THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-8-09
LESSON TITLE: "TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES: KEEP YOURSELF HOLY"
Greetings to all in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Let me thank each of you for joining us this morning - welcome to the program. Today we have the privilege to once again assemble before the throne of God. In this time of worship we will have the opportunity to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. May we each do our part in praising God according to His Will, as we make these sacrifices and offerings toward His Throne? Now as we begin talking to our God, will you bow with me in prayer!
It's now time to start our songs of praise. We want to begin by singing a hymn that tells us just how important Christ is to the child of God. So, let's join in with the congregation at this time as we sing this hymn, "Jesus Is All The World To Me!"
(SONG # 1)
Most of us are quick to condemn others and to point the finger at someone else. However, if we seriously considered our own lives we would probably find that we need to be working on more of our own problems, rather than focusing on others.
In the Bible this very topic is dealt with a lot. Jesus talked about our need to take care of our own problems first, as we read in Matthew 7. In fact He begins this chapter by reminding us that we should not judge others for ourselves. And why, because God is the judge. Then He goes on in verses 3-5 to say, "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." You see we need to get our own house in order before we begin helping others with their issues and problems.
Another verse which deals with this is found in John 8:7. In this example we find others dragging a prostitute before the Lord. The Pharisees boldly stormed in the temple and brought this lady before Christ, striving to trick Him or to belittle Him before those He was teaching. The outcome of the story is amazing, because Christ proclaimed to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." Guess what, within minutes there was no one left but the woman. What was Jesus doing here? Was He condoning her actions or accepting her in her present state? Certainly not! He was taking the time and showing the love necessary to give one the opportunity to repent and to respond to the Love of God. Jesus gave her a second chance and told her to "go and sin no more."
Wow, what a great example that reminds me so much of how quick we are to blame someone else. Or to try and amplify the sins of others to make ours look less significant.
The reality is, yes we need to help each other and bear each others burdens. The Bible tells us to help the weaker and to let our brethren know when they are doing wrong. But the same book also says, get your own things in order before you have a right to focus on and help everyone else. How do you treat your fellow man who is guilty of sin like we are? We better learn to respond like Christ did and as He commanded us to!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. This morning we have brother Jerry Sullins with us, to lead us in God's Word. Brother Sullins is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. As always we are glad he could be with us and we look forward to his presentation of God's saving message.
As far as our study, we will be continuing our series entitled, "Take Heed To Yourselves." Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with the challenge to, "Keep Yourself Holy." So please stay with us and after our next song, brother Sullins will be leading us in this important study from God's Word. Now let's again join in song together, as we sing the hymn, "Jesus Is Tenderly Calling!"
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
Again we'd like to welcome you to "The Living Word" broadcast and we're certainly happy that you have tuned in this morning. We pray that something that is said may lead you to a closer relationship with our Father in heaven.
We will be continuing our series of lessons this morning on "Take Heed Unto Yourselves" discussing the Biblical concept of holiness. The root meaning of that word as we find in the Bible itself means basically just something that is different.
In looking in the Old Testament in the city of Jerusalem there was located a very beautiful temple, and that temple was a holy place because it is actually where God dwelt. It was holy because it was different than all other buildings in that city. It was the place where God dwelt.
Also, if you remember the fourth of the Ten Commandments was "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy." The Sabbath Day was a day appointed by God to the Jews so that they might, well actually they didn't work on that day, but they completely dedicated that day in devotion to their God, and because of that it was a holy day that is a day that was different.
In the Christian Age, we see the same word used as it relates to Christian living because we as Christians as I want to show you from a scripture today are to be people who are different. Of course, we'd like to look into the pages of God's Word in the New Testament in the book of 1 Peter. I call your attention to chapter 1. We're going to read verses 13-19. There the apostle Peter said, "Therefore gird up the loins of your minds. Be sober and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lust as in your ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct..." That means your manner of living. Because it is written as we see in Leviticus chapter 11. Be holy as God says, "For I am holy. And if you call on the Father without partiality, judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here and fear knowing that you are not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your aimless conduct received by the tradition of your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish and without spot."
We as Christians are called by the gospel to be sanctified. That means to be set apart from the world. And as we look at the book of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 13-14, here the apostle Paul said, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you brethren, beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the Truth to which He called you by our gospel for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ." So we have actually been called by the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been remitted of our sins by His precious blood so that we might be what? So that we might be sanctified. That is set apart from the world and to be holy people.
