Under Suspicion

Scripture: I Peter 2:11-17

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners {1and pilgrims {2}, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 
14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men– 
16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 
  1. Paroikos–a stranger, a foreigner, one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship; a none citizen. From another people.
  2. Parepidēmos–one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives. A sojourner, stranger,  or foreigner. From another country.

INTRODUCTION

In this passage, Peter reminds his readers that they are STRANGERS and FORIEGNERS to the pagan who live around them. The two words Peter uses are very similiar: one means “not from our house or people” and the other means “not from our country.” The point is clear: As followers of Christ, we do not fit into the culture. We are different; our values are different. Our sights are set on heaven but the world doesn’t think beyond the present world system. 


This means, we live under constant scrutiny. We are under suspicion. The world thinks we are weird. It’s like the story Vance Havner use to tell…A man went in to see a phycharitrist, he had his head tilted back with a strip of bacon drapped across each ear and a poched egg on his face. He said to the shrink…”I came to see you about my wife.” He had a few problems himself. The world thinks we are weird, that we have problems; they don’t realize, they have a few problems themselves.

Living in a pagan environment is always toughIn light of this problem: Peter gives them some admonitions…

I. ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUST

Neither ‘flesh’ or ‘lust’ have a good ring and when you put them together, they sound even worse. David Walls {Holman Commentary} believes that Peter is not speaking about sensual lust primarily but about selfishness in general. Since I am a man, I think sensual first but he has a point. Walls says, “Sinful desires {fleshly lust} is best understood as strong desires motivated by our selfishness.” We are talking about any desire that is contrary to the will of God.


There are two reasons for abstaining: First we must maintain our witness before unbelievers and second; we must Protect our souls. These fleshly lust or worldly desires are enemies to the soul and the reason Peter uses the word ‘war’ is that these desires are constantly attacking our minds. The Greek word that Peter uses in reference to this war is strateuō from which we get our word ‘strategy.” It is all apart of the devil strategy.


Paul speaks about this in Galatians 5:17… For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposiiton to one another, so that you may not do the things you please.

II. MAINTAIN HONORABLE CONDUCT

Peter knew that they would speak against the Christians and our best defense is an honorable life that Glorifies Christ.


 If you think being a Christian is hard these days, you should go back to the first century. Christianity was new and very misunderstood. It was not considered a religion, not a legitimate one anyway. It was considered a cult or a sect. For years it was treated as a “sect” of Judaism until folks figured out the truth. You know how it is when something new is birthed and people don’t understand it: they come up with all kinds of crazy accusations and this was the case for the believers in Northern Asia Minor. They were being accused of being:

  1. Canibals because of the LORD’s supper
  2. Ungodly because they had no idols
  3. Anarchist because they claimed that Jesus was LORD

The main criticism of the Christians was that they were anti-government. Since they gave alleigence to Jesus their KING {LORD}, they were accused of being trouble makers, anarchist and disrespectful to authority. Peter admonished them to submit to the civil authorities.


Actually the criticism was completely unfounded as the primary principle of the Christian faith is to submit to authority beginning with Christ. No one should be better at submitting to authority than Christians. Christianity is not a license to rebel or to do as we please. 


We are to submit to authority so long as we are not ordered to do something immoral or contrary to the law of God. God has established authority for the orderly function of human life. [Illustration: sports–without rules and the enforcement of rules, you do not have a game]

III. WE CANNOT USE OUR CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AS A CLOAK FOR VICE

As Christians, we are free, no one has more liberty than a follower of Christ:

  1. We have freedom from the domineering power of sin: we may sin, but we don’t have to, we have the freedom and the power to say no.
  2. We are free from the penalty of sin, free of guilt because we have been forgiven.
  3. We are free from the anxiety and frustration of trying to fulfill the laws demands.  Free from the lawO happy condition, Jesus has bled and there is remission, Cursed by the law and bruised by the fall, Christ {Grace} hath redeemed us once for all.

BUT we are not free to do as we please and then claim grace. Grace is not abstract. It is not something out there, grace is within us. If we have been born again, grace is at work in us, giving us the desire to please God. Grace is not a cloak that covers our rebellion; it is not a rabbits foot.

