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← Obedience Leads to Knowing God More - Ryan Fullerton

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Showing Revision 7 created 05/10/2018 by Carrie Spradlin.

  1. Well, I don't know how you convince
  2. a bunch of white boys
  3. and a bunch of black boys
  4. and a bunch of Latino boys
  5. to all gather together
  6. in a tiny little room
  7. on a miserable night in November
  8. to hear Bible preaching.
  9. That must be Jesus.
  10. So let's open the Bible together.
  11. So, last night for those
    of you that weren't here,
  12. we began looking at the book of Philemon.
  13. And we were talking about the fact
  14. that men are called to lead
  15. and they're called to lead well;
  16. they're called to lead biblically.
  17. They're called to lead themselves.
  18. They're called to lead their wives,
  19. their children.
  20. They're called to encourage their friends.
  21. And we saw that Paul is really the example
  22. of skill in leadership.
  23. And he led with his compelling character.
  24. He says, "I, Paul, an old man
  25. and a prisoner for the sake of Christ..."
  26. He led out of who he was
  27. and the weight of what
    God had done in his life.
  28. And then he led really
    by a compelling change
  29. that had happened in Philemon.
  30. He's trying to get, if you'll remember,
  31. he's trying to get Philemon
  32. to forgive Onesimus.
  33. Onesimus was a runaway slave

  34. who had done Philemon dirty
  35. and then stolen his money.
  36. And had really stolen himself
  37. away from Philemon.
  38. And now Paul was trying to get Philemon
  39. to forgive this runaway slave.
  40. And so he first of all starts by saying
  41. you should do it;
  42. you should listen to me
  43. because I'm Paul, a prisoner,
  44. an old man for Christ.
  45. And then he goes, and
    then you should do it
  46. because this guy's now your brother.
  47. He's now my spiritual child.
  48. He's changed.
  49. He used to be - just like
    everyone in this room
  50. who is a Christian -
  51. he used to be useless.
  52. Now, he's useful.
  53. What a great way to think of yourself
  54. as a Christian.
  55. I used to be useless.
  56. Now, I'm useful.
  57. And then he did it by giving
    Philemon some space -
  58. the freedom of choice.
  59. He gave Philemon the liberty,
  60. and he said I don't want to constrain you.
  61. I don't want to force you.
  62. I wanted to send Onesimus back
  63. so you could think about
    doing the right thing
  64. and come to it for yourself.
  65. And this evening, I want to focus

  66. on one verse in the book of Philemon,
  67. and it's verse 6.
  68. And it might sound like it at first,
  69. but I'll explain in a second
  70. why this is not an evangelism verse.
  71. Although, it certainly has some
    implications for evangelism.
  72. But in Philemon 1:6, it says,
  73. "And I pray that the sharing of your faith
  74. may become effective
    for the full knowledge
  75. of every good thing that is in us
  76. for the sake of Christ."
  77. "And I pray that the sharing of your faith
  78. may become effective
  79. for the full knowledge
  80. of every good thing that is in us
  81. for the sake of Christ."
  82. Can you imagine that?
  83. Having a fuller knowledge
    of everything that is in you?
  84. For the sake of Christ.
  85. Knowing more about all that's in you
  86. for the sake of Christ.
  87. Above all, brothers, above all,

  88. all the earthly treasures,
  89. what the Christian wants is to know God.
  90. That's the main thing
    every Christian wants
  91. is to know God.
  92. If you're not in touch
    with that right now,
  93. you're not in touch with the main thing
  94. that God has made new about you.
  95. That's that you want to know God.
  96. That's why you're gathered
    in this little tiny room
  97. is because we want to know God.
  98. The cry of the Christian is the cry
  99. of the Apostle Paul in Philippians -
  100. "That I might know Him."
  101. The difference between being of the world
  102. and being of Christ is the world
  103. does not know Him
  104. and the Christian has tasted and seen
  105. that the Lord is good.
  106. The promise of the New Covenant
  107. is "they shall all know Me.
  108. No longer shall a brother
    say to his brother,
  109. 'know the Lord,' but
    they shall all know Me."
  110. We look at each other around the fire,
  111. we begin to talk about
    the things of the Lord,
  112. if you're a Christian, and you're like,
  113. "Yes, brother, I know what
    you're talking about."
  114. Whatever background you come from
  115. racially, socioeconomically,
  116. all of a sudden, you find you have
  117. the most important things in common
  118. with the ones who know the Lord.
  119. How does a Christian change?

