THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-1-09
LESSON TITLE: "TAKE HEED TO YOURSELF: KEEP YOURSELF ABOVE REPROACH"
Thank you for joining us this morning. Let me welcome you 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 asks us a question about where our heart is. Are we focused on God as we should be or is our heart in another place? So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Is Thy Heart Right With God?"
(SONG # 1)
Humility is a big topic throughout the Bible. In fact, we always find that those who were living righteously before God were humble people.
There is no question as to why this was the case; it is because God requires His servants to be humble. There are many verses we could look at to prove this point, but let's consider one of the clearest on this topic, 1 Peter 5:5-6. There we read, "...be clothed with humility, for 'God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.' Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time," This verse doesn't say, to think about it or humble yourselves if you want to! It says, "Humble yourselves before God!" Notice why we are to humble ourselves. These same verses say, because God "resists the proud," and because "God's hand is mighty!" So God doesn't like the haughty and being a mighty God He can and will punish those who choose to reject humility.
Now I want you to further notice the outcome of a good humble spirit, as God requires. The same verses say that God will "exalt us in due time." Our creator says if we do our part He will do His and bless us according to His Will. What great incentive this is for the child of God to learn the lesson of humility.
I also wanted to look at one other passage that to me really gives us an example as to why we need to and can be humble. In Mark 10:18, notice what Jesus said, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God." Wow, did you catch that. Even Jesus Christ our greatest example showed humility as He was on this earth. In this situation we have Christ, the very son of God and God in the flesh, being approached by a man. The man bows down and calls Jesus good, yet Jesus rejects this. He instead gives the glory to God the Father and assumes His proper roll as the son to humble Himself and give the glory and honor to the Father.
What a great lesson we can learn about humility from those in the Bible like Christ. May we always study this topic and make sure that as followers of God we are doing our best to be humble in this world in which we live. And not just humble at times or when we chose to be, but let's make it a way of life. So that God and all men can truly see the proper spirit of humility in us as servants of God. Are you humbling yourselves before God and this world?
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 together entitled, "Take Heed To Yourself." Our specific lesson of the day is, "Keep Yourself Above Reproach." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our next song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Jesus Calls Us."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We're glad you've stayed with us today as we return to God's Word and consider something else that we are to take heed unto as those who love God and want to serve Him. You might have noticed up to this point that we've looked at a lot of different ideas and concepts about keeping ourselves right with God, right with God in our characteristics and our actions, in the words that we say. Again today, we want to look at something that will certainly hopefully encourage us and challenge us but yet affect us in a positive way that we might be able to consider together the reality that Christianity is a way of life. It is not something that we put on or take off maybe one day a week when we go to church or to worship services. Christianity is something that we do 24/7. It is something that we become once we have committed and submitted ourselves to the things of God. So therefore we need to understand that as Christians we strive every moment of every day of our life to exemplify and show forth those things that God has asked us to do through His Word. So this morning, we might ask this question: Do you strive to keep yourself above reproach?
There's a passage that is found there in Colossians chapter 1 and verse 22 where he actually talks about this idea that we must present ourselves in one way or another. He says to present yourselves in a good way. Basically the things that he is summarizing here as we will look at in just a moment is that we present ourselves as children or followers of God doing the things that we should, saying the things that we should, so that when someone looks at me, they don't just see me. What they see is a follower of God, a faithful follower of God.
In that same passage, verse 22 however, it also states, "But present yourselves (guess what) as those who are above reproach." Now what does that tell us? Yet again it tells us that as we make a decision in life, whether to serve God on the one hand or to reject God on the other. The reality is that we have the chance, the opportunity, the privilege to do it God's way, or to reject Him. So therefore, will we choose to live above reproach or will we choose to live in the world and like the world?
Well if you'll look with me there in that passage, we want to find out what Paul says to the church at Colossi as he tells them to "live for and like God," but as he encourages and exhorts and really in a sense might even be rebuking them to say, "Do not be in reproach. Do not engage in things that are wicked or sinful or those contrary to the Will of God."
