THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date – 2-20-11

LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: SELF-RELIANCE”

WELCOME

Peter once encouraged the brethren to, “emember that with God all things are possible! Do you find contentment in God, no matter what this world throws at you? s greBe even more diligent to make your call an election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble.” Praise be to God that we are given the promise of eternal life, if we are willing to be diligent in His service!

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?

(PRAYER)

A teaching from God that permeates the Bible is that of God’s wonderful guidance. Men of all ages have had the opportunity to know the will of God, and to obey those things He commands of the faithful. This morning we want to begin with a song which teaches us about the wonderful promise of God’s guidance. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “He Leadeth Me.”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

In our opening text of the morning we learned about our need to be all the more diligent every day in our service for God. Why? Well, by doing so we make our calling and elections sure! This means that we accomplish God’s Will as He has commanded and thus we are assured of the reward of heaven some day.

However, I like the later part of this verse, the phrase which says, “For if you do these things you will never stumble!” What is Peter talking about here? Well, if you look back in the same text to an earlier verse, you’ll find in verse 5 that Peter there deals with what are often referred to as the Christian virtues! So what he is saying is that if we focus on God, live as He has commanded and let our lights shine by doing His will, then we will be virtually flawless - because our heart, desires and life are focused on God!

Certainly the inspired writer here does not mean we will be completely sinless or completely perfect. However, he is suggesting that we will be considered by God as perfect and complete, because we are putting Him first, doing our best, and ever striving to accomplish His Will! When we are striving to do this, God is certainly pleased and thus the blood of Jesus Christ continues to make us pure, clean and presentable in the presence of such a mighty God.

So, are you ready to give more diligence to your service for God so that you may be able to be blessed beyond measure, and furthermore, receive the reward of Heaven some day. On the other hand, are you ready to live a life of completeness and perfection because of your obedience and thus the cleansing power of the very blood of Jesus Christ? Why not seek God’s Kingdom first, today and every day!

It just a few minutes, it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our topic, we will be continuing our series entitled, “Let Your Light So Shine.” Our specific lessons of the day will focus on, “Self-Reliance!” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it’s time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, “He Lives.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing now as we go to God’s Word and we consider another lesson that hopefully will encourage us and even challenge us to let our lights shine in this world.

We begin this morning in the book of Exodus and we think for a moment about chapters 3 and 4 where Moses is called to go to Egypt to lead the children of Israel out of that land. When we think about what Moses did, it is interesting that as he was approached by God in the burning bush that Moses was very reluctant to accept this responsibility. Moses, a man that has shown himself to be of God, a man who certainly has married into a family that seems to be of God in relationship to his father-in-law Jethro, but yet when it comes time for his call or the opportunity of service, he begins to say things like, “Well, why me? Or “Couldn’t there be someone better?” Another thing that he also says is, “What about the fact of who I will say has sent me? They won’t hear me.” He even makes the excuse there in chapter 4 about the reality of, “What will I say because I am not eloquent of speech?” So what does God do? In chapter 4 He tells him time and time again, I will be with you. I will tell you what to say. Verse 17 he even says, “I will give you a rod for your hand.” Then later in verse 20 it actually tells us that, “Moses, after finally accepting the challenge, takes that rod, takes his brother Aaron who he is going to tell what to say, and heads to go before Pharaoh.”

Now what can we learn from this story? Well we can learn the reality of really what we’re going to talk about this morning. Sometimes we do not have enough confidence in ourselves and we do not rely enough on our own abilities knowing that God blesses us with our talents and that God has promised to help and to be with us every step of the way. Think about the beginning as we talked about the weakness of Moses and maybe the excuses that he came up with thinking, “I can’t do it. I have no confidence.” But yet later what a great leader Moses was. In fact, one of perhaps the greatest leaders that ever led the children of Israel.

