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Commit to Christ’s Lordship in Family Obligations

May 27, 2010 4 comments
  • Commit to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of your life, understanding that Christ’s lordship is inseparable from all aspects of the believer’s life.
  • Commit to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in all areas of your life, including family obligations.
  • Emphasize biblical gender roles with believing fathers taking the lead in modeling Great Commission Christianity and taking the primary responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their families.

These aspects of committing “to the total and absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ” are related to submitting to Christ’s Lordship in the home. We should totally commit to Christ’s absolute Lordship over our family obligations. Specifically, believing fathers should take the lead “in modeling Great Commission Christianity and taking the primary responsibility for the spiritual welfare of their families.” How, then, starting with fathers, should each member of the household commit to Christ’s Lordship in the home?

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Thank You, Christian Schmidt

May 25, 2010 Leave a comment

In my introductory post for the guest blog series, I briefly introduced Christian Schmidt, who then introduced himself in his own words.

After Christian’s introduction, I posted his sermon manuscript as a series of blog posts about “Being Poured out for God’s Glory.” The following blogs were all written by Christian and all constituted his sermon from Sunday night at Northport Baptist Church:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Presence of the Gospel
  3. The Progress of the Gospel
  4. The Power of the Gospel
  5. The Purpose of the Gospel
  6. The Proclamation of the Gospel

Thank you, Christian, for being so faithful to the Gospel in this sermon. Thank you also for sharing your sermon manuscript with me and this blog’s readers so that we can all be blessed by that thunder and lightning—even though the limited electronic media cannot contain it all. This computer screen cannot convey the fact that throughout the whole sermon, you could hear a pin drop. This computer screen cannot convey the passion in Christian’s voice as he preached through each point in the sermon (list above). This computer screen cannot convey my own joy as the Spirit enraptured me with the grace of God as I heard Christian so faithfully proclaim it that night. Thank you, Christian, for being faithful. Thank you, Christian, for pouring yourself out—and you have before your sermon, and you did during it, and you continue to do so even now. Thank God for preachers like you.

Fellow readers, please note well what Christian has said from God’s Word. We should all be willing to pour out our lives for God’s glory. And that is what this blog is all about—this blog seeks to glorify God by encouraging Christians and helping Christians to set their minds on things that are above (Colossians 3:2). If you’d like even more specific ways you can pour out your lives for God’s glory, please browse the Blog Series page for specific posts. My current series, Great Commission Living, is also tailored to provide specific ways in each post that we can pour out our lives for God’s glory.

Thanks again to Christian Schmidt for this guest blog series, and praise be to God alone for the amazing work he is doing through Christian and through Christians everywhere!

Being Poured out for God’s Glory, Part Five: The Proclamation of the Gospel

This all results in the proclamation of the gospel. Verse 17 always grabs my attention when Paul says that he will be “poured out” for the gospel. In this passage, Paul is most likely not referring to death when he says being poured out because earlier in Philippians 1:24-26 he says that he feels God still has plans for him to help them grow.

When he refers to himself as a drink offering and them as sacrificial offering, he is referring to the Jewish sacrificial system mentioned in Numbers 28. In that passage, the offerings are described as a “pleasing aroma” (Numbers 28:2,6) similar to how God saves us for his “good pleasure.” Paul does not refer to himself as the only sacrifice, but they are a sacrifice as well. He is getting them ready to further the gospel but is also telling them that they are just as much a sacrifice as he is and will have to sacrifice as he did.

We must remember that the cross overturned this system of sacrifices. Jesus’ death on the cross became the ultimate sacrifice and got rid of the need for animal sacrifices. Because of his sacrifice, he has both called and empowered us to be able to sacrifice our lives for the furtherance of his name.

In My Utmost For His Highest, Oswald Chambers’ wrote, “Are you ready to be sacrificed like that? Are you ready to be less than a mere drop in the bucket—to be so totally insignificant that no one remembers you even if they think of those you served? Are you willing to give and be poured out until you are used up and exhausted—not seeking to be ministered to, but to minister? Some saints cannot do menial work while maintaining a saintly attitude, because they feel such service is beneath their dignity” (My Utmost For His Highest, February 5).

Most of us may think that we would die for the gospel, yet we do not live for it. We believe that in the time of great need and suffering that we would find great courage, but we overlook the small things. We may wish to be poured out in a great manner, but the small everyday tasks almost seem beneath us. To be poured out does not only mean to die for one’s belief but to live through the everyday, menial tasks and serve God with every opportunity presented.

