THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-13-11
LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: ADAPTABILITY”
Notice the words which Paul said to Philemon in chapter 1, verse 4 of that book, “I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers.” As well, I am thankful for each of you on this Lord’s Day morning and I pray that God will bless you for putting Him first and giving this time of offering to Him.
Let me welcome you to the Living Word program. What a blessing it is to have you with us this day to assemble before our God. I hope you are ready to worship God today in spirit and in truth, for there is no other way to be pleasing in His sight. We must do things His Way! So as we begin our focus on Almighty God, will you bow with me before His throne at this time!
How blessed we are to have a God who provides for us His will in the Bible. Furthermore, it is great to have all the answers we need, concerning this life and the life to come. However, won’t it be great to be in heaven some day and to know all things? Our first song of the morning reminds us of this wondrous promise of God. So won’t you join in with the congregation as we sing together, “Farther Along?”
(SONG # 1)
I love the way which Paul and others show such love for their fellow brethren as we have already seen this morning. Another such passage is found in Philippians 1:3, where we read, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.” What a great example this is for me and you. Do we likewise show such a love and interest in our brethren and in fellow man?
Other verses which help us to understand this great need are found in Galatians chapter 6, beginning in verse 1. There we read that we are to help our brethren who are caught up in sin. Furthermore, verse 2 tells us that we are to bear each other’s burdens as followers of Christ. How wonderful it is to have such love for our fellow brothers and sisters, so much so that we want to help them, love them and pray for them when they are having difficulties in this life.
The final idea I would like us to consider is found in the same passage, but down in verse 10. There Paul adds, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” This verse helps us to realize our God given responsibility to do good to all of mankind, not only our brethren. You see we have the God given directive to do good to and to help everyone in this life, especially our own brethren. And why should we do this? Because when others see our love and care for them, then they see our love and obedience to Christ and when others see Christ in us - God is glorified! Are you doing good to all those who you deal with and come in contact with in this life?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our speaker, we are happy to have brother Brent Green with us this morning. Brother Brent is the minister for the Carthage Church of Christ, as well as an instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank brother Green for being with us and look forward to him leading us in our main study of God’s Word, at the proper time.
Our lesson topic of the day will again focus on our series entitled, “Let Your Light So Shine…!” The specific lesson of the day will deal with the Biblical teaching, “Adaptability!” So, please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes our brother will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Footprints of Jesus.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a great time and opportunity to study the Word of God.
We find in Matthew 5 verse 16 the words of Jesus, that great exhortation, “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven.” But the question is how we do that in every circumstance. Now that indeed brings us to today’s idea of Christian Adaptability.
Now when it comes to adaptability, it is our ability to be able to meet the circumstances that may arise in our lives, and so adjusting to those situations that may come up to make our lives that we may continue to follow God no matter what might come our way. So are we able to let our light shine no matter what the circumstances might be? Indeed that is the idea of Christian Adaptability.
Now of course there are things that we as Christians should not adapt, that is we should not change. We can read about those in the book of 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 16. There they sought to somehow change or to adapt the scriptures so that they might fit themselves rather than conforming yourselves to what God had given, they sought to do it the other way. Well indeed that is not the idea of Christian Adaptability. So we shouldn’t be those who seek to change the Truth that remains the same.
We also shouldn’t be those, who as the scripture goes on to say, try to change Jesus, because we know that God and Jesus Christ, His Son, remain the same (Hebrews chapter 13 and verse 8). He stays the same forever. So He is not one who changes. He is unchangeable. So it isn’t our responsibility to somehow change God. But rather again it is something we do ourselves, and try to pattern ourselves after that standard God has indeed given because He has given that pattern in 2 Timothy 1 and verse 13 for us to follow.
So when we think about letting our light shine and how we adapt ourselves, it is just that, that self-adaptation, making sure we match up to the truth, making sure we match up to the standard of God, making sure we match up to His pattern, and again no matter what that circumstance might be. So indeed it is something that we have got to try to do in every situation, whatever life might bring our way. So adapting self, adapting our Christian lives to meet that standard that God has given. So regardless of what life may bring on us, obey Him, rise to that occasion and seek to do our best in His sight.
We may find ourselves in a multitude of situations whether that be work or school, maybe it’s at our own neighborhoods, our own streets, or whether that be when we go to the grocery store. Whatever we find ourselves in we have got to adapt, to rise to the occasion and to obey God regardless of where we find ourselves in this life.
Of course, we are talking about Christian Adaptability, how we rise to that occasion under this day and age, under this New Testament.
