THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-17-08
LESSON TITLE: "FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: DO YOU?"
Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord's Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.
I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won't you bow with me at this time before the throne of God?
At this time we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, " Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah."
(SONG # 1)
When was the last time you took some medicine for a headache, pain or for some discomfort? Some of us have already taken some this morning, and the rest will probably take some during the day. And if not today then you at least will take something during this next week. If you don't think American's are into taking medicine then you need to check with statistics. The medicine industry is a multi billion dollar one here in the United States, but why? Well, because we all know we can treat our symptoms and pains with these medicines that have been invented by man.
In the book of Proverbs, the wise man Solomon knew a little about medicine, too. The best part of it is that he talked about a medicine that is really effective, but cheap. There aren't too many of those today. Also, the medicine he mentions can be found anywhere and it is readily available to everyone. Read with me the word of Solomon, where he said, "a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones," Proverbs 17:22. Did you get all of that? He said, that a merry or cheerful heart does good, just like medicine. Doesn't this idea just make good sense?
Consider a person who is always serious, down or depressed. What type of life do they have? What type of health do they have? If we are negative and depressed most of the time, it affects the way we feel, also. However, if we are happy and jolly, then we will really enjoy life and the things that it has to offer. Even when those trials or problems come our way, a cheerful person is going to take them more lightly and be able to deal with them better.
How many times have you been really serious or worried about something, but a year later you can't even remember what it was. You see we must live life, taking the good and the bad, knowing that if we have a happier disposition, then life will be easier to deal with and much more enjoyable.
Furthermore, God wants us to be a happy people, and not just for our own sake but for the sake of those around us. How many of us like to hang around that person that is always sad or depressed? But how many of us like those who are fun to be around, or the life of the party? Would anyone want to know our Jesus if they always see us unhappy? If people see Christ in us, they are going to have to see the joy we have because of Him and His promises. So, cheer up in the Lord, take His spiritual medicine and your life will be a lot more worth living. However, not only will it be a blessing today, but a blessing eternally as well! Are you a happy child of God in this life?
Our study this morning will again focus on our series entitled, "Fear God And Keep His Commandments." Our specific topic today will ask the question, "Do You?" So for now, let's join together in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, "Standing On The Promises Of God!"
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We're so glad you've continued with us today as we return to God's Word and we hear those things that the wise man, Solomon, said in relationship to what the whole duty of man is or the all of man. Certainly we recall that it is to fear God and keep His commandments. This was his conclusion after life, after tasting of all spiritual things and after all fleshly things, being involved in righteousness and all unrighteousness, this man says, "Let me give you the conclusion. Let me tell you what it's all about and what really is important." He says, "Fear God and keep His commandments."
Certainly as we think about that then we have the question: Do we do this? Do we fear God and do we keep His commandments? For it is of the utmost importance as we will see in this lesson that we do these things if we are to be right in the eyes of God, if we are to receive the reward that He has promised in the Bible.
Look with me now into the Word of God beginning all the way back into Genesis. We recall as God made Adam and Eve that the first individuals who ever were afraid in the presence of God were Adam and Eve. You might recall there in Genesis chapter 3 after their sin, when they had sinned that they hid themselves in the garden and then when God became that day walking, one who was in the garden and they heard His presence and He calls to Adam and Adam says, "Here am I," and God says, "Why are you hiding?" Do you remember what it was that Adam said? He said, "We hid ourselves for we were naked." Then God asked, "Why do you think you're naked? Who told you you were naked?" Then Adam also added, "I was afraid. We were afraid, God." Why would Adam and Eve be afraid of God? Well, God is the Creator. God has all power not only over spiritual things, but as in the fact that He has created each and every one of us, God has all power over even our physical existence and breath. Let me assure you that if God has created my body and has breathed in it the breath of life that I might exist, certainly He then has the ability to remove that physical blessing as well. You see God is a mighty God. God is a great God.
We continue to see fear demonstrated in many different ways, through many different Bible characters. At this time, we would like to look at that.
