THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-14-07
LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE: FAITH"
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God's Living Word. We welcome you to our program and we thank God that you have chosen to be with us today. We are excited about this opportunity we have together this morning to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
This morning we want to start our songs of praise with a hymn that reminds us of the power of God. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we together sing, "This Is My Father's World!"
(SONG # 1)
From our early years, most of us have been involved in some type of social clubs or organizations. For most of us it all started out as a new student in kindergarten. We began to form small groups of friends. Later, as we get into junior and senior high school, these friendships are carried over into different organizations in school, such as: sports, band, or many other types of groups which are formed to promote learning in specified areas. College days are even worse, as we are encouraged to join more groups and fraternities, in order to keep up with our friends and with our present day interests.
Let me then clarify, that there is nothing wrong with any of these things as long as they do not promote that which is contrary to God. However, many of us are often confused into thinking that this is really what religion is also - just another organization or social club. However, nothing could be farther from the truth.
Then what is the church? The word church comes for a Greek word known as "ekklesia." Greek was the original language the Bible was written in. This word or it's forms are used about 115 times in the N. T. The word actually refers to those who are "called out," "assembled," or "summoned forth," by the Lord. The Bible continually mentions this term with a focus on those who are faithful "people" of God.
But what happens today when you ask someone where they go to church? They usually say, "oh, I go over there on North Kansas Expressway" or "I go to that church over on Glenstone." The fact is most people fail to realize what the church is, as is evident in these types of responses.
Again, we must realize that the church is not a building. Furthermore, it is not a club, or a fraternal organization - it is God's people! So what does this terminology, "called out," really mean? The Bible says, as God's followers have been called out of darkness or the things of this world - in order to be in Jesus. In 1 Peter 2:9, we read a verse that proves this very point! There it says, "but you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Not only are we called out of darkness into His marvelous light, but here it says we are a chosen generation (chosen of God), we are a royal priesthood, we are a holy nation (holy as He is holy), and we are His own special people!
Now do you see how special the church is? It is an institution from God which is for those who have chosen to follow His will. Further more, by following His will and being obedient to Him, we are among his chosen, holy, and special priesthood. Or in other words - we are His church!
The final verse we will consider to confirm the importance of Christ's Church is found in Acts 20:28. The later part of that verse tells us, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Here we read that the church of our God was purchased with the blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ. Now let me ask you, if Jesus was willing to die for it and shed His blood for it, just how important is the Church?
Today we will again study God's Word by focusing on things related to "The Christian Example!" This morning our specific topic of study will focus on "Faith!" So stay with us after our next song and in a few minutes I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Good morning again and thank you for continuing with us as I begin with a question: Do you believe in God? Well, probably most likely if you're watching the program today, you do or at least you have a desire to know about God. And so therefore as we contemplate that question we again would turn to our main text of the previous weeks.
There in 1 Timothy chapter 4 and verse 12 where we are reading from Paul as he spoke with Timothy about being a good example and that there were certain examples that he should strive to be a good example in. Those areas include, as you'll read there, "the word, in conduct, in love, in spirit," and then this morning, "in faith." When we think about belief, we certainly then think about faith for Jesus Himself said in John 8:24, "Except you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins." So because of that, we know that there is a need to believe. To believe what? That Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God is God. He is real and that He has done all that He has proclaimed through His Word and will do all that He has proclaimed in the future.
We also know that "faith comes by hearing," Romans chapter 10 and verse 17. And so w see then very carefully that belief and faith are almost the same and are so closely tied together for one believes unto salvation. One believes unto a knowledge of God and then believes unto doing what God has asked. Thus, obedience. And so, we read verses like John 14 and verse 15 where Jesus said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." Obviously, if you believe in God and you love Him, the outcome is to keep His commandments.
Now there are some differences between faith and belief. One such difference that I would mention before we get into our discussion more deeply is found in James chapter 2. We'll return there once again later in our discussion as well, but at this point, we might note around verse 18 and following that the Bible says, "Even the devils believed." Well that shows us belief can be a knowledge of but not an obedience. "Even the devils believe and tremble." What is it then that distinguishes us as those who have faith? We believe unto obedience. We believe unto action.
