THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 3-30-08
LESSON TITLE: "GOD'S PECULIAR PEOPLE: A PECULIAR GOSPEL"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. Today we have come together on another glorious Lord's Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we now have to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
At this time, we want to sing our first song of the morning. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, " Blest Be The Tie That Binds."
(SONG # 1)
Think for a moment about what a privilege we have as Christians to serve God. As His children we must take advantage of every opportunity to see that His Will is carried out. One command that stands out among many is the fact that we are to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world. Remember what the Lord Himself said in Mark 16:15-16? There we read, "And He said to them, 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.'" Paul adds that it is the same Gospel of Jesus which is able to save the souls of men, Romans 1:16. And later, the same author said to the church at Ephesus, that it was the duty of the church to make known the manifold wisdom of God to all, Ephesians 3:10! Peter also proclaimed this truth when he said that we must all be ready to give an answer, at any time, for the hope that lies within us, 1 Peter 3:15. The reality is, we all have a lot of work to do as followers of God to see that everyone on this earth hears the precious message of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is able to save anyone from their lost state in this world. We will talk more about this in our main lesson of the day.
However, with this in mind think of the many ways that we can reach out to accomplish this great task for our God. Many of us have the opportunity to go to countries throughout this world to preach the message of God. Others reach out in their own communities through various opportunities to allow others to see Christ in them. Still others reach out to their family and friends that they might know the Gospel of Christ. In fact, the purpose of this very program is centered around accomplishing the very thing we are talking about this morning. Helping people to know more about Jesus, His Will, and to provide us each with another opportunity to serve God. How wonderful and precious the Gospel of Christ is. Have you fully submitted to it today?
Today we will be continuing our study on, "God's Peculiar People." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "A Peculiar Gospel." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Count Your Blessings."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us today as we now go to God's Word and consider another interesting lesson from the concept of "God's Peculiar People," or as another version says, "God's Own Special People."
Certainly we are a special people of God and what we've been trying to understand together is that as the special people of God there are certain things that are required of us that many people of the world do not adhere to. There's a standard that God has set that is difficult at times and hard to achieve, but we can achieve it with the help of God and we can be more of what He wants and be found pleasing in His sight.
Today, we want to talk about "The Peculiar People" and the "Gospel" that God has given them. Have you ever thought about that? The gospel that God has given us is a special, a peculiar gospel. But why? Well certainly because it was given by God to those who would follow, His disciples.
We can go all the way back to the beginning of the New Testament even there in Matthew chapter 4 before the great "Sermon on the Mount" by Jesus Christ Himself and we can find in verse 23 of chapter 4 where it says, "And Jesus went about all of Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom." It goes on to say that He healed many people and He did many marvelous and wonderful works to prove that He was from God.
We can see this same idea presented over in chapter 9 of Matthew where once again in verse 35 it says, "And Jesus went about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom."
Yet again we can turn over to another passage in Matthew 24. Verse 14 says, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations."
You see there was a gospel, a good news as this word "gospel" is translated. It was a wonderful message that was from God Almighty Himself to those who would do what? Follow. We know that because when we go over to Matthew 28, only a few chapters more we find the Great Commission is finally given and that which was said in chapter 24 about the gospel being preached to all nations is finally accomplished as God sends out His disciples. What does He say? He says, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
But not there only but if we move over to Mark's account of the very same thing, one says, "Go and make disciples and baptize and teach them to observe all things." But then Mark says it this way in verse 15 of chapter 16, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature."
Now what was involved in the gospel? How interesting as we look at the overall beautiful picture presented by even Christ back in Matthew 4 when He says that He was "preaching the gospel of the kingdom." He went on there and gave the great "Sermon on the Mount" that included everything from God, the Will of God, the Word of God, the life of a child of God, how to be seen as faithful, our words, our deeds, on and on and on we could go. The gospel, the good news, that which was from God that showed us not only who God was but our part. You see the point I'm trying to make is that there are two parts, two sides to the gospel. It's sad to say that many in our day throughout the religious world do not understand the entire message of the gospel. They try to hold it to only one idea or one thought or something that is appealing to them or that satisfies their desires that they might again determine fellowship or this or that. But we begin to look at the gospel, the good news from God. It's not just about who He is. It's about what He gave for us to do. It's about what He challenged us to do. Why? That we might be saved. Isn't that what the gospel is all about?
