THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 3-17-02

LESSON TITLE: EXAMINING GOD: "WHAT IS GOD'S WILL FOR MAN?"

WELCOME

Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for The Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week. And I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.

As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
(Prayer)

Let me take just a minute this morning to invite you all to a gospel meeting that we are having, beginning today at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ. We have a special guest speaker with us from Louisiana - his name is Waymon Swain! We hope you will join us today or some time this week for this time of growth in the things of God. Please feel free to call us if you need any further information.

We want to begin our songs of praise this morning by singing a hymn which reminds us of the great promises our God has in store for us. So, at this time won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "Mansion Over The Hilltop."
(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

We just sang a song which reminds us of the greatest reward our God will give us. Oh, how wondrous it is to sing about such magnificent things of God.

Our young people today sing many beautiful songs to teach and edify one another. One song which they sing that comes to my mind at this time says, "Heaven is a wonderful place, filled with glory and grace, I want to see my Savior's face, Heaven is a wonderful place!" Then they boldly exclaim - "I want to go there!"

How comforting and true these words are, because we all are looking for a place in that eternal home at the end of time. We often read of a Celestial city, with golden streets and gates of precious stones. We also hear that a mansion has been made ready for us in that wonderful city of God. To top it all off we are told that there will be no more sickness or sorrow. The trials of this life will all be behind us. In fact, another song we often sing says, "no tears in heaven will be known." What a wonderful sounding paradise heaven is. Who wouldn't want to go there?

Another exciting part about heaven is that we will be there eternally. In 1 John 2:25, we read, "and this is the promise that he has promised us; eternal life." Imagine a place like heaven without any ending. Furthermore, imagine a place with no death! In the book of Revelation, John said it this way, "and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." So we have seen that heaven is truly going to be a magnificent place, with no more suffering or death. Nothing to cause us to shed a tear.

One more notable characteristic about Heaven is that God will be there. Think for a moment about meeting God for the first time, "face to face." In heaven we will be with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Again this existence will be forever and one of pure perfection. We will live eternally with an all powerful, all knowing God who created each and every one of us and all that we know and see on this earth.

A final song we sometimes sing says, "This world is not my home I'm just a passing through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue. The angels beckon me from Heavens open door, and I can't feel at home in this world anymore!" How many of us are ready and eager to go there and to be with our God? I know I am, because this is the greatest promise that God has given me - if I prove myself worthy of His grace!

This morning we will conclude our series on Examining God. Our specific topic of study today will answer the question, "What is God's Will For Man?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. Are you ready to join in the second hymn of the morning? It's name is, "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less!"
(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us this morning. We just had a great study together over the past several months about God, examining God and in our series we've been able to establish many things about God. We've had a lot of response from our viewers and have had many requests for transcripts and cassette tapes and a lot of interest has been shown, so we do appreciate your contacting us and the many questions and the many good comments and we ask that you'll continue to do so as we strive all to study God's Word and to learn more about what He would have us to do.

You might recall that we've been looking at everything from A to Z in relationship to God. We've been considering not only is there a God and who He is. We've tried to look at some different concepts as far as trying to know God more personally by knowing what the Bible says about God, again who He is. We've also been able to consider some ideas about those who need God. Then we were able to break down God and understand Him to be the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and also even a lesson that we considered together a few weeks ago on the Godhead, which is the concept of the Trinity where we see that the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit are all a part of the Godhead. So we are so happy that we have had this opportunity to study these things and today we want to conclude our study by actually looking at a final lesson as we examine our God and know more about Him and as we also answer the question, "What is God's will for man?" In other words, we have seen who God is. We've seen a lot about God. We've tried to learn a lot about what He wants as far as Him being our God. But yet today, we want to find out His will. We've already looked at one lesson that talked about we know about God from the Bible and basically today there is no better place to begin than the Bible. If we are to answer the question, "What specifically is God's will?" Yes, we have said in the past that God's will is found in the Word. But what is that Will? And that's what our lesson will focus on this morning as we begin and as we begin in the Bible.

If you'll will, turn with me to the book of Chronicles, that is 2 Chronicles. I might even mention the final chapter there, chapter 29 of 1 Chronicles, as it talks about how that Solomon was a man who was chosen to be king by God and was actually anointed in that final chapter and then his father passed away. We see there in 2 Chronicles though that Solomon near the beginning of his reign was considered to be a great and a mighty and a wondrous king. In fact, if you'll notice there in chapter 1 and verse 1 of 2 Chronicles, it actually says, "Now Solomon, the son of David, was strengthened in his kingdom and the Lord His God was with him and exalted him exceedingly." We see here that Solomon was considered a great man by God and actually he was great because he was worthy before God as one who was faithful and striving to carry out God's Will before the people and in relationship to leading the people of God.

