THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 2-26-06

LESSON TITLE: "HELP MY UNBELIEF: I BELIEVE IN GOD'S KINGDOM"

WELCOME

The inspired David once said, "Commit your way to the Lord," Psalm 37:5! Have you committed your way to God this day? Have you placed all of your trust and confidence in Him?

Thanks for joining us this Lord's day for the study of God's Living Word. How blessed we are today to be able to enjoy such opportunities and freedoms, that allow all to offer such times of sacrifice before His wondrous throne. I hope we all do our part this Lord's day, in participating in this worship toward God and in doing all things in accordance to His Perfect Will!

So, at this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:

(PRAYER)

Now let's begin praising our God through song. Won't you join with the congregation at this time as we sing together a hymn that reminds us of the direction we should go as Children of the Light. The name of the song, "Stepping In The Light!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Just how much do you give to God? The Bible talks a lot about the need of a faithful child of God to give back to their Creator. We must not forget that as Christians there are many ways which we must give to God: we give of our time, we use our talents for God, we focus our efforts on him, and we give of our money. You see, giving is much more than digging into our pocket book. However, I think that as followers of God we feel like if we give of our means, then other types of giving are excused!

A verse in Psalm 29, helps us with another aspect of this discussion of the morning. In verses 1 and 2 we read, "Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, Give unto the LORD glory and strength. Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness." Consider the many ways which are mentioned here of giving to God spiritually. We can give with glory and strength, we can magnify His name, and we can worship Him in beauty and holiness! How blessed we are to be able to give to God and not only from the physical perspective in life, but also from the spiritual!

Let's end by considering a few verses in the New Testament. First in Ephesians 5:19-20, we read, "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." Here we have added to our worship a giving of thanks in song and prayer! In Hebrews 13:15, we further are encouraged to, "...continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name."

So just how are you giving to your wondrous God? Are you giving to Him of the best of your labors and efforts? Choose today to give God more, for only then can you be found truly acceptable in His sight!

In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study will again focus on the series entitled, "Help My Unbelief." Our specific lesson of the morning is, "I believe in God's Kingdom!" So please stay with us and after our next song together I will be leading this discussion from God's Word! Now let's join in our second hymn of the day, It's name, "The Old Rugged Cross."

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you so much for continuing with us now as we go to God's Word and consider again from our series entitle "Help My Unbelief." There are many things that at times we might question in our Christian lives. We might at times even question is there a God or who God is or what He is all about or what has He done for us or how are we saved? So hopefully in this series we are going to continue to answer some questions that will help our times of unbelief because certainly as we at times we maybe have questions, they are good because questions challenge us to study. Study causes us to learn and learning causes us to grow and then we can become more of what God wants us to be and better equipped and not only ourselves living as He wants us to, but also in teaching others about the truth that Jesus presents to us.

Today, as we consider "Help My Unbelief," we want to consider helping our belief about the kingdom of God. We recall back in Genesis chapter 2 the promise as it was first given to Abraham as God there told him beginning in verse 1, "Get out of your country from your family and from your father's house and I will show you and I will make a great nation. I will bless you and make your name great and you shall be a blessing. And you (it further says) will be blessed and those who bless you will be blessed and I will curse those who curse you." Then finally in verse 3, He says, "And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed." Here we find the promise that God gave to Abraham that through his seed there would be many and great nations come, and in fact eventually that even all nations, not only his descendants, but all nations of the earth would be blessed through his seed. Now we know eventually that is Christ, but here He is talking about certainly the ability that all things would happen through Abraham and that he himself and his descendants would be very much blessed. We know that takes place because Abraham has Isaac. We know Isaac then has Jacob and then it is Jacob who God speaks to in Genesis 35 and verse 10 and as well again gives the same promise and says, "I now, Jacob, will no longer call you Jacob but Israel." So certainly you and I are aware in the New Testament of the nation or the kingdom of Israel. So God established His people in the Israelites. Later, they were brought out of Egypt by Moses. They went to Mount Sinai. There they received the law, the Ten Commandments which were included in the great law of God and they were the people of God and God was their king. Later, we can see that they continue to follow during the time of the judges, although they would slide. At times, they would come back and follow God and be a part of the kingdom of God. Then , we found that during the time of the kings that Israel was a kingdom. And later they were divided between Israel and Judah and still they were the kingdom or the kingdoms of God. And so on and on and on throughout history, we learn that God established a kingdom.

