THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-30-07
LESSON TITLE: "BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS: LOVE"
Jesus once said, "The harvest truly is plentiful!" Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week. And I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
We want to begin our songs of praise this morning. So, at this time won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "O To Be Like Thee."
(SONG # 1)
Well, Fall is finally here. Isn't it a beautiful and glorious time of the year? All the colors and seasonal changes are wondrous to behold. Certainly we are well aware of the beautiful creation this world is and what a blessing it is from God.
Isn't it wonderful to finally be able to get out of our houses and enjoy the cooler weather! It seems like we have been burning up for months, but now things have cooled off become a bit more pleasant. I hope we will enjoy such times in life and take advantage of them to do more for God and to accomplish more in His service.
As we think about the different seasons and how they affect us, I am reminded that the Bible talks a lot about such things as well. I can think of many parables, stories and illustrations in God's Word which refer to the process of preparing, planting, growing and cultivating some type of harvest.
One of the most familiar verses in the Bible along these lines is found in 2 Corinthians 9:6, there it says, "but this I say: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully." Earlier in the text, Paul had been boasting to the Macedonians and others about how generous the Corinthians were in giving and helping others. So he sent some others before his arrival to make sure they would be prepared to help again - so that his boasting would not be in vain. Thus, Paul reminds them that those who give sparingly will also get sparingly and those who give bountifully will also get bountifully.
Isn't this the attitude that God wants us to have of being good givers! In the next verse, 7, of the same opening, Paul adds this, "so let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver." God truly loves a cheerful giver.
Another great verse which helps us to understand the importance of proper giving is found in Luke 6:38, there we read, "give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Have you figured it out yet? It's better to give than to receive, because the more you give and do for God the more you will receive from Him.
Let's all try to be better givers for the Lord's sake. Whether it is giving of time, effort, or money; let's give God our best, not the leftovers. Keeping in mind that we are blessed by God, according to what we give to Him and others!
This morning we will continue our series of study which is entitled, "Be An Example To The Believers." Our specific topic today will focus on, "Love." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn, "My Hope Is Built On Nothing Less!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us this morning and now we continue in God's Word looking at the fact of how important it is that we be good examples to all those who are around us. In fact, we've been using as our main text what is found there in 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 12. You might note here that there are several things that are mentioned in relationship to being a good example. In fact, those things that we have looked at thus far is the fact that we must be a good example to all. That would include God, our fellow man, but also as we read there in the verse, "to be an example in word, in conduct," and this morning, "in love," is what we will consider together.
When we think about being a good example and we think about what it the standard that we must meet as good examples, I would ask for us to turn over in the Bible to Ephesians chapter 5. In this text, we read Paul here as he is speaking to the church at Ephesus and notice what he encourages them to do as they walk in the things of God. He says, "Therefore, be imitators of God as dear children." Well, what a wonderful statement because here he states what it is that we must pattern ourselves after. We are to be children of God, and as children we imitate our parents, or the Father. Well, it's the same thing that takes place in our lives. In fact, our children that we have or when we were children, what did we often do? We would imitate mom and dad. We would want to be like them and to grow up to be even those things that they were in their daily lives and occupations. Well, here we read that we are to "be imitators of God." So my example then is to be an example that is likened to what God would do, what God would have, and the best example I have of that is the life that Jesus lived as He was on this earth.
I want you to notice what he also goes on to say and what else he says here in the same text, Ephesians 5. After he says, "Be imitators of God as children," verse 2 says, "And walk in love as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." He says here (that) imitators of God who are children of God must walk in love. Well, therein lies our discussion again today, to be an example of the believers in love. So that tells me that my daily example, my daily walk in God must be seen to be a loving example and the specific thing that he mentions here to prove the point is the fact that Jesus died for us. What does that mean? It means He loved us enough to give His own life, to suffer what He suffered at Calvary as a man and then to be put in a tomb that He might truly die and physically die that we might given the chance of salvation.
Well then, as we consider the fact that we are to be those who are examples in love as we imitate God for God is certainly an example of love and that as we strive there to "walk in" as it states "love" as Christ walked in love, I want you to also notice with me another strong fact that would prove to us that we must be those who love. As we've seen that we are to be examples or imitators of what God's example itself is. Look there at 1 John chapter 4. What does he state there in that same text around there verse 16? He says, "And we know and believe the love that God has for us." You see, God loves us. Then the statement he makes is, "God is love." Well, if we are to be example of love, we certainly then should understand completely why. If we are to imitate God and God is love, what else could we be? So when Paul says to be an example to the believers in love, it is because God is that example first. He has set that pattern. He has set the foundation that we must follow and He has laid the footprints that we must step in those prints and know exactly that we are love as God is love. So that not only God knows it and we know it all men see that we are love. The end of that verse goes on to say that, "God is love and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him."
If I want to be someone who has love, if I want to be someone who really is known of God, what must I do? I must be one who truly is seen as one who loves. Why? For God is love. Then when they see love in me, what do they know? They know that I am of God for God is love. Isn't that what it also states there in verse 20? He says, "We love not because we're special. We love because we're imitators of God's love for God first loved us." That's what verse 20 says. God first loved us. He loved us in creating the world and creating all things and giving us life and giving us breath, in making all that we know and giving us the physical abilities that we have, the health that we have. God has loved us. He cares for us. He protects us. He provides for us. God is love in the fact that He gave His Son to die for us as we have already read. So therefore, what is our reaction as we see that example of love as God is love, we are love. As we are love, people will know God abides in us for we have reacted to God for God has first loved us and then we have also loved.