Now if you will, look back with me in the same text, Colossians chapter 1 but in verse 19. Here Paul says to the church, "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him whether things of the earth or things in heaven. Having made peace through the blood of His cross and you who were once alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works yet now He has reconciled." Do you see what he is saying here? He is saying that there is something that happened; someone that came, a sacrifice that was made that now gives me the opportunity to be reconciled to God the Father. You see, one point I was alienated. I was an enemy of the cross. I was one who chose wickedness over God until I submitted myself to the opportunity provided by God through whom? Jesus Christ. The blood that was shed. So now he says because of the reconciliation that Jesus gave through the sacrifice on the cross and the shedding of blood we now what? Verse 22, "In the body of His flesh through death are those who are to present us as holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight." What is it that we are striving for? To be noticed holy and blameless.
You know when we look to the Word of God and we look at the Bible characters and we consider in the Old and New Testaments how many times do we read of this concept of one being holy or blameless? In fact, every time someone is being presented as godly and righteous and someone above reproach, we always find that they are one who is holy. Why? God said many times to Israel, "Be holy." Why? "For I am holy." Striving to imitate God. Striving to look toward and for righteousness in our daily walk, but then also the idea of being blameless. We find so many examples of those who were holy, worshipping God, living for God, imitating God and those who were blameless striving again to stay out of the world, out of sin, above reproach. Individuals come to my mind like Abraham, like Noah in his day, like so many others that we could see even before that like Adam who certainly made mistakes but I believe seemed to have gone on and committed himself to God. But then after the Patriarchs, great kings, and great prophets who did what? Who lived blameless and who walked in the Lord and who were above reproach, holy as God was holy.
Do you see here again the challenge that we have? The opportunity that we have to no longer again be enemies as we have read or alienated from God but through Christ to be holy and blameless and those who now live in such a way that we do not get caught up in reproach or those things that would bring some type of a spot or a blemish on our God, again due to our words or actions.
The next thing that we find here is not only the idea that we are to be like God and stay away from those things that would be reproachful. But here in the next verse 22, we actually find some let's say hands on things or specific things mentioned, attitudes and actions that we can do to do what God has asked and to show ourselves as holy and blameless. Look with me if you will and let's read together verse 23.
"If indeed you continue..." Continue in what? "...In faith grounded and steadfast and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard which was preached to every creature under heaven of which I, Paul, became a minister. You see here the challenge of faith. I love the way faith is demonstrated and really described here even better I think than so many other faith chapters, great faith chapters throughout the Bible, because here we learn something about the underlying part of faith. He says, "Faith that is..." What? "Faith that is grounded." You know if something is grounded it is something that has taken root and it is not going to move or shift with the different winds of doctrine or with maybe the different type of faith. It says, "We have faith in God and we are grounded." And then we have the idea of being steadfast, something that is upright and something that again will not be shaken or moved by the things around, the sins, something that will keep us from falling into reproach, but rather having the belief and obedience in God to be seen as holy and blameless.
So again, do you see the challenge, the work before us, the opportunity that we have to be His children? These things are clearly evidenced here by Paul to the Colossian church so that we might know exactly what it is that He has given us an opportunity to do and to be if we are to be found again above reproach. Keeping ourselves above reproach!
Then also in this same chapter it goes on to talk about the concepts of being those who are ministers of God. If you'll look down for instance in verse 25, he says, "I became a minister according to the stewardship of God which is given to me by the Word of God." You see here he says, "I am a minister of God." What are we to be? We are to be ministers of God, those who by our faith and our striving through holiness and being blameless, to live above reproach, to live the life, to walk the walk, to do the work that God has asked us to do. And what is that work? Not only to live as God has commanded through obedience, not only to show it forth and reflect it, but to teach and to preach that, to help others to know the truth. You see it says here that we are that tool, that instrument as Paul was in his day even to the Colossians here. We are today to all those who are around us.
What are we to do? We are to make as he goes on to say in verses 26 and following, "We are to be those who make known the mystery." What is this mystery? "This mystery," he says, "that has been hidden from the beginning. This mystery that before was not known, but today has been made known through Christ." You see again, we have that great privilege, that great opportunity of knowing that the mystery has been revealed.
