I adapted this sermon by Charles Box for my lesson yesterday in the Taubate congregation.
Rarely do I use even another’s outline (I can’t remember the last time), but I thought the idea behind this was great and the applications quite appropriate.
YOU HAD BETTER ASK GOD FIRST
Nathan was a great prophet of God. He lived during the reigns of David and Solomon. It was he who rebuked David for his sin with Bathsheba. (2 Samuel 2:1-10) To rebuke David Nathan used the parable of a rich man taking a poor man’s “little eve lamb.” With the statement “Thou art the man” Nathan brought David to his knees.
Nathan was a good man but he learned that you had better ask God first. He told David what to do before he inquired concerning God’s will.
“Now it came to pass, when David was dwelling in his house, that David said to Nathan the prophet, See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under tent curtains. Then Nathan said to David, Do all that is in your heart, for God is with you. But it happened that night that the word of God came to Nathan, saying, Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the Lord: You shall not build Me a house to dwell in.” (1 Chronicles 17:1-4)
David felt bad about living in a nice house while God was worshipped in a tent. He desired to build a house for God. Without asking God what He wanted Nathan told David to do what was in his heart. He should have asked God first. God said to Nathan, “Go and tell My servant David, Thus says the Lord: You shall not build Me a house to dwell in.” (1 Chronicles 17:4) When it comes to religious matters, before you decide what is right and wrong, you had better ask God first. Let us consider the importance of asking God first:
Before you say that one God is as good as another you had better ask the true God first. The Almighty God is the Creator of heaven and earth. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:1-2) What less than Almighty strength could bring about the creation? There are many that are called god, but to us there is but “one God.” “For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live.” (1 Corinthians 8:5-6) There is, “one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:6) So, before you say that one God is as good as another you had better ask the true God first.
Before you say that the Bible contains errors you had better ask God first. The Bible says, “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” (Psalm 19:7) Jesus said, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32) How could we know truth if the Bible is full of errors? Paul reminded us that, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) You can have total confidence that the Bible is God’s revelation and that it is correct. So, before you say that the Bible contains errors you had better ask God first.
Before you say that the church is not important you had better ask God first. The Bible tells us that Christ purchased the church with His own blood. Paul told a group of elders to “take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” (Acts 20:28) The church is Christ’s house. The Hebrew writer spoke of “Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:6) The church is Christ’s “own house.” The greatness of Christ’s love for the church is revealed in His giving Himself unto death for the church. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” (Ephesians 5:25) so, before you say that the church is not important you had better ask God first.
Before you say that one church is as good as another you had better ask God first. Christ built and preserved only one church. Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18) God is glorified through “the church.” “To Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:21) The seed of the kingdom (Luke 8:11) does not produce different kinds of churches. We are called in “one body” or “one church.” (Colossians 3:15) So, before you say that one church is as good as another you had better ask God first.
Before you say that baptism is not essential to salvation you had better ask God first. Saul was told, “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) In our baptism we are “calling on the name of the Lord” for our salvation. Saul was told to join himself to the Lord by baptism. At baptism one is embracing Christ, the Christian religion, the privilege and responsibilities of it. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:16) So, before you say that baptism is not essential to salvation you had better ask God first.
Before you say that Christians can use mechanical instruments of music in worship you had better ask God first. We cannot be guided by the mind of Christ and use instrument music in worship. The New Testament clearly instructs Christians to sing. Paul wrote “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:19) Singing is a vital part of our worship and it must be done God’s way. The Hebrew writer wrote, “I will declare Your name to My brethren; In the midst of the assembly I will sing praise to You.” (Hebrews 2:12) The mechanical instrument is simply out of place in Christian worship. In singing we worship God with a divinely created instrument — the heart. So, before you say that Christians can use mechanical instruments of music in worship you had better ask God first.
To be saved from sin a lost person must hear something and do something as a result of what he has heard. The lost must hear of Christ and His kingdom (church). They must then be baptized as penitent believers in response to the gospel message. (Acts 8:5-13, Acts 8:26-40.) Then, in Christ, we must be sure our actions are governed by God’s will. Always remember to ask God first.
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, P.O. Box 551, Greenville, Alabama 36037 USA