THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-11-04
LESSON TITLE: THE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF GOD:
"THE DOCTRINE OF THE CHURCH"
How wonderful it is to know God and to have the health, strength, and will-power to give this time to Him on this Lord's Day morning. Thank you for putting God first today and choosing to commit this time of offering to His service.
Today, we will again be uplifted through our commitment to serving God as commanded, as we approach His almighty throne. How enjoyable it will be to worship our God through prayer, song and the study of His matchless Word. Won't you do your part this morning to see that our worship together is acceptable so that our glorious creator may be glorified?
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
This morning let me take a moment to thank the Hollister Church of Christ, in Hollister, Missouri. And let me encourage you to visit with this congregation if you live in the Hollister, area. These brethren assemble regularly for Worship, in fact, beginning this morning they will gather for a Bible study at 9:30, which will be followed by a Worship assembly at 10:30. On Sunday evenings these brethren also come together at 6:00. As well, a mid-week service is offered by this congregation, every Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. Again, let me ask you to meet with these brethren whenever possible so that you may learn more about God and His church. If you need further information feel free to contact their minister Ronald D. Bryant at(417)334-0673.
Well, it's time to join in our songs of praise. The first song of the morning is entitled, "Will Your Anchor Hold."
(SONG # 1)
If I were to ask the question, "Where does God live," I would get a variety of different answers. However, probably the most common would be, "in Heaven!" Even if you ask your kid or grandkids about where God lives, the first thing they are going to do is look up or point to the sky. Again, signifying the same point they have learned, "God lives in heaven, up above!"
This morning, I want you to consider with me where God really is! Is He really just somewhere else, or up above, as if we never interact or come in contact with Him?
Let's begin in Zephaniah 3:17, there we read, "The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing." Where is God, "in our midst." The Psalmist David said, "Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence," and then in verse 8 and following he answers his own question by saying, "Wherever I go, you are there!"
And what about us today, are we alone, or is our God with us! Remember what Jesus said in Matthew 28:20? There we read, "...and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." What an encouragement and strength this must have given to Jesus disciples, not only to know that God was with them but that He would be with them always. Again in John 14:23, Jesus told His followers, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him." What a glorious promise! God will truly be with and make His home in those who are faithful to His cause.
Has God made His home in you today? Well, He can not and will not until you obey His Will and commit to a life of service to Him. Are you willing to obey the voice of your master today?
As far as our main study of the day, this morning we will continue our series on, "The Important Doctrines of God," with our specific lesson of the day focusing on, "The Doctrine of the Church." So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Let Him Have His Way."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
In Daniel chapter 2 we find here a dream by Nebudchenezzer. We see that Daniel then interprets the dream beginning in verse 24 and down in verse 44 as he has now mentioned many prophetic things that are to come as he has interpreted the dream. Verse 44 says the following, "And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed and the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break into pieces and consume all these kingdoms and it shall stand forever." Here we find the reference to a kingdom, a day, a period when under another group of kings that something would happen, that a kingdom would be established, an eternal kingdom that would never be destroyed.
A similar prophecy that Daniel was given was also given to the man, Isaiah, in Isaiah chapter 2. Again there in verse 2, he says, "And it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say, Come and let us go up to the mount of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob and He will teach us His ways and we shall walk in His path, for out of Zion shall be called forth the law and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." Here we find further evidence of something that will happen in latter days, in another time, under different kings, a house of the Lord, different from the one of Israel because here Israel was being spoken to, but yet this new house will be exalted above all. All nations will have opportunity to come to this house, to this kingdom, and "this kingdom shall be established," it says in verse 3, "in Jerusalem."
Chapter 2 and verse 4 goes on to say that "no longer will there be a need for war or to learn of war as Israel had to be a fighting nation for it's God," but a peaceful nation, a nation that really attracts all mankind to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Today we want to talk about the church and the doctrine of the church because the doctrine of the church is something established clearly in scripture. Here we have already read two clear prophecies from scripture that help us to see clearly that God intended that someday things would be different.
Again in Jeremiah 31, I hope you are able to write that down. In verses 31-34 it talks about the day when the Lord God will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, with the people called His own and that covenant will be not like the covenant made with those who were referred to as the Israelites or those there at Mt. Sinai, but a greater covenant where again all peoples will come to Him and obey Him and no longer will the Word be written maybe on stone but on their hearts and they shall believe in their God because they love their God.
