THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-22-09
LESSON TITLE: “TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES: KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE FAITH”
Let me welcome each of you to our program on this beautiful Lord’s Day morning. I hope all of you are well and that you are prospering greatly, in your physical lives according to what you are giving to God spiritually. It is wonderful to be a part of God’s family and to have opportunities such as this to come before Him and learn more about what He wants of us, as well as praising His name through song. As we begin our homage to God this morning, won’t you bow with me in prayer?
Many in this life question if there is a God or if there is really anything after this life at all. Others doubt the fact that Jesus ever even existed or that He came to this earth and died for our sins. However, history and revelation confirms for us that we do have a God and Savior who did all these things for us. This morning, let’s begin our song of praise by singing a hymn that reminds us of the fact the our God is worthy to believe in. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together the song, “Living By Faith?”
(SONG # 1)
Who do you call when you have a problem? Maybe you call your father or mother or another family member. Some may talk to their boss or coworker. Others may call their preacher or those who they consider to be able to guide them properly in spiritual things. However, this morning I would like to suggest someone else we can call on in time of need. Someone who is always there and who will never let us down. Someone who can be counted on and who will do what He said. Someone who’s phone is never off or whose battery will not run out - obviously that special someone is God!
In Psalm 55:16, King David made the following statement, “As for me, I will call upon God, And the LORD shall save me.” Notice here that David said he would call upon the Lord in time of need. I might ask: Who better could we call on even today? However, consider what the verse goes on to say. Not only can we call on God when we need Him or when we need His help or assistance, we must also call on Him unto salvation!
This great servant of God realized that salvation was only in and could only be found in the true God of all. Further notice here that he didn’t say God might save him or only that He could save Him - David said, “The Lord will save me!” Consider the confidence we can have in God when we are His true and faithful followers. He is there in every aspect of our live, He assist with all of our wants and needs, and ultimately He “WILL” save us if we remain committed to His Word.
Are you calling on the Lord in every way you are required? Do you have the confidence that God will save you when you call on Him if you do your part! May we all learn to trust more in our God and His promises?
This morning we are happy to have a guest speaker with us. We welcome brother Darin Chappell to lead us in our lesson thoughts of the day. Brother Darin is the minister for the Mountain Grove Church of Christ, in Mountain Grove, Missouri. We appreciate him and his willingness to be with us today.
As far as our lesson, we will again be considering a topic from our series entitled, “Take Heed To Yourselves.” Our specific lesson of the day is, “Keep Yourselves In The Faith.” So please stay with us and after our next song together we will return with this study from God’s Word. Now let’s return to our singing. The name of the next hymn, “More About Jesus.”
(SONG # 2)
By Darin Chappell
Good morning! Thank you for joining us this morning on “The Living Word” program as we come back together to study the Word of our God to see how it is that we are to live our lives in accordance with His Will that we might be found pleasing in His sight in that great and terrible day of judgment that is coming before all of us. We all want to be able to enter into Heaven to hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.” But the question is: How is it that we are to do that? This morning’s topic is “Keeping In The Faith.”
How do we keep in the faith? Is it even possible? If it is, what is our responsibility?
(Inaudible) “…to divine power have given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that have called us to glory and virtue, whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that by these you might be partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, and besides this giving all diligence add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness, and to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity for if these things be in you and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But he that lacketh these things is blind and cannot see afar off and have forgotten that he was purged from his old sins, wherefore the rather brethren, give diligence to make your calling an election sure for if you do these things, you shall never fall.”
The apostle Peter was saying that they needed to give diligence to add onto their faith in this building block mentality striving for more and more maturity, getting closer to that standard of perfection, not that anyone of us is perfect or that any of us has no more that we can attain in our continual maturity, that process that we go through day by day in our Christian life. It is not the level of perfection that we are going to be able to attain in this life, but it is the trying to be that counts. It’s the wanting to be. The apostle Peter says that if we will do these things, if we will add them to our faith and abound in them, then we will not be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and we can put ourselves in a position where we will not fall from Him. We can keep ourselves in the faith if we take the time and effort to do so.
