THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-12-10
“THE CHRISTIAN BEATITUDES: “FOR IF THESE THINGS ARE YOURS AND ABOUND: VIRTUE”
The inspired Solomon once said, “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he who wins souls is wise.” May I ask us all to consider, “what type of fruit are we bearing for our Lord in each of our lives?” Furthermore, does the fruit we bear bring forth a good and productive produce, as God has intended?”
Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord’s Day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!
As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord’s day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?
Let me ask you to think of your favorite thing in all the world. This morning we want to begin with a song that reminds us of something much greater than anything we will ever know in this life. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be.”
(SONG # 1)
At the beginning of our program we considered a verse from Proverbs, spoken by King Solomon. There we read this wise man’s counsel in connection to the type of fruit we must bear as Christians. Solomon summed it up in one word - righteousness!
No doubt this was the same idea Paul was given through the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23. There we read, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.” Did you catch all of these Christians characteristics? Did you notice that they are all things that are found in Christ? And if these are God-like characteristics, then no doubt they are righteous, and if righteous then they are the fruit we need to bear!
In this same context we also learn that those who produce the fruit of the spirit will inherit the Kingdom of God and thus eternal life. I hope we are beginning to see just how important it is that we bear the fruit of righteousness which exemplifies God before this world.
John also confirmed this truth in his book. In 1 John 3:7 we read, “He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous!” What a standard we have to follow in Jesus.
Finally, let’s consider the other statement of our text in Proverbs, which was mentioned earlier; “…and he who wins souls is wise.” Here we find that the one, who bears proper fruit in word and deed, has a direct bearing on soul winning! How often do we forget that it is our example that often plays the greatest part in others seeing Christ and wanting to know more about Him? When the world sees our fruit, they should see Christ, and when one sees Christ, they can’t help but want to know more about Him.
So let me ask you, “how do you act, what type of things do you do, and what do you say in your everyday life?” These types of questions really make us realize just how important it is to bear the proper fruit for God, as His dear Children.
Today we will be continuing our series of study entitled, “The Christian Beatitudes: “For If These Things Are Yours and Abound.” Our specific lesson of the day will deal with, “Virtue.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, we will be lead in these main thoughts of the day.
As far as our guest speaker, we again welcome brother Jerry Sullins, from the Bible Institute of Missouri. We always enjoy having him with us and appreciate his guidance in the teachings of God. So, we will return in just a few minutes for this study of the morning. Now it’s time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, “Home Of The Soul.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
We certainly want to thank you for listening in to “The Living Word” broadcast this morning. We appreciate so much your continued watching of this program and we hope and pray that what is said on this program will bring you to a greater knowledge of what the Bible says concerning our lives and help us to all prepare ourselves for that day when Jesus will come again.
My name is Jerry Sullins as you’ve seen on the screen and I am the director of The Bible Institute of Missouri and one of the reasons I wanted to say that this morning is that we just recently started, that is as we do every fall and every spring, we started our Monday night classes which are open to the public. They are tuition free. They are on a college level. And basically every Monday night for a whole semester we study three important Biblical subjects. Now 6:30 every Monday night we are going to be studying “Christian Ethics” which will be taught by a brother in Christ who is on this program quite often, Darin Chappell who preaches for the Mountain Grove church of Christ in Mountain Grove, Missouri. Also at 7:30, I will be teaching the subjects of Hebrews and “I and II Thessalonians”, and then at 8:30, brother Chuck Northrop who also is on this program from time to time will be leading a study in the subjects of “Jeremiah and Lamentations.” This is a wonderful opportunity afforded the community or to any of you who would want to come to be a part of those classes or you can go to our website: www.bim/us.org and you can actually watch all of these classes from the internet. So we hope that you will take advantage of one of these classes or maybe take all three of them. It’s a five year program that will take you through a complete study of the Old and New Testaments and various other subjects related to the Bible.
Well as I said, it is great having you in the audience this morning and we are going to continue our study on what are commonly referred to as “The Christian Graces” or “Christian Attributes” or things that one needs to add to one’s life as a child of God so that we can be that proper servant before God. As you already know, this is found in II Peter 1 and verse 5 where the apostle Peter was encouraging the brethren there who were facing great persecution and preparing them for that time. He said, “And beside this giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, then virtue knowledge…” Then he goes on to mention several others. In fact, there are eight of them that make up what some people refer to as a set of Christian graces that if applied to our lives will, as Peter said, give us an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Someone depicted it like this and you know there are a lot of different depictions of what Peter is actually saying here. Someone said one time that, “It is like a chorus before God, all of these eight attributes. One applies to one’s life and there is a chorus with eight different parts and all of those parts make up a great symphony that is presented to God Himself which pleases God and gives us that abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Well, one thing for sure. These are all attributes that a Christian must adhere to and must apply to one’s life to be pleasing to God. Now there may be some type of progression, faith being the basis of all of it, and then there is something added on to it and then you end up with love which is the last one, but more than that, let’s just look at these attributes one by one and see how that all of them are totally necessary for someone to be pleasing unto God.
For my attention this morning, I have been given the subject of the second one which after it says, “Add to your faith,” it says basically that we are to “add to our faith virtue.” Now many people, when they are thinking of virtue think of moral purity, moral excellence which is true and basically when they’re talking about purity sometimes they are talking about moral excellence in the way of avoiding immorality. Certainly one must avoid immorality in order to be excellent before God. But it is speaking I believe of a much deeper principle than all of this. It is speaking of that moral excellence which comes from a person having the courage enabling him to stand in the midst of all temptations and trials that might come in life. So add to your faith this moral excellence.
Someone has said that, “It’s the strength of will to always choose to do what is right and to have the courage to fight the good fight of faith.”