Peter says in 2:16…Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.

No issue is more misunderstood today than slavery. No culture on the planet misunerstands it more than spoiled Americans. Do you know what it is like to starve, to be without shelter or clothing? No you don’t. In the Roman Empire, one third of the people were slaves and they were not black. Some were black but the majority were not. The Romans enslaved all whom they captured. Human trafficing was big business and Joseph is proof of the pudding. Daniel and Nehemiah were also slaves. The British enslaved the Scotts for hunderds of years. Slavey is not a black/white issue and those who think it is are ignorant of world history.

In the ancient world, desperate people often attacked themselves to wealthy people who could provide their common needs. Of course, no one in their right mind would choose a cruel man to be their master but it was common for people to voluntarily attack themselves to good masters. These people were known as bondslaves.

Paul considered himself a bondslave to Jesus Christ. Oswald Chambers in MY UTMOST FOR HIS HIGHEST said, “The passion of Christianity is that I deliberately sign my own rights away and become a bondslave of Jesus Christ.” When I speak of giving your life to Christ, I mean it literally.

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The Spiritual House

Scripture: 1 Peter 2:4-10

4 And coming to Him as to a Living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood., to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 
6 For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a CHOICE STONE, a PRECIOUS CORNER STONE, and he who believes is HIM will not be disappointed.” 
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but those who disbelieve, “The STONE which the builders rejected, this became the very conrner stone,” 
8 and, “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE”; for they STUMBLE because they are disobedient to the WORD, and to this doom they were also appointed. 
9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSON, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light
10 for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 

INTRODUCTION

Last week we talked about “Spiritual Growth” of the individual member within the body of Christ. We used Paul’s analogy of the church as a body taken from Romans 12…so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. So the church is a body, an organism, not merely an organization. Tonight, we continue with Peter’s analogy of the church as a ‘Building’ made up of ‘living stones’.

Not all of us are builders but most of us are familiar with the different aspects of a building. I guess we could start with DESIGN.

I. DESIGN {Plan and Purpose}

  1. I have a small office building, it was designed to be a place of retreat, study and prayer. This is the purpose of the building. Why build a building if there is no purpose? When we think about DESIGN, we think about an architect and a blue print. Before you begin any building, you need a plan or a blue print. This message will sound redundant but let me tell you that JESUS IS THE ARCHITECT of this Spiritual House that Peter is referring to. He has the plan. You might say, HE IS THE PLAN. But we do have clear building instructions in the WORD OF GOD. Notice Peter’s emphasis on the ‘word.’ [2:6,8] Just as the “Word of God” is vital to our spiritual growth as individuals, it is vital to the growth of God’s Spiritual House. [Illustration: Dr. Wiersbe tells of a contractor who got to the building site to build a two story house. As he and his workers began the construction, they noticed the local lumber yard had sent the wrong materials. Nothing was working according to plan. What they discovered later was that the contractor had been given the wrong blue print. Once they got the plan right, the construction went perfectly]
  2. The DESIGN fits the PURPOSE of the building. Note what Peter says in verse 5, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. The OT Jewish Priest needed a Temple or Tabernacle. This was the place where they offered up sacrifices which was the key to O.T. worship. In the NT, every believer is a priest which is what Peter is referring to in verse 9 {Royal Priesthood}. In the O.T. you had to be a descendant of Aaron to be a priest but in the New Covenant, every believer is a priest. This speaks of two things: {1} Wonderful Privilege— we can approach the throne of grace anytime day or night because Christ has become our High Priest and He has conferred upon us the right to approach. {2} Awesome Responsibility–Like the O.T. Priest, we are to minister {1} To God and {2} to others. We are to offer up sacrifices but unlike the O.T. sacrifices, our sacrifices are spiritual. The bible gives us our INSTRUCTIONS in Hebrews 13:15-16, NASB…
15 Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name. 16 And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. 
Four Spiritual Sacrifices are mentioned here: [1] Praise “fruit of the lips” [2] Thanksgiving [Psalm 116:17] [3] Good Deeds [4] Sharing.

