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January 8, 2020 12:00 am
Unjustly criticized her head, your character questioned probably happened. The question is not, will you ever hear criticism of the question is not what you ever feel the pain of a lonely perseverance. The question is, will you ever be the subject of misunderstanding. The question is not well it happened you. The question is how will you respond when happens and it will one of the things you're not going to hear in this lesson is a list of strategies for avoiding those kinds of attacks that's not possible. There will be times when you receive criticism or have your character attacked the question we want to look at today is how do we respond biblically when that happens.
If you've ever had someone accuse you. Misunderstand you or misrepresent you, you're gonna want to stay tuned. Today Stevens going to show us from the example of Paul how to respond biblically when people sling mud at you. This is part two of a lesson. Stephen began yesterday called modeling a godly response. John MacArthur, in his commentary on Philippians did a wonderful job just sort of imagining all the possible things that people could have been saying about Paul's imprisonment that would eventually cause them to abandon him. We know they did. He set up so I just sort of edited it down from pages to a paragraph or two of money money go through them quickly as bullet points.
He said this will like Job's friends counselors, there would have been envious preachers in Rome, claiming that Paul's imprisonment was the Lord's punishment for some secret sin. I mean it. We could see by season.
Probably something, or still others might've thought that the Lord All in prison because of his inadequate and misleading preaching of God's word.did needed to shut him up. Others may have thought that Paul was old-fashioned and then a more relevant approach was needed to reach the sophisticated people of Rome is outdated. Others may have argued that if Paul is been completely uncompromising and true to the faith he would have been martyred long beforehand is evidently made a deal with the Romans to protect his life and secure favorable treatment they many of them probably did know the Philippians were paying the rent on the apartment positive positive apartment deal going on is saving a snack. Still others might've maintained that Paul was in prison because he lacked the victorious faith that would've gained his release, his prayers in the past were more powerful. Now they are still imprisoned is obviously failing to tap into the Holy Spirit's power.
Others would've claimed that the very fact that they were afraid to preach and Paul was imprisoned was proof enough that God was finished with Paul was now going to use them instead will put Paul is out of the way. Now, those of us who better to God can get on with it.
Those who loved Paul were willing to think the best knew he wasn't in prison because of secret sin or an impure life or lack of faith or or or because God's spirit was finished with him, no, in fact, beloved listen.
These Philippian believers would have known that Paul is receiving is most difficult assignment from God ever an appointment from God that would require the greatest faith and assignment that would depend upon the purest life. The most persevering trust in the spirit of God that he is not abandoned him and what he wrote to Timothy during these days only ready the first parts I could say this part until now. He writes with chains around his wrists to Timothy just months before his execution and he says every one has deserted me, but it's the Lord stood by me and strengthen these chains are not a disgrace. They are a grace from God for his gospel and his glory.
Paul openly identifies the problem, he boldly reveals the motive and I think we can begin to appreciate now the third point and that is this Paul graciously resists retaliation. Verse 18. Look at that first phrase. What then stop there at the sermon all stamping what then you could translate that. So what was so what about it knows what is really matter if I allow or hate it. This is God's assignment may be for you beloved this morning. This is the message you need from God more than any other right now those handcuffs does chains that those misunderstandings those misinterpretations that dishonor that that abandon your you came in here we can see it, but you're splattered with mud. Verse 18 login should've open with something more like let me tell you a thing or two. Let me set the record straight and go on for a chapter or two when I get all the you guys. I'm eager to scan these Roman Christians alive, but he resists self-defense self-promotion he could rattle off his resume.
Have you forgotten who I am the apostle of God to the Gentiles. Have you forgotten my epistle and you forgot my past. He could've reminded them all know that's how you respond if you want to jump into the political fracas and Paul refuses to play the game, preaching Christ is not a race for spiritual scalps is in a contest to see how and who gets the most delegates on the convention floor. Paul refuses to play pastoral politics in the parish among the pews.
He will join her game and you're left thinking though Paul they've abandoned you. You should hear what they're saying you should hear what they've concluded.
He notes, he knows for those of you who lead a ministry or part of the ministry and leadership for those of you who step up to serve as elders for those of you who volunteer to serve as deacons.
Those who lead a men's Bible study or a woman's Bible study were NABF you you you volunteered to set up the soccer nets on Sunday. Saturday here you're leaving and that or or your volunteering to leave the PTA. The question is not, will you ever hear criticism. The question is not, will you ever feel the sting of mod. The question is not what you ever feel the pain of a lonely perseverance.
The question is, will you ever be the subject of misunderstanding. The question is not well, it happened to you. The question is how will you respond when it happens and it will how you handled mud how to handle the mud splattered on your face as many of you know I enjoy reading biographies in many ways is simply reading suffering of others and how they respond. Encourage it for your own spiritual discipline, but I've often wondered how I would respond were I given the amazing breadth of ministry like that of Charles Spurgeon, who preach on a Sunday to thousands of people in his church in London England was a wonderful church still communicating the gospel to this day hundred 50 years later, but Spurgeon would receive every Monday morning by courier an anonymous letter of a man ripping his sermon to shreds sermons are beyond criticism.
