THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 2-26-12
LESSON TITLE: “HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE: SPECIAL IN MANNER OF LIFE”
It is great to have you with us this morning for the Living Word Program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and praise to our God. We are glad you have chosen to be with us today, as we together study from God’s Word and sing songs of praise to His name.
Let me encourage each of us this morning to do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now let’s begin by approaching His throne in prayer.
Now let’s join in our first song of the morning. It talks about our relationship with God, as His dear children. So won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, “Faith Is a Victory?”
(SONG # 1)
The apostle Paul gives us many encouraging words throughout his letters to the different church. Over and over, I gain confidence from the things that he told the church of the first century, as well as those things he wrote to individuals - to assure their faith in Jesus Christ.
One such first which I find great comfort in is Romans 14:8. There Paul says, “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord's.” Here we are exhorted to understand that God is always with us anytime, anywhere. Whether we live or whether we die, we are not alone, because as he said, “we are the Lord’s.”
Now think about that last statement with me for just a moment. This idea reminds us that there is something we must do; there is a place we must be. Again, where are we required to be if we are always to have God on our side? We must be His, of Him, in Him and with Him!
Another verse I want to read that helps us with this same idea is found in Philippians 1:21, there Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” When are we going to realize that everything about life that really matters is center around Christ? Our daily lives must always be about doing His Will and pleasing Him. In fact, there is nothing else as important in life or which give us such wondrous hopes and promises.
The writer to the church of Philippi also mentions here death as a gain. What could this mean? Well obviously, when we die as those who are faithful in the Lord, we have a great reward awaiting us. We are told it is better than anything on this earth or anything we have ever know. So, yes, it is and will be better to die.
Because of this, I often love to think about Heaven - don’t you? We are told from a physical standpoint it will be comparable to a city with golden streets. Its entrances will have gates with precious stones covering them. We are also told that a mansion has been prepared for us there. How truly wonderful Heaven must then be in a spiritual sense.
Finally, we further know this about that celestial city, there will be no night there, no tears or sadness, no pain or sorrow. As the song say, “all will be glory in that land!”
So this morning make sure you are focusing your life here on this earth towards God. He is there to help you - “for me to live is Christ!” On the other hand, know that something better is awaiting all of us if we do what God wants. Death is not something to be dreaded from spiritual standpoint – for “to die is gain.”
Today, we are happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us. Brother Jerry is the Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank brother Sullins for being with us today and we look forward to him leading our main study from God’s Word at the appropriate time.
As far as our topic today, we will be concluding our series entitled, “His Own Special People.” Our specific lesson this morning will focus on, “Special In Manner Of Life!” So, please stay with us and in a few minutes brother Jerry will return with this study from the Bible. Now it’s time to join in our second song of the day, the name of the song, “Farther Along.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
I would like to welcome you to “The Living Word” broadcast again this morning and we are certainly delighted that you are a part of our audience today. We hope that you will certainly view this program every Sunday and many of you do that and we are so thankful that you use this as an opportunity to get into God’s Word more and to learn more what His Will is for you and for all mankind.
Today, we are going to be ending a series of lessons that started many weeks ago relating to 2 Peter 2 verse 9. As you well know there Peter said that, “We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.” He said at the end of these things that, “We are a special people of His own possession that we might…” so something. It says that, “We might show forth the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Now my friends and my brethren, this morning, it is the responsibility of every Christian to show forth the Excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. So that’s the reason we are a people after God’s heart. We are His own possession so that we might live the Christian life.
So this morning, I would like for us to entertain the final part of our thoughts in this series of lessons by going to a statement that Paul made in Romans 12:1-2. Now you probably know this statement very well. For many of you who have heard very much preaching in the churches of Christ for sure, when you talk about Christian living this is an all-encompassing statement where Paul said to the church at Rome, “I beseech you therefore brethren by the mercies of God to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is your reasonable service and do not be conformed of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds that you might prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect Will of God.” Now this sounds like to me, and I believe that every person who tries to get the meaning out of this text would come to a ready understanding that God expects those of His, that is children of God, Christians, to live a life of sacrifice so that we might (what?) prove to others by the way that we live what is that good, acceptable and perfect Will of God.”
Now there’s a positive part we see in verse 1. There’s a negative part in verse 2. “Be not conformed of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds that you might prove what is that good, acceptable and perfect Will of God.”
Now would anyone say that we’re not challenged then as Christians to live the life that God wants us to live? Well certainly we would have to say that that’s just exactly what this passage is saying.
Did not Paul say in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 verse 17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new.”
And so as children of God, when we become that holy nation, when we become that royal priesthood, when we become that chosen generation, when we understand and realize what God has done for us through Jesus Christ, then we certainly realize that we must present our bodies a living sacrifice unto our God.
Now what is interesting in Romans chapter 12 in the very context that after a short summary of spiritual gifts, and by the way these are non-miraculous gifts found in verses 3-8. Then actually Paul shows the brethren at Rome some of the things that are entailed in living that living sacrifice. Now I can’t take all of them this morning, but I want to mention a few just to help us to understand that yes, God does require something of us when we become His children. You know it’s amazing to me how people can become Christians and say they are Christians and yet feel no responsibility to live a changed life, a born again life.
