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Lights In A Dark World II - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.
The Truth Network Radio
September 1, 2020 12:00 am

Lights In A Dark World II - Part 1 of 2

Baptist Bible Hour / Lasserre Bradley, Jr.

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September 1, 2020 12:00 am

“That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:15).

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Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise, the glory's of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace.

This is Lecair Bradley, Jr., welcoming you to another broadcast of the Baptist Bible Hour. Heiress, Lord Jesus, ruler of all nature, both thou of God and man of sun, be will I cherish, be will I honor, thou my soul's glory, joy and crown. There is a sunshine, better still the moonlight, and no one's gleaming, starry host. Jesus shines brighter, Jesus shines purer than all the angels and men most. We're continuing today with the message, Lights in a Dark World.

Certainly the darkness around us is great. Much confusion, much rejection of Bible truth that leaves people in the dark. But God's people are to shine as lights in that time of darkness. I hope the message will be a blessing to you today. Let's turn once again to the book of Philippians, chapter 2. We'll read our text, verses 14 to 16.

The subject, Lights in a Dark World. Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life, that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither labored in vain. The first thing we see in the text is the admonition to be submissive, that is, do not complain. There's an awful lot of complaining that goes on in the world in which we're living today, in spite of the fact that it's a time of prosperity. And while we can maybe become perplexed by the murmurings and complaints of others, as we examine our own hearts, we see that there is a tendency within us to do that very thing. You know, it started in the garden when Adam complained, when the Lord confronted him about his sin, said, it's the woman that thou has given me, complained against the woman, complained against his wife, complained against God for giving her to him. And that shifting of the blame has been a part of the depraved nature of humanity ever since, always very quick and willing to blame somebody else, to murmur about our situation. But you are to learn from the long record given in the scripture of those who have been murmurers and complainers in the past.

The book 1st Corinthians chapter 10 specifically tells us that these things are written aforetime for our learning and admonition. We're appalled when we look at the experience of the Israelites, when God favored them so abundantly, bringing them out of the bondage where they'd been held captive for 400 years, parting the waters of the Red Sea, bringing them safely across, and yet three days later they are murmuring because they're at the bitter waters of Merah. God resolves that problem and they have adequate water to drink. They soon are complaining because they're without bread. God rains bread down from heaven, manna from heaven, that they might be sustained and they complain once more.

They complain it seems at every turn of the road. And at Kadesh Barnea when they're given the opportunity to enter the land that God had given to their fathers by covenant many years before, they're still complaining saying that this would endanger the safety of their families, cannot believe that God would require them to make such a bold move, forgetting all of the demonstration and display of the power of God that they had witnessed through the years. I want us to look at just a couple of other scriptures in that connection because I want to make the emphasis of how much the Bible has to say on this, which is clearly indicative of the fact that this is a real problem, a significant sin in our lives to which we are prone, one with which God is tremendously displeased that we ought to confront, face it in ourselves, repent of it, ask for forgiveness. Psalm 106, we see that even as God's people in later times would sing his praise, that they recalled some of these discrepancies of the past.

For in the first verse of Psalm 106 it says, Praise ye the Lord, O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth forever. So right at the time of praise, right at the time of giving thanks, as they speak of the mercy of God, they cannot help but recall how God, in spite of their failings, was still merciful to them. And so the 14th verse says, But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert, and he gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul. This talking about the time after God had given them the manna to sustain them, they got tired of it. They said, Our soul does loathe this manna, day in and day out. That's what they had. It was adequate, it was a healthful diet, but they were bored with it. They wanted something more, and they asked for meat, and God said, I will give it to you.

And he sent in the quail, so that they were able to have meat, but he said, at the same time, I will send you leanness of soul. I dare say that most of us have had experience with that at some time or another. Has there not been something in your life that you set your affection on? It was something that you felt like you had to do, or you had to have, you had to move in a certain direction. You continued to beg the Lord to let you have it, and he did. But along with it came leanness of soul.

It did not bring the real satisfaction that you thought it would. As a matter of fact, it may have been a hindrance in your spiritual walk. It may have been something by which you moved away from the Lord and toward the world, in your thinking, or in your conduct, or in both. So sometimes the things that we think are so important, a goal that is set, I must attain this, I must have this, and God suffers us to go that way.

But after we get it, we decide that's not really what I needed after all, because if the Lord withdraws his countenance, if he leaves us to struggle within ourselves without the enlightenment of his Holy Spirit as we read his word, his assistance in prayer, his direction in all that we do, how empty, vain, and meaningless life really becomes. So the Lord granted their requests, but sent leanness into their soul. Verse 24 says, yea they despised the pleasant land. They believed not his word, but murmured in their tents, and hearkened not unto the voice of the Lord. Therefore he lifted up his hand against them to overthrow them in the wilderness, to overthrow their seed also among the nations, and to scatter them in the lands. God was displeased with them because of their murmuring, their constant grumbling before him. They suffered some dire consequences as a result of it. Cajas Barnea, when the opportunity was there for them to enter the land, they refused.

