THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 9-1-02

LESSON TITLE: UNDESERVED BLESSINGS FROM GOD: "GUIDANCE"

WELCOME

Here we are together again on a wondrous Lord's Day Morning. Privileged to serve our God in songs of praise and through the study of His Word. We welcome you to this time of offering to God.

I hope each of you had a great week and I hope you are ready today to think on things above, and to give full attention to our Creator who has done so much for all of us. In fact, this morning we want to begin by talking to our God in prayer. Won't you bow with me at this time before the throne of God.

(Prayer)

Are you ready to praise your God through song? At this time we want to get started by singing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we lift up our voices together, in the hymn, "I'll Fly Away."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Wonderful things happen in all of our lives. Consider for a moment where you may fall in the following thoughts.

Think for a moment about the feeling you had the first time you met your one and only. Think about those feelings you had whenever you were together or whenever you were apart!

Think about that feeling you had when you walked toward him down that aisle or when she came toward you up the aisle to become your mate for life. Think about that feeling you had when you saw your first child, a wonderful creation and gift given from God.

Think about that first day of school, when you watched your child go into that big building all alone. Think about that day your son or daughter got married and left your home. Think about that day that you saw your first grandchild and held it in your arms.

Think about that day you stood by the hospital bed, as your loved one suffered. Think about that day you cried by the coffin as you lost your better part! Think about that feeling which makes all these moments possible and more special. Think about the human emotion which we all share in - Love!

One of the greatest privileges and emotions we share in this life is the ability to love others and to build special relationships. We get this ability directly from the one who loved us first, our creator, God the Father. John said, "We love Him because He first loved us," 1 John 4:19.

Love is such a glorious and wondrous part of our lives. It is a feeling that we all share in and are made better by. Love is the foundation of everything and for everything in this life. Furthermore, love is the foundation of all spiritual things we share together as followers of God and with the Giver of all Himself!

Paul may have put it best as he was addressing the Corinthian church, when he said, "And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." Truly love is the greatest. Won't you chose to be like the Father and learn to love as He loves us?

Our study this morning will again focus on those, "Undeserved Blessings From God." Our specific topic today is entitled, "Guidance!" So please continue with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study of the morning. Now, let's join in our second hymn of the morning. The name of the song, "Home Of The Soul!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we again have the opportunity to look into the pages of God's Word and consider another lesson from our series that we've looked at together on "The Undeserved Blessings of God." You might remember that over the past several months we've been looking at things such as salvation and grace and mercy, how that God has great compassion and care and how He really provides all of our daily needs. And this morning we want to look at how that God guides us. You know a very important part of the Christian's life is to understand that really He is our guide and He does everything that we need in order that we might have the proper guidance, as far as which way to go or where to turn and really our protection and so on and so forth. So this morning, we want to see about that guidance that God gives us and provides for us.

You might remember that throughout the Old Testament that we find that God was always a God who was there for His people. In fact, from the very beginning He was always there providing for His children and guiding them in what way that they should go. You might remember in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve were strictly given the things that they should do as what they should eat and not eat. God did care. He give them all that they had need of and then guided them in what they should do or how they should care for these things that God had entrusted to them. Not only then but we remember that through their sons, the faithfulness that we see in Seth and his seed.

And then later, Noah, a man of God came and how that God again protected him and guided him, showed him which way to go and came to him and even talked to him about how he should build an ark in order that he might survive the flood that was coming to destroy the world, the mankind that really God had been grieved because He had create. Their wickedness had really become indescribable.

But after Noah, we find even greater men coming along, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. Then we see Moses coming, a great man of God who came to lead the people. In all of these situations, we find the same thing. They were guided by God. They were told what to do. They were told where to go. They were told how to live. In fact, you might remember that Abraham was one who as he was at his home in Ur was told to pick his things up and move to a country that God would show him, not telling him really where he would go, but told him that he would be going to a country that God would someday eventually show him. And he did it. Why? Because he had the faith. He was willing to follow the guidance that God had given him and he knew that God would guide him in the right way, the way he should go. Well, the same was true with his son, as Abraham had Isaac. And then the same was true with Isaac's son, Jacob, who received the blessing. And even with Moses we see that he was a chosen one of God and was guided in everything. It doesn't matter whether you talk about his early life or even his latter life, we see that even before Pharaoh God had guided him and gave him the ability to perform many great plagues on the Egyptians so that they might release the people of God.

But as we continue on, we move to the Israelites then. The Israelites again show us how that God cared so much, so much for His people. In fact, you might remember several examples of how the Israelites, after leaving Egypt, were cared for, how God guided them even through the Red Sea as they came there and they were wondering what to do and the Egyptian army was quickly closing in behind them. But yet, now God divided the water and allowed them to cross on dry land. He guided them. He cared for His people.