I like the one that someone else has said that depicts this great word “virtue,” and that is, “Having the moral courage to do what is right.” Yes, it could be indeed that force within a Christian that causes a Christian to look at everything that he or she might do and make a decision that “I am going to do what is right!” That is the moral courage I believe that this word is depicting that is translated “virtue” in several different places throughout the scripture.
Now you might notice just a few verses before, in fact in verse 3 of II Peter chapter 1, it says, “According to His Divine Power has given us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” He has called us to what? He has called us to virtue which means moral excellence, which means to have the courage to stand on one’s moral principles. And how much we need that in this day and time!
I Peter chapter 2 verse 9, we read there that the scripture says, “You are a chosen generation. You are a royal priesthood. You’re a holy nation, a people of God’s own possession that you should show forth the praises who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
One version says that, “You should show forth the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Now that word “excellencies” is talking about virtue. It’s talking about having the courage to stand and to do what is right in one’s life, the courage to put on morality and to always stand for what is right when it pertains to living a life that God wants you to live.
I call your attention also to Philippians 4 where this same word is used, Philippians chapter 4 verse 8, a very familiar and common scripture that I’m sure most of you have heard before. This is where Paul is saying, “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest…” Then he goes on to say, “Those things that are just, and whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.” In other words, moral excellency, that is moral purity, that is the courage to stand and to do what is right, is found in all of these things which we must constantly be thinking about. So if one is morally excellent, that person is true, that person is honest, that person is just, that person is pure, lovely and is of good report. So that is what we ought to be praying for that all of these have these wonderful attributes in our lives.
No doubt the apostle Paul could make the statement in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” because he had made the decision in his life that he was going to add to his faith moral excellence, the courage to stand and to do what was right, to think what was right, and to present a proper example to others in his Christian life as to what it took to properly be a Christian, a child of God.
Well the Christian life is a life of purpose. Who would not say that? We all would believe that. And it does take courage to stand. If not, begin to teach Christian principles, as you know God’s Word tells us about those at the workplace, begin to stand up for what is right and see what happens. Take a stand on the sure foundations of God’s eternal principles and see how people reject you because you are teaching what is right.
Remember the apostle Paul suggested to Titus in Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation has appeared unto all men teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lust we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Now that’s what moral excellence is. We realize that we have got to deny ungodliness and worldly lust. We’ve got to put them out of our lives and we’ve got to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.
Well the problem is folks; we live in a world that is filled with immorality. I mean half of our homes in the United States of America are broken homes because of divorce. How sad indeed that is when we know, as the Old Testament writer said that, “God hates divorce.” It seems like that people don’t even think about that anymore. Our young people, as some have told me and I believe it is true, our young people never even consider the fact that they are marrying this other person, many of them do not, in fact most of them do not think that, “I am marrying this person for life and I am making a commitment.” You know they do say, “Until death do us part.” But yet is that even in the back of many of their minds? Certainly not!
So we see the breakdown of our society, sexual immorality everywhere, pornography which is a billion or multi-billion dollar industry. We see adultery and fornication everywhere, all of the filthy things that involve homosexuality and sodomy that are accepted in many countries in our world and even in our own country, even when God condemns such actions. And yet the general attitude among many people is, “Well, you only live once. Go ahead and live life with all the gusto you can. No one is perfect. God made us that way.” Yes, God made us this way. He made us and gave us the ability to choose whether we would do that which is right or do that which is wrong.
My friends, someone has to have the courage to stand and say, “I will not do that and I will not participate in that and I will not accept people who do those such things when those things are wrong in the sight or God.” That is moral courage to do what is right. That is moral courage to say what is right.
Well what can you do as a Christian? You can decide you are not going to conform to this world. Didn’t Paul say in Romans 12:2, “Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds that you might prove what is a good, acceptable and perfect will of God.”
Are we not the light of the world? We who claim to serve Christ? Are we not the light that Jesus said we are that is supposed to influence the world? “You are the light of the world.” We are a light that should not be hiding our influence in the world. “You are the salt of the earth. If the salt has lost its savor it is good for nothing but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men.” Yes, we can maintain our purity and a good example in this world. Are we going to be that leaven that leavens this world with the purity and the majesty and the holiness of God? Or are we going to be that leaven that leads people away to degradation of their bodies, that leads people to the pits of Hell because of example they see within us and striving to follow that example? Yes, we must take a firm stand against all evil.
I call upon all of you today whether you claim to be a Christian or not. You know what is right and what is wrong. I am calling upon you to make a stand for God. To say, “No, I am not going to be involved in pornography, because I know that it is wrong. I am not going to be involved in the drinking of alcoholic beverages. I know that this is not acceptable to God and I am going to take a stand on that. I am not going to be sexually permissive and I am not going to encourage such a form of life. I am not going to lie and I am not going to accept those who do lie, but encourage them to give up their sin and follow after God’s principles.” Yes, we must have that pure religion which is undefiled before God and Father and that is this: That we care for all the fatherless and the widows and we keep ourselves unspotted from the world. (James 1:27)
What I want to do today is to instill within your minds that it takes more to be a Christian than just saying, “I am a Christian.” Hanging a cross around one’s neck does not indicate that that person is really a Christian, not in any way. What one does, how one lives, what one practices in one’s life is what tells others and also tells God whether or not you’re living as God wants you to live.
My friend, make that decision today. Christian brothers and sisters, make your decision today that you’re going to do everything you can to add to your faith that true moral excellency, that moral courage that will cause you to stand for Him and above all things continue to stand. This is our prayer for you and for this world today.
(SONG # 3 - “I Am Thine Oh Lord.”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know 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 committed to God are you in this life? Are you striving to be as morally excellent as possible? Why not choose to give your best to God today!