THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-12-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH FEARS NO ONE BUT GOD
Good morning, It's great to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. Thank you so much for joining us in this time of offering and sacrifice to God. It is always an honor for us to have you with us each Lord's Day morning.
As always, it will be our privilege today to study God's Precious 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.
The most special day in all of our lives is the day we become Christians. How wonderful it is to be baptized and washed in the blood of Jesus Christ. What a blessing it is to know how pure we are in Christ, after fulfilling His will in relationship to being added to His church.
Better yet, how glorious it is to know that as Christians, the blood of Jesus Christ continues to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, just as John said in 1 John 1:9.
This morning, our first song deals with the precious fact that many of us have responded to the will of God and are now saved, according to His Will and Promises. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, "O Happy Day."
(SONG # 1)
How many times in your life have you said to yourself, "I'll do it tomorrow," or maybe, "I'll change tomorrow." I think we are all guilty of this from time to time. In fact, from a secular standpoint, some of the greatest characters and lines in movies over the past many years have always dealt with what someone has put off until tomorrow. One movie that comes to my mind that I saw when I was young was "gone with the wind." The main female character always had the answer that she would just, "do it tomorrow," instead of today - when it really needed to be done.
In the Bible we also find examples of those who put off things, which would have been better accomplished or asked for immediately. I remember an article a friend of mine wrote one time that was entitled, "one more night with the frogs." I really wondered were he was going with that one, but after reading the article it made perfect sense.
We all remember the story of the many plagues which God inflicted on Egypt, through the hand of Moses. In fact, this is probably one of the best known Bible stories of all time. If you recall, one of the plagues which God sent was frogs. In Exodus 8:8, we see Pharaoh begging Moses to take away the frogs from Egypt and then he would allow the Israelites to go and worship their God. In verse 9, we see that Moses asks Pharaoh a questions, as to when should he ask the Lord to remove them, to which Pharaoh responded, Tomorrow. My response to that is, Tomorrow!!! If I had frog all around me taking over my land, I would say, "ask your God right now, immediately, today!
So we see again, one more example of something being put off until tomorrow that should have been done today. So, what does God's word say about all of this.
In the Bible, we find that God's message is quite the opposite of what we have discussed so far this morning. He wants us to do what we can today and to forget tomorrow. In fact, Jesus said, "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." What does Jesus mean here? Is He saying we shouldn't plan or never think about the future, certainly not! He is saying we need to do all we can today, while it is still today, because we really don't know if tomorrow will ever come. Notice the verse prior to this one, verse 33. There Jesus said, "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."
So God wants us to seek Him first or put Him first in all things. Again, you might ask when? God says, today, while it is still today - Hebrews 3:13. Finally, in 1 Corinthians 15:32, Paul adds - do it today, because tomorrow we may die. So let's all do what we can for God today, knowing that there is a possibility of tomorrow, but that ultimately we have to be ready to answer before our God at any moment.
Today, we will continue our study on a true Living Faith. Our specific topic this morning is "A Living Faith fears no one but God!" 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 the next selection is, "Face to Face."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for continuing with us this morning as we look into God's word. I wanted to ask you a question first of all in our lesson this morning in trying to find out whether you've been afraid before. I know we all have and we might like to say, "Well, maybe it was only when I was a kid," but probably in recent years or months or even weeks, we've been afraid of something. I know that every time that it begins to rain, the first question that my children ask is, "Is it going to lightening? Is there going to be some thunder tonight?" And if so, I know exactly what is going to happen. Our bed gets a lot smaller, because they're afraid and they have every right to be because they don't understand yet many of the things of life and many things do come upon them and make them afraid. As well as us adults, many times we might be again traveling down the road and someone pulled in front of us and it frightens us and almost makes us panic because we've almost had an accident or possibly we might have seen something on television or watched a movie that again, makes us fearful at night when we go to sleep. Well, there are many, many things in life that affect us and in Biblical times, we find that the same things are true, and that's why there was such a heavy reliance on God because of the great fear many times that people had in the world or people of the world or rulers of the world.
This morning, we want to begin by looking in the book of Exodus, the very first story really that we find in the book of Exodus in chapter 1 where we are introduced to the character that we'll be discussing in relationship to the discussion of faith, the living faith, this morning, and we find here a story beginning with the king, the man as we see that is referred to here again as one who is the ruler of the Egyptians. He is the individual who was leading the people at that time, and as we know, he first of all came here as the ruler, the Pharaoh, before them and told the mid-wives that they should kill the Hebrew children that were born, the male children at least, and then they could allow the female children to live. They were trying to somehow stop, if you will, the growth of the Hebrew nation because God was blessing them so much that they were far surpassing the numbers of even the Egyptian people who were in the power or the control. And in that day and time, if you go back and look, you'll find out that the Egyptians of that day during the time of Moses, were a very, very strong force. They were one that was hard to be reckoned with. There were many other nations, probably the entire world, that were afraid of them because of the great power and might they had in those days.
