THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-19-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH SEEKS SPIRITUAL WEALTH
It's great to have you with us this morning for the Living Word Program. We are honored that you have chosen to be with us today for this time of offering to God. It is always our privilege, each Lord's Day, to come together on this program and to exalt our almighty God - As we study His Word and sing praises to His name. May we each do our part to make this sacrifice acceptable in His sight. Now let's approach His throne in prayer!
One of the most exciting promises in God's Word to His followers is Heaven. In the Bible, there are many references to this wonderful and magnificent place of the soul. One idea which we really like to think about is the mention of mansions up there. In fact, Jesus used this concept, as He tried to give us an earthly idea of just how great Heaven would be. Our first song of the morning talks about the mansion which is prepared for each of us as faithful followers of God. So, at this time, won't you all join in and follow along with the words, as we sing together, "Mansions Over The Hill Top."
(SONG # 1)
If you were to ask most people today what was the important thing in relationship to how others perceive them, I imagine the response would be the way we look! Let's face it, all of us are consumed to a point with our hair, face, body and weight. In fact, it seems like just when we start liking one part of our anatomy, we then find another part to focus on, which doesn't quite meet our expectations.
All of this is further confirmed by the many fitness centers and gyms you can find around Springfield. If you turn on your T. V. you will find paid advertisements that are promoting one piece of workout equipment after another. All promising to make you a perfect "10," before those of this world.
This morning I want to remind you that the most important thing in this life is not how we look, but how we live before God. What we do and say today, will determine our eternal salvation. So it is important that we do it God's Way.
Paul understood this very well when he said, "For bodily exercise profits a little, but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come," 1 Timothy 4:8. You see, Paul here confirms our need to focus on the Godly, because it is that which will benefit us more now and even in relationship to eternity.
Peter also had something to say about our topic this morning. In 1 Peter 3:3-4, we read, "Do not let your adornment be merely outward; arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel; rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God." Notice here that Peter is not condemning the fact that we want to look better physically or present ourselves well before others - Because he said our adornment should not be merely outward. However, verse 4 tells us that the real person or individual is found in the heart! That inward person is beautiful, because of gentleness and the right spirit. I also like how he ends his remarks by saying, that this inward good person is "precious in the sight of God."
Now I hope you are beginning to see that we need to focus more on the inward man than the outward. Because God is interested in who we really are inside, not like man -who focuses on just what we look like on the outside.
However, keep in mind that we must present ourselves before this world as those who are holy and righteous in the way we look outwardly, as well as what people truly find by getting to know us inside out!
Today, we will again focus on the great topic of Faith. Our specific topic this morning will be, "A Living Faith Seeks Spiritual Wealth." After our next song together, I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning as we still look at the faith, the topic that we've been looking at over many different weeks together. In Hebrews chapter 11, we have dealt with all the different Bible characters there and we've learned a lot I think from that and looking particularly at how their faith was active for God and we've seen really a lot of different lessons that we can draw out of those Bible characters in Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter. We looked at last week though the parents of Moses, that is Amram and Jochobed. And we see there in verse 23 of chapter 11 that it is told to us that they had great enough faith to hide Moses and then to be able to give him the ability to be raised by Pharaoh's daughter because of their great faith in God, even though that the Pharaoh at that time had ordered that all Egyptian, or all Israelite babies should be killed, should be killed because he was afraid that Israel was becoming too powerful, too strong. There were too many Israelites in relationship to the amount of Egyptians in that day, even though the Israelites it seems were very clearly slaves in that time, he still feared them because of the power they might have and the blessings that they continually received from their God.
But as we look there into these verses, we find that Moses being born, as we did mention somewhat last week, was a man who was great because he was willing even though being raised by the daughter of Pharaoh, the grandson of the Pharaoh himself, the king so to speak. He would have had all things, as he did. He would have had the garments of the royalty. He would have had the possessions. Anything materialistically that he could have desired with his heart were his. In fact, he would have been probably one who was high up or well up in the situation or the kingdom itself because of again, of being the daughter or the son of the daughter of Pharaoh.
