THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

PROGRAM AIR DATE – 2-2-14

LESSON TITLE: “THE TRUE VALUE OF CHURCH.”

WELCOME

GOOD MORNING! LET ME WELCOME EACH OF YOU TO OUR PROGRAM THIS MORNING. IT IS ALWAYS A PRIVILEGE TO HAVE YOU WITH US TO HEAR THE LIVING WORD OF GOD. WE ARE EXCITED THAT YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO GIVE THIS TIME OF SACRIFICE TO OUR GOD. WON'T YOU TAKE ADVANTAGE OF EVERY OPPORTUNITY THIS MORNING TO GIVE YOUR OWN REVERENCE TO GOD, AS WE TOGETHER OFFER THIS TIME OF WORSHIP TO HIM. MAY ALL THINGS BE DONE, TO GOD, FOR GOD AND UNTO HIS GLORY. LET'S BEGIN OUR OFFERING TO WITH A PRAYER!

PRAYER: OUR GOD AND FATHER IN HEAVEN, WE THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS DAY AND EVERY DAY OF LIFE BECAUSE WE KNOW THEY ARE BLESSINGS FROM YOU. FOR FATHER, ALL SPIRITUAL AS WELL AS ALL PHYSICAL THINGS ONLY COME FROM YOU. FATHER, WE ALSO THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT SPIRITUAL THINGS SUCH AS WE HAVE AS YOUR SON GAVE HIS LIFE ON THE CROSS AND SHED HIS BLOOD IN THAT WE MIGHT BE SAVED. WE THANK YOU FOR HIS RESURRECTION AND WE THANK YOU FATHER THAT WE STAND JUSTIFIED IN YOUR SIGHT TODAY BECAUSE OF AND THROUGH HIM AS WE STRIVE TO LIVE FAITHFULLY ACCORDING TO YOUR WILL. FATHER, HELP US TO ALWAYS SHOW YOU THE LOVE WE SHOULD THROUGH OUR OBEDIENCE TO YOUR COMMANDMENTS AND FATHER, GIVE US THAT ETERNAL REWARD WHEN THIS LIFE IS OVER. IN JESUS NAME WE PRAY, AMEN.

THIS MORNING, OUR FIRST SONG REMINDS US OF ONE OF THE SWEETEST SOUNDS THAT MANKIND WILL EVER HEAR. SO, PLEASE PARTICIPATE WITH THE CONGREGATION AS WE SING TOGETHER, "SWEETER THAN ALL!"

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

OUR GOD DOES SO MUCH FOR US ON A DAILY BASIS, I THINK WE OFTEN TEND TO TAKE IT ALL FOR GRANTED! HOWEVER, THE REALITY IS, FROM TIME TO TIME WE DO NEED TO STOP AND REALIZE ALL GOD HAS DONE, IS DOING AND WILL DO IN OUR LIVES. THEN WE NEED TO SHOW HIM THE PROPER THANKFULNESS, HONOR AND RESPECT FOR ALL THESE THINGS. NOW LET ME ASK YOU, HOW OFTEN DO WE EACH FORGET ALL THE GREAT AND WONDROUS THINGS GOD DOES FOR US? FURTHERMORE, HOW OFTEN DO WE FORGET THAT HE DOES THESE THINGS FOR US ON A DAILY BASIS? OH, HOW TRUE IT IS THAT WE WOULD BE A MUCH HAPPIER PEOPLE FOR GOD, IF WE BUT REMEMBER JUST HOW MUCH HE HAS DONE FOR ALL OF US.

BUT NOW LET ME ASK YOU, TO WHAT EXTENT DOES GOD PROVIDE FOR US AND HELP US IN THIS LIFE? WELL, THE ANSWER IS GIVEN VERY BEAUTIFULLY IN EPHESIANS 3:20, WERE PAUL SAID, "NOW TO HIM WHO IS ABLE TO DO EXCEEDINGLY ABUNDANTLY ABOVE ALL THAT WE ASK OR THINK, ACCORDING TO THE POWER THAT WORKS IN US." THINK ABOUT THAT FOR A MINUTE! HOW DOES GOD ANSWER OUR PRAYERS? HOW DOES GOD RESPOND TO THE NEEDS WE HAVE IN THIS LIFE? WELL, THIS VERSE SAYS THAT HE DOES EVEN MORE THAN WE ASK OR EVEN THINK OF! WHAT A MIGHTY AND LOVING GOD WE SERVE.

