THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 12-27-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE NEW COVENANT… SPEAKS BETTER THINGS: BETTER TO BE SAVED ACCORDING TO CHRIST”
Happy Holidays, and welcome to the Living Word Program during this wondrous Lord’s Day morning. We are glad you have chosen to be with us this morning for this time of offering to God. I hope you’re ready to worship God, for today it will again be our privilege to study from God’s Word and to sing praises to His wonderful and magnificent name. I trust we will each do our part to glorify and praise our Creator. At this time, let’s approach the Father’s throne together in prayer!
Well, it’s time to begin praising our God in song! So, won’t you join in with the congregation as we sing together, “Kneel At The Cross.”
(SONG # 1)
Well, all the giving and receiving of presents is now past. Also, most of our gatherings of family and friends are near an end. What fun it was to have the opportunity to be with others and to give to others, seeing the great joy that it brought them. However, we are probably all about worn out from the holidays, but they’re not over yet!
I guess old Santa has put up the sleigh and reindeer for the year and I’m sure the elves are already busy making preparations for next year. And now, you and I stand in the face of another new year. I guess we all have the feeling of excitement and intrigue on one hand, but on the other, we may be feeling a little uncertain and unsure about what this New Year may hold. This is such a special time and hopefully a time of new beginnings, new blessings, new goals and new achievements.
As always, during this time of the year, everyone starts looking back and seeing how the past year went. At the same time, we all try to think of ways we can improve or make the next year even better.
As some of us look back, we see a good and prosperous year. However, as some look back they see a year of trials, tragedy and heart ache.
No matter what your previous year was like, let me assure you that with Christ, the next year will be better. If we will only learn to rely on Him, trust in His will and to be obedient to our calling - God will care for us, bless us, and give us all that we have need of.
I love the way John put it in his 3rd book, chapter 1, and verse 2. There he said, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” Wouldn’t it be a great commendation to know that someone like John was acknowledging that we were doing such a good job spiritually! That is exactly what he is saying concerning his “beloved,” brothers and sisters. He saw their good works and prayed that they would prosper physically, just as they had spiritually. Oh, to be that type of servant for God.
Brethren and friends. The fact is, we will be blessed according to our offering to God. If we give our best He will bless us accordingly, but if we give sparingly we will also receive from Him sparingly. Isn’t that what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.”
So the choice is yours. Will you make 2010 one for the record books, will it be same as always, or will you make choices that send you down the tubes? You see, the choice is each of ours to make, but I can assure you with God by your side you will make history!
We are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us today as our guest speaker. Brother Kevin is the minister for the HWY 13 Church of Christ, in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank him for being with us today and look forward to him leading our thoughts from God’s Word.
As far as our study, we will again continue with our series entitled “The New Covenant… Speaks Better Things.” Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, “Better To Be Saved According To Christ.” So please stay with us and in a few minutes we will go to God’s Word for this important study. But for now, let’s all join in our next song, it’s name, “Just Over In The Glory Land.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. We so appreciate you spending this time with us as we study God’s Word together.
We have been studying from the book of Hebrews over the last several weeks, a theme under the title “The New Covenant…Speaks Better Things.” There is a reason for that title just like the book of Revelation could be summed up by the one word “victory.” The book of Hebrews can be summed up by the one word “better.” It is the book of Hebrews that we have been studying and under the various topics over the course of this series we have studied things like how under the New Testament law of Christ we have a better covenant. We have a better sacrifice. We have a better hope. We have a better promise. We even took a look at the lesson how Jesus is better than the angels, how He is better than Moses, even how He is better than the great father of the Jewish people, Abraham.
With this being the last Sunday of 2009 before we usher in a new year, we’re going to bring this series of lessons to an end by taking a look at the specific theme “Better To Be Saved According To Christ.”
Let me ask you some questions and see if we can reason our way through some things. If you ask a person who is drowning, “Would it be better for him to drown or be saved?” they would no doubt choose to be saved. If you ask a person who has been shot, “Would it be better for him to bleed to death or to be saved?” they would no doubt choose to be saved. And if you ask a person who is in a house fire, “Would it be better to be burned up or to be saved?” they would no doubt choose to be saved. From a spiritual standpoint, why is it better to be saved? From what are we being saved and what are the consequences if we are not saved? These are some of the questions we’re going to take a look at this morning.
