THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-20-08
LESSON TITLE: "FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: GOD'S WAY IS THE ONLY WAY"
Good Morning and welcome to our program. What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today and we are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
Let me take just a moment and remind the faithful Church of Christ and Brethren in the area to remember our request of last week. We need your help to see that this good work of God continues. With this in mind, let me say that this is the last week for us to secure additional help for the program, thus determining if we are able to remain on the air or not. If we do not receive the necessary funds we will discontinue the program in mid February. Next week we will announce the final decision concerning the future of this program. So we ask you to prayerfully consider these things.
Well, as always, let's get right to our praise of God. Won't you join in with the brethren as we sing together, "Love Lifted Me!"
(SONG # 1)
When was the last time you caught yourself thinking about something that you shouldn't? We all have a problem with this from time to time. Why, because one of the hardest things to control during our lives is our thoughts.
But why is this true? Probably because no one can see or hear what we are thinking. When we think things that are good or bad they usually are only known by the one thinking them. However, one thing we may have forgotten is God. God also knows our thoughts, even though we might think that we are able to think evil things in secret. It was because of this that we are encouraged as Christians to think on proper things. In Colossians 3:2, Paul said, "set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth." You see, we are to think on those things that are good and godly, from above. We are not to think on evil or earthly things. Paul presented this same idea to the Philippians when he said, "finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy; meditate on these things," chapter 4, verse 8.
Now, let's consider another reason why it is so important to think on the right things. The Bible also says, we are affected on the outside by what is going on, on the inside. To understand this better let's read Proverbs 23:7, there it says, "for as he thinks in his heart, so is he." If we choose to think on evil things of this world, then eventually it will affect who we are and what we do. Whether we like it or not, the way we are inside is what we will be like on the outside. Where are your thoughts focused today? On God and His Will or on earthly things which are contrary to what God wants? Choose today to set your minds and keep them, on those things which are from above!
Today we want to continue our discussion entitled, "Fear God and Keep His Commandments!" Our specific lesson today is called, "God's Way Is The Only Way!" So please continue with us this morning and after our next song I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Night With Ebon Pinion."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
If you were to have one opportunity to tell someone about God or to explain to them what it is that God wants from man, where is it that you would go and what is it that you would say? If you look to God's Word certainly that's the place that I would go, but where in God's Word? I don't know if there's a greater verse that helps us to understand the whole or all of man than is found there in Ecclesiastes chapter 12 and verse 13. It is in this text that Solomon is speaking to his son and to others and explaining to them what life is all about and really what it is that God wants from every creation. There it is in verse 13 that he says, "Well let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter." What is the conclusion? He then says that, "We fear God and keep His commandments." And then he goes on to say, "For this is the all of man, the whole, the completion of man to be right in the eyes of God." So how encouraging it is then to see what this wisest man who had ever lived speaks of in relationship to what God had revealed to him, that the greatest thing we can do is to fear our God. That means to reverently respect Him and know that He is real and obey Him and then as we read there of the obedience, keep His commandment. That's what it is all about. That's why we are looking at for several weeks these concepts about fearing God and keeping His commandments.
You might recall that last week we looked together at seeking the kingdom first. That is to seek God first and to put Him priority #1 in all parts and in all areas of life. Certainly we learned that from Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33. If we want what God has promised, the blessings of this life and all that we need as well as eternal life in Heaven, then you and I know it speaks there that we must speak His kingdom first and then all things will be added to Him. You see there, those, the ones who are faithful, that individual will receive the things that God has promised, the things that he has need of.
So today, we want to continue our understanding of those things that really pertain to fearing God and keeping His commandments, the all of man, the fullness of man and not only knowing that God must come first, but knowing that God has given a plan. God has a way. God has demonstrated a path and we must follow it.
It's very sad to look around in the world today and to find that so many reject the simple path of God. If God had wanted us to choose for ourselves, He wouldn't have needed to give us the Word in such detail. He would not have left us the pattern and the example, as well as the commandments that He did that prove to us and show us that a man is required to know God's Will and then simply to obey it.
When we look to the Bible, we also find what it has to say concerning these things. One verse that helps us with this is in Jeremiah chapter 10. You might notice there in verse 23 that here it talks about we're, us as individuals and our need rather for God. Look at verse 23. "Oh Lord, I know the way of man is not in himself." You see, Jeremiah understood, this great prophet, that man is not able to really himself handle and care for all things. So what does he go on to say? It really is not in man who walks to direct his own steps. He needs help. He needs something. You see, if we were left to ourselves, to our own way, our own steps, #1, we would never get where we need to go, and #2, we could never agree on what those things were. What has God done? He's taken that problem out of the way. He's given us His pattern, His path, His Word, His commandment. Therefore, we have opportunity to follow it and to know that we are doing what God says or not based on again the Word that He has delivered to us.
