THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-14-08
LESSON TITLE: "TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF: KEEP YOURSELF PURE"
Seasons Greetings to all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me thank each of you for joining us this morning - welcome to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?
It's now time to start our songs of praise. We want to begin by singing a hymn that tells us about the great victory we share through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So, let's join in with the congregation at this time as we sing this hymn, the name of the song, "Faith Is The Victory!"
(SONG # 1)
In Deuteronomy 4:9 we read of the commandments God gave to Israel through His chosen servant, Moses. This verse says, "Only take heed to yourself, and diligently keep yourself, lest you forget the things your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. And teach them to your children and your grandchildren." Notice the two challenges given in this verse to those who love God.
First we see that Israel was challenged to examine their owns selves! God said, "take heed to yourself and diligently keep yourself." This means they were to be honest about who they were and how they were serving God. However, they were also to make corrections and strive to obey God in all things which He had commanded through His Word.
This verse makes me think of what we read from the Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 13:5. Notice what the Holy Spirit reveals to us in this text, "Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you are disqualified." Again we learn that we need to examine our service to God to see if we are doing enough or not. Furthermore, we learn here why it is so important to do so, "unless indeed you are disqualified." God has given us His law and will to follow and if we obey we are blessed and found faithful in the end. However, if we do not obey and "diligently keep ourselves," we will be lost.
The final point made in Deuteronomy 4 is the fact that we are to teach others. Specifically we are talking about our own family: children, grandchildren, etc. You see as Christians are to live faithfully and teach our children to live faithfully as well, so that we all might please God and receive the promise of Heaven. Notice a similar challenge to parents in Paul's letter to the Ephesian church. In chapter 6:4, we read, "do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Again we are challenged to realize our responsibility to not only save ourselves, but our children as well. Furthermore, this would no doubt include our desire to save other family members, loved ones and friends. Are you "taking heed to yourself, keeping yourself" and trying to influence others to do the same?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will begin a new series of study based on our introductory comments this morning. The name of the series is, "Take heed to yourself." No doubt there are many things that we need to take heed of and keep if we are to be found pleasing in the eyes of God. Our specific lesson this morning is entitled, "Keep Yourself Pure." So please stay with us and after our next song, we will be leading us in this important study from God's Word.
As far as our speaker we are happy to again have brother Brent Green with us. Brother Brent has now accepted the position and is the full time evangelist for the Carthage Church of Christ in Carthage, Missouri. We thank him for being with us and look forward to him leading our thoughts from God's Word in just a few minutes. But for now let's again join in song together, as we sing the hymn, "Farther Along!"
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
Good morning! It is again a privilege to open God's Word and study from it this morning and this series that we're beginning "Take Heed To Yourself and Diligently Keep Yourself." The concept is coming from Deuteronomy chapter 4 there in the Old Testament as God through Moses commands obedience of His people. He says, "Only take heed to yourselves and diligently keep yourselves lest you forget the things your eyes have seen unless they depart from your heart all the days of your life and teach them to your children and to your grandchildren."
How easy it is from time to time to forget the lessons we learned as a child. Some of those lessons of course stick with us throughout our lives as we were taught to brush our teeth and to comb our hair and to take a bath, those lessons to keep ourselves clean, those lessons for personal hygiene. But there are other lessons of course that we may have learned in Math or Science or whatever subject we may have been studying that we didn't use them and so we lost them. We forgot them. Really within this context of this series, he says within this, he says, "Do not forget those things which your eyes have seen." And so there in Deuteronomy chapter 4, that same chapter but if we back up to verse 3 he reminds them of what they had seen. He says, "Your eyes have seen what the Lord did at Baal Peor: For the Lord your God has destroyed from among you all the men who followed Baal." Those who had turned to evil, those who had turned to idols and false gods, he says, "Do not forget what you've seen. Do not forget that God destroyed those who had given themselves over to evil." Well really the children of Israel had been through much with God. Those who had seen the parting of the Red Sea as they walked across on dry land. Those that had seen the plagues there in Egypt as God had brought them upon Pharaoh and upon the people of Egypt, as they were fed manna and quail as they wandered through the wilderness. God says, "Do not forget those things. Do not forget those lessons which you learned."
One of those lessons that He calls attention to there in verse 9 is to "take heed to yourselves and diligently keep yourself." So the idea here being those that are circumspect, those that look around themselves as a guard would watch the prisoners from a watchtower, having to watch in every direction making sure that the prisoners wouldn't get out and those wouldn't come in to help them get out, so looking around in all directions. Well really that idea of taking heed to yourselves is that idea of being on guard. Well, being on guard spiritually, taking heed to your soul.
