Vital Signs
return to the main player
Return to the Main Player

Vital Signs

1 Peter 4:7–11  (ID: 1489)

In the same way that there are vital signs which show that the body is alive, there are vital signs that measure the health of the body of Christ. Alistair Begg shares how prayer, love, hospitality, service, and worship are all necessary qualities for a church to have if it hopes to survive. With the ultimate goal of giving glory to God, we are to love and serve those around us.

Series Containing This Sermon

A Study in 1 Peter, Volume 3

Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake 1 Peter 3:13–4:19 Series ID: 16003

The Basics of the Christian Faith

A 13-Lesson Survey Selected Scriptures Series ID: 28701

Sermon Transcript: Print

I invite you to take your Bibles, and we’ll turn once again to Peter’s letter—the first letter of Peter—and to chapter 4, where we resume our studies this morning at the seventh verse. First Peter 4:7.

Incidentally, as you’re turning to this—and we’re going to read it in a moment—I do just want to say that I acknowledge the careful concern of someone who wrote me and said, “What happened to the conclusion of your message from two Sundays ago, where you got as far as 1 Peter 4:4, and then verse 5 and 6 was left until next time, and then next time there was no verse 5 and verse 6?” And that was perfectly correct. There was a point on the outline which read, “The Account to Be Settled.” If you just take your eyes up for a moment to verse 5 and 6, let me settle this account for a moment.

Peter is concerned that although the believer is on the receiving end of all kinds of abuse and may feel that they will have to pay for it all the way down the line, he wants them to understand that there’s going to be a payday one day—that, as the writer to the Hebrews says, “it is appointed unto men to die once, and after this comes judgment,”[1] and so each will “give an account to the one who will judge the living and the dead.”[2] Nobody can escape that responsibility. Nobody can escape that answerability. And he goes on in verse 6 to say, “[And it was for] this … reason [that] the gospel was preached even to those who are now dead”—that is, to the people who have since died, having heard the gospel proclaimed—“so that they might be judged according to men in regard to the body, but live according to God in regard to the spirit.”[3]

In other words, that the gospel was proclaimed; people responded to the truth of the gospel; they have since died and gone to heaven; and therefore, they meet Christ as their Savior and not as their Judge. And Peter is concerned that his readers will understand that unless they are about the business of proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ for those to hear and to respond to and to obey and accept, then men and women will—if they do not embrace Christ as their Savior in time—will meet God as their Judge in eternity. And on the day of that, the tables will be turned, and those whose lives are governed by selfish desires will be called by God to give an account of themselves, and they will find themselves in the dock, and they will discover that the verdict is one of guilty. And so it is the great concern of Peter that his readers would understand the ramifications of this and so be diligent in the concerns of the gospel. That was, broadly speaking, what would have been the end of the outline from three Sundays ago. Thank you for mentioning it.

Now let me read from the seventh verse:

“The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

Now, before we turn to these verses, the very Word of God, let’s turn to the God of the Word in a moment of prayer:

Gracious God, we pray that in the silence and in the stillness of this morning, it may be your voice alone which we hear. You recognize the needs of our hearts, varied as they are. And you are the only one who knows this and therefore the only one who can apply the Scriptures to our lives just exactly as we require. And so together, both in speaking and in hearing, we look to you, the Lord of the Word, to speak the very Word of the Lord. For it’s in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Now, last time, we were actually in the seventh verse, and we noticed that Peter is concerned that his readers would understand that the truth of the return of Jesus Christ, the end of all things, the coming of the day of the Lord, is not simply a truth which is there as a piece of theological lumber—something that they might pay attention to, give lip service to, store away, rack it, as it were, at the back of their minds—but rather that the truth of the return of Jesus Christ at the end of the age would be a truth which transforms. In other words, that the doctrine which he proclaims would be a compelling motive for vigorous activity, and not just all kinds of activity, but ordered activity. And so he, with the word “Therefore…” in the heart of verse 7, introduces these practical demands of Christian discipleship. Indeed, we gave the title on the bulletin “Practical Christianity,” outlining one or two of the areas that will be in evidence in the lives of those who are truly transformed by Jesus.

