THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-5-10
LESSON TITLE: “FOR IF THESE THINGS ABOUND AND ARE YOURS: FAITH”
We are truly excited to have you with us today as we together break the Living Word of God. We are certainly glad that you have chosen this day, to give this time to our Creator - so that together we may Worship and Praise His Holy name!
As we come together this day, it is my hope and prayer that we will each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before God. May we together offer this collective offering as those who love God, and who are willing to submit their own sacrifices before His throne.
So, at this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer:
Many of the promises of God are so encouraging and comforting to us as His followers. Our first song of the morning reminds us that with Jesus, we have a guide every step of the way.” So, won’t you join in and participate with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “He Leadeth Me!”
(SONG # 1)
Throughout the history of the Old Testament we see that man needed to be lead in the right direction. Ultimately, man must be lead by God, according to His Perfect Will, however we see that God always used leaders or representatives to accomplish His purpose.
I am reminded of a verse in Proverbs 11:14, that says, “Where there is no counsel, the people fall; But in the multitude of counselors there is safety.” Here we learn that there is a need for people to be taught and lead, that they may know and follow the right things. This writer says there is safety in numbers, when we consider those who lead in the proper ways.
On the other hand, when people are not lead and thus they do not grow and go the proper direction, there is always disaster. For example, consider the period of the Judges. In this book it is said that, “everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” We all know that this period of the judges was one of great disobedience for the most part. Israel continued to turn against their God to do their own thing and God condemned them for it.
In Hosea 4:6, we read, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge.” Here again we find that a lack of counsel and leadership unto knowledge leads to destruction.
Now go over into the New Testament with me. I am reminded of a great statement made by the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8! The Holy Spirit had sent Phillip to meet him and teach him the truth. So when Phillip found him and came near to him, he heard him reading the scriptures. Next, notice what Phillip asked the Eunuch, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Now hear the answer of the man from Ethiopia, “How can I, unless someone guides me?” Brethren, the reality is we do need to be taught, we do need leaders and we do need counsel. We as well need to be guided to understand the precious truths of God, and when we learn them their is surely safety in the things of God. Are you willing to look for counsel to grow in the things of Christ? Are you willing to turn and obey His Perfect Word?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study today, will again deal with the thought, “For If These Things Are Yours And Abound.” The specific lesson of the morning is entitled, “Faith.” So please continue with us this morning and I will be leading our main thoughts from God’s Precious Word at the appropriate time. Now let’s join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “He Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
In 2 Peter chapter 1 and verse 8 we read, “For if these things are yours and abound.” We began a new series last week that certainly, I believe, will challenge all of us to be better workers in the kingdom of God, for as you can already begin to tell by our series’ title, there are things that we must abound in, in our lives. There are things that must be a part of our make-up. They must be in our daily actions and words if we are to be right in the sight of God. Within the context there, we see that after he challenges them to realize that there are things that must be in them and that they abound in them, in other words you are not just trying to get by with a little of it, but you’re giving it your every effort and ability, and he then gives the incentive as to why we should strive to abound in such wonderful, godly characteristics. He mentions there in the same verse, 8, that “Those who do such will not be barren or unfruitful but rather they will be very fruitful and they will bring forth according to as God’s precious Will.” But then he also goes on to say even later in the same text, verse 11, “And for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom.” What? Heaven! Isn’t that wonderful to know that there are things that are in us and that abound in us that we will be those who are fruitful which includes today, but also fruitful eternally by receiving the great reward of Heaven?
However, on the other hand, he also speaks of in the same chapter that we can end up being barren or unfruitful if we do not engage in these things, if we do not abound in them and even there in verse 9 he says, “As if we are shortsighted and as if we do not find interest or really concern for the things of God.”
So what choice do you make? Do you choose to serve God knowing the wonderful promises and rewards or do you choose to serve self, man or Satan? Therefore not abounding in that which is right and therefore also losing opportunity to be what God wants you to be in this world.
