The lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord's day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you've joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.

As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His Will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God?

Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer?


Today I would like to thank the Branson church of Christ for their continued encouragement and support of The Living Word program. This congregation has helped us for many years to take the precious message Jesus Christ to this entire area in which we live.

Let me encourage you to visit with this congregation when you are in the Branson area. These brethren meet beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings - this Bible class is followed by a main worship assembly at 10:00 a.m. Furthermore, on Sunday evening this family of God assembles at 6:00, for another time of worship. On Wednesdays, at 7:00 p.m., these brethren provide another chance to worship God. So please take advantage of this opportunity the next time you are in Branson, or if you live in the Branson area. If you need further information, contact their minister at (417)334-3866. This brother's name is Kevin Mackey.

Now it's time to join in our first hymn of the day. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, "Angels Are Singing."

(SONG # 1)


You know, we all have so much to be thankful for in this great country in which we live. All the more reason we should believe in God and desire to follow in His precepts. I love what Paul said in Philippians 4:4, there we read, "rejoice in the lord always. again I will say, rejoice!"

Let me remind us today that we have every reason to rejoice in the Lord and what He has done for each and every one of us. We have our brethren, our families, our health, our jobs and all things that we need in this life - but why? Because of our loving and caring God. Isn't this what James was talking about in chapter 1:17, of his book? There we read, "every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,.... Thanks be to God for all that He has done, all that He is doing, and all that He has promised to do in our lives and thereafter! We truly do serve a wondrous and marvelous God!

Today, we will be concluding our series on, "The Church Which Jesus Built!" Our final lesson in the series will deal with, "Christ's Plan For Entrance Into His Church!" So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Kevin Patterson will lead us in our main thoughts of the day. We thank this good brother for again being with us, but for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Softly And Tenderly Jesus Is Calling."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Kevin Patterson

Good morning and thank you for staying with us. We appreciate you taking this time to be with us as we study more of God's Word this morning and worship Him in spirit and in truth. For the past several weeks, we've been studying a series of lessons on "The Church Which Jesus Built." We have addressed numerous aspects of this very important Biblical subject, and this week we're going to conclude this series by examining the topic, "Christ's Plan For Entrance Into His Church."

It is important when we study the topic of the church that we recognize that it is Christ's church. He bought it. He paid for it with His shed blood on the cross. In Matthew chapter 16 and verse 18, Jesus said to Peter, "I will build My church." And in Acts chapter 2, that's exactly what we see on the Day of Pentecost with the help of the apostles, the establishment of the church. Christians are first added to the body of Christ at that point in time.

It's also important that we remember according to Colossians chapter 1 and verse 18 that the church is the body of Christ. We read that "He is the head of the body, the church." And we also read down in verse 24 of the same chapter, "I now rejoice and my sufferings for you and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ for the sake of His body which is the church."

A lot of people sometimes ask us, "What church do you belong to?" Well it is important that we all, if we make a claim to such a thing, belong to the Lord's church, that we do things His way so that we can receive the bountiful blessings that we have in Christ.

In Ephesians chapter 1, we read about a lot of the blessings that we receive in Christ and in fact, in verse 3 we see that Paul tells the members of the church at Ephesus that they have been blessed with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. In this chapter in just the first 14 verses we see a number of the blessings that these Christians and Christians today can receive. First of all, we see that we can call God our Father and we can rightfully claim Jesus Christ as our Lord. We see that we can be made holy and without blame. We are adopted as sons into the family of God. We are made as acceptable in the beloved. We can receive the redemption which comes to us through the blood of Christ, the forgiveness of our sins. We can have God's rich grace extended to us. We can have made known the mystery of His Will which the rest of the world cannot and will not ever understand.

In verse 11 we read that "In Christ or in Him we have obtained an inheritance." We, as members of the body of Christ get to look forward to that time when we can live with our God in heaven above in that wonderful home He has prepared for us.

We also see in verses 13 and 14, "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 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession to the praise of His glory.

Let us also remember that there is in fact only one body. Once again in religion we see a lot of claims to a lot of different types of faith and a lot of different types of church. But Biblically speaking, there is only one church for there is only one body of Christ. Ephesians chapter 4 and verse 4 says very clearly, "There is one body." And only the saved are added to this body. In Acts chapter 2 and verse 47 as we read about the Day of Pentecost and we read about the early establishment of the church, we read in verse 47 that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved."

So that begs for us to ask the question, "How is one saved? How can we be added to the church that belongs to Christ?" Well the first step in this process is simply to hear the Word, to follow the Will of God as it is laid out for us in the Bible.

Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 12 reads, "For the Word of God is living and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword piercing even to the division of soul and spirit and of joints and marrow and as a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."

As we read earlier in Ephesians 1 and verse 13, "The word of truth is the gospel of our salvation."

