1 Corinthians 16:13-14, How To Recover From Self-Destructive Chaos

1 Corinthians 16:13-14, How To Recover From Self-Destructive Chaos
1. Keep Your Guard Up (v13)
2. Stand Firm In The Faith (v13)
3. Do What God Says (v13)
4. Trust God To Provide Strength (v13)
5. Do Everything With Love (v14)

Pastor Jerry Simmons teaching 1 Corinthians 16:13-14, How To Recover From Self-Destructive Chaos

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Jerry Simmons shared this Verse By Verse Bible study from 1corinthians on Sunday, May 14, 2023 using the New Living Translation (NLT).

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All right. Well, this morning, as we get into the teaching, we're going to be in First Corinthians chapter 16 and really focused in on 2 verses there, verse 13 and 14. So let's go ahead and read that and then we'll dive into the message that the Lord has for us. First Corinthians, chapter 16, verse 13 and 14. Says this. Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous, be strong. And do everything. With love Lord, we pray. As we consider your word this morning that you would help us to take these words to heart, Lord, we pray that you would help us to respond as you speak to us. May we hear your voice today. And I pray God that your voice would give us great comfort and hope and encouragement. Or that as we respond to you, we would be able to see in faith the glorious vision ahead of what you have in store for us in this life and in the life to come. I pray that in Jesus name. Well, as we look at First Corinthians chapter 16 this morning, I've titled the Message How to recover. From self-destructive chaos, how to recover from self-destructive chaos? And you thought, well, great. I was here for Mother's Day. I thought it was just going to be a nice, you know, bubbly, enjoyable message and I pray that it still is. Don't let the title intimidate you. That the Lord wants to remind us this morning. That no matter what kind of trouble we get ourselves into, and no matter what kind of mess we make of ourselves in this life. That he has a path to glory from here, right where we're at, in in the chaos that we might be in, in the self-destructive behavior that we might be engaged in and the the mess that we've made in this life. He always has plans and purposes and ways to help us recover. From those things, the Church of Corinth, as Paul is writing to them, really describes and and paints this picture quite well. They were a church that was in chaos. They were a church. That was. In the process of self destructing, as we've read through the book of First Corinthians over the past couple of weeks, I wonder if you've been asking yourself if you would attend the church at Corinth. You know, it's something that we do from time to time. We are in a new place and it's like, well, where should I go to church and you kind of check them. All out, it's been many, many years since I've done that because I've been here for, you know, 30 years. Or so but but I. That as a kid, my parents checking out churches and remembering all the different experiences and many reasons why we wouldn't attend those churches and ended up here. And I'm sure that you've experienced. That as well. Think about the church at Corinth. Their ways as Paul addresses them some serious divisions within the church. Factions and cliques like like cliques, like what we talk about are like kind of minor compared to the clicks that were happening in the city of Corinth. There, there was actual battles happening over who their favorite leaders were. Imagine if you showed up for church today and we made you choose. Who do you like better, Harvey or Richard? And and you know, let's separate everybody and let's debate and let's talk about let's divide over. Let's fight over who's the better looking, who does the best ministry, who teaches better all of those kinds of things. There there was. Serious battles, so much so that Paul spent several chapters addressing it. It wasn't like there was a little bit of scuffle, you know? It was like Paul had to spend a significant amount of time addressing these divisions. Things within the church. Listen, we put aisles in the church just for convenience so that you can, you know, kind of have to not walk over everybody to find a seat. Right. But but the idea is that we are to be united and and that was not the Church of Corinth. Imagine entering into the church and there's tension. There's there's tension because there's people. Well, I don't want to hang out with you because you're hang out with those people. And so I can't go to that event cause she's going to be there and I'm not going to join in with that because he's going to be over there. And so, so there's these decisions being made and this division between them, would you? Would you be like, yeah, this is a church. I found the church that I want. To you, people are divided. They're fighting against each other. They're hating each other. The Church of Corinth had a misguided tolerance and even celebration for sin. In Chapter 5, Paul addresses this. There was this very public, very well known sin issue that was happening and everybody knew about it and they were celebrating how well they tolerated this guy who was. Flagrantly disregarding. What the Lord says about morality? And they're celebrating that. Could you imagine showing up for church? And there's a celebration, you know, maybe it's even in the announcements. They just want to remind you we really like this guy who is violating the scriptures. But look, we're putting up with them because we're