THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 3-1-09
LESSON TITLE: “TAKE HEED TO YOURSELVES: KEEP YOURSELF IN THE HAND OF GOD”
Good morning! Let me welcome each of you to our program this morning. It is always a privilege to have you with us to hear the Living Word of God. We are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our God. Won’t you take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give your own reverence to God, 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!
If I were to ask you, “What was the greatest day ever, in your life?” I know I would get a variety of answers in response to the question. However, what if I were to ask you, “What was the greatest day ever, in the Bible?” Certainly one answer would center around the thoughts of our first song of the day. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus?”
(SONG # 1)
As a Christian, have you ever asked yourself the question, “what is this all for,” or “is this really all worth my while?” I know we all have times when we have questions about God and our faith. However, let’s make sure that we use these times in a productive way, to encourage us in studying His Word, finding the answers, and thus turning again to God and a commitment of His Word.
I read a verse today that reminds us of what it is all about and what it is all for! This verse further helps us to know what we will receive if we choose to obey God and if we remain faithful until death. The verse is found in Matthew 16:27, and the things said are from none other than Jesus Christ Himself! There we read, “For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” Wow, what wonderful hope and assurance we have here in the Word’s of God Himself - for Christ has come, fulfilled the will of the Father, and thus we have the promise of a reward.
However, I wanted to bring out a further clarification which Jesus made in this same verse concerning our reward. Notice that our Lord said, “…and then He will reward each according to his works.” Did you catch that? The reward is there being offered and is ours, but we must do our part to make sure we will receive it. As Jesus further said in Matthew 12:37, each man will be justified or condemned according to his words and deeds!
Are you living a life of faith that can be seen by others around you? Furthermore, are you living a life of faith which can be seen by the one who really matters, God above? Choose today to do your part to see that by grace, through faith, you receive the rewards offered from our God in Heaven!
Today we will be concluding our study together concerning our series entitled, “Take Heed To Yourselves.” Our specific lesson of the morning is, “Keep Yourself In The Hand Of God.” So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the lesson thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Peace Perfect Peace.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us today and now we return to God’s Word and consider our last lesson in the series that we have looked at together for several months now, “Take Heed To Yourselves.” We began there in the book of Deuteronomy really understanding that God had challenged His people to take heed unto themselves and be careful about how they were living their lives, to make sure that they would take heed in so many different realms of their lives to do His Will, to follow His commandments, to live righteously, to stay away from sin. And therefore, we have looked at so many different ideas I hope that have been encouraging to us and challenging to us so that we might be better Christians today as well taking heed to ourselves and making sure that we keep ourselves in the things of God. And so today we look at our last lesson together in this series and we consider together the idea of “Keeping Yourselves In The Hand Of God.”
If you think for a moment about some of the most beautiful pictures that we find on this earth, one certainly beautiful idea is the thought there of parents loving a child or holding a child within their arms, the comfort, the care, the compassion, the protection, the guidance, all that is involved in being a parent and bearing that infant in your arms. And then you think about the child growing up and you think about as parents and maybe as grandparents and as those that love our children, that we want the best for them and we’re going to do all that we can to see that they have everything they need and in our society, then some, and even more than they need and we’re going to make sure that really they in life are able to be successful as best we can to show them that love again, that guidance, that protection, and all those wondrous things that we are able to benefit from as those who love one another.
Now if we put that in perspective of God and we think about all the good and glorious things concerning God we have considered and we think about the hands of God, the arms of God, the everlasting arms, the powerful hands, the finger of God that was able to even write the commandments on the stone for Moses in the book of Exodus. We find a God who is said in the Bible to be able to do all and everything necessary to see that we have what we need, to see that we are provided for. In fact, as you and I would well admit, just as we spoil our children, so to speak, God has spoiled us. We have so much in this society. We are so blessed and we often take it for granted. Why does God do this? Because He loves us. He loves us and He nurtures us as a parent, as a Father in His arms, and He holds us in His mighty hands and He takes us every step of the way and never leaves us alone. Oh yes, the hands of God are powerful, are mighty, are glorious, are wondrous, and something certainly that we need to be aware of.
As we think about the hands of God, we think about just how mighty they are. If we go back to Genesis chapter 1 what were the hands of God able to do? Create the world. And certainly we know that John 4:24 tells us that God is a Spirit, but the Bible often attributes these physical qualities to Him to show us just how mighty, just how powerful He is. In fact, the psalmist would help us to understand the creation and the hand and finger and power of God even in the book of Psalm 8. There in verse 1 beginning he says, “Oh Lord our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth who has set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants you have ordained strength because of your enemies that you may silence the enemy and the avenger. When I consider your heavens the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the Son of Man that you have visited him?”
