Jesus once confirmed, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Do you know God's Truth and have you obeyed it in order to be free? Thank you for joining us this morning for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.

Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


This morning I would like a take a minute and make you aware of a great opportunity to grow in the teachings of Christ for all those in the West Plains, Missouri area. I am happy to announce that brother Mack Lyon, of the Search program will be holding a gospel meeting at the Curry Street Church of Christ which begins this morning and will go through Tuesday evening. The first service begins today at 9:30. So, let me encourage all of you to take advantage of this opportunity. If you need further information feel free to contact us or the Curry Street church of Christ.

It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, "Count Your Many Blessings!"

(SONG # 1)


Have you ever noticed all of the talk about the Truth, the Gospel, and about Doctrine in the New Testament? The inspired writers dealt with this topic a lot!

In fact, we find that there seems to be a specific Gospel and Doctrine spoken about, which one had to follow in order to be pleasing to God. You might remember the verses in Galatians 1:6-8, there Paul said, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." Paul here acknowledged the need to believe and follow a specific Gospel.

Paul also warned Timothy about this in chapter one of that epistle. In fact in verse 3, he encourages the young evangelist to "charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Obviously a warning to help the brethren remain pure. Further down in the same chapter, in verses 10, Paul talks about the "sound doctrine," which we must adhere to - and in verse 11, he states that this is according to the Gospel, which we have been committed with.

These verses should clearly show us that it does matter what we believe and follow. They also confirm for us that God does care about what we do and say. Wasn't it Jesus who said the truth will make us free, John 8:32! Wasn't it our Lord who said, that God's Word is truth, John 17:17! Certainly we can all agree that God has given us the Bible, so that we might know what He would have us to do. Furthermore, the fact is - when we follow God's Word and adhere to that which He has commanded us, then and only then are we acceptable in His sight! Doing those things which are according to the Truth, the Gospel, and Sound Doctrine. Won't you chose to follow God in His Way Today?

This morning we are happy to have a guest speaker with us. We welcome brother Darin Chappell to guide our main study of the day. Brother Darin is one of the instructors of the Bible Institute of Missouri and I'm thankful to say that he is a good friend and a sound gospel preacher. We thank him for being with us.

Our topic today will again focus on our series called "Walking In The Spirit!" Our specific study this morning is entitled, "The Works Of The Flesh Are Evident: Idolatry and Sorcery!" So stay with us and in a few minutes brother Chappell will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "To Christ Be Loyal And Be True."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Darin Chappell

As we continue our study this morning concerning "The Works of the Flesh," it's important for us to understand the context in which this examination is undertaken. The "Works of the Flesh" are being opposed to here in the scriptures as Paul writes to the brethren in Galatia in the 1st century to the spirit and the fruit that He produces in the lives of faithful Christians. The "Works of the Flesh" are those efforts that are pertaining to the flesh. Individuals in their lives day by day would be living for the flesh and be concerned about things of the physical world rather than those things on a higher plane of God. And it is within this thought in mind that we have the opportunity to come together to study God's Word concerning the "works of the flesh" and how it is that we need to avoid those same mindsets and those same attitudes that plague individuals throughout all of humanity.

This morning, we're going to be looking at specifically the "works of the flesh" that are told to us there in Galatians chapter 5, that of idolatry and witchcraft.

Now witchcraft is something that most people have ideas about concerning the modern view of the word. But the word that was originally translated as "witchcraft" for us in the English versions of the Bible from the original language is actually the same Greek word from which we get the English term "pharmacy." And the reason why is because the individual who would be practicing witchcraft oftentimes in the 1st century and in ancient days would be using mind-altering drugs to be able to convince individuals that he had miraculous powers and the abilities to perform magic. The reason why this was such a problem other than obviously the fraud that was going on and the way in which individuals were trying to trick and cause individuals to believe in them in ways that they shouldn't have, but it is the idea of individuals dabbling in those powers and those capacities that they had no right to hold. It was true that during the 1st century, there were those who were faithful and in times of the Old Testament, there were those who were faithful who were able to work miraculous works by the power of God. This was done, we're told, in Mark chapter 16 and verse 20 to confirm the messengers and to confirm the messages that they brought. It was to teach these individuals and those that they taught that they were having the acceptability with God and were being able to teach that which He would have them to teach those around them. The miracles proved that which was being taught, that it was indeed in accordance with the Will of God. These individuals therefore that would be practicing witchcraft, these individuals that would be trying to perform magical tricks would be individuals who were trying to convey thoughts and ideas that were not in agreement with the Will of God, but were trying to mimic those miraculous works that were being shown in the 1st century and in earlier days.

