Failure in Part (2)

Sermon for Sunday, September 3, 2017

Failure in Part (2)

Today’s lesson will show how failure in part means failure in all regarding salvation.

Text: 1 Corinthians 1

When it comes to the subject of salvation, many think they can fail in part and still be saved.  God alone will ultimately determine who is and is not going to be saved, but the Bible is clear concerning the requirements for salvation.

The lesson today will focus on the danger of failing in part regarding salvation.

Review:

Matthew 22:

[36] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  [37] Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  [38] This is the first and greatest commandment.  [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

According to Jesus, these two commands are foundational to everything in the Law but the Law required obedience in other things.

The point: You cannot have one without the other.  If you fail in part, you fail in all, as we learned last Sunday:

James 2:

[8]  If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

[10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

The greatest questions ever asked in the Bible have to do with salvation:

“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

“Brothers, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

Let us now consider how failure in part means failure in all regarding salvation.  Let us now examine the requirements for salvation so we can see how this is the case:

 1) We must hear the gospel.

The classic text on the importance of hearing is Romans 10:17.

Hearing is essential for salvation because God has chosen this as the means of reaching humans with his gift.  Consider these important points:

1) In every age of the Bible, salvation is based on a covenant between God and humans.

Exodus 19:

[5] Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.

2) In every age of the Bible, God has chosen to use humans to communicate his covenant message.

Hebrews 1:

[1] In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.

3) God’s choices in this regard are based on his wisdom and not ours.

1 Corinthians 1:

[18] For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

[21] For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

1 Corinthians 2:

[12] What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.

[13] This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.

4) There is more to this message than just words.

Hebrews 4:

[12] For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

2 Corinthians 4:

[5] For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

[6] For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

[7] But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

2) We must believe the gospel.

Acts 16:

[29] The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas.  [30] He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

[31] They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.”

[32] Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

[33] …then immediately he and all his family were baptized.

3) We must repent of our sins.

Acts 2:

[36] “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”  [37] When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

[38] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

4) We must confess the name of Christ.

John 12:

[42] Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not openly acknowledge their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; [43] for they loved human praise more than praise from God.

Matthew 10:

[32] Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  [33] But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

1 Timothy 6:

[12] Fight the good fight of the faith.  Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

[13] In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession

Luke 23:

[3]  So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.

5) We must be baptized in the name of Christ.

Acts 2:

[38] Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.

Summary and failure in part:

1) Hear
2) Believe
3) Repent
4) Confess
5) Baptized

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices

Failure in Part (1)

Sermon for Sunday, August 27, 2017

Failure in Part

Is failure to do all that God has said okay?  Some seem to think it is.  They take one verse that says something they believe needs to be done and act as if that is all that is required.

Do we have permission to omit or fail to do what we do not like?

We cannot omit what we know to do:

James 4:

[17] If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.

We cannot willfully disregard what we know to do:

Hebrews 10:

[26] If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, [27] but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

The Bible says we can be willfully deliberately ignorant (2 Peter 3:5).

With human frailty being what it is, we all will experience failure before God.  This is not what I am talking about today.  Salvation is ultimately by God’s grace no matter how dedicated we are.

What the lesson is about today is the willful neglect of part of what God says about something.  This is done for a variety of reasons.  Some people are not even aware of why they do it.  This is the danger of spiritual blindness and prejudice.

2 Thessalonians 2:

[10] They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.  [11] For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie [12] and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

Jesus mentions two great commandments.  The point: You must do both.

Matthew 22:

[36] “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  [37] Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  [38] This is the first and greatest commandment.  [39] And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  [40] All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

According to Jesus, these two commands are foundational to everything in the Law but the Law required obedience in other things.

1) If we fail in part we fail in all.

In the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20), the commands regarding murder, adultery, and theft involve relationships with others.  Violations reveal a lack of love for one’s neighbor and sin against God.

If we love God and not our neighbor we fail in part.

If we love our neighbor and do not love God as we should we fail in part.

If we fail in either part we will not be accepted.  The religion of God is not like a cafeteria where we get to pick and choose what we like.  To be acceptable we must do all that the Lord has spoken:

Exodus 19:

[3] Then Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain and said, “This is what you are to say to the descendants of Jacob and what you are to tell the people of Israel: [4] ‘You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.