I was thinking—as I reprepared, as it were, this study, having been gone this past week—I was thinking that we might equally give a title to these verses as “Vital Signs of the Body of Christ.” Medical people talk about our vital signs. I don’t honestly know what they actually are. I can hazard a guess at them. I think you’re supposed to be breathing; that’s helpful. And that there should be a pulse somewhere there is an indication of something. That your eyes have some movement in them is a help as well, I believe. But certainly I don’t know what the vital signs are in terms of the specifics. However, there are vital signs that show that a body is alive, and so, in the same way, there are vital signs to show that the body of Christ is alive. And these vital signs are practical evidences of the fact that Jesus Christ is the head of that body. And they are these, as he outlines them for us: first of all, prayer; then love; then hospitality; then service, or ministry; and then praise, or worship.

Now, last time, we spent the morning being dealt with in the whole area of prayer and the necessity of prayer. And you will discover that there are messages contained in the bulletin this morning and in the newssheet which you will receive at the end of our worship which impinge directly upon our concerns about prayer for us as a body here at the Chapel. And some of the changing strategies for the fall in relation to Sunday evenings and Wednesdays are directly related to what we believe God has been saying to us concerning the nature and priority of prayer. If you weren’t present then and you would like to hear about that, you’ll be able to get a tape at the table, and it will allow you to fill in whatever blank you might feel there to be.

Genuine Christian Love

So, prayer is number one, and we have considered that. And then, secondly, in verse 8, vital sign number two, or practical test number two, is the test of genuine Christian love.

You will notice that he assumes that Christian love is operated amongst those who love Jesus. He wants that we would “love each other deeply.” He’s concerned about the quality of Christian love. He’s concerned about its sincerity. He’s concerned about its priority in much the same way as we discovered in 1:22, where he says, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” He says, “You can’t be a Christian without loving one another. You’ve obeyed the truth. Your lives have been purified. You’ve been cleansed from your sin. You have been automatically brought into the familial relationships of Christian love. But,” he says, “recognizing that, let’s make sure that the vital signs are not simply there, but they are vitally there. Let’s make sure that what is expressed amongst us as love is genuine, it’s sincere, it’s a priority, it holds preeminence, and it has a quality similar to the quality of the Lord Jesus,” about which we read in Philippians 2:5–11.

Indeed, the phrase which he uses carries with it the notion of strenuous activity. The word here for loving deeply is a Greek word, ektenés, which means the strenuous, outstretched, habitual activity of an athlete about to go for the tape or to spring from the blocks or to perform the triple jump, launching themselves off from that little pad. In other words, the word which he uses is not a word which conveys mush and gush, as it were—some kind of mushy expression of something that is primarily emotive—but rather, it is something which is tough and something which is true. So he says, “I want you to love each other the way brothers and sisters love one another”—tough love, true love, sincere love, genuine love, quality love.

Now, we need to recognize this morning, dear ones, that we cannot evade this challenge, nor can we absolve ourselves of any absence of its presence. We need to recognize that in many ways, Jesus said this was the vital sign, did he not? He said in John chapter [13], “By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love for one another.”[4] In other words, there will be, in the average golf club or in the average VFW or in the average gathering of groups of humanity, a genuine concern which exists among those people, a code of ethics, a standard of excellence, a preparedness to tolerate one another that would be understandable and that is to be expected whenever groups come together as a result of a commitment to a common purpose. “But,” he says—Jesus says—“in the family of faith, there is going to be a dimension which is far and beyond that, which is far and beyond human explanation. It is going to be the qualitative characteristic,” he says, “of the love which you have discovered in me, Jesus, and which you are now demonstrating to one another.” Whatever else may be true of a church family, whatever else may mark it in terms of its distinctive characteristics, in terms of its giftedness in the lives of individuals, in the lives of it as a corporate whole, this one thing cannot be absent. It is the vital sign. It is the presence of strenuous, deep, genuine, tough, true love for one another.

