THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE – 7-28-13
LESSON TITLE: “TEST YOUR FAITH.”
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 “Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus!”
(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 again have Brother Brent Green with us today as our guest speaker! Brother Brent is an instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri and he preaches for the Hwy 13 church of Christ in Bolivar. We thank him for joining us this day.
As far as our discussion, we will be continuing our study entitled, “Test Yourselves.” Our specific topic of the day will deal with, “Test Your Faith.” So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Green 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, “Sweeter Than All.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a great privilege it is again to open God’s word and study from it. As we start on this study I want you to think about all the tests that you took throughout your life. Maybe it’s all of those tests that you took way back in school all the way through elementary, middle, and even high school. Test after test, math and science and all of those other subjects. But more than just that we have tests throughout our lives, you had to take a test to be able to drive a car, you had to take a test maybe for a job that you interviewed for, maybe it was an insurance type test that you took, or maybe its just any of the other tests we take throughout our lives. It seems like our lives are full of tests. Well, actually if you think about it our lives are more than just the physical tests we take. We have a test that we take every single day that is our spiritual test. We are reminded of that idea as we think about the passage for this lesson 2Corinthians 13:5 where it says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.”
So as we think about that idea we have got to remember again that as we look to the scripture and as we look to God’s word we are in a test. We are suppose to examine ourselves, we are suppose to test ourselves, and this is the greatest test we will ever take throughout the entirety of our lives. Greater than any test we ever took at school, greater than that drivers test, or some other test we might take. This is the test for our spiritual lives, the test of our faith.
That is what we want to consider now the testing of our faith. So before us you have got to think test your faith. That is what we are doing every single day. Every single one of us as individuals is taking that test every single day. So let’s look at the scripture 2Corinthians 13:5 and remind ourselves of some of the key principles. And even not only here throughout the scripture what this test means to us. I want you to consider the words there as used again in this verse, “Examine yourselves.” The idea of examining there, what it means, and some of the translations use other words like the word try or to test, other synonyms for this idea of examine include words like proving or scrutinizing. So if you are examining yourselves you are putting yourself to the test, you are scrutinizing yourself, you are looking inwardly at your heart, at your actions, at your speech, looking at the things you are doing; putting yourself to the test. What are you trying to match yourself up to? Well that is a question we will answer again as we look to God’s word. But to understand what it means to examine ourselves we understand more fully from the definition that we are able to look at and understand what this word means, what it means to examine. So if you think about even more specifically some of the books that you might be able to study like Vincent’s Word Study, gives yourself a definition of this. That the word, “try” may be even a better word than examine because here it implies a definite intent to ascertain your spiritual condition. We want to look at our lives whether they match us to God’s standard. We are trying to come to the conclusion to try ourselves, to prove ourselves, to test ourselves. Or as the New King James uses the word examine. To examine ourselves to find out whether we are really matching up to the standard, what is our spiritual condition in this life. Well when we begin to understand the definition there it helps us to better understand what Paul was trying to convey to the Corinthians.
Even as it goes on there he just doesn’t say examine or test he says, “Examine yourselves.” That is also important in point as well as we think about the definition. This isn’t an examining of something else, for as maybe even those at Corinth were pointing the finger or trying to examine other things Paul says look at yourselves, examine your life, look at your spiritual life. Do you meet up to that spiritual standard of God’s word. So that yourselves as it is given there in the text is actually given for emphasis. He emphasizes the point that you for yourself need to look as we might say in the mirror. Look at your spiritual life, do you match up for yourself. It is pretty easy for us to look at others and point the finger and say well you are not doing what you need to do and you aren’t doing what you need to do either. But here it is for us individually for our self look at our hearts, look at our actions, look at our life, make sure that in our lives we do what we are suppose to do in this life. We need to be those that truly examine ourselves for ourselves. Adam Clark in his commentary says that this requires us to pierce our hearts. Other have made comments that say we need to bore ourselves through. Well, what does that mean? Look all the way inside, look to your heart, look at the inward making our your lives and make sure you match up to what you need to match up to. What a difficult task that can be to make sure we match up again to what God’s word says.
