and He is discipling us. He is committed to changing us, growing us. We're responsible to Him and He to us is our perfect parent. I mean, you go out to the playground sometime and you watch all the kids, taking my grandkids out there more recently and watch them running around. And the mothers are bunched up over there, you know, and they're kind of talking. Well, as soon as some little kid gets out of line, who does the yelling? The mother. I know their mothers might want to, but it's the mother that does as she strays. She's the one that's going to go grab him by the shirt collar. Why?

Because he belongs to her and she's responsible for him. And as I thought about it along this line, it occurred to me that, you know, while growing up, my neighbors never cared about what I ate. I know this is deep, but follow me here. My neighbors never cared about what I wore. They never cared. When I came home with a report card where I had gotten an A in P.E.

and an F in spelling, as far as I was concerned, I had life right. Okay, that's what mattered. They didn't care how I wish I belonged to them at those moments. But neighbors don't walk the floor at night. Neighbors don't spend hours on behalf of you cleaning and feeding and teaching and guiding and disciplining and coaching and encouraging.

Neighbors don't do that. Good parents do. Parents who don't pass judgment by disciplining their children aren't reflecting love.

They are actually reflecting disinterest and disregard a lack of love. So you can imagine we happen to have the perfect father. Sometimes his hand is heavy, not to disillusion us, but to develop us.

The writer of Hebrews put it this way. Let me paraphrase it for you. Don't shrug off God's discipline, but don't be crushed by it either. It is the child he loves that he disciplines.

The child he embraces he also corrects. God is educating you. That's why you must never drop out. He's treating you as dear children. The trouble you're in is in punishment. It's training.

It's the normal experience of children growing up. So we pray as we face difficulties and discouragements and pain and suffering. We pray, Lord, cause us to surrender to plans that you're unveiling that we didn't yet know. Cause us to surrender to change in us because we're not yet like what we ought to be. Cause us to surrender to your teaching and your discipling and your discipline because there are things we don't yet know. We surrender. Now Peter suggests another attitude for end time believers.

Again, you're going to have to be willing to do a little house cleaning to make room for these. First, surrender. Here's the second. Pity. Pity. We're to pity the unsaved who will experience the full measure of God's wrath. Not only are we to embrace suffering as a part, a purifying part of God's curriculum in our lives, we're also to adopt this attitude.

This is going to be a change. We're to pity the unsaved who might even be persecuting you. We pity them because we know they're going to experience the full measure of God's wrath. And what Peter does here is he goes on to ask two questions.

Notice the first question. And if it begins with us, first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? He wants us to look way down the road a hundred years or so. For those who believe the gospel, what's the outcome of judgment and discipline? It is purification and ultimately glorification and at that moment perfection.

We'll always have a long way to go. That's the outcome. What's the outcome of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Peter doesn't tell us. He knows we know the answer.

More than likely, you know it as well. It is eternal judgment and punishment. So he wants us to have this kind of attitude no matter how hard our lives are. And he's writing to people whose lives are becoming more and more difficult.

Maybe you're right in the middle of great difficulty. Instead of looking around and complaining about how easy the unbeliever has it compared to your life. Instead of telling the Lord how difficult things are for us whenever we talk to him.

Peter wants us to consider no matter how hard life is, no matter how hard life was, no matter how hard life will become, it's nothing in comparison to the pain and the suffering and the difficulty and the hardness of someone who refuses the gospel of God. Look down the road. Look at where they will be one day. And this produces the right attitude, pity, compassion. I don't know about you, but I struggle with that. You know I'll hear something, you know on the radio or somebody says something and we're on television and I preach these messages to that television. They're short. You would love that.

