THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-30-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD IS FOR ME: GOD IS STRICT"
Let me welcome each of you to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. I hope all of you are well and that you are prospering greatly, in your physical lives according to what you are giving to God spiritually. It is wonderful to be a part of God's family and to have opportunities such as this to come before Him and learn more about what He wants of us, as well as praising His name through song. As we begin our homage to God this morning, won't you bow with me in prayer?
It is now time to begin with our first song of praise. Our first hymn of the morning talks about the perfect and wondrous Savior we have in Jesus Christ. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together the song, "A Wonderful Savior!"
(SONG # 1)
An interesting part of the Old Testament is the fact that we are given so many good examples and stories of those who were striving to please God in their lives. However, I also find it interesting that these same people were not perfect before God, but they were doing their best to live according to His will and to put Him first - thus they were considered as complete in His sight.
One such example is God's great servant David. Throughout his life he showed over and over again his true love and devotion to God. As a young man he boldly stood for God and even as King he still did as God commanded. However, we also see that He was not perfect, and yes he sinned! Notice with me what he said about God, knowing that he had made mistakes and done things contrary to His Will. In Psalm 66:20, we read, "Blessed be God, Who has not turned away my prayer, Nor His mercy from me!" David's merciful God is the same God that we serve today. How great our God is, in that He will not forsake us or turn on us, as long as we repent and strive to continue doing our best according to His Word.
So what does this mean for all of us? It means that God is always there for us and will hear us, even when we make mistakes. Better yet, when we ask forgiveness - He will forgive us if we acknowledge our wrongs and strive to continue in them no more. I think John put this best in 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Finally, notice what David said about our prayers. God not only hears us but will not turn away from us, even when we make mistakes. Isn't it great to know that God is always there, ready to listen and answer our prayers to His glory? Especially in relationship to our needs and request in this life, God is always a good listener. And even though we mess up from time to time He is still there and ready to forgive if we are willing to do our part.
This morning, we will be continuing our study entitled, "God Is For Me!" Our specific lesson of the day will focus on the fact that, "God Is Strict." So stay with us and after our next song together we will return with this study from God's Word.
As far as our speaker of the day, we are happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us once again. As you know he is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri in Springfield. We thank him for joining us this day. Now let's return to our singing. The name of the next hymn, "Amazing Grace."
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
Good morning! We'd like to welcome you again to "The Living Word" broadcast. We appreciate so much your presence here today. Many of you tune in every Sunday morning to this broadcast and we are thankful that you show an interest in wanting to know what God's Will is for you and us studying the Word of God together, and some of you who are shut in, this is the only time maybe that you have an opportunity to properly worship God. So we're thankful that you have tuned in again today.
For the past few weeks we've been studying the subject of the attributes of God basically. We have talked about how God is all powerful, how He is all knowing, how is omni-benevolent, and we've talked about how He's in every way all powerful and His character is basically immutable, unchangeable. We've talked about the mercy of God and the love of God and so many things that have actually drawn us a picture of who our Father in Heaven actually is, for by knowing His characteristics and searching throughout His Word, we can definitely have an impression made on our minds as to somewhat who He is. Well this morning, we're going to be discussing something that might not be your favorite subject concerning the Father above, but there is a characteristic that is not talked about a lot about God and that is His strictness. Yes, the Bible does mention this attribute of our Almighty God.
I would like for us to turn to the pages of the Bible to the book of Romans chapter 11 and verse 22. Here the apostle Paul says this: "Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God on those who fail severity but toward you goodness if you continue in His goodness, otherwise you also will be cut off." So the apostle Paul is pointing out two attributes of God. One which we have discussed and that is His goodness. But one which has not been discussed and that is His severity. When you look throughout the New Testament this is the only verse where this word is actually ever used. It means strictness. The subject of our lesson this morning is "God is strict," and so it is a Biblical subject. And we don't have to look too far into the scripture to understand that this is certainly true. We need to understand this about God because it is in God's severity that those who do not do His Will will not make it to Heaven. Now actually that is what it's saying again as we look at verse 22 of Romans chapter 11. It says, "Severity of God on those who fail severity, but toward you goodness if you continue in His goodness." That is if we continue in His goodness, then the attribute of God's goodness will fall upon us, but if we fail to do His Will, then His severity will certainly fall upon us.
