THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date - 3-4-07

LESSON TITLE: "I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH: THE CHURCH HAS A CLEAR PURPOSE"

WELCOME

In Proverbs 17:7 we read, "Excellent speech is not becoming to a fool." Do we strive to have "excellent" speech?

Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's Day morning. It is always an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to be with us as we commit this time to the things of God. Today we have the privilege to sing songs of praise and to study from God's Holy Word. May we each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer!

(Prayer)

This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a song which reminds us of the most important event which ever took place in the Word. In fact, if not for this sacrifice you and I would have no hope of being saved! So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "When I Survey The Wondrous Cross."

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

Have you ever played that game before where you sit in a group and at one end someone whispers something in the ear of the person next to them. Then that person has to whisper what they heard to the next person in line. What happens when you get to the end? You guessed it, some crazy sentence comes out that isn't remotely similar to what you started with. When I think of this game I think of how important words are in our life. Not only words, but also how we say the words and how they are perceived. As Christians, we must realize how important it is to say what we mean and mean what we say. It really does matter, what we say and how we say it. Let's go to the book of Colossians and read from chapter 4, verse 6. There Paul said, "Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one." There are several points made here which I would like to expound on.

First, we see that grace is necessary in proper speech. This would mean that we really think about what we want to say and that we say it in the right way. If we extend grace to another we are striving to do that which is favorable toward them - whether they deserve it or not. Treating others as we wanted to be treated.

The next thing Paul mentions is a speech seasoned with salt. If you are like me, you love salt and probably use to much. But why do we use it? Because it tastes good and enhances the flavor of the food. Well, Paul told the Colossians that their speech should do the same thing. Encourage, enhance and build up - not hurt, harm or tear down. Notice a similar statement made by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians, "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers," 4:29! Again, our speech must be for good and do good!

Finally he stated that our speech must be with consideration of how to answer someone else. Again showing the need to think about what we say or what we are going to say to make sure it is going to accomplish that which is pleasing to God.

Are you using a speech that will honor and glorify God? Do the things you say encourage and help those who hear them? May we all strive more to speak as the oracles of God!

This morning, we will continue with our series called, "I Will Build My Church!" Our specific topic today is, "The Church Has A Clear Purpose." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. Now let's return to our songs of praise, the name of our next hymn is, "There's A Fountain Free!"

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us at this time. Now we want to go and look again at to what God's Word has to say about the church that Christ died for. We know that certainly God planned a specific purpose for His church. If we think about that purpose, the Bible clearly tells us what that purpose is.

There are several things then we'll look at in our lesson beginning there in Matthew chapter 22 not too long after the time in Matthew chapter 16 that we read Jesus saying, "I will build My church." But there in chapter 22 we find where were told of a discussion that Jesus had with an educated man who was referred to here as a lawyer, one who asked Him the question about what are the greatest commandments. If you'll notice with me there in verse 37 of Matthew 22, the Bible says, "You shall love the Lord your God with all of your heart, with all of your soul, and with all of your might." In other words, what Jesus said here to this man something that was from the Old Law even is that we must first love God. Doesn't that sound familiar? Doesn't it sound familiar to what He said also back in chapter 6 of Matthew in verse 33? Seek first what? God's kingdom. If we do that, all things will be added to us. What is the first purpose of the church? You and I are the church. We are Christians. What is our purpose? To love God. That means we must know our God. That means not only should we know God, but we must know what He wants and in knowing what He wants, obey His Will.

That's why it's important to read there in verses such as Matthew 7 and verse 21 that we must do the Will of the Father. That is how God knows that we love Him. That's as well what Jesus said in John 14:15. "If we love Jesus, we show it by keeping His commandments."

How do we know those commands but we study His Word? We learn His Word and we learn who He is and what He wants. By doing that, we know even more why we should love Him and how we show that love. Isn't that how it works in life? We love someone and we respect them more and we become closer to them because we know them better and better and because we appreciate them and we know they're there for us and we're there for them and so on and so forth. Such is the case with God. The more we study, the more we learn, the more we know, the more we understand, the more we are able then in a wise way to apply that knowledge and to obey God and to love Him and do the things that He has asked us to do.