NOW, IF WE GO DOWN TO THE NEXT VERSE, WHICH IS VERSE 21 AND READ THROUGH EPHESIANS CHAPTER 4, AND VERSE 1, WE FIND OUT ABOUT OUR PART IN THE EQUATION. THERE IT SAYS, "TO HIM BE GLORY IN THE CHURCH BY CHRIST JESUS TO ALL GENERATIONS, FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN. I, THEREFORE, THE PRISONER OF THE LORD, BESEECH YOU TO WALK WORTHY OF THE CALLING WITH WHICH YOU WERE CALLED." YOU SEE, OUR PART IS THAT WE MUST GIVE GLORY TO GOD THE GIVER AND PROVIDER OF ALL. HOW LONG MUST WE DO THIS? THE VERSE HERE SAYS FOREVER AND EVER.

THE FINAL VERSE ANSWERS HOW WE GIVE THIS GLORY TO GOD WHEN IT SAID THAT WE MUST, "WALK WORTHY OF THE CALLING." OUR JOB THEN IS TO GLORIFY GOD BY WALKING IN HIS WILL ACCORDING TO HOW WE ARE CALLED IN JESUS CHRIST. WE MUST ALL DO THE WORK OF THE LORD AND IN THIS WE PRAISE AND GLORIFY HIS HOLY NAME.

ONE WRITER SUMMED IT UP LIKE THIS, WHEN HE SAID, WHEN WE, "ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD, WE CAN EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM HIM." HOW TRUE THIS STATEMENT IS, BECAUSE THE BIBLE SAID THAT THE MORE WE DO FOR HIM THE MORE WE WILL RECEIVE. SO, ARE YOU GLORIFYING GOD THROUGH YOUR LABORS IN HIS SERVICE. IF YOU ARE, THEN REMEMBER THAT HIS PROMISE IS THAT HE WILL DO MORE FOR US THAN WE EVER ASK OR THINK. OUR GOD IS GREAT!

THIS MORNING WE WILL CONTINUE OUR SERIES CALLED, "UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH." OUR SPECIFIC TOPIC TODAY WILL COVER, "THE TRUE VALUE OF THE CHURCH." SO STAY WITH US AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG I WILL LEAD OUR LESSON THOUGHTS OF THE MORNING. NOW LET'S JOIN TOGETHER IN OUR SECOND SONG OF THE DAY. THE NAME OF THIS HYMN, "TAKE MY LIFE AND LET IT BE."