  120. We're transformed from one
    degree of glory to another
  121. as we see Him.
  122. And we shall ultimately be like Him
  123. when we see Him as He is,
  124. because when we see Him as He is,
  125. we will be like Him.
  126. It's a transformative knowledge.
  127. The more you get to know Jesus,
  128. the more you become like Him.
  129. The main thing about being a Christian
  130. is knowing God.
  131. It's everything.
  132. It's everything to know God.
  133. If there's anything in your Christian life
  134. that isn't leading you to know God more,
  135. you are going down a rabbit trail at best,
  136. and you are going down
  137. a destructive path at worst.
  138. Because everything is meant
  139. to serve the Christian and to bring them
  140. to a knowledge of God.
  141. Have you ever thought about this?
  142. The reason we repent
  143. is because we want to know God.
  144. What's the difference
    between worldly sorrow

  145. and godly sorrow?
  146. Worldly sorrow we're told leads to death.
  147. Worldly sorrow is the kind Judas had
  148. where it makes you depressed,
  149. it makes you suicidal,
  150. it makes you want to kill yourself,
  151. but there's nothing godly about it.
  152. Worldly sorrow is depressed
    because it lost the world.
  153. Do you know what Judas lost
  154. when he betrayed the Son of God?
  155. He was no longer going to be
    able to enjoy the rest of his life.
  156. He was going to have a defiled conscience
  157. as being the one who handed over
  158. the Son of God.
  159. But he had no remorse
    really about losing God.
  160. He had no love for God.
  161. Why do preachers who get caught

  162. in sexual immorality
  163. shed a couple tears
  164. and then just try to get
    their way through it
  165. in the easiest way possible?
  166. Because they have worldly sorrow.
  167. They're sad that they can't
    be the preacher anymore.
  168. And they've lost the world.
  169. It's worldly sorrow.
  170. Godly sorrow is sad that
    it's lost its grip on God.

  171. That's why the slightest sin
  172. can ultimately disturb a Christian, right?
  173. Just the smallest thing.
  174. Ugh! I can't enjoy my Lord!
  175. I'm not walking in fellowship with Him.
  176. It doesn't have to even be something
    heinous like pornography.
  177. It can be the slip of a tongue.
  178. It can be something that you knew
  179. the Lord didn't want you to do
  180. and you did it anyway,
  181. and then all of a sudden
    the day is ruined.
  182. It can be 75 degrees out.
  183. There can be no snow clouds in the sky.
  184. It can be all your friends around you,
  185. and it's all misery because you're not
  186. walking in fellowship with God.
  187. And so what do we do?
  188. We have godly sorrow and we repent.
  189. We've got to have God.
    We've got to have God.
  190. Christians can't keep going on
  191. with something on their conscience
  192. because they've got to have God.
  193. They've got to know God.
  194. The Christian life is all
    about knowing God,
  195. and it's about knowing
    Him better and better.
  196. It's not just about coming to know Him
  197. when we're converted.
  198. It's about getting to know
    Him better and better
  199. after we're converted.
  200. And what I want to point
    out to you tonight

  201. is that Philemon -
  202. in the book of Philemon,
  203. we're watching Paul,
  204. but Paul is not just giving Philemon
  205. a rule to follow.
  206. Paul's not just trying to
    give us an example
  207. of what it looks like to
    be an amazing leader
  208. as important as that is.
  209. Paul's trying to lead Philemon
  210. to know God better.
  211. And what Paul is telling us
  212. is that the way you come
    to know God better
  213. is by obeying God.
  214. Obedience is God's means
  215. of further revelation to your soul.
  216. Obedience is not just something you do
  217. in response to God's revelation.
  218. It is that.
  219. Obedience is something we do
  220. in response to God's revelation.
  221. Therefore, in view of God's mercies,
  222. offer your bodies as living sacrifices,
  223. holy and pleasing to God.
  224. In view of what He's done;
  225. in view of what you've seen;
  226. in view of what you know,
  227. offer yourself as a
    living sacrifice to God.
  228. We obey because of what we know,
  229. but we also know more once we obey.
  230. And in that sense,
    obedience is God's means
  231. of further revelation of Himself
  232. to your soul.
  233. Let me spell this out.

