MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE NO. 2

By

Shelby G. Floyd

After the Lord God had united Adam and Eve in marriage and planted then in the Garden of Eden, he made a statement about the nature of man and woman and marriage: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

I know this is a generic statement concerning marriage because Adam did not have a father and a mother to leave. Adam did not ever have a father and mother. God was his father. So, this is a general statement that was drawn from the institution of marriage: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh (Genesis 2: 24).

We notice here that marriage is for the mature. Often, young men and young ladies get married too young. They are not ready to leave their fathers and mothers. If you want to marry, you had better be ready to leave your father and your mother, and you had better be ready to assume your responsibilities. When you get ready to marry, you can’t let mom and dad support your home. Marriage is for those who are mature enough to leave mom and dad.

In the second place, marriage is for those who will cleave to their wife. A leaving and a cleaving must take place in marriage. The word cleave, means to glue or bond. The reason marriages today are not surviving is because the husbands and the wives are not adhering to each other. They are not cleaving to each other until death separates them. Then scripture says, “They shall be one flesh.” I do believe Moses meant that in marriage they are one flesh by their cohabitation, and by the fact that they both produce an offspring. But, marriage is more than that my friends.

The words one flesh here means that in marriage there must be an affinity of spirit. If the marriage is to continue and survive, there must be a conjoining of spirits in love and affection, and not just some kind of animal attraction. Those marriages that survive 50 or 60 years, or more, do so because there has been an affinity of spirits between the husband and wife. They have grown into almost one personality, because they have a kindred spirit in serving God and in serving their homes.

We ought to try to make our homes like God intended for them to be from the beginning.

Shelby G. Floyd

Heartland Church of Christ

1693 West Main Street

Greenwood, Indiana 46142

 

MARRIAGE IS HONORABLE NO. 1

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The subject of marriage shows up near the conclusion of the letter to the Hebrews (Hebrews 13:4). It appears in one verse preceded by several matters the author wants to get over to his readers.

Those other matters besides marriage are:
1. Let your brotherly love continue to be a part of your life (Hebrews 13:1).

2. Be hospitable especially to strangers, for some have entertained angels (messengers) unawares (Hebrews 13:2).

3. Remember those who are being persecuted and are imprisoned, because it could happen to you, since you are still in the body of flesh (Hebrews 13:3).

It is at this point that we have the statement on marriage. This subject needs much teaching today in view of the breakup of the family and the failure to honor the God-given design of marriage. Therefore, the author says,

“Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterers” (Hebrews 13:4 NASB).

Marriage is held to be honorable by all who believe that God ordained marriage in the beginning. “The water is always purest at the source of the stream!”

God created Adam, the first man. The Hebrew word Adam means man! Adam was made aware that in all of God’s creation before him, there were male and female animals, insects, and plants etc., (See Genesis 2:19-20). But Adam was also aware that he was alone. There was not any companion comparable to him. He was by himself!

It is at this point that God the Creator said to Adam and all who would read the Genesis account: “Then the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him” (Genesis 2:18 ESV).

Therefore, from the beginning of the creation it has been good for man and woman to marry, raise children and to love the extended family and the God who created the family.

And it seems that the marriage of man and woman mirrors the God family of Father, Son and Holy Spirit: “And God (Elohim-plural sgf) said, Let us (plural sgf) make man in our (plural sgf) image, after our (plural sgf) likeness: and let them (plural) have dominion over….” (Genesis 1:26).

Take note that the word God is plural as well as the pronouns “us” and “our.” So, Adam was not destined to live by himself while all created beings were created male and female. And “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him: male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:27 KJV).

Therefore, God finished his work of creation in six days, including man and woman. And he concluded that all of creation, including man and woman, was “very good” (Genesis 1:31).
—To be continued, SGF

* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

A LOVE MINISTRY

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning church. And we welcome all of you who have joined us for worship online. Today I am speaking on a love story and according to the Bible reading, in Genesis 29:20 at least twice it is said that Jacob loved Rachel. We would expect the Bible to have a love story because it deals with human beings and we know that love is a big part of our life. A marriage built on love will last a lifetime. A marriage without love will falter and fail.

THE HOME LIFE OF JACOB, ESAU, ISAAC, AND REBEKAH
Let us take a look at some of the qualities of Jacob’s love ministry to Rachel. I like the word ministry. I had a member of the church who told me that he did not like the word ministry. But that word is found quite a few times in the Bible and it means to serve. So, if somebody says I do not like that word ministry it means that they do not like to serve! Jacob ministered or served in order to gain Rachel as his wife. I begin this morning by saying that the home life of Jacob and Esau, Isaac and Rebekah were not perfect. There are no perfect parents. There are no perfect children. We are all flawed. We try to be the best parents we can be and we try to be the best children we can be, but children are not perfect. We fall short and we have to expect that and we have to deal with that. Now when it comes to grandparents and great-grandparents that is different! They are perfect!

But we notice in the life of Isaac and Rebecca that they were not perfect parents. Esau their first born was not a perfect young man. He sold his birthright for pot of soup and we look at other things about the family. We also find out that his mother and father were really grieved when he went and married Canaanite women because they were ungodly women. Rebekah said she brings me much grief. Young people, if you marry the wrong person you are probably going to bring grief to your parents. Rebekah wanted to make sure that Isaac did not marry a Canaanite wife. And we also remember that Jacob lied to his father and passed himself off as Esau and received his father’s blessing instead of Esau. Therefore, you can see that the family started off pretty bad. Isaac called Jacob after this and he charged him not to take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. They had enough of Esau and his Canaanite wife so he said you better not go out and do the same thing. Do not take a Canaanite woman for your wife.

Then he said what I want you to do Jacob is to go to PadanAram and later it is said he went toward Haran. Today that would be up in what we call southeastern Turkey. Jacob, I want you to go to Haran and find a wife among your mother’s family. Her brother Laban lives near Haran. I want you take that journey and find your wife there instead of these Canaanite women around here. Isaac then prayed to God that he would give Jacob the blessing of Abraham, and he sent him on his way. Jacob headed toward Haran to find a wife.

He stopped and spent the night at Bethel. He slept with a rock for a pillow. I guess we could call that the hard rock motel. He dreamed of a ladder that was from the earth all the way up into heaven, and the angels of God were going up and down that ladder and God spoke to him and God promised that he would give him the blessing of Abraham:

“And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed” (Genesis 28:13-14),

I read that several years ago and I kept it on my mind about that ladder and then I was reading the Gospel according to John, and in the very last verse of the first chapter, Jesus is the ladder upon which the angels were ascending and descending:

And He said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man” (John 1:51 NKJV).

After the dream Jacob awoke there at Bethel and the word Bethel means House of God. And Jacob made a vow and if you ever make a vow to God, be sure that you keep your word when you make a promise to God. God is not happy when we make promises and we do not keep them! Jacob made a vow that if God would be with him and take care of him, that he would give 1/10 of all that he received. You know we have to learn to give of our material assets just like we have to learn to do other things. And I think that if we learn to give at least a 10th of our income to the Lord we will find out that we will be blessed and we will never have to worry about anything when we do the best we can because God will take care of us. I believe that with all my heart and I have seen it in my own life. So, Jacob set the example here and said, God you be with me, bring me on my journey, let me fulfill my mission and I will give you a 10th of all that I possess.

JACOB’S MINISTRY OF LOVE FOR RACHEL
So that brings us to Jacob’s Ministry of Love for Rachel. Then Jacob went on toward Haran. As he approached the city, he noticed there was a field and there was a well in the field. I remember working on the farm at 46 Street and Millersville Road where I worked as a teenager. There was a well with one of those old-fashioned pumps and it was a wonderful blessing when you were hot and you could pump a dipper of fresh water! Jacob saw a big stone rolled against the mouth of the well and three flocks of sheep. He went over and talked to the shepherds. He said do you know a man by the name of Laban and is he well? They said we know him and he is well and by the way, there comes Rachel his daughter with some sheep. God is working in bringing Jacob the blessing of Abraham and Rachel just shows up right there at that well. Jacob goes over there and you know men like to show off. He goes and rolls that big stone away and waters the sheep for Rachel. He gave her a break and then the Bible says that he kissed her. So here we have an example of kissing and it was not even his first date. He kissed her as soon as he saw her. We like a fellow like that. He knows who he wants and he goes after her and kissed her. Then Jacob spent about a month with Laban and rehearsed all the news of the two families. They were related. Laban was his uncle, his mother’s brother. I am sure they had a lot of news to catch up on and so he spent a month there.

Then the Bible tells us why Jacob labored seven years for Rachel:

Then Laban said to Jacob, “Because you are my relative, should you therefore serve me for nothing? Tell me, what should your wages be?” Now Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. Leah’s eyes were delicate, but Rachel was beautiful of form and appearance (Genesis 19:15-17 NKJV).

Jacob loved Rachel because she was very beautiful. Several years ago, at worship one Wednesday night, some teenage girls brought some of their friends to church and we had several little boys sitting close by. I became amused because those little boys could not look forward. They were constantly turning around and looking at those girls because they were pretty. So, I put that in my mind, that even from the time we are young we recognize the difference between pretty and not quite so pretty. They were fascinated with those teenage girls because they were pretty. But as the song goes, everything is beautiful in its own way. There is somebody for everybody even though there is a difference between beauty and not quite so beautiful. And the Bible says that Leah’s eyes were weak but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance. Therefore, even the Bible admits there is a difference in the way that people look. But there are people that are beautiful outwardly and very ugly on the inside. And so, the idea is if you are looking for a wife you want one that is beautiful like Rachel outwardly but also beautiful inwardly, with a beautiful spirit.

But anyway, Jacob loved Rachel and the Bible says that he served seven years to get Rachel but they seemed like only a few days because of his love that he had for her (Genesis 29:20). Therefore, Jacob served seven years for Rachel and so after the seven years were up, he said to Laban, we have a deal. I have served my seven years and now I want my wife. Back then the women wore head coverings like we see in some of those countries today. And about all you can see are their eyes and so Laban sends supposedly Rachel in to be his wife. But guess what? The next morning, he wakes up and it is not Rachel, it is Leah and so he went to Laban. What is this? I worked seven years for Rachel and when I woke up this morning it was Leah. Well, Laban always had a good answer. He said that up here in our country it is not customary to give the younger daughter until you give the older daughter away. And so you go ahead and finish your week with the Leah and I will give you Rachel. Therefore, after seven years he got Leah and Rachel. He got a double bargain. Laban was a schemer and deceiver.

