THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 1-11-04
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT:
"CHRIST'S CHURCH WAS NOT AN AFTERTHOUGHT"
Thank you for joining us this morning, let me welcome you to the program. The Living Word is a work of our Lord, dedicated to doing God's Will in His Way! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise and to study from His Word. In these acts of worship, may we all be encouraged, but ultimately may we each praise God according to the sacrifices to offer toward His Throne. It will also be our honor this morning to speak with God through prayer. Will you bow with me as we talk to our creator?
Before we begin with our first song of the morning, I would like to take just a moment to thank the many good supporters of this television program. In fact, for the next several months, I would like to take a little time during this part of the program and make mention of one our sister congregations in this area, which help to make this program possible.
This morning I would like to invite you to visit with the Alpena Church of Christ in Alpena, Arkansas. If you live in that area you can meet with these brethren on Sunday mornings beginning at 10:00 o'clock for Bible class, and then worship at 11:00 a.m. Again on Sunday evening at 6:30 there is provided an opportunity to assemble before God.
The brethren at Alpena also have a mid-week service on Wednesday, in which they meet at 7:00 p.m. Please take time to visit with these good brethren if you have an opportunity. If you need further information or would like to contact this congregation please do so by calling (870)437-5223. Their minister's name is Jerry Goen!
Now it's time to praise our God through song. We want to begin with a song that reminds us of the greatest story ever told. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "I Will Sing The Wondrous Story."
(SONG # 1)
Well in the beginning of another new year I know we all have a lot of mixed emotions about what the future holds. However, one thing is for sure, with God on our side there is no need to worry. I love the way the prophet Isaiah put it in chapter 41, and verse 10 of his book. There we read, "Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." Wow, what a verse this is, chalked full of encouragement and hope for us as followers of God.
The Hebrew writer had the same idea, as stated in Hebrews 13:5-6, there we read, "For He Himself has said, 'I will never leave you nor forsake you.' So we may boldly say: "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" Did you get that again? God does love us, He is always there and He will do whatever it takes to help us, protect us, provide for us and to care for us. Oh, what a truly loving and wondrous God we serve. Is God the main focus of your life? If not make changes even today!
As far as our study this day - we will be continuing our series which is entitled, "The Church Which Jesus Built!" Our specific lesson of the morning deals with: "Christ's Church Not Being An Afterthought!"
So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Kevin Patterson will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. We are again happy to have brother Patterson with us. He is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ. Now it's time to join in our second song of the morning, the name of this hymn, "Almost Persuaded."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. As always, it is a privilege of mine to be here this morning and to share with you another portion of God's Word. Three weeks ago, we began a series of lessons on Christ and the church that He built. Thus far, we have addressed the subjects of "Christ is the Founder and Head of His Church." Also, we discussed "Christ's Pattern For His Church." Then last week, we discussed "Christ's Description of His Church." This week, we are going to examine the topic "Christ's Church: Was It An Afterthought?"
As we begin our study this morning, it might be important to establish or perhaps remind us that the church is the body of Christ. It is not a physical construction, but rather a spiritual institution. In Colossians chapter 1, verses 13-18 we are reminded of many of the great things that Jesus has done for us and that God has done for us through His son. In Colossians 1 and verse 13 we read, "For He rescued us from the darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved son in whom we have redemption but forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, for the thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things and in Him all things hold together. He is also the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything."
Just a few verses down in verses 24-25 we are reminded again that His body is the church. So when we talk about the church this morning and as we continue to talk throughout this series, let us remember that the church that we are talking about is not some local institution that resides on some street corner, but rather it is the spiritual body of Jesus Christ, the body that He is the head of and that we follow.
Our topic this morning, "Christ's Church: Was It An Afterthought?" is an interesting question and an interesting topic for us to examine because there are some people who believe that God didn't do everything right or perhaps He didn't plan ahead for the problems of mankind, and so as a remedy or as a way of fixing the problems that took place, He decided that He would establish the church. Is that the case? Some people believe for instance that the church was decided to be established by God way back in the Garden of Eden. You might remember back in Genesis chapter 3 and beginning in verse 1 how "the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made and He said to the woman, 'Indeed, has God said that you should not eat from any tree of the garden?' The woman said to the serpent, 'From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may, but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it or you will die.'" Well you remember the rest of the story. Adam and Eve decided that they would partake of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They chose for the first time in human history to sin. They chose to disobey the commandment of God and to follow or rather than to follow God's Will to follow the will of Satan. As a result, you'll remember they were banished from the Tree of Life which God had put into the middle of the garden, a separate tree that would have given them immortality if they had partaken of it. We read that from passages such as Genesis chapter 1, verse 22, "When the Lord God said, 'Behold the man has become like one of us knowing good and evil and now he might stretch out his hand and take also from the Tree of Life and eat and live forever.' Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to cultivate the ground from which he was taken, so He drove the man out and at the East of the Garden of Eden, he stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the Tree of Life."
There are some people who believe that because God created a perfect world with man who was perfect, who had never sinned, but because man sinned that God did not know what to do and so therefore He started talking about the establishment of the church and the coming of His son from that point.
Earlier in that chapter, in Genesis chapter 3 we read about some of the consequences that were going to be given to man and to woman. In verses 16 and 17, the woman is told that "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbirth."
