THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 1-29-12
LESSON TITLE: “HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE: SPECIAL IN FAITH”
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” Are we lights in this world for Jesus? Good morning and welcome to the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us this morning for this time of offering to God. Together we will sing songs of praise and study from His Word to glorify His name. I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together both profitable for ourselves and acceptable in His sight. Now let’s begin by approaching His almighty throne in prayer.
Isn’t it great to know that we have God to learn on? I hope you are ready to praise God in song, for we want to begin with our first hymn of the day. So, won’t you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms?”
(SONG # 1)
In Isaiah 9:2 we read, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” How interesting it is to find here that even under the Old Law, many were in darkness, but they were awakened by a great light and brought to the Lord.
This is the same terminology that is used throughout the New Testament. Under Christianity we have also been brought out of darkness into light, just as we read in 1 John 1:7. There it says, “But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another….” You might ask the question, “but why must we walk in the light?” Well the same text answers this question, where in verse 5 it says, “…God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Aren’t we to be like God, thus we must be of the light, because God is light.
Here the light signifies the purity and goodness of God. In other words, we are righteous because He is righteous. On the other hand, the darkness refers to evil and sinful things, just as our text indicates. We can not be of God, and practice those things of the darkness, because there is not darkness in God! Likewise, if we are striving to be like God, there will be no darkness in us either.
One other point I wanted to bring out is found in a verse we earlier read the first part of, verse 7. The last part of that verse says, “…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” So, if we are walking in the light as God is in the light we not only have fellowship with each other, but we also have forgiveness of sins. How wonderful it is to know that the blood of Christ continually cleanses us from our sins as long as we are striving to walk in the light.
So the question I must ask you is: Are you walking in the light? Now if you are then why not do the rest of what Jesus told you when He said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. Others see God in us when they see His light shinning through us! Are you that city on a Hill or are you hiding your light? Won’t you choose to be a greater light for God?
Today we are going to again study a topic from the series entitled, “His Own Special People.” Our specific lesson this morning will discuss the fact that we are, “Special in Faith?” So, please stay with us this morning and in a few minutes we will return with this study from God’s Word.
As far as our speaker, we are happy to again have Brother Brent Green. Brent is a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us today and look forward to him leading our thoughts from God’s Word.
Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.”
(SONG # 2)
By Brent Green
What a privilege it is to study the Word of God, particularly this opportunity that we now have to again look at the subject of “God’s Own Special People.”
We find in 1 Peter chapter 2, actually the place where we take this terminology, 1 Peter chapter 2 and verse 9, Peter says, “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people that you may proclaim the praises of Him that calls you out of darkness into His marvelous light who once were not a people but are now the people of God who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Within those two verses we learn about God’s special people.
In the King James Version, it actually uses the term “peculiar people.”
We are talking about a people here who are different than those around them. Talking about a people who stand out. And why do they stand out? Well indeed they are God’s people as it says here in verse 10, “the people of God.” But what makes them so special? Well in this series prior to this lesson and even in some lessons to follow, you will be talking about some of those reasons why indeed God’s people are this special people, because of their name, because of their worship, because of their knowledge, because of their speech, even because of their lifestyle. But particularly another reason that makes God’s people so special is one we want to deal with during this time. God’s people are special because they are special in faith.
Again, what would make them so special in faith? What makes them and what makes their faith stand out? Well Ephesians chapter and verse 5, we read there, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.” Amidst all those ones, as Paul writes to the brethren at Ephesus, we find out that there is but one faith! That’s what all of God’s people, Christians, according to the pattern of the New Testament, that’s what they all have in common. That’s what they all share is this one faith that they have in Christ Jesus. That’s what brings them together. And so that’s also what makes them stand out. That’s also what makes them this peculiar people.
But what is it about this faith? What is it about this one faith that makes the people of God, His special people stand out amidst a world that for the most part, many times, doesn’t even care about God or His Word at all?
Well let’s think about what God’s Word says and let’s think about what makes this people such a special people in faith. A Christian’s faith is so special because it leads to salvation. If you think about some of the verses we find in the New Testament, particularly even about faith and belief and some of these concepts are very similar and go hand in hand, faith is one of those requirements that are essential to be able to please God. Hebrews 11 verse 6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is, that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Faith is necessary! Why? Because we need it to please God! It is a Christian’s faith that is the faith of that individual that not only just believes in God and believes in Jesus Christ but believes in His plan to the point that they are willing to obey that plan and obtain salvation.
When we think about that faith that leads to salvation, and that’s the special nature here, it is a nature that leads to salvation. Now some might say, “Well yes, I believe in God,” but it doesn’t lead them to obey God’s plan. We learn there in James chapter 2 that even the demons believed and trembled. So it is possible to make that mental statement or even proclaim it with your word that you believe in God, but that’s not enough.
