11:5:2017 Service “Be The Church”


I’ll ask you to turn in your Bibles with me this morning to the book of first Corinthians chapter 16 as we approach the end of our study and Corinthians You know it seems that Every week and sometimes every day that we are confronted with the reality that we Live in a world that is just full of darkness. It’s full of people who have no Hope who make decisions based solely on their own Selfish desires without any concern or regard for for anybody else You know earlier this week we had There was the the terrorist attack in New York guy runs down a bike path And then runs his truck into a school bus and kills eight people injures 11 more 13 by some counts Then the next day. There’s a shooting in a Walmart in Denver and Just a random act of violence guy opens fire and kills three more people and and then just yesterday. I heard there was a pizza delivery guy in Nashville got Was shot and I don’t know if he died or not. I hadn’t heard any updates on that, but just Constantly we are inundated with the reality that we live in a fallen world We live you know in a world that is in need of some good news That’s why we’re here I Don’t mean that’s why we’re here in this building this morning I mean, that’s why we as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ are on this planet We are here to represent Christ and to give the world some good news We are called as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ to Represent him and to go out to the furthest places of this earth and to share him with others we need the church More than at any time in history we need the church to be the church as Paul finishes his letter to the Corinthians he has given them a lot of instruction a lot of correction a lot of encouragement and even most recently as he’s been telling them of his plans to come to them and Encouraging them with the love that he has for them and then sharing with them a little bit in Chapter 16 of how they should respond to other leaders in the church, and those that will be coming and then with all of these things that are going on and all the instructions that Paul’s given and all of the anticipation of those that are coming Paul just slips in a Reminder in verses 13 and 14 of what it means for the church to be the church. He says I know you’re anticipating all these other things and I know that I’ve given you all this instruction in all this correction but remember the thing that you do while you’re waiting the thing that you do was while you’re Anticipating all these are dealing with all these other situations is you focus on being the church Focus on doing those things which Christ has called you to do focus on those things that help exalt Christ as we await the Return of Christ we have a responsibility To be the church Would you stand with me this morning in reverence to the reading of God’s Word 1st Corinthians chapter 16 verses 13 and 14 Beyond the alert stand firm in the faith act like men be strong Let all that you do be done in love heavenly father as we Look at these commands that you’ve given us this morning lord I pray that you would open our hearts and make us sensitive to your leading That we might recognize where we have fallen short and carrying these commands out and That you would strengthen us Lord to be faithful to Do all that you have called thus to do in the name of Christ Jesus and for the glory of that name Amen can be seated you Know our lives are full of distractions full of busyness we’ve always got a lot of things going on always a lot to do and We can be concerned with the darkness and the hard things that happen around us we can become frustrated with our current Circumstances we can be overwhelmed with anxiety in fear or We can recognize that whatever is going on in this world no matter how hard it Is that God has given us an opportunity to? Glorify Him He has given us an opportunity to serve Him in his church You know things are never going to be exactly as we want them to be this side of heaven But with every difficulty and disappointment we see a great need for the church To work in this world we see a great need for us to get busy about carrying out the task of Being the church honoring Christ making him known But what exactly does the church being the church look like? What how do we go about? Being the church These verses we’ve looked at this morning. I believe hold the answer for us these five Commandments given to us in this text five commands that represent really I believe three primary directives for the church being the church the first and the last command are sort of Separate from the others the the middle three Provide one direction, but let’s look at this first command be on The alert this is a command to be discerning of times and teachings the word beyond the alert translates a single word in the Greek it carries the meaning of staying awake of keeping watch Jesus used this word in Matthew 24:42 when he said therefore beyond the alert You do not know which day your Lord is coming So we see that it is something in which we need to be aware of what’s happening around us We need to be ready for the Lord’s return when he comes We see it also when Jesus speaks to Peter James and John as he goes to pray and the Garden of Gethsemane is recorded in Matthew 26 and 38 And he says he said to them my soul is deeply grieved to the point of death remain here and keep watch With me that word keep watch is the same word translated as beyond the alert in our passage It’s the idea of being aware of danger of looking out for the things that are around that can bring harm to us as believers as Followers of Jesus we are called to discern the times We know what the Lord is promised he’s promised he’s coming again He’s promised to watch over us and to strengthen us and to help us in our difficulty