I remember when I was in the second grade at the Bluff Avenue Elementary school and it was Valentines week. There was the prettiest little girl that I had my eyes on and we had a big bag of those Valentines cards and we would fill those out and give them to the girls. After recess when I got back there was a card with a note on my desk from this little girl. She told me how much she liked me. My heart started to pitter patter and I could not wait to answer that note and put it over on her desk. This went back and forth for three or four times and then finally I figured it out. She was not writing those notes, but some of those boys behind me. I learned a good lesson that things do not always turn out as they appear. And I learned that it is good to have a healthy skepticism until you have the full proof. But then as a young adult I met this girl here from Gallatin, Tennessee. We dated for three years, got married and celebrated 60 years of marriage this past December.

And Jacob was happy to get both of those girls, because he got Rachel the one, he wanted. He worked seven more years for Rachel and that makes 14 years altogether, and I think before he left there with all the goods that God gave him, he spent about 20 some years altogether. He was not lazy, he worked hard and God blessed him not only with a beautiful wife and we might say two wonderful wives because Leah and her handmaiden and Rachel and her handmaiden gave him 12 boys and one girl. These 12 sons became known as the children of Israel. God changed his name from Jacob to Israel. The Jewish people seem to know how to get sons.

BENEFITS OF THE MINISTRY OF LOVE
“So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed only a few days to him because of the love he had for her” (Genesis 29:20).

Jacob served seven years to get Rachel but they seemed like only a few days to him because of his love for her. That is a wonderful statement that we need to memorize and know of the many benefits that true love brings into our lives.

Love Shortens the Time
Jacobs experience says that love shortens the time, for he served seven years but it seemed like just like a few days because of love. He loved Rachel so much that it seemed only a short time. Seven long years was not short, but it seemed short because he had so much love for Rachel.

Abraham dwelt in tents for 100 years in the land of Palestine and the Bible says he did that because he looked for a city that God was going to create and he was looking for a better heavenly country that God had prepared for him and all his children, an eternal city and not a temporal homeland. Abraham served God 175 years and he did not get one foot of land in Canaan.

The journey from Egypt to the promised land was a long journey that took 40 years. It could have been a short journey, but because of sin, it ended up being 40 years and Joshua was with Moses for 40 years. But I am sure it did not seem like 40 years because Joshua was looking for a land that flowed with milk and honey. He loved God so much and he loved the promise that God made about the promised land. Love will definitely shorten the time.

Love Makes the Load Light
When you are serving because you love somebody, love makes the load light. Why is it that people will not leave the bedside of a mother or father, a companion or somebody that is critically ill? You know you are going to become tired and weary while caring for those with terminal illnesses. But why do people not give up and continue to serve? It is because we love those people and abiding love makes the load light.

Some of us have preached for 60 years and we have covered a lot of ground. I look back and ask, how did I carry that responsibility for so long? It is because I love what I am doing. I love God and I love the church and I love you people. If we love God and one another, then the time will be short and the load will not be so heavy. When we love God and one another it applies to marriage and family, but also to the church as a family.

Love Paves the Road We Travel
When we serve God and one another with love, then love paves the road we travel. The road we travel as all of you know is not paved with roses, nor with concrete. As an example, Paul went on his first evangelistic journey and it took about three years. Paul was stoned, yet the stones were not so hard to Paul because he loved God. Paul and Silas were in the Philippian jail, they had been beaten with many stripes and their hands and their feet were fastened in the stocks, but they loved God and at midnight they started singing psalms and hymns and they prayed to God. Paul was on a ship to Rome with a lot of other passengers and a hurricane blew up and they thought they were all going to perish. They started throwing things off of the ship to lighten the ship and finally they had a ship wreck at Malta. You know, Paul said, be of good cheer for I believe in God and not a single passenger lost their life. They landed on that island and they were treated well by the native people and they even started a fire for the people to warm up that were on that ship. Even death to Paul was an entrance to a better world. James says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you fall into manifold temptations” (James 1:2).

Love Helps to Bear the Burdens
Love helps to bear the burdens and we all have some burdens we must bear! John said, “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha” (John 19:17). Jesus had to bear his own cross. Why? He carried his own cross because he loved us so much. And he loved us so much that He was crucified and shed his precious blood. Jesus did not have to bear the cross. He could have called for 12 legions of angels, but he did not do that. He bore the cross for each one of us. And the Bible says that we are to bear our own cross. And we know that the way of the cross leads home.

LET US ALL MAKE THE LOVE MINISTRY GROW
Because we love the Lord let all of us make the love ministry grow in our family relationships and our love ministry here at Heartland Church of Christ. We love one another according to the qualities mentioned in that beautiful song of love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

All family counselors and marriage counselors will agree that the things that I am presenting will work to make your love ministry grow in your marriage, family, and the church.

Communication
The first is communication. If married couples have problems and they stop talking to each other, then they have a big problem that must be solved. And good communication also applies in the church. Paul encourages good communication to the church at Ephesus:

“but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—” (Ephesians 4:15 NKJV).

Paul, how do we make the love ministry grow in the church—we speak the truth in love. You can speak the truth, but if you do not speak in love it will not work. And the same thing is true with husband and wife. It is a skill that a lot of people are lacking. In any loving relationship when we talk to one another we must realize that we are all flawed. We all make mistakes because we are weak sinners. And good listeners are as hard-to-find as good speakers. When other people sense that you are not listening any longer, they will stop communicating. A loving relationship will be enhanced when each party makes suggestions to one another how they can deal with the situation.

Affection
We all can make the love ministry grow when we show affection to one another. Paul taught the Romans to show affection to one another: “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another” (Romans 12:10). In the church we should be affectionate to one another and I think we do a good job here at Heartland. If you grew up in a family where your parents did not show you much affection to each other and to you, it will be very uncomfortable for you to show affection. But you can overcome that difficulty. Most marriage counselor will say a wife and husband should hug each other four times a day. And hugging can lift depression. It can breathe life into tired body. It can make you feel younger and vibrant. And in both the Old and New Testament God’s people are often said to embrace each other. We do a pretty good job here but were not recommending that until the Covid plague is over! But church worship is probably one of the safest places we can be present.

Forgiveness
Another way that we can make the love ministry grow in our family and in the church is by forgiveness. To the church at Ephesus Paul wrote,

“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32).

God forgave us through the sacrifice of Christ and we must learn to forgive one another because we all fall short. We all have flaws. We all make mistakes, we all commit sin and we have to make allowance for that and learn to forgive one another and not just hold it in until it explodes.

Honesty
We have to learn to be honest with ourselves and others. Solomon in a very brief proverb graphically described how good it is to be honest:

Like a kiss on the lips is the one who gives an honest answer (Proverbs 24:26 NET).

One of the members in this congregation that I have observed always gives an honest answer and it seems to work very well with her relationships. We can all learn to be more honest in our relationships with one another. All of these principles will work to make our love ministry grow spiritually.

And now I remind all of us of God’s love ministry. God commended his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8-9). Jesus was asked one time what the greatest commandment is:

“Jesus answered, ‘The foremost is, ‘Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’” (Mark 12:29-31 NASB).
And Jesus said in John 14:15-16, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.”

And before Jesus left earth, he charged his disciples to, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16 NASB).

Jesus would not ask us to do something that he would not do himself. Jesus did not need to be baptized because he had no sins to be forgiven. Jesus came to John the Baptist and John was figuratively the Elijah who was to come into the world. John said why are you coming to me. I need to be baptized of you:

But Jesus, answering, said to him, “Allow it at this time; for in this way it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he *allowed Him. After He was baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove and settling on Him, and behold, a voice from the heavens said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:15-17 NASB).

God proclaimed Jesus to be his beloved Son after he was baptized, and God will also claim you as His child after you are baptized for (“in order to” SGF) the forgiveness of your sin.

If you are not a Christian today would be a wonderful time to come forward and confess the sweetest name that ever fell for mortal tongue and be immersed in water for the forgiveness of sin. *

* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved. I am indebted to G. K. Wallace, one of my teachers at Freed-Hardeman for some of these thoughts.

Shelby G. Floyd delivered the essence of this sermon February 14, 2021 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

Shelby G. Floyd

BEWARE OF COVETOUSNESS

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning church. I started reading my Bible like I did last year.  I got all the way through the Bible and the New Testament.  So, I started to read the Bible again the first of the year, and of course when you go on vacation that is interrupted.  Therefore, when I got back, I continued to read the Bible and when you do that, to a preacher it suggests sermon topics that you want to present to the people. I had not gone very far until I realized I wanted to preach on “Covetousness Is Idolatry.” I got to looking through my outlines and had trouble finding it and there was a good reason. I preached this sermon 25 years ago, on July 21, 1996. 

COVETOUSNESS DEFINED

Today I shall preach that same sermon topic—Covetousness Is Idolatry.  What is the meaning of this big word—covetousness?  One dictionary says it is to desire that which is another’s.  It can also mean to wish for excessively and to crave something you are seeking.  McClintoch and Strong says it is a strong, sometimes irresistible desire of possessing or of increasing one’s possessions.  Ralph Heyman says it is “the tyranny of things.” And the Bible also defines covetousness. The Bible is the best commentary and the best book to define words on the face of the earth. The apostle Paul describes covetousness to the church at Colossae when he said, “Covetousness which is idolatry” (Colossians 3:5). 

Now I did not open my Bible and start reading very far until I realized that covetousness started right in the very beginning. Almighty God created Adam out of the dust of the earth, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and he became a living soul. And then he opened his side and did surgery and he made a woman. And they were married—man and woman, and he placed them in a beautiful garden—the Paradise of God.  And they were given instructions.  You may eat of all the fruit of all the trees in this garden except one. The one in the middle of the garden you shall not eat of it.  They also had the Tree of Life that perpetuated their physical life.  But you know Eve desired and coveted that fruit on that one tree. There are three reasons she wanted that fruit!  She thought it would make her wise, like God.  She wanted to be like God. She coveted the fruit because she thought that it would be good for food.  We like to try different foods today.  That is one of the beautiful things about today—we have food that we can buy in restaurants from all over the world and a lot of us have learned to enjoy things other than what are parents and grandparents enjoyed.  They enjoyed beans and cornbread.  But she reached out and partook of that fruit because she wanted to be wise.  And sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death (physical) passed upon all men because of one man’s sin (Romans 5:12).  Therefore, I had not gone very far until I realized covetousness started in the very beginning and it is still with us today. 