The emphasis that I want to make here is very pertinent to our religious world today. We must follow the Bible. We must obey God's Word and God's Word only. Many religions, too numerous to even mention, follow books in addition to the Bible or sometimes that even replace the Bible. They have manuals and disciplines and catechisms and creeds and other statements of faith that they follow in addition to or replacing God's Holy Word. It is God's Living Word that can save us in the end. But hearing can also produce something that is vitally important as well and that is a good faith, a faith in God and heaven above.

In Romans chapter 10 verses 13-17 we read a section of scripture that emphasizes the importance of faith. "For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed, and how shall they believe in Him in whom they have not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher and 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 of good news." But they have not all obeyed the gospel for Isaiah says, "Lord, who has believed our reports?" Now pay attention to verse 17. "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." If we start to study and believe and accept and follow God's Holy Word, then it will produce within us a true faith, a faith that can save in the end.

Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1 defines faith as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." And although many in the religious world have differences, most will agree with what Hebrews 11 and verse 6 teaches that "without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."

Some people say all you have to do is believe and you will be saved. I want you to consider that statement in light of what James chapter 2, verses 14-20 teaches us. "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to him, "Depart in peace. Be warm and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself if it does not have works is dead, but someone will say, "You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God, you do well, even the demons believe and tremble, but do you want to know, o foolish man, that faith without works is dead." This is why Jesus on one occasion in Luke 6:46 said, "But why do you call me Lord, Lord and do not do the things which I say?" If we believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God and we want to make Him the Lord of our lives, we're going to have to do something with our faith.

In Luke chapter 13 in verses 3 and 5 we have identical statements of Christ. "I tell you no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish."

In 2 Corinthians chapter 7 and verse 10, Paul teaches us that repentance is a process that comes about by being sorry that we have hurt God with our sins.

And in Acts chapter 3 and verse 19, Peter says, "Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."

We also see a later statement that Paul makes to King Agrippa in Acts chapter 26 and verses 19-20 where he was teaching that "they should repent, turn to God and do works befitting repentance."

One of the works that we can do when we turn our lives around and we start to follow God is to confess His name. Confession is something that we see often in both the Old and the New Testaments, but in the New Testament, Jesus once asked the question of His disciples, "Who do men say that I am?" And Peter in Matthew 16 and verse 16 responded with that great confession, "You are the Christ, the son of the Living God."

Romans chapter 10, verses 8-10 teaches us that what we believe in our hearts we need to confess with our mouth. We need to acknowledge verbally that which we have hidden within the confines of our minds. So it is no question that the Ethiopian eunuch when he was being taught by Philip on how to become a Christian, how to be added to the church, there's no doubt as to why he made the statement in Acts chapter 8 and verse 36. "See here is water. What hinders me or what prevents me from being baptized?" In verse 37, Peter said, or Philip said, "If you believe with all your hearts, you may." And he answered, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God." But that in and of itself was not where His salvation ended. No, that was where it was just beginning because then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and he was baptized. He was baptized in water because that is what the Bible teaches us we must do in order to be saved.

In John chapter 3 and verse 23, John was baptizing in a place where there was much water because New Testament baptism is neither a sprinkling nor a pouring, but an immersion in water for the forgiveness of our sins.

In John chapter 3, verses 3-5, Jesus said, "Unless a man is born of water and the spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."

In Colossians chapter 2 and verses 11-12, baptism is compared to a burial in baptism.

In Galatians chapter 3 and verse 27, if we do not want to be spiritually naked, then we must be baptized into Christ so that we can be clothed or put on Christ.

Mark chapter 16 and verse 16 says that "he that believes and is baptized shall be saved."

I Peter 3 verses 20-21 teaches us that in the same way that Noah was saved with the members of his family in the flood by obeying God that we too can be saved through the waters of baptism. Verse 21 reads in particular, "there is also an anti-type which now saves us, baptism."

In Acts 22 and verse 16, Ananias said to Saul, "And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins."

Baptism is not more important than any other aspect of the plan of salvation, but it is just as important. Hearing the Word of God saves. Believing the Word of God saves us. Repentance of our sins and changing our lives around saves us. Confession or acknowledging verbally with our mouths what we believe in our heart saves us. And baptism also saves us because it is at that point in time when we come to meet our maker, when we come in contact with the blood of Christ and when our sins are washed away.

I want to encourage you to get into the Word of God and listen to what God teaches us is His plan for our salvation. May God bless you.

(SONG # 3 - "Victory In Jesus!")


What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!

But for now, let me ask if 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 items are available on our website:

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

Thanks be to God that He has shown us through His Word, specifically what is required to become a child of His. May we all obey His simple truths, that we might be found faithful in the end!

(program closing)