THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 12-28-03
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT: "CHRIST'S PATTERN FOR HIS CHURCH"
I hope you all are having a great holiday season and that you are looking forward to this upcoming New Year! So, let me again say, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to you and yours!
Well, I hope Santa was good to everyone a few days ago and I hope you continue to enjoy all the festivities and excitement of this time of year. Let me as well thank you for choosing to join us this morning in giving this time to God - our most wonderful creator.
As we begin our worship before Him this day, let me encourage you to bow with me in prayer at this time.
Our first song of the morning rejoices in the fact that our Lord is truly a wonderful Savior. So won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "A Wonderful Savior!"
(SONG # 1)
There is a statement that we often here around this time of the year that I really question. No doubt we have all heard it before, but is it really correct and does it truly represent the focus which a true Christian should have during this time of the year. This statement we have all heard is, "Jesus is the reason for the season!" This morning I would like to examine this idea for a moment and see if their might be some better ways to clarify our Love for God.
May I first state that this Holiday called Christmas has been celebrated for hundreds of years from both a religious and secular standpoint. And as this is a man-instituted holiday we still find that from it's conception until today - the majority of scholars still can't agree on when our Lord Jesus Christ was actually born. However, I might state that one thing they all tend to agree on is the fact that it could not have and did not take place in the month of December.
Further things we might want to ask about Christmas is where is this holiday mentioned, referred to or sanctioned in God's Holy Word? What a red flag this should be when we see that God Himself did not command or ordain this holiday in the religious sense. So the question might be could God be happy with this holiday if we celebrate it in a religious and factual way? When you ask a lot of children today, "When was Jesus born," what response will you get? Most will say on Christmas, but is this really true? Are we teaching our children and the world about the true Christ and the importance of His being born or are we deceiving them in to thanking that we believe He was born on December 25!
I might further ask you what was God's response to those in the Bible who chose to reject His Will? What about those who chose to do it their own way? Still yet, there are many who did things they though were good that God would accept because of their proper outcome - yet God rejected them and their deeds unless they were done according to His Will. Are we to add to the Word of God? Are we to take away from His precious precepts?
Now, how might we rephrase the idea of the season to make it more in tune with what God wants? How about, "My God is the reason for everyday, every moment and every aspect of my life." "He is why we have the very breathe in our bodies, as well as the physical ability to do the things we do. In fact, our God must be our everything, the all important object of our lives and thus He should ever be before us. And not only every day, but every moment and every second of our lives should be about Him. How often do you demonstrate your love for God?
Today we will be continuing our new series entitled, "The Church which Jesus Built!" And our next lesson concerning this topic is: "Christ's Pattern For His Church!" So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return and lead us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Give Me The Bible."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thanks for staying with us this morning and now we want to get back to our new series, "The Church That Jesus Built." Last week, we were being able to really look more deeply into the fact that Christ plays a very pertinent part in the place of the head of the church, the builder of the church, the founder of the church. In fact, we began in Matthew 16 and we looked at the fact there in verse 18 that Christ says, "I will build My church." In the next breath, there in chapter 19, He said He "would give Peter the keys to the kingdom, the church and the kingdom." As well, we find there in the book of Acts chapter 2 that the church was established. Later in Acts chapter 2, beginning in verse 47, it says, "The ones who were saved by the Lord were added to the church." Then we also looked at a passage found in Colossians chapter 1 where in verse 13 it says there that "the saved were translated out of darkness and put into the kingdom." That means that this kingdom, this church, by this time in Colossians, this letter must have already been established and we see that to be the case and we see that to be the case because in Acts chapter 2 they already were added, the saved, to the church. We know that further to be the case because this same kingdom in verse 13 of Colossians 1 is mentioned down in verse 18 as being, it says there, "the body which is the church." It says that "Christ is the head of the body, church." It's trying to tell us here the body, the church, the kingdom, these things are the same. Now if you'll also remember that we referenced to 1 Corinthians chapter 15 where there it also mentions in verse 24 that "when the end comes, when He delivers (that is Christ) the kingdom to God, the Father, then He will put a rule in to all rule and authority and power." Someday in the end, when Christ comes again to judge, it says that the kingdom, the church, the body that is now existent in these times, as we read in the scriptures, will be delivered back to the Father. Again, showing the significance of that church that Christ built and that He found. It is something that will be given back to the Father, something that is full of the saved, which the saved are put into. So again, the significance of the church cannot be ever underplayed. It is hand in hand with Christ because "Christ purchased the church with His blood," Acts 20 and verse 28. Thus, showing its great significance.