Well, it's interesting to find out the reaction of those mid-wives when they were first instructed not, or rather to kill these children, and you'll notice there that around verses 16 and 17, that it says They did not do it because they feared God. So they had a fear in a sense for Pharaoh and really the respect of the land, but yet they didn't do it because they had a greater fear, as we find here, for God. Even thought they weren't followers of God, they had seen the results in the lives of those who were.
Now what a wonderful story. What a wonderful sermon that we could preach just off of that, because what better lesson can someone learn today than the good, godly, Christian example that you and I set on a daily basis. You see, that's what was seen through the Hebrew people. They saw that their God continued to bless, and bless, and bless them and because of that, they were afraid.
Now as we move on in chapter 2, we see again probably some fear that would have been involved because at the end of chapter 1, after the mid-wives had refused, we find that then a law was decreed, that really all male children of the Hebrew, that were young, that had not been killed yet, should be killed. And as that story goes on, we see in chapter 2 that Moses was born, born to the parents that you and I know as Amram and Jochobed. And as he was born, then we find that again they hid him, as you read there with me in verse 2. It says, So the woman conceived and bore a son and when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months.
Now you know at this time there had to have been some types of different feelings =, different reactions to what was taking place. On one hand, they knew that they were supposed to follow the laws of the land and they knew that if they were found to have the child, that they themselves could be harmed, because of disregarding the law, but yet that fear was not great enough. The love that they had for this child, the greater love that they had for God, in order that they would hide this child until as we find on in verses 3 and 4, that he became noisy as most children do as they grow up, and they finally had to put him in an ark in the bulrushes out in the water and he went down the river aways and was found by Pharaoh's daughter, taken by him, named by him, Moses, and then raised by him throughout his life as really one who was a ruler in Egypt.
Now I want you to go over to the text that we've been using for awhile now, in the book of Hebrews, the great faith chapter again. Over the past many weeks, we have dealt with each of the individuals who were mentioned as having such a great faith and why their faith was so important to God. I want you to look with me at verse 23 as we again see the introduction to Moses and the great faith that he had. It says there, By faith Moses when he was born, was hidden three months by his parents, because they saw he was a beautiful child and they were not afraid of the king's command.
Now again, I just like these stories so much because we go from Exodus chapter 1 and chapter 2, and then we come here to Hebrews which was many, many, many years later, thousands of years later and we find consistency. We find unity in the stories that are being told here. We see that once again what was written here by the Hebrew writer was confirming those things that were found there under the Old law, actually the old covenant specifically there written by Moses in the book of Exodus. So we see that they were not afraid of the king's command. Now obviously, they had to have had some second thoughts about fear, but they were not afraid enough to do what the king had said by killing the child. And they actually had here again, a greater fear and respect for God. And it goes on actually to fulfill that story that continues there from Exodus chapter 2, By faith, Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
You see, he was willing again to take a more, maybe a trivial type of relationship in this world. He was willing to take more of a life of service as the Hebrew people that he saw. His own people were suffering on a daily basis. So he again was willing by faith to do this. Why? A great faith in God. A great faith, a great fear again, a wholesome, a healthy fear that he had again in His Creator. It goes on to tell us that he was willing to suffer much affliction, there in verse 25. He chose to suffer that. He chose to do that on the sake and the behalf of God and the people of God again, rather than to be considered as great, mighty in the name and in the land of Egypt because he would have been that as royalty, the son again of Pharaoh's daughter.
And finally there we find in verses 26 and 27 that he did all that which God had told him. He finally forsook Egypt. He left it in order that he could again serve God. And we know that later, how the story proceeds and goes on and how that Moses eventually was chosen by God to be a great leader, to actually bring the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt.
So, these are the things we focus on this morning. We focus on this concept of a living faith has no greater fear than the fear than the fear that it possesses in God. In other words, the concept here that the fear that promotes a respect, an obedience, and many of the other things that we will find as we look now into scripture together. If you'll turn with me to the book of Proverbs, we want to investigate a few verses there and look deeply at what the Proverbs writer here says, this man, Solomon, as he tells us these things that we need to know again in relationship to this concept of fear. What does fear produce, if you will? I want you to look with me first of all in Proverbs chapter 1 and verse 7. It says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Here we find that fear is the beginning of what? Knowledge. So, now we start seeing that it is that fear that is that motivational factor, that thing which provokes us or causes us to move forward unto wisdom. In other words, that healthy, good respect that says, "Yes, God is powerful. He is mighty. He is able to give life and to take it away." It again is that fear that is good and healthy and wholesome that makes us do what we should do.
