THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 1-16-11
LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: RELIABILITY”
We are truly excited to have you with us today as we together break the Living Word of God. We are certainly glad that you have chosen this day, to give this time to our Creator - so that together we may Worship and Praise His Holy name!
As we come together this day, it is my hope and prayer that we will each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before God. As a collective offering of those who love God, and who are willing to submit their own sacrifices before His throne.
So, at this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer:
I hope you’re ready to join in our first song of praise! So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning?”
(SONG # 1)
In 1 Corinthians 13:13, Paul said, “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.” This is certainly a very familiar and true teaching of Christ. However, I would like to consider another verse this morning which goes on to teach us a little more about love. Read with me Colossians 3:14, here the same inspired author said, “But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” Wow, what a great passage of scripture!
So what is Paul talking about here? If you look at the context, he is reminding the Colossian Christians that we are all one and equal in Christ. Why, because he clarifies that we have put on the new man, with new knowledge, based on the very image of Jesus Christ Himself.
Next we learn about some characteristics which make up this new creature which is focused on the things of God. In the two verses proceeding verse 14, Paul proclaimed, “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” Wow, did you catch all of that? We are God’s Elect and chosen ones. And thus we are to exemplify Him in all we do. What a great opportunity this is, as well as a challenge to do all that we can for the sake of Christ.
Now back to our main verse, where he said, “above all these things put on love!” You see more than anything we need to learn because love is really at the heart of everything. Why are we kind, humble, meek and patient? Well, because we have learned to love as Christ has commanded us. Why do we forgive? Because we have learned to forgive as Christ forgave us. Praise be to God that we can follow His example and love, because when love is at the heart of it all we are seen as Christ-like in all that we do.
Finally, notice the outcome of having the proper love as commanded by Christ. Again, we read from Colossians 3:14, “…love is the bond of perfection!” Have you ever wanted to be seen as perfect? Well, here we learn that we can be seen as perfect or complete before God if we learn to love as Christ did. So the question is, do we love as the Bible teaches us? And furthermore, do we love to the extent that we are seen as perfect in the eyes of Christ?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our theme today will again deal with Jesus statement, “Let Your Light So Shine.” The specific lesson is entitled, “Reliability.” So please stay with us this morning for this study from God’s Word, and at the appropriate time we will be lead in these thoughts from God’s Precious Word.
As far as our speaker, we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us today. Brother Kevin is the minister of the HWY 13 church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank him for joining us this day. Now let’s join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Living by Faith.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lamp stand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Thank you for staying with us this morning. We so very much appreciate you being with us and tuning in for this broadcast. I want you to consider for just a moment that this is not just another television show, but we are actually asking you to join us as we praise and glorify God. So as we pray this morning, pray right along with us. As we sing this morning, sing right along with us. Hopefully the message that is going to be presented to you at this time is going to be something that will build you up as we all strive to grow closer to God.
The passage of scripture I read just a moment ago was Matthew chapter 5 verses 14-16. It comes from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” and it is the basis for a theme that we set upon a few weeks back: “Let Your Light Shine So Shine.” Thus far in the series we have covered the topics of “Wisdom” and “Cooperation,” and how we need to let our lights shine in those areas. This morning we are going to talk about how we as children of God need to let our lights shine in the area of “Reliability.”
If you look up the word “reliability” in the dictionary you will find these types of definitions: dependable in achievement, trustworthy or faithful. So as a result as we are trying to be a reliable people, we want to be a people whose words and actions are consistent with the teachings and instructions of the Heavenly Father.
Let me give you an example of something that I think about when I consider reliability. It’s a passage of scripture coincidentally from Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount,” just a few verses down in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 37. Jesus was dealing with a lot of people whose words meant very little. They perhaps would say one thing and do something else, or perhaps they would try to embellish their word by swearing or taking oaths so that perhaps they would be a little more believable to the people whom they were speaking. Jesus simply comes along and says, “You need to be of a different type of character. You need to be the kind of person who lets your yes be yes and your no, no, for whatever is more than these is from the evil one.”
