THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-4-07
LESSON TITLE: "THE CHRISTIAN EXAMPLE: BE AN EXAMPLE IN FOLLOWING GOD'S PLAN FOR SALVATION"
Paul once said to the churches of Galatia, "But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ." What do we boast in throughout daily life?
It is an honor and privilege to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God.
It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!
It's time to join in our first song of the morning. So, won't you do your part and sing aloud, as we sing together, "Be Not Dismayed."
(SONG # 1)
I know you have heard it a hundred times before, but now you're going to hear it again - we are so blessed in this country to have the many physical blessings which we do. I was again reminded of how great America is, as I had the opportunity a few months ago to visit with many of our brethren in some third world nations of Africa. Most who are living in extreme poverty situations, at least in comparison to what we have.
When you first arrive and begin seeing the situation your first response is how can I help these people get out of this situation. However, as you reason through the situation you soon realize that there is nothing you can really do to help millions upon millions improve there social standard of life. The task would just be to enormous and unachievable. Then you realize the most important need which all people have, which you can help with, that is, knowing Jesus Christ. The fact is, it would be impossible for me to bring the millions I passed on my journey, up to the social standard that we live at, but I have something better for them, that will insure them of eternal life! Again, that is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
Remember what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, "and I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Here we find the greatest possession that we can give to others in this world, that is, the knowledge that Jesus Christ died for all, that we might be saved.
You see helping those of this world in a physical way will only satisfy the physical for a short time. The problem is the physical vanishes away or will end! However, the spiritual knowledge of Jesus Christ and obedience to His will makes one blessed and immortal. How about that, would you like to live forever? Paul told Timothy, "but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel," 2 Timothy 1:10. Jesus Christ and His will found in the gospel, gives life and immortality!
One final verse by Paul really brings our thoughts home this morning. In 1 Corinthians 2:9, notice what he told the brethren at Corinth, "eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love him." You and I as humans can not even fathom the great things God has prepared for us, as we strive to be His faithful children. The promises and blessings are hard for us to even comprehend, but the fact is God is there, He does love us, and we will receive that which He has promised.
You see, this knowledge is the greatest gift or blessing I could give anyone in this life, no matter what their physical condition is. God loves them, He is there for them, and He will reward them if they choose to do His will.
Today we are happy to have brother Ted Clarke with us again. Brother Ted is an instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri and the minister for the Marshfield Church of Christ. We appreciate his willingness to be with us and we look forward to his message this morning.
As far as our main study, we will be concluding our series about the Christian Example! The final topic we will consider together is, "Be An Example In Obeying God's Plan For Salvation." So, please continue with us this morning and in a few minutes brother Clarke will return with this study from God's Word.
Now let's join in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn is, "I Stand Amazed."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ted Clarke
Good morning! Welcome to "The Living Word" Bible program. I'm delighted to be back with you as we conclude the study of "Be Thou An Example." This morning, our lesson has to do with "Being An Example In Obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ Unto Salvation."
The world in which we live perhaps most people think it really doesn't make any difference what we believe or what we do that eventually we're all going to be saved anyway, so what's the big fuss? But if we look to the Bible for our instruction on what to do to be saved and by the way, if we are believers in Jesus Christ, there is no authority than that which is provided for us in the sacred scripture.
The apostle Paul said in 2 Timothy chapter 3 verses 16 and 17 that, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for teaching, for correction, for instruction and righteousness that the man of God might be complete, furnished completely into every good work.
Jude 3 says that, "We ought to contend earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints." So it really does make a difference what we believe and what we practice.
Even in the matter of salvation, the plain truth of the matter is that Christ said Himself, "Not everyone is going to be saved." In Matthew chapter 7 beginning at verse 21, Jesus said, "Not everyone that says unto Me 'Lord Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that does the Will of My Father which is in Heaven." Jesus even went on to point out that there will even be religious people that think they're doing the Will of God but they are not and they are not going to be saved. Verses 22-23 says, "Many will say to Me that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and in your name done many wondrous works?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.'" The idea of lawlessness of iniquity there is the fact that these people were not doing what God's Will says and that's the standard by which we will be judged as to whether or not we'll be saved. Jesus said in verse 21, "Not everyone that says unto Me 'Lord, Lord' will enter into the kingdom of Heaven but he who does the Will of My Father who is in Heaven."
I want us to look at the great example in Acts chapter 2 as the standard or basis for our understanding of what we must do to be saved. That's a great question to ask, isn't it? It was asked several times in the New Testament, "What must I do to be saved?" And that's the question that we ought to ask today seeking a Biblical answer for that. Jesus was upon this earth for about 33 years, about a 3 1/2 year ministry that He had among the Jews in which He proclaimed His being the Son of God and proclaimed the coming kingdom and salvation or forgiveness in His divine name. There were those of course who were baptized by the ministry of John the Baptizer as he prepared the way for the coming of the Lord and then the Lord Himself and His disciples baptized, we're told in John chapter 4. But then, Jesus, shortly before He ascended up into Heaven gave the Great Commission. In Matthew 28 verses 18-20, Jesus said, "All authority or all power has been given unto Me in Heaven and on Earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations baptizing them into the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world." Now that Great Commission that Jesus gave shortly before His ascension began to be carried out in the book of Acts. In fact, the book of Acts is the history of the working of that Great Commission by the apostles of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "You will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria unto the uttermost parts of the Earth."
In Acts chapter 2, the disciples, the apostles were gathered on the Day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem and the Holy Spirit came as it was promised by Christ and filled the minds and hearts of those apostles with the Truth of God's Word and what they needed to preach and teach to the lost and dying world about salvation in Jesus Christ.