That also goes in connection of what it says there in verse 5 of 2Corinthians 13. Again he says, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Well to be in the faith means that we are being faithful to God’s word. So we are scrutinizing, we are testing our lives, we are looking at our inward making, to make sure that we match up to God’s word, that we are being faithful to that which God has commanded us to be faithful to; that is His word. Well, how do we demonstrate our faithfulness? Well, by doing what God has said. 1John 3:7, to be righteous we have to practice righteousness. That is the core of what we are talking about here, to look at ourselves and make sure we are doing what is right, to make sure we are being faithful according to God’s word. How can we be faithful? Well, again Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” When we do what God’s word says that is from where we derive our faith. Doing what He has told us to do we demonstrate then ourselves to be faithful and righteous according to the scripture. That is what we are looking at, to make sure our lives and all their aspects match up to what God’s word has told us it wants us to be. How He wants us to speak, how He wants us to live, that the totality of our spiritual lives is as God would have it. We have got to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith.
We understand the basic meaning then of what this scripture is telling us to do. How is it then applying to our lives as Christians? Well as you might think about it another way as someone would go to trial and as they would put themselves on that stand or were put on that stand. Then the lawyers and attorneys would ask them questions, question them about their actions in some regard. We are putting ourselves on trial, our own lives on trail, questioning ourselves looking at ourselves, examining to see whether we are applying this as we should. How then do we apply it? Well, think about a few areas throughout the scripture that we are reminding of that would help us to put this into practice. If we question ourselves it means that we are looking at our own lives. Turn with me to James 1 in our Bibles, a very clear passage, very practice passage, to make sure we are not simply hearers of God’s word but we don’t act on it, but we actually do what God says. This is how we apply this examination process. We look at ourselves, that is we look at ourselves as we apply what we are doing to God’s word does it match up. Think about that as we read James 1: 23, James says, “For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing His natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and forgets and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one is blessed in what he does.” James was very clear. There are those who look at God’s word and they look at their lives and say well it doesn’t match up but they just go on living the way that they are already living. Then there are those who look into God’s perfect law of liberty and as they look at themselves and look at their reflection in God’s perfect law they see things that don’t match up and they seek to change those things. They see things that they are doing correct according to the scripture and they seek to continue and maybe even do more so of what they are doing right according to the scripture. But you see what it takes? That examining of self, looking inwardly, comparing our self, testing our self according to God’s word, and then making sure our lives match up in what we do. You see our faith is seen in our actions. James said we have got to not just be hearers but doers of God’s word. We can’t do the word unless we test ourselves according to that word and make sure we match up to what God’s word says.
So that first test as we apply it comes from within as we test ourselves according to God’s word. But there is another test, and this test also comes in this life as we face the temptations that Satan puts before us. Think about that great test you will never be able to match up and overcome that test of Satan unless you first test yourself according to God’s word. When you do that you will be ready to face that test; that test will come. Satan is always out there and always ready to make sure that he has a temptation before us. Remember this temptation does not come from God. James 1:13 says, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God.” No our temptations come, James 1:14-15, when we are drawn away by our own desires, when we are enticed, when that gives into sin then we have become what the devil would put before our eyes. Well, we have got to be careful because he is out there, he is testing us, and we have got to make sure that our lives that as we match them up to God’s word overcome that test that we don’t give into that sin, that temptation that is before us. We have got to make sure that we overcome that test. There is a verse we frequently use when we talk about being faithful throughout our lives, being faithful in this test that we have before us. Revelation 2:10, here specifically the church at Smyrna here was told that they would actually have to overcome some specific trials before them. Read with me there Revelation 2:10, it says, “Do not fear any of those things which you are about suffer. Indeed, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days, Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” He actually tells the brethren there you will be tested. Who is going to be the one to test them, to make them have to endure this type of tribulation in their life for ten days even, it would be Satan. They would be put to the test as Christians in Smyrna at the time. What would they have to do? They needed to demonstrate in their actions, in their lives, that they could overcome that test. You see you test yourself to make sure you are in that faith, living according to God’s word, so that when you face the tests that come from Satan you can overcome those as well. Because if you do pass that test, if you remain faithful what did God say there in Revelation 2:10? He will give you the crown of life.
