Program Air Date - 3-18-07



Jesus once proclaimed, "if you love me, keep my commandments?" Are you obeying the commandments of your God?

Thanks for joining us this Lord's Day! What a privilege we have this morning to spend time together in the study of God's Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.


It's time to start our praise through song. This morning we are challenged with a hymn that reminds us of our need to be spiritually militant for Christ. So, won't you join in with the congregation as we together sing, "Soldiers Of Christ Arise!"

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS The Bible is full of examples and comments which show that many think they are right before God and acceptable - when really they are not proper before Him at all. I remember a verse in Matthew, in which our Lord deals with this very topic. Read with me from chapter 7, beginning in verse 21. There it says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'"

Notice in this reading that many believe they are right and proper before God, yet they are not. Here these followers were even doing things in the name of God and some things according to His will! However, it is obvious that they were not completely right and that they were lacking something, because the Lord said, "depart from me - you who practice lawlessness."

John understood this same idea, as is clear by his statement in 1 John 2:9. There we read, "He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now." Someone may think he is in the light and a good follower of Christ, yet if he hates his brother - John says this man is really in the darkness!

The point of these scriptures is to realize that it does matter what we do and say in this life! God judges all according to His will, just as we read above, the one "who does the will of My Father in heaven," is the one who is acceptable before God. In other words, doing what God wants in God's ways!

This idea can finally be seen in the book of Revelation, as we again find the words of our Lord recorded! In chapter 2, and verse 10 we read, "Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life." True love for God and Christianity, depends on our willingness to do what God commands until the day we die. However, as we read here, it will be well worth the effort because we will receive the promised crown of life. So, are you giving your all to God and following His complete will as commanded?

Today we will be concluding our discussion based on the statement of Jesus, "I Will build My Church!" Our specific lesson this morning will focus on this topic, "The Church Has the Promise of Eternal life." 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 morning, the name of the song, "The Glory Land Way."

(SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thanks for staying with us today as we now look into God's Word in our main study. As you are aware, we have been studying together the topic, "I Will Build My Church." We've looked together at many different ideas about the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ from its prophecy all the way through its building. We've also talked about the fact of the different things that God has chose about its organization and worship and on and on we could go. But together, I believe we've been able to again reassure ourselves and find out what it is God's Word has to say about the book, that is the Bible. In fact, when we look into the Bible, we learn so many things about Christ, about His church, and about His great love for that church.

One of my favorite verses about the church and the love Christ has for it is found there in Acts 20 and verse 28 where it speaks about the fact that Jesus Christ gave His blood to purchase the church. Now again, it tells me of its great importance and that's why we've had this series to help people to understand that the church is significant. The church is important. It does make a difference whether one is in the church or not. It does make a difference whether one has obeyed God or not for the church has been bought with the blood of God Himself, Jesus in the flesh. And so certainly that shows us its great significance.

Now there again from Matthew chapter 16, we have looked together at the topic about Jesus saying, "I Will Build My Church," and how He would give the keys to the kingdom to Peter and the other apostles. As the Spirit led them, they certainly would know what it was that was required, required of them to obey God, to do His Will and to be found faithful in the end. Now with that in mind, we notice in the same text, that is Matthew 16, later on in verse 28 that He says, "Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Soon of Man coming in His kingdom." Until they see that kingdom come. Similar to what He said to His disciples as well in the book of Mark helping them to understand that that there were some who would not die until the kingdom came. Well, how interesting because Jesus says, "I will build My church. I will build My kingdom and give the keys to that kingdom and some of you will not die before that kingdom comes," and then seeing it come to fruition as we've studied together in Acts 2. In Acts 2 when they were told that they had crucified the Son of God, when they were told what to do to be saved, and how wonderful to know that 3,000 souls responded on that day. They heard. They believed. They confessed His name and they were baptized. And because of that, verse 47 says, "The Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved."

Why are we striving to be the church? Why do we want to be in the church? Besides the fact that Jesus bought it and paid for it with His blood, besides its significance, besides all the wonderful and glorious things about it, what is the ultimate reason besides the fact that we love God and are responding to the love that He has shown us in all that He has done in our lives? I'll tell you why. For God has promised us eternal life. You know, if you think about living this life and dying some day and that's it. Boy, that's a sad thought. Isn't it? I mean if I think about just what I've done in this life and when I die, it's all over with. Maybe some 60, 70, 80, 90 years that we live and then it's all for nothing. For what? Well certainly what a sad idea, what a concept that really gives us really no purpose or desire to do our best in life.

