THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-20-06
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING WITH GOD: WALKING IN HIS COMMANDMENTS"
"Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one," Colossians 4:6. What manner of speech do you present to God and this world? My prayer is that it is a speech with grace just as God commands.
Thank you so much for joining us on this the Lord's day. We welcome you to our program on this his glorious day. And we commend you for putting God first and committing this time to Him on this beautiful and blessed morning!
I hope everyone is prepared to offer their best to God at this time as we approach His throne in prayer, song and in the study of His Word. What a wondrous and blessed opportunity this will be to completely focus and submit to the things of God.
Let's begin our fellowship at this time, by approaching God's throne in prayer!
Our first song of the morning takes our minds back to Mount Calvary. So won't you join in with the congregation in the first song of the day. The name of the hymn, "The Old Rugged Cross."
As we read earlier, our speech is a powerful tool which can be used for good or bad. However, there are other things in this life that cause us to get down or to feel bad. When was the last time someone did something or said something that upset you? Was it today already, yesterday, last week, or last month? The fact is we get mad at people almost every day for things which they do or say against us. So what was it that he or she did to make you mad? Did they say something about you or were they talking with others about you. Maybe they said something to you that you didn't like. Possibly they did something that brought you harm or pain!
Whatever the reason, we often get mad at others for things they do and surprisingly enough, sometimes they don't even realize that they have done something to upset us. Were they teasing or joking with us or were they really talking about us to hurt us?
Let's first be careful about judging the motives of those around us. In John 7:24, Jesus said, ""Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." We must look beyond the face value of a person or situation and make sure we are making a proper judgement! But what do we usually do, we make a quick judgement without taking time to think it through. We make ourselves judge, jury and prosecutor within a matter of seconds. What type of judgement is this, righteous or unrighteous, wise or unwise?
The facts are, all of us like to jump to conclusions on these matters and we generally choose to get mad and get even now and worry about the consequences later. During these situations, isn't our first reaction an "eye for an eye" or a "tooth for a tooth." We seem determined to "get even," by any cost or by any means. However, is this really what God wants?
Look at what Jesus taught in Luke 6:29. There He said, "To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either." Jesus said we need to learn to be better than those around us. Return good for evil as Christ would have us to.
Another thing to keep in mind, concerning getting even, is that God will take care of the vengeance. Paul said, "Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, 'Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,' says the Lord." Romans 12:19. This is why Paul goes on to say in verses 20 and 21, "Therefore 'If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'" We must act as Christ would act, overlooking evil in order to do good. Thus, letting our enemies know that we are like Christ and not like them.
Who was the wisest man that ever lived? Solomon. Look at what he said in Proverbs 22:20, "Do not say, 'I will recompense evil'; Wait for the LORD, and He will save you."
God will truly care for us if we will obey according to His will. How much easier it is for us not to have to worry about punishing others or getting even with them, because God has promised to take care of that for us. Who will you choose to be like God or your enemy?
Today we will continue with our series entitled, "Walking With God." Our specific topic of the day is, "Walking In His Commandments!" So I encourage you to stay with us this morning, and in just a few minutes I will be leading our thoughts together in this study from God's Word.
Now it's time to return to our songs of praise as we join together in the second hymn of the day. The name of the song, "The Way Of The Cross"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
God has given His people of all ages commands or law that they might know exactly what He requires of them. In fact, we can begin there with Adam and Eve after God made the first man and woman and we actually find in chapter 2 of Genesis that it says that, "God gave them commandments." In fact, there in verse 16 we read that, "The Lord God commanded or told them that they should eat of every tree in the Garden of Eden." In other words, they had the right to do so. He commanded that. But He also commanded something else in the next verse, verse 17. "But of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat, for the day that you eat you will surely die." So interesting there because in verse 16 we read that it says, "And God commanded." No doubt God not only commanded Adam and Eve, but from there on Seth and his descendents all the way to Noah, and we know that Noah responded and obeyed the commands of God because it says that, "God found and offered grace to Noah," because Noah was such a faithful man. He walked with God as we saw last week. But then after that, we continue to see men like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, even great men like Moses and then obviously and consequently the law of Moses that was established at Sinai and we find that that law, that command again given and established that man might know the Will of God, to know how they might do His Will and thus be pleasing in His sight. And then it was that law of Moses that from that point on when they entered the promised last, the period of the judges as well, the period of the kings, all the way up to the time of Jesus. Even Jesus Himself was under the law of Moses and even His disciples at first were until He died on the cross and then we find a new book, a new law of commands, a new set of ordinances that were established that man might be saved or make a covenant agreement with God through the blood of Jesus Christ rather than the blood of bulls and goats like under the Old Law. We read about that in Hebrews chapters 8 and 9.