III. THE MATERIALS

This is the amazing thing: That Christ could design the building is no stretch but to think that He is building this spiritual house out of you and I is flabbergasting. The LIVING STONE is building this house out of living stones. There is only one qualification: that we believe in HIM the Cornerstone.

CHRIST is the CORNER STONE and He is choice and precious to God. He was rejected by men but CHOSEN OF GOD. No true believer will argue with this statement. CHRIST IS PRECIOUS and His blood was precious. Jesus is the Priceless Pearl, worth more than all other possessions but what about YOU AND I? What kind of material are we?

[1] We too our chosen…[v.9] But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

[2] We too our precious…[v.7] This precious value, then, is for you who believe.

  • Yes, we were dead in trespasses and sin and He quickened us an made us alive by His grace.
  • Yes, it was He who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light by His grace: yea, everything that we have in Christ is by grace..
  • BUT the fact that we are HIS POSSESSION is what gives us worth. 
  • Michael Jordon’s old tennis shoes are worth more than my IRA. I wish I could sale my old tennis shoes to the highest bidder but no one would bid on my old shoes. They will his because he owed them.
  • Winston Churchills old desk will bring millions: why, because it was his possession. The Possesser makes something precious.
  • I still have an old shirt that belonged to my father and I still wear it, I may be buried in it. Why is it precious? There is not another one like; that I guarantee. It is precious to me because it belonged to him. To others it would be a rag.

III. THE BUILDER

I said at the very beginning that CHRIST IS EVERYTHING. He is the FOUNDATION STONE, the CORNER STONE and the CAPSTONE. He is the founder of the church, the C.E.O. of the church, the archtitech of the church, the life of the church and you might know, the BUILDER OF THE CHURCH.

Remember what He said to Peter…I also say to you that you are Peter [a stone], and upon this Rock [Jesus Himself] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades willnot overpower it.”

He made it rather clear, “I will build My church on Myself and not even hell can stop me.” [1] If Jesus was not God, this would be the statement of a lunatic. [2] He is the builder. Psalm 118:22-23…The stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief corner stone. This is the LORD’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. That takes a lot of pressure off of us, doesn’t it. Jesus said, “I will build My Church…and not even hell will stop Me.”

CONCLUSION

I surrendered to the ministry at age 19…I came to Danville Baptist church 10 years later. I was frustrated, discouraged and wondering seriously if God had called me to be a pastor. I knew He had called me to preach and to be a witness. By this time in my life, Evangelism was out of the picture for lack of gifts and opts. I was pursuing a life in missions and dealing with the IMB. Church work was irritating and frustrating and I knew there had to be something better. I worked very hard at my first church out of Seminary and after 4 years, had nothing to show for it. I came here discouraged and it didn’t get any better for several years. Matter of fact, I got so discouraged that I took a trip. A friend put me up for a couple of nights so I could think, read and pray. I carried a little book with me entitled KINGDOM PRINCIPLES Of Church Growth and shortly before midnight {my first night away] the lights suddenly come on and I realized something I had never understood before. DBC was just a local outlet to a chain. We were not the church, just a tiny, tiny part of the church Christ was building. God revealed to me the simple truth that I sharing tonight: Jesus will build His church. He never intended for me to build His church. This truth took a huge weight off my shoulders: I turned in my contractors license and went to work as a laborer. O what a change this one truth made in my life.

 

Spiritual Growth

Scripture Text: I Peter 1:22-2:8

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 
23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 
24 because “All flesh is as grass, And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, And its flower falls away, 
25 But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
 
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all [slander] evil speaking, 
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 

INTRODUCTION

The key verse for tonights message is verse 2…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby. Peter is addressing a subject that is very important to believers and to the church: that is “Spiritual Growth.” Sir Edmund Hillary was the first man to climb Mount Everest but he did not have immediate success. He failed on several attempts and even lost five of his men. Parliament decided to recognize his accomplishment or his effort and it made him angry. They placed a picture of Mount Everest in the chambers and invited Hillary in: he slammed his fist against the picture and said in a loud voice, “You defeated me! But you won’t defeat me again because you have grown all you can and I am still growing.” This is a good question for all believers to ask themselves “Am I still growing spiritually?” Should you as a believer be concerned about your spiritual growth?