LESSON

BY RAY SULLINS

WE ARE SO GLAD YOU HAVE CONTINUED WITH US NOW AS WE GO TO GOD'S WORD AND CONSIDER ANOTHER LESSON IN RELATIONSHIP TO A VERY IMPORTANT TOPIC FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND THAT IS THE CHURCH. I MIGHT ASK YOU TO THINK FOR JUST A MOMENT AS YOU CONSIDER THE IDEA OF THE CHURCH AGAIN AND HOW WHEN YOU DRIVE AROUND, EVEN IN SPRINGFIELD, YOU SEE SO MANY DIFFERENT RELIGIONS AND SO MANY DIFFERENT WHAT WE MIGHT CALL CHURCHES. ALL OF THEM PROFESS TO PROCLAIM DIFFERENT THINGS ABOUT GOD OR A GOD AND DIFFERENT BELIEFS CONCERNING JESUS, DIFFERENT BELIEFS CONCERNING SALVATION, DIFFERENT BELIEFS AND ACTIONS OF WORSHIP, AND FRANKLY IT BEGINS TO GET VERY CONFUSING IN REGARDS TO THAT. WHAT IS ALSO SAD ABOUT THAT PERHAPS IS WHAT WE WILL DEAL WITH TODAY IN OUR LESSON AND THAT IS WHEN PEOPLE BEGIN TO GET SO CONFUSED THAT IT SEEMS LIKE THEY NO LONGER SEE ANY IMPORTANCE IN THE CONCEPT OR IDEOLOGY OF THE CHURCH OR THE KINGDOM AT ALL. IN FACT, YOU MIGHT ASK YOUR FRIENDS SOMETIME AND THEY MIGHT SAY WELL, ONE CHURCH IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER CHURCH. THEY MIGHT SAY THAT YOUR CHURCH IS JUST AS GOOD AS MY CHURCH, AS IF EITHER OF US WOULD HAVE A CHURCH. FOR IT IS JESUS ALONE WHO WOULD HAVE A CHURCH BECAUSE HE IS THE ONLY ONE WHO PAID THE PRICE TO BE WORTHY OF THE NAME OF HAVING THE CHURCH. I ALSO ASK YOU TO THINK ABOUT THAT BECAUSE SOME WILL SAY WELL, YOU KNOW IT REALLY DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU GO TO CHURCH AT ALL OR IF YOU ARE PART OF A CHURCH AT ALL. REALLY, IF YOU'RE JUST A GOOD PERSON AND CONSIDERED GOOD PEOPLE THEN THAT REALLY IS ALL THAT GOD WANTS. HE REALLY IS NOT ALL CAUGHT UP OR BOTHERED ABOUT THE IDEA OF SOMEONE BEING IN A CHURCH OR IN THE CHURCH CONCEPT. I AM REALLY SADDENED BY SUCH THOUGHTS AND IDEAS BECAUSE WHAT DO WE LEARN ABOUT THE CHURCH? THAT'S WHAT WE WANT TO DISCUSS THIS MORNING AS WE CONTINUE TO BUILD ON OUR DISCUSSION ABOUT THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT AND WE WANT TO REALLY ANSWER THE QUESTION: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CHURCH? DOES IT HAVE A TRUE IMPORTANCE OR IS IT JUST SOMETHING THAT WAS A BYPRODUCT IN PASSING OR REALLY NOT THAT SIGNIFICANT OR IMPORTANT?