That’s one of the things that has been happening in our society for a great number of years and we see the effects of it all around us where individuals have over and over again told themselves and others, “It’s not my fault. I am not responsible. It’s not my fault that I am in the situation of life that I find myself in. It’s not my responsibility that these things are happening to me. Someone else is to blame. Surely I can’t be the one who could be blamed for my scenario, my situation in life.” And we see it in all sorts of things. We see it in politics. We see it in the financial world around us. We see it in just day by day living with our neighbors and our friends, all around us in society. But we see it in the attitudes of individuals in matters of faith as well. Too many people simply throw up their hands and say, “Well surely there is nothing I can do about it. I mean after all, I am the way that I am and there is just not much that’s going to be able to be done, and it is not my fault.” Too many individuals just simply say, “But look God made me this way. Surely there is nothing I can do about that.” But the apostle Peter said that we have a responsibility to grow and to mature and to become more and more like that pattern of Christ that He set for us in His perfect example of life that we could be more like him and if we would do so, that we would put ourselves in a position that we could look toward that judgment, not with fear and trepidation, not with concern about how it is that I was going to be seen or how you were going to be seen by the Lord in the Day of Judgment, but rather recognizing that we can be His people and that we can be recognized as His people if we put forth the effort. It is our responsibility to live our lives according to His Will and when we are willing to do that, then we are taking the responsibility for ourselves and we are becoming the people that He desires for us to be.
But again, that leads us back to the question of how. Yes, I can understand that the responsibility is mine to be the Christian that my God would require me to be, but how am I to do that? How do I put it into motion? How am I able to go from the point where I am to the point where I want to be? What is the process?
Well if you have your Bibles there with you, open up your Bibles with me to 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-9 and it gives us a pattern of behavior whereby we can understand the how that we are to live. The apostle John writing to those Christians of the 1st century, specifically to those individuals who are facing the different kinds of Gnosticism, and other false doctrines that were being taught by individuals within the 1st century. He was teaching them how it was that they could keep themselves free from the error that was being taught and how they could keep themselves in faith, in that faith that Peter was talking about where we need to grow and mature so that we need never fall.
The apostle John said there in chapter 1 beginning in verse 5, he says, “This then is the message which we have heard of Him and declare unto you that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” When he says that “God is light,” the apostle is saying that God, at His very core essence, by His very nature is light or truth, that His very composition as God Himself, part of that is truth at His very essence, and because God’s nature is truth at its very essence, He will not do that which is contrary to His nature. Indeed He couldn’t and still be God because for Him to violate His nature, for Him to ignore the fact that He is God, the Supreme Creator Being of all, and to deviate from that nature that He has for Himself would make Him something entirely different and He wouldn’t be God any longer. Therefore, He will not violate the nature of truth. John says that, “He is light or truth and in Him there is not darkness at all, no untruth whatsoever.” He is the basis therefore, that distinction between truth and untruth, life and darkness.
The apostle continues there in verse 6, he says, “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth.” Now the word “fellowship” there that is translated there in the English language actually comes to us from the Greek word which means literally “having commonality.” It is the idea of being in common with one another, certain aspects of our lives so that we have those commonalities, those shared aspects. Therefore, for me as a Christian or for anyone to say that they have commonality with God, shared characteristics, not that we are Deity, not that we have the nature of Deity, but simply that we share certain characteristics with Him. If I say that about myself, but I walk in darkness, if I walk in untruths or lies, then I am not being truthful with myself. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth because God is light and in Him there is no darkness. If I spend my life in the darkness of this world, I cannot be where God is because there is no darkness in God. Therefore, He as that standard of right and wrong, as that standard of truth versus untruth, if I live my life for the world of untruths, I cannot be with God. Therefore, there cannot be any commonality and I cannot have any fellowship with Him according to the apostle John.
But he goes on and says, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son cleanses us from all sin.” But if we walk in the light, now the word “walk” there means to “walk about” and it is used throughout the scripture over again to describe an individual’s life and how they live their life specifically, day by day, once step in front of another, how it is that they go. Sometimes with direct purpose and sometimes with (inaudible), but sometimes just meandering about not terribly bothered by anything. How we live our lives is how we walk according to the way it is used in the scriptures here. But if we walk, if we live our lives in the light as He is in the light, and He is the standard… It is not my standard of right and wrong. It’s not your standard of right and wrong. It is God’s standard of right and wrong. If we walk in the light, in the truth as He is in the light, then we have fellowship one with another. There is that commonality because we are all living our lives within the light, within the truth of God’s Word. If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another and the blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.
