In This Issue:
God’s Commandments Are Not a Burden
The Hedge on the Way to the Mansion
The Natural Man
Volume: 874 September 5, 2022
Theme: Doers of His Word
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Many have heard scriptural teaching again and again. From the pulpit, they have heard what God wants them to do. From television, radio, and biblical-based articles, they have also heard what God’s will and way is. Christian acquaintances and family members may also have voiced biblical principles. All the biblical input has fattened their head-knowledge of spiritual and biblical things, but they have not reacted or moved on what they have learned. They are hearers of God’s Word but are not doers of His commandments (James 1:22-25).
Through preaching, they have heard a clear message on what the Bible says one must do to be saved, yet they have not trusted Christ alone as their way to Heaven. They have heard how God expects every child of God to tell others how to be saved. Yet, many have not even tried to tell others how to be born again.
A sermon showed them how it is stealing from God not to tithe (Malachi 3:8-10). They nodded in agreement with the preacher on that matter, yet they still have never faithfully given to the local church part of what they earned that week.
A radio message convicted them deeply of a sin they were involved in, and their guilt over the sin’s commission has bothered them. However, they still have not made one attempt to curb their iniquity. On and on the list could go of truths that have been heard from the Word of God.
Admittedly, most know what God wants them to do and what He does not want them to do. Yet, all that knowledge lies in their brain, unused and unapplied.
Many are appalled at those that have gained enormous amounts of weight. They shake their head as television interviews reveal people that weigh 500 pounds or more. They diagnose the eater’s problem quickly; the overweight person eats more calories than he is burning in exercise or daily living. They see how dangerous it is for the heavy one to sit all day in front of the television consuming bags of chips and other junk foods. Yet, they do not see the parallel between one who eats more than he uses and their spiritual fatness of absorbing the things of God and utilizing very little of what they have absorbed.
Spiritually, they have become obese, yet they do not see their unhealthy spiritual condition. They hear preaching, read their Bible, go to church often, and even listen to Christian radio and television regularly.
I have heard many “obese” Christians wax eloquent. They boasted of how many years they had attended church or how much Scripture they knew. I have often felt dumb after hearing them demonstrate their head knowledge of the scriptures. They are quite knowledgeable. However, that feeling goes away when I hear their testimony of never having witnessed to one soul, never having done anything for the Lord but sit and soak, or never having shown any signs of spiritual growth in their lives.
What are you doing with the things of God you have heard? God did not allow you to learn His ways to appear smart about the things of God or to inflate your pride. He allowed you to hear His message so that you would do for Him what He desires. Are you doing what God has shown you to do? Are you burning spiritual calories?
Scriptures related to this subject: James 1:22-25, Matthew 7:21, Luke 6:46, Luke 11:28, Luke 12:48, Romans 2:13, I John 3:7.
“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” James 1:22-25
A man once entered a home in Germany and found it very wretched — no fire, no furniture, no food. Everything bore the appearance of utter poverty. Glancing around, he saw a copy of the Bible in a neglected corner and when he went away, he said to the poor tenants, “There is a treasure in this house that would make you all rich.”
After he had gone, the people searched the house for what they thought must be a jewel or a pot of gold but found nothing. They dug up the floor, hoping to discover the hidden store of wealth. Their labors were all in vain. One day, the mother lifted the old Bible and found written on the flyleaf these words, “The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” (Ps. 119:72)
“Ah!” she said, “can this be the treasure the stranger spoke of?” So, she told her thoughts to the rest of the family. They began to read the Bible and were changed in character, and the blessings of God came to stay with them.
The stranger returned to find poverty gone, contentment and peace in its place, and a hearty Christian welcome. With grateful joy, the family told him, “We found the treasure, and it has done all you said it would.”
God’s Commandments Are Not a Burden
Cicero questioned what can be called a burden if one carries it with delight and pleasure. If a man takes a bag of money, it is heavy, but the joy in his treasure far outweighs any burden it may cause.
God gives inward joy that makes His commandments delightful. That joy is like oil to wheels that makes a Christian run in the way of God’s commandments so that it is not burdensome.
“Obedience is the way to experience God’s greatest blessing.”
The Hedge on the Way to the Mansion
Dr. J. Hamilton
Reconciliation to God is like entering the gate onto a beautiful road, which takes one to a splendid mansion. The avenue is long, and sometimes it skirts the edge of dangerous cliffs. There is a fence of hedges to save the traveler from falling over their edges, where he would be dashed to pieces.
That “hedge” in our lives is God’s commandments. They were given so that we may do ourselves no harm. Like a fence of briars, they protect the one traveling the road if he keeps to the route. They only hurt him when he breaks through the hedge.
Temperance, justice, truthfulness, purity of speech and behavior, obedience to parents, mutual affection, and the worship of God are righteous requirements. When keeping them, there is a great reward. Life’s possible “thorns also do no damage.” Happy is he who stays on the “road” and never feels the pricks of the hedges by breaking God’s commandments.
“A child on a rocking horse is much like many Christians. They have plenty of motion, but no progress.”
The Natural Man
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corinthians 2:14
Many people try to understand the things of God, but they never truly grasp their truths, nor do they seem real to them. They may have studied the scriptures, memorized them, and appeared knowledgeable about biblical facts. However, there still seems to be a missing connection that does not allow them to grasp the truths from the Word of God.
Preaching also may be entertaining and even interesting to them. Still, the truths spoken to them from the pulpit never make it to their spiritual heart and change anything. Many even feel church attendance is meaningless, which is why they seldom attend.
It is often not the preacher’s fault that they “get nothing from the service” or “do not feel convicted.” I Corinthians 2:14 puts the finger on who some of them are and why a spiritual connection is missing in their lives.
The reason that they are not grasping biblical truths or are not Spirit-led is that they are “natural” men and women. They are either not born-again and cannot have a relationship with the Lord until they are saved, or they may be so worldly minded that they could not hear the convicting Spirit of God if He blew an air horn in their ear. A “natural” man is one that is just the way they were born, without any spiritual alterations, illuminations, and connections.
No one can understand the things of God unless the Holy Spirit shows them (I Corinthians 2:11). A person can have head-knowledge of biblical and spiritual things. However, unless the Holy Spirit is involved, there will never be a connection between what the brain knows and what the spiritual “heart” believes.
Well-educated preachers have often been in left field regarding understanding God’s desires because they were under their power of understanding and not the Holy Spirit’s. Education alone does not make the “connection.”
Preaching and the things of God are not appreciated and are meaningless to a “natural” man. However, preaching God’s Word is essential to a saved person. The exhortation of God’s Word and its teaching are spiritual food to a believer. It encourages, guides, and strengthens a child of God. To that person, it is foolish not to be at church, where God’s Word is taught.