THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 12-20-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT…SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: BETTER TO ESTEEM OTHERS”
I hope you all are having a great holiday season and that you are looking forward to this upcoming New Year! So, let me again say, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours!
Well, I hope Santa will be good to everyone in a few days and I hope you continue to enjoy all the festivities and excitement of this time of year. Let me as well thank you for choosing to join us this morning in giving this time to God – our most wonderful creator. You have certainly made the right choice to put Him first!
As we begin our worship before Him this day, let me encourage you to bow with me in prayer at this time.
Our first song of the morning focuses on the soul. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “It Is Well With My Soul?”
(SONG # 1)
Can you believe that we are only 5 days away from Christmas day? I’m sure your kids, if they’re like mine, are anxiously awaiting this exciting day and the fun they will have with family and friends. Also, how neat it will be to exchange gifts and to see the glow of joy on the faces of all who receive presents. I do love this time of the year, and even more so as a parent, because we all love spoiling our kids just a little.
But let me ask you a question, “have you ever read of the “Christmas holiday” in the Bible.” “Do we see the early church or God’s apostles commanding such in that day, or in the word which they gave us through the Holy Spirit?” With this in mind, don’t you find it a bit strange that we have established a holiday which is not commanded, sanctioned or ordained in the Bible? So what do we know about the Christmas holiday from a religious standpoint?
May I first state that this Holiday called Christmas has been celebrated for hundreds of years from both a religious and secular stand-point? Historically, Christmas is a holiday instituted by man. In fact, you may find it interesting that from its conception until today – the majority of scholars still can not agree on when our Lord Jesus Christ was actually born. However, I might clarify that one thing they all tend to agree on is the fact that it could not have and did not take place in the month of December.
Despite this fact, when you ask a lot of children today, “When was Jesus born?” What response will you get? Most will say on Christmas day, but is this really true? Are we teaching our children and the world about the true Christ and the importance of His being born, as well as the life that He lived, or are we deceiving them in to thinking that He was born on December 25! As if that would be the most important matter concerning the issue!
I might further ask you what was God’s response to those in the Bible who chose to reject His Will? What about those who chose to do it their own way? Still yet, there are many who did things they thought were good that God would accept because of their proper outcome – yet God rejected them and their deeds for they were not done according to His Will. Are we to add to the Word of God? Are we to take away from His precious precepts?
So what are we to give to God? How might we respond to the plea that “Jesus is the reason for the season?” How about, “My God is the reason for everyday, every moment and every aspect of my life.” “He is why we have the very breath in our bodies, as well as the physical ability to do the things we do. In fact, our God must be our everything, the all important object of our lives and thus He should ever be before us. And not only every day, but every moment and every second of our lives should be about Him. How often should we demonstrate our love for God? Once a year, one day of the year, or with the whole of your life? What’s wrong with just giving God every day, furthermore knowing that He has commanded the 1st day of every week as a day to gather and worship Him? Can we really improve on the pattern laid out by God? Why would we want to?
Today we will be continuing our series entitled, “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things!” Our next lesson concerning this topic is: “Better To Esteem Others.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Jesus Is All The World To Me.”
(SONG # 2)
By: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today as we go to God’s Word and find out more about better things from Christ. Certainly the Bible gives us so many things to learn from, to learn about and also to apply in our lives. We again want to look at something that will make us better servants of God.
So if you will look with me in the book of Philippians and chapter 2 where we will take our main thoughts from this day. Beginning there in verse 2, Paul challenges the church by saying this, “Fulfill my joy by being likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord and of one mind, and let nothing be done through selfish ambitions or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.”
What do we learn here about the challenge that we should have as those who want to do better or to accomplish better things in Christ? Well you might have noticed there in verse 3 that he says that, “Each one of us should esteem others better than ourselves.” He puts that within the context of being verse 2, “likeminded and having the same mind and being one accord.” In other words, God wants us to love one another to the extent that we get along and that we help each other and that we work together and that we work as those who are problem solvers and those who strive for solutions and peace rather than division in relationship to His Will.
