Program Air Date - 2-18-07



"For our citizenship is in Heaven!" Good morning and thanks for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this worship to our Savior.

Our commitment this morning is to give glory to the Creator through the singing of songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope and pray that each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.


This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a hymn which reminds us of the great reward that awaits us some day. For if we strive to be faithful, God has promised us eternal life. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "Walking Alone At Eve."

(SONG # 1)


"Oh for a home with God, a place in His courts to rest", what a wonderful thought to sing about this morning. In fact, isn't that what our Christian life is all for? How blessed we are to have a God who loves us enough to offer us such blessings and promises. On the other hand, how privileged we are to live lives that will show God just how much we love Him through our service.

In the Bible we have many writers that teach of our opportunity to obey God. However, of all the Bible writers, Paul gives us some of the clearest thoughts along these lines. Remember what he said in Romans 12:1,2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." We are commanded to be a living sacrifice. Not like this world but different - thus striving to be Christ-like!

I also love what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1. There we read, "Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ." You see, we have it right when are doing that which exemplifies Christ.

Now the only problem is, we must realize that no one ever said it would be easy, in the Bible! In fact, we find quite the opposite in God's Word. James said, "My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials," chapter 1 and verse 2 of his book! Notice here that he doesn't say, "if you suffer trials," he said, "when you suffer them!" When we are living for Christ and doing that which is according to His will, it is not a question of "if," but of "when," we will suffer!

Notice what Paul further said in 2 Timothy 3:12. There we read, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Again confirming that those who follow God and do it right, will suffer in this life!

Think of all those in the Bible who suffered when doing God's Will. Often they were beaten, imprisoned, laughed at, spit on, humiliated! However, they all stood strong and did it for the sake of Christ.

But you might ask, "How can we be happy about this or rejoice in suffering?" That's a good question! The answer is - when we suffer for the sake of Christ we will be blessed by Him. And ultimately we will receive the crown of life if we have been proven faithful to the end! Read with me 1 Peter 3:14, "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed." Those who are obedient to Christ, will be blessed.

Finally, hear God's Word in James 1:12. There he says, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him." If you really love God, "keep His commands." And although we know we will suffer for His sake, remember that all will be worth it when He gives us our final reward.

This morning, we will continue our series on the Church, as we consider the words of Jesus, "I Will Build My Church!" Our specific topic today is entitled, "The Church Has But One True Guide Book." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "This Is My Fathers World!"

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us at this time as we now go to God's Word and consider again a statement of Jesus, "I will build My church."

You might recall there in Matthew chapter 16 around verse 18 that we've discussed these things now for many weeks and we find there where Peter has clearly given the information that "Jesus is the Christ," in verse 16. And then later we read also that he states that "it is upon the great confession that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God." That Jesus said, "I will build My church."

But then I want you to notice something with me there in verse 19 of the same text as we introduce out topic of the morning. It states there, "And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven and what you bind on earth will be bound in heaven and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Some read these verses and they misunderstand here and they continue to put the emphasis really on Peter rather than God. Jesus says, "I will build My church." And then He tells Peter, His servant, I will give you the keys to the kingdom, and what you bind I will bind, what you loose I will loose." But why is it that He stated that this would be possible? Why is it that He stated that this would be the case? Not only as we read here in the book of Matthew, but as we even have better clarified for us over in the book of John.

We find that Jesus made this statement to His disciples. In John 14 and verse 18, He says, "I will not leave you as orphans." He says, "I won't go away from this place," as He now was about to return to heaven. "I will not leave you as orphans, but I will send you a helper, a comforter." I want you to notice with me there backing up just a few verses in verse 16 of chapter 14 where He states this. "And I will pray the Father and He will give you a helper, another helper, that he will be able to guide you forever, the Spirit of Truth whom the world cannot receive but neither sees Him nor hears Him but you know Him." He says, "I'm not going to leave you. I'm going to send you a helper. I'm going to send you the information." How? Through the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit Himself.

