THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-28-08
LESSON TITLE: "TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES: KEEP YOURSELF IN THE COMMANDMENTS OF GOD"
Happy Holidays and welcome to the Living Word program. We thank you for choosing to be with us today as we commit this time to the things of God. 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 our eternal home in Heaven some day. So, let's join in with the congregation at this time as we sing this hymn that gives us the true secrets about the beauty of Heaven, the name of the song, "How Beautiful Heaven Must Be!"
(SONG # 1)
Isn't it hard to forgive someone when they have done something against us? Forgiveness may be one of the hardest characteristics that we every try to acquire and conquer, as a child of God. However, the Bible is clear about it's requirements on forgiveness, if we will only look into the pages of God's Word.
Another problem often associated with forgiveness is what it truly means. Probably the best explanation we have of forgiveness, under the New Law, is found in Hebrews 8:12, there we read, "For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more." When God forgives us today He not only forgives but He forgets it. Wow, that's tough isn't it? Easier said than done, because sometimes we can say we forgive someone, but putting it out of our mind is another problem all together.
Another verse which really helps us with this discussion on forgiveness is found in Colossians 3:12-13. There Paul said, "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 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." Here we have the whole crux of the matter. We are to forgive and be forgiving because Christ first forgave us!
I might ask, what does God owe us, what have we done that He should or that He has to forgive us? The answer is nothing! It is only because of God's love and His grace that we have been given a chance to be counted worthy before Him. So, as Christ has forgiven us, we also must be willing to forgive others.
I am always reminded of the verse found in Romans 5:8, there it says, "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Jesus was willing to do His part even when we were not worthy of it. Furthermore, what about Christ's attitude as He hung on the cross. There He said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do," Luke 23:34.
So with a new year just around the corner, may we all learn the great lesson of forgiveness and in doing so may we work every day to strive to be more like Christ - ready and willing to forgive - whether we are asked to or not. Are you willing to forgive in order to be forgiven?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning, we will be continuing our study entitled, "Take Heed To Yourselves." Our specific lesson of the morning challenges us to "Keep Yourself In The Commandments Of God." So please stay with us and after our next song, We will be lead in this important study from God's Word.
As far as our speaker of the day, we are happy to have brother Chuck Northrop. Brother Chuck is one of the ministers at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ, as well as a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us today and leading us in God's Word, after our next hymn. Now let's again join in that song together, as we sing, "Home Of The Soul!"
(SONG # 2)
By Chuck Northrop
Moses, to the children of Israel in the second giving of the law in Deuteronomy chapter 4 verse 9 said, "Only take heed to yourself and diligently keep yourself." This is the theme for our series of lessons for this particular hour and this particular study. We hope that you have enjoyed our study thus far and will continue to look at the scriptures and continue to take heed to yourself and to diligently keep thyself.
In this series of study, we are looking at New Testament scriptures that actually exhort us to do the same thing that Moses did to the children of Israel.
In this morning's lesson, we want to look at 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 16. Paul is writing to the young evangelist Timothy and he writes to him and exhorts him. He says, "Take heed therefore unto yourself," or rather, "Take heed unto yourself and to the doctrine and continue in them, for in doing this thou shall save thyself and them that hear thee." Now as we think about this particular exhortation we learn that there are three exhortations that he actually makes there. First of all, he says, "Take heed for yourself." Secondly, he says, "Take heed to the doctrine." Third, "Continue in them." Now in order to understand that, we must understand what it means to take heed. Take heed simply means to look closely or to keep a close watch. It's the idea of examining yourself, bringing yourself to a test and to keep a close watch on yourself. Now Paul is not exhorting Timothy to start taking heed to himself unto the doctrine, but he is really exhorting him to continue to take heed to himself and to the doctrine.
Now as we think about this particular exhortation, we must ask ourselves, "Why does Paul exhort Timothy to take heed to himself?" I believe the answer there is found in the text itself. Go back to verse 12 of 1 Timothy chapter 4. In verse 12 he says, "Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou example of the believer in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." Now Timothy then was to take heed, to pay close attention to himself because he was to be the kind of example that he ought to be. He was to be the example to the believer. As an evangelist, he was to be the example, but I believe that and I think you'll agree that all people ought to be the example to other Christians that they ought to be. And what kind of example should we be? Well Paul in writing to Timothy says, "You be an example in word." Now word would certainly have the idea of conversation as we converse with one another on a daily basis, but I believe there is really a greater meaning there because Timothy was an evangelist so he needed to pay attention to his words. In other words, the things that he spoke, the things that he taught, the things that he preached, the things that he exhorted. He needed to be an example in those things. Why does Timothy need to be an example in those things? Well he is an evangelist, but he would also pass on that word to others.