Now with that in mind, how do we accomplish that? How is it that I would be able to put God first and then also to esteem others before myself? Well it is by following the simple plan that God has given. You might recall with me in the book of Matthew 22 that there was a question asked there, by a lawyer, of Christ. And then Christ answered this question telling him what the greatest commandment was. You might recall there that He said, “The greatest commandment was to love the Lord thy God with all of thy heart.” In fact He states to all of man, “the soul, the strength,” every bit of man must love God. That’s the first and greatest commandment!
But then in verse 39 He goes on to say this, “But the second is likened to it that you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” What? We love God first and then we love others even before ourselves, even before our own desires and even before our own wants.
No wonder we have passages like Matthew 7 and we read about “The Golden Rule,” where we see we are to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. How is that possible? Why would that be the precedent? Because I am always supposed to be thinking of others. I am always supposed to be other-people-centered. I am always supposed to be wondering, “What do they feel? What do they think? How will they receive what I say? How will they perceive what I am doing? Because I want to encourage, tohelp, to build up and to show love of Christ in all that I do and all that I say.
And so now look again to the book of Philippians with me in chapter 2 where we considered at the very first of our lesson as we saw there again the fact that we are to esteem others better than ourselves. Look what he goes on to say in the next verse, verse 4. “And let each one of you look out not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others.” What am I supposed to be looking out for? The interest of others! Not only myself. Not only selfish things, but others!
Now what is strange about this in our society is it is really opposite or contrary to what our society teaches. Our society is always saying, “What’s in it for me? What can I get? Who else is responsible?” We are always looking for something else or someone else to blame, but then always looking ourselves for what it will benefit me or what all things are about because I in a sense am the center of all things or the center of the universe. These verses and the things we’ve seen thus far teach us just the opposite. What I am really about, after God, is others! And esteeming others before myself and putting the interest of others, as we read here, even before our own interests.
Paul also spoke of the same things to the Roman church, if you’ll look over in Romans chapter 15. It is interesting there that within this text in the first few verses that he speaks now about the strong within the brotherhood and the weak. Notice what he states about this situation. Verse 1 says, “We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples of the weak and not to please ourselves.” He says that we ought to look at the scruples, or another translation or definition would be the weaknesses of those who are weak, those who have not grown up or matured in, and we ought to be interested in those. Why? Because I am supposed to be thinking of others and their interest even before my own.
But now notice what he states here in verse 2. “And let each one of us please his neighbor for his good leading to edification.” What? You mean I have got to worry about making my neighbors happy? Notice it didn’t say family. It didn’t say wife and children which certainly would be implied and included. It even says your neighbor! We probably have neighbors we don’t even like. This verse says we are supposed to do what? Make them happy! We’re supposed to do our best to be at peace and to show the characteristics of Christ.
Brethren, these things ought not to be strange to us. Friends who love Christ, these things should not confuse us because Jesus Himself was willing to do the same. Did He not come to the earth and die for you? Did He not come to the earth and was He not abused by His own people for our sakes? He did it because He loved us. He was willing to put our interests, our own needs above His own.
Is that not what we learn there in the book of Romans chapter 5 and verse when we see that while we were yet sinners, Christ came to this earth and He died for us. What? You mean God was willing to give Himself for me even though He knew I would be in sin and that I would commit sin in my life? Certainly He did! That’s how much He loved us. That’s how much He was committed to us. He died for us.
To be what? Ephesians 5:23 says, “The Savior of the body.” That’s how much God loves us. To be the Savior of the body.
Acts 20 says that, “He might purchase the church.” Guess what we are a part of today as Christians? The church, the kingdom of God, the family of God, the body of Christ. We are a part of that institution established by God that we might show forth His glory in all things, that we might put His interest before our own and as we learned today that we might put the interest of others as well before our own, that we might do all we can to save Him.
Do you see what that means to us? If I am willing to think from someone else’s standpoint, or if I am willing to see what the needs of another is, then I am not self-centered any longer. I am not focused on only what is in it for me. I am not looking to what the world teaches me, but rather I am trying to see everything I can do and say to make your life better, to make you know God and to make you follow and obey what He has commanded.
A few other passages that we might look at that show us this same principle.
First of all, Romans chapter 12 and verse 10. There Paul says, “Be kindly affectionate toward one another with brotherly love.” But now hear the last part. “Honor and give preference to one another.” Do what? Prefer one another. Find out the needs of one another and try to be there and to help each other.
