THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-16-07
LESSON TITLE: "BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS: BE AN EXAMPLE IN WORD"
We are excited to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. What a glorious Lord's Day morning it is.
As always it is an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
Well, it's time to join in our first song of the morning, as we sing together a hymn which reminds us of just how much Jesus cares about us all. So won't you do your part as we together sing, "Does Jesus Care."
(SONG # 1)
What brings you joy in this life? What really makes you happy? Obviously, we all find joy in the things of this life that we can acquire or buy. However, after we have bought most of the things we want, they only leave us wanting more or wanting something better. This is really not true happiness.
I'm asking you about those things which bring you real happiness and joy. Those things which make you feel as if you have really accomplished something and made a difference. The things you do that make your life worthwhile, leaving you with a sense of fulfillment.
What brings you this kind of joy? How about that newborn baby or watching your child as they grow up and mature into an adult. Being a part of making that child, who they are and what they will be.
Maybe it is being a better person and acting more like Christ, even in a world that really practices just the opposite. Some of us find joy in studying and growing in God's Word, so that we can be more pleasing to our creator. What about this type of joy, do you have it?
It's not always easy to find joy in this world in which we live. It seems that there are problems and pressures on every side. When we look around we see unemployment, sickness, suicides and death. Throughout the world we hear of suffering due to people fighting and war among those who can't seem to get along. All of it is sometimes enough to really get us down.
So, let me ask you again, what really brings you joy in this life? Have you thought of some things yet? Now let me ask you, why does it matter? It matters because God wants us to be a joyous and happy people. In 1 John 1:4, we read, "and these things we write to you that your joy may be full." John had been writing words of encouragement so that the followers of God could be happy!
God truly wants us to be happy. So, what does joy mean? It is the emotion excited by the expectations of good. One writer said it is the serenity of the soul that comes from having made peace with God. In the Bible we often read of the joy, gladness and delight of those, in the service of their lord. As God's children today we must know and have the true Joy that is only found in Jesus Christ! Won't you let the world see in you the joy that comes from being a child of God.
Today I will be leading our main study from God's Word, as we deal with the topic, "Be An Example In Word." This is our next lesson in our series on "Be An Example To The Believers." So, please continue with us and after our next song we will consider this important lesson from God Word. Now let's join in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn is, "The Great Physician."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us now as we go to God's Word and strive to learn more about what it has to say to us in connection to our example as Christians.
You might note with us that now we are looking from 1 Timothy chapter 4 in verse 12 where Paul instructed the young evangelist to, "Let no one despise his youth but to be an example to the believers." And then he mentions several things to be an example in beginning with "word," but he adds also to word, "conduct, love in spirit, in faith and in purity." So for the next several weeks we want to continue our discussion and today specifically looking at "word." What does it mean here when it says that we must be an example in word? Well certainly this is indicating that in all that we say, we must strive to make sure that we are an example of the believers, not only of the believers that we are of God or Christians, but as the verse there states, "To the believers." So our words must be proper and affect in a positive way the hearers. So it's really more about the things we say and how they affect others rather than the things that we hear. So here to be an example to the believers in word and in the things that we say.
Now if you'll notice why that is so important because back in Colossians, we find in chapter 3 that Paul also spoke to the church at Colossi and there spoke of a similar idea as he said, "Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord." What we find here is that in word or deed, whatever we do, whatever we say, whatever we do as far as actions must be done in the name of the Lord. What that verse means is by the authority of. Certainly if we say, "In the name of the law or in the name of the law, stop, or in the name of the law do this," we know it is by the authority that has been given by our country. Well, the same is true here in God's Word. In the name of the Lord by the authority of the Lord, whatever we do in word or action make sure that they are according to His Will.
Now we know what it is that God wants, but now let's consider why it is so difficult. Probably one of the best passages that we have about why it is so difficult to have proper words is found in the book of James. In James chapter 3 you might notice with me there first of all the challenges given to those who are teachers and a warning really in verse 1 that they need to be careful because they really are bearers of greater judgment. When we use our words and teach the Will of God, we are held accountable for we need to preach what God has said and not what we think. For if someone follows what I think and it's not what God said, they'll be held accountable as well as I will. So teachers bear a great judgment and a greater judgment for they speak the words of God and therefore they're held accountable for those words, not in just following those words, but in the fact that they have told those words to others.
