Faith Chapel

Free For The Giving

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Dale Leamon


Series Code: FC

Program Code: FC000008

00:28 Good to be with you.
00:30 We are going to be studying God's word
00:32 together in a minute.
00:34 I am Dale Leamon, a pastor in Battle Creek, Michigan.
00:37 And we'd like to have a word of prayer before we begin.
00:42 Dear Father in Heaven, thank You so much
00:45 that You love us today, that You are
00:47 our great instructor, and that through
00:49 Your Holy Spirit, You are ready to teach us
00:51 wonderful things from Your word.
00:53 Please use me as an instrument to share
00:57 the precious gospel with those who are viewing
00:59 and thank You, in Jesus name, amen.
01:06 Imagine the problem that God has, a problem of scale.
01:11 He is so big. He is so powerful.
01:16 His knowledge and his power extend to
01:21 to the entire universe and, you know,
01:25 the smarter we get with Hubble telescope
01:27 and other things to look out into space,
01:31 the more we realize how big the universe is
01:33 and the bigger it gets, the bigger God becomes
01:35 until it begins to seem that there
01:38 is absolutely no limit to God.
01:40 Well, that's what we've always been told, isn't it?
01:42 That he was unlimited power and unlimited authority.
01:47 By comparison with him, we feel very puny
01:53 and this gives God a public relations problem.
01:58 People naturally are afraid of power,
02:01 so great and authority so magnificent
02:05 and knowledge so overwhelming.
02:09 We naturally are timid and lose our self confidence
02:13 when we think about God in that way.
02:15 I am so glad He garbed himself in flesh and became
02:18 a man so that we could actually get to know Him.
02:21 Get to know His personality.
02:22 See Him in a human sense in a less intimidating sense.
02:27 But God has had this problem for a long time
02:29 and still does have to some extent that people feel
02:34 as if He must be a tyrant
02:37 simply because He has absolute power.
02:40 And it seems inevitable that, that much power
02:43 would cause Him to abuse the freedom of His subjects.
02:50 In fact, many have argued theologically, well,
02:53 how do we know we are free, maybe we are programmed
02:55 and maybe everything in the entire world
02:57 is programmed and everything just happens
02:58 according to a preprogrammed outline
03:00 that God has given to it.
03:02 Well, that's not true.
03:04 The Bible tells us over and over and over again
03:06 that God is calling us. He's inviting us.
03:09 He urges us to repent. He urges us to listen.
03:13 He says He that has an ear, let him hear.
03:15 This clearly indicates that we have the alternative
03:17 of not hearing if we so choose.
03:20 He in other words shows that
03:23 He is not in fact an absolute tyrant.
03:27 Nevertheless, the Ten Commandments
03:31 have also seemed to play into this tyrant concept,
03:35 partly because the Ten Commandments
03:38 are related to every aspect of our life.
03:42 They hedge us in, so to speak, with some kind of
03:45 behavioral requirement that relates
03:48 to every part of our human being.
03:51 Everything from our spiritual nature and our
03:53 connection to God, to our relationships
03:56 in our birth family with our parents,
04:00 and our relationship with our spouse and of course
04:06 our relationships with our neighbors
04:09 all are dealt within this law.
04:10 And so it seems to all encompassing that
04:12 it makes people -- some people afraid that
04:15 they are actually entering a box when
04:18 they try to do God's will.
04:21 It seems limiting and restrictive.
04:23 And God seems to be an absolute authority.
04:27 And another thing that gives God a PR problem is that
04:30 He makes it plain in the Bible that if we decidedly
04:35 and rebelliously disobey His Will, that we will die.
04:40 And so that seems certainly like a limitation
04:42 on our freedom, how can a person be truly free,
04:45 when he is threatened and when his life will be
04:48 taken away if he violates the Will
04:51 or the conditions of the authority figure?
04:56 Well, we need to answer some of those questions
04:58 because I think those questions play into our
05:01 fear of the Commandments.
05:02 And I am trying to help you see today
05:05 and have been in the last programs that
05:09 we don't need to be afraid of the law.
