Sermon #1289 Miscellaneous Sermons
Title: Three Humbling Questions
Text: 1 Corinthians 4:7
Subject: The Distinguishing Grace Of God
Date: Sunday Morning - August 10, 1997
Tape # T-96
Reading: Micah 6:1-8
Such is the depraved nature of man that we all naturally cherish, nurture, cling to, and promote in ourselves and in one another that which is most abhorrent to God and most certain to bring us at last to utter ruin. The evil I speak of is the original sin of the universe, the persistent sin of our race, the most abominable of all sins in the sight of God, and the sin with which I have to do battle every day, every waking hour. The sin I speak of is pride!
Pride was the sin of Lucifer in the beginning (Isa. 14:13-15). Pride was the problem Adam had in the garden. Pride arises like an ugly weed and monstrous destroyer in the heart. Their is no such thing as a truly humble man by nature. Man’s pretense of humility is just another expression of pride calling attention to itself. It is pride that hardens the heart and keeps sinners from coming to Christ (Dan. 5:20; Ps. 10:4). Nothing but pride causes a person to reject the Word of God (Jer. 43:2). The root and cause of all carnal strife, division, whisperings, backbiting, and slander is pride, showing itself in envy nd jealously. Pride is the great deceiver of men. It makes men and women behave in cruel, mean-spirited self-righteousness under the guise of doing God’s service. Be warned my friends! Be warned, O my soul! Be warned…
With those things in mind, I want you to turn with me to a text of Scripture that the Holy Spirit has been burning into my heart for several weeks - 1 Corinthians 4:7. My subject is Three Humbling Questions. You will see the reason I have chosen this title for my message as soon as we read the text.
These three questions may be and should be applied any and all differences which appear among men.
· Natural Differences: Physical - Mental - Moral!
· Differences Among Preachers: Gifts - Abilities - Usefulness - Place!
· Differences Between Believers and Unbelievers!
Proposition: I want you to hear what I am saying. The object of my message today is to show you from the Word of God that WHATEVER DIFFERENCES THERE ARE BETWEEN BELIEVERS AND UNBELIEVERS, BETWEEN GOD’S ELECT AND THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD, MUST BE TRACED TO THE DISTINGUISHING GRACE OF GOD ALONE.
Let’s look at these questions together and pray that od the Holy Spirit will burn them into our hearts and cause us never to forget them.
I “WHO MAKETH THEE TO DIFFER FROM ANOTHER?”
I am going to spend a little time here, leaving the other two questions for the summation of my message; but I want us to see three things here.
A. There is a sense in which God’s elect do not differ from other people, and they know it.
Though we have been chosen by God the Father, redeemed by the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, and called by the blessed Holy Spirit, though we are saved by God’s adorable and amazing grace, the people of God in this world are sinners still. This is a sad fact, but a fact nonetheless, and a fact we must never forget. Grace does not eradicate, or even change the believer’s old, Adamic, sinful nature. Grace subdues it. Grace rules it. Thank God, one day grace will destroy it! But grace does not change our old nature.
1. We know something about the depravity of our hearts (Matt. 15:19).
The most shocking thing I discovered as a young believer, shortly after God saved me, was the fact that the raging monster of sin in my heart had not been slain, or even tamed.
Illustrations: High School English Teacher
Boy At Springfield
And the sad fact is, I am every day made increasingly aware of the depths of my depravity. Yet, I know that I have not even begun to discover the hideous enormity of my sinfulness!
2. We know that our best deeds of righteousness are just filthy rags in God’s sight (Isa. 64:6; 1 John 1:8, 10).
I have sinned. I do sin. I am sinning. But the worst of it is this - I am sin! When I would do good, evil is present with me! So I cannot do the things that I would! All that I am, and all that I do, is sin! Let me see if I can state the matter clearly.
a. There is nothing in all the world more delightful to me than prayer; but there is nothing more difficult.
b. There is absolutely nothing in the world that I desire like I desire to believe God; but nothing is more troublesome to me than my unbelief.
c. There is nothing in the world I more want to do than to worship Christ and walk with him in sweet communion; but nothing appears to be further out of my reach.
d. There is nothing in this world which I strive harder to attain than conformity to Christ in thought, word, and deed; but the more I strive after it the more illusive it appears to be.
e. The fact is, I am a man at war with himself (Rom. 7:14-24; Gal. 5:17).