Maybe you're the same way. Pity. I had another test and it came to me this past week. I received an email link, someone in the church, and I always appreciate you sending the information. But it was a blog and it was reviewing a book that is in pre-publication. It's going to be published soon, written by a rabbi, a female rabbi living in Michigan. And in the book, which she entitles, Walking the Way of the Divine Feminine, so you kind of know where she's coming from, she begins the book by praising women coming forward to report sexual harassment and assault. And by the way, as far as your pastor is concerned, I find that wonderfully encouraging and courageous on the part of these women to do that and would do nothing more than encourage them to do just that. It's striking to me that one out of three women have faced some sort of abuse, harassment, assault.

So I don't want you to misunderstand. I'm really glad about that part and I would join her in that. Then she kind of goes off the rails and she writes, As a rabbi, I've become emboldened by these brave young women to speak a truth that I've known in my heart for a long time, but have been hesitant to share.

Well, the time has come for me to step forward too. It's time we all acknowledge an overwhelming, powerful source of shame. The story that begins the Bible, the first one that we learned in Sunday school, the astounding story of man and woman upheld for thousands of years by Judeo-Christian religion, is actually the story of the first sexual assault of a woman. The woman's name is Eve and the perpetrator is God. She writes, Here is a young, beautiful, intelligent, naked woman living in a state of grace.

She's hungry, so she does the most natural thing in the world and eats a piece of fruit. After following her instincts, trusting herself, nourishing her body, she's punished. And her punishment, she will never again feel safe in her nakedness. She will never again love her body. She will never again know her body as a place of sacred sovereignty.

I know you've heard enough, but here's her conclusion. This God is not my God. He is a fiction, a man-made myth. The God I believe in is all loving, a source of life and healing, not shame. The truth is the Gospel is all about shame and sin and rebellion and the necessity of death.

It is all about a Savior and forgiveness and resurrection and hope. That's the Gospel, isn't it? In fact, Paul uses the word wrath at least 15 times as he describes the Gospel. He writes to the Roman church in chapter 1 and verse 18, For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth. You can deny it, you can say it isn't true, but he's not only a God of love, but of wrath and judgment. Further, Paul writes, But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath.

He kind of likes the word. That isn't all there is to the Gospel. Paul writes much more than, and we talked about that, much more than, having now been justified by his blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through him that is Christ. Romans 5-9. Those who would reconstruct the Gospel without sin and shame effectively eliminate the Gospel.

Why? Because a Gospel without sin, a Gospel without shame, is a Gospel without a God who has anything to forgive. It eliminates the reason for a dying savior. In fact, it eliminates the need for a resurrected savior.

Let's just all glory in ourselves and trust our instincts. God won't mind. So, what's our response to those who refuse to obey the truth of the Gospel?

Pity. Compassion, Peter would write. Look down the road at the outcome, the ultimate outcome of their rebellion, and we pray and hope to reach them with the Gospel of Christ.

The second question Peter asks is similar, but it focuses not just on the future but on the present. Notice verse 18. And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? Peter's writing here colloquially, like saying, we barely made it.

It doesn't mean I'm going to give you something to doubt. It doesn't mean you have to be saved by difficulty. He refers to being saved as a life of difficulty. He's speaking very realistically, as Peter does.

Both of his feet are on planet earth. We don't earn salvation through suffering, but salvation and suffering go hand in hand. Difficulty and being saved go together. And by the way, that message needs to be taught to the church today because prosperity theology always has a hearing. Some of the largest churches in this country teach that you get saved and say goodbye to difficulty.

Just get the clues right and get the codes right, get the incantations down. That's not what Peter's saying. In fact, Paul wrote a similar statement recorded in Acts 14, verse 22. Through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God. What's he saying? You got to have tribulation in order to be saved?

No. He's saying that by being saved, we're not going to avoid tribulation on our way to the kingdom of God. It is with difficulty that the righteous is saved. Peter is referring to the kind of journey we'll experience and it happens to be filled with difficulty. Anybody here find Christianity easy to live? Raise your hands.

I want to meet you. It's difficult. It makes you want to moan and cry at times. This is the same word for difficulty, by the way, used by Peter or by Luke in Acts 20. Luke is talking about a journey he's sailing with, the Apostle Paul. He says, after sailing for many days slowly because of the lack of wind, we finally with difficulty arrived.