And he’s told us that when he comes back. It’s not gonna be like the first time He came the first time that he came he came to redeem a people for himself The second time he comes he’s coming in judgment We need to be on the alert we need to be ready Discerning the times when we see the darkness in the world around us. We should see and know and understand that the time is short The Lord is patiently awaiting for all who will repent and come to him in faith But when the last person that he knows will repent repents he’s coming back He’s coming back And he’s coming to judge the world and we need to be ready for that we need to be aware of what’s going on around us, and how it points us to the reality of his return so that we can be ready and Being aware of the times is not so that we can Predict when he will come back the Bible clearly tells us that no one knows the day or the hour And anyone who wastes their time trying to pinpoint a date is simply just wasting their time Leading people astray we cannot know We’ll know when he comes when he splits the eastern sky when he comes with the Trump of the Archangel we’ll know We discerned the time so that we can be ready to meet him But not only that we Discerned the times because as we recognize the darkness of the hour as we realize that the time is short in which he’ll be returning We also recognize that there are people all around us Who if he comes today They’re not going with him They’re coming they’re going to be left to be judged and We have a responsibility To share with those people the truth of the gospel the hope of redemption The reality of the time should encourage us to share our faith with others But there’s another way in which we need to understand this term not just discerning the times, but discerning teachings Peter uses this the word this way in first Peter 5:8. He says be of sober spirit beyond the alert your adversary the devil prowls prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour Earlier when we looked at the passage in Matthew when Jesus told the disciples to keep watch to be aware of danger It’s the same idea here as Peter tells us to be alert because our adversary is around us he’s he’s looking to destroy us and How does he do it is? It just a physical danger that we’re looking out for no not primarily Primarily, it’s a spiritual Danger that we’re to be aware. We’re to be aware of false teachings This is a I believe that when Paul says this to be on the earth This is actually the primary means in which he uses it because twice so far in the letter to the Corinthians He is told them both Excuse me in Chapter 6 and verse 9 and then again in chapter 15 and verse 33. He’s told the Corinthians do not be deceived He’s warning them of false teachings he’s telling them to be on the alert to to recognize false teachings that they would not be Taken off track from the purpose for which Christ called them that they’re not be led astray In the midst of the difficulties of life whether they’re physical financial relational or However else those difficulties come there is always the danger that We can be led into false teaching as we’re looking for hope as we’re looking for answers The devil has no shortage of answers to give us that are not honoring to the Lord God We are tempted by things that sound good they are appealing and inviting, but they may not be true The devil is a master manipulator and often his deceptions involve presenting things that appear Consistent with God’s your God’s Word yet. They are tweaked just a little bit He’s very good at making subtle changes to the Word of God in order to fit his purposes and to lead people astray we see it in the Garden of Eden when he tempted Eve and Satan comes Distorting the Word of God and says did God really say We see it when Jesus is tempted in Luke 4 verses 10 and 11 after Challenging Jesus to prove that he’s the son of God by throwing herself off the pinnacle of the temple The devil says to him firt is written He will command his angels concerning you and on their hands They will bear you up so that you will not strike your foot against a stone See the devil no scripture better than we do and he can use it and he can manipulate it and he can twist it and he can give you something that sounds just so close to being right that we want to believe it and Yet if we are not prepared with an understanding of the whole counsel of God’s Word Then we can be led into error We can be led away from the truth We can be led in to that place where not only are we deceived But we actually become a stumbling block to other believers or to other people coming to faith in Christ because We have gotten away From the message of the book and that’s really how Satan does it he? twists things and he makes him sound really good because He only Presents it in a certain context and when he when he uses scripture He pulls it out of its biblical context, and he pulls it out of the the whole meta narrative of Scripture which speaks of God’s love and redemption in his plan of salvation and He uses it to Center on the desires of Individual people and he uses it to elevate mankind and to make them think that they’re deserving of everything good and everything, that’s Excellent in deserving of all of the blessings that God has to offer when the reality is as if God gave us what we deserved None of us would draw another breath But because of his great mercy and because of his great patience with us He allows us to continue on – so that we can come to know him part of the problem as we spend as Even as Christians we spend so much time reading books about the Bible listening to to preachers and teachers who speak about the Bible and we Look at magazine articles and online articles about the Bible but we’re not spending the time in the book itself and If all you ever hear