The CHURCH is more than an ORGANIZATION, it is an ORGINISM, a body and it works like the human body. The church is made up of many members but they all belong to one body. The body has fingers, toes, ears, eyes, hands, feet and a number of vital organs. They are all uniquely different but they are a part of one body. So tonight, we want to talk for a moment about spiritual growth and its affect on individual members within the body.

First of all, I want to talk about…

I. THE NEED FOR GROWTH…

Peter begins this section by talking about our “Spiritual Birth,” [v.23] “Having been born again.” Then in chapter 2, verse 2 he brings up the subject again, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” Birth implies many things: first and perhaps foremost, it means we have a FATHER. Secondly, it means we are part of a FAMILY. Third, it means we a FOSTER care system. To foster is to encouragepromotestimulateadvanceforwardcultivatenurturestrengthen, or enrich. As you see, a foster parent has many responsibilities.


It is a given that a baby needs nurture. Babies need love and care. Then when they become totlers, they need training. As they grow older, they need discipline and education. We have a serious problem in America. We have millions of children who are not getting the nurture, love and discipline they desperately need. Children must have help in the maturing process. So if a child is to grow and mature, they need NURTURE. So do believers: we need nurture.

II. THE NEED FOR NOURISHMENT

Peter has a lot to say in the passage about the word of God, [v.23] “the word of God which lives and abides forever.” We have the word of God in two forms: the written word and the Living word. Every born again believer should have an incessionable appetite for the word of God. Just like a baby constantly cries for milk, we should long for the word. No believer will grow spiritually a part from the word of God. If you stop eating, you will stop growing. Your cells will stop reproducing and you will dry up and die. The body must have nourishment and the same is true of our spirit. I can give you plenty of milk [previously digested food] but I cannot give you meat. You have to get that in your personal bible study. You see, I have been chewing on this passage for months and especially for the last two weeks. I have ingested and digested and now I share with you but for you it is milk, for me it was meat, I had to chew on it for a while.

III. THE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE NATURE OF GROWTH

A body grows together. The hand does not grow and the feet remain tiny. We would be a freak if the head grew but the rest of the body remained infantile. This is a point that many do not grasp. We have a lot of folks, SUPER SAINTS, who read books, attend conferences and zero in on their own personal spiritual growth to the neglect of the rest of the body. The result is a lot of head knowledge that puffs them up. Paul said in I Corinthians 8:1, Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies, and he is exactly right. There is nothing in the NT that teaches us to grow a part from the body. We are to have a mutual concern for each others spiritual progress.


Peter and Paul are on the same page: what Peter is teaching in this section has to do with the atmosphere for spiritual growth. [1] Yes, we must have the right nourishment [Word of God] but we also need [2] the right atmosphere. You don’t grow tomatoes on the North Pole. Matter of fact, you don’t grow them in Alaska–it is too cold. Tomatoes have to have a warm climate and okra more so. In the mountains of Guatemala, you can raise every vegetable known to man except Okra. Although they never have frost, it gets in to the 50’s at night and okra has to have warm nights.
The THEREFORE in 2:1 is Peter’s transition to the atmosphere needed for young believers to grow. He says, lay aside malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and evil speaking. The NASB makes one slight change: Malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. All five of these things have something in common. See if you can figure out what it is as I share definitions.
  • Malice means ill will or the desire to hurt or injure. Malicious words are those intended to harm another person. Swindoll says it is the spirit that is entrenched in the world system
  • Deceit means craft, guile, cunning, treachery.
  • Hypocrisy means literally to wear two faces. It is a word used in reference to play actors. One actor could play more than one part because they wore mask. Acting was not a popular art in biblical times.
  • Envy is inappropriate jealously. I was reading somewhere the other day and I did not make a note and now I can’t find my source, but one of the Catholic Popes said, “I have heard thousands of confessions but never one confession of envy.” Some 25 years ago I preached a sermon on JEALOUSY which is ENVY’S twin sister and I said the same thing about jealously…I had never heard it confessed. One woman came by me after the service and said rather briskly, “I’m jealous and I confessed it.”
  • Slander is a compound word which literally means evil speech. Slanders relatives are gossip, talebaring, backbitting and of course bearing false witness. Slander can be a false statment about another persons character that is based on a hunch, assumption, or a feeling. I get real aggrivated at myself for making statements based on my assumptions. I saw this acrostic on the internet and I am going to try to use it.

