THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-15-06
LESSON TITLE: "THE BIBLE: BIBLICAL WARNINGS ABOUT MISHANDLING GOD'S WORD"
"Trust in Him at all times...God is a refuge for us," Psalm 62:8! No wonder we have assembled this day to laud and magnify His Wondrous Name!
Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord's day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!
As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord's day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?
Now let's join in our first hymn of the day. It's name, "All Things Are Ready."
(SONG # 1)
The idea of God being our refuge is certainly a very comforting fact. The verse we mentioned at the first of the program also encourages us to "pour out your heart before Him!" Wow, this shows us that we can really trust and count on God. He is always there and ready to help us in all areas of life.
David goes on to explain God as our refuge in many places throughout his writings. Another specific passage we would like to consider begins in Psalm 71:3. In this verse we learn, "Be my strong refuge, To which I may resort continually; You have given the commandment to save me, For You are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth." Notice all of the things in this text which prove to us that God is our refuge. We read that we can turn to Him, for He is our rock and fortress. Another idea which David confirms about our God is that He can deliver us from the wicked. God is also proclaimed as our hope and trust. Is there any doubt why we can and should seek refuge in our God?
Finally, let's consider a verse in the New Testament which encourages us with the same idea. In 1 Peter 5:6-7, there we read, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.." Again we have God referred to as one who we can humble ourselves before and thus find safety in His hand. Furthermore, notice that we are exhorted to cast our care on Him! What more could we ask of a refuge, what more can we expect from our God!
Let me ask you to consider if you have made God the refuge of your life! If not, why not choose today to obey the commandments of God and thus find refuge in the most powerful and wondrous place available on this earth. Why not allow God to be your refuge and strength in the time of need?
Today we will continue our series of study on the Bible. Our lesson this day is entitled, "Biblical Warnings About Mishandling God's Word." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "All To Jesus I Surrender."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today as we now go into the study of God's Word together. We've been having a great study together over the past many weeks about "The Bible." We've looked at the fact that it's a great power. It has the ability to change man, and we've considered the fact that it is the complete Word, that it's indestructible. We've considered that really the Bible in and of itself is a revelation that without it, we would not know about God. We would not understand truly who our authority is and where it lies and we would in and of ourselves not have not only the knowledge, but not only the authority to be able to tell others about who God is and really what He can do in their lives to save them as well.
Today, what we would like to do is to look at some actual examples in scripture again about the Bible, but in relationship to the mishandling of the Word of God. We really can go back from the very beginning and find that God has always given law. We find that even in the Garden of Eden that God told man what he should do and what he should not do. And what is it that happened very quickly? Well, we find that the woman and then the man also ate of a fruit that had been forbidden. They were told not to eat of that fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. And so therefore after they ate of the fruit, we find that they broke the Word of God. We find that they had mishandled the Word because they had not done what God commanded.
We can go from that point on and find example after example throughout all of the different periods even after Moses' day, even after the children of Israel continued to at times be told God's Word, but they would reject it or not obey it. What does that show us? It shows us again that they would not handle the Word rightly. They knew what it was about. They knew what it said, but they would not handle it rightly. In fact, many of the prophets, both major and minor, were all about trying to bring back the Word of God, trying to encourage the people to get back to the truth and to understand it and to obey it. And what we would find was that often they would still reject it and they would mishandle that which they truly knew to be from God but they acted as if they didn't care.
Today, as we move over to the New Testament, we still find the command that the Word of God has been given, that it must be obeyed and that it should be followed. But what we want to look at today is some specific things in the New Testament that should show us that we can handle the Word of God improperly and we're going to begin there in Galatians chapter 1. It's possible to handle the Word improperly in the fact that we can preach its wrong gospel. In other words, we can claim that it is of God, we can claim that it's of the Bible, but the gospel that we preach does not coincide, it is not unified with what we read in the pages of God's Word.