Even again in Ephesians 5, we mentioned a moment ago that Christ there was mentioned as “the Savior of the body,” the one who died for the body, for the church.
But then you might notice back in verse 21 when he is talking about the life that we live to follow Christ that he says guess what, “We are to submit one to another.” There’s that idea again that I am willing to not only myself submit, but to humble myself.
You know that is what it’s talking about even in our main passage that not only we are to be those who look to the same mind, in other words a like-mindedness, a commitment to God and the interest of others, but then he goes on in Philippians 2 continuing in verse 5 to say, “Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ.”
Then it talks about how Christ humbled himself and gave His life for us that we might live. Not only now. Not only will we be blessed today, but be blessed eternally. Isn’t that a wonderful thought? Isn’t that a blessed really thing to know that our God has loved me so much as He sat there in heaven, He was willing to leave His heavenly abode for me, for me as a sinner that He might come to the earth and live and die and suffer knowing all along that these things would be so? Why was He willing to do it? Because He was able to esteem my wants, my needs, my desires above His own. Oh what a beautiful principle. What a wonderful thing we should be able to learn from these precepts because we are those as Christians who are commanded not to seek our own.
Do you remember the great love chapter there in 1 Corinthians 13? Guess what we read there in verse 5. That “love does not seek its own. It’s not puffed up. Love does not brag. Love does not”, again as we said, “seek its own.” It is not about me! But as a father, it’s about my what? As a father about my children! As a husband it’s about my wife! Or as a mother about my children! As a wife about my husband! On and on we could go considering the fact that when we truly love, we are interested in someone else even before ourselves. That’s not hard to understand when we truly love somebody is it?
But now here is the problem. We must understand how far Jesus went even for you and I when we were sinners and how far He commands us to go.
Guess what we read in Matthew 5 and 44? We are even to “love our enemies.”
So who am I to esteem before my own self, before my interests, their interests! Who am I supposed to look to? Their needs before my own needs! Even my enemy! That means all that I love, all that I know, all of my friends, all of my acquaintances, and all of my enemies. Boy that would be a hard thing to practice, wouldn’t it? Certainly but that’s the example we have. That’s the command through God’s Word and that’s what we must strive for as Christians.
I’m reminded of a very familiar story in the book of Luke in chapter 10. You might recall there the story of the Good Samaritan. We generally look at that to understand who is our friend and the point in that story is a true friend is anyone in need no matter who they are, no matter what their culture is, no matter what their background, no matter what their race, no matter what color. It is all about who has needs. That’s what we’re talking about today. But now I want you to think about the good Samaritan in the fact that someone who is on his own way, somebody who sees the problem and really has a place to be, really has a place to use his own money, really has things already determined that will be accomplished in that day, but then he stops, considers the needs, the interests, and really the situation of another. And what does he do? He does what he wants others to do to him. He does what Christ would do. He stops. He picks him up. He puts him on his own animal. He takes him to a place where he can get help, and he says, “I’ll pay whatever it takes if you will care for this man.” Well you see again, be love, the love that is necessary when we choose to be like Christ and to esteem others above ourselves.
No doubt that is why in Matthew 25 we have the great example that Jesus says that when we do good to someone, it is as if we have done it to Him. You might recall there that they cried out, “Lord when did we see You in prison or when did we see you hungry, or when did we see You thirsty and not give you something to drink?” He says, “You know what, when you didn’t do it to the least,” again your enemies, or fellow man, when you didn’t think of their needs and what they really were desirous of in life, “then you didn’t do it to Me.” Then He says, “I will cast those who are unprofitable into torment or Hell and to those who have done right into everlasting life. You know that is the wondrous reward that we have, the great promise that we have when we learn to be Christ like, Christians, and that includes esteeming others above ourselves, looking out to their interest so that we might not only be able to show forth Christ in all things but so that we might be able to save ourselves and hopefully when they see Christ in us, what might they want to know? Who my God is! Who my Jesus is! And when they want to know and when they find out, that they might follow Him unto eternal life.
Will you today begin to practice what Christ commands by esteeming others above yourself and living the life that is found in the Word of God that you might receive all the promises and blessings from your Creator in heaven?
(SONG # 3 - “Jesus Is Tenderly Calling!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Do we realize the affect we can have on others in this life? Let’s make sure that our examples are always according to God’s Will so that we can help all to know Him better!