But this morning, as we look at this concept of commands, no doubt we talk about the Will of God as commandments. In our day and time a lot of people don't like the idea of a command or a law because that means that we're being told what to do. I don't have freedom anymore. Somebody is telling me I can or I can't. Well, the reality is as a Christian we have no choice. God has said and we must do. If God has condemned or said we cannot do something, again we have no choice but to obey if we are to be pleasing in His sight.
I think John put it very well in his second book. If you'll turn to 2 John, it only consists of one chapter. There are several verses there in that chapter that show us about the commandments of God not under the Old Law only or the Patriarchal Period or in the beginning, but also under the Law of Christ, the New Law. Read with me in verse 4 there. He said, "I rejoice greatly that I have found some of you children walking in the truth as we receive commandments from the Father. He first says they were walking. That's our topic, "Walking With God." They were walking in the truth just as they received the commandments of God. So what were they doing? As they received the commands of God which is truth, they were walking in it. They were obeying and doing it. The next verse, verse 5, "And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning that we love one another." And what does verse 6 say? "This is love." He says, "Love one another, but let me tell you what love is." What really is love? He goes on to say that, "We walk according to His (what?) commandments." What is the essence? What is true love? That I learn, that I know God and I obey His what? His law or His commands. It goes on to say in verse 6 that, "As you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it." You should walk in the commands of God if you want to fulfill the (what?) love that one must demonstrate to God, really the attitude of submissiveness. You see, walking in the truth as you have been commanded and demonstrate that love by walking in the commands of God.
Well this shouldn't sound strange to us because John dealt with this a lot. In fact, we could even go back to the book of 1 John and we find there in chapter 2 some similar ideas that he speaks of in relationship to walking in this kind of commandment. There in verse 3 of chapter 2 he says, "Now by this we know that we know Him if we keep His commandments." How do I know that I know God? How do others know that I know God? How does God know that I know Him? And by knowing Him, we mean that I am a follower and obedient. Well, I keep His commands. Notice the next verse, verse 4. "He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments is a liar and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His Word, follows the Word of God, truly the love of God is perfected." By this we know that we are in Him. How do I know that I am in God? If the love of God is demonstrated in me by keeping His what? His commandments. That's how I demonstrate the love to God. That's how I show God that I love Him. That's how the world knows. And I like the word there also used in the same verse, verse 5, that's how I am "perfected," how I am complete. Remember what we talked about last week. We mentioned a few things about men like again Noah and we talked about Enoch, but we also talked about Job, individuals who were perfect or complete or blameless. How do I become blameless or perfect? He says there that, "I love God by obeying His commandments." Now I want you to notice the next verse because that is our theme in verse 6. He goes on to say, "He who says he abides in Him must (what?) also ought to walk just as He walked." We talked about the concept of illuminating God through us. Walking as He walked. Following the example, the footsteps, as Peter said, that He has laid down for us. The pattern, the commands, the law. We walk as He walked according to the Word and we do that because ultimately the only way that I can show God that I love Him is by obeying His commandments. Isn't that a beautiful concept, a beautiful thought as we've read now in 2 John and as we read now in 1 John, the idea that we walk in the commands of God and that's how God knows I love Him. That's how the world knows I love Him. That's how I know that I love God because when I read His Word, what I find is that the things He says I do. The things that He says and the things that He requires and the actions that He wants and the words that He wants me to... all those things are in alignment. They show forth God because I choose to walk with God.
