Community Baptist Church Ladies’ Book Study

Pilgrim’s Progress Chapter 19; November 8, 2016

I.                     Review

a.       At our last meeting, we saw the value of one-to-one fellowship, as Christian caught up with Faithful.  We were reminded that, as fellow sojourners, we should not be competitors, but seek a heart of humility and love for one another, which will give us the proper spirit to be of help and encouragement.

b.      Faithful recounts his journey heretofore, telling of his encounter with Ms. Wanton and his need for caution on the way ahead, not being certain that she was done with her assault. 

c.       He spoke of his grappling with Moses, who would continually beat him down, leaving him for dead, and his deliverance by the One with the nail-scarred hands.

d.      We saw his run-in with “Shame”, who would more aptly be called “Shameless” due to his continual hounding and casting doubt on the Word of God.  “Hath God said?”

e.      We saw that while we are on the same path to the Celestial City, we are individuals, and while our experiences will differ, we serve the same Lord and God has blessed us with companions in our journey.

II.                  First Impression of Talkative

a.       As Faithful and Christian continue on their journey, they see someone across the way:  a tall man, who from a distance appeared to be handsome.

b.      As Faithful interacts with him, Talkative declares that he is headed to the same destination and has every intention of being their companion.

c.       He expresses an interest in edifying conversation/fellowship.  He wants to talk about the things of God.   He speaks of the necessity of the new birth, the insufficiency of our works, and the need for Christ’s righteousness.   So far…he looks good and sounds good! 

d.      Faithful is obviously encouraged by this communication and impressed by Talkative’s broad knowledge base.  I am sure that after his most recent encounter with Shame, who aggressively opposed the Word of God, Faithful was delighted to find someone who spoke of gospel truth in such glowing terms

e.      But, alas, not all is as it appears.  “Fascination with doctrine is one thing, but transformation by doctrine is quite another.”  B. Horner

III.                Talkative’s Life Unmasked

a.       Once again we see the benefit of walking with a “bonafide traveler”.  If it were not for Christian’s knowledge of the true nature of Talkative, Faithful would have been fooled.

b.      Christian is aware of Talkative’s heritage, background, and true character.

c.       He sounds good and thus can beguile many who don’t truly know him.

d.      He comes from a long line of talkers and non-doers. He is from the City of Destruction, living on Prating Row and is the son of Say-Well.

e.      He has the outward appearance of a knowledgeable, godly fellow…so much so that he might even be envied by the distant onlooker.  His wife would tell another story!

f.        He is two-faced.  He can hold his own with the religious or irreligious, with the theologian or the atheist, with the holy or unholy.  He can talk to anyone about anything, depending on what will be most advantageous to him. 

g.       He fits the description Jesus gave of the scribes and Pharisees. “All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works:  for they say, and do not.”  A side note:  Jesus never said, “Do as I say, not as I do.  He is everything He taught and commanded.  His teachings are an insight into His lovely character.  ‘Be merciful, be loving, be selfless….’

h.      Talkative is a shame in his dealings.  His family and his servants are abused by him.  In business, he is known to be a fraud and a cheat and trains his children in the same.

i.         As a result of his inconsistency and life of contradictions, he has caused many to stumble and fall.

j.        Based on the clear teachings of Scripture, unless God touches and converts his heart, Talkative is in real trouble come Judgment Day.  He is noisy, but lifeless.  Talkers that are not doers know not the power of God and deceive themselves.

