THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-12-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: ARE THERE ABSOLUTES IN TRUTH?"
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord's Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Well, it's time to join in our songs of praise. The first song of the morning is entitled, "Angels Are Singing."
(SONG # 1)
I love the words Peter proclaimed in Acts 10:34-35. There we read, "Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.'" Here we learn that God loves all men equally. Furthermore, anyone who will obey God and do His works will be accepted by Him. Peter made the same type of statement in His own book, 2 Peter 3:9. This text says, "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." God does love all men and wants everyone to come to repentance, no matter who they are, where they are from or where they live - again, God is no respector of persons.
Believe it or not, although scripture is so clear on this point, some still try to claim that God's Word is only for certain peoples, races or cultures. So just how far does God go with this idea? How about those of different color or of different cultures? Paul helps us with this idea in Galatians 3:26, this verse says, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Verse 28 and 29 of the same opening go on to say, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." Not doubt this is why our Lord gave the great commission to the disciples as well as us in Matthew 28, as well as Mark 16. These two passages proclaim to all followers of God that we must, "go in to all the world," "to every nation," "to every peoples." And why? To "preach the gospel," to everyone who will hear. Furthermore, those who respond and obey are God's Children, His son's, and heirs according to God's promises.
Do you as a Christian obey God's law of love and care for all men? Are you a person today, who needs to respond to a God who loves you no matter what - as long as you are willing to repent, obey and follow Him. "Today is the day of salvation!"
As far as our topic of the day, this morning we will continue our series entitled, "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific lesson of the day will answer the question, "Are Their Absolutes in Truth?" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Softly And Tenderly."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for staying with us today and now we have an opportunity to go back to God's Word and to consider whether the teaching of the day will be from heaven or man. We want to continue to look at some preliminary type sermons this morning in looking at the idea of the concept of something which is absolute , specifically later in our lesson about the truth and the idea that the truth itself is absolute.
There are many people in our day and time that don't like this idea of being told what to do. "No one is going to tell me what to do, or I'll do what I want to do, or the idea maybe that mind your own business. Leave me alone. It's none of your business" These concepts certainly show maybe the society that we live in and the idea that many have as to how they feel about what they want, what they think, and really that others should stay out of their way. Really, when we look in the world though, we see that there are absolutes. There are things that are for sure. The concept of being absolute just means that it is something that is there and can't be changed. If you go to bed tonight, you will wake up, if you wake up, if the Lord blesses you to wake up, you'll wake up tomorrow and it will be a new day. The sun will be there. If you're driving down the road and you're approaching an intersection, maybe a very busy intersection like Sunshine and Glenstone and you're approaching that intersection and there's always traffic all over going in all directions of that intersection. You say, "Well, you know the light is red, but I'm going through it anyway and I'm just going to see if I can..." It's absolutely for certain that you're going to hit somebody or they're going to hit you. What about if I were to take a very sharp knife into somewhere on my body, press the blade against my skin. What's going to happen? I can absolutely guarantee you that it is going to cut me and blood is going to come forth. That is an absolute. I also guarantee you that at some time at the end of your days here on this earth, if the Lord doesn't come first, you will die because it is appointed unto all men once to die.
The reality is that in life there are many things that are absolute, things that we cannot change because they have been set in motion, predetermined and preset by God and they cannot be changed. Many things, as well, as a few examples we have used have been set by man. I like probably best of all and most simplest of all the illustration I've heard before of the concept of two numbers when you add them together. For instance, 2+2. If I were to ask anyone, almost of the smallest age who is just begun school, 2+2+=4. Well that's an absolute truth. However, I believe that there are those in our society that might try to argue with you that maybe it doesn't mean 4. Maybe it's not absolute. You see, the reality is, the truth is in these things that there are things in life that are for certain, that we can count on and that we know to be true and unchangeable, things that have been set, that cannot be changed because of the order now that we are in in the world in relationship to what God has set forth or in relationship to what man has set forth. But doesn't it just make sense then if we have absolutes, things that are for sure and beyond a shadow of a doubt that we know to be true in the secular things of life. Doesn't it just make sense that the same God who set these things in order in a secular way, who set the sun in it's place to always be in the proper place and to nourish the earth with all of it's elements and to do all of the things there in space that takes place. Again, God has set all of these things in motion.
Doesn't it just make sense that the same God would have absolutes in His Word? Certainly it does and that's why this morning we want to consider that as even the Bible begins in Genesis 1:1, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." How much clearer can you get? Is that an absolute truth if you're a child of God, if you believe in God, it better be an absolute truth, something that cannot be denied because our God Himself has revealed to us that He was the only thing in the beginning and He created all things. He was the power, the source. He is the only being that was present.
What about with Israel? God told Israel that they should obey the commands, follow the teachings, stand in the statutes and show themselves to be presentable before God. Well now, if you consider that God said, "Do it or else." Would you say that's an absolute? Well certainly. He says, "Look, you have a choice," but it's absolutely certain that if you do, it you're going to be blessed and it's absolutely certain that if you don't do it, you're going to be condemned and punished and often they would lose their lives immediately because of their lack of obedience.