I want you to turn over several chapters with me to chapter 9, also in the book of Proverbs, and we want to read from chapter 9 and verse 10 again as it says, The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. Here, we have a little bit deeper, again the fear of the Lord bringing the wisdom but now the concept of knowledge. What is that wisdom? It is knowledge in the Holy One. So again, fear promoted again to believe in God. To have what? A faith in God. A faith that believes. A faith that is seen through what it does just like Moses. He was willing to work and to do what he had to do every day of his life after his understanding was complete in order that he again could serve his God and not rather serve as royalty under the son of Pharaoh's daughter.
Turn again to chapter 16, also the book of Proverbs, as we see another concept that is added to the picture here in relationship to having a good, healthy fear. In chapter 16, read with me if you will, verse 6. In mercy and truth, atonement is provided for iniquity and by the fear of the Lord, one departs from evil. Here we have another idea. Not only are we made wise, but we are made to understand the difference between good and evil. You see, a knowledge, a healthy fear that promotes knowledge and wisdom helps us move away from knowing that which is wrong or doing that which is wrong. So you again, you find here very, very clearly in this writer's book that he's trying to help us understand that fear is good. Fear is healthy. And really that's the conclusion that he brought forward.
If you'll just go over to the next book in the Bible, written by the same man, Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, we want to look at the last chapter which is chapter 12, and we want to read verses 13 and 14 together as he again explains our topic this morning. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter, fear God and keep His commandments for this is man's awe for God will bring every work in the judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.
You see the conclusion? Fearing God and keeping His commandments. We need to have that healthy fear because that healthy fear does what? Produces knowledge, produces then wisdom, because we use that knowledge and then we are pleasing to God. Why? Because we find here it is our duty and when we fulfill our duty, then God is pleased. On as it says there in chapter 12 also, It is by these things we are judged. That fear promotes the knowledge and makes then wisdom, we are judged by that, because those are the things that we do. Those are the things that we say and they make us then either acceptable before God or being those individuals who need to again work harder to do those things that God would have us to do.
Now, in the New Testament, we don't find any different. We know that the Bible again is very consistent as Paul tells the Roman brethren several things that are along the very same lines. And if you'll turn there now to Romans chapter 8, we want to look at several verses there so we might again understand the same thing was said by the apostle Paul, reiterating the things that were said there in the Old Testament by Solomon. In chapter 8 and verse 31, we read this, What then shall we say to these things if God is for us, who can be against us? You see, the picture begins to change a little bit, to say, "Well, if God is for us, then who will be against us? " What can anyone else do to us as long as God is on our side, is the point.
The same thing he was saying, if we fear God, keep his commandments, then God is on our side. We're able to have the strength and to do those things on His behalf. Notice also with me on further down in verse 35 as it says, For who shall separate us from the love of God, shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword, as it is written for your sakes, we are killed all day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all things, these, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creeping thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
See, nothing can separate us. Nothing can break that relationship that we have with God. Nothing can keep us from being able to realize that He is there for us, that He provides that which we have need, that He will always do what He has promised. Why? Because we fear Him, and that fear then brings the desire to learn about Him, study about Him, producing that knowledge again, making us having a healthy fear, the greatest fear in life, making us again productive in His service.
Jesus again, presented the same idea, and that's really the last verse this morning that I would like to look at, as we look together in Matthew chapter 10 and verse 28, because there Jesus Christ, the Lord, the man in the flesh who was God, also helps us to see that this is what God wants us to know and to understand on this topic. Verse 28 of chapter 10 says this, I do not fear those things or those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but fear rather Him who is able to destroy both the soul and the body in Hell. What Jesus says is don't worry about these people on earth like Pharaoh, or others we've discussed, that might destroy you physically, but worry about the one who can do what? It says here, destroy both the soul and the body.
You see, eventually someday we will be judged by God. The question is will we be judged righteously or will we be judged unrighteously? If righteously, we will receive the inheritance. If unrighteously, as it says here, we will be cast into Hell.
You see, this is a very important topic that we really understand that a good, healthy fear of God is required. And why? Because again, it promotes us to know the things we need to know, to produce them in our lives, make us knowledgeable people, and then to then be acceptable in His sight.
(SONG # 3 - "Fairest Lord Jesus!")
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 have fears in this world, let's remember that our greatest fear should be in our Creator, the all powerful God - because our eternity rests in His hands!