There are even some Biblical examples in the Old Testament that would point to that idea of Adaptability. One such is the example of Job there in the book of Job. We see that Job was a very wealthy man there in Job chapter 1. He had all the livestock, a great family, all of the things that God had blessed him with. What happened to him? Well he lost it all. Well Job had to learn how to serve God while he had those riches, but he also had to learn to serve God while he was in poverty because he lost all of those things. Well that’s the concept of Adaptability. But even more than that, even when his friends, so to speak, came and even berated him for the things that they thought he must have done, that he must have sinned so they gave him a very hard time. Job had to learn to adapt to continue to stay with God even despite those types of persecutions. Then in the end, Job was blessed even more so by God than he was in the beginning, so Job had to relearn or readapt his life to serving God again with great wealth. Well there is an example of Adaptability!
Of course there’s an application for that to our lives in this Christian Age. Do we find ourselves to be among those who are rich sometimes? Indeed we do. Likewise, sometimes we find ourselves to be among those who may be in poverty. Maybe our health has failed and we are in sickness, like Job was as he sat there in boils. Well again, adapting our lives to serve God whatever that circumstance might be.
Another such one that comes up in the idea of Adaptability is that of Joseph. We think about Joseph and his brothers there and how they actually hated him and despised him because he was favored by his father. They even sought to kill him at one point in time. One brother spoke up and said, “Let’s just sell him into slavery.” Well here the man, Joseph, goes from being favored in his father’s house and being one who is likely going to be blessed with all these things to being sold into slavery in the hands of the Midianites. Well he finds himself sold into Potiphar’s house in Egypt. He works his way up and he finds favor in the sight of God and in Potiphar’s eyes and really is put in charge over all that Potiphar has. Then that charge is laid against him, a charge that was not right, of Potiphar’s wife and what she tried to do. But Joseph turned the tables and finds himself in prison. Well we see the cycle in Joseph’s life from one end point and going to be blessed, then he’s a slave and he’s sold and he works his way up, but not to remain in prison, because God had a plan for Joseph. Joseph actually becomes one who is second in command of all of Egypt and all of the affairs there of Pharaoh and all that land. Well Joseph had to adapt from being in his father’s house, from being a slave, to being in prison, to being a leader and one of great power. Well there’s a great lesson of Adaptability! Of course we see God’s hand in all those things taking care of Joseph along the way and ultimately his own people as they would seek that food from Joseph later on in their lives. Adaptability!
Well those are a couple of Old Testament examples, but we’re still not without examples even in the New Testament. We could look at some of those that Jesus called to follow Him as Jesus began His earthly ministry and sought apostles or disciples rather as they were first called, to come, partake and be a part of as He would train them here on this earth. We see James and John, several J’s here that point out the adaptability, Job and Joseph, and James and John.
I want you to look with me in your Bibles to Luke chapter 5. We see that these men were fishermen just like Peter and Andrew and they had that profession. They were out there fishing and mending their nets on the seashore and Jesus was aware of them and what they were doing, and He finds these two, James and John, in the book of Luke chapter 5. I want us to read there beginning there in verse 9 of what these men did before and what they did after when Jesus called them to follow Him. It says there in Luke chapter 5 and verse 9, “For He and all who were with Him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken. So also were James and John, sons of Zebedee who were partners with Simon. Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid for from now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land they forsook all and followed Him.”
So not only do we see Peter and Andrew, and James and John here seeking to follow Jesus Christ as He called them, but do you see the change in their lives? They were fishermen and Jesus said, “You won’t fish for fish any longer, you will become fishers of men.” Well they were going to take on a new role in this life, adapting to now come and follow Jesus Christ and serve Him. Well that’s the core here of adaptability.
Well thinking about our lives as Christians and our Christian Adaptability, how do we find ourselves in this life responding to our situations? To some of those that we mentioned like being rich or being poor, finding ourselves in a place of great circumstance or finding ourselves in a place of not so great circumstance? Whatever life may bring, how do we adapt? How do we let our light shine despite the circumstances? How do we rise to the occasion and serve God whatever life may bring upon us? Well when we think about Christian Adaptability, scripture in the New Testament, the law which we are under today, has great exhortation for us and letting our light shine despite whatever the circumstances might be.