is what people have to say about it, how are you to know what it actually says You can’t just piecemeal it together and get a full picture. We have to as followers the Lord Jesus Christ We have to spend time in God’s Word so that we can understand and know what the book has to teach us our Primary teacher cannot be our favorite preacher on TV Our primary our primary teacher cannot be our favorite author who happens to write good books on Christian living our primary teacher must be No one other than the Holy Spirit of God Who teaches us? through the Word of God John 14:26 says but the helper the Holy Spirit whom the father will send in my name He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I said To you if the Holy Spirit is our teacher Then we have to understand that it is the Spirit of God teaching us by the Word of God What it is that God has for our lives? The more we know the word the better we are able to discern both the times in which we live and the teachings which we encounter Which leads us to the second way in which we are to be the church not only discerning the times and teachings But defending the faith Stand firm in the Faith verse 13 be on the alert stand firm in the faith act like men be strong these three commands, they really represent this one idea of Defending the faith. They really they build off of one another to stand firm in the faith is to be courageous It is to be strong which that command to act like men is is a Greek idiom for courage But standing firm is the idea of persevering through? Difficulty when we encounter false teachings as discerning followers of Jesus led by a spirit We are called not to compromise but to hold fast to the foundation of our faith Ephesians 4 and 14 says we are no longer to be children Tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men by craftiness and deceitful scheming But we are to do as Jude says in verse three contend earnestly for the faith Which was once for all handed down to the Saints? We have to stand our ground even against fierce opposition The church fails to be the church when it compromises its doctrine if we are not standing on The doctrines of Scripture and if we are not teaching others the truth of the faith Then we as the church have become nothing more than a social club a Club that just seeks to stroke the egos of its members for their contributions That is not what the church is called to The Word of God has been given to us that we might better know our Lord and Savior and his plans and purposes For us and the only way The only way that we can stand firm in the faith is to continually be conformed into the image of Christ and This is where these next two commands come in because they show us the person of Christ We are first told to act Like men as I said, this is a Greek idiom which means to be courageous Of course there’s no greater example of courage than Christ Jesus himself this man who was innocent Who went throughout his earthly ministry healing the death the blind the lame the sick Wherever he saw a need. He sought to meet that need Wherever he saw people hurting. He sought to give them hope and encouragement he sought to teach truth But he was rejected by his own people Because he threatened their authority because as he taught the truth of God’s Word and Confronted them with the ways they had manipulated it they came to resent him and They sought to kill him in Matthew 15 8 and 9 Jesus rebukes the leaders he says to them this people honors me with their lips But their heart is far from me But in vain do they worship Me teaching as doctrines the precepts of men You see the Jewish religious leaders of Jesus day They had taken so much of what was written in the Word of God and they had Tweaked it a little bit Twisted it to fit their own desire their own agenda they wanted They wanted people to do things their way and so they would interpret the law in such a way that it would fit their purposes and Jesus says you’re you’re teaching the doctrines of men as if they’re the doctrines of God Your heart is far from me we need to be aware that that is going on even today and When we are confronted with false teachings we need to be courageous We need to be able to make a stand to say this is not Consistent with the Word of God we need to be courageous. We need to stand up and and be ready to Regardless of the opposition be ready to Receive That persecution to receive that opposition and to know That to be persecuted for our faith is simply to be more like Christ and as Christ endured so will we We need to be courageous Jesus of course Because of his stand because of what he did What he taught? he was arrested and tried and executed by people Who despised him? But God Gotta love those words, I love it when they show up in Scripture, but God but God used that execution And he used it as a substitutionary sacrifice He used it so that Christ’s innocence could be applied to all who call on him in faith that they might be forgiven That he might actually Use the death of his only son to pay the penalty for other people’s sins Since he had no sins of his own to account for And Jesus went to the cross Courageously for that purpose that One courageous act provided redemption for the world And What the world needs today is? a people that will stand courageously against the opposition to the truth and Will allow God to work in a mighty way even though we may not understand what he’s doing But we need to be courageous and bold in our Proclamation and understand That we need to Stand for the truth of God’s Word as it has been revealed and Has it has been understood by the church historically? Not seeking to reinterpret it for our own preferences not seeking to Manipulate it in order to make people more comfortable But to teach it as it is we must be courageous, and then he says be strong