THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 10-22-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH RESPECTS GOD'S POWER
Welcome to our program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. Thank you for Choosing to join us for the Living Word program. A work of God, dedicated to studying His Word and to singing songs of praise, according to His Will. What a privilege it is that we again have this opportunity to be together for this time of offering and sacrifice to God. Now, will you bow with me in prayer!
Let me begin this morning, by reminding you that this Saturday, the 28th, is National Make A Difference Day. In observance of this secular holiday, we at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ are reaching out to our community in helping to meet the needs of those in our area! We will be offering, free Bible materials, free clothing assistance, free food sacks, and also free games and gifts for the children! This event will take place at our building at 2540 North Kansas Expressway from 10:00 in the morning to 2:30 in the afternoon. We hope to see you there this Saturday morning! If you have any questions or need any further information, feel free to contact us.
This morning, we will be airing our newly completed television taping of congregation singing. Let me thank all of you who were involved in this service to God. Today we will hear some new songs and see some new brethren in the assembly. Please make sure to pay attention to the words, as we together join in our first song of the morning, its name, "Higher Ground."
(BREAK FOR SONG # 1)
I would like to use this devotional portion of the program this morning, as a moment to clarify a point from a previous program. In the Bible we are told that someday we all will die. We further know that after we die that there will be a final judgement by God. These thoughts are confirmed for us in Hebrews 9:27, there the writer says, "it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment."
Now in relationship to the judgement, we know that someday we will all, "stand before the judgment seat of Christ," Romans 14:10. At that time we will be judged according to what we have done in the flesh. Paul said, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad," 1 Corinthians 5:10. So at that time we will receive a reward according to the lives we have lived for God. The righteous will inherit eternal life, while the wicked shall be cast into everlasting punishment, Matthew 25:46!
Now the point of clarification I would like to make is in relationship to when we die. What happens to us and our bodies? The Bible clearly states that our physical bodies will return to the dust of the ground. Solomon said, "all are from the dust, and all return to dust," Ecclesiastes 3:20. The flesh is made of earthly components, therefore it is not fit for the kingdom of Heaven.
Paul understood this point very well, as he tried to explain this concept to the Corinthian brethren in 1 Corinthians 15. In verses 52 and 53 he said, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality." Why then is it necessary for us to be changed from the physical to something else. Well, look back up in verse 50, there Paul adds, "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God."
So we must understand that someday we will die, if the judgement doesn't come first. After death the fleshly man will return to the dust. But the spiritual man, the soul will live forever. God's says we will be changed into an incorruptible form to be more like God. A more acceptable form to be able to dwell in that eternal city - Heaven.
This morning we have a guest speaker who will help us in our study, as we continue learning about "A living Faith." Brother Steve Rook, minister for the Lebanon Church of Christ, will lead our thoughts today as we consider the specific topic "a Living Faith Respects God's Power." After our next song together, he will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "I'm Not Ashamed To Own My Lord."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Steve Rook
Good morning everyone and thank you so much for tuning in to the program this morning. I'm appreciative of your interest in a study of God's word and I'm sincerely appreciative of this opportunity to visit with you in your homes.
Friends, a living faith respects the power of God. In particular, the word of God. In Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 12, we read that The word of God is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword.
Indeed James tells us in James chapter 1 and verse 22, Receive with meekness the engrafted word which is able, indicating the power of God's word, which is able to save your souls.
The apostle Paul addressed the people of Rome in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16. He said, I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first and also to the Gentile.
And so you see friends, a living faith respects the power of God. In particular, the power of His word. That's the word of course we find in the pages of the Bible.
In 2 Timothy chapter 3 and verse 16, Paul said, All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, that is, complete or whole, thoroughly furnished, fully equipped unto every good work. And a living faith respects the power of God. In particular, the power of God as it's expressed in His holy and divine will.
Now, the importance of faith is observed throughout the pages of the Bible. For example, in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 6, we read how that without faith it is impossible to please God. You see, without faith cannot please God. One cannot serve God as God would have it.
Indeed, Jesus said in John chapter 8 and verse 24, Except a man believe that I am He, he shall die in his sins. One can't be saved without faith. One can't be saved from his sins without faith.
