THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-26-10
LESSON TITLE: “FOR IF THESE THINGS ARE YOURS AND ABOUND: SELF CONTROL”
The Apostle Paul once proclaimed, “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8! Praise be to God for this wondrous truth, that Jesus Christ died for us, to offer us salvation, although we were not worthy of such!
Thanks for joining us today in this time of Worship before God. Furthermore, how enjoyable it is to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word, just as He has commanded us through the Bible. Won’t you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is done in His way, according to His Will, that we may truly glorify our creator?
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. Today we want to begin by singing a song which reminds us of the most wondrous story ever told by God! So won’t you do your part as we sing together the first song of the morning - its name, “I Will Sing The Wondrous Story?”
(SONG # 1)
How many of us are satisfied in this life where we are? The reality is, most of us probably want to gain more, grow more and become more productive in life rather than just stay where we are! Although this seems to be the norm, it is strange to me that in spiritual matters things are often just the opposite.
Consider for a moment how many of us are guilty of not really growing a lot spiritually. How many of us are able to say that we are better Christians today than this time last year, or that we have studies and know even more about our God than ever before! The reality is, if we take a hard look and are really honest with ourselves most of us are pretty content just to stay where we are in our spiritual lives, and if that is enough to get us to Heaven then - so be it!
Brethren and friends, I mention these things because the Bible deals a lot with the need to grow and to go on to perfection! In fact, Peter helps us out with this idea by saying this, “as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,” 1 Peter 2:2. However, the Hebrew writer talks about a need to leave the state of babyhood, in order that we might become adults in Christ! In Hebrews 5:13, we read, “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.” Then on down in chapter 6:1, he proclaims that they must, “…leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection….” Here we again see the great need to go on to maturity if we are to be pleasing to our God.
Finally, let me ask us to consider the question, “what would we do if we had a baby or child who wasn’t growing properly?” You know that we would take that child to the doctor to try and find out what the problem was. Why, because we know that if you feed a child and care for it properly, it is going to grow in size, and weight, as well as mentally. Now why would it be any different with those who claim to follow God? If we are not growing in the things of Christ we are sick as well and we need a physician. In fact, the Bible talks of the great physician, who can provide for us all that we need for proper growth both spiritually and physically. You know who that physician is, Jesus Christ!
So, let me encourage us all to realize just how important it is that we grow and move on toward maturity as those who love God. Because the only way we can truly know His Will and be obedient to His precepts is when we grow enough to know exactly what He wants. Are you a student of God’s Word? Are you growing in the things of Christ?
Today we welcome brother Darin Chappell as our guest speaker. Brother Darin is the minister for the Mountain Grove church of Christ. We thank him for joining us this day.
As far as our study, we will again focus on our theme, “For If These Things Are Yours and Abound.” Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, “Self Control.” So please stay with us and after our next song together, after which brother Chappell will return with 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, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”
(SONG # 2)
By Darin Chappell
It is good to be with you all this morning as we continue to study God’s Word, specifically on the issue concerning the Christian Graces. If we have them in our lives and allow them to abound, they will continue to put us in a position wherein we can find ourselves acceptable to our God.
This morning, we’re going to be taking a look at the Christian grace that is listed there in 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 5-6 concerning temperance, specifically self-control as it is perhaps better translated. The ideas that are behind the concept of self-control as it is that we try to live our lives for the Lord in our day by day activities, our thoughts, our behaviors.
Self-control, as it is given here, is one of the aspects concerning how it is that we are to daily try to fit ourselves to the pattern of God’s Word. We are told that we are sanctified through the Truth and we are told that the Truth is God’s Word itself. (John chapter 17 and verse 17)
As we conform ourselves to that pattern contained in God’s Word, we know that we can be like those Christians of the 1st century who are praised of God for the good things that they have done. We can abstain from those things which are contrary to the Will of God and in so doing we can conform ourselves to the image that He would have us to follow, that is the image of His own dear Son.