IV.                 Faithful Challenges Talkative

a.        Mr. Big Religious Talker does not ultimately gain the respect of any, and Faithful was sick of his company and wanted to be rid of him.

b.       Christian suggests that Faithful initiate a conversation about the power of true religion and challenge Talkative about the presence of it in his own life.

c.       The BIG question:  How does the saving grace of God show itself when it indwells the heart of a man?  Not, what does it sound like, but rather, what does it LOOK LIKE?

d.      Talkative wants to hurry through this conversation, as it must have made him squirm from the get-go, but Faithful slows him down.

e.      Talkative:  “Where the saving grace of God indwells the heart, there it causes a great outcry against sin.”  That sounds good, right? ButFaithful responds, “You should have rather said:  It shows itself by inclining the soul to abhor its own sin.”  Do you hear the difference?

f.        What is the difference in those two statements? Read paragraph 4 on pg. 101.

g.       Talkative next states that the power of religion is seen in a great knowledge of gospel mysteries.  Faithful points out that knowledge can be attained and yet there be no work of grace in the soul.  Christ commended not the knowing, but the doing,  “Blessed are you, if you do them.” Read paragraph 3, pg. 102.  Knowing suffices the talker, but only in the doing is the true Christian content.  “Give me understanding, and I shall keep Thy law.”

h.      By this time Talkative is tired of this conversation as he realizes he does not have the upper hand, but allows Faithful to speak on.  He has to keep up some appearance, you know!

i.         Faithful goes on to describe a true work of grace in the soul.  It’s characteristics are conviction of the defilement of his nature and the sin of unbelief, which can only earn him eternal damnation unless he finds mercy through faith in Jesus Christ. “O wretched man that I am!  Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” From faith in Christ flows joy and peace, love for holiness, a desire to know Christ more, and a desire to serve Him in this world.  Read 4th paragraph, page. 103 to top of pg. 104. 

V.                  “Heartwork” Discussion Drives Talktative Away

a.       The description of true grace worked in the heart pretty much shuts the mouth of Talkative.  But Faithful’s direct line of questioning of a very personal, probing nature ends any semblance of “fellowship”.  Talkative was accustomed to speaking in theory only.  But Faithful discerningly aims away from the head and towards the heart.

b.      Faithful essentially asks if Talkative’s life backs up his talk, adding that commending oneself is no commendation at all, but only whom the Lord commends.

c.       Talkative’s response is basically, “Who died and made you my judge?” He refuses to answer the questions, but asks, “Why have you asked me such questions?”

d.      Faithful points out what he had heard of Talkative’s reputation….that his daily behavior betrayed the hypocrisy of his mouth-profession.

e.      He goes on to speak of the stain that he was on true Christianity and his responsibility in causing many to stumble and the potential for more shipwrecks of faith.  Very serious indeed.

f.        He then abruptly left.

g.       Christian observes that Talkative preferred to leave Faithful’s company than reform his life. 

h.      Faithful had hope that this encounter would not come to naught, but that it might be         used to shake and trouble the soul of Talkative out of his deceived condition.

i.         Christian sites the impact of hypocrisy on the church and the world. For this reason, true religion is odorous to many.  The moral corruption and empty life in association with the true church is confusing to the world, it is a blemish on Christianity, and is a grief to true believers.

VI.                 Difference between Genuine Faith & False Profession (What One Says)

a.       Can you list some differences/distinctions?

b.      If you think about the teachings of Christ while on earth, much of His teaching was a description of His Kingdom.  What does it look like?  Of what is it made?  That’s one reason the Pharisees hated Him so much; He shined a light on their hypocrisy…clean on the outside, filthy on the inside. 

c.       Let’s see what Jesus says in Luke 6:46-49.

d.      The foundation of hypocrisy is a shaky one.  At a glance, it may look good, but it will crumble in the day of judgment.  On the other hand, the one who hears and does cannot be shaken.

e.      Does this mean that we work for our salvation?  We earn it?  No, it means that the blood of Christ cleanses us not only from the guilt, but the POWER of sin.  Our heart to follow Christ (not only hear, but do) reveals a regenerated heart.

f.        A follower gazes on Christ.  Their heart’s affection is after Him.  It is not a mere head knowledge that does not sink to the heart.  A follower has a soul-thirst for God in Christ Jesus.  And we become like what we gaze upon.  Remember how it is said in the OT that the idol-worshippers had become like the idols they worshipped:  impotent/powerless.

g.       Give illustration of following a driver. (borrowed from John Snyder)

h.      How is it with you?