[5] Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession.  Although the whole earth is mine, [6] you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’  These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

[7] So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the Lord had commanded him to speak.  [8] The people all responded together, “We will do everything the Lord has said.”

God did not say, “If you obey me in part.”

The elders of the people did not say, “We will do part of what the Lord has said.”

2) We must love our neighbor in all ways and not just in part.

The command “Love your neighbor as yourself” includes all things involving our relationships with others that we should do.  Here are some passages that illustrate that:

James 2:

[8] If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

[9] But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  [10] For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

[11] For he who said, “You shall not commit adultery,” also said, “You shall not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker.

[12] Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, [13] because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment.

***

[15] Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  [16] If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

1 John 3:

[18] Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

3) We must love God in all things and not just in part.

“Love the Lord your God” also includes all that is required in loving God.  For example, in the Ten Commandments we are told “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3), which shows we cannot worship other gods in addition to the one true God.

The second commandment says “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4).

Is there some aspect of God’s being we can reject?  The last two Sundays we talked about some attributes of God that are difficult for many to understand, yet they are clearly taught in God’s word: 1) God is omnipresent; 2) God is omniscient; 3) God is omnipotent; 4) God is timeless; 5) God is spiritual.

Some in Israel were rebuked because they did not believe God was omniscient:

Jeremiah 23:

[23] “Am I only a God nearby,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away?  [24] Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

Many today believe God is love but reject his justice.  They know in full but fail in part.

4) How “Failure in Part” plays out in faith:

This attitude toward faith and God manifests itself in many ways.  Some of these I have personally experienced in people over the years.

It begins with good intentions but always gets much worse because if we can fail in part we can fail in all, and eventually this is where it leads.

1) “I don’t have to attend church because I believe in grace.”

2) “Doctrine is not important.  All you have to do is love Jesus.”

3) “A transformed life and not doctrine is what is necessary.”

4) One preacher’s liberal journey ended with this belief: “I affirm the truth anywhere in any religious system, in any worldview.  If it’s true, it belongs to God.”

5) A founder of what is called the “emerging church” movement said, “I believe people are saved not by objective truth, but by Jesus.  Their faith isn’t in their knowledge, but in God.”

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices

Thinking About God (2)

Sermon for Sunday, August 20, 2017

Thinking About God (2)

It is important how we think about God.  To think about God is to think correctly about what God is like.

Sometimes the Bible speaks of God in accommodative language for us humans.  The Bible talks about God’s hand, finger, back, or eyes.  But God is not like us in those physical ways.

In this story in the book of Exodus, Moses wants to know something about God’s person and nature.  So God shows Moses a part of his nonphysical being:

Exodus 33:

[12] Moses said to the Lord, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me.  You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’  [13] If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

[14] The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

[15] Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  [16] How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?  What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

[17] And the Lord said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

[18] Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

[19] And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.  I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.  [20] But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

[21] Then the Lord said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock.  [22] When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by.  [23] Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

Summary of last Sunday’s lesson:

To think about God correctly, we must consider the important attributes we have discussed in this lesson.  Understanding the nature of God will increase our faith and help us avoid mistakes in our understanding of God.  There are many characteristics of God we did not cover, such as God is love or God is holy.  In my experience, these attributes of God are more understood than the five we discussed last Sunday.

The ones we covered, however, are often misunderstood and difficult to grasp for many but are foundational to our understanding of the nature of God:

1) God is omnipresent.

2) God is omniscient.

3) God is omnipotent.

4) God is timeless.

5) God is spiritual.

In today’s lesson, Moses wants to know more about God’s person and being so his faith can be strengthened.  He also wants Israel to know these things as well.  He wants God to go with them in a visible way as they journey to the promised land.

Today’s text: The Essence of God’s Being.

[14] The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

The Lord will not hide his presence from the people.  This should increase their faith and confidence in God’s leading.  A benefit of this lesson today is that more knowledge of God’s being will increase our faith as well.

God’s visible presence would go with the nation and they would see it.  So would people of other nations.

Exodus 23:

[20] See, I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.

[21] Pay attention to him and listen to what he says.  Do not rebel against him; he will not forgive your rebellion, since my Name is in him.