Verse 27 says, "God will to make known what are the riches of the glory of the mystery among the Gentiles." God chose it. God willed it. God determined that in this day Paul would go to the Gentiles and make known the mystery that from the beginning had not been made known, but now through Christ, the one of reconciliation, we can be holy and blameless without reproach striving through faith to be rooted and grounded and steadfast in the gospel of Christ, not only for ourselves again to save ourselves and to be those who are known to be faithful, but also that we might save others as well. That's why the last two verses in that first chapter there go on to speak volumes yet again.
Verse 28 continuing, he says, "Him we preach." Who? Christ! Who is Christ? The one of reconciliation. Who is Christ? Verse 27, "The one in you." Christ is in us. He says here, "Him we preach," warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may be present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. "To this end," he says, "I will also labor striving according to His working which He works in me mightily." You see God was using Paul as a worker. Christ was using Paul as someone who was an ambassador, a minister, a worker of reconciliation. Isn't that neat to think about the fact that as Christ reconciled us to the Father, we now also reconcile man, the world to the Father through Christ as well. It's also our work. It's also our opportunity. It's also our privilege that we might what? As it says here, "Strive to be perfect." Not just ourselves, but if you'll notice what he said that we may present every man perfect in Christ. You know there would be nothing greater on this earth than being able to know that everyone on earth was a faithful child and follower of the true God. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
You know the Bible here even says, back up in verse 23 as we read a moment ago. It says that, "All the people under heaven had heard about Christ, had heard about the mystery, had heard the gospel." What a wonderful thing. The only problem was that not everybody obeyed and believed unto faithfulness.
But what about today? What if that were possible, that every man might be made perfect? Well to me what it does is that it reminds us of that idea of being holy as God is holy, blameless as God is blameless, above reproach as God is above reproach that we are striving to be what? Like God, complete in faithfulness, in commitment, in our ability to evangelize and reach out in every facet of life showing again just how much we love God. That is the work of those who love God. That is the work of the church as was designed by God Almighty Himself.
And when did He make this plan? You sometimes people get the idea that God seems to make up things as He goes along. I want you to notice with me what is said in Ephesians chapter 3. He talks here about an eternal purpose, about something that was hidden but yet has now been arranged eternally. Now eternity means with no beginning and no end. That's the God that we serve. What is it here that it says, "According to the eternal purpose has been accomplished through Christ Jesus?" Well that's verse 11. But look with me there in Ephesians 3 and verse 10. He says, "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places." What is the duty of the church? The duty is to make known the manifold wisdom of God, the mystery (verse 9) that has been revealed that Paul spoke of to the Colossians, that has been revealed fully, the faith that has been given to all mankind. That is our opportunity and not because God finally figured it out or that he determined that this would just be a good thing to do, but even before He said, "Let there be light," He planned someday that He would make His church, His kingdom on this earth and that you and I would have the privilege to be reconciled, to be holy and blameless, above reproach, striving by faith to be rooted and grounded and steadfast in love, but also as we read here now to accomplish the eternal purpose of God that through Christ we might make known to the world who Christ is.
You know again, we can't say it enough that we have such a privilege, such a privilege to follow in the footsteps of Jesus (1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 21) to imitate what Jesus did in His life, to realize that when He was reviled He did not revile again, but what He did was to everyday live righteously and holy and proper before His Father in heaven.
We have that opportunity even today to live above reproach, to do everything that we can as children of God and if we are not children of God to do what God has said today so that we might begin that walk. If you need to confess Jesus and repent of your sins and be baptized today that the Lord might add you to His church that you might be a part of that family of God, then do what God has required so that even from this day on you might go continuing faithfully in His light and eventually receive that greatest reward of all heaven and eternal life.
(SONG # 3 - "It Is Well With My Soul!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time 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 service of God!
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Let's all keep ourselves above reproach so that we may remain good and pure in the sight of God. Will you strive to be holy as God is Holy?