Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 6 months ago

You Are Better Off Than You Think

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Rev. Christopher Chelpka

Well, you would please turn with me now,O First Corinthians chapter, one versus four through nine firstCorinthians won versus four through nine. All right. Let's hear God's Word Thetogether this morning. I give thanks to my God, always for you, because of the grace of God. That wasgiven you in Christ Jesus that in every way you were enriched inhim and all speech and all knowledge, even as the testimony about Christ wasconfirmed among you, so that you are not lacking in any gift. As you waitfor the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the endguiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ? God is faithful by whom you were calledinto the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ, our Lord men. Well, sometimes as Christians, weforget how blessed we are. We forget how much God has given us Hisgrace. So many gifts, so many things, and we forget these things, but in this passage, Jesus reminds us through his apostleswords through Paul's words that we really are better off than we think weare and there's a lot of payoff. For remembering that truth. For rememberingGod's gifts and his graces to us, it increases our gratitude. It decreases our worry and it helps usto stay strong as we wait for Christ's return. It may not seem like a big dealto forget about the gifts that you've been given. You have the gifts. Afterall, why do we need to remember that we have them if we have them, but there is a real danger inforgetting and there's a danger in forgetting thegifts God has given to us. One danger is that when we forget about the giftswe forget about the giver Moses says to the people of Israel andDederim. Six twelve then take care, lest you forget, the Lord, who broughtyou out of the land of Egypt out of the House of slavery. Take Care, don'tforget the Lord. Who did these things for you? God had blessed his peoplewith a kind of freedom. They were no longer under the yoke of a foreign king.They no longer had the harsh slavery...

...that they were under in Egypt. Theywere a free people. Now they were free to worship, free to work, free to playfree to live free to enjoy all these things that God had given them. Butwhen they forgot about these things, when they grumbled about those things,they lost sight of the one who gave them to them, gave the gifts to them. What example of this- and there aremany- is in found in Nemi and nine Ne, a my a nine verse, nine. We read this speak a a recounting of Israel'shistory, and you saw the affliction of ourfathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea and performed signs andwonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land,for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers, and you made aname for yourself as it is to this day, and you divided the sea before them, sothat they went through the midst of the sea on the dry land and you cast theirpursuers into the depths as a stone into mighty waters by a pillar of cloud.You led them in the day and by a pillar of fire you of night or by a pillar offire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go. You camedown on Mount Sinai and spoke from them from heaven and gave them right rulesand true laws and good statutes and Commandments. You made known to themyour holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes, and a law byMoses, your servant. You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger andbrought water from them out of a rock for their thirst, and you told them togo in and possess the land that you had sworn to give them, but they and our fathers actedpresumptuously and stiffen their neck and did not obey Your Commandments. They refused to obey and were notmindful. They were not mindful of the wonders that you had performed amongthem, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to theirslavery in Egypt. God had her aneamic recounts all ofthese things that God had done for them, one after another after another afteranother, but the people, instead of remembering to obey and rememberingbeing mindful of the things he had done, they stiff in their necks and tried toreturn to slavery in Egypt. This forgetting not being mindful, is adangerous thing, and sometimes people in the church do the same thing to day.We forget and are not mindful about the wonders of mercy that we have receivedthrough Christ. We forget about our BAPTISMS. We forget about the blessingof the Lord's Supper of preaching. We, we neglect the spiritual fruit in ourlives. We don't thank the Lord for the...

