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Watch 2022 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - Straight Answers To Tough Questions - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Straight Answers To Tough Questions - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - Straight Answers To Tough Questions - Part 2
TOPICS: Straight Answers to Tough Questions

Hi, I'm Robert Jeffress and welcome again to Pathway to Victory. What does it mean to be in the world, but not of the world? As Christians, we're called to live by a different set of standards than our non-Christian neighbors, but sometimes it feels like an impossible challenge. Today, I'm going to share with you how to maintain our witness in an increasingly dark world. My message is titled, "Straight Answers to Tough Questions", on today's edition of Pathway to Victory.

The people were dividing over their leaders. One sign of immaturity in a church is that people divide over leaders in the church. They idolized their leaders, and then they enjoy tearing down their leaders. And there were those in the Corinthian church who divided according to their pastors. Some were saying, well, I'm of Paul, the founding pastor of the church. Others were saying, nah, he really wasn't that great of a pastor. I like the new guy here, I like Apollos. He's a better pastor than the last pastor was. Some were saying, well, I like the original pastor of the church in Jerusalem, Peter. I'm one of his followers. And then there were some in the church who were saying, oh, I don't follow any man at all, I only follow Jesus. And they are the most dangerous of all, because they are the super spiritual, pseudo spiritual people. It would be like people in our church, dividing up over pastors saying.

Some saying, oh, I'm a Jeffress man. I like that pastor Jeffress. Others saying, oh, I like pastor Brunson. He was much better than pastor Jeffress. And others saying, oh, I'll always be a Criswell person until the day I die. And then others saying, oh no, I just follow Jesus. Dividing along the lines of leadership, that was what was happening in the Corinthian church. In chapters five to six, you have disorders in the church. Paul is going to address several disorders that were occurring in the church. One was, a man was living with his stepmother, in flagrant immorality. Another problem was lawsuits, Christians suing other Christians. We're going to talk about that. Should a Christian ever take another Christian to court? Fornication was taking place in the church, all types of sexual immorality. And then in chapter seven through 14, Paul talks about difficulties in the church. In chapter seven, he's going to address the topic of divorce and remarriage.

Is there any occasion in which divorce and remarriage are permitted? And what about the case where one person becomes a Christian and the other is a non-Christian. We're going to look at that. And then chapters eight through 10, what about the gray areas of the Christian life? What about those areas that the Bible doesn't address specifically, those questionable areas of behavior. In Paul's day, the issue was meat, eating meat that had been offered to idols. That's probably not on the list of your concerns right now, of things you wonder about. If I were going to draw a parallel to a situation today, I might use alcohol consumption. Is it right for a Christian to drink alcohol? Is there a verse in the Bible that says no alcohol should ever touch your lips? And if there is no such law, why shouldn't we all drink? What's wrong with it? And Paul's going to address that issue in chapters eight through 10. Chapter 11, I'm going to wear my flat jacket for this one, the role of women in the church, okay.

Paul's going to talk about that in chapter 11. What are women permitted to do, and not permitted to do in the church? And then chapters 12 through 14, he talks about spiritual gifts in the church. The gift of tongues. Is it a gift that's relevant today? Is it a gift we ought to strive after? Are there other spiritual gifts that we ought to seek? We're going to have a long discussion about the subject of spiritual gifts. And then in chapter 15, he addresses the subject of doctrine, especially the doctrine of the resurrection. There was some false teaching in Corinth about the whole issue of the resurrection. And in chapter 15, Paul is going to answer every question you can even imagine having about the resurrection, and specifically, what is your new body going to be like in heaven? He answers that in chapter 15. And then finally in chapter 16, he gives direction to the church.

I want you to notice in verse two, Paul says, he writes this letter to the church of God, which is at Corinth. Paul is reminding the Corinthians, just like he is reminding us, the church does not belong to us. We are not free to operate the church as we choose to operate it. This church, First Baptist Church, Dallas, belongs to Jesus Christ. It is his church. And because it is his church, we have an obligation to operate it according to his principles. The difficulty is, God's principles are always different than our principles. Now in these final few moments tonight, let's look at the first nine verses, of 1 Corinthians 1. Make sure you have your Bibles open. First of all, notice in verses two and three, Paul is going to discuss our position in Christ. He writes beginning in verse two, "To the church of God, which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours, grace to you and peace from God our father, and the Lord Jesus Christ".

Now, had I been the apostle Paul, and I were writing this letter, I'll have to confess to you, I would've let into those Corinthians right away, okay. I would've let them have it. Just think. I mean living in fornication, somebody living with their stepmother, getting drunk at the Lord's table. Can you imagine such a thing? Many of you may not know this, but did you know we used to serve real wine at the Lord's supper here many, many years ago. Real wine was served at the Lord's supper, I read this in one of the accounts of the church. Mrs. Truett put a stop to it when she saw one of the deacons enjoying the Lord's supper a little bit too much, and she put a stop to it. And after that, we started using grape juice here.

