The text I've chosen for this morning is 1 Corinthians 16:13, a short but powerful verse near the end of Paul's letter to that troubled church. This is a verse that outlines itself. Four simple imperatives: "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." There you have my outline in the exact words of the verse itself. Four points, separated by commas.
I chose that text not merely because it preaches itself, but mainly because this year I wanted to bring a word of encouragement and support to beleaguered shepherds who are trying to minister faithfully and biblically in these difficult times.
It's not easy. The church of our generation is shot through with deep-seated problems. The evangelical movement in particular is hopelessly confused, divided, frivolous, fleshly, man-centered. Even some of today's best-known and largest evangelical churches deliberately cultivate irreverence, superficiality, worldliness, compromise, carnal behavior, infidelity, and sometimes even the rankest kinds of heresy. In a hundred different ways the contemporary evangelical movement is exactly like the church at Corinth. Every problem that plagued Corinth is a hallmark of the culture in which you and I are called to serve Christ.
And I don't know about you, but for me, it's actually a great encouragement to know that every major problem we have to deal with in the church of the 21st century, Paul likewise dealt with in Corinth. His epistles to that church are full of wise counsel and sound ministry philosophy for you and me and the ministries we serve.
Fighting Apostasy with Intelligence A blistering attack and debunking of Pseudo Evangelicals, with restrained vocal tone, no yelling or bitterness. Amazing performance. My wife and I listened tonight and were mightily impressed.
Hank Hudson (4/30/2012)
from Deerfield Beach, FL
Powerful Sermon! Phil strongly and clearly shows us what we need to do to become and stay strong Christians. The 4 principles, watch, stand in faith, be like true men, and be strong are necessary to fight the daily battle against the world.
We need to cultivate these 4 things more every day so that they are normal parts of our lives.
May H (7/27/2010)
Wow! This is one powerful sermon. PCUSA pastors, this one is for you.
M.E.. Baughman (5/27/2010)
contending for the faith This type of message needs to be heard more often, by more people.
Phil is the executive director of Grace to You. He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of Johnâ€™s major books. Phil also maintains several popular websites, including The Spurgeon Archive, The Hall of Church History, and the Pyromaniacs blog. He is an...