05:12 Instead, we need to look at it as God's promise
05:15 and His -- our friend, His covenant to us,
05:19 to make us like himself again.
05:23 But that fearfulness does come in and to some extent
05:26 due to the death penalty,
05:28 which goes along with disobedience.
05:30 Is it really God saying, if you don't obey me,
05:34 I'm gonna kill you. Is that it?
05:37 Well, if you look carefully at the character of God
05:39 as seen in Christ, you see that
05:40 that's not what it is at all.
05:43 Jesus has already died for every human being.
05:45 The death penalty has already been
05:46 removed from every human being.
05:48 The only reason some will perish is because
05:50 they absolutely reject his transforming grace.
05:56 Notice, I emphasized the word transforming.
05:58 You see those who refuse to be transformed cannot live
06:03 forever because selfishness is self destructive.
06:07 At first, it seems like selfishness would be
06:09 to act in our most, in our own self interest
06:12 and therefore we would promote our own lives.
06:14 But it's not true because when I am selfish,
06:17 I naturally steal a life from you.
06:20 And so we each find ourselves killing each other.
06:23 And the more selfish we become and the farther away
06:25 we get from God, the more we self destruct
06:28 and the more we destroy others.
06:31 You see those who refused the beautiful
06:33 and sensitive character that God wants to give them.
06:37 World would never really enjoy the harmonious
06:42 new world that He is making.
06:45 So even if God somehow kept them alive
06:50 in spite of their self destructive selfishness,
06:53 they would not enjoy any place which was so lovely
06:58 and unselfish and pure and holy
07:01 as the world God is planning.
07:03 In other words, they'd have to live in a place
07:05 sort of like earth is now and they would just go on
07:08 getting worse as it has been for these 1000s of years
07:11 until finally they destroyed itself.
07:14 So it is not God's arbitrariness
07:17 to say that sinners must perish.
07:19 It is just the truth.
07:21 Sinners must and always will, perish.
07:24 They will kill each other.
07:25 And they would kill themselves.
07:28 In fact, think about the misery of
07:32 an untransformed person going to the new world.
07:41 Such a person would be jealous because
07:45 untransformed people always are jealous.
07:49 You know, we're plainly told that there'll be
07:51 a reward system in heaven,
07:54 and the rewards will not be identical.
07:57 Some will be given one position
07:59 and some another position.
08:01 And I just envision in my mind the,
08:05 the untransformed person who is welcome to heaven
08:08 and he's so happy for a while as he just
08:10 getting acquainted with the place and seeing
08:12 all the beauties and glories of it.
08:13 And he sees his mansion and he moves in and he just,
08:16 wow, this is just the greatest and it's so much
08:18 better than anything that he had envisioned,
08:20 even in his most selfish moments.
08:23 But then, one day, he is looking out of the window
08:27 of his mansion and he looks across the way to his
08:29 neighbor's mansion and he counts, just idly,
08:33 counts the turrets on his neighbor's mansion.
08:36 And he says, hmmm, it seems to me
08:39 there are five turrets on his mansion.
08:41 And I don't seem to remember more than four on mine.
08:44 And he goes outside and just looks just in case
08:47 he's missed one and he counts them again
08:49 and sure enough only four on his.
08:52 And then because his heart hasn't been transformed,
08:55 he begins to become quite jealous.
08:59 Well, what did he do that was so much better than
09:01 what I did and why should he get rewarded and so forth?
09:05 You see untransformed people
09:07 could never enjoy the new world.
09:11 They would be sensitive of
09:12 oppositions too, wouldn't they?
09:15 One would be jealous of another's God given position
09:20 or task in the new order that He is creating.
09:24 So happiness would be impossible for such a person
09:29 in God's kingdom, but thank God for His 10 promises.
09:32 You see in the Ten Commandments,
09:34 He shows exactly what kind of loving nature He is going
09:38 to give us so that we can be happy in His kingdom.
09:43 In fact, it is His work to do it.
09:46 The Commandments are not something He tells us
09:48 to do in order to be saved but rather something
09:51 He promises to work out in our lives.