such awesome demonstrations of grace and mercy. And so we're going to keep on fellowship with this believer. Who refuses to submit to God? Is that is that the church? I mean, maybe because if you want to live in sin and experience that kind of welcoming, you know, spirit, then maybe you want to go to. That church, but. I think for the most part, we would recognize that I'm going to be a little bit uncomfortable. Why are? Why are they celebrating these sinful practices? Why are they celebrating these things that are clearly contrary to God and his word? In Chapter 6, Paul addresses the issue of court battles between members. They weren't just dividing over who their favorite teachers and preachers were. They're taking each other to court, so the tension rises a couple more notches there. There's it's so. Pervasive that Paul has to address it in the letter. You guys are. Suing each other, going to battle in court, you know, in front of unbelievers. There was some serious divisions within the church. Can you imagine showing up and you're sitting there next to Elsa and you realize, wait, you have an ongoing court battle against Janine. Like what is going on like? Why is that happening? Like how can you sit here in the same service and have those kinds of attitudes and and and trying to hurt each other and and and work in that way. In Chapter 11, the apostle Paul addresses the issue of the Lord's Supper. And and in that day, as they partook of communion the way that they would partake of it wasn't exactly the way that we do with the little cracker and juice after service that we'll partake later on today as well. But but they would do it as they potluck fellowship. And so in their potluck fellowship, Paul is addressing and describing their behavior there. In Chapter 11. You read through it, you understand. Paul says some people are hungry. While others have already overindulged. Can you imagine showing up as a guest? To a church potluck and the church members all push you out. Of the way. And they get everything that they want and they're they're overindulging themselves and and when it's your turn at the buffet line. Sorry, there's just the scraps left hope. You weren't hungry? But the church members are like, well, at least I got my fill. I got enough for me. Would you want to go back to that church? Is that is that? The kind of church that you're looking for. Drunkenness and uncaring and approach. To the Lord's supper. As Paul goes on in Corinthians, he talks about the chaos that's happening in the church services. There was disorder. There was. A misunderstanding about the gifts of the Holy Spirit and their operation in the gathering of believers that caused everybody to talk over everybody. There was utter chaos happening. Within the church and then in Chapter 15, as we looked at resurrection a little bit on Wednesday, we we understand there was some serious false teaching going on as well. Is this the kind of church that you're looking for? Would you want to attend the church in Corinth? Factions and clicks tension between members, tolerance and celebration for sin, disregard for one another and drunkenness, and uncaring in regards to the Lord's Supper. Chaos and the services. False teaching that was being believed and starting to take root within the church. I mean, the Corinthian church had some really serious problems. But what's interesting about it? As Paul writes this letter. He hasn't given up on the church in Corinth. Paul could say, you know, hey, I showed up on a Sunday morning and boy, there was quite a list of problems that we need to address here. There's some serious things going on. This is really self-destructive behavior. Church at Corinth because this is going to destroy you as the body of Christ. And Paul could have said, you know, that's it. Three strikes. You're out. Well, look, this is like 10 strikes. You're certainly out. You're out beyond out. There's no hope. There's no recovery from this. But no, Paul writes this letter. One of the longest letters that he writes to all the churches. And in this closing exhortation here in verse 13 and 14, you see in Paul this command, this instruction that he gives because he hasn't given up and there is still the opportunity, as bad as things are, as crazy as things are, there is still the opportunity to recover. From where they are to be the church. That God has called them to be. But at the moment, as Paul is writing this. They're fully engaged over their heads in self-destructive chaos. Thinking about this, I was. Picturing the idea of a tailspin. Sometimes we use the word spiraling. You ever think about that? And the the spiraling idea, I mean, the picture is of a plane, right? The the plane that, well, the certain conditions allow, and I don't know all the technical details about a month. My dad will be here and he can explain it to you guys, but the the tailspin happens as the plane begins to die and there's all these. Atmosphere conditions. There's power conditions. There's flap conditions. All this aerodynamic stuff, right? But essentially what's happening is the plane is circling. As it heads to the ground. And there is. Ways to recover from a tailspin. But you have to follow certain procedures. You have to keep the sequence right, because many times the gut reaction of what you might try to do actually makes it worse. And and so the idea of a tailspin is describing that figuratively, it's a a situation in which something starts to fail. And then gets more and more and. More out of control. I think that's something that probably everyone of us can