THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date – 1-8-12

LESSON TITLE: “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED: THE CROWN OF LIFE”

WELCOME

“Trust in Him at all times…God is a refuge for us,” Psalm 62:8! No wonder we have assembled this day to laud and magnify His Wondrous Name!

Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord’s Day morning! How wonderful it is to know that you have chosen to put God first this day and to assemble for this time of worship before His Mighty Throne!

As always, it will be our privilege to offer sacrifices to God this morning, with the fruit of our lips and the obedience of our actions, may we all be encouraged on this the Lord’s day. However, may we each do our part so that ultimately we will offer praise to God according to His truth as is found in His Precious Will. So as we begin our focus on the Creator, will you bow with me in prayer?

(PRAYER)

Now let’s join in our first hymn of the day. It’s name, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

The idea of God being our refuge is certainly a very comforting fact. The verse we mentioned at the first of the program also encourages us to “pour out your heart before Him!” Wow, this shows us that we can really trust and count on God. He is always there and ready to help us in all areas of life.

David goes on to explain God as our refuge in many places throughout his writings. Another specific passage we would like to consider begins in Psalm 71:3. In this verse we learn, “Be my strong refuge, to which I may resort continually; you have given the commandment to save me, for You are my rock and my fortress. Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the wicked, Out of the hand of the unrighteous and cruel man. For You are my hope, O Lord GOD; You are my trust from my youth.” Notice all of the things in this text which prove to us that God is our refuge. We read that we can turn to Him, for He is our rock and fortress. Another idea which David confirms about our God is that He can deliver us from the wicked. God is also proclaimed as our hope and trust. Is there any doubt why we can and should seek refuge in our God?

Finally, let’s consider a verse in the New Testament which encourages us with the same idea. In 1 Peter 5:6-7, there we read, “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.” Again we have God referred to as one who we can humble ourselves before and thus find safety in His hand. Furthermore, notice that we are exhorted to cast our care on Him! What more could we ask of a refuge, what more can we expect from our God!

Let me ask you to consider if you have made God the refuge of your life! If not, why not choose today to obey the commandments of God and thus find refuge in the most powerful and wondrous place available on this earth. Why not allow God to be your refuge and strength in the time of need?

Today we will concluding our series of study on the Bible question, “What Must I Do to Be Saved?” Our lesson this day is entitled, “The Crown of Life.” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will lead us in the main thoughts of the day. Now it’s time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, “Is It for Me Dear Savior.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

The last five weeks together we’ve actually looked at answers to a question what the Phillippian jailor once asked in Acts chapter 16, “What must I do to be saved?” The first four weeks together what we saw was the idea of what it is that God requires for one to be added to the church, to be a child of God or to accomplish ultimately salvation. But then what we began to look at last week and we’ll continue to look at this week in our final study of this series is the idea of what we do even after becoming a Christian.

The reality is it is not only important to know God and to obey God unto or up unto salvation the moment we become a child of God, when we are obviously saved, but that there is something to do afterward and we began then looking at a text in Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10, that was last week, that spoke of a need to be faithful up and until death.

But then the 2nd part after that that we read was that I or you will receive a crown of life. You see this concept of a crown of life. You know over all of the things we’ve discussed over the last few weeks or over the last year and the last many years, all of it is summed up really in this idea, the crown of life. Why is it that we want to follow God? Why is it that we believe? Why do we want to worship? Why do we want to do anything? Why do we want to submit to God? Because of the promise of Heaven, the crown.

As we read throughout the book of Revelation, it is so vividly painted as we talk about the concept of being royalty or crowned and that’s what the book of Revelation does so well. It begins to help us to understand that as a child of God, as a son or a daughter of God, we are those who are significant. We’re not just people. We’re God’s children. So he begins to talk about ideas, for instance in Revelation chapter 1 verse 6, that we have been made kings and priests. If our God is the King of kings and our brother is also king of kings and lord of lords, what does that make us? Well we are princes and princesses. We are those equally who are important. We are royalty. And so he goes on to talk about in chapter 4 those in Heaven who actually wore crowns and later in the book we actually see where those who were faithful were given not only robes, but crowns.

