THE LIVNG WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 11-5-00
LESSON TITLE: A LIVING FAITH THAT LOOKS AHEAD AND PLANS AHEAD
Let me welcome each of you to the Living Word program this morning. We are honored that you have chosen to be with us today for this time of offering to God. It is always our privilege, each Lord's Day, to come together on this program and to commit this time to our almighty God. As we study His Word and sing praises to His name, let's all do our part to make this sacrifice acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.
We want to begin our singing this morning with a beautiful old song that reminds us of the great power we have through our God. In fact, the specific area of strength which is mentioned in the song is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. So, at this time, won't you all join in and follow along with the words, as we sing together, "There is Power in the Blood."
(SONG # 1)
How many of us are making the most of this life that we are living. If you are like me, I think we all could do better and accomplish more for God, others, society, and self. Probably one of our biggest problems as Americans is being caught up in this "Rat Race," that seems to never slow down or end.
Throughout the Bible we are reminded of the brevity of life. James put it in very simple terms when he said, "whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away," James 4:14. Even the Psalmist had these same ideas in mind when he said, "Indeed, You have made my days as handbreadths, And my age is as nothing before You; Certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Surely every man walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; He heaps up riches, And does not know who will gather them," Psalm 39:5-6. So we can see from these verses that we don't know what will happen in life or what will become of us in the future.
So, what will we choose to do with our lives. Continue being caught up in a never ending circle. Or will we decide to slow down a little, focus more on God and others, and really deal with the important things of life. One writer made this statement about our present day society, she said, "the trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you are still a rat."
When will we ever believe what God told us about this world. Jesus said, we can't take it with us, we gain nothing by putting it first, and that we will never be pleasing to Him by serving our own selfishness, rather than doing His will. The inspired John said, "Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him," 1 John 2:15.
What is John saying here, is it wrong to have things in this world or to find pleasure in the wondrous creations on it? Certainly not! The point here is that we can not love or put the world, or anything else for that matter - before our God! But why does all this matter? Because we must remember that John further said in verse 17, "and the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever," In the long run, the world will not profit us anything, but God will give us eternal life if we have been found faithful in His sight. Are you willing to do more and give more to God of your daily life? Or are you satisfied being just another rat?
We have a guest speaker with us this morning who is the minister for the Southside Church of Christ in Ozark, Missouri. Brother Chuck Eakins is with us today and will be leading us in our thoughts from the Bible. Today, we are still focusing on the Living Faith, which every child of God must have. Our specific topic this morning is, "A Living Faith that looks ahead and plans ahead." After our next song together, brother Akin 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, "This is my Fathers World."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Chuck Eakins
Good morning. Thank you, Ray. I appreciate you being with us this morning. It's great to be able to be together on the Lord's Day to spend some time together in the study of God's word. I want you to know that the only reason I am here this morning is because I love you very much. And what's more important is that the Lord Jesus loves you also. I'd just like to visit with you for a few minutes today about how important it is to be prepared for the future.
You see friends, heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people. We sing a song sometimes that some of the words is "I care not what tomorrow may bring, if shadow or sunshine or rain, the Lord I know rules over everything and all my worry is vain, Living by faith in Jesus above, trusting, confiding in His great love." We are so blessed to have the Bible, God's word, in order to find out what God's will in our life is, to be able to open it and learn how to live life not only the greatest life now in this life, but one day the joys of heaven will be ours.
In John 10 and verse 10, Jesus said, A thief does not come but to steal and to kill and destroy. But I am come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly.
We need to have a strong faith that looks to the future, a faith that we can hold on to and allow the great promises of our God to be so very special in our lives. A group of scholars one time was involved in translating the Bible and they were having a difficulty with the language trying to translate the passage of scripture found in Mark 16 and verse 16, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned. Listen to the translation that they came up with: He that puts his whole weight down on what he hears and is immersed shall be saved but he who does not put his whole weight down on what he hears will be damned. We really need to learn how to put our whole weight down on God or on what we hear in God's word and allow it to be a guide in our life, to support us in all that life has to offer in the days to come.
