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July 14, 2020 4:00 am
The in our current series called jars of Clay Alastair Begg has been describing ordinary men and women whom God is used in extraordinary ways. Today on Truth for Life were looking at the example of two men Timothy and pepper died, as these are men who served the Lord by serving the apostle Paul. Alastair is teaching from Philippians chapter 2 beginning in verse 19.
Now, as I have reviewed these verses in the course of preparation I decided that I would try and summarize the characteristics of these two individuals under three works in the words of these. First of all, that we would note that these men are men of availability available to whom available first of all to the Lord available to the Lord. Secondly, availability to the Lord's servant see ministry does not take place in a vacuum, but God determined that Paul's life would be enriched and the lives of those who minister to him by the fact that it took place in companionship with one another and available thirdly to the Lord's people. These individuals when available, as servants of the church. What did they do well they did all kinds of things but essentially here.
They carried messages verse 19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon that I also maybe cheered when I receive news about you to understand if they had done this Pocono written about them in this letter.
Indeed, the letter would never go back to Philippi because of Aphrodite as if he never got on his motorbike is aware and got over there in the first place the wrong would never been able to go back with a letter. The ballroom don't overlook the tremendous impact of apparently inconsequential actions.
Indeed, when the records are opened and when the books are laid bare. And when around the throne of heaven. God looks upon the company and he apportions rewards the dispatch writers. The banners of news like those of whom to whom Solomon repairs in Proverbs is like cold water to weary soul is good news from a distant land cold water to weary soul good news from a distant land. It is impossible to serve God without serving one another. It is is impossible to do that to say, I am available to God and not available to the needs of the fellowship as it is to say I love God, one John four and hit my brother. It is impossible to sit and say here I am holy available to you. It will be my great privilege to serve you, Lord, but why did we have to have this yellow slip in here about the children like to be available without being available. I like to be a sermon without really serving doesn't work that availability some years ago in a Christian magazine I came across a him that I've known for a long time since a boy we used to sing it and valedictory services in Glasgow in order valedictory services.
This what you do on the night that initially goes away to China, where it is or you get a bunch of African elephants feet and you letter them around the church and then you send them off and we used to sing a hymn that had I had the verse, so send I you to suffer unrewarded to toil unpaid unsought, unloved, unknown to bear rebuke to suffer scorn and scoffing so send I you to toil for me alone. In other words, here you are. Mr. available this.
This is available, you want to be available to God.
You want to be available to God's servants and you want to be available to God's people will let me tell you goes I want you to going suffer for me. Unrewarded to work unpaid unsought, unloved, unknown no one will know you from a hole in the ground you will bury yourself in total obscurity you will come back and I tell you another thing that struck me was that that this verse was quoted by contemporary missiology us saying what a dreadful him. This was an saying this is not what it means to follow Jesus Christ.
Why would we ever suggest that if you follow Jesus Christ you will suffer unrewarded simply because you may suffer unrewarded.
What reward and Jim Elliott have before his blood mingled with the career of a river down there in South America. I mean immediate reward none did you have an eternal reward, yes. But that's not what I am writers talking about and who was this young chap that went down there.
What was he being paid by the missionary organization and who wanted him to speak at all their conferences and who really loved him apart from his folks and his wife Elizabeth and who really knew and nobody and why did he go because he wanted to be available to Christ and available to Christ servants and available to the church. It wasn't so that he could be quoted 50 years later as an illustration of availability. Can I ask you a question this morning and I asked myself and continue to ask myself the same question. Have you ever or how long has it been since in the quietness of your own department of life whether it is you driving your car, whatever represents isolation to your backyard under a tree.
Your car as you drive whatever might be have you recently got along with God and reaffirmed this essential commitment to sit on the Lord Jesus Christ. I want you to know that I am totally available to you.
I don't know what that means. I don't know what you'll do with that. I don't know if anything will immediately change but I just want to tell you now that I am totally available to you. I want to be sold out for you. I want that I want to be the kind of guy I want to be the kind of girl that makes the leadership of church joyful, rather than burden. I want to be available to them when they are looking for service done. There was you understand the impact of 2000 people taking that seriously jeopardize what it will mean I've spent so long in that that I will go to the other two with brevity. To which someone said will believe that when we hear can I take the challenge availability sensitivity. Sensitivity sensitivity is vital because there are all kinds of people putting their hands up and you can use the because that insensitive souls is like when the person came around the classroom when I was a boy and when this person came.
