THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-23-07
LESSON TITLE: "BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS: CONDUCT"
David once proclaimed, "How sweet are Your words..., Sweeter
than honey to my mouth!" Words can certainly be wondrous and of great encouragement. That having been said, let me thank you for joining us for the Living Word Program. It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God.
Today, we have the opportunity to worship and praise our God. So let's glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's begin our praise to God in prayer.
It is time to begin our song of praise. Won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing the song, "Blest Be The Tie That Binds."
(SONG # 1)
We all like to please others and to receive recognition for it. There is nothing sweeter to our ears than hearing someone say encouraging words about us, because of kind and good things which we have done or said! How big our heads often swell when we are rewarded for our kind deeds or good actions.
The only problem is, we often forget the one from who we should desire the greatest praise or acknowledgment - that being God! Throughout the Bible we read about how important it is that we please God. In fact, some things are clarified as being required, because without them we can not be pleasing to Him. Let's consider what the Hebrew writer said in chapter 11:6. There we read, "but without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." Here we see that we can not please God without faith in Him.
Why then do we see so many who do not have a faith in God today, yet they claim to follow God? What is faith? In the same chapter, verse 1, we read, "now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Here we see that faith is something that is hoped for, that we really don't have concrete evidence to support. What do we mean by concrete? This means something that is solid or can be held in the hand. For example, we have faith or a belief in God, but we have never actually seen God Himself.
You see this is the very essence of faith. Being able to believe in something despite the fact that we can't see it or haven't seen it with our own eyes. Another example which might help us to understand faith is when we think of a far away place like Africa. Now, most have never been there, but we have faith that it is there because we have those who have told us so - eye witnesses! Likewise, if we can't believe in God without seeing him, then we can not please Him.
Another important aspect of this faith is love. In 1 Corinthians the thirteenth chapter, we see that here love is discussed. In the opening verse we read that we can have a great faith, so as to do great things, but without love it is worth nothing. In verse 13 of the same chapter, Paul summed it up in these words, "and now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." Here we see that even greater than faith is love, so without love it would also be impossible to please our God. As you and I know - God is love! May we all remember how important it is to please God in our every day lives, for this is the will of our Creator!
This morning we will again consider a lesson from our series entitled, "Be An Example To The Believers." Our specific topic today deals with our "Conduct." So please stay with us through our next song and after that we will return with this study from God's Word.
We are happy to again welcome brother Brent Green as our guest speaker. Brother Green is a graduate of the Bible Institute of Missouri and is now working full time as a representative for the school. We thank him for joining us today.
Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Count Your Many Blessings."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Brent Green
Good morning. I'd like to welcome you to this time of study of God's Word. I encourage you to take your Bibles out at home and study with us as we go through and glean more topics from the Inspired Word of God.
In 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 12, we read that familiar verse as put there by Paul to the young evangelist, Timothy, and it says, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity." What a great verse of exhortation to us as Christians of how we should live and how we should conduct ourselves. He says here, "Let no one despise your youth." Timothy being somewhere between the ages of 20 and 40, a young minister and a young Christian, and Paul encourages him to "let no one despise your youth." Despite being young and young as a Christian, act in such a way that there could be no reproach brought upon you, and act in such a way and live in such a way that no one can say anything bad about you, to scorn you, or to think against you or to treat you in a way with contempt. And so he encourages him to "let no one despise your youth." Often young people and even as Christians as we grow older, we can act in a way that's immature and a way that's often not wise, but here he says don't do that. Don't give anyone a chance to say anything bad about you, but rather, the second part of that verse, "let no one despise your youth, but be those who are examples to the believers." So we need to set forth that example.