You might go with me there in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16. He says there, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of (what?) Christ for it is the power of salvation (to who?) to whoever believes." Just as it was read and said there by Christ Himself in John 3:16 that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life. Here we read the idea that "whoever (what?) understands the power of the gospel of Christ and responds to it." Then the very next thing that He goes on to speak about is righteousness and faith. He indicates to us the ideas that these are all part of what God has given us as the good news. For how can I learn of God and know of God as a holy, righteous God and not understand that a part of His gospel is that I obey and that I follow that very same pattern that He has given for you and me.
There's no doubt about it in 1 Corinthians 15 verses 1-4 that the Bible clearly helps us to understand what the heart of the gospel is and perhaps this is sometimes where individuals get confused or mixed up. The heart of the gospel is clear as he says, "I preached the gospel to you." And there in verse 4 he confirms the idea that "Jesus was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scripture." Certainly the heart of everything, the theme of the Bible itself is all about Jesus Christ. Everything we learn of old and everything about the new always points to Jesus and the greatest moment of the world and anything that has ever happened therein, that is not only that Jesus came but that He lived and that He died, but He was buried and He rose again. You see the heart of the gospel.
But does that mean that the gospel only encompasses such a small thing? I believe certainly not because as we read on and on and on and on, we find there was more to it. There was more to it that was preached to those who needed to hear the gospel, who needed to obey the gospel.
There in Acts chapter 2 when the church was started, what did Peter do? He got up and preached the gospel message about who? Jesus Christ. But you know what? It wasn't only about His life, death, burial and resurrection. It was about the sin that had been committed. What was that sin? They had just put Him on the cross. Isn't that what the Bible says? Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God?" Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin are death." Isaiah 59 says, "It is that sin that separates us from God," verses 1 and 2. And so what is it that we need to understand about the gospel? It is that which washes away sin. If we obey the heart of the gospel.
But doesn't it take more than just believing? Certainly! The Bible says that. Belief is not enough. There is more that is spoken of there. In fact, we might look at even text as well in the book of Acts. What about Acts chapter 8? The Ethiopian Eunuch was one who was said to have heard from Philip himself the preachings of Jesus from Isaiah. He was preaching about the sacrifice. He was preaching about the coming forth of the life. He was preaching about the fact that he needed to be what? Baptized! We know that because the Eunuch said, "Here's water. What hinders me from being baptized?" The Eunuch understood in the preaching of Jesus and the gospel that baptism was involved. There were other things involved. What about Acts 20:28? When I read there about the fact that the blood that Jesus shed on the cross was used to purchase the church, how in the world, you explain to me, can I talk about the death, the shedding of the blood on the cross, the burial and the resurrection and not explain what the blood was about? Was it not to purchase the church? Clearly there in Acts 20:28 it says that it was. Was it not to give me the opportunity to have remission of sins, to be obedient to what? Not just knowing Jesus Christ is the Son of God, but the Will of God. "If you love Me, keep My commandments," John 14:15. Not just these things, but others. In Colossians 1:13-14, "To translate us out of (what?) darkness into light." That's what the act of belief and acting on that belief leads us into, the understanding of what God wants, the message of faith.
Do you know what the Bible says in Hebrews 11:6? "For without faith it is impossible to please God." How could I say that faith is not a part of the plan of God or the gospel of God if faith is required to please God? For you and I know that if the gospel only encompasses the death, burial and the resurrection that has nothing to do with what? Faith. Except I explain faith and I say, "You know, it's not enough to believe it but one must (do what?) act on it!"
James chapter 2 says, "The devils believe." But what was the difference in a faithful person? The one who has faith by works. They prove it. They prove their belief. They prove their obedience to the gospel.