Not only there in Jeremiah that shows our great need for God and the fact that we are unable really to direct our own steps, but also back in another great prophet, that is Isaiah in Isaiah 55 and verse 9. We again see here why we should turn to God first and foremost and why He is worthy of hearing and knowing what He wants. If you'll look there at verse 9 there with me it says, "The heavens are higher than the earth for as there My ways are higher than your ways." You see, "My thoughts," as God says, "are higher than your thoughts. My ways are higher than your ways." You know here we find such an encouragement and understanding to know that again not only can we direct ourselves, but God's ways are that which is perfect. They're those things that guide us into a knowledge of what? The Truth!
Doesn't the Bible tell us we can know the Truth (John 8:32) and it will bring us freedom? Certainly. How has God then revealed Truth? Well, through His Word. Not through Ray or through someone else or through man or some organization or church, but through the Word that we might all read it and know it and obey it alike, that we can believe in the same God. We can believe that when He says, "Do this or act in this way or speak in these ways," then we know what God wants, how and why, because He has shown us through His Word. And so that is why we want to understand this morning that God's way is the only right way. How can we even consider for a moment that as man with all of our problems, with all of the problems of really our humanity, our weaknesses, the sin, that none of us are perfect, how could we ever feel that in any minute way that we could think better than God or that we could have a greater plan than God? You see then the fact is that God's ways are greater for He is higher. His thoughts are higher. His ways and thoughts are higher than ours because He is God, He is perfect, and all-knowing. He's all-powerful. Therefore, why would we turn to ourselves and other men when God's ways are perfect and they have been given to us? You see, God is a great God, a loving God, a God who from the beginning did not leave His creation without law.
We see it from Adam and Eve. They were even told in the garden what they could and could not do. But I would like to look briefly at a few characters that I think show even more so that God commanded and they clearly obeyed.
What about Noah? There in chapter 6 of Genesis and verse 13 God tells him to build an ark. Verse 14, He says, "Make it of gopher-wood," and then He gives specific details about how it should be made, specifically what should go into it. Then my favorite part of the story begins first of all in verse 22 of chapter 6 where it says, "Thus Noah did according to all that God commanded him so he did." He did all that God said, not some of it, not part of it or the kind he liked or the parts he liked and then the parts he didn't like he left undone, not what he really was intrigued with or was interested in and left the things that weren't of interest. He did ALL exactly as God commanded and then even when he had prepared the ark and he began to move the animals in, guess what happened. Again, chapter 7 and verse 5, "Noah did according to all that the Lord God had commanded Him." Every bit of it! Exactly as God had said. He said, "gopher-wood," and Noah used gopher-wood. He didn't question God. He did exactly... He told him the dimensions and he made them exactly according to the exact cubit that God had commanded him. Noah did ALL according to the command of God.
It wasn't only Noah, but every Bible character, even Moses continued to ALL according to God's command. Was he perfect? There was no man and there has been no man that ever lived who has been perfect. But when God commanded Moses, he obeyed. Did he always obey? No, he had some mistakes, but overall he obeyed the commands of God in relationship to the law, in relationship to the things that had been given. In fact, there in Exodus chapter 19 we find that they are commanded to keep the judgements, the statutes, the commands of God and then in chapter 20 of Exodus "The Ten Commandments" are given and they are told to follow these commands.
Thereafter, the book is continually giving more and more commandments of God. And so what were they given for? The same reason that we read in Deuteronomy that, "They might be obeyed, that they might be followed by the people of God." What is it that is found in Deuteronomy chapter 26? What is it that God tells the people there beginning in verse 16? "This day the Lord your God commands you to observe these statutes and these judgements. Therefore, you shall be careful to observe them with all of your heart and all of your soul. Today, you have been proclaimed by the Lord your God that you should walk in His ways, that you could keep His statutes, His commandments, His judgements and that you will obey His voice. Also today, the Lord has proclaimed you as His special people just as He has promised you. And you should (do what?) keep all His commandments." Why did God give the law? Why did He give the commands? That we could keep all the commandments. That's the way it was in the Patriarchal Period. That's the way it was in the days of Moses and the Law of Moses. And brethren, that is the way it is still today for we could go on and on there in the Old Testament and find example after example of those who heard the Word of God and simply obeyed what God commanded.