We begin also learning very soon in the discussion of the Old Testament that God also spoke of another kingdom that would be established. You might recall and certainly if you have a pen and paper I would encourage you to get that at this time because we won't, because of time, be able to look at every passage and turn there, but I will be able to mention these passages to you and to again give an idea of what they will confirm for you as you look at them in your further studies.

If you'll notice here in Isaiah chapter 2 there are several things that are clarified by this great prophet, this great man of God. He speaks of something that will happen in the last days. He says, "In the last days that the house of the Lord will be established on the mountain." He further states, "As it will be established, that it will be for all nations and it will begin from Jerusalem." We learn a lot of things there about the kingdom of God, a different one, not like the old kingdom, not like the kingdom now, but another kingdom in those days.

We also learn in Daniel 2 and verse 44, it actually states there that, "The day is coming, the Lord says, "that I will establish a kingdom." Well, we know it couldn't be Israel because Israel was already established. It is a different kingdom. In fact, once again there in Daniel 2, he says, "In those days," and specifies what days. He says, "In the days of those Roman kings." There in the figurative way, he presents the Roman Empire and he says, "In the days of the Roman Empire, under their kings or emperors, I will establish a kingdom."

We don't have to go too much further before we find Jeremiah as well, and as we look there at Jeremiah and so many other great prophets, we find throughout the Old Testament these same ideas of a "new covenant, a new law that will be given to the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt and they went to Sinai and I gave them the law," there in Jeremiah 31:31 and following. But it will be a different one, a covenant that is far different. It will be on their hearts, not on stone, but in their hearts. A covenant that is different because no longer will I push their sins forward, but He says, I will remember their sins no more." The great fulfillment that we later learned in the Hebrew letter there in chapter 8, that God will no longer, no longer remember sins but He will forgive and forget. Here we begin to learn then the concept of God's kingdom, but the fact that He says, "I will establish another kingdom, a kingdom that will no longer be with the house of old Israel or the house of Jacob, but one that will be with spiritual Israel, the house of a new generation." In fact, whatever this kingdom is and this house is has to include in and encompass all nations because as you'll remember throughout our prophecies and throughout what we read there to Abraham in Genesis chapter 12, God says, "I will eventually through your seed bless all nations and invite them to Me." So this is a different kingdom, a new kingdom. It has to be something that God was bringing forth.

Now as we move into the New Testament we find that the gospels confirm even more about the kingdom of God. In fact, you might recall John the Baptist, the preparer, the one who was sent before Christ to make the way or prepare the way of Christ and to say that He was coming.

There in Matthew chapter 3 beginning around verse 1 we find that John came and preached and guess what he preached. Repentance and repentance for remission of sins, and here is what he said, "Because the kingdom of God is at hand." The idea of being "at hand" means something is very soon.

Jesus said similar things there in Matthew 4 and 17 when it says that "Jesus preached to them that the kingdom of God was at hand." So that means very soon.

How do we know that it was sooner rather than later? Well, there is one verse in Mark 9 and verse 1 where Jesus actually tells His disciples, "There are some of you who will not taste of death until the kingdom of God comes with power." Now we begin to learn what "at hand" means. He says, "Some of you will not die before I establish this kingdom." Where? In Jerusalem, on the Mount. "The house of the Lord will be established on the Mount of God there in Jerusalem, before I will establish this new kingdom for all nations, for all peoples, that will have a greater and a better law based on a better sacrifice." You and I know what that is now, Jesus Christ.

But also we learn in verses before He established it such as in Matthew 16. There in verses 16-18 we learn where Jesus Himself after the great confession that He was the son of God said, "I will build My church." But after He says, "I will build My church," He goes on there in the next verse, verse 19, to say, "And I will give you, Peter, the keys to the (what?) kingdom." He says, "I will build it and I will give you the keys to the kingdom. I will build the church and give you the keys to the kingdom." What do we learn here? The kingdom was at hand. It would soon be established before many of them would even die. Then we begin to see that come to fruition there in Luke 24 beginning in verse 46 when Jesus there tells His disciples to "go and to wait in Jerusalem for the power to come," and He says, "When the power comes," the Holy Spirit, the comforter, the helper, "then you will know exactly all things. You will be taught and you will be help to then establish the (what?) kingdom that I have spoken to you about."

