SHARPER THAN A SWORD

SERMONS

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."

All articles are written using the NKJV, unless otherwise noted! All articles are written by David Hicks, unless specified otherwise.

- What We Leave Behind-

Opening Thought:

Hebrews 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,”

A friend of mine often states that none of us are getting out of this alive (speaking of this life)! The Hebrew writer affirms this sentiment. However, after the fact that we are going to die, the Hebrew writer also affirms that their will be a judgment.

God will judge those on the outside ( I Corinthians 5:13 ) based on the premise of the Gospel,

Mark 16:15-16 “And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved ; but he who does not believe will be condemned .”

All those of the household of faith will stand before the judgment seat of Christ, to be judged for the deeds done in this body ( II Corinthians 5:10 ).

Everyone will be judged for the choices they make in this life! This brings me to the heart of this lesson and its origin. The same friend I mentioned earlier, this week gave me a quote. Although I don't collect quotes or study them extensively, this one hit me hard (especially in light of events in my life this week), note:

We take nothing with us when we die, except what we leave behind!

I have no idea of the author, but really take a look at the words. Let them sink in! For this particular lesson, I want to address myself and all Christians, who will stand before the judgment seat of Christ. What will we be known for, when we meet our Lord? What will His saints say about us, after we are gone? What will those on the outside say of us? Will we be considered with those mentioned in Hebrews 11 , which died in faith; or will be considered with Hymenaeus or Philetus ( II Timothy 2:17 ), who strayed concerning the truth?

Many are already giving the easy answer; however, does our life reflect the answer?

Let's explore this simple premise!

Lesson:

We want to look at two simple things !

First we want to look at a passage of scripture in II Peter 1 .

The first letter of Peter addresses mostly external things. As the Christians Peter is writing to are pilgrims and sojourners in a new land and temporary residents of this life, the theme is hope (to live in such a way in this life as to achieve their hope). The second letter of Peter deals with predominantly internal things, especially the recognition of false teachers. So the theme changes from hope to knowledge. However, knowledge is only as good as the simple understanding of how to use it to achieve a desired purpose.

You can be the smartest, most intelligent individual in the world, but if you can't set a mouse trap or screw in a light bulb, what good is that knowledge? There must be a simple application for the knowledge. What we learn from our text is that knowledge and its simple application must go hand in hand. In addition, for the purpose of our lesson; Peter describes for us the things that we want to have said about us (a godly legacy).

2 Peter 1:1-4 Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ:

2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, 3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, 4 by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

First in the introduction, Peter reminds them of the shared precious faith that has brought them to this point. It is said in the past tense and he is mindful that they had already done that which obtained for themselves this like precious faith.

They heeded the words of the Gospel, to achieve knowledge of Jesus Christ and the salvation He offers. They had repented and escaped the corruption of the world. Finally they had been baptized and saved by the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ ( I Peter 3:21 ).

However, obtaining this shared faith is only the beginning. Peter will tell them that because they have received this precious faith, they needed to give diligence to further this faith (it was just the beginning), and is now going to tell them exactly what they need to add to this faith.

2 Peter 1:5-11 “But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue , to virtue knowledge , 6 to knowledge self-control , to self-control perseverance , to perseverance godliness , 7 to godliness brotherly kindness , and to brotherly kindness love . 8 For if these things are yours and abound , you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ . 9 For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .”

These are the attributes that we want to have said about us. Since we will be judged for the things done in our body (what we leave behind), this is what we want the saints and those on the outside to be reminded of, when they think of us.

 

Seems pretty simple! Let's explore one more passage of scripture and make it even easier.

Ecclesiastes 12:6-14 “Remember your Creator before the silver cord is loosed, Or the golden bowl is broken, Or the pitcher shattered at the fountain, Or the wheel broken at the well. 7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, And the spirit will return to God who gave it.

8 "Vanity of vanities," says the Preacher, "All is vanity."

9 And moreover, because the Preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yes, he pondered and sought out and set in order many proverbs. 10 The Preacher sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright--words of truth.

11 The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. 12 And further, my son, be admonished by these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.

13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter :

Fear God and keep His commandments , For this is man's all . 14 For God will bring every work into judgment , Including every secret thing, Whether good or evil.”

 

The book of Ecclesiastes derives its title from the Greek attempt to translate the original Hebrew title. The original Hebrew word, ‘ kahal ', means, “one who assembles a congregation”. Simply put, a preacher, or for the titles sake ‘Speaker Before an Assembly'.

The author of the book is simply, “The Preacher”. There is a great debate about the actual author and in this short lesson we cannot begin to cover everything necessary to talk about this debate. However, in the first two chapters, the writer takes on the personification of Solomon for the purpose of setting forth the theme, ‘the vanity of all things temporal'. After chapter two, this personification is dropped and the body of the preachers teaching begins, and then is summarized in our text.

