THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-15-01
LESSON TITLE: THE LORD'S RESPONSE: WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?
Here we are again on another beautiful Lord's Day! Thank you for choosing to be with us as we together give this time to our creator.
It will be our privilege this morning to again sing praises to our God and to study from His matchless Word. I hope we all will do our part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer!
I often think of what joy it must bring to God when we do what He commands us to. Our first song this morning reminds us of just how sweet it is to God, when we follow His Will and treat others as we should. Won't you join in our first song this morning, as we sing together, "How Sweet, How Heavenly."
(BREAK FOR SONG #1)
For the past several months we have had a great study together concerning different questions asked of our Lord. In many of these responses we have seen that Jesus also used questions to answer the questions which people directed at Him. What a clever way this was for Him to cause people to think and to contemplate the true understanding which they need to arrive at in their mind.
But why has this study been so important to each of us as followers of God. Well, the answer is because Christ left us a wonderful example of how we should walk and how we should respond in certain situations.
This Jesus, our Lord and Savior, was the greatest teacher who ever lived or who will ever live. This man, the son of God, was the master teacher - who left us an example that we may follow in His footsteps. Let me ask you, "Who better to learn from and follow than God in the flesh Himself, " again, Jesus Christ.
I recall several verses in the Bible which help us to realize these important facts. One is found in Matthew 19:16, where Jesus was asked a question and referred to as the "great or good teacher." I also love what Peter said in his first epistle about the calling that we have in Jesus Christ. There he said, "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps," 2:21!
Today we want to consider possibly the most important question every asked to Jesus by Saul, which we all must consider at one time in our lives or another - if we are to be found pleasing in His sight. The question was, "What do you want me to do?"
So, this morning, we want to consider our last lesson from our series called "The Lord's Response." And as stated our specific topic today will deal with the question, "What do you want me to do?" So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study of the day. Now, let's join in our next hymn together, which is called, "Let the Beauty of Jesus Be Seen!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning. It's so good to always have you with us for our program and to be able to look into the pages of God's word and grow together as followers of God.
This morning we have a very encouraging lesson, a very, very important one. But before that, I did want to make mention of one announcement especially that is of a very urgent need and that's because it starts next week or is happening next weekend. That is on April 22nd, which is Sunday, we're going to have another taping for our congregational singing of The Living Word program and as you just saw on the program and as we see every Sunday morning, we have congregational singing and we actually pre-tape all of that and then edit it into our programs. We're going to have a new taping in order that we might add some new songs and have some more variety to the show here and in fact, we just want to invite anybody, especially those of the church who can come and those who've been involved before, those who would like to be a part of that singing to come and to be with us at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ, and that is on North Kansas Expressway in Springfield. That will be again on April 22nd and it will go from 2:00 in the afternoon until 4:00 in the afternoon, and then we'll also have just a very short service afterwards for those who might be coming from a little bit more of a distance and won't be able to make it in time for their evening worship before they return home. We'll have just a short devotional service also and give those an opportunity who would like to do that before they return to their homes for the evening. So we do hope to see you at that event, to be a part of this, to help support the program. We hope we're doing a fine job as well as glorifying God and praising Him and we do ask you to help in all of these different ways to make it the best that it can be and all participate together for the sake of God.
Our question then today, the last question that we will consider in our series is probably the most important that we've discussed thus far, and the reason is because it deals with things specifically related to salvation and how one becomes a child of God. Really our setting is found in Acts chapter 9, where we find this question. There was a man that you are very familiar with and that I am, the apostle Paul. Though before he became the apostle Paul, we know that his name was Saul. And if you'll look there in actually chapter 9 and verse 1, we find what this man was doing against the church and against Christ and against Christians. In fact, it says there that Saul was still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord even to the High Priest. And it goes on in verse 2 that He was traveling (as it says here) on his way and he was going to the synagogues of Damascus and he was looking for men and women that he could imprison and bind and take them for what they were doing against the Jewish law.