WHEN WE GO BACK AND THINK ABOUT THE THINGS THAT WE HAVE DISCUSSED THUS FAR, WE BEGAN TO LEARN VERY QUICKLY THAT THERE MUST HAVE BEEN AT LEAST SOME VALUE IN THE IDEA OF A CHURCH OR A KINGDOM THAT GOD SAID WOULD COME. IN FACT, IF WE BACK UP WE COULD ASK: WHAT DID GOD ESTABLISH UNDER THE OLD COVENANT? HE ESTABLISHED HIS KINGDOM, HIS PEOPLE, THE ISRAELITE NATION. CERTAINLY WE WOULD NOT IN ANY WAY SAY THAT NO, THE ISRAELITE NATION, THE JEWS, WERE INSIGNIFICANT IN THE DAY OF MOSES OR THAT THEY WERE SOMEHOW UNIMPORTANT. GOD CERTAINLY THOUGHT THEY WERE IMPORTANT. THEY WERE IMPORTANT ENOUGH FOR HIM TO SAY THAT THEY WERE HIS PEOPLE AND THAT HE WAS THEIR GOD AND THAT HE PROVIDED FOR THEM, PROTECTED THEM, DELIVERED THEM, AND EVEN GAVE THEM THE VICTORY MILITARILY OVER MANY NATIONS OF THIS EARTH. WELL, I THINK YOU CAN SEE THAT THE KINGDOM OF GOD UNDER THE DAYS OF MOSES AND HIS LAW WAS VERY IMPORTANT BUT IN THOSE DAYS YOU MIGHT ALSO RECALL, AS WE HAVE EVEN LOOKED AT IN PREVIOUS LESSONS, THAT THERE WAS A LOT OF PROPHECY WHERE WE BEGIN TO SEE THIS IDEA ABOUT A NEW DAY COMING WITH A NEW KINGDOM, THE CHURCH. IN FACT, ONE SUCH PLACE IS IN ISAIAH CHAPTER 2:2 WHERE IT SAYS, “IT SHALL COME TO PASS IN THE LATTER DAYS THAT THE MOUNTAIN OF THE LORD'S HOUSE SHALL BE ESTABLISHED ON THE MOUNTAINS AND SHALL BE EXALTED ABOVE THE HILLS AND ALL NATIONS WILL FLOW TO IT.” WE CAN GO OVER TO DANIEL OR WE COULD GO OVER TO OTHER DIFFERENT BOOKS OF PROPHECY AND WE CAN SEE A LOT OF PROPHETIC CONCEPTS ABOUT THE COMING OF THE CHURCH, THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH, THE COMING OF A SAVIOR, AND ULTIMATELY A KINGDOM THAT WOULD NEVER BE DESTROYED AND THAT WOULD NEVER END BECAUSE IT WOULD BE FOUNDED ON NOT ONLY JESUS AS THE CORNERSTONE BUT IT WOULD BE FOUNDED ON THE VERY PRINCIPLES AND PLANS AS ACCOMPLISHED BY GOD. MY FIRST QUESTION PERTAINING TO THE IMPORTANCE OF THE CHURCH IS: IF GOD SAW THE SIGNIFICANCE IN PROPHESYING ABOUT THE CHURCH, THE COMING KINGDOM, IS IT NOT IMPORTANT? WOULD IT BE OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE IF GOD FELT THE NEED FOR HUNDREDS OF YEARS THROUGH SO MANY PROPHETS TO SAY THAT SOMEDAY I WILL BRING ABOUT THE KINGDOM, A NEW KINGDOM WITH A NEW COVENANT AND WITH A NEW KING. JEREMIAH 31 SAYS, IN THOSE DAYS AS WELL HE WILL DEVELOP A NEW COVENANT WITH HIS PEOPLE. NO LONGER ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT HE HAD MADE WITH JUDAH OR ISRAEL BUT A NEW COVENANT WITH ALL PEOPLE AND ALL NATIONS WITH ALL INDIVIDUALS COMING TO IT. NOT ONLY THE CONCEPT OF PROPHECY, BUT AS WE THINK ABOUT PROPHECY AS WE HAVE WELL MENTIONED SEVERAL TIMES THOSE IN THE NEW TESTAMENT WHO HAVE PROPHESIED ABOUT THE KINGDOM. REMEMBER JOHN THE IMMERSER? HE IS ALSO REFERRED TO AS JOHN THE BAPTIZER. IF YOU WILL LOOK THERE WITH ME IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 3, GUESS WHAT IT WAS THAT JOHN CAME PROCLAIMING? VERSE 2 SAYS, “JOHN PROCLAIMED REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.” IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS CLOSE BECAUSE IT IS AT HAND. WHAT KINGDOM? THE KINGDOM OF GOD. OH, BUT THE KINGDOM DOESN'T MATTER. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU'RE IN THE KINGDOM. IT DOESN'T MATTER IF YOU ARE........HOW SILLY FOR ONE TO HAVE SAID THAT IN THE DAYS OF JOHN. JOHN HAD SAID IT IS AT HAND AND NOT ONLY JOHN BUT IN THE SAME TEXT WE CAN LOOK OVER TO CHAPTER 4:17 WHERE JESUS ACTUALLY SAID THE SAME THING, “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS AT HAND.”

