THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 6-26-11
LESSON TITLE: “HE WHO OVERCOMES THE WORLD: RICHES FOR THE WORLD”
Paul once proclaimed, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” Truly as followers of God we need not be ashamed of our Creator or His Gospel.
Good morning and welcome to the Living Word program! Thank you for choosing to give this time to God, as we together strive to honor Him according to His will. As always, this morning it will be our privilege to sing hymns about God and to study from His magnificent Word. Now let’s bow our heads before His throne in prayer!
Today we want to begin with a song that reminds us of the great reward awaiting the faithful in the end. So won’t you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, “Walking Alone at Eve?”
(SONG # 1)
We read many thought provoking concepts from the Old Testament Writers. In fact, one of the best writers that gives us so many great ideas is Solomon.
In Proverbs 2:21-22, Solomon made this challenging statement, “For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it; but the wicked will be cut off from the earth, and the unfaithful will be uprooted from it.” This quote is dealing with two main thoughts.
First, we see that Solomon was reminding us that if we are trying, we will be able to dwell in the land with God. However, the blameless or perfect are those who will be able to remain in it. You see, all of us reap the blessings that God gives to those of this earth. We all are alive, we breathe, and we have the abilities which God has created us each with. We also know that God sends the sun and rain and it falls on and helps both the just and the unjust. However, what is it that causes a person to receive the right to remain in His promises? Obviously, it is when an individual strives to do what God has said and what God asks us to.
On the other hand, he went on to state that the wicked will be cut off and the unfaithful rooted up. Let’s face it, it does take an active roll on our part for God to know that we are on His side. Our faith has to be one that is seen as active, otherwise we are not of God - as is stated here, we are wicked. James put it like this, “Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, and I have works.’ Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works,” chapter 2, verses 17 and 18. Isn’t it our active works that prove our faith in God.
I’m reminded of a story told by Jesus in Matthew 25. Here the Lord Himself, was trying to teach us that we should do good and care for all men. In fact, He said when we do good to others; it is as if we are doing it to Him. Now, this is the very same point we are trying to make this morning. Jesus said that He knows when we are faithful, because He sees it in our actions. As well, Solomon said in Proverbs, that our reward is according to what we do; Jesus also confirmed this same point. In fact in verse 34, He talked of the reward for those that show their faith through action, but in verse 46, He says that those who didn’t prove their faith would be destroyed.
Start living today in a manner that proves to God and the world that we are truly following His commandments. Then and only then can we be found faithful and justified in His sight!
This morning we will be continuing our series of study entitled, “He Who Overcomes the World.” Our specific discussion of the day is, “Riches for the World!” So please stay with us and after our next song I will lead our lesson thoughts of the morning. Now let’s join in our next hymn of the morning, as we glorify God our creator. The name of this song, “This Is My Fathers World.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In the book of 1 Kings, we begin to learn about Solomon’s reign as king over God’s people. In chapter 3 and verse 3 we also learn that “Solomon loved the Lord and that he walked in the statutes exactly the way that the father, that is his father David,” had walked before the Lord properly. And we know the story and how it goes in that Solomon asked God for wisdom to judge his people righteously and God certainly then told him that, “I will not only give you then wisdom but because you have asked for wisdom and not necessarily for earthly things or wealth or the things of light.”
Notice what he also asked him there in verse 12. “Behold,” he says, “I have done according to your Word. See I have given you a wise and understanding heart so that there has been none like you before, nor shall there be any other arise after you, and I have also given you what you have not asked, both riches and honor so that there shall be nothing or nothing like you ever again, any kings, all the days of your life.”