THE TENTH COMMANDMENT

Now Almighty God allowed his people to go down to Egypt into slavery. The children of Israel were in slavery for something like 400 years and God sent a man by the name of Moses down there to extricate them out of the land and he was a great servant of God. The name Moses stands as one of the outstanding leaders of the children of Israel. Moses led them out of Egypt, across the Red Sea and down to Mount Sinai in Arabia (Galatians 4:25). He led them down there to Mount Sinai and they received the Law–the Law of Moses and the Ten Commandments. We shall all read these ten commandments and so we will put them up on the screen. 

I am going to ask Mitch to stand and lead all of us as we read aloud the Ten Commandments. Thank you, congregation, for reading those 10 Commandments aloud. Now what you read is a boiled down version of the 10 Commandments. When we go to Exodus 20:1-17 we find that those 10 Commandments are somewhat expanded. But I don’t want to talk about all of those 10 Commandments this morning.  I just want to study with you about the 10th commandment.  And here is the expanded version of the tenth commandment:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17 NKJV).

You can see that covetousness covers a large area of things and this is a subject that is especially difficult for us to deal with in America because we love and want so many things.  We have our telephones, our I Pads, our computers and we have stuff coming in from online shopping almost every day.  These packages land on the front door and first thing you know we have a lot of stuff.

In 2019, after living in our house for 40 years, Sarah and I decided it is time for us to downsize. And you know that men have a lot of tools.  Men like to have tools because we like to fix things, or we think we do.  And sometimes when we start to fix something, we end up calling the professionals who can fix it. But anyway, it’s hard to give up your tools, but I gave up my tools and I haven’t missed them a bit.  Now the only thing I need to do is carry out a garbage sack about once a day and put it in a dumpster. As we get older, we find out a lot of these things that we love actually keeps us from being happy because they consume too much of our time and energy. 

While we were in Florida, we watched a program called minimalism and it was about these two young boys.  They grew up real poor, but they got a good college education and they got good jobs in the tech industry and they were making all kinds of money and they were driving the fastest cars and they had everything that money could buy. But finally, they said, we are not happy and so they got rid of a lot of stuff and they said we’re a lot happier now that we don’t have all those things that we were dealing with. And it is called minimalism.  We probably all need to practice a little minimalism today, because we do not want our life to be wrapped up in things. So, what they were really saying is keep what you really need but not all the things you necessarily want, because our wants and our needs are not the same.

The apostle Paul summed up the Ten Commandments of the Law in Romans 13:9 when he said,

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

So, the emphasis is to love our neighbor as ourselves.  We are going to be doing more things to help people than we are to covet more and more things. Paul was one of the strictest Jews that ever lived.  He was so devoted that he went to many cities and arrested Christians and brought them back and put them in prison.  And sometimes when they were beaten, he held the clothes of them that beat those Christians, of whom Stephen was one of them, and it bothered Paul the rest of his life that he stood there and watched Stephen being pounded to death with rocks! (Acts 7:51-60). He thought he was living the perfect Jewish life, but then he realized that he had coveted and he said, “I died,”

“What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died” (Romans 7:7-9 NKJV).

Paul would not have known sin had the Law not said, “Thou shall not covet.” The law of Moses made sin stand out that he had violated the law. Paul died when he thought he was living a perfect life.  He remembered the law said, thou shall not covet.  And Paul, like all of us had coveted.  And he died. 

ISRAEL MARCHES TO THE PROMISED LAND

Then I continued to read a bit farther in my Bible and the next episode is what suggested the theme of covetousness I speak on today.

After Moses received the law at Mount Sinai, the children of Israel marched toward the promised land.  It took a long time to get up there.  Moses sent 12 spies to scout out the land, but only two of them came back with a good report. Therefore, the negative people discouraged the children of Israel.  They could have gone into the land of promise a lot earlier, but they listened to negativity.  I do not know what it is but people love negative things more than they do positive things. Joshua and Caleb were the positive ones! And Joshua promised Caleb that when they did get into the promised land, he was going to give him and his family that very land that they had spied out.  And when they finally got there, they conquered the land. Caleb now was 85 years old.  He said, “I am still just as strong as I was the day, we scouted out that land.” Since I am 83, that encouraged me—Lord, I want to be strong when I get to be 85.  If you let me live to be 85, I plan on being just as strong as I possibly can be. Therefore, Caleb got that track of land that he said was a good land. The other spies did not make it to the Promised Land because they said there were giants in the land.  They had a grasshopper complex.  We can have a grasshopper complex or we can have the spirit of a mighty soldier of Jesus Christ. 

Therefore, Moses led them up there to the threshold of the promised land.  And God said to Moses, I am going to take you up on Mount Pisgah and I will let you look at the land, but you will not be able to go in there and so he turned the leadership over to Joshua (Deuteronomy 34:1, 5-8).  Joshua and the army of Israel crossed the Jordan River and went into the promised land.  They had a mighty army and the army had a job to do.  The first job was to take Jericho. It was a big city and it had walls all around, and so God through Joshua gave them a war plan.  The plan is I want the Army and the seven priests with their trumpets to walk in front of the Army and I want you to go around that wall seven times. On the seventh day go around seven times and the priests are to blast out on those trumpets as loud as they can and I want all of you in the Army to shout and when you do, the walls will fall and you can take the city.

ACHAN WAS COVETOUS

And that happened.  Archaeologists have gone there and examined the site. It looks like the ruins happened according to the Bible description. We do not need to fear the archaeologists.  Every time they search and dig, they verify the Bible. Israel had a victorious outcome of that battle, but there was a problem afterward. Before they went into battle, God said to Joshua and the army of Israel that Jericho was under the ban, you cannot take anything out of that city for your own, it is all to go into the Treasury of the Lord (Joshua 6:18-19). When we read the history of warfare, the victorious soldiers took the spoils or plunder. I just got through reading a great book about Hannibal who marched his army up from North Africa into Spain and brought his army and elephants across the Alps down into Italy. But back then, the way the Army was paid is when you had a victory you go in there and keep all the plunder of gold, silver, and whatever was valuable. But God said Jericho was under the ban. You cannot plunder the riches of that city.  All the gold and silver, bronze, everything is to be devoted to the treasury of the Lord. And they were happy and rejoicing because they had won a great battle! Joshua and the army looked ahead and said we will take the next city of Ai.  It was not too far away from Jericho, so they sent some scouts up there to Ai and they came back with their report. They said it is just a little city.  Those people are not very strong.  Do not send the whole army. Just send about 300 soldiers up there and we will be able to take it easily. Joshua listened to the report and he sent up a small army and when they approached the city, the soldiers came out of AI and chased the army of Israel and defeated them.

Joshua was really upset and fell on his face and prayed to the Lord, why have you brought us out of Egypt, and brought us to this land and then allowed our enemies to defeat us.  He said all these other cities will hear about this and Lord your great name will be destroyed and Israel will be destroyed.  Joshua got down on his face on the earth.  You know it is good to be humble and get down on our face in prayer. But at other times God says, stand up and be a man. And this occasion is one of them. God said, Joshua what are you doing down there on your face on the ground? Stand up and act like a man and take care of this matter, and the Lord told him what the problem was.  The problem was there was sin in the camp. I remember Mitch telling the story about them playing ball and they were losing bad. He said they had a little conference and somebody said, “I think there is sin in the camp!” God said, “Joshua there is sin in the camp.”  And that is the reason they lost the battle. God revealed to Joshua that somebody had taken the forbidden stuff and he told him to do an examination, you call the different tribes and right on down to the family and the person. Finally, they brought this young man named Achan out.  I will read to you what Joshua said to Achan:

Now Joshua said to Achan, “My son, I beg you, give glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession to Him, and tell me now what you have done; do not hide it from me.”

And Achan answered Joshua and said, “Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and this is what I have done: When I saw among the spoils a beautiful Babylonian garment, two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. And there they are, hidden in the earth in the midst of my tent, with the silver under it” (Joshua 6:19-21 NKJV).

Would it not be good if we could get people to start making some confessions when they fall away from the church and are not faithful any longer? Achan confessed specifically what he had done. They did not covet the same things back then, like we do today.  They did not have cars and houses and electronics and all the toys that we have, but they had things that they wanted just like we do, like beautiful clothes. There is no telling what this Babylonian garment would cost—probably thousands of dollars. He also took a wedge of gold.  Gold has always been valuable.  It still is today! It is about $1900 an ounce today.

Joshua said, why have you troubled us? The Lord will trouble you this day, so all Israel stoned him with stones and they burned him with fire.

After this they raised a great heap of stones and named it the Valley of Achor. Therefore, the name of that place has been called the Valley of Achor to this day. The word Achor means “trouble.” Sometimes we will say, “there comes trouble!” We do it in a joking way, but that is what it meant. Achan, you caused Israel trouble, you caused yourself trouble and you involved your family in trouble!  The people back then were advised to stay away from people like Achan. If you cannot change them, do not encourage them.

And reading in the New Testament, the apostle Paul encouraged Christian people to stay away from and not keep company with some people.  Her is what he said,

“Yet I certainly did not mean with the sexually immoral people of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person” (1 Corinthians 5:10-11 NKJV).

We simply are not to encourage our fellow Christians to continue in what they are doing that is wrong.

THE COVETOUSNESS OF THE RICH FARMER

Now we need to come closer to our day and time and so we go to the New Testament. Jesus was the greatest preacher and teacher that ever lived.  I know that I am motivated to preach sermons on topics that Jesus talked about in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  He was a great preacher and we can imitate him in so many ways. A good example is his conversation with a man who was in a controversy over an inheritance in Luke the 12th chapter. The Bible says Jesus was in this area and then one from the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me,” trying to get the Lord involved in a family squabble. Have you ever witnessed this going on sometime?  Sometimes a family will be divided and brothers and sisters will not even talk to each other. But let mom or dad die and they come out of the woodwork, because there is an inheritance that they want to get their hands on.  They covet that and sometimes it becomes a big brawl and it is ugly and nobody likes to hear about it, talk about it or even observe that it is going on. So, if anybody ever tries to get you involved in a family squabble over an inheritance, the best advice is stay away.  Do not get involved! Therefore, Jesus said, “Man, who made Me a Judge or an arbitrator over you?” And then he spoke one of the most important statements in the Bible:

“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15 NKJV).

