THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 5-7-06

LESSON TITLE: "PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE: TEMPERANCE"

WELCOME

In Lamentations 3:25, we read this proclamation about our God in Heaven, "The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul to seeks Him." No truer words have ever been spoken for our creator truly does care for those who obey Him. Are you among that fold?

Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord's day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!

As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord's day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?

(PRAYER)

Now let's join in our first hymn of the day. It reminds us of the command from God to evangelize this world. The name of the song, "Seeking The Lost." (SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

The goodness of God is truly seen in everything He does for us. In fact, God has promised that He will always care for us and do His part, yet He has also told us that we have a part to play. Just as we read earlier this morning, "The Lord is good...," but what is clarified in this verse as a stipulation? Jeremiah said, God is good to those who "wait on Him and seek Him!"

With this in mind we must ask the questions, "Are we waiting on the Lord," and Do we seek our God in all things? This is exactly what God requires if we are to receive the promised blessing of this life. Remember what Jesus said in the familiar verse of Matthew 6:33? There we read, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." In this passage we find the very same idea being present which we read from Lamentations earlier, that is if we seek God first all things will be added unto us.

I think that many in the religious world have forgotten this point today. Because of false teaching and false ideas, many believe that everyone is ok anyway, and once you believe in God the rest doesn't really matter. Well, we have already learned this morning that just as God has done His part, there is something that He as well requires of us, that is obedience to His Will! Perhaps James put it best in his N. T. book when he said, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Just as our bodies and lives would be worthless without the spiritual side of man, our faith is as well worthless unless it is proven by our obedience.

So in summation we have learned thus far today that the "Lord truly is good," this is God's part which He has offered to all. However, our part is to "wait on and to seek the Lord," and if we do this God will truly care for us and supply all of our needs! Are you doing your part in the service of God? Today we will continue our series of study entitled, "Partakers of the Divine Nature." Our lesson this day will be a discussion on, "Temperance." So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "Ring Out The Message."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

In 2 Peter chapter 1 beginning in verse 5, we read, "But also for this very reason giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love." It is here among these Christian virtues that we have been discussing now for about a month, the different attributes of a Christian that makes us more approved of in the eyes of God. In fact, what we have really noticed in the passage, that is in verse 4 specifically is the fact that because we live as God asked us to according to what He has revealed in His Word, then we know that we are partakers of His divine nature.

Today we want to look at self-control. This is also translated as temperance in some versions, but as we consider the concept of temperance or self-control, we certainly then find something once again that a Christian is required to show forth if they are to be proper before God and if the world is to see God in them. With that in mind, I want you to notice with me how we might define this idea of temperance or self-control. A dictionary would say such as this: "It is the control of one's emotions, one's desires or even actions and furthermore it is that desire and control of desires, emotions, and actions that is by one's own will." Now think about that just for a moment. We see the factor of the control. You know when we in life try to control something or we try to make sure that something happens a certain way, it often is difficult. So control is something that we must work for. But here he states a control that is by my own will or choice. Now that is different from myself as a parent and my children. I might ask my children to do something at times and it is against their will. They really don't want to do it and they really don't by choice do it, and so it is really not self-control that they are using, but maybe obedience. But I as a Christian, I find that there are emotional things, things that I must do as far as actions and as well desires that I must carry out by my own will and I must keep control of these things. Then we begin to find out what temperance is all about. It is the ability that one has to objectively control his or her actions, words, thoughts, desires, and wants and to keep them in tune with what God has said and His Word.

Now with that in mind, certainly then, I believe we're beginning to understand what self-control is all about. It encourages me. It responds and brings forth in my life something that shows forth God because I am able to control all that I do and say and I am able to make sure that they are in align with what God has said and His Word.

With that in mind then, we want to look at what the Bible says about temperance or self-control. I think a good place that almost in and of itself that defines the idea of self-control is over in 1 Corinthians and chapter 9. If you'll look in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 beginning in verse 24, Paul is talking about a race. He says, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? But run in such a way that you may obtain it." He says there is a race and we have all raced in school or something before and what's the goal? To win. To win and to win a prize. He says, "Run in the way that you will win (verse 25), and everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown." What does he state here? He says that we are striving in the race of our spiritual lives to achieve the prize, and he says to do it we must be what? Temperate. We must have self-control. Consider an athlete. Consider the olympics that was maybe just not too long ago and we know that athletes spend year after year after year, day after day after day, preparing for something that is coming, to prepare to compete and for the prize that is at the end of the road. In this, they must have self-control to be disciplined and make sure they have self-control to do all the things that they need to do to prepare themselves to have the right stamina, the right strength, the muscle and everything else that is necessary to achieve their sport. Well here, we have the idea from a spiritual standpoint that we do the same, that in our spiritual lives we must have the self-control to discipline ourselves as well and do all those things that are necessary to receive the same prize or crown. But our crown or prize is imperishable. It is that which is not corruptible and really what he is referring to here is that heavenly thing, that eternal life forever in heaven with God. So here we find the imperishable crown.