  234. Jesus said it clearer than
    I'm going to say it.
  235. So we'll just read Him.
  236. He said in John 14,
  237. "Whoever has My commandments
  238. and keeps them,
  239. he is it who loves Me.
  240. And he who loves Me,
  241. will be loved by My Father,
  242. and I will love him
  243. and manifest Myself to him."
  244. Who hasn't prayed for that?
  245. If that's not a regular cry of your heart,
  246. I wonder if you even know the Lord.
  247. I want to see more of You, Lord.
  248. Sir, we would see Jesus.
  249. That's the cry of the Christian.
  250. That's the irony of the Christian.
  251. We know the Lord, and what do we want
  252. more than anything else?
  253. We want to know the Lord.
  254. That I might know Him.
  255. That's our desire.
  256. And here's Jesus telling you,
  257. "I will manifest Myself.
  258. I will display Myself.
  259. I will show Myself to your soul."
  260. The Apostle Paul prayed
    for the Ephesian Christians,

  261. in Ephesians 1.
  262. And he prayed for them and he said,
  263. he prayed that they
    "might have a spirit of wisdom
  264. and of revelation in
    the knowledge of Him."
  265. He wasn't praying that they would
  266. increase their Bible knowledge.
  267. The Ephesians were notorious
  268. for their Bible knowledge.
  269. You read chapter 1:3-14 of Ephesians
  270. and it's pretty clear Paul knew
  271. they had lots of Bible knowledge
  272. because he's just going off -
  273. praising God for God's election
  274. and adoption, and redemption,
  275. and Spirit-filling and sealing.
  276. He's praising God for all of that,
  277. and then he comes to the end of it
  278. and he goes I just wish this
    was lit up in your souls.
  279. Isn't that the greatest frustration
  280. of those Christians who have
    learned good theology?
  281. Lord, why isn't it on fire?
  282. Why isn't it lit up?
  283. I know more glorious truths
  284. than almost every other Christian I meet
  285. and yet, why isn't it on fire?
  286. Why isn't it lit up?
  287. Why isn't the spotlight
  288. burning in my soul?
  289. You know the difference between standing
  290. out in the middle of that patio
  291. and standing by the fire, right?
  292. There's a big difference.
  293. I want to be by the fire.
  294. And you want God's Word
  295. not to leave you out in the cold,
  296. but to be lighting a fire.
  297. And in Ephesians 1, the Apostle Paul
  298. says, "I pray that you'd have a spirit
  299. of wisdom and revelation
  300. in the knowledge of Him."
  301. And he prays that the Spirit would
  302. light up our hearts.
  303. Is your heart being lit up?
  304. What did the disciples say
    on the road back to Emmaus?
  305. Or the road from Emmaus?
  306. As Jesus opens up the Scriptures,
  307. they go, "did not our hearts
  308. burn within us?"
  309. Mormons aren't the only people
  310. who should be talking
    about the burning heart.
  311. Man oh man, we have the heart
  312. that should burn after God's truth.
  313. You want that, beloved.

  314. You want more of that?
  315. I hate every day I go through life
  316. without the fullness of that.
  317. It's a sadness to the Christian
  318. not to see more of the Lord
  319. and to have - just listen to it -
  320. "I will manifest Myself to you."
  321. "I'm going to show you more of Me."
  322. "I'm going to make your soul
    quake with My holiness."
  323. "I'm going to make your
    heart melt with My love."
  324. "I'm going to make your heart
    thrill with My promises."
  325. "I'm going to show you more about Me."
  326. In Ephesians 1 it says,
    "That the eyes of your heart
  327. might be enlightened, that you might know
  328. the power that's at work in you."
  329. That you might know the
    inheritance that you have.
  330. That you might know
    the hope that you have.
  331. So that heaven is not something
  332. distant and abstract,
    but it's lit up in your heart.
  333. So that being God's people
  334. is not just like, yeah, I'm a Christian,
  335. but it's gripping your heart,
  336. so that resurrection power
  337. is not something distant and abstract,
  338. but it's something where
    you face a temptation
  339. and you're like,
    "I have resurrection power!"
  340. "I know it!"
  341. "I know it's at work in me."
  342. And the pathway into more and more
  343. knowledge of the Lord like that
  344. is greater and greater obedience.
  345. This generation is so
    confused about obedience.