relate to in thinking about times, seasons or situations in our lives. Where we were just in a complete tailspin. The situation is. Out of control and and the things that we're trying to do. To resolve it, the things that we're trying. To do to. To pull out of that nosedive. Are actually not helping us out, but making the problem worse. This is what could have happened to Cora. They were in the nosedive, they were spinning. They were on a collision course with the ground. But Paul here is giving them the sequence and the instructions. Here's what you need to do. Here's how to pull yourself out of this destructive situation. That you're in. Do you ever feel like you're? Watching yourself. You have this kind of sense. It's like like you're looking at yourself. You're like outside of yourself, watching yourself, but powerless to help in the situation. Where you hear words coming out of your mouth and you're horrified and you're saying to yourself internally, why am I saying this? But meanwhile, the words are still coming out of your mouth and you're. Saying no, don't say that. Are you saying that? Why are those words? Going forth, I don't wanna say that's crazy. Those are terrible words to say. Never tell those. Never say those words. Internally you you see, but it's kind of like. You're living it out and you're seeing it happen. You're realizing this is making it worse. Spinning down further, but. You feel stuck. You feel trapped. You feel powerless watching that behavior. You see yourself acting a certain way or having a certain attitude, and you realize this is not a good attitude to have. I don't like this attitude. I don't want this attitude. But at the same time, you feel locked in. Like I know this behavior, I know this habit. I know this is destroying my life. But here I am stuck in it. Spiraling down yet further. And the Lord wants to remind you this morning. There's opportunity to recover. You can recover from the craziest, messiest, most horrible situations in your life. That self-destructive chaos. Spiraling down and down, getting worse and worse there, there is still opportunity to recover. Sometimes we think of success or victory in our lives and and and we kind of picture and hope for that one day where we never spiral. Where we never have any self-destructive behavior at all. But you know in the. Christian life, I would say that. Success really is not never spiraling. I would suggest to you that we're all going to find ourselves in a spin from time to time. It's part of the human condition. It's part of the human life. It's part of the sin issue that still remains with us this side of eternity. And so success is not never spiraling. Success is recognizing when we're in the tailspin. Recognizing finding that. And then recovering from it. And so Paul wants to give us. Some encouragement, some instruction on how to do that, how to recover. From self-destructive chaos, we're going to look at 5 commands from Paul to help us pull out of that spin to pull up from that self-destructive behavior and keep us from that crash that is ahead. If we continue on so point #1, we're going to be here in verse 13 for a little bit here. Keep your guard up. Verse 13, Paul says, be on guard, stand firm in the faith. Be courageous, be strong. We're just going to focus on that first part for just a moment, be on guard. Paul says to the Church of Corinth be on guard now. Again, this is a church that is completely messed up. All kinds of problems. He's gone through a ton of issues. He's addressed them. They're not done by the way. He's going to have to write second Corinthians, which has even more correction and more issues to deal with. But Paul is still. Trusting that God is able to pull them out. To bring them back to where they need to be. They need to start by being on guard. This terminology here at pictures. A soldier standing guard. A soldier standing perhaps on a wall, being the lookout. To warn. The inhabitants of danger. This is the idea. Staying awake, being alert, being looking out for. Those dangers that may approach. The Greek scholar Spiro Zodhiates puts it this way. Watchfulness indicates that the Christian is alerts or vigilant in order to defend himself against a spiritual foe. He is properly prepared for any surprise or sudden change in his circumstances. And above all, in order that his fellowship with God in prayer may be undistracted and efficacious. The idea here is that vigilance being ready. For a defense being ready for a surprise. Now a guard standing on a wall may not be a really pertinent picture for us. It might not be something that you think about a. Whole lot. I started thinking about it in a different way. It's perhaps like a boxer. Keeping their guard up. I have no idea if. This is the right way to keep your guard up. I tried to watch the Canelo fight last week. I don't know if. You guys got to see that. I was trying to be clever because I didn't want to pay for it, so I was like, well, if I pretend like I'm in Mexico, they say it's streaming for free in Mexico. And so I tried that and it ended up that Kim and I ended up watching 30 minutes of commentators talking about the fight, not realizing that the fight was actually going on. So we pretty much missed the fight. That got to hear their comments about how they were dressed and you know those. Silly questions that were coming in through. The the feed. But, you know, boxers have to keep. Their guard up. And and they're trained to do that, even though they're, you know, at peak performance and and and they're they're valiant fighters and their reflexes