Faithlife Sermons

God's Work, Our Work

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Big Idea

Tension: How does the author conceive that God will accomplish his work of strengthening the church through Jesus Christ?
Resolution: By the readers continuing to treasure his “word of exhortation”?
Exegetical Idea: The author conceives that God will accomplish his work of strengthening the church through Jesus Christ by the readers continuing to treasure his “word of exhortation.”
Theological Idea: God accomplishes his gospel work in the church through the church treasuring the Scripture.
Homiletical Idea: God will do his gospel work among us as we treasure Scripture.

Outline

Intro: We all want to see God build a healthy church, but how does he do that? The city of brotherly love.
I. God’s Work
The God of peace (cf. 12:11, 14) As we strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord and peace with others? By seeking God we will have peace with others. To have God as father means we have to have the church as our family.
This God who rose Jesus - He is the one who gave life to Jesus. Here’s the implication, if God gave life to Jesus, God can give life to you. If God rose up Christ, God can raise up a church. If God undid the grave, God give breathe life into a community.
Why did he do this? Because of the blood of the eternal covenant. Because Jesus has established a new covenant, God is going to keep his promise. Jesus is the new covenant head. He is our new Adam. And Jesus has kept that covenant perfectly, and the Father will keep his covenant perfectly.
Which is why Jesus’ title here is that he is “the great shepherd of the sheep.” (cf. 1 Peter 2:25 , 5:4 ) What this primary reference to here is that Jesus loves the church, and he’s provided for teh chruch. He’s not going anywhere.
1 Peter 2:25 ESV
For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
1 Peter 5:4 ESV
And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
equip you with everything good that you may do his will - So what is he asking this amazing God to do? Well he’s asking this God of peace to equip his people. He’s asking them to “strengthen them”. And what is he strengthening them for? That they might do his will. That they might obey him and follow him and serve him.
working in us that which is pleasing in his sight - Now look, who does this? who is the one who makes us do what is pleasing? God is. God is the one who is working inside of us. Listen to me, Christian, so often we put the spiritual burdens on ourselves, “I need to do this, I need to be this, I need to do these 12 things, I need to makes sure”- and I’m not saying we have no obligation. We do, as we will see. But who is ultimately responsible? God is. Christian, you can trust that God is taking responsibility for your discipleship, for your sanctification, for your Christian work. And I know you feel like you will never make it, like the church will never be what its supposed to be, but just as faithfully as God rose Jesus from teh dead, he will raise this church to life, he will give you life.
through Jesus Christ - Why? Because of the blood of Jesus Christ.
to him be glory forever and ever. - Which is why Jesus gets all the glory.
II. Our Work
Word of exhortation - I don’t think that the author wants us to read this apart from his previous uses of the same word “word” (4:12-13). I think he views his letter as Scripture, and he is saying, read my word as Scripture.
Bear with my word of exhortation for I have written to you briefly - This word for “bear” means to “continue to bear.” It is a repetitive action. He’s not saying, “bear with this once, put it in your bookshelf and never touch it again.” He means, “read it again and again, consider it, meditate on it, think about it.” Make it essential. You see this here, that the author is instructing Christians to again and again and again stay in the Scriptures.
Brothers… You should know… Greet all your leaders and all the saints, those who come from Italy send you greetings (vs. 23-24). I don’t think that it is an accident that these words about greeting the leaders of the church next to the word of exhortation is a mistake. I think it is actually intentional. It is as Christians bear with, meditate on, think about, and study God’s Word, the relationship between pastors and parishioners, between different CHristians are brought together. The only way to build genuine Christian community is around Scripture.
Grace be with you - And then he ends it in vs. 25, that “grace be with all of you.” That God will give the grace to the Church to draw them together through the Word.
How do these things work? Is the church brought together by the blood of Jesus, or is it brought together by studying God’s Word. Is it God or us? Jesus builds his church, but does this mean that we don’t do anything? Who is working. God works through our work. God does his gospel work in his church as his people strive for his Word.
Philippians 2:12–13 (ESV)
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Do you want this to be a place where Christians are reconciled, where the elders serve well, where the church submits to that leadership, where we see people be saved, where lives are changed, where marriages are redeemed, where children are raised in the fear and the adomination of the Lord? Then hold onto God’s Word. Cherish it. prieach it. DOn’t tolerate pathetic attempts to use it as a prop. Let it give life. And when you do that, when that is your work, when you and I study God’s Word and we let it transform us, God is himself building the church to be all that it should be. 1 Timothy 4:14-15
1 Timothy 4:14–15 (ESV)
Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress.
Application
Let your vision for the Church die. Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
Let God do his work. Let God’s grace, God’s WOrd, God’s gospel to do it’s work. Donm’t get in teh way of it.
“Suppose a number of persons were to take it into their heads that they had to defend a lion, full-grown king of beasts! There he is in the cage, and here come all the soldiers of the army to fight for him. Well, I should suggest to them, if they would not object, and feel that it was humbling to them, that they should kindly stand back, and open the door, and let the lion out! I believe that would be the best way of defending him, for he would take care of himself; and the best 'apology' for the gospel is to let the gospel out.””
Cherish God’s Word. -
God is working in our work.
Conclusion: How does a city get built?
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