TV Transcripts

“The Key to Christian Living” Part One
Broadcast #1624
November 19, 2023

Transcript of message from TV Broadcast 1624 -- taken from Closed Captioning Text

Phil: Well, it seems like every time we have a men’s meeting, it seems like without fail, so many of the thoughts that I had connection with the service came forth in various ways. And I feel like the Lord is speaking many of the same things to us. The thoughts that I’ve had are very connected to the most recent services, and it almost seems like a lot of it is repetitious. And yet, I think the Lord wants us to see it over and over again, number one, but also to see things from different points of view.

And I feel like the thoughts I’ve had this morning are really the key to Christian living, the key to Christian living. I mean, that’s a pretentious title, in a way, to say, there is the key. But yet, I believe with all my heart that there’s a simplicity that the Lord wants us to discover, don’t you? We’re the ones who complicate it. We just imagine so many things.

But Brother Alan takes the services here, and then the Lord helps him to pick the ones that are gonna wind up on the broadcast. And I recently got the list for November. And the first service, the first two weeks are going to be from a service preached just about a year ago, now, on You, God, and the Devil, I think is the title, or close to that, anyway. And I just got, now, I worked on the transcription so that it can be on the website on the appropriate day, and just brought back to me the wonderful truths that are in 1 Peter 5. And I felt like the Lord quickened some very simple things from that once again.

And we do see that there is quite a portrayal of God and His role in everything. We see the devil and what he’s about. But the focus, of course, in that context is of God defining what He’s looking for from us in order to accomplish the thing that He has set out to accomplish.

And in several places, there are references in this chapter to where He’s headed with all of this. And that is something He calls glory. Now, we see glimpses of this simple fact that God is a glorious being. There is a brightness about Him and about His kingdom that human eyes couldn’t stand. Jesus spoke of a time when the kingdom would be reaped, the harvest would be reaped, and says, “Then the saints of God will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father.”

So, here the Lord is taking people like us with all this lacking in us, all the things that are wrong with us, no matter where we’ve come from. We may have come from the gutter. But yet, God absolutely has the power to transform anyone who will put their lives in His hand into someone who can stand there on that day with the same glory that Isaiah observed in chapter six where the Lord caught him up to that high place. He saw the Lord sitting on a throne and there was a glory that just overpowered him.

And how many other times has that happened in the scriptures? The mountaintop where Jesus went up and he was transfigured before Peter, James, and John, and all of a sudden, they saw a glowing figure that just overpowered them, and Moses and Elijah talking with him.

I mean, the reality of what lies beyond our vision in this world is something God wants us to know. We live in a blind, sin-cursed world that has no clue what everything is about. And yet, you see the themes that the Lord allows Peter to weave into this that I believe are so key to what God is looking for from us and what He expects to accomplish.

But again, he mentions, he’s talking in the beginning of the chapter to the elders, but he mentions that he is also one who will share in the glory to be revealed. That’s what’s coming. And I think we’ve made this point before that there is coming a day when all this will drop away. We will see as we are seen, we will know as we’re known. And those who know him will shine, again, like the sun. And there will be a glowing company of people who have been transformed by what God has done through the cross that we’ve singing about this morning.

Thank God it will, and we will know when we get there that it has been all Him and that our place is simply to put our lives in His hands and trust Him. It really comes down to that. And of course, he comes down to the, late in the passage, and he comes back to that same theme. “The God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a while will himself restore you, make you strong, firm, and steadfast. To him be the power forever and ever.”

Once again, we see a God Who has a purpose. He is calling out a people from this broken world and His purpose is to take us even as we are and change us into beings who will absolutely be at home in such a place and be able to live with Him and share that glory forever and ever, a life of, of meaning and purpose.

And of course, we see that, we obviously see the reference there to sufferings as part of it, so we know that there is something that He is doing. There’s a reason that we’re here, as we’ve said many times, that He doesn’t just simply save us and take us right on to glory. But rather, we are here for a reason and for a season to accomplish something in us and for Him to live in and through us.