Now we know certainly this was true because we can turn over into the book of Chronicles and there in the book of 2 Chronicles chapter 9 we actually learn of a day that the queen of Sheba comes to see the great and vast kingdom of Solomon and not only is she highly impressed with his great wisdom that God had blessed him with, but I want you to notice what it is that she says to him beginning in verse 5 of 2 Chronicles chapter 9. “Then she said to the king, ‘It was a true report which I had heard in my land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe their words until I came and saw with my own eyes and indeed the half of your greatness of your wisdom was not told to me. You exceed the fame which I have heard.’” It goes on to talk about the fact that he had shown her his great wealth and how happy she was to see that truly a God, the God of Solomon was a real God, a God who had blessed His servants. What a beautiful picture we have there of someone who was striving to overcome the world at least early in his life, and as well what we would find it seems clear near the end of his life.
I want you also to look with me there at some words that Solomon spoke in Ecclesiastes chapter 12. Do you remember a man now who had tried all things sinfully of the flesh, who has acquired all the things of life, he has had so much money that he has bought anything and everything that he wants even if they are right before God or not, a man who was capable of having the greatest knowledge of anyone who ever lived or who will ever live. And then do you remember what it is that he said about all these possessions, all these things that he has, and really what they meant to him. Look there with me in verse 8 of Ecclesiastes chapter 12. The Bible now says, “Vanity of vanity says the preacher. All is vanity.” Everything is worthless! He says that all the things I have acquired, all the wives I had, all the concubines, all the possessions, all the money, all the gold, all the big houses and palaces, all the armies and all the things that I had are nothing in relationship to the great goodness of God, riches and wealth. You see he understood that it was not in the material things of life that true joy came. We can actually also see in the same text that he later also said, “Really the conclusion of the whole matter, all of man is to fear God and to keep His commandments.” It’s not about this life or acquiring the things of this life but about fearing God.
Now what do we find then in the New Testament in relationship to things that Jesus said pertaining to the same thing? Do you remember the parable there in Luke chapter 12 of what is referred to as “the rich fool,” a man who had plenty and he had great crops and he had built big barns and he had filled those barns to capacity and more and when he saw that he had all of these things, what did he do? Did he give to the poor? Did he say, “I am going to give of my excess to help those in need?” NO! In verse 18 he actually said, “I will do this. I will actually pull down my barns and build greater ones and there I will store all of my crops and my goods.” Do you know what the final thing Jesus said in that parable was? “So is he who laid up treasure for himself and is not rich towards God.” Yes, the rich man had wealth of the earth. The rich man was able to acquire the things of life but when the Lord said, “You fool. Tonight your soul will be required of you. All of the treasures of the earth (guess what) were worthless.” They meant nothing. They no longer were of any benefit.
In the book of Matthew we again find another great example in the story of the rich young ruler. You might recall there that the rich young ruler was a man who had focused his life on things of the flesh but also the Bible tells us that he is very boastful in chapter 19 of Matthew about the fact that he has kept all of the Ten Commandments throughout his life and then he comes to Jesus and he says, “What else do I lack? Look at all that I am doing according to the Law of Moses, and look at all that I have done for you, my God.” And then what is it that God says to him there? Again in Matthew 19, we find that he tells him, “Go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor.” He says, “This is the last thing left. Go and help the needy.” Do you remember the results? Verse 22 says, “But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions.” You see he had all the wealth of the world, but it couldn’t get him to Heaven. It couldn’t find him salvation. It couldn’t find him the true joy or happiness just like the other rich man, these things, these treasures of the earth were worthless in relationship to eternal salvation.
So what is it then that our God says to us? What does He teach us through His Word? What does He help us to understand to focus on that we might be right? Well we want to look at that in just a moment from the great Sermon on the Mount.
