THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-20-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE WORKS OF THE FLESH ARE:
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord’s Day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you’ve joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.
As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
Some day the faithful will receive the ultimate reward from God. The Bible refers to the reward of heaven in many different ways. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing a song that tells us what awaits those who love God’s appearing, the name of the song “To Canaan’s Land I’m On My Way.”
(SONG # 1)
One encouraging thing about following God is to know that many things we do for Him and others bear direct rewards. By this I mean that if we obey God’s Will, He has promised to react in a specific way, in order that we may be blessed in His service!
One such verse that reminded me of all of this is found in Psalms 41:1. There David begins by saying, “Blessed is he who considers the poor…. When was the last time we have done something to help those who have less? When was the last time we went out of our way to do something good for someone else who has a need? God’s says, “Happy are those who consider the poor!”
But now we will ask why? Well, not only because it is what God commands, but David goes on to say that those who obey God’s Will, shall reap direct rewards for their obedience. In the same verse he goes on to say, “The LORD will deliver him in time of trouble.” Wow, God is going to deliver those from trouble who have obeyed His Precepts! However, David doesn’t stop there, in verse 2 he adds, “The LORD will preserve him and keep him alive, And he will be blessed on the earth; You will not deliver him to the will of his enemies. And verse three concludes, “The LORD will strengthen him on his bed of illness….” Brethren notice what we can do for others to be obedient servants of God. But furthermore, notice what we receive - when we prove ourselves to be faithful to all that God asks. Just how well are you obeying the commands of God? Are you seeing the rewards from God in your life, because of your faithfulness? If not, begin serving Him today so that you will truly be happy in those things you do through His precious name!
Today we will be continuing our series entitled, “The Works Of The Flesh Are…!” Our lesson of the day will deal with, “Tobacco!” So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. As most of you know, brother Jerry is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for again being with us to lead us in the study of God’s Word. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Lord We Come Before Thee Now.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
I would like to again welcome you to “The Living Word” broadcast. We appreciate so much you tuning in this morning to examine God’s Word on a Biblical subject that has already been given to us for this time that we have.
For the past few weeks we’ve been considering some very important things that relate to our soul’s salvation, that is concerning what are commonly called in Galatians 5:19-21, “The sins of the flesh.” Now it is not popular to talk about these things today because our society has been a society for the past years that has tried to justify almost every act that man does in his body and in his spirit. In other words, taking things and doing things and saying things which certainly are against God’s Will. We know according to 1 John chapter 5 that, “Sin is transgression of God’s law.” I know that most of our listeners and most everyone in the United States understands that when we break God’s Law, then that is commonly called a sin. So it is important that we investigate that listing of sins and other things that are against God’s Law throughout His Word so we can know how we are to live as Christians. You might notice that the listing is given by the apostle Paul where he says, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest are these.” Then he begins a list, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness” (which includes homosexuality), and then he says at the end of that, “and the such like of which I tell you now as I told you before that they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of heaven.” So it is important that we investigate our lives and we examine our lives daily to make sure that we are not violating God’s Will.
Now some things are not mentioned specifically in the Bible and so we have to put the principles that are given in the Bible against those activities to determine whether or not they really transgress God’s Will. Now I am going to be speaking on something this morning that is very controversial and that is the use of tobacco. We will include marijuana in this although it is of a much greater strength and it is put into a different category than what we refer to as the drug nicotine. It is a different type of thing which is much more serious in its use.
But yet when we think about tobacco, what should be the Christian’s viewpoint or what should be the Christian’s position on the use of tobacco? Should we just say that although all the facts that are presented to us that we should not even consider it because society accepts it? By the way, society does not accept it necessarily because now 75% of our population does not smoke whereas used to it was over 50% back when I was a young man. So something must be wrong with it. Something must be detrimental.
Well first of all, let’s look at what the scripture has to say about our bodies as Christians. The question is this morning: Should we as Christians use tobacco? I hope to be able to help you with this problem that some of you might be having in your Christian life. A Christian’s body belongs to God.
A long time ago the Psalmist said in Psalm 100, verse 3, “Know ye that Jehovah, He is God. It is He that has made us and we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.”
The apostle Paul said to a Godless society in the city of Athens, Greece in Acts chapter 17 concerning God our Father that, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ and those of you that say you are Christians, we’ve been purchased with a special price. The Bible says in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 6, verses 19-20, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you which you have of God and you are not your own because you have been purchased with a price therefore glorify your God in body and in spirit which are God’s.” So therefore we are supposed to do everything that we do to the glory of God that we do in our bodies.
In fact, the Bible goes on to say as the apostle Paul said, “As Christians we are committed to be dedicated to Christ.” The apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ. Nevertheless it is not I that liveth, but Christ liveth in me.” (Galatians 2 verse 20)
And remember what Paul said in Romans 6:17-18? He actually pictured it in the book of Romans beginning in verse 1 through verses 17-18. As a burial with Christ putting on Christ in baptism into His death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should be raised to walk in newness of life.”
Then in verses 17 and 18, he speaks of the principle of being a servant of unrighteousness or a servant of righteousness. Now which are we? Well we as Christians are supposed to be servants of those things which are right because God is righteous. As Christians we are to be concerned about what we do in our bodies. Some people say, “Well it really doesn’t make that much difference. We have a right to make a decision on whatever we want to do.” Well that’s true you do have the right. Now society gives you the right to choose to do almost anything you want to do today and still be acceptable to society, but that’s not what we’re interested in. We are interested in being acceptable to God. So we have to determine what right we have as Christians, whether or not we do this thing or we do not do something, or whether we say something or we do not say something if we are God’s children.
This is what the apostle Paul was saying in 1 Corinthians 10 verse 31, “Whether you eat or whether you drink,” listen closely. “Whether you eat or whether you drink, whatever we do, do all to the glory of God.”