  346. Every single time you
    mention the word obedience
  347. in this generation, someone is going to
  348. start talking about legalism.
  349. Beloved, obedience is not legalism.
  350. Legalism is one of two things.
  351. Legalism is when someone says,
  352. "you need to obey this
  353. and then you'll be accepted by God."
  354. That's legalism.
  355. Legalism is when someone adds to the Bible
  356. what's not in the Bible
  357. and says, "Thus saith the Lord,"
  358. when the Lord didn't say anything.
  359. That's legalism.
  360. But the Lord Jesus, when He told us

  361. to go and teach people to
    obey everything He commanded
  362. was not the world's greatest legalist,
  363. He was the world's greatest Savior.
  364. He was leading His people to follow
  365. the One who had set their souls free
  366. with truth.
  367. And He knew that as He
    led them in obedience,
  368. they weren't just going
    to be His rule keepers,
  369. they were going to be increasing
  370. in the knowledge of Christ.
  371. Knowing Him more.
  372. And you ought to meet
  373. every command in the Scripture
  374. as a wide open door of possibility
  375. to know your God better.
  376. Isn't that amazing?
  377. We get a command and we're like,
  378. "that's going to cost me."
  379. "That's going to pinch me."
  380. "That's going to limit me."
  381. "That's going to hinder me."
  382. Rather than thinking,
    that's going to open me
  383. wide open to knowing Him better.
  384. So here in Philemon 1:6,

  385. the Apostle Paul puts a big umbrella
  386. over the whole book -
  387. a big prayer covering
  388. over the whole book -
  389. and the prayer is that Philemon,
  390. by the sharing of his faith,
  391. would become effective
    for the full knowledge
  392. of every good thing that's in us
  393. for the sake of Christ.
  394. Now, in our English versions,
  395. this term "pray for the
    sharing of our faith,"
  396. we can't help but think of evangelism.
  397. We call evangelism "sharing your faith."
  398. And that's good.
  399. Evangelism is sharing your faith,
  400. but evangelism is really
    not the main focus
  401. of the book of Philemon.
  402. And the whole idea here
    of sharing your faith
  403. is really "koinonia" your faith.
  404. Participation in your faith.
  405. A sharing of your faith.
  406. So it's really this idea of:
  407. I want you to live
    out your faith, Philemon.
  408. I want you to put into practice:
  409. Christ is a forgiving God.
  410. I want you to put into practice
  411. that forgiveness towards Onesimus.
  412. Christ is a God who makes people
  413. from different backgrounds brothers.
  414. I want you to put that
    into practice, Philemon.
  415. And as you put that in practice;
  416. as you share your faith
  417. and participate in your faith
  418. and have this koinonia with the truth,
  419. what is going to happen to you, Philemon,
  420. is that you are going to find
  421. that this becomes effective -
  422. not possible brothers -
  423. effective for the full knowledge
  424. of what we have in us
  425. through the Lord Jesus Christ.
  426. For the full knowledge of every good thing
  427. that is in us for the sake of Christ.
  428. This principle that obedience leads

  429. to greater understanding of the truth,
  430. it's all over the Bible.
  431. It's an evangelistic principle.
  432. John 7:17,
  433. "If anyone's will is to do God's will,
  434. he will know whether
    the teaching is from God
  435. or whether I am speaking
    on My own authority."
  436. If there's anyone here who doesn't know
  437. that God's teaching comes through Christ,
  438. I'll tell you why you don't know.
  439. Because you're not willing to do it.
  440. You're not willing to do it.
  441. There is some magazine under your bed;
  442. there's something under your Internet;
  443. there's something in your family;
  444. there's some obedience you
    know you'd be called to
  445. and you don't want to do it.
  446. And there's some piece
    of pride in your heart
  447. that you don't want to let go of,
  448. and you do not want to let go of it
    because the minute that you do,
  449. I'll tell you what, you'll know
    that it's really from God.
  450. You're in a moral coverup.
  451. You're holding on to your own sin
  452. until you can't even see the truth.
  453. But the minute you're willing to obey,
  454. He'll show you it's all true.
  455. Isn't that amazing?
  456. It goes on not just in our evangelism,