There also in chapter 5 we see the idea how that when they are praising God in Heaven that one of the things that they say in verse 10 is that “God has made us kings and that He has made us priests,” and then he also clarifies there that they say, “And we shall reign on the earth.” Well all of those are neat ideas aren’t they because when we think about the idea of crowns and royalty and kings and those who wear a robe, chapter 7 says, “And those who are faithful there,” verse 9, “are those who have been clothed in robes and they are wearing white robes before God.” Well when we think about being royalty that’s exciting! We probably however don’t think about it from the fleshly standpoint. Think of what I can have or what I can buy or what I can get if I was royalty or if I had that kind of money or power. But really as we look at it from a spiritual stance, al the better! Because the reward here is something that is not only temporary and physical or fleshly that will actually pass away but it is eternal. So when we talk about being an eternal prince or one who is eternal in Heaven with God or one who is an eternal son of God, an eternal heir with Christ, boy those are beautiful ideas. They are beautiful ideas that begin to in our minds picture this very idea that was spoken of back in Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10 where it says, “Be faithful unto death and I will give you that crown of life.”

If I told you today that I could give you a pill that would help you or make you live forever, I’m afraid a lot of folks might fight over that pill. There might be some who wouldn’t, but I think most are afraid of death and are afraid of those things we really are unsure of. Therefore, you would want to live. You would want life. The crown not just of gold or of royalty or of something of this world, but the crown of life, life eternal.

Then we go to chapter 22 and we see that there in Heaven there are those who are there before the throne of God who have that river of life flowing from the throne. Then from that throne where the river flows it also says there is a tree on either side and guess what the tree is, the Tree of Life! You know when we think about life, we think, “Well we live and then we die.” Well God says that “we live and then we live.” The Tree of Life, the River of Life. He says, “I can give you the water that you can drink that you will live forever. I can give you the food that you can eat that you can live forever. I can give you the crown of life where you can live forever.”

Then we see the same idea presented not only in the book that John records, the words of Jesus called Revelation, but also back in the book of James chapter 1. Remember when he was dealing with the idea of trials and temptations and even going on later in the book, in verses 13 and following, he deals with sin and the fact that God does not tempt, nor is He tempted, and when we sin, it is our own fault, it is our own problem because we’ve made the choice. Do you remember what He said in verse 12? “Blessed is the man who endures temptation for when he has been approved, he will receive a crown of life.” There it is again! What is that crown of life? He goes on to say, “Which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” Who are those who love Him? Those who keep His commandments! Who are those who love Him? This same verse says, “Those who have been approved.” What determines whether we’ve been approved of by God or not? Let me tell you it is God based on our what? Our faithfulness! That’s what we looked at last week. What do we receive when we’ve been approved? He says here, “The crown...” Not just an earthly crown again, but “the crown of life eternal.” So what a blessed thing it is to begin to see that as one who is a Christian I have the opportunity to continue getting it right, to continue striving as we saw last week that faithfulness, and for that faithful life in God and toward God and the world that I might receive ultimately that crown that I have worked so diligently to acquire.

And so what are some things that we might talk about for a few moments from the Word of God that really are important that I think people forget as being important enough to affect our salvation? Well one is temptation. Here in James, we see, “Happy is a man who (does what?) endures (overcomes, conquers) temptation.” That means we are ready for it, we are prepared and when it comes we are able to withstand it. That’s the one, the one who is faithful, the one who does not sin, the one who keeps himself away from that temptation and does not step in that mess, that is the one who guess what, has the crown of life, who has been approved to receive the crown of life. Approved in what? In the things of God because of their faithfulness in not being mislead or led away into temptation.

Another idea that I think is paramount in relationship to our Christianity is found in the prior book, not in James chapter 1, but in Hebrews chapter 10. You know, how many people do you again maybe know who never go to church, they never go to worship God at all? They say, “Well I can worship my God at home. I don’t need to go somewhere to be with others to worship. It’s not important…” Isn’t it funny that how when someone wants to justify something they are doing that really they have no idea to justify, they come up with all kinds of strange things to say and none of them are found in the Bible.