He goes on later to give us examples or different areas in how we can be examples, but this word "example" quite literally comes from a word which means "to strike," or "to make an image." And so just as someone might take a tool to carve a wood or leather or even metal, they take that image and they strike it in that piece of material and it leaves an imprint. It leaves an example and it shows you the ornation, all the stuff that came from that tool which that print was made from. So Paul was telling Timothy and all Christians (to) leave your mark, set that example. Just as if you would take a ball of clay and you would hit your fist into it, well you can look at that clay and see your own fingers and see the handprint there. What made that mark? Well, it was your own fist. And so you've left your mark in that clay. Well, the same goes as we live our lives as Christians, we must make our mark, set the example to be that form, to be that pattern when people look at us to know where we came from and whom we are serving. And so we must set that example just as Paul encouraged Peter, or Paul encouraged Timothy rather to do, to set that example for those around him. In the areas in which he gives to do that are those in verse 12. He says, "Be an example in word, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity..." But the one we skipped over, "to be an example in conduct." Quite literally this word "conduct" being that of our conversation or our behavior. Literally the entire way in which we live. It's our lifestyle. So when someone looks at us and sees us as a person, how we speak and how we act, the way we communicate with our family members and our neighbors and how we communicate with those that we meet in the supermarket or wherever we may be, how we conduct ourselves says a lot about us. It says a lot about who we are, our way of life. Paul says, "Be an example in how you live."
When we are example in our lives, there are certain things that must follow, certain things that we must understand about our conduct, the first being that we control our conduct. We control our actions and those things which we do day in and day out. If you have your Bibles, turn to Philippians chapter 1. We see here the words of Paul to Christians of another area what he says about their conduct and the responsibility that they had to the way they lived and how they acted before men and women of the world. Philippians chapter 1 and verse 27, Paul says, "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs that you stand fast with one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel." I hope you notice the pronouns in that verse. He says, "You, only let your conduct." No one else could act the way that they were supposed to act for them. They had to act that way themselves. They had to be those that conducted themselves in a certain way that when they measured it to the gospel of Christ, they would be found worthy. So Paul says (that) whether I am with you or whether I am absent, I want you to act in a certain way that people can know that you're Christians, that you're worthy of the gospel of Christ, that not only that, but that you stand in the one spirit, standing fast, and striving for the faith which so greatly we must all strive for, the faith of the gospel. And so put forth there, our conduct falls back to us. We can't ride the coat tails of any other Christian. We can't ride the coat tails of those who have lived and died before us, who have striven for the faith. We must stand fast in the one faith for ourselves being those that uphold the Word of God and being those that are worthy of the gospel that Jesus put forth. It is our conduct and we must control it. No doubt daily, we buffet our own bodies to make sure we bring them into subjection just as Paul did, and we must remember that.
But also in relationship to our conduct, that fact that we have control of it, also tells us that we have the power to choose what we will do. And you think back several years before to the time of Moses, hundreds of years before, and the children of Israel as they were led through the wilderness as they were being led by Moses and they were seeking the promised land, the land of Canaan. At the end of Moses' life, he puts forth to them a choice. He says, "If you follow God and you do what's right and you uphold His law which was given on Mount Sinai, if you do all those things, you will receive great blessings." But he also gives them the other choice which they had. "If you don't follow God, if you turn your backs on Him, if you stray from the faith, there are great cursings, great things that will come upon you, great curses that you will suffer." And he put the choice forth there.
So if you consider the words and the scripture that was given in Deuteronomy chapter 30, Moses himself pens the words that were spoken to the children there on that day. Deuteronomy chapter 30 beginning in verse 15. Moses says, "See I have set before you today life and good, death and evil." He was talking about the words that he put forth there before them. There were the blessings of life and there were the curses of death. You can choose life or you can choose good. You can choose death or you can choose evil. Which will you choose? And he encourages them. He says, "In that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His commandments, His statutes and His judgments that you may live and multiply and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if you turn away so that you do not hear and are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and to possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and cursings. Therefore, choose life that both you and your descendants may live." We control our conduct. We control our actions.
Just as Moses put forth there in the words to Israel, choose life that you may live. We also must make that choice and be those that serve God, just as Joshua who followed Moses himself penned the same very words nearly. Joshua chapter 24 and verse 15, Joshua put forth the children of Israel, "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve whether the gods of the Amorites," but Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And so he made the choice. He realized that his conduct was able to be controlled by himself and so he put forth example controlling what he needed to do and doing it in the sight of God.
