Program Air Date - 3-4-01


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.

There are many things which guide us in this life. Some guide us in a good and righteous way and some guide us away from those things which pertain to God. This morning we want to begin with a song that tells us about someone we can count on to lead us properly - all the days of our lives. Won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing the hymn, "He Leadeth Me!"
(SONG # 1)

The apostle Paul gives us many encouraging words throughout his letter 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." Think about the last statement 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 to always 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.

I 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. It's 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 also 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 - "to die is gain."

Today, we have a guest speaker with us. He is the minister for the Highway 5 Church of Christ in Lebanon, Missouri. Brother Steve Rook will lead us in our study from God's Word this morning. We are glad to have him with us. Our topic today is still related to our series "The Lord's Response." Our specific lesson this morning will be, "Why Does your Teacher Eat With Tax Collectors And Sinners?" So, please stay with us and in a few minutes brother Rook 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, "Heavenly Sunlight."
(SONG # 2)

Speaker: Steve Rook

Good morning, friends and thank you for joining us this morning and allowing us to visit you in your home with this Bible study. All scripture is given by the inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness that the man of God may be perfect, that is complete, freely furnished unto every good work, (2 Timothy chapter 3, verses 16 and 17). We sincerely believe those words of the apostle Paul and we're grateful for your interest in Bible study.

Before we get into our study this morning, I would like to make one announcement. Wendell Winkler will be at the South Highway church of Christ in Lebanon for a gospel meeting March 23rd through the 25th at 7:00 Friday and Saturday nights and then Sunday morning at 9:30 and 10:30 and then after a covered dish dinner enjoyed by the entire congregation, we'll have another service at 1:30 in the afternoon. I know many of you know brother Wendell Winkler and would welcome the opportunity to hear him preach the gospel of Christ and all of us at Lebanon would be happy for you to come and be with us for this series of gospel meetings.

You know during His personal ministry, Jesus was asked a number of questions, and you know what? He answered them. Jesus was not afraid to answer any question. Indeed, he was always ready and willing to answer the various questions that people presented to Him because He was interested in teaching and telling people the truth. Jesus said, Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free, (John chapter 8 and verse 32).

And His disciples and His apostles were ready and willing to answer questions presented to them. In Philippians chapter 1 and verse 17, Paul said, I am set for the defense of the gospel.

And in 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 15, Peter tells us to always be ready to give an answer of any question that comes to you when one asks you a reason of the hope that is in you. That is 1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 15.

And so Jesus and His disciples, as we read in the New Testament, they were always willing and ready to answer Bible questions, and we ought to be as well. We ought to be ready and willing to answer questions regarding the existence of God for example. Does God really exist? Is the Bible really His word? What must I do to be saved? Questions of a moral nature. And on and on the various questions, important questions that sincere people raise regarding the will of God.

But now the question asked of Jesus for today's study is found in Matthew chapter 9 beginning at verse 10. In verse 10 of Matthew chapter 9, Jesus was having dinner at a friend's house named Matthew. Matthew was a publican or a tax collector and there were a number of his friends present for the dinner, tax collectors and people the Pharisees regarded as sinners. And in this text, the Pharisees asked the disciples of Jesus, "Why is it that Jesus eats with publicans and sinners?" And as we read in the Bible the response of Jesus, we are grateful for His answer. How precious is the answer of Jesus. In verses 12 and 13, Jesus answered them, They that behold need not a physician, but they that are sick. And then Jesus said, I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. How precious is Jesus answer because therein He reveals His great concern for men and women lost in sin. He reveals His great concern for sinners, for those needing salvation. Indeed, in this passage we find God's great concern to save those who are lost from their sins, that they might live with Him for all eternity in Heaven.

That's why Jesus came to this earth. Indeed, this is the theme of the Bible. The theme of the Bible is the salvation of humankind. To the glory of God through faith in His son, Jesus Christ. And thus the golden text of the Bible reads, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have everlasting life. Indeed friends, John chapter 3 and verse 16, some arises the message of the Bible in its entirety indicating God's great concern for those who are lost, indicating our Lord's great concern for the sinner, and Jesus said, That's why I eat among the sinners and the tax collectors, because I am concerned about their being lost in sin and I desire that they be saved forever in Heaven.

