THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-23-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD IS FOR ME: GOD IS JUST!"
Happy Thanksgiving! Isn't it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord's Day? For our God loves us and has blessed us all with so much in this life.
Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God's sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
This morning we want to begin by singing a song that tells us where our true home with God is. So I hope you will join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Anywhere Is Home!"
(SONG # 1)
Around this time of year, I hope we are all reminded just how much God loves us! However, sometimes we might wonder just how much God does care? We are probably even guilty of feeling that sometimes God just doesn't care at all. However, I can assure you that this is completely untrue. In fact, the Bible is full of personal examples and statements given by God's followers that proves the true care and concern of our Lord for us.
One such verse that confirms God's care is found in Isaiah 43:1,2. Here we read about God's true love and care for a faithful servant and just how far God will go for those He loves. There we read, "But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you." God loves us enough to always be there and to always stay by our side.
Another great verse in the New Testament that helps us with this thought is found in Hebrews 13:5, there it says, "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.'" Brethren and friends, I think we often forget just how much our God does love us and cares for us as His ultimate creation. Now, the question is, "have you responded to that love and care through an obedience to His Will?" If not, why not? Choose today to serve this loving and caring God as He has commanded you to.
In just a few minutes we will begin our main study of the day. This morning we will be continuing to talk about the fact that, "God Is For Me!" The specific lesson of the day will deal with, "God Is JUST!" So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Blessed Assurance."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We're glad you've stayed with us as we now go back to God's Word and find out something else, that God is for me!
You know when you think about life and you consider the different things that you've faced in life, no doubt at one time or another we have all had to come before someone who is over us in order that a decision might be made whether we were maybe guilty of something or whether we had done good or whether we had done bad. It might have been parents that we came before. It might have been a teacher or a boss or someone maybe even at church that we spoke to in relationship to whether we had done something that we should have done or not. The fact is when we come before such an individual or when we are in a sense tried for something or asked if we are guilty or not, we want someone who is just before us. We want someone who can be counted on to be fair-minded, someone who is going to do their best to see that when they look at all the facts they will make the best decision and when they have decided what is right or wrong, if there would be any types of results or punishments that they as well are very just in their punishments. When we think about God, there is something else the Bible says that God is. The Bible says, "God is just." That is a great idea, a wonderful idea because what it means to us is that we know God is equally just to all men. When you think about the concept of "just," if we are to define it, there are many ideas presented in the dictionary. For instance, "to be factual, reasonable, correct, to be someone who is proper, moral or legally right," or even the idea of "being upright, honest, or even honorable in things." You see, God is just. When we come before Him, we know He is going to be fair, the most fair-minded being of all the world or all the universe. Therefore, when He looks at all the facts, not just some of them, when He makes the judgement not just based on what He wants, but on the facts, He's going to make the best decision, the very best decision. God is the kind of God and individual we want to be judged by for He is a just God.
God Himself proclaimed that He was just there in Isaiah 45 and verse 21. In the text, He actually reemphasizes many times; There is no other God but Him. He is the one and only God. IN verse 21, the latter part, He says this: "And there is no other God besides Me." But now hear the next verse. "And a just a God and a Savior. There is none besides Me." God says, "There's no other God besides Me as a just God, as a God who is a Savior offering salvation to mankind."
This is the very same idea that Moses confirmed concerning God and certainly Moses was the voice of God, an individual who God has spoken to and through so that we might know who our God is.
It was there in Deuteronomy chapter 10 and verses 17 and 18 that we find this very same idea that God is just. He gave them the law. He told Israel exactly what He wanted. He said, "Here are the rewards if you do what is good and here are the punishments if you do not do what is good." And then, what was God? Just! He was fair. If you did what was right, you got all that He said. But guess what, if you did what was wrong, a just God also means that God can be counted on to punish and to do what is even as we would consider sometimes harsh against those who have done wrong. But think about that for a moment. Is it really harsh to do what you have warned somebody will be done, or that something will happen and you have warned will happen if they do what is wrong? Isn't there a choice involved? Yes! Can't they choose to do right rather than wrong? Again the answer is yes! So God was said in the Old Testament to be a just God.
