July 28, 2002
Jealousy that is not dealt with radically, immediately, and consistently can enslave us, with disastrous effects. Left unchecked, it can stunt spiritual growth, destroy relationships, and wreak havoc throughout an organization. Examining the features and consequences of jealousy, Alistair Begg explains that the cure begins by acknowledging its sinfulness and bringing it into the light of God’s presence. There, through our union with Christ, we find the power to reject the burden of jealousy and pursue genuine Christian growth.
Sermon Transcript: Print
Father, hear our prayers, and let our cries come unto you. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
Our text this evening is Proverbs 27:4. Proverbs 27:4: “Anger is cruel and fury overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?”
It can decimate a friendship. It can dissolve the fledgling romance between a young man and his girl. It can destroy a marriage. It can shoot tension all the way through the ranks of a business organization. It can very quickly nullify any sense of unity on a sports team. It can foster bitterness and ugliness around the dining room table, in a family. It can create total havoc in a university dorm. In fact, there’s virtually no place in which jealousy is unable to do its dreadful work.
And the Bible speaks very clearly concerning this on a number of occasions. Not only here in Proverbs, but again, as this morning, throughout the pages of Scripture, the Bible is very clear in warning against allowing jealousy to gain any foothold in our lives.
And it’s succinctly stated here: “Anger is cruel.” We know what it is to face the anger of another. Fury can actually overwhelm us. Somebody may be enraged and take arms against us. “But,” says Solomon, “really, those two are not as bad as jealousy, because jealousy will bring you down and crush you and overwhelm you. Who can stand against jealousy?”
Now, obviously, there is a positive kind of jealousy, because the Bible describes God as a jealous God. And what does that mean? Well, it means that God has a zeal for the preservation or the well-being of that over which he has loving concerns, so that he exercises a jealous love for those who are his people. We understand that, because we would exercise the same kind of jealous care over our children or in the context of our marriages. But when we refer to jealousy as here in 27:4, we’re thinking of it not in positive terms but in the negative way in which it is routinely addressed in Scripture.
Now, as I was driving in the car just this evening, I was thinking, “I wonder if I really can define jealousy.” And within about 450 yards, I decided I couldn’t. And it was compounded by the fact that I was unable to distinguish in my own mind between envy and jealousy, and I thought perhaps they were largely synonyms for one another. So I went immediately upstairs to the Oxford English Dictionary, and to the twenty volumes that are precariously nestled on a couple of shelves, and determined that I would be very clear with you so that we know that about which we’re speaking.
I can’t give you all of the definition of jealousy—it runs to a significant number of words—but here is sufficient. Jealousy is defined in the OED as “zeal or vehemence of feeling against some person or thing.” “Zeal or vehemence of feeling against some person or thing. Anger. Wrath. Indignation.” Definition number four is “the state of mind arising from the suspicion, apprehension, or knowledge of rivalry. Fear of being supplanted in the affection, or distrust of the fidelity of a beloved person.” Even the definitions almost need defined, don’t they? They’re so good. “Resentment or ill will towards another on account of advantage or superiority, imagined or real. It is that which expresses itself in envy or in a grudge.”
Envy—which I thought was really jealousy, but it is distinct. Listen to what envy is: to envy is “to feel ill will and displeasure at the superiority of another person.” “To feel ill will and displeasure at the superiority of another person in happiness, success, reputation, or the possession of anything desirable. To regard with discontent another’s possession of some superior advantage which one would like to have for oneself.”
Now, while most of us would be hard-pressed to come up with those kind of definitions, none of us, I think, would be able to say that we do not understand the emotion, the feeling; and while we may not be able to articulate it verbally, we know what it is to have it rise within us. It’s possible for us actually to be so consumed with a jealous spirit that we find it very, very difficult just to look straight ahead as we live our lives. We’re constantly wondering about the person behind us, in front of us, to the left and to the right.
Peter himself, as he got to the end of his journey—even after his great declension, even after his restoration—was still too concerned with what was going on with John. And Jesus had to say to him, “Never you mind about John, Peter. You just worry about yourself.” And Peter still—despite the attention of Jesus, the affection of Christ, his devotion to him—was still potentially paralyzed by wondering about this disciple whom Jesus so clearly loved.