09:53 Let's see where this is made explicit
09:56 in the prophet Ezekiel Chapter 36 and verse 26.
10:06 "I will give you a new heart and put a
10:09 new spirit within you, I will take the heart of
10:12 stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
10:17 I will put my spirit within you, and cause you
10:21 to walk in My statutes, and you will keep
10:24 My judgments, and do them."
10:27 I really like the I's in that passage, don't you?
10:30 Because God is the speaker, so he says,
10:33 "I will give you a new heart and a new spirit.
10:36 I will take the stony heart out
10:39 and give you a heart of flesh.
10:41 I will put my spirit within you and cause you to walk,"
10:44 in other words, I will cause you to walk in My statutes.
10:48 Statutes, Commandments.
10:50 God is saying that He will do that.
10:52 He will do that by giving us a new heart,
10:54 by taking out the stone heart.
10:56 He will cause us to walk in His statutes.
11:00 So God himself is giving us the strength,
11:02 the courage, the faith, the will
11:05 to walk in harmony with Him.
11:09 This is a promise, we need to just claim
11:11 earnestly everyday, every moment.
11:14 This is one of the best scriptures in the Bible
11:17 because it says so much about
11:19 how we can be ready to live with the angels.
11:25 In other words, the change that
11:28 takes place must be an inner change.
11:31 We can't just do the things God says to do.
11:34 We need to be changed in such a way
11:36 that we are this new person.
11:39 We have this new character.
11:42 Sometimes we jokingly talk about needing a transplant
11:46 and, you know, someone will say, well, you know,
11:48 I'm getting a pretty bad shoulder now
11:49 and with the miracle of modern medicine,
11:53 I think I'm going to need a new shoulder.
11:55 And someone else thinks they're going to
11:56 need a new knee and a new elbow.
12:00 And I've friends who've had all of those
12:02 and some of them-- several of them.
12:03 And then, of course, we laugh,
12:07 I think what I really need is a new head,
12:10 but as strange as that sounds and as much as
12:12 it seems humorous, it's true.
12:14 We do. It's our brain.
12:16 It's our mind that needs to be transformed.
12:19 And the Bible says, by the renewing of your mind--
12:21 and so this is what God actually does.
12:25 He actually comes in and changes the way we think.
12:29 He changes attitudes, he changes even
12:34 parts of our personality so that they are--
12:36 so it's a sanctified personality.
12:39 He changes habitual thought patterns.
12:43 He can do this. It's wonderful.
12:45 It's like brain surgery with no blood and no hospital.
12:50 And that's exactly what we need to ask Him to do
12:53 since He's already promised to do it
12:55 and since in Jesus, He has already done it.
12:58 And now we just ask to be the recipients of that blessing.
13:03 Well, there are 10 of those promises.
13:08 We've enjoyed looking at some of them.
13:09 And today, we want to consider some more
13:14 of them or one more at least.
13:16 But I want you to see from Romans 13: 9 and 10
13:20 that all of these promises are pertaining to
13:25 a love change that takes place in our lives.
13:28 Romans 13: 9 and 10.
13:31 For the Commandments, you shall not commit adultery,
13:33 you shall not murder, you shall not steal etc., etc.,
13:37 Are all summed up in this saying, namely,
13:41 you shall love your neighbor as yourself.
13:46 Love does no harm to a neighbor,
13:47 therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
13:50 So that is why God brings us into harmony
13:52 with his Commandments by taking out our hearts,
13:56 the hard heart and putting in a soft heart.
13:59 In other words, taking out our hardened,
14:02 distrustful, bitter, rebellious way of thinking
14:07 and replacing it with a gentle, trusting,
14:11 courteous, kindly, unselfish way of thinking.
14:15 What a tremendous thing that is
14:17 when it happens to someone.
14:18 You meet somebody like that, you say,
14:19 now there's the salt of the earth person.
14:21 That's the kind of person I like to be with and yet
14:24 what are we doing in terms of our prayer life
14:26 to make sure we are such a person.
14:29 Only Jesus can do that for us.
