THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-9-07
LESSON TITLE: "BE AN EXAMPLE TO THE BELIEVERS: BE AN EXAMPLE TO ALL"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start our songs of praise with a hymn that tells us about a most wondrous promise of God. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, "To Canaan's Land I'm On My Way!"
(SONG # 1)
As we look around the world today we see a lack of respect for fellow man which seems to increase every day. People are often less concerned with committing violent crimes or with doing whatever it takes to accomplish a goal or to acquire something that they want. How sad it is to continually see the moral decay in our country and throughout the World.
We might wonder, what could be the problem in all of this? Furthermore, it is often difficult to figure out why all of these things are going on? Well, we may not be sure about the reason for all these things, but what we can know for sure is the answer to the problem - God. Yes even when we wonder, "why do people keep doing such bad things or why do awful things happen in our day and time. The only sure and true answer is God!
As our society and the world seems to decline in so many ways, ask yourself the follow question, "Has the world seemed to embrace God more or less over the past centuries!" In my opinion I think we can see that our country has continued to embrace Him less and less as the years go by. In fact, in recent years it often seems like it's a sin or wrong to even mention God or bring Him up in most settings. Too many have been far more concerned with other people's feelings and in how they might be perceived by others, than with putting God first. Therefore, God has continually been put on the back burner!
For example, consider our societies view of the home. Does it match up with what God wants any longer? Why not ask the world what a home is today and you will find that they will exclaim it to be anything that pertains to cohabitation, regardless of God's Will on the matter.
It is our hope and prayer that we can all return to the Word of God and once again clearly establish what God says about the life of a Christian and the need to put God first. Furthermore, may we again address the issues of life from the standpoint of God's Will, so that we might better understand the roll that we should each play and then be challenged to do things God's Way. May we each examine ourselves to see if we are fulfilling our function before God or not. And if not let us again submit to our place before God that He might be fully pleased. Are you willing to make the world a better place by putting God first in all things concerning you life?
Today we will begin a new series of study, which concerns our example as Christians. Our new series is specifically entitled, "Be An Example To The Believers." And our first topic of study today is, "Be An Example To All." So stay with us after our next song and in a few minutes our guest speaker of the day will return with this lesson from God's Word.
We are happy to again have brother Kevin Patterson with us. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Highway 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We look forward to him leading our main study after our next song together. So wont you join in the second hymn of the morning as we sing together, "Lord We Come Before Thee Now."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning. I bring you greetings from the Hwy. 13 church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. The Hwy. 13 congregation meets in the church building located on the west side of Hwy. 13 in Bolivar, Missouri. We want to extend an invitation to all those who live in the Bolivar area or to anyone who might be passing through our way to stop and worship with us. We have on Sunday mornings Bible studies at 9:00 a.m. followed by a worship assembly at 10:00 a.m. and then we have on Sunday evenings an evening worship service at 6:00 p.m. and on Wednesday nights we have a mid-week Bible study at 7:00 and we would certainly invite you to come at any opportunity that you have to share God's Word with us.
This week, we begin a new series of lessons entitled, "Be An Example To The Believers." This theme comes from 1 Timothy chapter 4 verses 12 and 13 where the apostle Paul told the young preacher, Timothy, "Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity til I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
Over the next several weeks on this program, we'll be examining how to be an example in word, conduct, love, spirit, faith, purity, and how to give attention to reading, exhortation and doctrine. But this week however, we're going to kick off the series of lessons by focusing on being an example to all.
You know, if we want to go to heaven, we all have an individual responsibility to accept the salvation that God offers us. It's an individual responsibility. I cannot make someone else obey God, nor can anyone else make me love Him enough to do His Will. In fact, Paul said in Philippians chapter 2 verses 12 and 13 to the church at Philippi, he said, "Therefore my beloved, as you have always obeyed not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure."
It is an individuality responsibility that we have to obey God, but acceptance of God's terms on salvation is not always easy. I remind you of Jesus' words in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 14 concerning those who would pursue the course through life that would take them to heaven. He said, "Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it." Nevertheless, my salvation is still up to me. That's the case for all people.
Hebrews chapter 5 and verse 9 reads, "And having been perfected, He (talking about Jesus) became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him."
Certainly I want to obey my Master so that I can live forever in heaven. But the question also is, "Would I not want to also share that love and share that example with those around me?" I must believe and obey my Father if I want to be blessed with His grace and mercy and forgiveness of my sins. But how did I become a believer? How did I learn to obey? Well, I can tell you that I personally became a child of God because of the good works of others who set good influences and set good examples in my life. I was raised by Christian parents who taught me from the earliest memories how to obey and love my Lord. I was taught by Christian teachers in Bible classes, in Bible studies. I was influenced by Christian friends and Christian examples and I was also married and still am to a very fine Christian woman. She encourages me and builds me up and sets a good example for me and continually builds me up and edifies me in the ways that are right. Well certainly these types of people who were good examples in my life were following out what Jesus commanded all of His disciples to do many years ago and that is to go out and not only preach the gospel but also to live it.
In Mark chapter 16 verses 15 and 16, Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned." Preaching the gospel is absolutely necessary if we wish to share God's plan of salvation to a lost and dying world.
Romans chapter 10 and verses 13-15 reiterates this point by making this statement in Paul's letter to the church at Rome. "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach unless they are sent as it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good news.'"