Go over there in the same passage and notice there in verse 16 as they were wondering, "How will we remember what we need to remember?" There in verse 26, He says, "But the helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name." Notice what He will do. "He will teach you all things and He will bring to remembrance all things I have said to you." You see, Jesus said, "I'm going to leave. I'm going to build My church and I'm going to place you as apostles to preach and teach the Word," as we read there in the Great Commission, Matthew 28 as well as in Mark 16, "and I'm going to give you an ability to bind and loose but I'm going to give you that ability because the Holy Spirit is with you and the Holy Spirit will guide you." That's exactly what it says. In what way? "In remembrance of all that I've told you and in the knowledge of all that you need to know, God will guide you." How then? When Peter loosed, would it be loosed? When he bound, would it be bound? Because what Peter did and knew and believed and followed and taught was from God's Spirit directly, not from Peter himself, but from God.

Now to understand that better, go with me now to another passage over in 2 Peter. There are many verses that will help us, but first of all in 2 Peter chapter 1, it is interesting in verse 3 that it states that by God's power, His divine power, He has done something for you and I. What has he done? By His divine power He has given us what? All things! Not some things. Not a few things. All things. All things pertaining to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue. Somehow He has given us all things that will help us to know how to live. In what ways? In life and in godly things. Then he says, "What is it?" Knowledge.

Now where are we going to get that knowledge? Well look with me now over in the same passage again 2 Peter chapter 1 but in verse 20 beginning. He says, "Knowing this first that no prophecy of scripture is of any private interpretation for prophecy never came by the will of men but holy men of God spoke as they were led or moved (by whom?) the Holy Spirit." What happened to the apostles? They were led by who? The Holy Spirit. He told them all things they needed to know and He reminded them of all things that Jesus had taught them, and now when they wrote, when they penned these things such as Paul to the Ephesian church, to the Colossian church and to the Thessalonian church, to the Roman church, to the Corinthian church, on and on and on we could go. When they wrote the brethren as Peter or John did, they wrote with power of God. Through whom? The Holy Spirit. Then again understanding why when they would bind, it was binding because it was from God and when they would loose or let go or give freedom, it was according again to God.

We don't have to stop there. There's another verse in scriptures that helps us tremendously with this. If you'll turn over to the book of Timothy. We know there that Paul speaks to this young evangelist as he was going about and preaching and teaching the things of Christ. It is interesting there in 2 Timothy chapter 3 that it gives us this same concept as is presented in God's Word. Notice beginning in verse 16 as it says, "All scripture, not some, not a few, not a little, all scripture is given by (what?) inspiration of God and is profitable (in what ways?) for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction and righteousness." Why? "That you and I, the man of God, might be (what?) completely and thoroughly equipped unto every good works, that we might know (what?) all things pertaining as Peter said to life and godliness. You see, the Word of God. The Word of God given how? The Holy Spirit. Through whom? The writers. The apostles primarily that we look at here in scriptures and we read from and God inspired all of these works and led them and guided them and what was the outcome?

The outcome is what we find back up even there in verses 14 -15. Notice what Paul says there to Timothy. "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and be assured of them knowing from where you've learned them." Where did he learn them? Verse 15, "That from a child you have known the Holy scriptures which are able to make you wise unto salvation through faith in Jesus Christ." You see there that faith? Faith how? Through the knowledge of scriptures. What scriptures? Holy scriptures. How do we have the Holy scriptures? Men of God led by who? The Spirit of God and penned for us that we might read God's Word and know what it is that God bound down through them and what He loosed through them. You see that's what our topic is today. That's what the glorious message is all about, that we (James 1:25) have the perfect law of liberty, the law of Christ. That is perfect. Why? For it is from God directly through the Holy Spirit and penned for us that we might know exactly what God wants and completely and thoroughly furnishes us with unto all good works, in all areas of life and godliness, all things that pertain to that, as Peter said. You see, God has blessed us with that word from the Spirit and that, brethren and friends, is the guide of the Lord's church. Only Jesus was given all authority, Matthew 28:18. All power and when He was given it and then He chose the apostles and He says, "I will send you the comforter to guide you and to remember in all things that I have spoken to you." And then they penned it with the help of the Holy Spirit, that is the Word of God. And what we have today is that Word from God, that Word delivered through Jesus Christ the Son and it is that guide for the church. Isn't it true that in any aspect of life we need that guide? Whether it is government we need that law and that written law in a form that we might hold it and read it and whether it's a job and maybe we have a description of a job that is specific about what we do and how we do it. And then when we apply that now spiritually, isn't that what the Bible is, our guide? Isn't it that road map, that pattern, that blueprint that we read and we turn to not to know man's will, not to know the will of the apostles, but to know the Will of God for God inspired all scripture that we might know His Will, believe it, obey it as the truth unto salvation and then obeying it and following it, we have the great privilege then of knowing that we are saved, knowing that we are a part of those who have been called out from darkness, out of the world and translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, that is the church, that is the body.