  457. but this principle that obedience
  458. leads to greater revelation
  459. can be found in Colossians 1:10.
  460. And when I say greater revelation,
  461. I don't mean you obey
    and you get something
  462. better than the Bible.
  463. I mean you obey and you get deeper,
  464. sweeter insight into the Bible.
  465. Colossians 1:10,
  466. the Apostle Paul - we'll start in v. 9 -
  467. starts praying here again.
  468. "And so from the day we heard,
  469. we have not ceased to pray for you
  470. asking that you may be filled
  471. with all the knowledge of His will
  472. in all spiritual wisdom
    and understanding."
  473. So I want you to know God's will
  474. and I don't want you
    to be fools about it.
  475. I want you to know it in spiritual
    wisdom and understanding.
  476. I want you to have some savvy
  477. and some spiritual insight.
  478. And so I want you to know God's will
  479. in all spiritual wisdom
    and understanding
  480. so that you can walk in a
    manner worthy of the Lord.
  481. So, you're obedient; walking in
    a manner worthy of the Lord.
  482. "Fully pleasing to Him,
  483. bearing fruit in every good work
  484. and increasing in the knowledge of God."
  485. I want you to have mature,
  486. balanced obedience
  487. so that you will increase
  488. in the knowledge of God.
  489. The same principle's in Ephesians 3:14-21.

  490. Ephesians 3 - maybe my favorite passage
  491. in the New Testament.
  492. Ephesians 3:14-21.
  493. The Apostle Paul says,
  494. "For this reason, I bow my knees
  495. before the Father,
  496. from whom every family in heaven
  497. and on earth is named,
  498. that according to the riches of His glory,
  499. He may grant you to be strengthened
  500. with power through His
    Spirit in your inner being."
  501. So, the first thing Paul prays:
  502. I want you to have power.
    I want you to have spiritual power.
  503. That's what you need to obey.
  504. That's what you need
    to do with will of God.
  505. You need spiritual power.
  506. You don't just need it on
    the outside coercing you.
  507. You need it on the inside.
  508. And I want to ask that you get this power
  509. in your inner man,
  510. so that...
  511. Christ might dwell in your hearts
  512. through faith.
  513. Well, isn't Christ already
    dwelling in our hearts?
  514. Yes, He is.
  515. Yet the word here is oikodomia.
  516. It's this idea of settling down at home.
  517. Settling down at home.
  518. One person has illustrated this

  519. that when you move into a house
  520. and decide you don't like the color
  521. of the living room,
  522. so you paint it the color you want.
  523. You don't really like that lima bean green
  524. in the bathroom,
  525. so you change that one up too.
  526. You wanted a patio in the back,
  527. so you build one of those.
  528. And after ten years,
    you're like, this place...
  529. this is home.
  530. Well, Christ moves in and He's like
  531. I'm not really sure I like what
    you're doing in the bedroom,
  532. so He rearranges things.
  533. I'm not sure I like what
    you're doing in the wallet.
  534. So He rearranges things.
  535. And then He settles down
    increasingly at home.
  536. And pretty soon, you open your wallet,
  537. and you know you've got His smile.
  538. You walk into the bedroom,
    you know you've got His smile.
  539. You turn on the TV or turn off the TV,
  540. whichever it is and you know
    you've got His smile.
  541. And you want that power in the inner man
  542. so that Christ may dwell in your hearts
  543. through faith.
  544. And then he goes on,

  545. "...so that Christ may dwell
    in your hearts through faith
  546. that you being rooted
    and grounded in love."
  547. Your roots are just soaking
    up the love of Christ.
  548. "...May have strength to comprehend
  549. with all the saints what is the breadth
  550. and length and height and depth
  551. and to know the love of Christ
  552. that surpasses knowledge."
  553. Man, it's important to have knowledge

  554. in the Christian life.
  555. Careful, clear, doctrinal knowledge.
  556. And once you've got it all right,
  557. God will blow it up with His love
  558. and go beyond it.
  559. He does not bypass knowledge.
  560. But He does surpass
    knowledge, doesn't He.
  561. He goes beyond knowledge, doesn't He.
  562. You want to know God like that?
  563. I love the story of the preacher.

