Bethel Baptist Church
20.11.15 Morning Worship
  • Love Divine, All Loves Excelling
  • Almighty Father
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:16–18ESV

  • Trusting Jesus
  • Speak O Lord
  • Calvary Covers It All
  • INTRODUCTION:
    Imagine singing about Christ - as you burned at the stake.
    That is exactly what John Huss did.
    John Huss is often called the forerunner to the Reformation.
    He came after Wycliff, but before Martin Luther and Calvin.
    He was a man who proclaimed salvation came only, by the forgiveness of Christ.
    “Dearly beloved,” “I desire zealously, with my whole heart, that you be freed through Jesus Christ from all sins, and despising the vanities of this world, you would conquer the flesh, the world, and the devil”
    Bruce L. Shelley, “A Pastor’s Heart,” Christian History Magazine-Issue 68: Jan Hus: Incendiary Preacher of Prague (Carol Stream, IL: Christianity Today, 2000).
    And he departed this world - with an incredible testimony.
    John Huss, was burned at the stake in 1415.
    After the wood was stacked up to Huss’ neck,
    the Duke of Bavaria asked him to renounce his preaching.
    Trusting completely in God’s Word, Huss replied, “In the truth of the gospel which I preached, I die willingly and joyfully today.” The wood was ignited, and Huss died while singing, “Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, have mercy on me.” P.R.V.
    Galaxie Software, 10,000 Sermon Illustrations (Biblical Studies Press, 2002).
    How could John Huss die, while singing?
    How could John Huss sing while being burned at the stake?
    Partly it is because of what he aimed for.
    He didn’t live for the things in this world.
    For peace and freedom.
    Safety and comfort.
    And he wasn’t bothered when he lost those things.
    He instead, despised the “vanities” of the world.
    You could say,
    He had a different aim in life.
    His goal in life was different, and thus, even when he waw persecuted, he sung in joy about His Lord and Savior.
    So I ask you -
    What should we aim for in life?
    And especially, given the context of 2 Corinthians.
    And the focus of our study - Honoring God in Troubling Times
    What should we aim for - if we lost everything?
    The Hymn Writer Horatio Spaffored, author of “It is well with my soul” - lost everything.
    His wealth.
    His family.
    What did Spafford have to live for - when he lost everything?
    And What should we aim for in life?
    Suffering, affliction, persecution, and loss - all make us wonder what to live for.
    Paul gives us that answer in 2 Cor 5:6-9.
    2 Corinthians 5:6–9 ESV
    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
    What Paul communicates is what he aims for when he faces times of trouble.
    After all, Paul will summarize his missionary journeys this way.
    2 Corinthians 11:24–27 ESV
    Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.
    Paul faced devastating, horrible suffering as he followed God’s will.
    But he also tells us what a Christian should aim for when life can’t offer you happiness and success.
    From this passage,

    Paul gives us 3 guideposts to navigate life.

    This morning I want to give you 3 guideposts that should guide you.
    ILLUSTRATION:
    Like on an obstacle course,
    they should be flags that you make sure you go around.
    As you navigate the course of life.
    Guideposts that will guide you -
    - whether you experience peace and prosperity
    - or whether you loose everything.
    ++++++++++++LETS PRAY+++++++++++++
    ++++++++++++LETS PRAY+++++++++++++
    ++++++++++++LETS PRAY+++++++++++++
    The first guidepost -

    (1) Live with Confidence in Christ. (2 Cor 5:6-8)

    2 Corinthians 5:6–8 ESV
    So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
    Notice, Observe
    how Paul repeats himself.
    “always of good courage”
    “we are of good courage”
    When authors of Scripture repeat themselves - we should take notice.
    They are emphasizing a truth.
    Certainly the overall context is pointing us to have courage in the midst of persecution and suffering.
    And Paul commended us to have courage.
    2 Corinthians 4:1 ESV
    Therefore, having this ministry by the mercy of God, we do not lose heart.
    2 Corinthians 4:16 ESV
    So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.
    But I prefer the translation - confident.
    I realize that many of our modern translations use the word “courage”, but I prefer the KJV, NKJV translation “confident”
    This is the same word used in 2 Cor 7:16.
    2 Corinthians 7:16 ESV
    I rejoice, because I have complete confidence in you.
    Hebrews 13:6 ESV
    So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
    I believe the word conveys the the meaning of confidence.
    We are assured, persuaded, convinced that
    Present life is away from the immediate presence of God.
    But death brings us into the very presence of God, and gives us new eternal, immortal bodies.
    We are assured, persuaded, and convinced of that.
    Because we know that according to Scripture, and by eye witness, Christ rose from the dead.
    We rationally and logically are convinced that we will be resurrected.
    1 Corinthians 15:3–8 ESV
    For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.
    And thus we live by faith, and not be sight.
    In fact, we should desire coming into the presence of God
    English Standard Version Chapter 5