What I’d like to do in the time that we have is simply to tackle the issue in much the same way as we did this morning. First of all, by noticing the characteristics of jealousy: How does it express itself? How will I be able to detect it in my own heart?
Well, let me say first of all that jealousy cannot stand it when others are doing better. Jealousy just is unable to cope with getting a C—unable to cope with a B-, if there are those with Bs and As. A jealous heart just can’t content itself.
You see, for example, in Genesis 26:14 an illustration of this concerning Isaac. And it tells how Isaac was able to plant crops and to reap blessing in the land to which he had gone—that he “became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became [exceptionally] wealthy.” And “he had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. So all the wells that his father’s servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.” They came, as it were, with the equivalent of those little backhoes, and they said, “Oh, so you think you’re doing well, Mr. Wealthy Isaac? Well, let’s show you what this feels like.” And they filled up his wells. Why? Because they couldn’t stand the fact that he was doing as well as he did. People are jealous of people they do not even know simply because it is possible for them to detect the fact that they have some form of superior advantage.
Secondly, jealousy is sad at the happiness of others when that happiness is a result of the success of another or as a result of the reputation of another being heralded abroad. So, for example, in the story of the two sons, in Luke chapter 15, you remember that while there was every reason for everyone within the framework of that family to rejoice—the boy had gone away, left home, left his elder brother behind, gone off into a different and distant country, wasted everything that his dad had given him, made a dreadful hash of things, ended up in a pigsty, decided to come home with a penitent heart, found that while he anticipated living in a shed, his father determined that he would provide the best of parties for him, a whole new outfit for him, shoes for his feet and a ring to wear, and this amazing killing of the big fat calf. And when the elder brother heard the music and the dancing, he refused to go in: “I’m not going in there to celebrate that,” he said. “You never gave me a party.” It’s sad at the happiness of others.
Oscar Wilde, in a discussion in a biography by a man by the name of Pearson, talks about the commonly held view that the good fortune of somebody close to you will often make you discontented. When two men are going through life, happy friends together, enjoying one another’s company, and all of a sudden, one of them grows in the ascendancy in business, and the other one is left behind on the fourth floor. It’s a grave and a great moment. Can the one who goes ahead still act with the humility necessary to maintain friendship? Can the one who is left behind now suck it up and still commend his friend and rejoice in his success?
You see it in families: brothers separated over the years because one has prospered and the other hasn’t; one has married well and the other has married poorly; one’s children are all doctors and lawyers, and the others are all pumping gas and looking for pop cans in the back of building sites.
Oscar Wilde says,
The devil … was once crossing the Libyan Desert, and he came upon a spot where a number of small fiends were tormenting a holy hermit. The sainted man easily shook off their evil suggestions. The devil watched their failure and then he stepped forward to give them a lesson. [Speaking to the fiends, he said,] “What you do is too crude. … Permit me for one moment.” [The devil went over close to the holy man and whispered in his ear], “Your brother has just been made [the] Bishop of Alexandria.” A scowl of malignant jealousy at once clouded the serene face of the hermit. “That,” said the devil to his imps, “is the sort of thing which I should recommend.”
Thirdly, jealousy makes us hostile towards those who have never harmed us. Jealousy will make a man hostile to people who have never harmed him. We don’t have time to go to all of these references; I just mention them to you. You can do them for homework in follow-up study if you choose. But in the story of Joseph, you will remember that when the brothers saw how their father loved their younger brother Joseph, “they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him.” Suddenly, at the breakfast table, there was no direct communication between these brothers and the younger boy.
Of course, there are extenuating circumstances involved in the process; I’m not addressing that this evening. But the point is clear, and it’s obvious—namely, that Joseph by his own design had done nothing to harm or hinder his brothers, but they hated him, and the reason they hated him was because the seeds of jealousy were deep in their hearts.
Fourthly, “jealousy is [as] cruel as the grave” and may seek to bring about the ruin of the one whom we envy. “Jealousy is [as] cruel as the grave” and may seek to bring about the ruin of the one whom we envy. If we need to go anywhere, we need only to go to Genesis chapter 4 and the story of Cain and Abel.
Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. Cain brought some of the fruits as an offering. Abel brought portions of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering. On Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast. And the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what’s right, won’t you be accepted? But if you don’t do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, he attacked his brother Abel, and he killed him.
And the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he said. “Am I supposed to look after my brother?”
What was the root of the murder? Jealousy. Jealousy. And within the Christian church, it is possible that we kill one another without actually physically ending their lives as a result of allowing jealousy a place within our hearts.
Fifthly, jealousy fails to recognize that God knows what he’s doing in apportioning gifts. When I’m jealous of the success of another, what I’m saying is, “God, you don’t understand. I’m supposed to have that. I’m supposed to be there. I’m supposed to be as tall as that. Why am I this size? I’m supposed to look like that. Why do I look like this?” Shall the potter have to endure from the clay such questions? Shall the clay then say to the potter, “Why have you made me like this?”
You read 1 Corinthians 4, and what does it say? “Who makes you different from one another? What do you have that you didn’t receive? And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not receive it?” The corollary of that, of course, is simply this: that if somebody received it as a gift, why are we jealous and envious of them? Because after all, God knows what he’s doing in apportioning gifts. He made you exactly as he desired for you to be, fashioned you intricately in your mother’s womb.
Well, we could go on and cite characteristics, but those will do. It can’t stand it when others are doing better. It’s sad at the happiness of others. It makes us hostile to those who’ve never harmed us. It’s as cruel as the grave and may seek to bring about the ruin of those whom we are jealous of. And it fails to recognize that God knows what he’s doing in apportioning gifts.
What about the consequences of jealousy? Can you be jealous, and it’s just, “Hey, I’m just jealous, nothing to worry about”? No. Jealousy will rot your bones. It will suffocate you. It will trap me. It will enslave me. Proverbs 14:30. You may wish to turn to it and look at what it says: “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” “Envy rots the bones.”
Chuck Swindoll, in his own inimitable style, writing of this, says, “Like an anger-blind, half-starved rat prowling in the foul-smelling sewers below street level, so is the person caged within the suffocating radius of selfish jealousy. Trapped by resentment … he feeds on the filth of his own imagination.”
Nouwen, in one of his books, entitled Reaching Out, tells the story of an actor who, engaging him in conversation, shared with him what was going on behind the stage, especially when auditions were taking place, or what was going on behind the stage when the play was being performed and when the actors and actresses knew that the media was there to conduct the review and to write it up in the press. And he wrote as follows:
Recently an actor told me stories about his professional world which seemed symbolic of much of our contemporary situation. While rehearsing the most moving scenes of love, tenderness and intimate relationships, the actors were so jealous of each other and so full of apprehension about their chances to “make it,” that the back-stage scene was one of hatred, harshness and mutual suspicion. Those who kissed each other on the stage were tempted to hit each other behind it, and those who portrayed the most profound human emotions of love in the footlights displayed the most trivial and hostile rivalries as soon as the footlights had dimmed.
Why? Jealousy. Jealousy.
You play golf, and someone makes a good shot, you find out whether you’re jealous or not. You’re not supposed to do this in golf, but—and maybe I’m the only one who feels it. But playing in a thing the other day against two other men, and things were getting very tight, and the fellow hit his approach shot onto the green; it had a bit of a sting to it. And under my breath I was saying, “Go on, go on, go on.” It wasn’t going to the pin; it was going off the back. It was going into deep rough. As soon as it hit the deep rough, under my breath I was saying, “Settle now, settle now, settle now.” Isn’t that terrible? That’s bad! And then the worst of it is, you say, “Don’t worry, you can get it up and down from there,” and then underneath your breath going, “I hope not.” Why? ’Cause I’d be jealous of his success. I don’t want him to be successful. I want to be successful.
That’s trivial. That’s a game. But if I allow it to become a pattern in my life, I’ll be wishing that every time I see anybody making any progress—hoping for the worst when I should be hoping for the best.
Well, it will rot our bones, and also it will give birth to unwarranted suspicion and to anger. A jealous heart is a suspicious heart and is inevitably and ultimately an angry heart.
