Program Air Date - 2-4-01



Good morning and welcome to the Living Word Program. It is a great honor to have you with us this morning for this time of worship to God. Thanks for choosing to be with us! As always, it will be our privilege today to sing songs of praise to our God and to study from His perfect Word! I hope each of us will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach His throne in prayer.

There are a lot of things in this life that it is hard to be sure about. In fact, just when you think you know something, you soon find out that really you don't. However, it is great to know that we can be sure and confident in the things of God. This morning, our first song focuses on the assurance we have in Jesus Christ. So, won't you join in with the brethren at this time as we sing together, "Blessed Assurance!"
(SONG # 1)


I was reading in the book of Revelation the other day and I came to a verse which reminded me of the magnificence of God. In chapter 22:13, the inspired John said, "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last." Think about the all encompassing words used here in this verse. They reflect some very important facts about our savior Jesus Christ. Notice here that Christ is mentioned to be the very first and the very last, and the beginning and the end. In other words He is everything from start to finish. I think this is what David had in mind in Psalm 41, when he said, "Blessed be the LORD God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen," verse 13. It seems like this great man of God realized exactly who God was. But you might wonder, what does this beginning or everlasting mean. Well again, David considers this in Psalm 8:23, where he says, from everlasting means, "From the beginning, before there was ever an earth."

The New testament writers also dealt with this topic as they tried to help God's followers understand the everlastingness of Jesus Christ. In John 1:1-2, we read, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Verse three goes on to say, "All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made." This clearly tells us that our everlasting Jesus was in the beginning as God, with the Father God!

Another word which helps us to understand this same concept in eternal! Notice what Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:17, "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." Again we find that the Father and Son are equally eternal or everlasting, with no beginning and no end.

Now we need to mention the third personality of God, because the Bible also says that the Holy Spirit is God and is eternal. Read with me if you will from Hebrews 9:14, there it says, "how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?" It is clear in this verse that the Spirit of God is likewise eternal and considered as an important part of the God head.

So when we think about who our God really is and what He is all about, we must always remember that He is truly eternal and everlasting without beginning and without end. Only God could have this characteristic which makes Him stand out above all else that we have knowledge of. So the next time you read from verses like Matthew 28:19, which gives us the great commission, remember the fact that this God who saves us is truly a one of a kind and awesome one. That's why Jesus said, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Have you obeyed His Will or are you ready to make that commitment today?

Our topic of study this morning will again be "The Lord's Response." Our specific lesson today is the question "Whose Wife Of The Seven Will She Be?" So, please stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the day, the name of the song, "I Will Sing The Wondrous Story."
(SONG # 2)

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks for continuing with us this morning. We have an interesting study today. In fact, when I first found out the question here, I was wondering myself what it really was in line with and had to really read our text this morning before I understood or remembered really what this story was all about. But yet again, we will continue looking at a question that was given to Jesus that really He was asked by some once again who were trying to trick Him as we will see here in just a moment. The Sadducees, a sect of the Jewish people, followers again of His Father, His Father in heaven, but yet those who still rejected Christ as well as the Pharisees and some others that we could mention this morning.

Go ahead and get your Bibles and turn to chapter 22 or the book of Matthew as we again find this very intriguing question that is asked here of Jesus, again in relationship to the things that are really eternal, again in concepts of the resurrection. And that's what they were concerned with here. Really we find this theme very much of interest throughout the New Testament because people were always wondering, "Lord, what's going to happen after we die? What's going to happen when you come again? What's going to happen in relationship to heaven, or those who were in the grave? And we find this really a topic of great interest. And once again here, the Sadducees were interested in the very same thing.

If you'll look then with me at verse 23, we want to begin to establish our story by looking here at the question that was asked of Jesus. Begin with me there verse 23 of chapter 22. The same day the Sadducees who say there is no resurrection came to Him and asked Him, saying, "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies having no children his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring from his brother." Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died and after that he married and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise, the second also and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all, the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.