Take heed and beware of covetousness because your life does not consist in the abundance of the things you possess that we think will make us happier.  The more that we can get our hands on; the more money we can put in the bank, the more toys we can have, the more things we can buy! And let me say that there is not enough time in the day or night for us to enjoy all the things we have right now and you know that is true.  So usually, we put those things aside and really enjoy the things that we do have the time to enjoy. Jesus emphatically said your life does not consist in the abundance of the things you possess.  He says we need to stay away from coveting all these things. It is all right to desire the things that you need but not necessarily all the things that you want!

Then Jesus told a parable of the rich farmer. The word parable means to lay two things down side by side and then draw a lesson from the material to the spiritual. Jesus said the ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully.  Every time I think of that verse, it reminds me of driving down State Road 135 to Trafalgar in the summertime.  Those farms are so beautiful.  The corn is 10 to 12 feet high and it is just as thick as it can be, and everything is beautiful.  The farmers have their big silos out there and their big barns and they are counting on the Lord to give them rain and sunshine. In the fall about second week in October, you can drive down to Trafalgar and the fields are bare.  They have harvested all the grain and put it in the barn or the silos. So, it was with this a rich farmer and the Bible says his farm yielded plentifully. 

Then he said to himself, “What shall I do, since I have no more room to store my crops.  This is what I will do, I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger barns and then I will say to my soul. Soul, you have much laid up for many years. Take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” But do you know what God said?  God said, “Fool, this night, your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be, which you have provided?” Fool! This night your soul will be required because we do not know when the death Angel is going to come in and remove us from this life on earth. We want to live long if we can serve the Lord! We want to love our family and our friends, and to reach out and take the gospel to all the world. Those are the things that we really need to be desiring to be able to fulfill, and not just to get all things we possibly can. 

GREED IS EVIL

Now let us make the application and wrap up this lesson.  Why is covetousness, or greed so evil?  Well, it is evil because it is based upon a false assumption and that assumption is that our happiness is dependent on our material values and the things we possess.

In the second place, covetousness is evil because it allows the material world to dominate the spiritual world.  The Bible, worship, Bible study, and evangelism gets pushed aside because we covet more and more of this world’s goods. And hear what Jesus said about that:

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Mathew 6:24 NKJV).

You cannot serve God and money. It is just as simple as that. Covetousness is evil because it places our trust in things that are temporal rather than in God who is eternal. In the sermon on the Mount, Jesus had something to say about putting our trust in material things: “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV).

It is terrible what is going on in America today. Embezzlers are stealing other people’s identity, compromising their credit cards and Social Security identity. This is what convinces us of what Jesus said about greed. Do not get so wrapped up in all that stuff because it could be stolen from you and you could lose it all. I have heard of people that got a telephone call claiming to be the Social Security office. If they ask for your identity you have a problem. Do not be naïve.  You do not need to answer.

Covetousness is evil because it leads to every other sin in the catalog of human debauchery. In Mark 7:20-23 Jesus said that what comes out of a man is that which defiles a man. The critics of Jesus were concerned about Jesus and his disciples breaking a tradition by not washing their hands. Today it is probably a good thing to wash our hands because of the Pandemic! But Jesus countered that it is what comes out of a man that defiles a man. He then explained:

“What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man” (Mark 7:20-23).

Therefore, we need to be looking at the inside of us rather the outside.

Now how do we overcome covetousness? That is really our goal and living in a country like America where we are so blessed it is very difficult.  We can get wrapped up in material things so easily. Perhaps, the best way is to just go back and read the sermon on the Mount repeatedly and listen to the advice that Jesus gave the people who were standing around listening to him.  He said in Matthew 6:24 and 26 “that no man can serve two masters.  You either hate the one and love the other or you will be loyal to the one and despise the other.”  He illustrates by referring us to the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not of more value than they?  We have a couple of birdfeeders in the back of our patio and Sarah reminds me to keep it filled with seed.

PUT GOD FIRST IN YOUR LIFE

We can overcome greed by putting the kingdom of God first in our life. Jesus said, “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all of these things will be added unto you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own thing, sufficient for the day is its own trouble” (Matthew 6:33-34).  So, do not worry.  Trust God to take care of you.  I remember when I was studying to be a preacher. I drove 130 miles from Henderson, Tennessee up to almost Nashville. I received $25 or $30 a week. I remember one time on Saturday we did not even have milk for the baby. For some reason I went to the post office and was pleasantly surprised that a good sister from Indianapolis had sent fifty dollars. That made me a believer and convinced me that you do not need to worry for God will take care of you. 

Above all we need to become a Christian. Paul the Persecutor met the Lord Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus. He was approached by the Lord Jesus Christ and he asked him what he should do? God has done his part by sending Jesus to die for our sins and shed his precious blood. God has done the big part, but he is not going to do it all. The sinner has his part to do. Paul was fasting and praying, but the sinner’s prayer will not save or else Saul of Tarsus would have been saved. God sent a preacher to him by the name of Ananias, who said to Saul, “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord’” (Acts 22:16).  Come my friend and make the good confession and be baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sin (Romans 10:9-10; Romans 6:3-6). Respond now while we stand and sing.*

*A sermon delivered by Shelby G. Floyd January 24, 2021 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

I PRESS ON

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning. We need to follow Jesus everyday according to the words of that song! Welcome to 2021. We’ve all survived 2020 during the year of Covid 19! In times past we have been told to stay away from negative people, but last year we were told to stay away from positive people. It seems like the whole world is turned upside down—the old people are slipping out of the house and going out and their kids are yelling to stay indoors. But we have all survived.

Our lesson today is “I Press On!” I press on is the statement from the apostle Paul in Philippians 3:12 through 16. Clay Brown, you did a good job reading that text. And I hope all of you will open up your Bibles and look at the text, because that’s where we’re going to drive the stake down today and talk about that statement from Paul to the church at Philippi. And if you think about it he had some really bad things to happen to him in Philippi. You remember it started out in a good way when he went out by the riverside and some women were having a prayer meeting. This gave Paul an opportunity for him to preach the word of God to them and then they were baptized into Christ. So they continued having prayer meeting every time they could get together.

In the meantime there were some people that served idols and Paul had preached that there is just one God, and so their idol selling business was falling apart. They stirred up the people and had the magistrates to beat them and put them in jail and the jailer put them in the inner part of the prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. Now many years later after Paul baptized the jailer who became a Christian, along with Lydia, Paul is writing back to that church and he says, “I press on!”

Now I don’t make any New Year’s resolutions, because when you do, you end up breaking them anyway. But here’s one that we can all make and if we do make this resolution, it’ll take care of any others that we could possibly make. And that resolution is “I Press On.” And it’s in the first person singular, so it can apply to all of us. We can all say in 2021, I Press On and not get tied up in negativity! Paul was a positive person, so he says I press on.

When we go back to biblical times there were a lot of idols of all kinds. When Paul visited in Athens, Greece, there were so many gods that they were afraid they had left one out and so when Paul walked around through the city he found an idol with the inscription “To The Unknown God,” and he used that phrase as his proof text and preached a great sermon on the God that they did not know—the God that created heaven and earth.

The Romans also had their pagan gods and the pagan god Janus was pictured as a two-faced god—one face look back at the old year and the new face looked forward to the New Year! So Janus was a god that looked both back and forward, and that’s where we got our name for January. All of us here at Heartland are looking forward to 2021 and we’re not looking back to March, April, and May when the coronavirus started. We’re looking forward to January and the New Year. Continue reading “I PRESS ON”

WALK IN THE LIGHT

By

Shelby G. Floyd

The Bible teaches that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5). God is the one who created the light in the beginning and he said it is good (Genesis 1:3-4). Light is good because it has the qualities to dispel darkness, direct and discover.

In the fullness of time, God sent his Son down to be the light of the world. “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8.12). The Bible declares that we can have fellowship with God if we walk in the light as he is in the light. “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

We will not have fellowship with God if we make these false claims. (1) When we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in darkness, we lie to our fellow-Christians and there is no truth in us (1 John 1:6). (2) If we claim we have no sin when we do have sin in our lives, we lie to ourselves and we are not living by the truth (1 John 1:8). (3) If we claim that we have not sinned, we lie to God and prove that God’s word has not found lodging in our lives (1 John 1:10). God’s word declares that all have sinned and all do sin (Romans 3:9, 23). Solomon said, “There is no one who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). Sin means to miss the mark or to live in lawlessness, “For everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness” (1 John 3:4).

The answer to these false claims is to walk in the light as God is in the light. Walking in the light does not mean that we can be perfect and live without sin. It does mean that we are to do the best we possibly can, and then when we do sin, we are to repent and confess our sins in order that the blood of Christ will continually cleanse us of our sins: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

We will have fellowship with God when our walk and our talk agree! If we talk a good talk, let us also walk a good walk in the light!

Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

WHAT IS MAN?

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Have any of you ever had anybody come up and ask, “What are you?” I’ve never had anybody come up to me and ask that, but I have had people come up to me and ask, “Who are you?”

WHO IS MAN?

We’ll answer that question by maybe giving our name, our address or whether we’re a Hoosier, Kentuckian, or whatever. But I’ve never had anybody ask me, “What are you?” Yet, that is a question that is asked in the Bible. It is not “Who are you?” The question is “What are you?” There are a lot of different theories that degrade man and do not give man the proper rank, dignity and honor that God intended for man to have. For instance, some say that you are born a child of the devil. That’s the theory of total hereditary depravity. Some teach today even in our higher institutions of learning that man is born a child of a gorilla. That’s the theory of evolution. And some for fifty years or more, until just recently, had argued that we are born the child of the state. That’s communism. Any one of those theories would degrade man and not elevate him to his proper rank and dignity.

WHAT IS MAN?