We might look at the history of God's dealing with man and get a greater understanding of this subject. My friend, the Lord God has always demanded obedience of people. I cannot understand why there are those in this world today who know so much about God's Word and those who know some things about God's Word who fail to recognize that this is something that God has always required. In this, we can surely see His severity. We can see His strictness because once God has set a law in effect, that law remains in effect and God expects those who follow Him to do His Will. We see that in the very beginning of the scripture, the story that is told you day after day and in fact not every day, but many times you've heard this example used from the Bible on this broadcast, and that's the very first story that we see in the Bible itself of the first man and woman, and that is Adam and Eve. God placed two trees in the Garden of Eden, the "Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil" and the "Tree of Life." He made one basic command. He said, "Do not eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil for the day that you eat thereof you will surely die." Well we know the story. Most of us do. Eve first ate of the fruit and then she convinced Adam that he needed to eat of the fruit, and they were coerced to do this or at least they were led to do this because Satan actually said the very opposite that God had said. He said, "The day that you eat thereof you will not surely die." But what the case was was what God said because the day that they ate of that fruit, that was Eve ate of that fruit and Adam ate of that fruit, then they were cast out of the garden and a curse was placed upon both of them. So we see God demanded obedience of them.
Moving just a few chapters later in the book of Genesis in the days of Noah. It says in Genesis chapter 6 that, "Man was wicked all over the earth and even the thoughts and the imaginations of his heart were only evil continually." So the Bible says that God was sorry He had made and so He decided that He was going to destroy man from off the face of the earth. Well He found one righteous man, that is Noah and his wife and his three sons and their wives, and for over 100 years Noah, a man of righteousness, preached God's Will to the people telling them that they needed to repent and not one soul repented. So therefore, as you know the story goes, a true story that all of those people who were in existence on the face of the earth at that time lost their lives in that great universal flood. God demands obedience.
In the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis chapter 18, there in those two wicked cities where Abraham's nephew lived, that is Lot, we see a story revealed to us that shows again the wickedness of man. And in this case, it was the wickedness that involved homosexuality. Now I know this is an unpopular subject to deal with today, but be as it may, any sin is unpopular to deal with and that is just exactly what homosexuality is. In fact, the wickedness was so great in that city that God determined that "I'm going to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah." Well Abraham pleaded with Him. "If I can find fifty righteous, will you save it?" God said, "Yes." He couldn't find fifty. "Forty-five?" He went down to thirty. He went down to twenty. He went down to ten. "If I can find ten righteous?" I believe he even went down to five. "Five righteous people in this city, will you destroy this city?" He said, "If you can find those few righteous people, I will not destroy the city." Well he couldn't find them. Angels were sent to that city to warn the people, especially to warn Lot and his wife and their families because they were righteous people, warning them that God was going to destroy the city. Even while they were in their household, the men and young men came and knocked on the door and pleaded with Lot to send those men out so that they might have carnal knowledge, that is sexuality, with them or do sexual acts. We know that Lot refused to do that. Well eventually God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire and brimstone because they failed to obey His Will.
Now back to this story in Romans chapter 11. We see it pointed out very clearly that the reason these people were going to be dealt with severely, or that is in a severe fashion and a strict fashion, and we're talking about the Jews here because they had rejected Jesus Christ the Son of God and denied that He was the Son of God was because of their unbelief. If you read there in verse 20 of Romans chapter 11, it says, "Well said because of unbelief they were broken off and you stand by faith, do not be haughty, but do not fear the severity of God..." Because you are doing what? "You are accepting that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." We see very clearly here that God the Father does not take in a very flippant way and in fact in any flippant way the fact that His people, the ones that He has created, deny the very existence and the past existence of Jesus Christ the Son of God and denied that He is the Son of God.