We also see ideas such as the prophecies of old. Remember all the prophecies about Christ, the Messiah, that He would come and then in the New Testament He did? Remember the great prophecy maybe of Jesus being lead as a lamb to the slaughter and how that these things would take place in Jerusalem and that "He would be there put before the shear and killed," as Isaiah had said. Did these things come to pass? Yes.
What about the fact that Jesus there was to establish a kingdom with His own blood as it tells us in Acts? He purchased the church and that church will begin in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost. Did that happen? Certainly it did.
Well, were those prophecies absolute? Certainly they were. They could be counted on because God can be counted on. They can be counted on because God is trustworthy. He is not a liar and if He be, then we are all wasting our time. You see, the reality is that just as we can trust God, just as we can trust the fact that He has set many physical things in order and made them absolute in the universe and in the world that we live, as well we can find that in His Word, He has set forth things that are absolutely for certain and sure.
John 3:16, one of the most familiar verses that all of us love. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son." Is that absolute? Certainly it is. He did it. And that's why He did it, because He loved the world. But there is a second part there and it says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life." The second part is our responsibility that whoever believes in Him shall have everlasting life. If you want everlasting life, what does that verse say? You've got to believe. You've got to obey your God. You've got to do what He has asked you to do. Is that absolute? Yes. It's absolutely for sure that if you want to have eternal life, you must believe and that if you don't, continuing on in the next few verses, verse 17 continues, "For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." Then verse 18 says, "He who believes in Him is not condemned, but He who does not believe is condemned already," because he has not believed in the name of Jesus Christ the son of God. Here we have absolutes. Believe, eternal life. That's an absolute. God has said it. Not because of what I say, but because of what God said. On the other hand, we have "do not believe and be condemned." An absolute. Why? Because God has said it.
When Mark said there in Mark 16, verses 15-16 as he recorded the Words of Jesus that not only should they "go and preach the gospel, but they should preach it and he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." Is that absolute? Certainly. Because God said, "He that believes and he that is baptized shall be saved." The verse goes on to say there in verse 16, "and He that believeth not shall be condemned." Is that an absolute? Certainly.
When 1 John tells us that God is love there and tells us that if we are to be like God, we must love. Is that an absolute? Yes. What about when he goes on there in 1 John chapter 1, there in verses 20-21? He goes on there to even help us with some ideas of understanding that this love means truly what God asked for it to mean and that if we do not love as God is love, then we are haters of our brother. We can't hate our brother and say we love God. Well we see there in 1 John , rather in chapter 4, tells us that we must love. Is it absolutely true that Jesus said that we must be those "who love Him enough to keep His commandments," according to John chapter 14, and verse 15.
So there are absolutes in scripture, things that we are required not only to know, but to believe and certainly that is right. Well the first thing someone turns around though is they say, "Well you can't judge. You don't have the right to make that determination against or about someone else." And I would say, "You know what? I agree. I don't. I don't have that authority." I cannot put myself in that position but God can and as His child, the Bible tells me there in John chapter 7 as Jesus there spoke to His disciples that they should not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment. What's righteous judgment? Not what I think and feel. Not what I believe. Not what I want. Not what is in it for me, but what God has said. If God has said, then it's not my judgment. It's God's judgment. If one is doing contrary to what God hath judged, then God is judging him, not me when I tell him what God has said. When he does what God has asked, then God judges him as being right, not I. So how does it make me wrong to judge when Jesus there in Matthew chapter 7 further that "we are those who are truly supposed to be able to know others by their fruit," verse 21. Can you not look at a man's life and see by his words and his deeds that he is either for God or against God? Certainly you can. And by that we can judge righteously and we can hopefully encourage people to know the truth.
That's really where we conclude our ideas this morning, in the truth. Jesus said, "We can know the truth," John 8:32. Jesus further said that, "the truth is the Word of God," John 17:17. "God is truth," John 8:26. "Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life," John 14, verse 6. Paul said, "Truth is in Jesus," Ephesians 4:21. And in Galatians 2 and verse 5, "The gospel is truth." You see, truth is something that John says there as he recorded Jesus that we can know, not that we can maybe know or might, but that we can know to be free. And the Bible goes on to say that not only can we know it, but 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 22 and following tells us that "we must obey the truth and when we obey it, it is as if we have purified our souls."
What's the lesson then? The lesson is that you and I must understand that we must obey the truth and the truth is absolute. Why? Not because of me. Not because of my ideas, but because it is from God and if God has said, "Do A,B,C,D, and you will be blessed," that's what God means. God has judged. But if God says, "If you do not do A,B,C,and D, then you will be condemned," God has judged. It is my responsibility to obey the truth and to purify my soul, but as well my responsibility to tell others that they should follow that truth, absolute truth also. Why? So that they might be found pleasing to God and not only that they might be receiving the blessings of this life that we've talked about, but they might receive the great blessing of eternal life where they'll be with God and others forever and ever.
(SONG # 3 - "Victory In Jesus!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Isn't it great to know that God has given us absolutes through His Word, so that we can not only know the truth, but obey it! Have you submitted to the confirmed truth found in God's own Word?