This also is to be done in a glad spirit. Rather than looking at serving as a duty or obligation, it should be viewed as a blessing. “I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls” (2 Corinthians 12:15). In this passage Paul says that he will do this gladly. How often will we serve God but do it in a begrudging manner? It is a gift to be able to live and serve God in any and every situation.

I once read the story of a Masai warrior named Joseph. His story was so powerful it won him an audience with Billy Graham. One day, Joseph accepted Christ after being told the gospel by a man on an African road. He was so filled with joy that he returned to his village and began sharing the gospel with them as well. He went from door to door telling the people about Christ, but they responded violently. The men held him down while the women began to beat him with barbed wire. After he was beaten, they took him away and left him to die.

He somehow managed to crawl to a nearby watering hole and get his strength back. Thinking that he somehow must have told the story wrong, he rehearsed it again and again before returning to the village. He eventually returned to the village, and for a second time, he was beaten then left to die.

A few days later, Joseph awoke again and decided to return to his village to once again preach the gospel. Before he even had a chance to speak, the villagers again began to beat him. As he was being flogged, he told them the story of Jesus. Before passing out he saw that the women who were beating him had begun to cry. When he awoke this time, he was in his own bed. The villagers that were just beating him were now nursing him back to health. He later found out that the entire village had come to Christ. (http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/Sermons/ByScripture/2/806_Called_to_Suffer_and_Rejoice_To_Finish_the_Aim_of_Christs_Afflictions/)

He was no longer pouring himself out in a metaphorical sense for these people, but his blood was very literally being poured out for them. This is what it looks like to be poured out for the gospel. Not just once did he witness to these people, but three times after much pain and sacrifice.

Paul ends this portion on a note of rejoicing. Why do we never rejoice with those who are suffering? We try to comfort them, but maybe we should instead seek to rejoice with them. Though much pain and sacrifice lay ahead of him, he knew that his strength and power came from the Lord. He knew that suffering was a cause of rejoicing because of how it furthered the gospel. Not only did he wish to be poured out in every aspect of his life and death, but he took great joy in it and has called us to do the same. Later, when he knew his time had come, he uses this expression again. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7).

Being Poured out for God’s Glory, Part Four: The Purpose of the Gospel

The gospel is first and foremost for the glory of God. Verse thirteen shows us that God does this for his good pleasure, but because of his own glorification we are abundantly rewarded. He does this for his enjoyment, and through his abundant joy, we are filled with joy. Because of his self-glorification, our souls have been saved by his gracious act of sending Christ to die for our sins. In verse 13 it says that God does these things for his good pleasure.

“All that God does he does for his pleasure; but since God is wholly good, what pleases him is not capricious but what is wholly good for those he loves. God’s pleasure is pure love; it delights God to delight his people.” (http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/Phil/Application-Final-Appeal-478)

God seeking his good pleasure is something we should rejoice in though. Since God is love, him seeking his good pleasure will result in unimaginable joys for us. By God seeking his good pleasure, we receive unending benefits and rewards. God seeking his good pleasure results in our greatest pleasure.

The gospel first displays the glory of God by demonstrating his gracious love and forgiveness. Secondly, we see the God’s glorification through the gospel as it transforms people’s lives. “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

In verse 15 we find that when God works in us to work out our salvation, his goodness is displayed as a light in the world in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation. We shine as lights in order that others may see, hear, and partake in the glory of God. As our candle burns, we reflect the one that first lit the fuse. This is ultimately why we proclaim the gospel, so that they nations may worship God.

Why then in verse 14 does Paul tell us to “do all things without grumbling or questioning?” It seems as if there are so many more things more important than something as small and insignificant as grumbling and complaining, so why does Paul focus on this?

The first word (goggysmos) is used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:10 when he is alluding to Israel grumbling against God (Exodus 16, Numbers 14, 16-17). Their constant grumbling led to their destruction. It was their grumbling that led Moses to strike the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:2-13). It is the quarreling and murmuring and complaining and rumors that tear apart a church, but it is the gospel that dispels these murmurings.

The Israelites were called to be God’s holy people, separated from the world, yet they complained and grumbled when they became envious of what other people had. Through their grumbling and complaining, they fractured away at their state of holiness and began to look like the surrounding people groups. We see that avoiding complaining is crucial because we slowly begin to look like the rest of the world. Instead of being the Holy nation of Israel, Deuteronomy 32:5 says, “They have dealt corruptly with him; they are no longer his children because they are blemished; they are a crooked and twisted generation.”