  564. He prayed that God would
    show Him to himself
  565. in more intimacy and power.
  566. And the Lord just descended on him one day
  567. and eventually he had to ask Him to stop.
  568. He was receiving such
    manifestations of Christ.
  569. I find in this generation, most of us
  570. are just walking around going, "start!"
  571. I want to live in a "stop" generation.
  572. Lord, it's too much.
  573. It's too much for me.
  574. C.H. Spurgeon said,
  575. "There is as much difference between
  576. a mature Christian and immature Christian
  577. as there is between a
    believer and an unbeliever."
  578. There's no end to the heights, brothers.
  579. There's no end of the heights
  580. of the knowledge of God
  581. that we can be brought into,
  582. and yet some people are apathetic
  583. in the Christian walk
  584. and they scoot back from obedience
  585. as if they're keeping some
    freedom for themselves.
  586. We're only cheating ourselves when we
  587. don't walk in obedience to the Lord.
  588. Obedience is the pathway
  589. to further manifestation;
  590. to further illumination;
  591. to further revelation from the Scriptures
  592. of what God is like and who He is for you,
  593. and not only that,
  594. but who you have been made in Him.
  595. I don't know about you, but I find

  596. the greatest moments of being a Christian
  597. are when I just realize I am a Christian.
  598. Man, I'm a Christian!
  599. Saved before the world's foundation.
  600. Before there was a creation,
    I was on His mind.
  601. He knew I would see the revelation,
  602. Him in all His adoration,
  603. knowing I was His creation,
  604. He walked up Calvary's hill to save me,
  605. before the world's foundation,
    I was on His mind.
  606. I was with Him all the time.
  607. It's incredible!
  608. And now I'm a new creation.
  609. Now the third Person of the Trinity
  610. has decided to dwell in me,
  611. so that He can cause me to call out
  612. to the first Person of the Trinity,
  613. "Abba, Father,"
  614. through the second Person of the Trinity
  615. who loved me and gave Himself for me.
  616. What a thing it is to be just a Christian!
  617. I just want to walk through
    life knowing I'm a Christian.
  618. I need the full knowledge
  619. of all that God's done in me.
  620. That's what I need.
  621. And all of a sudden
    when you get intimidated,
  622. I don't know if you've
    ever experienced this,
  623. but there's some people I'm
    intimidated to witness to,
  624. and there's some people I'm
    not intimidated to witness to.
  625. It's just my shameful pride
    that makes it that way.
  626. There are some people
    I feel a little better than,
  627. so I just head right in there
  628. and give the gospel to them.
  629. There's some people,
  630. I don't want them to think I'm a fool,
  631. so I'm a little bit more sophisticated
  632. I like to think.
  633. Cowardly is the real word.
  634. What would I need to overcome that?
  635. Just a full knowledge that
    I'm a child of the King!
  636. That all I would ever need to be bold
  637. is already in me,
  638. and He wants to help me.
  639. And that, brothers, comes
  640. through a life of obedience.
  641. It comes through a life
    of running from sin
  642. and running towards righteousness.
  643. Now, I don't mean that now

  644. you can only trust God's going to help you
  645. when you've been perfect that day.
  646. That's not what I'm talking about at all.
  647. That's legalism.
  648. God's not helping you
    unless you're perfect.
  649. That's not what I'm talking about.
  650. We all stumble in many ways.
  651. But I am talking about a bent;
  652. I'm talking about an orientation;
  653. I'm talking about direction
  654. that says I'm going towards Christ
  655. all the time.
  656. And whenever I see myself fall from that,
  657. I'm asking Him to forgive me
  658. and I keep walking towards the light.
  659. Men like that keep getting more light.
  660. They keep getting more
    manifestation of Christ
  661. to their souls.
  662. So Paul is saying here to Philemon,