Now in all of these things again, we are reminded of exactly who Saul was and how a devout Jew he was and striving to do what God had said. But what he had failed to understand according to prophecy was that the son of God was coming and that Jesus was that son, that he was that Messiah that Paul and others were still waiting on, that Jesus was that one and He had come to set up a spiritual kingdom, not an earthly kingdom, but here we see that Paul at this time saw, as well as many of the other Jews, had a very difficult time accepting Christ and accepting Christianity. Well, it was on the road to Damascus, as we read here, that a great light showed down, and in fact in verse 4 we see that, and then he fell to the ground because the light was so strong and so blinding. Notice with me if you will then in verse 5 what is said. It says, And he said to Him, "Who are you Lord?" Then the Lord said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads." Here again, we see that very clearly before even the Lord spoke just from what was taking place, the first response of Saul was, "Why do you come, Lord? or why do you want me? or What can I do? In other words, he knew who it was immediately and he responded to that.
But then verse 6 is where we actually find the question of the morning, a question that's not just ask here as we'll see in just a moment, but a question that was very, very important because notice the situation as this light was shining, as he knew it was the Lord speaking to him. What was the response of Saul? It says here in verse 6, So he trembling and astonished said, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" Then the Lord said to him, "Arise and go into the city and you will be told what you must do."
Here we see the great respect, admiration, the love, the honor, the fear that is mentioned here of Saul for really God. Now, how many of us have that same type of devotion or respect for Him? In fact, the idea is mentioned here that he was trembling because of the honor and respect, because of the power, the awesome nature that he understood that the God of all of his ancestors was as he had heard so many great and powerful stories about what this God could do and did for the Israelite nation.
But then we see in verse 6 that question, "Lord, what do you want me to do? What would you have me to do?" What a beautiful question. What a wonderful question because here Saul asked the primary question that really we all must ask in our lives, that question that is pricked and motivated by so many other things because of what we are faced with in the world and the problems and the sin of our everyday lives.
In fact, if you will go with me now to a few other places in the gospel accounts, we'll find the very same question was asked. The disciples, at one point in the book of Mark chapter 10 and verse 26, asked Jesus this question, "Who then can be saved?" It was there that he was talking about the rich man and how that it was difficult for a rich man to become a child of God and they were asking, "Who can be saved?"
Another place is in Luke 3 and 10 where we see there that people were asking John the Baptist, and they said, "What shall we do?" Here again the same response. What do I need to do? Can I be saved? How can I be saved? The same types of responses.
We mentioned Saul, but what also about the jailer in Acts chapter 16 and verse 30. Here the Philippian jailer had the same question saying, "What must I do to be saved?" After he had been told what God was all about, after he'd seen the works of the Lord as the bars had flown open and everyone could have fled, but they did not, but the power of God was seen. He said, "What must I do to be saved?" And again, we find the question must be in our hearts, in our minds also today.
I remember on the day of Pentecost. It was a beautiful situation when so many people, followers again of the Father in heaven, came together for the Pentecost and as they were there, it was then that they were reminded that the son who they had rejected, Jesus Christ, He was God's messenger. He was God's son. He was the Messiah prophesied about. And what did it do? It pricked them in their hearts in Acts chapter 2.
Then we find in verses 37 and 38 some beautiful words and we'll look at them a little bit deeper in just a moment, but the first thing they said as they cried out to the men and brethren, "What shall we do?" You see, they were convicted. They knew they needed Christ and they wanted to know how they received Him or how they could follow Him and be a part of Him. Now you see, all of these things to be very encouraging to us because this is a pertinent question to all of us as we are to be followers of God.