If you really want to know what is man and when I ask that question and when the Bible asks that question, we are not making a distinction here between man and woman. When we say, “What is man?” we are using that in the Greek use of the word anthropos, mankind, including both the male and the female sex. What is man? What is mankind? If you really want to answer that question, we must go to the Bible, because the best book on self-knowledge is the Bible. God made us and then He gave us a handbook on what is man. If you want to know what you are, you must study the book on self-knowledge called the Bible. The Bible is not only the book that reveals God to man, it’s a book that reveals man to himself. Down through the ages, the scholars, the sages, the wise men, have asked that question. For instance, Marcus Aurelius, philosopher at Rome, said, “Control thyself.” Socrates said, “Know thyself.” Juvenal said, “From heaven descended the precept ‘Know thyself.’” And the English poet Chaucer said, “For wise is he that can himself know.” And the great poet Alexander Pope, wrote, “Know then thyself. Presume not God to scan. The proper study of mankind is man.” So if you really want to know what is man, you have got to study man. The proper study of mankind is man himself.

Now when we go back into the classical age of Greece, Plato wrestled with this question. They were not dummies. He wrestled with the question, “What is man?” His first answer was that man is a vegetative being. By vegetative, he meant that man has an eating, sleeping, exercising nature. Well, that is good as far as it goes. All right, man is a vegetative being. We even use that word today and say, “Well, I’m going to go home and vegetate.” We mean we’re going to crawl on the couch and go to sleep watching the ball game or something. Then he said that man is an appetitive being. By that he meant that we have passions, both the good and the dark side of man. Man has appetites. Then he said that man is also a rational being. According to Plato, the biggest sin, the biggest mistake that a man can make is not to be informed, not to be intelligent, and, therefore not to regulate and rule his life in a rational way. Plato was a great philosopher. What is man? According to Plato, he’s vegetative, he’s appetitive, and he’s rational as a being.

The next man that came along was Aristotle. Aristotle agreed with just about everything that Plato said, but Aristotle went a step further. He said that everything in this world must have a purpose and everything in this world is either good or bad as to whether it carries out its purpose. The clouds overhead have a purpose. The sun has a purpose. The moon has a purpose. The earth has a purpose. It’s good or bad as to whether it fulfills its purpose. A carpenter is a good carpenter if he can build a good house. A ship is a good ship if it can carry passengers and cargo to its destination. A hammer is a good hammer if it will drive a nail. But then he led up to the question, “What is man’s purpose?” Have you ever asked that question of yourself? Why am I here? Why are we here for just a few years and then we shuffle off the stage of action? What is man’s purpose? We must leave Aristotle right here, because he can’t answer that question. He asked the question, but did not give the answer. You know a lot of people are good at asking questions, but not too good in giving answers.

WHAT IS MAN’S PURPOSE?

We’ve got to go to the Bible to add to what Plato and Aristotle wrote. When we open up to Genesis, the first chapter (and the word Genesis means “beginnings”), we read in verse 26, “The Lord God created man in His image, in the image of God created He him, male and female created He them.” Then Genesis 2:7 says, “The Lord God (or Jehovah God) formed man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.” What is man? Yes, we have a body. Remember a few years ago on television they had the show “The Million Dollar Man”? Then somebody
said that man is not really worth a million dollars. When we die, our body melts back into dust from which it was made and the elements of man are just worth a few dollars. But I have heard that has since been revised. Even from the standpoint of the chemicals that are in your body, man is worth over a million dollars. If you had to go buy the DNA and all the chemicals that make up your body, even from that standpoint, man is a million dollar person. It would cost that much to buy all of those elements that make man a living, walking, moving, working, functioning human being. What is man? He was made out of the dust of the earth and when he dies will go back to the dust of the earth. But man is more than dust. God breathed into our nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.

So what is man? The way to answer that question is to go to Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. From that we learn that man has an animal self In that sense, we share with the animals that God created in this world, because there are many similarities between man and animals as far as legs, the appendages that God gave us, and eyes, ears, etc. We share many of those similarities. But does an animal have a soul? Does an animal have a rational mind? Does an animal have the ability to love and have other emotions? So man not only has an animal self, he has a soul self. God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and man became a living soul.

In addition to having an animal self and a soul self, we have a spirit self. Paul was not a philosopher, but speaking by divine inspiration to the Thessalonians said man has his whole “spirit, soul and body” (1 Thess. 5:23.) So in his metaphysical reasoning there he points out that man is a triune being. What is man? We are a being that has an animal self, a soul self and a spirit self.

But what is man’s purpose? Why are we here? Why did God create us? Why did He put us on this terrestrial globe? Again the philosophers can’t answer that question. Some people think that we are just here to gratify all the passions and appetites that God has instilled within our body, soul and mind. Is that man’s purpose? What is man’s purpose? Again, we to go to the Word of God to find out the purpose of man. Solomon was the greatest ruler in many respects in the kingdom of Israel and God gave Solomon not only wisdom, because that is what he asked for instead of riches, but God said in addition to wisdom He would give him riches, honor and glory. The kingdom of Israel reached its zenith under the reign of King Solomon. He went out and tried everything under the sun to produce joy, happiness and pleasure. After he had tried all of these things, he said there was nothing new under the sun and that is true. It may be new to us today and it may be new to the young people because they’ve never gone that way before, but somebody at some place has tried it at some time down through the centuries. After Solomon had tried everything to try to find pleasure and joy and gratify all of his appetites, he said it was all a vanity and a vexation of spirit and finally he concluded that great sermon by asking, “What is the whole duty of man?” He answered his own question— “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” (Eccl. 12:13). I think in the original language there it is just “Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole of man.” This is our purpose for being here.

Now it follows then that to the degree and to the extent that we can fear God, respect God and keep His commandments, to that extent we would be happy, we would be successful, we would be fulfilling our purpose. Many of us go out today after the sermon is over and have a fine meal. It is rewarding to enjoy a fine meal. Some of you may go home and you may have a faithful dog, a wonderful pet. It’s more rewarding to have a faithful dog or faithful pet than it is to have a fine meal. And we have wonderful families. I love my family. It’s a good family. I love my grandchildren. It’s more rewarding to have a good family than it is to have a good dog or a fine meal. But what is the most rewarding thing of all? If you think you are fulfilling your purpose and you’re trying to fulfill your purpose in all these things that are finite, then your happiness is going to be finite. The only way that you will ever be infinitely happy and successful is by fulfilling your infinite purpose in this life and that is to fear God and keep His commandments. Augustine said back in the fifth century, “Our soul is never at rest until it rests in thee.”

Look around at the world today. We see many going after pleasure, riches, fame and honor and few are happy. Why? Because those things will not fulfill the infinite longings of the soul of man, the spirit of man. What is man? He is a being made in the image of God and he will never be happy until he fulfills that image in which he was made by fearing God and keeping His commandments.

WHAT IS MAN’S WORTH?

What is man worth then? Jesus said in Matthew 16, “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” What is the profit? If you can gain everything in this world, and many people have tried, what is the profit? When Howard Hughes, the multi-billionaire, died, somebody asked how much he left and someone answered that he left it all, every bit of it. He didn’t take any of it with him. What is man worth? What would it profit you if you gained the whole world and lost your own soul? Sometimes when we become involved in sin and we are so full of guilt that we feel like we’re not worth anything, man is still worth a lot. I don’t care how depraved a person might become in sin, there is still a spark of that divine nature that is in all people. The apostle Paul was a great sinner. In fact, he judged himself the chief of sinners. He said, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” If God can save the chief of sinners, Saul of Tarsus who murdered Christians and imprisoned them and beat them and persecuted them and made havoc of the church, He can save any person today. I don’t care how much the divine nature has been marred by sin. God can take a lump of clay like Jeremiah talks about and it was put on the potter’s wheel and the potter started to make a beautiful instrument out of it, but it marred in his hand because the extraneous material that was in the clay. So what he did was put it back on the wheel and worked on it again and molded it. But we must yield as the clay must be pliable and yield to the potter’s hand, so we must be like clay in the hand of God. He can take us even when we mar and we sin and we do not answer our purpose for which we are here. He can take us and mold us and make us into a vessel of honor. God is the potter and we are the clay.

I want to close the lesson with this little poem I found years ago and I have never used it before today. I saved it because I thought that it would work into a lesson one day. It is called,

THE TOUCH OF THE MASTER’S HAND

‘Twas battered and scarred, and the auctioneer
Thought it scarcely worth his while
To waste much time on the old violin,
But held it up with a smile;
“What am I bidden, good folks,” he cried,
“Who’ll start the bidding for me?”
“A dollar, a dollar “, then, “Two!” “Only two?”
“Two dollars and who’ll make it three?
Three dollars, once; three dollars, twice;
Going for three—“ But no,
From the room, far back, a gray-haired man
Came forward and picked up the bow;
Then, wiping the dust from the old violin,
And tightening the loose strings,
He played a melody pure and sweet
As a caroling angel sings.

The music ceased, and the auctioneer,
With a voice that was quiet and low,
Said, “What am I bid for the old violin?”
“A thousand dollars, and who’ll make it two?
Two thousand! And who’ll make it three?
Three Thousand, once; three thousand, twice;
and going, and gone, “said he.
The people cheered, but some of them cried,
“We do not quite understand
What changed its worth?” Swift came the reply;
“The touch of the master’s hand”

And many a man with life out of tune,
And battered and scarred with sin,
Is auctioned cheap to the thoughtless crowd
Much like the old violin.
A “mess of pottage “, a glass of wine;
A game—and he travels on.
He is “going “once, and “going” twice,
He’s “going” and almost “gone”
But the Master comes, and the foolish crowd
Never quite understand
The worth of a soul and the change that’s wrought
By the touch of the Master’s hand.

—Myra Brooks Welch

What is man? What is man’s worth? If you let Jesus Christ, the Master, touch your life, He’ll make your life worthwhile. What is worthwhile?

WHAT MAKES MAN’S LIFE WORTHWHILE?

Nothing is worthwhile unless you let the touch of the Master’s hand come upon you. What is man’s purpose on this earth? To love God in return for His love that He shows us in Jesus Christ. Batsell Baxter tells about growing up and hearing a preacher and he said every time the preacher closed out the sermon he said, “God loves you. Love Him back.” Brother Baxter said years ago he never understood why he was doing that, but later he understood. He was really saying that love is the key purpose of man in life. God made us in His image, created us to serve Him, showed us how much He loved us by sending Jesus to die for us and our purpose is to show our gratitude and love him back and serve Him all the days of our lives. Jesus himself said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:15.)

