THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 11-25-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE END RESULT FOR MAN!”
David once proclaimed, “I will praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” OH, how God loves His creation!
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start our songs of praise by lifting up our voices before the throne of God. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, “To Canaan’s Land I’m On My Way!”
(SONG # 1)
Living in a world that is full of so many people, we are reminded every day how different everyone is. Think about how hard it is, at times, to get along with everyone and to overlook each others imperfections. Probably everyday, whether it is at home among family, at work among coworkers, or at school among peers, we are faced with getting upset about something that has been done to us or something that offends us in some way. Maybe the comments made are not even to us or about us, but still they often bother us enough, for us to put them in the back of our mind, so that we can remember them on a regular basis.
For the next few minutes we want to consider something that my wife has learned to be really good at - forgiveness. One of the most fundamental social principles found in the bible is forgiveness. In fact, we can quote scripture after scripture that reminds us of the need to be a forgiving people.
However, we must remember that at the heart of it all, God was first willing to forgive. We must remember that god first gave his own son to die on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Thus, we read, “in him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins,” Ephesians 1:7. As Christians, we are not asked to be a forgiving people because we are special or different, but we are asked to forgive because God first forgave us. In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus said, “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses.” Here we learn that the only way God will forgive us, is if we learn to forgive others.
The lesson of forgiveness is a hard one for us, but nevertheless it is important to understand because the unforgiving will not be forgiven. Paul put it well in Colossians 3:13, where he said, “bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” We must be patient with each other in this life, realizing that we all have faults and shortcomings. So, we must learn to forgive others, as God has forgiven us.
Isn’t it the golden rule that adds another aspect to this study? “Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you.” If we want to be forgiven by God and others, we must learn to be forgivers of others faults. This is the will of God.
Finally, let me ask you a question, “did Jesus have to be asked before he forgave others?” What about on the cross, Jesus was asking the father to forgive those who had not even asked for forgiveness yet. Are you striving to follow this example of Jesus? Or do you keep thinking, he/she never asked me for forgiveness or said they were sorry! Let’s learn to be better Christians, but learning to be more Christ-like. Isn’t that what being a Christian is all about?
Today we will again study God’s Word by focusing on the question, “What Is Man!” This morning our specific topic of study is entitled, “The End Result For Man!” So stay with us after our next song and in a few minutes I will return with this lesson from God’s Word. It’s now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “To The Work.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
“What is man that you are mindful of Him the son of man that you should visit Him?” A great question asked of God here by David His servant and a question that we have been considering together now for many weeks in trying to understand truly the answer to the question, “What is man?” Together we have been able to look together at the idea of man being the creation of God, being made in the image of God, being the very nature of God. We have also looked at the idea of man being a child of God, as well as last week man being an heir of God. This morning we want to continue our study as we really begin to consider the idea of the end result of man.
We all know that man has been created by God and brought onto the earth and placed here and given dominion. But again what is mans end result? I think most of us know the general answer to that question but today we want to look more deeply at the idea of where is it that men will go or where will they end up. If you will begin with me where we have started many times back in the book of Genesis but specifically now in Chapter 2, where we learn that God had just created man and there found in verse 7 after God formed man of the dust of the ground the Bible says, “and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.” You know what’s further neat about that idea is that we move over to chapter 4, that Adam and Eve God’s creation then came together and she conceived and bore a son. Then we see after Cain that Abel was also born by Eve. Now as we think about that how neat because we have the very first of God’s creation and then the very first of those who were born into God’s creation as the first baby that ever has been made and found there in the womb of a woman and then brought forth to life. You know that must have been an exciting time, a really exciting time, I wonder if Adam and Eve certainly hadn’t seen many animals that God had also made bear offspring and have children. But then to have there own one that came forth and was able to not only live and breathe, but also to speak and reason, and to grown up, and to be human. Oh, what an exciting thing it must have been. But you know what the reality also is as we look there in the same context but in chapter 3. As we back up to chapter 3 we actually see because of their sin there was something that would take place, a warning that even had been given to them back in chapter 2, that the day they ate, verse 17,of the tree they were forbidden to eat of they would surely die. Do you remember there within the curse, the curse which was given to them, when they were reminded again of the wickedness by breaking the law of God and not doing what God had commanded? They ate of the tree and Eve was cursed and then Adam was cursed. Then do you remember what was said there in chapter 3:19, “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground…” till you do what? Return to the ground. Till you do what? Return to the ground. Then he says, “…for out of if you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” You see there we find the beginning of man but then we also find the end of man, where man ends up after such things take place. That is life, the ability to come forth and to live for God or to reject God. Then that reality, that reality that as someday we have been born and brought into the world by God’s plan that someday we also will die.
