THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-17-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: THE SINNERS PRAYER"
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?
Our first song this morning reminds us of the fact that our Lord and Savior truly did come forth from the dead. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together this encouraging song, it's name "Low In The Grave He Lay."
(SONG # 1)
One of the greatest lessons which we can learn from Jesus was His true humility. There He was, the very Son of God on this earth. Furthermore, He was deity in the flesh. But what was it that He continually chose to do? He glorified His Father! He proclaimed "not my will, but yours be done!" You see, Jesus not only loved, respected and reverenced His Father, He also honored, gave praise to and glorified Him. Oh, what a true picture of submission and obedience Jesus was, and what a great lesson we can learn from these things as well.
I think that John helps us understand this idea better, as He actually records for us the words of Jesus in his gospel account. In chapter 12, verses 49-50, we read, "For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak. And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." Our Lord Jesus did not come to do His own will or to speak His own Words, but what He was all about was the work of the Father! No doubt this is why He told His mother at a very young age, "Woman, don't you know that I must be about my Father's business?" Certainly, Jesus knew His responsibility to His God. He definitely knew His duty to the Father above, and His every desire and effort was to accomplish the commanded purpose at hand!
Brethren, if we could only learn to have a similar attitude as Jesus. To put our own wants, like and desires aside, and to determine to humble ourselves completely to the things which God has revealed to us through His Word. What a privilege we have to do God's Will and to accomplish it according to His purpose and desire. The question for us all is, will we choose to speak the words of the Father as Jesus did? Will we be willing to follow the Almighty's commands, again as Jesus did? Will we commit to doing all the will of God as it has been given to us in His own precious Word, the Bible? Just how much will you choose to humble yourself before God?
We are thankful to have brother Jim Poland with us this morning as our guest speaker. Brother Poland is the minister for the Bona Church of Christ in Bona, Missouri. As far as our main study of the day, we will be continuing to consider the question as to whether the things we do in religion are based in that which is, "From Heaven Or Men." Our specific lessons of the day is entitled, "The Sinners Prayer!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Poland will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. Now it's time to join in our second song, the name of this hymn, "All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jim Poland
Thank you for tuning in.
Prayer is a universal practice of religious people. It's an important part of the activity of those who sincerely are trying to approach the God of heaven. It has become a common plea in many religious circles and revivals, for the unsaved sinner who realizes that they are alienated from God, just to pray a certain prayer. The prayer may take on a few variations in wording, but the prayer first calls for the sinner to acknowledge his sinful condition before God, that they are transgressors and have been separated from God and transgressors of His Will. Then they are to confess belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God and then acknowledge that they accept Jesus in their hearts and plead that God save them right then in Jesus' name. Men are encouraged by preachers and others to assure them that salvation is theirs at that point. Is this found in God's Word? Is this all there is to becoming saved or to becoming a child of God or becoming a Christian? Is this what Jesus and His apostles said to do?
We know that belief and a knowledge of sin is very important. Jesus said that, "You will die in your sins if you do not believe that I am He. You will die in your sins," John 8:24. The Bible says it is necessary to understand that we are all sinners. "We are all of sin and come short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23. It was announced that "Jesus came to take away the sin of the world," John chapter 1, verse 29.
When Jesus died on that day in 33 AD, according to that calendar we're going by, at the hands of the Jews and the Romans, He died to take away our sins. "He died once for all," Hebrews chapter 9, verse 28. He was raised from the dead on the 3rd day. He had chosen in His ministry apostles, those sent to carry on His work here on earth after His death and His ascension. He appeared to His apostles and to many others up to 500 people at one time after His resurrection and before He ascended. His apostles worked. It is recorded in the book of Acts. Acts chapter 2 records the birth of Christianity. Acts goes on to reveal the growth of Christianity as the church was spread by the evangelistic efforts of those whom Jesus sent. Acts therefore has become the book by which we may learn how to be saved, how to become a Christian, how to become a child of God. Acts therefore is a book that we look to for the examples of what to do in order to become a child of God. There are ten different examples given in the book of Acts. How to receive God's saving grace to free us from sin and make us His child and be a part of His church. These examples came under the apostles' teachings as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit who speaks His Word.
As we begin to look at these ten different examples, first of all there is Pentecost. Acts chapter 2, Pentecost is that day 50 days after the Passover and these are religious people who gathered there for that observance and they heard the first gospel sermon. So we begin to pick up on the things that they did and what was necessary to bring them to God. So first of all they heard that they had crucified the Christ, but the heavenly Father had exalted Him and they believed what they were taught by Peter on that day and what was necessary for them to know about Jesus and they were convicted of their sins. They were cut to the heart. These believers however were not saved and they knew it. They knew that they needed to do something and they were told when they were asked what to do, that they needed to repent. That was a change of mind and heart and change of life, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. This is in Acts 2:37-38. When it talks about for remission of sins, it didn't use the Greek word "Gar" which means because of remission of sins. It used the Greek word "Ise" which means always unto or toward remission of sins. This was necessary for them to do.
We go on to another example in Acts chapter 8 and verse 12. Here Philip preached to the Samaritans. They heard what Philip had to preach and they believed and they were baptized.