But you might go on down several verses with me to around verse 7 and I want you to notice a discussion that took place here between God and Solomon. In verse 7 it says, "And that night appeared to Solomon and said to him, 'Ask what shall I give you?' And Solomon said to God, 'You have shown great mercy to David, my father, and have made me king in his place . Now oh Lord God, let your promise to David, my father, be established for you have made me king over a people like the dust of the earth in multitude. Now give me wisdom and knowledge that I might go out and come in before this people who can judge this great people of yours.'" Here we see a great question of God. He asked a question, "What shall I give you as a good and faithful servant, a leader of my people?" And then Solomon clearly asked for a very good thing. He asked for wisdom and knowledge. If you'll notice here, he didn't ask for something selfish. He asked for something that would assist him in being better before his God, and he asked God as he prayed there for wisdom and knowledge.

Now I want you to go with me to see the result of this request that actually Solomon made beginning in verse 11 and notice the response that God made to Solomon. "Because this was in your heart and you have not ask for riches or wealth or honor or a life of your enemies, nor have you ask for your long life, but have ask wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may judge my people over whom I have made you king. Wisdom and knowledge are granted you and I will give you riches and wealth and honor such as none of the kings who have been before have ever known nor shall any after you have the light." If you'll notice here again, God grants the wish and He grants the wish because Solomon here was asking for something not for his own sake but really for again the sake to serve God better. In doing that, we see that God actually says that he could have asked for wealth or anything. God had said, "I will give you what you ask for." But he didn't ask for a selfish thing. But because his heart was right and he was wanting to serve God first and he was wanting to do the will of God, we know that Solomon was not only given the request, that is wisdom and knowledge to lead the people of God, but yet he was also given as you'll notice riches and wealth beyond comprehension, more than any had ever known or more than any would ever know in the future. Now as we see that and as we know these things to be true with this great king Solomon, the king over God's people, that is Israel. Then we again see that God had done what He said He would do. He answered this request and blessed this servant of His.

Now in relationship to that, I want you to really notice two things from this lesson or this story that we are presenting in the beginning of the lesson here. We actually see clearly that Solomon was a man who served his God. An individual who knew what God wanted and he did specifically what God had asked him to do. But secondly I want you to notice here that as he requested to have wisdom and knowledge to be the wisest man, the most knowledgeable man that ever lived, and that he would have that greater than anyone who had ever lived or anyone who would ever live, as God said. Then we here are talking about the wisest man that ever existed on this earth. Of course borrowing it, Jesus Christ Himself being the son of God, but the wisest fleshly, completely fleshly man born of a father and a mother, an earthly father and mother. This was the wisest man that had ever lived,.

Now what I want you to do is to turn over to the book of Ecclesiastes as we continue to answer our question, "What is God's will for man?" Because again as we look to the Bible and we look at the vastness of text and scriptures and verses, how is it that we can narrow it down to one verse that would really show us God's will for man? I think that we can do that by looking at a servant that was pleasing to God, again we're looking at Solomon and furthermore the man who was the wisest and the most knowledgeable according to what God had blessed him with that had ever lived, once again. So as we look at that and we answer that question, then as we look at Ecclesiastes in chapter 12, we see that Solomon, this wisest man as blessed by God gives the following conclusion. In fact, if you'll notice here it was being discussed as to what life really profited about how there was really anything that was worth anything on this life, or how really the physical things of this life are not something that would bring comfort or pleasure as we would really need it before God. But yet then in chapter 12 and verse 13 the conclusion of the whole matter Solomon sums up and says, "Fear God and keep His commandments." Why? Because Solomon says there, "For this is man's all." Some versions say this is the whole duty of man, the complete work that man has to fulfill is to fear God and to keep His commandments. Now as we look at that and again as we look at it from a good faithful child of God, one who is exalted as verse 1 told us there in chapter 1 of 2 Chronicles, one who was given all wisdom and all knowledge and was even blessed with all earthly blessings because he was such a good and righteous man, the wisest man that ever lived, as he was inspired by God, understood that the greatest thing that we could do is to fear God and keep His commandments.

I bet you think we can break this down now and then in these two categories as we say, "What is God's Will for man?" It is that we fear Him. I think fear goes a lot deeper maybe than what we're just thinking on the surface, that we're actually afraid of something. We're talking about a good healthy, good and godly fear. Now how do I know that? I know that because as we talked about fearing God, we're talking about a respect, a love. Just as we might fear our parents, we love our parents and we appreciate all they do for us and have done for us, but yet we still love them and the primary motivation is love. But still there is an element of fear because we know discipline, discipline must be there if we do not do what our parents have asked us to do. So as we talk about fearing God, we are talking about knowing God, understanding who He is just as our series has done on examining God, truly knowing who He is, how powerful He is, what He has and has not said. What are the promises and the blessings? What are the curses and the punishments from our God? Knowing all of these things to again do what? Help us to love God, love Him and to fear Him. You see, that was the conclusion. The first part of it. To know God enough to know that we must respect Him and fear Him because He is a mighty and an awesome and an all powerful, all knowing God.

Not only that but we see that the second part that is mentioned here is that we must keep His commandments. Again, this is very, very clear. This sums up so much of the Christian life because everything would fall into what God would ask us to do, again those commands that He has given us. So it says the conclusion is to know God enough to respect and fear Him and keep the commands. Again, where would we find those commands? As we looked in one of our lessons, we find God's will in the Bible. We learn about Him and we find His will again in His own Word, that which He inspired men to write to provide for us through His providence, again the Word, the Bible.