And so what are those things? Well as we began to see last week, those things that we are diligently committed to are those things that are found in passages there in verse 5 specifically through 7, and he begins to say that, “You should add to your faith virtue, and virtue knowledge…” and so on and so forth. But today, we want to take that first attribute, that first virtuous or morally excellent concept that really shows us a characteristic that God wants of us if we are to be fruitful and abounding in what God wants that we will be rewarded. Before I begin to look specifically at faithful, I would like us to again look at the intro to verse 5. He says there, “But also for this very reason giving all diligence add to your faith.” Being diligent, committed. Not only does he mention diligence there, but if you’ll also look later where he’s talking about the final reward (verse 10), he says, “Brethren, therefore, be even more diligent (guess what) to make your calling and election sure, to make sure you are fruitful (why?) that you might receive the promise of eternal life.”
And so what is it that I must do? What is it I must be diligent in? What must I abound in if I am to be what God requires and therefore grow?
Well first of all I must add to my faith virtue. What I really like as we go along I hope you’ll see here that each of these things build on one another, that you add to your faith which is a belief unto action, add to your faith virtue, that faith then producing on top and adding to moral excellence. Then he says even that concept of once we desire that faith and that moral excellence then we have a desire to have more knowledge to grow in God and so on and so forth. So these things are interconnected. They are tied together. Then again at the heart of all of it, where does he start? He starts with faith. Certainly you and I know very simply that the Bible teaches that “faith comes by hearing.” In fact in Romans chapter 10 and verse 17 that’s exactly what the Holy Spirit says through Paul that “the way we begin to develop a faith or a belief in God is to hear the Word of God.” So certainly we know the Word of God is in this Bible, God’s Book, His perfect Book, and when we read it, we hear proclaimed and then are able to develop what? Belief! A belief unto God, or as we might also say, a faith in God. So what does that mean?
Well we could begin in Genesis chapter 22 and mention a few things and we won’t be able to read from there because of time, but I hope you’ll mark in your Bibles or at least jot down on a piece of paper there Genesis 22 because this was the time when Abraham was challenged by God to take his son, Isaac, and to sacrifice him on the mountain as an offering to God. Remember this was the son of promise and the son that God had already told him that “through Isaac your seed will be blessed.” Now specifically in that text, I want you to notice what happened after he drew the knife and he was willing to kill his own son. Finally in verse 12 notice what happens. “And He said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him for now I know that you fear God since you have not withheld your own son, your only son from Me.’” What was it that God revealed as He called to Abraham? That Abraham had proven his belief. Back in the same text there in verse 1 it says that “God had tested Abraham knowing the faith of Abraham and knowing how much he believed that he would do what was right.” Does God test us today? Certainly! He knows and He wants us to do what is right. He wants to give us that opportunity to prove how much we love Him and then when we do how beautiful it is as even Abraham proves here in relationship to his son.
Now building on that, we actually move to the book of Romans in the New Testament in chapter 4 because here as we again are introduced to Abraham or Father Abraham as he is sometimes called because he is that initial point when God’s people and His lineage and all of the descendents were set forth. There in verse 3 he says this, “For what does the scripture say?” It says, “Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” What made him to be seen as righteous in the eyes of God? He believed Him. How did he believe in God? Well it speaks of by what He did. Not only within that context there but later in a verse we find that same idea added to. There in verse 9 he says, “For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness.” He believed. It was accounted to him for righteousness. We say that by faith he was one who was seen by God as what? Righteous! Belief and faith. So what is the connection? What is the idea that is being confirmed here? There are several other times that it actually says it. For instance verse 13 says, “But through the righteousness of faith,” there again the connection of all three of those: righteousness, faith, and also this concept of being one who has belief.
