THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-6-03
LESSON TITLE: LEARNING TO DRAW NEARER TO GOD: "WHEN MUST WE BE GOOD EXAMPLES?"
King David once said, "This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it." Truly this Lord's Day is a wondrous day and we welcome each of you to our program this morning. As always on this day, we will have the privilege of studying God's Word. So, we are excited that you have chosen to give this time of sacrifice to our Creator. I encourage each of us to take advantage of every opportunity this morning to give our own reverence to God, as we together offer this time of worship to Him. May all things be done, to God, for God and unto His glory. Let's start our program this morning with a prayer!
Our first song of the morning reminds us who must be in the drivers seat in our Christians lives. Often we try to stay in control and have things our way. We are all guilty of having our cake and wanting to eat it too. However, this song tells us that our purpose as Christians is not about what we want but what God wants. So at this time I hope you all will join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Have Thine Own Way Lord!"
(SONG # 1)
As parents we sure have an awesome responsibility to raise our Children in the things of God. I love the way Paul clarifies this in the later part of Ephesians 6:4, where he said (in relationship to children), "...but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. This verse says we are to bring our children up, training them and encourage them in the things of God.
Now I might ask, but why should we do this. Well, besides the obvious - which is because God said so. We also read what the great writer Solomon said about this matter. In Proverbs 22:6, we read, "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it." So we are to bring our children up in the things of God so they will follow Him and serve Him all the days of their lives.
Finally, let's notice the power of our examples and actions before our children. In the first part of a verse we read earlier it says, "And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." As parents we are not to do things toward our children which cause them to do wrong things. If we cause their anger and thus they are provoked unto wrath, are we not also guilty? As we all know, a bad example or harsh actions towards others - will affect those around us and often cause them to do things they wouldn't normally do. If we cause such things we are just as guilty in the eyes of God.
On the other hand if we live as we should, and our actions and words are according to the things of God - our children will be blessed because of it and grow in the Lord as they should. This is exactly what Solomon was further talking about in Proverbs 20:7, there we read, "The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him."
Do you see the difference our actions can make before our children? Do we really understand the power our words and deeds hold in their eyes? However, let me also remind us that this is not only true with our children, but with all people which we come in contact with in this life. We are to be good and Godly examples in all things and before all men - in every facet of our lives. Are you the type of parent and Christians you are suppose to be?
Today, we will be continuing our study together on, "Learning to Draw Nearer to God." Our specific topic today will answer the question, "When Must We Be Good Examples?" This morning we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ. As you may have notice before this congregation is mentioned at the end of this program as one of our supporters. So, we are happy to have brother Patterson with us this morning to lead us in our study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. I appreciate the opportunity to be with you here again this morning and to present to you another portion of God's Word.
For the past several weeks, we have been learning how to draw nearer to God. This comes from a passage from James chapter 4 and verse 8 which reads, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." Thus far, we have examined two ways that we might be able to draw nearer to God, studying His Word and also spending time in prayer communicating with God as He talks to us through the Bible.
This week, we're going to be taking a look at how to be good examples. What that means and also when we should do it. So let's take a look at the first part of that as we begin this morning.
What does it mean to be a good example? That's the first of two seemingly easy questions that we're going to be looking at this morning, but I think there's more to it than what we might see on the surface. What does it mean to be a good example? First of all, what is good? Different people have differing definitions about what is good. Some people have an opinion about this and some people have an opinion about that. Some people think that certain things are good. Other people think that those very same things are bad. How do we determine what good really is.
We read in James chapter 1 and verse 17 that "every good and every perfect gift comes from above and comes down from the father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning." That means that everything we have that is good comes from God, and God is consistent. God does not change His mind and flip-flop back and forth like some of us often do. We can always depend upon God to know what is right.
1 John 1 and verse 5 tells us that "this is the message that we have heard from Him and declare to you that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all." Therefore everything that comes from God is good because God Himself is good.