Now as we look at these different concepts then, we might go back also to Joseph to get a little bit of history to what was taking place around this time period. We know that years before that Joseph, another great man of faith that we've already discussed in Hebrews chapter 11, showed us how again really it was important to him as well as to us today that we show God spiritually that we are wealthy even though times might be hard. We know that he was imprisoned. He was enslaved, but still he had a great wealth in God. He knew that God was far greater, far better, and because of that he was well-blessed by God, even to eventually becoming second in command in Egypt.
You might actually look in your Bibles back to Genesis chapter 47 and there are a lot of interesting statements that are made there not only about the history and the things that were taking place, but interesting statements about Joseph and his love for kid, his ability to do things God's way and to give God the credit, something that we all could learn from also surely in our lives. In verses 23 and 24 however, we find there that it was Joseph that made the Pharaoh that day very, very wealthy. In fact, it says there, Behold I have brought you this day and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you and you shall sow the land and it shall come to pass that it will increase, that ye shall give the fifth part to Pharaoh. So, Joseph had ordered that all the people who were receiving things from Pharaoh during the time of drought, during the time of need, that everything that they harvested, all the grain that was given to them to again plant, that a fifth would come to Pharaoh, thus making him very wealthy, thus making Egypt a very, very strong nation.
And a few hundred years later, we find then Moses coming into the picture in a situation where yes, the people of Egypt were wealthy. Yes, the Pharaoh there had money. He had power. He had the ability to be very strong and perceived as one who was great, not only in the region but throughout the world. And when we consider again these things and when we consider Moses being born and being the grandson of this man, again we see how great his faith was that he didn't seek wealth of the world, but rather he sought the spiritual wealth that God could bless him with and that God could give him.
I noticed there also as we look back in the book of Exodus chapter 2 and verse 10, that it was Moses who was brought there into the palace before the Pharaoh from time to time. Now you can just imagine as a grandchild what it must have been like to grow up under the king, to see all the great things that he had and to know that they also were yours as the grandson. And you can just imagine the influence that this must have had over him, but again in Acts chapter 7 and verse 22, it says that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, not only was he one who was raised by them but he was taught according to their ways, according to their laws. But yet what was he willing to do? He was willing to give up all of these things in order that he might follow the true God, the one God that would show him all things and give him all things according to what he had need of and that's what we come into in our text this morning where again we are reminded of the great faith that Moses had there in about verses 24 through 26, and we'll read those together. By faith Moses, when he had become of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater than the richest treasures in Egypt for he looked to a reward. You see, notice here that he was willing to give up all the things of Egypt for God but notice there the last thing that was said in verse 26, he knew there was a reward coming. What kind of a reward? A greater reward. You see, he understood that God could give him far more than physical things, but spiritual, the things that would allow him to not only know about this life but the life that also was to come.
You see, Moses had that faith. He was willing to give up what in our day and time would be billions and billions of dollars, a lot of possessions. Now, think for a moment about ourselves. How many of us would do that? How many of us would be willing to put aside the things that this life has to offer us or maybe position or authority or wealth in order that we could serve God. Well again, this is the character that we're talking about in Moses. He was willing to do it. He was actually willing to run from it, to get away from it to go and to learn about God in another place, Miriam. And later as we know, he was actually approached by God in the burning bush and later led the people of Israel and that will actually be the lesson that we look at next week. But this morning, let's continue focusing on the man Moses. This individual who again showed us that the greatest wealth, the greatest spiritual things that we could have in this life pertained to God, not to the things that we can obtain from the world.
I want to look at several New Testament passages because when we're looking at these concepts from the Old Testament that are again reiterated in the New Testament, we need to see that it is a consensus of the writers there in the New Testament that these things be true.
If you'll turn with me to the book of 2 Peter, we want to read from chapter 1 and we want to find out here more about what God has to say not only through Peter as he was inspired, but actually to all of us as we were followers of God. Let me again tell you the verse. That is 1 Peter, chapter 1, verses 14 through 17. It says there, As obedient children not conforming yourselves to the former lust as in your ignorance but as Christians being holy...(Why?) for I am holy?
You see there in verses 15, verses 16 showing us that God is a holy God. God is a holy individual being and because we are to be like Him, we are also to be holy.