Today, we would like to look further at the pattern of the church, Christ's pattern for His church. If it's Christ's church, if He's the head, the savior, the king, the prince and all these other terms that we've referred to Him as, of His king, of His church, of His body and He is the one that controls it all and tells us what to do and "He has all authority," Matthew 28:18, and everything has been put into His hands, as we saw in Ephesians chapter 1, as well as in Ephesians chapter 5. Then what is it that He has laid out? What is the pattern?
Well let's begin by looking at a few passages that will show us clearly that there is a pattern to consider. There is something that was laid down, something that should be followed. Beginning first in 2 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 13 notice what Paul says to this young evangelist and to the church. He says, "Hold fast to the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus." Here Paul refers to a pattern that they were to hold fast to. I like this verse even further because it goes on to say what the pattern comes from. It says, "Sound words." The Word of God. He says, "Hold fast to the pattern" that we have from the book, the Bible. Christ in His authority sent the Spirit to guide these holy men to write the Bible. It's from God. The scriptures we have are from God. They're accurate. They're able to be followed. "They completely furnish us into all good works, into all righteousness," 2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16-17.
Furthermore, in 2 Peter chapter 1, it says there that "the Bible gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness." God has provided that for us through His Word and it is further clarified in that same chapter, chapter 1 verses 20-21, where it goes on to say that "the pattern was given because God chose holy men and spoke through them and inspired them to write this book so that we might have a pattern."
We might also not only look here where we find in the book of 2 Timothy, "Holding fast to the pattern that is certainly according to sound word and in conjunction with sound words which he said were from Christ Jesus, from God Himself." Paul wasn't saying, "Follow what I believe. Follow what some man believes." He says, "What I am telling you is what Jesus has shown me and those are the sound words, the words of God is the sound words and pattern yourselves after that." In fact, you might even remember a familiar verse in 1 Corinthians 11 and verse 1 where Paul said, "Be imitators of me, (but finish it) as I am of Christ. Follow Christ's pattern. Follow me because I'm doing the same thing. We're likewise trying to do what Christ has said. Therefore, you can look to my example because what I am doing is imitating Christ, so you imitate Christ." Well certainly there is a pattern. There is something that Christ laid down.
Again, in the book of Philippians chapter 3, if you'll notice with me in verse 17 again the same concept is laid out. "Brethren," he says there to the Philippian church, "join in following my example..." But don't end there. Continue to read. "...And note those who so walk as you have us for a pattern." He says here, "My example. My pattern. The things that I am doing, I am doing because God has asked me to do it and it is a pattern. The words that I am speaking are a pattern because they are from Christ and Christ has asked me to do it and thus it is a pattern, something to follow."
Patterns aren't strange to us. Look at a carpenter. What does a carpenter use for a pattern? If he wants to get a board that's eight foot long, he gets a ruler and that ruler gives him the eight foot exactly every time, the same measurement. He has a standard pattern to follow and to go after. What about an architect? He draws up blueprints that are a pattern for the builder to go by so that he might follow it and know exactly if he puts this board here and that one there and these nails and these screws then all of it is going to come together to make the final product because he followed a pattern. We can go further into looking at great manufacturing corporations and groups that make very large things like cars even to your smallest most insignificant plastic toy. They use molds and they use patterns so that every one comes out identical. Why? Because they used the same pattern. Guess what. If you use a pattern for a toy, and then you make the same toy out of the same pattern, do you think they are alike or different? They're the same. They're identical. If you make a car and you follow a certain pattern and you use certain molds and it is going down the assembly line, guess what! Every one is the same because it is coming from the same pattern.
Christ has left us a pattern to follow according to His sound words and that's the example that we have from His writers and also the exhortations of scripture and passage that He has given us. Why do I say all of these things? I say all of these things because I am trying to show us that as well in the church Jesus has a pattern for His church. It's not just the fact that He threw it out there and said, "Believe me. I just want you to believe me and then the rest is yours." That's not what He said! He said, "I have a pattern. I want you to do certain things and I want you to love. I want you to love even your enemies. I want you to do certain things. I want you to love your brethren. Even if you don't like them, love them." Patterns that you must follow. Here's what I want you to do to be saved: believe, confess, repent, be buried in baptism, wash away your sins in the blood of Christ. He says that there is a pattern that has laid down things to do. You see, we have a pattern in the religious sense just as there are patterns in the secular sense.