Then also in Psalm 52 and verse 1, "Why do you boast an evil, oh mighty man? The goodness of man endures continually."
You know when we talk about things like in the scientific world, what is a scientific revelation today would be somebody's old news tomorrow or the things that we look back at 100 years ago that seemed to be absolute marvels of new technology now seem old fashioned or perhaps aren't even used anymore because things and knowledge and the intelligence of man and his wisdom changes. But the wisdom of God, His goodness, His kindness continues forever. It is consistent and it is something that we can depend upon.
So if we are going to talk about being a good example, first of all our goodness needs to come from God. We need to emulate what He says is right versus what He says is wrong.
Also, what does it mean to be an example? In Webster's Dictionary, Webster defines the word "example" as being one that serves as a pattern to be imitated or not to be imitated. Let's take the latter part of that definition first and consider one who would not be imitated. We have examples in the Bible of this very thing. In 2 Peter chapter 2 and verse 6, we read about the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha, two cities that we read about in the Old testament that were so evil that the Lord destroyed them with a consuming fire. "And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly." So those people who would live ungodly or unrighteous lives are following the examples of those evil people of Sodom and Gomorrha and they are going to experience the same eternal fate as the inhabitants of those cities who are wiped from this world and wiped from the presence of God forever.
We also see in the Bible a number of good examples and after all that is in part at least what the Bible is all about for us, showing us how to live, teaching us how to live, allowing us to know God's Will for us so that we can live rightly in this life and thus live with Him forever in the life to come.
Let me give you the very best example that we could go to in scripture and that's the example of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In John chapter 13 beginning in verse 3, we read this story of Jesus showing His disciples about the type of example they should be by following His example to them. "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from suffering, laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciple's feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. Then He came to Simon Peter and Peter said to Him, "Lord are you washing my feet?' Jesus answered and said, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.' Peter said to Him, 'You shall never wash my feet.' Jesus answered, 'If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.' Simon Peter said to Him, 'Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and My head.' Jesus said to Him, 'He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet but he's completely clean and you are clean but not all of you for He knew who would betray Him.' Therefore He said, 'You are not all clean.' So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments and sat down again He said to them, 'Do you know what I have done to you? You call me teacher and Lord, and you say well for so I am, if I then your Lord and teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.'" And listen to verse 15. "For I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you." So Jesus set the example even though He was teacher to the student, the master to the servant, He set the example of service to His fellow man. He expected His disciples to follow this.
The apostle Paul followed that example in Philippians chapter 3 and verse 17. Not that he himself was the example that followed but his example of following Christ was what he wanted other people to emulate in their lives. He writes, "Brethren, join in following my example and note those who so walk as you have us for a pattern." Paul, the other apostles and many people in the first century in those Biblical times of the New Testament set wonderful examples for the people around them but it was not enough that they simply set those examples. They then turned and told the people to follow those examples. They were not the only ones, the apostles, who were to follow the example of Christ but rather every person who would choose to walk in the paths of Jesus would follow that example. For instance, the apostle Peter in 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 21 through 24 writes, "For to this you are called because Christ also suffered for us leaving us an example that you should follow His steps who committed no sin nor was deceit found in His mouth, who when He was reviled, did not revile in return. When He suffered did not threaten but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously, who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree that we having died to sins might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed."
Jesus is the perfect example for us today. He is the perfect example about the things that we should say, the things that we should do, the ways that we should act toward others, the ways that we should react toward others. So we follow that example as the apostles followed that example, as Christians for centuries have followed that example and Lord willing, if we have continued time in this world, as others will continue to follow that example as well.
Now I mentioned earlier that I ask the first of two seemingly easy questions. Well, here comes the second. That is, "When must we be good examples?" We're to be good examples. That's true, to follow the goodness of Christ and to follow the example He set for us. But when must we be good examples? The easy answer to that is all of the time. That's the time that we should be good examples. We should never cease from following the example or the pattern that was set for us by Jesus Christ. But it's easier to make that statement than to it is to understand the applicable nature of it. So as in our lessons, we want to make this apply to our lives in a meaningful way and so I have taken a look at four ways that we can find the time to be good examples, that we can institute these principles into our lives.