I want you also to look with me specifically in a text by a very wise man, one that would be very obvious to all of us because the first person that comes to your mind is Solomon. But do you remember there in Ecclesiastes 12, he said something similar to what God had identified there to Adam in Genesis 3. But in Ecclesiastes 12 notice with me what he says there in verse 7, concerning the life and death of man. The verse there says, “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” We actually had a whole lesson about the concept of the earthly man or the fleshly man made like or from Adam and then the concept of the spiritual man or heavenly man made obviously in the likeness of, the image of, God almighty Himself. But really what I want you to notice with me here is again the further emphasis not only that man was born but as sure as man is born guess what, man will die. And when we die the reality is that our body returns to dust, the same way we know that if one was to be dug up after being buried for many years there is nothing left sometimes except for maybe some mere bone, and everything has done what? Returned or reverted to the dust except for the soul of man, the spirit of man that we have already covered in another lesson. So as we think about then we have the two options the end result of man. The end result of man is obviously death but there is an end result to two different parts of man. First of all the flesh that returns to the dust and then secondly the spiritual man, as he says here that is Solomon, that returns to God who gave it. Now what does that mean? Well, it really means to me that we better be pretty focused on the man of God, the heavenly man, for it is the part of man that endures or that lives forever, it will always be in heaven with God if found faithful. On the other hand I want to ask you a question, how many people would you say on this earth really focus on the fleshly man? They give all of their life really trying to keep the body up and build the body up which certainly there is some profit at least to bodily exercise but at the end of the day the body returns to the dust. Why not give much more energy? Why would not the same individuals give much more time to the soul or the spiritual man which really will exist forever?
David gives us another aspect of our discussion about really the length of life because one of the issues that we often get into with man, especially in relationship with man being willing to follow God, is how long do they wait to follow God. In other words are they going to serve them now or are they going to wait because they say I’ve got plenty of time maybe when I get older and I’m about to die or getting near death I’ll think about serving God. Well, you might recall there with me in Psalm 90:10, there is a discussion at least in general it says of the days of man. Verse 10 says this, “The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow…” You know when you think about life, life is tough sometimes it’s difficult, it’s a hard road ahead of us. There are certainly great, and good days, and exciting days in life and there is not a one of us who doesn’t know what it is to be involved in a tough day, a tough week, a tough month, maybe even a tough year of life. So what we are reminded of is that really overall we are uncertain about life but the one thing we do know about life is that as sure as we live, we will die. Another thing that we know about life as he says here is as we are those who live we are individuals who will have boasting in a sense sometimes in the good things of life but then also are reminded of the great sorrow that often can be seen in life as well. I remember that Job actually gives us a clear idea concerning this if you look over to the book of Job 14:1, he says, “Man who is born of woman…” I think that is everybody, “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Then we go over there to the book of James and as you turn over there to the book of James 4, we not only again are reminded of the few days, the brevity of life, it doesn’t matter whether you live 20 years or 80 years in perspective of eternity or the concept of life, it is a short time. So therefore, what James says in chapter 4:14, is that life is as a vapor it seems as if it appears for a while and then vanishes. What is it that the writers are trying to tell us? What are they trying to warn us about? That we need to make ourselves right today, that we should always strive to be right with God, ready for God to meet our maker whether it be in death or whether it be in the second coming and the judgment of God. Why? We do not know, what he even says in James 4, what tomorrow may hold. We do not know what will happen and so therefore we need to make sure today we are those who are children of God, heirs of God, bearing the nature of God, all these things that we have been talking about so that we might ever be prepared before our creator to make sure that we are individuals who are right in His sight for those who are right will be judged so.