I think there's one word then that I could really sum all of these things that we now are discussing up with. That is again God's will for man and understanding that we must respect and fear Him enough to follow Him and be obedient by doing His commandments. There is the word. The word is obedience. Obedience is really what we find is God's will for man. Yes, we have to know God. We have to learn who He is and we do that through the Word and we have to know Him enough to know that we must fear Him. But again, even fear and love, these are parts of obedience. These are a part of what God has asked us to do. Keeping God's commands would be a part of being obedient. You see, God says, "Here's who I am. Study Me. Know Me. Understand Me. And then do it. Be obedient to it. Be obedient by following those things that I have asked you to follow ."

Now Jesus understood this very same thing and if you'll notice with me there in the book of John chapter 14 and verse 15, Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Is there any wonder why Jesus would have said such? Obviously because that's the Will of God. The Will that God has delivered to man is that we obey Him, that we keep His commands.

Now we can further see this through other remarks and words that Jesus gave. Some are found there in Matthew 7 and I might just mention specifically verse 21 as He said, "No, not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', shall enter the kingdom of God but he who does the Will of My Father in heaven." You see the one who enters the kingdom of God is the one who does His Will, the one who obeys His what? His commands. Loves Him enough to show through actions that he obeys His commands. In fact, you can go on in verses 22 and 23 and there were many that were saying, "Lord, Lord," and doing great, wondrous deeds in the name of the Lord and doing wondrous works in the name of the Lord, but notice what He said in verse 23. He says, "And then I declare to them I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness." Why? Because verse 21 said, "It is not enough just to go through the actions. It's only enough when you're doing the Will of the Father which would include not only the actions, but the heart, and that we really commit ourselves in the right and proper way before our God.

I think that Paul understood this concept also. If you'll turn over with me to the letter to the Colossian brethren. There in Colossians chapter 1 around verses 13 and 14, we see the idea that it says here that "we have been delivered out of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son." Why? Because "God loved us enough and through His power did so with the redeeming blood of Christ," verse 14 says,

But why is it that we've been brought of darkness and put into the kingdom of God? Why is it that He has blessed us with these types of things? Well go back with me if you will in verse 10. It says there that "you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every work, increasing in the knowledge of God." Notice here that those that are being discussed even in verses 9 and 11 which are around verse 10 there talk about those that are justified because of their worthy walk and because they were striving to please God. So why is it that they were translated into God's kingdom and considered a part of the kingdom? Because they had committed themselves to walk worthy according to the commands of God. Brethren, friends, there is no other way that we can really show God that we love Him. There is no greater way that we can show God we love Him than to do this, than to follow His will. Show Him love through the things that we do and say because if you love Him, you will keep His commandments.

The final thing I would like to suggest in just a few illustrations is that we must understand that partial obedience actually equals disobedience. There are several verses that I would ask you to write down. One is found in 1 Samuel chapter 15, verses 13 and 14 and then again in verses 20 through about 21. We see here that actually it is discussing King Saul and it talks about how that King Saul was asked to do something by God and he did this thing, but yet when he did it, he didn't do it all according to what God had said. Down in verse 22, he actually is rebuked, and he said that "what you have done is according to God's Will, but not completely according to God's Will. Therefore it was rejected by God."

I might remind you of another illustration that we remember in 2 Kings chapter 5, a man that was named Naaman, a man that was a very wealthy and well-known man who had leprosy but yet he wanted to be cleansed of that. He was told to dip seven times in the Jordan River. He was angry. He became upset because he expected God Himself to come before him, being such a great and a worthy man. Now let me ask you a question. What if Naaman had only chose to dip one time or two times? You see, God said to dip seven times. Again, a little bit of obedience does not equal complete obedience. We have to do it God's way.

We could look at other verses that I hope you will look up such as in James chapter 2 and verses 10 through 12. We see here again that James talks clearly about how that we as Christians are those individuals that must serve our God as he says there, "For whoever shall keep the whole law yet stumble one is guilty of all, and he that said, do not commit adultery, also has said do not murder. So no one can murder and be not a transgressor of the law." Here again, if we stumble in one thing, we are guilty of all.

John understood that in 1 John chapter 2, verses 3 through 5 as he says, "If we are in God, we are in the light, but if we are in darkness, we are not of God and we do not know God and we can't say that we are a part of God but do things contrary to His Will." In all of these things again, I hope we're beginning to understand that yes, God has established for us who He is through His Word. He has provided for us through His Word what His Will is, and His Will is is that we know Him enough to respect Him and fear Him in order that we might keep His commandments because when we keep His commandments we fear Him enough to show Him that we love Him. Ultimately, may we keep His commandments as He has asked us to, not in just a little way, but completely, so that in the end we might receive the great reward that He has promised us of heaven.
(SONG # 3 - "O To Be Like Thee!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. 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.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

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May we all study more every day to learn more about the God we serve, so that we may follow Him as He has commanded - through an obedience to His Word.
(Program closing)