THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-21-04
LESSON TITLE: "FROM HEAVEN OR MEN: THE GRACE OF GOD"
"...Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,..." 1 Corinthians 15:58! How about it, are you standing up for God? Are you standing strong in His will and promises? And are you always abounding in His work!
I welcome you as fellow laborers this day in the service of our God. I furthermore thank all of those who have joined us, who have not yet fully submitted to the will of God. My hope and prayer this day is for you and your obedience. As God said, "Today is the day of salvation." Are you willing to submit to the things of God and obey?
What better way to begin our time together this morning, that in speaking with our God in prayer. Will you bow with me at this time!
I hope everyone is ready to worship God in song at this time! We will begin today with a hymn which focuses our thoughts on the precious Word of God. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Give Me The Bible."
(SONG # 1)
As we look around our world today, we really don't find a lot of humility anymore. On the other hand, the ungodly pride, arrogance, and puffed up spirit of many in our day, is certainly in direct opposition to what God has commanded through His Word. In fact, in the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13, we find that true Godly love does not demonstrate such types of attitudes.
No doubt this is why we read such teachings from Jesus Himself. One such verse is found in Luke 14:11, there we read, "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Jesus makes this statement after giving an example of how that our human nature often causes us to desire to go to the best seat or to get the most visible place at the wedding feast. The sad reality is, too many of us are more worried about appearances and keeping up with the Jones's, than in really humbling ourselves before others in this world.
But I might also ask, just how important is this principle? Well, read with me the words of Jesus to His disciples found in Matthew 18:3-4. There we read, "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." What is it that the Kingdom of Heaven consist of? Here the verse confirms that the humility of Children exemplifies that attitude and characteristic of one who is worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.
So how about it, do you want to go to heaven? Well, we all better learn to do a better job in humbling ourselves before the throne of God, as well as before the people of this world - "For such is as in the Kingdom of God!"
We are glad to have a guest speaker with us this morning. I know we will welcome once again brother Jerry Sullins, Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri, here in Springfield, Missouri.
As far as our study, we will be continuing our important discussion concerning doctrines of this day, determining whether they are "From Heaven Or Men." The specific lesson of the day is entitled, "The Grace Of God!" So stay with us and after our next song together, Brother Sullins will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "To God Be The Glory."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
I appreciate so much this opportunity to be in your households today and to have this opportunity to speak to you concerning one of the great doctrines of the Bible. It's my understanding that for the past few weeks you've been discussing some very important doctrines that we read and can find that are revealed to us in the holy scripture. So this morning I want to give some comments concerning a subject that is near and dear to all of us because it's one of the great doctrines that is revealed to us especially throughout all of God's Word and that is the grace of God. There's a lot of misunderstanding in the world today concerning the grace of God as is revealed to us in the scripture and because of that misunderstanding, I believe we need to also realize that it is very possible, in fact, it is true that throughout the years many souls have been put into jeopardy because they fail to understand the message that is given to us in God's Holy Word concerning His own grace.
Let's first of all start by investigating what grace actually is. The Bible defines it for us. We are saved by grace. So what is grace? Many people say it is as we define it in the English language of what we refer to as unmerited favor which means something which we have no right to receive and we do not deserve. I think that's a fair representation of that word as it was in the original. Yes, we do not have the right to receive our salvation because we can never be good enough to receive that salvation. There's no way we can deserve what took place for our salvation and that is the death of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.
So what is this grace that the Bible speaks of? In Titus 2, verse 11 there's some indication as to what this grace is. It says, "For the grace of God that bring us salvation hath appeared unto all men teaching us that denying worldliness and ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live righteously, soberly, and godly in this present world. So basically what the writer is saying there is that the grace of God has appeared to us and it appeared to us in fleshly form, in the form of Jesus Christ the son of God.
Also, in Ephesians 2 and verse 8, a very familiar scripture when people are discussing this subject, the scripture says, "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of itself, it is the gift of God." So what was that gift of God that gave us salvation? Well we've all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and we know for sure that through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and the shedding of His blood, the scripture is very clear that it was because of that event in history and shedding of His blood that the grace of God was extended to us so that we could receive the salvation of our sins through the shedding of His blood. So we are saved by grace. God calls, see, His son to come to this earth and He died upon the cross and this is a great demonstration of the love of God.
Now the scripture points out in 2 Corinthians 8, verse 9 and we read the apostle Paul saying, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes, He became poor that you through His poverty might become rich." So we see within Jesus Christ that the Bible clearly teaches that the grace of God was demonstrated. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life."
There are many false concepts in the world today concerning the grace of God and many of these started years ago back in the 16th century by a man whose name was John Calvin. Now he came up with this concept from Ephesians 2:8 and other verses in the scripture. He said that "men are saved by grace alone." My friends, the Bible does teach that in some ways, but because of a failing of or a misunderstanding of the scripture, people do not understand clearly how faith is involved in our salvation. "What man does or does not do in this life, he said, "will not alter his salvation." Calvin went so far as to say that basically he was teaching the concept that you heard many times probably in your life that once man is saved by the grace of God, he cannot be lost. Then Calvin went on to say that "some are elected to be saved, and some are not elected to be saved." So if by chance you are the one who is elected to be saved, you will be saved no matter what, but if you've been elected to not be saved evidently by God Himself, then you're going to be lost and there's nothing you can do in this life to keep either one of those goals or either one of those things from happening to you if you've been elected to be saved or lost.