The book is primarily a book of comfort. From within the body of the preacher's lesson, the godly are suffering greatly. The comfort offered comes from two points of understanding. First, that there is only temporary comfort to be found in earthly things (wealth, human knowledge and wisdom, pride, etc…); and that sooner or later everything is vain. Second, that those who understand the folly of temporal things are better prepared to suffer here in this life (their hope is in something more substantial). With this let's look at the text.

Vs. 6: The preacher encourages us to remember our creator and uses three illustrations to basically tell us that we need to do it before its to late. So why not just say that? Well, we must remember that he is a preacher!

Vs. 7-8: The preacher is summarizing the vanity of a Godless life within the body of these two verses. I encourage you to read Chapter 2:10-11 , where the preacher personifies Solomon and this supposition is expressed in his words and life (the greatest example of vanity as an illustration).

Vs. 9-12: Here the preacher expresses the vanity of wisdom alone. Wisdom is necessary, however, it is wearisome without a simple conclusion and application.

In addition, a life of honor based on wisdom alone is also vanity. An example of the masters of assemblies is given and compared to goads. Goads are used to prod the unwilling along (to do the difficult work they do not want to do). Much like the Pharisees of the time of our Lord, that taught and studied with diligence the Law of Moses, but failed to live it ( Matthew 23:3 ).

Vs. 13-14: Here the preacher sets forth the only thing that is not vanity, the great and simple conclusion to a full cup of life. People are always asking, “Why am I here”, well this is the simple answer! Fear God and keep His commandments !

So, what does it mean to fear God?

It is an attitude by which you live your life; a permanent posture towards your creator that includes a reverence to His majesty, a regard for His authority, and a dread for His wrath. Then naturally, to keep His commandments is life's response to the fear of God (heed, keep, observe, and obey).

Why heed this great conclusion?

•  It is applicable to every person.

•  We are morally responsible people (how have I lived? Deeds done in our bodies!).

•  Most are oblivious and unconcerned that they practice vanity, until it's too late.

•  The preacher's message is the epitome of realism.

•  In the life of Solomon we see that men were not created to pursue fleshly interests.

•  Purposeful living is when life reflects the will of the designer.

•  One day we all will be faced with the presence of God !

 

All this is given to set forth the proper perspective of a truly purpose filled life. However, the realism is that many (even among the children of God) are living in vain. Since God is going to bring to light, for the purpose of judgment every work we practice in this life, what is the repute that we are taking with us before Him?

 

Tribute:

Every now and again, someone comes along that personifies the great conclusion portrayed by the preacher, and based on this great understanding (as purely simple as it is), portrays all of practices and qualities that are mentioned by the Apostle Peter. This is not a testament to a perfect life; however, it is a testament of a complete life in Christ Jesus our Lord! I have been privileged to know just such a person, and have been privileged to have been affected by her constant and un-wavering devotion to the Lord. Just as those who were given in Hebrews the 11 th chapter as illustrations of those who have died in faith, and left a legacy that teaches you and me to this day; I would like to share with you someone whom the saints and those on the outside have said lived this simple conclusion!

 

Eva J. Webb

Born: March 3 rd , 1907

Died: December 28 th , 2006

 

Virtue:

One of the greatest virtues a child of God can display, is that of honesty!

Brother Jim Hoff, a preacher of the Gospel of Christ and long time friend of the family, said of Grandma, “ You always knew where you stood with Eva, because she told you ”.

In addition, she was meek and never exceeded her place. She was approachable and was always open and concerned about everyone.

Knowledge:

She had a Bible at every station in her home and read them constantly.

 

Self – Control:

She was the epitome of moderation. She never allowed herself excess in anything. She managed her money around what she could do for the church and the Gospel.

Perseverance:

Sister Susan Bonds, a long time friend of the family said that grandma told her the day before she passed, “ I never found it difficult to serve the Lord ”. Her son, Pete Hicks, said, “ I can't remember anytime in my life that she didn't put the Lord and His church first ”.

This is true perseverance! She was baptized and eleven years old and never failed to serve the Lord. Even at ninety nine, she was concerned about attendance and service.

Godliness:

Godliness is best described as piety, or a life that reflects godly virtues. David Webb and his family described her as a true Proverbs 31 woman (describing a virtuous wife). Note the last two verses of that chapter, as I can't believe how accurately this describes her.

Proverbs 31:30-31 “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the L ord , she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Brotherly Kindness:

Sister Charlene Johnson, a long time friend and sister in Christ with Grandma at the Mt. Vernon, Church of Christ in San Bernardino, California; said this of Grandma, “Eva was such a valuable example to me, because she was the first one to help anyone

.

Love:

1 John 5:3 “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

She knew that the best way to act in the best interest of the ones she loved was to first love God.

 

Summary: The event of her passing to be with the Lord has caused me to consider seriously my legacy and what I am leaving behind right now. I believe that we bring into our lives so much vanity that often we can't see the forest for the trees. Take stock of the choices we are making right now and simplify your service to include only the simplest principles that we have studied in this lesson. I pray to God everyday that I live just the remainder of my days after the same devotion and Godly fear that she lived all her days.

 

That's what I want to leave behind!