THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-11-07
LESSON TITLE: "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH: PRIVILEGES OF MEMBERSHIP"
Our young people rightly sing, "The B.I.B.L.E. yes that's the book for me, I stand upon the Word of God, the B.I.B.L.E! Thanks you for joining us this morning to focus on this "Living Word of God!" It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God and we welcome you to this service for our Creator.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, "Mansions Over The Hilltop!"
(SONG # 1)
Today we find many ideas which are present in the religious world which are not supported by scripture. We have all heard statements like, "It doesn't really matter what one believes," or "It doesn't really matter what church someone attends." Some even go so far as to say, "we all have the right to interpret the scriptures differently, and still be acceptable before God." My question would be, "where on earth do you find such concepts in the Bible?
In fact, our Bibles say quite the opposite. Notice with me the words of the inspired Peter in 2 Peter 1:20-21. There he said, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." The Holy Scriptures, or Word of God - is directly from God and no one else.
Paul also confirmed this in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, when he said, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." Notice again that ALL scripture is from God to guide men in all walks of life. To "completely and thoroughly equip us." I don't know about you, but that is what I choose to follow!
Wasn't it Jesus who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me," John 14:6. What is this truth? Again, Jesus said, God's Word is truth, John 17:17. Furthermore, Christ proclaimed that, "the truth will make us free," John 8:32.
So if the Word is Truth, and Truth brings us freedom through Christ, what must we follow! Again, I will follow Christ! When will we ever learn that it is not enough to say Lord, Lord! Even Jesus made this point in Matthew 7:21, when He said, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven." So how do we know if someone is of God? Well, back in verse 20, Jesus also said, we know "by their fruits!"
Finally, I want to mention a verse found in 1 Corinthians 1:10, where the inspired Paul told God's followers what was expected of them. There he said, "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." Does this sound like it matters to God what we believe and what we do? Certainly! Have we forgotten what Jesus prayed for in John 17? He prayed for unity among His believers. Do you remember what He said there? He fervently prayed for His followers, saying, "that they may be one, as We are."
Choose to follow God today. Do those things which are according to His Will! And accept to do it His Way! Won't you put your confidence in His Words, which are found in the Bible?
Our topic today will again focus on our series concerning the Lord's Church! Our specific study of the morning will focus on, "Privilege Of Membership" So please stay with us this morning and in just a few minutes we will have our guest speaker present this lesson from God's Word.
This morning we welcome brother Church Northrop to be with us. He is one of the ministers at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ and is also a full time instructor at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We look forward to him leading our main discussion at the appropriate time. But for now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Fairest Lord Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Chuck Northrup
Because of Jesus' teaching to the rich young ruler concerning leaving possessions and the things of this world, Peter asked, "Behold, we have forsaken all and followed Thee. What shall we have therefore?" Matthew 19 and verse 27. In response, Jesus said to the disciples, "Verily I say unto you, there is no man that hath left house or parents or brethren or wife or children for the kingdom of God's sake who shall not receive manifold more in this present time and in the world to come life everlasting," Luke 18 verses 29-30.
The benefits of being a disciple of Jesus are far more reaching than many realize. Many think that only in terms of eternal inheritance beyond the grave. However, Jesus rewards those who forsake all and follow Him in this present time and in the world to come just as the benefits of being an earthly family are far more reaching than the inheritance that our parents leave behind after they are dead. The benefits of being a member of God's family, of being a Christian, of being a child of God is far more than just this physical world, but is also includes this physical world. We receive the benefits in this time, this present time as well as in the life to come, the spiritual life beyond the grave.
To the young evangelist, Timothy, Paul also referred to this two-fold benefit of the Christian's inheritance. In 1 Timothy 4 and verse 8, Paul writes, "For bodily exercise profiteth little, but godliness is profitable unto all things, having the promise of the life that now is and of that which is to come." Paul had just exhorted Timothy to exercise rather unto godliness. Now he gives the benefit of such exercise. In contrast to bodily exercise which benefits only the present physical condition, only the present physical life, godliness is profitable for this present time and in the world to come.
What are the benefits of this present time, of being a Christian, a disciple of Jesus and living godly? Well there are quite a number of benefits. The Psalmist exclaimed, "Blessed be the God who daily loadeth us with benefits even the God of our salvation," Psalms 68 and verse 19. To only name a few, God has provided the Christian with His care (1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 7), with His peace (Phillippians 4 verse 7), with hope (Colossians 1 and verse 27). He has provided us with redemption (Romans 3 and verse 24) and of course salvation (2 Timothy 2 and verse 10). In fact, to the church at Ephesus, Paul would write that, "God has blessed us with all spiritual blessings and heavenly places in Christ," Ephesians chapter 1 and verse 3.
To the inheritance concerning the world to come, it is summed up in the idea of eternal life. But consider various crowns that will be given to the faithful Christian, those who will die in the Lord. In the original language of the New Testament, the word "crown" comes from actually two different words. In the original language, there is the word "diadem" and there is the word "stephanos".
