THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-17-06
LESSON TITLE: "THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA: HOW WE ARE ADDED TO THE CHURCH"
What a wonderful Lord's Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God's Living Word.
It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.
As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!
I hope everyone is ready to worship God in song at this time! This morning we will begin by singing a beautiful hymn that reminds us of the power and might of God! So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "For The Beauty Of The Earth."
(SONG # 1)
I can not believe that we are only a little over a week from Christmas. I hope everyone had completed their plans and got everything ready for the holiday, but I doubt we have. I just can't believe how quickly these holidays come around and how fast life goes by. This fact is even more evident as we watch our kids grow up, get bigger and move toward maturity. How joyful it is to see our children becoming their own persons, and maturing into beautiful adults. However, at the same time how sad, as we loose our little boys and girls. Oh, how we often take life for granted and the precious little time we have to enjoy many of these blessings of God.
All of these ideas make me think of what James said in chapter 4:14 of his book. There we read the familiar verse, "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." No truer words have ever been spoken, life is short like a vapor. So what lesson can we learn from all of this.
I think the greatest thing we can learn from all this is how we all need to take a deep breath, slow down a little and focus on those things which are really important. Most of us don't even take time to look at the roses any more, let alone actually stopping and smelling them.
I am afraid that most of us are going to wake up one day and realize that all the work, overtime, money, and things really were not worth it. Why? Because we missed out on the most important and precious parts of life. Like simply enjoying what God has given us and blessed us with. How about just loving God, putting Him first and accomplishing His Will. We also have husbands, wives, children, and family. All these things are wondrous blessing and privileges from God. Gifts that we often squander and take for granted at the time. But some day, oh the regrets that may come to our mind.
I know we all live in the fast lane, and the crazy pace of life will put most of us in our graves before our time. However, let me just encourage us all again this day, to reevaluate what life is all about. Take a second look at who God is and what He has blessed us with. And finally, get our priorities straight, in order that we might accomplish the good will of God. How about it, are you willing to reconsider your choices in this life, are you ready to reorganize and enjoy all that God has blessed you with?
I hope you will continue with us this day as we again consider a final lesson from our study which is entitled, "The Seven Churches Of Asia." As far as our specific message of the day, we will deal with, "How Are We Added To The Church!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, we are happy to have a guest speaker with us to lead us in the main thoughts of the day.
We welcome brother Adam Orr this morning. Brother Orr is the minister for the Fordland Church of Christ. He is a faithful young man and a strong gospel preacher. We thank him for being with us this day.
But before our lesson, let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Alas And Did My Savior Bleed."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Adam Orr
Good morning. We would like to thank you so much for joining with us in putting God first in this time of service to Him.
Over the past several weeks, you've been looking together at "The Seven Churches of Asia Minor" there in the book of Revelation, chapters 2 and 3. As there we see the Lord is talking to these congregations, He tells each of them, "I know your works." He knew what they had been about. He knew what they were doing. He said, "I know what you're doing good," and He encouraged them to continue to do good and in many instances, He also said, "There are some things that need to be changed," and He encouraged them to do that so that their salvation would not be placed in jeopardy. This morning, we kind of bring this series to a close, kind of wrap a bow on it, and we're going to look at the church in general. I want to know exactly what these Christians that Jesus was writing to there in Revelation chapters 2 and 3, I want to know exactly what they had to do in order to be placed into the church because my friend, that's exactly what I want to do today.
Jesus told Peter in Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18 that on the confession he had made, that Jesus was in fact the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus was going to build His church and the gates of Hades would not prevail against it.
We fast forward then to Acts chapter 2 and verse 47 and we see that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."
Again, my friend, that's the same church that I want to be a part of today. It is the same church that I want you to be a part of, all my family, all those that I come in contact with because the Bible points out to us very clearly that that's where the saved are. I want you to know something before we really begin. Truth, my friend, does not change. Truth always remains the same. I want to give you a very basic illustration that I once heard. Go back all the way to 1500 BC. A man standing there in 1500 BC had two apples. Somebody came up and handed him two more apples. How many did he have? Four right? It is very basic. Then fast forward then to AD 33, the year that we see that the church was established there in Acts chapter 2 and I want to say there was a man there who has two apples. Somebody comes up and hands him two more. How many apples does he have? Four. Very good. Now in 2006, somebody standing on a corner has two apples. Somebody walks up and hands him two more apples. How many apples does he have? Four. You see, my friend, that truth does not change. That truth is constant no matter how much time passes, even if you go all the way back to the beginning until now. Two plus two will always equal four. And my friend, the same is true for the truth found in God's Word. What was true some 2000 years ago in AD 33, when the church was established, has to be true today. Who then has the authority to go back and to change the truth found in God's Word?
A very sad state is this. If you were to walk up to ten different people and ask them the same question, "Friend, what must I do in order to be saved?" Do you know how many different answers you might get? I'll conservatively say, "Seven. Seven different answers, " we will say. And my friend, that is very sad to me because truth is truth no matter what and I want to know exactly what the Bible says, and what they needed to do to be saved when the Lord added the saved to the church there in Acts 2 and verse 47 so that I can do that same thing today because the truth found in God's Word simply does not change.
So the question is this morning: What did they have to do in order to be saved? If they were Christians found in the churches in Revelations chapters 2 and 3, what did they have to do to be saved so that I can do it, too? That's the question we're going to look at this morning in the time we have remaining and we're going to see the New Testament's plan of salvation, what they did in order to be saved.