Let us start by establishing the fact that we are saved from sin. What is sin? It is one of those words that we use often in our day to day talk perhaps and yet sometimes we don’t step to understand just exactly how God defines it for us. He gives a great definition for us in the book of 1 John chapter 3 and verse 4 where John writes that, “Sin is lawlessness,” or the King James Version says that, “Sin is the transgression of the law.” Transgress mean to go against. So it is a going against the law or lawlessness from the standpoint of disobeying the law of God. You might understand this in a form of a number of sins that are mentioned in Galatians chapter 5 verses 19-21. They are described as “the works or the deeds of the flesh” and they are described as being “adultery, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissentions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” In other words things like this list describes.
Obviously these things make perfect sense to us when we talk about sins. They are very bad things that we are to not participate in and yet the Bible also describes that if you know what to do that is good and you don’t do it, James chapter 4 and verse 17 describes that as being sinful. Let me read to you what James writes. “To him who knows to do good and does not do it to him it is sin.” So it is not just a matter of not doing the bad things, it is also understanding what to do and doing them. If you take a look at that same passage from Galatians chapter 5 and you move down a few verses to verses 22 and 23, we read that, “The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” In other words, if I know that I need to be in control of myself, if I know that I need to be loving, if I know that I need to be kind and compassionate and yet I don’t do it, to me that also is sin.
So going against the law of God is wrong. Well what are the consequences? What are the consequences of going against God’s law? What are the consequences of sinning?
Well if you go way back in the book of Genesis to Genesis chapter 2, the end of it, and Genesis chapter 3, you’ll see that Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden. They are placed in a literal paradise on earth. It’s a beautiful place where everything that they need is taken care of. And yet we see in the middle of this garden a tree, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam and Eve are commanded not to eat of its fruit and not to even touch it. But of course, you know the story. They did touch it and they did eat it. And when they sinned, when they went against God’s law, Galatians chapter 3 verses 22-24 describes one of the consequences of their sin. We read that the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us to know good and evil and now lest he put out his hand and take also of the Tree of Life and eat and live forever. Therefore the Lord God sent him out of the Garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man and He placed cherubim at the East of the Garden of Eden and a flaming sword which turned every way to guard the way to the Tree of Life.” You see there was another tree in the garden called the Tree of Life from which if Adam and Eve ate its fruit, they could live forever and literally never die. And God said that since man and woman know what sin is, since they have brought sin into this garden, I can’t let them eat of that tree any longer so He drove them out and in essence there was a physical consequence to their actions in that they began that day toward death, a physical death.
But is that all that befalls us when we sin? You see we jump forward to the New Testament and we read in Romans 3:23 that Adam and Eve were not the only ones with this problem of sin. Paul says to the church at Rome, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” In other words, we all sin. Now we do not sin because Adam sinned. Or let me be very clear, we do not inherit the sin of Adam. Make no mistakes about what I am saying! We do not inherit sin! We are not born with sin! We are not born lost!
Ezekiel chapter 18 and verse 20 sums this up for us very clearly when it says, “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” In other words, each one of us is responsible for our actions in this life. We are not going to be guilty for the sin of our parents or for the sin of our children. We are going to be guilty because we sin. It just so happens that every person when they get old enough may choose in one way or another to disobey God, to transgress His law, to go against Him, and they choose to sin.
As a result, there are consequences for us as well. Not only that physical death that we talked about that all of mankind suffers because of the sin in the beginning, but a spiritual death.
We read in Romans 6 and verse 23 that, “The wages of sin is death.” Not just that physical death, but a spiritual death.
How is that described? Well in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 and verse 9 we read that, “The sinful shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” Can you see how similar that is to Adam and Eve in the garden? They are moved from the presence of the Lord so that they cannot live physically forever but the sinful will be moved away from the presence of God in a spiritual sense and they forever shall be away from Him in eternity.
In Matthew chapter 25 and verse 41, Jesus said that, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’”
Matthew 25 and verse 46 says that, “These who are sinful, these will go away into everlasting punishment.”
I want you to notice two things from these verses of scripture. Not only are they going to be sent away from the presence of the Lord, but they are also going to endure terrible things. We see three descriptions here: everlasting destruction, everlasting fire, everlasting punishment. Now we understand that the word “everlasting” means forever, but these other descriptions give for us a horrific understanding of what the sinful will have to deal with in eternity.