The faith that comes by hearing (Romans 10:17), that hearing of the Word of God produces that faith in our life that leads us to obey the plan of God. You see if we don’t even believe it, then why would we ever act upon it? So it is that faith there in the Word of God that leads us to obey His plan. As we have heard His Word, as we believe it, that’s the faith we’re talking about, then we repent and turn away from sin, we confess the name of Christ and we’re buried with our Savior in baptism. When we rise to walk in newness of life, upon being baptized (Romans 6:4) we become new creatures and our sins are washed away, we are saved!
But what started that whole process? You see, how do we learn about baptism? How do we learn about confession and repentance? But we’ve heard the Word of God and when we believed it, when we had faith, it led us to obey the complete plan of salvation. You see, that’s what sets us apart as God’s people, as Christians, is that our faith is special because it leads to salvation. Not that faith alone or not faith by itself saves, but it leads us to obey all of God’s plan and thus brings us to a right relationship with Him and then we do obey that plan of God.
But why else is this faith that is our faith in Christ Jesus, our faith in God, why else is it so special? Why does it set us apart? Well think also about this faith, and maybe you’ve not considered before but a Christian’s faith, a person who is a child of God, their faith seems to defy the logic of mankind.
Think with me just for a moment here about the life of Paul. As he stood in his former life of being one who persecuted the church. He was one that even prior to that he was born a Jew. He was trained there at the feet of Gamaliel. He followed the law in the tradition of his fathers with strictness. He was rising to the top there within that Jewish society, maybe even one day to be a part of that great Sanhedrin council. As he stood and made his defense there in Acts chapter 22, he reminded the listeners of some of those very things. Then also he talked about how he was converted. There on the road to Damascus, we learn in Acts chapter 22 as Paul retells us these things that he saw the light, and as he was one who travelled there on the rest of the way of the journey to Damascus, he found a man by the name of Ananias who there in Damascus taught him the gospel. Then Paul was baptized. His sins were washed away. And what did he begin to do? He began to preach and teach Jesus Christ, the same Jesus Christ that just a few moments before he even persecuted! That great change in his life seemed to defy logic.
Why would a man give all of those things up? You see as you look later at the account in Acts, Acts chapter 26 as Paul would make his defense, a similar defense before Festus and Agrippa. Festus, who was not a Jew, who was not a Christian, could not understand why a man like Paul would give up all those things of the past to now be one who had to endure persecution, one who was on trial and in prison. Why would a man do that? Why would a man make that change? You see even the words there of Festus seemed to indicate that he couldn’t seem to understand these actions that Paul had taken and the things that he was doing in his life.
Acts chapter 26 and verse 24, Festus says the following concerning the defense that Paul had made before him. Festus says, “Paul, you are beside yourself. Much learning is driving you mad.” You see to Festus, a man who was not a man of faith, a man who couldn’t understand the logic behind these things because he didn’t understand that what made Paul different, what set Paul apart from the world, what made him so special was his faith, a faith that seemed to defy the logic of man.
So there again is another reason why our faith makes us so special, because it goes against the logic of mankind! Why would you give up the pleasures of this world? Why would you give up all those things you once enjoyed, all those sinful pleasures? The only reason is a faith in Christ Jesus, a faith that leads you to obey all of God’s Word, a Christian’s faith that sets him apart, sets her apart because it defies the logic of man.
A Christian’s faith overcomes death, something that faith in the things of this world cannot do. If you think about the great faith that we see in a man like Stephen in Acts chapter 7 as he stood there also before the Sanhedrin and as he made his case, as he actually brought up the Old Testament history and preached there to the people that were listening and he convicted them in the very sin of crucifying the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What did they do to him? They stoned him. And as Stephen was being stoned, the account there in Acts chapter 7 says, “He looked and he could see Jesus standing there at the right hand of the throne of God,” and Stephen looked to Heaven. Even in death, even while he was being overcome by the threats here, even though those stones were taking his life as each blow was placed upon him and as the life was draining from his body, what was his focus? That of Heaven! That of maintaining his faithfulness to the end! That’s what true faith, the faith that a Christian that makes him or her so special because that faith that we have allows us to overcome death.
When we think about what the scripture tells us, 1 John chapter 5 and verse 4, “This is the victory that is to overcome the world.” And what is it? Our faith.
We think there about Hebrews chapter 11, some of those heroes of faith that had all died and yet not received what? Had not received that homeland, that city prepared by God Himself, that heavenly home. But what did they look forward to? What did they look forward to every single day of their life because they were heroes of faith? You see, Hebrews chapter 11, the heroes of faith, they had faith. What set God’s people apart of old? It was their faith and their ability to overcome death! Because those who die in Christ will be resurrected.
You see there in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and we learn that. “Death, where is your sting? Hades, where is your victory?” You see in Jesus Christ, the sting of death is swallowed up because our faith leads us to that Promised Land. That Christian’s faith is special makes them special because it overcomes death.
A Christian’s faith is special and sets them apart because it’s a faith that is seen in action. You see many, again, will say, “Oh yes, I’m a Christian. I am someone who follows Christ. I wear the name of Christ.” But yet what do their actions say? Maybe something completely different. But what makes God’s people, as we read about there in 1 Peter chapter 2, that special people, that peculiar people? Well indeed it’s because their faith is one of action.