But before we do that I want to look at one more example that is found over in the book of Romans and chapter 11. This here is dealing with the Jews, as Paul addresses the Jews, and he tries to help them understand that one of the things that God did because of their unfaithfulness is he gave the opportunity to the Gentiles to hear and also to obey the gospel. In other words to be followers of God, no longer just a chosen people, the Jews, but yet you know under Christ what the Bible says that “all are one, whether Jew or Greek, male or female, or bond or free.” And so as he is dealing with that very concept there in Romans chapter 11, he now begins to warn them of the jealousy that they have and the fact that they have possibly allowed themselves to fall, and I want you to notice some of the things that he says that might be responsible for their fall. Look with me at verse 12. “Now if their fall is riches for the world and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness?” He says that if by chance their failure is the world, and he not only says the world or the flesh, or the evils of it or the acquiring or gaining of the things of life, he says literally that the riches of life, the riches of life can choke one. That’s exactly like it says there in the parable of the sower, and it talks about the fact that the seed was sowed and one of those soils that was the thorny ground and the seed, the Word of God, fell there and it says that it began to spring up those thorns and then began to choke the cares of life and the things of life and the world and riches and all the things around the individual began to choke the individual and keep them from the Word of God where true salvation is found.
And so now let’s see what Jesus said about this issue that was in Solomon’s day and this issue that was in the days Christ walked the earth and this issue that also was in the days of the apostles. Throughout all times, men who have focused on money have found it very challenging to ever find their path or to ever find their way to God because riches are of the world and for the world and only benefit us in relationship to this world. So what is it that Jesus says in Matthew chapter 6? If you’ll turn with me there in verse 19 beginning here is the warning. “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on the earth where moth and rust and where thieves break in and steal.” It says to not worry about the treasures of this earth, those things that we have and you know what happens we throw them in the garage or we throw them in the attic or we throw them in the closet, and before long the moths or the bugs or different types of insects get in there and they destroy it or maybe the heat or the weather or the moisture or the dryness that begins to deteriorate these things of this life because they are not eternal. He says to not put your trust in those things. Don’t look at those as your treasures. Any number of us can think of those family heirlooms and those precious things we have had handed down that are special to us that we have sitting around our house or we have somewhere that we are keeping them safely, and the fact is: What will we ever be able to do with those? Nothing! Can we take them with us when we die? Certainly not! Can they save our souls? Not in the least! So where should we put our hopes and focus and treasures? “But lay up for yourself treasure in Heaven where neither moth, nor rust, where neither thieves break in and steal.” Why? “Because where your treasure is there your heart will be also.” You see when we begin to understand and learn that when our treasures and our desires for richness or riches is focused on God and if the reward is God and eternal life, then there is no reason to gain things of this life or this world, or to focus on those things over the beautiful aspects of God. Why? Because they are temporary!
The writer of the Corinthian letter, Paul, said that, “The things of this life are temporary. They last only for a short while and then they disappear.” In fact, the book of Peter says, “The will be burnt up with fervent heat in the end.” But then when we look at what it says about spiritual things, Godly things, the riches of Christ, it says that, “These things are things that are not seen, but are not temporary. They are eternal. They deal with immortality. They deal with paradise and Heaven and mansions, things that will go on forever and ever without end as opposed to a life of 50, 60, 70, maybe even only 80 years as the Old Testament writer said. You see these things cannot be our main focus.
Exactly again as Jesus revealed through His Word there in Matthew 16. “What will a man give in exchange for his own soul?” Verse 26. Will we allow the things of this life to pull us away from God or the desire to acquire them or working enough hours to get those things that we want? Will we allow them to come and take us away from our Creator and the things that He offers us now in this life, blessings as well as eternal life to come? Or will we look to God? Will we find treasure in denying self (verse 24 says) taking up our own cross and following God? You see that type of sacrifice, that type of servitude, that type of offering to God is what really matters. Those types of riches, those spiritual riches where I am full to the brim and flowing over with Godly and righteous and holy things. Those are the things that matter my friend because those are the things that will not only give me confidence now but eternal.
So where is your heart today? Where do you put your trust? Are you focused on God or the world? Will you turn to God and give Him the best as He deserves?
(SONG # 3 - “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, as we gave this time to God. It is always a blessing to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to the service of God!
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What have you put your trust in throughout life? Have you focused on the riches of God or the riches of this life? I pray that you have given yourself fully to God, thus being a recipient of the greatest riches which man can ever know.