Later, we see they were murmuring and crying because they didn't have enough water. What did God do? He provided them water even in the desert. Later, He even provided them food and what we would refer to as manna which is like a bread-type substance and then even quail, a type of meat substance that was brought in the day by God, from the heavens. It would simply come down for them to take and to eat and to have that which they had need of. Again, God guided them and He cared for them in this way and He guided them to show them how to carry these things out, even specifically telling them to eat only a certain portion, that which they had need of. He guided them in what they should do and how they should do it in order that they'd be pleasing before Him.

I want you to go with me to the book of Exodus because it is there that we really begin to see a lot of the story of the Israelites unfolding. And there in Exodus chapter 13, we find a very interesting illustration, I believe, in relationship to our story because it reminds us of something that God did to specifically remind the people that He was always there, that He was always a presence with them, and was always willing to guide them. They were never alone as long as they were followers of God. Remember what that was? I want you to look in Exodus chapter 13 and I want you to read with me beginning in verse 21 as it says there, "And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of clouds to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night." Notice here clearly that the Lord God guided His people. When? By day. Guided His people when? By night. And how did He do it? In the day a pillar of cloud, knowing always as they looked up they were guided by God Himself as this cloud would move and they would follow it. Then by night, should they be afraid? Certainly not. Because God was there again represented again in a pillar or a cloud again of fire, so they would even have light to see in the night if need be. Again, the presence of God guiding them all of the way.

And notice there in verse 22 as it goes on to say, "He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people." In other words, God guided them because He loved them and because of His promises and then He was not going to take away that guidance. Well brethren, we look now at the Old Testament and we find that truly the examples are clear that God loved His people enough to guide them and to care for them and to give them the strength that they needed everyday to know which direction to go, to make the proper choices, to make the good judgments that they should make.

Well, what about us today? Don't we have the very same privilege through Jesus Christ our Lord? The Bible tells us that certainly we do. In fact, the Bible tells us that not only do we have the guidance but actually we have a better opportunity today. The Hebrew spends a great amount of time throughout Hebrews beginning around chapter 8 telling us about how that we have a better covenant based on a better sacrifice, that being the perfect blood of Jesus Christ. Not only a better sacrifice, but a better covenant because that covenant allows us to not only have a pushing forward of sins, but a forgiveness of sins. That covenant offers us the promises of heaven and the rewards of this life. So yes, we have something which is far greater and far better today to guide us and that is again that which has been given to us through Jesus Christ. But you might say, "What specifically do we have? What has God given us specifically that we might truly know which way to go? What to do? How to act?" The way has been clearly given to us as He has told us in the Word, that is the Bible. He guides us today not by a pillar of cloud in the sky by day or a fire cloud at night or not by some other means of special revelation today, but He guides us specifically by that perfect revelation that He has already given us, that which guides us in all things. That's what the Bible says that it is. And if we believe the Bible then we must believe that it is the book that truly is for that purpose.

I might remind you that even James said in James 1:25 that the Bible is the perfect law of liberty.

I want you to look at also what Peter said if you'll turn over to the New Testament with me. We'll look at some of these ideas that will clearly show us that yes, the Bible is that book for guidance today, that shows us which way to go, what to do, what to say, what to think, and how to live for our God. You might remember in 2 Peter chapter 1 a very familiar verse in verse 3 as he says, "And His divine power..." Whose power? God's power is going to do something for us. "...has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue." God's power has given us what? Do you hear that? All things. What's left out when we use the word "all"? Nothing. All things have been given to us. All things for what? All things to guide us in what way? All things to guide us, as it says here, "in all things pertaining to life and godliness." What other area is there in life than knowing about life and knowing about spirituality, godliness?

Paul talked a lot about the man that was really of the earth, the fleshly man, the corrupt side of man, the man that really is based in that which is earthly. Then he talked also in the book of Corinthians about the righteous man, the holy man, the spiritual man, and that is what's being spoken of here. He is saying that God has provided everything whether it be for the physical man pertaining to life or the spiritual man - to godliness. God gives us all things. How does He do that? Well the same chapter in verses 20 and 21 goes on to tell us that "God moved men, men that were lead by the Holy Spirit, holy men of God were moved by the Holy Spirit in order that they might record for us the pages that we have here in this book, the Bible." In fact, in verse 20 it tells us that no scripture is of any private interpretation but it comes directly by God. Why? So that God could guide us. So that He could give us as we've read "all things pertaining to life and to godliness."

Another scripture that I probably don't need to remind you of but at least we want to refer to here this time is in 2 Timothy 3, verses 16 and 17 where again the same thought is given by Paul that "all scripture is from God and is profitable..." Notice in what ways. "...in reproof, correction, doctrine and instruction in righteousness." In fact, the next verse 17 goes on to say that "the man of God may be complete and thoroughly equipped." The man of God, the individual who is a follower of God, might be completely and thoroughly equipped in what way? In every. There is that word again. In all, every, completely, may be equipped by God into all good works. You see, the Word of God, that scripture that has been given to us by the providence of God, by the knowledge that has been revealed through His apostles, the Holy Spirit guiding Him to write the things that we have today. That is our main source, our main guide today that provides for us that which we have need of.