We find that as we consider the idea of temperance or self-control that it is but one of many such Christian graces that are given to us in this list of 2 Peter chapter 1. When you consider this list, I know that there are lots of different images that are given by various instructors and preachers during the lessons on this very subject and I’m sure you have heard many of them over the years and some of them that I have heard over the years are the idea of stairs, and each one of these Christian graces is a different step leading you upward and forward in your life as a Christian and each one of them is tied together as a process, but each one is separate and distinct and responsible to be met on its own merits. That’s a completely valid example of how it is that individuals are to live their lives and understand how they are to live their lives by this image that is given here in 2 Peter chapter 1. Others that I have heard about are those that deal with the concept of a target and the various rings of that target and that each ring is a goal to be aimed at and as we continually aim closer and closer to the bulls-eye not only are we refining our focus in our Christian living and aiming for that center concentric ring, but if we hit the center of that ring, the bulls-eye as it is, we are also hitting all the rings around it so that each of these Christian graces… It’s not to be done once and then forgotten, but that we are to continually strive to be all of the things that are commanded of us here in 2 Peter chapter 1.
But I would like to bring in another concept for you to consider as you are living your life as a Christian. Think about how it is that these graces not only are they put upon us for us to implement them into our lives, but also how it is that they affect us as individual Christians, how they affect us as people.
If you will, think about the idea of a can of paint. Now generally when you go to the store to buy a can of paint, the hardware store, it is rare that you find the exact color that you’re looking for right off the bat. Generally speaking, what they do is they will take a base color that is closest to what you’re looking for and then begin to add in various component colors at various measurements so that they can mix them in and in a process alter the paint to be the color that you’re looking for. I think this idea of adding to our faith, as we are told here in 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 5, that we are to add in, mix in, add into to the point that we are making it be different than it was before. Not that we’re just taking bits and pieces of knowledge and faith and virtue and temperance and all the others and throwing them together as a hodge podge, but rather upon our faith we are adding into, mixing in these other ideas so that we are fundamentally different as people at the end of the process than we were at the beginning. It’s not something like a scavenger hunt of attitudes that we go around and we look for these things and we say, “Okay I found temperance. I don’t have to look for that one anymore.” It is supposed to alter who and what you are so that you become more self-controlled. The word here that is given to us is one that means literally to keep yourself under control, that is to express yourself as a Christian, not allowing your own physical lusts and desires, your wrongful attitudes, your wrongful mindsets to rule over your own body. But instead you are to keep yourself under control, mixing that in with your faith so that in the end of the process you are fundamentally a different Christian. You are not the same as you were before you added this into the mixture.
This concept of self-control, of keeping yourself under and regulating your own actions and attitudes and thought processes is really very, very simple to explain, very simple to understand, but much more complicated and complex to actually put into play in your life.
Here in James chapter 3, we are told that the tongue is an exceptionally difficult member of the body to control. How can that be? I speak all the time and I’m sure that you do, too, in your day by day interactions. I was raised from the time I was a small child to mean what you say and say what you mean. I strive to do that. How can it be that difficult to control the tongue? And yet, we see that that’s the case over and over and over again in the lives of individuals, in Christians and non-Christians alike. We see people that just have a difficult time in controlling the tongue. For many individuals around us, we find that they just cannot say a sentence without uttering a curse word in the process. Even for those who don’t use such language, we find that they have a difficulty in not using their tongue for being mean-spirited or judgmental or hurtful in some way. I’ve heard individuals say something about another individual and I will remind them about the scriptures against gossip, and they will say, “Oh well it’s not gossip if it’s true.” It is, too! It is gossip even if it’s true. The responsibility that we have as Christians is that we are to use our tongue, we are to use our ability for speech to uplift, to teach, to correct when necessary, but not for gossip, not for slander, not for ridicule, not for hatefulness. It’s a difficult thing to exercise our ability to speech without falling prey to the temptations of using that capacity wrongly. But if we are temperate, if we have ourselves under control, if we are maintaining control over our bodies and our actions and attitudes and our thought processes, if we have that form of control over ourselves, then the difficulties of the tongue simply fade away into non-existence.
