THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-3-08
LESSON TITLE: "FEAR GOD AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: THE NARROW ROAD TO GOD"
We are excited to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. What a glorious Lord's Day morning it is.
As always it is an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God.
I hope you are ready to worship God this morning! Furthermore, It is our hope and prayer that today we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. With these things in mind, let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
What a wonderful privilege we have to glorify our God through songs of praise. In fact, the Bible says we are to "lift up Jesus," in all that we do. So, let's begin this morning, with a hymn that reminds us of this great opportunity, which we have - to serve as Christians. So, won't you join in with the congregation and do your part as we sing together, "Stepping In The Light."
(SONG # 1)
We have already mentioned this morning and sung about how great and wonderful our God is! I hope that everyone joining us, has already established this fact in his or her own mind.
However, another encouraging fact concerning God is that we are made like Him. In Genesis 1:27, we read, "so God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." We find two important facts here that confirm to us just how special we are. First, we see that we are created by God. How could we be more honored or more perfect, than by being created by the almighty God of the universe? It was the very hand of God that provided us this opportunity of life. Thus, we are made by Him unto His glory.
The second thing we read about in the previous verse is that mankind is created in the image of God. So, we are not only made by Him but we are also made in His likeness. However, don't let this concept confuse you, because God is not made with flesh and blood. This is confirmed for us in John 4:24, where Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John said God is a spirit. Paul said, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Corinthians 15:50. God is not flesh and blood, nor is His kingdom. Furthermore, no physical body can inherit the kingdom of God. So, what does this tell us about being created in His image? It means that we are created in His spiritual likeness. We can strive to imitate His spiritual characteristics; thus making ourselves to be found approved in His sight. In verse 52 and 53, of the same opening, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul went on to say, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."
I hope now you are beginning to see just how special we are for a being like God to not only create us, but to also create us in His image. I really like the way the psalmist, David, put it when he said, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well," Psalms 139:14. We should praise God for what He has done in making us His most special and precious creation, thus giving us dominion over all things.
Today we will continue our series of study that is entitled, "Fear God And Keep His Commandments." Our specific lesson this morning will deal with "The Narrow Road To God!" So, please continue with us and after our next song I will return with this study from God's Word.
Now let's join in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn is "The Old Rugged Cross."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We're so glad you've continued with us today as we go into God's Word and find out more about what it has to say about fearing God and keeping His commandments.
You know there are so many different types of teaching tools found in the Bible primarily the New Testament such as parables and even true life event and even examples of what took place in the life of Christ and others. You see there are so many ways that we are taught. One such place, Matthew 19, teaches us about an event really between Jesus and a rich man, actually it was a young man who was wealthy, most likely some type of royalty or someone of position, someone who no doubt had had plenty of this earth's goods. How interesting here that he comes to Jesus evidently believing somewhat who Jesus was that he might hear the truth, what it was that he needed to do or possibly even to be told by Christ how good he was.
If you'll notice there in chapter 19 and verse 16, he comes to Christ and calls Him "Good Teacher." Immediately, Jesus in verse 17 corrects him and says, "There's none good but the Father." So we see Christ giving the glory to God the Father. But then he asks him a question, he says, "What must I do to have eternal life?" So then Jesus begins in verse 18 telling him specifically about some of the Ten Commandments. He says that, "One needs to not murder, and you shall not commit adultery..." and many of those things we're aware of that are found back in the book of Exodus from the Ten Commandments. After this, no doubt the young man who has wealth was excited because he knows he has done all of these things and in fact in verse 20, he says, "All these things I have kept from my youth." As if, "Wow, look at me. I have met the standard. I have done what my God desires." But then he said, "What do I lack?" That was his mistake because you see none of us are perfect. We all have things we can improve on and areas we can improve in, and this man asks, "But what do I lack?" Then Jesus answers in verse 21, "If you want to be perfect," He says, "go and sell what you have and give it to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven and then come and follow Me."
