THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 10-29-00

LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH ACCEPTS GOD'S WILL AS SUPREME

WELCOME

It's great to have you with us this morning for the Living Word Program. Thank you so much for joining us in this time of offering and sacrifice to God. As always, it will be our privilege today to study God's Word and to sing praises to His glorious name. Please do your part in making this worship acceptable in His sight. Now, will you bow with me in prayer.
(Prayer)

One of the oldest forms of worship we find to God in His word is the avenue of songs of praise. God has always instructed His people to lift up their voices in song to laud and magnify His name.

It is interesting to me that you and I today, still raise our voices to God, just as they did in Old Testament times. What a sweet smelling savor we offer to God, when we offer praises to Him and when we do it according to His Way.

Today, we again have this honor to blend our voices before the throne of God to praise Him and to prove our obedience to His Will. So, at this time, let's join in our first song of the morning with the congregation. Won't you do your part as we together sing, "The Lily Of The Valley!"
(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

As we mentioned a moment ago, the primary reason we sing in our worship to God is because we are commanded to praise Him through song. However, our songs of praise are not only for praising our creator, but we also fulfill some other requirement which He has laid down for us in His Word. In fact, in Colossians 3:16, Paul added these ideas to the reason we sing. He said, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." Here we read that singing is also done to teach and admonish other. Now we know just what Paul is talking about here, because there is nothing more encouraging that hearing voices blend together in beautiful harmony to the Lord. Furthermore, as we sing these songs and say the words to them, we all learn and teach one another, through the great Biblical themes which are presented in them.

I also like what Paul said in that verse to the Colossians about wisdom. The Word of Christ is to dwell in us richly, in all wisdom. You see, God says we are to sing, grow and teach, but it is not enough to have knowledge. We must learn to use our knowledge to God's glory, thus we show His wisdom in our lives. I like the way Paul put it in 1 Corinthians 14:15, there he said, "What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding." Again, we see that the praise, encouragement and teaching which is done through song, must be verbal and understandable to really benefit the hearers!

I can not teach by humming or clapping, but I can teach by singing, "amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me." No one can interpret or understand my strumming a guitar or playing an organ, however, they can understand and be taught when I sing, "to God be the glory great things He has done, so loved He the world that He gave us His Son." So we must understand that it is important that our songs of praise be understood by all who hear. God must hear us and understand our songs to know how much we love him and how much we adore His precious name. Others must hear us and understand us to know who we are, what we believe, and what we think of our God. Finally, we must understand ourselves, so that we can praise our God with the spirit and the understanding, therefore, telling God how much we love Him and appreciate all He has done and is doing for us. God deserves to hear our homage and praise, from our hearts to know through our obedience that we are serious about doing His will.

Today, we will continue our study on a true Living Faith. Our specific topic this morning is "A Living Faith accepts God's Will as Supreme!" After our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song. The name of this hymn, "He Loves Me."
(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

In our day and time there are many things that seem to try to control our lives. In fact, you might even say that there are some things that we really allow to kind of set our will, or what might be the will according to what we accept or say or do in our daily lives. And this morning we want to talk about the will of God. But in beginning I also wanted to also remind you that we allow the will of the world or the will of others to somehow rule in our lives or maybe to take control in our lives and to really keep us at times from being what God would have us to be. But our lesson topic this morning is "A Living Faith That Really Accepts God's Will As Supreme".

You know we might have things in our lives that in a sense control them, such maybe as we go to work and maybe our boss or the job controls us in a sense, or maybe even our children, our families control us in a sense. But again, we have to realize that there's only one supreme will. There is only one will that is above or that is far beyond, surpassing all these other things in life or all these other controlling factors in life and that must be God's will. In fact, I believe that's why Jesus said there in Matthew 6 and 33 that We should seek first the kingdom of God. Jesus didn't say that we should forget our jobs and our family and our friends and forget everything in life and just serve God, but He says that God should be first. His will supersedes all others. It is greater than all. Why? Because He is our Creator. He is the giver of all, the giver of all blessings, promises, and the giver of all things that we have in this life.

As we discuss our topic this morning we want to look primarily at one figure in particular and that would be Abraham in the Bible. We remember that in the beginning really, the early years of his life, he was referred to as Abram, and it was later that really God gave him this name, Abraham, which really had a concept or an idea to know that he was the father of a great multitude, the father of the great descendants of God as we know that were coming.

So that was really the inference there of the name but we first really begin to find out some information about this man Abram there in chapter 12 of the book of Genesis. And if you'll turn there, we want to look at a few things that are said there about this great man of God who understood God's will. Now the Lord said to him, Abram, get out of your country from your family and from your father's house to a land I will show you. I will make you a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and I will curse him who curses you, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.

