Trying to Help God
Genesis 12:1-4 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy fathers house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. 4 So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.
In Genesis 12:1-4 we read of the promise of God to Abraham--To make him a great nation.
1) As the years passed and no son was born--Sarah became doubtful
a) When Sarah thought plenty of time had been given to God's plan and nothing happened--It was time to do something to help Him.
b) So when she was 76 yrs old and Abraham was 86 yrs old--She came to the conclusion that they were too old to bear children--and if that promise was to be fulfilled--They must help God in some other way.
c) She gave her handmaid--Hagar--To her husband to bear a child to him.
2) But her plan did not please God
Genesis 18:14 Is any thing too hard for the LORD? At the time appointed I will return unto thee, according to the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son.
3) Now it is true that we are co-laboured for God
1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are Gods husbandry, ye are Gods building.
4) We must work according to God's plan--and not devise one of our own which will conflict with God's plan.
5) God is never pleased when we fail to follow His plan in all things.
6) Other examples
2 Samuel 6:6-7 And when they came to Nachons threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth his hand to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook it. 7 And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for his error; and there he died by the ark of God.
Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
c) Acts 24:16 And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.
Galatians 1:13-14 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.
1 Timothy 1:13-15 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. 14 And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
f) All these things Paul did thinking that he was doing the will of God.
g) But he learned his mistakes.
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
8) God has always expected man to do His will His way
a) when we try to help Him by changing His way--we do wrong.
I) But--Today--Men are still trying to help God--by doing things in a different way from God's way.
A) God says--There is only one church or body.
1) Man wants to help God--So they become much more liberal in thinking and say --"Take the church of your choice".
a) Men try to help God by establishing denominations that suit themselves.
2) The word church is mentioned the first time in Matt 16:18.--Here--Jesus said He would build it.
a) This was a year or so before He built it.
b) The Lord always does what he says he will do.
c) Yes--He built it--He never mentioned any but His own--Men have built many churches--The Lord built one--His own. His only one.
Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
d) Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
f) Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
3) These verses are enough to teach us where the saved are.
a) If He is the savior of the body and the body is the church--then He is the savior of the church.
b) Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
c) I know where all the saved are--don't you?
4) Christ built His church and added all the saved to it. Why should any one want to change this?
a) When men try to help God by changing the church--They only cause us to be lost if we follow them.
b) Why do men want to change the church when salvation is in the church that Jesus built?
II) Men try to help God by changing the plan of salvation.
1) Many religious groups today teach salvation by "faith only" or at the point of faith.
a) But Jesus said "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved"... Mk 16:16.
b) (Read James 2:14-26)
2) Men say--Salvation by faith only--Jesus says--Faith plus obedience equals salvation.
a) Man seeks to change God's rules.
3) Faith is essential to salvation alright--But it is an active faith--Obedience to all the commands of God. (Quote Acts 2:38)
a) 1 Peter 3:20-21 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
4) When men declare that salvation is by faith only--In effect--they are saying that salvation can be obtained without obedience.
a) But the Bible teaches otherwise.
b) Hebrews 5:8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
c) 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, 8 In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;
d) Faith--Repentance--Confession--Baptism--equals obedience.
III) Men try to help God interest people by changing the worship.
1) There are five acts of worship authorized by God in His word.
e) Eat the Lord's supper
A) Most groups believe in these things.
B) But when we do more or less than these we are trying to help God by changing His plan of worship.
2) Jesus said that worship must be according to truth.
a) John 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
b) John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
3) Men try to help God by bringing in instruments of music.
a) But God only told us to sing.
b) Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
c) Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
d) Just two kinds of music--Vocal--Instrumental.
e) God commands vocal--When we bring in an instrument to make it sound better--We are not helping God--But we are dis-obeying Him.
4) Men have tried to help God keep the Lord's Supper sacred--By just eating it once in a while.
a) Acts 20:7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
b) How often?--On the first day of the week--When the disciples came together.
c) What if I am not able to meet with saints?--The Lord does not expect the impossible.
d) But we must remember that this is a command and we should not attept to not do it.
e) The Lord's Supper is for the assembled saints.
IV) Still others try to help God by changing the work of the church.
1) The work of the New Testament church is three-fold.
A) Preaching the gospel
1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
a) The church is the whole support of truth.
b) Matthew 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
B) Edifying the church
1) Ephesians 4:11-16 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
C) Helping the needy saints
a) Romans 15:26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
2) There is no authority from God's word for the church to engage in works other than--The preaching of the gospel--Edifying the saints--and Helping needy saints
3) It is not the work of the church to provide entertainment for its members--this responsibility belongs to the individuals.
4) It is not the work of the church to provide recreation for its members--this responsibility belongs to the individuals.
5) It is not the work of the church to provide secular education for its members--this responsibility belongs to parents.
6) It is not the work of the church to go in business of any kind.
a) The church raised it's money by voluntary contributions.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
b) 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
V) The church is a divine institution--built by the God of heaven
A) It is sufficient to preach the gospel
Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.
B) It is sufficient to edification
Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.
C) It is sufficient to do it's benevolent work (Read Acts 6:1-7)
1) If the church needed other organizations besides the local congregation--through which to do it's work--Why didn't God tell us?
2) When brethren say that the church cannot do the work God commanded it to do--and then try to help Him provide a way to do this work--I ask--Is this any different from Sarah's plan?
3) May we all remember the words of God himself in Gen 18:14.--Is anything too hard for the Lord?
a) When God gave the church a work to do--who am I or you to change that work?
b) Again--We cannot help God by chaning His plan--We only help when we obey Him.
c) This applies to saint and sinner alike.
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