Now as we understand what the Word of God is and its purpose and its intent coming directly from God that it might guide and lead us in all truth, that it might completely and thoroughly equip us in all areas of life and godly matters, as far as worship and spiritual things. Then also we must understand how important it is to follow it and not take away from it. Two verses I would like to consider. First of all there in Galatians, we find a clear verse that helps us, in verse 15 of chapter 3. He says, "I speak in the manner of men though if it only be a man's covenant, yet if it is confirmed." If there is a covenant and there is a covenant that is confirmed, what is the result? Well, it says, "If it's a covenant that has been confirmed of God, no one can annul or add to it." The same thing is said there in Revelation 22 verses 18-19 say, "If you do not do and obey all these things in this book, you will have the plagues of this book." But the wording that it uses is it says, "If you add to these things, then the plagues will be added to you or if you take away from the things of God, then these rewards will be taken away from you." You see, we must do and obey according to what God has said. That's why He gave us truth. That's why He gave us doctrine. That's why He gave us the guide and the book, the perfect innerrant Word to follow. That's why then we read in passages such as Galatians chapter 1 beginning in verse 6 when Paul in such a sad way says, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you." How are they turning away? Well the same verse goes on to say, "They were turning to a different gospel." In fact, he says, "really not another gospel for there is only one gospel, but some have perverted the gospel." So he warned them and he said, "Do not pervert the gospel or you will be accursed." In verse 9 he says, "I just said, I say again, if you preach a different gospel, a different word, a different truth, you are accursed."

Now in the last verse of 10 there it tells us what it is all about. He says, "For do I now try to persuade and get approval of man or God?" You see, why is it today that we find in the world, the religious world that so many are so quick to grab hold of creeds, doctrines of men, to follow what man and what is our desire and what is enjoyable for us whether it be in worship or in life. Well the reason being again that we are choosing to satisfy self, one another. We are choosing to satisfy the multitudes rather than God for if we decide to choose and strive to please God, we will do it His way. We will look to His guide and we will show Jesus how much we love Him.

How do we do that? John chapter 14 and verse 15, "If you love Me, you're going to keep My commandments." I know you're My friends and that you love Me when you keep My commandments. Is that what we do? Is that what we do when we read the Word of God? Do we respect it and follow it as His Word and do we understand that it is directly from Him that we might know all that we need to know unto salvation? Or do we disrespect it and do we turn to our own desires and wants or do we look to what man has to say? I don't know about you, but the only guide I need, the only book I need, the only help that God needs to have given me is this book, the Bible, and it is a Bible now that has stood the test of time and proven itself beyond a shadow of a doubt to be from God. No man could have wrote it. It is penned by God.

Do you love God's Word? Do you believe in God's Word and do you follow the Bible as your guide, your guide that will lead you to that mansion someday in heaven?

(SONG # 3 - "Guide Me Oh Thou Great Jehovah!")


Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.

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Thanks be to God for His Prefect Word - the Bible! May we always respect it and follow it, just as commanded by our Lord!

(Program closing)