What about throughout scripture? Is this strange that God now today shows us a pattern? Certainly not. Wasn't Noah given a pattern when he was told to build the ark? What were some of the patterns that he was given? Specific dimensions. Gopher wood. Not any kind of wood, but gopher wood. What if he would have chose a different wood? Would God have been please? No, because He said use gopher wood. Well, that's the pattern. He has laid down the blueprint. What do you want, God? I want Gopher wood and here's the dimensions. Well God laid down a pattern.
What about the tabernacle to Moses when He gave the command there on the mountain and He said, "Moses build a tabernacle and use the finest men that you have to construct it like this." Well He had it down to the measurements, the rings that would hold the curtains, the gold that would be on some of the rings and identically the specs that were needed to complete as he wanted. And what did Moses do? He did what God commanded as God spoke, just as Noah did. There was a pattern to complete the tabernacle, even the emblems inside. There the lavar, the candlestick, and the table of showbread, the ark of the covenant, all of these things had a specific pattern that God instructed that they must follow very, very specifically.
Not only these examples, but we can find others in scripture. What about the temple? The temple that David began to prepare for and eventually Solomon built? God had designated specifically what He wanted, a pattern in relationship to the temple and how it should be built. And when people broke the pattern, broke the law, broke what God had set in motion, what were the results? Well if we could ask Nadab and Abihu today, they would tell us that it was death. If we could ask men like Uzzah who tried to simply stop the cart, the oxcart that was moving, the ark of the covenant was falling, and he tried to keep it from falling off the cart. What happened to him? He was stuck dead. There was a pattern, a law, things set down that had to be followed in order that they be acceptable. Now if you followed it, then praise God, you were accepted. You were blessed. If you didn't, you were punished. Brethren, the same is true in the New Testament not only because of the verses that we looked to but because of many more verses that we can consider in reference to understanding the true pattern holding fast to the pattern.
We find many examples of places where even Paul and others like in Galatians chapter 1, verses 6-9. He said there to "preach the gospel." And he said to "be careful though because there are those who would preach a different gospel." And he said, "Let them be accursed." In fact, twice he reiterated that and he said, "If someone is going to follow a different gospel or pattern, let them be accursed." You see the Bible spends a lot of time talking about a pattern, about the gospel, about truth, about the importance of doctrine and how that "they should teach the same thing and practice the same thing in every church, the proper doctrine," 1 Corinthians 4 and verse 17. We must do the same thing. Follow the pattern. Do what God has asked us to do. Show ourselves to be worthy. Why? Not because I do what I want because of the things that I think or the things that I desire but because I do what God has said. That's the same thing again that Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 1 where he there emphasizes and encourages the brethren in verse 3 by saying, "As I urge you, when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine." Notice how all of these words are singular. The word "church" that we began to look at last week. The word "pattern." The word "doctrine." The word "gospel." The word "truth" by which we find freedom. We can know the truth. That tells me that "I can know everything that I need to know according to the truth because it brings me freedom in Christ," John 8:32. These things are singular in nature, my friend, because God intended that we be one. He intended that we read the same book, the same pattern, the same evidence, the same perfect law of liberty that gives us what God wants us to do. Therefore again, when you read it and I read it, we're going to come up with the same thing because our heart is in the right place. God wants us to be able to know His truth and we can know it. We can know it. We can have the one faith. We can have the ability to be unified as the Father and the Son are one and as He prayed for us to be one, we can have the same thing. You know what it takes? It takes for us to follow the pattern, to turn away from those things that really man are focusing on, to really turn away from that which is in our own heart, our own wants, our will worship, our ignorant worship, all those things we do because we like them or because of this or that and to simply turn to God and to do what His book says. Oh, how blessed we are because our God loved us enough to give us all things, all things pertaining to life and godliness. There's nothing He left out and it is all right here, and it's the pattern that has been laid out and presented to us so that we might follow it and know the truth, thus having freedom and salvation in the church because when we know the truth and we obey it, guess what. We are placed in the church. The saved, the group of saved that someday again will be given back to the Father in heaven that you and I, I know, would love to be a part of.
Are you a member of that church? If you are not a part of the Lord's church as He built it, study more today. Find out the Will of God and do what He says because only in His name is salvation truly found.
(SONG # 3 - "To God Be The Glory!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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How truly blessed we are to have a pattern to follow from God Himself! Because of this we can find confidence by knowing we are doing exactly as He commands, according to His Will!