In that same area just the next verse, the example of Simon in Acts chapter 8 and verse 13, "also heard Philip preaching and he heard and was baptized."
Going on down into Acts chapter 8, verses 35 and following, the Ethiopian Eunuch had been to Jerusalem to worship and was on his way back to Ethiopia, as Philip then was directed to approach him as he was reading from an Old Testament prophet, Isaiah, and he explained to him and the explanation of what he was reading was to preach Jesus to him. Philip preached to this man and he heard him preach Jesus and he believed and he confessed that Jesus Christ was the son of God and he was baptized.
Going on to Saul of Tarsus, who later became the apostle Paul. His conversion to become a Christian and become saved is found in Acts chapter 9. He retells it in Acts 22 and Acts 26. He was on his way to persecute and execute Christians when he saw a blinding light and the Lord appeared to him. He was told to go where he would be told what he must do. He was three days blind, not eating or drinking, no doubt in a spirit and attitude of prayer. He still needed to hear what was needed to be saved. The Lord sent Ananias to restore his sight and to tell him what to do. What was he told to do? It was obvious from what he did in Acts 9, verse 18. "He arose and was baptized."
Another example is found in Acts chapter 8, Cornelius, the first Gentile to become a Christian. Cornelius was a praying man. God heard his prayers. Cornelius was a generous, giving man and a devout family man, yet he needed Peter to come so that he could do what the Lord would say for him to do in order to be saved. He was told to, "send for Peter (quote) who will tell you words by which you and your household will be saved," Acts chapter 11 and verse 14. So when he heard Peter, he believed and was baptized.
Acts chapter 16 is another example. Lydia heard what Paul spoke. Where did he find her? He found her by the riverside praying. She was there as a regular visitor in a regular time of prayer and devotion and these praying people needed to hear what Paul had to say, and she was baptized and her household.
Paul and Silas were thrown into prison, as also recorded in Acts 16. When the Philippian jailer thought that they had escaped because of an earthquake that had opened the prison, he found that they were not, he asked what he should do to be saved and they said, "if you believe, you may be saved." But he hadn't heard what he needed to know in order to do what was necessary, so they taught him and when he heard what they spoke to him, he could believe and he was baptized with his household.
There were the Corinthians in Acts chapter 18 and verse 8. Hearing and believing, they were baptized.
The Ephesians in Acts chapter 19 and verse 5, "When they heard this, they were baptized in Jesus' name."
Psalm 119:160 says that, "the sum of God's Word is true." The entirety of God's Word is true and when you put all these examples together, we find that these people heard the gospel preached, they believed that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the Living God, they repented of their sins, they confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the son of the Living God, and they were baptized, everyone of them.
This was the plan that was spread throughout, the spread of Christianity of the New Testament. In no case was anyone told to pray. They were not told to pray a certain prayer. In fact, praying people were told what they needed to do in order to be saved. This falls in line with what Jesus had already taught back in Matthew chapter 7. "Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the Will of my Father in heaven." Just calling out "Lord, Lord," or calling on the Lord was not enough. These people needed to do His Will and these were people who were religious and active for He says in the next verse, "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and done many wonders in your name? Then I will declare to them, I never knew you, depart from me, ye who practice lawlessness." Not just an appeal, "Lord, Lord." They had to do His Will. Luke's account of this is, "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not do the things I say?"
What must we do? Saul of Tarsus was deeply convicted of sin and was in a spirit of attitude and prayer and fasting for three days. Then Ananias told this praying man that he needed to do something to call on the Lord. Listen, Paul re-counts this in Acts 22 and verse 16, "And now, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord." His prayer did not save him. His calling was something that he did.
Jesus, in Luke chapter 18, tells of two men who were praying. This gives us some powerful lessons about the proper attitude of spirit and prayer for sinners and one of them says, beating his breast, "God be merciful to me a sinner." I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. Is this all we need to do in order to be justified? No. These were both under the Old Testament. They were at the Old Testament temple to pray. They were under a different covenant and it had nothing to do with becoming a Christian.
Peter, on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 and 21, quotes from Joel and says, "It shall come to pass whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." What does this mean to call? Is it just a verbal affirmation? Jesus said, "Calling alone is not enough," in Matthew chapter 7. Calling Him Lord, Lord, was not enough even for religious active people.
The example of Acts chapter 2 gives us the proper explanation of what Peter was talking about when he said to call on the Lord in Acts 2:21. "For when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said to them, Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
This falls in with what Peter would say later on in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 21. The New King James Version has it this way. "There is also an anti-type which now saves us, baptism, not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." The New American Standard records it this way, corresponding to that. "Baptism now saves us, not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
We are told today that we need to do those things that are according to God's Word. The sum of His Word is truth. And so the appeal today is now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized. Wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord. Jesus in the Great Commission put it together very simply and plainly. "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. He that does not believe shall be condemned." We need to be in Christ when He comes again in order to go home with Him to be in heaven. We know that we convert in Him when we are baptized into His death, and in Him are all spiritual blessings.
The lesson is yours. Thank you for tuning in.
(SONG # 3 - "There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest")
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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We thank God that He has revealed to us a specific plan, which we can follow, in order to be saved! Are you willing to submit to God and do things His Way?