THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-21-07
LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE: BE AN EXAMPLE IN PURITY"
Paul once said, "I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Do we strive to follow this great admonition?
Thank you for joining us for the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God, through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.
It's now time to join in our first Hymn of the morning. Wont you do your part as we sing together the beautiful old song, "An Empty Mansion."
(SONG # 1)
We often hear the word contentment used, in relationship to religious things! In fact, the Bible often talks about contentment as a requirement of a faithful child of God. However, I think we sometimes get physical contentment confused with spiritual. Yes, in the book of Philippians, Paul said that we should learn to be content in whatever state we are, but he was referring to the physical. So, can we ever become too content spiritually?
If we look around in the religious world today we find that many have confused this concept of contentment with the spiritual. Many try to convince us that there is no reason to grow or improve because we must be content with who we are and where we are spiritually. Actually, just the opposite is true when it comes to religious things.
In Philippians 3:12-14 we read, "not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." Notice what Paul says here! He says he had not yet laid hold on perfection and non of us have either.
How many today would hold themselves equally up to the faith of Paul. What a great man of God he was. However, it is this great man of God which said he was still reaching for that goal, that perfection.
As Christians, it is important that we remember that being a good follower of God is a daily process that we must work at. Satan is around tempting us and trying to get us to fall from the grace of God, but if we are continually growing we will be able to withstand the evils of this world better. You see, when we grow and mature in the faith, we also grow closer to God and when He is on our side, who can be successful against us, Romans 8:31.
In fact, isn't everything in life a growing process? When we learn to walk, and talk, doesn't it take time. Or when we learn to ride a bike or play sports, again, it doesn't happen overnight. Think about that first time you went to an amusement park? You start out on the kiddy rides but eventually you move up to the big ones - like the roller coasters. Everything in life is a process to improve ourselves; to help us better accept and deal with the things of tomorrow. However, we must also realize that true perfection was only found in one man, Jesus Christ, but we all can strive for it, and give Him our best!
So in summary, let's realize that yesterday is a foundation that we are building on, but we must move forward toward tomorrow, forgetting the past to put all our energies on making today and tomorrow the best they can be.
This morning we will again consider a lesson from our series on the Christian's example. Our specific topic of study today will deal with "Being An Example in Purity" So please stay with us through our next song and after that our guest speaker of the day will return with this study from God's Word.
As far as our guest speaker, we are happy to have brother Darin Chappell with us today. Brother Darin is an Instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for being with us.
Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Anywhere With Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Darin Chappell
As we continue our series of studies concerning 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 12, we turn to the lesson on purity. This passage has always been one that has been a favorite of mine, not that any of the scriptures are unprofitable to us. Obviously, they are all given to us for the purpose of being able to serve our God in the very best of our abilities. But as a preacher of the gospel, the portion of the scripture wherein Paul addresses Timothy in that capacity has always been one that has brought me a great sense of recognition and responsibility that has been put in my hand as a preacher, and the responsibility that I have to live up to to those individuals who have gone on before and received their reward for their faithful preaching of the gospel message. But also as an instructor of young men in preaching school today, I also recognize how it is that the apostle Paul had to approach this writing to Timothy recognizing that not only did he have great love for the souls of those who would be listening to Timothy, but also great concern for Timothy as a young man, a young preacher as he would go out into all of the world and face the difficulties that would obviously be set before him in that capacity. And so it was with this consideration in own mind that I approach our study this morning with a great sense of responsibility that we understand how it is that we are to set a proper example for those who are around us as we live our lives with indeed purity.
Now the idea of purity is one that causes individuals a great deal of concern when they consider it for their own lives. People consider their own lives and the things that they do and think and believe and how it is that they behave themselves and they wonder if it is even possible for them to be pure. We need to understand first of all that is what we are supposed to be and it was for this purpose, in fact, that we have access to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ our Lord.