Now as we notice here, a very interesting story. We're going to find out what Jesus said about it in just a moment. But really, let me set it up a little bit clearer for you here just for a moment. We have again the people of God, followers, Jewish individuals who are really keeping the old law, the old covenant, who came to Him here as the Sadducees, and we know here and really are clarified that the Sadducees were a group of people as it says here who did not believe in the resurrection, who did not understand these things or really accept that Christ had resurrected, or really even had the concept here or had the beliefs that this resurrection would take place. So right off the bat, we know that He was trying to somehow be deceived by these individuals. They were trying to come at Him, so to speak, with their barrels loaded to really take Him down because of what they knew in relationship to the law of Moses as opposed to what maybe the response that Jesus might give and really that's how they begin the discussion here, as they say, "look Jesus, you who claims to be the son of God, Moses said this. Moses told us that if a man has a wife and he dies then it is the brother's responsibility to take her and to bear children on his behalf." And so they've set up a story now according to the law that was given to Moses and now they continue the story and to me this is one of those questions that I've had asked so many times like, "What if?" And here again, we find this concept that's presented once again by these individuals because again the opportunity or chance of someone again, this happening to seven times. Seven brothers, the same way, all die and then give to the next brother and then the same woman, fairly unlikely. Maybe once something like this would happen. But they went to the farthest extent to make this story as believable maybe or as strong as they thought that they could. But as we continue there, we see that as the story unfolds that finally even this lady dies. As all of them died, she had been passed down through the family according to the law of Moses and then here, according to their story, the woman dies also. So, in the resurrection they say, "What is going to happen? Is she going to be the wife in the resurrection of the first man? Is she going to be the wife of the second, the third, or the fifth, or the sixth, or possibly the seventh? Who is it that she will align herself with in that day that she rises and comes forth from the grave." As we find out further in the New testament when our Lord comes again that these things will occur.

Well Jesus here answers a very good question in a very good way, and we really have to lay a little bit of a foundation here because really the question they were asking was based on something that they didn't understand. We know that from the words that Jesus says here in just a moment, but they clearly didn't understand because their question perceived that when we are resurrected, that we not only assume our same bodies but we continue the same relationships that we had before, as if somehow we will take our families and our wives in the unit to heaven and still live the same way we live on this earth. Well, this is where we've discussed in the past and still are trying to understand from the New Testament that Jesus has clearly told us that we will be changed. We will be different. Things will be different in heaven. There won't be the concepts or the problems of this life, the sins, the ailments, all the things that sometimes befall us but yet, there will be greater and more wondrous things again in relationship to what God has promised us. And we know that because the Bible is clear on that. It tells us that we will go. We will go to be with the Lord in the air, possibly we might know each other, but again the relationships will be different and we know that from what is said here continuing in the words of Jesus.

So now look with me if you will at verse 29 and let's continue the story as we see this question has just been given to our Savior, Jesus Christ. He says there, Jesus answered and said to him, "You are mistaken, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not heard what was spoken to you by God saying, 'I am the God of Abraham. I am the God of Isaac. I am the God of Jacob. God is not the God of the dead but a God of the living.'" And when the multitudes heard this, they were astonished at His teachings.

Here again, we find Jesus answering a question. And then He asked some questions in relationship to what they had asked Him, such a very common thing that He did, such a very effective way that He caused these individuals as well as others as we have seen to really think on their own feet, to wonder themselves about what had been said. What was His first response? First of all, He told them that they didn't know what they were talking about. They didn't know the scriptures, even thought the Sadducees would have thought of themselves very highly and thought that they were great and wonderful people and probably some of the best according to the law, keepers of the law. Here, He mentions that "you really don't understanding what you're talking about. You obviously don't know the scriptures. And furthermore, you really don't know the power of God. " He reminds them that they have forgotten what God is able to do. In fact, what did God do? He created the earth. He created all of them, gave them the ability to breathe. He's already done all of those things. Everything they could look around and see was because of God. So as you think about that, what He is saying is that God can do whatever He wanted to do, but really again, focusing on the fact that you're misunderstanding. You're not getting it. You're not understanding what the words were talking about there even though they were using something that Moses had said, they were misapplying it in an area that it really had no bearing, because that was not the point of the law that Moses made, but yet, they were trying to again as we know, somehow cause Jesus to be confused or mistaken, misuse Him in a way, discredit Him before those who might hear Him.

As it goes on there though, He clarifies very well in verse 30 that "there will be no such thing in the resurrection as those who are married or given in marriage." Heaven is not going to be a place based on physical things, on our earthly type relationships. It's going to be based completely and primarily on the relationship that we share in an obedience and a worshipping atmosphere to our God, on a continual basis, daily. No night. Not tears. No problems. But yet, just giving ourselves wholly to God in worship and homage to Him. So He says, "It's not going to be a physical thing. That's why you misunderstand the scriptures. You misunderstand them." And I think He's also having an inference here that "you're misusing them. You're misapplying them in an area that really they have no bearing once again." But He says, "Rather you are going to be like angels." And this is a beautiful passage here also, because we are reminded that we will be changed. We'll be changed to be more like Him, not to be corruptible like the earth as Paul said in the book of Corinthians, but to be incorruptible, to be different, as He says here, "angels." What do we think about when we think about angels? Well, we think about maybe spirits or those things which can not be seen and this is exactly what God describes them of as in the Bible, and we can see that clearly and that's what's being mentioned here again. We'll have a different form. We'll have a spiritual form. That's what God's all about. John 4:24, God is a spirit. That's why we must worship Him in spirit and in truth. You see, we will be like Him. Not only made in His image as far as our characteristics and personalities, but again transformed in our bodies to be more perfect, more adaptable, more acceptable for that heavenly home there that is found above us. And we find once again here then, as angels of God also in heaven.