And we turn over application to the New Testament in Titus chapter 2, a similar exhortation given to us under the New Law which we are under today. Titus chapter 2 and verse 12 beginning actually in verse 11, we read the words of encouragement here, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. We should live soberly and righteously and godly in the present age." The grace of God, the Word of God has taught us that we need to put off the world, put aside all that wickedness that is out there and live soberly and righteously in this present age. We control how we live. We control our conversation. We control our way of life. In doing so, we need to do so for God. When we think about the fact that we control our conduct, we also must realize that our conduct is seen by others. It's just not something that affects us and just something that we see, but there are others out there who also see the way in which we live. If you think about that familiar verse in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 16, Jesus there in His "Sermon on the Mount" spoke to the people and He said, "Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." We as Christians are lights to the world. We are to let our lights shine as those beacons on the coast that warn ships of the danger and show them the right path to come into shore. We are those lights. Jesus said, "Let your light so shine before men that they can truly see your good works or your good conduct."
In Psalm 119 and 105, we read the verse there about God's Word. It says, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path." Truly God's Word is also that light which shows us the dangers and the pitfalls that are before us, but as Christians when we accept the challenge and take on that task of serving God, obeying His Word and doing what we should from that Word, we can truly know that God shines through us, that when we live the Christian life and we walk the Christian walk, when we do what God says in His book which is a light, when we live that life, we are those lights that shine to the world so that people may see our conduct. They may see our works and want to do the same. Truly when others see our conduct, we should want them to be those who imitate us. The reason we are given in Matthew chapter 5 and verse 16 truly is that when we do good works, when we let our light shine, the Father in heaven is glorified. Well, how is that so when others see our good works that God is glorified? Well, when they see us, they want to live that life as well, and in doing so we have set the example. They have followed our example and are seeing God through us and they as well take on that task and that challenge to serve God throughout their lives, and that's how God is glorified.
But also in verses like 1 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 1, Paul himself said, "Imitate me as I also imitate Christ." What a great statement for any Christian to be able to make. That look at me because I am living so solidly and firmly upon Christ and living my life for Him that I can say, "Imitate me because I am imitating Christ." But we conduct ourselves on a daily basis in ways which we should know that we could make that same statement as well, that people could look at us and that they could imitate us and our actions and our conversations and our behavior and thus doing so be imitating Christ at the same time because our actions truly do affect others. When people see us living in such a way, we have a great influence and that can be a great influence for the positive side or it can be a negative influence for the side which pulls people away from God. We must be those that influence people righteously before God on a daily basis for God truly is one which we should serve. When we think about our actions and our conduct and that we should not let anyone despise us but be an example to the believers and that we have control of our conduct and others see our conduct, we also need to know that God knows our conduct.
Think even back to times ago maybe your parents even told you, "Whether or not we see you or whether or not your friends see you or your neighbor sees you, no matter whether you get away with it or you hide secrets within your own mind, there is someone who always knows what you've done and what you've thought about, that being God." So God knows our conduct, and so when we stand before Him one day in the day of Judgment, we will give account of the things done in the flesh whether or not people knew it around us or not, but we must give account of ourselves to God. God knows us. He knows His creation and He knows how His creations ought to act. We should be those who realize that just as 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 25 told us that God even in the foolishness of God if there was such a thing that it still exceeds the wisdom of man. God knows everything about us. He is all knowing and all powerful and He knows that we should conduct ourselves the way that we should.
So we can look at passages like Romans chapter 14, we consider the passage that God in the Day of Judgment and the things that we must give account of, consider there the words of Paul to the Romans and what he was telling them about their action and what they must give account of to God knowing how they had conducted themselves in this life. Romans chapter 14 beginning in verse 10, we read the following words. It says, "But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before God in the judgment seat, that is the judgment seat of Christ for as it is written, as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, every tongue shall confess to God so then each of us shall give account of himself to God."
God knows our action and we all live in a glass house before God because truly there are no secrets with God. Just as Adam and Eve in Genesis chapter 3 when they ate of that Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and sinned against God, they sought to hide themselves and to cover themselves with leaves and tried to hide from God, but it wasn't possible. It wasn't possible to hide from God because God knows our actions. He knows our conduct. He knows the way we behave. Therefore, we must stand firm and fast upon His Word and always be those that stand up righteously in His sight.
So we think back to that verse in 1 Timothy chapter 4, that encouragement that Paul gave to the young evangelist saying, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith and purity." Let us always remember how we act, that we may stand pure and holy in the sight of God in our conduct.
(SONG # 3 - "To Christ Be Loyal And Be True!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we all strive to be the example which God demands in our daily conduct. So that others may see Him in us and desire to come to an obedience of His Precious Will.