In 1 Samuel 18, that is the problem with Saul in his jealousy with David. You don’t need to turn to it right now. But when the word came—“Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands.” Imagine this in an arena setting, and imagine that the crowd, in acknowledging the triumph of the various leaders in the prowess of battle, have begun to chant. And the chant comes, and Saul is listening, and he hears it begin: “Saul has slain his thousands. Saul has slain his thousands.” He’s saying to himself, “That’s got a lovely ring to it! I love to hear that.” And then, suddenly, it has a second part to it. And then the refrain goes, “But David has slain his tens of thousands. David has slain his tens of thousands.”
And “Saul was very angry; this refrain galled him. ‘They have credited David with tens of thousands,’ he thought, ‘but me with … only thousands. What more can he get but the kingdom?’ And from that time on Saul kept a jealous eye on David.” “Kept a jealous eye on David.” Misread all of his actions, all of his attitudes. Assumed that because of a success that he himself had not engineered, because of an acclamation that he could not have engendered, because he was on the receiving end of the benefits of God’s provision, Saul couldn’t cope with it and thereby grew jealous in his heart.
And it gives rise, jealousy, to unwarranted suspicions and to angers. And you’ll find yourself driving in your car, or putting down the phone, or seeing the person in the mall, and beginning to process information in your mind—unwarranted, suspicious material. And if you trace it to its root, it’s often because I cannot simply rejoice in how lovely they look, in how well they’re doing, in how happy they are as a family, in the success of his business, or whatever else it is. It’s much easier to explain it away: “Oh, that was his father, you know. He’s a bit of a loser. He could never have done that by himself. He crawled his way up,” and so on.
Thirdly, consequentially, it breeds—and this is really a bedfellow of the former—it breeds a destructively critical spirit. It breeds a destructively critical spirit. When I develop in my heart a kind of reflex action that is almost immediately and always critical, then it is usually because of jealousy.
Daniel chapter 6. You can do this as part of your homework. “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” Daniel worked hard. Daniel did well. Daniel found favor in the eyes of the Lord. Daniel found favor in the eyes of King Darius. He was in a political world. There was an opportunity for advancement. He wasn’t tooting his own horn. He wasn’t inveigling things for himself. He was just being Daniel. But when he distinguished himself in this way, then all of these administrators, seeing his exceptional quality, “tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs.” Why? ’Cause they couldn’t stand his success.
Fourthly, consequentially, jealousy will ruin our spiritual appetite. If you’ve been wondering why it is that you are not benefiting from the Bible—that it’s grown stale to you, it’s like eating old toast, three-day-old toast. If you find that your hunger for God’s Word has diminished, that your interest in studying it on a personal level, joining with others in the searching out of the Bible and so on, is just not there. You come to worship; you’ve been coming here these past months, and somehow or another, your heart is heavy and cold. Well, listen to Peter’s word: “Get rid of malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander of every kind. And like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow up in your salvation, now that you’ve tasted that the Lord is good.” One of the things that will act as an inherent deterrent to the benefit of growing to maturity as a Christian is a jealous, envious heart.
As children in Scotland, when my tiniest years—three years old, four years old… And I saw a couple coming down the corridor this morning from somewhere, I’m hoping from having been in the context of children, because the gentleman was whistling away some little children’s song. I remembered it at the time; I’ve forgotten it now. But we used to sing, “Root them out, get them gone.” Not very good English, but never mind.
Root them out, get them gone.
All the little rabbits in the fields of corn.
Envy, jealousy, malice, and pride,
They must never in your heart abide.
And we were supposed to do actions with it, you know, with the rabbits and everything else. But I can remember we were supposed to shake our heads like this. “They must never in your heart abide.” It was a good word.
Of course, it’s not possible by self-effort. It’s not possible by just determining, “I won’t be jealous.” We need an outside help. I’ll come to that now. But the last consequence I want to point out is that jealousy is the forerunner to all kinds of chaos. When we tolerate jealousy, not only do we fail to mature as a Christian and fail to benefit by the Word of God, but also, we discover that all kinds of chaos erupts when we fail to take this seriously.
