THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 12-4-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?: HEARING UNTO BELIEF”
Can you believe it, December of 2011? How quickly this year has flown by. However, what a wondrous blessing it is to gather this Lords day morning before the throne of God to worship our Creator! Let me welcome you to our program this morning! It’s a great pleasure to have you with us again, as we strive to learn more from the Word of God together. I hope you are ready to participate this morning, for God requires us each to offer our sacrifice before His throne. Let me encourage you to sing with us, pray with us and study from God Precious Word. So as we begin this communion with God will you bow with me before our Heavenly Father in Prayer!
One of the great blessings of this morning is our opportunity to join in songs of praise to our God. So won’t you do your part and glorify God as we join together in the first song of the day. The name of the hymn, “A New Creature.”
What if you lived in a hut in Africa? You might say, what’s a hut? Well, it’s a very primitive type dwelling with dirt floors, mud walls and a thatch roof. Next consider that, someone visits your village who is from another country half way around the world. You hear their message and see that it is from God, so you respond. Then in a few days that person leaves with all of his/her knowledge. There you are, maybe with others who also believed, alone, with no one to guide you or to help you to learn further in the teachings of Christ. How good of a Christian do you think you could be under such circumstances? It might be really difficult to grow as you need to!
I think many times we are eager to get people to respond to God’s saving message, but we forget the second half of the great commission. Look at what Jesus told his disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age, Amen.”
As I read these words of Jesus, we see that He was commanding His disciples to make more disciples. In fact, Jesus told them to make “disciples of all nations.” This is the part we generally remember and we strive to accomplish. However, what did He say in verse 20, “teaching them to observe all things.” Are we doing that? Jesus even clarifies what things He is talking about, those things which He commanded.
You see it is our God given responsibility to help mature a new child of God. One part without the other is worthless. In fact, we are really not accomplishing what God wanted when we just help someone to believe, but we don’t give them all the teachings they need to be pleasing to God.
In fact, this may have been the problem that Peter was dealing with in his book. In 2 Peter 2:21, it says, “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.” We know that Peter was talking about those who had already responded and believed, because in verse 20 he said that those he was referring to had, “escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ…,”
Don’t you think this happens often in our day in time. People respond, obey and then they fall away. Why? Maybe it is because we are not doing our job by teaching them to observe all things. Would you agree? Let’s do all we can starting today, to make sure that we fulfill all of this command of God. So that when people obey they will truly have a great chance to remain faithful to their God!
Today we again welcome brother Kevin Patterson as our guest speaker. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Highway 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri.
As far as our lesson of the morning, today we are excited to begin a new series of study entitled, “What Must I Do to Be Saved?” What better way to end the year than in learning what God requires of one unto salvation? Our specific topic today is, “Hearing Unto belief!” So please give your full attention to the things of God as brother Patterson leads us in this study from God’s Word in just a few minutes.
However, before we again focus on the Word of God, let’s sing another song together and encourage one another in the Lord. The name of the song, “Faith Is A Victory”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us. Today we begin a new series of lessons entitled “What Must I Do To Be Saved?” The great question certainly one that is asked often in scriptures.
But we take this particular question from Acts chapter 16 where we see Paul and Silas entering into the city of Philippi and it is there that they come across a certain slave girl who is possessed by a spirit. After sometime passes, Paul commands that the spirit in the name of Jesus Christ be cast out of her and the spirit of course leaves the young slave girl. We start reading in verse 19 when her master saw that their hope of profit was gone, and they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to the authorities. They brought them to the magistrates and said, “These men being Jews exceedingly trouble our city and they teach customs which are unlawful for us being Romans to receive or observe.”
Ultimately what we see here is Paul and Silas being accused of something that they really were not doing. They weren’t troubling the city. As we read, these men were mad because they had lost their source of income when this young lady’s spirit was cast out of her.
