THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-2-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD IS FOR ME: GOD IS LIGHT"
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won't you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's begin our offering to God with a prayer!
We now have the blessed opportunity to join songs of praise to our God. So this morning we want to begin with a song that reminds me that God is always there. I hope you all will join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Walking Alone At Eve!"
(SONG # 1)
In Matthew 13:44, the Lord Himself made the following statement, "...The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." When was the last time you considered how valuable and special God's Kingdom truly is?
I love what Jesus said earlier about His Kingdom. Not only does the Bible tell us that Jesus would build His Kingdom and that He did build it, it further tells us just how precious it is and Why! Let me ask you first of all how many of us would be willing to die for someone else? Now let me take that a step further, how many of us would be willing to die for someone we don't like or who doesn't like us? What about your enemies, how many of us would be willing to step on the chopping block for them?
You see the reality is, Jesus Christ our Savior, was willing to do this very thing for all mankind. Even those who rejected Him and hated Him were given the blessed hope of redemption through the shedding of His blood. But why did He do it, because He loved us and cared enough for us as His creation that we be given a chance to choose right from wrong. He wanted us to be true followers, not because we have to, but because we want to. Are we willing to serve our God out of a true love and devotion to Him as our Father above?
So now that we know what Christ has done and why, you might also notice from Jesus earlier statement, that the kingdom of God is a very valuable thing. But just how valuable did Jesus say that it was, so valuable that when the man found it he sold all that he had to be able to obtain it. How many of us have been willing to give up everything for the sake of God and His Kingdom?
Just how important is God's Kingdom to you. Have you done what it takes to have been translated out of darkness and into the kingdom of God as we read in Colossians 1:13? Are you a part of such a precious institution that God established through His Son - in that some day this very Kingdom will be delivered back to His Father in heaven, when all things have come to pass. Have you done what it takes to be a part of this wonderful opportunity so richly provided by our God?
As far as our discussion, we will be continuing our study together on, "God Is For Me." Our specific topic today will cover, "God Is LIGHT." So please stay with us and after our next song we will be lead in our lesson thoughts of the morning by our guest speaker.
As far as our guest speaker today, we are happy to have brother Darin Chappell with us once again. Brother Darin is the minister for the Mountain Grove Church of Christ and he is also one of the instructors at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for being with us and we look forward him leading our discussion from God word after our next song together. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "This Is My Father's World."
(SONG # 2)
By Darin Chappell
As we continue our study through the program that we have available to us concerning that "God Is For Me" and what it is that God truly is as He is described within the scriptures. It's necessary for us to make some sort of a distinction between God as His nature is revealed to us through the Word and any attributes, which come from that nature.
We're told in John chapter 4 and verse 24 that "God is spirit." And again in 1 John chapter 4 and verse 8 that "God is love." Because God is spirit and because He is love, at His very core essence we find therefore that because He is spirit, He is also recognized as being omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent, as we've already seen in previous lessons. Because He is love, we know that God is merciful as well. But we also are told that God is at His very core essence, "God is light or truth," as we find there in 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-7. Here the apostle John tells us that God's essential core nature encompasses light or truth, and that because of His essence as light or truth, therefore we can know that He is just, that He is righteous, that He is truthful, but that also when He passes judgement that He will do so in a way that is perfectly compatible with His nature of truth. There will be no mistakes. There will be no alternative ideas. It will either be that which is right or that which is wrong in the lives of each and every individual as compared to the standard of Jesus Christ when we stand before Him in the judgement of all things (2 Corinthians 5 and verse 10). God is light. At His very core essence, at His very nature, He is light or truth.
There in 1 John chapter 1 the apostle writes, "This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have no fellowship with Him and walk in darkness we lie and do not the truth, but if we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin." Now this passage is one of those that oftentimes gets read by students of the Bible but is not understood clearly enough, and the implications from this passage are not oftentimes understood clearly enough based on the concept that God is light.
Now if you would consider with me for just a moment the concept of light versus darkness. We think of light as being one thing and darkness being another, but in actuality light is something and darkness is the absence of light. In any particular point of space, there either exists a photon of light or there does not. We think of things as being a gradual change between darkness and light and then you can be more light and you can be more dark, but in actuality it is either true that light is present or it is not. A classic example being the case and you can experience this for yourself all throughout the Ozarks. If you are ever in a cave and you have a light, and you're in this cave and when you are back far enough away from the mouth where you are not able to see any light from the outside world, take that flashlight that you have and turn it off for just a minute. Then you'll be able to see quite clearly. Actually, you'll be able to not see at all. But the fact that light and darkness are distinctly different. You cannot have darkness where light exists nor can you have light where darkness is.
