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.


What a wonderful privilege we have as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. How encouraging it is to have this avenue of worship to our Creator! So, this morning won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the morning. The name of the song “God Is A Fountain Whence!”

(SONG # 1)


How many of us are good at keeping secrets? It has been interesting watching my children grow up and go through different stages in many aspects of their lives. At first, they just couldn’t keep their mouth shut. In fact, if you told them anything, you could be sure it would be repeated. Especially to the one who they were not supposed to tell it to.

I’ll have to admit however, that I know many adults that are just as bad. I guess every church has that individual that works better than the 10 o’clock news, if you tell them anything.

I mention all of this to remind us that God had a great secret that was hidden for a long time. In Ephesians 3:9, Paul said, “and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ.” You see for ages there was something hidden in God, until the proper time came.

So, what was hidden? Paul again answers this question in his book to the Colossians. In chapter 2, and verses 2 and 3, we read, “that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” There we have it. The treasures of wisdom and knowledge were hidden by God until they were completely revealed through His glorious Son, Jesus Christ.

What a wonderful blessing we have today as Christians to have the promised, revealed secret through Jesus our Lord. Furthermore, the only way we can be pleasing to God today, is by accepting and following the revealed mysteries which we now have because of Christ. Are you taking advantage of the revealed knowledge and wisdom offered to you by God?

Today we will continue our study on, “Authority in Religion.” Our specific topic of the day will deal with, “Bible Authority in the Plan of Salvation.” So please continue with us this morning and after our next song 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, “A New Creature.”

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us today as we now have the opportunity to look into God’s Word and see what He has to say about His Will and what He loves for us to do and expects for us to do if we are going to be pleasing before Him. As well, we should want to do this because as His followers, we are people who truly by loving Him will keep His commandments exactly as Jesus has asked.

We’ve been having a great study together on Biblical authority, and we’ve really I believe, been able to dive in very deeply into some of the concepts about how that we understand where authority comes from. We’ve actually had several cards and letters, calls, and contacts about the program since we’ve been running this series and we appreciate your interest and we want to continue talking about God’s Word in relationship to Biblical authority, because so often today in the religious world, as well as throughout the brotherhood we find that people don’t really respect any longer the authority that truly comes by God and from God according to His Will.

We certainly have found that God is the top of the chain of authority, obviously being the Creator, the Giver of all. Even Jesus Christ Himself said that He came according to the Will of the Father and all that He did and said were truly according to the Father’s Will. We know that God the Father is at the top of this chain. Then He actually sent His Son, His Son that might come to earth and present all of the Will in its fullness and to reveal all things that truly were hidden for many, many years and centuries even from even some of the prophets of old. Yet Jesus came and then He chose apostles and later we find the Holy Spirit came to guide not only the apostles but to help them and to guide others in writing scriptures, the Word of God.

We looked at many verses together understanding clearly that scripture not only is from God but its of God and is authoritative as if God Himself is speaking it. 2 Timothy 3:16 and 17 talks about “all scripture being from God and profits us and guides us into everything, completely and thoroughly furnishes us.”

There in Peter, 1 Peter chapter 1 and verse 3, we find again the very same concepts being presented, helping us to understand again that all things pertaining to life and godliness truly have been given to us from the Word of God. Then we were able to go into some other lessons and look specifically at how we begin to apply Biblical authority after we understand that it is from God and now because of Christ and the spirit has been given to us in the Word. Now that we understand that the Word of God truly is that which guides us and tells us all that we need to know no matter what aspect of life it is. It gives us the answers. It shows us the way. It lights our path. It leads the way, truly, protecting and guiding, nurturing us in every aspect of life. Then now we need to continue to apply the principles that we’ve seen, concepts of knowing as we’ve studied the Word of God that we truly need to know that when the Bible gives us a direct command or a direct statement that is to a Christian, a follower, that is expected to be followed by God.

Not only that but we see those who not only are given direct commands but even by example did things that they had been told by the apostles or by God and that they actually followed those things which by us again would be something that is an example, a command by example, something that we see that was approved of by God before them. Therefore if we do that, surely that same example would be pleasing before His sight in our lives.

What about inferences? We’ve also talked about inferences and how that as we read scripture sometimes there are things that are inferred about others, about the church, about a Christian and these inferences again are things that show us that which pleases God and makes God happy.

We’ve looked at ideas about trying to understand the context and the setting and understanding things even according to culture. Some things are cultural in scripture and some things are not. So as we begin to break all of these concepts down, then we need to begin looking at application, things that specifically apply to scripture and this morning we want to look at salvation. How is it that we know what God expects of one in order that he or she can be saved? Now again, a very confusing question comes because of what the world offers nowadays in relationship to salvation. Every religious group, although claiming many times to be of God, the same Father, the same Son, the same Spirit, all professing different concepts about what it takes for a man to be saved. Well, what I would submit to you and request that you would do is from our study, go to God’s Word. If we want the answers of how to be saved, or what must I do to be saved, just as those in New Testament times asked the question. The greatest place to go is in God’s Word to find there again according to the scriptures, what they said. What was it through direct command and direct statements and example and inferences. What is it that God asked them in New Testament times as New Testament Christians? The first Christians that ever existed? What was it that God asked them to do in order to be saved when they asked the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Well, there are many scriptures that deal with this, probably hundreds that deal with the concept of salvation or those things leading to salvation, but I don’t think there’s just one scripture that gives us the whole picture that we need. You know we have to take the whole Bible as a whole, even the New Testament as we study it being to Christians, the new covenant, the new agreement that God has with those who choose today to follow Him.

