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Recipe for Reformation (Part 4)

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Radio transcript for the week of December 20, 2009

Todd Clippard preaches on "Recipe for Reformation (Part 4)" 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.

Please take your Bible and open to the Old Testament book of Second Kings chapter eighteen. This is the fourth and final study in our series, "Recipe for Reformation." We are going to look at Hezekiahâ??s recipe for reformation as we considere 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 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.

Our third study focused on the need to challenge tradition. When men are taught the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, often they do not obey it, choosing instead to cling to 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." But we must be willing to do what is right according to the Bible and not according to our family or religious traditions.

Our final study in this series brings us full circle back to our very first discussion. Whereas at the beginning we examined the need for commitment to righteous living, today we discuss the need for a continual walk with God. In verse five of our text, the Bible says, "He trusted in the Lord God of Israel, so that after him there was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor who were before him.

When one decides to walk with God, he must understand the nature of that journey. Walking with God means to walk according to his divine precepts. It means I walk with him, even though, like David, I may "walk though the valley of the shadow of death" (Psalm 23:4). It means I walk with him even though, like Noah, everyone else is committed only to doing those things that are evil (Genesis 6:5-9). It means I walk with him even though I might have to forsake family and friends (Matthew 10:32-36). I can only do this when I place my complete trust and confidence in the Lord.

Trust is not something easily gained, but it is easily lost. A man can spend a lifetime building a good name and reputation, only to destroy it in a moment of carelessness. Hezekiah trusted in the Lord because he knew the Lord would never fail him (Heb 13:4).

Moreover, the text tells us that Hezekiah "held fast to the Lord." In Acts 11:23-24 we see where Barnabas, the "Son of Encouragement," exhorted the disciples at Antioch to cleave (hold fast) to the Lord. When we hold fast we do not let go or turn loose of what we have. We do our best not to let anyone take that precious item from us.

Finally in this regard, verse 6 says "he did not depart from following Him, but kept His commandments. This is in contrast to other kings who began by following the Lord, but fell away. Among these were Solomon, Joash, Amaziah, and Asa.

As we close, letâ??s consider one more statement from verses seven and eight that pertains to the consequences of righteousness.

Verse seven makes this simple, yet profound statement; "The Lord was with him." What a marvelous thought to think the Lord is with us! Jonathan, the son of Saul attacked the Philistines saying, "It is nothing with the Lord to save by many or by few" (1 Samuel 14:6). Romans 8:31 reminds us "if God be for us, who can be against us?"

And what were the associated blessings of Godâ??s presence? Verse seven says "he prospered wherever he went." It also says he successfully resisted those who would have put him bondage, for "he rebelled against the king of Assyria, and did not serve him. This event is detailed later in this chapter. Moreover Hezekiah conquered his enemies. All this, in contrast to the history of the wicked Israelite king Hoshea, who was besieged and overrun by the Assyrians, and carried away into captivity never to return.

Hezekiah held fast to the Lord by obeying his commandments. The Lord Jesus Himself asked in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?" In like manner, Jesus said that if we love him we will keep his commandments (John 14:15), and "He who keeps my commandments is he who loves me" (John 14:21).

Friend, you can be the recipient of these same blessings today if you are willing to obey the gospel. You can live every day knowing the Lord is with you to guide and take care of you. You can resist your greatest enemy, the Devil, who seeks to place you in spiritual bondage. You can resist those who would attempt to turn you away from the faith of the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 13:8)

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 thank you for your willingness to study the Word of God with us. We hope you have a wonderful day. Until next time Iâ??m Todd Clippard for the Seeking the Lost International Radio program.

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