14:33 Let's look now at another commandment.
14:35 We are going to look at the Eighth Commandment,
14:40 which is found in Exodus Chapter 20,
14:44 of course, and verse 15. "You shall not steal."
14:51 Only four words and as we see these verses
14:56 as promises, this is transformed from
14:58 don't steal to in my grace, you won't steal,
15:03 you won't even want to.
15:05 See I'm going to give you a soft heart
15:06 and your heart wouldn't even think about
15:07 taking what doesn't belong to you.
15:10 You wouldn't even have a desire
15:13 to take someone else's property.
15:16 You would feel very bad if you took away
15:18 someone else's reputation.
15:21 You certainly wouldn't want to steal
15:22 anyone else's health and you wouldn't want
15:25 to damage or rob them off their relationships.
15:30 No, you would be unwilling to in anyway,
15:33 take from another person, what is his.
15:37 And, on the contrary, under the promise
15:39 of you of these precious verses, we see that
15:42 the positive side we will want to give.
15:45 Jesus said that it's more blessed
15:47 to give than to receive.
15:48 And those who found that truth in their own hearts,
15:51 love giving and would far rather give than receive,
15:55 let alone take, which would never be
15:58 a part of their thinking.
16:00 You see, taking is not something that is --
16:03 fits the character of God or of Jesus.
16:07 You look at nature.
16:08 Everything that God has put together is a giving thing.
16:14 The trees that produce way more fruit
16:17 than they need to reproduce themselves.
16:20 The flowers which are so abundant, the rain,
16:23 everything in nature reveals this givingness of God
16:27 until you see some of the animals and man himself
16:30 that have been distorted by the selfishness of sin
16:33 and then you see take, take.
16:36 What a blessing it will be to be made so much
16:40 in Jesus image that we are truly givers.
16:44 I had a man come to me one time.
16:48 Let's say that his name was Steven.
16:52 Steve wanted help. He said that he was --
16:55 had been stealing things since he was a child.
17:01 And at first, he just did it for the thrill of it
17:03 or because he wanted the thing that he could steal.
17:06 He had been trained better.
17:07 He wasn't raised in a very religious home,
17:10 but he did know that stealing was wrong
17:12 and he knew that if he got caught, he'd be in trouble.
17:14 But for some reason, he never --
17:15 he never got caught. He became quite good at it.
17:18 He could go into a store and he could
17:21 virtually always walk away with something.
17:23 Well, somehow that excitement
17:25 became part of his nature.
17:26 Perhaps, it was just a psychological tendency
17:30 that he had, so that as he grew,
17:33 he found himself doing this.
17:35 In fact, he told me at the time that he couldn't
17:37 even go into a store to shop for something
17:41 without walking out with something
17:44 that he hadn't paid for.
17:46 It just became an absolute urge with him
17:50 and he couldn't seem to resist it, it frightened him.
17:53 He wondered if he was demon possessed
17:56 or he understood the word kleptomania
17:59 and decided that he must be a kleptomaniac.
18:02 I asked him what did he feel motivated him
18:05 and he said, he didn't know
18:06 but there was just some kind of a thrill
18:09 associated with it and he would pick up things
18:12 that he didn't need or even want.
18:15 Things he had no intention of keeping.
18:17 Just because of the thrill of walking out of the store
18:20 with something that he didn't pay for.
18:24 Well, obviously this was a real problem.
18:25 As he became a Christian, this problem
18:28 did not go away immediately.
18:29 And that's true with some
18:30 of our engrained difficulties.
18:32 Even when we are born again,
18:34 we have the victory in Christ,
18:36 but we don't feel or experience
18:38 all the victory behaviorally all at once.
18:40 And so he came to me deeply concerned.
18:42 He said do you think I am converted.
18:44 And I said, well obviously given your life to Jesus,
18:46 you've made -- he has made some major changes.
18:48 You've experienced the spirit in your life.
18:50 I think you're converted,
18:51 but you're just not fully converted.
18:52 Most Christians aren't fully converted.
18:54 I am not sure any of us are.