But then in verse 27 I think he helps us even further with the idea of temperance. He says, "But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection lest when I have preached to others I myself be disqualified." Here we find Paul talking to the Corinthian church. He says, "I discipline myself. I discipline my body and bring it into a subjection every day that I might make sure that it is subject to the laws of God." Now what is that? That is self-control. That means that I have based the foundation of my life and who I am and what I am about physically and spiritually on God and I will have the self-control to discipline my body and bring it into subjection physically and spiritually that I might be qualified to receive the what? The imperishable crown, that prize of heaven someday. That's exactly what he is saying here. Why would I want to tell others what they must do but then myself lose the crown or the prize or the reward? Therefore I must have self-control just as I encourage others to have self-control.

Now let's find other areas in scripture, maybe some examples we could say that we find in relationship to the idea of temperance. What is it that the Bible says that we must have self-control in? One such example is in Romans chapter 6 and if you'll notice there in verse 12, notice what we are to have self-control in. Therefore he says, "Do not let sin reign in your mortal body that you should obey it and its lust." Don't let sin reign in your body. How do I keep sin from reigning or controlling my mortal body or my fleshly body? Well, I have self-control. I focus on God. I find out what He wants. I align myself with His Word and I learn by self-control to achieve the prize and that imperishable crown and therefore qualify in the eyes of God and I will not sin. Now I may make a mistake here and there and sin every once in a while, but I am not living a life of sin because I have chosen a life of God. So therefore, what have I done? I've learned to control sin in my life, to control the mortal body, to control the flesh.

We also find the idea of shepherds or elders that are given to us there in the book of 1 Timothy chapter 3and again in Titus chapter 1. We find in connection to the qualifications that they must meet, as well certainly good Christian attributes that we should strive for, two different things. First of all, the physical self-control that we need. There in 1 Timothy chapter 3, notice the first two verses. There in chapter 3 of 1 Timothy in verse 1 it says, "This is a faithful saying, if a man desires the position of a bishop, he desires a good work and a bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hosptiable and able to teach." Here in a list of characteristics in every day life what do we find? Temperance, self-control. He must have self-control in all things physically that he might not sin, that he might not engage in things that are contrary to the world.

But now let's go over to the book of Titus because I think in Titus he uses the same word but he ties it into a more spiritual application. There in verse 8 in the elders qualifications he says this, "Be hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded (again), but (then he says) just, holy, and of self-control." Here in the concepts of just or righteous, holy which is godly, or again being Christ-like, then he mentions what? Temperance or self-control. Having the ability in my spiritual life to put God first again and control myself that I might do all things according to what God has commanded. So whether it be physical, whether it be spiritual, I must be temperate and have self-control in all things. Isn't that what we read back in in our main text, 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3? The Bible gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness. Well here we learn one of those things that we must apply in life and godliness, self-control. Self-control in all things.

In 1 Corinthians 7 and verse 5, also in verse 9, we find there that husbands and wives are told to be sober in their relationship one with another, not only in a physical way, but also again in a spiritual way. Why? Because we must have self-control as those who love God.

Then finally, we as well find that the Bible condemns those who do not self-control. It condemns them in several different ways. First of all, a verse that is familiar is 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 3 where it says that those who are unloving, those who are unforgiving, those who are slanderers and without self-control and so on and so forth, those are those who have turned away from God and who are not followers of God. Well you see those who are lacking self-control cannot follow God, but those who have it are demonstrating God. I love there the fruit of the spirit as always referred to and mentioned in Galatians chapter 5. You might recall about verse 19 that starting, but around verse 23, it is very interesting to me because among the fruit of the spirit, that which demonstrates God in me and through me, the nature of God, guess what is there. Self-control. Temperance. So when I am temperate or have self-control, then I am one who certainly again has demonstrated the nature with Christ and the attribute that is according to God just as we read earlier that I might do what? Receive the crown, the imperishable crown, the prize that I have trained for and made ready for that I might have shown self-control physically and spiritually in every part of life that at the end I might receive the great and wondrous reward.

I want to look at the end here at a verse here in the book of Acts, Acts chapter 24. I find it interesting because here in Acts Luke here records in the life of Paul something very interesting as Paul talked with Felix, a man certainly of high rank but a man who evidently was interested in knowing more about Christ. In verse 24, the Bible says, "And after some days when Felix came with his wife, Drucilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning faith in Christ." Well you see, he wanted to know about faith and belief in Christ.

But then I want you to hear verse 25. Now here is what Paul reasoned with him. Here are the three areas that he taught him about Christ. The first being righteousness (verse 25). The second being self-control. The third the judgment to come. Well that's after the point when Felix says, "Well, come back again at a more convenient time and I might just follow your Jesus. I might just do what you have said." It is interesting though, what was he preaching? When he preached Christ, what did he preach? He preached here righteousness. That's God. He preached self-control, knowing the Will of God and living the life and he preached the judgment. God is coming again.

Well God is coming again and are in your life practicing self-control so that you might be rewarded not only in this life but with eternal life and heaven someday? If you have not become a child of God, I encourage you to do so today. You have heard the Word. Repent and turn from your sins. Confess the name of Jesus Christ and be buried with your Lord and Savior in baptism that he might add you to His church and that you might begin living a life that shows forth all the Christian virtues, but specifically again, this virtue of self-control so that you in all things might glorify God, praise Him and show the world through your life that not only will you have the reward of heaven but they may have it as well.

(SONG # 3 - "Did You Think To Pray.")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know 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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May we all work every day to control our emotions and to be more temperate before God and this world. For we are commanded to have self control as Children of God!

(Program closing)