When we look at the New Testament we have to take it as a whole. We might find things that Paul said and Peter said in a unified way that work together to accomplish the same goal. There might be things that Paul said here that he says later to another church and in another way adding something that really shows a deeper picture of what is expected by God. So we have to take scripture as a whole. We have to keep our hearts and minds open enough to see at the end of the day after we’ve studied the New Testament what it is really that they did. What was required in these situations in order that one be saved and added by the Lord to His church? Isn’t that what it is all about?

In the book of Acts chapter 2 and verse 47, the day the church began, I remind you there that it said, “The Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.” They were doing something in order that the Lord would add them to the church and thus they were considered as among the saved. So the question we want to ask today is “what is it that one must do to be saved?” Not according to what I think or what you think or what some religion thinks or what my church thinks or what your church thinks. We don’t have churches as I remind you, Jesus does. But what is it that God said in His Word? How does He command us not only again by commandment but by example as well as through inferences in scripture to show us truly what He expects of those who want to be considered among the saved, the faithful before Him?

Well let’s go to God’s Word. I noticed one thing that always stands out throughout the New Testament in example is that every individual that ever was mentioned as becoming a Christian or responding to the saving grace of Jesus Christ, every example, I challenge you to look to scripture for this, but every example is always of one who was of the age of accountability. Never an infant. Never a child. Never small children. Never someone who was unable to know right from wrong or who couldn’t speak, or someone who didn’t have his mental capabilities to know right from wrong or to do things or to be able to grow or to have the knowledge or even the wisdom that gives to be able to apply knowledge. Every case in the New Testament were always individuals who were able to reason enough to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ. That’s what we’re talking about in relationship to salvation. We were talking about those who could respond. Now, most of us watching the program this morning have that capability. If we’re watching the program we can hear. We can read. We can understand. We can comprehend. We are of the age of knowing right from wrong.

So we must ask the question, “God what is it that you want me to do to be saved? How is it that you add me to the church? What is it that determines that whether I am outside of the fold of God or whether I am inside the fold of God? Well, as we go to the scriptures we find the answers.

In fact, if you’ll look with me first of all in the book of Romans. Again, Paul here with the Roman brethren deals quite a bit with these concepts. But notice with me in verse 17 where really it seems to be the starting point that we can introduce as far as what an individual must do to respond to that saving grace of Jesus Christ. In verse 17, God says, “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” I want you to notice two things there. First of all, faith comes by hearing. The obvious first thing any individual must do is to at some point hear whether that is through the literal voice of another or whether that is through the Word, reading the Word, and in fact, what this verse tells us is that what one must hear is the Word of God. Not me. Not you. Not some church, but the Word of God. Why the Word of God? Because that’s the authority. That’s what God has given us as we have seen through scripture. He that has faith upon hearing what? The Word of God. You must establish a faith not from what you think and feel, but from what God says. This is God’s book that completely furnishes us, that teaches us all things pertaining to life and godliness. So we must have faith. We must have faith obviously, as it says here, in God.

The same writer there in the same opening in verses 14 and 15 asked some similar questions by saying, “How can they call on Him when they have not heard? Whom shall they believe in whom they have not heard about? Whom shall they hear without a preacher?” On and on and on he asked these similar questions trying to again spark in their minds the reality, the fact as verse 17 goes on to say, “Look, you’ve got to hear the Word of God in order to believe in it.” All those around the world need the opportunity. Therefore, some have to preach. Some have to go and be sent. There is not going to be some kind of a miraculous thing but you must hear what God’s revelation is today and that is found through the Word of God.

So we must begin to build a faith upon hearing the Word of God which automatically leads us, this faith concept, to a belief in that. You know, the devil as James talks about, believed and trembled. They know that there is a God, but yet the distinction between the devils and myself or one who is a wicked serpent or one of the evil one and myself would be the fact that I act on my belief. It is seen and demonstrated through faith as we see in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, the great faith chapter. All of those individuals showed faith by what they were doing, by their works. The devils certainly believe but they don’t have faith because they’re not acting on that belief, the knowledge they have. So as we hear the Word of God, we’ve got to understand and receive it and begin to become wise about it and then apply it in our lives, apply it in our lives and act upon it. It’s so important that we understand the need to hear and to believe unto faith. A belief that again is acted upon and demonstrated as James says. You show me your faith without works and I will show you my faith by my works. In other words, we prove to God and to others that truly we believe because of what we do in our everyday lives, not just because we say it and not just because we claim to be a Christian.