Such a just God that in Psalm 33 verse 5 tells us that "God is a God who loves justice." That gives us another twist to the discussion. Not only is God a just God, but He is a God who loves justice. He wants to be just and he wants all men to be just. Now that goes in to not only the fact of loving God, but loving our neighbor. How are we to treat our neighbor? How are we to treat our enemies? You see, we must be just. We must judge rightly and properly according to the truth of God.
In the New Testament we find the same ideas as well. If you'll begin turning there with me to the book of 1 John, there in 1 John and chapter 1 we find again a statement made in relationship to those who have fellowship with God and the reality and confirmation that the fellowship with God is only based on where God is and that as the verse tells us "is in the light" (verses 5-6). But drop down there even in verse 7 as it says, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us." Now we know that because of the light and the blood of Christ and our faithfulness, God will forgive us of sin. But now I want you to notice what is said down with me also in verse 9. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. What is our God? He is a God that if we are in the light, if we have fellowship with Him who is just, who is a just God and a faithful God... What does that mean? It means He can be depended on. He can be counted on. We know that we can take whatever God says to the bank and we know that it is worth something, that it has value because He said it and He will do everything that He said. He will never let us down and He will bless us in every way that He has promised to bless us and reward us with every reward that He has given us, but at the same time, He will punish those who have done against us or who have rejected Him exactly as He has promised as the just God that He is.
So how does God judge? How wonderful it is to know that God just didn't leave it up to guessing or what you want or what I want. God actually gave a method by which He would judge. The Bible clearly tells us that the method given is the Bible. There is a verse that we see every week at the beginning of this program that is found there in Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 12. It talks about "the Word of God being living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to division of the soul and spirit." But hear the next part as it mentions there "that it can even divide the joints and the marrow." Next he says, "The Word of God is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." What is it that the Bible can do? Discern! It can judge. It can determine what it is that we are doing to be right or wrong whether we are faithful or erring, whether we are striving to be of God or whether we have rejected Him. Now if you'll notice there it is not necessarily God that is having to make that decision or me that is making that decision every day that I live. What is making that decision? The Word that He has already established that I have every right to read and to know and to understand and to obey unto salvation, but I also have every right to reject and so therefore, it is there the just God has said that the standard is set and it is the same for everyone. Now what will you do? Will you be one who responds to this just God and the blessings and rewards or will you be one who rejects Him and therefore also sees the justice of God as He judges us all according to His precious Word?
That's exactly what Jesus warned those of His day there in John chapter 12. Verse 48 says, "He rejects Me and does not receive My Words as that which judges him. The Word that I have spoken will judge him." If we look at the context, it tells us there clearly that we are those who are judged by God's Word because Jesus spoke everything that was according and unified with the Father. It was not His own authority but the authority given to Him by the Father and the Words of the Father given to Him. So therefore, the Word that He said you are judged by is the Word of God Almighty. So in the verse prior there, verse 47, he says, "If anyone does not hear My Words, there is something that is going to judge him. It is not Me necessarily, but it is the Word of God. It is that which has been delivered." You see again, the Word of God then is the standard. It is that which judges. It determines justice, righteousness, and evil. Therefore, if we understand that, we are able to know what it is that we should look to to find out what the standard is, what is required.
Paul spoke of the same thing there in Romans chapter 3 and verse 24 when he said, "Be justified freely by the grace through the redemption that is in Jesus Christ." There he is talking about the redemption that we have through the blood shed by Jesus on the cross. There again the opportunity we have of that just God to be saved even though we were not worthy of salvation.
Notice what he goes on to say in verses 25 and 26. "Whom God has set forth as a propitiation by His blood through faith to demonstrate His righteousness because of his forbearance God has passed over the sins that were previously committed..." To what? "To demonstrate at the present time His righteousness that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus." What has God done for the righteous? It says that "He might be just and the justifier." The ultimate judge for the faithful is God because we know He can be trusted, that He can be counted on and that what He has promised is sure. You see we have so much to look forward to. We have so much to be thankful for because God has not only given us Christ and the opportunity of salvation, but the knowledge to know that He will be just and that He will not change His mind. He will not add something later that we need to do, but that He has revealed everything that we need through the Truth to obey Him and to find that we can have eternal life.
