THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 2-15-04
LESSON TITLE: THE CHURCH WHICH JESUS BUILT: "CHRIST'S CHURCH AND WHAT LIES AHEAD"
Isn't it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord's Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God's sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer.
This morning I would like to encourage all those who live in the Bolivar, Missouri area to visit with the faithful brethren who meet in that city. The Bolivar Church of Christ meets regularly to worship God. Beginning with Bible classes on Sunday mornings at 9:00 o'clock, then a worship assembly at 10:00 a.m. On Sunday evening these brethren also gather before God at 6:00 o'clock. A mid-week service is also offered as an opportunity to praise God, this service is at 7:00 p.m., every Wednesday. So let me encourage you to visit with these brethren whenever you have the opportunity. If you need further information please contact their minister Kevin Patterson at (417) 326-4727. Or you can contact us and we will assist in any way we can.
Now it's time to join in with the congregation in song. The name of our first hymn, "Is Thy Heart Right With God!"
(SONG # 1)
Do you ever get tired of being asked to give? It seems like everywhere we turn that someone is asking for a handout. In fact, if you're like me, you probably get tired of all the calls asking for money and help from day to day.
Now consider this same idea from a religious standpoint, many of us may often get tired as well of feeling like we always have to give. However, let me assure you that if our minds and heart are right with God - giving for His sake is a whole different ballgame. In fact, in Proverbs 21:26, the wisest man who ever lived made this statement, "He covets greedily all day long, But the righteous gives and does not spare." Consider the important lesson we learn here -Some covet the things of this world which they have acquired, however, the godly man loves to give and give a lot!
Doesn't this just make good sense in relationship to what we learn in the New Testament? Remember what Jesus said in Acts 20:35, "It is more blessed to give than to receive." When we give, God says we will be blessed and blessed according to our generosity. Notice what Jesus further said about this in Luke 6:38, "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you." Have you got it figured out yet?
It is more blessed to give than to receive, because when we give we honor and glory of God. Furthermore, it is more blessed to give, because when we give God is pleased and in return blesses us - according to our willingness to sacrifice to see His will accomplished. So how well are you giving to your God? Are you giving enough, in a cheerful way and from the heart? May we all learn to be better and more gracious givers to the glory of God!
Our study of the morning will again focus on, "The Church Which Jesus Built." As far as the specific message of the day, we will consider, "Christ's Church And What Lies Ahead." So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "In The Land Of Fadeless Day."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now go to God's Word and we study some of those precious things that helps us to better servants of God. We've been looking a lot at the church that Jesus built and trying to really find those marks, those identifying marks that help us to know that we are in the true church of our Lord and doing those things that He has asked us to, not the ideas that we ourselves have, or the ideas of other men, or the ideas of any certain group, but yet those things truly founded in scripture, again scripture being the truth, the Word of God and that which God delivered to us that gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness.
Well this morning we're going to continue to talk about the church that Jesus built and specifically today we're going to look at Christ's church and what lies ahead. So I hope you have a pen and a piece of paper ready because I have a lot of scripture ready that I would love to make reference to this morning but because of time there is no way we can turn to all of them, but yet important scriptures because they will help us not only to know what our work is ahead but also to know what those final things are which will come in order that someday we'll receive not only the blessings, but also the great promises that God has made to us as those who are faithful.
We might first of all then acknowledge with me what scripture says is that one thing that lies ahead of us as those in Christ is a lot of work. There are things to do. God has called us to be His children and as His children there is something to follow. You and I know that to be the Word of God. In fact, in the book of Ephesians chapter 3, we have mentioned here the work of the church and what is that express work that is to be done by the church, again the church being you and I, those who have been saved, bought and purchased through the blood of Jesus Christ and added to the family of God.
If you'll notice there in verse 10 it says, "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places." Who is it that is to make known something? Here it says the church. And what is it that the church is to make known the manifold wisdom of God. Now, how do we as the church know that manifold wisdom, that complete wisdom that is from God? Well the book again, the Bible, the Word that He gave us that again guides us in all things. It if from God, and it really helps us to know in every good work what is necessary and how we should do it, but furthermore it gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness. We're to make this message, the gospel known to all so that they might also respond and be children of God.
You might also notice places that talk about the work of a disciple of Christ such as Matthew chapter 28. There in verses 18-20 we have reference there the great commission mentioning there that "all power and authority have been given to Christ" but then it says there that "they were to go and make disciples of every nation, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit." They were to go and to preach and teach so that people would respond to again the precious manifold wisdom, the message, the gospel of Christ.