...redemption that we see in others themany ways in which he is blessing us from day to day, and when that happens, when we forget about the gifts we tend to forget about the giver wedepart from the Lord. We start acting and relying on our own strength, andthen we start wandering back into bondage, forgetting how blessed we are and the one who blesses us is a realdanger. It's important, in other words, to remember. We must not forget thegifts we are given. We must remember them well. The good news here is that Godhelps us to remember all the time he is reminding us and, I might add, forgetting our sinspraise be to his name and that's partly what he's doing herein this passage, he is reminding us of His grace through the apostle. The LordJesus is reminding us that we are better off than we think we are. Hehelps us to remember his blessings. Let's look and First Corinthians onestarting in verse, four and Meditate on some of these things. We start with first, for we see thatPaul is giving thanks to God because of the Grace God gave to the Corinthiansin Christ. Jesus this verse simply recognizes the fact that these arepeople who have received gifts from God, and this is no small thing. It's easyto sort of pass over this and say well, of course, they're Christians, but justpause for a moment and think about what that means. Last Sunday evening, myfriend Paul Johnson preached to US- and hetold us the story about how he and his dad would sometimes write letters tofamous people and just wait and see what they'd get back kind of as a hobby,and sometimes they would people would send them little things. Lettersautographs, but perhaps you've done something similar. You felt theexcitement of opening a package and seeing what you get you'd be amazedright that you got something from this person. Well, what if I told you that you'vebeen given gifts, not from a famous basketball player or a musician, butfrom God gifts from God? It's almostunbelievable, really right, but that's exactly what he says here and it's Godhimself who says it now follow me here if it warn't enoughto get gifts from God, remember that they are also gifts of grace. That's what Paul says here: Gifts, inother words, that we don't deserve. It's one thing: to get something from astrange famous person that we don't know it's another thing to get a giftfrom some one that you've sinned against over and over again somebodyyou've offended time and time again,...

...who then pours out his favor on you. That's an amazing thing. We not onlyreceive gifts from God, but we've received gifts of grace from God and that's just verse for if wecontinue on as we must to verse five. We read this where we begin to hear ofsome of these specific gifts. Paul says in every way you were enriched in himin all speech and all knowledge first notice. The sort of superabundance of this language every way enriched all speech, all knowledge and notice also how these two thingsare so important speech and knowledge. The Corinthians, as we will see as wego on through this book, doubted this. They were chasing after wisdom all thetime, the wisdom of this world. They were constantly out listening for thesweet talk of their day, not necessary, says Paul. You don'tneed to chase after those things. You don't need to be constantly turning thechannel and buying another book to try to get something that you think youneed. You have everything already. God has enriched you in every way, with allspeech and all knowledge you have all you need in coming to Christ, you don'tneed to come, go clamoring after other teachers or other ways. You are notlacking, but you are wealthy in having the wisdom of God and the word of God, and if that's true for the Corinthians,it's even more true for us today, because we have more of the NewTestament. We have easy access to the Bible really any time. We want it. Whata blessing we don't have to go search around forwisdom, constantly hunting, never finding always learning, but nevercoming to a knowledge of the truth, no in Christ, and in his word that hehas revealed, we have everything we need for life for godliness and in particular it is this word aboutChrist that Paul Mentions in verse. Six. This word about Christ and his work onthe cross, his forgiveness of our sins, hispouring out gifts on us. That word is the foundation for allwisdom, knowledge. It gives us a perspective on everything. This is what God has given to us. Theseare some of the gracious things in the gifts that we have, as we continue on next in verse. SevenPaul says explicitly that you are not lacking in any gift, what a statementto not be lacking in any gift. Let me ask you this: How much of your life goes in trying tofind things that you think you lack...

...what if you spent that energy, simplybelieving that God has given you already exactly what you need? What if, every day you told yourselfI'm not lacking in any gift what, if you simply said that I'm notI'm not paraphrasing her, I'm just reading the scripture right. What ifyou simply said every day, I'm not lacking in any gift? What difference do you think that mightmake for your life to really believe what Paul is saying here? How mightthat change your relationship with God? How might that change your relationshipwith others? Maybe, instead of jealousy and strife and selfish ambition, tryingto get what other people have you can just love them, because you alreadyhave everything you need, as we finish the section notice. HowPaul Finishes this reminder of with this reminder of God's grace, he tellsus that God is the one who will sustain you to the end. He is faithful. The word says this reminds us that this enrichingthat God does in our lives. It's like a bank account that can never be drawndown ever right. So it's not. It reminds us thatGod doesn't just give us these gifts, which we then use and depend on andthen deplete over time, though he gives us these gifts, ofwhich the supply is limitless. You are not lacking now, nor in thenext moment, nor in the next moment or ever. Why? Because God will sustain you as hesays he loves you and he has called you in his son. He has loved you so muchthat he has given his own son to die for you so that you might havehis life eternal life. So we have these gifts from God. We have all speech, we have all wisdom. We have his supply in every moment inevery way you are not lacking, and God is faithful. He'll sustain you to thevery end. So though we may be forgetful from timeto time about God's gifts, we can be thankful that he helps us to remember, andthat's what he's doing for us this morning. He's helping us to rememberhe's telling us these things, because we tend to forget, though we forget,God is as Neomenios Ready to forgive gracious and merciful, slow to angerand abounding and said fast love, and he did not forsake them. It's true. We may forsake God, but hedoes not forsake us. We do not lack and we never will. God even helps us to remember thisthing...

