(1 Timothy 1:1-16)
[b] In the last few years, often many people booked and paid for their holidays, only to arrive at their destination and find the hotel only half built, or even worse, stranded, because their travel firm had gone bust!
[c] And what about all those people whose channel tunnel shares went (you might say) down the tube!! A sure thing they thought! They ended up worth only a tiny fraction of their estimated worth!
[d] Remember all the rich, now poor, even bankruptpeople, who lost all their money in Loyds of London insurance when it spiraled downward!
[e] One of the corps in which we were stationed had invited a well known man to open their sale of work, only to find that he arrived very late - because his BRAND NEW CAR had broken down, and spare parts were not yet available for it!!
[f] In this mad world of undependability, is there anything we can depend on???
[g] THE APOSTLE PAUL ON A NUMBER OF OCCASIONS SAYS A RESOUNDING "YES!!"
Often he prefix’s these facts with the statement, “THIS IS A FAITHFUL SAYING.”
[b] “Unto you” said the angels “is born a Saviour.”
HE CAME TO SAVE SINNERS!
[d] Now if you are in this meeting tonight, and you refuse to accept that you are a sinner - I HAVE NO MESSAGE FOR YOU!
Jesus said, “I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance!”
[e] Those who believe themselves righteous in their own strength and ability, fail to understand the fundamental message of the Gospel, in that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” and that “there is none righteous, no not one.”
(Romans 3:23, and verse 10)
[f] Until we recognize our own sinfulness, we will not repent, and will not seek the one and only Saviour of the world, Who “came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15)
[g] It is one thing to accept that we live in a sinful world and are all tarred with the same brush - it is quite a different thing to stand before a Holy God in repentance, and say, like the publican in the parable, “GOD BE MERCIFUL TO ME A SINNER!”
[h] How many times in the prejudice of Ulster, I have said “GOD DOES NOT SEE, PROTESTANTS OR CATHOLICS, HINDUS OR MOSLEMS - HE SEES SINNERS WHO NEED THE SAVIOUR - SOULS FOR WHOM CHRIST DIED!”
[i] As Christians we must view this world through God’s eyes, and make no apology forpublicising HIS message, which we have no authority to dilute or change, in any way!
[b] We all know that it is important to take exercise in one way or another, or we can have problems with heart disease and the rest!
[c] But Paul is drawing a comparison, that our spiritual exercise is GODLINESS! For this will profit us in this life and the next!
[d] I suppose we could say that godliness is CHRIST LIKENESS, or what Paul illustrates to the Galatians as THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT!
[e] Throughout our years in Port Glasgow, we have covered a multiplicity of subjects ranging from a lengthy series on Moses to one onSpiritual Warfare and the Soldier’s Armour, andTHE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT - THE EVIDENCE OF A HEALTHY SPIRITUAL LIFE!
[f] This is what the true disciple of Christ must be like - let me read
it for you from Galatians 5:22-26.
Gal 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Gal 5:26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
[g] Are we truly exercising godliness??
[b] The whole idea of being ‘born again’, is that we become ‘NEW CREATURES’ in Christ! In other words we die to the old life!
[c] Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ.”
[d] The Salvation Army, has always been, and shall remain, A HOLINESS MOVEMENT! The whole basis of holiness teaching, is that we DIE TO THE OLD SINFUL NATURE AND LIVE IN NEWNESS OF LIFE!
[e] We cannot have Christ AND the world - it must be one or the other - there is no effective balancing act that can accommodate both!
[f] If we hold on to the world, our spiritual life will die - and if we are to hold on the Christ, the old sinful nature must die! THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE!
[g] “If we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him.”
What could be clearer?
If you think you’ve got both Christ and the world - THINK AGAIN!!
It is a clear cut decision - CHRIST OR THE WORLD - you can’t have both?
As Joshua said to the Children of Israel at Shechem,“Choose ye this day whom ye will serve.” (Joshua 24:15)
What choice have YOU made?
[b] In James 2:17, it says, “Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
[c] But people keep getting the cart before the horse, and thinking that works is the way to faith, and Salvation!
[d] But that is not what it says - it is saying that the VALIDITY of the faith is proved by the works it produces! In other words, the works are the FRUIT that faith produces!
[e] This is emphasized by Paul in Ephesians 2:8-9, where he states that Salvation is by the Grace of God, and “ ... that not of yourselves .... and not of works, lest any man should boast.”
[f] But that does not change the fact, that people will judge the reality of our experience by what they see in our daily lives - if the works are not evident, then the Scripture is saying,that person’s experience is suspect!
[g] Paul, in his defence before Agrippa, in Acts 26:20, tells how he preached the Gospel to the Gentiles, and told them “ ... that they should repent, and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.”
[b] Are you proving your repentance by your deeds?
[c] Remember, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
If you refuse to admit your sinfulness, the Gospel has no message for you!
[d] Remember, “Godliness is profitable unto all things.”
We cannot be a part of the Royal Family of Heaven, without showing the family likeness of godliness, and Christ likeness.
[e] Remember, “If we be dead with Him we shall also reign with Him.”
Unless we are willing to let go of the old life of the flesh, we can never be a true Christian.
[f] Remember, “That they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works.”
The reality of our Christian experience, must be proved and verified by the works we do, and the way we live our lives - every day!