That is the next command relating to standing firm in the faith the word means to be strengthened in the strength of God Ephesians 3:16 explains it this way, this is Paul’s prayer for the church He asks that God would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his In the inner man, this is the very same strength that Paul’s talking about here He wants us to be strong in the strength that he provides in order that we might face opposition in order that we might Recognize that we’ve been called to a duty that we might be bold in our faith We’re not meant to do this on our own effort and our own strength But in the strength that he gives if we do it in our own effort. We will fail I’ve got two Illustrations, I want to share with you one as an illustration of a man who thought he was somebody and tried to do things in his own strength In the 17th century there was a Jewish rabbi by the name of Chabot I Zev II He was a self-proclaimed, Messiah Of the 17th century and many Jewish people followed after him there was a whole movement Was he inspired? And then he was arrested by the Sultan of Turkey Another penalty and under penalty of death he converted to Islam No strength No courage Of course he was not a Christian So he did not have that indwelling power of the Holy Spirit to give him that strength to give him that courage But we do We have that strength if we know Christ Because his Spirit dwells within us to give us strength and to give us courage so that we may stand in The second century The Bishop of Smyrna by the name of Polycarp Was most likely discipled by John the Apostle and Polycarp a believer from a very young age lived to be into his 80s when The authorities suddenly saw him as a threat and decided that they were going to arrest him and try him for Leading people astray into the Christian Way and Polycarp was first. He was brought into the arena and he was threatened with death by being fed to the Lions and he says unless you recant and Say away with the atheists because the Christians at that time were called atheists because they didn’t believe in the Roman gods So it says unless you repent unless you recant your faith unless you reject Christ and denounce the atheists you’ll be fed to the Lions and Polycarp looks at the crowd And he says down with the atheists as he points to him because they didn’t believe in the one true God So they said well if you don’t repent We’re gonna burn you at the stake Of course Polycarp had received a vision. He said he knew it was coming He told his followers before they said I’m gonna be burned alive It must be this way and so he went and when they went to tie him up To the stake to nail him to the stake to burn him Here afraid he restrained them from nailing him and he said the power that has allowed me to stand here will also keep me on the stake when you burned me and He said and so he stood there and allowed them to build the funeral pyre around him and One of the accounts of polycarp’s martyrdom Says that the flames never touched him, but they formed kind of around him as if he was in an oven and not in the flames and Seeing that he was not being consumed by the fire somebody ordered somebody else to come down into and to Stab him and he was stabbed and so much blood came out that it put out the fire around him of course he did die but what courage and What strength in the face of such? horrible circumstances But the witness of the Spirit That dwelling of Christ within us Gives us the ability to be strong to be courageous and to defend the faith It’s the same strength that Jesus displayed throughout his earthly ministry The strength that was drawn from an ongoing relationship with his Heavenly Father It was through prayer in the relationship with his father that Jesus wielded authority over demons That he overcame temptation that he boldly proclaimed the truth in spite of known opposition and Just like with Jesus and just like with the Apostles and just like with the other disciples who were martyred in Polycarp The Lord has given us his spirit so that we can be strong So that we can be courageous so that we can be defenders of the faith as his church We need to stand firm To be the church we must discern the times and teachings around us we must be ready to defend the faith And we must do everything in love Verse 14 let all that you do be done in love This verse reminds us of the great instruction of love that Paul gave to the church in chapter 13 and There in the first three verses we read if I speak with the tongue of men and of angels But do not have love I’ve become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love I Am nothing, and if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned But do not have love it profits me nothing While we are Being aware being alert being discerning and while we’re seeking to defend the faith We have to understand that we are called to do so in a way that represents the love of Christ Because our tendency is To think that we are better than we actually are Our tendency is to become arrogant about what we know about the Bible and what we know about Christ and what we know about faith and what we know about what’s right And what’s wrong and to hold ourselves up and to put other people down to think that somehow that these people around us that are Stuck in their sin that they are beneath us. They are not They are what we were before we knew Christ Everything we do must be done in love we have to avoid the tendency towards arrogance And we have to act in love so that Christ might be exalted through us so that we can uphold Those two of the greatest Commandments in Scripture to love the Lord our God with all of our heart soul mind and strength And then to love our neighbor as ourselves There’s nothing that we can do that makes us more like Jesus than to act in a