There in Ephesians chapter 5 verses 25-27, the apostle Paul again writes to those brethren at Ephesus concerning the love that Christ has for the church and comparing it to the love that a husband should have for his wife. He says there in verse 25, "Husbands, love your wife even as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for it that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it unto Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing but that it should be holy and without blemish." The very purpose for the sacrifice of Jesus Christ was so that individuals might be free from the burden and stain of sin and indeed be pure and holy and without blemish or wrinkle or spot. It is for that purpose then that He came to the earth to die on the cross for our sins so that we could indeed be pure. Now that's not at all to say that He has accomplished everything at the cross and there is no task set before us. There is nothing for us to do. Yes, we would not have access to purity or hope for holiness without Him and it is because of that gift that purity and holiness of a Christian is even possible.
But we still have a responsibility to live our lives according to the Word of God and indeed Paul told Timothy also there in 1 Timothy chapter 5 and verses 21-22 that in dealing with members of the church and specifically elders as well, that he was to consider as an example in that instance also, that he was not to lay hands on anyone rashly or swiftly, that is he was not to make accusations against anyone, but by the same token he was not supposed to be partaker of anyone in their evil deeds. He was to in all things keep himself pure. Now that there shows us that Jesus Christ, yes, He did give us the opportunity to be pure, but it is still the responsibility of the individual. It was the responsibility of Timothy and it continues to be the responsibility of all those who would be faithful in the sight of God to keep themselves pure.
Now how is that we can do such a thing? How is it that we can have access to the purity that is found within the Word of God and what can I do and what can you do to make certain that we are indeed pure as we are intended to be?
First of all, Jesus tells us in John chapter 14 and verse 15, He said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." It is important for us to love the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything that He has done for us, the very creation that we have, the very fact that we exist, the very fact that He did come to the earth to die for our sins. We must love Him. But Jesus said, "If you love Me..." and the love that He uses there is the agape form of love, that is to put Him first. He says, "If I am indeed first in your life, if you love Me above all things and put Me first before all things, then keep My commandments." It is not enough for us to simply say, "I love the Lord," and then to live my life in a fashion that is contrary to His Word. If I am truly going to be one who says that he loves the Lord then I must be willing to keep the commandments that He has given me.
Now the New Testament is not simply a list of "Thou Shalts" and "Thou Shalt Nots." It's not a list of "Do's" and "Don'ts" that I have to be watching over every second of my life to make certain that I don't accidentally stumble one way or the other, but it is a pattern by which I can and must live my life. It is that pattern that is given to me so that I can be pure and holy and acceptable to God by having access to the blood of Jesus Christ shed upon the cross for all who would be faithful. But what is it about the Bible that tells me how it is that I can be pure and holy? How can I be an example to others in purity? Well, there are certain general principles that are given to us within the Word of God that give us the proper attitude, that if we adopt these general principles and attitudes into our lives then we can indeed be prepared to set forth as a proper example the concept of true purity according to the Word of God.
The first of these general principles is actually found in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33 when Jesus speaking to His disciples said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness," He says, "and all these things..." The things of this physical world that He was talking about there in Matthew chapter 6. He says, "All these things shall be added unto you." The first and primary responsibility of an individual is to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Now the concept of seeking means that is incumbent upon us to do that. It is not something that was simply done at the cross and I have no concerns and no worries and I don't have anything else to do that is required of me. I am commanded to seek. It is something which is to be an activity of my life that I am continually looking to be closer and closer to what God expects me to be. We are to seek the kingdom of God.
Colossians chapter 1 verses 13-18 tells us that the kingdom of Christ is His church. It is that which the body of Christ represents. It is that body which He died for (Acts chapter 20:28). It is that kingdom that must be sought out first and foremost. The very most important thing we can do first in our lives is to seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
Righteousness is simply the way in which we live so that we can be right according to the pattern set forth by God's Word. In old times, the Jews of old, they forgot that. They decided that they were going to live their lives themselves according to the word, the law of Moses and earn their way into Heaven as if God owed it to them if they could be perfect enough. In so doing, they had rejected the righteousness which was of God and had gone about to establish their own righteousness and they were unacceptable to the Lord for that reason (Romans chapter 10, verses 1-4).
