THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date: 11-26-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH TRANSCENDS EARTHLY TROUBLES
Welcome! 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 worship 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 offering acceptable in His sight. Now, will you bow with me in prayer.
If you're like me, you love to eat sweets and candy. Most of us have a sweet tooth or two, and really enjoy eating foods that satisfy our cravings. Our first song this morning deals with the sweetest thing which we will ever know on this earth. The answer is Jesus Christ. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, "Sweeter Than All."
(SONG # 1)
How many of us like to be different! I don't know of many who like to stand out in the crowd or be considered as weird or strange. We all know how bad peer pressure is in our society and it can be seen in every facet from preschoolers to business people. It is hard to believe that a 5 or 6 year old can even know how to pronounce some of these name brands, let alone know enough to want a specific kind of shoes or a certain brand of pants. But the fact is they do know and they want to be like others. Again, think about it, where do they get it? Obviously from us as adults. We did it when we were growing up and even now when we go to work or to play we want a certain kind of clothing or a certain kind of car - to be considered as someone among our age group.
I mention these things this morning because as followers of God we are to be different from this world. God has always wanted His people to stand out and be recognized for who they are - His followers. In fact, in the Old Testament, we find these words of our Lord recorded by Moses, in Leviticus 20:26. There he said, "And you shall be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine." Notice the ideas presented here such as, we are to be holy. Is the world holy? Certainly not, but God is. So we have to be holy like God and not like the world. God also said that He separated them. Again, does this sound like He wanted them to be like everyone else if He separated them from everyone else?
We find the same idea being mentioned in the New Testament. Listen as we read from Romans 12:1-2. There it says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." You see, if we are to be pleasing to God we are to present ourselves as daily living sacrifices. Here Paul clarifies, not like the world but different than the world. But why? So we may be good and acceptable before our creator.
Finally, let me clarify that we are not necessarily talking about having to look out of place or having to act weird, but we are talking about having to present ourselves as good Godly people in all we do. Now, if that makes others sometimes say we are weird or strange, then so be it - To God be the glory!
Are you willing to be a living sacrifice before God and this world? Why not begin today making sure that all we do and say brings glory and honor to our creator. Because when we please God, we know that He will bless us as faithful Children in His service.
Today, we will continue our study on a true Living Faith. Our specific topic this morning is "A Living Faith Transcends Earthly Troubles!" 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, "The Great Physician."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Let me read a few names for you this morning and see what memories they may bring to mind. Judas Iscariot, Annanias, Saphiras, Demas, Alexander, Diotraphese. All of these names here are individuals mentioned in the New Testament and as you might recognize, all of these individuals were those who had faith at one point in God, but then they for some reason or another turned away, or turned back to the world in relationship to their faith in God.
I want you to look with me in Hebrews chapter 10 as we begin this morning. Our text will be in chapter 11 in just a moment, but in Hebrews chapter 10, in verse 26, we find the very problem that's being discussed with these individuals such as Judas. In verse 26, it says, For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there is no longer a sacrifice for sins. You see, after we sin, the concept is knowingly, willingly. In other words, we know what God wants but we do it anyway. Then why will God want to forgive things that we do on purpose without the right heart? I think we all know that God is always willing to forgive us if our heart is right, but the concept here are "those who sin willfully."
Notice what verse 29 says also in chapter 10 of Hebrews. It says, Of how much more a punishment do you suppose will be thought worthy who has trampled the son of God under foot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sacrificed as a common thing and insulted the spirit of grace. Here again, those who know God, who've responded to the gospel, who have been baptized, added to the church by the Lord Himself, but then they trampled the Son of God as it says here. They rejected the covenant. They reject the spirit that is been given to them as grace. All of those again need to realize the great, the great vengeance that will come from God. And that's actually what verse 30 goes on to say. It says, For we know Him who said, Vengeance is mine. I will repay, says the Lord, and again the Lord will judge His people. So in introducing our topic this morning, we look at those in the Bible who gave in to earthly cares. In other words, those who had faith but yet their faith was not strong enough and they chose as maybe Demas to go back to the world. Why? Because he loved the present world and he wanted to be a part of those things in the world rather than continuing to make the sacrifice necessary to serve God.
I think often we forget that faith requires not only a sacrifice but a work, an action on our part, and a continuous one. It's not just that we turn it off and on and sometimes we can have it and sometimes we can turn it off, but again, it's the concept that we are diligent in it. We perseverse. We are long-suffering. We keep going. We are patient in all things as we strive to have the faith that God desires.
Over in the book of Peter, we see along the same lines, something that was said by this man of God, and we want to read there in 1 Peter chapter 5 and we'll read verse 10. It says this, But may the God of all grace who called us into His eternal glory by Christ Jesus after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. See here is a request by Peter of God, God to help those that he is writing to and it says, after you have suffered. Here again, the concept, the idea that we're trying to bring forth this morning is that a living faith transcends or goes above or is able to cope with and deal with the earthly sufferings that will come our way. Now, it will do this because we don't want to end up like Judas or like those that we mentioned at the first like Annanias and Saphiras, or Diotriphese or Demas. We don't want to end up like those who had a good faith and were doing what God wanted but then their soil turned out to be bad because they returned to the world or they returned to their own desires or lusts or the world was just too much for them and they wanted more from the world than they really loved or than they really wanted God Himself.