Was it not Jesus who said, and yes it was, to Nicodemus in John chapter 3 verses 3-5, He said, “Except a man be born again he cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”
Now verse 4, Nicodemus was saying, “Well does that mean I have to enter into my mother’s womb,” and he was taking it another way there, I believe perhaps because he did not understand what Jesus was saying.
Then Jesus made it very clear in verse 5. “Verily, verily I say unto you, except a man be born of the water and the spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” Now being born of the water means we are born again through baptism into Christ which is clearly stated throughout the scripture, and being born of the spirit means there is something that takes place in our lives that changes us.
Now Paul, in his letter to the Roman Christians or the Christians at Rome, makes a few comments in Romans 12 that leads us to an understanding of what God really requires of us as Christians. These are practical suggestions. You might say that, well, you know it’s just something that every Christian ought to be doing. But in many ways and on other hands, people don’t really seem to think that there is not much they need to change when they become a Christian. Well that may be true and some may already be living a fairly good life, but if you haven’t been living a good life, you’ve had the wrong attitude, the wrong spirit, living the wrong way, then there’s a challenge here.
Now let us being begin with one of the simplest ones and that is found in verse 9 where it says, the apostle Paul says to Christians, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” We must not have a hypocritical love. Now what is a hypocritical love? A hypocritical love is a love that says something but does something else. We must not have a hypocritical love for God.
Matthew said it and Mark actually added one attribute to it where he said, “The first and the greatest commandment is you shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength.” Now we might examine our lives and to see who is number one in our lives? Is it you? And we used to say you, yourself and everything that pertains to yourself. Is it someone in your family? Is that person your life? Well who is supposed to be first? “You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart.” That’s the first and the greatest commandment as Jesus said.
Now the question is: How do we determine whether we are loving God first in our lives? Well what do you spend your time on? To what do you give what God has blessed you with to? And for what reasons do you give those gifts that God has blessed you with throughout the years? Are you giving all of these things to yourself? Or making sure that yourself is satisfied with the things of this world? So what do you give your time to? What do you give your money to? What do you make your efforts or who do you make your efforts for? Is it for God?
Now maybe we have a little understanding as to what Paul was saying here, “Let love be without hypocrisy.” If you say you love me and fail to do, if I am in authority, what I have asked you to do, does that show true love?
It was Jesus who said in John 14 verse 154, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” So that’s the way we show love for God.
Well what about love for one another? Is that not something we also should do? Well certainly! The Bible makes that very clear and John said in 1 John and we’re going to read first of all in chapter 3 verses 11 and verse 14. “For this is a message that you have heard from the beginning that we should love one another. We know that we have passed from death to life because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death.” Do you love your brother? You might say, “Well, how is it I am supposed to love my brother?” I want to challenge you today to read 1 Corinthians chapter 13 and then you will see how you are supposed to love your brother. This scripture says by John that if we fail to love our brother we have not passed from death to life. So we have no alternative. Is this not what Jesus said in the second and greatest commandment? You shall love your neighbor as yourself. So what did Paul say here to the Roman brethren? “Let love be without hypocrisy.”
Now another thing is in that very same verse, it says, “Abhor that which is evil.” That original word in the original language means to shudder with horror. It was Paul who also said that “we should not be overcome with evil but to overcome evil with good.” We are not to, as it stated in this very same chapter, verse 17, "to repay no one evil for evil,” but to what? “Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.” But yet we teach our children that if they hit you, you hit them back. Is that what Jesus said? He said if someone abuses you in some way, then you turn the other cheek if he slaps you on one cheek. If he asks you or compels you to give him your cloak, give him your cloak also. Jesus was a man who lived these principles. He did not render evil for evil, but he rendered good for evil and even while He was dying upon the cross, He said, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
Again, in Romans 12 verse 13 it says that, “We ought to distribute to the needs,” and this is verse 13, “of the saints.” That is caring for one another.
Galatians 6 verse 10, “As we therefore have opportunity, let us do good to all men especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
And look at chapter 12 verse 18. Living the Christian life enjoins that I what? “As much as is in me, that is possible, let me live peaceably with all men.”
So sometimes people look at Christians as passive. No, we are not passive. We are active in the fact that we are going to do everything we can, beyond giving up our religion, to live peaceably with all men and even if we have to die for the cause of Christ we are willing to do that. But yet, our daily lives should be filled with the attitude and the spirit to live peaceably with all men.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. If the salt has lost its savor it is good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the foot of men.” (Matthew chapter 5 verse 13)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. You don’t put your candle under a bushel, but yet you put it in the middle of the house so that everyone can see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, you who are desiring to become a Christian someday, remember this, that when you become a child of God it is required of you as His own special people to live a life that is exemplary of Jesus Christ the Son of God. Why would we want to live any other life? For in living that life, as Jesus said in Revelation chapter 2 verse 10, “If we are faithful unto death, He will give us that crown of life.” He also said, “He that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
So I challenge you this morning as children of God to do everything within your power to make your calling an election sure, to stand fast to the faith and be that true God’s own special people.
(SONG # 3 - “Footprints Of Jesus!”)
Thanks for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we always act as we should in life as we walk in those things which are according to God Word? Are you living a life that is in tune with what God requires?