are fast. But but they have to keep their guard up. They have to maintain that. And when a boxer does not keep their guard up, they're very vulnerable. To the attacks of their opponents and and one of the things that happens when a boxer is tired later on in the fight, right, their their guard begins to drop. It's hard. You have to kind of like, keep reminding yourself. I'm assuming I've never done it, but you know, you have to keep putting it back in your hands. Drop and you put it back and you put your hands drop and you. Put it's, it's that constant. Putting your guard in its right place. Sometimes the guard goes down because of overconfidence. My God. And you, you're not. Gonna hurt me. You know he can't touch me. I'm too fast for you. And so guard goes down. So whether it's lack of training, lack of focus, tired overconfidence. The guard goes down, and now you're in serious trouble. Is this a good illustration to use on Mother's Day? I tried to come up. With a better one, but I just I couldn't. Jesus tells Peter. As he's headed to the cross, they're in the garden of Getsemani. Peter, you need to watch. And pray. He told Peter you need to keep your guard up. There's some things right around the corner here just minutes away. You're going to be surprised by the situation that unfolds. You're going to be surprised by what happens. You're going to be completely. Because you're not ready for the situation, your guard is not up. You need to watch and you need to pray. Your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak, Peter. And Peter didn't quite learn that lesson at that moment. But probably he learned it at that time the hard way. He learned from that moment, and so later on, Peter is able to encourage others. First, Peter, Chapter 5, verse eight. He tells us to stay alert. Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Same wording here to stay alert, to watch out, to have your guard up. Peter says I learned the hard way you need. To be watching out because you have a great enemy, the devil, and he is looking for opportunity. So that when your guard is down, boom. He could take you out. He can pounce. He can start to attack. Corinthian Church listen, you need to keep your guard up. The battle is not lost. The fight is not over. You might be several rounds in, but it's not done. Get back to what you know you need to do. Get your guard up and prepare for the attacks of your opponent. The word here, as Paul commands them to be on guard. It's in the present tense. There's several aspects to this. It's present imperative, active, which means you can kind of break it down imperative. That means it's a command Paul is not suggesting. Hey, it might be a good idea if you are keeping your guard up. If you're watching and alert and ready and he's saying Corinthians. Look, you must do this. You need to start doing this right now. The fact that it's active, the active voice means that. You have to take. Personal responsibility for it. It's a personal decision and deliberate action that you need to take. This is not something that anybody else can do for you. Nobody else can guard you in this way. You gotta put your guard up. And so it's a command. It's active. It means you yourself need to be doing it, and then it's in the present tense, which means it's ongoing. It's not. Put your guard up one time and then you're good for life. But again, that picture of a boxer in the middle of a fight. You, you got to keep it up. The whole fight every round. You gotta continue to put your guard up and remind yourself to put your guard up, and if you're tired or overconfident, you gotta catch that. Recognize that? Ohh man, I don't have my guard up and and put. Your guard up again. We really want, of course, that once and for all deliverance and victory in our lives. And the chaos that we face, the self-destructive behavior that we might find ourselves in, the habits that we are seeking to overcome, those issues that that we want to get past. We really want that once. And for all victory and deliverance. And praise God that sometimes he does that. We loved the testimonies. You know, I stopped smoking on that day and I never smoked again. I never craved a cigarette. I never, you know, I stopped drinking on this day. I stopped drugs on that day and never again did I ever have any kind of struggle or issue or battle with that and praise God for those kinds of victories and deliverances that he provides. But also. That's not everybody's story. That's not how God always works. And there is a need. For us. To keep our guard up. And to understand, it's part of a normal Christian life to let your guard down and get smacked in the. Face from time to time. It's part of the normal Christian life to have overconfidence, to get tired and to. Miss out? Because the enemy. Fees. That opportunity and attacks. Something I know and I'm aware of from my life. I always have to. Watch out for my jokes. Because I love to make jokes. And if it hurts you, you know that's a minor price to pay. As long as I get a good laugh. Friday at work, sitting in a meeting. All the leadership of the company around the table. Guess what, I. Did I made some dumb jokes? That I've just. Been replaying in my head and thinking Lord, I really. I need to keep my guard up. Now I gotta go back and. Sorry guys, I was so eager to make jokes. I really wasn't thinking. I conquered it once and for all. I'll never make a. Dumb joke again, no. Present imperative. I gotta keep my guard up. And so now on Monday, I gotta have my guard up. On Tuesday, I gotta make sure my guard is up