A much different picture from what we learn later when Joshua, in a sense being handpicked and even groomed by Moses, eventually even in the book of Joshua chapter 1 is given at the death of Moses the reigns, so to speak, to lead the children of Israel, and really the confidence that he has. We find really in that first chapter of Joshua that God is reassuring him that, “I will lead you. You won’t be alone. I will help you. I will bless you. I will guide you. I will tell you what to say. I will give you victory.” On and on and on. “Be of good cheer and be of good courage.” And because of that, what is Joshua able to be? Strong! He is able to be confident, and even to find confidence in himself.

Brethren what I would like us to discuss for a few moments today is this ability that we can have to be self-reliant. Now that doesn’t mean to be self-sufficient in a sense that I am able to by myself do it and I don’t need anyone else and I don’t need God and I’m self-sufficient and I am capable in and of myself. It doesn’t mean that. Self-reliance means that you have at least the ability to be confident, not in what you can do not necessarily because of who you are and what you can do, but as Christians confident in what we can do and in what we can think and we can judge because of our God. Doesn’t God want us to be confident? Doesn’t God want us to be assured in this life? Doesn’t He want us to know that we have eternal life and that He has promised us such wonderful things?

I love what it says there, “By and through the Holy Spirit,” as recorded by Paul in Ephesians chapter 3. Because there in verse 12 he says, “In whom,” talking about Jesus Christ, “In whom we have boldness and access with confidence through faith.” He says that because of our faith and our belief in God we have boldness and access through confidence that our God is with us and we can do what we need to do. We do have the ability and the assurance that we can and will do it because God will provide and God does those things that He has said He will do through His Word.

It makes me think of the story of talents as well. We often use the story of the talents a bit by playing on words, and we say, “Well, you know the talent that is being spoken of is really a monetary amount,” but really the word talent in our language, in English, really means the ability that we have to use our skills. Really the principle is the same, that because of God we then are given talents whether it be money or abilities and then what must we do with those talents? Use them to His glory! How can I be most effective? When I am confident in my talents. When I am confident in my abilities. Not because of arrogance, not because of being self-sufficient again, not because of who I am or what I am all about, but because of God I have strength, confidence, boldness, zeal, enthusiasm, and I can be self-reliant knowing that I can do what God has asked of me because He has created me and He will give me that ability.

With these things in mind then what I would like to do is think for a moment about how we show self-reliance everyday knowing that God is there. We show self-reliance in being those who prepare maybe our own food or get ready for the day or go about our days in doing what we have really practiced and become really good at. What about your job? Do you not become confident in your job knowing that you now have this skill or this ability? Certainly God blesses us with everything. He gives us the power. He gives us the ability, but ultimately it is you and I who have to use those skills and have the confidence and rely enough on self to use them to His glory and to stay faithful in that service. Well what about even growing up as children? Do you remember how we maybe as babies relied on our parents and we relied on them for everything even as young children for our food and for our clothing. We looked at someone else for everything. But when we became adults, we have to take on those responsibilities ourselves. Because of God and through God and His power, we have to begin to rely on ourselves that we are able, that we are good at what we do, that we can accomplish what we need to. And therefore we show forth to the glory of God that we can rely on what He has blessed us with and we can use it to our best and to His glory because He has given us those capabilities.

Now let’s look at several passages that will help us with this thought of self-reliance found also throughout the New Testament.

For instance in the book of Galatians chapter 6 you might recall there in this text that we are being told to, “Bear one another’s burdens,” but specifically in verse 5 he says, “But let each one examine his own work and then he will (what?) rejoice in himself alone and not in another.” He says to look at your own works and rejoice in what you are able to do because God has blessed you and given you that ability. Well that’s something we should be proud of, not arrogantly proud of it, not self-sufficiently proud in the fact that we don’t need God or that we have done it because of us and not because of God. But it is something that we can be confident and happy and proud about because God has given us talents and then we then use those abilities, use them and bear (verse 6) our own load.