Have you ever known someone whose word was their bond? If they said something you could rest assured that it would be true or if they said that they were going to do something that they would follow through and actually accomplish what they said that they would do. That’s the kind of person God wants us to be. He wants us to be a reliable person. He wants us to be dependable people. But the words “reliability and dependability” don’t actually appear that much in scripture. However, a reliable person or a dependable person in the Bible is often defined as one who is faithful, and therefore that’s where we’re going to find a lot of the body of our lesson this morning is on the scriptures concerning being faithful to one another.
Let me make this statement: Because as we try to be a reliable people ourselves, we have to try to first recognize that God has always been, is, and will continue to be always and forever reliable with us. We can always count on Him. We can always know that He will be true to His Word.
Back in the Old Testament in Deuteronomy chapter 7 and verse 9, we read, “Therefore know that the Lord your God He is God, the Faithful God who keeps covenants and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments.”
The apostle Paul would write the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 9. “God is faithful by whom you were called in to the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Paul would also write to the church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 24, “He who calls you is faithful who also will do it.”
The Bible more than abundantly describes God as faithful, describes God as a Being, as Deity who is always true to His Word. And in fact, that is something that we want to take a look at right now. Why is God so reliable? Why can we always depend upon Him? It has a lot to do with His nature, who He is and what He consists of.
1 John chapter 1 and verse 5 describes God in this way. John wrote, “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” Now the light and the darkness that is represented here is a comparison to good and evil. God is good. God is absolutely pure. In Him there is no darkness. In Him there is no evil. In Him there is no sin. So when we see God, when we talk about God, when we read about God in the Bible, we are talking about God as a Deity who is absolutely, purely good. There is nothing evil or bad or wrong in Him.
That’s why James wrote in James 1 and verse 13, “Let no one when he is tempted say, ‘I am tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted by evil nor does He Himself tempt anyone.”
God does not respond to evil, nor would God ever try to provoke another person to evil or provoke one of us to evil. God is absolutely good.
In fact, the Bible teaches something that is a little bit different from some people’s understanding. You might have heard some people say that, “You know God can do anything.” Did you know that the Bible teaches just the opposite that there are some things that God cannot do? God, for instance, cannot sin! Somebody says, “Well but, Kevin, maybe if God woke up one day and decided that He wanted to sin, then He could do it.” The answer is “No!” He cannot because there is nothing evil in Him. There is nothing evil in Him that responds to evil, that would desire to do evil or would ever carry out that evil.
That’s why Paul would say to Titus in Titus chapter 1 and verse 2 that, “God cannot lie.” It’s not that He chooses not to lie. He cannot lie. That is what makes God so wonderful in the area of reliability and dependability because He will always be faithful to us. Whatever He says we can rest assured that is how it is going to be.
So how does God show this reliability toward us? Well in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 and verse 13 Paul would once again say to the church at Corinth, “No temptation has overtaken you except as such as is common to man. But God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but the temptation will also make the way of escape that you will be able to bear it.”
You know it is interesting when people make mistakes; they are often quick to blame someone or something else. Think about Adam and Eve back in the garden. God said, “Don’t eat of the fruit.” They ate of the fruit. When He came and questioned them, you know Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent.
The Bible teaches us that when we face temptation in real truth we have no one to blame because God will always provide a way of escape. When we are tempted and we end up sinning it is because we have taken the choice or we have undergone the choice to actually pursue that sin. God will never allow us to be tempted beyond what we can handle. He will always provide for us a way of escape. So there is always a way out. We don’t have to tell that lie. We don’t have to steal that property. We don’t have to use that bad language. God will always provide for us a way of escape. All we have to do when we are tempted is look for it.
But what happens if we end up choosing that sin? 1 John chapter 1 and verse 9 reads that, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” That tells me that God is ready and willing to help me with my sin, to help me overcome the problem of sin when I am ready to help overcome it myself. The Bible teaches us in that passage of scripture that if we confess our sins… If a child of God who has sinned, and yes, children of God sin, but if a child of God sins and he confesses his sin or he owns up to what he has done or he is acknowledging his wrongdoing. The Bible teaches us, God teaches, God who is faithful teaches us that He is ready to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
So God is reliable! But if God is reliable, in order then for us to let our lights shine before men so that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven, we are going to have to do adopt the very same things, the same godly attitude of reliability and dependability that reflects that pure goodness and faithfulness of God in our lives.