Indeed, when Paul wrote to the Colossians—and we studied this some years ago now. In Colossians chapter 3, we built up this picture of wearing clothes. And he is describing all the things that we’re supposed to put on. You should turn and notice this. Colossians chapter 3. He’s giving instructions about the things you’re not supposed to wear and the things you should wear. He says in verse 9, “Do[n’t] lie to each other, since you[’ve] taken off your old self with its practices.” In other words, “That was like an old coat you used to have before you became a Christian, and you’ve tossed that now. And you’ve put on your new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge and image of the Creator.”[5]

And so in verse 12 he says, “Here are the things that you should put on when you get dressed in the morning. Put these things on. Don’t go out without wearing compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And when those things are present, then this is going to be the implication: you’ll bear with each other, and you’ll forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.”[6] “Forgive,” he says, “as the Lord forgave you.”[7] “And finally,” he says, “as the ultimate cloak, and as the big wrap-around over all these characteristics,” he says, “over all of these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in a perfect unity”[8]—not little bits and pieces, dribs and drabs of Christian characteristics, but finally, the great coat which we wear over everything else, like a soldier’s greatcoat or one of those great air force coats that they used to sell in the army and navy stores. I don’t know why they sell air force coats in army and navy stores, but anyway, we used to get them there in Yorkshire, and all my friends wore them. They trailed around your ankles, and they covered everything, all over the top. He says, “Put on love. It holds everything else together.”

Now, instead of us being left to wonder what the implications of this will be if we do it, he tells us immediately one of the characteristics that will be accompanying the presence of this kind of genuine love as a vital sign of the body of Christ: “Love each other deeply, because,” he says, “love covers … a multitude of sins.”

Now, let’s say what it does not mean. It does not mean love sweeps sin under the carpet. It cannot mean that. It does not mean love avoids the difficulty of confrontation. It does not mean that love absents itself from the responsibilities of discipline. What it does mean is that love is ready to forgive and forgive again, as Colossians 3 says—that love finds a way to return a silent answer in the face of fury unleashed against us; and also that this kind of love embodies what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 13 regarding the nature of these specific things. When love covers a multitude of sins, this is what is happening: love is showing itself—1 Corinthians 13:4—to be patient, to be kind, not envying, not boasting, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking, not easily angered, not keeping a record of wrongs, not delighting in evil but rejoicing in truth, always protecting, always trusting, always hoping, always persevering, never failing.[9]

Vital sign number two in the body of Christ, along with prayer, is the presence of love—a love which forgives and forgives again; a love which is tough and true, practical and readily present.


Vital sign number three, or practical test number three, in verse 9, is actually an expression of this same love: “Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.”

Here’s love in action. How will we know if we have love within our hearts? Well, we will reach out to others, and we will give to others what we’ve received. And one of the things we’ll do is we’ll turn our church, in one sense, into the very kind of hospital that is necessary for the broken and the weak and the wounded and the troubled in society. Certainly, our church needs to be a gymnasium; we need to be training people for the vigors of the army. Certainly, it needs to be a school; we need to be learning the Bible. But at some degree, it needs to be a hospital as well. And our homes need to become these things in a society that is wracked by so much pain and so much fear and so much emptiness and loneliness. Peter is intensely practical here. He says, “I want you to love. Love will cover a multitude of sins. And love will express itself in another important sign: simply, that you’ll open your hearts as you open your homes.”

Now, the practicality of this was real in his day, as we know from studying the history of the time: simply that there were no Holiday Inns, no Comfort Inns, nobody coming on the television and saying, “We’ll leave the light on for you,” which I think is the Red Roof, or whatever it is—the light will always be on. There were very few lights on, and the lights that were on were drawing attention to places that the average guy wouldn’t really want to stay—kind of unsavory dwelling places. And so unless the believers opened their hearts and opened their homes and their lives to those who were travelling, they would be forced either to rough it in the streets, live under trees, or else to be involved in these notoriously bad places to stay. And so what he is calling for here is something that will actually transform your daily routine and will make it such that you need to be always on call and ready to embrace people.

Love will express itself in another important sign: simply, that you’ll open your hearts as you open your homes.

“Well,” you say, “what possible application is this today, you know? Because we have all these places for people to stay, and sometimes people would much rather stay in those places.” Well, it has all kinds of possible applications for us as a church. We’re only weeks away, now, from the return of the student population to all the colleges and universities that surround us here. We are blessed with tons and tons of students coming along—far more than I would ever imagine would make the journey down from the University Circle area there. That is largely as a result of the ministry of many within those communities reaching out and opening their homes to students already. But you know, we can do far more with students if we’re prepared to put ourselves out just a little bit more: if we’re prepared to open our homes to students for Sunday lunch; if we’re prepared to turn around and welcome them, to receive them, to give them a framework—not only those from overseas, who badly need it and would really love it, but also some who are just hundreds of miles away from their folks. However good the university cafeteria is, it sure ain’t Mama’s apple pie, you know. And there may just be a way that you, wondering where you might express love, could do it as simply as with the turn about your head on the Lord’s Day morning, looking into the life of somebody and saying, “Doing anything for lunch?”