The diadem is a ruling crown, a crown of authority. We know that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He wears that diadem. In Matthew 28 and verse 18, Jesus said, "All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth." And so He has all authority. We know that He now sits on David's throne at the right hand of God and He reigns from heaven over the earth (Acts 2 verses 30-33).
However, the stephanos crown is a different type of crown. It is the victory crown. It is the crown that the winning athletes would receive in the 1st century. It is the crown that would have been given to victorious generals as they would return home from their conquests. Names like Stephen and Stephanie are words that come from this particular word "stephanos," and the word has reference to that victory crown. It is this stephanos crown, this victory crown that is promised to Christians. However, instead of being made of a garland of leaves or made of gold or silver and precious gems, this stephanos crown given to those who are victorious in Christ is composed of righteousness, life and glory. To the young evangelist, Timothy, Paul wrote, "For I am now ready to be offering the time of my departure is at hand. I fought a good fight. I finished my course. I kept the faith. Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which Lord the righteous judge shall give to me and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing," 2 Timothy chapter 4 verses 6-8). Notice Paul referred to his reward as a crown of righteousness. This is that word "stephanos," and it is that victory crown that he is referring to. But in this case, he's talking about a crown that is composed of righteousness. It is a righteous crown given to a righteous man by a righteous judge. James also wrote of the crown that is given to the faithful in James chapter 1 and verse 12. James wrote, "Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried he shall receive the crown of life which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him." This too is that stephanos crown. This too is that victory crown. But in this case, it is composed of life, not mere eternal existence, but it is composed of eternal quality of life.
As we continue, we will see that this crown is also called the crown of glory. In 1 Peter chapter 5 and verse 4, Peter wrote, "When the chief shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive that crown of glory that fadeth not away." Unlike the corruptible crown composed of leaves given in the 1st century to the athletes of the 1st century, the stephanos crown, the crown of victory, the victory crown of glory will be given to Christians. It will be that glorious crown composed to glory itself and it will not fade away. It will not deteriorate. It is this incorruptible crown of which Paul talked about in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 and verse 25. These three crowns of righteousness, life and glory illustrate the glorious reward that will be given to the children of God.
You know when we think about that glorious reward, we know there are some events that are going to take place, some future events that are just as certain as certain can be. There are many things in life that are uncertain. That is especially true when it comes to the future. In fact, the future holds very little certainty. There is still those things that are certain in the future that will take place. In this life, we don't know about tomorrow. In this life, we might be wealthy one day and poor the next. In this life, we might have a high social one day and a low social standing the very next. In this life, we might have health one day and the very next day be unhealthy. Well from observation, we know that men must face these certain events, these three certain events. From observation, we know that all men must die. We are surrounded by death daily. Through the inspired writer, God said, "It is appointed once to men to die and after this cometh the judgment," Hebrews 9 and verse 27. Death is not a pleasant thought. It is not something we joyously look forward to thinking about, but it is a reality. The sober reality is that we too must face death one day and when we face death our family and our friends will mourn our loss. Because of Jesus teachings to the rich young ruler and because of the greatest crown that He gives to us, we know that death will be faced one day but it is through death that we receive that crown.
And though it is not observable because it has not yet happened, it is just as certain that there will be a great day of resurrection. "On that day, Jesus shall ascend from heaven with a shout with the voice of an archangel and with a trump of God," 1 Thessalonians 4 verse 16. We know that "on that day, every eye shall see Him," Revelation 1 and verse 7. "And all that are in the grave shall come forth, they that have done good unto the resurrection of life and they that have done evil unto the resurrection of damnation," John 5 verses 28-29. This great and notable day will be a day of rejoicing for some and yet for others it will be a day of anguish. "To those who are faithful in Christ, it will be a day of rejoicing when rest will be given unto them from the troubles," 2 Thessalonians 1 and verse 7. It will be the day in which they will receive and inherit that crown of life of righteousness and of glory. "But to those who do not know God and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, it will be a time of great anguish because He will come in flaming fire rendering or taking vengeance on them," 2 Thessalonians 1 verses 8-9.
The final certain event will be the judgment day. Jesus said, "When the Son of Man shall come in His glory and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit on the throne of His glory and before Him shall be gathered all nations and He shall separate one from the other." As a shepherd divideth the sheep from the goats, it is this glorious day that Jesus pictures for us in Matthew the 25th chapter and specifically verses 31 through the end of the chapter and it is this day of judgment that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 10 when he says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that everyone may receive the things done in his body according to all that he hath done whether it be good or bad."
Well we ask then, "Are you prepared for that great day of future events? Are you prepared for the Day of Judgment? Are you prepared for the day of your death? Are you prepared for the resurrection? We think you will agree you ought to be. You can prepare by obeying the gospel, believing that Jesus is the Christ the son of the Living God (John 20 verses 30-31), repenting of your sins (Luke 13:3), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10) and being baptized for the remission of sin (Acts 2:38). Please let us know if we may assist you in any way. We beg of you to make your life right. We beg of you to prepare for that great and notable day so that you can receive that crown of righteousness, that crown of life and the crown of glory.
(SONG # 3 - "Face To Face!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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How truly blessed we are to be children of God for there are many privileges as those who faithfully follow our King. Are you enjoying such privilege as a Christian?