One such character is Noah. In Genesis chapter 8 after the flood we find that the first thing he does when he comes off the ark is he builds an altar so that he might do what? Worship God and make sacrifice. Why would Noah be so interested in worshipping God before anything else? He respected God. He feared God. That's really what the word means. It's the concept of a healthy fear. I
It's kind of like a parent. You know my parents disciplined me and I sometimes was afraid of Dad, but it was a healthy fear out of love because I knew he wanted to help me to know what was right and wrong and therefore sometimes the discipline was more stern than other times. Well God is like that. He loves us so much that He is going to discipline us and therefore teach us that we should fear Him, not because we're scared to death and we don't want to know Him or be around Him or we're afraid He's going to kill us, but because we respect His power, His awesome nature, what He has done for us in making us, the blessings of life and ultimately even the promise of eternal life.
Not only do we find that in the example of Noah but we can go on and we can find there in Abraham's life. Do you remember there? We could mention several things, but primarily in Genesis chapter 22 when he went there to Mt. Moriah to do what? Offer his son a sacrifice. Certainly he was afraid of God. How many of you would offer your son or your child as a sacrifice on an altar to God when God told you to do that? Well certainly he respected God, reverenced Him enough to fear and know God means what He says and when He has asked me to do it, I must do it. But he also had the confidence in God to know that as God had promised that through Isaac I will be blessed, and even if need be he'll bring him back from the dead. Do you see how fear is turned into joy, fear is turned into confidence and faith and ability?
Another great example there is Jacob. I love this one here of Jacob because we actually read here about Jacob, a man certainly who has fled a difficult situation in his land. He's fled because of the wickedness really, the deception there with his brother, with his father and others, but then when he has fled he now approaches God at a certain place and he prays to God. I want you to notice what it is that he does after he sees this dream vision of the gates of heaven themselves and he knows that God is at this place. Verse 16, Jacob awakes from his sleep and he says, "Surely the Lord is in this place and I did not know..." Listen to verse 17 though. "And he was afraid and said, 'This place is awesome for there is none other than (he says) the house of God and this is the very gate to heaven, the house of God." He says, "Man, I'm afraid. I didn't know God was here and I fear God Almighty the Creator that I have learned from my father, Isaac, and I know from my father's father and my grandfather, Abraham, that God is to be revered, that He is mighty and powerful and He holds in His hand our very life and existence." Yes, you see he was afraid.
What about Joseph? Joseph's fear was also demonstrated at times when he was in the pit, no doubt distraught and his physical fear. But what about his fear for God? Well he loved God so much that everything he did, everything he said in Egypt and everything he touched was turned to gold because of his faithfulness. But who did he always give the glory to? God! Why? Do you think he feared God? Do you think he respected God and wanted to honor Him? It is only because of God, God is the interpreter of dreams. Joseph didn't take the credit. He gave the glory to God for he feared God.
What about Moses at the burning bush there in Exodus chapter 3? The bush was burning and he comes over to it and immediately he says it's holy ground a voice comes and no doubt he is afraid and the voice says, "This is holy ground. Remove your shoes." And what does he do? Run away? No! He obeys because he respects and he fears God. He knows that God is real.
Then I also am interested there in Exodus chapter 20 as we read just after the giving of the Law, that is "The Ten Commandments," the reaction of Israel when they see the power of God, verse 18 beginning. "Now all the people witnessed the thundering, the lightening, the flashes, the sounds of the trumpets and the mountains smoking and when they saw it they trembled and stood afar off." The verses go on to say, "And they begged Moses to speak to God because we're afraid of Him." What did the presence of God, the vision of God, the power of God on Mt. Sinai indicate to the people? Fear! Respect! And even to trembling because they knew that God, any Creator that could do such to a mountain and the mountain not to be consumed, certainly is the true God and a true God.
So here we learn of all these examples time and time again of those who proved to us that the concept of being one who fears God is a requirement of God.