18:57 But he said this is an especially bad problem.
18:59 He says, I will get caught eventually.
19:00 The fact that I've gone now for 27 years
19:02 without ever being caught, he says,
19:04 it just makes it all the more likely that
19:05 I'm going to get caught sometime.
19:06 And I'm going to embarrass my family.
19:07 I'm going to embarrass the church.
19:09 And I'm going to be ruined.
19:11 He says, I've got to have victory over this.
19:13 And I said, yes. It looks like you really do.
19:15 And the Lord is ready to give it to you,
19:18 because Jesus has won the victory over stealing.
19:23 You see in every one of his Commandments,
19:24 He says, He didn't come to do away with it,
19:27 but He came to fulfill it.
19:30 And so Jesus has fulfilled that and He can give
19:33 that victory to anyone who trusts Him for it.
19:36 Well, we shared that together.
19:39 I remember that interview very well
19:41 because it happened actually in a car
19:45 and we were just sitting, parked in the driveway,
19:48 and talked for several hours that night.
19:51 And as we shared some scriptures together,
19:53 and as we prayed, a great peace came over him,
19:57 instead of the terrible fear that he was under
19:59 this compulsion that he couldn't get free from,
20:01 a great peace came over him.
20:03 And he said, you know, I do believe,
20:06 I believe that I have the victory.
20:08 And not all victories come all at once like that
20:11 one did but after that experience,
20:14 he never was compelled to take anything
20:17 that he hadn't paid for again.
20:19 And he felt so good knowing that he didn't have
20:24 to look over his shoulder every time he left a store.
20:28 Well, Jesus has won the victory.
20:30 And, you know, he won it.
20:31 I -- we don't really think about this very much.
20:33 We are told that he was tempted in all points
20:35 like we are, but we don't really imagine
20:38 that he was tempted not in all points --
20:39 only in all points like I am but also in all points
20:42 like you are and also in all points like your neighbor
20:45 and also in all points like the guy
20:46 who's been in prison for 30 years.
20:48 In other words, Jesus was tempted in the worst
20:52 level of temptation in every type of temptation
20:56 and we can't quite explain all of that,
21:01 but there are some things we can see
21:02 if we think about it for instance.
21:03 Who is most tempted to steal?
21:07 Well, it would be the poor, wouldn't it?
21:09 And Jesus came as a poor man
21:12 with a tremendous temptation to take things.
21:15 You know, thieves always justify it by saying,
21:19 well, somehow this is more fair.
21:21 I am just equally -- leveling out
21:24 the playing fields so to speak,
21:25 they justify what they've done.
21:27 So Jesus might have justified because
21:30 of his poverty taking something that wasn't His,
21:32 but He already knew that God provides for
21:35 His children and He never needed to steal anything.
21:39 He even showed how to save the thief
21:44 from the guilt of stealing by willingly giving
21:47 what He would take and even more.
21:50 Jesus said, "if anyone wants to take away
21:54 your tunic, let him have your cloak also."
21:59 So Jesus clearly shows that not only are we
22:02 to be not be takers but we are to be givers
22:07 and even on the unjust situation when a thief
22:09 comes to us and tries to take what is ours,
22:12 we are to say take it, and is there anything else
22:15 I can help you with? Well, that's a high standard.
22:18 I have had hard time with that one.
22:19 But I believe it and I see that Jesus practiced it
22:22 because He not only -- He let people take from Him
22:25 and then He gave him more-- He gave them more.
22:28 Jesus was urged to take the crown of Israel.
22:31 The crowds were ready to crown Him.
22:33 He had power equal to the task no army
22:36 could possibly have stood against the one
22:37 who could command 10,000 angels.
22:39 He was the rightful king but it wasn't time.
22:45 You see, His kingdom was to come in the future
22:50 and so He would not take the kingdom.
22:55 He had another reason too, which I find
22:57 very interesting in Romans 13,
22:59 Chapter 13 and verse 1. We see these words.
23:06 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.
23:10 For there is no authority except from God,
23:13 and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
23:18 Therefore whoever resists the authority
23:21 resists the ordinance of God.