Therefore, that which is being commanded against are those individuals who were trying to meddle with things that they had no right and no power and no capacity and no access to have any power whatsoever like those individuals that God approved and gave miraculous works.

Therefore, witchcraft is a sinfulness that can be seen in individuals who continue to try to work with the so called dark arts and various devil worshipping and mind-altering opportunities that individuals try to appeal to saying that they have powers that they simply don't have. And while we oftentimes don't take the concept seriously, we need to understand that there are individuals in the world that take in very seriously and it is just as wrong today as it was in the 1st century, even if our culture in and of itself doesn't necessarily exhibit this particular sinfulness often in day by day living.

But idolatry, that's the other example that we're going to be looking at this morning. Idolatry, unfortunately, try is something which is pervasive. Many people don't even understand what is an idolatrous attitude. It's because we simply don't understand what idolatry is as a concept. The word from the original language that was translated into "idolatry" is a word from the Greek language which means literally "sight worship." It means to worship that which can be seen rather than that which can be understood on a spiritual level. Now obviously we see that in ancient times, individuals would carve images out of rock or stone or precious metals or wood and they would be able to bow down to these images and say, "There, this is my god which I have created," and they would worship that idol because it could be seen rather than simply having to be understood on a spiritual or mental level. And it is this concept of having an image of God to worship that God finds objectionable because there is no image that can describe Him on any level. He is so far beyond anything and everything that we can even begin to comprehend as human beings that when we begin to consider Him from an idolistic perspective, we automatically limit Him and we become wrong at the very outset of our very efforts and our practices.

The other problem is that individuals will take those idols and they will present them as having some power. Now, in our culture today, if you ask people, "Is this an idolistic nation?" Most people would say, "Absolutely not." But I would have to guess that there are several individuals even in our own community around here who have images that they would say are of God or of individuals of the Bible right in their own homes, in their yards or hanging on the wall, and if you ask them, "What is that a picture of?" They'll say, "Oh, that's a picture of Jesus." Well, in all likelihood, Jesus didn't look anything like what that picture looks like, but even if it were exactly like Him, the very concept of having an image and saying that that's Jesus, that's a limitation of God Himself and that's the very sort of thing that our God told us that we are not to be partaking of. It's an idea of having an image or a physical thing that we can look to, that we can worship, that we can have service toward which is wrong headed in the mind and the heart of a Christian.

We have a responsibility to stay away from idolatry in all forms. We are also told that there are things of physical possession that can be idolistic for us.

In Colossians chapter 3 and verse 5, the apostle Paul warns against covetousness, that is the desiring of somebody else's property or the desiring of somebody else's goods to the point of causing you to stumble or fall because you want something so badly. The apostle Paul says that we are to stay away from covetousness which is according to Colossians 3 and verse 5, which is idolatry.

It is because we want that so strongly. We desire it to such an extent that we are willing to allow that thing, that object to come between us and the Lord. When we allow that to come between us and the Lord, what we have in fact done is made that object our God because we are willing to serve it or the pursuit of it to the extent where we are willing to turn away from our responsibilities to the Lord, and that thing, that object then becomes the preeminent seeking point of our lives. We look for it above anything and everything else. It can be anything of physical value. There are some people whose idol is their house or their car or their job or their money or anything that can possibly cause them to stumble and fall. People will say, "Now my house isn't my idol. Yes, I like my house and yes, I seek after it, and yes, I worry about it and I take care of it, but that's not my idol." If it comes between you and your responsibilities to the Lord, then yes, it has become an idol. It has become something that is contrary to the Will of God if it allows you to be in a position where you do not serve God because of your seeking after some thing.