Preaching the good news of Jesus is a commandment for all disciples of Christ. However, words are not the only way that we can influence the lost. In fact, if our words and our actions are not consistent, if they do not walk hand in hand, then we're going to be no better off than the hypocrites of Jesus' day.
I remind you of Jesus' words in Matthew 23 verses 1-3 when Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples saying, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works for they say and do not do." It's the idea of not practicing what you preach. But I would remind you that Paul told Titus in Titus chapter 2 and verse 6 and 7 that we need to be consistent with our words and our actions. He said, "In all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works, in doctrine showing integrity, incorruptibility, sound speech that cannot be condemned that one who is an opponent may be ashamed having nothing evil to say of you." We need to make sure that our words and our actions are consistent because if our words and our examples are not godly, then how will others ever come to know God through us? That is the goal. That is the aim that Jesus set forth in His "Sermon on the Mount," in Matthew chapter 5 verses 14-16 where He said, "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden, nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Notice that last statement, "Let your light so shine before men." First of all, don't hide it under a basket. Don't hide your Christianity. Don't hide your godliness. It is important that yes, we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling, but at the same time it is important for us to share our salvation with those around us so that they may enjoy the blessings that God gives as well. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
You know, there is an old saying that the only Bible that some people may ever read is the one that they see in you. That's exactly true. By shining the light of Jesus Christ to the world around us, others may, too, become His followers.
Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 5-7, "For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake and you became followers of us and of the Lord having received the Word in much affliction with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia, in Achaia who believe." That is very important that those who set examples for us set the stage and we realize that we are now to be examples for others.
As the title of today's lesson states, we must be examples for all. But, I wonder if you noticed whom Paul told Timothy that we should be an example, that he should be an example in 1 Timothy 4 and verse 12. He wrote, "Be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love..." and so on. Be an example to the believers. We would recognize this in New Testament languages being those who are a part of the body of Christ. Certainly Jesus although the church was established after He died on the cross and was buried in the tomb and rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, even though the church was established on the day of Pentecost, Jesus set the perfect example for all of us and certainly while He was alive setting the example to believers around Him.
In John chapter 13 verses 1-15, a rather long passage of scripture, but a passage that is important none the less because we see Jesus setting an example for His disciples, for those who believed in Him. In verse 3 of that passage, Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He had girded. Then He came to Simon Peter and Peter said to Him, "Lord, are you washing my feet?" Jesus answered and said to him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this." Peter said to Him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me." Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head." Jesus said to him, "He who is bathed needs only to wash his feet, but is completely clean and you are clean but not all of you," for He knew who would betray Him. Therefore, He said, "You are not all clean." So when He had washed their feet, taken His garments and sat down again, he said to them, "Do you know what I have done to you? You call me 'Teacher and Lord' and you say well, for so I am. If I then your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet for I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you."
Certainly none of us are ever going to say that we are better than Christ, but when Christ who is better than all set an example of humbleness or humility and submitted Himself to His disciple's feet, then certainly we can submit ourselves one to another by setting the proper example, by setting the kind of example that Jesus set for us, and not just while He lived, but while He also died. As Peter wrote in 1 Peter 2:21, "For to this you are called because Christ also suffered for us leaving us an example that you should follow His steps."
Paul also was an example to believers. In 1 Corinthians chapter 11 and verse 1, Paul made that daunting statement, "Imitate me just as I also imitate Christ."
He wrote to the church at Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2 verses 10-12, "You are witnesses and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe, as you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged everyone of you as a father does his own children that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
He goes on to say in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3 verses 7-9, "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us for we were not disorderly among you nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.
You know, I have a hard time comparing myself even to the life of Paul because Paul seemed to be such a great man, such a great servant of God, such a dedicated and tireless worker for the kingdom, and yet Paul said, "We worked right along beside you to set an example for you of how you ought to live and behave as Christians."
Peter also wrote in 1 Peter chapter 5 verses 1-4 that elders or shepherds in the church are to be examples to believers. They are not to be those who will lord over the flock but as we read in verse 3 that, "they are to be examples to the flock." The sheep should be able to look up to the shepherd and see what type of life it is that they should live. They should look up to these men who would be above reproach and who would serve as obedient servants in the kingdom of heaven.
But finally, all Christians are to be believers. I would remind you once again of a rather lengthy passage of scripture in Matthew 25 verses 31-46 where Jesus divides the sheep from the goats and He says to those who are the sheep, He says, "Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world, for I was hungry and you gave me food. I was thirsty and you gave me drink. I was a stranger and you took me in. I was naked and you clothed me. I was sick and you visited me. I was in prison and you came to me. Those same righteous will answer Him saying, "Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and take you in or naked and clothe you? Or when did we see you sick or in person and come to you?" And the King will answer and say to them, "Assuredly I say to you in as much as you did it to the least of one of my brethren, you did it to Me."
It is very important that we look at the world around us and realize the great responsibility that we have to be examples to those who might see the light shining in us. Galatians chapter 6 verses 9-10, "Let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all especially to those who are of the household of faith."
Be an example because it is commanded of God. be an example to believers because it will build up the church. Let me remind you to be an example to all because it may save the souls of some. May God bless you.
(SONG # 3 - "Higher Ground!")
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.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these items are also available on our website.
That address is:
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
May we all strive to be greater examples before all men, that they might see the light of God in us and thus desire to come to an obedience of His Saving Truth!