30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM
Clarksville church of Christ
July 2, 2000
Speaker: Richie Thetford
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 another truth of God's word. Before we get to our lesson of the hour entitled"Seven Blunders of the World," I want to let you know about our Vacation Bible School that will be held at the Clarksville church of Christ on July 17-21 this year. We want to announce this early so that you can make plans now for you and your children to be able to attend this year's Bible school. Our Bible school will be held each night beginning at 7:30 PM with this year's theme for the children's classes being "How Shall the Young Secure Their Hearts?" The adult class will be having a study on the "divided kingdom" which will be taught by Gary Fisher from New Salisbury, Indiana. This promises to be one of the best Vacation Bible Schools ever and we want you to plan on attending. You can enroll your children in one of two ways. If you have access to the Internet you can enroll your children on-line by going to our WEB Site at www.ClarksvillechurchofChrist.org and follow the directions to enroll your children. You may also call 246-1332 and someone will be available to take your enrollment information. We look forward to seeing you and your children at VBS this year! Now at this time I want to encourage you to get your Bible, pen, and pencil handy so that you can take notes on today's lesson. I once again want to thank you for listening to this morning's broadcast and hope that you are striving to know the truth and then practice the truth in your daily life. It is only the truth of God's word that can make us free (John 8:32). 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).
The "seven wonders" of the ancient world excite one's imagination. The Pyramids of Egypt (the only one of the original "seven wonders" still standing) were memorial tombs for the powerful Pharoas of their day. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were built by king Nebuchadnezzar to make his wife feel at home and to surround her with beauty. The Statue of Zeus which was carved at the sight of the first Olympic games, was more than forty feet high. The Temple of Diana at which was located in Ephesus, took more than 120 years to build, and was more than 400 feet long decorated with gold and jewels. These are great and wonderful works of man that have been admired for many centuries.
Someone has proposed a different list of "modern day wonders of the world" that include Mt. Everest, Victoria Falls, the Grand Canyon, the Great Barrier Reef, the Mammoth Cave, and others. A list of modern achievements of man might also include the Suez Canal, the Eiffel Tower, the Golden Gate Bridge, Television and Computers, Space Flight, etc. These are all wonderful things that we can behold and enjoy in our life today. But friends, I want to study with you for a few moments about the "Seven Blunders" of the modern world. These are seven attitudes, which I have chosen because they are fairly common in our society, and because they have suchmomentous and eternal consequences! We need to ask ourselves this morning, what is our attitude toward these things?
The first blunder of the modern world today is the rejection of Jesus Christ as God's Son.In Matthew 1:18-24 we can read about the Son of God coming into the world, being born of a virgin. These are the words of the writer: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us."
Man has rejected the great sacrifice that Jesus came to offer all men. Jesus told us what would happen if we do not believe in Him. John 8:24 says; "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." Jesus also said; "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6). In Acts 4:12 we find these words; "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." When man rejects Jesus, failing to believe in Him, not recognizing that He is the one and only way to get to the Father and failing to take hold of the salvation that He and He alone can offer, then man has committed one of the greatest blunders imaginable. Without Christ, we have no hope of an eternal life.
The second blunder of the modern world today is thinking that our own goodness will save us. We need to first understand that "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). This means that everyone of us needs the redemption that is only found in and through Jesus Christ. The Hebrew writer wrote in Hebrews 9:22, ...."and without shedding of blood there is no remission." After saying that "all have sinned.." the inspired apostle Paul wrote: "being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
The classic case of one who was very religious and very moral and yet had to "hear words whereby he and his house may be saved" was of course, Cornelius. He was a good man, yet his own goodness in an of itself did not and could not save him. Listen to what is written concerning Cornelius in Acts 10:1-6: "There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!" And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?" So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. "Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. "He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do." Chapter 11:14 says, "who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved." Even though he was a good man, he was told what he must do in order to be saved. Morality, although a great virtue in any society, will not remove that first sin. Once we reach the "age of accountability" then our sins must be forgiven and the only cleansing agent is the blood of Jesus Christ as noted above . Jesus said:"For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins"(Matt 26:28).
The third blunder of the modern world today is looking only at the things seen here and now only. The apostle Paul contrasts the physical and the spiritual, saying: "while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:18). We live in a materialistic society and can fall into worldliness in just a short time. God knows that we have need of a certain amount of this world's goods and provides those for us in abundance. But He doesn't want us to begin to "trust in riches" for if we do, we will fail to enter heaven just as assuredly as the camel cannot get through the eye of a needle. Therefore, Jesus warns us against putting undue emphasis on this world and its things. That's why Jesus emphasized us to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you" (Matt 6:33).