loving manner Even in the things we do that make us unpopular we can do them in love You can confront somebody in their sin out of love and we should Because we recognize the outcome of sin For believers the discipline of the Lord is a fearful thing So we confront them with their sin in order to Lead them to repentance and restore them to fellowship in the church so that they don’t experience the discipline of the Lord for an unbeliever sin leads to death to destruction to eternal condemnation So we confront them because we care about their eternal destiny we confront them because we love them The world may not see it that way they may not understand, but we need to do everything we can in order to represent Christ to represent his Character his love Love demonstrates that we belong to Jesus and is the greatest testimony of our faith in John chapter 13 and verse 35 it says by this all men will know that you are my disciples if you have love for one another as Believers we are motivated by our love for Jesus because of his great love for us and as we grow in our faith we also ought to grow in our love for him and for his church Nothing demonstrates better the reality and power of faith than love for us to be truly the Church that the Lord Jesus has called us to be we must be growing continually in the likeness of Christ We must heed his call to keep watch To be on the alert to be discerning of times and teachings to stand firm in the faith to defend its truths To be current courageous and bold and strong in order that we might Stand for the word of God and all that it has for us, but we must do it in love We must do it in the likeness of him whose courage and strength led him to die for us So that by faith we could be saved We must love in all that we do because he loved us and gave himself for us This is what it means to be the church To be aware of what’s going on around us to be alert to be keen and understanding to interpret What’s happening to stand firm on the Word of God? and to represent Christ to the world this Is what the church is? Have the mistaken notion that being a Christian means Acknowledging some facts about who Jesus is and what he did? Others take it a little step further and they think yeah I have to know all that stuff, but I also have to go to church fairly regularly in order to demonstrate my commitment But if that’s all you do, and if that’s all you think of what Christianity is you are not getting it this is not what the Bible teaches us as What faith is in what faith does? if that’s all that you think that it is you’re still walking in disobedience to Christ and You may not truly be a Christian at all When Christ saves you he changes you? He changes you from the inside out He changes your heart. He changes your desire He changes your will now sometimes it takes time for all of that change for us to catch up with it Sometimes it’s immediate in in miraculous and powerful but we all Still from one degree or another are growing and we’re all still struggling and we’re all still trying to get there But we’re not meant to do it alone. We’re meant to do it in community. We’re meant to do it as the church We’re meant to grow in Christ’s likeness to represent him to be together as a community that embraces his Character and seeks to honor him in the way that we serve one another in the way we served the community in which were planted In the way that we take his gospel to the world None of us do it perfectly but are you doing it at all? Are you seeking to be the church and everything that you do Do you know him has he changed you are you being conformed into his likeness Do you want to be if? You do or Maybe if you already have and you’re ready to pursue your purpose of representing him in the church Jesus is ready to receive Everyone who comes to him by faith either for Salvation initially or for strengthening continually he is ready to receive us. He is ready to hear us He is ready for us to respond to him to be what He has called us to be let us pray Heavenly Father I Thank you so much for the love with which you have loved us I Thank you Father for the instruction you’ve given us this morning in your word for the reminder of the seriousness With which we are to approach our Position in you Lord the church is not merely an organization It is not certainly not a building but it is your Congregation it is your followers And Lord if We don’t individually Pursue obedience to be the church Then we can in no way corporately accomplish it so Father I ask you to deal with us on an individual level Right now That if there’s someone here that needs to know of your great love and courage and boldness so that they can be forgiven of their sins and cleansed and made whole and receive the hope of eternity and life everlasting father I pray that you would encourage them to come and make known their heart and Give us an opportunity to Share with them and talk to them and lead them into a relationship with you and for those of us father that have just gotten off track and And have let other things distract us from what you would have us be and have led us We’ve allowed to lead us out of obedience Lord, and we’re ready to return I pray that you would help us to repent in our hearts and to Express that to you in a prayer seeking forgiveness And restoration and encouragement And lord, I just thank you that you have promised to receive all who will come to you that you will never turn anyone away Who calls on you in faith? Lord have your way with our hearts and lead us to Be the church that you’ve called us to be And the holy matchless name of Christ Jesus our Lord I pray Amen Let’s stand together as we sing our hymn of hymn of invitation. I surrender all The altars open I’ll be down front if anybody wants to come

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