...as we go to the Lord now in our hearts,and we confess our forgetfulness is, we confess our complaining, as we confessour jealousy and all these other things and as we remember how much we receivethrough Christ, let's reflect for a moment a few moments on what this kind ofremembering does the advantages it gives to us in our lives. I want tomention three things. The first thing is that rememberingincreases our gratitude are remembering increases this joy inour lives as gratitude increases, joy, increases,closeness to God and a whole bunch of other things. Remembering how you are blessed makesyou a happier person, I'm sure at some point, you've all been around somebodywho's forgotten their blessings. I know because we've all been that person, soI know you've been around them too, and we all hate being that person right,you hate being the winer and the complainer that that kind of things,but we all do get there. Sometimes we complain about the temperature of theroom. We complain about the speed of the traffic, our friends, our jobs, ourfamilies, our health and it goes on and on, and we never run out of possiblethings to be complaining about and we're constantly thinking that if wejust had this thing or just had that thing, then we'd be fine. But of coursethat's not true. If we noticed how much we complain, we know we'd see how nottrue that is. We can be sitting on a mountain of gold and we would say thisis really uncomfortable. Lee never run out of things to complainfor, but listen to what God's word says in First Esalan Five, sixteen througheighteen says, rejoice, always pray without ceasing. Give thanks and allcircumstances for this is the will of God in Christ. Jesus for you now perhaps you've been around a personwho does exactly that. First Deceleias Five, sixteen through eighteen, perhapsyou've been around people or you know, people who just treasure their friends who don't take conveniences, like cellphones or air conditioning for granted, people who know in the deepest parts oftheir souls that they don't deserve anything that they have and everythingthat they have is from God's grace, people who know no, no, no, that theyare loved by God. It aren't dependent on anything whether it's their immediatecircumstances, a particular party, a political party, that's in power, arelationship- that's not quite right, they're not dependent on anything, butGod who loves them to be happy. They know in the bottom of their heartsthat all good things come from God and that he only gives good things to hischildren,...

Dietrich Bonhof once said in ordinarylife. We hardly realized that we receive a great deal more than we giveand that it's only with gratitude that life becomes rich. That's true withgratitude life becomes very rich. Perhaps you remember the story of theten lepers from Luke Seventeen. It's sure, let me read it to you this when Jesus Jesus healed these men, ten lepers andwhen he saw them, he said to them, go and show yourselves to the priest andthey went and they were cleansed then one of them when he saw that hewas healed, turned back praising God with a loud voice and he fell on his face and Jesus hisfeet, giving him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan, then Jesus answered we're not tencleansed. Where are the nine? Was No one found to return and give praise toGod except this foreigner and he said to him rise and go your way. Your faithhas made you well. When the leper returned, he was a happier man and not just because his he had been healed of his disease, but by faith he had trusted in the Lord,and now he is a man whose heart is full of praise of Thanksgiving and he was closer to God in this casephysically closer to God, while the other nine were. Who knows where he iswith Jesus, the Lord of Heaven and Earth Praising and worshiping him his heart and his mouth filled withpraise? It's a great thing. He was made well byhis faith and that gratitude that springs from faith was expressed there. So Ask Yourself: What D do You have topraise and thank God for as Christians, there is so much here's some thingsthat you can be happy about this morning. You can be happy about othersaints, First Corinthians, one four remember Paul says I thank my God foryou right. That's one thing we can bethankful for for the people sitting all around you right now, Romans. Fourteen six as we can bethankful for Food Hebrews, twelve twenty eight says we can be thankfulfor receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken Philippians. Three, twentypoints us to our citizenship in heaven. Philippians four ten tells us that wehave or four seven says, that we have peace with God that transcendsunderstanding Romans. Eight twenty eight says that God is making allthings work together for our good first John, for ten says we have thesacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of our Sins...