There's another thing that's also very interesting about our duty or purpose as the church. We find there in the same passage back in Matthew 22 that to the same lawyer, He went on to give a second commandment that was next to loving the Lord thy God. The second commandment was like it: "Love thy neighbor as thyself." The second greatest thing that we can do is to love others and to care for others and to have a benevolent attitude. I want you to think for a moment about how often the Bible speaks of those things that pertain to benevolence, loving one another, not only in a way that we help financially or with physical things, but emotionally with encouragement and spiritually. You see, we need to be a benevolent people toward one another, loving each other, caring for one another. Thus, we mention and read the verse there in Galatians 6:10 that, "Our opportunity as Christians is to do good to all men, to do good to everyone especially our brethren," our brethren whom the Bible says we are to love.

But I want you to notice something else there in the book of Galatians as you back up to chapter 2 and we find there the time that Paul is reflecting on when he himself had met some of the apostles. He had spoken with them and they actually it states there in verse 9, "had extended the hand of fellowship to Paul." I want you to notice of all the things that they could have said, of all the encouragement they could have given Paul as they commissioned him in a sense and sent him out with the blessing as a fellow apostle, notice what they say to him in verse 10. "And they desired only that we should remember the poor." Then he goes on to say that "the thing that I eagerly do, the thing that I know God commands and the thing that I want to help others, to help others in need whether they are my brethren or not," to be benevolent. You see, Paul was instructed as an apostle by other apostles to remember those that had needs in life. Again, be that spiritual needs as certainly they went out to teach about Christ. Be that physical needs, especially as they went out and found those who were ailing or who were sick or had disabilities. Certainly we might be talking about physical needs as that would be such as food or certain things that you don't have in life. But whatever the need, that we be a people who is interested in mind, body and soul, not self- absorbed and self-centered, not seeking what we need and want, but looking outside of ourselves, loving God first, putting Him first, knowing Him and His Will and obeying, but knowing that an important part and purpose of that for the child of God is to be benevolent, to care about those around us and to show love to our brethren.

In fact, if we go back to our text that we began with in Matthew 22, it continues on there in verse 40 to say, "On these two laws hang all the laws that were given according to the Old Law, the commands of God. In fact, if we back up to the Old Commands and we back up to verses like there in Exodus chapter 20 where the Ten Commandments are given, it is interesting that the first four are attributed and applied to God. "Love the Lord thy God." How? "Not following other gods, Keeping the Sabbath," and so on. The final six, guess what they apply to. Our relationship with fellow man. "Not stealing from others, Not being those who are envious or who covet our neighbors things." You see, we must love God. We must love our neighbor.

There's another purpose that I would like to bring out at this time of equal importance in the church. If you'll turn over with me there in the Bible to Galatians chapter 3. We find here an important passage where Paul speaks to the church at Ephesus. Ephesus again chapter 3. There at Ephesus certainly the people had difficulties as we do at times knowing exactly what it is that we are to do, what is required of the church, what's the purpose of the church. I find it interesting here that he gives the clear purpose of the church beginning in verse 8 of chapter 3. The Bible says this, "To me," Paul speaking, "whom am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." Paul begins talking about the need he has as one called by God, as one commissioned by God to do what? Preach the gospel.

Read on in verse 9. "And to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which from the beginning of the ages was hidden by God..." But go on there. "In Christ Jesus, these things have been (what?) made known." Now you see there was something that was not known and until Christ came and lived and died and rose again, they were not fully revealed. But now, after the fact as the church has begun, Paul says, "I'm a preacher of that gospel that has now been made known and revealed." So what is the purpose for you as the church at Ephesus? Go on there and hear with me in verse 10. "To the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known." It says that there are something intended, something needed to be done that the wisdom of God, this knowledge, this mystery that has been revealed, that which I preach will also be made known not only by me, but..." Read on there with me again. "Be made known by (who?) the church to all principalities and powers that all the world might see in us God again and His Will." Isn't that what we're trying to do? Our purpose? To know God, to obey that others might see it, to help others and that others might see that we love each other because we care for each other and we help each other as God commands and then finally, to teach the whole Will by opening our mouths and preaching the gospel because that is the intent of God for His church, that we make known as the church the manifold wisdom of God to all of God's beautiful creation.