  663. listen, there's a guy who's a slave.
  664. You're a slave owner.
  665. Slave owners and slaves -
  666. you're not really notorious
  667. for having warm,
    intimate fellowship, right?
  668. Not only that - that he is a slave,
  669. and that you are a slave holder,
  670. he's done you wrong
  671. and you've been wronged.
  672. And not only that,
  673. but he's ashamed
  674. and you know why he's ashamed.
  675. And I want you to extend
    forgiveness to him,
  676. and I want you to know what it's like
  677. to have him as a brother.
  678. I want you to know what it's like
  679. to see God be the glory
  680. and the lifter of his head
  681. and take his shame away.
  682. I want you to see that God forgave you
  683. and now you get to forgive him.
  684. And I want you to feel the pulsing
    love of Christ in your heart
  685. forgiving him.
  686. We've been called to
    walk as Christ walked,
  687. to fellowship in His sufferings,
  688. to fellowship in His forgiveness,
  689. to fellowship in His mercy.
  690. And that's what Paul is
    inviting Philemon into.
  691. So let me just leave
    you with this, brothers.

  692. Speak this truth.
  693. We're called to lead.
  694. You speak this truth.
  695. Speak it everywhere you have
  696. even a grain of influence,
  697. and you speak it to each other
  698. over the course of
    the rest of this retreat.
  699. Speak this truth:
  700. "Oh brother, I hope that God
  701. will help you to walk in the faith
  702. so you'll know more about the faith.
  703. I hope that God will help
    you to walk in obedience
  704. so that you'll know more of Him."
  705. Don't just speak this truth.
  706. Pray this truth.
  707. Did you notice that I've read four texts
  708. that prove that obedience leads
  709. to greater manifestations of Christ,
  710. and three of them were prayers?
  711. Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon -
  712. those were all, "And I pray..."
  713. Brothers, leadership doesn't start
  714. with you talking to people.
  715. It doesn't start with you
    at the front of people.
  716. It starts where no one sees us
  717. except our Father.
  718. It starts with us talking
    about people to God.
  719. Lord, would You let them see?
  720. Lord, would You let them obey?
  721. Lord, would You let them grow in obedience
  722. so they can know more of You?
  723. You know what that does?
  724. That helps you trust the promises of God
  725. for other believers.
  726. One of the biggest problems that happens

  727. when we try to lead people,
  728. is they get the impression
    that we don't think
  729. they're actually going to grow.
  730. "You really need to do this...
  731. Really need to."
  732. Listen to what Paul says in Philemon.
  733. He says that he's confident that Philemon
  734. will obey.
  735. Do people get that from you?
  736. "Man, I just know that
    God's at work in your life.
  737. I'm sure you're going to
    come around to the truth.
  738. I'm just confident that
    you're going to obey."
  739. Now, I'll admit to you,
  740. there are some Christians -
  741. their lives are dicey.
  742. There are harder moments
    to believe that isn't there?
  743. You know what Paul said to the Galatians?
  744. I'm confident you'll take
    no other view than mine.
  745. Even in this urgent moment,
  746. he's like: these are believers.
  747. They're going to turn around.
  748. And in Philemon, he does
    the exact same thing.
  749. In chapter 1:21, when he says,
  750. "I'm confident of your obedience.
  751. I write to you knowing that you will do
  752. even more than I say."
  753. Well, that's even more isn't it?
  754. I'm laying out to you what I
    hope Christ will do in your heart.
  755. I just know you're going
    to do more than that.
  756. Brothers, there's a power that comes
  757. when someone godly expresses
  758. the truth about God towards you.
  759. It's not the power of legalism.
  760. It's the power that John Paton spoke about
  761. when his father raised him
  762. and poured into him all those years,
  763. and then he left his father
    in the hills of Scotland,
  764. and he said, "I just never
    wanted to displease that man."
  765. When someone older and wiser
  766. looks at you and says,
  767. "Jesus is working in you,
  768. I just know you're going to
    go above and beyond
  769. and really walk with Him,"
  770. you really walk away like,
  771. "Oh Lord, I hope that's true!
  772. I want to see that be real in my life.
  773. I want to see that.
  774. I don't want to make that
    hero of mine ashamed."
  775. Those are wonderful,
    wonderful motivations.
  776. Fear is not the only motivation.
  777. You need to speak this truth.
  778. You need to pray this truth.
  779. I don't know what you all do
    for these kinds of things.
  780. I keep a picture book
    of our church with me
  781. and pray for our people.
  782. This would be one of the
    things I'd want to pray.
  783. Lord, would You just help them to
    obey You so they'd know You.
  784. The last thing I want to leave you with