This is exactly what Paul was saying to the Galatian church as he encouraged them to first know the gospel and then to be aware that they should not fall into the trap of teaching a different gospel. Verse 6 there beginning, he says, "I marvel..." He's amazed. "...that you are so soon turning away from He called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel." He says, "I'm amazed that you're turning away from God or Jesus and following another gospel, a different gospel." Then in verse 7 he says, "which is not another." In other words, what he is saying is that there is only one gospel. You can't preach another gospel because if you're preaching another gospel, than that which was first delivered, then you are preaching a wrong gospel. That's why he goes on there in verse 7 to say that "They then were perverting the gospel." They were doing those things that were bringing trouble among the brethren and among the lives of many because they were bringing a perverted gospel, another gospel which is not the gospel. And therefore, many were being led astray. The next verse there, verse 8, says, "But if we (that is Paul or those with him) or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you, let him be accursed." He repeats it a second time. "As I've said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than which was received, let him be accursed." You see strongly here Paul is stating that you cannot preach a different gospel and be approved of by God. Why? There is only one gospel.
The Bible spends a lot of time talking about the fact that there is but one doctrine. In fact, in 2 John there around verses 9-11, it says that, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring the doctrine of Christ, don't receive him, don't greet him really and don't even eat with that one."
We read in the Bible where it talks about the fact that there is but one Word. There is but one truth that makes us free (John 8:32.) There is but one pattern, one pattern that is aligned unto sound words. Therefore, in 2 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 13, Paul said, "Hold fast, Timothy, hold fast to the pattern of sound words." You see there was a grouping of sound words, something that was laid out as a pattern that should be held fast. What was that pattern? What were those words? The Bible. The words that now we have compiled in the canon of scriptures that we are able to carry and enjoy every moment of our lives.
And then we even find the idea of faith or belief and how it talks about how that we must believe or have faith in God, how their was one faith as we read there in Ephesians chapter 4 and that it is that one faith again that brings us to full circle (Jude chapter 3) that we might know what was once delivered to all saints or all followers and that was the faith. You see, the faith has been delivered. The truth, the gospel, the Word of God, the Bible, the revelation, the mysteries that now have been revealed. These things have been given to us and they must be obeyed and followed and we must handle them rightly because anytime we step outside of these teachings or we teach another or something different, then we mishandle that which is God's Word because God expects us to be faithful with His precepts and commands.
Another thing we often mishandle the Word of God in is the fact that we might take away or add to it. Again, we can go back to the Old Testament for all of these points and find how that Israel and others of their day would often do those things that were contrary to God, how they themselves would be guilty as we now make the point of adding to what God had said or taking away from what God had said and therefore being found guilty in either case.
There in Proverbs chapter 30, we find the great man, Solomon, the greatest man that ever lived, the wisest man, as God said not only would he be the wisest man that ever lived, he would be the wisest man who would ever live. So there would never be one wiser than Solomon. What is it that he said there in verses 5 and 6 of chapter 30 in his book? He states this: "Every Word of God is pure. He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him." Hear verse 6. "Do not add to His Words, lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar." I want you to notice there that he states first of all that every word of God is pure. Anyone who adds to the Word is a liar. What does the Bible tell us about liars? They're sinners. What does sin do? It separates us from God. What does the book of Revelation tell us there in Revelation chapter 21 and verse 8? That "liars are those who will take part in the lake of fire," which certainly we know to be Hell. And so when one is called a liar, or said to be a liar by God, that is not a compliment. That is not saying that somehow you're missing the mark a little bit. That means that God has turned away from that individual. And so when we read here that every word of God is pure, that is true, and that when we know the pure Word of God through the study of it and our growth of it, we can not add to it.
Paul also understood this, if you'll turn over to the New Testament again. We want to notice there in Galatians chapter 3 that Paul told the church at Galatia as well the fact that they should not add to or take away from anything confirmed to be of God. In other words, he says here that some things are of man, now it's different with man, but if something be confirmed of God, don't add or take away from it. It says there in verse 15 of chapter 3 again the book of Galatians, "Brethren, I speak in the manner of men though it is only a man's covenant (but hear this), yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it." If that covenant is confirmed to be of God, not just a man's covenant, now it's God's covenant. Do not add to it. Do not annul or take away. Do not add. Why? Because again God's Word is clear. If we handle the Word of God rightly, we must take it for what it says, not adding to, not taking away.