In Mark chapter 16 and verse 16, Jesus in giving the great commission indicates how important faith or belief is. He said, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be condemned. You see, one who doesn't believe will be lost.
And thus Paul said in Romans 1:16, The gospel is God's power to save every one that believes. Indeed the gospel is God's power, but it has the power to save only those who believe. Thus you see the importance of faith.
But now friends now this morning, this faith must be a living faith not a dead faith. And there is such a thing as a dead faith. You perhaps realize and recall James' discussion of this in the New testament book of James in chapter 2. Notice if you will in your own Bibles, verse 17 of James chapter 2. James inspired by the Holy Spirit of God writes, Even so faith if it has not works is dead, being alone. Faith without works is dead. Faith alone, the Bible says, is a dead faith. Notice again James' emphasis down in verse 20. In the latter part of that verse, James tells us again that faith without works is dead. And in the final verse of this very important chapter, verse 26, James tells us that, As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead.
There is such a thing as a dead faith. The importance of faith is observed throughout the Bible. Thus, the importance of a living faith if we're to be pleasing to God and if we're to respect the power of God's word.
Now, a living faith has reference to a faith that obeys. This is not a reference to the works of the laws of Moses. Here in James 2, James is not talking about works of merit by which we obligate God to save us. In fact, the New Testament, in the Bible as a whole, we find two kinds of works. There are the works of the law of Moses, the works of law or the works of merit. By such works, no man is saved. On the other hand, there are works of faith, works of obedience in humble submission to the word of God. That's the kind of works that James has reference to here in James chapter 2. James is talking about obedience to God's word. And friends, one cannot be saved that doesn't obey God. This principle is found throughout the Bible. You may remember in the Sermon on the Mount, in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21, Jesus said, Not everyone that says to me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven but he that doeth the will of my father who is in heaven.
It's one thing to call upon Jesus as Lord, but then one must do the will of the father if he expects to be saved. Friend, one can't be saved without a living faith, a faith that is obedient to God. Indeed, Jesus asked in Luke chapter 6 and verse 46, Why do you call me Lord, but do not the things that I say?
It's a problem for many people to be religious, to perhaps call upon Jesus as Lord but then really not be willing to obey Him. One cannot be saved if he doesn't have a living faith, the kind of faith that is obedient.
Indeed, in Hebrews chapter 5 and verse 9, the Bible tells us that, Christ is the savior of them that obey Him.
Who is it on the day of judgment that Christ will save? Not merely those who call Him 'Lord', not merely those who express some kind of religious sentiment, but rather those who obey Him.
In Acts chapter 17 and verse 30, the apostle said, God once winked at ignorance, but now He commands all men everywhere to repent.
A living faith respects God's word. And one cannot be saved without obeying that word, without repenting of sin. Indeed, in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38, thousands on the day of Pentecost heard the apostle Peter preach the gospel of Christ and proclaim the word of God. They were pricked in their hearts, verse 37, but that doesn't mean they were saved. Indeed they asked, What must we do? And Peter replied in verse 38 of Acts chapter 2, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. You see, they were pricked in their hearts. They had some emotional feelings about what Peter had just expressed, but they still weren't saved because they hadn't yet obtained a living faith, an obedient faith. They heard the word of God and they respected the power of God's word. They repented and were baptized. In verse 41, They that gladly heard Peter's word and received his word, were baptized.
Let me share with you a passage also recording the words of the apostle Peter. It's found in Acts chapter 10 and verse 34 and 35. Read it in your own Bibles. In Acts chapter 10, verse 34, Then Peter opened his mouth and he said of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons. Verse 35, But in every nation, he that fears Him, that is reverences Him or respects Him, he that fears God and worketh righteousness, that is obeys God, is accepted with Him.
Now who is it friends that's accepted with God, or accepted of God? Is it those people who acknowledge or state their faith, but those who have a living faith, those who fear God, respect God and thus obey the word of God? Well you see, that's what a living faith is. It's a faith that respects the power of God's word and His obedient there, too.