This is no ordinary angel.  They must listen to him and not rebel.  He will not forgive them if they do not listen and obey.  This is not said of ordinary angels.  The angle is the messenger of the covenant and second person of the Godhead, Jesus Christ.

God says “my Name is in him.”  The angel is to be an extension of God himself.  He is what Malachi predicted would come:

Malachi 3:

[1] “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

The first messenger is John the Baptist.  The “Lord” and “messenger of the covenant” is Jesus Christ.  This is the Lord Peter refers to in Acts 2:36.

The Lord Jesus will come to God’s temple as he did before his crucifixion.

He is described as “the angel of his presence” in Isaiah 63:9.

The point: God was going to go with the Israelites in the presence of his Son.

[15] Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here.  [16] How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?  What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

Notice in verse three of our text God had threatened not to go with them to the land of promise.  He promises to go with them in verse 14.  This is why Moses pleads for God’s continued presence in verse 15.

The presence of God will make Israel different from other nations.  In the church we are also to be different:

1 Peter 2:

[9] But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

The presence of God is dependent on their obedience to God’s word (Exodus 23:21).

[18] Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

Moses’ close relationship with God has made him bold.  He asks to see the glory of God which he cannot do and live.

To understand the boldness of Moses now, consider what happened at his first encounter with God:

Exodus 3:

[4] When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”  And Moses said, “Here I am.”  [5] “Do not come any closer,” God said.  “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.”

[6] Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”  At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

Moses will not be allowed to see God fully as he desires but must be shielded as God’s glory passes by.

He must be content with the full proclamation of God’s name:

[19] And the Lord said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.  I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 

1) “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.”

God is more than goodness.  His whole person is good and glorious.  The goodness and glory of God may be shorthand ways of talking about the being of God.

The goodness of God has to do with his essential nature.  This is likely  a way to express the essence of his being.

2) “I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.”

The point:  The revelation of God’s goodness and glory should result in the proclamation of his name.

There is something in a name.  The sentiment found in the saying “A rose by any other name will smell the same” is false.

Moses asks to see God’s glory but God says, “I will proclaim my name, the Lord, in your presence.”

Note:  There is a connection between God’s glory and his name!

The name of God reveals something about his glory.  God had revealed something about his name earlier in this book:

Exodus 3:

[13] Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’  Then what shall I tell them?”

[14] God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

[15] God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’  This is my name forever, the name you shall call me from generation to generation.”

1) “What is his name?”

God’s name was known before this time.  Abram “built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord” (Genesis 12:8).  This was about 400 years before Moses and the events in Exodus 3.

It is not likely everyone had forgotten God’s name.  It seems they wanted to know something about his name and person that would help them at this time.

What does the name of God mean for us in our situation right now?

God says his name is “The Lord” in verse 15.  The significance of that name for Israel and for us is stated in verse 14: “I AM WHO I AM.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’ ”

God is the great “I AM” as we sometimes sing.

So what does his name mean?  It refers to his being and existence.  Think of those crucial attributes of God we have discussed: 1) God is omnipresent; 2) God is omniscient; 3) God is omnipotent; 4) God is timeless; 5) God is spiritual.

What is the significance of God’s name to Israel at this time?  Look at God’s promise in verse 12: “I will be with you.”

Psalm 20:

[1] May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.

3) There is also significance in the name of Jesus:

Jesus said, “before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58)

At the end of his gospel, Luke tells us that “repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47).

Paul said “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Philippians 2:10).

See also John 1:11-12.

Glory to His Name,
Glory to His Name:
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

Down at the cross where my Savior died,
Down where for cleansing from sin I cried,
There to my heart was the blood applied;
Glory to His Name!

4) “I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.”

This phrase shows God’s willingness to save is his choice.  At this time, God has chosen to deliver Israel out of Egypt.  This should give Moses and Israel confidence in God’s presence.

In Romans 9:15, Paul uses this text to defend God’s choice of salvation today.

Are you content with God’s plan of salvation for us today?  God will save as he sees fit.

[20] But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

John 1:

[18]  No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Although Moses was not allowed to see the full measure of his glory, he was allowed to see more than ever before.

J B Myers
jbmyers1@gmail.com

Books:
Faith and Addiction
Elders and Deacons
Life Choices