THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE - 4-20-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD'S PECULIAR PEOPLE: A PECULIAR PRACTICE"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our Creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in his sight and according to his will? Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
It is time to begin our songs of praise! So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning? The name of the song "This Is My Father's World!"
(SONG # 1)
Think about all the nations over the past centuries and all of the governments that ruled those nations. At first thought we might think of those regimes which were wicked or bad. On the other hand, all of us have probably had our favorite leaders or rulers from times past.
When I think about all of this I am reminded of those today and of those from years past who have hated or even disrespected governments. So many often want to blame the world or even God, when things don't seem to be going their way. Well, what do we find about this topic in God's Word?
In Romans 13:7, we are told, "Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor." Wow, this is a hard lesson. Here we are told to honor and respect our governments, even when it comes to paying taxes and things we don't like. Obviously, this honor and respect must coincide with God's Will. For example, if the government makes a law or tells us to do things against God's will, then obviously God's laws are higher than man's. But as long as a government is not going against what is acceptable or proper and right in the eyes of God - we are required to obey, respect and honor them. But Why?
Look back up in verse one with me of the same chapter of Romans 13. There Paul said, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." Everything that is around us and everyone in power has only been allowed to be there because of God. This doesn't mean that God puts wicked people in positions of power to hurt man, but it does mean that everything has a purpose and God has a hand in everything that happens in this world.
Think back to the Old Testament. How many times did God use other nations or governments to accomplish a purpose or to prove a point? Sometimes it is the harsh realities in life that draw us closer to God or which cause us to need Him more. So, we must realize that it is our duty to respect those of this world who are over us.
Furthermore, who would want to know about our God if we were always disrespectful and dishonorable? When we show respect and honor to those of this world, even our enemies, we glorify God through our actions. In fact, that is the way that the world sees Christ in us. Are you showing the honor and respect which you should to those who are over you?
We are happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us today as our guest speaker! As far as our discussion, we will be continuing our discussion on, "God's Peculiar People." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "A Peculiar Practice." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Sullins will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah."
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
Good morning! We're so happy to have you tune in to "The Living Word" broadcast. We appreciate so much your coming and viewing this program as much as you do and we want to encourage you to be with us every week. We do our best to try to present to you God's Holy Word and cover subjects that are most pertinent to your Christian life as well as mine and if you're not Christians to lead you toward Christ and lead you toward an obedience to Christ.
It was the apostle Paul who stated the very fact of His existence and the existence of all Christians in Romans 1 verse 5 and also in the last part of that book in Romans chapter 16 the last few verses he mentioned that the very reason for His existence of the presentation of the gospel to any people was for their obedience, that is obedience of the nations. And so it is for that very reason that we today are having this broadcast so that we can lead people to a better understanding of God's Word and strive to have them do what is necessary for the remission of their sins.
My friend, if you are not yet a Christian, certainly you need to do everything within your power to make that decision to become a child of God as soon as possible. All of us realize that we do not know when the end of this life will be. So I encourage you to do what the Bible says, what Jesus Himself said, that you become a child of God, that is by after hearing what the message is as you will hear it this morning, you will hear the message clearly that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Repent of your sins as Jesus said in Luke chapter 13 verse 3, "Except ye repent, ye will perish." Confess the precious name of Jesus, and that is by your confession, the apostle Paul said, "It will be made unto salvation." And then be buried with your Christ in baptism to arise to walk in newness of life as is stated throughout the scripture in many different places, but especially in Romans chapter 6 verses 3-4.
This morning, we are continuing our series on the study of "God's Peculiar or Special People." One version said, "A people of God's own possession." Therefore, when you become a child of God, you must realize that it is very necessary. In fact, it is something that every child of God wants to do is to fulfill his or her responsibilities to God. Just becoming a Christian is the beginning of one's Christian life, and just like any other responsibility in life, when you receive something, that is when you receive a privilege enjoined within that is a responsibility.