Well there are many, many things that we can see here and we will focus on several of the things from the experiences and life of Abram and Abraham, but now we want to specifically just make reference so that we won't forget how important they are. Some of the things that are said here such as that he would be a blessing. Be a blessing, not be blessed, but be a blessing. And then at the end there he mentions that all the families of the earth would be blessed by this man. I want to mention those things first and refer to them because then we want to focus as far as our topic this morning on the other events and activities in his life.

If you will, turn with me to the book of Acts 3. There, the book of Acts, the book that tells us so much about the early existence of the church and the things that are found there that guide us as children of God also gave many references to the things of old, also gave great really a foundation from those concepts again, events, prophecies. And why? Because many of the things in Acts were fulfillments again of those prophecies. But there in Acts chapter 3, notice with me if you will verse 25 and 26. It says there, You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant which God made with our father, saying to Abraham, and in your seed all of the families of the earth shall be blessed. To you first God having raised up His servant, Jesus, sent Him to bless you in turning away everyone of you from your iniquities.

Here, we find that it was Abraham and the promise that was mentioned even back there in Genesis chapter 12. That same promise, how he would bless all, be a blessing, and how that through him all families and nations and generations would be blessed. How? Through here, this servant, Jesus Christ. In fact, it makes very clear there in verse 26 that He is the one who was the blessing. He was the seed of Abraham, the seed of man, of Adam even, the seed that God brought the leniance through from the very beginning in order that we could have Jesus Christ for the purpose as it says here to forgive our iniquities and you and I know that is through His blood.

Now I want you to turn with me to the book of Hebrews however because we've been using that somewhat as a text and now I'd like us to go back to some of the events that we also read there in chapter 12 and really focus more on these primarily in relationship again to the will, God's will being the Supreme Author in our life, the controlling factor in our life again, just as it was in Abraham's life. The blessing was part of what he received because of his faith, but now let's find out how faithful he really was beginning there again in Hebrews chapter 8 or rather Hebrews chapter 11 beginning in verse 8, and first of all, let's read through verse 10. If you'll follow with me. By faith, Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he would receive an inheritance. And he went out not knowing where he was going. By faith, he dwelled in a land of promise as in a foreign country dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. For he waited for a city which has foundations whose builder and maker is God.

Now as you notice here, this man Abraham is again in this wondrous and great faith chapter. Why? Because it says by faith Abraham obeyed. You see, that kind of sums up all these characters and as we draw something from each of them, maybe in a specific area of faith, we still see that the basic similar characteristic in all of the individuals we've mentioned so far such as Abel and Enoch and Noah, all of these men, individuals were people who really obeyed God. And that's where it starts there in verse 8. He obeyed no matter what the call was, and we find out what that call was, in the same call that we read there in Genesis chapter 12. The call was that he take up his family and he go. Now if we think back a little bit about the history, we know that probably really he was more from the area of Ur of Chaldeas, which is around the Persian Gulf. But later he moved up really in the more Northern part of what we would say would be Palestine or Canaan, in an area, a city specifically called Horan, and as he dwelt there it was then that he received this promise, this blessing, but at the same time he received this command that he should go. And when he was told to go, here is exactly what he found that he should go, taking up his family, his servants, his animals unto a place that would be an inheritance. Now here's the difference and here's maybe the problem that sometimes we forget with the great faith that he demonstrated. He was able to have that faith even though like us, he didn't know where he was going. You see, there's the problem because if God were to come to us and say, "Ray, take up your family, just forget everything here that you have in Springfield and just move off, just go off, and don't worry about anything. I'm going to show you your inheritance." Well, Abraham had the ability, the faith, and the obedience to take it all up and to go, not having an idea where he was going, not knowing at all what God really had in store for him or really where he would be journeying, what would come on his way, how he would continue to provide for his family. But you see, he did know. And really that's the point of the lesson because he understood God's will was supreme. And he understood that the same God that told him to take his things up and go was the same God who had promised that he would be blessed and thus also be taken care of in every facet, in every area of life.

This great man, Abraham, was able to really understand that God is able to do all things, that God will do what He says. He didn't have a lack of faith at all. But yet he was willing to go off as it says here even in verse 10, Unto a city whose builder was God. He knew that there would be a place given that would be from God.

And now one thing that always sticks out in my mind in relationship to this is how that Abraham was willing to do this even though he himself never really received the promise. Now if you think about that for a moment then again you might think about how selfish we are. Then again, you might realize how wonderful Abraham was. If God said to us, "Well we're going to ask you to take up your family again and we're going to give you an inheritance but really, Ray, it won't be specifically to you, it will be more to your descendants and your children." Well, in the society we live, we would say, "Well God, what's in it for me?" Abraham didn't say that. Abraham was well-pleased that such wonderful things would come.