In Luke 12:15-21, Jesus told a parable about a person that was rich with this world's goods. He was called a "rich fool." Listen now to the words of our Lord concerning this man; "And He said to them, "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. "And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' "So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 'And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry."' "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?' "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." Jesus admonishes us not to lay up treasures on earth in the sense that this man did. He said:"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; "but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal" (Matt 6:19-20). Friends, earthly treasures will all pass with the using. All things, including the earth will one day be burned up. Peter writes,"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells" (2 Pet 3:10-13). Paul wrote to young Timothy letting him know that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. May we always be mindful as to what is really important in this life. We must make sure that our soul is properly prepared to spend an eternity with God. That must be our first priority while we are here.
The fourth blunder of the modern world today is thinking that faith only will save you.What about grace? What about blood? What about repentance? The same Bible that says that we are saved by faith, also says we are saved by grace, the blood of Christ, repentance, baptism, and on and on. There are several things by which we are said to be saved. We are not saved by any one of them to the exclusion of the others commanded by the same Lord! We are not saved by one aspect of Christ's teaching ONLY. It takes the whole counsel of God to make man what he should be before God. In the book of James, chapter 1 verses 18-25, the following is stated; "Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does." We are to receive the word which is able to save our souls. We must receive it in such a way that we are willing and able to do everything that it teaches us. Later in chapter 2, verses 14-26 it says; "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe-- and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Christ is the author of eternal salvation to all them that OBEY Him (Heb 5:9; Matt 7:21-23). We cannot pick and choose what parts of the Bible we want to obey and then neglect the other commandments of our Lord. We must obey ALL of the Lord's will if we are to have a hope of heaven.
The fifth blunder of the modern world today is thinking that the church is unnecessary to one's salvation. The church doesn't save of course, but the church is the saved. Listen now to the following passages of scripture that teach this; "praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:47).It says in Colossians 1:13-14, "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." In Ephesians 2:13-17 we read, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near." To be in the Lord's church you must be baptized in order to put on Christ (Gal 3:26-27). Once we are baptized into Christ we are now part of His body. He is our head and has all authority. We then choose to be submissive to Him as the husband is toward her own husband. Ephesians 5:23 says; "For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body." If just one soul may be saved and not be a part of that which Christ is the Savior, then two could or three, or ten thousand. Christ's blood purchased this relationship (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). Is Christ's blood non-essential? The fact is, He is coming back to get his bride the church. Just as those who were saved in Noah's day were saved in the ark, so it is today that the saved are "in Christ," His church.
The sixth blunder of the modern world today is thinking that you are too bad for Christ to save your miserable soul! How bad do you suppose the Jews on Pentecost were? They were "murderers and betrayers of the sinless Son of God Almighty!" Luke, the writer of the book of Acts states; "Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death" (Acts 2:23). Then in Acts 7:52 it says, "Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now have become the betrayers and murderers." Saul, before he became the apostle Paul, would cast saints in prison and even watch them being killed (Acts 7). He did some pretty terrible things against Christ and His cause. In 1 Timothy 1:15 He wrote: "This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Those Jews on Pentecost realized the error of their ways and repented. As a result of this penitent action on their part, they were baptized in order to be saved. Saul went on to become the great apostle Paul. He to repented of his sins and was baptized into Christ (Acts 22:16). Friends, you too can do the same thing as the Jews or the apostle Paul. You just need to recognize and accept the fact that you have sinned and as the Jews and Paul were forgiven, you can be forgiven also. Any sin of which you are willing to repent, you may be forgiven of by obeying the gospel of Christ.
The seventh blunder of the modern world today is thinking that you'll submit to Christ one day but that you have lots of time in order to do so. Are you sure that you have lots of time to yield to Jesus? Stop and think about it! A few years ago when I lived in New Mexico a young University of New Mexico football player went out with a few of his football friends and dived into a pool of water, and never came up. He may have thought his life would continue for many years to come. After all, he was young. It is a sad story that is told much too often today. The young think they have years and years in which to make a decision concerning their life with Christ. Solomon admonished "Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth..." (Eccl. 12:1). Young or older, we have no promise of another day or another opportunity to yield our lives to the king of kings and Lord of Lords!
Life is a vapor says James in chapter 4, verses 13-15. "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away." The apostle Paul says, "Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation" (2 Cor 6:2). Old Felix was terrified at what Paul taught him but still procrastinated, saying, "go your way for this time; and when I have a convenient season I will call for you.." (Acts 24:25). Did that season ever come? So far as we know it did not!
I am here to encourage you not to commit any one of these great blunders. If we reject Christ today - we have committed an enormous blunder. Paul wrote: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad" (2 Cor 5:10). We will appear before Christ and Christ Himself said: "He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him-- the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day" (John 12:48). Are you ready to serve and live for Christ today? If not, you'll have to live forever with your blunder, the greatest of all blunders!
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?"