They are not more pastors are leaders often thought every Monday. Every Monday I rather enjoy the story of the Amodio priest for Spurgeon Moody pastor in Chicago. As you know he was often the recipient of derogatory, demeaning mail often most often anonymous all sorts of accusations he was picked on for everything from his lack of education going with you. I think the greatest grammar was interesting and is bearing and appearance. On one occasion he was sitting on a platform about the preach several thousand people.
He was a guest and an usher came up and handed him a note. It was folded over once Moody open the note in it only contained one word fool. He folded the note back in a moment or two he stepped up to preach any. He brought the note with them and he said do not. I have a note with me with a single word fool written here often receive unkind messages that are unsigned.
The strangest thing the authors forgot to write me a message but is merely signed his name is probably not the best illustration of refusing to retaliate but I think you'd enjoy that as much as I did Chuck Swindoll in one of his books read recently said you what we do when a harsh word is spoken to us or about us. We usually shout back louder. The truth is, if Paul had chosen to retaliate, he would have had far more throwback, and it would have stuck. He refuses to shout back is why number four Paul wisely refocuses the priority what that was about it. Only that in every way, whether in pretense that is out of rivalry and ending or in truth, that is out of goodwill and Christ is proclaimed as the issue in that I want rejoice in that I rejoice, even if they pretended pretense, false motives rivalry envy, competition, accusation, preach Christ.
In truth, out of goodwill and love for me as long as the gospel is preached in that the priority I will rejoice, I made this point of the text, especially when we come to understand Paul's painful circumstances you would always forgive him for a least a person says are these guys a pain in the neck.
I am hurt. He does that by the way to the Corinthians bears and so here he wants to focus on the priority. This is a short letter on much time you need to understand here what you would expect to some sort of depressed, discouraged, despairing acknowledgment, but Paul is an Superman. He's not wearing a Teflon outfit simply as a grip on his assignment from God, and an understanding of the priority even though the church of written them off.
Even though pastors and church leaders and Christians in Rome didn't come to see him or encourage him or worse telling everybody yeah you know that all Paul that Hitachi he's probably guilty of some sin that only God noon is getting what he deserves is out of the way. Anyway it's time for us to get Paul is effectively saying I'm aware of that.
I know the deeper recesses of their motive, but as long as they are preaching the gospel of Christ, rejoice is 1 More Way to handle the Mud Thrown Your Way, #5. Paul intentionally shapes his attitude noticed the last statement in verse 18 in my Texas were tucked in the verse 19 still part of verse 18. Underline that Marvel over this. Learn from this. He has this text by saying yes and I will rejoice as if to say, in case you wondered if you read it right as long as Christ is proclaimed in that I rejoice I will make sure you get it yes I did say I will rejoice. The verb is what linguists call violative that means it's up it's it's a verb that refers to the decision of of the will of volition, it doesn't mean that Paul you know you might be time to the just such a happy guy while two years under house arrest handcuffed the whole deal.
People accusing him he just wakes up on the sunny side of life. Read his letters, he is saying here on this occasion, however, I want to make sure you get it. I am choosing to rejoice in fact this is the future tense verb which means Paul is saying that this is his decision not just for the moment, always writing a letter to believers because really the missionary O to look like this. He sing him to take this attitude into the future with me as well, which lets you know that all of those other pastors and church leaders and Christians are fighting on their feet. Paul is effectively fighting this battle on his knees. The only place you can find this kind of string. Everyone's deserted me. But the Lord stood with me. It is tragic. I do want to add a thought here that these believers in Rome really had no idea that the fact many of them really didn't know Paul that well we we we forget that we have the benefit of the entire New Testament, we can study as missionary letters travels his visions toward heaven as assignment we could even know that the Philippians are paying for that apartment, which would've created misinterpretation. He's in the pocket of the Roman government. We know it now for some Christians paying his rent. We we have that benefit most of the believers in Rome would have no idea many of them would have just reached the assumption I guess the sold apostle is all that valuable to God church anymore. God's moved on. We will to. Can you imagine can you imagine the apostle Paul, just two blocks away for two years and we can go see him. He would not be great when the be great to go to Paul is a you you wrote this stuff in Romans eight, nine, 10 but I really like you to just clear up election taken our three or four. I'd really like you to explain the battle that you expressed in in your letter to the Romans in chapter 7 the things I wanted to. I don't do the things I don't want to do I do it. Which would you fill in some blanks or because a lot of people think you were talking about yourself missing today with each other. None of them came to see him but they all rallied to accuse him let's the opposite 11. It may not be the apostle you're throwing my dad maybe another Christian believer, but learn the lesson that only of Paul's wonderful response learn a lesson from the tragic state of these believers. Rome and asked whenever you throw mud you are taking your eyes off the greater priority. The gospel of Jesus Christ. Let me give you an illustration from Spurgeon's life again during the 1800s.