You know you knew there was a chance to get out of the room because I can remember how it worked but when this guy came they were looking for volunteers and you could leave and I remember it was always it will always do this please please please please please I was and I wanted to serve. It was that I wanted to leave. I didn't care what the job was as long as it was outside of the four walls of the classroom. I was ready to go. So the teacher knew that I was very available, but she also knew that I was totally insensitive to whatever was I was supposed to do and so is available. As I made myself, I never really made myself very useful because she seldom give me the chance to get out of the room because she knew that I didn't want to share continue simply that I wanted to split in the same way that are people who make themselves available but they do not have a genuine interest in the well-being of other people.
They may want cute office. They may want no test they may want a place they may want to be regarded highly and one of the great skills and wisdom in pastoral leadership is to know how to take people who make themselves constantly available and leave them on our society until they understand that availability must be matched by sensitivity sensitivity to the word of God, the understanding Christian doctrine sensitivity to the spirit of God that he will do as part of his leading sensitivity to the people of God and the purposes of God amongst his people so they don't go off at half caulk on some scatterbrained idea sensitivity Timothy wasn't slick. There's nothing slick about his approach. His presence was crucial. The sensitivity comes out in verse 22, when he says you know Timothy didn't serve me in a formal way. He served me as a son serves with his dad. You know the scene, don't you, that plays itself out, especially when boys are tinier if the father is doing something. Then the boy that we guy will get the small dust or whatever it is in the dad is the big duster that he doesn't continue all the way through the teenage years, but at least you have that recollection when there we all remember you get the get the video I because you needed to remind yourself that happen, but those were the days when you serve side-by-side and you had the big version in the weave arson. You know that the big watering can in the we want and can whatever it was, well, that's the way that Timothy is serving in the gospel with Paul. He is serving as a son with him.
His usefulness is directly related to the fact that unlike others, he is not totally self obsessed. He's not concerned that just about his own interests.
He's concerned about the needs of Paul.
He's concerned about the needs of the gospel is concerned about the needs of God's people. He is genuinely interested Aphrodite's in the same way. Look at that in verse 26. He is distressed because you Herod.
He was ill. Why would he be distressed because they heard he was ill because he cared why would Paul be so concerned about it that he would be spared sorrow upon sorrow because he was sensitive because the relationships that he had with these men would important to them. Why did he want to keep Timothy with them and not let them go because presumably he was fearful of the future, and Timothy was an encouragement to him.
Why was a pacifist longing to see them because he was a sensitive fellow. Just the other night and driving around Sue and I had occasion to go up one of these many streets in the community that are producing new homes at a pace of knots as we drove up the street I said you know isn't it amazing the detail that is in that building there and what a tremendous amount of stonework they have put on the corners of the building are. She said that's not stone all yes I said that stone. Oh well, she said why don't we park the car and will go check at that point I should have said it's not stone then the custard individual that I am, I rallied to the challenge and walked up to the corner of the building only to have her tappet with her fingernails and revealed out what was apparently stone is in fact plastic is the best looking, fake stone I have ever seen in my life, it is ingenious in its lack of Genuity Christian service can be just as fake. From a distance it looks like the real thing.
Get up close enough to have it under your fingernails and you'll find out when it is genuine or not. Men and women of availability men and women of sensitivity and finally man and women of reliability reliability. You see how these things build on one another.
What good is a very available person, what good is this tremendously sensitive person. If you can count on. If when they say something they won't follow through. What use is it it is not that Timothy and up Aphrodite's what exception it is not that Timothy wasn't weak because he was.
It wasn't that he was out with or without personal difficulties. He was full of personal difficult. But when Paul thought about Timothy. He knew that he could rely upon him. If we had met Paul only said tell me about Timothy, he would have said you know what you always know where you are with Timothy. Timothy's word is his bond. Timothy's actions are consistent with his words.
Indeed, he would have said and pointed fight. I got nobody else like him. That's the good news and also the bad news is not the good news is that Timothy is a stellar character. The bad news is that he stands out from the rock of the Raps and the reliability of up Aphrodite stands out as Paul builds these phrases there in verse 25. He's my brother. In other words, our union is not on the basis of shared interest. It is in the fact we've been made, one in the Lord Jesus Christ. He's my fellow worker worker. You mean the Christian life's work. Yes, all but I was reading a book just the other day and he said if you have to work. Something must be wrong because is supposed to all be of God and if you're driving to work at it.
You must be flawed in some way because the keys send this book to Christian usefulness is that you do nothing, and God does everything you're like a hollow pipe through which he pours his grace and his goodness to the degree that you have accepted that you will live in spiritual indolence you want to be useful for Christ. Roll up your sleeves.
Does that sound spiritual yes Philippians 2 verse 12.
Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, in other words, roll up your sleeves for it is God who is at work within you both to say, roll up your sleeves and to enable you to roll up your sleeves. Nobody ever did anything well without a tremendous amount of effort, no actor on the stage deliver Shakespeare's soliloquies in such a way that can bring laughter and tears without hours and hours and hours and hours of private agony to intone and rephrase in the way it should be done. Nobody can take that ball coming at them at such a phenomenal speed and smack it back out and over those boundaries without hours and hours and hours and hours of practice would be will come into the Christian life and they think overnight. They're going to be spiritual oak trees overnight there going to be really useful. All you have to do is do nothing. And God does everything that's the jolly reason you are doing nothing because you never rolled up your sleeves. I wonder issue a call to some of you to roll up your sleeves, would you roll up your spiritual sleeves about the place of the Scriptures in your daily lives, about the acts of service and compassion about availability and about sensitivity so that finally, when that day dawns that will gather to Christ, we will be known to be like these two individuals available sensitive, totally reliable FB Meyer preaching at Keswick many many years ago in the Lake District in England said in with a great pause and a tremendous pathos. I am content to be God's errand boy that is exactly what Dwight L.
Moody said when someone said the world is yet to see what God can do with a life wholly yielded to him and Moody as a young guy says I'm content to try and be that guy. Ultimately, Timothy and up Aphrodite's were like the rest of us mere men.
They weren't totally available. They weren't totally sensitive and they weren't totally reliable and so what they actually do is they leave is looking for another. They leave it in the believers looking over their shoulders to say is there one who is totally available, totally sensitive and totally reliable. It is there. This kind of friend and the answer is yes, the Lord Jesus Christ. I remember writing in a moment of conviction as a boy in the New Testament flyleaf as a result of something somebody had said. I wrote on the flyleaf of my New Testament a song that we had been singing to be used of God to speak to saying to pray to be used of God to show someone the way or how I long to feel the touch of his refining fire to be used of God is my desire and as I was telling the young people. When I spoke to our youth and what was an amazing gathering of young people in midweek. Not because I was there.
It's an amazing gathering every week, but I told him I said you know I used to be normal. I wasn't always like this. You need to know that you need to know that I was not the leader at the age of 16 I was the guy that got thrown out I was the kid the phone my father and said you have to beat his can or he can come back here as a colloquialism for discipline your son with stringency. So you had this amazing paradox clown who is walking the middle line 1 foot in and 1 foot out scribbling in the flyleaf.
It is viable. His aspirations does God use someone like that righted in the flyleaf of your Bible and live your life to find out what a challenge for each of us today offer our lives to God and see what he does listing to Truth for Life and Alastair Brad will return in a minute with the closing prayer. But before we get to that. I want to remind you about a book or featuring right now to book titled ask. It's written by Pastor author and apologist David Robertson. The Bible tells all of us. We are to prepare ourselves to give an account of our faith in the face of questions, or opposition. Nowhere is that duty more significant than with parents who are preparing children to enter the adult world to those who minister to students in the local church. Our teams navigate a diverse society today are confronted with countless beliefs and ideals that run counter to God's word. Issues like sexual ethics, mental health issues even the nature of God. These are often called into question by our children's friends and fellow students.
You want to make sure your teenager is equipped with answers for these questions that are solid and biblical requester copy of the book, ask when you get in touch with us today. The book comes as an expression of our thanks for your financial support of this ministry. Tomorrow is the last day you can request a copy of the book, so be sure to reach out soon. You can donate online at truthforlife.org/donate or call 888-588-7884 just before Alastair leads in prayer. We have one final recommendation.
If you have not yet subscribed to the Truth for Life daily devotional it's available to you free of charge. It's a great way to begin each day thinking about reflecting on meditating on God's word. These devotionals are drawn from the teaching of Charles Spurgeon.
They are sent directly to your email each morning you have access from your smart phone or your tablet. You can sign up email@example.com/subscribe. Now here's Alastair closed with prayer O God our father, thank you for the lovely example of these men, the fragrance of whose lives linger Timothy to young to timid two week but your men up Aphrodite's sake, to the point of death, but you are men. Hannah your girl Sarah your girl Lydia your girl.
We just want to be on your errands. Lord Jesus, and we thank you that when we let one another down and when we are let down because were not as available, sensitive and reliable as we know we need to be that it just sends us back again to the best friend in all the world whose name we praise Jesus. Amen Bob Lapine inviting you to join us tomorrow when Alastair issues a call to service as he continues her series called jars of Clay the Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by truth for where the Learning is for Living