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Stephen Um: I had the advantage of introducing Kevin first. So the advantages, you say a lot of flowery things, then you can expect something in return. So, Kevin, thank you for that. It’s been a great joy to be able to look through Second Timothy, as others have pointed out already how important it is for us to be able to land on the firm foundation of God’s word, to be careful as, as teachers or preachers or as lay leaders or Christians, to be careful that we do not abandon or leave biblical revelation for human speculation. Now, this is not to say that we shouldn’t understand our cultural context. This does not mean that we should not contextualize Well, what whatever our social location might be. But we can’t make human speculation, or our cultural moment and time to be the final authority. For that, which is true, and from God. Someone has said that we don’t live out our lives based upon the facts. But we live our lives based upon the interpretation of the facts, which means that you and I can have the same same set of data. But it doesn’t mean that we will come to the same interpretation of that same data, we will assess, we will elaborate, we will analyze it through our particular interpretive lens, which has been shaped by our social location. So when you think about Christianity, I remember many years ago, reading an essay, and this was very helpful for me as I was learning how to, to contextualize well, because we know that we all contextualize is not like, contextualize zing is, is always bad or always good. It depends on how you contextualize as you recognize the scriptures being the ultimate foundational authority for how you assess everything in life and in ministry. And I was reading this essay and helped me to think of it this way that Christianity, depending on your cultural or social location, can either on the one hand, be radically progressive, or subversive, or, on the other hand, horribly, traditional and reactionary, depending on where you are. So if you are in a certain context, and it doesn’t have to be outside of our country, can even be in certain pockets, certain subcultures within our within our country. But if you are in a setting where they say the state, is the final arbitrator for determining what is right or wrong, then Christianity is absolutely going to seem radically progressive. Because the Bible reminds us Christianity reminds us the gospel reminds us that the final arbiter is not ultimately the state or some sort of totalizing authoritative structure. But on the other hand, when we are living in a modern overly individualistic culture, such as ours, which tells us that the individual is the finer final arbiter or authority for determining moral values. Then in that setting, Christianity, the Bible, the gospel will seem extremely, extremely, horribly conservative and traditional. And so we need wisdom to know which way to look, depending on our context, our context does not determine as our foundational arbiter in determining what is right or wrong, the scriptures remind us what that is. But as we move out from that we can’t be completely up to so blind to the situation that we are in. And what Apostle Paul is helping us to see here in our given passage this morning, is to realize that we have been called to be workmen. that we have been called to be servants that we have been called to be vessels that we have been called to be instruments in the hands of a lord, a master who has called us to be unashamed, and approved. So what does it what does a an approved and unashamed workman How does he live? Or how does she live her life? The three things I like for us to consider number one, and unashamed workman receives the word. Number two, rejects worldly thinking, thirdly, restores the wanderer. Number one receives the word, the word is the word of truth. Look here with me in verses 14 through 15. Remind them of these things, and change them be in charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. So when it says here in verse 14, remind them of these things, Apostle Paul in these pastoral epistles, and First and Second Timothy, and also in Titus, when he refers to these things, oftentimes, in most cases, around seven or eight times, he’s referring to the material or the content that he has just stated. So these things will refer back to what was stated, a prior to these verses previous within the literary context. And so what do we find here? I believe that when Paul says, remind them of these things, is referring to what is given in verses 18 through I’m sorry, verses eight through 13. Look with me in verse eight. Remember, Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel? So what, what Paul is saying is an approved, unashamed, Workman, receives the word of truth receives these things, remind them of these things, cause them to remember, charge them with these things. What are these things? It’s the gospel? And what is that gospel? Then you go earlier in chapter one, and this is what it says in verse eight. Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me, his prisoner, for sharing suffering for the gospel, by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our words, but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus, before the ages began. So he’s saying these things. That’s the gospel, the gospel has come forward in power, by grace, in Christ through faith. And what is the content of that gospel, he tells us in verse 10, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. So when you go through the New Testament, and you do a word study on the word gospel, or good news, you’re going to find that there are three non negotiable essential elements of the gospel, which again, has been highlighted, I’m sure by others who have presented here at this conference, and you’re very familiar with these. Number one is His incarnation. It says here in verse 10, and which now has has been manifested, revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus incarnation. Number two, it’s about His Atonement, who abolished death. Number three is about His resurrection, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. So it’s about His coming, his dying in his rising Yes, it is about his life, death, and resurrection. That’s what Apostle Paul is saying, Timothy, my beloved son, and child and disciple. This is what you need to know. You need to remind others of these things, cause them to remember and charge them before God. Not to quarrel about words are for them to be remember and to receive the Word of Truth.