As we try to describe to you this morning what holiness actually means, I'd like to call your attention to 1 Peter 1 verse 16 where the statement is made concerning God the Father, "Be ye holy as I am holy." So we are to do what as Christians? We are to strive to be different, that is to be holy as God is holy before everyone. Now heathenism that is those people who follow the principles of the world certainly strive at times it seems to make themselves gods that relate or that allows them to express themselves in all manners of wickedness.
I call your attention to Romans chapter 1, a very interesting series of verses that talks about the digression of the Gentile nation. And we'll start reading this morning in Romans 1 verse 21. It says concerning the Gentiles, it says, "Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God nor were thankful but became futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts were darkened professing to be wise they became fools and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things." So what they did is they didn't want to follow God so what they did is created their own god. It says because of this in verse 24 that, "God gave them up to uncleanness in the lust of their hearts to dishonor their bodies among themselves."
Then as we read continuing on in that chapter, the way they dishonored themselves was actually committing perversion. "A man loving a man..." Read it for yourself. It is there in Romans chapter 1. "A woman having a lust for another woman. Does that sound familiar in our society today? Men and women giving up the natural desires that God has given them and turning to the unnatural or perverted desires. This is not what God intends for the people who represent Him because God in no way sanctions this type of person in any sense of the matter as being holy or like unto Him because God is not like that. So we see very clearly today that people may create for them a god that they want to create because they want to do certain things. People even create religions sometimes because they want to believe certain things and practice certain things and you can find a religion in this world that will allow you to do or practice anything. You don't have to go to the world, you can find it right here in the United States of America.
But what does God want us to do? He wants us to imitate Him. Read in Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 1. There the scripture says, "Be imitators of God as dear children." Be imitators, what? That means to mimic God. Be like God. As what? As His dear children. That's what we should strive to want to be like. So we strive to follow Christ. He gave us a perfect example that we would follow in His footsteps. We strive to imitate Him as He imitates the Father. This is what it means to be holy as He is holy.
I call your attention also to 1 Peter chapter 1 verse 15. The scripture says that, "Christians are to be holy in all manner of living." Not just some manner of living, but they are supposed to be holy in all manner of living.
In Ephesians chapter 2 let's just turn over there for a few moments. They said I had a little bit more time this morning so I'll just read a few more scriptures. In Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1-3 it says, "And you He made alive." You who? You Christians who are Ephesus. "He made alive who..." Were what? "...dead in your trespasses and sins in which you also walked according to the course of this world according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience," and verse 3 says, "among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind in were by nature children of wrath just as the others."
Now is that being demonstrated in some people today who call themselves Christians? It certainly is. They claim to be Christians, but even someone of the world will look at them who knows anything about Christianity and they will wonder, "Is that person really a Christian?" Now why do people who are not even concerned basically about religion make such a declaration about some of you who are Christians? Well, I'll tell you why they make that declaration. I'll tell you why they come to that conclusion. It is because you are not living as you should live.
Remember Romans 12 verse 2, "Be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you might prove what is that good, that acceptable and perfect will of God." So in our lives, by the renewing of our minds, we are to prove to other people what is that good, acceptable and the perfect will of God.
Well James in his book, if you have time read it in James 1 verse 27. Read it this morning if you will. It says, "Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, that we care for the widows and the orphans in their affliction and to keep oneself unspotted from the world." Now is that what pure religion is? Well, that's what the inspired James said. He received that message from the Holy Spirit who brought it directly from the Father and the Father above says that, "pure religion involves keeping oneself unspotted from this world." But yet we have people who claim to be Christians who are not striving to do that. They ignore what Jesus said about marriage, divorce and remarriage. They get married to one person and go into that relationship, and you know as well as I do that this is the truth. In fact, you may have gone into the relationship you are in right now having this same feeling, "Well if I don't like her, I'll just put her away." Well God does allow such a thing.