It goes on to talk about that Jesus came to die for our sakes. Although we were sinners, He came to die to give us a chance of salvation. And so why would God with the finger of His hand, the mighty finger create all that He has created and make you and I? Because He loves us and He cares for us!
The Hebrew writer uses a similar idea. If you’ll turn there to the New Testament in Hebrews chapter 1 and verse 10 where now we learn that our God the Creator is described as creating with this. Read verse 10 with me. “You Lord in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth and the heavens are the work of your hands.” We begin to understand the power of God, the hands of God in a figurative sense, the arms of God, these things now that mean something to us because we can’t understand or comprehend fully a spirit, but we can see a father or a mother nurturing that child. We can see a parent hugging and embracing a loved one. We can see a hand reaching out to pick someone up when they’re down and therefore we are able to see God, God in His might, by His hands and through His love doing all that He can to see that we are cared for.
Now let’s look in the Old Testament once again because once again what do we find God doing for His chosen people beginning with Abraham all the way up until the time Jesus was born? He took Israel. He nurtured them. He cared for them. He protected them. He even gave them a land of inheritance. He gave them the ability to have a place to live and help them to have the houses they needed and helped the land to produce to have the food they would need. God cared for, protected, fought for His people, guided them and led them and made sure they were never alone every step of the way. God even has said there by His hand to have kept His people unified at times (2 Chronicles 30:12). Our God is a God who with His hands does whatever it takes to make sure that those whom He loves have all that they need and more. That’s the God we serve. Therefore as we look in the Old and New Testaments we continue to see that our God today in so many ways takes His hands and uses His hands to see that we have the things of this life, to see that we know which way to go, to see that we are able to know His truth and to obey it.
So what are some of those things we might consider briefly to understand that God has loves us that He cares for us, that He guides us, that He protects us and that He wants us to be obedient as the faithful? What are things in scripture that show us by the hand of God such things are so?
Let’s go back again to the book of Psalms. We want to look specifically in Psalm 37 as we again have an idea of God holding us up or lifting us up in a sense. Even though David said, “I have enemies and trials and problems…” Guess what. “God with His hand is someone who brings me through, who makes me victorious.” There in Psalm 37 if you’ll notice with me there in verse 23 -24. “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord and He delights in His ways. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down for the Lord upholds him with His hands.” What does God do? He keeps us from falling. Well that makes great sense because we look over in passages like 1 Corinthians and we find there in chapter 10 and 13 that God even in temptation gives us a way of escape just like He did Joseph as Joseph ran from Potiphar’s wife. God gives us a way to get away from temptation, away from sin. How does He do that? With His hand He pulls us up. He lifts us up He keeps us in His hand lest we fall. You see, God doesn’t want us to fail. God wants us to succeed. He is going to give us the things necessary to see that we accomplish that.
Go back over to the New Testament over in the book of Peter. We have this same idea again encouraged through Peter and to the Christians of that day. In 1 Peter chapter 5 if you’ll notice with me there in verse 6 he says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God that He may exalt you in due time.” It says here that if we humble ourselves and submit to God and do the Will of God and realize that we are nothing without God, He is going to do what? Not only lift us up but exalt us. Who else did He exalt? Well it tells us there in Philippians chapter 2 that He exalted Christ and He put His name above every other name. Why? Because He humbled Himself. Who? Christ! Even to death, the death on the cross for His fellow man. That is humility. Now do we have that kind of humility and do we allow ourselves to realize the mighty hand of God is able to lift us up and exalt us if we are willing to pay the price and if we are willing to do our part? Verse 7 goes on to say, “And cast your care upon Him for He cares for you.” The hand of God will lift us up and exalt us and we can count on it and we can know that we can put our problems and our trials on His shoulders and on His hands and in His arms and He with the might and power of His finger or whatever is necessary will do what it takes. You see our God truly loves us.
In Ecclesiastes chapter 2 we again find another concept of encouragement telling us that God blesses us to work. You know God here has not only blessed us in so many of these other areas, and even spiritual ways by giving us the Truth, but He also blesses with our daily needs. In that verse we see that by the hand of God we are able to do what? Work and when we work, we are able to bring forth what? Our substance, our daily food and needs, and the verse even goes on to say that we are even able to have joy, that we are able to enjoy in the things of life because of that hand of God. You see it is making the very point that Paul made throughout many of his letters in the New Testament, that all that we do, all that we have is because of and through the glory of God, that God blesses us with every blessing whether spiritual or physical. Our God has made it possible. And so again, yet again, we learn by the hand of God that we are able to do all of these things and that God will care for us and provide for us.