Isn't that what Paul was saying? If you'll look back to verse 15 in the same thing, that is the same verse in 2 Timothy chapter 3. The chapter there tells us in verse 15 that "from a child you have known the Holy scriptures..." Known the Holy scriptures that have made you what? He says, "...to make you wise unto salvation." You see, it is that Word, that Scripture, that Revelation that we have recorded by the Holy Spirit through these holy men that has been guided by God that guides us in what ways? All ways. That gives us the knowledge that we have need of to do the Will of God.

So isn't it wonderful to know that our God does love us enough to guide us? That He does love us enough to give us what we have need of. There are many references to what this guidance and to what this providing of guidance can be through the Word of God. One reference that often is used is in the book of Corinthians as well as even other letters by Paul is the concept of food. In fact, even Peter talks about the concept of babes having milk and grown people having food. Well again, the concept showing that we as Christians have something to guide. But where do we go to get that? We get that from the spiritual sense and the spiritual knowledge given to us through the Word of God. We do that as we read so that we might grow. Jesus was even referred to as the way, the truth, and the life, notice. He says, "I am the way." Why? Because I show you the way. "I am the truth." Because I show you how to do it rightly. "I am the life." Because He gives us what? Life, freedom, through the truth. So yes, Jesus is the one who can do all of those things for us and even more. He's also referred to as "the bread of life," the spiritual food that we can eat to guide us in a spiritual sense. But even in a literal sense, what has God promised us? Well in the Sermon on the Mount we often refer to there beginning in Matthew 5 but primarily chapter 6 talks about how that again God is that provider. He's that one that cares enough to do what? To guide us to have all things. He's the one that has promised us that He will guide us in this life so that we'll be able to work and to prosper and to be blessed and to have the rain on us and to make us grow and so many other things. Again, God is there. He is there to care for us. He is there to guide us. And He is there to, as we might say, to give us the exercise that we might need in a spiritual sense, to give us the exercise that we need even in a spiritual and physical so that we might prosper in all things. Paul said that "bodily exercise profits little." But what really profits is what? Godliness. It is great gain. It is that which builds us up and helps us to know in what we should do. Why? Because it guides us.

I would encourage you strongly today as we look at the Word of God to understand that it is the book that again shows the Will of God. It is the book that guides us in all things.

I want to end this morning by looking specifically at a few examples by Jesus Christ. We might remember that probably the best guide that we have is often through example. In other words, I might give an example to my children and guide them by the things that I do. Well, Jesus left us a perfect life, no sin, no guile was found in His mouth. He was an individual that was brought before the shear but He was perfect in every way. Again, that's why He was such a perfect sacrifice. But as that one who was perfect, He left us a life to show us the footsteps to show us the footsteps that we should follow in. He left us a life to know that truly not only was He there to be with us and to guide us and to hold our hands so to speak and to carry us all the way. But yet, He was one that left an example through His Word once again primarily found in the gospel account, that if we'll simply do what He did, we could have a life that is pleasing before Him. In fact, you might remember verses there in Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 1 that we must be imitators of God as His dear children, again imitating Christ. He lived a life and guided us through His life and saying, "Follow Me. Follow the Words that I have spoken." Why? Because they are from the Father. "Follow the life that I have lived." Why? Because it's from the Father. "Follow the works which I have done." Why? Because they are of the Father. So if we'll follow that example, that can be our guide. So through the Word and through the examples of Christ and the examples of the apostles, remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1? He said, "Be imitators of Me." Again, He guides us through His own life, through His own actions, His own report with the congregations that he wrote and through his writings and through the things that he tells us about the life that He lived. Again, what greater guidance than to be people who live and practice the things that we preach? That's why to me Jesus and His apostles and Peter and so on and so forth, why these individuals are so worthy to guide us. They're so worthy not only because it comes from God but because they lived the life, and so thus, when we become individuals who are followers of God, we must remember that we also play a part. We also play a part in teaching and guiding others in the things that are proper and right before Christ.

You must ask yourself the question, "Am I the guide that God wants me to be? Am I living the life that truly will influence those around me and teach them that Jesus Christ is someone special and someone who needs to be followed and obeyed in all facets of life. Are we individuals who can learn from our Savior and say that "I want to be the type of guide that Jesus was." And to say that "people can imitate me just as I learned from Him." I hope we can learn from these examples because that's what He wants of us. He wants us to be Christ-like. He wants us to be Christians as we call ourselves, Acts chapter 4 and verse 12. Those who are not only followers but those who exemplify Christ Jesus. So why not follow the perfect guide today? Why not do those things in your life that show not only that you are faithful to Him but also so those who will follow you will be faithful to His cause also. To God be the glory.

(SONG # 3 - "Jesus Is Coming Soon!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

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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How wonderful it is to know that our God is always there to guide, guard, and direct us. May we always rely on Him so that we will know the proper way!

(Program End)