The gospel and receive Evening. This gospel assures us that we are approved and should not be ashamed. Verse 15, do your best to present yourself to God as one approved a worker who has no need to be ashamed. And here, of course, before we see this word here ashamed, it has already come up multiple times in chapter one. It says in verse eight, Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord. It says here in verse 12, which is why I suffer as I do, and listen to this, but I am not ashamed. For I know lume, I have believed. So the reason why Paul is saying that he is not ashamed that you ought not to be ashamed, why you are approved and you are not rejected, is because here’s the reason, the reason he says Four, because I know whom I have believed, the object of our affections, the object of our worship, the object of our faith. That person, the person of Jesus Christ is the one who has approved us, He is the one who has not rejected us. And therefore we ought not to be not to be ashamed. Many years ago, when I was at university, I had the privilege of studying with Peter Berger. And at that moment, I didn’t know that Peter Berger was Peter Berger. Just somehow providentially I ended up being in his class and took multiple classes with him, and also with his wife, who is who is a world renowned, world renowned sociologist. And so here’s this eccentric Austrian man who’s via violating all the university rules, by smoking in the classroom, there was something extremely appealing about this man, because he was not a typical American scholar, or professor, he was so engaging. He was, he was so engaging. And that’s not what I meant, but But you know, we’re, we, as Americans, we’re all bunch of Anglo files, and we appreciate things from Europe, more than we do from our own own home culture. But and, and this is what he said, as you know, that he is really before post modernity became post modernity, he was talking about modernity, and, and, and he was trying to help us to understand the difference between a traditional culture and a modern culture. And this is what he said, he said, In traditional cultures, it’s all about being collectivistic. It’s about, it’s about honor, and not bringing shame to the family, you are identity, you are identified and having value for who you are, because you belong to that particular family or tribe. That’s what traditional cultures think. And so of course, the opposite of honor will be shamed. But modern cultures are individualistic. And so they focus more on dignity. And, and of course, the opposite of dignity will be guilt. And so, so honor is something that you receive, and dignity is something that you obtain. So to the degree as Westerners to the degree that we understand this, we will sense as though we have value, that we calibrate our value, based upon the amount of achievement and accomplishments that we have, because that’s how modern people think modern cultures have conditioned us to say that you are valuable, you have dignity, based upon the amount of achievement and accomplishment which you yourself have to go out there to gain and to obtain. And therefore when you fail in that way, then you feel guilty. You blame yourself, or you blame some factors within the system. And and so this is this is the way we process the difference between traditional and modern cultures. And of course, he has outlined this in his very important book, The homeless mind. Now why was that important for me when I was in college, because I was not born in this country. I was born in another country. And so in that sense, I’m bicultural, I am both Western. And I am also Eastern. I am bilingual and bicultural. And so for me at that young age I was struggling in for my entire life, how to come to terms with my identity formation. Am I Western, am I more individualistic, or am I Eastern Am I more are communal. And the reason why my existential struggle was so intense for me was because my existential struggle was by cultural. I felt as if I will, I was not receiving it. I was not obtaining enough dignity. And I felt as though I was failing my family and I wasn’t able to receive enough honor. So I’m being shamed and having guilt all at the same time. Some of you just struggle with just one. But my struggle was by cultural. And what I failed to realize at that particular time, was I was listening to the wrong voice. I was listening to the wrong source. We are all Reveley, Paul Tripp says that we are revelation receivers. We are all listeners, there is not as though we’re we say, Oh, I’m completely independent. No one is independent. We are all shaped and influenced by some voice, some source, some revelation. We are all revelation receivers, we’re all listeners. And for me in determining who I was, I was listening to the wrong voice. I was listening to the Western voice that said, Yep, you’re going to have to become who you are, you’re going to have to actualize what you want to be for the future. And you need to go out there and work for it, and you need to achieve it. But on the other hand, I was also listening to the voice of my Eastern culture, my home culture, as opposed to my host culture, which was telling me you need to honor your parents. You need to make sure that you don’t abandon your home culture and get Americanized and get Western eyes. Or from their perspective, get babble and iced. You cannot abandon your home culture, you are who you are, as much as you want to be someone and you want to assimilate to the dominant culture, you need to understand people are going to still look at you as someone who is different. I always trust as a kid, always stressed, always feeling shameful, always feeling guilty. And by the way that does help with your grades. You know, when you feeling stressed, and you feel like you’re inadequate, then that kind of motivates you, not healthy, but it works.