Indeed, faith simply means to take God at His word. So many times Christians enjoy singing together that old hymn, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, just to rest upon His promise, just to know thus saith the Lord." You see friends, a living faith, a trusting faith respects the power of God's word, takes God at His word and Noah here in the 11th chapter of Hebrews is a beautiful example of one who had a living faith, who respected the power of God's word, who was obedient to God, who took God at His word. Notice in verse 7 of Hebrews chapter 11, By faith, Noah being warned of God of things not seen as yet moved with fear, that is a respect for God and His warning, His word of warning, prepared and art to the saving of his house by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. By faith, by taking God at His word when God warned Noah that the flood was coming and He warned Noah to prepare an ark, Noah did exactly as God told him to do. He took Him at His word. Thus, Noah's listed among these men and women of faith, men and women who possessed a living faith.
When you go back to the Old Testament book of Genesis and you look at Genesis chapter 6, one of the things that impresses us is how often it is said of Noah that he did all that God commanded him to do. He took God at His word. He was a man who was characterized by a living faith.
Another beautiful example of a living faith that takes God at His word is found in Luke, the 5th chapter, the 1st five verses, talking about the man, Peter. There in Luke chapter 5, we're told how Peter and his associates had been fishing all night in the Sea of Galilee and they were on the shore of the Sea of Galilee washing their nets, and along came Jesus and Jesus said to Peter, Launch out into the deep. Now Peter was an expert fisherman. He knew all about fishing. But when Jesus told him to launch out into the deep, Peter didn't understand all the ifs, buts and wherefore, he said, Lord, we've been fishing all night, but notice in verse 5 of Luke chapter 5, At thy word, I will let down the net because Lord you have said it, I will do exactly as you've said. I will let down the net. Peter indicates here a living faith, one who is willing to take God at His word, one who is willing to take the Lord Jesus at His word and obey His word.
And friends this morning, a living faith respects the power of God's word for salvation. Please don't be tempted into respecting some man for your salvation, his popularity or his ability to speak or his ability to entertain.
In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 23, the apostle Paul said, We preach Christ. And again in 1 Corinthians, that same epistle, chapter 2, the 1st two verses, Paul said, When I cam to you there at Corinth, I didn't come with excellency of speech or with human wisdom. For I determine, verse 2, not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
And again to the city of Rome, that great power of the ancient world, with all of it's military might, with all of it's financial and geographical power, it's theater and drama, Paul said, I'm ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. It is the power of God unto salvation.
And we must not be tempted to have respect for our salvation in the power of signs or miracles today.
Again, in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and verse 22, Paul made reference to some in his day who required a sign, who wanted some miracle worked. In fact he said, The Jews require a sign. Friends, that spirit continues today. People's respect is not in the power of God, but in some miracle worker, in some mysterious experience or being worked into an emotional frenzy at some so called 'miracle crusade.' There's no power in such things to say. The power is in the word of God. And a living faith respects the power of God's word. As Paul proclaimed, we preach Christ! The gospel is God's power to save.
You may be familiar with the character in the New Testament named Cornelius. In Acts chapter 10 and verse 3, an angel appeared to him. But in verse 6, the angel said, Find Peter, the preacher who will tell you what you ought to do. In Acts chapter 11 and verse 16, the angel said to Cornelius, Send for Peter who will tell you words, notice words, whereby you and your house must be saved. And it's interesting to note in Acts chapter 10, verses 47 and verse 48, what Peter told him to do. He told him to, Be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Now some people sometimes rely upon the power of human traditions and the doctrines and commandments of men, but Jesus said, In vain, they do worship Me, teaching for doctrine the commandments of men.
We mustn't rely upon human traditions and human names and denominational churches for our salvation, but rather upon the power of God's word. Friends, it's one thing to be religious and another completely different thing to have a living faith.
James tells us in James chapter 2 and verse 19, Even the devils believe and tremble. But a living faith respects the power of God's word, takes God at His word and is obedient to God, believing the gospel of Christ, repenting of sins, being baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of those sins.
God bless you and my prayer is that you'll obey the Lord.
(SONG # 3 - "I Am Resolved!")
Thanks again for being with us this morning. Please remember to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God.
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May we all strive to have a faith which demonstrates a greater respect for the power of our Almighty God.