These are things that are easy to say and they sound repetitious, but how many of you feel like you’ve really got a handle, a full handle on this and you know all about it and you’re just there? And I’m not seeing any hands because we are very much in the middle of a process that we understand far less than we would like to think and like to claim.

And so, the Lord is wanting, and yet, the Lord is not wanting us to know that so that we will be discouraged, but rather, that we will have our minds and hearts focused. This is a worldview issue. This is how we see the world around us, its purpose, and our place in it.

Because this world is blind. We’ve said that many times. It has been blinded through sin and the power of the kingdom of darkness, these angels that fell and rebelled against God. There is a real kingdom at work, and we see it, as we said many times, unfolding before us, the depth of the hold that is upon the human race.

And so, when Peter talks about the devil, what does he say? He says, “Be alert and sober of mind. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion.” What is he doing? “Looking for someone to devour.”

Now, we’ve had a couple of messages in the past about “devil’s food.” The reality is, the devils, the angels that fell, and we call them demons or devils now, their entire existence has been reduced to one simple thing. They have this evil nature that just craves expression. But how do they get that expression? They’re gonna have to get it through people. They need the flesh of a human being who’s living in this world in order to get their jollies, to get their satisfaction.

You remember how Jesus talked about an unclean spirit going out of a man? What happens? Goes through dry places seeking rest and finding none. There’s nothing out there. If a demon cannot be bothering and working and even living in and through a human being, it is miserable. Its entire existence, you think about a hopeless drug addict who just cannot live without the drug. Well, that’s the condition that demons are in and that’s why they are preying upon human flesh. And of course, Peter’s warning believers that we need to be on the guard because he will work through you.

But I mean, you wanna know the character of a devil? You think about some of the terrible crimes that we read about, and you realize where the inspiration comes from. What’s going on is there’s a spirit on the inside, or spirits, that live and inhabit that human being. And they will drive, say, a human being to commit a horrible, brutal murder without any conscience. What’s going on, there? Is that just the man? No, you’ve got demonic power that is sitting there enjoying that, loving it, feeding on it. That’s the character of the devil in this world and that’s what’s happening in the world.

You have that picture in Revelation of the man of the, I’m trying to picture the exact thing, but he’s a warrior on a white horse, and he’s called the Word of God. And he leads an army out into the world and many people are slain. What does that warrior do when that happens? Remember that passage late in Revelation? He calls to the fowls of the air, Come and feed. That’s what’s happening right now. There are people who are rejecting the Word of God, they’re rejecting what they know. And all that’s left is to be devil’s food.

There are really only two alternatives. We’re either gonna participate in what God is, is revealing to us, the simplicity of it in this chapter, or people are gonna be devil’s food and perish. Those are the only two gates there are. That’s the only two ways there are. And so, we’re called to this.

And one of the key thoughts, the key word in the middle of it is humility. And I believe the Lord wants us to understand that in a greater measure than perhaps we do. We know that humility is a virtue that we’re called to have, and trying to navigate that and understand it, we tend to think of it in human terms.

I mean, one way that humility so-called works in this world is you have somebody who’s in a position of power and influence, right? And then, somebody else comes along and they need something and they want something. Again, everybody’s out for themselves in this world. And so, what do they do? In order to get what they want, they will kowtow, they will come down and just act real humble, like they’re acknowledging this person who’s in this great power, great place of influence, and they’ll call that “being humble.”

There’s not a bit of humility in it. The reality is, what the humility that God calls us to, it’s not even an emotion. I think it’s, I’ve met people and I guess I’ve done it myself. We’ve all done it at one time or another if we’ve known the Lord or any length of time, we’ll get some little glimpse of what we really are, and it’ll make us so focused on what we’re not that we’re in a puddle of self-pity and, What’s the matter with me, and, Oh, poor me, and, I just can’t get it right, and on and on and on. We call that humility.