In verse 17 man is told that "Cursed is the ground because of you. In toil you will eat of it all of the days of your life."
But back in verse 15 God says this concerning the serpent and the woman. He says, "And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed." And then He makes a statement, the very first statement we read about the coming savior who would remedy that which had just taken place, the problem of sin. God said, "He shall bruise you on your head," talking to the serpent, "and you shall bruise Him on the heel," talking about Christ.
And so we see back in the beginning that God was certainly planning for the coming of Jesus and the establishment of the church, but did God choose to do it simply because man sinned? Was it because of our mistake that God then decided the church would come into existence?
Well before we answer that question, let's take a look at another option. Some people say that Jesus did not fully accomplish His task on earth when He came, despite passages of scripture like John chapter 19 and verse 30 where just before Jesus gives up the ghost or dies on the cross, He utters the words, "It is finished." Some people say that Jesus finished all that He could, but He couldn't do it all because afterward they had to establish the church. They say that if Jesus had done His job, then there would be no reason for the establishment of the body of Christ on the earth, but that's just simply not the case.
I want you to consider for just a moment that indeed after Jesus is dead, after He is buried, after He rises again from the tomb, and after He ascends into heaven, we see some days later that the church is established on the Day of Pentecost. Remember that Peter and the other apostles were preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, the good new of our savior to a large crowd of Jews. He was proclaiming that this man, Jesus Christ, that they had just killed and put to death on that cross, was the Messiah that they had waited centuries for.
And finally we read in verse 41 of Acts chapter 2, "Those who had received his word," talking about the word that Peter and the other apostles were preaching, "were baptized and that day were added about 3,000 souls."
In verse 47, as we continue to read through the early occurrences of the church, in verse 47 we see that "they were praising God and having favor with all the people and the Lord was adding to their number or adding to the church daily those who were being saved."
So we see the establishment after Jesus died on the cross, after Jesus muttered those words, "It is finished." But is that because Jesus did not do His job? Well not at all. In fact, Jesus talked about how He would establish His church before He ever died on the cross.
I would have you turn back for instance to Matthew chapter 16, verses 13-18 that period of time where Jesus came to His disciples and He asked them, "Who do men say that the son of man is?" And they said, "Some say John the Baptist and other Elijah and still others Jeremiah, one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the son of the Living God." It was upon that great confession that Peter is going to be complemented, but also that Jesus is going to talk about the coming of the church.
He said in verse 18, "And I also say to you that you are Peter and upon this rock," that great confession, that statement that Peter had made, "upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not overcome it." So Jesus was planning the establishment of His church before He ever died and He was planning it to be something that would take place even after He died and that would be established with the help of the apostles and through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in the first century.
We talked about earlier did God decide to establish the church in the Garden of Eden and I would say, "No", to that as well because in fact the Bible teaches us that God decided to establish the church before the world was ever even created. This is something that He has always had as a part of His plan.
Consider for just a moment Ephesians chapter 1, verses 3-12, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ." That term "in Christ" means in the body or in the church. We are a part of His body of which He is the head. And he says, "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love, He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ Himself according to the kind intention of His Will, to the praise of the glory of His grace which He freely bestowed on us in the beloved." That term "in the beloved" talks about the church as well, in the church. In the church, in the body of Christ we have all of these blessings and it has been God's Will since before the foundation of the world to give us these spiritual blessings in the church.
No, God did not decide to establish the church at the cross. And no, God did not decided to establish the church in the Garden of Eden. God decided to establish the church before time ever began. How could He do this?
Well, because of some of the amazing qualities that make God God. First of all, some passages like Psalm 90, verses 1-2, we read that "God is eternal." We read "from everlasting to everlasting you are God."
From passages like Psalm 139 and verses 7-12, we read that "God is omnipresent or ever present."
We read in passages like Psalm 139, verses 13-16 that "God is omnipotent or all powerful." He can do great and amazing things. After all, Genesis 1:1 reads, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
But then we also read from passages like Psalm 139, verses 1-6 that "God is omniscient." He knows all. We read in that passage, "Oh Lord you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down and are intimately aquainted with all of my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold oh Lord, you know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before and laid your hand upon me. Such knowledge is to wonderful to me. It is too high. I cannot attain it."
In Matthew 10 and verse 30, we read that "the very hairs on our head are numbered." God knows all and God was not taken by surprise when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against Him and certainly God who came down in the form of Jesus. Jesus being God in the flesh. John chapter 1 and verse 1 teaches us that "in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God." This "Word" in verse 14 is identified as Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ came down and He lived as a man and certainly knew about the coming of His church and how it would be established.
Jesus' role in our salvation was known before the creation of the world. 1 Peter 1 verses 19-20 reads, "But with the precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, for He was fully known before the foundation of the world.
The church has always been a part of the eternal purpose of God. So as we close this morning I want to read to you from Ephesians 3 and verse 11. "This is in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Let us be thankful that we have a God who loves us, loves us not only because we sin, but loved us before we ever did and planned for our salvation.
(SONG # 3 - "Each Step I Take!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God!
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Thanks be to God that He planned to establish His Church, even before the world began. Because as the saved of God we are placed in this institution which has been purchased with the blood of Jesus Christ.