But now specifically look with me beginning in verse 20. Now there in Romans 4 and 20 the Bible says, “And he did not waiver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was (as it says) strengthened in faith giving glory to God and being fully convinced that what he was promised, he would also be able to receive by the one who performs it,” that being God. And therefore verse 22 says, “And therefore it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Abraham did what he did because he believed. But notice the connection. He did what he did by obedience. Why was he faithful? He believed in God. Do you see the connection? The connection that says to me, “What good is belief if I don’t act? What good is belief if it’s not that which develops true faith seen in my life?”
Is that not what the Hebrew writer was talking about in Hebrews chapter 11? Certainly that’s what he was clarifying, the fact that faith was the very heart of proving our love and belief in God. In fact, it is the culmination of all those things, the ability that we have to say, “I believe God, but now I am going to obey unto faith and by faith.”
Therefore we see that Abraham again is mentioned in that text, verse 8, “By faith, Abraham (guess what) obeyed.” How did Abraham prove his belief? Why was it accounted to him for righteousness? He had faith. His faith was seen by God and those around him.
Now it mentions other reasons here why he was considered faithful. He went to a land he did not know. He obeyed the call of God. But then even down in verse 17 it says, “And by faith, when he was called to offer up Isaac being tested of God…” What did he do? He obeyed the command of God! What was it that made Abraham’s belief real or significant before God? Why would it be necessary that I be diligent to add to faith? Because faith proves an action that I believe God, that I love God and I am not just going to hear or know what He wants, but I’m going to do all of it. I’m going to obey it. How beautiful that is and should be to each of us.
No wonder why there back in the same text of verse 6 of Hebrews 11 we read that, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” No wonder we have the definition in verse 1. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, but the evidence of things not seen.” Things that we know, we believe, we hope for, but we have never seen it. We have never maybe tasted it or touched it. For instance, Jesus. How many of you have actually seen Jesus Christy in the flesh? Not a one of us! But we believe by faith even though not having seen because of the evidences that are real such as His Word and other things that reveal to us the reality and the truth of God.
And so we need to have faith in God. We need to have a willingness to believe unto action and therefore demonstrating as Abraham unto righteousness that he didn’t just believe in God like the devils of James chapter 2 who “knew there was a God and trembled,” but he had faith because he acted on what he knew and believed.
There’s another interesting part there in Hebrews chapter 12. After all of these great icons on faith are mentioned, like by faith so and so did this or that, in chapter 12 he begins to mention this in relationship to the faithful witnesses who were followers of God. “Therefore,” he says, “we also since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses as these icons of faith, let us lay aside every wait and the sin which so easily ensnares and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” What is set before us? A race! What is a race? It takes action. It takes work. It takes preparation. It takes something that I do to prove I am worthy to run the course. That’s exactly what faith is. The next verse, 2, says it. He says, “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our (guess what) faith.”
The question has to be this morning: Do we have faith? Because without faith, we cannot be saved. I am not talking about just a knowledge of God or an understanding of God or the fact that you believe in God. I am talking about the faith that Abraham had. By faith, Abraham obeyed. Do we obey God? Do we understand that we must obey God? Do we see how essential it is in the fact that even in the book of Ephesians chapter 2 and verse 8, we read that, “By grace we have been saved through faith.” God’s part is grace. He offers us the wonderful favor, although undeserved, and our part is faith, belief unto obedience. Not because we can somehow justify ourselves by works but because that’s how we show our love and commitment to our God.
I also think of what is said there in the book of Revelation. In Revelation chapter 2 amongst those churches that are being addressed by Jesus Christ Himself, we see there the church at Smyrna spoken of and the great faithfulness that they had. But I want you to hear again what is spoken of in Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10. The end there of that text says, “Be faithful unto death and you will receive a crown of life.” What is required until death? Faith! In order to have what? Eternal life! That’s exactly what our main text today is saying. If these things are yours and abound, you won’t be unfruitful or barren, you will receive because of faith the promise of eternal life. Doesn’t that sound great? Doesn’t that make you want to work today and everyday in the service of God according to His Will?
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Thanks be to God for His Word and it’s full revelation as to what a man must do to be saved! Thus are you practicing your faith as God requires? Why not put God first in all things today!