on Wednesday. Hey, at the end of the week, on next Friday at the next meeting, and it's been a long week and. I'm tired. I gotta keep my guard up now. I wish I would never have to worry about. It again, but that's not. The reality that I face. Of course, it'd be better to be alert and catch it before I speak it, but. I didn't do that, so the next best thing. Is to catch it later. Better than not catching it at all. And putting my guard back up. Making amends. For that behavior for those mistakes. And resolving once again, Lord, you set a guard over the door of my lips. Paul encouraged the Corinthians earlier in First Corinthians chapter 10 about the Old Testament scriptures. He says look, all of this was recorded for you. We have the whole counsel of God's word. All of these examples of all these men and women who lived before. Us they were written down to warn us. So that we can learn from their example. What do we learn from that? 1st Corinthians 1012 if you think you're standing strong. Be careful not to fall, guys. Keep your guard up. You guys have a lot of confidence in your spirituality. You have a lot of confidence in your victory. You have a lot of confidence in who you are and what you're doing and your opinions and your thoughts and ideas. Your card's not up. It's part of the reason why you're falling prey to these attacks of the enemy. It's part of the reason why there's so much division and chaos and things happening in the church. It's part of the reason why. In your life. There is self-destructive chaos. Where you feel like sometimes you're locked in watching yourself knowing it's destructive, knowing it's terrible. Knowing you don't want to do it. But you've let your guard down. Listen, the Lord wants to remind you this morning. It's not too late to recover. It's not too late to put your guard up to. To regain control of the spin that you're in, success is not never spiraling. It is catching it and pulling out of it. And so it's not beyond recovery. It's not beyond glory. There's a path to glory from here, from wherever you might find yourself. And however bad the situation may look. Keep your guard up. And God will help you recover from that situation. Well, continuing on in verse 13 for point #2, stand firm in the faith. Again, verse 13, he says be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous, be strong. Looking at that second part, now stand firm. In the faith. Here's the next thing you need to do. The next command that Paul gives to this church that is in chaos. They have a lot of issues. But there's still opportunity for them to take a firm stance. In the faith now, as Paul writes about the faith. He's not talking about faith generally as we would think about trusting God or believing. God at his word. The faith is talking about the doctrine and the teachings of. The Christian faith. Talking about the gospel message, talking about the things that God has revealed. And they have a need to stand firm in the truth of God's word. And there is an attack of the enemy to keep them outside of the truth of God's word. To have perhaps, maybe 1 foot in the word of God, but also one foot in the world around them. Commentator Andrew Nasalis says it this way. Each of the 10 major issues that Paul has addressed in First Corinthians stems from sinfully embracing Roman societies, worldly values. This commentator counts 10 corrections, 10 issues. They're in the Corinthian church that Paul has been addressing. We talked about some of those, right? The idea is interesting. You can trace each of those issues back to. This is what was normal in their society, the normal mindset, the normal philosophy, the normal understanding of their culture, their society, that is what caused them to begin to have these issues that they began to embrace the values of the world around them. They began to embrace the things. Of the Greek culture, the Roman culture and. In doing so, we're rejecting the things that God had declared, and so Paul is saying what you need to do is stand firm in the faith. You need to grab hold of what God has said the gospel that he has brought forth, the doctrine that he has presented the truth that he has declared. You need to believe that grab hold of that stand firm in that. In contrast to what the rest of the. World around you believes. And this is just as true for us today as it was for. The Corinthians back then. The world around us has a completely different set of values. There are some things that perhaps. Maybe some things that we can agree on with the world around us and the values that are placed there, but. Those overlapping values are diminishing more and more and more as our society moves further and further and further away from the things of God. So there is going to be an increasing distinction between what we value as believers. What we believe. What we hold fast to what we trust in what we stand firm in, it's going to be different. Than society around us than what our culture celebrates and values. And embraces, it's going to be different. And so we're going to have to like Paul commands the Corinthians here, we're going to have. To stand firm. Because the world around us is going to be. Shooting message after message after message. Adding pressure and more pressure and more pressure bends to our way. The world is calling out. Society is saying accept our truths as the truth except what we say and and value that above what God says. And Paul is saying no. Don't do that. Stop. Valuing what the world values. Stop believing the bad doctrines of the. Culture around you. Place yourself