I do want to make one other statement and idea presented here in this part of the lesson before we actually go on to looking to the answers that were given in the scriptures to tell us what we truly must do, not just then, but also today. But why is it that we need to know this answer? Well, there are several reasons. I'll just mention them briefly. One is because of sin in the world. In Romans chapter 3 and verse 23, it says, All have sinned. Remember there that Paul was talking to Christians, that even to the Christians he said, All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Whether we are in Christ or out of Christ, we still have temptations and we still sin, but that's why we must be in God to have help from sinning and also to have the forgiveness of sins when we do make mistakes. But there is sin. It's present in the world and we've got to have salvation. What must I do to be saved in order to get out of sin, in order to be translated out of darkness into the kingdom of the dear son, that is Jesus Christ? We know the scriptures tell us this, but also because of the knowledge of heaven and hell. Over and over in the scriptures such as Matthew 25 we're reminded of those who will either receive eternal life or those who will receive eternal damnation, those who will do those things according to God's will and receive good, or those who will be rejected because they have not. So the main reasons we need to know about "What must I do to be saved?" is so that we might be able to receive the great reward of eternal life. When this life is over and our lives are short on this earth, we can go for an eternity to be with God, but not only that, but on this earth we'll receive the forgiveness of sins that will be put away and we'll receive the great blessings that God has promised us if we seek His kingdom first as we read in Matthew 6 and 33.
Now let's look at the question "What must I do to be saved?" Well, in Acts 4 verses 10 through 12, we find out there that Jesus is the only place we can find salvation. In fact, it says there that He is the cornerstone. Christ is the only one who can lead us to the Father. He is the mediator. In fact, it says that By no other name can we find salvation in that which is Jesus Christ, the son of God. So we need to know Jesus. How do we know Him? Well, we've got to learn who He is, and then we've got to be obedient to what He tells us to do. But hearing is that first step. It is that first thing that we must know because if we never hear, how can we respond? If I was to go to someone one day and just say out of the middle of nowhere and they had never heard of Christ, and say, "Do you want to obey the gospel?" And if they had never heard of Jesus. Without hearing, how can they obey? So hearing is important. And that's why in Romans chapter 10 and verse 17 it says there that faith comes by hearing. It is that faith there that is produced. Remember, faith in Hebrews 11 and verse 6 must be there. It's impossible to please God without faith. So how do we get that faith? Well, we hear about God and before we can respond, we've got to hear. We've got to know what He wants. So what must I do to be saved? I must hear the word. And when I hear it, I begin to learn about what God wants or would have me to do as a follower, as a child in His service, in His kingdom.
Not only hearing though, but when we hear what God has to say, we need to be those who are willing to believe it. Over and over again in the scripture, we see the concepts of belief being presented. In fact, in the book of Hebrews 11 and verse 6, we mention faith, but on top of that faith, belief is present there. It is faith that really is defined as belief. Faith just really to me goes a step further in showing that it is that belief in action and that's what we find actually in the book of James chapter 2 where it says there, Show me faith without works, and I'll show you faith with works. There again, belief being demonstrated is faith. So we need to believe. We need to believe what we have heard just as it said in Mark 16:15-16 where Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." We must believe to be what? Saved. He said there, Christ, belief equals salvation. Yes, it's important and yes, we must do it.
Repentance is also very important because we've already mentioned that we are sinners especially outside of Christ, not yet in His blood, we are in sin. That's why we read in verses such as Luke 13:3 where Jesus said, "Except you repent, you will perish." Repentance is not only something that we must think about or consider. It is something that we must do or Jesus said we will what? We will perish. Isn't that why also in Peter that Jesus said through the inspired writers that we must realize that God is one who wants all men to come to repentance. Why? Because repentance is a requirement. That's why also on the day of Pentecost, where we mentioned already, and they cried out, "Men and brethren, what must we do?" The response there that Peter and the others gave them first was to repent. Repent and be baptized. So there repentance is a requirement. It is something that must be there so that when we've heard and we respond by hearing with the belief and the understanding to act on that. Well a part of that action again, as we see here, is that we repent. We say, "I no longer want to be of the world and like the world. I want to be like Christ."