In the early days of our nation, as a young country, a traveler was traveling and he came to the great banks of the Mississippi River and as he looked at the expanse of the river, he needed to get to the other side, and it was winter and the river was frozen so he looked and thought, "Perhaps I could walk across on the ice." It was getting dark and finally he decided, "You know, I'm going to do it. I'm going to try it." But he got down on hands and knees and began to crawl one hand in front of the other, one leg in front of the other, thinking that if he would spread his weight out that perhaps it would not break under his weight. As he began to go across the river, about half way across the great Mississippi, he heard a noise behind him. It was a rumbling sound, a sound that he thought, "What in the world could this be?" As he began to see a figure coming. Then he noticed it was a team of horses and a wagon, and the wagon was filled with coal. And the driver came across that icy river right beside of him, a team of horses, a wagon full of coal, and here he was down on his hands and knees crawling, afraid that at any moment he would hear the cracking of the ice. Folks, sometimes I think we're that way with God's promises, our faith in Him. We crawl through life just thinking, "Maybe it's not going to work." And all the time God's promises are so great and we can trust them to hold up under everything that life will bring our way.
Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 22, we read, By faith, Joseph, when he was dying, made mention of the departure of the children of Israel and gave instructions concerning his bones.
We turn back to Genesis chapter 50, verses 24 through 26, Joseph said, I am dying, but will surely visit you and bring you out of a land, a land of which He swore to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Then he took an oath to the children of Israel saying, God will surely visit you and you shall carry my bones from here. And the Bible says, Joseph died being a hundred and ten years old.
Joseph's desire was for his body, his physical body to be taken from where they were into the promised land. And see, God had promised to Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, to the nation of Israel that He would, He would give them a promised land and because of that faith that he had, that great faith, that Joseph had in what God had said. He said, I want you to take my bones. I want you to bring them into, and when you go into the promised land, I want you to take my bones in with you. Friends, if we could just grasp, get a hold of that great truth, that if we look to the future with God as our guide, with His word as our foundation, we could look to the future with excitement and joy and great anticipation of what the future holds for us because of the promises of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 2, verses 19 and 20, we read, For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by me, Sylvanus and Timothy was not yes and no, but in Him was yes for the promise of God and in Him amen to the glory of God to us. You see, in Christ Jesus, in Jesus, it's not yes and no. It's not no. It's not maybe so, but it's always yes.
Have you ever had someone tell you, "Yeah, I'm going to be there?" And I've had people tell me, "Chuck, I'll be there. I'm going to help you with this, whatever this project is. You can count on me." And what they gave me was a positive maybe. You know? "I'm going to be there, maybe." Because you see, we are sometimes hindered from doing even though we want to, even though we really desire to and we, our plans are to do it, we are hindered because we have a lack of ability or something hindered us from doing it.
But you see, our God is not limited by a lack of power, a lack of ability, and certainly resources. God is sure and when God says something you can mark it down as a for sure thing. God has promised through His son a wonderful place of living for all eternity. And we need to be the kind of people who have a living faith to grasp that idea and that fact that can give us a strong faith in this life and assurance of heaven one day. Jesus' disciples were concerned about His leaving and what was going to take place after He's leaving this earth. And John chapter 14 beginning with the first verse, He said, Let not your hearts be troubled. You believe in God, believe also in Me. For in my Father's house there are many mansions. If it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare that place, I will come again and receive you unto myself that where I am, there you may be also.
See, that's a promise of Jesus. Jesus said, I'm going away and I'm going to prepare a place for you and when I go and prepare that place, I will come back and bring you to be where I am one day. Thomas didn't understand that and he said, Lord, how can we know the way? And Jesus said, I am the way, the truth, and the light and no man cometh to the Father, but by Me.