If you'll notice there continuing in verse 2 in James chapter 3, he talks about the things that we stumble in. He says, "There are many things that we stumble in," but then he says, "but if anyone does not stumble in word he is a perfect or complete man and also able to bridle the whole body." He says that when somebody is able or learns to control his mouth, his tongue, well then they are someone who has become in the eyes of God as if they were complete or perfect in Him. Why? Because it is difficult to control the mouth. How often does someone do something to you or say something to you? What is our immediate reaction? We bite back! We say something quickly back. When you're in the store and someone is rude to you, what do we do? We bite back, don't we? When someone is waiting on you and they maybe have not given you the attention and maybe they've been rude to you, well what do you do? You bite back. You see, our words are usually what we react with in a given situation. Well, what we are learning here is that they are hard to control because of that, because often instead of thinking before we speak, instead of being slow to speak and quick to hear, we do just the opposite. We are quick to speak, then we hear and we say, "Oh, I wish I hadn't said that." Have you ever done that as a husband or as a wife, as a child or maybe even as a sibling? We've said things to a boss, to a friend and we wish we hadn't of said it and if we had time to think about it, we never would have said it and if we'd said it, we would have said it in a better way, in a more proper loving way.
You see words are hard to control and what he specifically says here is the tongue. How do we make words? Well, if we know about the construction of the body, it is with our mouth, but yet our tongue. Without a tongue, it is impossible to speak words. Why? It is the tongue and the different motions of the tongue that allows us to produce the sounds and the words that we speak. And so, what does he say? He says that it is hard to control that tongue. It is hard to control what we say as if the examples are given in verses 3 and 4, as if we put that bit in a horse's mouth. What does that small bit do in the horse's mouth when you pull to the right or to the left? It does exactly what it is made to do. It creates some kind of discomfort or pain to make the animal turn. What about the great ship? Sometimes we see the mighty ships and in the water compared to the size of the ship we have a rudder that controls the direction. In comparison, how big is it? Very small, very insignificant, but yet it is able to do what? Control the entire ship and to make it to go to the right or to the left. So what does the tongue do? It affects the whole body. It's a member that we don't even see unless we stick it out, but yet it is a member that when it speaks it can defile us or it can make us whole. It can make someone see us as ugly or bitter or as harsh or as unlikable, or it can make someone see us as kind and gentle and loving, someone who is always compassionate who as if sweet honey comes off their lips in a sense, or as someone who is as venomous as a snake. Do you see how powerful the tongue is? It has the ability to control and to affect the whole body and the perception not only of the world toward us by words and according to words, but the perception of even God Almighty Himself.
The next thing that you might notice here is not only do we have the examples as it speaks here, the ship and the horse. But then he goes on in verse 5 to say, "Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things." See how the great forest fire is made out of what? A little kindling. Have you ever sang a song, "It only takes a spark to get a fire going?" It's a beautiful song. But then we think about the wildfires and the forest fires that happen throughout our nation and the world, and where do they usually begin? A small spark. Some small spark that creates hundreds and sometimes thousands, millions of acres to be destroyed. Well you see here, a small thing can have great effect. A small thing can be life altering. "A small thing like the tongue," verse 6, "can be perceived as a fire. It can be perceived as iniquity. It can be something that is perceived as setting all of the whole members, the whole body in a defiled way, a nature that is improper and even unto as we read here, "those who perceive us as being of Hades or Hell, servants of Satan." But then finally he also states, you know in verse 7, "we tame sea creatures." You know many times we've been to aquariums and we've seen people work with fish or dolphins and they do tricks, all kinds of animals and lions and tigers that we see magicians work with, all types of animals like elephants, he says that we have tamed the greatest beasts of the world and the most unruly things of life, we have gained control of and yet the same person goes out and cannot control the tongue, loses control of the tongue. It speaks here, "A deadly, a deadly poison."
And then what do we do? Although we've used our tongue improperly, we turn around (in verse 9) and we bless and praise God. We come to church and we lift our voices up as if we love God, then we go out on Monday and we say things we shouldn't, we speak against people, we mock and we gossip about people. We say hateful things to people. We go in stores and we treat people as we wouldn't want to be treated, but yet we cannot control our tongues. What he goes on to finally state is, "You know a spring doesn't put forth bitter water and good water." The same thing is true spiritually about the tongue and the Christian. If we strive to follow God and we really love God, our tongue is not going to be filthy or evil at one moment, but yet good and righteous the next. You see it is going to always be focused on God, loving God, and striving to produce that which brings God Almighty the glory. Why? So that others through my words might want to know God, might want to ask, "How is it that you're able to control yourself? How did you not say something when he told you that? I would have told him off." Have you ever thought that? Has someone ever told you that? "If that would have been me, I would have..." Well, you see control, control, temperance, learning to be able to control because of God, not because someone has done evil against us but because we want to do what Jesus would do. We want to react as Jesus would also react.