But now on the other hand, consider the evidences. Consider God. Consider His Word and certainly the proof that it has shown and its unity over the many, many years to give us that confidence we can have in it. Then consider that it's the same Word of God that says to us that we can be saved.

I want you to turn with me there in the gospel account of John. In John chapter 11, you might recall there that Jesus actually had been called by Martha and Mary and been called because Lazarus, their brother, had died. And certainly, "Jesus," it says, "was very close to them." In fact, this is the story where Jesus was moved to such compassion that He even wept at the thought of the death of Lazarus in seeing how much in mourning the friends and the family were. I want you to notice though in the passage with me the discussion that this lady, Martha, had with Jesus. She was a follower, a disciple of Jesus. She's already said, "Lord, if you'd been here, my brother would not have died." I want you to notice there what they continue to discuss and what is said there by Jesus to her in verse 25 beginning. Again, John 11:25, the Bible says, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me though he may die, he shall live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Certainly she goes on to say, "I believe you're the Lord Jesus Christ. You're the Son of God. I believe. I believe. But she really didn't get it. She really didn't believe that she would never die or that Lazarus really hadn't died. Maybe he had died physically as he states here. Maybe his physical life had been taken, but his spiritual existence was eternal.

I want you to turn over with me and see what it is that Paul said about this to describe the same idea. Look there in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 15. He helps us to understand that there is certainly a reality of life or physical life, but yet at the same time just as we're alive physically, we will die physically but not spiritually. See, it's not so spiritually. God says it is different. How is it different? Read with me beginning in verse 52 of again 1 Corinthians chapter 15. "In the moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet, for the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible, but we shall be changed, for this corruptible (notice the flesh there) must put on incorruption and this mortal must put on immortality." And therefore death is swallowed up. We are victorious. We are overcoming the physical death. Why? We have become incorruptible. We have been changed into a different form and even our mortal physical bodies have put on what? Immortality! If I were to ask you, "What was the most exciting and maybe number 1 characteristic in your superheroes or those that you looked up to, maybe in some of your past movies or stories or comics?" What would it be? Immortality! Man, they could live forever, hundreds and hundreds of years. Do you realize that Jesus offers us immortality? Do you realize that the spiritual existence of man, the soul, is something that will never die whether we are righteous to the end or unrighteous? Well that's what he is talking about, the physical death, the thing that a man can do to me by taking my body is meaningless for my soul, my spirit (notice) is eternal. It will last forever. It is something that he goes on there in verse 57 to say, "But thanks be to God who gives us (what?) the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." How are we victorious? We are victorious in the fact that we have been given the concept, the thought, the promise of eternal life.

You know, I like how it is put there in Matthew 25 before the kingdom was established, there in those passages when Jesus and John, as we also read in the gospel, spoke of the coming of the kingdom. "The kingdom of God being at hand." All of these things were brought together very well in their teachings, how they should repent for it was at hand. But then I want you to notice there in Matthew 25 why they said they should do these things. What was it all for? Well, he said, "Those who were not right (in that last verse) would go into everlasting punishment." But he says there, "The righteous would go into eternal life." You see, we live today. We respond to the love of God, not only for the many, many reasons that we've discussed for what God has done, not only because of how wondrous the church is and what we have and the blessings we have in it and the blessings today we have physically because we are children of God, but because eternally we know we will never die and if we have the promise of eternal life rather than eternal damnation, then these changed immortal bodies will live forever in a paradise, a wonderful and glorious place just as Luke spoke about in connection to the rich man and Lazarus. Lazarus being spoken of in a place of comfort, a place of solace, of peace in Abraham's bosom being cared for continually. The rich man in torment daily, suffering, the concept of flames, and torment and persecution forever and ever. What a motivation. What an encouragement for me to not only know God, but to obey Him and to determine that I'm going to do whatever it takes to make sure that I respond to God's love and love Him back. Therefore, being obedient, knowing that I will receive eternal life. Now, how can I know that? I want to look at a few verses here in our last remaining minutes one being there in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. Notice with me the last verse in that passage, 58. He says there, "My beloved brethren, be steadfast. Be immovable always abounding in the work of the Lord." Wow! Think about that. The challenge. The challenge to be what? To be standing strong and steadfast so that people can look at us and they can lean on us and count on us, to be immovable, one that is not going to move with the wind or with doctrines that blow by every other day from somebody, but one who will stand with God and be immovable. Then he says, "Always abounding in the work of the Lord." Always doing the work. Accomplishing the work. Doing those things that certainly again God commands us through His Word. Now if we can do all those things then certainly we understand that we have a right to hope. That's what the Bible speaks of, the hope, the promise. We have a right to know that God, the God that does not lie, the God who can be trusted, the God who has said He will do, will certainly accomplish all these things and will finally bless us with that eternal life.