WE SEE THE SAME THING OVER IN ALL THOSE GOSPEL ACCOUNTS THAT DEAL WITH THIS INFORMATION. EVEN OVER IN THE BOOK OF MARK, I FIND IT INTERESTING HERE THAT IT SAYS JOHN CAME PREACHING THE GOSPEL AND JESUS CAME PREACHING......GUESS WHAT THEY WERE PREACHING ABOUT? VERSE 14 SAYS, “THEY WERE PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD.” SOME PEOPLE SAY WELL, THE GOSPEL IS ALL ABOUT JESUS. BUT GUESS WHAT JESUS CAME TO DO? TO SET UP A KINGDOM AND HERE IT SAYS THAT HE WAS PREACHING THE GOSPEL, NOT NECESSARILY OR SPECIFICALLY OF JESUS ALTHOUGH THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ENCOMPASSED IN THE KINGDOM, BUT JESUS AND JOHN WERE PREACHING THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD. IN VERSE 15 IT SAYS THAT JESUS SAID THE TIME IS FULFILLED AND THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND. THEREFORE, REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL. WHAT GOSPEL? THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM THAT WOULD BE FOUNDED AND BUILT, AS WE SAW LAST WEEK ON WHOM? JESUS CHRIST, OUR LORD. JOHN THE BAPTIZER AND JESUS PROFESSED THE COMING OF THE KINGDOM AND JESUS EVEN CLARIFIED THAT THE TIME WAS AT HAND, EVEN TO THE POINT AS WE HAVE JUST READ BUT AS WELL IN CHAPTER 9 OF THE BOOK OF MARK IN VERSE 1 WHERE HE TELLS SOME OF THOSE STANDING IN HIS PRESENCE. HE SAYS SOME OF YOU STANDING HERE TODAY WILL NOT TASTE OF DEATH UNTIL VERSE 1 SAYS, “THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS PRESENT WITH POWER. THE KINGDOM OF GOD WAS COMING.” WE HAD A LESSON THAT TALKED ABOUT IT ACTUALLY TAKING PLACE IN ACTS CHAPTER 2: AND THE KINGDOM CAME TO FRUITION AND WAS ACCOMPLISHED EXACTLY AS GOD HAD PLANNED. NO WONDER JESUS SAID I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH, IN MATTHEW CHAPTER 16. DOESN'T THAT SHOW IT'S IMPORTANCE? DOESN'T IT SHOW THE IMPORTANCE IF THE PROPHETS OF OLD AND JOHN THE BAPTIZER AND JESUS HIMSELF ALL SPOKE OF THIS COMING KINGDOM? DOESN'T IT SHOW ITS SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPORTANCE WHEN JESUS SAID, I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND I WILL GIVE YOU THE KEYS TO THE KINGDOM. DOESN'T THAT SHOW A GREAT IMPORTANCE IF JESUS SAYS THAT THIS IS SOMETHING I'M GOING TO BUILD? WHO IS JESUS? HE IS GOD, HE IS OUR SAVIOR, HE IS THE MESSIAH, HE IS LORD, AND HE IS CHRIST.

PETER SAID THIS IN ACTS CHAPTER 2 SO THEREFORE, IF HE SAYS I'M GOING TO BUILD MY CHURCH AND IT IS THE CHURCH OF JESUS, LET ME TELL YOU....IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO ME. IT'S OF THE UTMOST SIGNIFICANCE TO ME AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS PRECIOUS, BEAUTIFUL AND GLORIOUS. WHY? IT IS HIS CHURCH. IT IS HIS KINGDOM. HOW MUCH MORE PRECIOUS WHEN I UNDERSTAND AND I COMPREHEND WHAT HE SAYS AS WE LOOKED AT SEVERAL WEEKS AGO IN ACTS CHAPTER 2 THAT AS THERE WERE THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED ON THE DAY THE CHURCH WAS ESTABLISHED, WHAT WAS GOD DOING WITH THOSE THAT WERE BEING SAVED? VERSE 47 SAYS, “AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.” LET ME ASK YOU A QUESTION: IF THOSE WHO WERE SAVED WERE ADDED BY GOD TO THE CHURCH THEN HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CHURCH? THE CHURCH THEN MAKES UP THE WHAT? IT MAKES UP THE SAVED. YOU CAN'T HAVE THE CHURCH WITHOUT THE SAVED BECAUSE THE CHURCH IS COMPRISED OF THE SAVED. THE CHURCH ISN'T A STRUCTURE. YOU KNOW, WE MAKE THE MISTAKE OF DRIVING AROUND AND ASKING WHAT KIND OF CHURCH IS THAT? WHAT IS THIS CHURCH? WE ASK SOMEONE, WHERE DO YOU GO TO CHURCH? SOMEBODY MIGHT ANSWER THAT THEY GO AT THIS ADDRESS. THAT IS NOT A CHURCH SO MAYBE THAT'S WHY PEOPLE HAVE BEGUN TO SAY THAT THE CHURCH ISN'T IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT IS JUST A PHYSICAL PLACE OR A STRUCTURE. NOTHING COULD BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH BECAUSE GOD IS THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. THERE IN ROMANS CHAPTER 12 AND IN 1CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 12, WHICH I WOULD ENCOURAGE YOU TO READ THOSE LATER, IT TELLS US ABOUT HOW THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST AND IT IS MADE UP OF WHAT? NOT BRICK-AND-MORTAR OR STONE OR WOOD BUT IT IS MADE UP OF MANY MEMBERS. EACH MEMBER HAVING A SPECIFIC FUNCTION WITHIN THAT BODY OR THAT CHURCH. MY FRIENDS THIS MORNING, DOESN'T THAT ALSO SHOW THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHURCH?