Now is this something that just came up, that God all of a sudden just thought about or that He planned as an afterthought? Certainly not! For we go on in the next verse, verse 11 and it continues to state, "According to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus." You know because Jesus died, because He again had lived and died and specifically rose from the grave. It says that now we have opportunity according to the eternal purpose to make that revealed mystery known, that revelation known to man. Why? That they might be saved.

Well that brings great light, great light on many passages in the text. Again if we back up to Matthew and we look there around chapter 28, what is it stated there in the Great Commission that Jesus spoke to His disciples that they were to do? He states there, if you'll look with me in verse 19, "Go therefore," He says, "and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." He says to go and make disciples. Go and preach the gospel. Go and teach and baptize the believers. Then He also goes on in the next verse, verse 20 to say, "And teach them to observe all things that I have commanded you and I am with you as you do it." As you teach, as you preach, as you convert, as you baptize, as you save those individuals, and continue to teach them, I am with you. Teach them My commands that they might grow and they themselves might then do what? Teach others.

The same idea that is reemphasized in the Great Commission as well in Mark 16:16 when it says there, "Go into all the world," verse 15, and do what? "Preach the gospel to every creature." Why? "So that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," Verse 16. Again, that commission, the commission to do what? Be evangelistic. Yes. We are purposed as the church to know God and to obey His Will. We are purposed to be benevolent and to strive to accomplish all we can in showing not only love to God but to our fellow man and to our brethren. Then as we read there, we are also to be evangelistic, those who are reaching out to accomplish the task that God has given us and to serve.

Now certainly as a child of God, as one who lives that life and preaches, think of all the other great opportunities, as we might call them, purposes in the church. To worship God. To come together as the body of Christ and to sing praises and to give of our means and to partake of the Lord's Supper and to be able to accomplish all those tasks that He has blessed us to partake in. Not only that but also to be people who study and grow on our own as well as encourage each other, people who live in this life and are purposed to accomplish the tasks of being those lights in the world, of being those examples again, that not only may we save ourselves but our wives and our families and our children and our relatives, all the things we do in life, all the things we do to accomplish the great purpose of God.

And why do we do it? Well we do it because we love God as the scriptures say. But we do it as well because we have been promised, promised eternal life. We have been promised that someday our God will return and our God will take us home and according to His purpose, He will look at what we have done for His sake and He will reward us with a heavenly home, an eternal home forever. But there's something else. You know sometimes we're only just looking to heaven and we say, "Well, you know it may be a long time and I don't know if I can make it to the end." But God has also told us as we even mentioned this day that if we love Him and we obey, He will bless us. He will make us happy. What about there the great Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5? Blessed are they who do what? Do all of these things about God and for God and concerning God and the way that God has commanded. Why? For they are right in His sight. They will be rewarded. They will be blessed. They will have all... You see, in God we are blessed today emotionally and physically and spiritually. We have all the spiritual blessings that God knows that we have need of. We have all the physical blessings to care for us in this life. Why? For again we are children of God and our God cares for us for we are His own.

So I challenge you today to consider your life, to think about the purpose and how that you have been challenged by God to do His Will. I then ask the question: Have you done it? Have you loved your God? Have you loved your neighbor? Have you been benevolent? And have you strove in your life to be one who in all things does that which is according to His Will and makes known His wisdom to the entire world unto salvation?

(SONG # 3 - "For The Beauty Of The Earth!")

CLOSING COMMENTS

Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. 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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God has given us a clear purpose and has shown us what He wants of His church! May we all accept the challenge and do what He commands that we may be proper in His sight!

(Program closing)