firmly. In the faith. Believing what it is that God has declared, Paul said it this way in Second Thessalonians Chapter 2. Writing to the church there at Thessalonika, he says he called you to salvation when we told you the good news the Gospel, now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ with all these things in mind. Your brothers and sisters stand firm. And keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you both in person and by letter. He tells that thessalonian, something similar stand firm keep a strong grip on the teaching because people around you are going to believe something different. The world around you is going to believe something different and they're going to want to convince you to believe their way to compromise. What God has said. To compromise your faith. And trust. And the values and the priorities and the doctrines of this world. Stand firm in the faith. Be on guard. Have your guard up recognizing. That this is going on that there. Is a seduction being attempted? The Prince of the power. Of the air, our great enemy, Satan is seeking to seduce you to seduce me. To believe. The culture society. The false doctrines that the enemy continues to present to us. It's ongoing, consistent battle. If you think you are strong. Paul said to the Corinthians early. Take heed, lest you fall, stand firm in the faith. We need to renew ourselves. In the truth. It's one of the reasons why we constantly encourage everyone to be engaged in a regular. Discipline of reading the scriptures. So one of the reasons why we gathered together, not the only reason but. But to be renewed and refreshed in the truth. Of the scriptures of of what God has said, that we would have the clear contrast between what the Lord says and what the world says that we would be able to stand firm in the faith. And there's a lot of people who do not know what God says. They perhaps thought they did. But they've been seduced. By the world, the message of the world, the values of the world. And we see churches across the globe embracing. The culture embracing the values of society. And they're trading the only way to do that is to set aside what God has said. Paul says stand firm in. The faith. Receive what God has said and believe that receive that value that. Far more. Than what the world around you. Says values. Stand firm in the faith again. It's a present, imperative, active command. You got to do it. Nobody else can do this for you. You have to make a personal decision and take action for this to happen. And it's ongoing. Stand firm in the faith. Listen, if you. Slip out of that and you find yourself dipping your toes in the. Doctrines and philosophies of the world around you. It won't be long before you find yourself in a tailspin. Because those lies are deceitful and destructive. Causes great problems. But you can pull yourself. Out you can recover. By coming back to planting your feet firmly. In what the Lord has declared continuing on here in verse 13 for point #3 do what God says. Again, verse 13 says be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Now I'm taking that part here. Be courageous and making this point do what God says because literally the word. Be courageous. The Greek word means act like men. Another great. Component of the message for Mother's Day. Right. Moms act like men. But this idea that that is being conveyed in this word is. Conveying 2 things. It's conveying courage as well as maturity. Act like men as opposed to children, act like men as opposed to the timid and weak. Be courageous and be mature, and sometimes there's, you know, scholars who would argue over is it courage or mature? 30 As usual, I would say one or both. It's it's both that we need. It's both that Paul is calling us too. Now what's interesting is this same word in the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was done before the. Time of Christ. The Septuagint used this same word when God was speaking to Joshua, probably a familiar passage to you, Joshua chapter one. When God tells Joshua be strong and courageous, also translated courageous there. He tells him three times in this passage to be strong and courageous and. We're going to talk about being strong in just a moment because Paul also mentions that here. But notice what's intertwined with this. Command to be strong and courageous to Joshua. Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors, I. Would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instruction Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Study this book of instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night, so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed, and all you do this is my command to be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged for the Lord your God is with you. Wherever you go. Here is God gives Joshua this instruction to be strong and to have courage, to act like a man. Intertwined with and permanently tied to. The word of God, he says, be strong because you're going to be the fulfillment of the word that I gave. To this people. Be strong and courageous. So that you will do that, you'll obey. All the instruction. That Moses gave you. Don't deviate. Don't go to the right or the left. Don't don't trade in ideas, but but do everything that I've command you and and make sure that you study the book so that you know what to do because you. Have the instructions there in the book. If you don't study the book, you don't know the instructions. You can't do what I've. Commanded you to do. And this is my command. Be strong and