Complaining also distracts from the gospel. If all you hear is bickering, then you cannot hear Christ being preached. If we spend our time arguing over what carpets should be put where or who should be allowed inside the church, then we will never have time to proclaim the gospel. How can we complain about anything in light of the sacrifice and suffering Jesus endured and how he redeemed our live? Our problems and pains are nothing compared to what he endured.

We are told that we “shine as lights in the world.” Not only does the gospel give us something to rejoice about, but also it brings joy for the world. The world is encompassed in darkness and God uses us to show them His light. He uses the gospel to light the way.

Being Poured out for God’s Glory, Part Three: The Power of the Gospel

Knowing that verse 12 could appear to promote a work-based salvation, Paul follows with verse 13 to show us that salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9). In verses 12-13, Paul tells us to work “out” our own salvation because God works “in” us. It is God who changes our heart and minds and renews our lives “in” us, and after his initial act, we are commanded to work “out” our salvation with fear and trembling. He has transformed us to serve and follow him faithfully.

The next verse tells us that he does this “both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” It is God who does the work, and it is God who provides the will. There is an expression that says “Where there is a will, there is a way.” Because of God’s will, Christ became the way. His will is then transmitted to us through Christ. We see that not only does God prepare our works beforehand (Ephesians 2:10) and prepare our days before we were even born (Psalm 139:16), but he also gives us the will to serve him and faithfully carry out these works. We see similar language in 1 Corinthians 12:6 which says, “and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone” and Haggai 2:4, which says “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts.” Even in verse 15, when we are exhorted to be blameless, it is God who is able to keep us from stumbling and present us blameless (Jude 1:24).

In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul says “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” Here again we see him saying that is God who did the work in him through His grace rather than Paul himself doing it.
What we must realize is that we are empowered through the gospel. It is not through our works or our strength or any other method, but through Christ’s death and resurrection. It is through the gospel that God delivers us, and it is through the gospel that God strengthens us. Hebrew 13:21 says, “Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen”. We see once again in this passage that God works in us through the gospel, so that we may accomplish his will and do what is pleasing in his sight.

Knowing that it is God who works “in” us gives us the strength to work “out” for him. Matthew Henry’s Commentary once again illuminates this passage. “It should encourage us to do our utmost, because our labor shall not be in vain. God is ready to concur with his grace, and assist our faithful endeavors. Observe, though we must use our utmost endeavors in working out our salvation, yet still we must go forth, and go on, in a dependence upon the grace of God. His grace works in us in a way suitable to our natures, and in concurrence with our endeavors; and the operations of God’s grace in us are so far from excusing, that they are intended to quicken and engage our endeavors…To will and to do: he gives the whole ability. It is the grace of God which inclines the will to that which is good: and then enables us to perform it, and to act according to our principles. ‘Thou hast wrought all our works in us,’ Isa. 26:12. Of his good pleasure. As there is no strength in us, so there is no merit in us. As we cannot act without God’s grace, so we cannot claim it, nor pretend to deserve it. God’s good will to us is the cause of his good work in us; and he is under no engagements to his creatures, but those of his gracious promise. ” (Matthew Henry’s Commentary)

The power of the gospel gives us the strength to get through any and all circumstances because it is not based on our own strength but on the strength that God powerfully works within us (Colossians 1:29).

Being Poured out for God’s Glory, Part Two: The Progress of the Gospel

Despite Paul’s encouragements at the beginning of verse 12, he still commands them to “work out” their salvation. We saw that the Philippians were doing many great things, yet Paul continues to warn them and push them forward. He is not saying that they will earn their salvation through either their works or something they did, but to continually show the evidence of God’s saving grace by working and serving God.

This is a continual, constant state of working out. It is not a one time occasion nor something that we take breaks from. Matthew Henry’s commentary says this about it, “The word signifies working thoroughly at a thing, and taking true pains. Observe, We must be diligent in the use of all the means, which conduce to our salvation. We must not only work at our salvation, by doing something now and then about it; but we must work out our salvation, by doing all that is to be done, and persevering therein to the end. Salvation is the great thing we should mind, and set our hearts upon; and we cannot attain salvation without the utmost care and diligence.” (Matthew Henry Complete Commentary)

Fear and trembling indicates that this issue is of the highest importance and not something that we should take lightly. It is not a childish concern of walking down the aisle once never to be thought of again, but a continual state of sanctification as He purifies us. Our salvation is not only the beginning of our faith, but it is our faith. We must remember that our God is a God of love, but that he is also a Holy God full of righteousness. He is the one that forgives us of our sins, but he is also the one that we are separated by sin from in the first place. Thankfully, his grace is sufficient and powerful enough to save us, and we must not forget this as we consider His forgiving love that has saved us.