Well we continue to read that the multitude, because of these false accusations, rose up together against them and the magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded them to be beaten with rods. When they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison commanding the jailor to keep them securely. In those times, a jailor was responsible for his prisoners with his very life. If they were to escape, then his life would be forfeit as a way of compensating for the escapees lost. So in this passage, we continue to read, “Having received such a charge, he (that Phililppian jailor) put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet into the stocks. But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake so that the foundations of the prison were shaken and immediately all of the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed, and the keeper of the prison awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing that the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself.” Now consider what happens next. Paul called out with a loud voice saying, “Do yourself no harm for we are all here.” Can you imagine the reaction of the jailor when he realized that he didn’t have to take his life that his life would not be required of him because all of the prisoners were still there? Can you imagine the relief? Can you imagine the gratitude? Can you perhaps even imagine the amazement or the wonder he would have had wondering why prisoners would have stayed when they had an opportunity to flee?
He called for a light in verse 29, ran in and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. In verse 30 of Acts 16, he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the Word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house and he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes and immediately he and his family were baptized. Now when he had brought them into his house he set food before them and rejoiced having believed in God with all his household.” This is a great story in the life of a jailor because not only was his life not required of him but he gained spiritual life in the wake of these circumstances of that late night.
Over the next several weeks as we examine this question: What must I do to be saved?, we are going to look at various facets of that question, the various teachings of the Bible that consider the different things that we must do to obey God and to obtain that salvation that He offers so freely to us. Today, we’re going to talk about two of those steps. We’re going to talk about hearing, and we’re going to talk about believing. As we begin, I want you to consider something because talking about salvation is much like building a house. When a person builds a house there is an order to things. You do no for instance start with the roof, build that roof and then ask a lot of people to come around and lift the roof up while you erect the walls underneath that and then ask a lot more people to lift up the walls and the roof while you pour the foundation. That would probably not work too well. We in fact, when we build a house, we start with that foundation. We build those walls and then we put that roof on top. That’s the order of things and when we talk about God’s plan for our salvation, there is an order of things, and then there is a way where we are to begin and that hearing and believing is just that. That’s the place we begin as we answer that question: What must I do to be saved? You see these two concepts are very much related.
In Romans chapter 10 and verse 17, we read this passage of scripture. “So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” When you put all of that together, it tells us that faith comes by hearing the Word of God or the Bible. And so it starts with God’s Word. It starts with us being exposed to it whether we hear it with our ears or whether we read it with our eyes or whether we are exposed to it in some ways even by the examples of those who would be living godly, Christian lives, it first starts with us being exposed to the Truth.
Several times in the book of Matthew concerning the subject of hearing, Jesus would say, “He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.” He would say that in Matthew 11 and verse 15, Matthew 13 and verse 9, and even at the end of Matthew 13 and verse 43, He would again say, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Now I have ears. You have ears. This is something that God gives us and He expects us to use them. So what He is saying is, “Listen up. Pay attention because there is a truth that you need to know.”
In Matthew chapter 13 we read about the parable of the sower. It’s about a man who goes out and sows seed in various types of soil. The very first seed falls upon something that is called the “Wayside Soil” or the “Pathway Soil” and what we read about in Matthew 13 and verse 3 and 4 is that as the sower went out to sow he sowed some seeds by the wayside and the birds came and devoured them. Now Jesus goes on to explain exactly what that part of the parable means in verses 18 and 19. He says, “Therefore hear the parable of the sower. When anyone hears the words of the kingdom and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he who receives seed by the wayside.” When that seed falls upon deaf ears for whatever reason those ears are deaf, it gives the opportunity for Satan to come and to snatch that word away from us so that it cannot penetrate our hearts, take root and produce something that will be pleasing to God. That’s why not only hearing the Word but understanding it is important as well.
In Romans chapter 10 beginning in verse 13 the statement is posed for, “Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved…” This is the idea of whoever obeys God’s Will shall be saved. Well how is a person going to obey God’s Will? He goes on to ask a series of questions in verse 14 and 15. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him in who they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? How shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings and good things.”