Now if you look again in verse 14, it says, Not giving in to your former lust, not going back to the old world or the old ways that you were involved in, but again giving yourselves holy as to God because He is holy. So again you can see that Moses was willing to do that and that you and I as New Testament Christians must have the same desires. We must have the same abilities to go forward and to say, "Yes, I am willing. I am ready to do what God would have me to. I am ready to be an individual that will serve Him, that will give Him His due, as the Creator, as the giver of all things."
I also wanted to look at a verse that is found in Phillippians and obviously, the book of Phillippians was written by Paul. So now we've mentioned what Peter had to say and now we will look at what Paul had to say there in Phillippians chapter 3 and verse 8 and let's see how Paul was willing to also give up things just as Moses was and probably Moses was a mentor to him, one that he also looked to and found great strength and example from. Read with me if you will verse 8 from chapter 3 of Phillippians. It says, Yet indeed I also count all things lost for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord for whom I've suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may gain Christ. You see, here it says that he was willing to suffer all things. He was willing to give up all things. It didn't matter whether it was again earthly. It doesn't matter whether it was family or friends. Paul was willing, after learning about the Lord Jesus Christ, to follow Him, to give himself holy to Him. And I want to remind you that Paul before him, had been one who was very devout as a Jew. He was one who was very much in the inner circles, very high up in Judaism, but yet he was willing to turn on all of that. Now, how many of the Jewish people were still his friends after he turned to Christ? Well I can assure you that probably zero were his friends because he rejected what they knew, what he had stood for. But what was Paul willing to do? Willing to count it all rubbish, all worthless, all nothing. Why? Because he understood what really made him rich in life was following Christ Jesus, not again following the things of this life, not again a certain man or a person, not again family relations.
Now I might ask you a question here because sometimes many of us are guilty of allowing family relations to keep us from doing what Christ tells us to do. We say, "Well, but my father or my mother has always taught me this and I don't want to offend them or I don't want to go to that church because I might offend them and they've always brought me up in this way." What does Christ say? Was Moses willing to stand with Christ no matter what was on the other side of the coin? Yes he was. Was Peter? Yes. Was Paul? Yes. All of these individuals, all of these scriptures that we're looking at again indicate that we're individuals as they should be who are willing to stand up and be counted to make a difference.
Now I mentioned a moment ago a verse in 2 Peter that also mentions the concept of what will take place at the end of the world. Now what will take place? It says that the elements of it will be burnt up. There we read that in 2 Peter chapter 3. Now as we consider that verse and as we consider what then we have of the earth, and we say, "Well, I have a nice house or a nice vehicle or I want to gain a lot of money." What's going to happen to it? Well, when we die, we can't take it with us. We won't be able to take these things with us and we also read that in Ecclesiastes chapter 5 and verse 15 that these things will become of the earth's again after we die. They will not be things that we can carry along with us to heaven. Why? Because heaven is much different. It's a spiritual state. It is a sense where we have found that we will be changed and we will go to be with God for an eternity. We will be individuals who will not only glorify Him but we ourselves will be glorified in the many things that He has done and is still wanting to do for us.
I would like to end our thoughts this morning by looking over at some words that Jesus had to say to us. And if you'll turn there with me to Matthew chapter 6, we find here the Sermon on the Mount, many interesting ideas that are mentioned here by Christ Himself, and we want to read verses 19 through 21. If you'll read with me, it says this, Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroy or where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. You see, Jesus Christ to me summarizes a whole lesson this morning as we try to again see where our real wealth should lie and that is in God, spiritually because He says that wherever we lay our treasures is where our heart will be, where our reward will be. If it's in earthly things, an earthly reward. And you and I know there 's no eternity in the earth, but with God we share an eternity that will last ages and ages as the Bible tells us. If we've lived faithfully, we will be rewarded. And as it says there in verse 21, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Where is your heart as a follower of God, this morning?
(SONG # 3 - "O To Be Like Thee!")
It was great to have you with us today. Thanks again for being with us as we committed this time to God. Let me invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, for the Living Word Program.
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May we all strive to grow more spiritually, so that we may be wealthy in Christ Jesus, because that's where it truly matters in life.