courageous. Because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, Joshua, I'm going to be with you. So be strong. Have courage. And do what it is that I've instructed you to do. Strength encourages the same combo that Paul is calling us to intertwined with obedience to God at his word. Is the courage necessary to obey because again, our values and what we follow is different, that all of the world around us. And it's going to take courage. It's going to take faith in God. To read his word and do what he says, understanding that it is contrary. To the world and the society around us. Commentator Hai Inside says it this way. You show me a weak, wobbling believer and I will show you a Christian not giving very much time to meditation upon the word of God. Show me one who is a strong, devoted, earnest Christian seeking only the glory of. The Lord Jesus Christ. And I will show you one who is living on. The book. Are you living on the book? When we're weak and wobbly in our Christian faith, he says, that's because we're not. Invested in the word of God. And so we're not able to do what God says because. We don't even know what God says. We're not able to be courageous because. We've already neglected the source of our courage. Our faith and trust. And the one who calls us the. One who declares. To us, what is best for us? When you do not do what God says. Tail spin begins. It's a bad spiral and the situation gets worse and worse, but you can pull out of it. You just need to start doing what God says. Yes, you wish you could go back and have changed the history and never found yourself in this place to begin with. Too late for that? But from here, no matter how big the mess is, no matter how hard the situation is. You have what you need to do. What God says. It might be quite intimidating. And incredibly fearful. But maybe the words of John Wayne will. Help you courage. Is being scared. To death, but saddling up anyway, it's always going to be like that when it comes to obeying God at his word. It's always going to require faith. It's always going to be different, cause God's ways are not our ways as high as the heavens are above the earth. His ways are different. So it's always going to require courage and trust in God. We're going to be scared to death. But obey him anyway. And you'll begin to recover from that self-destructive chaos. Well, point #4 the final part of verse 13. Here, trust God to provide strength. Verse 13 again, be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. Be strong. It's an interesting instruction here that Paul gives again. It's a command present, imperative, active, be strong. What does that mean? Flex your muscles? How do you be strong? I mean, we could think about it this way. OK, if I want to be strong, let me get myself on a regiment. Let me go through a plan and I'm gonna hit the gym three days a week and and. Eventually I will. Be strong, right? Like I can. But how do I be strong today? It kind of doesn't make sense. And it doesn't really work that way. How do you be strong when you're not strong? The Christians strength doesn't come from their training plan or from some. Method some great period of time. Yes, we grow in strength as we grow in our walk with the Lord. But the reality is our strength comes not from ourselves and not from what we have to offer. And so our ourselves are kind of irrelevant to the strength that we're commanded to have here, the strength that we need comes from the Lord, Trust God to provide strength. And Isaiah chapter 40, this classic passage. The prophet Isaiah says, have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. And you know what? This God does verse 29 of Isaiah 40. He gives power to the weak. The Christians strength doesn't come from themselves. The Christians strength comes from the power that the all powerful God gives. To the. And verse 31. He says those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. When we are caught in a spiral, when we're caught in that self-destructive pattern and there's chaos ensuing and and we hate it and we're miserable, but but we feel so weak. So powerless to be able to make a change and and even though we might see, OK, I. Know God says. This but I just I can't do that. God tells me this and and I'm just I'm unable to to fulfill. I'm not. I can't. I'm just too weak. Yes, you are too weak. Yes, you are completely incapable of handling the situation and recovering from this yourself, but the strength that you need is not your own the strength. That you need. Is the strength that God is desiring. To provide you. Trust God to provide strength. I know what the Lord is telling me about this situation. I know what the Lord is saying about. My words, my attitude, my heart, my mind, my relationships. I know what he's saying about it, but I just don't think I can do it. Yes, you can. Those who trust in the Lord. We'll find new strength. As he provides it to them. You ever feel like you're powerlessly watching? Yourself locked in. To get out of the situation, to change the behavior that you know is bad and terrible and hurtful and you don't want it, but. You feel so stuck. Can turn things around. You can recover. From that self-destructive chaos finally point #5 here in verse 14. Do everything with love. Verse 14, he says. And do everything with love. And you say, finally, a good point for Mother's Day. Do everything with love. Love is doing what is best for people in the Corinthians. As they were gathering together, they were not doing everything with love. Again, the example of the Lord's Supper. Pushing other