AS WE THINK ABOUT BEAUTIFUL TEXT, SUCH AS AND EVEN CLARIFIED FOR US IN THE BOOK OF EPHESIANS, TURN THERE AND WE'LL BEGIN IN EPHESIANS CHAPTER 1 WERE PAUL TALKS ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHURCH WHEN HE MAKES THIS STATEMENT ABOUT JESUS, WHO WAS HEAD OF THE CHURCH. EPHESIANS 1:22 SAYS, “AND THEN HE PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET AND GAVE HIM TO BE HEAD OVER THE CHURCH.” THEN IN VERSE 23 IT SAYS, “WHICH IS HIS BODY.” WHAT IS THE BODY? IT IS THE CHURCH. SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY WELL, THE CHURCH AND THE BODY ARE DIFFERENT. THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM ARE..........IS THAT WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES? IT SAYS HERE THAT THE CHURCH IS THE BODY. IN EPHESIANS, IF YOU WILL TURN OVER TO CHAPTER 5, GUESS WHAT IT SAYS IN VERSE 23 WHEN IT IS DEALING WITH THE COMPARISON OF THE CHURCH AS WELL AS THE RELATIONSHIP OF HUSBANDS AND WIVES? IT SAYS, “THE HUSBAND IS HEAD OF THE WIFE AS ALSO CHRIST IS HEAD OF THE CHURCH AND HE IS THE SAVIOR OF THE BODY.” THE CHURCH IS THE BODY. WHY? BECAUSE CHRIST IS THE HEAD AND HIS BODY IS REPRESENTATIVE OF THAT CHURCH OR THAT KINGDOM. THE CHURCH OR THE KINGDOM, THAT AGAIN AS WE HAVE SEEN IN OUR STUDY THUS FAR, THAT IS REALLY WHERE WE ARE PLACED. WE SAW IT EARLIER THIS MORNING IN ACTS CHAPTER 2:47, “AND THE LORD ADDED TO THE CHURCH DAILY THOSE WHO WERE BEING SAVED.” WHAT IS IT THAT WE LEARNED IN VERSE 13 OF COLOSSIANS CHAPTER ONE? IT SAYS, “AND HE, GOD, HAS DELIVERED US FROM THE POWER OF DARKNESS AND TRANSLATED US OR PUT US INTO THE KINGDOM OF THE DEAR SON OF HIS LOVE.” IT IS SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN DONE NOT SOMETHING THAT MIGHT BE DONE SOMEDAY. THESE CHRISTIANS HAVE BEEN TAKEN OUT OF THE DARKNESS AND OUT OF THE SIN OF THIS WORLD AND HAVE BEEN PUT BY GOD INTO THE CHURCH. HOW? WELL, THOSE THAT WERE BEING SAVED WERE PUT BY THE LORD HIMSELF INTO THE CHURCH. WHAT WERE THEY DOING TO BE SAVED? WE ALSO READ THERE IN ACTS CHAPTER TWO THAT THEY WERE OBEYING THE COMMANDMENTS FROM PETER AND THE OTHERS IN RESPONSE TO THEIR QUESTION: WHAT MUST WE DO? THE ANSWER WAS CLEARLY TO REPENT AND BE BAPTIZED.