What are the commandments? Jesus said, “If you believe in God, believe also in me, in My Father’s house are many mansions.” (John 14:1-2.) “Repent or ye shall perish.” (Luke 13:3,5.) Repent means to change your will power brought about by godly sorrow, which will result in a change in your life. In other words, if you repent, you have to prove your repentance by bringing forth a new life that is answerable, amenable, and agreeable to what you say you have done. Jesus said, “If you do not confess me before men, I will not confess you before My Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 10:32-33.) Then ultimately, “He that is baptized shall be saved.” (Mk. 16:15-16.) The purpose is to love the Lord. Show your love for Him by doing all that He has said. Man lives in different states. Sometimes we talk about the state that we live in today as the kingdom of nature. You’re not living in the kingdom of nature today. The kingdom of nature was the Garden of Eden. That was the natural kingdom. Today we live in a preternatural, or unnatural, world. It is not natural to die and suffer and have pain. Satan brought that into the world. We live in an unnatural world. It’s not natural for the earth to be full of briars, thorns, thistles and thickets. It is unnatural. It is the course that was brought on because man violated God’s law and was pushed out of the natural kingdom into an unnatural kingdom. By entering a spiritual kingdom, the church, and living for God, fulfilling our purpose, we can ultimately enter into that supernatural kingdom, or heaven, itself. We enter the preternatural kingdom by a birth of and from the womb. We enter into the spiritual kingdom of God by a birth of and from water. (John 3:3-5.) We enter the kingdom of glory by a birth of and from the grave. But you will never reach that supernatural kingdom, the kingdom of glory, unless you are born into the kingdom of God. Will you do that and come right now while we stand and sing?*

*A sermon delivered by Shelby G. Floyd at the South Central Church of Christ, 265 E. Southport Road, Indianapolis, Indiana, March 19, 1995. Copyright © 2001, 2002, 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd

THE INDWELLING CHRIST

By

Shelby G. Floyd

I love the “ancient words” from the word of God. The longer we live and the more we read and study God’s word, the more beautiful they become. It was good to hear the reading of the “ancient words” from Paul’s prayer for the church at Ephesus (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The last time I spoke to you about three weeks ago our lesson was on “The Hardening of Pharaoh’s Heart.” At that time we pointed out that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, his magicians had something to do with hardening his heart, and the Bible declares over and over again that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. As a result God brought ten plagues upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians, the last of which was the death of the firstborn sons of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. It was at this point that Pharaoh urged the children of Israel to leave Egypt as rapidly as they could.

From all of this, we learn that the condition of our heart is ultimately up to each one of us. We have the final say as to how receptive our heart will be to the word of God. So today I want to continue that theme on a positive note. Our lesson today is on the indwelling of Christ in our heart. All of us desire to to think, speak and act better than we normally do. But we will never reach the fullness of faith, hope, and love until Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. In that regard I have always loved the Scripture that Paul wrote to the churches of Galatia, when he said, “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). So we want Christ to live in our hearts. But how does Christ live in our hearts? He lives in our hearts by faith! Why did he want us to let him live in our hearts? Because he loves us, he died for us and he cleanses us by his precious blood shed on Calvary.

PAUL’S SECOND PRAYER FOR THE EPHESIAN CHURCH

In our text today the words are part of the second prayer that Paul prayed for the Christians at Ephesus. You notice that in most of our public prayers, we usually pray regarding external things. We thank God for our food, clothing, shelter and other things regarding our outward person. I hope in our lesson today that I can motivate all of us including myself, to pray that in spite of ourselves Christ will abide inside of us and take up his abode in our hearts. We can all do this by exercising a stronger faith in God and his word.

Now let us notice the first words that Paul wrote in his prayer to the Ephesian church:

“For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14-15).

Paul mentions his posture in his prayer to the Father by the word “bow.” To bow the knees is always a sign of humility, respect and reverence when we come before the deity. But there is no particular posture that is bound when we go before God in prayer. We read in the Bible of people who stood, sat and prostrated themselves upon the ground when they prayed to Almighty God. The important thing is that we bow our hearts when we come before the Lord. I heard of a church that had a hobby that you had to bow when you had a public prayer. But they asked a visiting preacher to lead the closing prayer and he stood when he prayed. One person rebuked him for standing instead of bowing. His classic reply was, “while I was standing and praying you were peeping and praying.” He pointed out the inconsistencies of all religious cranks. The important thing is that we humble ourselves when we come before God in prayer.

Paul’s prayer for the Ephesians was addressed to “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Fatherhood is under attack today in our country. Fathers and boys are being belittled by many in the major establishments in America. But according to Paul all fatherhood originated with God the Father. All Christians are called sons of God (Galatians 3:26-27), and the Lord Jesus Christ is said to be the Son of God. So the universal archetype of fatherhood is Almighty God. If we want to be better fathers and better sons, we should study the Fatherhood of God because he is the perfect Father over all his creation. Remember God is the perfect Father of the whole family in heaven and on earth!

THE INDWELLING CHRIST

The life which pleases God not only observes outward forms, but it is characterized by purity, holiness, and a Christ like attitude within the inner man. What we see is the outward man, but we also have an inward man. Let us notice our text again in which Paul prays, “that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love” (Ephesians 3:16-17). So Paul is praying that these Ephesian Christians will be strengthened with might. The word “might” translates from a word from which we get the words “dynamic and dynamite.” He wants every one of us to be strong in the inner man. And how is this done? We are strengthened in the inner man when we let Christ dwell in our hearts by faith. Therefore our might and strength comes to the inner man through faith. We will further explain how that is done as we develop this theme. Do we let Christ come and visit our heart on Sunday or do we let him come and take up his home and abode in our heart permanently? Christ wants to dwell in our hearts by faith. The word dwell is in the aorist tense and it simply means he is to make a permanent home in our heart at a certain point in time and then continue throughout the rest of our life. And when will this take place? It should take place when we are baptized into Christ. Just as God the Father was pleased to have his fullness dwell in Christ (Colossians 1:19), so we should let the fullness of Christ dwell in our hearts (Colossians 2:9-10).

ROOTED AND GROUNDED IN LOVE

When we are rooted and grounded in the love of God, Christ will dwell in our hearts through faith. (Ephesians 3:17). “Rooted” is an agricultural term. From trees to vegetable plants we all understand the need for the seed to be planted and to be rooted in order to produce fruit. “Grounded” is an architectural term that involves the building of houses and gigantic buildings. The bigger the building the deeper the foundation must be grounded. This same principle applies to the Christian life. When the love of God is rooted and grounded in our hearts, then Christ can come and make himself a permanent home in our hearts by faith.

THE FOUR DIMENSIONS OF THE LOVE OF CHRIST AND FULLNESS OF GOD

Next, we notice Paul mentions the four dimensions of the love of Christ and the fullness of God. He prays that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Have you ever tried to comprehend the width and length and depth and height of the universe? There is no end! Scientists tell us that our universe seems to be expanding for ever and ever in all directions. That is a good illustration of how much the Lord Jesus Christ loved us and loves us still.

Let us look at several Scriptures that tell us how much Christ loves us and even then his love passes our knowledge:

John 14:23
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.

That is a beautiful promise. But it is a conditional promise. When we love Jesus then both the Father and the Son will come and make their home in our hearts.

Romans 8:8-10
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

The idea here is that we cannot please God in the flesh. Even though we are in the flesh alive, we are not in the flesh in the sense that we live the fleshly life. The reason we do not live the fleshly life is because the Spirit of Christ and the Spirit of God dwells within us. And when the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ dwells in us we crucify the fleshly life and live the spiritual life. And we have already learned that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith and the Holy Spirit dwells in us through the word of God.

2 Corinthians 13:5
Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.

We all need to examine ourselves—physically, mentally, morally and spiritually. When we do that then we will know whether Christ is in us or if we have failed the test and been spiritually disqualified.

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.

Revelation 3:20
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.

According to John the apostle, Christ is knocking on our door. He does that every day. He wants to come in and live in our hearts and our lives. He wants us to glorify him by what we say, by what we do as we live the Christian life. And when Christ lives in our hearts he will make great changes in our lives. His indwelling will affect our social relationships and our conversations. His indwelling will shape our business transactions and keep our religious views within the teaching of the word of God.

CHRIST DWELLS IN THE BIBLE HEART (“INNER MAN”)

Now a few weeks ago I explained what the Bible heart is according to the teaching of the Scriptures. Sometimes people will ask, “What in the world is the Bible heart?” The inspired apostle Paul referred to the heart as “the inner man.” The heavenly Father wants us “to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man” (Ephesians 3:16). Therefore the inner man equals the Bible heart. We all have an outward man and an inward man. The Greeks looked upon the inner man as made up of the intellect, emotions, conscience and willpower. And the Greeks got that right because that is exactly how the Bible describes the Bible heart. The Bible heart is the seat of your intellect, emotions, willpower and conscience. Therefore, these are the areas which we must strengthen with the power and might through the Spirit of God who dwells in the word of God.

THE ADVANTAGES OF CHRIST DWELLING IN OUR HEARTS

Whatever the advantages of having Christ to dwell in our hearts by faith? We have many advantages and we will specify two or three.

Constancy!
Someone said one time, “Oh that I was always what I am sometimes.” There are many advantages to be steadfast in our faith and the indwelling of Christ in our hearts. We definitely want to imitate Christ in every way that we possibly can. And it was said of Jesus Christ “that he is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And it was said of the early Christians on the day of Pentecost, that they continued steadfastly in the apostle doctrine, the breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42). And we should definitely in by spirit of polls closing words to the church at Corinth in his first letter: “therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (first Corinthians 15:58).

Better Understanding
Another advantage of Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith is that we will have a better understanding of God and his will for us today. When Christ dwells in our hearts through faith and we have been rooted and grounded in love, then we will be able “to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:17-18). Every Christian should desire to have the four dimensional knowledge and understanding of the will of God. Christianity has been defined as the reproduction of the life of Christ in the human heart. This was the prayer of Paul for the Ephesian church and for the church today!