It's you and me. That's like Pilgrim of Pilgrim's Progress. If you'd like to add something to your devotional reading, read a few chapters of that along with the word.

This is Pilgrim named after his conversion Christian. It's one trial after another. It's one difficulty after another. It's one challenge after another.

It's one temptation after another. Sometimes he sails through it. Sometimes he bogs down in it.

Sometimes he is thrown into jail because of it. Peter is wanting us here, though, in the text to not necessarily talk about our difficulty. He's really giving us here a comparison. He's saying, look, if our lives are difficult and we're saved, we have a Savior. Imagine someone going through life without God.

Maybe some of you were saved later in life and you can remember. No foundation. No absolutes. No source of truth. No sense of comfort. No reason to go on. Nothing to lean on. No one to turn to. No purpose in living and the thought of dying. There's no peace in that or hope. That's hopelessness.

And so what's our attitude toward them? Many years ago, a Christian journal that I subscribe to and now out of publication for several decades, Moody Monthly, I pulled an article back in the late 80s. It carried the true story of an event that occurred in the life of a well-known surgeon living in Chicago. His name was Dr. Leo Winters. He was awakened one morning around 1 a.m. by the hospital staff. There had been an accident and the young boy had been hospitalized and had needs and wounds and conditions that Dr. Winters specialized in treating surgically. They believed that he alone had the skill capable of saving this young boy's life. And of course he rushed out of bed, jumped into his clothes, grabbed his keys, jumped into his car and raced toward downtown Chicago. He decided to take a shortcut to a rather dangerous area known for its gang activity, but he felt the risk would be worth it and some precious time could be saved. And sure enough, as he stopped at a red light, a man rushed from the darkness, ran up through his car door open, grabbed the doctor and threw him out saying, I want your car.

He was wearing an old flannel shirt and a gray hat. The doctor tried to yell after him what he was trying to do, but the man wouldn't listen as he sped away. It took him at least 45 minutes to finally get a taxi and by the time the taxi dropped him off, he had lost more than an hour and when he arrived at his station, the nurses shook their heads and sadly said, You're too late. The boy died 30 minutes ago. One of the nurses said, You'll find the father down the hall in the chapel and he cannot understand why you never came. Without taking any time to explain to his staff what had happened, Dr. Winters, the article reads, hurried down the hallway and opened the door of the chapel and there at the front was the crumpled form of that weeping father who was wearing that old flannel shirt and clutching that same gray hat.

He had literally pushed from his life the only person who could have made a difference. To see someone push from their lives the Savior who can make an eternal difference develops in us the right response. Peter wants us to do a little house cleaning and adopt these two additives, make room for them, accept God's course in your life through his divinely ordained curriculum, and use surrender. What does that mean?

That means you register and you show up for class. You also ask the Lord to develop in you another attitude, not of revenge or anger or jealousy or covetousness or even frustration. These believers here are suffering at the hands of unbelievers and Peter says, let's just roll the tape a hundred years, compare your life and your outcome to their lives and their outcome. That develops in us compassion and passion to reach them for Christ.

Why? Because by their rejecting of him, their suffering will never end. In fact, consider these are their best days.

Because of receiving him, these may be our worst days. Our best days are to come where our suffering will be transformed into glory and joy unhindered and eternal. This has been a challenging reminder and I hope you'll take it to heart.

Before we leave you today, we have a free resource for you. The Apostle Paul was a man of great faith and he lived a life of contentment. But like you and me, Paul had hopes and dreams that were unfulfilled. Stephen has a resource called Resolution.

In it, he explores a time when Paul openly expressed that disappointment. This resource called Resolution is free right now. You'll find the request form at wisdomonline.org. Do that right now then join us next time for more wisdom for the hearts. you
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-23 00:38:31 / 2023-01-23 00:47:53 / 9

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