Also that idea of diligently keeping yourself. Within it, there is the idea of speed and haste. With diligence and zeal, take heed to yourself. Watch your soul. So when he says these things to Israel, Moses that is, as he says them really in essence if we were put in of the words, he says, "Watch yourselves, watch your soul."
Well when we come to the idea of keeping ourselves and examining our lives as Christians, what should we be watching for? What should we be on guard for in our lives? Well one of those things comes from 1 Timothy chapter 5 and verse 22 where the evangelist Paul tells the evangelist Timothy, both preachers and both Christians who had endured similar trials and struggles, but Paul tells Timothy some simple words here in verse 22. He says, "Do not share in other people's sins, keeping yourself pure." Well the fact is that God demands purity. He demands it and it is required of those that would live lives before Him, pure and undefiled. He demands purity in the lives of His children. Think of some of those things that are pure in this world. If you go to the store and you buy a bottle of water, there aren't any impurities within it. There isn't any dirt or mud or pollution. It is pure. It often has that on the label. It is a pure bottle of water. Or if you think of even the water as it begins to run down in a mountain stream, as that snow melts, the impurities are not there as that water is clean before it reaches and runs on down the mountain to be contaminated by things in the water. So that purity there. Or you think even as you look out in the yard as the snow has freshly covered the yard, the lack of impurities there, the pureness before anyone walks on it, before the snow plow comes down the road and muddies it up, before any of those things happen, the purity in that fresh snow. Well think about those images in relationship to your soul. God demands purity. He wants there to be those things in your life, that contamination, He wants that to be removed, to be taken off of your soul, to be taken out of your life that you would be pure before Him.
To really understand what God demands is to see how this word "pure" even as in 1 Timothy 5 and verse 22 where he said, "Keep yourself pure." This same word, how is it used in the New Testament? I want you to see several examples as it is used. One is in Titus chapter 2 verse 5 where the young wives are told to be chaste, told to be pure, the idea of being undefiled, unblemished, unspotted. Their behavior, their actions, their call to be chaste.
Also there in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 2 wives are to be chaste in their conduct and so much so that they might win their husbands over who are not Christians yet to become Christians by their example, by their behavior, the things that they say, the things that they do. If they are pure, they might win their husbands to Christ.
If you would, look with me at 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Even to the church as a whole, this concept of being pure is applied. Paul himself had a great desire for those Christians that he had taught helping to found the church throughout much of Asia Minor even in Corinth as he preached there on his missionary journeys, he had a desire that they would remain whole to purity as the body of Christ. So in 2 Corinthians chapter 11 beginning in verse 1, he says, "Oh that you would bear with me in a little folly and indeed you do bear with me for I am jealous for you with godly jealousy for I have betrothed you to one husband but I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. He is talking of the church here in Corinth as a whole. He says, "I want to present you. I am jealous to present you as (what?) a chaste virgin, one who is pure, one who is undefiled, one who is unspotted." Well that same imagery as it relates to the souls of Christians here in Corinth and for us today.
How will we present ourselves to God? See God demands purity. He demands that there be nothing in our lives that would keep us from entering heaven. And so even in another passage there in 2 Corinthians if we go back to chapter 7 of the sin that even had affected Corinth in the past, what Paul says to them when they had purified themselves. Look at 2 Corinthians 7 verse 11. "For observe this very thing that you sorrowed in a godly manner, what diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication. In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this manner. He says you were sinners but you've been proven clear. No longer are you defiled. No longer is the water muddy, but you've been cleared. You've been proven innocent. You've been purified. Well that's what God demands. He demands purity in the lives of His children, in the lives of Christians and in the church as a whole that it might be presented to Him to Christ someday as being that chaste virgin. So when Paul tells Timothy there in 1 Timothy 5 verse 22, "Keep yourselves pure." That is what God demands. This word "pure" is actually a close cousin in definition to the word "holy" as it talks about the Holy Spirit and those holy things, those things that are set apart from the world. Well to be pure really is to be set apart from the world, to not involve yourselves in those sins that so often become and ensnare us in this life. So God demands purity and Christians must strive for that purity. We must push ourselves. We must encourage ourselves and with great zeal try to have this level of purity in our lives.
Even throughout the times that we read in the New Testament of those virtues that we are to add to our faith and those encouragements, when we think and when we act... How should we be thinking and acting? This word purity comes up.
Look at Philippians chapter 4. As we see here Paul write to another group of Christians encouraging them of the things they should meditate on and really within this concept here in Philippians 4 the idea of collecting things of great value. Well what are we to collect? Look at Philippians 4 verse 8. He says, "Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and anything praiseworthy meditate on these things. Think deeply on. Add these things to your thoughts, these things that are true and holy and just. And what was among that list? Things that are pure. Things that are not spotted and contaminated by sin, things that are not evil and wicked and hateful, things that would pull us away from God. He says to remove those from your minds and meditate, think deeply, collect those things that are of great value, which in this case are pure.