The apostle Peter took over and began the principle lesson there to the people. He pointed out that Jesus was demonstrated to be the Son of God by the miracles that He performed. Verse 22 said, "Men of Israel, hear these words, Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God, by miracles and signs and wonders which God did through Him in your midst as you yourselves also know." And then established the fact that Jesus was put to death by those Jews but raised from the dead by Almighty God and seated now at God's right hand in the heavenly realm.
When the Jews that were in the audience there and there literally tens of thousands of Jews there on the Day of Pentecost, when those Jews that were there heard the words of Peter and the other apostles , they were convicted in their hearts. In verse 36, Peter said, "Let all the house of Israel know assuredly..." That is believe with all confidence. "That God hath made this same Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ." Now many of those that did hear did believe what Peter said. Verse 37 says, "They were cut to the heart and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Men and brethren, what shall we do?'" Now it is obvious that they believed the message that Peter had given. If some were answering today the same question in an audience somewhat like this in Jerusalem, they would be forced to say, "Well, there is nothing you can do. You obviously believe and that's all that is required in order for you to be saved." But that's not what the apostle Peter inspired by God's Holy Spirit said. In fact, he went on to point out that even though they believed the message that he had given to them, there were still things that they needed to do in order to receive the forgiveness of sins. In verse 38, he said, "Repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit for the promise is unto you and to your children and to all that are afar off even as the many the Lord our God shall call."
Now here were Jews and on the Day of Pentecost heard the message about the crucified and risen Redeemer. They believed that, but they were not saved simply at the point of their faith because they asked Peter and the other apostles what they needed to do and Peter said, "You must repent." Repentance is a change of mind that leads to a change of life. Before they had heard the message about Jesus Christ, these Jews were not committed to believing Him and following His Word and believing that He was indeed the Son of God. But when they were convicted in their heart about that message that Peter preached, they had a change of mind and that change of mind would lead them to a change of life in the way that they reacted in regards to Jesus Christ. Now Peter said, "You repent, turn away from your sins, turn away from your unbelief in Jesus as the Christ and be baptized for the remission of your sins."
Baptism, of course, is a Greek word which means "to immerse, to submerge," and immersion has always been the very meaning of that word. It has never had any other meaning other than immersion. If you're going to practice what the New Testament says about obeying the gospel, then you're going to have to be immersed yourself in the name of Jesus Christ.
Now the purpose for baptism is also a matter of dispute. It is not a matter of dispute in the scriptures, but it is a matter of dispute today among many religious groups because they simply do not believe that one must necessarily be baptized in order to be saved. But again, go back and hear what Peter said. "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin." That word "for" there comes from a little Greek preposition which means "in order to." Peter is saying, "You repent, you who have believed, you repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for, in order to receive the remission of your sins."
That doesn't mean that baptism is the only thing or the most important thing, but it is one of the things that Peter says we must do in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins. This is the first time the gospel message of Jesus Christ was preached and the gospel in the name of Christ was preached and the conditions of salvation were set forth.
Peter said among those things that we must do is to know assuredly or believe with all confidence. Certainly we cannot be saved without faith in Jesus Christ and there are multitudes of scriptures that say that.
Peter also said we must repent, that is a change of mind in regards to the way we are living our lives, to turn away from sin and turn to God.
Thirdly, Peter enumerates that we must be baptized or immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ in order to receive the forgiveness of our sins.
In spite of the great example that is set forth in Acts chapter 2 about what we must do to be saved, there are still those who contend that baptism really doesn't make a difference. But consider other passages. For example, in Mark chapter 16, verses 15-16, Jesus said... Again, this is Mark's account of the Great Commission. He said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Now listen. "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved." Now there may be other things that are necessary in order to be saved other than belief and baptism, but in Mark 16:16 those are at least two elements that are required. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved. Jesus did not say, "He who believes shall be saved and should be baptized." He said, "He who believes and is baptized shall be saved."
Now we don't have any authority or right to change what the Lord said there and why we just can't be content to accept what He said and obey that is certainly beyond me. That's part of the New Testament example and the great example of Acts chapter 2 in these regards.
Then you think of the great example of the apostle Paul himself. Before Paul became the apostle, he was an enemy of the church, as you remember, and in Acts chapters 9, 22, and 26, the account of Paul's conversion is set forth. He was approached by the Lord on the road to Damascus, told to go into Damascus and there it would be told unto him what he must do. He obviously believed the message of the Lord because he did that. He obviously was demonstrating repentance because he was without food and drink for three days and was praying. But he wasn't saved on the basis of his prayer. When the Lord sent Ananias to Saul of Tarsus, He told him, "Why are tarrying? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord." (Acts 22 and verse 16)
There are other passages, in fact a multitude of passages that talk about, but what we are keying in on this morning is Acts chapter 2. Here is this great chapter, this great example of what people did in the first century to become Christians, to take upon themselves the body of Christ and to be a part of His church.
Galatians chapter 3, verses 26-27 says, "For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put Him on."
Our faith, repentance, confession, and baptism into Christ are the great examples that are set forth in this second chapter of Acts. There isn't really any other way that you can be saved. There may be those today that will come along and tell you that there are other gospel plans of salvation, but Paul said in Galatians chapter 1, verses 6-9, "There is only one gospel and anybody that tries to come up with another gospel or to change the gospel that Jesus Christ set forth is a person that should be considered cut off or cursed by God."
So we want you to believe what the gospel teaches. If we're not teaching what is right, then you let us know. We would delight in you joining with us in a Bible Study. We would appreciate that you had the opportunity to do that in so many ways and we encourage you to come and be with us at the Kansas Expressway congregation or the sister congregation of the church of Christ in your area.
Thank you very much.
(SONG # 3 - "Soldiers Of Christ Arise!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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Have you obeyed God's plan unto salvation. If not why not follow the example of those who have gone before, and become an example of faithfulness yourself - for Almighty God.