If you think again what we find in the book of James. Again the demons believe and tremble but what do they not do? They don’t take action. They don’t back up their actions to prove a true faith. Think also about what we see further there in James chapter 2. We know in verse 26 as the scripture says, “Faith without works is dead.” Verse 18 of the same chapter, there James says, “Show me your faith without your works and I’ll show you my faith by my works.” A true faith, a living faith, an active faith, a faith that we are talking about is seen in more than just a mere belief, seen in more than just words but seen in actions. When we actually back up our faith by the way that we live. This is what sets us apart from the world. This is what makes us that special people. When we indeed take action and apply it. It is one thing to say, “I love God.” It’s another thing to prove that you love God by the way that you live. Your lifestyle changes. Your speech changes. Your name changes that are you take on the name of Christ. All of these other things that we have talked about or we will talk about that makes us special, those are the things that will change in our lives, our actions. That’s what makes us so special is that we have a faith that is active and living and seen before men and ultimately before God.
But what else makes our faith so special? Well it is a faith that endures persecution. You see so many times we see in the scripture those who endured so many things. Paul there in 2 Corinthians chapter 11, he was beaten, he was scourged, he was shipwrecked, and the list goes on and on. And yet, what carried him through all of those things? His faith!
Again there in Hebrews chapter 11 verses 36-37 some other heroes that go unnamed, that talk about the fact that they were scourged and other things that they endured, but what led them to find themselves in that (inaudible) faith? What allowed them to overcome all of those persecutions? What made them special is they had a faith that led them and enabled them to endure. Indeed we will all be tested. We will all be put to that test whether it be persecution or trials of life. 2 Timothy 3 and verse 12, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”
But as we find there in 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 7 that when the genuineness of our faith being tested, if it proves to be that which is a true faith, we will receive glory and honor. So we know that we will be tested. But what makes us special, what makes us stand out is the fact that when we endure we demonstrate a genuine faith.
There in James chapter 1, “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”
Lastly, we think about what makes us special is that our faith is a daily walk. It’s not just that, “Now I became a Christian and I don’t have to do anything else. I was baptized. My sins were washed away. The Lord added me to His church (Acts 2:47) and now I can do whatever I want to.” That’s not what we see in the faith of God’s people in the New Testament. We see them walking the daily walk and that’s what made them so special. It was a lifestyle. The way they lived day in and day out was indicative of their faith, their faith in God, and His Word and their faith in Christ Jesus.
Well that daily walk, something we must do daily, take out that shield of faith (Ephesians chapter 6:16).
Paul said there in 2 Timothy 4 verses 6-8, he said, “I fought the good fight. I finished the race. I have kept…” What? “I have kept the faith. Finally there is laid up for me that crown of righteousness.” Paul said, “Daily, I have kept the faith.” That’s what we must do that will make us continue to stand out. 1 John chapter 1 verses 5-7, we walk in the light. How often is that? It’s a daily walk. Just as Jesus Christ is that light, as we walk daily in Jesus Christ, our true faith is seen. That’s what makes it so special!
There in 2 Corinthians chapter 5, the verse simply says, “We walk by faith and not by sight.”
We don’t always know what is before us in this life. There may be more trials to come, maybe more persecutions to come, but our faith in Christ Jesus will get us through the darkest hours in this life and lead us to that heavenly home. That’s why our faith makes us so special as Christians. God’s people are engaged in that daily walk. Nothing is going to compromise their faith. Nothing is going to get them to doubt in God’s promises. They are committed to death to follow Him. That’s a true example of their faith. We must have this faith that sets us apart.
As again we think about God’s special people, a people that are called there “a peculiar people,” a people of God. What sets them apart from the rest of the world? What sets them apart from other nations and other beliefs is that they have a faith in God and in Christ Jesus, a faith that is so special because it’s a faith that leads to salvation. It’s a faith that seems to defy the logic of mankind. It’s a faith that overcomes death. It’s a faith that takes action. It’s a faith that endures persecution and it’s a faith that is seen daily in the daily walk with God. That’s why we are such a special people, as God’s people.
Do people know that you’re special? Do people know that you are one of His children? They should! Because they should see these things in your life as you live every single day, they should see these attributes of your faith demonstrated. There should be no doubts. If you are on trial, as Paul was and as others were, for being a Christian for your faith, will they find enough evidence to convict you? Do you have that special faith that stands out so much that people know that you are indeed a child of God? We need to be those special people. We need to be special in the faith. Praise be to God every single day we live in this life as we are supposed to as His children. Let’s be special in the faith. Let’s be God’s peculiar people, His special people by being special in the faith.
(SONG # 3 - “Living By Faith!”)
It was great having you with us today for the Living Word Program. I hope that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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Praise be to God that we have been given a specific faith to follow, so that we may be specific and special people before His Mighty throne. Are you striving to walk by faith, as a true child of God?