Was this an unreasonable request? Certainly not! What about the twelve that had been called? Had they not left all of their world's goods? Had they not left their fishing boats and their tax collecting tables and other things to come and follow God? Yes, they had. So here He is saying, "Are you willing to serve Me?" See, Jesus knew in His heart. Jesus knew this man was not willing to give up the world's goods to truly serve Him. Now that's a problem for any time we put something before God, we truly do not fear Him and we truly are not keeping His commandments. You see, this young man wanted it his way.
Then in verse 22 we see that, "The young man heard the saying of Christ and then he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions." You see he realized he wasn't willing to make the sacrifice.
So what is the story inferring? What is it teaching us? It is not saying that it was wrong for him to have wealth or even that it was wrong for him to want to keep some of the wealth. The point Christ was making was that you do all that you need to do from God that suits you, but those things that you don't like you don't do and you don't share your goods with those that have need in this world. So Christ is teaching him a valuable lesson and he teaches us a valuable lesson as well through it. It shows us that as God commands there are things we must do, obey if we are going to fear Him and keep His commandments and it's not just those things that we like or that we pick and choose that suit us. The things we must do again that we're learning about this morning are those things that God asks. Sometimes, as we can find here, that means sacrificing some things that we love the most or some things that we normally really wouldn't want to give up. Why? To show God we love Him, loving Him by keeping His commandments and to show Him we're willing to make any sacrifice for Him. There's nothing greater than God or our service to God. That's exactly what God must know from our hearts and our souls.
Now if you'll back up to Matthew chapter 6, we really see the more specific emphasis of our topic this morning. Not only have we been introduced to it in the first passage of Matthew 19, but here in the great Sermon on the Mount, we find Jesus again teaching disciples in one of the greatest sermons ever proclaimed, most likely the first great gospel sermon that ever was proclaimed by Jesus Christ Himself at least in such entirety and such length. And so when we find here in chapter 6 how all these things are being said that are important that one follow that we eventually get to the point of talking about putting God first or seeking the kingdom of God first, and we talked about that last week.
But now I want you to notice with me there in chapter 7. What was it that He said there beginning in verse 13? "After we learn that we should seek God that God hears us and He will open the door to us." Notice verse 13, the Bible says, "Enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it." Verse 14, "But narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it."
You see as we begin to understand the road to God, the way to God as introduced here, we see even as the rich, young ruler learned that road sometimes is a bit difficult. It might seem easy when we pick and choose what we want, but when we really obey God and do it His way, it is not easy because what we begin to learn is that we are not like everybody else and can't be like everyone else. We don't talk like everyone else and can't talk like everyone else, that we do stand out like a sore thumb and we are different, not conformed to the world but transformed and people do see that we are Christians and they see that we love God and they see that we are not of the world. Now, does that make us popular in life? Certainly not! And so there lies the challenge? The ways that He is speaking about. The roads that we have to choose between. So He introduces there the narrow way by first starting with the negative. Before talking about what the narrow way our gate is all about, He first starts there in verse 13 by saying, "There is a wide gate." The symbolism there is the wideness or the ability for one to easily go through because there is plenty of room. Not only is the gate wide, but notice what He goes on to say, "The way is also broad," or very wide. In other words, you can see a picture of a wide road and then a wide gate entering into something. Where does this lead? How interesting because in this passage it tells us in verse 13 that, "this leads to destruction." Why is it that the way is so wide and the gate is so wide? I think the symbolism here is clear. The many wicked things and evil things of life, certainly there are far more things and individuals and events and actions of this world that are contrary to God as opposed to those things that are for God.
Consider the great wickedness that transpires every second of every day and so we see the wide gate. Consider the many who choose to reject God either because they don't believe at all or because they believe and they won't obey or they believe and they won't obey all the way as the rich, young ruler. But then we read here that the broad way and the wide gate is one that leads to destruction. But perhaps the saddest part of this story is found in the same verse. "Many go in by it." You see it is what everybody's doing. It's what the crowd is doing. It's what our peers are doing, peer pressure. It's what everyone says is okay and it really doesn't matter. The masses. Everyone is... Have we ever wanted to stand out to be different? How many of us liked when we were growing up in school to be the one who was always different or considered as strange in some way? You see we wanted to be in the crowd, in the group. We wanted to be picked by those who were choosing. We wanted to be first and considered as cool or a part of those who were in. Well what we find here is that's what those individuals are doing who are leading their lives to destruction, those who have chosen the wide way and the wide gate, the ones who have chosen this path to destruction. Why? Because they have not put God first. They have not sacrificed to commit themselves to Him and they have truly not obeyed the commandments of God to show they love Him. Now again, maybe they're doing some things that they like, but at the end of the day God is not pleased. They have chosen the broad way, the way that the masses or the denominations or the many groups are going.