We see several instances wherein this concept of self-control is expected of us as an implication based upon what it is that we are commanded that we are to do. We are told there in Romans chapter 6 and verse 1, the apostle Paul as he was writing to the brethren there at Rome in chapter 6 and verse 1, he says, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin rather that grace may abound?” God forbid! And he goes on to suggest that, how can we who are dead to sin live any longer therein, but can we not see that that is an act of choice on our part. That is an act of responsibility imposed upon us. How can I continue to live in sinfulness once I have been exposed to the grace of God? What can I do other than to control my actions and my attitude so that I no longer live the way that I did before? If I am dead to sin in Christ Jesus, how can I continue to allow sinfulness to reign in my body and in my actions?
Paul here implies that we are in a position of needing to have self-control. It is imposed upon us because I am the one who must make the changes in my own life. There in Romans chapter 8 verse 31 and following, we see a similar concept being expressed to us as well. The apostle Paul again says, “What shall we again say to these things, if God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died and has risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Here is the key part. “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, for Thy sake, we are killed all the day long. We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us for I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Nothing and no one can separate me or you from the love of Christ except for you and me. I can separate myself from the love of Christ by simply removing myself from Him by turning back towards sin. You can separate yourself from the love of Christ in exactly the same way. No one and nothing has control over you as an individual. You have control over you as an individual and therefore it is your responsibility just exactly as we are told there in 2 Peter chapter 1 that we are to keep ourselves and those Christian graces and allow them to abound in us so that we need never fall. Those are the responsibilities that are put on us today. Nothing and no one can drag you away from the love of Christ except your own determination to do that which is wrong.
That’s exactly why again the apostle Paul there again in Romans chapter 12 verses 1-2 told the same brethren at Rome of the 1st century, he said, “I beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service and be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is a good and acceptable and perfect Will of God.” He tells us here that we are to make certain that our lives are presented as a living sacrifice.
No longer are we to follow after the sacrificial patterns of the Old Testament wherein we would offer up the oxen and goats and bulls and turtledoves. We no longer have those responsibilities put upon us. Instead the only sacrifice that our God looks for from us is me and you. He doesn’t require everything of us. He requires but one thing and that is you, the real you, the whole you to be presented to Him as a suitable sacrifice, a living sacrifice. Our blood is not to be shed. We don’t have to die upon the cross as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ did, but we must live our lives for Him if we are going to be able to live with Him when this life is over.
The only way I can present myself as a suitable sacrifice to God is if I have myself under control and that’s the difficult thing, isn’t it? Having self under control. I, like many people, I tend to be one of the so called “Type A” personalities. I like to believe that I am in control of everything, but the reality of it is that we have precious little under control whatsoever except for what I do, what I think and what I feel and how I would respond to certain stimulation that comes around to me from the various aspects of the world in which I live. How will I respond to the trials and temptations and the tribulations? That’s really all I have any control over whatsoever is what I will do. That’s why I am held accountable. That’s why when this life is over and I stand before the judgment seat of Christ, I will answer for the things that I’ve done in this life whether they be good or bad (2 Corinthians 5:10). Because what I had control over, what I had the responsibility to control and keep under control is me, just as you have the same responsibility to keep yourself under control.
Now of course, in order to do that, the first thing you must do is become a Christian. If you don’t have yourself in control to be able to be a child of God then nothing else really matters. Hear, believe, repent, confess and be baptized for the remission of sins so that you can be added to the church that our Lord and Savior died for and built and purchased with His own blood. Then live faithfully up to and including the point of death by keeping yourself under control, living for the Lord in every facet of your life. If you can do that, if you can add temperance into the mix and be different today than you were yesterday, then you indeed need never fall. You indeed can be the Christian you should and must be.
I thank you for your time.
(SONG # 3 - “Is It For Me Dear Savior!”)
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 learn to be more like Christ by showing the self control commanded in His Word? Will you be a shining light in a world that is often out of control?