Do you know how many people’s lives have been changed for the good of Jesus Christ as a result of a simple expression of hospitality? A lady says, “You know, I can’t do very much. I cook, and I clean, and I have my home. And I can’t preach, and I can’t do this, and I can’t do that.” That’s fine. You don’t need to. But you can make your home the kind of place that has one extra seat at the table, which a student may take. And they may end up sitting around the table in that great kingdom one day, breaking bread as a result of the simple offer of a meal. It’s a vital sign of Christian fellowship that people like to hang together in eating and in opening their homes.

We could do it with students; we can also do it with single folks who are away from home and family. There are a number of young professional people in our church family. Do you know that? They live in apartment complexes. They’re okay. They’re nice. They’re making money. They have a car. But they’re gone from home. They don’t want to just stay with the same group all the time. They would actually love to be in someone’s home. They’d enjoy a Sunday lunch.

What about the widows in our church family who are tired of making the same meals every week? Who have gone regularly to Mrs. X’s house, because she always looks after them—but they’ve run out of conversation. Seven and a half years ago they ran out of conversation. And this lady’s not about to say it, but she’s looking for somebody just to turn around and say, “Like to come for supper on Thursday?”

See, it’s a vital sign. It’s a vital sign.

Now, Peter is a great guy, is he not? Look at this. Look at these two words at the end of verse 9: “Offer hospitality to one another”—so far, so good—“without grumbling.” The word in Greek is gongusmos. It’s actually a great word. I like the sound of it: gongusmos. I haven’t really found much practical use for mentioning Greek words to a congregation at all, but this may be the word: gongusmos. It simply means “without secretly wishing that you didn’t have to be hospitable.” So in other words, “Invite people over to your home without secretly wishing that you didn’t have to invite them over to your home.” You say, “Oh, I wish he hadn’t said that. ’Cause that’s the way we always invite people over to our home.” It might not be when we ask them, “Could you come two weeks on Thursday?” Two weeks on Thursday feels like it’ll never come. Two weeks on Wednesday comes, and you look across at your wife, and you say, “Why did you have to go and invite those people to our house?” And they come, and they think it’s hospitality. It’s actually a kind of anti-gongusmos hospitality. When the phone rings for the fiftieth time, when the folks announce that they’re actually going to stay an extra four days, there’s just a possibility of the necessity of this gongusmos word creeping into our experience.

And the only way we’ll tackle it is to see it as a Christian privilege. That’s what Jesus said to his disciples. Matthew 25: he said, “You know, when you minister to people, you’re going to have to look beyond the people. There will be times when it takes everything in you just to stay the course.” But he says, “I want you to realize that on that day when you come before me, you will realize that I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat”—Matthew 25:35—“and I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink; and I was a stranger, and you invited me in; and I needed clothes, and you clothed me; and I was sick, and you looked after me; and I was in prison, and you came and visited me. And then the righteous will answer, ‘We don’t remember when we did that at all.’” And Jesus said, “Inasmuch as you have done it to the least of one of these, my brethren, you have done it unto me.”[10]

Loved ones, who will take up the challenge of Bill Wilder and be involved in the ministry of Bible Study to the prisoners in Painesville? Must he go to other fellowships all across Cleveland to find those who will lead Bible studies for prisoners? Do we have no one with the ability or the heart to reach out to those who are in peculiar circumstances? It’s a vital sign! You say, “Well, I never thought I could minister to a prisoner.” With the Lord’s strength and a little bit of encouragement and somebody to go first, you’ll be amazed what you can do!

Hospitality is simply opening our doors and allowing people to experience our lives the way they are.

Jesus said, “You do it to them, you do it to me.” And also, we should do it, says Paul—2 Corinthians 9—in such a way as to realize that God is going to surprise us as a result of our activity. In 2 Corinthians 9:6: “Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly.” Whoever is real grudging with hospitality will realize that in the recipience that they find for themselves.

Whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he[’s] decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, [because] God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Hospitality is not waiting until we have the china that we believe is the right kind of china to entertain. Hospitality is simply opening our doors and allowing people to experience our lives the way they are.


Vital sign number one: prayer. Vital sign number two: love. Vital sign number three: hospitality. Vital sign number four: service. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

Principle number one: we have all received spiritual gifts. There is nobody in the body of Christ who has not been gifted spiritually under God. We may not have tons of gifts, we may not have all the gifts that we thought we ought to have, but we do have gifts. And indeed, we have gifts according to the apportioning of God the Father himself.

First Corinthians 4:7. We’ve mentioned it many times, but it’s important when you come to a verse such as we’re discovering here in 1 Peter: “For who makes you different from anyone else? [And] what do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” In other words, there’s no place for big shots in the church of Jesus Christ. There’s no place for anybody walking around parading their gift as if somehow they engendered it themselves. “No,” he says. “Who makes you different from the person sitting right next to you this morning?” Answer: God. “What do you have that you didn’t receive?” Answer: nothing! Well, then there’s no reason to be boastful about what we might do, and there’s certainly no reason for any of us to be negligent concerning what we may do.

Practical Christian service emerges from the fact that, one, God has gifted us; two, he has gifted us in order that we might serve others, not ourselves. Simple stuff. The gifts of the Spirit are given not as toys to be played with, not as banners to be waved, but as tools to be used—and not to be used for ourselves but to be used for each other. That’s why he says, “Whatever gift he has received[, use it] to serve others, faithfully” ministering—or “administering,” or stewarding, or managing—“God’s grace in its various forms.” The word there is a word which we translate in English, “variegated.” It means multicolored. It’s what you find in a rainbow or what you find in a lovely garden, with all the various colors intermingling with one another. And God has a tremendous ability to do that—of putting all kinds of colors together. And that’s exactly the word that Peter uses here for grace. It’s the same word that James uses in James 1.[11] “Of the manifold grace of God”[12]—variegated.

So here’s the thing: the sum, the whole, is greater than the individual parts. If we just stay with the notion of a color: If God made you a yellow and made the guy next to you a green, if the two of you get together, what color can you make? Pardon? Blue! That’s correct. Beg your pardon? Green. See, you don’t even know. So you’re going to have to get together with someone who has the other color, hang with them, and then you’re going to find what color you make.

Here’s the point, loved ones: the notion of individualistic Christianity is nowhere in the whole of the New Testament. The only way the body of Christ in the Chapel will ever be anything for God is as a result of the melding and the melting of the variegated grace of God in the lives of those that he has entrusted to this place. There is no one individual has all the requisite gifts. And even if they had, they’d be totally unbearable to live with, would they not?

So we cannot look to an individual, or even to individuals, to be doing the job—to looking to, as it were, ministers in that old-fashioned notion. I like the church notice boards that say, “This place has x number of elders and x number of deacons, and it has 850 ministers.” That’s right! “There’s a work for Jesus” that “none but you can do”[13]—as a mom, as a single, as a dad, as a student, as a high-school person, as a practical person, as an intelligent person, as a skillful person, as a businessperson, whatever it might be. “Now, get to grips with the gift,” he says, “and realize you should serve others with it, and realize you’re only a steward of it in the first place.” We exist together according to God’s purpose, and we function best as a result of our molding together.

The other night there up in CAMP-of-the-WOODS in New York, there were thirteen members of the orchestra, I think it was, or maybe sixteen, who all got a stomach bug. So suddenly the orchestra had, what—I don’t know—forty-five members in it? And then immediately it’s got forty-five minus sixteen. You think that made a difference? You bet your life it made a difference! ’Cause when the [imitates instrument] was supposed to come in, it wasn’t there to come in. And when there’s someone supposed to do this… And so they had guys who were vocal majors playing cymbals. They didn’t tell me that, but I could tell. That guy, he can’t fool me all the time, every time he bangs those big things. I saw him banging and looking around to see if anyone noticed. I noticed! So you had guys out of place! You got singers banging cymbals. Now, the church of Jesus Christ can’t function unless the cymbal bangers bang the cymbals, and the singers do the singing, and the piccolo does the piccolo, and the tuba does the tuba. Then all the parts, obeying the score and under the conduction of the Lord Jesus as head of the orchestra—then we make beautiful music.