I mean, get real. If you wanna know why you’re such a failure at living the Christian life, read Romans 7. How can we live the Christian life in the strength of what we were born with in Adam? It can’t happen.

And so, I felt like the Lord just dropped a simple thought into my mind that what we’re dealing with here is not, it’s not this emotion we gotta come up with. Oh, I’ve gotta be humble. I’ve gotta act a certain way, and I can’t. I tell you, you can do all that and it’ll actually be an expression of pride. I’m humble, and of course, we have the, the expression, I’m humble and proud of it. But seriously, if we’re so focused on us and what we are and what we aren’t, that’s pride.

Folks, my existence, my value as a human being has nothing to do with what I am or am not in this world. It has nothing to do with how other people see me and evaluate me. And the more we and our thinking are geared to that and bound by that, the more we are in prison. And that prison is founded upon pride, me trying to be something.

And that’s the very thing that God sent his Son into the world to save us from. And oh, how we fight Him! Oh, how we don’t get that. And I just, I pray that God will somehow make this alive in us that we can get what He’s really talking about here. He’s not looking for people to act humble. He’s not looking for people to do a lot of work and do a lot of this and do a lot of that and it just, somehow, we are generating this sense, Okay, I’m humble now, everything’s okay.

The reality is, what God wants us to face is not an emotion or something where He’s accusing us of not measuring up. It’s just simple fact. I mean, get real. If you’re not a helpless sinner in yourself, you don’t need a savior. And if you do, it’s just a fact that we have to live with and acknowledge. We don’t have to spend our time thinking, Oh, I should be better, I should be this, I should, no, I am what I am. I need Jesus instead of me. He is everything I am not.

And so, it’s not like I have to come up with this, Oh, I’m so humble and I gotta, oops, my, my emotions aren’t quite right now. I gotta get humble, here. It’s just recognizing, this is what I am, and I don’t even need to spend time worrying about it. I’m just, and when the Lord shows me something, I mean, He does it for all the right reasons. Absolutely, His heart is for us. And so, now you see the definition of this played out, though.

Peter begins with addressing the elders. Now, in New Testament order, I think you could easily go through the scriptures and demonstrate this. Church order has grown into this monstrosity of different levels and different places, different things. But elders, pastors, shepherds, bishops, they were all the same thing in the New Testament.

When Paul preached the gospel on that, especially in the first missionary journey, it becomes very evident. He went, they preached the gospel, they gathered a group of saints, and encouraged them to, to meet together and to look to the Lord.

And then, he traveled back there, it was a matter of weeks or months later at most. And what does it say he did? He ordained elders. Now, what was he looking for? He was looking for people that God laid his hand on, maybe just a little bit more mature. But whatever it was, it wasn’t human qualification. It was a divine gift. And the function of that gift was simply to be a watchman, someone who would care for others, someone who would focus their attention on being a big brother to the family and looking out for all of the other ones.

And so, it wasn’t this big ecclesiastical thing that we talk about today. It was just a very simple thing. You had people whose gift and calling was to watch out for the sheep. And the very fact that it’s that sense of being a shepherd that the Lord is talking about.

I find it interesting, a fact I pointed out many times, that when Peter addresses them, he does not say, Now, listen, I was the first and greatest apostle, and I want you to get that so you’ll pay attention to what I’m telling you, now. Don’t forget, I was the one who spoke on the day of Pentecost! No, you don’t get that sense at all from him. “To the elders among you, I appeal,” doesn’t say, I command. I appeal as, what? “A fellow elder.” See, this is just somebody who was among them. He didn’t lift himself up and talk down to them.

He said: Brothers, here we are. I just wanna share some things with you, but I’m not lifting myself up to any special place. There’s only one that deserves that place. His name is Jesus. And so, I’m gonna appeal to you as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed.

