THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-6-11
LESSON TITLE: “LET YOUR LIGHT SO SHINE: FORESIGHT”
In Titus 3:7, the inspired Paul told this young evangelist to know that we have been, “justified by God’s grace…,” and therefore we have “become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” How wondrous it is to come before God this day with the knowledge of such blessings and promises.
Let me welcome you to our program on this glorious Lord’s Day. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God and we are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. Won’t you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to the Lord, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let’s begin our offering to God with a prayer!
As we continue to Worship before the throne of God, let’s sing a song of praise that reminds us of just how loving and wonderful our God is. WHY? He has assured us of many great blessings if we strive to be faithful to His Will. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Blessed Assurance?”
(SONG # 1)
We have considered thus far this morning that as Christians we are heirs of God, because we have been justified by His grace, thus we have eternal life. So how is it that we make sure we continue in the right path? How do we know that all we do and say is pleasing in the sight of God? Well, in 2 Thessalonians 3:5, this church is encouraged to understand that which truly should guide them all in their everyday life. Read with me that passage, there it says, “Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.” So who give us direction, who guides our ways - obviously God!
However, notice with me how it is that God knows we are doing this and that we are making the right choices. Back in verses 3-4 of the same text we read, “But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, both that you do and will do the things we command you.” Again, we learn here that God can be counted on to establish and guard us, but what’s our part? Here he confirms that we must do and continue to do the things which we are commanded to do by God!
Thus, our consideration of the morning must be just what are we doing for God? Are you doing and are you committed to doing all those things which are commanded according to His Will! Well the reality is, if we want Him to love us, guide us and guard us, we have no choice but to obey. So, just how much do you love your Savior?
As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing our study entitled, “Let Your Light So Shine.” Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with “Foresight.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “A New Creature.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Let me thank you once again for continuing with us now as we go to God’s Word and as we look at another wondrous truth concerning the ability we have to let our light shine in this world so that we might allow others to see God in us and therefore glorify Him and also allow them to hopefully desire to know God and come to an obedience of His Will. What greater thing than we would have in this life to save ourselves and also those who are influenced by us? So let’s always make that greatest effort to be as God has designed through His Word.
With those things in mind we continue to look today at that topic of “Letting Our Light Shine,” and specifically our discussion today deals with the idea of sight. You know as we think about sight there is an idea I would like to first question you about. How many things in your life would you change in hindsight if you had the opportunity to change those? I think of a story there in Luke chapter 15 that we often refer to as the lost or the prodigal son, the sinful son, the riotous son and how that he went out with his inheritance, which I believe it seems to indicate would have been a great inheritance, and for awhile squandered all of the wealth that he had. Basically eventually, as we know the story, he comes back basically almost in tears realizing that he isn’t even worthy before his father to be recognized as a son, but maybe, maybe he can just at least be a servant, a slave because then at least he will have the food that he needs and the shelter to live a regular life, or at least a normal life to an extent. With all of that, I want you to think of what in hindsight he wished he had changed before going back to the father. Don’t you know he wished he hadn’t squandered all the money so quickly? Don’t you know he would have wished that he would have changed things and maybe headed a different direction and even when he went back to the father maybe had something to show for all that he had squandered? So we certainly understand the idea of hindsight.
Another idea is to be shortsighted. You might recall with me a passage in 2 Peter and chapter 1 where it actually warns us to be those who are “not barren or unfruitful or rather even shortsighted or blind.” Think about that for a moment. It is possible that someone even is shortsighted, that they are not willing to see down the road and to be able to really do what they need to do and in that text we find the ultimate outcome is to lose one’s soul. But on the other hand, if we are somebody who can keep from being shortsighted or someone who is not focused on always looking in hindsight, guess what we can accomplish. Great things for God! We can demonstrate as Peter says, “Those Christian virtues that not only make us fruitful but bountiful before God,” and then ultimately in verses 10 and 11 of that text, he says, “The outcome is eternal life, eternal or everlasting life with God.”
But now today what we want to look at for just a few moments is not the idea of necessarily being one who looks back in hindsight or even to be shortsighted, but what we want to look at is the idea of foresight. When is the last time you even used that word? I mean you know in the topics we’ve looked at we have tried to maybe consider some different ideas than just the normal discussions we have from scripture. But do we realize the Bible actually talks about the idea of a foresight? If hindsight means to look back and if being shortsighted means that now in the moment maybe I am not looking or having the confidence or reaching as far as I can reach, then what does it mean to have foresight? It means something about the future. It means something about making plans or being prepared for tomorrow.