I want us to first look at Philippians chapter 4 when we consider these exhortations to the Adaptability as Christians. Philippians chapter 4 beginning there in verse 10, Paul says, “But I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again, though you surely did care but lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. I know how to be abased and I know how to abound. Everywhere in all things, I have learned though to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Paul says, “Look, I know how to adapt both to riches and to poverty.” For Paul to make such a statement, he had been there. He was a man who was high up in the rankings and he left all of that behind to become a Christian and to serve Jesus Christ. He knew how to be content in whatever state he found himself in in this life. It is interesting there in that passage he says, “I have learned…” Not something that he was just born with. Not something that just fell into his lap, this contentment in whatever state. He had to learn that.
That’s part of our lives as Christians, learning to adapt to the circumstances. Learning how to be full and to be hungry. Learning how to be those who abound and those are abased. Well thinking here again about what Paul says, how do we adapt to these different circumstances whether it be poverty or to riches? It is very encouraging there as Paul said he has been through this. He had lived this. He had learned this lesson of Christianity of how to adapt. At the end of that passage there, it says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” It doesn’t matter if we are rich or poor. It doesn’t matter if we are hungry or full. Paul says that we can serve Christ if there is a will, there is a way. So whatever state we find ourselves in we indeed should be content, and put our trust in Christ and know that we can do a great work no matter what life may throw upon us, to find that contentment.
It is similar also to what the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews chapter 13. There in verse 5 and verse 6 as he talks about overcoming covetousness, being content with such things as you have, but he also ends there by saying, “What can man do to me?” In other words, what can this life to do us? What can my fellow man do to me that God cannot bring me through? If we put our trust in Him, if we rely on Him, we can know that we can overcome whatever life may bring upon us and serve Him, to do our best, to rise to the occasion even if it would be persecution that would come upon us.
I want us also to look at the book of 1 Peter, 1 Peter chapter 4. We may think that persecution today is something that only those in the 1st century went through. Well maybe not in the same fashion or form, but there are those who go through great persecution, something we have to adapt to in this life. 1 Peter chapter 4 beginning there in verse 12, Peter says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning a fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings that when His glory is revealed you may be glad with exceeding joy. If you are approached with the name of Christ blessed are you for the spirit and glory of God rest upon you; on their parts, He is blasphemed, but on your parts, He is glorified.”
Will there be occasions in this life when we are persecuted? Maybe by our family. Maybe by our friends. Maybe we are isolated. Maybe we are shunned by the stance that we take in the scripture. Persecution will come upon us. Indeed as Christians, we will be persecuted. Do we give in? Do we give up? Do we just ride off and turn our backs upon God? No! We rise to the occasion. We adapt and continue to stand for God, to adapt to the persecution that may come upon us. Even more than that, to adapt to the temptation. We know that Satan is that roaring lion (1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 8). He never seeks his proud and is always trying to find a way to devour us.
We’ve got to adapt to persecution to seek a way out. That’s what Paul said as he writes to the brethren in Corinth there in chapter 10 and verse 13 of 1 Corinthians. Indeed it says, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man, but God is faithful who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with every temptation will also make a way of escape so that you will be able to bear it.” There is a way out. We don’t have to give in to temptation. We don’t have to allow Satan to devour us. If we adapt as Christians and let our light shine despite the temptation that comes upon us we can find that way out, to continue to trust in God, to seek Him and His Will and make sure we always find a way to overcome that temptation. Again, we can rise to that occasion.
I want us as we begin to finish this idea of Christian Adaptability to think about what Paul also said in the book of Corinthians backing up there to chapter 9. If you would read with me there in chapter 9 and verse 19. One way that we have to adapt as Christians in letting our light shine is as we take that gospel out there we’ve got to make sure we are able to talk to every creature that might be out there, that is man or woman, about this saving gospel of Jesus. Look at the words of Paul here again. He says, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all that I might win them over; and to the Jews I became as a Jew that I might win the Jews; to those that are under the law as under the law that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, as weak, that I might win the weak. I become all things to all men that I might by all means save some.” Now Paul wasn’t adapting the gospel. He wasn’t adapting God or Christ or changing the truth. He wasn’t adapting what he said, but he was adapting how he said it. When he approached the Jews or the Gentiles, the weak or the imprisoned, Paul adapted how he talked because evangelism requires just that.
Christians, we’ve got to think about how we let our light shine. Are we adapting to riches and poverty? Are we adapting to persecution? Are we adapting to temptation? Are we adapting how we evangelize? We’ve always got to look to God, to rise to the occasion, to put our trust in Him and to think about Christian Adaptability, to make sure we serve God no matter what the circumstances of this life.
(SONG # 3 - “Give Me The Bible!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. God has truly blessed our time spent together! Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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So let me ask, “How adaptable are you in this life?” Do you find contentment through God, no matter what this world throws at you? Remember that with God all things are possible!