A Solid “B” Actor

A Solid “B” Actor

“By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.” I Peter‬ 5‬:12‬-14‬ NKJV‬‬

Peter tells us what is “true grace”. There is a common saying among the world that has infiltrated Christians. I was preaching at another church’s women’s event and I heard a lady say to me, “This is my truth”. This is a fallacy. Unless your truth aligns with God’s word; it is a lie. There is no “my truth” or “your truth”, but only “the truth” according to the Scripture. Peter tells us what true grace implies and it is only in the true grace of God that we can stand securely. Let’s recap:

–Grace includes an assurance of salvation through a tried faith. (Vs. 3-12) we can understand God’s Word and heed His warnings of departure and still have an assurance of our salvation. Our faith will be tried. We will suffer affliction and persecution. We will be chastened of the Lord. Peter tells us, judgment begins at the house of God (4:17-19) All these things are true. Our faith is more precious and valuable than gold and it is through the trial that we are refined. Hold fast to those things He tells us to cling to and we have assurance He will give us strength for the bloody battle that is to try us and He will see us safely home. 

1 Peter 4:17-19  For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

–Grace is in accordance with the doctrine of godliness. I have had dreams where I am preaching this message but no one is listening. If you are not becoming more godly and shunning sinning, you are not saved. WE fight against the flesh and our sinful nature, we do not embrace it. We must be holy as He is holy in all manner of conduct and conversation and have a reverential fear of the Lord. (Vs. 13-21) Scripture tells us “no man will see the Lord without holiness”. True grace requires that we shun sin and the old works of the man of flesh and live according to the Holy Spirit in righteousness.

Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,

1 Timothy 6:3-5  If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the [a]doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, [b]useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. [c]From such withdraw yourself.

–True grace obeys the truth in sincere love for the brethren. (Vs. 1:22-25) have compassion on one another and seek peace (2:8-12) Scripture tells us that men will know us by how we love one another, not how we love the world, but how we love the brethren. Grace will teach us to deny ourselves and live for the brethren. Paul understood this deeply

Philippians 1:8 For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ.

1 John 3:13-15 Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love [c]his brother abides in death. 15 Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

–True grace desires the Word of God above all else in order to obey because of the high cost of His love and mercy. (Vs. 2:1-10) There is no love without the cross, therefore is no love without obedience. Because of this great grace, we can live to honor and please Him. 

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for [a]instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

If you do not desire the Word of God, you have to ask yourself why? Belief and obedience to the Word of God are inseparable.

–True grace teaches us that we are a pilgrim just passing through. This world is not my home. (Vs. 11-12) We do not love this world, its ways, its thoughts, its philosophies or procedures.

1 John 2:15  Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Hebrews 13:13-14  Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. 14 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.

–True grace teaches us to submit to all earthly authority as unto the Lord and walk in humility for God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble  (vs. 2:13-3:1-7, 5:5-7) 

Romans 13:1-2  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will [a]bring judgment on themselves.

–True grace reveals that we will suffer for righteousness’ sake in order to identify with the sufferings of our Savior (V. 3:13-22; 4:12-19) We are to arm ourselves with this SAME mind of Christ and live for God and not the desires of the world or the flesh, to come out of the world and cease from sin (v. 4:1-6) There is no cross without suffering and there is no cross w/o rejection of man

Philippians 1:29  For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

Matthew 10:22  And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.

–True grace teaches us to be constantly watchful, serious and always vigilant. We have a cunning adversary who seeks to devour us. (V. 4:7-11, 5:8-11)

Revelation 3:2  Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before [a]God.

–True grace teaches that the greatest will be servants of all and we will give an account of what we did with what He has given us. Elders/overseers are to shepherd the flock of God in all honesty and integrity, knowing you will give an account of the flock God has placed in your care and that we, the flock, will give an account of how we responded to you. (V. 5:1-4)

Hebrews 13:17  Obey those who [a]rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

All other NT letters, the gospels and OT Scriptures confirm the testimony of Peter to the true grace that God brings. Anything outside of this is a doctrine of demons. That was my introduction. Let’s get into the meat of the sermon. “Silvanus our faithful brother.” Silvanus is also known as “Silas”. He is mentioned in the book of Acts as a companion of Paul, but not much else is said about him. 

First, we see here the worth and importance of subordinate work.       

Not a syllable that Silas ever said is recorded in Scripture. He had been a chief man among the brethren when he was in Jerusalem, but, like some other big fish in a little pond, he came to be anything but a big fish when he got alongside of Paul. He did not say: ‘I’m the chief here and I am not going to be second!” By no means! He could not do Paul’s work, but he could endure stripes along with him in the prison at Philippi, and he took them. He could not write as Peter could; it was not his work to do that. But he could carry one of Peter’s letters. And so, ‘by Sylvanus, a faithful brother, I have written to you.’ Subordinate work was what God had called Silas to do, and so he found joy in it.

Is this not a pattern for us? People in the world or in the Church who are called to do prominent work are counted by hundreds; but those who can do valuable subordinate work are counted by thousands–by millions.  Now, we are all subordinates to Christ, but there are men called to specific positions in the body. Jonathan was a warrior, but when he got next to David he paled in comparison; yet he was content to be David’s friend. Are you secure enough to walk beside another who has a more “visible” calling and giftings? 