Now I want us to go to the book of Revelation. In the latter part of the book of Revelation, we have some final comments that are being made in chapter 21 and chapter 22. We'd like to focus on chapter 21. The talk about Heaven. You know it makes me think about the beautiful song we sing sometimes, "Heaven Will Surely Be Worth It All." Isn't that true? Yes, it's true. Why is it so true? Well, we read there in chapter 21 some things about Heaven that are beautiful, that are glorious, at least given to us in the physical thought that we might understand its wonder in a spiritual sense. It mentions there in verse 4 that "God is there, that He wipes away every tear from the eye. There's no sorrow, no crying, no pain, for former things have passed away." Many of you struggle with pains and aches and sicknesses and cancers. In Heaven, these things no longer exist. How wonderful! How glorious! And who is there? We said God. The Alpha, the Omega is there as well, verse 6, Jesus, and the Spirit of God is there, the fullness of God, the Godhead. All is there with us eternally forever.

And so what are other things that are important about Heaven? That none of the sinners or the sins that cause problems in this life will be there. So that's why we can be so happy. But then he goes on to say that "in that place that it will be a great glory like precious stones, verse 11, "like those stones of Jasper and clear crystal, that the gates and everything about them will be magnificent and glorious." Now let me remind you he is giving us a physical depiction that will be like, "Wow! I want that kind of mansion. I want that kind of house." But He is telling us from the spiritual standpoint of what it is going to be like to us. Then He goes on there and He says, What about the walls? What about the gates there? In verse 18, the construction of its wall was jasper. The city was pure gold like clear glass. The foundation of the walls were adorned in all kinds of precious stones, and He gives a further list of those stones, and He again mentions there the gates were golden with pearls and again the transparent type of glass that in everything can be seen. It's wonderful. Why? For there is light there. But guess what the light is. The Bible here tells us the light is not the sun , in verses 22 and 23, but the light is God. We don't need the physical anymore. There's transparent glass, so to speak, and gold because God illuminates all of Heaven. Guess who is there with God. You and I. You see, Heaven surely will be worth it all for in a spiritual sense, it is going to be like the most favored thing that we have on this earth. If you love fishing, Heaven is going to be greater! If you love to do gardening or whatever, Heaven is going to far surpass it. If there is someone you love on this earth, when you get to Heaven you're going to love God and the existence there far more. It's going to be greater than holding that newborn baby for the first time. It's going to be greater than anything we've ever known or could ever know or any knowledge we could have of this earth. When we think of Heaven, eternal life, it is ours as children of God.

So that's when I read the passages about Heaven I get excited. I get excited because God has given you and I a promise that we can take to the bank so to speak. God will stand good for it. Then that also reminds me back to the text we considered a moment ago in 1 Corinthians 15, there in verse 24, that day when the end comes and Jesus returns, it says, "He is going to take the kingdom (the church) and give it back to the Father." I don't know about you but I want to be there that day. We're all going to be there whether we want to be there or not, but I want to be in the church that Jesus takes in a sense and takes up into the clouds and then delivers to His Father and says, "Father, here are the faithful." Don't you want to be a part of that? Don't you want to be a part of that existence to know that you will have that eternal life and don't you want to escape the possibility and the probability of Hell that will come? Make sure that today you live a life that is according to God, that in all things you might show yourself pleasing in His sight.

(SONG # 3 - "To Canaan's Land I'm On My Way!")


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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How wondrous, beautiful and glorious Heaven will be some day. Are you living your life in such a way that Heaven will be your reward in the end?

(Program closing)