I remember when I was just a young preacher, maybe just a couple of years ago. Well, of course, it was many more years than that. But I remember an older gentleman then who was one of the elders of our local congregation who said to me as a young preacher... He said, "Jerry, with every privilege comes responsibility." And he was trying to emphasize with me that it was a privilege that I had to proclaim God's Truth, but yet with that privilege came many responsibilities. And it is a privilege for us to have the opportunity to become children of God and yet there is a responsibility.
I call your attention to Colossians chapter 3 verses 1-3 where the apostle Paul points out this eternal truth. "If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above not on things on the earth for if you died and your life is hidden with Christ in God." What a wonderful truth! See, when we become Christians, as is also stated in Romans chapter 6, we are supposedly supposed to be dead to sin. We're to rise to walk in newness of life, that is a life that now has a new direction. Brothers and sisters in Christ, we have a responsibility to Christ because we have made a commitment to serve Him. We receive so many blessings every day and we enjoy all of these great blessings because we are His body, not only physical blessings but we receive spiritual blessings. In fact all spiritual blessings in heavenly places are found in Christ Jesus. And so in making this choice that you have made and I have made, we have made a choice to live for Christ and to do Christ's Will. So this morning, let's look at the many facets of that in the short amount of time that we have or some of the facets.
You have made a commitment to God and by doing so; you have a God-given responsibility to do His Will.
Let us look simply at the story that is given in the book of Matthew chapter 25. We realize, as Christians there are responsibilities that we must fulfill in our lives. We are given abilities. In Matthew 25, Jesus likened it unto the parable of three men and these three servants received three different gifts. One received five talents. Another received two talents. And another received one talent. The guy with the five talents or the person with the five talents produced five more talents and the Lord blessed him. The one with the two talents produced two more talents and the Lord blessed him. But the one with the one talent was fearing what Jesus would do if he didn't reproduce anything out of that one talent. In other words, he was just giving an excuse for not serving God. Now Jesus did something to him that some people don't believe the Lord will do and that is He cast him into outer darkness where there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. In other words, he wasn't a productive what? He was not a productive servant. We have made a commitment to serve Christ.
The apostle Paul pointed out again, that great apostle, in Romans chapter 12, he mentions there in verses 5 through I believe verse 8, seven different non-miraculous gifts that are given to Christians: the gift of teaching, the gift of giving and other gifts are mentioned there, seven in number. All of us are given talents. How are we using them for the Lord? Are we expected to use them for the Lord? We certainly are and we teach that responsibility to every person even who desires to become a Christian. How can you decide that you're going to build a tower, as Jesus said, if you first do not examine the cost? It cost something to be a Christian. It cost you at least a life of commitment and realizing that you have a God-given responsibility to fulfill in your life.
Another thing we can recognize from the scripture is that you have committed yourself to be a good example. Now how often do you as a Christian think of that? Someone says, "Well, I want to become a Christian, but I don't want to stop drinking. I don't want to stop smoking. I don't want to stop cursing. I don't want to stop mistreating my neighbor." Maybe they don't openly say that, but they believe that they can just continue the same life that they have always lived. No, I'm afraid that is not what God expects of you. If you have been risen with Christ, you have set your mind on things above not on things of this earth. You have decided that you're going to provide a proper example for others to follow: your children, your grandchildren, your neighbors, your friends, anyone who you meet on the street. You are a different person because you're trying to give the example of Christ in your life.
As the apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14, verse 1, "Be ye imitators of me as I also am of Christ." That ought to be the slogan of every Christian. Imitate me as I imitate Christ. Well, how can they imitate Christ if you're not imitating Christ? Well, of course they can. They can look into God's Word and see what Christ wants them to do, but the point is this. We need to present a proper example so that others will look at us and see our lives and want to become like us because we're like Christ.