But then also we must confess. Why confession? Because something must be done with the mouth. In fact, in the book of Romans 10 again, verses 9 and 10, we see there that it is with the mouth that confession made unto salvation. So we must confess. We must say that, "Yes, I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God." It has to come from our mouths. Why? Because when our mouths produce it, it shows what's inside. It shows the true belief. It shows what is in the heart. In fact, in Romans 10:10, not only there but also as we've mentioned in the book of Matthew again, in verses 32 and 33 of chapter 10. Jesus said there that "Whoever confesses me before my father in heaven, he also will confess us before His father in heaven." So there again, confession, stating and proving and believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God and proving that through the use of our mouth.
What about baptism? Baptism is something else. I think we can all agree on what's been said so far. But usually, baptism is something that many groups like to say is something to join the church. But really that's not what we find in scripture because many of the same passages we've already used, such as Mark 16:15-16 says, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Here we see the link of the two put together. We say, "Yes, we've got to believe, but oh, forget about baptism." Baptism is a part of it. It's very, very important that we prove through this act of faith, our obedience unto salvation just as we talked about repentance, confession and so many other different acts so far. What about in Acts 2:38 on that day when they cried out again, "What must we do?" Repent and be baptized. They are in conjunction there, tied in together. If you say, "Yes, you need to repent." Then why leave off the baptism? Because there again baptism was mentioned as a specific thing they had to do when they said, "What must we do?" And then also in Galatians 3:27, probably one of the most clear verses as Paul here was writing to the brethren of Galatia and trying to help them with probably the very same question and the very same problem. You see there in Galatians chapter 3 and verse 27 that it says this, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. How do we put on Christ? It says there in Galatians 3:27 by being baptized we put on Christ. Then he says and that's for anybody, free or bond or anybody who needs to be an obedient child of God. Everybody is welcome to obey the gospel call of Jesus Christ. Another verse I wanted to mention to you is found over in the book of 1 Peter 3:21 where it talks about how that baptism is something that saves us. In fact, the comparison there says that just as Noah was saved by water in the flood, verse 21 says that there is also an anti-type which now saves us, baptism. Why does it save us? Well, because it's a figurative thing. Romans chapter 6, verses 1 through 6 helps us to understand that through that action we are buried as Christ is buried in the watery grave and we rise as heroes from the grave as a new creature, a new person in Christ. If you'll read the verses there in Romans 6, 1 through 6, then you'll find the importance again of baptism and how it is part of the equation.
What about faithfulness? We've mentioned faithfulness. Faithfulness is different. Living every day as God asked. In fact in Revelation 2:10, Be faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life. After you've done the other things and as we read in Acts 2:47, the Lord adds you to the church, and then you must do what He asked you to do according to what is said here in the Bible.
You see, it's all there. It's all a part of the plan. It's all something that we must do. It's all something that we are required to do. If I were to go on a journey and I was to ask someone, "How do I get to Memphis from Springfield?" And they said, "Well, you go through West Plains and you go through Hardy and you go through Jonesboro." Yes, that would be right. That would be a way that I could go and if I got to West Plains and said, "How do you get to Memphis?" They said, "Well, you go through Hardy and Jonesboro." Well, they left off West Plains. But that's because I was at a different point. And as we look at these conversions and we see these different methods and we take all the Bible as a whole, then we see the necessity to see where we are. Do we need to believe? If so, then do it. Do you need to repent? Maybe you already believe and you just need to repent. Then repent of your sins and turn to Christ. Maybe you believe and maybe you've repented, but maybe you haven't confessed His name before mankind to prove that you really believe in Him, then why not today confess His name? And if you haven't been baptized, why not then also put on Christ then in baptism? SO then and only then can the Lord add you to His church because you have been found obedient to His will.
(SONG # 3 - "Just As I Am!")
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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What a great blessing we have been given to know truly what our Savior expects of those who want to be added to His fold. May we each accept what He says and follow His Will accordingly.