Well this idea should not be foreign to us because even Jesus Christ Himself said these things. In fact, you might recall that John recorded that for us in John chapter 14, the same John that we've just read now from 1st and 2nd John tells us now in the words of Jesus what he heard and what he witnessed from the Lord. So when we later learn about John saying, "If you love God, keep His commandments." Where did he learn that? He leaned that from the Word of Truth, the Word of God, from Jesus Christ Himself. How do we know that? He records the very words of Jesus in John 14 and verse 15. Jesus said, "If you love me, disciples, keep my commandments." Now what did John say over in 1 John again, chapter 2? What did John say there in the book of 2 John? He said, "If you love God, keep His commandments." That's how people know that I'm walking in the Truth. That's how people know that I am walking in the commands of God because what I do and what I say is seen in alignment with what God has commanded. Well, this is a great encouragement to us today because now we learn that God tells us that we not only can, but must keep His commandments and by doing so, He then knows that we are right with Him and we know and therefore He knows that He will give us the rewards and the blessings and we know as well as we are doing what God has said that we are right, that we as well will be blessed and we will receive the wondrous things that He has promised to us.
I want you also to notice another concept of this love or walking in God. What does love do? Not only does it demonstrate to God and to my fellow man, but it also is mentioned there in chapter 13 of John as it states there in verse 35, there he states, "But by this people will know you are My disciples." What is it? That you love one another. That you love. Again, the heart of all things, that love. The love for God. Love for my fellow man. Love for my brethren. All of these things are a part of walking in the commands of God that I am required to do, to diligently keep if I am to be again one found in favor.
He also mentions in John 8:31, "If you abide in My Word, if you walk in My Word, you are My disciples." Obey, obey, obey. Keep, keep, keep. Follow, follow, follow. God says to do it. Do what I have commanded and you are My children. You are My disciples. You will be blessed. You will receive eternal reward. That's the connection. Walking in God is walking in His commands. Not some of them, but all of them. Doing exactly what God asks without adding to, without taking away, trying to show God that we love Him by simply doing it His way. After all, doesn't God know the best? Isn't He all wise, all powerful, all knowing? How could I know more or know better than God? Certainly I can't. So I need to know God enough to obey Him and show my love through obedience.
I would like to end by considering just for a moment the true test of love. I think it's found in the beginning back in Exodus there in chapter 16, a story about Moses when Moses had once again been confronted by the people and they were murmuring and complaining, "Where's food? We must go back to Egypt because we have nothing here. Have you brought us to die?" He speaks to God and then God speaks to the people and he encourages them there in the first several verses. He says, "I will send to you manna and quail." Notice verse 4 with me of Exodus 16. He there says that He's going to do this though and He will do it that He might know something. And what does He want to know? Verse 4, "That I might know they will walk in My law." What does God do today? He has given us a law, has He not? Yes, He has. He has given us a law that He might know whether we walk in His way. Did they do it? No. Many of them collected too much and the next day it stank. It rotted because they had collected more than God allowed. They disobeyed. You see, they did not walk right. He tested them and many failed. Many kept the Word, but many failed.
Today we must learn the very same way. We have the same challenge and we are told that we must do it God's way. In Matthew 7, isn't it there in verse 21 where it says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of heaven..." How do I know if I am under the kingdom of heaven? Those who do the Will of God, those who follow the commands of God. That's the difference. That's the difference between a true follower and child of God, one that really loves God and one who really is disobedient. In the same text there in chapter 7, you can back up from verse 21 and we learn there how we know. How do we know if one is obeying the commands of God? Their fruit. By the things that they do, the things that they say. Are they according to the Will of God? Well you see again, we're back to the same place. God has given law. He has given us the New Testament that we might know the Truth, John 8:32. He would not say that we could have known it if He had not delivered it and revealed it as Paul confirmed. We can know the Truth. We must then obey the Truth and keep the commandments of God that we might be known by God and the world and others to walk in the commands of God knowing that as those who walk in the commands not only do we affect the lives of others that they might be saved, that they might know the Truth and see God in us, but we know that we will be blessed and we know as well that God eventually will give us eternal life.
Are you one who is willing to stay and follow your God? Are you one as we read in the beginning there in 2 John who is willing to walk in the commands of God? Commit to God today and choose to only do it His way.
SONG # 3 - "There's A Great Day Coming")
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One of the things we must remember as followers of God is that we are required to Walk in God's commandments. In fact, if we want to be pleasing in His sight and obedient we have no other choice. So have you committed to walking in the commands of God?