In Mark 16:16 again, the concept is clear there where it says that "they should go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature," The work of the church, the work of the disciple to make known the Will of God, the Word itself to everyone who needs to hear. And if I were to ask you who needs to hear. The obvious answer is everyone. God is not slack concerning His promises, maybe as man is, but He wants all men to come to repentance. Well that's why we must do the work because God wants all men to repent and as those who are striving to be like God and followers of God we as well should strive to make sure that all have the opportunity. Now whether they respond or not is up to them, but we must make the opportunity available through services and preaching and teaching and programs like this so that people can hear and they have opportunity then to respond to that precious message.
You might also wonder, "Well, yes there is work to be done. There's a faithfulness that is required. There is an action that is talked about throughout the scripture especially in Hebrews 11 where all of them were working and showing their faith by works as James says in James chapter 2, "Faith without works is dead," James 2:26
But now also what is necessary that that work continue as long as we live? You know sometimes I look around in the family of God and the church and I notice that there are some who seem to think that they have retired from the church, because of their age and the many good years that they have put in and to God be the glory for those things that they have done, somehow now seem to feel, "Well, because of what I have done I am now exempt or I am retired and I no longer have to work." Well the writer here, John, as he revealed the things that Jesus had said Himself says the following to us in the latter part of Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10. The Bible says in the words of Christ, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life." What does it require to receive the crown of life, the reward, the blessings of life, the eternal home of heaven? Faithfulness. How long must that faithfulness endure, that work, that effort, that faith that is proven through our works, that love that we have for God to keep His commandments and to show our love by keeping His commandments in an active way until we die? Until we die, until we come to the end of this life, we must continue in the good works and efforts that are required of us as those followers of God. So we are beginning to see what lies ahead. Those things that are required of us, the commands of God to obey and to follow, to faithfully do the work that has been committed to us as the church, making known His wisdom to every creature, to every nation and to do it until we die so that we might be found faithful in the end.
Another thing that might be the opposite of what we were just suggesting and been referring to is given to us, I think, clearly in the book of John, if you'll turn there in 1 John. We're going to look in just a moment at chapter 2 of 1 John beginning in verse 15 because as we look to God and we do His work and we follow Him and we are faithful to death, we must continue to put away the world and stay away from unrighteousness and things that are not eternal in nature and will keep us from God or often cause us to turn away or be pulled from God. So as we look there in verse 15 of 1 John chapter 2, he says that "we should not love the world or the things in the world, if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him." Why? "For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life is not of the Father but of the world." Now notice finally in verse 17 that it says, "And the world is passing away and the lust of it, but he who does the Will of God abides forever." You see what is being said there? Something we can learn and grow from and use to exhort us everyday to live as God wants us to live, that we must not look to the world and the things of the world and the lust thereof and to find pleasures physically in the world that are improper and unrighteous and put our confidence and our hope in worldly things that are passing away as it says here, but rather put our hope and faith and trust in God. Why? Because "God," it says here, "is eternal." The one who does the Will of God does not focus and have confidence in something that is passing or will not last, but something that is eternal for the reward of heaven.
You know when I look to the Old Testament and the New Testament, I find example after example after example of so many individuals who loved God enough to do His Will. But at the same time the very individuals that we're referring to messed up. They made mistakes. There were often times that we find faithful men of God who sinned against their God, who fell away, such as King David. What about the Israelites from time to time? How often did they murmur and complain and leave the fold of God , the things of God and the commands and the precepts? How often were they rebuked by prophets both major and minor? Many, many times. And why? Because they weren't doing the Will of God.
In the New Testament the same thing is true. The Pharisees were often rebuked. The Sadduccees and others who often were doing many things for God and unto His glory but they did it for themselves, in a selfish way. They were hypocrites. It wasn't because they loved God and because they wanted to serve Him. It was because they wanted to be seen of men.