So, so many precious prophecies and concepts and ideas are given to us here throughout the pages of God's Word both Old and New Testaments to help us to understand that yes, truly our God is a great God and His kingdom was spoken about.
Well, this isn't strange to the New Testament either because if we move over to the New Testament, in fact looking there in the book of Matthew. In Matthew chapter 3 we read about another man who came in the name of God and verse 1 refers to him as John the Baptist. He came preaching there in the wilderness of Judea. What was he saying? In verse 2 it says, "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Here's a kingdom spoken about, something that is near, that is at hand. The same kingdom that Daniel and Isaiah and Jeremiah and others prophesied and spoke about that someday would come about under the period of the Roman Empire. Here we find in this passage that again it says, "This will be done." In fact, verse 3 goes on to refer to Isaiah and it says, "Just like the prophet said that John would come and speak of the kingdom as the voice crying in the wilderness preparing the way of the Lord and making the path straight." John the Baptist, a man here who proclaimed that God's kingdom would soon come. It wasn't just John however, not a whole lot older John was than the man Jesus Himself there again in just a chapter over, chapter 4 and verse 17, we see Jesus the Christ, the son of God in the flesh, the Savior of the world. There in verse 17 it says, "Begin to preach and say repent..." Why? "...for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." John said the kingdom was coming. John said the Messiah, the Savior was coming to bring the kingdom and Jesus said, "Yes, the kingdom is coming," and Jesus said, "and I am the Messiah, I am the Savior."
And then we see He clarified in chapter 16 that really it would come, that it would be about what God had said and that it would accomplish the great things that had been prophesied about. In chapter 16 there in verse 18 as Peter had just made the great confession that Jesus Christ was the very son of God, verse 18 says, "And I also say to you, you are Peter and upon this rock, I will build My church and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." The church. Jesus said, "I will build My church." He's already said, "The kingdom is at hand. I will build My church." There we have it. The doctrine of the kingdom.
But is the kingdom and the church the same? Well look on to verse 19 because there He said, "And I will give you the keys to this kingdom." The kingdom. The church. The body of Christ.
There are some other passages that might help us clearly with understanding that this entity, the kingdom, the church and these things spoken of are truly the same in the commands and in the Words of God. In fact, if you'll look there in the book of Colossians chapter 1 and verse 13 after the Day of Pentecost, after Acts chapter 2, we find here in verse 13 of Colossians 1, He says there that "we have been delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed or put into the kingdom of His dear son." You see, by the time of the Colossian letter as Paul wrote it, he says that they were already coming out of darkness and being put into a kingdom that at this time already existed.
Well what was this kingdom? Well look with me at verse 18. It says there, "And He is the head of the body, the church who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead that in all things He may have the preeminence." Here this kingdom is referred to as the body in which Christ is the head and furthermore it says here, "The body which is the church, the kingdom, the body and the church." No doubt this is why in the Ephesian letter in Ephesians chapter 5 that Paul said there in verse 23 that "the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is head of the church and is Christ is Savior of the body."
Do you hear those words again? The church, the body, the kingdom. Who is head of it? Christ . Who better than the one who gave His own body for our sakes to purchase the church as we'll look at in just a moment? Who better to be head than the son of God Himself?
We might even turn over to Ephesians chapter 1. There in verse 22 of Ephesians chapter 1 it says there that "all things have been put under His feet and He has been given to be head over all things to the church." There again, the church that at this time the body, that at this time the kingdom, that at this time already was in existence. Now as we then consider these things and think about these things, when was the time that the church was fulfilled? The kingdom or the body? When do we find these things actually transpiring according to the great commands of God?
Well before we look to Acts chapter 2, I want you to turn with me to the book of Mark in Mark chapter 9 because some try to say, "Well, we're still waiting on the kingdom." I think it's interesting what Jesus here said to His disciples as He was trying to help them with the concepts of the coming of the kingdom and the idea that the kingdom was at hand. I want you to read with me there in verse 1 of again Mark chapter 9. It says, "Jesus said to His disciples, Assuredly I say to you that there will be some standing here who will not taste of death until they see the kingdom of God present with power." You see that there that some whom He was speaking to, some who were then alive would not die before the kingdom of God came with power. Well wasn't it the Lord who told His disciples there in several of the accounts there that we find at the end of the gospels as they are written clearly about the one true gospel, the different writers as they give their own viewpoint or own account, that they say that they were told to go to Jerusalem there and to wait.
