THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-14-13
LESSON TITLE: “TESTING ALL THINGS”
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God’s Living Word. Today we have come together on another glorious Lord’s Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we now have to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. 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!
At this time, we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won’t you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, “Seeking The Lost.”
(SONG # 1)
Think for a moment about what a privilege we have as Christians to serve God. As His children we must take advantage of every opportunity to see that His Will is carried out. One command that stands out among many is the fact that we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Remember what the Lord Himself said in Mark 16:15-16? There we read, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” Paul adds that it is the same Gospel of Jesus which is able to save the souls of men, Romans 1:16. And later, the same author said to the church at Ephesus, that it was the duty of the church to make known the manifold wisdom of God to all, Ephesians 3:10! Peter also proclaimed this truth when he said that we must all be ready to give an answer, at any time, for the hope that lies within us, 1 Peter 3:15. The reality is, we all have a lot of work to do as followers of God to see that everyone on this earth hears the precious message of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is able to save anyone from their lost state in this world. We will talk more about this in our main lesson of the day.
However, with this in mind think of the many ways that we can reach out to accomplish this great task for our God. Many of us have the opportunity to go to countries throughout this world to preach the message of God. Others reach out in their own communities through various opportunities to allow others to see Christ in them. Still others reach out to their family and friends that they might know the Gospel of Christ. In fact, the purpose of this very program is centered around accomplishing the very thing we are talking about this morning. Our desire is to help people know more about Jesus, His Will, and to provide us each with another opportunity to serve God. How wonderful and precious the Gospel of Christ is. Have you fully submitted to it today?
Today we will begin a new series of study from a statement made by Paul in 2 Corinthians 13. There he challenged the brethren saying, “Test yourselves.” Our specific topic of the day will deal with, “Testing All Things.” So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, I 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, “Send The Light.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We thank you so much for continuing with us this morning now as we go to God’s word. We are excited to start a new series of study this morning that we might challenge ourselves as those who love God to make sure that what we are doing is ever right before Him. Certainly our desire on this earth should have nothing to do with our own selfishness or the desires of other men but rather that we serve God and God alone in relationship to religious things and that is really what this series will be all about.
As we begin thinking of this series that we are going to begin this morning I would like to ask you a question. How many times have you been tested in life? We all have experienced tests in life as we have grown up and gone to school. We know that in school we often receive a test to find out how well we are retaining those things that we have learned and those things that we have studied. In fact we really find out if we have studied at all when we take those tests. Those tests seem to get harder and harder as we get older in life and as we maybe move up into different levels of education. And we then are tested to find out not only if we have retained things we have learned before but added those new ideas, those new concepts, on therefore as we remember as a well rounded individual those things we again have studied according to what we have learned in academics. As we also think about other aspects of life we are also tested. We sometimes are tested for instance when we want to go and get a drivers license and that was a nervous day wasn’t it when you first got your drivers license. Not only when you took the little written tests but what about when you had to ride with the police man or police woman in order to take that test; it was unnerving wasn’t it? Well, sometimes tests can make us nervous. Sometimes they are more of a literal nature and sometimes it is maybe just what people do to us to find out more about us. Sometimes someone might test you or you might test them in one way or another with questions, comments, or ideas to really find out how they will react.
All of these things being so I want you to notice something that Paul said with me to the Corinthian church in 2Corinthians 13:5. He first said, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” Well, what did he first begin to talk about? Well, a self examination. That idea as even in the morning we might get up, and we go into the bathroom, and we look into the mirror, and we see our reflection. And as we look there and we see our reflection we examine ourselves by making sure that our hair is right, that our face looks clean, and so on and so forth because we want to make sure that we look appropriate for wherever we are going to go or whatever we are going to do whether it be work or whether it be play. So as we do that we make sure that we are presentable. Well, in a Spiritual sense we must do the very same thing. The Bible here says, “Examine yourselves,” look at yourselves, look within yourself to see if you are in the faith. Well, interestingly enough he mentions specifically there the idea of a specific faith that we must be in. How would I know what faith I must be in? Well, certainly the faith of God. Faith according to the will of God is found in the Bible. So I must look into the word and examine if I am in that faith that God desires of me. The faith that He has established not the faith that I think, or I want, or I desire, or not the faith of other men or religions but the faith that God desires of me as is revealed through His word. After he says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith,” he then says, “Test yourselves.” What? To test yourself? Yes, to test yourself. To make sure that I have the character of Christ and that in joy, longsuffering, peace, and all the concepts such as strength, and such as honor, and love that I am demonstrating that I passed the test that I am able to do what it is that God wants me to do in these different areas to prove myself worthy before Him. Not just worthy before Him but acceptable in His sight so that I will receive His blessings today and so that I will receive His rewards evermore.