Do you remember what it was the Hebrew writer said in Hebrews chapter 10 concerning the day that was coming, that’s the Judgment Day again? The same idea we find in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 2 where it says, “The day of the Lord comes as a thief in the night, the day that the Lord will judge the world.” Well when we look in Hebrews chapter 10, guess what he says. He says, “You should do something so much more or all the more as you see the Day (capitalized, what day? The Judgment Day) approaching.” So what is it God that I should do as I see that Day approaching? Look at what verse 25 says as it begins. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as is the manner of some.” What was the problem here that the Hebrew writer was addressing? That there were some who didn’t feel a need to worship God with the saints. Do you understand that man has always been commanded from the very beginning, whether it be in relationship to the Sabbath or to the Lord’s Day, Sunday, has always been required to worship his God? And guess what, it wasn’t at home. It generally wasn’t at home when God had given His law. It was with the people of God. Why?

Look there in verse 25 as he continues. “But exhorting one another and so much the more as you see the day approaching.” You know we’ve got to be faithful in our attendance. When we’ve got the opportunity to go and worship God, my next question would be: Why would you be anywhere else? Why would you not want to worship God if you love Him, if you want to be approved of by Him? You see the fact is, I think your lack of desire to go and worship God and to give your time and take of your time, effort and money to go give your time to God as commanded, what you’ve actually shown God is you don’t love Him. You’re not going to put Him first and you’re actually going to put other things of this life that are temporary, before your God. Oh how sad it will be in that day when some miss out on the crown of life because they have not given God what He has commanded and they have not been faithful in their attendance to worship God with the assembly of the saints.

What about the idea of worship itself? What about worship? Do we have a directive for worship? Certainly we do. There is a such thing as is found in Matthew chapter 15 that Jesus said Himself was a vain worship. “A vain worship,” verse 9, “that was based on the teachings and the doctrines of men.” But you know what true worship is? True worship has nothing to do with what I like or what you like or what I feel or what you feel or what’s good for me or good for you. It has to do with what God commands. That’s why in John chapter 4 when we read here about what our Creator again, Jesus, says there in verse 23. He says, “The hour is coming and now is when the true worshippers will worship God in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.” Who? True worshippers. And who are true worshippers, God? Verse 24 says, “God is a spirit and they that worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” Not the Holy Spirit, but in the right spirit or character or frame of mind, attitude before God, and truth as you well know as that which is right, right based on the Will of God. So spirit and truth!

Do we worship as God designed, as He commands, as He shows us by commandment in the New Testament and as well by example or do we find and practice those things in our worship that we like, that feel good, that make us happy, rather than really what God commands? May we never add to take away from the things of God as He has commanded and therefore He has set his pattern and law clearly for us to follow?

A final thing we might mention for a moment is found in our daily life. We talk about the faithfulness in order to receive that crown, that daily walk of God. Well in the book of Luke chapter 9, do you remember what it was that again (guess who) Jesus, your Savior, the one that you claim to love, but the one that you sometimes aren’t willing to give yourself and your time to. He says there in that text, again in chapter 9 and verse 23, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” When is that sacrifice? Every day! Every moment of every day!

And do you know what He goes on to deal with in verses 24 and 25? He says, “What are you going to be willing to give up your soul for in this world?” He says, “If you look around the world, what would you give in exchange for it?” You know what? People are doing it every day. People who see the crown awaiting them, the crown of life, the mansion prepared (John chapter 14) are squandering it because they want to somehow in their own minds and in their own rights, and what others have told them be justified in and of themselves, and in their own righteousness rather than in the righteousness and the purity and the perfection of God found in His Word.

You know there is nothing on this earth worth giving up my soul over. That’s why there in verse 24 he said, “You know if you desire to save your life you will lose it. But if you’re willing to lose your life for My sake (the sake of God, if you’re willing to sacrifice and give up yourself for the sake of God) you will be rewarded.” Now what is that reward? Well that reward is when I prove myself to my God by obeying His commandments thus loving Him and being faithful in my attendance and faithful in the way I worship and faithful in my daily living and making sure that all I do and say (Colossians 3:17) are in the name of and by the authority of Jesus Christ. When I know that I am doing my best to get it right with God then I also know my God gives me the very best. When I give Him only a small measure, He is going to give me a small one. But when I give Him more, He’s going to give me the reward of Heaven.

Won’t you live in such a way to receive that great reward?

(SONG # 3 - “Is Thy Heart Right With God.”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I know 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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May we all realize the seriousness of working toward that Crown of Life, for doing things God’s way is the only way to be pleasing in His sight. Thus, Heaven awaits the faithful! On the other hand, may we be wise enough to know that if we do not submit fully to God’s Will, we will pay the ultimate price! What will you choose this day?

(Program closing)