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Recipe for Reformation (Part 2)

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Radio transcript for the week of November 22. 2009

Todd Clippard preaches on "Recipe for Reformation (Part 2)" on Seeking the Lost - International Radio.

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Greetings! And thank you for listening to the Seeking the Lost International Radio program. My name is Todd Clippard and I work with Harold Bigham and Ricky Berger in preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ through this medium. I am grateful to the elders of the Clinton, Mississippi church of Christ for their confidence and invitation to be a part of this great work. You may listen to previous sermons on the Seeking the Lost website, that address is www.seekingthelost.net. You can also read transcripts of previous lessons and print them for further study by this visiting this website. You may learn more about the Seeking the Lost radio program at our website or you may also visit the website of the Clinton Mississippi church of Christ www.clintoncoc.org.

I hope you'll take your Bible and open to the Old Testament book of Second Kings. We are going to continue our examination of the reformations of Hezekiah as found in Second Kings eighteen and verses two through seven. The theme and title of our study is and will continue to be "Recipe for Reformation." We know that a recipe is a set of instructions by which something is made or created. Generally speaking we think of a recipe in regard to food or perhaps even medicine. When going to look at a recipe for reformation, we considered the reforms that Hezekiah initiated among the children of Israel there in the nation of Judah.

In Second Kings eighteen, speaking of Hezekiah in verse 2, "He was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-nine years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Abi the daughter of Zechariah. And he did what was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father David had done. He removed the high places and broke the sacred pillars, cut down the wooden image and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made; for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan. He trusted in the LORD God of Israel, so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him. For he held fast to the LORD; he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments, which the LORD had commanded Moses. The LORD was with him; he prospered wherever he went. And he rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. He subdued the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city." (NKJV)

Our examination of this text last week began with the necessity for commitment to righteous living in matters of reformation. Real change will not be made without commitment. Real change in regard to our relationship with God will not be successful without a genuine commitment to a righteous living. And we noted that from verse three where it says "he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord".

Today we're going to look at the second major recipe for reformation, and that is the desire and commitment to clean house. In verse four and in the early part of the verse it says he removed the high places. You may recall if you listened to our program the last time I spoke, we talked about the sins of Hezekiahâ??s father Ahaz, and how he made his son's pass through the fire. That is a reference to child sacrifice. His father was an exceedingly wicked man, and yet Hezekiah was willing to clean house. That is, he did not regard the fact that the present sins of the people had been inaugurated by his own father. He was willing to clean house regardless of who had initiated those particular sins and atrocities and abominations. We also need to understand that when we clean house we must remove all obstacles to righteous living. We can't just clean house by removing some of the obstacles to righteous living; we must be willing to set aside, eliminate, destroy any and every obstacle that stands between us and the Lord. In Matthew nineteen and in the middle part of that chapter we read about the rich young ruler. We read of him and his desire to live righteously. We know that he was a good hearted young man because it says he came running to the Lord. And he said to him, "Good master, what must I do that I might inherit eternal life?" Jesus asked him first of all, "Why do you call me good?" which we understand to be a test that Jesus was asking, "Do you really think that I'm God"? For Jesus said "there is none good except for God." And so Jesus is really saying, â??Do you believe that I am good? Do you believe that I am God?â?? And then went on to say, â??If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.â?? The young man said "Which ones?" Jesus said "You shall not murder; you should not commit adultery; Donâ??t steal; you shall not bear false witness; honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as yourself. The young man said, "I have kept all these from my youth; what do I yet lack?" The young man knew, he understood, there was something lacking, and so he was at first committed to a righteous living wanting to know what are the obstacles that stand between me and eternal life. But Jesus said if you would be whole or complete, perfect, go and sell, give to the poor, and you'll have treasure in heaven, and then follow me. But when the young man heard that saying he went away sorrowful for he had great possessions. See, this young man was willing to remove certain obstacles between him and the Lord, but he was not willing to remove all obstacles, for he was not willing to give up his money as Jesus required of him. Jesus does not here teach that we must all give up all of our money in order to follow him. But Jesus understood that this young man's wealth was a hindrance, it was a stumbling block, it was an obstacle from him being faithful follower of Christ. And so we understand that cleaning house requires a removal of all obstacles to righteous living.

But not only must we clean house, that is remove the bad, we must set in order the things that are good. Genuine reformation not only requires the removal of obstacles, it requires the restoration of divine guidelines for righteous living. I want you to think that we must remove the bad, but we must also restore the good. Jesus told the parable or the story of the man who had been demon possessed and the demon left him. But once the house was clean the man did not restore or refill the house with good things. So, when the demon returned he found plenty of room and came back and Jesus said brought with him seven more demons, and the end was much, much worse than the beginning. And so as we think about what we must do, it's not just about what we don't do; it's not just about the sins that we don't commit, because even though these are important, weâ??ll not the only be judged by what we don't do, weâ??ll also be judged by what we do. One of my favorite preachers one time said if we go to the judgment with nothing more than a list of the things that we don't do, he said all weâ??ll have is just a list of zeros, and a list of zeros doesn't add up to much. In Matthew chapter twelve and up beginning in verse 43 I want to read this text that mentions the unclean spirit and how it returns. Jesus said that when an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none. Then he says, "I'll return to my house from which I came, and he comes and finds it empty, swept, put in order, but then goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself and they enter and dwell there and the last state of that man is worse than the first.

Many people become disenchanted with the lifestyle of the world they become disenchanted with what they believe to be hypocrisy in religion, and then they shed themselves of that, they clean house. But the problem is they do not restored it or restored to themselves the proper relationship with the Lord. The Bible says that we must do most things which are good and right in the side of the Lord. So as we think today about cleaning house, when one of think about removing the bad but also restoring the good, removing the bad means that we must repent of our sins. That means we have a change of mind that leads to a change of life. Repentance is just that, a change of mind that leads to a change of living. Once we're willing to repent of our sins and we are truly sorrowful for our sins, then we can replace that which is bad with that which is good and we can put good things in our heart. Particularly our confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God â?? Romans 10:9-10. And then we can be baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins â?? Acts 2:38. And then we will live faithfully until death. We will grow spiritually, 1 Peter 2:2. And so we remove the bad, we restore it with a good and thus we will find favor in the eyes of the Lord. I hope that our study has been a benefit to you today. Lord willing if I return we will pick up again with this particular text as we look at our recipe for reformation. Please keep listening as you will find the means to contact us at the end of this program.

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