Message Three – A changed life Text: Leviticus 19:11; Ephesians 4:28;
And referring to Luke 12:15-21
As we noted two weeks ago in Leviticus –
Leviticus 19:11 Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another.
God set forth principles of life through His Law providing an opportunity for His people to be a testimony of Him to the world. They should see that He is righteous, just, and holy as well as merciful and loving, providing hope to a helpless people.
This principle of this truth dealing with man’s actions and attitudes as noted in verse 11 is restated in the New Testament. It is a blessing to know that understanding the principles of God helps us to have better understanding of His Word. Just consider the parable given in Luke chapter 12. He was greatly blessed by the Lord, but took no thought at all that the blessings were intended to be used to supply his needs and the needs of others.
While this is a parable, a story to illustrate a truth, we can still consider what may have been the situation of this man. Being a farmer in his day, he would have grown up on the family farm, working the fields all of his life. He lived on the same plot of land, even in the same house as his parents (the land that their parents lived on). He sold his produce in the same market and on the Sabbath attended the same synagogue. He knew but little change except to be in love, be married, have children, and labour day by day to provide for them, educate them, and teach them to work the farm that would some day be theirs. Every year he provided for his family, some a little less, some a little more, but just enough year to year. Life became so routine that he forgot that He was being blessed by God. He began to look at life instead of looking to God and when the big year finally came, He forgot about God, his neighbors, the poor, the travelers, and thought “I have finally gotten something for me”! “This is mine and I am going to keep it and use it for what I want to do”! He turned his back on God who had blessed him with the little, the just enough, the more than enough, and then the wonderful harvest. He had gotten frustrated because he had kept asking himself the question “What about me”?
This is the question that the Lord answers in Leviticus 19:9-11. It is not about us! It is about our place in His plan.
The man rejected everything the Lord had instructed and was completely serving himself instead of others. Being familiar with Leviticus 19:11 gives us understanding of Jesus’ purpose in teaching the Jews through this parable.
Not only do we learn from the parable, we are clearly exhorted in the New Testament to live out our changed lives. He is concerned that we be, not only witnesses unto Him, but good witnesses for His glory.
We are familiar with Jesus’ teaching in this matter in Matthew 5:14. A city that cannot be hid! – what a statement this is.
Cities have made names for themselves throughout history. Consider some of these names – what kind of picture or defining statement is made by these names?
Jerusalem, Babylon, London, Shanghai, Hiroshima, Rome, Sodom. Each name brings a testimony of either good or evil. The testimony is important.
Your name brings forth a picture or defining statement to those who come in contact with you. What statement would be made about you?
God is dealing with Christian character (known by characteristics) brought forth by the new nature – a new creature in Christ. Let’s look at Ephesians 4:28 today to help us measure (evaluate) ourselves and ask God to show us our character as He sees us – in Truth.
I. What we used to be. 28a …let him that stole, steal no more…
A. Positionally – we were separated from God – in a lost condition. Not able to know. We see that the –
1. Description is clear. He is talking about us.
Ephesians 5:8 For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
2. Description is simple. No confusion in what he is saying.
1 Corinthians 2:14 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.
3. Description is truthful – it reveals a spiritual difference.
B. Practically – we were sinners. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 1 Cor 5:9-11; Romans 1:21-3
1. By nature, and –
2. By desire — “have pleasure in them that do them”
C. Purposefully – we were spiritually blinded.
1. We were naturally sinful.
2. We had an adversary who worked at keeping us in that sinful state.
a. He will blind the lost. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4
But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
b. He will try and destroy those that are saved. 1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
II. What we can be. 28b We are changed – no doubt …him that stole…
Using the same outline as above –
A. Positionally – we are alive. Moved from death unto life/ dark unto light
1. Saved from eternal death.
John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.
2. Saved unto eternal life. Moved from darkness to light.
3. A completed transaction! Eternal security
Hebrews 9:12 Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
B. Practically – we are able to do good.
1. All things new are before us.
2. Set our minds on these new things. Put off the old and put on the new. Colossians 3:1-17
C. Purposefully – yet, even in this new position with our new ability, we accommodate the flesh.
1. We can do good, but some choose not to follow that which is good.
a. Demas was a servant of the Lord. Colossians 4:14; Philemon vs. 24
b. Demas followed his name “Popular” and we find that he chose to serve his lust in the world
2 Timothy 4:10 “…Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world…”
2. Thus we have the admonition from Paul to forsake the thoughts and acts of the past. “Let him that stole steal no more” We can, we should!
III. What we should be. 28c
A. Praising God. Thanking God for the labours at hand.
1. God has created man with the need to work. Note that Adam worked while in a state of perfection.
2. God uses man’s work to proved for his needs.
3. God intends for man to work that work which is good (good for all)
B. Preaching His Word.
1. People believe on the Lord through the hearing of His Word.
Romans 10:14, 17
2. People live for the Lord through the learning of His Word.
C. Providing for others. Thanking God for the opportunities to give.
2 Corinthians 9:6-14
1. A new character – Look at the example of Barnabas
Acts 4:36,37; 11:22-24
2. A new testimony. Consolation has a twofold meaning.
Consolation is not just through giving things. Consolation is through giving the Word of God and meeting needs through the provision of God – Belief in action. Stewardship.
Our text reveals the action of a changed person. The self is no longer primary, but the Lord and His will have been promoted to the first place in life. This is the principle of God brought forth in the Law and in Grace!
What kind of testimony do you have? You are not hid – people see your testimony. Can they see that Jesus Christ has made a difference in your life?