And so then what do we find beginning in Acts chapter 1? In Acts chapter 1 the fulfillment of the kingdom? In Acts chapter 1, we find there beginning in verse 1 that "the apostles were again encouraged to do what they were doing according to the kingdom of God," verse 3, "to wait for the Holy Spirit and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and then again the coming of the kingdom." And where were they waiting? Verses 7 and 8 tell us, "They were waiting for the power to come in the city of Jerusalem." If you turn over then to chapter 2, guess what we find. The Day of Pentecost. And guess what comes. The power, the Holy Spirit, and they begin to speak in tongues and preach and proclaim the truth. And then what happens? As we begin to read on, we see that "they are cut to the heart," there in verse 37 when they hear what Peter has said in his sermon and told them, "you have crucified the one that the Father Almighty Himself have made both Lord and Savior," verse 36. "And so they cried out," verse 38, "What shall we do? How do we get right with God?" In verse 38, he goes on to say, "Repent and be baptized." "Repent and be baptized for remission of sins to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and to do those things again that God has commanded." And what was the result? Verse 41 says, "Three thousand souls gladly received the Word and (were what?) baptized." Then in verse 47, it says, "They were added to the church." What is the church? The church, Jesus said earlier, "I will build My church and give you keys to the kingdom."

We also learn there in Colossians chapter 1 and verse 13, by that time after the Day of Pentecost that Paul was already saying, "The Colossian brethren had been translated out of darkness and put into the kingdom of His dear son." Then verse 18 of the same text, Colossians 1, we also see that it says there that "Christ is the head of His church or the body." Certainly we see that the concepts of the kingdom, the church and the body are one, that they are used interchangeably, and they are used to show us that truly this institution had been established.

I want you to notice there in the book of Ephesians with me in chapter 1 the clarification that he makes about the body, not only the body, but also the church. In Ephesians chapter 1, he talks there in verse 22 by saying that "Christ has been given as head over all things to the church." But then notice verse 23, "Which is His body." Chapter 5 and verse 23 of Ephesians says, "The husband is head of the wife as Christ is head of the church as He is the Savior of (the what?) the body." The kingdom, the church, something that would be established that the saved would be into and put into that they might live and dwell as a part of the body of Christ.

In Romans chapter 12, again in 1 Corinthians chapter 12, we learn then in both of these texts the body of Christ, the one body is talked about with the head being Christ, and how that you and I make up the body as the many members of the one body, each having a specific function, a particular task that we might accomplish to His glory.

The final idea I want to present about the kingdom or the church, the body, is there in 1 Corinthians 15, he states there that at the end of time when the Lord comes again verse 24 of chapter 15, it says that "Christ will deliver the kingdom of God back to the Father." Let me ask you a question. If Christ puts the saved in the church of the kingdom and it says that when Christ comes again He is going to take His own and deliver that kingdom of God back to the Father, what do you need to be in to be saved? The kingdom, the church. Doesn't it make sense that if we do what God says and He saves us and He puts us into an institution and He says, "Someday I'm going to give it back to the Father so that the saved will be returned to the one who created them," then certainly that is significant. It shows the importance. It shows the importance of the institution in Acts 20 and verse 28 that "was bought and paid for with the very blood of Jesus Christ." It shows us of an institution that makes up the saved and that is all about functioning as the family of God and accomplishing those things that bring glory and honor to Him and that ultimately will not only bring us blessings in this life but also the reward of eternal life.

I encourage you today to help your unbelief in knowing that God has established His kingdom, the kingdom is the church and the body and it was established in Acts chapter 2 and when you obey Christ today, you are added to the kingdom, the church, the body that someday will be given back to the Father on High because it makes up the saved and when it is given back to the Father, oh think of the reward, living eternally with God forever. Don't you want that? Don't you want a life, an eternal life with God through your faithfulness having been shown righteous through all that you have done?

(SONG # 3 - "The Way Of The Cross!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. No doubt our time spent together has been uplifting to us and acceptable to our God. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of offering before God!

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Thanks be to God that He has established His Church, Body or Kingdom - that we might be a part of this glorious institution which makes up the saved! Have you done what God asked to be a part of His family?

(Program closing)