That’s the picture here, very practical. In fact, he mentions two things in particular. In verse 11, he says, “If anyone speaks…” Phillips paraphrases it, “If any [one] of you is a preacher then he should preach his message as from God.” In other words, he shouldn’t stand up and try and draw attention to himself. He shouldn’t stand up and try and be a comedian. He shouldn’t stand up and try and be a storyteller. He should speak as speaking the very Word of God.

I came across a cross-reference regarding this which I found compelling. You’ll find it in Acts 7:38. Look at this for a moment, would you? Here is the nature of biblical preaching. Referring to Moses—this is Stephen’s speech to the Sanhedrin—speaking of Moses’s activity, it says in verse 36 that Moses “led them out of Egypt and did wonders and miraculous signs in Egypt, at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. [And] this is that Moses who told the Israelites, ‘God will send … a prophet like me from your own people.’ He was in the [congregation] in the desert, [with our fathers and] with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai.” Now, notice this phrase: “And he received living words to pass on to us.” That’s speaking the oracle of God. That’s preaching. That’s teaching. “Living words to pass on”—not words of human ingenuity but the very living words of God.

How are we to serve in the body of Christ? On the basis of the strength which he provides to fulfill the purpose which he intends to engender the praise which he deserves.

If you want to judge preaching or teaching, there are a number of things you ought to look for. The kind of speaking that speaks as the very words of God ought to be systematic in its form, it ought to be didactic in its content—that is, it should communicate truth that is understandable—it should be clear in its structure, it should be lively in its presentation, it should be relevant in its application, and it should be authoritative in its proclamation. But some other time we’ll deal with the nature of preaching.

Speaking and serving—the second half of verse 11: “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength [that] God provides.” Not that speaking isn’t serving, but he is distinguishing between relevant instruction and practical kindness.

Now, notice, as we draw this to a close this morning, that there is a flow through here. I want us to pick it up. Notice the sense of the flow-through: “If anyone speaks, he should do it as [the] one speaking the very words of God.” In other words, God is the origin of the words he speaks. “If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides.” That takes the carpet out from those of us who say, “I’m sorry, I can’t do it! I’m not strong enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not bright enough,” whatever. We’re not going to ask you to do it on your own strength, loved ones. You’re going to do it with the strength that God provides—the strength that God provides for the purpose that God intends, leading to the praise that God deserves. How are we to serve in the body of Christ? On the basis of the strength which he provides to fulfill the purpose which he intends to engender the praise which he deserves. That way, our service must inevitably be modest. That way, our service must inevitably be strenuous. That way, our service recognizes the weakness of the “me” and acknowledges the strength of the “he.”


And so, says Peter, when this takes place, vital sign number five will be that praise and worship ascends to the throne of God. God is glorified as a result of the exercise of our spiritual gifts in the awareness of our divine enabling for the purpose of bringing glory to his name.

So you see, whatever it is… If you get a nice welcome at the door from somebody, and you came here as a visitor, the welcome at the door is supposed to have a flow-through to it. The welcome at the door is supposed to say, “My! That was nice to have a welcome. I wonder what that was about.” And it’s got to flow through into the experience of worship. If the Word of God comes with any sense of help or clarity, it’s got to flow through to its implications in our lives and flow up and beyond to the worship that is due his name, so that the preoccupation of the people of God is with the glory and the majesty and the dominion of the name of Jesus Christ.

[1] Hebrews 9:27 (paraphrased).

[2] 1 Peter 4:5 (paraphrased).

[3] 1 Peter 4:6 (NIV 1984).

[4] John 13:35 (paraphrased).

[5] Colossians 3:10 (paraphrased).

[6] Colossians 3:12–13 (paraphrased).

[7] Colossians 3:13 (NIV 1984).

[8] Colossians 3:14 (paraphrased).

[9] See 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.

[10] Matthew 25:31–40 (paraphrased).

[11] See James 1:2.

[12] 1 Peter 4:10 (KJV).

[13] Elsie Duncan Yale, “There’s a Work for Jesus” (1912).

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.