There’s another text that helps us with that. Over in the book of Philippians just a few books over. In Philippians there in chapter 2 and verse 12 you might notice with me there that we are challenged to work out our own salvation. It says there in verse 12, “My beloved, as you have always obeyed not in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Well what about God? Yes, God is there. His Will is there. His requirements and law, what He wants, that path to salvation, that plan has been laid as a gift and made available. But who must respond? You and I! We must work and use that opportunity that God has given us. We must accomplish that task as God has given us the ability to accomplish it.

Notice what he says also in the next verse, 13, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” Who works in me? God!

You know that really brings us another perspective to this idea of being self-reliant. Do we realize that as Christians everything we do and everything we say is to bring glory to God? And so what I do, I do what? Heartily (Colossians chapter 3). I do it to my best as if I am serving God Himself. Why? I want to give Him the glory and the praise. What does that tell us about the things we do? What does that tell us about our need to be confident and bold and courageous? What does that tell us about the fact that we need to know exactly what God expects because of our growth and study and wisdom and application of those things God has asked? Well you see we need to be confident. We need to be self-reliant to an extent understanding that God has blessed us to have these capabilities. Certainly we need God and certainly He is the ultimate foundation that gives us all that we have, all that we do, all that we say, but we then must use what He has given us to show forth His glory.

One text that helps us with this fact of needing God, but reality of the fact that we then can be conquerors and capable of doing things because of His blessings is found there in 2 Corinthians chapter 3. If you’ll read with me together in verse 5 he says, “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything of being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from (what?) God.” Well what does that mean? It means that the only reason I can do what I can do, the only reason I can say what I can say, the only reason I am successful or capable in life is because of my God. But when I understand that and when I begin to use these opportunities that God has given me, I need to have confidence to be bold, to be courageous.

No wonder that is why in Romans chapter 8 and verse 28 we learn that “our God works all things for good for those who love Him.” For those who are called according to His purpose, our God uses us to do His Will, to accomplish His purpose and to be sure with boldness and confidence that we can do what He has asked of each and every one of us.

So I might begin to ask you, “Do you have that confidence with and from God? Do you have that self-reliance that is available because you do what God has asked of you; because you use those blessings and skills that He has shown forth that you have privilege of enjoying? Well hopefully so, and that’s certainly what Paul was dealing with through the Ephesian brethren there as we again read earlier the fact that they could have that boldness and confidence as the people of God. In fact earlier in chapter 3 he had been talking about the body and the very church that is of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So what kind of example should we set in our ability to show forth Christ? Do we want to be a church and a people who seem to be very sure in what we believe, who seem to be very confident in what we are doing again from what God has said, a church who is very capable of worshipping as God has commanded and a church that is shining as a light in the world in every way to glorify God? Isn’t that what we want? Don’t we need to rely on ourselves and our ability as God has blessed us and as He has commanded us to show forth those things? The answer is yes!

On the other hand, if we are unsure of what we believe, if we are unsure of what God has said, if we don’t give Him the credit and glory, and if people look to us and they say, “What kind of God do they serve in the fact that they are so maybe worried about everything and they have no confidence and they are not only worried about today but eternity?” Do you see what the problem would be? Do you see what the problem is, that we would be evangelistic and that someone would even hear us when the fact is we do not even have that self-reliance or confidence in ourselves to know God and to do His Will?

What have we been called to do by our God? What have we been challenged to accomplish? We have been asked to be the salt of the earth (Matthew 5). We have been asked to be the light of the world. We have been really given as an example as a city on the hill, one that illuminates so that God can be glorified in every action, deed, and word. Therefore, if that be the case, the question you must ask yourself today is, “Are you confident enough to fulfill the tasks of God?” If not, maybe you need to correct your life. Maybe you need to repent. Maybe you need to find that strength that is promised in Jesus Christ and that strength leads to eternal life.

(SONG # 3 - “A wonderful Savior”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. No doubt God has been please with these offerings of ours, given according to His precious will. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!

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Who do you rely on in this world? Where does God fit in? Won’t you turn to God for everything you need right now, as well as for those things pertaining to eternal life?

(Program closing)