Indeed we have got a test before us every single day in our lives to make sure that we understand the test of our faith is a daily thing. We overcome these daily temptations with Satan. You see God allows us to be tested and this is part of the testing that we go through to make sure that our faith is as it should be. Why do we look to ourselves every single day? To examine ourselves because we have got to make sure we match up to that word, we overcome Satan's temptations, and we make sure we look for that way of escape. There in 1Corinthians 10:13 God tells us that He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able. That is a great promise to know that God allows us to be tempted but that He makes a way of escape if we will look for that. So you have got to know yourself and your heart whether it matches up to God’s word. You have got to be able to be aware of Satan’s temptations, to be able to look for that way of escape. God allows us and gives us an opportunity to pass that test. What a great encouragement it is, a great exhortation it is even more so to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith.
You might think as we go back again to 2Corinthians 13:5 that there is some repetition here. In all it says examine yourselves, but it goes on to say test yourselves. Interesting enough the words used there for examine and test in the original Greek as they were written are different words with a little bit different admonition here as we think about the second part of this verse as we study it to test yourselves. Think again what it means to test yourself and then we will think again about what it means to apply this again to our lives as Christians. The idea of testing yourselves and other translations again will use other words to prove and again to examine. You might say well there is some overlap there, yes there is some overlap but think about in more detail about really what the definition is here as we think about what it means to test ourselves. Vincent says that this is the result of the try or the result of the test. So all that examining and all that enduring that you are doing as you put yourself o test, this is the result of that try, this is the result of that testing, this is the proof of what you have done. So, really the proving of yourself. Thayer in defining the word here for test as well says that it means to see whether a thing is genuine or not and also it goes on to say to recognize as genuine after examination to approve. So here we are seeing the end result of that test or that examination. So when you test yourself here we have before us whether something is genuine or not. We go through all the things of this life, all the tests, all the examinations to determine whether we have a genuine faith and that is really what it is about as Christians. As we go through all these things to prove that we have that genuine faith in our lives; that is really the meaning.
So how then do we apply this to our lives as Christians if we not only first examine ourselves as whether we are in the faith but now we test ourselves to prove whether we have in ourselves and in our lives a genuine faith before God. Well think about a few areas in our lives to make sure that we would demonstrate a genuineness that is of our faith. Think about the fact that as we put our faith into practice again James 2:18, “Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works,” is what James said. Our faith is seen in action, our faith is seen in practice. Think about again a few of the areas that we have got to make sure we are approved before God in other words we stand before Him being genuine in these areas of our faith. We have got to make sure as Christians that we have a faith that is genuine, that we are not superficial, that we are not pretending to go through this life, that we have a genuine faith before God. Think about what the scripture says there in 1Peter 1. 1Peter 1:7, our faith is put to the test in a quite strong test at that. 1Peter 1:7 says, “That the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious tan gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Our faith is put through the test, the test of fire, to determine whether it is genuine. Just like metals are tested to determine their purity or their value, whether they are genuine; our faith is tested.
Well, if we are going to test ourselves we have got to match up to that test. Do we have a genuine faith, one that truly is deserving of that reward in heaven some day? Not only must we see that our faith is genuine but that our beliefs are genuine. Throughout the text that is the New Testament we find those who are testing whether what is being said is truly from the word of God. Those in Berea in Acts 17 were searching the scriptures daily to find out whether the things Paul spoke were true. 1John 4:1 says, “Test the Spirit, that is those who would come and speak and proclaim to be of God are they really of God.” What we believe in has to be genuine; it has to be from God’s word. So if we have a genuine belief in what is genuine we truly believe God’s word, we are not believing the thoughts and opinions of men. Our faith, our belief has to be genuine as well.
We also have to make sure that as Christians our works are genuine. Galatians 6:4 says that, “Let each one examine his own work.” Are we working for God from our hearts? Are we really doing what He has commanded us to do? And as Christians we have got to make sure that our worship is genuine there in 1Corinthians 11 let a man examine himself there in context of partaking of the Lord’s Supper. We have got to make sure that as Christians we examine ourselves because we are put to the test every single day. Examine yourselves, test yourselves whether you are in the faith.
(SONG # 3 - “Take My Life And Let It Be!”)
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 “the Faith” according to His Will in which we are to follow. May we always go to His Word and test ourselves to see whether we are in the true Faith of God!