I want you to consider a great story from the book of Luke, Luke chapter 16 verses 19-31 that gives us a glimpse into what the afterlife will be, not just for the righteous in the case of Lazarus who had nothing in this life but obeyed God and therefore was rewarded in the life to come, but the rich man who had everything that this life seems to offer him. He had riches. He had clothing. He had food. But he did not live a righteous life. He did not do what was right in the sigh of God and as a result we read that the rich man also died and was buried and being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off and Lazarus in his bosom and then he cried, ‘Father Abraham have mercy on me and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue for I am tormented in this flame.” The rich man was in conscious agony after he died. He was paying the price for his sin. He was paying the price in eternity for disobeying God.
In Luke chapter 13 and verse 28 this place is described as a “place where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
In Revelation chapter 21 and verse 8 we read that, “The cowardly, the unbelieving, the abominable, the murderers, the sexually immoral, the sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their place in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.”
So we go back to those questions. If you ask a person who is drowning, “Would you rather drown or be saved?” then once again they would no doubt choose to be saved. If you ask a person who has been shot, “Would you rather bleed to death or be saved?” they would no doubt choose to be saved. If you ask a person who is in a house fire, “Do you want to burn up or do you want to be saved?” they would no doubt choose to be saved. Then if a person is lost in his or her sin, would it be better to face an eternity away from the presence of God in an indescribably horrible place of agony prepared for the devil and his angels or be saved? I would hope that the person would choose to be saved. And yet so many people choose just the opposite.
Matthew 7 verses 13-14 reads, “Enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it because narrow is the gate and difficult which leads to life and there are few who find it.”
In other words, most people are choosing to be lost. Most people are choosing not to be saved. If one however chooses to be saved, how is he going to go about doing so? Well if a person is drowning, he reaches out for a pole or a rope or a life preserver so that he can be saved. If a person has been shot, he knows to stop the bleeding, get the bullet out of the body. If a person is in a house fire, he knows to escape the flame. Well in the same way, God gives us a detailed description of how we can be saved from our sin.
Romans chapter 10 and verse 17 teaches us two things. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” In other words we start with the Word of God, we study it, we read it and we come to understand it, and then we choose to believe it. It starts there.
In Hebrews 11 and verse 6 it says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” So once we have read God’s Word we must choose to accept it or not. If we choose to accept it, if we choose to believe it, then we need to have godly sorrow recognizing that we have sinned and we have fallen short of the glory of God so that can bring about repentance in our lives.
2 Corinthians chapter 7 and verse 10 reads, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation not to be regretted but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
We then see in a similar passage of scripture in Romans chapter 10 verses 9-10 that we need to take what is in our hearts and we need to confess that with our mouths. Paul writes, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
This is the very same confession that the Ethiopian Eunuch made in Acts 8 and verse 37 when he said, “I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” But something else that the Eunuch said. He said, “See here is water. What prevents me from being baptized?” in the previous verse. And of course once he makes that confession we see that Philip baptized the Ethiopian Eunuch by taking him down into the water and immersing him.
Jesus in His last words to us in Matthew 28:19 said, “Go make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Why is that so important? 1 Peter 3:21 says, “Baptism is also a process, also a part of that which saves us.” Why?
Acts 2:38 gives us an insight into this. Peter said to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, for the forgiveness of sins.”
Paul would mention the story of his conversion in Acts 22 and verse 16 when he was told to, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins.”
When a person is saved from sin that does not mean that that person stays however in that state. That person needs to continue to walk the walk. That person needs to continue to live the life that Jesus has set out for him. That’s why Paul said in Romans 6:8, “If we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him.”
It is certainly better to be saved according to Christ. Why would anyone choose the alternative? But at the same time, if you have not been saved from your sins, can you think of any better way to usher in the New Year? I want to encourage you this morning to escape those eternal flames of punishment and latch on to the love that comes from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
(SONG # 3 - “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms!”)
Thank you again for being with us this Lord’s Day. Let me invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to growing in God, by studying and doing things His way!
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May this coming new year bring us all the blessings and joys which are deserving of those who are striving to please God by doing His Will! So again, God bless and Happy New Year!