Indeed, that's why Jesus came to this earth and died. In Luke chapter 19 and verse 19, Jesus said, the Son of man has come to seek and to save those who are lost. Jesus didn't come to obtain an education, a college degree as it were. He didn't come to get rich or to become famous, to get a lot of fame, to gain a lot of popularity. Jesus came to this earth to die upon the cruel cross of Calvary, to save men and women from their sins. Indeed, Paul said in Romans chapter 5 and verse 8, But God commandeth His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

And in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 and verse 3, you can read it for yourself in your own Bible. Paul said, Moreover brethren, I declare unto you the gospel. And here it is, verse 3, That Christ died for our sins (according to the scriptures) and was buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures. That's why Jesus ate among the publicans and the sinners. That's why He came to the earth, because of His love for and desire to save those lost in sin. Indeed, that's why His last words to His disciples just before His ascension into Heaven, His last words were to Go into all the world and preach the gospel, the good news, to every creature, (Mark chapter 16 and verse 15). And look at verse 16. Jesus went on to say, He that believes and is baptized shall be saved. You see why Jesus extended the great commission to His disciples for the same reason that He ate among the publicans and the sinners at Matthew's house. His desire that they hear the gospel and that they be saved. Notice the rest of verse 16 in Mark chapter 16. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. It wasn't Christ's desire and is not Christ's desire for any person to be condemned to a devil's Hell, but rather that they hear the gospel, that they believe that gospel and be baptized and shall be saved. Jesus was concerned about sinners. That's why we find Him eating among them there at Matthew's house in Matthew chapter 9.

We see this same concern that Jesus had for those lost in sin in Acts chapter 2 in the preaching of the gospel of Christ to the very ones who only a few days before had sinned in their crucifixion of Jesus. You can turn in your Bibles to Acts chapter 2 and read how the apostle Peter by the Holy Spirit of God, by the spirit of Jesus preached unto that great crowd gathered on the day of Pentecost, the first day of Pentecost, following the resurrection of Jesus, how that Peter by the spirit of Christ preached unto them the gospel of Christ, and he warned them that they had sinned in crucifying the Just One, the Christ, God's Messiah, and many on that day, the Bible tells us in verse 37 of Acts chapter 2, were pricked in their hearts and they cried out men and brethren, what must we do? And notice Peter's response. Peter did not respond, "Well there's nothing you can do because after all, you've committed a great sin and God's not interested in people like you." Praise God, that's not the way Peter responded. Instead, in verse 38 we find him saying to these people, who only a few days before had sinned in crucifying Jesus, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. The very ones who only a few days before had crucified Jesus. Jesus showed His concern in offering them the forgiveness of their sins. And in verse 40, Peter went on to say, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. And in verse 41, the Bible tells us that they that gladly received His word were baptized. There were added to them that day some three thousand souls. And in verse 47 of Acts chapter 2, the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

It's an indication of our Lord's great concern for sinners, that among the very first ones, members of the church of Christ washed in the blood of Jesus were the very ones who had sinned and crucified Him only a few days before. That's why our Lord was found at Matthew's house eating among the publicans and the sinners because of His great concern that they be saved.

We see this same concern in the conversion of Saul of Tarsus. We read about Saul's conversion to Christ in Acts chapter 22. You remember Saul was on his way to Damascus to persecute members of the church in that city. He had persecuted Christians putting them in jail, many of them even putting to death, but the Lord confronted him on the road to Damascus and said, Saul, why do you persecute me? And Saul responded, Lord, what would you have me do? The Lord said, go into Damascus and there it will be told you what you must do. And after three days, Ananias, servant of the Lord, came to Saul and said, Saul, why tarryest thou? Arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord.

The Lord's concern for the lost sinners even those such as Saul is observed in Saul's conversion and later, Saul who became the apostle Paul would write in 1 Timothy chapter 1 and verse 15, this is a faithful saying worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners of whom I'm chief.

Now friends, we'll have to let Paul speak for himself about that matter. He said he was the chief of sinners and we'll take him at his word. There may be someone listening in this morning and you may be thinking about the terrible sins you've committed. You may be thinking, "There is no way that God is concerned about me." Listen, you can't claim to be the worst of sinners. Paul made that claim. And Paul said in spite of him being the worst of sinners, God saved Him. Jesus was concerned about him and so he can save you.

Aren't you glad this morning that Jesus was willing to come to this earth and save sinners. Not to live like them, but to die for them and to save us from our sins. Hebrews chapter 5, verses 8 and 9, Paul tells us that though he were a son, yet learn the obedience by the things that he suffered being made perfect. He became the author, that is the source of eternal salvation to all them that obey Him.

Friends, this morning, won't you recognize the great concern Jesus has for you and me as a sinner and if you've not become a Christian, if you've not been washed in the blood of Jesus won't you accept His invitation now to obey the gospel, to believe the gospel, to repent of your sins, to confess His precious name as He Himself has directed, and then to be baptized into Him into His death, Romans chapter 6 verses 3 and 4, and to be washed from your sin and enjoy Him who has such great concern for you and then live for Him that you might enjoy Heaven for all eternity.

Thank you so much for listening this morning. We appreciate your interest in Bible study. May the Lord be with you and bless you and may He help you to take into careful consideration the words that we've spoken, His concern for all sinners.

(SONG # 3 - "I Need Thee Every Hour!")


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.

Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:

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May we always learn from the example of Jesus that all men need to hear the saving message of His Gospel and may we each do our part to see that His Will is carried out in this regard!

(Program closing)