Matthew. Henry said Thanksgiving isgood, but thanks living is better. I really like that. That's God's plan for us an eternal life of praise and enjoymentof God consider what God has done for you every day we can be like that. GratefulLeper. We can know how much we've been forgiven. How well we have been made.We can put our faith in Jesus, remember his blessings to us and instead ofbeing blessed but ungrateful, sad sacks, we can become happier people thankful, people, joyful people, peoplewho are close to Jesus and praising him and as we do, that is God does that inus we become we grow closer and closer to fulfilling our chief end, which isglorifying God and enjoying him for ever. So that's the first thing rememberingour gifts does. Is it it increases our gratitude. It also decreases. Our worry remembering how we are blesseddecreases are anxious. Worrying discontentment and worry are often tiedvery close together when we think we lack something we need. We tend toworry, but go back to verse, seven and let'smeditate on that. It says you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait forthe revealing of our Lord now, the Scriptures are very plain thatwaiting for the revealing of our Lord will not be easy. They're very clear about this point.We're told all the time that in this age, as citizens of Heaven, but peoplewho are still in the world, we will face fiery trials. Persecution, say:Shame, darkness, the temptations of the evil, one we will have to have a. Wewill have to be in spiritual battle, with the powers of darkness andstruggles with all kinds and for Paul. This was not hypothetical.When Paul Talks about Thanksgiving when he talks about not lacking anything, hetalks about a talks about it as a person who knows what it means tosuffer in Second Corinthians, eleven, twentythree and a few versus following Paul says ofthese false servants of Christ. He says: Are The servants of Christ, I'M Abetter one? I am any tiche says I'm talking like amadman with far greater laters, far more imprisonments, far with countlessbeatings and often near death. So here what Paul saying he's sayingyou want to talk about suffering? Fine, let's talk about suffering. You want toknow what I like what it's like to be a...

...servant of the Lord and the sufferer totry to sake. I beat you all if that's how you want to play that game fivetimes received at the hands of the Jews, forty lashes, lest one three times Iwas beaten with rods. Once I was stoned three times, I was shipwrecked a nightand a day I was adrift at Sea on Frequent Journeys in danger fromrivers danger from robbers dangers from my own people, danger from the gentilesdanger in the city, danger in the Wilderness, danger at sea danger fromfalse brothers in toil and hardship through many a sleepless night in hunger and thirst, often withoutfood and cold and exposure, and apart from other things, there is the dailypressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Paul knows what it means to have needsPaul knows what it meansto lack or not lack things but to but to feel thepressures of the world around him. I don't think any of us here in thisroom have had to suffer like that, but we do still suffer Paul says we suffer. We will suffer.Jesus says it too, and so we ask ourselves like no doubtPaul asked himself from time to time. Am I going to make it through this? AmI going to be okay and what Jesus is telling us to daythrough Paul who knows about these things and speaksin the power of the Holy Spirit? He tells us you are not lacking in anygift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus. There is nothing in other words,there's nothing that you don't have that you need in order to wait and tomake it unto the end. Nothing, there's not one more dollar, one morerelationship, one more spiritual gift than what you have right now to wait right now now, perhaps you'll lean more later,perhaps you'll need less later, but that's nothing to worry about, becausewhy, as he says, God is faithful and God will sustain you, he will sustainyou to the end and so brothers and sisters based onthis passage. We can banish worry from our minds and our hearts. We canconsider the blessings and the one who has blessed us and know that we will bejust fine as Paul says in Romans, eight eleven. If the spirit of him who raisedJesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ, Jesus from the dead,will also give life to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells inyou. He continues in Romans, eight thirty,five who shall separate us from the love of Christ,...