They listened to the majority report and said that because there are giants in the land and the cities are walled up to the sky, we can't do it. God says, then I'm closing the way and you can't go. Now some of them immediately recognized they'd made a terrible mistake. They said, we've changed our mind, we're ready to go. And the message was, it's now too late.

You cannot go. That's a serious consideration in our lives. There can be a time when it's too late, when God has given us light and direction about how we should move and conduct ourselves, and we make the excuses and we refuse. There are opportunities that might be taken away from us, things that will not be available to us at another time. So the people turned back and wandered in the wilderness for those 40 years. In the book of Jude, we find reference to murmurers when it's talking about evildoers, false prophets, and when we see that the sin of murmuring and grumbling is connected with such individuals who obviously are not subjects of the grace of God, would we not want to avoid a sin by which they are identified? Jude verse 16. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lust, and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. Murmurers, complainers, walking after their own personal, selfish, self-centered desires. Spoke of these as being reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Spoke of these as being raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame, wandering stars to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever.

And these individuals are identified as murmurers and complainers. Light in a dark world. If there's going to be light then shining from your life, you can't walk here as a complainer. You can't be constantly murmuring and expecting that you will shine a light that will be to the glory of God. So we see that we are to learn from the complainers of the past, seeing the consequences that they suffered, seeing how they displease God, and how God puts this on record for our benefit that we may profit from it and not follow their example. Now furthermore, with regard to this thought of being submissive, not being a complainer, we've made some reference to this, but just to specifically emphasize, we are not to complain against others.

Let's look at James chapter 5. Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest you be condemned. Behold, the judge standeth before the door. Grudge not. Don't grumble.

Don't complain one against another. He says, you'll be condemned if you do it, because the judge standeth before the door. You're not the judge of others. God himself is the judge.

The judge stands at the door. So if you're complaining about other people, putting them down, belittling them, talking about them behind their back, whether they be family members, friends, church members, whoever they are, you're in violation of what the Word of God is plainly teaching. Look at the fourth chapter. James chapter 4, verse 11. Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law. But if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge.

There is one lawgiver who is able to save and to destroy. Who art thou that judges another? Now there's often a misunderstanding about this whole subject of judging.

I preached an entire message on that about a year or so ago. I suppose that one of the most oft quoted verses out of the Bible in our culture today on the part of people who may not even believe the Bible is, judge not that you be not judged. And to that it is intended that no matter what I'm doing, it's my perfect right to do it. And if you say that what I'm doing is wrong, then you're wrong because you've judged me. If you say that what I believe is wrong, then you're wrong because I have every right to believe what I want to believe and you have no right to judge me.

What though does it mean when he says judge not that you be not judged? If we were to have somebody come forward here at the end of the service and say I've been convicted of my sin, I want to acknowledge that I've done something very wrong. I robbed a 7-11 store last night and I feel guilty about it. If I tell that person you have made a sound confession, what you did was wrong. Have I judged him?

Have I been out of place if I say holding up stores wrong? I haven't judged him. He's confessed he's guilty of it.

God's word says thou shalt not steal. But if I see somebody some evening in the dark of night walking down the street and they're looking suspicious to me, just the way they're walking, just the way they're looking around, just the fact that I've never seen them in the neighborhood before. I say, ah, I believe that's the person that held up the store. What have I done? I've judged. I don't know that.

I'm totally out of place. You look at somebody, say, well, you can just tell that person's full of pride. Look at the clothes they wear.

Look at the way they fix their hair or look at the car they drive or whatever else you want to attach to it. I just know that person's full of pride. They may not be.

They may not be at all. They may be a very humble individual, thankful for everything God's given them. And for you to determine that somebody is full of pride just because of the way you look at their countenance and decide, yep, pride's coming out of every pore of their face. I just know pride. Oh, you can't know that. You can't read anybody's heart.

Can't know that. You know, on the other hand, somebody might come in in tattered clothes and slump shoulder and shuffling their feet and walking along and look kind of pitiful. Now, if I ever saw a humble person, there is one.

I've soon seen a few people like that who would tell you off very quickly and make it quite clear that there was not much humility about them. You see, it's not my outward appearance. So if I stand here in the pulpit and tell you that a person who is pursuing a career of robbing banks is a sinner, have I judged them? No. I've simply declared what God's Word says. If I tell you that salvation is by the sovereign grace of God and not by the free will of man, have I judged the freewillers?

No. I have just declared what God's Word says. But if I look at somebody and try to read something in their countenance, I try to surmise and draw conclusions when I have no evidence of it, whatever. That's what judging is. And so he's saying that you are not to speak evil of one another. You're not to judge a brother.

Even now, sometimes people try to defend themselves and say, well, okay, I did speak evil, but it was all the truth. But you don't even have the right to do that. If somebody's overtaken a default, you don't broadcast it.

What do you do? You go to them alone and try to labor with them. You don't try to turn people against them. You don't try to build up a case for yourself and get a following and say, let's talk about this person enough that we destroy them and discredit them. That's judging.

That's murmuring and grumbling, grumbling about people behind the scenes. And the Lord says, He forbids that. You've set yourself up as a judge and you ought to be one that is doing and obeying rather than judging.

