30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM

Clarksville church of Christ

November 14, 1999

Speaker: Richie Thetford

"The Proper Attitude Toward the Word of God"

Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, thanking you for tuning in this morning to WAVG radio to listen to a message of God. Once again I want to encourage you to get your Bible, pen, and piece of paper out and be ready to write the scriptures down and turn to them as the truth of God's word is presented this morning. How many times has it been that you have heard something discussed in matters of religion and wished that you had a pencil handy to write down that passage of scripture or that particular thought? I want to give you a chance right now to get your pencil and paper ready so that you can be prepared to write these verses down so that you can do some serious study at a later date. Jesus said: "Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1). As we discussed on this program two weeks ago, many false prophets are out there trying to deceive innocent people into believing a lie. I want to make sure that I am only presenting the truth of God's Word and I want you to test my words to make sure that I am not putting forth a doctrine that is false but rather is true. My wife used to work at a bank as a teller and one of the first things she was taught was how to tell what a real dollar bill looked like. One she knew what the real dollar bill looked like, then she knew that anything else that did not look like the real thing, was a counterfeit. So it is with religion. All we need to do is learn what the truth is, and then we will know that any other doctrine put forth is not the truth. I want to encourage you this day to learn the truth. Jesus said plainly in John 8:32: "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Every sincere, religious person will want to learn the truth in order to make sure that his call and election is sure (2 Pet 1:10).

This morning we want to discuss with you the proper attitude that one must have toward the word of God. It was said of the people in Acts 2:41: "They then that gladly received His word were baptized." It is essential to every one in our listening audience that we "gladly receive his word." These two words "gladly received," indicate a disposition on the part of those who heard the preaching of the gospel message on that occasion. It is this thought that we wish to discuss in our study with you this morning.

What should be our attitude toward the Bible, God's Word? What is YOUR disposition toward it? When you hear the Word of God read, what feelings do you have with reference to it? Friends, I want to emphasize once again a point made on an earlier program here at that is: THE BIBLE IS THE WORD OF GOD. It, and it alone, is the only place where we can seek information which will lead to the salvation of the souls of mankind.

We refer you to 2 Timothy 3:14-17, where Paul states: "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." When man fully accepts the Bible as inspired of God (and we will have more to say about this in future lessons) and that it is perfect, then a lesson on man's attitude toward it becomes relatively simple.

Perhaps the first or basic attitude needed is that of SUBMISSION TO GOD'S WILL. Unless we are willing to submit to every principle found in God's Word, then we will approach it with the wrong attitude. We MUST have the disposition of Cornelius as found in Acts 10:33. "So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God." Cornelius wanted to hear the word of God NOW, and he wanted to hear ALL of want is commanded by God. He did not want to partake of God's word like many people today partake of a pot luck dinner where they pick and choose the food they want to eat, but rather he wanted ALL the food of God. He wanted to be fed with every nutritional morsel of God's word in order that he could be well-pleasing to his creator. He wanted to be told exactly what God wanted them to do. He said tell us everything God wants us to do. The apostle Paul was not going to be found guilty of NOT telling man everything that man needed to know unto salvation. He said in Acts 20:27: "For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God." So often today, mankind is ready to accept that part of God's Word which he approves, but willing to overlook the things that he does not like. This is not so, with one who has the proper attitude toward God's Word.

As we scan the Word of God and call to our attention various examples of men of FAITH as found therein, we find the attitude of wanting to hear and do God's will prevalent. What a wonderful attitude to have. Look at Noah, who, "by faith, being warned of God concerning things not seen as yet, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; through which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith" (Hebrews 11:7). Noah believed God to the point that when God asked him to build an ark, he did not even question God. He had total faith in God. He did not try to reason why build an ark. He simply heard the word of God and because of his great faith in God, was moved to do exactly what God asked him to do.

We now look at another great man of the Bible, Abraham. It was said of him: "by faith when he was called, obeyed to go out unto a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing whither he went" (Hebrews 11:8). He was told to leave his own country, his own home town, to travel to a place he had never been before, knowing nothing of the place. He did not question God or try to reason why was this really necessary. It was said of Abraham that he obeyed the voice of the Lord by faith.

We also can view the example of Moses, who, "by faith refused to be called the son of Pharoah's daughter; choosing rather to share ill treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" (Hebrews 11:24, 25). Moses could have enjoyed all the temporal pleasures of royalty. But he refused to do so because of his deep abiding faith in God. His willingness, his attitude to want to do right, to be pleasing to his heavenly Father, was greater than the short-lived pleasures of this life.

In each of these cases it was said of them that they had faith. To have true faith means that one believes in God and is willing (submissive) to do whatever God commands. Anyone who has read and studies these particular Bible characters, could not imagine any of these men of faith arguing with God and what He asked of them. Again, each one of them wholly accepted His word, without quibbling, and did exactly what God asked of them.