So you and I must understand that yes, our faith, a godly faith, a faith that is truly strong, truly what it should be is one that will recognize yes, there will be sufferings. There will be troubles. There will be problems. But yet, when these things come our way, we will be able to bear with them.
Now, if you'll go back with me to our text, as we've been looking at again in the book of Hebrews, this time we're going to discuss somewhat about the Israelites because again, we find that these were a people, a people of God that were selected by Him as a holy nation and as these people were selected, they were cared for over and over and over by God. However, we also find in their example that they continually went back to desiring worldly things because of their lack of faith in God. But here in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 29, we find that it says, By faith they passed through the Red Sea and by dry land whereas the Egyptians attempted to do so and were drowned. You see here, by faith. We see that after coming out of Egypt, as Moses had gone and the plagues had been bestowed on the people there, the Egyptians, and so many of them had suffered even to the point of losing the first born and as the Passover had come and the blood of the lamb was put on the door post, the Israelites were spared, who had obeyed the will of God, and then as they were being led out of Egypt. We know that the first obstacle they seemed to come to was there at the Red Sea, and as this obstacle was there, it was one that made them very nervous because they could see and hear the Egyptian army coming in the back of them. They knew that they were coming. They knew that they had changed their minds, and that the Pharaoh now was angry and wanted vengeance for what had happened there to all the firstborn of the land, including his own child.
Now as we see the story progresses, a cloud was placed there, a fire between the Israelites and the Egyptians, while now this miracle was performed, this great thing was done by again Moses, the servant of God, this man of faith who again believed in these things that we're talking about and believed in God utmostly because he was willing to do all that He had told him to.
In Deuteronomy chapter 9 and verse 7, it says there, From that day that there didst depart from the land of Egypt and they came to a place and they continued rebelling against God. Now you see this really was the first rebellion. "Now this God, He has brought us out here. He's brought us out here and now the Egyptians are behind us. They are wanting to kill us. They're wanting to harm us. In Egypt we had food. We were at least safe, but now look at these things that are transpiring. Look at what is happening to us. Look at how we must be afraid of what has transpired because of what God has done for us." Well, you and I know how the story proceeds because it is then that God's glory is truly seen and God uses Moses to perform a great and mighty thing there as we see in Exodus chapter 14 and verse 3 and how that he really guides them now through the Red Sea. The water has parted. Many of us have seen, maybe on television or maybe some of the cartoons that come out, how this is depicted and how the great waters come up and there are giant walls of water as again the people as it says, crossed on dry land. And what power, what great magnificence they must have seen in the power of God in this fact. However, we see that it didn't last for long. Did it?
But I want to read with you also from Exodus 14 and we want to look at verses 13 and 14 and look what Moses told the people as he began to perform this wondrous miracle from God. He said, Fear not, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will show you today for the Egyptians whom you have seen today, you shall see them no more forever. The Lord shall fight for you and you shall hold your peace. You see they didn't have to do anything. God parted the sea. He led them through and even before he did it, Moses told them what God planned to do to the Egyptians. And we know after they had crossed, the Israelites that is, and the Egyptians entered the sea to follow them, that the walls collapsed and it killed the armies of the Egyptians. Now again, we find a great faith there, a great faith that transcends sufferings. In other words, you're in bad situation. You've got problems, but yet the Israelites were then able to see the great power and the great glory of the Lord. Now, you might say, "Man, after they saw that, I bet they were just obedient. I bet they were great followers of God from then on." Well, it wasn't long, probably even a matter of days if not hours, that they were murmuring about needing food, about wanting water, and God continued to bless and to help them and it was this murmuring, this complaining, this attitude that they had that caused them to go for forty years in the wilderness, as you might remember. And it was not those of that day there who came out of Egypt, but their descendants who actually were finally allowed to enter the promised land because of the lack of faith really that we find in these people.
So, they seem to have faith at times, but then they would not have faith at others. Now when did they want to have the faith? When did they want God? Well, the same time that many of us want God, and that's when there are troubles in life. When do you pray to God? Well, I think that I find myself praying more when I need something from God, maybe when there is a financial problem in my life or a family problem or maybe there's a sickness or a health problem, or maybe a good friend of mine is sick or someone at church is having problems, and then I spend more time before the throne of God. But when things are going great and it seems like the money is there that is needed, the bills are being paid, and all of these worldly things I 'm being able to participate in and enjoy them which aren't wrong within themselves for the most part, then I tend to forget God. Well, this is what the Israelites tended to do also. When they had what they needed, they tended to be okay. They forgot God. But they really remembered Him when they were again suffering or they were having problems or trials. And I fear sometimes that we have the same thing. What did they need to do? They needed to trust in God. They needed to have the faith that we've been discussing over the past few months. They needed to have the ability to know that God was there and He would do whatever it took. In fact, as Moses has said, "God is not only here to care for you now but to fight the battle for you." If they had entered the promised land earlier, if they'd had a good attitude, then they would have been victorious.