God is a strict God! Why is it that we fail to understand that? Well it's because of our society because it seems like in our society today everyone is right. Everyone is okay. I'm okay. You're okay. Well do you believe that there is a God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob or whether you believe in the Allah of the Muslims or whether you believe in the Buddha of the Chinese, no matter who you believe in just so you believe in God it is okay. That's not what the Book says! The true and the living God does not say that, but yet our society has been so filled and permeated with this accepting anything and everything and everyone no matter how they are or what they teach that no longer can anyone speak out against these things and people warn others that something is going to happen someday if they fail to do God's Will. Well, I'm here today to warn you about that. God is a strict God.
Now let's talk about some specific areas where we can see the strictness of God.
What about obedience in salvation? What about concerning salvation itself? John 14:6, Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Some people might say, "Well, I believe there might be alternative ways to reach God." Well, where do you find that truth? The Bible, which is God's Word that it is only through Jesus that one can reach the Father. It is only through Jesus that one can find eternal life. In fact, Jesus said in John 8 verse 24, "Except you believe I am He, you will die in your sins." Unless you do what? "Believe that I am He." Unless you obey God, in other words, you're going to die in your sins.
What did Paul say to the brethren at Thessalonica, to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 1 verses 7-9? He said, "To you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall come with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who know not God and who obey not the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." So what is it necessary for us to do? To know who God is, the true and the living God. And to do what? To obey what Jesus asked us to do in order that we might have salvation.
Well that's not where it ends. Do you remember what Paul in Romans chapter 22? He said that "Goodness would be toward those who do what is right (as far as God is concerned) if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off." So what does that mean? Am I to assume today that God does not expect any type of living style from those who seek to follow Him? Can we just live any way that we want to live? I was hearing the other day from someone, who was on the radio saying, "Well our love needs to be unconditional." Oh really? Is our love unconditional? Well I'll say this. My love will always be there for my children, and God's love will always be there for His creation if they desire to participate in the plan that God has made so that they can reap those everlasting benefits according to the plan that they have followed that God has planned. But not just because they want to live any way that they want to live.
I want us to turn to 1 Corinthians, the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 6 verses 9-11. I want us to listen if we can without being judgmental about this. This is the inspired apostle Paul saying this. I'm not saying this. I am reading from what God has said through the Holy Spirit to the apostle Paul. I'm reading beginning with verse 9 of 1 Corinthians chapter 6. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived, neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God and such were some of you, but you were washed. You were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God."
Well does that not designate that many people in our society who assume that they are in a proper relationship with God are not, when over fifty percent of our populous who are married, divorce for reasons other than what God has given them? Are they in a proper relationship with God? I'm asking you according to God's Word. He is the one who will judge us in the last day. Is it alright to live in a homosexual lifestyle? Certainly not according to God's Word. It's in the Book. You just read it. "All homosexuals and sodomites will not inherit the kingdom of God."
Well so what about liars? They are also included. If you turn to Revelation chapter 21 there Jesus said that not only would "all liars have their part in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone," but He said in verse 8 of chapter 21, "But the cowardly, unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the sexual immoral, the sorcerers, the idolaters and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death."
Now it has been my purpose and I have been given the task this morning to present to you what God's Truth is concerning His strictness. No one who commits any sin... I don't care what the sin is. ...Who does not repent of that sin and are not baptized for the remission of those sins will not have an opportunity to have eternal life. That's what the Book says.
If we turn to simple scripture like Acts chapter 2 verse 48, the apostle Peter and the other apostles were there on the Day of Pentecost preaching to people who had crucified the Son of God. What greater sin could there be, if we could categorize sins, than crucifying the Son of God? And what did Peter say? There is an opportunity for you to be saved. He said, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
So my friends, please do not reject the Bible because of maybe the way I presented it this morning, but accept and understand what God's Will is for you.
The Hebrew writer said a very important scripture in Hebrews chapter 10 verse 29. He said, "For our God is a consuming fire." Now how do we keep from His fire consuming us because of our sins? When we do what His Will is for us. What does that mean? That we do simply what He has asked us to do to be saved from our sins. So we plead and we pray that you will do just that today.
(SONG # 3 - "Be With Me Lord!")
It was certainly great to have you with us today. Thanks be to God for this opportunity we have had to come before His throne this morning. Please remember that you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we join together in this service to God.
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How truly blessed we are to have a God who has shown us specifically what He requires through the Bible. The question is, "Will we submit fully to His Will and will we be satisfied simply doing things His Way?"