Now that's not the only story that he did do what God said because he obeyed Him and took up his family and left Horan and headed off into a place that we later know was Canaan, but not until really the time of the Israelites was it given to the people as Moses lead them into the land of Canaan, or rather Jacob lead them after Moses' death, as he had lead them for forty years there in the wilderness.

But now, let's go on to the next point of the story and that begins actually in verse 11, because here the wife of Abraham is mentioned. Her name as you know was Sara. But again, by faith it begins. Sara herself, also receives strength to conceive this child, this child, Isaac, that would come along. Now what makes this so unique that God blessed her with a child. God blesses many of us with children and many things in this life every day that we live. Well, one thing that was really important about this blessing was 1.) God had already said that he would be blessed and bless all of the descendants of the world, so there had to be a child. Up to this point, Sara had been barren. She had not been able to have children, and how long had it been? Well, let me remind you that Sara was 90 years old. We can find that in Genesis chapter 17 and verse 17. Sara was 90 years old and Abraham was over 100. Now think about that some of the men and ladies out there. What if you had to have a child? I was teasing with someone the other day and I said after they were keeping their grandchildren, "Well maybe this will encourage you to want to adopt or have some more children." Well, they thought they had already paid their dues. And maybe Abraham and Sara would have felt the same thing at such a late age in life. In fact, if you'll remember, Sara laughed when she heard the news because she knew she was so old and she knew that at least physically and from the physical standpoint that it really wasn't possible for her to have children anymore. Well, in a sense she lacked faith, but she really realized eventually that God was who He said He was. Abraham was able to help her to know the proper God. Although, she be barren, she did have Isaac at the age of 90. She was able to have this child, this child of promise, this child that was mentioned there in Genesis 12 and 2 as one that would make great nations, the blessing that would come and make a great name, as we read there in those verses. Also, verse 3, the next verse says that, He would bless him and bless all people again through this child, Isaac, and whoever blessed Abraham and Isaac and then on down to Jacob, and so on and so forth, they would be blessed, and whoever tried to curse these men of God, then again those individuals would find that they would be cursed of God.

So in all these things we find that yes, Abraham was faithful. He was willing to obey. He was willing to do what God had asked him to do. And Sara again, in conceiving a child at 90 years old again, had that great obedience. She was willing to realize that she would have this child, this child of promise and therefore again do that which God had told her.

Now again, we find one more thing that is mentioned here in our text and that actually is found a little bit later here in Hebrews chapter 11, and that's in relationship to the gift, the gift of the child, Isaac, because it was here found in this text, in this scripture, that Abraham was willing again to go to the furthest extent. He had already obeyed God as far as leaving his relatives and just going to a place he didn't know. He had believed God and understood, as well as Sara, and had faith that yes they would have a child and yes they did, and it was this same child now who was the promise to carry on the inheritance, to carry on this promise of all descendants being blessed by him. It was this child Isaac then that God said to go and take and sacrifice on the altar. Remember the story as he went there with his servants and they traveled to a place. He prepared an altar. He put his son there and then as he rared back to slay his son with a knife, then God stopped him. But again, what about his faith? He had the faith to do it. He had the faith to accept what God had said no matter what. He had the faith, the belief, the ability to know that if God asked him to do it, then surely he could do it.

If you'll look with me there in chapter 11 again of Hebrews, verse 17 and 18, notice what is said. By faith Abraham when he was tested, offered up Isaac and he who had received the promise, offered up his only begotten son of whom it is said, in Isaac your seed shall be called blessed in all nations. The same concepts from back in chapter 12. But now, notice why he did it. Notice why he had faith. Verse 19 says, Concluding that God was able to raise him up even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense. Now if you think about that, why did he have such a great faith? Because he knew God's will was supreme. God had said your descendants will bless all nations through this child, you will someday see that the son of God comes forth. He knew that that would come forth and would come to reality. He knew even if he killed his son, that if God's will would become reality, that God would even have to raise him from the dead.

Now think just for a moment about this man, Abraham. Think about Sara. Think about the faith that they had even to offer the child. Well, in all these things we see again that they accepted God's will as being supreme in all things. They understood that if God said it, we should do it. Boy, we can learn so many examples from this. We should be so well encouraged by this. And if we could only get maybe a small portion of the great faith that Abraham had, enough to say, "God, if you say it, I'm going to do it, even though I at times might think a bad outcome might come or I'm not sure what's going to happen, I'm going to do it because God said it." If we could just learn that as people, as humans, as Christians, not only would we be blessed but we would bless the whole world by it because God will do what He says and you and I have to learn to have the faith to know God's will is supreme.
(SONG # 3 - "No Tears In Heaven!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged by our time together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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As we all strive to follow God, may we each learn to accept His will as perfect and supreme in our lives.

(Program closing)