Now all of these false concepts and others that come from John Calvin's doctrine were written in a book called The Institute of Christians Religion back in the 16th century and this also included the teachings of total depravity, that is the doctrine that teaches that babies are born in sin and therefore the grace of God is necessary to flow upon one's soul since babies are born in sin and therefore they would also have an opportunity to be saved.
I'd like to ask you the question this morning: So, are we saved by grace alone or does man have any part in his own salvation? Now this is something that we need to consider. The Bible says that something else is involved in our salvation, but it does relate to grace. We turn back to Ephesians 2, verse 8 where Paul said, "For by grace are you saved through faith and that not of itself, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast. Now maybe we can explain it in this part or in this way. As far as grace is concerned, that is unmerited favor extended to us by the Father above, God has His part in our salvation, but now faith since the scripture says, "For by grace are you saved through faith." Now faith, my friend, is that expression of our love for God that causes us to respond to the grace of God in saying that I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and I'm willing to do what is necessary to have my own salvation. So as we look at it in this way and maybe we can look at it in this way, grace is God's part and faith is man's part. Now I'm not speaking of meritorious works I've been preaching the gospel for over 40 years and yet I don't believe that I've ever heard, in fact, I know that I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I've never heard any preacher and that includes preachers in the Churches of Christ who teach that it is by works that you are saved. No, we do not teach that and some people accuse us of teaching that, but that does not come from our lips. We know that it is not through works that we are saved. We know that the grace of God saves us by our faith.
Now where the confusion comes in most of the times is in the understanding of faith. Have you ever noted what James had to say in James chapter 2, verse 19? He said, "The devils believe and tremble." Have you ever thought that belief involves more than just agreeing with the fact that "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?" Have you ever thought of that or come to that understanding? Well what is the faith that saves? Isn't that what we need to look for in the scripture? I've noticed in my study of the scripture, especially in the book of Romans which to many people is a book that is written especially teaching about faith and not works, but we notice in Romans chapter 16 verse 26... Let's just read verse 25 with it. There the apostle Paul says to the church at Rome, "Now to him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began, but now made manifest and by the prophetic scripture made known to all nations according to the commandment of the everlasting for obedience to the faith. Now not only does it say it there, but also in Romans 1, verse 5 in the very beginning of that book, the apostle Paul says, "Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name."
So what is involved in faith? What is involved in someone saying that "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?" Must there be something else that someone must do? Is there a response of one's faith, a response to the grace of God in one's faith that causes them to go beyond just saying that "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God?" Where in the scripture does it teach like we've heard some people say that we need to pray the sinner's prayer and God will forgive us of our sins? Where in the Bible does it teach that that is what we must do for salvation? To just simply say that "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God" and accept Him into my heart as my personal Savior and then I can be saved. Where does the Bible teach that, my friend? Well the Bible does not teach that. The Bible teaches an obedient faith. There is something that we must do. Now this is not a meritorious work. I'm not speaking of that. I'm speaking of conditions of or on the salvation of our souls. The faith as we view it in the scripture is, or our faith is determined by what we do in response to the grace of God. Our soul salvation is based upon the conditions that God has placed upon our soul salvation. Yes, it is a gift of God. Our salvation is a gift of God, but God says in order for us to have that gift, there are conditions upon our receiving that gift.
Now what could be some of those conditions? Well Jesus even said or it is said about Jesus in Hebrews 5, verses 8-9, "Though He were a son yet learned obedience by the things which He suffered and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him." According to 2 Thessalonians 1, verses 7-9, only those who obey God's Will will be saved in that last day and escape the fires of Hell.
So what has God made? He has made a plan for us. He has given the man, that is Jesus Christ, to die upon the cross, but He's given us a plan, an obedience to the faith as Paul mentions in Romans 16 and also in Romans chapter 1 that should be preached to all of the nations and my friend, what is that obedience to the faith? Well it's simple to find that in the scripture. Everyone believes, and do you not believe that we must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God in order to be saved? Is that not a condition of our salvation? Well what about confession? Do you believe that one must confess that Jesus Christ is the son of God in order to receive salvation? Well that's what the scripture says. Jesus says, "If you confess me before men, I will confess you before my Father who is in heaven. If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven." Do you not believe that one must repent of his or her sins in order to have eternal salvation? Is that not a condition upon our salvation or whether or not we receive salvation? Surely it is. Jesus said in Luke 13, verse 3, "Except you repent you will perish." The apostle Paul said in Acts 17:30, "This time the ignorance God winked at, but now He commandeth all men everywhere to repent." So you see, my friend, that you believe that one must adhere to certain conditions of salvation and baptism is there also because Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."
So I appeal to you today to look at the grace of God as it is given in the scripture. Grace was given to us by our Father in heaven, extended to us through the giving of His son on the cross of Calvary to die and to shed His blood that we might have the forgiveness of our sins. That was His part. Now it is our part through our faith to adhere to those conditions that He expects us to adhere to in order that we have eternal salvation. I plead with you as a preacher of the gospel of Christ that you do those things not according to man, but according to God that will give you that opportunity to have eternal life. May God bless you in doing just that.
(SONG # 3 - "Amazing Grace!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope and pray that our time and sacrifice has been according to His will. We invite you back every first day of the week at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to the wondrous truths of our God!
But for now, let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these items are available on our website: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
Thanks be to God for His saving grace, which provides for us the hope of salvation - if we endure and are found faithful in the end!