Also another passage which comes to mind even in relationship to the wisdom of God, the wisdom that we should be seeking for in our lives, the wisdom that we can have if we ask from God. There in James 3 verse 17 we read the following: "The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace." The wisdom of God, which is from above, what is one of the qualities that it has? It is pure. You see, God can have nothing to do with sin. By His very nature, He is light and in Him is no darkness at all. That is what we read in 1 John chapter 1. He can have nothing to do with evil. He is pure. The wisdom that comes from God when we read His Word, when we put this knowledge into the application which is wisdom, we ourselves can be as God in the sense that we maintain this purity that He demands in our lives. So Christians must strive for this purity in their lives.
There is also a passage in 1 John. 1 John chapter 3, which also alludes and compares the purity that Christ, has to the purity that we should have in our lives. There in 1 John chapter 3 beginning in verse 1 it says, "Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us that we should be called children of God. Therefore the world does not know us because it did not know Him. Beloved now we are children of God. It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we shall know then what He has revealed. We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is and everyone who has this hope in Him, that is in Christ, purifies himself just as He is pure." Those that hope in God, those that put their trust in God, those that can be called children of God because of God's love and their obedience to what He has said. Conform themselves and strive for the purity that is in Jesus Christ just as Christ kept himself pure. He was tempted by the devil in every point as we are, but yet without sin. Jesus Christ gave us an example. He showed us how to live and says, "We ourselves can strive to be pure as Christ is pure." There in James 1 and 27, even though the word there is different as translated "pure," it is similar in definition. "Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this, to visit the widows and orphans in their time of need and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Purity being parallel to being unspotted, not contaminated, not being contained or not having contained within you those things that defile you or those things that are sin, but being pure. And so as Christians we must strive for purity and not be re-contaminated. The fact is, we once served an old lifestyle. We once served a lifestyle of sin. We were slaves to that sin. We were those that were in subjection to the things of the world, to the things that Satan would have us do, but once we became Christians we were purified. We were washed by the blood of Jesus Christ so that we do not go back to the time in which we were contaminated with sin.
Look at Romans chapter 6 if you have your Bibles. There are several verses here that tell us what sin does to us in our lives. Beginning there in verse 23 of Romans 6, "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life." That sin leads to death. That keeps us from Heaven. It keeps us from having that home, that street of gold and the pearly gates, that mansion prepared for us. The wages of sin is death. Sin keeps us. Why? Because it is contamination upon our very souls. It is that filth which dirties up the water, the waters of our hearts.
So we see here in Romans chapter 6 also in verse 19, "I speak in human terms for because of the weakness of your flesh for just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness." He says that once you've walked in uncleanness and unrighteousness, you are slaves to that wickedness, to that sin, to that which made you impure. He says to remove that. Don't go back to that lifestyle. Don't go back to that way of living. Be those that submit yourselves to God and live a life of righteousness.
Look also at verse 13. He says, "Do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead and your members as being instruments of righteousness to God." Don't be those that are dead, again living and using your talents for wickedness or evil, rather serve God.
So when we go back to the first part of Romans chapter 6 where it talks about those who have died and have been buried, having taken off the old man and crucified it, be those that put off that old man to now rise and walk in newness of life, having been baptized, having been washed, and having your sins removed from your life.
You see Jesus Himself even in those prophecies that talk about Jesus coming like Isaiah chapter 1 verse 16 as the prophet there said, "Wash yourselves. Make yourselves clean."
Romans chapter 6 as we mention what is that cleansing agent? Jesus Christ's blood.
1 John chapter 1:7, "If we walk in the light as He is in the light (that is Jesus Christ) His blood continues to cleanse us of our sins.
Let's not turn back and walk that path of unrighteousness, but let's remain pure as Paul told Timothy, "Keep yourselves pure." Walk down that path. Walk in the light and don't go back to the former man.
Even those Proverbs there, Proverbs 26 and verse 11, "The fool who returns to his folly."
And there in 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 22, as the pig itself being washed returns to wallow in the mire."
Well, what is the exhortation then? Don't go back to the former lifestyle. Don't go back to wallow in the mud or the filth and the dirt being contaminated once again, but be pure as a bottle of water, as a mountain stream, as a fresh bed of snow. Keep yourselves pure and don't be re-contaminated by sin. Watch yourself. Watch your soul.
(SONG # 3 - "Footprints Of Jesus!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. What a blessing it has been to share this time together in Christ. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Isn't it great to have the opportunity to obey the commands of God? Therefore, may we all strive to do His Will and to keep ourselves pure in all things.