It was the apostle Paul who said in 1 Corinthians 9:27 that he “buffeted his body.” That means he beat upon his body daily. It is a figurative thing to bring it into subjection so that he might what? Make sure that he was being submissive to the Will of God. Now the apostle Paul had a carnal nature. He mentioned that in the scripture on occasion. Every day he dealt with the same temptations that we all are tempted with even in this day and time in the 21st century. And so what did he do? Every day he had to remind himself. He had to make sure that he beat upon himself spiritually so that he would make sure that he did God’s Will in His life.
Now could we say this? I believe we could as Christians. That if we form certain habits and those habits begin to control us even if they are right to do, even if whenever we form a habit, if this habit hinders our work for Christ, is it something we should be doing? Is it something we should be saying? Is it something that we should be supporting? Also if that habit destroys our influence as a Christian and we know that it has destroyed our influence where people look at us and say, “Well how could they be a Christian, they do the same things that we do? They speak the same vulgar words and tell the same vulgar jokes.” Well you know they have a good question there. How could you be a Christian if you did these things and if that is your habit, then how could you feel that you are pleasing toward God? Remember what the apostle Paul said as we started this lesson with, “For know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.” We are not our own but we have been bought with a price and we are to glorify God in our body and in our spirit which are God’s.
Now with these words in mind, let’s think about this issue of tobacco. Now I know that some people would agree with me 100%, but there are a lot of people who would not agree with me. But after all, why do we discuss the scripture other than the fact that we want to know God’s Will? I am not angry about this. I just want to present you some facts for your consideration. We’re going to take these facts from the secular world and then we’re going to apply Biblical principles that we’ve already given and try to determine as a Christian whether or not we should practice such a thing or not.
Let’s look at tobacco. I really did not know until a few years before that actually tobacco came from America. Years and years ago before the 15the century, the American native Indians were growing tobacco here in America. As far as I know, it was not located anywhere else on the face of the Earth. But since then, that is when men like Columbus and another explorer by the name of (inaudible). (Inaudible) was a Spanish explorer. When they came to America, they saw the Indians smoking tobacco and they were actually smoking it in some cases in a religious aspect. And they thought, “Well, this is something that tastes good. It even smells good.” And they thought that since the Indians were using it for some medical purposes that they would take it back to Europe. Well in the 1500’s they took it back to Europe and Europe began to grow a great desire and to crave the use of the tobacco product. So it began to spread throughout the world. It was not until the mid 1800’s that companies came into existence such as Philip Morris, I believe there is another company called Reynolds Tobacco Co. These companies came into existence and its use skyrocketed. In the 1930’s and even before the 1930’s people began to notice that there are some ill effects and side effects to the use of tobacco. And cancer was discovered to be, or tobacco was discovered to be a cause of cancer in many different forms in the body. And so it was not until 1965 and I can remember that time, sad to say in many ways, that the Surgeon General of the United States put that little warning on the pack of cigarettes. Some of you may remember that time, that “Smoking can be hazardous to your health,” and indeed it can.
You see cancer contains a highly addictive drug by the name of nicotine. I didn’t understand it until I studied it closer that when one inhales smoke, tobacco smoke, into his body over 4,000 chemicals are released into his respiratory system. It reaches the brain in seconds and the stimulus is there that becomes addictive after just a few times of use. Now the problem is when a person tries to withdraw from what is actually happening, that is having the withdrawals.
Some of the short term effects that are given and I have them listed here are some things that need to be noted. I want to read these things to you.
*Addiction to nicotine
*Damage to the respiratory system
* Decreased lung capacity
*Bad taste in the mouth (we know that one, don’t we?)
*And many other things, and the increased likelihood of drug use and risky behavior
*Number 1 cause of fire in the United States is the use of tobacco (of course people go to sleep sometimes while they are smoking a cigarette.)
The short term effects of chewing tobacco and dipping snuff and other things like that is when the nicotine goes into the system through the mouth or maybe through the throat and it passes also maybe slower, in a slower way, to the brain but yet that effect is still long lasting. So what do we have when we use tobacco? We have what? Well we can have this. We can have heart problems. We can develop cancer. We can develop lung disease. In fact over 450,000 people die each year in the United States because of their direct use of tobacco. I could go on and on. I have one statement here that is made by Philip Morris and I believe we have time left to read this statement. But in 1999 the Philip Morris Tobacco Company said, “There is an overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and other serious diseases in smokers. There is no safe cigarette. Cigarette smoking is addictive. There is no safe use…” and I want to expand upon that statement, “… in the use of tobacco.” And I have yet to hear one person give me a good reason for lighting up, for chewing or for dipping or for sniffing any tobacco product.
Now you ask yourself, “As a Christian then, can I participate in the use of tobacco?” Well I’ll tell you my judgment is that there is no way on Earth I can do that and be right with God. How can I take a poison into my system? And that is what it is! They even use it in the animal world to put to death animals. There are so many bad things that happen when people smoke, dip, chew or sniff tobacco.
So I again remind you that as Christians we have been bought with a price. Yes, we have! “With the precious blood of Jesus Christ,” Acts 20 verse 28. Can we afford to do anything other than what the apostle Paul said there in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20? Since we have been bought with a price and we are the temple of the Holy Spirit certainly there is no way on Earth that we can believe that we can do anything else other than to glorify God in our body and in our spirit which is God’s.
We certainly need to pray about this issue and do everything we can to keep ourselves from this evil that is so before us at all times. May God bless us in doing that in our lives.
(SONG # 3 - “Higher Ground!”)
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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May we all realize the fact that our bodies are the temple of God? Therefore, may we care for them and respect them with such in mind. Are you keeping the temple of God pure before your Creator?