How can that happen? Well, we're told in Galatians, or excuse me, the Hebrews writer says in Hebrews chapter 10 and verse 25 that, "We're not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is." It is our responsibility as Christians that when we have the opportunity to come together and to worship our God together as brothers and sisters in Christ. If we allow some thing, some physical pursuit to come between us and our God and the responsibilities that we have to Him, then that thing whether it be a home or a job, or a car or whatever it is, that thing has become our personal idol. We have put it and the pursuit of it ahead of our responsibilities to our God.

Now it's not just a physical thing that this can be true of us. It can also be physical or emotional attachments as well. Relationships can also be instances in which we become idolistic in our attitudes. We can put people ahead of our God if we are not extremely careful. We can allow those relationships of our lives to become more important to us than our own God in our day by day living.

In Matthew chapter 10 beginning in verse 37, we read, Jesus says, "He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he that taketh not his cross and followeth after Me is not worthy of Me. He that findeth his life shall loose it and he that looseth his life for My sake shall find it." Here Jesus says that even those precious family relationships that we have cannot come before Him. I love my parents. I love my father and I love my mother. I love my wife. I love my children. But none of them can come before my responsibilities to my God. None of them can be so important to me that I am willing to reject my responsibilities to my God.

There are difficult decisions that life brings before us and as Christians that is no exception for us. We have times in which we must choose between that which is comfortable and that which is right. That which is God-given and that which is merely family oriented. We have a responsibility to always choose the side of God and if that means that at times that our families cannot be as close to us as we might otherwise like, then so be it. We cannot give up a relationship with God in order to hold on to a physical and emotional relationship with our loved ones here in this world. Jesus said that if we will find our lives, that is if we put our lives first, we loose the real life of heaven, but if we will set aside our physical lives, if we will take that which is important to us in an earthly consideration and put them aside, then we can gain for Him. We can gain a spiritual life which never ends and be able to enjoy and bask in the glow and the love of our Lord and Savior and our Father in heaven throughout all of eternity being His faithful children because we understood what was first and foremost our priority in this life.

Jesus also said in Matthew chapter 6 and verse 33, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness." It must be our preeminent decision in everyday life to seek after our God always and Him first and everything else second. It is our responsibility to do this so that we are not covetous whether or a physical thing or an emotional attachment, or whatever it might be so that we are not idolatrous. We have a responsibility not to be attached to that which can be seen, but instead to seek above that which is physical and seek those things which are in the heavenly places with God and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

We also find that we have this responsibility because of what God has done for us. We are told that as faithful children of God, we have been purchased with a price, and not with corruptible things such as gold and silver or anything which has been manmade, but instead with the precious blood of Jesus Christ our Lord which was from before the beginning of the world ordained that that would be the purchase price, that which would be offered on our behalf (1 Peter chapter 1 verses 18-20), which would be used to purchase the church (Acts chapter 20 and verse 28). From a lost and sinful world, giving us the opportunity to be faithful children of God and giving us the opportunity to have that home in heaven with Him. Given that He has done so much for us, and given that we have been given this opportunity within Christ Jesus, how dare we even consider to put those things which are simply flesh, physical, emotional, temporary attachments in this world ahead of that precious gift of salvation that we have only in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Now it may be that there are some today who have never been able to count themselves among the faithful children of God. Individuals who have never turned from the fleshly pursuits of this world and individuals who have never understood that there is a higher calling for mankind. You don't have to be a slave of this world. You don't have to be given to the fleshly pursuits of this life. There are higher things to which you are called. You can begin to accept and to understand that calling by beginning to take that walk through Christ Jesus in obedience to His Word. First of all, you must be willing to hear the Word of God (Romans chapter 10 and verse 17). You must be willing to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the Living God (John chapter 8 and verse 24). You must be willing to confess Him as the Son of God before others (Matthew chapter 10 verses 32-33). You must be willing to repent of your sinfulness of this life knowing that you are to change your mind and change your attitude so that you no longer live the ways of the world, but live only for the Lord (Acts chapter 17 and verse 30). You must be baptized for the remission of sins and you must be added to the church that He built and purchased with His own blood.

(SONG # 3 - "O To Be Like Thee!")


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.

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 realize how easy it is to idolize things in this life and to loose our main focus. Rather may we choose to always put God first and Walk according to His Perfect Spirit!

(Program closing)