If you'll turn with me then to perhaps the best chapter that we have in all of the Bible on faith and that is found in the Hebrew letter there in Hebrews chapter 11 as the writer here talks to those who no doubt had the Hebrew background were Israelites, but yet had now become Christians. He encourages them here to know faith and to know what faith is based on the faith of characters they would have well known from the Old Testament. If you'll notice there beginning in verse 6, he says, "But without faith it is impossible to please God." Again, faith comes by hearing and hearing what? Jesus Christ, the Good News, salvation, believing. Believing in who?
Jesus. Faith. We've got to have faith or we cannot please God. And so what is faith? The same verse, verse 1 beginning in the same text tells us this: "Faith is the substance of things hoped for yet the evidence of things not seen." Well, we all hope in God and we all hope in Christ and we all hope that there is heaven and all the promises that we find there. There are many things we hope for that are found in this Bible that we have not actually seen or held in our hands, but yet we have faith. We believe that they are real regardless of that fact. Aren't there many things that you believe in that you have faith in although you have never been there, you have never seen them and you never yourself have experienced. Yet someone has told you and confirmed those things to you. So faith is something that is hoped for and has not been seen. We believe in God although we have not literally seen God. We've seen His might. We've seen His power. We've seen His glory and wonder through the Word. We've seen His glory again through nature. On and on we could go. But we have not actually seen Him. We've not actually seen Jesus but we believe.
Now what is it then once again that distinguishes me from the devil that knows He exists? Well I'm going to act on that belief and therefore that hearing that produces an active faith is a belief in action. A faith, faithfulness, if you will. To continue faithfully in God. In other words, knowing who He is. Knowing His Will through the Bible and then obeying it.
Now to prove the point even better or to make the point even more clearly, we can look at the same text and I want you to notice what he says here we can know by faith and again by example. Verse 3 begins by saying that "The elders and others obtained the good testimony, those before us, for they by faith understood or believed that God made the world." You see, they believed actively. They accepted the facts unto action. How do we know it was unto action? Well we go to verse 4, "By faith, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice." He actually actively offered a sacrifice. By faith, he did this.
Notice also in verse 5, "By faith, Enoch did not die." He was taken. Genesis tells us in chapter 6 that, "He walked with God therefore received an extra blessing from God."
Verse 7, "By faith, Noah after being warned built an ark." He actively built the ark. By what? By faith. He believed in God and therefore because of that belief, he didn't just say, "Okay He is real." He says, "What will you have me to do, God?" And God said, "Build the ark," and by faith, he built the ark.
The next one, verse 8, Abraham obeyed when God called to him. Abraham obeyed (verse 9) and dwelt in the land that would be his descendents some day but yet it was not given specifically to him at that time.
By faith, Sarah had a child in her old age.
We drop down all the way to verse 23. By faith, Moses, when he was born did what? Chose not to enjoy the pleasures of Egypt and the sins that would be there involved, but by faith, he became one who really was an outcast to the family he knew in Egypt. By faith, he chose to be with God's people. So he went to be with them and then he led them. By faith, he obeyed God when God told him at the burning bush to "go and to bring My people out of Egypt." Now maybe he was reluctant at first, but by faith, he eventually did what God asked.
By faith, verse 30, the walls of Jericho fell down. If you go back and you study that story there in the Bible, we read how that continually they marched around everyday and did exactly what God said and finally after the obedience, by faith, the action was done and the walls fell down.
By faith, Rahab the harlot is mentioned next. What did she do? She hid the spies and even lied and said, "They are not with me."
You see, by faith, people did things to God's glory. They did things to prove to God what? Obedience, that we love Him enough to keep His commandments. Not that we only believe. Not that we only say, "I know there is a God." Not that we only accept the fact that Jesus is the Christ, to an extent, but that we fully believe what God has said. In the fact that we believe it, then we act upon it. Faith. No wonder we sing songs like "Faith Is A Victory That Overcomes The World." Those who have faith are victorious for they have put into practice what God has required, not only knowing that He is but doing what He has asked of the obedience.