Now another category to which we've also alluded, but I want again to emphasize this point. You must not murmur against God. That would seem obvious and yet some of the psychologized thinking that prevails in Christian circles today has presented the thought that it really is all right for you periodically to be upset with God. It's not out of order for you to challenge God and and question His actions.

Certainly no thinking of that kind is supported in scripture at all. Let's look at the ninth chapter of the book of Romans. Verse 17 of Romans chapter 9, For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might show my power in thee and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy and whom he will he hardeneth.

What does this say? God was in total control of everything that was going on when He was bringing His people out of Egyptian bondage, even to the point of having raised up Pharaoh. Now in our human reasoning they say well if God had Pharaoh in that place for that purpose then Pharaoh couldn't help what he did.

So that removes his accountability and that's not fair. Now see the Holy Spirit obviously knew what human reasoning would surmise and what kind of complaint and murmuring man would have against God's sovereignty. Thou wilt then say unto me, Why doth he yet find fault for who hath resisted his will?

Spirit says this is what people are going to say and is that not what people say today? You start talking about God being absolutely sovereign, God in control. Whether you're talking about Pharaoh or talking about what took place at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, that God was in control of all of the events relative to that great victory at the cross. God had determined the day and the time. They tried to take Jesus prior to this but He said, Mine hour's not yet come.

His hour did come. He gave Himself willingly to those that took Him captive. He laid down His life but He was delivered by the determinate counsel and full knowledge of God. God determined this, planned this and was being carried out in detail according to what He determined. Did that relieve those men of being accountable for their actions?

No. You by wicked hands have crucified and slain the Lord of glory. You are accountable. Somebody says, I can't put that all together.

You know why? Because God's a whole lot bigger than you are. You try to put God in a pigeon hole but you'll never get Him there. You try to figure them out on human reasoning and say, you know, this just doesn't fit. I've got to put it down here. You know, think about it sometimes like the old time post office.

You'd go in and see here's all these slots back here where they sort the mail and they got just numerous slots one after the other. And that's the way people want to fit their theology together. So I've got it all just like in this little neat pigeon hole. So now I understand.

I've got it all together. I understand the truth and I understand God and I can make it all fit to my satisfaction. See when you start trying to do that to God you find out that what's in pigeonhole number one laps over into number two and what's in number two laps over to number three and it's all connected and God is too big for you to sort it out according to human wisdom.

You'll never be able to fathom the greatness and glory of God. Would anybody dare to try to explain so that human beings can fully grasp it the doctrine of the trinity. All I can tell you is there is one true and living God and he is manifest in the persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. These three are one.

Now there is not another situation. You can use various illustrations and comparisons but there is nothing on this earth that really compares with what we're talking about concerning the triune Godhead. But you know how I believe that? I believe it because the Bible says it. That settles it.

I don't have to comprehend it. I just believe it because God's Word declares it. So when I come here and find that God had raised up Pharaoh for this purpose, he didn't force Pharaoh to do anything wrong. Pharaoh did that out of a willing heart. He did it because he was wicked and wanted to destroy God's people. But God had raised him up to be there at that time for that purpose that God might bring glory to his name. So in response to the question that man raises, thou wilt say then unto me, why did he yet find fault?

In other words, why would you hold Pharaoh accountable for who hath resisted his will? Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God? So the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? Who are you to reply against God? Who is any human being to say, I do not like the way God operates?

That just doesn't meet my standard. But I tell you, God's not going to change his. So if there's a problem, you need to be changing yours. Because God's not going to change.

He's the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hath not the potter power over the clay of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor? What if God, willing to show his wrath and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction, and he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he hath afore prepared unto glory? Oh, somebody says, preacher, that's just so hard.

I just think that, well, the God that I worship just doesn't deal that way. He just gives everybody a chance. What's a chance? What kind of a chance can you give somebody that's dead and trespasses and in sin, hating God, running the wrong direction, never would turn around, never would make a move toward God? Chance?

We're talking about something much better than a chance. We're talking about something that's sure. We're talking about God determining something. I will be merciful to whom I will be merciful. I will bestow mercy on whom I will be pleased to bestow it. And if God does it, whether you understand that or not, it's not the issue. If God does it, it's all right.

So there's just one response for us to make. When Jesus said, I thank the old father Lord of heaven and earth that thou has hid these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them unto babes, what did he say? Even so, father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. So if it seemed good in his sight, it ought to seem good in ours.

Let's never murmur against the sovereignty of God. I'm glad you've been with us today for another broadcast. I would encourage you if the message has been a blessing to you that you tell friends, tell others, that they can hear this broadcast each day on this station. And I hope that you were right and let us know that you have listened.

Our address is the Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. Now, till we greet you next time, this will share brightly with you in your bidding of goodbye and may God bless you. This is my story. This is my song. Praising my Savior all the day long. This is my story.

This is my song. Praising my Savior. Praising my Savior. Praising my Savior all the day long.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-20 16:02:16 / 2024-03-20 16:11:56 / 10

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