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Judges 20. The second appendix: The Benjamite War; Coming to know Christ fully through complete devotion.

JUDGES-20-171205
length: 65:58 - taught on Dec, 5 2017
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Title: Judges 20. The second appendix: The Benjamite War; Coming to know Christ fully through complete devotion.

 

 

In the world, the battle is won and then the reward is given. In Christianity, the reward is the battle and the victory in it.

 

If the reward or inheritance were strictly some kind of materialism then we would have to conclude that we are working to earn a reward, but this is not the case. The reward is not something outside of the battle itself. The reward is the experience and the resultant character and strength that it brings. The character is Christ; the battle comes upon all who follow Christ simply because the world hates Him. These have all been given to us. They are not earned or worked for.  

 

We must ask ourselves; do we desire some reward from God, but not the character and strength of Christ? If we do, then we are mistaken about the inheritance of Christ. The character and strength of Christ is the reward.   

 

No one who has not withstood with patience, courage, and faith the undeserved suffering that comes upon a man for the sake of Christ can know or have the character of it.  

 

Can we only see things as making up the inheritance, or can we also see character and virtue as a great part of our inheritance in Christ? What good is it if I have all the crowns that heaven can offer, but I don't have persevering faith?

 

Php 3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things again is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you.

 

We have been on this subject for over two weeks. To learn the same things time and again is a safeguard for us.

 

Php 3:2 Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision;

 

Php 3:3 for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh,

 

Confidence in ourselves will only bring failure and misery. Our only confidence is Christ within us, working through us as we trust Him and His word and His Spirit.

 

Php 3:4 although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:

 

Php 3:5 circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee;

 

Php 3:6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.

 

Php 3:7 But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.

 

Paul didn’t take a vow of poverty. It is simply the fact that we can’t serve two masters. He could not continue to be a Pharisee, nor could he follow the law any longer. This lost to him his wealth, prestige, position, and even his own family. He did not cast aside the people in his prior life; they cast him aside due to his affiliation with the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Php 3:8 More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ,

 

Paul doesn’t renounce all things. In other words, we should enjoy entertainment, relationships, reading, discovering things in this world, sports, etc. all in God’s will, but in view of knowing Christ they are as loss. If I put anything on His level, in other words I can say that I love Him as I love someone or something else, then I don’t know Him or love Him. He is far above all things.

 

Php 3:9 and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,

 

Php 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

 

He actually wants to fellowship with Christ's sufferings. Without this we will not know Christ fully. You cannot separate Him from what He endured at the hands of evil men. He wouldn’t be Him if those things did not come upon Him.  

 

We don't have to go looking for it, for then it wouldn't be His suffering. It would be deserved instead of undeserved if we caused it or sought it out, even if we were sincere in wanting to know Him more. We just have to follow Him and give our whole lives over to Him, and the suffering will come.

 

It is actually a sad thing, because it is evil men, all of whom could enjoy the eternal life and love of God, but refuse, who do the persecuting. We should pity them and always stand in their place and pray for them, for they will never pray for themselves. We should love them and do good to them, so that they may come to see and know the beauty of Christ as we have.

 

Php 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;

 

Php 3:11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

 

Php 3:12 Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect [complete], but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.

 

Php 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

 

Php 3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

 

Php 3:15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;

 

Php 3:16 however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.

 

The reward is not to be viewed as getting more stuff than others, as if it is an earthly reward. The reward is living in the power of Christ and experiencing His very strength and faith flow through you.

 

If you care more about a literal crown in heaven than the experience of Christ's faith and strength flowing through you, then you will get neither (if indeed the crowns are literal).

 

The crowns are called righteousness, life, and glory. They are described as incorruptible. These terms must define the heart, soul, spirit, and body of the believer.

 

It will always apply, that if your motivation for doing anything is ultimately selfish, like materialism either on earth or in heaven, then it is not godly. We have seen that it will be godly for the growing believer to want the best for himself, but it is not ironic in the plan of God that what is best for him is complete selflessness.

 

It is only not a paradox in the plan of God that when a believer desires the best for himself, he desires complete selflessness.

 

He is to lose his life that he may find it. What is best for him is to put God first and secondly others. What he does is best for him, though he has no consideration for himself. What he does is best for him, though he does not seek his own. What he does is best for him, though he lays down his life. The blessed (seeming) paradoxes are only found in God's way. His ways are higher than our own.

 

We sacrifice unto God first and foremost and only then to people, then we will not care if we are recognized or thanked.

 

We must first get straight that service to God is not giving Him anything. Every faculty we have, the ability to think and talk and do, has been given to us by God. If you devoted every second of every day of your life to Him, you could not give Him anything that in a sense wasn't His already. When a believer does something for God it is like a child asking his father for a dollar so that he can go and buy him a present. No one would think the father actually received anything, other than possibly the love of his child.

 

When we start out in the Christian way of life, we attempt the heavenly virtues of Christ and find ourselves failing. We discover that the Christian life is not some kind of exam in which you get a mark. It is rather a life that I am always living and anticipating, and always in grace. Then, when we get a few virtues down, we discover that God accomplished it in us. With the knowledge of these two things, we realize that we have discovered our bankruptcy independent of God.

 

We must do as those who know they are saved and are righteous. If we can, we will do without fear or worry, and in complete dependence upon Christ's power.

 

We are to reject asceticism for the sake of asceticism alone. But if we find that the flesh has far too frequently ruled over us with the result that we failed to serve our Master, then it is time for an assault on the flesh, but not through brutally treating the body, but through Bible study and prayer, and with these, a greater diligence.

 

1CO 9:26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air;

 

1CO 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified

 

"Disqualified" (adokimazo) = un-testable.

 

One of the types of tests that we receive is the call to deny ourselves something that we may legitimately partake of in the service of another, even an enemy or persecutor.

 

Salvation does not guarantee self-control in life. The Corinthians were believers, and they were carnal. When the Christian thirsts and hungers for righteousness then he is a disciple.

 

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