Read Matthew 1:1-9. There the scripture says, "Jesus Himself says, 'Except a man put away his wife for fornication and if he marries another, he commits adultery and the person that he puts away also commits adultery.'" That is pretty serious business. How can we claim to be Christians if we are not even following what Jesus has said concerning such matters? We're to be faithful to the marriage contract. It is one marriage for life. That's God's intention. He does not allow any person to put away anyone else except it be for fornication. That's what it means to live a Christian life. You're different from the world. You're not like the 50% or more people who marry and get a divorce just because they want to, but you're trying to follow God's principles.
I heard on the radio just this morning that some people had been married for 26 years and this person was just almost overwhelmed saying how wonderful that is, and indeed it is. I don't mean to brag, but I've been married to my wife for 46 years. I tell you what, there's no better life, and there's no way on earth I am going to put her away. Why? For any reason other than fornication. Why? Because that's what the scripture says, and I am a Christian.
In business, Christians are different. They are honest people. Some people have made the statement that there is no way you can be an honest businessman. Well we know better than that, don't we? Yes, you can be an honest businessman. But we're to have honesty toward all people (Romans 12 verse 17) as Christians. And so when a Christian is a businessperson, this businessperson is an honest person. "His word," as my grandfather said, "his word is his bond." He is not going to go back on that because he is a Christian and the Bible says to be honest toward all men.
In recreation, a Christian is different because a Christian puts God first. A Christian wants to... Almost all forms of recreation, I would say there is usually nothing really wrong with them, but when you start putting that before your God you cease being that different or holy person. You mean to tell me that God is going to be happy if you put the Super Bowl before Him? I don't believe in any sense that is going to be true. Now you can watch the Super Bowl. Don't tell me you don't have a recorder. You can watch it and you can watch it through other means without forsaking the assembly, without going against what God wants you to do at the time the Super Bowl may be going on. See, we're Christians and we're supposed to be holy. Indeed we are motivated to be holy because we know that there is going to come a time when we're going to be judged according to 1 Peter 1 verse 13. We're going to be judged .
It was the apostle Paul who said in 2 Corinthians 5 and verse 10, a very important statement. He said, "For we shall all appear before the judgment seat of Christ and we will be judged according to what we have done in our bodies whether it is good or whether it is evil."
Are you watching for the Lord to return? I just can't imagine a Christian who just totally never thinks about that because we do not know the hour (Matthew 24) that Jesus is coming again. Therefore, we need to be watchful and to be sober. That is to be of a sound mind concerning this. Why? Because we are holy people and we know that we must stand before that judgment seat of Christ someday. "For God is not slack concerning His promises; some men count slackness, but is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance for He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that one whom He hath ordained." Acts 17:30-31
And for no other reason, we Christians should live a holy life because of the great sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross for you and for me. Oh I know there is no way we can imagine what a difficult thing it was for Jesus to go to that cross. In fact, He even prayed the night before, "Father, if it be possible let this cup pass from Me." He knew what was going to happen. He was God. He was God in the flesh. He knew He was going to suffer. He knew that He was going to suffer a Roman crucifixion, probably the most cruel death that is known to mankind throughout the ages. But Jesus went to the cross for you and for me.
In that Jesus is going to save us, why is it we are not challenged and motivated to live the Christian life? And each time we partake of the Lord's Supper as we do in the churches of Christ, we remember His death and His burial and His resurrection until He comes again just like the New Testament church did back in the 1st century. We are aware of the need that we have as Christians to live as Christ wants us to live. And yes, sometimes we don't live the way Christ wants us to live. We do not walk in the light as John said in 1 John 1 verse 7 as we need to. And we falter, but John said there in 1 John 1 verse 9, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." And that my brothers and sisters in Christ is what keeps us holy, what makes us different from the world.
I know that we as Christians strive in every way we can. We who are sincere Christians are striving to live as Christ would have us to live. There's an interesting statement that is made in 2 Corinthians 7 verse 1. There the apostle Paul said, "Come ye out from among them. Be separated." We need to separate ourselves from the things of this world and from the people of this world who strive to lead us away from God Himself.
And so my friend, I would like to call your attention to Hebrews 12 verse 14. It says, "Pursue peace with all people and holiness, without such no one shall see the Lord."
(SONG # 3 - "Kneel At The Cross!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. What a blessing it has been to share this time together in Christ. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves through this worship to God!
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How wonderful it is to have such a holy God and to have the challenge to be holy as He is holy. Will we strive for the holiness of God in every aspect of our lives?