And I needed to hear the right foundational dominant voice of the gospel which says, you are approved. You are honoured. You have dignity and worth because the Creator created you in His image. You are approved, there is no longer any condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You don’t have to go out there into the courtroom of public approval and try to measure up and to calibrate your worth based upon their assessment of you. You don’t need to do that. You are approved. Yes, we have been charged. Yes, there is a sentence because of our sin. But the verdict has come out. And because of God’s grace, which is in the Gospel through his coming, dying and rising, we are approved and we don’t need to be ashamed because the verdict has been reversed. The conviction has been reversed. The jury is no longer there. The court is adjourned you are free to go. However, we are free, but we’re not independent. So this is not a moment for us to be hedonistic and to pursue licentiousness and become antinomian as gospel believing people. This is what God says in Second Samuel seven, somewhere right in that great Davidic covenantal promise, this is what he says he, he he, David is reminded of what God has done for him. And this is what it says it says that God redeemed his people and listened to the prepositions. God redeemed his people for for himself and from Egypt, which tells us that we have been freed from Egypt. We have been freed from the bondage of slavery, we no longer need to to go after our counterfeit hopes which will enslave us. We have been free, we are free, we are free to go the court is adjourned. The verdict has been reversed. The cosmic judge could pronounce judgment on us. But yet, he doesn’t treat us as our sins deserve. That’s amazing. However, it does not say that he redeemed us, his people from Egypt. But he says he redeemed his people for God. And from Egypt, which means we have freedom, but not independence. We are not independent people. We’re free. But we’re not autonomous. We’re free, but we are dependent people. And therefore a person who has been shaped by this gospel is not ashamed, is approved and will rightly handle the word of truth. Now this word here, rightly handle some translations say correctly handle is an interesting word. It’s where we get the the, the English derivatives that that have the word ortho, right, like ortho walking Galatians 214. Make sure that you walk in line with the truth of the gospel that’s kind of ortho aligning yourself straightening your alignment with the gospel. That’s what Paul is saying ortho walking. It’s like when we say orthodontics or orthotics or orthopedic that which is crooked, we’re trying to straighten out and and what Paul is saying here is somebody who rightly correct incorrectly handles the word of truth which is the gospel does the gospel in the Scriptures. He is saying we are we are correcting the path removing the obstacles, making things straight, rightly handling the word of truth. It’s actually the Greek word that translates the Hebrew in Proverbs three, six where it says, And he will make your paths straight. not leaning on your own understanding, but on the wisdom of God. So an unashamed approved workman receives the word of truth, which is the gospel. And that gospel tells us that we are approved and we ought not to be ashamed. Therefore, we have been given the wonderful privilege and gift to correctly handle the word of truth as our final authority not being shaped by our social location, although we need to be aware of it. Secondly, and approved, unashamed workman not only receives the word which is the gospel, the word of truth, but also rejects worldly thinking, for a 16th of following. It says here but avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some, but God’s firm foundation stands bearing the seal the Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity. Now in a great house, there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonorable use. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use set apart, as wholly useful to the master of the house, ready, ready for every good work. So Flee youthful passions, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies, you know that they breed quarrels. So we need to reject worldly thinking, we need to, we need to press back against we need to speak into anything that’s worse from the truth. Anything that’s not foundationally true from God’s word, anything that deviates from the gospel that has a reductionistic definition of the gospel, and wanting to only talk about certain atonement images that are convenient for your particular lens that they want you to abandon, penal, substitutionary, vicarious, atoning work of Jesus, and we don’t Want to talk about the blood? But we’ll just say that he’s a triumphant Victor? who defeats social oppression. Now, is that true? Absolutely. That is a biblical atonement theme. But the problem with that view is it is a truncated, it is a reductionistic view of the utopian images in Scripture. So they were babbling, they had a a sickly craving for speculation and foolish ignorant controversies and myths. They were drawn to something that seem extraordinary, something that seemed sensational, something, something that that was, that was something that they might not have heard before. Now, one thing we know for sure, is if someone says, Hey, you might never have heard this before, most likely what will follow that statement is not orthodoxy. Because if you’re the only one who’s ever seen it in church history, I can be certain that is closer to heresy, heterodoxy than it is to Orthodoxy. So when you have a few logical way of looking at things, that is not consistent to the commitment of church history for the last 2000 years, and many, many hundreds of years prior to that, the way that the Jewish authors and, and, and the interpreters understood Scripture, the most likely, you are not aligning yourself with that, which is the word of truth, but you are serving from the truth. Now this word here is fascinating, it kind of goes without other words, correctly handling, or rightly handling, because that’s talking about a straight weight, getting rid of all of the obstacles for you to be able to see the truth of God’s Word, the gospel in the Word. But this word, here’s hirving, is actually an archery image. It’s an archery metaphor, where it says that you have a bow, and you are pointing the bow and shooting the arrow to a different mark, or to a different target. And you’re missing, you’re missing the mark, or you’re missing the target. And what does that do it has catastrophic consequences. Catastrophic, this is not minor. Local, Paul says, this will mean that there’s a whole lot of ungodliness and there will be all sorts of sorts of factions and quarrels and, and dissension. And look what he says here in verse, verse 14, charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers This is the word where we get the English were catastrophic,
swerving from the truth is catastrophic for your people. So then what was primarily the false teaching, the worldly thinking that had entered into this particular church in Ephesus, and also the church in Crete. That’s the provenance of the location for the book rent to Titus. So what is this? Well, we will call this heresy or the false teaching. Now, the challenge with this is, is the poll doesn’t give us enough direct references to what the false teaching is. Right? In some places, you see that very clearly in Galatians, or in Colossians. But But here, it’s hard to tell although my passage is the one explicit place where it tells us something about what their false teaching was. Okay, so if other speakers have not talked about it, I guess they were just kind of waiting for me to, to present it. Now, there have been all sorts of speculation. But I’m pretty certain that this false teaching was primarily Jewish. It was primarily sectarian, it was primarily anti Gentile. Now, this is not to say there weren’t dualistic elements, for those who placed an emphasis on Gnosticism and all that. There might have been some form of proto Gnosticism. Or certainly there is dualism here. And I don’t have time to talk about it. But the point here is that they downplay the significance of Christ. They had moved beyond Christ, and they were they had lost all hope for the return of Christ. Which means their primary false teaching in their the so called Ephesian heresy, was that they had an over realize view of the already. So the Bible teaches us when we think about God’s work in redemptive history, that, that the life resurrection has already come in the person of Jesus, but not yet consummated. We know that we already have life, we have already been justified, but we are not yet fully glorified. We know that we have been justified, but we are living in this process of progressive sanctification. So what this false teaching was saying was, yup, the resurrection here is now talking about the first spiritual resurrection when you’re converted, and you receive eternal life is talking about the bodily resurrection at the very end. Oh, yeah, all of that. Oh, that’s already all here. So all that stuff in the future? No, it’s already here. It is an over realize you have the already it is saying that we have at all then we should experience all that which is spiritual, there was an over a spiritualize view. And that is why I think a lot of these false teachers here and in Corinth and other books, they were spirit enthusiast. You had an aberrant Jewish false teaching about this. Now, don’t miss hear me. I am not saying that God, the Holy Spirit, cannot move individuals and move his church and do to do amazing spectacular things. Of course, we