But perhaps to me one of the clearest passages that helps us to understand that really the gospel encompasses far more than just the heart, the heart that certainly all the rest is built on, the heart that certainly is the foundation. Perhaps one of the best passages is there in Galatians chapter 1. Do you know who Paul is talking to here? Look with me there in that passage, verse 2. After he introduces himself, he says, "And to all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia..." He's writing to brethren. He's writing to churches. And so what does he begin to talk about right off the bat in verse 6? He says, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel." Well he says they are following Christ. He says they are brethren. He says they are those who have already responded to the death, burial and the resurrection but he says that, "Now I am marveling that you have turned away from (what?) the gospel." Then to do what? Verse 7, "Which is not another but there are some who trouble you and pervert the (what?) Gospel of Christ." They were perverting the gospel. I don't believe it was the death, burial and the resurrection alone. It was much more. They as Christians were no longer adhering to the good news that does what? Saves men. "The good news, the gospel that saves," Romans 1:16. And a part of that gospel that saves tells me that I've got to live, I've got to work, I've got to be. So here it says, "When one preaches another gospel or a different gospel, they should be accursed."
Well you see there is more to the gospel of Christ. It is not just that which is to persuade men, but it is that which is to please God, to do that which is according to His Will, that is found pleasing in His sight, that is to be found as that which God had asked.
Verse 11 actually and 12 go on to say, "But I might make known, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man but it was received by revelation of Jesus." He says, "The things I have told you..." What do you think he told them? Well sure he told them about the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but what about the way to live, the way to talk, the way to act? Certainly he told them that, too, and he said, "Those things aren't from me. Those things that you're messing up on, the gospel, are not from me, but you have to obey the gospel of God."
Then look over with me to what he said to the Thessalonian brethren in 1 Thessalonians. There in chapter 2 beginning in verse 4. How interesting that again the same author trying to help this church to know what it was that they should do, he says this. "But as has been approved by God and entrusted with the gospel even so now I speak, not to please men, but to please God." As he goes on here, he speaks more about the gospel. Verse 8, he says, "So affection and longing for you we were well-pleased to impart not only to you the gospel of God but our own lives." He says that the gospel and even our own lives to prove to you those things. Then in verse 9, and you remember brethren, "Our laboring and toiling for our laboring night and day that we might not be a burden to you, any of you, that we might preach the gospel to you." Do you think they were having that hard of a time helping them to understand over all that period, all the months, the times as he stayed at places (for) years, do you think they were really just preaching the gospel only every Sunday, every time that Jesus lived, He died and He was resurrected? Certainly not!
There was more to it for the gospel is rich. It is powerful. It is that that encompasses my need to understand what sin is that I want to leave it, my need to understand who Jesus is that I might know Him, the sacrifice that He made that I might understand that the sacrifice itself gave blood that I might have forgiveness of sins, that the same sacrifice as a part of the gospel is how He purchased the church and that it is the same church (Acts 2:47) that I am added to when I obey and as Acts 2:38 says, "Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ." Those are the ones who have been saved. The gospel is a part of that life that is spoken of in Revelation 2:10 to "be faithful unto death and you'll receive that crown of life."
The gospel is all of these things that again would exhort and encourage us to know that those who know God, who believe in Him and who obey His Will have obeyed that good news unto salvation. That good news unto salvation that requires more than a simple belief, but that requires a faith in action. That belief in the gospel and that faith in action that then requires us everyday to go out and to preach the gospel to others, preaching that gospel of who Jesus is and what Jesus has done and what He requires. You see all of these things are the good news, the good news that says, "Today I can live and act and speak in such a way that God will be pleased and I will have the reward of Heaven." And who would say that Heaven is not a part of the gospel? Certainly why would I ever obey Jesus? Why would I ever be encouraged to know Him, to obey Him at all if I were not going to go far enough to tell someone that, "He that believes and is baptized shall be saved."
Do you understand salvation? If we say that the gospel does not involve it, is not even a part of the gospel that we are to preach. Well certainly it is! Because it encompasses all of those things that pertain to Jesus, the Will of Jesus and all that He has required. The Bible speaks of the whole counsel of God, the manifold wisdom of God, those things that we must make known to who? Principalities and powers that they might not only know who Jesus is, but they might know how to obey Him. Brethren, that's the gospel! Friends, that's what we're required to preach. Brethren, again, that's what we're required to live so that not only by the things that we preach, but by the things that we live and what others see in us they might know who God is. They might see our faith. They might desire to become obedient. So that in all things they might be found faithful to receive that reward of Heaven in the end.
(SONG # 3 - "To Christ Be Loyal And Be True")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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How wondrous it is to know that God has so richly blessed us with the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ. May we all submit to it and obey it, in order to be found pleasing in His sight!