Do you remember the story about the twelve spies and ten came back and said, "We can't do it." And two came back and said, "We can do it." Why? Because they knew what Moses had said that God will fight the battles for us. But again, because of their murmuring, because of their lack of faith, because of their lack of ability to look up and say, "Yes, I believe in God beyond any shadow of a doubt and even though we have problems, I know that He will care for me. I know that he will take care of me. " Well, you see here again, that is the faith that you and I must have as we again transcend or go above those things of this earth that are troubles to us, that bring us troubles from day to day.
I want you to turn with me also to the book of 1 Corinthians because here Paul gives us a beautiful verse, I feel, that helps us along these same lines to have a greater strength in knowing exactly what God would have us to do as Christians when these trials come. It also lets us know that we're not alone when these things come our way. If you'll look with me again in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, we want to read together verse 13. It says there, No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make a way of escape that you may be able to bear it. Here we see that we are not alone. We are not alone because who is there? God is there. You see, that's what it was saying back up in verse 12 because it says, You take heed lest you fall. Be careful when you think that you really know everything and or that when everything is just going great, because that's when Satan tries to get us many times. And we then allow those sufferings to bring us down and then we fall away from God, because we're not ready, but Jesus says to be ready. Be ready and know that God is there. He is faithful. He is with us. He is trustworthy. We can have confidence in Him and know that He is going to help us through these times of temptation.
Now how far will He go in helping us? Well, Paul tells us that not only will He be there with us during this time, but He will give us a way of escape. You can think of many illustrations in the Bible where we can remember those who escaped temptation. One of the most familiar to me of someone running from temptation was when Joseph was tempted by Potiphar's wife and he ran and left the cloak with her. She was wanting him to do things with her that were improper, because she was a married woman, and he also was not married to her, and because of that, he fled the situation and did what God had wanted him to.
So, we see that we must also flee temptations. God will give us the opening. He will show us the way. In times of trouble, He is there for us. Know that He will not let us bear more than we are able to bear. He will not let us get so far down that we no longer are able to bear and we will turn from Him. He is always there again, if and only if, we have the faith that we need. And that's what this chapter that we've been discussing is all about because faith is based in a belief in God even though we haven't seen sometimes what He is going to do. We've got to believe it. We've got to know that He's there. We've got to have the confidence that He will do the things that He has said. That's why the Psalmist David in the very familiar Psalm, Psalm 23, continues to tell us that The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. God is there. He's going to be with me. He's going to be with me to give me the water I need, to give me the grass, the green pastures. He's going to be with me even through death. He will care for me. He will make my cup overflow. He will do so many things for us. Why? Because of our faith. You see, even though there might be problems. Even though at times, He might have to be there to catch us or to help us bear those burdens, He will help us. He will be there and again, He will not let us bear past that which we are able to bear. Why again? Because God is faithful. He will never cause us to realize or to understand or to know or to think that He has forsaken us.
Again, we've been looking at Hebrews chapter 11. Let's turn over just a few chapters to Hebrews 13 and see what it said there in verse 5, a very strong and encouraging verse. It says, Let your conduct be without covetousness. Be content with such things that you have because He said, I will never leave you nor forsake you. God is there. He won't leave us. He won't forsake us. He won't give up on us, no matter whether we've given up on ourselves or we feel like we're so down in the dumps that we can't do anything else. The Lord is there. Wasn't it also in the Bible that we find there the answer of the question in Daniel, Where else can we go Lord? Who else can we turn to? The disciples even at one point said this. What else would we do without you? You are the bread of life. You are the word. You are the Son of God.
You see, we must feel the same way. We must understand that even though we have trials and troubles and problems in this life, that God is always there. And on the other hand, as we take these trials and problems, know that we can pray and ask Him the things that we have need of. 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 17 says that We must pray without ceasing. When these trials and temptations and problems are just attacking us and beating us down, God again, is always there. He's helping us. He's picking us up. He's giving us that which we need. He's keeping us from being tempted past what we are able. And why does He do all of this? Because He wants us to have a faith that transcends earthly troubles, that looks over problems and is able to see the end of the road, the beauties that are there, the promises of this earth, the promises of eternal life.
As one who is a Christian today, I hope that you will begin to realize and understand that you must have the faith that transcends earthly problems and troubles. I hope you'll also understand if you are not a child of God that you need to be one. You need to obey the gospel of Jesus Christ. We find in the New Testament that those who were willing to do so, were obedient through confessing the name of Jesus Christ. After making that great confession, we find that they repented and turned from sin, and then were buried with Him in baptism. Are you willing to put on Christ today through baptism? If so, please contact us so we might assist you.
(SONG # 3 - "To Christ be True!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent 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 troubles in this world, let's remember that with God's help we can truly overcome all the problems which come our way.