You know, think about this. In 2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 2, Paul writing to Timothy says, "And the things that thou has heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also." So Timothy was to receive the things that Paul had taught, was to pass them on to others so they could teach them as well. So there is a succession of teachers. So Timothy needed to pay attention to things that he taught. He needed to be an example in word.
But he also said that he was to be an example in conversation. Now conversation is an old English term and the New King James says, "Conduct." That's what he is talking about. Conversation is the conduct or behavior, the way we act among other people. Timothy was to be an example in behavior, in conduct. Now as we think about being an example in conduct we are talking about Paul writing to the young evangelist Timothy, and Timothy probably being in his 20's most likely at that time and most people say around 28, and I think that is probably a pretty good estimate of how old he was when Paul wrote this. We think about young people and sometimes we forget as young people that hey, we need to be the proper kind of an example, a proper kind of behavior. Well you know that is true with young people, but it is also true with us old folks, too. You know, all of us need to be the kind of example in behavior that we need to be. Timothy needed to pay attention to that and we ought to pay attention to it as well.
Next he says to, "Be an example in love." Well we understand what that is. We understand the emotion of love. We understand that the Greek uses a number of terms for love and this particular word, and most of us have heard of it, is the word "agape." It is that sacrificial love where we are always wanting the best for another person. No matter what they have done to us, no matter what has happened, we always want the best. Timothy needed to be an example in love. We ought to be an example in love as well.
Now when we think about love, we know that love is directed from different ways or different directions. We need to be an example of love toward God. We certainly need to let others know that we love God and we love God and we not only just simply proclaim it with our mouth, but we live it out every day in our life. We need to be an example of love toward God, but we also need to be an example of love toward the brethren. Just as Jesus loved us, we ought to love the brethren. And we need to be an example of love toward the world. As we think about the world, then we need to be an example and love the world as Christ loved the world and be an example in our love toward the world.
But then we need to be an example in spirit. Paul writing to Timothy again and he wants them to understand that we need to be an example in spirit. Now when we think about spirit, we know the word "spirit" is used in a number of different ways. One way that it is used is with reference to the eternal part of man. Sometimes it is used with reference to the inner person. Sometimes it is used with reference to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God. Here, I believe, it is in reference to the attitude. You be an example in attitude. Well, all of us need to do a little bit of attitude check every once in a while. We need to make the attitude adjustments in our life on occasions. We all recognize that that is the case and we need to have and look at our attitude. We need to be the right kind of example in attitude.
Then he says, "In faith." Well here faith is not simply the personal faith that we have, that Paul is exhorting Timothy to have that personal faith and be an example in that personal faith. Certainly that is the case, but here he is talking about the idea of faithfulness. You be an example in faithfulness, in faithfulness to God, in faithfulness to the scriptures, in faithfulness to the church.
Then he says, "In purity." You be an example in purity. Purity would have reference to those things that are pure. It has reference to those things that are without contamination. We need to be an example in purity. Now when we think about purity, we know that you can have purity in different aspects of life. You see. We need to be an example in purity of thought. We need to take heed to ourselves and examine ourselves to make sure that we have purity in thought, but we also need to have purity in life or purity in actions, the things that we do. We need to be sure that we are pure.
So no wonder Paul would exhort Timothy to "Take heed to yourself. Pay attention to yourself. Get a close watch on yourself that you'll be the kind of example that you ought to be."
But then he says, "Take heed unto the doctrine." Well again we go back to the context and we find out that the context really talks about doctrine. Look at verse 13. We read verse 12 just a moment ago with reference to the example, but in verse 13 he talks about doctrine. He says, "Till I come give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine." Now listen to what he is saying here. Timothy was to be the proper kind of example and he was to pay attention to reading. Now he is not talking about the "Reader's Digest" of the 1st centrury. He is talking about reading the scriptures. Actually the term that is used there has reference to public reading. Timothy was to pay attention to public reading, as he would read as the evangelist, the scriptures and both the Old and New Testament scriptures. As he would read those, he needed to pay attention to what he was reading.