How do I keep myself in the faith? By walking in the light. By living my life according to the standard of God’s Word, by knowing that it will be that Word by which I shall be judged when that Day of Judgment comes upon us all. (John chapter 12 and verse 48) By living my life in such a way that no matter what I say, no matter where I am, no matter what I can be found doing, I am exhibiting the proper attitudes, the proper word usage, the proper attire, the proper behavior so that I can be seen to live my life in accordance with the truth of God’s Word so that I am walking in the light as He is in the light. It is easy for me to get along with myself. It is easy for me to live by my own standard. That is no difficulty whatsoever. People do that all around us. But that’s not what the apostle said that we need to do in order to have access to the saving blood of Jesus Christ. If I live by my own standard, if I live according to my own wishes and desires, I may please myself. I may think that I’m right. I may be very convinced. I may be sincere, but I would be sincerely wrong.
Individuals who would be right in the sight of God and who want to be kept in the faith is the person who needs to recognize that the standard lies with God. The standard of right and wrong lies within the Word that He has given us, and it is by that standard that we must judge ourselves for it is by that standard that we shall be judged in the end.
If I would be true to God, if I would have Him be accepting of me in the final judgment, I have a responsibility to walk in the light as He is in the light so that I can have fellowship with all those other individuals all over the world who are faithful Christians who are striving to live according to the Will of God so that I can have fellowship with God Himself, but so that I can have access to the blood of Jesus Christ who cleanses us from all sin. Now someone will stop me right there and say, “Yeah but you know what. I make mistakes and so do you.” We all make mistakes. We all sin. We all have come short of the glory of God (Romans chapter 3 and verse 23). That’s absolutely true. Romans chapter 6 verse 23 says that, “The wages of sin is death,” and if those sins are not taken care of, if they are not accounted for in some way we will lose our souls over those sins. The fact that we all have them doesn’t make them okay. The fact that we have all fallen short doesn’t make that appropriate. The fact that I may be wrong about something doesn’t give you liberty to be wrong about something. If we would be acceptable, we must turn to the standard of God’s Word and live according to that standard and that standard only and when we fall, when we stumble, we have to correct ourselves.
Listen how the apostle John continues on there in verse 8. He says, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Let me say that again. “To cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
I’ve been preaching for some time now and I’ve come across individuals who have literally told me that they felt they could never be acceptable to God because of what they have done in their past life, perhaps what they were even doing at that time, and they believed that they were so far beyond the scope of the mercy of God that they believed there was no way they could ever be acceptable to Him. They had simply sinned too much and in too great a degree. The blood of Jesus Christ was offered upon the cross for the sins of the world, to purchase the church that He would build for Himself (Acts chapter 20 verse 28 and Matthew chapter 16 verses 16-19). Jesus Christ our Lord died on the cross and shed His blood so that your sins and my sins could be blotted out and John here says that if we change our lives and no longer live the ways of the world, if we walk in the light as He is in the light, then the blood of His Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness. Not just some of the things. Not the common sins. Not the socially acceptable sins. All unrighteousness if we will but yield ourselves to that standard. Now the difficulty is stepping out of my own life, stepping out of my own standard of right and wrong, my own realm of comfort and being willing to examine myself for what I truly am, not as other lights to be seen but as God sees. That’s what we are told by the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verses 21-22. “Prove all things. Hold fast to that which is good and abstain from every appearance of evil.” We have a responsibility to look at every facet of our lives, do a spiritual checklist. Am I truly living the way that God wants me to live? Or have I fallen prey to the standard of commonality? I am just like everybody else. Surely I am okay because I am like everyone around me. But again, that’s not the standard!
How can I keep myself in the faith? I can keep myself in the faith by comparing myself to the standard of God’s own Word. Where I am wrong, I change. Where I am right, I strive to keep myself there. I strive to mature. I strive to grow. I strive to become better and better as a servant of God. If I do that, if I add to my faith all those virtues Peter mentioned, I need never fall and neither do you.
Of course, first you have to become a Christian. In order to do that, you have to hear the Word of God and believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, be willing to confess Jesus Christ as the Son of God before others, repent of your sins so that you no longer live the ways of the world, be baptized for the remission of your sins so that you can be added to the church that Jesus built and purchased with His own blood, and then having done that, be faithful up to and including the point of your own death living your life for Him according to His standards which is what is required of each and every one of us as we look to keep ourselves in the faith of Jesus Christ.
I thank you for your time.
(SONG # 3 - “My Jesus, I Love Thee!”)
It was certainly great to have you with us today. Thanks be to God for this opportunity we have had to come before His throne this morning. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we join together in this service to God.
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Isn’t it great to know that we have the privilege to know God and to have faith in Him? Let’s all do our part to remain faithful to our Creator that we might receive the wondrous reward in the end.