Well, in Paul's day it wasn't just one deacon doing it, it was many at the church were actually getting drunk at the Lord's supper. Man, I would've rebuked them right away for doing such stuff. Not Paul. He was much wiser. Instead he addresses them as those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling. Paul is teaching one of the most important doctrines of the Christian faith and that of sanctification. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, you have been sanctified. That words means you have been set apart for a special purpose. You see, that's what a saint is in the Bible. A saint is not somebody who's been voted on by some ecclesiastical body, and whose image hangs on a rear view mirror, and we hang it there for good luck. That is not what a saint is in the Bible.

A saint in the New Testament, is somebody who has been set apart by God for a unique purpose. And if you are a Christian tonight, you are a saint. I bet you never thought of yourself that way, did you? You are a saint. You are a special person. You have been set apart for God for a unique purpose. In fact, I want you to do something right now. I want you to turn to the person on your left, and on your right and I want you to introduce yourself, and I want you to say, "Hello, I'm saint," and give your first name, okay.

I want you to do that right now. Just introduce yourself. All right. I can just see all these halos out there above your heads right now. Now here's the rule, for the rest of the night, we're going to refer to each other that way just for tonight, okay. Because that's really an important doctrine to understand that we have not only been saved by God, we have been selected by God for a unique purpose. Paul loved that word, saint. Even though he was a murderer, a persecutor of Christians, he understood he had been saved and selected by God. That's why he used this term over 60 times in all of his letters. Now, Paul had a method to using this term. He was hoping that by reminding the Corinthians of their position in Christ, that he could encourage them to start acting in a way that was consistent with who they were in Christ.

I remember reading the story about a pastor's son who had been caught shoplifting in a local department store. At the time, the pastor was playing golf with some of his buddies when he got the call that his son had been arrested. So he asked his friends to go with him down to the police station to visit his son. And the son years later said, "What made the greatest impression upon me that afternoon was hearing what my father's friends said to me. They kept saying over and over again, 'having a father like you have, how could you have done what you did'"? Having a father like you have, how could you have done what you did? What Paul is saying is, we ought to all keep in mind who our Heavenly Father is. And when we understand who our Heavenly Father is, it helps us to know how to behave. In fact, that leads us to the theme of 1 Corinthians.

I want you to write it down. Here's the theme, our position in Christ should motivate us to live like Christ. Our position in Christ should motivate us to live like Christ. We are saints of the Almighty God, we ought to live in that very same way. Now, after talking about our position in Christ, he next talks about our wealth from Christ, in verses four through nine. Since we have been set aside by God, he has given us a marvelous gift, and that gift is the gift of grace. Do you know what grace is? Many people think, well, that means God not sending us to hell. No, that's mercy. Mercy is God not giving us what we do deserve. Grace is God giving us what we don't deserve. I'd illustrate it this way, parents. Imagine your teenager wrecks the car. Mercy is, you're not grounding your child for six months, okay. That's mercy. Grace is your decision to give your child a brand new car. Do you understand the difference. Mercy, God not giving us what we deserve. Grace, God giving us what we don't deserve.

And throughout this passage, God talks about God, or Paul talks about God's grace in our life. And I want you to notice the three practical benefits of what God's grace has brought into your life and my life. First of all, God's grace provides forgiveness from the past. Look at verse four of chapter one. "I thank my God always concerning you, for the grace of God, which was given you in Christ Jesus". That verb, which was given, is in the aris tense, which gives the idea of something that happened at a particular time in the past. In other words, Paul says there was a point in your life, in which God's grace was given to you. His forgiveness was given to you, and think about this, when Jesus Christ died for your sins 2000 years ago, all of your sins at that time were still future.

There was a point in time, which God forgave you of all of your sins, and that means the total removal of guilt. You know, there are Christians, and perhaps you're one of them, that occasionally get all upset, and bent out of shape over maybe some sin they committed before they were a Christian, or maybe it's even a sin that they've committed after they're a Christian. And they say to themself over and over again, I can't forgive myself, I can't forgive myself, I can't forgive myself. You know what? They're right. When you say you can't forgive yourself, you're telling the truth. You can't forgive yourself. I can't forgive myself. I hear all this talk about learning to forgive yourself. You can never forgive yourself, because you don't have the right to forgive yourself. I say to people, trying to forgive yourself is like trying to play tennis by yourself, okay. It's like trying to be on both sides of the net at the same time, you can't do it. Solo tennis isn't possible. And it's also not possible for you to forgive yourself. You can't be the one committing sin, and then turning around and the one forgiving sin. You can't do it. Only God can forgive you of your sins.