First of all, my friend, one must hear the gospel of Jesus Christ. One must hear what they need to do in order to be saved. One must hear of their lost condition without Christ, and they must understand what God, through Christ, has done for them so that they can have the salvation of Jesus Christ. You say, "Adam, I've heard this before. I've heard it all before. I don't need to hear this again. I think I'll go ahead and change the channel." I hope you don't, my friend, because I want to ask you this: If you know that you need to hear the Word to be saved, and you've heard it and you've obeyed it, are you taking it to anybody else so that they can hear it and they can obey it?
I want you to notice something in the book of Acts. We have several different conversions stated for us here, recorded for us, but I want you to notice Acts chapter 8 beginning there in verse 5 where there the Bible says, "Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and (what did he do?) preached Christ to them, and the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles that he did." What did Philip do? He went down and he preached Christ so that they could hear what they needed to do in order to be saved. Going over to verse 12, the Bible says, "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God in the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized." Why were they baptized? How did they know that they needed to be baptized? If Philip hadn't gone, they wouldn't have known. If he hadn't of preached to them Christ, they would never have known what they needed to do to be saved, and so friend, you need to hear the gospel. You need to hear what Christ has done and that He has provided for you opportunity today in order to be saved. We also know that hearing the Word of God is where our faith comes, (Romans chapter 10:17). Without faith it is impossible to please God, (Hebrews chapter 5:8). So you must hear the gospel.
One must also believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. The familiar verse, John chapter 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have (what?) everlasting life." Isn't that what we all want? Don't we all want to be in Heaven eternally with God? Yes! So, what do I need to do? Believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus made it very simple for us in John chapter 8 and verse 24 where He said, "If you do not believe that I am He, you will all likewise die in your sin." That's pretty cut and dry, isn't it? If you don't believe that I am He, you will die in your sin. Do you believe today that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, my friend? I hope so. I hope that you will. And there are many of our friends who would say, "Well, Adam, let's just cut if off there. I think you're about done now. You have told me what I need to do to be saved. All I ever hear of what I need to do is to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, accept Him into my life and then I can leave and continue to do whatever I need to do or whatever I want to do. I'm sorry, my friend. The Bible doesn't stop there. It says it takes more than belief. It takes an active obedient belief or faith in order to be pleasing to God, (Hebrews chapter 5, verses 8-9).
This belief should cause us to want to do something. It should cause us to want to repent of sin in our lives. That's also something very important, something that needs to be done. This change in mind leading to a change in action. Are you willing today to repent of sin in your life? In Acts chapter 2 and verse 37, after being told that they had crucified this Jesus whom God had made both Lord and Christ, the Bible says in verse 37 that these people were "cut to their heart." They were sorry for what they had done. They had godly sorrow and they wanted to know what they needed to do in order to make things right with God. What did Peter say in verse 38? "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins." My friend, it is very necessary. Jesus said in Luke chapter 13 verse 3, it was very important because He said in again in verse 5, "Repent or you will all likewise perish." Are you willing to do this today? Are you willing to put the Will of God over your own? Are you willing simply to do it His way and to stop doing it your own way? Because, friends, that's not going to get it done. You need to repent of sin in your life. That's a command of God.
This repentance, this change in your life also should lead you to do something else. That is to make a confession before men that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus made it simple in Matthew chapter 10, verses 32-33 where He said, "If you confess Me before men, I will confess you before My Father who is in Heaven." Are you making that confession? Do people know by the way that you live your life that you are subject to Christ, that you are wanting to do things right in His sight and not just your own? We see also in the book of Romans chapter 10 and verse 10 where it says, "With the heart, one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Make that confession that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is not only a one time confession but it is an everyday confession. My friend, nonetheless, it is a command of God just as all these that we've looked at.
So you've heard the Word. You believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God as they did. You repent of sin in your life. You change your actions. You now have made that confession before men that He is the Christ, the Son of God. Now what must you do? You must be immersed in water to meet the blood of Christ and allow that water to wash away your sin. The waters of baptism. In Galatians chapter 23 verses 26-27, we see that it is baptism that places one into Christ. Isn't that where we want to be? Isn't that exactly where we want to find ourselves? So how do you put yourself into Christ? You are baptized for the remission of your sins, (Acts chapter 2 and verse 38). It is the very same thing that even the apostle Paul did in Acts chapter 22 and verse 16 where he was asked a very simple question, and I'll ask you today. "Why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized washing away your sin, calling on the name of the Lord." We see in the book of Revelation chapter 1 and verse 5, it says, "And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead the ruler over the kings of the earth, to Him who (What does it say?) loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood."
My friend, it is these things and these things alone that will place you into the church where the saved are. Isn't that exactly where you want to be found today? The why won't you simply put away any personal prejudices, put away any personal thoughts on these things and simply do what the Bible says? I'm not telling you what I think. I 'm not telling you what I feel this morning. We're talking about what the Bible says, book, chapter and verse for everything we say. So you must understand, my friend, that it is all of these acts put together that will put one into the church, the same place we all want to find ourselves, the same church that Christ purchased with His own blood, Ephesians chapter 5:25. "To be saved you must be in the Lord's church," Acts chapter 2:47. Won't you find yourself there today? There is only one way to get in and once you're there, you must remain faithful until death. What did Jesus say there to the church at Smyrna in Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10? He says, "Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer. Indeed the devil is about to throw some of you into prison that you may be tested and you will have tribulation ten days. Be faithful until death and I will give you the crown of life." Remain faithful. Get into the church. And then remain in that saved condition. Won't you do these things today?
(SONG # 3 - "Be Not Dismayed!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Have you done what God requires in order that you have been added to His church? If not choose today to put aside your own thoughts, ideas and desires, therefore choosing to serve God and to serve Him in His way!