believe in the power of the Holy Spirit. We believe in the power of God. We believe that God is supernatural. And he absolutely does miraculous things all the time. But what these false teachers were saying was they were abandoning all of the promises in the hopes for the future. And they had they were overly triumphalist. They were overly spiritual. They were minimizing and demonizing all of the promises about the future. Carl Henry gave us a very useful way of looking at this. He said when we talk about the Incarnation, about His coming, and then we talk about the second return or the Advent or the perithecia. You need to you need to understand the already and not yet aspect of the Christian experience this way, we’re supposed to have sober optimism, sober optimism, that we are sober and not naive. We are not drunk on the counterfeit hopes of the world, or the Jewish misunderstanding of missing the mark and swerving from the truth and over emphasizing the already newness of the kingdom of God. But on the other hand, we are also optimistic and not cynical because we believe that the hope in the Gospel is a real hope. So if we have an over realize view of the already Enos of our experience and the kingdom, then we’re going to be overly triumphalist, we’re going to be naively optimistic. And we’re going to think whatever we whatever programs that we set in place will be the final solution. And you know what’s going to happen, we are going to have an under realized view, and inadequate view of sin. All that stuff, though, we’ve pretty much conquered all of that. But there’s tension, even in our own experience, there’s tension that I’m converted, I’m justified, that I have been accepted. There’s no shame, but at the same time, I struggle with my own idols in my own hopes, and in my own heart, sin human condition. And so to emphasize this to the people, what we’re doing is we’re feeding them what they might naturally want to do in escaping, and escape us theology or, or to retreat from the world. And yes, I have all this trouble and all this struggle in the world. But as long as I come to some sort of a worshipful experience, as long as I’m in some sort of a setting where there is an overwhelming sense of subjectivism, then I’m going to be able to ascend to a different spiritual plane. And I guess for a younger generation, that this is a reaction to the Enlightenment thinking that reason and rational processing is the highest form of knowing it’s a desire to, to go beyond knowing that’s dangerous. A desire to go beyond knowing, yes, we don’t know all the things of God, but God has given us enough information and revelation in His Word, and also through His Son through history. That we ought not to lead out our lives as Jonathan Hite says, We ought not to lead with intuition before reasoning. We can lead our lives through intuition and then provide some sort of logical reasoning that’s going to support whatever intuition or subjective experience that we want to have that will fit into our world view. Michael spoke yesterday, but some of you are familiar with his book ordinary it’s a really ordinary his book but a very helpful book. There’s nothing flashy about ordinary and that’s exactly his point. He says things like you know, we we are attracted to life changing radical, revolutionary, epic extreme. Next Big Thing is explosive experiences we are caught up in superlatives exclamation point, exclamation point, exclamation point, italicized, enlarge, the font boldface. But if you live all your lives that way, then all of these so called superlatives, this extraordinary things are very ordinary. So self negating. Jonathan Edwards said it this way, he said, that God does extraordinary things, through ordinary means. This is why when Apostle Paul says in Second Corinthians five, seven, he says, We need to walk by faith and not by sight. I find that very helpful. Because the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 11, one, that faith is the what assurance of things hoped for, and the conviction or the evidence of things not yet seen. And we’re not supposed to walk. We’re not supposed to live by sight. But we’re supposed to walk by faith and walking is very ordinary. Unless you actually think about walking. Once you start thinking about walking, you don’t know how to walk. So what do I do I go this way, where do I go? This will be weird for us to walk like that, right? But when you think about you don’t know because you never think it’s just, it’s just kind of, it’s organic. But it’s ordinary. It is rhythmic. It is non dramatic, it is consistent, it is repetitive, it is constant. And what I appreciate about the life of Enoch, we don’t know much about him. It only says he walked with God. So on his tombstone, it simply says, Enoch walked with God, period. There’s nothing flashy about that. And so that was so important that the writer of Hebrews put them on the roll call of those who demonstrated faith throughout the years, where it says Enoch walked with God. He was in the presence of God. He enjoyed having fellowship with God. He was involved in the ordinary normal things that we all do that anyone can walk. And he did this. He wasn’t on a roller coaster.