We are told to do this with fear and trembling because of how important of an issue it is. “Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it” (Hebrews 4:1). “Another says, ‘I have a difficulty about this looking to our own salvation. Do you not believe in full assurance? Are there not some who know that they are saved beyond all doubt?’ Yes, blessed be God, I hope there are many such now present. But let me tell you who these are not. These are not persons who are afraid to examine themselves. If I meet with any man who says, ‘I have no need to examine my self any more, I know I am saved, and therefore have no need to take any further care,’ I would venture to say to him, ‘Sir, you are lost already. This strong delusion of yours has led you to believe a lie.’ There are none so cautious as those who possess full assurance, and there are none who have so much holy fear of sinning against God, nor who walk so tenderly and carefully as those who possess the full assurance of faith. Presumption is not assurance, though, alas! many think so. No fully assured believer will ever object to being reminded of the importance of his own salvation” (http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/1003.htm)

This state of fear and trembling not only helps keep the importance of the gospel central, but it reflects our humility and displays God’s greatness. “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2:11). “They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear” (Romans 11:20). Do not treat salvation as a trivial, past event, but fearfully work it out everyday because it is of the gravest importance.

Being Poured out for God’s Glory, Part One: The Presence of the Gospel

Before there can be a gospel community, there must first be the presence of the gospel. In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he is not writing to a people who has not heard of the gospel of Christ, but to those that have and are living it out. In Acts 16:6-40 we learn that the church at Philippi was the first church founded by Paul in Europe. Paul says that the Philippians were partners with Paul in the gospel from the first day (Philippians 1:5) and they were “partakers…in the defense and confirmation of the gospel” (Philippians 1:7). In Philippians 4:15-16, Paul commends them by saying, “And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and gain.”

In verse 12 we see Paul affectionately call the Philippians his beloved and commends them for being continually obedient. He even notes that they remain obedient whether he is there or not. This means that they were not a double-minded people that wavered in the wind (James 1:6-8), but held fast to their faith.

Philippians is a letter of encouragement and teaching and Paul is not just warning them of double-mindedness, but he is also telling the church at Philippi that they do not need his help for it is God who works in them. Paul played a very crucial role at this church and they were greatly concerned for him, but he was telling them that even though he wasn’t physically present with them that God would watch over them and protect them. This means that our pastors and parents and mentors cannot save us but only God can.

The gospel was very much present in the church at Philippi, which is very important. If the gospel is not present then there can be no gospel community and no furthering of the gospel. Paul addresses this issue in verse 12 when he says “your own salvation.” This is talking about your own personal salvation, not your mother’s or father’s or sister’s or brother’s or friend’s or cousin’s or grandparent’s but yours.

As important as it is to witness to others, your witness will mean nothing if you do not have that which you are telling others of. Charles Spurgeon preached an entire sermon on just these three words because of their monumental importance. One of the issues he addressed was that this might seem like selfish thinking. He gives the analogy that if a man is drowning, you will not be of any help if you do not know how to swim. If, instead, you had invested time and money into learning how to be a proficient swimmer, you would have been able to save that man’s life. If you are not first saved, then you are of no help to the lost.

The presence of the gospel is what makes us shine as lights in the world (2:15). It is what separates us from the crooked generation we live in. Without it we would be no different than the world. The presence of the gospel dispels sin. If there is sin present in our live or in our churches, then this means that we do not shine and that the gospel is not present. Light is the opposite of the darkness and will have nothing to do with darkness. Therefore, if we are to shine as lights in the world then the presence of the gospel will destroy sin in our lives.

The removal of sin is also important as we begin to spread the gospel. If we pour ourselves into someone (Philippians 2:17), then we need to make sure what we pour is pure. If we are pouring out ourselves tainted by sin, then we are corrupting just as pouring poisoned water into someone’s drink will kill him or her. Our teachings and lives must be pure in order that when we pour our lives out for others and into others they profit from it rather than become poisoned.

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