You see, when we begin to look at the broader picture and we consider what is ahead of us, then we begin to see the outcome of really what God has promised us. But in all of this, why do we not learn from those examples of old? Why do we not learn and heed from the mistakes of the past and not find ourselves in the very same thing? You and I are guilty of the same thing. How often have I thought and said that I would never be guilty of what Adam and Eve did. I would never be guilty of what those in Moses' day did or the Israelites or those of the time of King David or so on and so forth. I would never... Then the next moment, what are we doing? We're sinning. We're doing something that we know not to be right, but we do it anyway and we choose to do it or we are very careless in controlling ourselves and thus we sin against God. So again, as we move ahead and we look toward the future and we look to those things that God hath put in place, and know as we do His work and as we do it till death faithfully, that we must be those who stay away from the world and consider where we have come from out of it and learn from the things of the past, not only in our own lives, but the lives of others, and in scripture so that we might remain faithful as we have seen that is necessary until the very end.
I like how John puts it in 1 John chapter 1, verse 5 because it says there that "God is the light,' and it says there also that "we are to be in the light as God is in the light." And He is the light and we should strive to be like the light and "our fellowship, it goes on to say in verse 7, "is with God because He is light and we strive to be in the light."
So therefore as we consider that, we illuminate godliness. We illuminate the Christian spirit and we do those things that are godly in nature. Will we make mistakes? Certainly, but when we make mistakes, not because we are wanting to, but because they are truly mistakes and we get back up and we repent and we get back up and we get back on our feet and we brush off our pants, so to speak, and we move ahead. We continue with our work of the Lord and doing those things that God has asked us.
Now why else should we do these things and remain faithful to the end? Because you and I know that scripture tells us that as we do these things, the reward there is heaven. We have several, several scriptures that talk about the day that the Lord is coming back. Hebrews 9:27 tells us that "we're all appointed to die someday." And then what will happen? The judgment. When we die, we will be judged. When the Lord comes again, several verses found in the book of 1 Corinthians 15, the book of Thessalonians also helps us often with this idea, 1 Thessalonians chapter 4, and in other places where we are reminded of the great coming of our Lord, when He will come in the cloud and the trumpet will sound and He will come with His mighty angels. And He will take those who are faithful to be back with Him in heaven, the judgment seat, as we will all stand there and be judged before our God and He is coming to judge the world, not to set up a kingdom that we've already seen in this series already exists, a kingdom that was established when Jesus says, "I will build my church," and in Acts chapter 2 it came to fruition, but to come back to receive that kingdom unto Himself.
In fact, there is a clear verse that is given to us there in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verse 24 that says, "When the end comes and Christ comes again, when He delivers the kingdom of God to the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. "There's a day coming," it says, "when the Lord will come and when He comes He will deliver the kingdom that is the church, that is of the saved back to the Father, those who have been found faithful. They will be given the reward of heaven." So whey do we do all of this? Why do we strive to live the life? Why do we strive to act in the way that God has told us to act? Because when we do it, we know that His promises are true, we know that they are right.
You might also notice with me in the book of Acts chapter 17 that it was said there again by great men of God that "we as Christians need to understand that our God is a God of justice and He will judge His people." Beginning in verse 30 of Acts 17, the Bible says that "truly these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent." Why? Verse 31 says, "Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom He ordained He has given assurance of this day to all by raising Him from the dead." The same one who died was buried and rose on the third day is the same who will judge us some day. When will that be? It will be after our death. It will be when the day has been appointed by our God. Who knows of that day? Some people try to say when that day will be today, but the Bible tells us that even Jesus in His own words in Matthew 24 said, "That day will come like a thief in the night. No one knows the day. No one knows the hour." Why is that? So that we might always be ready, so that we might always make preparations.
And finally let me remind us of what we're working toward. The judgment is coming. We'll stand before God and what are we working toward? Heaven. We know that the outcome of this life is going to be summed up in one of two ways. Immortal life and eternal heaven, paradise concepts, mansions, golden streets, wondrous, or hell, pain, weeping, damnation, words again that none of us like. So what is the incentive for us to work today, to do His Will, to remain faithful unto death and to accomplish those things that are here before us as best we can according to the Will of God to show Him that we love Him by keeping His commandments. The incentive couldn't be greater, to live forever with your God. Forever in a perfect paradise.
Well we have so much to be thankful for as followers of God. We have so much to look forward to as those in this life who serve God and not only look to the promise of heaven, but the promises that God has said here, that He'll never leave us. He'll never forsake us. He'll always provide and care for and give us those things that we need. So the question this morning is yours. Are you looking toward the future? Are you striving to do what God has asked you to do so that in the end you might be found faithful and receive the reward?
SONG # 3 - "Faith Is The Victory!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Isn't it comforting to know what God has in store for us in the future. May we always live our lives and do His will so that all the promises and blessing of His Word, will be ours in the last day!