When John here says that, "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all," he is saying in context that God is truth and in Him there is no falsehood whatsoever. He says that God at His very essence is truth, is light and therefore there can be no darkness. There can be no darkness, no untruth, no falsehood whatsoever in God. That's key for us to understand because we are told that our "God does not change and with Him there is neither shadow of turning, that He is always as He has ever been." (James chapter 1:18)
Because God is light, we are also told there in verse 6, "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth." There is that connection between truth and light. If we are walking in darkness, we cannot be doing the truth because God is light, God is truth. Therefore, if we say we have fellowship with Him but we find ourselves walking in darkness, we are just kidding ourselves and maybe those individuals around us, but God knows. God can see the difference between the light, the truth, and the darkness of the world. Individuals who want to walk in the darkness of the world but say that they have fellowship... And the word "fellowship" there is very specific in the original language. It is that which is based upon commonalties. We cannot say that we have things in common with God if He is in the light and yet we walk in the darkness. We cannot say that we have a common bond with God if we walk in the darkness of the world because if we walk in the darkness, we cannot be with Him because God is, at His very essence, God is light. Therefore, that fellowship that an individual who calls himself or herself a Christian, that must be based not upon my concepts of right and wrong. It can't be based upon my traditions or my values. It can't be based upon my preconceived ideas of what is comfortable or what's soft and what tickles my ears and what makes me feel good about myself. Instead, it must only and always be based upon the concept of what does God say about right and wrong. What is the standard that God sets forth because God is light? God is truth. We don't have the right to try to alter that perception to suit ourselves. If we alter that perception to suit ourselves, if we would be with God, we must come out of the darkness to be with Him in the light. Indeed that is what we are told there in verse 7. "But if we walk in the light..." The idea of walking in the light is the idea of living our daily lives, day by day carrying ourselves about as we continue to interact with one another in the world around us. If we walk in the light that is according to the standard of God's truth, God's Word, because we are told there in John chapter 17 and verse 17 that, "We are sanctified by the truth, Thy Word..." Jesus said to the Father, "Thy Word is Truth." The expression of God's truth is given to us within His Word. If we will live our lives according to the truth as God sets the standard, if we will walk in the darkness as He is in the light and again as He sets the standard. Not what I might think. Not what you might think, but what does God say the truth is. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another.
Now this brings us to another very, very touchy subject when it comes to individuals who call themselves Christians and who suggest that they live a Christian life. Let me just say it is not my place to judge anyone, but it is God's and when God says that there is a standard of right and wrong, a standard that He Himself as His very essence, He is the light, He is the Truth, and when He says that those who walk according to His truth have fellowship or commonality with Him, He says that we also have fellowship or commonality with one another, so that if I walk in the light as He is in the light and if you are walking in the light as He is in the light, then even if we never meet this side of the judgement, we can have fellowship with one another. We can have commonalties one with another because we both live our lives according to the standard of God's Word. It is not based upon whether or not we get to have dinner together at the church building or in my home or your home. That's not what we're talking about. We are talking about true Biblical fellowship. The only question is: Am I or am I not walking in the light as God sets the standard for right or wrong? Are you or are you not walking in the light as God sets the standard for right and wrong because He is light? He is Truth. Therefore when we say, "Can we have fellowship with one another?" When we say, "Are we in fellowship with one another?" What we really ought to say is, "Are we both right according to the standard of God's Word?" Not my opinion. Not your opinion. Not my traditions. Not your traditions. What does God say? What does His Word tell us HE requires of each and every one of us as individuals? If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another because He serves as the standard of right and wrong. He and no other. And if we don't both walk in the light... If you were to walk in the light and I didn't or if I were to walk in the light and you didn't, then no matter how much company we may keep, no matter how much we may enjoy one another, no matter how much we can be friendly to one another, no matter how much we can have the enjoyment of one another's company and events and various opportunities. The reality of it is we cannot have Biblical fellowship, we cannot have Biblical commonality one with another unless we are both submitting ourselves to that one true standard, the only standard that matters, the Light, the Truth of God's Word.
Why? Because God is light. God is truth at His very core essence. I can't alter that truth. You can't alter that truth. We shouldn't want to. We should want to determine from God's own Word what is right. I don't care about who is right, but what is right. Once we determine what is right, once we determine what God's Word says is right then let's just do that together. Let's just appeal to the Word of God as our only standard of right and wrong and then setting aside all traditions, setting aside all ideas of human intervention and human doctrines and disciplines. Let's throw that all out. What does God's Word say? And then let's do that as we walk in the light as He is in the light, the standard of right and wrong.
Now that standard first of all has to be taken up into your life when you're considering becoming a Christian from the very beginning. It is not something that should be done lightly. Jesus says we always need to be counting the cost to make certain that we are able to accomplish our tasks all the way to the end. Then I'm ready to be converted to Christ, that I'm ready to live my life for Him and for Him alone. The Bible tells us quite clearly what it is that an individual must do in order to start that walk with Him. We are told first of all that we must hear the Word of God (Romans chapter 10 and verse 17). We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John chapter 8 and verse 24). We must be willing to confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God before others (Matthew chapter 10 verses 32-33). We must be willing to repent of our sins. That is that we no longer live the ways of the world but that we live only and always for the Lord (Acts chapter 17 and verse 30). And we must be baptized for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38) so that we can be added to the church that Jesus built and purchased with His own blood (Acts 2:47, Acts chapter 8 and verse 12, Acts chapter 20 and verse 28). We must then be willing to live our lives faithfully up to and including the point of death day by day looking for the opportunities wherein we can walk in the light because that is where God is. God won't be with us in the darkness because He is light and in Him is no darkness. If we would be with God, friends, we have to join Him where He is in the light, the truth, His truth according to His Word. Let us all join Him there where we can be His children in the light.
I thank you for your time and attention.
(SONG # 3 - "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Thanks be to God for the wondrous truth that God is light. May we strive to be in the Light of God every day that we might be faithful in His sight and do all things according to His Will?