23:24 So the rulers of our world today,
23:27 as corrupt and miserable as they maybe,
23:29 are put in place by God.
23:31 I know that's hard to believe at times,
23:33 but that is just exactly what
23:34 the Bible says and Jesus accepted that.
23:37 That wicked Pilate and of course the terrible Caesar
23:41 in Rome that He represented.
23:43 Jesus would not take their authority.
23:45 Their authority was God ordained.
23:47 So when Pilate said, are you a King?
23:49 Jesus admitted that He was, but then He said,
23:51 "My kingdom is not of this world.
23:54 I am no threat to you, I will not take what is yours.
23:58 This is your time. My time will come later."
24:03 So Jesus would never take away
24:05 even the power that belonged to another.
24:08 He had been anointed already to be the King,
24:10 just as David had been anointed to be the next King,
24:13 but David too because he was so Christ like
24:15 would not take the kingdom
24:17 until it was relinquished by Saul.
24:20 Oh, he was tempted too.
24:22 There were those who thought he should push the matter
24:24 but David fled, moved aside, humbly waited
24:29 for the time to come, because
24:30 the kingdom rightfully belonged to Saul.
24:34 And in that, we see so much of Jesus' own character,
24:37 never take anything even if it's yours.
24:41 Let God give it to you, Jesus would not take
24:45 Judas' reputation away from him.
24:48 Imagine that. Judas was a wicked man.
24:52 And yet Jesus allowed everyone to think
24:55 Judas was a good man.
24:56 And He would not even point out
24:58 Judas' thieving tendencies.
25:01 Jesus lived with a thief for three years or more.
25:08 And yet He himself would never take anything.
25:11 He did not expose Judas, it was much later that
25:15 Judas was exposed, though He probably deserved it.
25:19 Jesus would not take his reputation away from him.
25:22 Jesus would not take even the privileged
25:25 position of being tax exempt.
25:27 No, He paid his taxes because He
25:32 did not want to seem to be grasping for anything.
25:36 And He taught His disciples.
25:38 He said, when you go to a feast,
25:41 don't take the highest seat.
25:46 That seat might belong to somebody else.
25:47 Don't take the position of honor.
25:52 That might belong to somebody else.
25:53 Take the lowest seat and wait for someone
25:55 to bring you up to the highest seat.
25:58 So again, we see Jesus continually being a victor
26:04 over any tendency to take
26:07 what was not given to Him by God.
26:08 In spite of that, He was accused of being a thief
26:13 and they put a sign over Him that said 'King of the Jews'
26:18 and he was crucified between two thieves.
26:24 Oh, Jesus, always treated unfairly
26:29 and yet always so victorious.
26:32 No, He wouldn't even take life
26:35 and He was the life giver.
26:36 They said, jump off this cross if you have
26:38 the power but He would not do it.
26:40 The only thing He would do is take
26:43 what His Father gave Him.
26:44 And friends we have that privilege of taking
26:48 only what our Heavenly Father would give us.
26:51 I want to be like Jesus. I know that you do too.
26:56 I want to be a person who is satisfied with
27:00 what the Father gives me legitimately.
27:01 I don't want to be jealous and try to harm
27:04 someone else's reputation.
27:05 I do not want to take away from another one
27:08 even their unhappiness, even by going around
27:11 frowning or gossiping.
27:12 I want to be a giver of life.
27:14 I want to be a giver of love.
27:16 I want to be a person who's known as generous.
27:19 I certainly don't want to take
27:21 God's tithes and offerings as my own.
27:24 I want Jesus victory to come fully into my life
27:27 that I can be won who loves to give.
27:30 We need transformed in this folks because we
27:33 in this modern age are so materialistic
27:36 and we think that receiving, and taking,
27:38 and getting are the best possible way
27:40 to live but they are not.
27:43 We need a new heart. Thank God,
27:46 He has promised us that wonderful new heart.
27:48 Jesus has kept the Eighth Commandment for us.
27:52 Let's claim His victory.


Revised 2014-12-17