SO IF THE CHURCH IS THE BODY AND THE CHURCH AND THE BODY ARE THE KINGDOM AND THEY ARE THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE BODY OF CHRIST AND CHRIST IS THE HEAD, AGAIN I WOULD ASK THE QUESTION: HOW IMPORTANT IS SUCH AN INSTITUTION WHICH HAS A HEAD THAT IS GOD HIMSELF, JESUS, AS WELL AS WHICH IS DESCRIBED AS THE VERY BODY OF JESUS CHRIST, WHICH WAS SHED ON THE CROSS. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO GO OVER WITH ME TO A VERSE FOUND IN ACTS CHAPTER 20. THIS IS PERHAPS ONE OF MY FAVORITE IN RELATIONSHIP TO THE IMPORTANCE OR SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CHURCH AND THE BEAUTY OF THE CHURCH AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE. IF YOU WILL NOTICE WITH ME AS PAUL IS TALKING WITH SOME OF THE ELDERS OF THE CHURCH OF EPHESUS AND HE IS ACTUALLY CHALLENGING THEM TO SHEPHERD THE CHURCH THAT CERTAINLY IS OF GOD. NOTICE WHAT HE SAYS THERE IN VERSE 28 IN CONJUNCTION WITH THAT AS HE TRIES TO SHOW THESE ELDERS THE IMPORTANCE OF THEIR JOB. FOR THE CHURCH THAT THEY ARE SHEPHERDING IS WHAT? READ WITH ME VERSE 28 WHERE IT SAYS, “THEREFORE TAKE HEED YOURSELVES AND ALL THE FLOCK, AMONG WHICH THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS MADE YOU OVERSEERS, TO SHEPHERD THE CHURCH OF GOD.” IT DOESN'T STOP THERE. IT SAYS TO SHEPHERD THE CHURCH OF GOD WHICH HE, JESUS, PURCHASED WITH HIS OWN BLOOD. IF THE CHURCH, MY FRIEND, HAS BEEN PURCHASED AND BOUGHT AND PAID FOR WITH THE VERY BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD THEN HOW COULD IT NOT BE IMPORTANT? IF IT IS THE BLOOD ITSELF, THE AGENCY OF THE BLOOD AND THE MOST POWERFUL SACRIFICIAL THING THAT WAS EVER GIVEN FOR MANKIND AND IF ONE OF THE PURPOSES OF THE BLOOD WAS TO PURCHASE THE INSTITUTION KNOWN AS THE CHURCH AND THE KINGDOM OF THE BODY OF GOD, THEN IT IS NOT ONLY JUST IMPORTANT BUT IT IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE AND IT IS OF THE UTMOST SIGNIFICANCE TO THE CHILD OF GOD. FOR IT IS THE VESSEL THAT HOUSES THE SAVED. IT IS THAT WHICH MAKES UP THE SAVED. IT IS THE PLACE WHERE GOD SO LOVINGLY AND DELICATELY PLACES US AS WE HAVE BEEN SAVED INTO THIS INSTITUTION OR THIS GROUP AND FAMILY OF GOD IN THAT WE MIGHT SHARE TOGETHER IN THE WONDROUS AND GLORIOUS PROMISES THAT HE HAS GIVEN TO EACH AND EVERYONE OF US. NOT ONLY IN THIS LIFE BUT IN THE LIFE TO COME AS WELL.