In James, James is talking about the wisdom that comes from heaven as opposed to the wisdom that is earthly and unspiritual, comes from the devil. And he says in James 3:16, “Where you have envy,” or jealousy, “and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.” Where you have—in a home, in an office, in a team, in a dorm, in a church—an unwillingness to be completely, radically committed to dealing with the issue of jealousy, where there is the toleration of selfish ambition, “there you will find disorder and every evil practice.” That is the Word of God.
I think I deserve more than I deserve. I’m jealous of what someone else has; I think I’ll go get it. I think that I should be enjoying more happiness than this. I’m resentful of the fact that someone does; I think I’m going to have to take steps to find it. Disorder and chaos.
Well, the characteristics are clear, the consequences are dreadful, and the cure is straightforward. The cure is straightforward. How are we to deal, then, with jealousy? Well, as with every sin, we need to recognize it for what it is—namely, sin. It’s not some kind of psychological malady. It’s not something that can be cured by going to see a psychiatrist. It is sin, and it needs to be rooted out.
When Paul writes about the divisions in the church in Corinth, he says, “I gave you milk, not solid food. The reason I was having to do that was because you were still worldly.” And then he says, “Because there is still jealousy and quarrelling among you, and are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere men?”
Psychiatrists distinguish between suppression and repression. Suppression involves saying no to the opportunity to do something. I suppress a desire to do something. If it is something that I want to do that is wrong or unhelpful, I suppress it, as a Christian, by God’s enabling and help. That’s normal and healthy. Repression means denying that I even want to do it. That is unhelpful, that is untrue, and that leads to all manner of disorder.
So in other words, as with all sin, I think what we have to do is just bring it out in the open, in the privacy of our own home, certainly in the quietness of our own hearts. Jealousy is so often a secret sin, isn’t it? I mean, it’s not normal for people to come up and say, “You know, I just want you to know that I’m horribly jealous of you.” They may say other things to us, but it’s not normal. It’s a secret sin. And where a sin is secret, it’s a secret between ourselves and God. Therefore, how do you deal with it? You deal with it between yourself and God. You go to God and you say, “God, you put your finger on something today as I read the Bible. I didn’t want to face this, but you’ve brought me face-to-face with it. I can see in the consequential behavior that some of that has already become a pattern of my life. And so I’m coming to you tonight, and I’m asking you to help me deal with it. I’m bringing it…”
And this is the second aspect of it: acknowledge that it is sin, and then bring it into the light of God’s presence. Bring it into the light of God’s presence. I find that it is helpful for me, when I’m really confronted by something like this, to take something—to take a card or a piece of paper—and write down the actual stuff that I’m dealing with. Not, “Oh, I’ve had a few vague, general feelings of jealousy sometime in the last twelve months, Lord. Help me. Good night. And thank you for a great day. Bless all the people around the world. Amen.” No, it’s gonna be something far more brutal than that. It’s gonna be something far more painful than that. We’re going in here for tumors. We’re hoping that they’re benign, that they’re not malignant. We’re going in very carefully. We’re going in very purposefully. We’re going in ruthlessly. And we’re not coming back until they’re dealt with.
Bring it into the light of God’s presence. And then put the rejection of it—that is, the rising tendency within our hearts to foster and tolerate jealousy—put the rejection of it into practice moment by moment. How? In the awareness that I have been united with Christ, that all of his power has been available to me and is available to me. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ…” Remember Colossians 3: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, seek these things which are above, where Christ is seated.”And then, on the basis of your union with Christ, put off all these things—one of them being jealousy—and instead of that, put on the garments of humility, put on the garments of praise, put on the garments of encouragement. And on a daily basis—sixty seconds a minute, sixty minutes an hour—that is the only way to deal with it: united with Christ, and as an expression of the fruit of the Spirit, determined by God’s grace to leave behind all the dismal, gaseous, subterranean pipelines of jealousy. Refuse to breathe its fumes, refuse to obey its promptings.
The other way, of course, to deal with it is to become a pastor. ’Cause pastors, they’re never jealous. Let me tell you that jealousy amongst pastors that has to do with size, and influence, and income, and perceived giftedness, or whatever else it is, often makes pastors’ conferences some of the worst places you could ever spend three days of your life.