Now as we go back to our main text in 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 12, the young evangelist was told to be an example to the believers in word and control that tongue and say what needs to be said with love and compassion and kindness, with the righteousness of God inside of us that we might always show forth glory to God and praise unto our Creator.
Now there are several other verses that we would like to briefly make mention of in the remaining moments of our lesson. A familiar verse found in Ephesians chapter 4 tells us about our communication, what the tongue does, the words that we see out of our mouth and there in verse 29 the Bible says, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but only that which is good for necessary edification..." That it might do what? "Impart grace to the hearers." What are our words to do? To lift people up, to make them feel better, to encourage them, not to tear them down. Well, the sad reality is because of the lack of control of tongues in our world, we often find it is just the opposite. They are said. The corrupt communication does come out. Therefore, it does bring people down.
So do we use our words for good unto glory for the sake of God?
It also tells us in Colossians again... We read earlier from verse 16, but if you'll look there in Colossians 3 again and verse 8, it says, "But now you yourselves are to put off anger, wrath, malice, (But hear this) blasphemy, filthy language," all those such things out of your mouth, filthy talk, dirty words, blasphemy. That's to speak against God. Anything that again is not what? Righteous or good. Put it away. Why? Verse 9 says, "You've died to the old man. You've put away the old sinful man and now you're focused on God." Is that what you strive to do? Do you control the tongue? Do you control your words? Are you an example in word?
What about Colossians 4 and verse 6, another encouraging verse? He says, "Let your speech, your words, always be seasoned with salt that you may know how you ought to answer each one." Do you answer people like you should when people ask you questions or when people say something to you or when they say something against you? How do you respond? Do you give a good answer? Do you respond in a good way? It says here you should be like that seasoning of salt thus enhancing, making better what is said. Well you see that's what we should strive in our speech to have a speech that again is worthy before God.
With that though in mind, I would like to end with what Jesus said over in the book of Matthew. You might recall there in the great "Sermon on the Mount" that as He spoke there to the Jews of that day and many who were disciples of this time and followers of Him that He says in verse 13, "You are the salt of the earth." You are that salt and... and now our lesson today is about the salt that is through the word, the words that we speak. So you are the salt of the earth. What is salt for? But the salt that loses its flavor, how is it going to season? It's good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled under the foot of man. Our words that become as useless salt, salt that is no longer good or good for seasoning, it means there that our words will be the same. Spiritually, we're not going to be able to accomplish what we need to do for our own lives or for the glory of God that others might know Him. But when we are the salt of the earth and we are a good seasoning, a seasoning that is able to affect, well what should we strive to do? Affect in a positive way. Affect as we read there in Ephesians 4, by edifying and encouraging the hearers. In affect as we've also read there in Colossians that tells us not to speak ugly things, but righteous things. An affect that causes us to set our minds on things above (Philippians chapter 4) and to dwell on that which causes the inside to be righteous an pure and holy for when we have conditioned ourselves internally to focus on God and to love God, what's going to come out? Righteous things. You know I think that is really the heart of the matter we might say. When we are continually feeding ourselves spiritually and mentally with things of the world or evil things, what will come out? Well, obviously that which is of the world. But when we put God inside, when we take Him and we study and we grow, what will be the outcome? A tongue that is controlled, a tongue that produces words that are good, a tongue that does edify, that does preach the Word of God and does teach others unto salvation, a tongue that brings glory in all things to God and by a tongue being such not only do we give glory to God, not only do we encourage others to obey and know Him, but you know what we also do? We save ourselves. For what kind of tongue will God want in Heaven someday to rejoice and praise Him eternally? The righteous tongue. What kind of words? Proper words, and words that uplift and encourage.
Will we be challenged to do what God has asked us in word even today?
(SONG # 3 - "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. 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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Let's all strive to set the proper example before others with our words. So that all may know by the things that we say that our God comes first and He is worthy of everyone's obedience.