Well, was it the apostle Paul also who said in the book of 1 Timothy chapter 4 verse 12, "Let no man despise thy youth," and he was speaking to a young preacher whose name was Timothy. He was challenging Timothy to go out and to do the work of an evangelist. He said, "Timothy, in order for you to effectively do this work..." I am paraphrasing what Paul is saying in this book, but this is actually what he was talking about. He said that you've got to be concerned about this. "You've got to be an example to the believers. Why? Because you are a young man and you do not want anyone to look down upon your youth. And how are you going to be that example, Timothy?" Paul went on to tell him, "In the way you speak, in the way that you live, in your purity, in your love," and he mentions several things. "You have to be an example to the believers so that they won't look at you and do what? Basically despise Christ.
Many people today claim that, "Well, I'm not going to become a Christian because that fellow over there says that he is a Christian and look at the way that he lives." Well a lot of people can say a lot of things but it doesn't mean that they are what they say they are in every case. And so my friend, look at Christ. Look at those who are really trying to demonstrate Christ in their lives and how Christ has changed the lives of so many people. How do we teach people? Well, we teach people a lot by our example. As you've heard the old adage: "Like father like son, like the daughter is the mother has been that way."
And so it is a concluded fact among all of those who understand almost anything in this life that it is important how we live before other people. And by the way, if you have become a Christian or if you desire to become a Christian, Jesus is going to expect you to live an exemplary life before other people to exemplify Him before all others. And you have also determined that you want to live a life that means something to God and others.
Again, we go back to the apostle Paul because when we talk about this subject of "A Peculiar People," "A Peculiar Practice" or a "Special Practice," this special people, God's people have a special practice. We go back to the apostle Paul because he spoke so much on this subject and right back again to Romans chapter 6 in that great chapter where he tells us, "We are buried therefore by baptism into His death that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father even we also should walk in newness of life." A few verses further in that chapter around verses 16 to 18, he talks about being a servant of righteousness by saying this, "But God be thanked that you were servants of unrighteousness but now you are servants of righteousness." Now I emphasize that word "servant" brother and sister in Christ because that's what we are. That's what we are supposed to be.
Do you remember the great event that is mentioned again in Matthew chapter 25 where all the nations of the earth were before that Lord and He was judging them? In fact, the symbolism there is He was separating the sheep from the goats. We always laugh about that and talk about it because you don't want to be a goat. You want to be a sheep. The good people from the bad people. Jesus was dividing those people. But the question was: Why were the good people called good people and the bad people called bad people or evil people? Simply because when the good people saw someone who was hungry, they gave them something to eat. When they saw someone who was thirsty, they gave them something to drink. When they saw them in need, they took care of their needs and that's why Jesus said to those good people, "Take these precious people and give them an entrance into the everlasting kingdom. Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter thou into the joys of the Lord." What a wonderful statement! And why did these people hear this precious message? Because they were doing the greatest work on earth and that is serving other people.
Remember near the end of the life of Jesus as is recorded in John chapter 13? After "The Last Supper," Jesus knew that His death was coming. He took a towel and He began to wash His disciple's feet. Now, I don't know how you would have felt about that, but I do know that the disciples were having questions about that especially Peter who said, "There is no way you're going to wash my feet, Lord." And then Jesus said, "If I do not wash your feet, then I'll have no part with you in the kingdom." Then he said, "Well then wash my head and my feet," and Jesus did that.
Now what was He teaching here? That we ought to wash one another's feet? Well, that's what He said. He said that "As I have done it unto you, you ought to do it unto others." But I believe the truth of what He was really saying here is symbolic in nature because in Matthew 23 and verse 11, He said, "The greatest in the kingdom will be that person who serves other people."
So we as Christians have decided to become children of God. We have determined that we want to serve God. That means we have a God-given responsibility to serve the Lord with all of our being, to present a good example before other people. We can't get away from that, brothers and sisters in Christ. And we must learn how important it is for us to serve other people, not just ourselves and not just our family, but anyone who needs help, even our enemies we are to love as Jesus said. So I this morning encourage all of you of Christ to do everything within your power to love Him and to serve Him and to do His Will.
(SONG # 3 - "Standing On The Promises!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Praise be to God that He has given us a specific pattern to follow when it comes to obeying His Will. May we always practice those things that are from Him and pleasing in His sight?