So what about in the New Testament? I would like to begin first of all in John chapter 12 for there I think we find an interesting fact from Jesus. Jesus Himself was willing to submit fully to the authority of the Father. Do you remember that there in verse 49 of chapter 12? The Bible says, "For I have not spoken on My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command of what I should say and what I should speak." When Jesus said things, when He did things, who was it for? Who was it according to? Where was the authority? Where was the commandment from? God the Father. Now if Jesus was able as God in the flesh to obey the Father, what does that tell us? If we are simply man and we are not deity as Christ, what does that tell us? It tells us brethren and friends that we are all the more required then as humans to realize who God is and to follow Him, to look to Him to know that He is perfect, that He has given a great, mighty and wondrous Will, and that as He has given command we are required to follow it.
Don't you think that's why in the same passage, that is at least John in chapter 14 and verse 15, we read this in the same words of Christ, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." How do we love God? We keep His commandments.
I also like the way He states it to the same people in chapter 15. Notice there if you will in verse 14, the Bible says, "You are my friends if you do whatever I command you." If you love Me, keep My commandments. If they did whatever that they were commanded, then you are My friends. You have shown your love. How do we show our love to God? How do we prove our love? Not by doing it our way. Not by doing it the way of other men or what a church says, but by doing it the way of God. That's what God wants. That's what He has commanded. That's what He has shown forth in His work and that's what we learn that He has given us, that Truth as we spoke of earlier. He has given us that path. He has given us that rule of faith as the Bible speaks of, and He has given us that Gospel, the Gospel as we read there in Galatians chapter 1 verse 6 beginning, that Gospel that is truly centered on Christ, that is not from any other except God Almighty. In fact, He mentions there in verses 7-9, He says, "Why is it that you are turning away? Why is it that you have turned to a different gospel?" He says, "If anyone preaches a different gospel than what they had received from God, that individual should be accursed."
You see, there is a gospel. There is a Truth. There is a pattern. There is a rule. But then notice in verse 9 and 10, He goes on to not only say that the one who preaches it is wrong, but then he says why he preaches wrongly. Hear verse 10. He says, "Do I desire to persuade men or God?" He says, "If I seek to persuade men, then I cannot please God."
You know, what are we in it for? What is it all about in the religion that we're involved in, the faith that we are a part of so to speak? What do we strive for? What are those in authority striving for? That we are equal? That there is one God, that there is one authority, that there is one Word, that there is one law? Or that they have power, that they have control, that they show us the way alone or do they show what God has to say? You see, we should not be persuaders of men or interested in what men think at all for God is what is important and we should strive to persuade God. No doubt, that's why in Galatians 3 and verse 15 that we read, "Anyone who adds to the covenant that has been confirmed, the law, that God and Christ has delivered, that individual should be accursed." We are not given the authority. We are not given the precedent in this life to add to or to take away.
Even the book of Revelation chapter 22 and verse 18 says, "If anyone adds to these things that are in the book, God will add to them the plagues of the book," but then in verse 19 he says, "If anyone takes away from the prophecies of this book, then God will take his name away from the book of life."
You see, we don't have the right to think on our feet. We don't have the right to do it our own way. We do have a right to discern the Word of God, to study it, to know what He has to say and then to obey it for when we have obeyed it, we have shown that love to God and we show Him our true commitment.
I want you to finally look with me there in the book of 2 Timothy. We find there a great encouragement there from Paul to this young evangelist. In 2 Timothy chapter 1, we know here that he encourages him to "hold fast the pattern of sound words, that pattern which you have heard from me in faith and love which is in Jesus Christ..." Hear verse 14, "That good thing which was committed to you, keep by the Holy Spirit who dwells in you." That which has been committed to us, the faith, once delivered to all, that Gospel, that Truth, that which we have from God, the way of God, for "Jesus delivered the Way as He was the Way," John 14:6.
Will we obey it and show our love for God, show we are friends of God, show ourselves committed to God so we will know that we have truly in the end proven the great statement of the man Solomon that we have feared God unto keeping His commandments. Are you fearing God and keeping His commandments today? If not, then make sure today and everyday you do what God commands and that you strive to put Him first so that in the end you will receive the crown of life.
(SONG # 3 - "O The Depth!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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What is so difficult about simply obeying God and doing things His Way? May we all commit today, to realizing that God's Way is the ONLY right way - and that it must be followed!