CHRIST INDWELLS THE HEART BY FAITH

Let us now investigate as to how Christ dwells in our hearts. When we began this lesson, we quoted Paul to the effect that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith (Ephesians 3:17). The Bible says we live by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). But what is faith? We are not left in doubt. The Bible defines faith in simple terms: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). According to this statement faith is the substance or foundation of everything that we hope for. Notice the prefix in substance. We all are aware that the prefix sub is found in many words. For instance, submarine means a boat down under the water. A subterranean passage way is down under the ground. A sub foundation is the foundation on which the structure is built. We could go on and on that these words illustrate the function of faith. Faith stands down under all of our hope for eternal life. And the Hebrews writer also has stated that without faith it is impossible to please God, for he who comes to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him (Hebrews 11:6).

And Abraham is the best example of faith. He is called the father of the faithful. Because when God commanded him to offer up his only son—his unique son of promise, he was ready to do the deed! He was ready to plunge the knife through his son’s heart. But God stayed his hand. And God said, “Now I know that Abraham believes. He stood the test. His faith was strong. He did not waver; he believed that God was able to raise him from the dead.

EXHORTATION

So Christ dwells in our hearts by faith when we become Christians and we live by faith after we become Christians. Let me give you an example. Paul went over into Europe to the city called Philippi. And there were some business women who went out by the Riverside to have a prayer meeting. We speak of Lydia and some of her friends. And the Bible says that the Lord opened her heart that she might hear and attend to the things that were spoken by Paul. After she was baptized she was considered to be a faithful Christian lady (Acts 16:14-15). This illustrates how Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. Therefore, Christ will dwell in our hearts by faith when we will have a mind and life in complete harmony with the mind and life of Christ formed in our heart. The apostle Paul declared that he was in the pains of childbirth until Christ would be formed in some of his dear children (Galatians 4:19).

Our prayer for any who are not Christians is that you will be baptized into Christ even this very day. According to the teaching of the Bible faith is unto (Romans 10:10)), repentance is unto (Acts 11:18), confession is unto (Romans 10:10), but baptism is always into! “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26-27).
Will you become a Christian and let Christ dwell in your heart by faith? And then he will add you to the church where you can glorify Christ “to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:20-21).*

*Copyright © 2019 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon, Sunday morning, November 3, 2019, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE ALL SEEING EYE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Symbolic of the All Seeing Eye

It is so good to be before you today to worship with you, and with those of our brothers and sisters that are worshiping from their home. We thank you for your interest and your devotion to Almighty God. We are thankful that we do have that anchor of the soul that keeps us on the right path, and we are glad that we have the opportunity to sing and to praise our God who lives and abides forever.

Today I’m speaking to you on the subject, The All Seeing Eye. I have never presented this lesson before and so I have been excited about studying and preparing to present it to you. The text that was just read from Psalms 139 actually introduces this lesson. Psalms 139 is one of my favorite Psalms and you’ll notice verses one through six actually describes the omniscience of God—He knows everything! Verses seven through 12 reveals the omnipresence of God—He is everywhere; and verses 13 through 18 expresses the omnipotence of God—He is all powerful! He is everywhere and He is all knowing! So that’s the God that we serve and that’s the God that we were praising in our song service today

I would like for all of you to take out a dollar bill and just hold onto it for a while. I hope all of you have one and if you don’t just see Mick because he is loaded! But just keep the dollar bill handy because we will talk about it a little bit during the course of this lesson.

Years ago I don’t particularly remember singing this song, but I know a lot of the old timers remember the song. It was called Watching You and it was written by a preacher named R. E. Winsett, and the song was describing the text and the subject that I’m discussing today—The All Seeing Eye. The first verse goes like this and will give you the idea of how this song would relate to the subject:

All along on the road to the soul’s true abode,
There’s an Eye watching you.
Every step that you take this great Eye is awake,
There’s an Eye watching you.
Everyday mind the course you pursue;
Watching you, watching you,
There’s an all-seeing Eye watching you.

I have been fascinated with what looks like a Big Eye on the screen. With the giant telescopes that we have today they can aim those things out into the universe and see things that we don’t see when we’re setting in the backyard on a starry night. Although it looks like a big giant EYE, I use that as the symbol for the All Seeing Eye of God. Now a lot of people didn’t like that song because they felt like it portrayed God as The Giant Policeman in the Sky, that’s just watching and waiting to catch you doing something wrong and punish you. But that’s the wrong idea because according to the scriptures Almighty God sees the good and the bad. And he wants to do good for us and not just bad. God is a just God; God is a loving God; God is a God of grace; and God is merciful and loving. Therefore today we are going to see that God has a many sided nature.

Now somebody penned these words one time about the All Seeing Eye of God:

For God our maker, ever nigh,
Surveys us with a watchful eye;
Our every thought and act he knows,
From early dawn to daylight’s close.


We want to explore seven scriptures that indicate that the All Seeing Eye of God is in the plural—the All Seeing Eyes of God.

SEVEN BIBLICAL STATEMENTS ABOUT GOD’S ALL SEEING EYES

Now the title of this lesson is the All Seeing Eye, but when I started examining the Scriptures, eye is always in the plural–the All Seeing Eyes of God! We are made in God’s image, and we don’t look like one of those space characters with one eye. We have two eyes. We don’t know what God looks like for the Bible says no man has seen God at any time. Moses wanted to see God and he showed him his backside, but would not show his face. There is a spiritual body according to first Corinthians 15 and there is a physical body. We are physical beings; God is a spiritual being, and what He looks like I don’t know. But when I examined the Bible I found that just like us, it’s God’s All Seeing Eyes, plural.

God’s Eyes Are Loyal

1. God’s Eyes are Strong and Loyal!

Now I want to talk to you about those “eyes!” In second Chronicles 16:1-9, we have the record of God sending a seer—they called a prophet a seer at that time. God sent Hanani the seer to speak to Asa, King of Judah. King Asa basically was a good king for the most part. He had served God faithfully and always did the right thing, but even the best of people mess up sometimes, and that’s exactly what had happened to Asa toward the end of his life.
Hanani came to Asa and reminded him how God had given him a great victory when he had relied upon God to help him defeat his enemy: “Were the Ethiopians and the Lubim not a huge army with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because you relied on the Lord, He delivered them into your hand” (2 Chronicles 16:8).

But now, Baasha King of Israel came up and started building at Ramah on the land of Judah and King Asa didn’t like that, so he went and formed a partnership with Benhadad King of Syria. Syria has always been among a perennial enemy of the Jewish people, so he went up and formed a league with the Benhadad and asked him to break his covenant with Baasha the King of Israel. He promised to give him some gold out of his house and some gold even from the Lord’s house. And yes, the King of Syria broke his covenant with Baasha King of Israel and they were able to drive him back to his territory.

But that is when Hanani the seer came to him and spoke the key words that describe the All Seeing Eye of God:

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

Take note of what Hanani said, “For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to him.” Now there’s a thought for us to think about. Are you loyal to the Lord throughout the week or just on Sunday? God sees what’s going on if we act like we are so loyal and through the week we are disloyal! But when we’re loyal to him, God is looking for people that are loyal and He is strong on their behalf. So the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, and He sees everything that’s going on, He sees those that are loyal and He sees the disloyal. God noticed when King Asa had been a loyal servant and he saw when he stopped relying upon the Lord. God’s all seeing eyes saw King Asa relying upon the King of Syria to help them out instead of God.

That is when Hanani said, “In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars” (2 Chronicles 16:9). In others words, “He said because you’ve acted this way you will have wars the rest your life—you will be fighting all the time. I will bring wars your way because you didn’t rely upon the Lord.”

Do you know what King Asa did to the Hanani the seer? He put him in prison! If one does not like the message you get rid of the messenger. That’s happened quite a few times in history. What about Joseph when he was put in prison because he was loyal? Yes, and what about the apostle Paul at Philippi when he was put in the inner prison with his feet fastened in this stocks? We know that down through the centuries faithful servants of God have been persecuted and have been put in jail. And persecution is going on right now throughout our country. There is a movement against organized religion and churches, and their not being treated the same way that they treat other institutions, and that in spite of the fact that our Constitution guarantees us the freedom to worship God and not answer to the State. Therefore number one, God’s eyes are strong and loyal and they run to and fro throughout the whole earth and see everything that is going on—and they take special notice of those who are loyal to the Lord.

God Looks at the Heart


2. God’s Eyes Are Perfect in Watchfulness and Caring

And in the second place, God’s eyes are perfect in watchfulness and caring. In Zechariah 3:9 the prophet said,

For behold, the stone
That I have laid before Joshua:
Upon the stone are seven eyes.
Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’
Says the Lord of hosts,
‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

Here we have seven eyes mentioned. Seven in the Bible is a symbolic word for completeness. For instance God created the heavens and the earth in six days and He rested the seventh day. A seven day week is a complete unit, and that’s one of the strongest arguments for the inspiration of the Bible that you will ever find. Why is it all over the world we have a seven day week? We have a 365 day year. We have quarters in the year and usually around 30 day months. But these are based upon are the movements of the heavenly bodies. But where did the week come from? The 7 day week is based upon the original creative week in six days and God rested on the seventh day. Literally God created the heavens and earth in six days and rested on the seventh day. Therefore seven stands for completeness and the seven eyes of God stands for complete omniscience. He sees everything and we have already established that, and this just confirms it further.

3. God’s Eyes Globally Scan all Small Things.

Now we will look at another verse in Zechariah 4:10:

For who has despised the day of small things?
For these seven rejoice to see
The plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.
They are the eyes of the Lord,
Which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth.”

The prophet asked the question, “For who has despised the day of small things?” Well, a lot of people despise the day of small things, because we love big things, large things, and great things. But don’t despise the day of small things for the seven rejoiced to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.” Why, because these seven are the eyes of the Lord which scan to and fro throughout the whole earth. When I saw that word “scan” I thought about my computer where you can go to documents and you can put a word in there and it will scan all your documents and bring all of them up for you to see. But the verse says these seven rejoiced to see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel! These seven are the eyes of the Lord and they scan to and fro throughout the whole earth. This is just another way of saying God knows everything that’s going on, you can’t trick God, you cannot lie to him, and you cannot hide from him, because he sees everything that happens on the earth.