There is another text that I think is always certainly appropriate within this discussion that is found in Hebrews 9. You are familiar with it there in verse 27 when it not only again reminds of the appointment that man has with death, it says, “…it is appointed for men to die once…” and if you were to read that it might be depressing because you would say oh wow, what is there after death? But then he goes on in the same thing, “but after this the judgment. You see there is something that comes after the death of man or even there is something that comes, which is the judgment of Christ if Christ comes back before we die. In either case the great news is, is that we will stand before the judgment seat of Christ whether we are alive when He comes or whether we have already died. In fact we can go to texts such as 1Corinthians 15, we can go to other texts such as 1Thessalonians 4 and we read about the fact that even those who are dead or asleep in the Lord will arise from the grave to meet the Lord when the Lord comes again to be judged of God, and they and us will be judged and guess what the rewarded will be taken up together with the Lord in the air. I want you to remember with me what is said there even in 2Corinthians 5 the warning is clear, “ for we must all appear…” verse 10, “…before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” You see what the judgment will really do? You see what will be asked in the judgment? The question that will be asked in at least a figurative way is what kind of life have you lived, have you done good or bad, is your name in the book, have you lived a life therefore that you are seen as faithful before God, or if bad are you one now who being a rejecter of God that will pay the price? Then we don’t have time right now but verse 11 there of the same text talks about the power of God, the terror of the Lord, the same God who can give us a reward unto eternal life is the same God who can give us punishment into eternal damnation. Is that not what Jesus was talking about even before he died on the cross? Isn’t that what he was warning His followers about in Matthew 25, when He was trying to challenge them to do the work for others, to live the life, to live for God, and to do good to the fellow man? Then He mentions two options there in verse 46, he says, “And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” There are the two options. The clearer options that will be given that will determine where we spend eternity now as a changed, 1Corinthians 15, a changed incorruptible, immortal form where the soul or the soul itself of spirit will dwell with God forever. Still the flesh the body, even according to again 1Corinthians 15, we will not inherit the Kingdom of God for the Kingdom of God is not made up of earthly or fleshly things.
So let’s nurture the soul, let’s nurture that aspect of man the heavenly man that will live forever, and let’s make sure that when we are judged we receive the promise that is so eloquently stated there in the book of revelation. I’d like to end this morning by looking there to that text, first of all in chapter 20, just quickly. If you might notice with me there in verse 10 of chapter 20, it talks about how eventually the devil and those who deceive will be cast in to the lake of fire and brimstone, there’s hell again. It then talks about in verse 13, as we have already said today that even the sea will give forth the dead that all the dead will rise and even death and Hades and all who are in them will be judged verse 13 says, according to their works. But then it says in verse 14, then all those who are unfaithful will be taken and cast into verse 14, the lake of fire and brimstone. Then verse 15 says, “And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast in tot he lake of fire.” There is that eternal punishment, that eternal torment, that really likeness and like figure of the soul where it will be in distress and pain as the rich man was eternally. But then the option is clear, the option that makes you and I love our God, and be motivated to give more to God, and be more faithful to God found there in verse 21 as it is described a new heaven or new earth. As it is described as a new holy city, the new Jerusalem verse 2, as its described clearly as a place verse 4 God will wipe away every tear. There will be no more death, no more sorrow, no more pain and all of the former problems of life will be passed away. Going on down into verse 9 and following a place of golden streets, a place John 14 of mansions, a place where the gates have stones and jewels and pearls. And in that heavenly city is the Lamb of God, the Father God, and the Spirit of God. In fact when we are there in that city it says God verse 23 will give forth the light, and as He gives forth the light anyone whose name has been found in the lamb’s book of life verse 27 will be in that place. Now anyone who does not obey or defiles themselves the same verse says we will not be there but those who are faithful will.
So what is the end of man, what is man? Well, man his life is short, it is a vapor, it’s seventy or eighty years if you even get that. But what is man spiritually, what is man from the heavenly sense? Man is immortal, he is eternal. If we serve God we are going to receive a paradise, a reward that is beyond explanation because God will give us exactly what he has promised and will live with him forever and ever and all those who have gone on faithfully before so that we might ever be with the Lord. May we find comfort in the words of God.
(SONG # 3 - “Walking In Sunlight!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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The question is, “Where will you spend your eternity?” The answer lies in the things you are doing and saying right now! Are you living daily for God and thus found faithful to His Will?