Amy and I went to a movie last weekend with Robert Duvall, called "Get low". And the movie is about a man who is planning his funeral, and he is haunted by a terrible misdeed he committed 40 years earlier. And you don't find out what this misdeed is, until the very end of the movie. It's the surprise. But throughout the, at one point in the movie, Robert Duvall goes to a pastor, and the pastor says, you need God's forgiveness. And Robert Duvall says, "I don't want forgiveness". And the reason he didn't want forgiveness is, he felt like that he could pay atone for his own sins, by living as a hermit, by living a miserable existence. There are some people out there that really don't want forgiveness, because out of pride, they think somehow, if they're just miserable enough for long enough, somehow they can atone for their own sins. It's only in humility that you come to God and say, I can't forgive myself, I need your forgiveness in my life. And Paul says, that's a benefit of grace. It provides forgiveness from the past. Not only that, grace gives us gifts for the present. Gifts for the present.

Look at verses five to seven. "That in everything you were enriched in him, in all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony concerning Christ was confirmed in you, so that you are not lacking in any gift". Now, the context here is ministry. Paul just assumes that if you've received the grace of God, if you're a saint who's been selected by God, you're going to be actively involved in ministry, even if it's as an ordained plumber, okay. He assumes everybody's involved in ministry, and so he says, you need to know because you are a receiver of grace, you have every gift you need for ministry. He said, you'll have all speech, that is God will guide you in what you say when you're talking to somebody about Jesus Christ. He'll provide you all knowledge.

Now, students listening here tonight, that doesn't mean you don't have to study for an exam, okay. That God suddenly puts all knowledge in your mind. First of all, he's talking about scriptural knowledge, and what he's saying is, everything you need to know in ministry, is contained right here in scripture. And that's why 2 Timothy 2:15 says, "Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth". Everything we need to know, all knowledge is in scripture. And thirdly, he's given us all the gifts that we need. Now, a lot of people miss this, but God has given you every gift you need for life and for Godliness, according to 2 Peter 1:3, "Everything you need for life and Godliness, he's already given you".

Now he's talking there about spiritual gifts. We'll get to that in 1 Corinthians 12. Did you know that when you were saved, God not only forgave you, but he gave you a unique spiritual gift. A special desire and a special empowerment to be used in the ministry for Christ. And I believe one of the keys to joy in life, is discovering what that unique gift is, and we're going to show you how to do that when we get to 1 Corinthians 12. So he's saying, you have every gift you need, but of course he's also talking about the gift of the Holy Spirit himself.

In 1 Corinthians 12:13, Paul is going to say, "For with one spirit, the Holy Spirit, we were all baptized into one body". You don't have to plead, and beg, and cry, and hope God will give you a gift after you're saved. You have everything you need the moment you're saved to live a holy and productive life. Think about your physical birth. When you were born physically, did you get your eyes in the first month, and then six months later, get your ears? And 12 months later get a heart. And two years later get lungs. No, you got all of the parts you needed the moment you were born. In the same way, the moment you were born again, God gives you everything you need, 2 Peter 1:3, "For life and for Godliness". He says you have all of the gifts that you need.

Now thirdly Paul says, the benefit of grace is not only does it provide forgiveness from the past, and gifts for the present, it also gives us hope for the future. Look at verse seven through nine. He says, "Awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will also confirm," write out beside your Bible the word guarantee, that's what the word means. "Who will also guarantee you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. For God is faithful through whom you were called into fellowship". That word means oneness with his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. You know what this is saying? One day God is going to usher you into his presence if you're a Christian. Because you're a recipient of grace, because you have been stamped with the Holy Spirit of God as his guarantee, one day you can know for sure, God is going to usher you into his very presence. Isn't that a great truth? We're going to be ushered into God's presence. The question is, how do we prepare for that inevitable day, when we're going to face God?

One way is to make sure that we have received that gift of grace. But also Paul says, make sure that you are living an obedient life. One that is consistent with your calling in Christ. G. Campbell Morgan, the great preacher of yesterday year once said, "I never begin my work in the morning without thinking that perhaps he may interrupt my work, and begin his work. I am not looking for death, but I am looking for him". What about you? Are you living your life right now in anticipation of the coming of Jesus Christ? Do you think regularly about that day, where either through the rapture, or through your death, God is going to usher you into his presence? Are you living in a way consistent with who your Heavenly Father is? How can you live an obedient distinctive life, when the world around us is so dark and corrupt, how do you do that? Our study of 1 Corinthians, I believe, will be a great help in helping you to learn how to do just that.
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