After he mentions there a self examination and even a testing of ourselves he then says, “Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?” And really we could spend the entire morning talking about the fact that we are the very image of Jesus Christ. We are to show forth His glory and we are to walk in those steps and those paths that He has left for us to follow and not just in a little way but completely in His paths, completely in His steps. No wonder Jesus said He was the way, the truth and the life and the only way we can get to the Father is following the one way, the one savior, the one Christ who alone can help me to reach the very throne of God the Father in heaven. So examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith and test yourselves. Make sure you are passing. Don’t fail the test of God? The test that you will find as you align yourself with His word and understand that you are one who has Jesus Christ in you. Now if you will look at the overall context he really says those things challenging the brethren of Corinth to know this that they might not be disqualified. He says that you don’t want to be disqualified, you don’t want to find out that you take the test and you failed the test, or you take the test or you don’t remember because you have not really prepared yourself and studied for the test. You don’t want to take the test and be found as a cheater, one who has cheated, and therefore been disqualified. You don’t want to take that test and fall short in such a way that really you have only just put it in a little part of your memory and forget it the next day. You don’t want to fail it anyway when you are talking about Spiritual things and life eternal. You want to make sure that the test you take you pass, and you pass it well, for you are qualified in proving your faith because when you examine your faith you find that it is aligned with what God has asked and therefore the test that you take is successful; God is pleased, his pleasures are accomplished. You and I know what God does for those He loves, you and I know what God is willing to accomplish for the one who is faithful in His sight.
With that concept in mind then I also want you to understand what we are to be obedient in. We might quickly get the idea that well I need to be obedient in this or that, or in some things, or in the things that I like, or in the things that I feel like, I need to be obedient in what my church tells me to be obedient in and as long as they tell me something it doesn’t really matter what God says. Is that what the Bible says? I want you to notice what Paul had already said to the Corinthian Church earlier in the same book. If you will turn back now in 2Corinthians but there in chapter 2 and you will notice with me what He says there to them in verse 9, he says in verse 9, “For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test…” What? Paul was challenging them about sin, error, and about issues in their lives, about being good Christians, about issues of marriage. Paul was challenging them in all these areas to put them to the test, to see if they marked the test properly and if they would pass. How would they pass the test? We know it wasn’t a literal test as far as taking a pen and paper and filling out answers to questions, we know it wasn’t that kind of a test. So how would they be proved successful in the test? Paul says I put you to the test, in other words I wrote you these things, in order to see, “…whether you are obedient…” How do we pass the test of God? Well, the Holy Spirit through Paul the inspired writer says we passed the test of God by obedience to his Will. Where do I learn about God? The Bible. Where else would I learn about God, the knowledge of God, the knowledge of His Will that leads me to salvation? And guess what? He not only says whether I am obedient, have you passed the test whether you are obedient, but he says, “…whether you are obedient in all things.” If I say all things, if God says all things what has He left out? Nothing. I must be found respectable, I must be found acceptable, I must be found honorably following and doing all things not some things but all of what God asks. Now does that mean that I am perfect or I am going to be able to be perfect? Certainly not. But what it means is that I study diligently and I know the Will of God, the Word of God, so that I might pass the test. I prepared myself to pass the test because I am willing to not only know what God wants but I am willing to say what it is that God wants and live obediently according to what God wants in all things. So therefore we know that we are able to examine ourselves and test ourselves as God is in us, Christ Jesus, therefore being tested as to whether we are obedient not just in some things but obedient in all things.