John 3:29-30 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John faded out when Christ came on the scene. And we must all fade away to make Jesus known. But maybe you are called to walk beside another? 

There is no trick to this, it is living securely as a child of God, knowing and understanding you are called to a certain position in the body and you are not called to do another’s work. 

1 Corinthians 12:14-27  For in fact the body is not one member but many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be? 20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. 23 And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, 24 but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, 25 that there should be no [b]schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. 26 And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually.

Not are all called to plant a church. Not all are called to preach, teach, or write. Not all have gifts of healing and work special miracles like Paul. Only some. The rest are called to just walk beside them and serve the brethren. Are they any less valuable? 

I will tell you when you walk beside people it can be hard being in their shadow. My husband has a big personality and is a very gifted speaker. He casts a big shadow. People expect me to be him or be like him, but I am not. I am called to walk beside him and be his helper. I know way too many women that compete with their husbands for the spotlight. It is godless. It is a Jezebel. I am secure in Christ. Are you secure in Christ? Walk beside someone and you will reap their sufferings and stripes like Silas, but the rewards you will reap far outweigh the stripes.

Secondly, the importance and obligation of persistently doing our task, though nobody notices it.

Who has ever heard of “Al Leong”? His acting career spans 31 yrs, 1983-2014. Most of you would recognize his face if I showed you a picture. He is the Asian bad guy in many movies.

Matt and I talk about the B actors in movies. There are more B actors out there than the big names ones. We say, “THAT GUY IS A SOLID B ACTOR.” You know, “that guy” that’s in every movie but you don’t even know his name. He’s probably making a good living and what does he care if he’s not “known” like Tom Cruise? He’s presumably doing what he loves. Who has heard of Billy Graham? Who has heard of Grady Wilson?

Grady Wilson was not only a gifted evangelist but a beloved lifelong friend of Billy Graham. He often served as Mr. Graham’s traveling companion and confidant, and Mr. Graham often said that he always felt comfortable with Mr. Wilson around. His sense of humor and steady stream of anecdotes were a delight to all and often a leveling influence on his teammates in tense situations.

He began preaching evangelistic sermons around the age of 18 and preached with fervor, conviction and the goal of winning people to new life in Christ. He was associated with Mr. Graham in evangelistic ministry since 1947 and became an associate evangelist of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) when it incorporated in 1950, conducting hundreds of evangelistic meetings both in the U.S. and abroad. He frequently traveled with Mr. Graham to other continents as a companion in ministry but never failed to participate in preaching the Gospel on these trips. He held Crusades in Britain, Africa, Central and South America, Asia, New Zealand, and Australia. He often preached in individual churches, conferences, and special meetings.

It seems like everyone now wants to be “known”. They want to make it big and be the next big social media “influencer”. They want their name in lights and for everybody to adore them. I myself do not want to be famous. Fame sounds like a heavy burden to bear. Why can’t you just be a solid B actor in His kingdom? The one everyone sees everywhere, doing everything— serving others, giving, helping, sharing the Word; but they can’t seem to remember your name. What does it matter? Who are you living for? 

Colossians‬ 3:23-24‬ “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.”

You are not called to another’s work. You probably could not even do their job in the kingdom. Do not covet another’s position. Not everyone is called to preach, pastor, write a book, or travel to other countries. I hear people say this all the time, “YOU should be preaching, writing, etc.” Why can’t you just be the letter deliverer? Why can’t you just be a faithful companion in Christ? 

Are you looking for accolades and rewards? If what you’re doing is for other’s applauds, then that’s your reward. If you desire to be SEEN and acknowledged, then your heart is still corrupt and your ego is out of control. The message of the cross is death— death to self, death to pride and ego and THEN comes the abundant grace-filled life IN CHRIST. We have to live with the mindset of our work on this earth is for an audience of One. Like a parent of a child who is a tree in a play, and may have no speaking part; our Father’s eye is intently upon us. He watches and rejoices over us for being the best tree we can be. 

Thirdly, here is an example to us of a character which we can all earn, and which will be the best that any man can get.

What was said of Silas? That he was a genius, a wise philosopher, an eloquent preacher, a statesman, a warrior, poet, painter? No! ‘A faithful brother.’ He may have been a commonplace one. We do not know anything about his intellectual capacity. He may have had very narrow limitations and very few powers, or he may have been a man of large faculty and acquirements. But these things drop out of sight; and this remains–that he was faithful. It is meant in both senses of the word. The one of these is the root of the other; for a man that is full of faith is a man who may be trusted, is reliable, and will be sure to fulfil all the obligations of his position, and to do all the duties that are laid upon him. The best thing: it takes 0 talent to be faithful.

Proverbs 20:6  Most men will proclaim each his own [a]goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Hebrews 3:5 And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward,

Matthew 25:21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’

These are the words we long to hear from our Lord. We must end our race faithful. He doesn’t offer us a choice of how we can serve Him. The call is to be faithful to Him and the ministry we receive from Him.

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