  785. is would you trust this truth tonight?
  786. Would you take - or,
    I'm confident you will take
  787. a practical next step.
  788. What is it?
  789. What is it for you?
  790. I've been a Christian long enough to know
  791. there's almost always something
  792. gnawing at the conscience of a Christian.
  793. Right?
  794. I know I need to grow.
  795. Well, let the Holy Spirit
    fill in the blank.
  796. It's not the same for everyone.
  797. Some people - they can barely
  798. pull themselves away from pornography.
  799. Some people - they aren't
    even tempted to look.
  800. We face different struggles,
    don't we, brothers?
  801. Some people are just naturally frugal.
  802. Some people just naturally aren't.
  803. But we each stumble in many ways,
  804. and we each have areas the Holy Spirit
  805. puts His finger on
  806. and says, "That one's next."
  807. And when He says, "That one's next,"
  808. our flesh screams.
  809. "Don't touch that one!"
  810. "I'll give You one of those
    things I'm good at obeying."
  811. I had a guy ask me one time,
  812. how does God help you to be bold?
  813. He was kind of a timid guy.
  814. How does God help you to be bold?
  815. I said I'm going to be honest with you.
  816. That's not really my problem.
  817. I don't have problems
    being bold in preaching.
  818. I've got problems in being
    compassionate in preaching.
  819. I've got problems being sweet.
  820. That's where the Holy Spirit
    might put His finger on me.
  821. Where does He put His finger on you?
  822. That very place is a precious invitation
  823. from the Lord to know Him more.
  824. He wants to reveal
    Himself increasingly to you.
  825. And this isn't tit-for-tat.
  826. Hey, I had a good day.
    Where was my revelation?
  827. That isn't how this works, okay.
  828. God is not your genie -
  829. if you do 24/7 of obedience,
  830. He'll give you a nice hour of
    inundation with His presence.
  831. That's not how this works.
  832. This is all of grace.
  833. It's all of His sovereign good hand.
  834. But I'll tell you one place
    He won't meet you:
  835. disobedience.
  836. He only has one thing
    He'll do if He meets you
  837. in disobedience and
    that is He'll reprove you,
  838. discipline you,
  839. bring you back
  840. even through showers of mercy.
  841. But He wants to reveal Himself to you.
  842. So you take that place,
    you hold it in your heart.
  843. Maybe you express it to a brother.
  844. And you recognize that
    place as holy ground
  845. where God wants to begin to keep
  846. walking you in obedience
  847. because He's going to reveal
    more of Himself to you.
  848. He'll give you more illumination.
  849. And when you speak to people
  850. about the problems in their life,
  851. you realize you're not just there
  852. applying leadership principles.
  853. That's not it.
  854. You're not just trying to get them to be
  855. more biblical or more conservative
  856. or more whatever.
  857. You're inviting them into
    the knowledge of God.
  858. You're eager to see them grow
  859. in the knowledge of God.
  860. And when that's there, brothers,
  861. when that's there,
  862. you get churches that can be
  863. insanely obedient,
  864. and they just get more gracious,
  865. not more legalistic.
  866. Because they're just all
    digging for treasure.
  867. Lord, give me more.
  868. Let's pray.

  869. Father, we thank You -
  870. we thank You that You would choose us
  871. and make us Christian,
  872. but we pray that if there are any here
  873. who don't know You,
  874. that they would be willing to obey You
  875. and You would show them that
    Your teaching is from God.
  876. Lord God, we come before You
  877. and we ask You for those
    of us who are Christians
  878. that we would see those
    areas You're pinpointing -
  879. maybe an area of self-control,
  880. maybe an area with our finances,
  881. or an action towards our children,
  882. or our wives - maybe it's a lot of things.
  883. Maybe it's just one thing for now,
  884. but Lord, whatever You open up,
  885. we pray that we would just see it
  886. as the pathway to knowing You better.
  887. And we would just acknowledge
  888. that You have made us know You,
  889. and You've made us want nothing more
  890. than to know You more.
  891. So we would just follow that.
  892. Lord, we plead with You for this,
  893. in Christ's name, Amen.