Secondly, we are told in Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2 again the apostle Paul writing at this time and he said, "I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service and be not conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is a good and acceptable and perfect Will of God." The apostle Paul said that the responsibility of Christians was to make certain that they were living their life as living sacrifices. Under the law of Moses, sacrifices were offered by the slaying of animals, bulls and goats and shedding of blood within the temple on the altar. But Christians are to live their lives as sacrifices for the Lord not a blood sacrifice. Jesus Christ offered the only one that we would ever need. But sacrificing our lives day by day and making certain that we live for the Lord and for Him only making certain that He is first in our lives. We do this by not being conformed to the world. Don't conform ourselves to the image of the world but instead be transformed. That is to be changed from the inside at our very core essence, be transformed to the kind of individual who will live for the Lord and in so doing truth, by our own actions, attitudes, speech, what is that good and perfect and acceptable Will of God in every facet of our lives.
Finally, we are given the principle in Galatians chapter 2 and verse 20 where again the apostle Paul writes and he says, "I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me. The life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." This is one of those passages that is oftentimes read but misunderstood by individuals. In fact, there is even a song that many teenagers will sing at youth events concerning this very verse and the words that are contained therein. But I wonder how many times we actually stop to consider what it means to be crucified with Christ. The apostle Paul was saying that he himself, his own life was set aside whereas he was raised as a Roman citizen, on of great stature, had been taught at the feet of Gamaleo and then was the up and coming bright shining star among Judaism teachers of the first century. The apostle Paul was transformed there on the road to Damascus (Acts chapter 9, Acts chapter 22) and the apostle Paul became someone different and from that day forward, he no longer lived for himself. It was not for his own glory. It was not for his own intention. It was not for his own purpose. It was instead him living for the Lord. He said, "I, myself, my life is crucified with Christ. Nevertheless, I live." He says that he lives but it wasn't him living. The life which he lived in the flesh, he said he lived by the grace of the Son of God. He lived, but he didn't live for Paul any longer. What he did day by day, hour by hour was to seek how it was that he could live for Christ and Christ could be seen living in him.
The apostle Paul understood what his responsibility was. I wonder how many of us take the time to consider what our responsibilities are. But if we can put forth these three general principles taught within the New Testament into our lives, into our actions and our attitudes then surely we can see that we will be the pure Christians, the pure children of God that God requires us to be. Are we seeking first the kingdom of God in His righteousness in all facets of our life? Or does the job, or the house, or family come first? Are we willing to present our own selves as living sacrifices which is our reasonable, our logical service? Or instead are we holding back those portions of our life that are most important to us to save them for ourselves? Are we living for Christ day by day setting aside our own attitudes and our own desires and instead only and always living for the Lord? Of course, this first step, these first steps that must be taken are those which allow us to become the children of God in the first place, those which allow us to be recognized as His own.
We are told in the scriptures that we must hear the Word of God (Romans chapter 10:17), that we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John chapter 8:24), that we must be willing to confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God before others (Matthew chapter 10:32-33) so that He will be willing to confess us before the Father which is in Heaven. We must also be willing to repent of our sins. Now repentance means to change our mind so that our actions will follow. We are to repent so that we no longer live the ways of the world but that we live only and always for the Lord in every facet of our lives (Acts chapter 17:30). Then we must be baptized for the remission of our sins so that they can be washed away by the blood of Christ, not from the water, but from the obedience to His Will (Acts chapter 2:39) so that we can be added to the church that He built and purchased with His own blood (Acts chapter 2:47 and Acts chapter 20:28). Then finally we must be willing to live our lives faithfully up to and including the point of our own physical death (Revelation chapter 2:10).
We must be pure because Jesus died so that we could be. Are you living your life in purity today? That is the question that you have to determine for yourself. I thank you for your time.
(SONG # 3 - "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross!")
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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May we all strive to live more pure lives before God and this world. That we might be found pleasing in His sight and that we might be a proper example to this world.