There's another passage where John in his revelation helps us to understand this same idea. In Revelation chapter 22, the very last chapter and last book of the Bible, in the last few verses there in verse 18 and 19, John says this. "For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the book of life." You see there clearly, you add to, you take away, you have transgressed the Will of God. You have no longer handled rightly the Word of God. So we cannot turn to another gospel or teach it as the gospel or we're handling the Word of God improperly. We cannot add to or take away from the Word of God or we are handling the Word of God improperly.
And finally, we cannot as well, turn to the Word of God and not grow in it. You know, you look around the world today and there are those who are religious and even those who claim to be religious and it's sad the lack of growth that we find in those claim to be faithful of God. There in the book of Hebrews we read about the fact that there were those who knew God and should have been mature, but there in chapter 5, he says in verse 12 beginning, "For though by this time, you ought to be teachers, (but what was the problem?) you need someone to teach you again." Why? Verse 13 says, "For everyone who partakes of the milk only is unskilled in the Word and is as a babe." But there in verse 14, "But solid food belongs to those who are of full age."
You see, we've got to become those of full age, but sadly many have been Christians for years and years and years and they are still focused on the Word, that is the milk of the Word and not the meat of the Word. What does it say here? Those who have solid food are full grown. They're mature Christians and he actually states here, "and able to discern both good and evil." He goes on there in verse 1 of chapter 6 to say that, "This is why we must go on to perfection that we might be Christ-like, leaving the fundamentals and elementaries and growing in the things of Christ. That was the problem they had in Romans, there in Romans 10 and verse 2. Paul said, "The Jews were zealous for God, but they lacked knowledge." You see, it's not enough just to love God. We've got to know His Will and we've got to grow in it and we've got to continue in our lives to add those things that He wants us to do or else we neglect the salvation that has been offered to us.
Again in Hebrews chapter 2 verses 1-3, we find the concept that if we do not faithfully follow, we will drift away. If we do not obey that which was spoken, we will turn and be disobedient and unjust stewards, but in verse 3, we will not have the great salvation but rather we will have almost escaped the salvation and chosen to follow the world. So yes, we must know the truth. We must obey it. We must follow it. We must find strength in it in order that we might be those who handle rightly the Word because we have grown and are growing and thus are fulfilling what God has commanded through His Word.
We want to end there in 2 Corinthians chapter 4. In chapter 4 we read there beginning in verse 1 about the gospel once again, but we read how that we must handle it properly. In fact, beginning there in chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians and verse 1, the Bible says, "Therefore, since we have this ministry as we have received mercy we do not lose heart, but we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the Word of God deceitfully but by manifestation of the truth commending of ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God, but even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing." You see, the gospel has been made known. It has been revealed to us. It has no longer veiled to us because we love God and we want to know Him. Therefore, verse 2 says, "So we are not ashamed of God and we are not handling the Word in an improper way." So if we are not handling it in an improper way, how are we handling it? Rightly. Why are we handling it rightly? Because we are preaching the true gospel because we are not adding to or taking away from it and because even as we have learned today, we are those who are growing everyday, who are studying the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15) who are diligent in it that we might rightly divide the word of truth as workers of God so that in the end, He might see that we are faithful and strong and courageous in His service, being able to be seen clearly as those who not only love His Word, not only those who obey it, but those who have handled it right. And if we have handled it rightly, you and I know the blessings. We have not only the promises of this earth and of this life, but we have the blessed promise of heaven someday, and as we have that promise of heaven, we know it's eternal life with God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit forever and ever. Amen.
(SONG # 3 - "Angry Words.")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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May we all realize the seriousness of handling God's Word rightly, for this is the only way to be pleasing in His sight. On the other hand, may we be wise enough to know that if we do not handle the Bible properly, we will pay the ultimate price!