    and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

    EXHORTATION:
    Our life should be lived out with confidence of our eternal destiny.
    We should not be wondering what happens, because we know what happens.
    And that confidence should be a great guide post for our life.
    If God allows us to find peace and prosperity -
    may we remember this is not heaven.
    We ought to long and look in confidence for that day when we experience incomparable peace and prosperity.
    If God allows us to face suffering and loose everything - such as Paul, John Huss, and and Horatio Spafford.
    may we remember this is not heaven.
    We ought to long and look in confidence for that day when we experience incomparable peace and prosperity.
    A great guidepost for navigating our lives ought to be - a humble, confidence in Christ.
    Are you living with confidence in Christ?
    The second guidepost for our lives - We ought to

    (2) Live To Please God. (2 Cor 5:9)

    We are in the middle of a series titled - Honoring God in Times of Trouble.
    And I didn’t pick that title by accident.
    I didn’t say hope - though that is important too.
    I didn’t say joy - though are we are told to always rejoice.
    I didn’t say surviving - though I believe Christ will help us survive whatever trials we face.
    I said - Honor God.
    Honoring God in Times of Trouble.
    That idea came strait from this passage.
    What should be our aim in life?
    What goals should I have when everything is taken away?
    2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV
    So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
    Paul tells us what to aspire to in this life.
    “we make it our aim”
    NASB translates it this way -
    2 Corinthians 5:9 NASB95
    Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him.
    Therefore - we are to aspire to this resolve - pleasing him.
    I think that pleasing God should be our foremost concern in this life.
    And - if we face times of trouble, likewise, it should be what really matters.
    - Not finding peace.
    - Not finding a way to get out of it
    but to please God in it.
    That should be our chief concern.
    Paul challenges us to Please God with our lives.
    Make it your aim in life.
    Make it your ambition.
    You say this isn’t right.
    You say this isn’t fair.
    You say -
    I feel Crushed.
    Driven to despair.
    Abandoned and alone.
    Utterly cast down
    And I just want to give up.
    (That was our summation of 2 Cor 4:8-9, and the issues that Paul is addressing in this passage)
    Further, that is exactly how many of us have felt through course of this year.
    ILLUSTRATION:
    I have seen Facebook posts, where people say - I want redo on 2020.
    Paul says - don’t let those circumstances make you feel that way.
    Instead, be immovable in Christ.
    Instead,
    Live to please God.
    I doubt any of us would truly say we have lost everything.
    Or that any suffering we face is comparable to Paul and the early church.
    But what Paul is saying - is that even if that is the case.
    Live to please God.
    EXHORTATION:
    Life is full of ambition.
    In our busy and chaotic lives we are constantly making choices.
    We make macro decisions of what spend our time and money on.
    And we make micro decisions - in how we conduct ourselves.
    We all have goals, ambitions for what we want out of life.
    Sin has often been defined as anything we think, say, or do that is contrary to the Word of God.
    Does our thinking, words, and actions please God?
    Do we have the ambition of our thinking, words, and actions to be pleasing to God?
    But even further- sometimes sin is not what we do, but we don’t do.
    Sins of omission.
    Is there something we should be doing, that we are not, and does that please God?
    Our Ambition ought to be do that which pleases God.
    Our lives should be invested in pleasing God.
    The proper response to the Cross is to live pleasing to God.
    May I say
    A great guidepost for our life is - Live to please God.
    And the final guidepost Paul teaches us -

    (3) Circumstances Don’t Matter. (2 Cor 5:9)