He didn’t do extraordinary things. Although because of his ordinary life of walking with God, he had an extraordinary life. And that’s why I appreciate a life that is not noticed. And an notice life is pretty remarkable. I know that for us, who are very aspirational, that we want our lives to be noticed. But Enoch, he lived an unnoticed life. And the reason why it was so beautiful, and why it should be encouraging to us, for us to live a notice lives for a surf not to be drawn to teaching that will tell us that that everything needs to be sensational and over spiritualize that there is an already over realize via the already that everything that we want to experience that we can experience already. Is because we have been noticed we’ve already been approved, we no longer have any shame we have been noticed we have been approved, we have been accepted by God. And therefore that should encourage us to be able to do that in my final thought here. Before I get to my final point is this. That we need to recognize the beauties and, and the attributes of Scripture. Kevin has written a little book on on the Bible, and it’s very helpful. He gives us this, this acronym called, he named a scan, which emphasizes the attributes of Scripture, that will be sufficiency, clarity, authority, and necessity. I don’t think that any of us sitting here, that we are in danger of rejecting the doctrine of the infallibility of Scripture. We are not in danger of saying that this is not God’s Word. We are not in danger, at least those of you who are at a conference like this, that we don’t simply have a high view of Scripture. We don’t simply have a view that says I that I’m committed to the trustworthiness of Scripture. Others say that to know we say this is God’s Word. The Bible Bible The Holy Scriptures, this is God’s word, infallible and without error. However, for those of us who have made that kind of commitment, the danger for us is that we don’t fully believe the sufficiency of Scripture. That’s the greater danger for us that the scriptures contain everything that we need for our life and ministry, and for godly living. And we senses that we need other voices, other revelation, other experiences in order for us to draw close to God. That is why we say, well, doesn’t matter whether I’m learning within the context of the local church, it doesn’t matter if I’m, if I’m reading it from Revelation, of course, I believe that that’s God’s word. But I need to hear a voice from God, I need to hear a voice from Jesus, I need to have an encounter with Jesus. And therefore, we minimize the sufficiency of Scripture. Then an unashamed workman not only receives the word of truth and rejects worldly thinking, that has shaped the way we look at our experience. But thirdly, it restores the Wonder. Look with me here verses 24 and following. And the law of serving must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone able to teach patiently enduring evil. correcting his opponents with gentleness, God may perhaps grant them repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth. And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil after being captured by him to do his will. Now it seems as though what Paul is saying, He’s saying one thing, and he’s saying something else, and they seem to kind of be contradiction distinction to one another. So which is a Paul, do we teach? provide instruction? Correct? Discipline, speak the truth. Give them the knowledge of truth? Or are we supposed to be patient?