Now what do these five things have in common? They are things that destroy the fellowship of a church. Things that make a church an unhealthy atmosphere for growth. These things are all anti-spiritual growth.

JUST AS A CHILD NEEDS A NURTURING FAMILY: BELIEVERS NEED A NURTURING CHURCH

We need a warm atmosphere to grow believers. This is what Peter is encouraging…go back to verse 22 and we will see the requirement for creating a warm fellowship for growth. Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart…

  1. We need a Spirit of obedience. The body has only one head and its not me and it aint you. It is JESUS. He is the boss and He knows what to do. [Matthew 16:18] “I also say to you that you are Peter {petros, stone} and upon this rock [petra, boulder or huge stone] I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. The key to church unity is for everyone to obey the HEAD.
  2. We need Purity of Soul. The number one problem in churches is the “Hidden Agenda.” Someone trying to impose their will on the majority by the use of deceit. We have to get our motives right and sometimes that takes the furnace of affliction.
  3. We need Sincere Love. Not fake fellowship but sincere love.
  4. We need a Fervent Love. A fervent love is an earnest and intense love. Dr. Wiersbe says, “It is a love that seeks the best for others; it gives rather than takes. It promotes rather than manipulates.”

Growing Old Gracefully

Scripture Text: 2 Samuel 19:31-39, NLT

31 Barzillai of Gilead had come down from Rogelim to escort the king across the Jordan. 
32 He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy [NASB ‘great’]. He was the one who had provided food for the king during his stay in Mahanaim. 
33 “Come across with me and live in Jerusalem,” the king said to Barzillai. “I will take care of you there.” 
34 “No,” he replied, “I am far too old to go with the king to Jerusalem. 
35 I am eighty years old today, and I can no longer enjoy anything. Food and wine are no longer tasty, and I cannot hear the singers as they sing. I would only be a burden to my lord the king. 
36 Just to go across the Jordan River with the king is all the honor I need! 
37 Then let me return again to die in my own town, where my father and mother are buried. But here is your servant, my son Kimham. Let him go with my lord the king and receive whatever you want to give him.” 
38 “Good,” the king agreed. “Kimham will go with me, and I will help him in any way you would like. And I will do for you anything you want.” 
39 So all the people crossed the Jordan with the king. After David had blessed Barzillai and kissed him, Barzillai returned to his own home. 

Introduction

I want to speak to you today on the subject, GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY. Least you feel that the subject does not apply, let me gently remind you that we are all growing old or at least older. But I must confess that I am speaking with Senior Adults in mind. I have no problem admitting that I am a Senior Adult and I do not understand for the life of me why some people are offended by the term. Some 30 years ago, Dian and I started a Senior Adult luncheon at the old church and we had the same problem then as we do now, we had folks in their 70’s and 80’s who would not come. I asked one lady why she did not come and she said, “I am not a Senior Adult.” That’s like me saying, I am not fat, this [pat my belly] is just fluid. Adults at Danville never promote in Sunday School, never, or not in the last 40 years. Charles class was the young married when we came her and Jerry’s class was the middle adults. No one out of either class promotes, we just changed the name on the door. If you are 75, you are 75 no matter what class you go in. Eighty years old is eighty years old even if we put you in the nursery.


Transition: Seniors, we need a good roll model to follow and we find a good in the Old Testament–2 Samuel 19…the story of Barzillai, the Ironman, a highlander from the hills of Gilead and the little village of Rogelim. These highlanders were noted for loyalty, courtesy, hospitality and a passionate love of the hill country.

Verse 32 says…He was very old—eighty years of age—and very wealthy [NASB ‘great’]. The Hebrew word is ‘ga-dole’ and it means to be large in size, power, influence and character. It is the same word that is used in Genesis 1:16 in reference to the sun and moon–two great lights.

