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Recipe for Reformation (Part 3)

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Radio transcript for the week of December 06, 2009

Todd Clippard preaches on "Recipe for Reformation (Part 3)" 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 examination 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 as we 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 continues to be "Recipe for Reformation." We know that a recipe is a generally known as a set of instructions or directions by which something is of made or created. We are going to look at Hezekiahâ??s recipe for reformation as we considered the reforms that he initiated among Israelites in the nation of Judah. In Second Kings eighteen, speaking of Hezekiah in verse 2 we read, "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 first examination of this text 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 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 he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord.

Our second study noted the need to clean house. In the early part of verse four we read of how Hezekiah "removed the high places." Hezekiahâ??s father Ahaz was an exceedingly wicked man, as he made his sons pass through the fire. That is a reference to child sacrifice which was commonly associated with the worship of Molech. 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. We also need to understand that when we clean house we must remove all obstacles to righteous living.

Todayâ??s study focuses on the need to challenge tradition. In the latter half of verse four we read where Hezekiah "broke in pieces the bronze serpent Moses had made, for until those days the children of Israel burned incense to it, and called it Nehushtan." Think for a moment how long that bronze serpent had been a part of Judahâ??s history. It had been nearly 800 years since Moses had forged that serpent in Numbers 21. Now, while all traditions are not necessarily bad, this tradition placed Godâ??s people in direct violation of His law forbidding idolatry.

The Bible contains many good examples of those who were willing to break with bad traditions, particularly religious traditions. For example:

  • Abraham (earlier called Abram) was the son of Terah. According to Joshua 24:2, Terah is specifically identified as an idolater. Yet Abraham abandoned the religious tradition of his father and is known to us today as the Father of Faith. He was the first man who was promised that his descendants would eventually bring forth Jesus the Messiah.

  • Gideon is another who overcame the religious traditions of his family to entreat Godâ??s favor. In Judges 6:25-26 we see where Gideon was commanded by the angel of the Lord to tear down his fatherâ??s idol of the Canaanite goddess Asherah and rebuild in its place an altar to the Lord. In verse 27 we are told he took ten of his servants and did as he was commanded, but did it at night for fear of his family and the rest of the cityâ??s citizens. When the deed was discovered, the men of the city commanded that Gideon be put to death, but his father Joash said, "Anyone who pleads on Baalâ??s behalf should be put to death. If Baal is god, then let him deal with Gideon himself."

In the New Testament, we read of the traditions of the Pharisees as Jesus addressed their hypocrisy in Matthew 15:1-9. The text says: "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem came to Jesus, saying, "Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread." He answered and said to them, "Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' But you say, 'Whoever says to his father or mother,"Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God" - then he need not honor his father or mother.' Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'" (NKJV)

Jesus condemned the Pharisaic traditions because they not only equated these teachings with the Word of God, they considered their traditions as being superior to Godâ??s Word.

And so it is with men today. When they are taught the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they do not obey it, choosing instead to cling to and follow the religious traditions of their ancestors. They say, "This is not what I was taught," or, "This is not what my parents or ancestors believed."

This is in contrast to what we read in the New Testament. On the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, three thousand Jews forsook the religious traditions of their fathers and embraced the simple gospel of Jesus Christ. After believing the gospel message as preached by Peter and the rest of the apostles, in verse 38 they were commanded to repent and be baptized in order to receive the remission of their sins. They did not say, "This is not what weâ??ve always been taught."

In like fashion, in Acts 16 when the Philippian jailer heard the word of God, he and his family were baptized straightway the same hour of the night. They did not appeal to the faith of their fathers, which if it existed, was likely idolatry. Instead, they forsook the tradition of their ancestors, obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in so doing were saved from their sins by the blood of Jesus Christ.

And you can obey that same gospel today. If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24), are willing to change your life in repentance (Acts 17:30) and confess your faith in Christ (Matthew 10:32), you can be baptized into Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and be raised in newness of life (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-5).

If you have any questions or comments about any thing you've heard on this program today, or you have any questions of a Biblical nature, then we encourage you to contact us. You can contact us through the website or by one of the means which you will hear at the conclusion of this program. So we encourage you to keep listening for all of our contact information. Thank you again for listening and they thank you for your willingness to listen to and study the Word of God with us. We hope that you have a wonderful day. Until next time Iâ??m Todd Clippard for the Seeking the Lost International Radio program.

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