So often today we hear people speak of their great faith in God---and then they turn right around and REFUSE to do what God commands of them. And while we are on this point here, may we point out that faith moves people to DO SOMETHING. In the New Testament book of James, chapter 2, verse 24 we find these words: "You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only." In verse 26 we read: "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Now write those two verses down and look at them really good. Read also the verses just prior to these concerning Abraham. We can see from these scriptures that faith has never saved a single person until that faith motivated the person to arise and DO what is commanded. Sometimes people today leave the impression that all that is needed is just to be religious, just to call on the name of the Lord only.

But listen to the words of Christ as He says: "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Matthew 7:21-23). He then follows these words with the examples of the two builders. Again, I encourage you to listen once again to the words of our Lord: "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27). The point of this parable is this. When we have the proper attitude toward God to WANT to DO His will, and do them, then our life will stand, not only on this earth, but forever in eternity with God. However, if we don't do His will, we will fall - and great will be our fall!

Now I ask: Must man accomplish any works to be saved? Listen to Christ in John 9:4: "We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work."And again in John 6:28-29 we read: "...What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent." Is faith a work? Sure it is. It is something that each person MUST DO. Truly, man cannot of his own good morality, nor of his own devised schemes, work his way into salvation; but to say that man has nothing to do in his own salvation is a flagrant transgression of the words of Christ and His apostles. Yes, man has something to do -- he must DO ALL THAT GOD COMMANDS OF HIM. And unless he does, he simply does not have the faith that will save him.

Jesus showed us this principle by the very life He lived. The Hebrew writer in Hebrews 5:8-9 states, "though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him" When is our obedience really tested? When everything is going just great, or when we are faced with suffering? It is said here that He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. When we are put under the gun so to speak, our true loyalty comes forth. We can also learn from this passage that salvation is only offered to a select group of people. What group is that? Only to those thatOBEY Him! The only way one can truly obey Christ is to be doing the things which He commands, nothing more, nor nothing less. Consequently, if man is to be saved, he cannot add to, nor subtract from a single thing that Christ Jesus commands for us to do (Revelation 22:18-29).

We can learn from the examples that we have used of Noah, Moses, and Abraham, that where God has spoken, man must respond in obedience. Their faith was proven in the acts of obedience to God. Jesus said: "If you love Me, keep My commandments", and "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 14:15; 15:14). A genuine love of the Lord will produce acts of obedience as a result of a deep and abiding faith. We gain this faith by hearing the words of God (Romans 10:17). We must also have that attitude that where God has not spoken; where He has remained silent; then we have no right to infringe. Man cannot presume to speak for God. Man needs to "speak where the Bible speaks and remain silent where the Bible is silent"; doing what our God expects of us. Christ in John 4:34 states, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work.". What this means is that my food, my sustenance, my desire, my enjoyment, my very life is to do the will of God and to accomplish his work. Friends, this must be our attitude toward God and His Word. What is your attitude toward the Bible? Do you have the attitude of submission and obedience to all that is found therein? Could it be said of you this very moment that your attitude toward God's word is to "show me what God requires of me and I will respond to it!" I am telling you friends that anything short of this kind of attitude is not the proper attitude toward the Word of God.

Remember at the beginning of this radio program this morning we began this study with the passage, "They that gladly received his word were baptized." One WILL DO the will of the Lord when one gladly receives His teaching. Let's look at the contrasting results? What about those who refuse to gladly receive the word, those who refuse to obey it? There is a Bible passage, a truth of God given to us in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 that tells us what the outcome will be for those that 1) do not know God and 2) those that do not obey God. Listen to God's Word concerning this: "...to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power."

From this passage of scripture we learn that those who do not have the proper attitude to lead them to obey Christ will suffer an eternal punishment to be cast from the presence of the Lord. What a terrible conclusion -- to have so lived while in this flesh, without regard for almighty God or his revealed word -- and to hear the awesome words as recorded by our Lord and Savior Himself: "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Friends, we urge you in our listening audience, to develop the proper attitude toward the word of God. Study it, respect it, Obey it, Gladly receive it, and DO what it commands! God's Word demands faith in Christ Jesus as the Son of God. The Hebrew writer records in chapter 11, verse 6: "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."

To be a child of God, to be born into the family of God, requires action on your part. When you have developed the attitude to DO God's will, then you will understand that in order to obtain eternal salvation that you must:

Repent - "Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent," (Acts 17:30) "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3).

Confess Christ -"and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans 10:10)."Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 10:32).

Be Baptized into Christ: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins...." (Acts 2:38). "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

May you let the word of God dwell within your hearts and seek to do His will. Thank you for listening this morning.

This is Richard Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"