Another great thing about the just God that we serve that I think is pertinent to our discussion is that God shows no partiality. There are several verses that I want to mention to you so I hope you will jot them down. Romans chapter 2 and verse 11 we find here clearly proclaimed that "There is no partiality with God." God is equal. He treats all men equal no matter who they are. In Galatians 3 we read about how that "God loves those who are Jew or Greek, male or female, bond or free. All are one in Christ Jesus." There is no partiality with God. He is an equal judge. He will judge us the same. He won't say, "Well, I like so and so better," or "I don't really like that guy so I'm going to go ahead and make him to be lost." God is a just God. He has provided the Word. He has set the standard and if we fulfill the covenant and in spirit and truth do what He has commanded, guess what. We will receive the righteous judgement of God and we will know that God has blessed us as the faithful.
Ephesians 6:9 also confirms there. Paul to the Ephesian church that, "God does not show partiality." Why? Because God has always been a God who has told us (Colossians 3:25) that we are those "who will sow as we have reaped." Galatians chapter 6 tells us there in verse 7 that we are those "who sow as we reap." It is so specific there in Galatians chapter 6 that it tells us the outcome. How do we know what we will reap? If you'll notice there in verse 7 it says, "Whatever a man sows he will reap." Verse 8, "He who sows of the flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the spirit will of the spirit reap everlasting life." You see there is that justice of God. What's the determining factor? We all are. We can't blame God. We can't blame anyone else. We determine today our place with God, whether we are saved or lost and we do it based on His Word that He has already established.
So who is the judge? God and His Word! And who determines how we will be judged? We do! And so then what must we do? We also must not only judge ourselves, but be willing to discern. Be willing to judge.
In Hebrews 5 and verse 14, we know that "we are to discern," the Bible says, "between good and evil."
There are examples in the scripture such as in Matthew 16 where the Jews were willing to discern the things of the times, but they weren't willing to discern or judge properly among righteous things. And so what was it that the Bible told them and that God ascribes to them in the Word? That "the standard is God," John 7:24, that "His Word has been given and the Word will judge and that although we are not the judge," although I should not judge according to what I think, there in Matthew 7:1 we also read about a righteous judgement. There again in John 7 and verse 24, it says, "Judge with a righteous judgement." What would a righteous judgement be? Not what I think or what I want, not what you think or want! It's what God has established according to what? The Word, what He has confirmed equally for all of us in the book, the Bible? So therefore, we are those who must be cautious about judging. For if we judge according to our own thoughts and wants, we have missed the mark. We are doing that which condemns ourselves, also confirmed there in Matthew 7. "For why would we judge someone with a speck in their eye when there is a beam in our own eye?" You see, it is a serious thing to judge and it is a business that we must be very careful about. But at the same time, God does judge. How does He judge us? Through the Word! So when you look at my life and my fruits, you compare them to the Word of God and with righteous judgement you can say whether my mouth and my actions show forth Christ or whether they show forth evil things. That's not improper judgement. That's not improper justice. That is the judgement and the justice of God. And by the way, if it is of God, from what we've learned in our study together, it is perfect. So God is a perfect judge. He is a just judge. He has given us His perfect Word that we might be judged and that we then might understand where others are judged by others by the Word for their fruits, for "it is by their fruits that we know them." Matthew chapter 7.
So how do you stand before God? Do you stand found faithful? Do you stand as one who will receive the rewards of Heaven or do you stand as one who will lose your soul eternally in Hell? Make the choices today that show God you love Him and that you want to be a righteous judge.
(SONG # 3 - "A New Creature!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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How blessed we are to have a just God, who is fair-minded, consistent and true. Let's do all that our God requires that we might receive our just reward, from a God who can be counted on and who is dependable in every way.