He pastored this downtown church and in London and it had enormous weight is a leading voice for the gospel. The church would develop institutions and ministries that are remarkable even to read of this day. In fact, I give you one was in my notes just came to my mind. One was an orphanage that he built any just didn't build an orphanage. He built a magnificent place to occupy these orphans and on the bottom floor. He built an indoor heated swimming pool and he was vilified for. How can you waste that money in orphan would say that he gave them the best.
At any rate during his later years of ministry. Spurgeon denounced the growing liberalism within the Baptist Union which he belonged to this church belong to their pastors now the majority of them were denying inspiration of Scripture.
They were denying the sufficiency of Christ atonement works was creeping into the plan of salvation since Spurgeon's voice carried such significant weight. All of other pastors and churches in London when he challenged them and their doctor and they responded with anger. In fact, in his magazine that they published as a church.
He called on the Baptist Union do cleanup of their doctrine.
Well, it created a firestorm as you can imagine over the years. NV had done it silent working. Many of these men's hearts and now instead of rising to Spurgeon's warning and challenge these church leaders and pastors instead turned around and challenged Spurgeon, accusing him of exercising authority.
He didn't have in the end that he didn't have the right to challenge them, and all he did was make them look foolish wasn't his intention. Spurgeon over the months when this firestorm was raging resigned from the Baptist Union and that only made these leaders more angry movement grew within the Baptist Union to censor Spurgeon the mean of the hot dust today. Back in the day that could affect your credit rating and the borrowing money in your housing and certainly reputation they wanted to publicly denounce him diminish his standing among the believing churches and around London and beyond. Meeting was called met at the temple church, the second largest church in London, pastored by Joseph Parker, one man by the name of Henry Oakley attended the meeting and fortunately wrote down in detail what happened. He described the bedlam of that meeting that afternoon with several thousand in attendance. He wrote possibly the city temple was as full as it could be. I was there very early but found only room in the aisle of the back gallery. I listen to the speeches, the only one of which I have any remembrance was a pastor who spoke in favor of a liberal theology and the justification of doubt moment came when the motion to censor. Spurgeon was moved and seconded and then the vote came when the motion came up. Then a forest of hands when the boat was called went up thousands of fan anyone against the motion call the chairman but I did not see any hands all the history records. There were seven only seven voted not to censor. Spurgeon Oakley writes without any tally of numbers or announcement. It was obvious in the vast assembly broke into tumultuous cheering and cheering and cheering from some of the older men I saw their pent up hostility and envy against Spurgeon found full vent. It was a strange scene I viewed it almost with tears.
I stood near a graduate from Spurgeon's own college, whom I knew very well, Mr. Spurgeon and welcomed him from a very lowly position and he was going wild with a light at the censure of his generous teacher.
I say was a strange scene that this vast assembly should be so outrageously delighted at the condemnation of the noblest and grandest leader of their faith when he learned of the vote. Spurgeon wrote a friend and ended it by writing pray for me that my faith fail not. He would fight the battle on his knees today. Charles Spurgeon is revered as the most effective English pastor the last 150 years. His sermons are still being published. Even the ones that were ripped apart every Monday morning. Today, the apostle Paul is revered as the greatest missionary statesman and defender of the faith in the history of the church and it isn't going to change.
Oswald Sanders wrote in his classic work entitled spiritual leadership.
The crowded large does not recognize a leader until they are usually gone and then they build a monument for him with the stones they threw at him when he was alive when mud comes flying through the air in your direction doll Stu throw it back throw it back. Identify the problem clarify the motive doesn't need to know refused to retaliate, refocus on the priority and intentionally choose while you're on your knees make a choice to rejoice, so that in the and and ultimately Jesus Christ receives Lori gospel forward. I trust that you found the five simple Stephen shared a practical and helpful. We all face times when others accuse or misrepresent us and we need to know how to respond when that happens. This is wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi. If you'd like to listen to this lesson again. We've posted it to our website you'll be able to listen free of email@example.com or you'll find it on our smart phone app that you can install to your iPhone or android device.
Stevens working his way through a series called moving forward. The series comes from the book of Philippians. Stephen has a series of books in what we call the wisdom commentary series there's eight volumes in total and Philippians is one of those if you'd like to dive deeper into your study of this practical book I think you'd enjoy having a copy of Stephen's book entitled Philippians, we can give you information about that resource. If you call us today at 86 648 Bible. That's 866-482-4253 Philippians and all the other volumes in the wisdom commentary series are also available in the resource section of our website that address once again is wisdom online.org Sharon from harvest, Alabama wrote to say this this radio broadcast is such a blessing to me as I'm in the middle of a very difficult situation. I find great encouragement every morning by your preaching of the word thinking. Thank you Sharon for writing to us and we hope God will strengthen through his word as you continue to rely on him for whatever you're facing right at time but make plans to join us tomorrow as we continue through this series hereunder wisdom