Gordon MacDonald, in his book Restoring Your Spiritual Passion—and with this I conclude—was honest enough to acknowledge this himself. I’m glad he did; it makes me feel better.
This is what he says:
I discovered a brutal truth about myself, a rather frightening personal flaw, some years ago when I suddenly realized that I rarely delighted in another person’s success. In my insecurity as a young pastor, I felt somehow that anyone else’s success was a threat to my own. …
Rather than delighting in the success and effectiveness of others, I automatically began to explain it away. “He has connections,” I might say of one. “[He] received a lucky break [he] didn’t deserve,” it was possible to observe of another. “They liked his preaching only because he had a few well-placed jokes in the sermon.” The list of possible rationalizations goes on. We pray for the church to grow, I found, and then we proceed to explain away the church that grows, if it[’s] not ours.
Rarely, I painfully discovered, did I ever say to myself, “That man … deserves praise for that article because it is indeed an excellent piece of writing, and it’s a lot better than I could have ever done.” Scarcely did it ever occur to me, in my natural state, to be thrilled over the fact that [my] brother … had achieved something marvelous for the community of believers. How could I say in my heart that I was committed to the expansion of Christ’s kingdom since I failed to rejoice when I heard of others in concert with God’s Spirit making it happen?
“I discovered a brutal truth about myself … when I suddenly realized that I rarely delighted in another person’s success.” Jealousy. It’ll rot our bones, destroy our church, tear friendships apart, marginalize marriages, and make the best of friends lie in their bedrooms at night and think rotten thoughts about those for whom they ought to be praying. May God deal with us gently, purposefully, profitably.
Let us pray:
Father, we want to be honest with you. We have to be, because you do this big X-ray deal, and you see us anyway. So there’s no point in our trying to come to you with any fabricated notion about how we’ve been doing well in this area. For most of us, the Word comes like a sword piercing between bone and marrow and spirit, getting to the very heart of things. We know that you wound in order to heal. We don’t read this and take it as a moralistic tale: “Now, come on, fellows, girls, let’s do a lot better.” No, because we’re confronted by our sin, there’s only one place to whom we can go: to the Lord Jesus at the cross. Sin no longer reigns in our lives; there’s no condemnation to us, having been placed in Christ. But it does remain in our lives—shows its ugly face, creeps up and grabs us. It can’t deprive us of our relationship with you, Lord Jesus, but it can spoil it—spoil our interest in the Bible, our hunger for your Word, our enjoyment of the company of others. All of this we long to deal with. Help us, then, to keep short accounts with sin and to deal with this matter immediately, ruthlessly, consistently, by your divine enabling. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.
 See John 21:20–22.
 See Genesis 26:12–15.
 See Luke 15:11–30.
 Oscar Wilde, quoted in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Memories and Adventures (Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1924), 73. The same story, with different wording, is also included in Hesketh Pearson, The Life of Oscar Wilde (Middlesex, Australia: Penguin, 1919), 148. The wording here matches Doyle’s version, not Pearson’s.
 Genesis 37:4 (NIV 1984).
 Song of Solomon 8:6 (KJV).
 Genesis 4:2–9 (paraphrased).
 See Romans 9:20.
 1 Corinthians 4:7 (paraphrased).
 See Psalm 139:13.
 Charles R. Swindoll, Come Before Winter… and Share My Hope (Portland: Multnomah, 1985), 187.
 Henri J. M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life (1975; repr., New York: Image, 1986), 70.
 1 Samuel 18:7 (NIV 1984).
 1 Samuel 18:8‒9 (NIV 1984).
 Daniel 6:3 (NIV 1984).
 Daniel 6:4 (NIV 1984).
 1 Peter 2:1‒3 (paraphrased).
 1 Corinthians 3:2–3 (paraphrased).
 Colossians 3:1 (paraphrased).
 Gordon MacDonald, Restoring Your Spiritual Passion (Nashville: Oliver Nelson, 1986), 99.
 See Hebrews 4:12.
Copyright © 2023, 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.