...shall tribulation or distress or persecution or famine or nakednessor the sword. Paul goes on and says, for I am surethat neither life nor death death nor life nor angels, nor rulers nor thingspresent or things to come, nor powers nor height nor depth, nor anything in all creation will be able toseparate us from the love of God in Christ. Jesus our Lord, through faith in Him, remembering hisgifts and remembering the the giver we re truly can let our worries go because he's solid and stable, and that leads to this last point isour joy increases as our anxiety and worry decreases. The Lord helps us by remembering thesegifts to stay strong as we wait for the Lord's return. As our worry slips Alay bravery showsup remembering the gifts God has given us gives us courage. There are many many passages ofscripture that come to mind here are the first one I thought of was of DavidFacing Goliath, unafraid of this giant trained warrior. We hear David first asking as fellowIsraelites what shall be done for the man who kills the Philistine and takesaway the reproach from Israel, for who is this uncircumsised uncircumcisedPhilistine that he should defy the armies of the Living God David's? Looking at the situation andsaying what is going on here, why are you all afraid? Well, where is David's courage comefrom Saul, will try to give him courage, he'll put his armor on him, so willtake his armor and put it on Dave and it doesn't work. It doesn't fit. David tells us where his courage comesfrom. He remembers his gifts. He is mindfulof the wonders God has done for him and he says, and for Samuel Seventeenthirty seven, the Lord who delivered me from the paw of the lion and the paw ofthe bear will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine and Saul said toDavid. Go when the Lord be with you. God equips us with his many graces sothat we would lack nothing and to give us courage, pull says to Timothy and second Timothy,one versus six, the seven to hold fast to his calling and to remember what hehas been given, as he goes forward hear the exact words Paul says to Timothy. For this reason Iremind you to fan and aflame the gift of God, which is in you through thelaying on of hands of my hands, for God...

...gave us not a spirit not of fear but ofpower and love and self control. Paul is reminding Timothy, just as hereminds the Corinthians here of what Timothy has, and God is doing the samefor you today. He is reminding you of what you have in Christ, so fan it intoflame. Put some oxygen on that thing: Let it grow, let it build because Goddid not give us a spirit of fear, but a bravery, courage of self controland love so that we can face the trials that we will face in this life. David says in Psalm, twenty seven one.The Lord is my light. Whom shall I fear to be the equiment of bring it? Let's go, I'm okay, I'm going to befine, because the Lord is on my side and we likewise have been givenspiritual resources in Christ to stand strong to know to act, to love, to hold fastto fight against the world. We do not need to shrink back as wewait, but instead we need to remain strongand we will remain strong with eager expectation, full of hope and courage, because we do not wear the armor of manwe wear. The Armor of God is Paul, says an Ephesian six be strongin the Lord and in the strength of his might put on the whole armour of Godthat you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil, for wewrestle not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers against theauthorities against the cosmic powers over this present darkness against thespiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places, therefore take up thewhole armor of God, and then he goes on to describe that first. He says that you may be able towithstand the evil withstand in the evil day, having done all to stand firm,but then he begins to describe those graces that God has given to us thoseways in which God has made us sufficient through Christ. He a stand, therefore, having fastenedon the belt of truth, having put on the breastplate ofrighteousness and his shoes for your feed. Having put on the readiness givenby the gospel of peace, in all circumstances, take up theshield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of theevil one and take the helmet of salvation the sword of the spirit,which is the word of God, praying at all times in the spirit with all prayerand supplication. This is the armor of God. This is thegrace you have been given. You see why...

...we can stand strong. Do you see why wecan stand firm? Do you see why we can be grateful people even in the midst ofmuch darkness, because we don't stand in our ownstrength? We don't fight in our own strength. We stand in the strength ofGod, we fight in the strength of God. We draw our resources from Christhimself, who is at work within US and willsustain us to the end. This passage calls us to have couragein any trial or challenge that we might face. If we remember our gifts, if weremember our armor, we can be bold and fight in the strength of his might some conclusion, as you think of allthese things that we've considered this morning, I hope that you have beenencouraged and that you have been reminded to survey the wonderful giftsthat come to us through Christ and his work for us on the Cross. And, if you don't know Jesus, if you'venot put your faith in him, then I hope you have been duly enticed by thegraciousness of the love of God to his children. If you hear of a grant that you can getat school or a sale at the grocery store or free money available, somebenefit at work. You take advantage of these things right. So why would you wait and not trust inJesus when he is freely pouring these things out on those who put their faithin him? Why would you wait to trust Christ toreceive the free gift of eternal life, which is a blessing to every Christiannow and in the age to come? Don't wait. Instead, let us together be a people who knowour saviour and His grace to us. Let us be a peoplethat remember that are filled with gratitude, find our worries. Slipping away, havegreater and greater boldness for the fight and for the weight, as we eagerlywait for the revealing of the Lord. Let us be a people of thanks living. I trusting in God who sustains us tothe end, a men, let's pray. I.

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