people out of the way so they could have their fill and overindulge. That's not loving each other. The divisions in fighting between them, over who the best teachers were and their favorite ministers were that was not motivated by love. It was not loving behavior. The lawsuits, as they would take each other to court. They were not loving each other the way that they were exercising their personal liberties and help hurting others and and causing them to stumble, stumble. They were not loving each other. They're exercising of spiritual gifts even as they gather together. It was not out of love, and that's why in between Chapter 12 and 14 of First Corinthians Chapter 13, that great chapter of Love where Paul says guys, we got to come back to what matters here, the motive and the hearts. The issue is love. The first part of Chapter 13, Paul says, look, if I have all the gifts and all the faith and can do everything and then just have these amazing supernatural abilities. But if I don't have love, it's it's meaningless. It's valueless. But they were. Not considering love, not careful about love. They were doing what they wanted to do for their own purposes, for their own reasons, but love is doing what is best for others, doing what is best eternally for the people around you. Again, this is in the present imperative, active. It's not that you love people one. Time and you're good. That was. It I loved them. One time. Done for life, no. Ongoing, continual constant. And it's something you personally have to do. Nobody else can do this for you. You have to make the decision and take action. Do everything with love. Put love at the center of your motivation of your decisions. Of your conversations. It's how the Lord will enable you to recover. From self-destructive chaos. Keep your guard up. Stand firm in the faith. Do what God says. Trust him to provide strength. And do everything with love. When you find yourself spiraling and caught up and stuck and locked in. It's not too late. It's not over. There's still a path to glory from here. And the path to glory always starts at the cross, and so it's an appropriate time for us this morning to you partake of communion together and come back to that starting point to come back to that place where we can head towards. The goodness, the glory that God has in store for us, and so the worship team is going to come up and the ushers are going to make ready. As they do, I just want to share. Couple last things. Messes in this life. Take time to reset. That chaos of those damaged relationships that. Difficult and complex issues that have been developed. You find yourself in the midst of. They don't just resolve overnight. They're not just gone overnight. Takes time for chaos to come back to. Order to pull out of. That spin for forgiveness to be given for healing to take place. And to understand that as you head down this path, as you seek to recover. Make sure your expectations are aligned, that it's not going to be instant overnight, that everything is resolved. But that as. You continue to walk with the Lord and hold that course and keep your guard up and and walk in this way. There will be a full recovery in all of that. At the same time, as we approach the bread and the cup this morning. I would like to remind you that when it comes to our relationship with God. It's a little bit different. And you get an instant reset. Doesn't take time. To have access to God again. After you've been ignoring him and living your own way, the Corinthians didn't have to wait for years in order to be able to have fellowship with God again. They could right then right there, begin. To enjoy the communion that God offered to them, and Paul wrote about that in First Corinthians Chapter 11. He says I pass on what I received from the Lord that night that he was betrayed. He took bread, gave thanks to God for it. He broke it and said this is. My body, which is given for you do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, he took the cup after supper, saying this cup is the new covenant between God and his people. An agreement confirmed with my blood do this in remembrance of me as often as you drink it, and then he goes on to say for every time you eat this bread and drink this cup. You are announcing the Lord's death until he comes. Corinthian Church, full of problems, full of issues. Corinthian Church, you have the opportunity to partake. To remember, remind yourself and remember the cross. To come back to forgiveness and brokenness before the Lord. And to come back to that rightful place of announcing. The truth the Lord's death, until he comes again, resets everything for us and our relationship with God. As we come back to the cross. And so you have that opportunity today again, no matter how far you've gone, no matter how big the mess, no matter how bad the chaos. The Lord offers you the opportunity. To recover. From that self destruction. By coming back to the cross. Partaking of the forgiveness, the mercy, and the grace that Jesus offers, reminding yourself of him. And then setting yourself on the right course to follow him and obey him with all that he provides. The ushers are going to pass out the bread and the cup as they lead us in worship and at anytime during the song you are free to partake between you and the Lord as you receive that work that he has done for you, the forgiveness that he offers to you and let's do that. Let's reset our relationship with the Lord and put ourselves back on that path to recovery. To receive the glory that God has in store for us, let's worship the Lord.