If we turn over to the book of Revelation, in chapter 21, the aged apostle John there on the Isle of Papmas, received a revelation from God and here in verse, chapter 21 beginning in verse 1, he says, And I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea, and I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for His angels for His husband. (Excuse me.) And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell with men and they shall be His people and God Himself will be their God and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death, no sorrow, no crying, and there shall be no more pain for former things are passed away.
If we back up to the chapter just before this chapter, chapter 20 and verse 11, John says, I saw a great white throne and him who sat on it, from whose face the heaven and the earth fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead small and great, standing before God and the books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged according to their works by the things written in the books. And the sea gave up the dead and was in it, and death and hades delivered up the dead within them and they were judged everyone according to his works, and death and hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.
Folks, one day heaven is ours if our names are written in the book of life and if our foundation, our solid foundation, is based on Jesus Christ and His will.
Back in Matthew chapter 7 beginning at verse 21, we read, Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say unto 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? And then I will declare unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me, ye who practices lawlessness. You see, the word of God is important. And He goes on to say that you can be wise as you build a solid foundation on Him and what He has to say. Therefore, whoever hears these sayings of mine (verse 24) and does them, I will liketh unto a wise man, which has built his house upon the rock and the rains descend and the floods came and the winds blew on that house and it did not fall. It was founded on a rock. Now everyone hears these sayings of mine, and does not do them, I will liken him to a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rains descend and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house and it fell great was the fall of it.
There are those that say the Lord does not mean what He says. And friend if you look at that that the words of Jesus Himself, He said, One day, there's going to be those who say, Lord, Lord, we did it the way we want to, we did it in your name. And He's going to say, I never knew you because you didn't do it according to my words. A solid foundation in Jesus Christ. Building on what He has to say, can give us a future. We can look ahead to the future with a living faith in the son of God because we know we are obeying His simple plan and the rewards of the future will be great not only one day in heaven but also in this life as we live this life according to His will.
In Mark 16:15 and 16, we've already talked about that verse 16. But Jesus said, Go ye 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.
As Jesus went back and left the promises we've seen in chapter 14 of John, He left a very special message to me an to you. And Peter gave that message on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ as we find recorded in Acts the 2nd chapter. He had told them that they had taken by wicked hands and killed the son of God and that Jesus now had raised from the dead and was on the right hand of God. And when they heard this, they were pricked into their hearts and they said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what must we do? And Peter said, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. A little later, we find that about 3000 people obeyed the gospel that day and were added to the church. Verse 47 says, Praising God and having favor with all the people, the Lord added to the church daily, such as were being saved.
Friends, we've talked about Joseph this morning and the fact that he said, I want you to take my bones into the promised land. I want you as you go, God promised it to us, and as you go into the promised land, I want you to take my bones back there with you. As we look ahead to the future, as we make plans, it is important for us to realize that God is word is the absolute power. When obedience to His word is the power that can give us not only that life that Jesus talked about as more abundant than this life, but one day we can be with Him in heaven some day. Because of your eternal destiny is at stake, because of things that God has told you in His will, and as you read together and you go and study for yourself. Don't take my word for it. But as you begin to study this and you can base your faith on Him. There's a lot of things in this world that hurt us as Brother Ray mentioned. There's a lot of things we don't know what's going to happen today or tomorrow or the next week. But we do know that if our faith is based on the word of God and that because God is faithful in promising us eternal life, we don't have to worry about it. We can stand that last day when that great storm will come because we are founded upon a rock and we will not be destroyed.
I'd like to say to you, trust in God, obey Him. He will not disappoint you in any way. We appreciate your time today. God blesses you. Study His word and obey His will. Thank you.
(SONG # 3 - "Walking Alone At Eve!")
It was great to have you with us today. Thanks again for being with us. Let me invite you 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 better faith which prepares itself by looking ahead and planning for the future.