Right off, you get a sense that this whole picture is not just individualism. This is not just “me and Jesus,” is it, okay? So, now he encourages the shepherds, and he says, “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care.” Now, interesting that he uses the analogy, because we don’t think of sheep as very smart animals, do we? Step one, if we’re gonna talk about being humble and humility being simply dealing with facts, I’ve gotta absolutely accept the fact that when it comes to things that really matter, eternal matters, I’m just a sheep.

I don’t know. I mean, I don’t care what intelligence people have in this world or what their accomplishments are in this world. When it comes to eternal matters, I’m as dumb as they come. I need a shepherd. I need somebody who can lead me and teach me. I’m not in a position to explain things to the shepherd. I need watch care, okay?

Now, you’ve got some under-shepherds, though, who are helping the sheep. But let’s remember in this, part of this is getting what it means to be humble. It’s simply accepting the facts of the matter. And they’re not wallowing in that and saying, Oh, I wish it were different, but rather, (sighs) That’s the way it is, and because of that, I don’t have to worry. I can just put my life in His hands.

Now, the character of the shepherd. In the context of humility, what does a being a shepherd look like? “Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them not because you must, but because you are willing.” Right there, you got the possibility that someone could just see this as an unwanted duty. Oh, bother. Why don’t they leave me alone? I’ve got my own stuff to worry about, and there they are again. No, there’s this sense that this is what defines my life, is fulfilling his purpose for me and walking in that. There’s a willingness there, okay?

“As God wants you to be, not pursuing dishonest gain.” Of course, we see a lot of that in religion where it’s more about the prestige someone can get or the money they can get out of it. God help us, we’re not doing this with any other motive than simply serving God. Money, no money, that’s not part of it.

When Jesus sent out the disciples, he said, Don’t even take money in your pocket. Don’t take anything extra. Just go. And the Lord, the implication was the Lord will take care of those kinds of things. Just focus on what your job is, all right? “Not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve, eager to serve.”

And very important, “Not lording it over those entrusted to you.” Just because someone is given a position where they’re watching over and others are meant to recognize that, that’s not a position of demanding, of lording it over and commanding people and trying to lift yourself up and subjugate people under your hand.

It has nothing to do with that, does it? God help us, everyone to have that kind of a spirit in every relationship that we have. If God’s put you in a place where you’re over somebody else, you’re not a little dictator. Don’t act like Hitler. Don’t act like some boss, some mob boss. We need to have the same spirit that was in Jesus, don’t we? Okay?

“Not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief shepherd shall appear, or appears, You will receive the crown of glory,” there’s that word again, “that will never fade away.”

I mean, here we have the possibility existing of somebody called to be an elder and their main focus is, what I can get out of this life, my plans, what I want. And here’s the Lord calling and saying, Wait a minute. This world is passing away.

Someone mentioned the scripture about not serving two masters. I mean, almost every scripture that was shared this morning bears on what I’m talking about. It was wonderful. But I’ll tell you, God has called us out of this world to be like Him, and you’re talking about the chief shepherd. He’s a pretty good example, isn’t he?

Wow! You think of somebody who learned how to be a servant. You think of what he said about being the Good Shepherd and his sheep hearing his voice. He called them, they listened to him, and he chooses them, he saves them, and no one can take them out of his hand. No one can pluck them out of his hand and no one can pluck them out of the Father’s hand because the Father’s hand is around the whole deal. No one’s able to pluck them out of His hand. I didn’t quote that very well, but that’s the substance of what he said.

But think of the amazing spirit and heart. I mean, you’re talking about the creator of the universe, here, who came down here. Didn’t pass himself off and say, Hey, look, didn’t trade on who he was. I mean, he heals somebody and says: Don’t tell anybody. I’m not here to make a splash. I’m not here to make a name for myself in that carnal sense, that earthly sense. I just have a mission. I’m here because I’m part of a plan that started in the heart of God.

Well, isn’t that what God’s called you and me to? Does he actually have a plan or is this just happening randomly? No, there is a heart of God that is working out something that is amazing.

Return to TV Transcripts