First of all, in the church building versus the workplace. There are a lot of people who come to worship on a Sunday morning or a Sunday night or come to a Bible study another time and they set a very good example. Their speech is clean. Their dress is modest. Their actions are godly. But once they leave those buildings, once they leave those settings, their behavior changes. When they're around Christians they seem to mirror Christianity, but when they're around the world they seem to mirror the world. That cannot be in Christianity. We must choose which path we are going to take. The path that leads to eternal life or the path that leads to eternal destruction. It was God who said in the book of Revelation, "I wish that you are either hot or cold, but you are lukewarm and so I am going to spit or spew you out of my mouth." That's because God wants us to make a choice. He wants us to choose which way we will follow in this life.
Some people look at a church building as a holy place, but that's not the case at all. In John chapter 4 and verses 20-24, we read the story of Jesus coming across the Samaritan woman, the woman at the well. She asked the question, she said, "Our fathers worship on this mountain and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem worship the Father. You worship what you do know. We know what we worship for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The idea that Jesus was getting across was there's going to be a time when location is not the issue. Location for worship will not be the issue but rather that you put God first all of the time both in the worship and in your service to Him in setting a good example.
What about in our younger years versus our older years? Some people talk about young people when they act foolishly and they say, "Well, that's just youth. That's just their immaturity." Other people say concerning an older person's action who follows an equally foolish path, they say, "Well, you can't teach an old dog new tricks." In the book of Titus in chapter 2 the first eight verses Paul spends a great deal of time talking about the ways that older men, older women, younger women and younger men are to behave. They are to change their lives so that their lives better suit or better follow the examples set by Christ.
What about inside the home and outside the home? I've heard of a lot of people who talk about their mothers, their fathers, their children, others who act one way in the home but they leave that home and they act a different way. Maybe the parents talk about loving their children outside the home but their abusive inside the home. Maybe they talk about how we need to be dedicated to God outside in other people's presence, but inside they do not pray together. They do not study together. They do not spend time talking about and meditating upon God's Word. We need more consistency in our lives than that.
Isaiah 33 and verses 15 and 16 reads, "He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppression, who gestures with his hand refusing bribes, he stops his ears from hearing the bloodshed and shuts his eyes from seeing evil, he will be dwell on high. His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks. Bread will be given him. His water will be sure."
In the New Testament, Paul writes in the book of Titus chapter 2 verses 11 and 12, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present age."
Nowhere in those two passages of scripture did it talk about behaving one way in the home and another way someplace else. We need to be the same people, the same godly people, the same Christian examples in the home as we are out of the home.
Finally, with friends and strangers. There's a whole passage in Matthew chapter 25 verses 31 through 46 that I would encourage you to read. But our time does not permit us this morning. It was a passage where Jesus talked about treating not simply those people that we know and love with respect and care and love, but rather also treating those who are strangers in that same way because He says, "Everytime you treat those good people you know this way, that's good but when you treat strangers poorly you are treating Christ the same way." So therefore, we want to treat all people the same. The clerk at the bank or the check-out cashier at the grocery store, the person that you see on the street or the people that you work with in your place of business, we want to treat them with the same type of love and concern treated us.
I want to close with Titus 2 verses 7 and 8 where we read, "In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing integrity and reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned. That one who is an opponent may be ashamed having nothing evil to say of you." We want to be consistent in our Christianity. We want to follow Christ and His example and we want to set that Christ-like example for those around us. May God bless you.
(SONG # 3 - "How Sweet, How Heavenly!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope 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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How blessed we are to have the opportunity to live every day of our lives as good examples in this world. That we might not only glorify our God, but also to be found well pleasing in His sight.