Barzillai was great man… 

I. HE WAS GREAT IN TERMS OF WEALTH AND GENEROSITY

You cannot do what Barzillai did without great wealth. In the last part of chapter 17, the bible tells us that when David arrived at Mahanaim, he was warmly greeted…by three noblemen…and Barzillai was one of the three. These men took care of David and his entire household. They brought sleeping mats, cooking pots, serving bowls, wheat and barley, flour and roasted grain, beans, lentils, honey, butter, sheep, goats, and cheese for David and those who were with him. For they said, “You must all be very hungry and tired and thirsty after your long march through the wilderness.”


Few of us have the resources to provide for a king but Barzillai had great wealth and he was very generous. The Bible says in Ephesians 4:28, He who steals must steal no longer; but rather he must labor, performing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with one who has need. The father in the Prodigal Son is our model and what did he do with his wealth? He shared it!


Note Barzillai’s answer to David in verse 34, “No, I am far too old to go” but he was not too old to give. One of the greatest blessing of being a Senior Adult is that I have more time and money to give.

II. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT LOYALTY

Barzillai was not from the Tribe of Judah, he lived in Gilead. Most Israelites treated the transjordan tribes like step children. I am absolutely amazed at this Highlander’s loyalty to David. Barzillai was a KINGDOM MAN. He put the Kingdom of Israel before his own interest. Jesus taught us to “Seek His kingdom first,” and Barzillai is a good example. At a time when David’s popularity had reached an all time low, Barzillai stood with his king. Who knows what would have happened to David had it not been for people like Barzillai. We know one, David was very grateful for what Barzillai had done for the kingdom.

III. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT COURAGE

Chapter 17 tells us that Absalom’s army was already camped in the land of Gilead. The odds were heavily against David. At a time when most men would have been trying to protect themselves, Barzillai took the risk of giving the king sanctuary and supplies. Who knows, this man’s kindness may have made the difference. We know this; Barzillai was not thinking about himself, he literally stuck his neck out for David. If you have a friend like Barzillai, you are rich indeed.

III. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT WISDOM

  1. He had the wisdom to say no…”I’m too old to go.”
  2. He had the wisdom to realize his limitations. He knew he could not do things he once did:
    • Couldn’t enjoy his food
    • Couldn’t hear the voices of singers
    • Didn’t want to be a burden to David…afraid he could not pull his own weight.
    • It is not sad to be a Senior Adult, what’s bad is to be one and not honest enough to admit it. Like 70 year olds buying a sports car, a convertible on top of that, one of these jobs that sits about 8 inches above the pavement. Or one of these 75 year old women wearing short-shorts.
  3. He had enough wisdom to retire. He passed the paton to his son Kimham. He said I am too old to go but not too old to send someone in my place.

Seniors, this is what we need most–wisdom. We need to know when to give and when not to give. We need to know when to go and when not to go. We need to know when it’s time to step aside and pass the torch to someone more capable. This is becoming a sad reality…some people do not know when to quit.

Let me give you two examples: I saw an 84 year old man trying to call a baseball game the other night and he got so confused that he was calling folks out with two strikes and walking them on ball three. When someone corrected him, he got aggitated. It was embarassing for everyone. The best example of not knowing when to quit, is John McCain. He should have retired after losing the election in 2008. At one time, he was nick named John Wayne McCain but that is not how he will be remembered. He will be remembered as petty, vain and a sore loser. He destroyed his own legacy by staying too long.

Seniors, don’t quit living, don’t quit giving but don’t be a hindrance to the next generation. I love retirement, I am busier than I’ve ever been. June and I have put 30,000 miles on an 11 month old Honda and 4 month old truck. We are on track to do 40,000 plus in a year. I love being out of the decision making process. Let the young folks make the decisions because they are going to do most of the work but that doesn’t mean we are to quit ministry. We can give, pray and encourage. We may not be able to go but we can send someone in our place.

There are two kinds of senior adults: the kind and the wrong kind. Actually, it is the bitter and cynical and the happy and supportive.