Back to the book of Psalm we again find in the 18th Psalm another great challenge. God not only will lift us up, not only will He provide and protect and care for and do all that we have been discussing, but there in chapter 18 there of Psalm and verse 35, we find another idea of how God will sustain me. Verse 35 says, “You have also given me the shield of your salvation, your right hand has held me up and your gentleness has made me great.” It goes on to talk about how that I will not slip. Why? I have got something to hold on to. It kind of makes me think about the first time I went ice skating and you know I wanted someone or something to hold onto, because otherwise I was going down and I went down many times. You know in life sometimes we need something and someone to hold onto. God is that someone. God is that sure and steady hand. He is that hand, as we read here again, that will hold us up, that will help us every step of the way, that will show us what to do, which way to go.
And ultimately as we consider all of these things, God is also a God (Psalm 17) who will save us. In that text it is encouraging because we find there that God is willing to give us treasures. He is willing to give us hidden treasures. And He is willing to do that with His hand, David says. “With your hand, oh Lord.” You see salvation is ours. Salvation and blessings today in this life. We’ve been talking about those blessings and the things that God does for us and provides for us, but also salvation and blessings eternally. You and I know the Bible tells us that we will be saved by the hand of God.
That’s what is actually said specifically in Deuteronomy to the children of Israel as He was trying to encourage them and help them to know that they should remain faithful and that they had every incentive to be faithful in His service. Well there in Deuteronomy 33 and verse 27, he says this, “The eternal God is your refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms. He will thrust out the enemy from before you and will say, ‘Destroy.’” He goes on to talk about the blessings that God will give to the faithful. But here specifically notice that he again uses the idea of an everlasting God, of a place where we can go for refuge and those things that we need and to maybe hide out and know we are saved, but then he says, “We will be under His everlasting arms.” Underneath! Kind of like that mother putting the chicks under her wing. You see God will care for us. God will provide. God will protect. God will do everything we need today and forevermore. Thus, meaning He will save us.
And so the question begins to be: How then do I get into the hands of God? How do I get into the everlasting arms of God? How do I see the might and power of His hand and finger and His arms and His body there in use for me and for my sake and for my health? By becoming His child. The Bible is clear how we respond to the arms of God. Through obedience. Obedience not to what I want or what I think or what others say. Obedience to what God says. In the New Testament primarily the book of Acts, when they cried out to the Lord and they said, “What must we do?” the answer was always the same. Repent and be baptized! They had to acknowledge that Jesus Christ was the Son of God the same way Peter did in Matthew 16 when he said, “You are the Christ the Son of the Living God.” And he said, “Blessed are you Simon because you didn’t know this yourself, the Father in Heaven revealed it to you.” Jesus is the Christ!
Have you made that confession with your mouth because only when you make that confession with your mouth (Romans chapter 10:9-10) can you head towards salvation.
They also repented as we have already mentioned there in Acts 2:38. They repented and acknowledged, “I am in sin, and outside of God. There are things contrary to God and I have got to acknowledge them, turn away from them, and head toward righteousness.” Repentance is something that requires work. Correction and heading in a new and godly direction. Not only do you need to confess the name of Jesus, but have you repented of your sins and changed in your life to focus on the cross and live righteously putting away the old sins and the old man?
And then we have also mentioned there from the same text, baptism. The idea that we must put on Christ (Galatians chapter 3:27-28), that we must clothe ourselves, that we must have an anti-type of salvation through water as Noah had (1 Peter 3) and it is that which we have today called baptism where we (Romans chapter 6) are buried in the grave of water, where we die to the old man. As Christ was buried in the grave, we thus have been buried in the grave and as He rose on the 3rd day, we also in the likeness, resurrect from that grave as what? New creations. And as a new creation guess what. Acts 2:47 says, “Those that were being saved…” Those that were doing obedience to His Will. “Were added to the church.”
If you want to be a part of the church, of God’s kingdom or the family of God, do what He has asked. And you do what He has asked by reading His Word and following Him. If you are willing to make that great confession, to repent of your sins and turn away from them and to be baptized even today, you will be added by God to His church and you will be a part of His family and then you will be in the hands of God, the arms of God and you will have everything in this life that you need, all the blessings, the wonders, the rewards. But not only today, but we have talked about eternity. You will live forever in Heaven someday in a mansion prepared for you and all those who are faithful if you do those things that God commands to the end. Will you live today in the hands of God?
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time 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 service of God!
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How blessed we are to be cared for and protected in the arms of God. May we always depend on our Creator to be the loving God and Father we read of in His Perfect Word?