“If I pray, or hear, or read,
Sin is mixed with all I do.
You who love the Lord indeed,
Tell me, is it thus with you?
Yet, I mourn my stubborn will,
Find y sin a grief and thrall!
Would I grieve for what I feel,
If I did not love the Lord at all?”
Without question, there is a very real sense in which believers are no different from other people, so long as we live in this world, in this body of flesh. We still have the nature of our father Adam. We are sinners still!
B. Yet, our text clearly and distinctly suggests that God’s saints are indeed different from other people.
The question, “Who maketh thee to differ,” would be redundant if no difference. God’s people do differ from other people. Believers are different from unbelievers. God’s saints are a peculiar people.
1. Believers are men and women who have undergone a marvelous change (1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:17).
a. We have been “washed” from our sins by the blood of Christ. Our old record is gone, expunged, cleared!
b. We are “sanctified” by the Spirit of God, given a new nature in regeneration. Righteousness as been imputed to us in justification; and a righteous nature was imparted to us in regeneration.
c. We are “justified,” made righteous by divine imputation. This is mentioned last because it is experienced and perceived last. We were justified when Christ redeemed us; but we had no knowledge of our justification until the Holy Spirit called us and gave us faith in Christ.
d. Grace changes a person’s life!
You may change your way of life without grace; but you cannot experience the grace of God that brings salvation without also experiencing that change of life that causes us to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present, evil world.
Illustration: Whitefield and the Coal Miners
· We have a new Master over our lives - The Lord Jesus Christ.
· We have a new motive in life - The Will of God and the Glory of God!
· We have a new manner of life. We are no longer the servants of sin, but the servants of righteousness (Rom. 6:18).
Illustration: The Former Slave and His Old Master’s
2. Every person in this world who is born again by the grace and power of God the Holy Spirit bears the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23).
· Love, joy, and peace toward God.
· Longsuffereing, gentleness, and goodness toward one another.
· Faith, meekness, and temperance within.
3. Believers are people who live by faith in Christ, who trust the Son of God. It is written, “The just shall live by faith.” We trust Christ our God and Savior in his…
· Redemptive Work.
· Goodness and Faithfulness.
· Providential Rule.
· Heavenly Intercession.
4. God’s people love each other (1 Cor. 13:1-8; 1 John 4:7-8).
5. Believers are people who have been and are continually taught of God to live soberly, righteously and godly in this world.
I stress this because it needs stressing. Don’t tell me that so long as a persons believes the gospel it does not matter how he lives, that his character and conduct are insignificant. God’s people do differ from unregenerate worldlings! (Tit. 1:11-12; Eph. 4:17-24).
C. Those are the facts; but the question is - “Who maketh thee to differ?”
Paul answers the question himself in Philippians 2:13 - “It is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” That which distinguishes God’s elect from the reprobate of this world is the distinguishing grace of God. It is written, “The LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.” The distinction which grace makes is a fivefold distinction.
A. The Distinction of God’s Sovereign Election
B. The Distinction of Christ’s Blood Redemption
C. The Distinction of The Spirit’s Effectual Call
D. The Distinction of God’s Gracious Preservation
E. The Distinction of Resurrection Glory
“Who maketh thee to differ from another?” Only God!
II. “WHAT HAST THOU THAT THOU DIDST NOT RECEIVE?’
A. Nothing in Nature!
B. Nothing in Grace!
C. Nothing in Time!
D. Nothing in Eternity!
III. “NOW, IF THOU DIDST RECEIVE IT, WHY DOST THOU GLORY, AS IF THOU HADST NOT RECEIVED IT?”
“To glory in any mercy, favour, or blessing received from God, as if it was not received from him, but as owing to human power, care, and industry, betrays wretched vanity, stupid and more than brutish ignorance, horrid ingratitude, abominable pride and wickedness; and is contrary to the grace of God, which teaches men humility and thankfulness. To God alone should all the blessings of nature, providence, and grace be ascribed; he ought to have all the glory of them; and to him, and him only, praise is due for them.” John Gill
Pride, envy, and jealousy are totally contrary to the grace we profess to believe. We are nothing but sinners saved by grace! There is no room for pride in the house of grace.
· Pride of Place!
· Pride of Face!
· Pride of Race!
· Pride of Grace!