Now with that in mind, we might immediately wonder, “Well, there are many times in the Bible that God warns us to not worry about tomorrow.” Do you remember there even in the book of Matthew Jesus in the great “Sermon On The Mount” in chapter 6 actually makes that very concept clear as He says, “Do not worry about the things of tomorrow.” Verse 34. Why? It says, “Tomorrow is going to have sufficient trouble, its own troubles.” What was He saying there? He was saying, “Don’t allow yourself today to be burdened to the extent that you allow today and tomorrow to be affected in a negative way. How do we know that? We know that because the Bible actually encourages people to plan and to have foresight. The Bible encourages someone like Paul to go on a missionary journey and to travel throughout all the lands of Asia Minor and Europe to preach the gospel. Can you imagine if Paul had said, “Well, I can’t plan. God says don’t ever plan, and so therefore I can’t go on a journey because I can’t plan for tomorrow. I can’t choose what I am going to do next week.” Well that’s ridiculous, isn’t it? Well the fact is that we must have proper foresight. We have to look ahead in a positive and good way knowing that I am doing everything that I can today, but yet that I am going to do my best tomorrow and even better if possible. That’s the Will of God. That’s what He desires.
There’s an example we find clear there again back in the book of Luke. If you will look in your Bibles, if you have them with you, to Luke chapter 14 that once again talks about the counting of the cost as one who loves God, being able to understand that we have got to understand to look ahead and say, “I am going to count the cost. I am going to grab hold of the Lord’s cross, in a sense, and I am going to bear it and I am going to do what my God needs me to do.” So within that discussion in Luke 14, I want you to specifically notice with me what he says as an example in verse 28. He says, “For which of you intending to build a tower does not sit down first and count the cost whether he has enough to finish it.” Well you see, plan it! He says, “What would be sensible about just doing something like building a house without any planning at all?” Why? Because you might begin to put in the foundation and guess what. All the money is already gone because you built a house that was so big that you could never complete it. What would make the sense in making a foundation too small because you haven’t planned? “Well I can’t plan for tomorrow.” Making a foundation too small and then you don’t even have enough room to live in the house! Well you see, he says, “Who doesn’t sit down when you are going to build something and plan?” Why? “Lest,” verse 29, “after he has laid the foundation and is not able to finish all who see him begin to mock him.”
There’s another example that is given here. He says, “What king,” there in verse 31, “goes to make war against another king and doesn’t first send out the (what?) spies?” And doesn’t consider what? “If he is able to with ten thousand come up against twenty thousand. And then if he sees that he is unable to do it, what king in his right mind wouldn’t then first sit down and try to make a peace treaty or work things out?” Why? Because he is looking at tomorrow. He is taking the foresight to look to the future and say, “If I go to war with ten thousand against twenty thousand and I see what their soldiers are like compared to our soldiers, we’re going to lose today or tomorrow or the next day. Therefore, I must strive for peace and to work this issue out.”
Jesus was actually telling those who would follow Him that they have to look ahead and decide: Will I pay the price? Now why would that be so important? Because what good is it to God if I say I am going to follow you and I obey God today and I become a Christian but tomorrow I don’t do anything else. I never go to church. I never read the Bible. I never try to grow. I never do anything. I just say, “Well, now that I am saved, I don’t have to worry about anything.” Is that what God wants? No! He expects us to count the cost, to have the foresight to say, “What about today? How will I live the rest of the day? What about tomorrow? What will I do tomorrow for God? And how will I plan to use my life in every way, every facet as best possible to lift up, glorify and praise my Redeemer?
Well with all those things in mind, we must then prepare ourselves, equip ourselves.
I think another text that would help us with this clearly is found in Ephesians chapter 6. Do you remember there the idea of how the scripture says that, “We must stand as those who love God, stand against the wiles of the devil, and evil withstand all of the evils of the day?” And then what does he go on to really give them as well as how to withstand or to stand in such situations, the Christian armor? “There’s a way that I prepare myself as a soldier to be ready today, and to be ready tomorrow, and to always be ready for (what?) spiritual battle.” How do I do that? I have faith and I have there the helmet of salvation and I have the Word that is the Sword, and on and on we could speak about the things found there, but all of these things indicate a preparation to clothe and equip oneself as a soldier of the cross or Jesus Christ. So again preparation.