An excellent example of this is found in Acts chapter 8 with the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch. We read about how Philip is directed by the Holy Spirit to go because this Eunuch is trying to learn some things. He’s being exposed to the Truth. He’s hearing it, but he’s not understanding it. “So Philip ran to him (in verse 30 of chapter 8) and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me.’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the scripture which he read was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.’ So the Eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask of you, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of some other man?’ And Philip opened his mouth and beginning at this scripture preached Jesus to him.”
You see, the Eunuch didn’t understand that that Old Testament prophecy was about the coming of the Messiah, the coming of Jesus Christ and how He would give His life for us so that we might be redeemed from our sins. And so it took Philip preaching this Word to him, not simply telling him what the passages said, but explaining to him what it meant and in so doing, the Eunuch responded to the Gospel and was baptized that very day.
In Hebrews chapter 3 and verse 15 we are also aware of people who hear but for whatever reason harden their hearts in rebellion. Again in Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 7 the statement was made, “Today if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.”
A person not only has to hear the Word of God but they have got to be receptive to the Word that is spoken. This is why James said in James chapter 1 verses 22-25, he says, “But be doers of the Word and not hearers only deceiving yourselves.”
Well what about believing? What does that have to do with hearing? Well we read a moment ago that it’s something that follows hearing. Hearing is that first step and if we will listen to what is being told and if we can understand what is being told to us, then we have another step, then we have another process through which we need to go and that’s the subject of belief. That’s the idea that we have to choose whether we accept. We have to choose whether we believe what is being spoken or taught to us. Consider little kids when they’re in Math class with the teacher and the teacher puts one apple on the table and then puts another apple on the table and they understand that that’s one apple and they understand that that is one apple, and then the teacher says, “One plus one equals two.” The kids look at those apples and wonders about that and decides, “You know, I think that’s right. I think one plus one does equal two.” So they take what they heard, take what they’ve been taught and accepts it as truth.” This is exactly what happened in the early days of the church in Acts chapter 4 and verse 4. We read, “Many of those who heard the Word believed and the number of men came to be about 5,000.” That means that the church grew to be about 5,000 on that day because there were people who listened and accepted the Truth that was being preached to them.
You see, faith, what we believe is absolutely imperative because we read in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 6, “Without faith it is impossible to please Him.” It’s impossible to please God. Why? Because he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Do you have faith in God based upon the Bible? Do you believe that God exists? There’s a lot of people who don’t. But if you believe God exists, do you then believe that He is true to His Word, that He will reward us in the end with a home called Heaven if we will but follow His Will in this life?
In John chapter 5 and verse 24 Jesus would say, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who hears My Word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life and shall not come into judgment but is passed from death into life.”
After the church was established, Paul would write the church at Ephesus in Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 13 and he would say to them, “In Him you also trusted after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation, in whom also having believed you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.” You see he is saying to these Christians, those people who have been saved, who once were lost, he says, “You heard and you believed.” It’s the very same thing that he would say to the Thessalonian Christians in 1 Thessalonians 2 and verse 13. “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing because you received the Word of God which you heard from us. You welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in Truth the Word of God which also effectively works in you who believe.
I want you to consider in the coming weeks what that last passage of scripture left us with. It talks about people who heard and people who believed and people who put that faith into practice. It was James who would say a number of times in James chapter 2 that, “Faith without works is dead.” It’s something that we have to put into practice. We don’t want an empty faith. We don’t want a dead faith. We don’t want to believe only. James would say that even the demons believe. The devil believes in God. But we have to be a people who are willing to put our actions into practice. So that is why we are going to talk about in the coming weeks some of those other actions in addition to our faith and how we put that faith into practice.
There would be some people on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 who would ask that same question, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter would say that they need to repent and they would need to be baptized. Philip would tell the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 and verse 37 that he would need to confess. But the idea is this. We need to do all that God commands us so that we can all be saved in the end.
(SONG # 3 - “Farther Along”)
We thank you again for putting God first and choosing to give this time to Him. It is always a pleasure to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves this worship to God!
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How wonderful it is to know that God has revealed His complete message that we might hear and believe in it. Have you fully responded to the Gospel of Christ?