And to be gentle? And to be kind, and to be loving? Which is it? They seem to be unreconcilable themes? I just told me you do you want me to stand on the truth? Or do you want me to love
and polishing? Well, both. I remember many years of I heard a really interesting and funny story. She was a campus minister. And she had this one young woman who was I believe, a sophomore in college, she came to her and said, Hey, can I get some counsel from you? Because I’m in a relationship and not a healthy relationship, and I don’t know what to do. And, and she said, Well describe for me what the relationship is like. And, and she counseled her by saying, Yeah, I guess you can just kind of speak the truth. To lay it all out. Well, you can speak the truth in love. And in the young student went out to say, Yeah, you know, the problem he or she could go to her boyfriend said, The problem in this relationship is that you are narcissistic. You’re self congratulatory, you’re always self interested. You’re not concerned about my needs, you’re only concerned about your own needs. parenthetical note, when was the last time that you spoke to somebody like that? Just kind of laid it out, said, Honey, we can we have a talk? It won’t take very long. Well if you’re thinking that and you haven’t been married long enough, right? Because that short 10 minute explanation is going to end up in a week. But so so you go there say Hey, honey, the problem in our relationship is you’re self consumed and self absorbed and hey, but but I’m speaking the truth is for your good is good for our marriage. And what happens? The person is going to respond being defensive, blench blame shifting and and saying well, how could you say that you don’t get you don’t think about me the reason why I’m being this way is because you respond this way to me, right? So you can go to your boyfriend and do that. Just simply speak the truth or you can go to your boyfriend and speak the truth in love. You can go to him and say that the problem in our relationship is though we’re both in love with the same person.
I’m in love with you, and you definitely are in love with you. You never get inspired by grammar. Even though grammar is right and correct. You get inspired by poetry. And what we find here in what Paul is describing is the Greek full picture of the gospel at work. We sang the hymn is God mighty? Or is he meek? Is God holy? Or is he humble? Is God majestic? Or is he near? Is God full of greatness? Or is he good? And the Bible over and over again, all throughout the Old Testament is trying to show you that that tension finds his resolution in the climax of redemption. That’s why the phrase in the Hebrew that says steadfast love and faithfulness, literally that we’re faithfulness is translated as truthfulness. So steadfast love and truthfulness, the Greek translation of our phrase that goes all throughout the Old Testament is grace, and truth. Sound familiar? The Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only full of grace and truth. It says here in verse 24, and the Lord’s servant is referring to the the Isaiah Anik, suffering servant of the Lord, where it says, a bruise read, he will not break in chapter 42, verse three, a bruise, read this suffering servant, a bruised, read, he will now pray, and the faintly burning wick, he will not quench. And of course we know this, yes, yes. This is what so beautiful about the suffering servant of the Lord servant who comes and he’s gracious, he’s merciful, He is kind, he is gentle, and he is loving and he is patient. But we tend to forget the very next verse or some part of our memorization, right, oftentimes. And it goes on to say, he will faithfully bring forth justice. Oh, man, what is required of you? What is good that you do justice, love, kindness, same word, steadfast love, loving kindness, grace, and walk humbly with your God. That tension is always found in Scripture. And the reason why he’s found this scripture is because Jesus Christ Himself is the culmination and the fulfillment and the solution where he brings the so called unreconcilable tension of steadfast love and truthfulness, of instruction and correction and teaching along with kindness and patience and love. He embodies it in himself. It is paradoxical, but not contradictory. It is ironic, but not oxymoronic. It is an approach to life and ministry, that ultimately brings us to a place where we know that because of what that individual has done, that we will be able to find meaning for ourselves that he himself is the perfect unashamed workman that he is the one who is the honorable vessel and instrument, and he is the one who is the good servant of the Lord, who speaks to us who received the word perfectly rejected the world completely and restore the wanderer wholly in himself and therefore that we can have the courage and the encouragement as the exhortation is coming. To know that if we land on that, if we build whatever we’re doing through our life and ministry on that, and that foundation and not swerving from the truth, then guess what? Even a wanderer can be restored. This is the beauty of the gospel of grace that we have before us. Let’s pray.