    Paul makes an important comparison in 2 Cor 5:9.
    Take a look back at 2 Cor 5:9,
    2 Corinthians 5:9 ESV
    So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
    Whether we are at home or away.
    At home - is the idea of being at home with the Lord.
    He is talking about a believer - who has died, and thus is home with the Lord.
    2 Corinthians 5:8 ESV
    Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.
    Away - is the idea of still living in this life.
    By the grace of God we still have a life to live.
    He is comparing life and death.
    Whether you live or don’t live.
    And life and death - is meant to include every situation a believer experiences.
    Whether we live in pain, injustice, persecution, suffering, affliction, and ultimately death - we are to please God.
    OR
    Whether we live in peace, comfort, prosperity, and happiness - we are to please God.
    The third guidepost for navigating our life - is to please God no matter the circumstances.
    Do you seek to please God - no matter the circumstances?
    Hard Times, Other people, difficult situations - we so often use to make an excuse not to please God.
    We justify our sin because life is hard.
    We spend a lot of time thinking about and comparing our circumstances.
    No one else is dealing with this.
    Or no one else is doing what pleases God.
    Don’t tell me you never thought that way,
    because I know we all have.
    And what does that leave us.
    Bitterness.
    Anger.
    Frustration.
    Emptiness
    Desire for vengeance.
    Not the joy that John Huss experienced.
    Remember John Huss, sung in joy about Christ, while being burned at the stake.
    Spafford sung it was well with my soul when he lost everything.
    When we quit worrying about the circumstances.
    and we quit focusing on our sorrow
    and instead - we just seek to please God.
    Our lives gets simpler,
    and what really matters changes.
    I don’t have to stress about how to get out of this situation.
    I don’t need to be consumed with angry over injustice.
    I just need to focus on trusting Christ, and pleasing God.
    I am not telling us to be passive.
    Pleasing God at times may require some real choices.
    Choices that won’t be easy and may come at great cost.
    I am simply saying - that aiming to please God, releases us from the bondage of fear and vengeance.
    It takes our mind off our pain.
    ILLUSTRATION:
    This year, most of would say would be a humdinger of year.
    Some wish we could restart it.
    Others can’t wait until it ends.
    Its even changed our expressions.
    Often we will see someone - and say How are you doing.
    And people usually say - Oh good.
    Have you noticed that people’s answer has changed this year?
    More often then not, they will say - well, it’s been a year, but we are doing ok.
    This year has been year - in which have felt more
    fear
    anger
    and injustice
    Then I can remember.
    We have been amazed at the rapid changes that this year has brought.
    What should our response be to this year?
    To please God.
    Whether at home or away, make your aim to please God.
    Don’t let this year shape your life,
    let Christ shape your life.
    Don’t let the circumstances of your life shape you -
    let Christ shape you.
    Aim to please God no matter the circumstances.
    That doesn’t mean we don’t care about what is happening.
    Or we don’t have an appropriate level of concern.
    And doesn’t mean - we sit back and don’t take action.
    It means,
    our response to others
    our response to our politicians.
    and our general demeanor
    Is defined by what pleasing God.
    The third guidepost of our life - is our circumstances don’t matter.
    CONCLUSION
    Life in many ways is an obstacle course.
    And there are certain guideposts, flags, that should go around.
    As you navigate the course of life.
    Paul has given us an incredible set of guideposts today.
    You could say, our faith, our Christianity, is not defined by the mountain top experiences.
    But our faithfulness to these guideposts.
    These guideposts will make you an odd duck,
    even among Christians.
    But we also desire (Preview v. 10) That one day Christ will say you good and faithful servant.
    The three Guideposts Paul gives us -
    (1) Live with Confidence in Christ. (2 Cor 5:6-8)
    (2) Live To Please God. (2 Cor 5:9)
    (3) Circumstances Don’t Matter. (2 Cor 5:9)
    How would summarize this?
    I challenge us -

    We ought to please God in everything because of the hope of Christ.

    I realize -
    2020 has been hard.
    And you may not feel like doing this.
    But the most important aim in our life - ought to be pleasing God in everything.
    ILLUSTRATION:
    I tell my children that it doesn’t take anything special to be angry or to sin.
    Anybody can do that.
    But it takes true Godly character to instead seek to please God.
    How is your character today?
    Are you living to please God?
    ===============================================
    Response:
    a) Why does confidence in Christ shape our response to life? What gives us this confidence?
    b) Why is pleasing God important in the Christian life? How does this challenge release us from our burdens?
    c) Why does Paul make a comparison in v. 9? What does this teach us about our circumstances and trials?
      • 2 Corinthians 11:24–27ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:6–8ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 4:1ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 4:16ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 7:16ESV

      • Hebrews 13:6ESV

      • 1 Corinthians 15:3–8ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:9ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:9ESV

      • 2 Corinthians 5:9ESV

  • Take My Life, and Let it Be

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