Well let's look again at the next verse, versed 14. It speaks of that narrow gate now. Notice there are two clarifications, the narrow gate and then it speaks of the difficult way or the confined way, one that isn't again very broad but small. Now what does that tell us? Well again, we see those folks who are just a few, those who are not like everybody else, those who have dared to be different, those who have been mocked. Let me remind you of something in just a moment. What about Jesus? What about His disciples? Were they popular to the world? Certainly not. Were they loved? No, they were hated. In fact, Jesus told His disciples, "The world is going to hate you like they hated Me." You see when we do what God says it often makes us unpopular. And so therefore, we find ourselves on the narrow way, going through a narrow gate and the wide gate and the broad way is packed with people and we look over and it seems appealing and we want to be over there because all of our friends are there and our family are there, but where are we? If we're with God, we're on that narrow way. We're looking at that narrow gate and we're leading into a gate that it says few find. Well look at the comparison. Few find.
Let me give you an example to help us understand that. Back in the days of Noah in Genesis chapter 6, wickedness of man was so great that God destroyed the earth. Now, think about that for a moment. Who was destroyed in the flood? All of mankind. How many were saved? Out of the millions, eight souls. Eight souls were saved. Now maybe we're beginning to see what a few can be. And what determined the few? Faithfulness. Noah was faithful to God.
Now every example we have thereafter whether it is amongst Israel or Joshua or other situations be faithful, "as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." It was always based on faithfulness and whoever was faithful whether it be eight, a thousand or a million, God is going to save. But if the masses, the billions have rejected God, they are on that broad way. They are in that broad gate and they are headed away from the narrow one where few are who are striving their best, although unique and different to serve God. But I want you to notice the incentive to the narrow way and the narrow gate.
The incentive is also found in verse 14. It leads to life. You know if I've got to pick between "destruction and everybody is doing it," or "life, and I've got to be a little different, eternal life," with God is far more worth it. Isn't that why no doubt Jesus proclaimed Himself in John 14:6 when He says, "I am the way, the truth and the life." Did you hear that? I am the way. The broad way? The narrow which way which is Jesus? The narrow way. I am the way. I can show you that way, not what everybody is doing but the right way as the rich, young ruler was challenged by Christ. Will you accept that challenge? Think also here, Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, and the (what?) life." What is in the way? What is in the narrow way and the narrow gate? We read in verse 14, "the life." Jesus gives us through His sacrifice, through His love, through His care; He gives us the way to go and the life, eternal life if we'll follow Him. How do we do that? Well, that's our series: "Fear God and Keep His Commandments."
I also love the latter part of John 14:6 because He not only says, "I am the way, the truth and the life," but He says, "If you want to get to the Father," He says, "you've got to do it through Me." You know if we want to get to God the Father, there is only one way, narrow way, Jesus. There is only one life offered and that's through Christ.
If you today are a child of God, praise God, do what God commands and don't be satisfied with anything less. But if you are not a child of God, also we encourage you to know the way, the narrow, to know the life offered in Christ and to understand His Will that you might also fear God by knowing Him and keep His commandments in all aspects as God has commanded. For if you do that, as well as us, you'll be saved. You'll have eternal life and as the Bible promises a mansion prepared over the hilltop for all those who have been found faithful until death.
(SONG # 3 - "The Way Of The Cross!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. 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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How blessed we are to know that God has shown us the way, no matter how narrow it is. The question is, will we determine to stay on the right road that leads to God, or will we choose to take another? We better choose wisely for our soul depends on it!