I might also remind you that in that very same Hebrew letter that we referred to a moment ago not only were those shown to be faithful because of what they were doing for God and acting on their beliefs but it also says there in verse 6 that “it’s impossible to please God without this type of faith.” If you don’t believe and act on what you’ve heard and demonstrated through faith, then it says it is impossible to please God. So we obviously see here two things that are clear, that you must hear the Word of God. It’s inferred in scripture that you have to have heard it sometime in order to believe something. And faith or belief is also a requirement because of the verses that we are seeing here that it is impossible to please God without faith. In fact, we could say that is a direct command. “We cannot be pleasing,” the writer says, “without faith.” Therefore, we must have faith. We are commanded to have faith by God in order to lead toward salvation.

Another verse I might suggest to you to help you with this is found in Mark 16 there in the Great Commission, as it talks there about how that they should go but yet then he ends by saying, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be condemned.” Notice there, he that believeth shall be saved. Even if you leave out the baptism, the concept there that is brought forth is he that believeth shall be saved. Now baptism is tied by the conjunction “and”. He that believeth and is baptized. But I want you to notice there that belief is unto salvation. It is a part of what they were doing acting on their faith and believing.

Now let’s move on to the concept of repentance. Probably one of the best verses we have, Luke 13:3. Jesus said there clearly, “Except ye repent, you will all likewise perish.” Let me remind you, that is the words of Jesus Christ Himself to His disciples.

As far as we might go also in verse 5 there. It says again, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” Repentance equals not perishing. So, if we don’t want to perish and we want to be saved, what would be a requirement unto salvation? Here again, we find a direct command through this example, through this inference, through all of these concepts again that shows us that this repentance is a requirement.

I’ll also show you to Acts 2:38 where they were crying out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” What was it they said there in Acts 38 of chapter 2? “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” These things had to have been done. Then as we’ve already referred to down in verse 47, “the Lord added those to the church daily that were being saved.” What were they doing? They were repenting we know and being baptized. Repentance there, a requirement unto what? Salvation. To be added by the Lord to His church, we have to have heard at some point and to believe and demonstrate faith through that and then as we’ve seen now to repent. Godly sorrow is produced when we are those that understand we have sin and therefore we are lead to repentance as Paul said in the book of Corinthians. So yes, we must be those that repent.

What about confession? How many of you would say that we don’t have to confess in order to be a Christian? That is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The Bible tells us that we must confess. In fact, in Acts chapter 8 and verse 37, we actually read there that we must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, just as the eunuch there made the great confession, “I believe.” In fact, you might remember in that story that he saw water and he said, “What hinders me to be baptized?” And Philip told him in Acts chapter 8, “Nothing if you believe.” Then he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He made the wondrous and great confession.

Romans chapter 10 we talked about a moment ago in verse 10 actually tells us that “with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.” Telling us again a direct statement given from God through the Spirit, the guidance of the Spirit as these men penned these books, such as Paul. Salvation is found only when one takes part in confession.

Now that’s not the only thing. We’ve mentioned faith and belief. We’ve mentioned repentance. All of these things are required, brethren. They’re all required, friends. And there are things that lead us to the step of Jesus saying, “Yes, you’ve done it now and I add you to my church. I add you among the faithful.”

In fact, in Matthew chapter 10, again we see in the Words of Christ in verses 32 and 33, “Whoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven.” Confession is essential.

So we’ve seen these things unto salvation. We’ve seen these things through specific statements of the Holy Spirit guided by the apostles and writers of the Bible that said, “This is what Jesus wants of those that will be saved.”

Another thing though that we’ve mentioned and alluded to already in several passages is baptism. I’ll remind you there in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 27 where Paul clearly states this, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” I think we all would agree that when we put on Christ we are Christians and that is the reference being made here. A direct link is made between baptism and that act. We’ve already mentioned Mark chapter 16, verse 16 where he said there, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” There again, the concept of belief and baptism equal what? Salvation is mentioned there in Matthew 28:19. “Go into all the world…” He tells them there that “they should preach and teach to all nations, baptizing them.”

There in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 21, Noah was saved from the flood by the ark and he says, “A like figure today now saves us.” What does he say? Baptism. Then in Romans chapter 6, verses 3 and 4 is talking about how that we as Christ was buried, we bury the old man, we bury the sins in the watery grave and we rise from that watery grave figuratively. As Christ rose, we rise a new creature, a new Christian added by the Lord to His church.

You see, this is the way that we apply the principle. This is the way that we understand when we begin asking the question, “Lord, what must I do to be saved?” We go to His Word and we clearly see that we must have, after hearing, a belief that brings forth faith and action that causes us to repent and confess those things that we need to, as well as be baptized so the Lord can add us to the church.

Finally, as we read in Revelation 2:10 that “we might be faithful unto death and only then will God give us a crown of life.”

(SONG # 3 - “Footprints Of Jesus!”)

CLOSING COMMENTS 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 all continue to study God’s Word, so that we may better rightly divide His Will in relationship to being saved.