I might also ask you then to drop down to chapter 12 of Hebrews with me and notice what he goes on to say is required in faith. He says, "Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who all of these faithful, wonderful people who have gone before, who have believed unto action and by faith have done what God asked. This cloud of witness, let us aside every way and the sin which so easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." He says that there is a race. What do you have to do to prepare for a race? You have got to practice. A lot of work goes into preparation to race. Here he says, "We are in the race and we must run the race." What does it take? Work. It takes sweat and toil and a lot of effort. You see, it is an active thing. The faith that we find in the cloud of witnesses is that they were actively doing whatever it is that God asked. "And as we are Christians today based on Jesus Christ," verse 2, "we must look unto Jesus Christ the author and finisher of our faith who from the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame and has now sat down at the right hand of God." Jesus who was God endured what? The cross for us. That He might be what? Our author and finisher of our what? Faith. The faith that we there (verse 1) must run in daily.
So I hope you again are clearly understanding the idea that faith is presenting here and how then that James speaks of those devils again and he says, "They believe and tremble," yet they are not obedient to God. So therefore what distinguishes James, their belief and our belief? Again faith. But there more specifically he says, "Faith without works is dead." He also says, "You show me your faith without works, and I'll show you my faith by works."
Perhaps one of the verses that often is misunderstood about faith and works in the activity required of a child of God is in Ephesians chapter 2. If you'll look in your Bible there, we'll find a very encouraging, a blessed verse, verse 8, where it says, "For by grace you have been saved." It is grace that saves us. No one can ever merit salvation for we are human. God's grace alone will save us if we prove ourselves to be obedient. So he says, "By grace you have been saved through faith." That's not of yourself. It's a gift of God. You see, faith is involved in salvation. Grace is involved in salvation. What is God's part? Grace. God offers grace. What's our part? Faith. Through faith.
So what is faith? Well, it is works. But then verse 9 says, "Not of works lest anyone should boast." What is he talking about? He is saying that the point is that we can't work enough to earn our salvation. We can't work and boast and say, "God, you owe me salvation," for it is God's grace that saves us. Our part is the faith. But what involves itself in faith? What is included in faith? I want you to hear verse 10 that most folks don't go on to read. "For we are His workmanship..." We are God's workmanship! "Created in Christ Jesus." What are we created for? Look at the verse. "Created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." In what? In good works! Now, for by grace you are saved through faith. God's part- grace. Our part- faith. We are His workmanship created unto work. Not because we can earn our salvation. Not because I can do so much that God owes me because I'll always need His grace, but because God's part is that He has loved me enough to do all that He has done. My part is that I love Him enough to obey and show faith.
So if we can show that faith, how encouraging it is to know that we then as created unto good works can do what God hath asked. If we'll do those things, we know that we will then be found pleasing in His sight.
But we have to begin to think about some questions again. Do you have faith in God? Is it something that is simply a belief or was faith much more? Well we've seen that faith was much more because it included an act of obedience. And so are you then having an active faith for God? Maybe you believe, but maybe you're not that faithful. Maybe you're not actively not doing what God commands. Maybe you're not going to church as you should or doing daily as you should as an example of Christ. You see, faith is much more. It is a way of life. It's a daily living, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If we can learn that type of belief unto faith, then I think we know exactly then what our God requires for He has given us His Word and He has instructed us and He has shown us the way through Jesus Christ for Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light. The way we get to the Father is through Christ and so if we get to the Father by believing, if we get to the Son by believing and we have faith to act upon that belief in both and in all that the Word of God says, then guess what. You and I are seen as the faithful and what have we learned about the faithful? The faith shall be that which saves us. The faithful shall be saved. Salvation is that eternal reward. Not only will we receive blessings now, but eternal life in heaven someday.
So let me encourage you as one who is a child of God to have faith in Him. If you are not a child of God, do today what the Bible commands that you might have the faith that will secure your soul now and receive blessings now and forever more.
(SONG # 3 - "Standing On The Promises of God!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also 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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May we learn to be better examples in faith to all those we come in contact with everyday. Furthermore, may we learn that faith is an active thing, which should be clearly evident to all men.