As He moves on there in verse 31, He also finds there a difference, a distinction if you will, between those who are already dead and those who are alive. Now the distinction is clear because He mentions here that, Those who are dead, again verse 31, it is different for them. It is a different situation. Those have already put away these earthly things. They have already laid these earthly tabernacles aside. And when they raise again, they will be changed. They won't return to what they were on this earth. They will return to what God makes them for in relationship to their eternal destination, that being heaven. Then again, finally Jesus confirming for them the quote that was made there in verse 32. Really, a quote that's found in the book of Genesis, as well as Exodus, concepts about who this God is. The God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. A God who can be trusted. A God who can be believed in. A God who will do what He has said and a God who has always said that He is the God of the living, not the God of the dead. So those who are dead will come alive. That woman, her seven husbands, whoever she had been married to will come alive. They will be judged before God, but yet they will be judged according to their changed form and they will receive their inheritance in such a way.

Now, after He said these things, as well as you and hopefully even myself, the people as it says here, were amazed. They were astonished at His teachings, because Jesus had a very good grasp, a very good handle, if you will, on the word of God. He knew exactly what He was trying to say. He knew exactly what He wanted to get across to these individuals as He Himself questioned them to think in their own minds what they knew and to prove to them that what they were asking was wrong. You see, there really was no answer to that question. There really was no proper answer, because they were asking a question, and asking for something that really wasn't going to come to pass, according to what Jesus had already told them in the word and according to what even they had learned from the old law if they had applied all those things that they were aware of.

Now, as Christians, I think we can learn a lot from this. Once again, we can learn from Jesus because Jesus tells us that we are individuals who can know what happens to us. And Jesus also shows us through the things that are done here that we can use this same form once again of answering with questions, of using the scripture and again, tackling, so to speak, those issues that come our way. I would caution you to ever be careful about those who try to bring you in to such traps by asking questions that really don't have answers or whose answers really don't matter. It's probably on a regular basis that I'm asked such types of questions, questions that really don't have any bearing or reference to whether I will be saved or not, but yet sometimes are cause to deceive or to somehow entrap or cause us to fall. But really, let's focus on those things that are clear according to the word of God, those things that do somehow apply and make a difference in relationship to the lives that we live on this earth because we all are striving as you know, and as I know, to reach this goal of heaven, to be able to receive these rewards that have been mentioned here, to be able to receive this gift that was mentioned in our text this morning. What gift? The gift of an eternal existence, an eternal life when that resurrection came.

Now, I hope you're not like the Sadducees also, because the Sadducees, as we see here, rejected the concept of Jesus' resurrection, but here evidently they didn't understand this resurrection and seemed to have great problems and difficulties in believing this.

We can have great confidence in the resurrection. We've mentioned Corinthians, the book of Thessalonians. Over and over again, Paul and others in the New Testament tell us of that great day when Jesus is coming. Hebrews 9 and 27 tells us, It is appointed for a man once to die and then the judgment. The judgment is coming. Christ is coming again with His mighty angels and He will judge us and we all again will be raised. We will be resurrected as it said there and as Jesus spoke about. But that resurrection will be different from what they had perceived. It will be a great day because it will be something in relationship to that eternal home that we have.

Now how can you be a part of the resurrection? Well, you can obey the will of God. There are several things that God has asked you to do as a follower, as one who says, "Yes, I believe." You need to confess that before us, before those who are around you so they might know that Jesus Christ truly is the son of God. With that confession, there comes a need for repentance. Repentance tells us that we recognize that we are sinners and we need to turn from that sin in order to be Christ-like, living every day, showing the world that Jesus is in us. We also have a need for baptism, because it is baptism where we find the blood of Christ washing away our sins. Baptism that does also now save us just as Peter said just as Noah was saved from the ark. So why not put on your Lord in baptism. Why not put on your Lord in baptism? Why not put on your Lord in faith so that you might enjoy the resurrection and receive the rewards from Him?
(SONG # 3 - "Almost Persuaded!")


Let me thank you again 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 also 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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As those who love the Lord, may we all look forward to the coming resurrection, when all those who are faithful will receive their great reward.