There are several examples that we can look at in the Bible of people who are reliable. I will name two. In Nehemiah chapter 9 verses 7-8, we read about Abram who is later called Abraham and in verse 8 we read, “You found his heart faithful before you,” saying that, “God, you found Abraham to be someone who was reliable, someone who is dependable, someone who is trustworthy in carrying out your commands.” Let me give you an example. When Abraham was commanded to move from one land to another, he followed God’s instructions. When Abraham was even commanded to sacrifice his son, Isaac, Abraham was willing to follow through with those instructions all the way up to the point that God stopped him just before the deed was done.
Well in the New Testament, Paul says that we need to be kind of like this. We need to be a servant of Christ. In 1 Corinthians 4 and verses 1-2, we read, “Let a man so consider us as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
Moses, another great character of the Bible, was an example of this in Hebrews chapter 3 and verse 5. Here we read that Moses indeed was faithful in all his house as a servant. Now I want to remind you of what Paul said. We, too, need to be a servant. Moses served God in a number of capacities. If you’ll remember that Moses was the one who followed God’s instructions even reluctantly at first, but followed God’s instructions to go over into Egypt and tell Pharaoh to “Let my people go.” Moses was reliable when he led the children of Israel out of Egyptian slavery and when they wandered around in the wilderness for 40 years; he was the one who was dependable to God to leave those people right up to the edge of the Promised Land. Well we need to be servants as well. We need to be good stewards of God. We need to be people who follow His instructions as the Bible commands us.
I want to ask you the question: Have you ever had anyone work for you? Maybe some of you own a business and you have employees that work for you or maybe you work for a business and maybe you’re in a position to where there are people who work under you. My question is: What kind of workers do you have? Are they reliable? Are they dependable? What type of worker are you? Are you reliable? Are you dependable? You know God wants us to be reliable people.
In Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 24 and verses 45-51, he asks the question, “Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his master may rule over his household and give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Assuredly I say to you that he will make him ruler over all of his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, “My master is delaying his coming,” and begins to beat his fellow servants and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and in an hour that he is not aware of and he will cut him into and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
You have to remember for just a moment that we are trying to be, we are striving to be servants of our master, Jesus Christ, and He has gone away for a time but there is going to be a time that He is coming back. Now, He hasn’t been back now for nearly 2,000 years, but that does not mean that He will not come tomorrow. That does not mean that He will not come tonight. We have to be prepared for Him. He is looking for us to be reliable. He is looking to us to be a dependable and faithful servant of His while He is gone.
Have you ever known a worker who did a really good job working as long as the boss was present, but as soon as the boss left the employee was less than efficient or less than a great or stellar worker in the place of business? We can’t be like that! Just because Jesus is not right here in our presence does not mean that we should slack up on our dependability or our reliability to Him.
Realize that when Jesus left this world He left His disciples a great responsibility, and that was to, “Go into all the world and to preach the gospel to all of creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved, but he who disbelieves shall be condemned.”
He has left us a responsibility to go and to bring the good news of His life, His death on the cross, His burial in the tomb and His resurrection. He has given us the responsibility to take that good news to the world around us. We cannot be like the one talent man who hid his talent in the ground. We need to be like the two talent man or the five talent man who went and put it to work and made more for the master when he came home.
How reliable, how dependable, how trustworthy are you? Do you mean what you say? Do you say what you mean? Can people count on you? Is your word your bond? It is important for us today to be reliable. It is important for us as servants of God to be dependable. He is counting on us to live a good life for Him and a life that can impact lives around us. So let’s be those kinds of people to God and let’s be reliable people to one another so that in the end we will all be found faithful.
(SONG # 3 - “More About Jesus!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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So, just how reliable are you before God and others? It is my prayer that we will each do our best every day, to be those who can be counted on. Are you giving God your best?