4. God’s Eyes Always Look to Bring Justice!

God’s eyes are always looking to bring about justice. God is a just God, He is a loving God, God is full of grace, mercy and forgiveness, but he also is a God of justice. He brings about justice as the prophet said in Amos 9:4:

Though they go into captivity before their enemies,
From there I will command the sword,
And it shall slay them.
I will set My eyes on them for harm and not for good.”


Amos is talking about Israel who went to Babylon into captivity at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years. From Babylon God will command the sword and it shall slay them because “I will set my eyes on them for harm and not for good.” Why is God so just? It is because they have not obeyed him, they had strayed away from him and they were practicing all the abominable things that were going on in the nations around them, like idolatry and all kinds of wicked sexual acts. God would set His eyes on them for harm and not good. We should keep that in mind concerning the way that Christians should live today!

5. God’s Eyes and Ears are Always Open to the Cries of the Righteous?

In contrast, God’s eyes and ears are always open to the cries of the righteous. That should be a wonderful promise to all of us today. When we go through some trouble during hard times and you are worried, just remember God’s eyes and ears are always open to the cries of the righteous. Why? Because David exclaimed in Psalms 34:15:

The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.


The eyes of the Lord are specifically on the righteous and his ears are open to their cry! The eyes of the Lord are providentially caring for His people. What a wonderful promise.

6. God’s Balanced Omniscient Eyes Keep Watch on the Good and the Bad!

God’s balanced eyes keep watch on the good and the bad at all times. This is also a wonderful promise to all of us today. His eyes not only see the bad but also the good. In Proverbs 15:3 the wise man Solomon wrote:

The eyes of the Lord are in every place,
Keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Notice that the eyes of the Lord are in every place keeping watch on the evil and on the good. We see all the bad stuff going on and we have the habit of dwelling on the bad. But God takes notice and sees the good as well as the bad. God is always balanced in superintending the universe!

7. God’s Eyes are Open to the Secrets of all People.

And now I will attend to the passage in the New Testament. The New Testament doesn’t mention the eyes of God as often as the Old Testament. But it does mention the eyes of God in a powerful passage in Hebrews 4:12-13:

“For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”

This should be a very sobering thought to all of us, when we realize that nothing is hidden from the eyes of Him to whom we must give an account at the judgment day!

We have studied seven passages of scripture that shows that God sees the good and the bad. He is a righteous God whose ears are open and his eyes see the righteous people and hear their cries. God is a wonderful God and in justice, love and mercy he will take care of all his faithful children!

THE HISTORICAL MEANING OF THE EYE IN A TRIANGLE

Deo Favente-With God Favoring

Now I want us to take a look at your dollar bill. Take a look at the front of it and we have a picture of the father of our country—George Washington. In my opinion he is the greatest president ever because he started it all. He made great sacrifices when he could have been sitting under his own vine and fig tree. He gave up the good life in order to serve our country. But let us all look on the backside of the dollar bill. In 1776 certain people were commissioned to come up with a great seal for the United States of America. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson and a few other people were on the committee. But the design they created was for the most part rejected. Benjamin Franklin came up with E Pluribus Unum—out of many one and they kept that and it was put on our Coins. Benjamin Franklin also wanted the turkey to be on the great seal, but that also was rejected. Aren’t you glad that the bald eagle is on our national seal instead of the turkey? We have enough turkeys running around already!

But we are just going to look at one aspect of this great seal. Notice on the left side of the dollar bill there is a Pyramid, and above it there is an Eye and a Latin phrase—ANNUIT COEPTIS and below it there is also a Latin phrase. I have been discussing “The Eyes of God” in the plural. That phrase is used about seven times the in the Bible. Scripture speaks of “the eyes of God,” but I recognize that an “eye” can stand for both eyes. If l say, “I have my eye on you,” that doesn’t mean that I am going to cover up one of my eyes. No, that’s a figure speech called synecdoche where a part can stand for the whole or the whole can stand for the part. Therefore, I have no problem here with this “all seeing eye,” because it really represents the “All Seeing Eyes of God!” as the Scripture teach.

But first, let us take a historical look at the triangle with an eye over it during the 15th through the 18th centuries. During this time period it was common to see this All Seeing Eye on different things, like the paintings of the great painters of that time period. For example, the painter Pontormo painted The All Seeing Eye above a Triangle on a painting called Supper at Emmaus in 1525, and is here displayed for all to see. You can see that it represents the providence of Almighty God—the God of justice, the God of mercy and the God of love. Throughout the centuries there were many paintings symbolizing the eternal God by the All Seeing Eye in a Triangle. The triangle represented the triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Supper at Emmaus by Pontormo 1525

The All Seeing Eye in a triangle of the 15th through the 18th centuries had this inscription upon them: DEO FAVENTE, and when translated into English it meant “With God Favoring.”

THE UNITED STATES NATIONAL SEAL EXPLAINED

We are just going to look at one aspect of this great seal. Notice on the left side of the dollar bill there is a Pyramid, and above it there is an Eye and a Latin phrase—ANNUIT COEPTIS. And below the pyramid there is a Latin phrase “NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM,” Above this pyramid there is The All Seeing Eye, that I been talking about and found seven times in the Bible. In these seven references the scripture uses the phrase “the all seeing eyes.” But I recognize that one eye can stand for both eyes. If I say, I have my eye on you,” that’s a figure of speech called synecdoche where a part can stand for the whole or the whole can stand for the part. So I have no problem here with this All Seeing Eye because it really represents the All Seeing Eyes of God, as the Scriptures teach.

But notice that our forefathers didn’t take that Latin saying of The All Seeing Eye of the 15th through the 18th centuries, but they rejected “With God Favoring,” and instead they came up with a new design and a new Latin phrase. But what is the meaning of the pyramid? The pyramid stands for strength. You have to admit that out of all the ancient buildings in the world, the pyramids are still standing in our day. They are beginning to crumble on the outside, but they are still in tack and so the way those things are made, it reveals strength and stability. So our forefathers used the pyramid as a symbol of the strength and stability of our country. And then they put a Latin saying over The All Seeing Eye of God, ANNUIT COEPTIS, meaning “He (God) has favored our undertakings.”

At the bottom of the pyramid our forefathers put the Latin inscription “NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM,” when translated into English means “A New Order of The Ages.” “The pyramid signifies strength and duration; the eye over it and the motto alluded to the many signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause.” The final rendition of the national seal was created by Charles Thompson, Secretary of the Continental Congress, and was adopted by Congress on June 20, 1782.

When you read about the history of the beginning of our country, Almighty God had to be with us in those battles against the greatest navy in the world—the British Navy. If you are really interested you can study about the right side of the Great Seal with the Eagle and the arrows in his talons and the stars and all that. It all has meaning and it’s very interesting.

THE ALL SEEING EYE GOD IS NEUTRAL—HE SEES THE GOOD AND BAD

I want to close out this lesson with the idea that The All Seeing Eye of God is neutral. He sees the good and he sees the bad. I remember when I was growing up I didn’t like my dad to see something when I was doing bad because I knew what was going to happen. But as I got older and I did some things that were good, I really enjoyed when he could see me doing something good. Don’t you think that God feels the same way? He wants to see all of you brothers and sisters in Christ living the Christian life. When He looks down and sees that brother is doing a good job living the Christian life consistently it will please Him. But he may see a brother or sister over here that has left their Christianity here in the building, they’re not doing right and it hurts him to see that kind of thing going on. So I guess that what we’re trying to get over today is we want to make God happy when we leave here and go out to live this week. Let’s remember that God sees everything we’re doing, everything we say and He even sees our every motive, our thoughts, and our actions. God loves us and let us live in such a way that God will smile and reach out to help us. So remember The All Seeing Eye of God is neutral—He sees the good and the bad!

In Proverbs 15:3 Solomon stated, “The eyes of the Lord are in every place keeping watch on the evil and the good,” and in Psalms 139:7-8 that was read at the beginning, David said,

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend into heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.


God is everywhere, He sees everything that’s going on, and the New Testament writers teach, “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).

And one of the most beautiful verses in the Old Testament is Psalms 34:15,

“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their cry.”

Simon Peter became an apostle and preached to the Israelites and the Gentiles. Later in life Peter quoted in his general letter the words of Psalms 34:15. But he added these words:

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
(1 Peter 3:12 NKJV)

So let’s keep that in mind. God sees the good and the bad. He wants to see us doing the good, he wants to help us, He is a God of love, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Therefore, God is a God of love, He is a God of mercy, and He is a God of grace: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:8-10). God, The All Seeing Eye, sees the good and the bad and he wants to see the good in all of his people.

I close today with a statement that Jesus made during his personal ministry. One day He asked some of his disciples “Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10: 29-30). God does take notice of every one of us; He even knows the number of hairs on our head! There are millions of sparrows, and not one of them can fall to the ground without God taking notice. But then He said, “You are worth more than many sparrows.” Therefore, if the eyes of Almighty God are on the sparrow and not a single hair from our head can fall to the ground without Him taking notice, don’t you think God is concerned about us? He loves us, he wants to help us and he wants us to be loyal and faithful servants all the days of our lives.

If you are not a Christian, today would be a wonderful opportunity, the baptistery water is warm, and we have people ready to assist you. If you have not been immersed for the forgiveness of sin, why not do so today? Jesus charged his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15-16). But if you’ve done that and then for some reason or another you have become an unfaithful member because you have fallen away, you do not need to be baptized again. But you do need to repent of those sins, confess them and go to God in prayer and be restored, so the blood of Christ can take away all of your present sins and restore your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If you’re subject to this invitation please come forward while together we stand and sing this hymn.

Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd delivered the essence of this sermon December 6, 2020, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 W. Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

BETRAYAL

By Shelby G. Floyd

69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. 70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil 71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. Devil : Diabolos, slanderous; with definite article, Satan. Judas, Judah; praise : He was of the tribe of Judah. Iscariot means man. of Kerioth, one of the towns settled by the tribe of Judah (Josh 15:25). Judas was the only disciple that was not a native of Galilee. He came from. Judah, the country most hostile to Jesus.

When one surveys history some notorious traitors come to mind, such as Benedict Arnold, Aaron Burr, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. But the name that most Christians remember is Judas Iscariot, who betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ:

Matthew 26:48
Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”


Normally, a kiss is a sign of love, loyalty and friendship. But in the case of Judas it has become a symbol of sin, shame and betrayal.

Continue reading “BETRAYAL”