Now let me make a brief clarification there as we talk about obedient in all things. Everything in life rather is not necessarily Spiritual, or not everything has to be done in relationship to Spiritual things there are many things that we do everyday take a shower, wash the dishes maybe, do clothing, there are things we do at work that are really not Spiritual in and of themselves. So we are really talking about acceptable things. Are we being obedient in all things not only what we do spiritually but are the things that we do of a secular nature or even a fleshy nature are they still in alignment to the things of God, to the obedience of the things of God. So that means the way I speak, the way I act at work, even thought they may not be Spiritual things they still show forth in obedience to what God has asked of me in what: word, action, character. I show forth at all times, I am of God and not of man. So therefore we certainly understand that to pass the test, the examination, as we look into our very souls and the essence of man what we find is hopefully what is a glory to God for He is in us and by our obedience to what we know He commands we prove our love, John 14:15.
Now I would like you to go over to the text that really holds the main title of our discussion this morning. That is over in the letter to the Thessalonian church, 1Thessalonians 5. Again it is a very short idea that is given here but it says, “Test all things.” You see we are challenged by God not to just test some things but to test all things because there are things in the world in this life that are good and there are things in this life that are evil. So guess what He says next? After he says there in verse 21 to “Test all things,” he says, “hold fast what is good,” then he says in verse 22, “Abstain from every form of evil.” So as we think about holding fast to what is good we think of what Jesus says in Luke 6:45, that really our heart produces the treasures of life and the way that our treasure is from a good heart we find good treasures. And in fact in that text back in verse 44 he is even talking about how a good tree or a good heart bears good fruit. So when we dive into the good things of life for instance Philippians 4:8, when we meditate on those things that are true, and lovely, in a good report, and honest these things are virtuous things for we are accomplishing in the heart what God wants.
Therefore as we produce fruit in word and deed in action and character we find ourselves in an examination or a test that is complete before God, acceptable before God. So therefore test yourselves. Test yourselves and hold fast to all that is good, and Godly, and righteous, that is acceptable in His sight for that is how we show the love of God. In the other hand he says verse 22 again to abstain from every form of it not just some evil but all evil. We go to many places in the New Testament, Galatians 5 for instance, and we see the warning that we as those of the Spirit should not engage in the flesh and he mentions many kinds of sins. Then in verse 21 he says that those types of sins will actually keep us from the kingdom of God. So we know that we don’t want to be engaged in evil, in fact in any kind of evil. We must abstain from all of it because evil, sin, keep us from God. But I really like the way that John describes such in his book that is John 4 when he says, “Beloved, do not believe every Spirit but rather test the Spirit,” why, “To see whether they are of God because many false prophets have gone into the world.” You see here is an example, a specific example of those things that we test and what it is saying is that the Spirits, the characters, or the aspects of life around you. We know that because he is talking about next the warning of false teachers so he is saying test those who are around you and make sure that they are either of God or man in themselves. Now how do I know if they are of God? Well, the test booklet is here, the Bible. If they again say what is of God I know that they are of God, I know they have past the test, and I know if they past the test and I pass the test we are one in Christ Jesus. But if they say things that are not of God then I know that they have failed the test, they are not of God at all and I can’t be a part or one with them in relationship to Spiritual things.
So what I ask you to think about this morning is, are you ready for the test if the test were given by God today? Are you living in word and deed in all things according to the name of Jesus Christ? Are you abstaining from all evil? And are you holding fast to the good things? In doing those things that God wants knowing that when you do so you will be blessed today but not only today but you will be blessed forever more in that heavenly home on high.
(SONG # 3 - “Sing To Me Of Heaven”)
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.
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Are you examining yourself and testing all things to make sure they are according to God Perfect Will? If not, determine today to begin to know God’s Will fully and to do all that He commands of those who are Faithful.