Here again in Acts 1 we find the same thing as it says there in verse 7 of chapter 1, "It is not for you to know times and seasons which the Father has put in His own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Sumaria and to the end of the earth."
Where were they? They were in Jerusalem. What were they waiting on, on the day of Pentecost? Do you remember our prophecy there in Isaiah that someday from Jerusalem the Word would (inaudible). Here we find they're waiting in Jerusalem for what? For the power to receive the power, the power that Jesus spoke of in Mark 9 and verse 1. Some of you won't die until you see the power come and kingdom come when that power is identified.
Well then if you'll turn over to chapter 2 we find these things come to pass. We see they were assembled on the Day of Pentecost, followers of God from all over the world of that day. In verse 4 it says, "They were filled with the Holy Spirit and they began to speak (it says there) in tongues, cloven tongues. They understood in their own language..." verse 8 tells us, "and the power of God could be seen by all because they now heard and understood for the first time who God was. And what did the sermon do that Peter and the others were preaching? "It pricked them to the heart," in verse 37 of chapter 2, "until they cried out, 'Men and brethren what must we do? How can we get over killing the very son of God as you have just condemned us?'" And in verse 38, they were told by Peter to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." It says, "This promise..." in verse 39, "is for you and your children and to all who are far off." Do you remember what it said also back in Isaiah and Daniel? "This kingdom would last forever, that this kingdom would be for all nations, all men, all people. This promise is for you and for all peoples if they will obey." If they will do what? Repent and be baptized. Well, what happened? "Those who believed..." it says in verse 41, "gladly received the Word and were baptized." And then in verse 47, it goes on to say there that those were being added to the church who were saved." In other words, when they obeyed, when they believed in the Word and they repented and were baptized, the salvation then caused them to be put into the church. Now think about that for a moment. Haven't we read a verse about that already? Colossians chapter 1 and verse 13, "they were being translated out of darkness into the kingdom, the church of His dear son." Aren't we those who leave sin and darkness behind when we obey the gospel of Christ, when we repent, when we confess His name and we are baptized and then don't we put on Christ (Galatians 3:27-28) and then as we put Him on, are we not added, as it says here, to the kingdom, the church? Just as they had left darkness and put into the kingdom, are we not also? Certainly we are. Certainly we are put into that kingdom and certainly you and I today want to make sure that we are a part of such a good and precious and wondrous institution that certainly is that which God has commanded. That is what God really has told us that we must be a part of and that we need to know about and to prove ourselves through. And why? Because it was that church that He purchased with His blood.
I want you to turn to Acts chapter 20 with me and in verse 28 and notice here in relationship to what is said about shepherds or elders that it's clearly mentioned what bought the church. There in Acts 20 and verse 28 as he refers to the shepherds and tells them to care for the flock. "Among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, the shepherd..." The what? ...the church must have been in existence here in Acts. He says, "Shepherd the church." If the church didn't exist, if the kingdom didn't exist how did they shepherd it? Well shepherd the church that existed of God which He purchased with what? His own blood.
Now let me ask you a question. Is the doctrine of the church important? Well certainly it is of the utmost importance. If it is purchased with the blood of Christ itself, how could it be anymore precious? How could it be anymore wondrous? If it has the head being Jesus, the Savior of the body being Jesus, the son of God, the one who died and gave His blood so that we might have forgiveness of sins, so that we might be obedient. Is the church important? Certainly! Is the God that we know, is His doctrine that we should be in the church? Certainly! And as the Corinthian writer says, "It is that church, that kingdom someday that will be delivered back to the Father." Do you not want to be a part of an institution, a body, a kingdom, a church that God purchased with the blood of His own son, that someday He will receive back and take to heaven for eternity? I know that you do, so why not today obey your God and allow God through your obedience to add you to His precious blood-bought church?
(SONG # 3 - "Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus!")
What a blessing it has been to join together in the things of God this morning. Thank you for doing your part in making all these things to be according to His Will. As always, we invite you back every Lord's Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
But for now, let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these items are available on our website: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
Isn't it wonderful to know that God has given us a kingdom on this earth to be a part of. A body that is focused on Him and all about His Will. Are you a member of the church which our Lord built?