So as we think about this love, what are some things that are involved in this love? What are some points that we might gain to understand what this love entails as a child of God as we strive to follow that example that Jesus set for us. We might begin back in the gospel, the gospel of Matthew in a very familiar text that we often read in relationship to understanding the greatest commandment as was ever given by God. In Matthew 22, the question was asked, "What is the greatest commandment?" And there if you'll read with me in verse 37, Jesus says this, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your mind." The next verse, 38, says, "This is the first and greatest commandment." What did we learn? That God is love. We are commanded to love. That is the greatest commandment. For if God is love, what greater thing could we do than to be those who also love? And love who? God. Love Him with what? All of ourselves. Whether it be it states here, "Our strength or mind." In other words, the full essence of man whether it is the thought, the action, whether it's the words, every part of us must be consumed and focused on the love for God Almighty.
Even Jesus then demonstrated to us that He loved the Father, that He loved God. In John 17, He and the Father were one, that the Father had loved Him as He had loved the Father. So certainly as we look at the relationship that Jesus had even with the Father we see a deep love, a deep respect, a deep reverence, a deep obedience in the fact that Jesus said, "I have loved my Father and I will obey what the Will of my Father is," even though sometimes that Will might have been difficult. We know it was difficult for Jesus because what did He do in the Garden? In the Garden of Gethsemene, it says, "He sweat great tears," in fact, "tears of blood," for He was agonized over the understanding of the physical death He was about to bear. He was human fleshly. He knew it was going to be the cruelest of Roman deaths that He would suffer. But what did He do? He had to remember that this is the Will of My Father. "If it be Your Will it must be done, Father." So He loved His Father enough to do it. He loved us enough to die that we might have what? Forgiveness of sins, that we might have the chance unto eternal life.
We also find here in the same text the next point besides loving God. He says, "The second greatest commandment there in verse 39 is, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Oh there are so many places that we could go to understand this commandment even much deeper, but I would like to return again to the book of 1 John in chapter 4. You see, as Jesus first loved God, He also loved His fellow man. Why? For when He was able to show love to His fellow man, what is it that His fellow man knows and sees? That He is of God, for God is love. So when Jesus loved His fellow man, therein was the proof that He was of God and from God. You see, the same thing is true of us. If I love God, what have I done? I have done a good thing, but God has first loved me and so I am responding to wonderful and great things He has done. But if I love my neighbor or even my enemy (Matthew 5:44), what have I done? Great things because I have proven that I am something that my enemy is not or even those of this world are not, that I can love someone no matter what because Jesus has given me that example. If you'll notice there as I was mentioning in 1 John chapter 4 and verse 20, it states this very fact. "If someone says, 'I love God' and hates his brother, he is a liar for if he does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" Verse 21, "And this commandment that we have from Him that he who loves God must love his brother, also." If you love God, a part of that love for God and obedience is to love your brethren. And sometimes that is an easy thing and sometimes it is not because we don't always like each other. It's easy when we like somebody, but it's tough when we don't like somebody or when we have clashes of personalities. But at the end of the day what is the precedent? To love each other and to love one another's souls and to treat each other as God would have us to. We are brethren. So if you love God and you have the faith in God to love God although you've never seen Him, so much more you should love your brother whom you have seen who has the same love for God because you are one in God. You are fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
In Galatians 6:10 we also read there the love that we need for all men. In fact, the verse there states that we must do good to all men especially to those of the household of faith which would mean to Christians. So do we do good to all men? Do we love all men? Do we have that attitude to all men that God has had, that He loves them and He has not only died for them but He continues to love them by doing all that He can to see that they are provided for?
So we see God says to love as He is love. We see that we must love God. We see that we must love our neighbor. But then again we might note in John 14:15 that we must love the Word of God unto obedience. I think one of the strongest statements that we have in relationship to that is found in John 14 and verse 15. The Bible says, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Jesus said, "The way I demonstrate love (or at least one way) is obedience to the commands." Where do I learn the commands of God? In the Word of God that which was given by inspiration of God, that which is profitable unto all things (2 Timothy 3:16), that which leads me unto salvation (there again 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 15), that which is powerful enough to save all man (Romans 1 and verse 16). You see, all of these verses help us to go to the same place and to understand the same thing that we are those who must love the law of the Lord. We are those that must rejoice in what He has given to me and what He has shown me for it is that which He has given, the Word, the Bible that gives me the chance to be a child, to imitate Him and to be a saved individual unto eternal life.
Isn't that what Paul was talking about in Romans chapter 7 and verse 22? There we read in the Bible, "For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man." He says, "My inward man, my soul, my godly man delights. It is joyful. It is happy. It is excited for it loves the Word of God." The same idea that David often spoke of as he spoke of the precious Word of God, the wonder of the Word of God, of the guidance and protection of the Word of God. You see, we must love the Word enough to know it. Love God enough to obey it. Love God enough to love my neighbors and love God enough to prove to Him my love in all these areas for God is love.
We might even summarize our thoughts today by going to 1 Corinthians 13, the great love chapter. We read of many great things there. Faith. Without faith we can't please God. We read of hope. Hope is that which gives us the chance of salvation or the knowledge of the chance of salvation. These are great and wondrous things that we can't do without. "But the greatest of these," he says in verse 13, "is love. The greatest of all things is love for the foundation is love for God is love." So therefore, what do we build on? God who is love. And on that love, we build the faith. We've go to love God to have faith. We build the hope. We've go to believe in God to believe in the things that are coming. So is that that love that gives us the chance to not only know God but to obey Him? So I challenge you to day to think about who your God is, to believe in Him and to obey and love Him as He has commanded in His Word.
(SONG # 3 - "Mansion Over The Hilltop!")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. 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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Thanks be to God for His Perfect Love. May we all learn to love as God has loved that we might be found pleasing in His sight and acceptable according to His Will!