But then he says, "To exhortation." You know many of us are like the Ethiopian Eunuch. You know the Eunuch as he was riding in his chariot and was reading from the prophet Isaiah, we know from Isaiah 53. Then Philip came up to him and said, "Understandeth thou what thy readest." The Eunuch said, "How can I except some man shall guide me?" You see, the Eunuch understood the value of exhortation. We ought to understand the value of exhortation as well. Timothy understood the value of exhortation and so Paul wrote to Timothy and exhorted him to pay attention to exhortation. That's the preaching and the teaching of the gospel is what he is dealing with.
Then he says, "You pay attention to doctrine." All of these things go hand in hand together. Doctrine is just simply the Word of God. Doctrine is the teaching of the church and we need to pay attention to that doctrine.
Well you know when you think about doctrine, some want to separate doctrine from gospel. They say, "Gospel is important but doctrine is not important." But listen to the words of Paul as he writes to Timothy. In 1 Timothy chapter 1 and look at verses 10-11. He says in verse 10... He is actually listing a whole bunch of different types of sin. In verse 10 he says, "For whoremongers, for sodomites, for man stealers, for liars, for perjurors, if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust." So what we learn then is that doctrine is according to the gospel. You can't separate the two. They go hand in hand together. And so we are to pay attention to the doctrine.
I am reminded of the words of an older gentleman who said this to me when I was just a young Christian, a young man. He said, "If it is the truth, stand for it. If it is false, give it up. This is the only attitude God's people must have toward the doctrine of Christ." How true it is. Pay attention to the doctrine. If it is the truth, then stand for it. If it is false, honestly look at those things and be courageous enough to put it away and only take on the doctrine of Christ.
Then the 3rd exhortation is, "Continue in them." Now Paul, what are we to continue in? Well we are to continue in being a proper example. We are to continue in the doctrine. By continuing in those things, what he is really saying is we are to be the kind of people that never give up. If we then are paying attention to our example and living the kind of example that we ought to be so people won't say things against us and about us and those kinds of things. We must continue in them and never give up.
I'm reminded of the words of Paul as he wrote to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 58. He says, "Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." Never give up! Continue in them.
Now it would be wrong for us to end this lesson without talking about the results of these exhortations. The result is found in the last statement that he makes. "Thou shall both save thyself and them that hear thee." Salvation is a marvelous thing and salvation simply means to be delivered and that we can be delivered from the wages of sin and from the guilt of sin. If we'll pay attention to ourselves and we will pay attention to the doctrine, we can have that deliverance. Now deliverance is from God Almighty. We recognize that God is the only true deliverer, but He delivers us in a number of different ways. One way He delivers us is through the blood of Jesus Christ. Another way He delivers us by the precious gospel that He has provided for us, that He has given to us, that precious gospel that we are to take heed concerning. Well you see, we recognize that God saves us through the truth. The blood of Christ is necessary, but truth is necessary as well and our obedience to that blood of Christ. Remember Jesus is the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.
Well what are we to obey? Well it is the gospel. Let's go back to Timothy and let's let the book of Timothy answer this. In 1 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 4, Paul writing to Timothy says, "Who will have all men to be saved and come unto a knowledge of the truth." God wants us to know this book. He wants us to take heed to ourselves and take heed to the doctrine and in doing such, we will both save ourselves and them that hear thee.
My good people, listen to what we have to say. Why are so concerned with gospel? Why are we so concerned with doctrine? Why do we need to take heed unto ourselves and to the doctrine? Because we desire salvation. Salvation is a marvelous tool, a marvelous result, and we know that the resurrection is going to come and we know that one day the judgement is going to come and where will we appear when we stand before God in judgement? Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.
We thank you for being with us and we hope that these things have been good and profitable to you. If you have any questions don't hesitate to write.
(SONG # 3 - "I Am Thine O Lord!")
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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How wonderful it is to not only have the commandments of God, but to be able to know and obey them unto salvation. Are you keeping yourself in the commands of God?