What then would be necessary to prepare? Foresight! Getting things in order and deciding what I must wear, how I must learn them…
Then we can even go back to 2 Peter that we looked at just a moment ago in chapter 1 and if you remember what those verses deal with, again the Christian virtues, and then he says, “You should be diligent to add to (what?) your faith virtue, your virtue knowledge…” and then he goes through a whole list. What is he talking about? He is talking about planning and working today toward being better tomorrow. Are we all going to be perfect today in faith and virtue and knowledge? No! What do I have to do? I have got to diligently add to those things. How can I do that? I can’t do it this second. I have got to do it the next hour and the next hour and the day after and the day after that and build diligently. Later in that same text he says, “And be very diligent to add to these things, to grow, to live for God.”
And so building takes preparation. The concept of working in life takes preparation. To become a physician takes preparation. We go to school that we might learn and grow for secular things to accomplish in this life, to support ourselves. Why would it be any different in spiritual matters? It’s not! In fact, God wants me to ever grow that I might ever be focusing on my ability to do everything I can today as well as tomorrow.
I remember what James cautions us about there in James. He warns us about the brevity of life, and how that it’s but a vapor and the emphasis that he really has here is maybe the urgency of what we need to do, the ability that I should really focus on to accomplish as much as possible as quickly as possible. Why? Because in hindsight, I wish I had done it differently. Or in hindsight, if I had done it like this, I would have done more, but in foresight I am not going to make that mistake again.
That really brings us to another point of foresight, the great ability that we have to learn from others of old. You know we go back to the very beginning of time and we see the mistake that Adam and Eve made and we see the mistakes that even great men like Abraham made, the mistakes that men like Moses made as they tried to come up with excuse after excuse sometimes. Remember Moses there at the burning bush? “Find someone else, God. Help me by finding someone else to lead Your people out of Egypt.” You see they were always looking for something for the here and the now. But God was looking for Moses for tomorrow. God was looking for Moses to go tomorrow and the next day and even a year down the road and 40 years down the road to lead them where? All the way to the Jordan River! That takes planning. That takes preparation! That takes organization! That takes someone sitting down and being focused and remaining focused and giving something their best and their all. Are we willing to do that?
There are other great examples that we find even as we look over into the New Testament. We find the opportunity of looking at the disciples and the work that they have done. I like specifically even before the apostles the disciple John, John the baptizer. Do you remember John? He came to prepare the way for the what? For the coming of the Savior! Now let me ask you a question: If they were not to plan for the coming of the Savior because it is tomorrow, then why was he preaching it? He was preaching something futuristic that according to the Will of God and power of God that would come to pass. And guess what. It did come to pass. So the reality was that John was living toward tomorrow, toward the promise of the coming of the Messiah tomorrow and was encouraging people to repent and be baptized because Jesus is at hand. Well preparation, foresight, looking ahead.
And what about us? What is perhaps the greatest motivation of foresight and looking ahead? And what’s maybe one of the most wondrous things that we look for? Not only blessings now, not only knowing that God is going to care for me tomorrow on this earth, but eternally. You see, I cannot only be one who looks with foresight at what I have to do for God, but I can also with foresight look at what God has promised. Is there something else an hour from now, tomorrow, or a week from now, or a year from now that is going to come that will benefit me? According to God there is! And so what do I need to do? I need to live now and every day as to receive it. You see that is the very encouragement of thinking ahead, of understanding that there are reasons and there are rewards that await the faithful. Therefore, I want to do everything I can to make sure that I am right with my God, that I am doing what my God has commanded me.
But I also like the way that Paul spoke to Timothy about these things there in 1 Timothy chapter 4. There in verse 16 he says, “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine.” He first says to make sure yourself is right, but then he goes on to say, “And continue in them for in doing this, you will save not only yourself, but all those who hear you.”
What was the objective of these great apostles and evangelists as they went out? They were working for today to accomplish the Will of God, but they were also focused on their ability to accomplish the task tomorrow and the next day and the next year.
How well do we use foresight to accomplish what God has asked of us? Do we really prepare in the best way we can to make sure that we are going to not only do our best but give it our all and be as successful as possible every day of our lives knowing that what lies ahead is the opportunity to receive everything God has spoken through His Word but ultimately knowing that what awaits is a mansion over the hilltop, a place in Heaven prepared for the faithful. You and I will receive that reward if found faithful in the end.
(SONG # 3 - “Faith Is the Victory!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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May we all look to the future and plan to accomplish those things that make us better servants in God’s Kingdom. However, may we also live today and every day in such a way that proves we are ready for the coming of our Lord. Are you ready to meet Jesus?