I would also like you to look at what Jesus said over in the New Testament in the book of Matthew. You might note there in chapter 10 and verse 28 what Christ said about the need we have to fear God and why. Verse 28 says this. It says, "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul, but rather fear Him who is able to destroy the soul and the body in Hell." You see God has the power, the ability as we have already said not only over the physical as a man might, a man might can kill me. He might can physically kill me, but does he have power over my soul? No! But God has the power over the physical and the what? Even the spiritual. He can cast our souls into eternal punishment as we saw last week.
So you see here the clear contrast as to why we should fear or respect God out of love and reverence, believe, obey and do all that He has said. Certainly that leads us to the next point, that we must fear God and do what? Keep His commandments. How many times in the Bible do we read about keeping the commandments of God? Well we can look at example after example again all the way back to the book of Genesis there in chapter 2, Adam and Eve, they were told that they might eat of certain trees and vegetation, but of one tree they could not. You see God was already giving commands from the very beginning and we know it was a command because later in chapter 3 they were actually told that they had broken the command of God because they had done what God had not allowed. So here they did not do the commands of God. What does this teach us? We, as they, as all men of all ages are to do the commands of God.
What about Abraham in Genesis 12? He was told that he would be blessed. He would be a great nation if he did what? Obey God! Therefore, Isaac and therefore, Jacob and on and on. We see every Bible character because of their faith was blessed by God. Their obedience, that is doing what God has said.
Even in Deuteronomy 26 beginning in verse 16. I hope you'll read that later because there the Israelites are challenged after the giving of the law to do what? To keep the commandments and the statutes and the judgements of God. Why does God tell them this? Because He required that they hear the commands and that they obey them. But what was the result? What was the icing on the cake so to speak? If they did them, we found here that God would be theirs. His name would be their name and He would be over them as they would be His people. So He would bless them. So what did He do? He fed them. He sheltered them. He gave them the Promised Land. You see because of their obedience, their fear unto obedience God blessed them and gave the Promised Land.
You know today we find the same challenge there in several places beginning again with Jesus in Matthew 7. We often read this verse because it talks about those who say, "Lord, Lord," but they really don't obey what God has commanded. What does He actually go on to say there in chapter 7 and verse 21? "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of My Father in heaven." What is the Will of God? Well that which has been delivered from God. And what is that Will? That we obey His commandments. Isn't that what Jesus said in John 14:15? "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Not the laws of old, but My commandments, Jesus said. What did Jesus say, John 12 verse 48? He spoke the commands from the Father. So what were the commands from the Father? Through the mouth of Christ presented now in the book through the Holy Spirit. And these commands are ours to do what? To obey and follow if we love Him. What is the incentive? If we do, we read also there in John 14 and verse 23 that, "God makes a home in us and that the Father is with us and that we are known by the Father as those who love Him and love Christ." Why? "For we have obeyed and done those commandments."
Finally, back up with me to Ecclesiastes chapter 12. Once again, our main topic to "Fear God and Keep His Commandments." Two things that are very, very obvious to those who really love God. This is the all of man, but why must we do these things? Verse 14, "For God will bring every work into judgement including every secret thing whether good or evil." There's a judgement. We often sing, "There's A Great Day Coming," whether good or bad, whether we've lived righteously, obedient to the commands of God based on our healthy respect and fear for God, then we receive eternal life. On the other hand, if bad, we also know there's a challenge by God that we will be punished eternally for those things that we do that are not according to His Will. You see that judgement is inevitable and nothing that we can as it says here keep secret. You see Solomon is warning us through his son here, "Don't hide things. Don't think you're getting away with things. Know that you must be good for God knows everything."
But choose today whether you will serve God or another. For if you will serve God, the Bible says, "The all of man, the whole of man and the conclusion of the whole matter is that you fear God and keep His commandments," and if you do that God has made ready for you a mansion and not only for you who faithfully obey His commands, that we might live together eternally and have a home in heaven on high with Him forever.
(SONG # 3 - "An Empty Mansion!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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So once again let me ask, "do you truly fear God and do you truly strive to keep His commandments?" If so, God be praise! However, if not, do what is necessary today to get right with God!