OH, I WOULD CHALLENGE YOU MY FRIEND THIS MORNING AS WELL AS BRETHREN TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE CHURCH IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE. PERHAPS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS THAT YOU AND I CANNOT ONLY BE AWARE OF, BUT AS WELL KNOW THAT WE'RE A PART OF. WE SHOULD NOT SAY THAT IT DOESN'T MATTER THAT YOU ARE IN THE CHURCH OR THAT YOU ARE PART OF A CHURCH. WE SHOULD SAY PRAISE BE TO GOD THAT I AM PART OF THE CHURCH, WHICH IS MADE UP BY THE SAVED. THERE IS ANOTHER ASPECT OF THE CHURCH THAT REALLY SHOWS ITS GLORY AND ITS WONDER AND THAT IS FOUND OVER IN THE BOOK OF 1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 15. HERE PAUL IS CHALLENGING THE CORINTHIAN BRETHREN TO UNDERSTAND SOME THINGS PERTAINING TO THOSE FINAL MOMENTS OF LIFE. HE ALSO DEALS WITH THE JUDGMENT SCENE. HE TALKS ABOUT THE JUDGMENT AND HOW WE WILL ALL SOMEDAY STAND BEFORE JESUS AND HE WILL JUDGE THE WORLD. THOSE WHO ARE RIGHTEOUS WILL BE BLESSED AND THOSE WHO ARE CONDEMNED WILL BE ETERNALLY DAMNED. NOTICE WHAT IT SAYS THERE IN VERSE 24 CONCERNING THE JUDGMENT SCENE. THE VERSE SAYS, “THEN COMES THE END WHEN HE, THE SAVIOR JESUS, DELIVERS DELIVERS THE KINGDOM OF GOD TO THE FATHER WHEN HE PUTS AN END TO ALL RULE AND ALL POWER AND AUTHORITY.” YOU MEAN THAT SOMEDAY JESUS WILL DELIVER THE CHURCH, THE KINGDOM, BACK TO THE FATHER IN HEAVEN IN THE JUDGMENT WHEN THINGS WILL BE DECIDED? YES, THAT'S THE POINT. OH HOW BEAUTIFUL AND HOW PRECIOUS AND HOW GLORIOUS AND WONDROUS THE CHURCH IS. NOT ONLY DO I WANT TO SEE ITS IMPORTANCE, BUT I WANT TO BE A PART OF IT AND I HOPE THIS MORNING YOU HAVE SEEN THE NEED THAT YOU HAVE TO NOT ONLY BE A PART OF THE CHURCH BUT TO MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE A PART OF THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT. NOT MAN'S CHURCH OR THOSE CHURCHES THAT ARE OF THIS WORLD BUT THE CHURCH THAT JESUS BUILT. FOR THAT IS THE CHURCH THAT SOMEDAY OUR SAVIOR WILL GIVE BACK TO THE FATHER AND THOSE WHO ARE IN THE CHURCH WILL BE THE RECIPIENTS OF THOSE MANSIONS ON HIGH AND ETERNAL LIFE IN THAT PRECIOUS PARADISE PREPARED FOR THE SAVED.

CLOSING COMMENTS

THANK YOU AGAIN FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US TODAY, IN GIVING THIS TIME 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 SERVICE OF GOD!

DO YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS ABOUT TODAY'S LESSON? MAYBE, YOU WOULD LIKE A FREE TRANSCRIPT OR A CASSETTE TAPE OF THIS PROGRAM? POSSIBLY, WE COULD ASSIST YOU WITH FREE BIBLE MATERIALS OR CORRESPONDENCE COURSES? NO MATTER WHAT YOUR NEED IS, PLEASE CONTACT US AT THE FOLLOWING ADDRESS: The Living Word

2540 N. Kansas Expressway Springfield, Mo. 65803

Many of these materials are also available on our website: That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com

Or if you prefer, you may call us at: (417)869-2284

WHAT LOVE GOD HAS SHOWN US, THAT HE WAS WILLING TO GIVE HIS OWN SON FOR OUR SAKE. FURTHERMORE, CONSIDER HOW MUCH GOD THE SON LOVED US TO SHED HIS BLOOD; THAT WE MIGHT HAVE FORGIVENESS OF SINS, AS WELL AS BE A PART OF THE CHURCH OF GOD! PRAISE BE TO GOD!