THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 4-16-06
LESSON TITLE: "PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE: FAITH"
"For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world; our faith," 1 John 5:4! Faith truly is the victory! Praise be to God that we have been made victorious in this life, through our faith and obedience in Him.
Thanks for joining us this Lord's day for the study of God's Living Word. How blessed we are today to be able to enjoy such opportunities and freedoms, that allow all to offer such times of sacrifice before His wondrous throne. I hope we all do our part this Lord's day, in participating in this worship toward God and in doing all things in accordance to His Perfect Will!
So, at this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:
Next Sunday is the day when we gather for our taping of songs for this program. We will begin at 2:00, at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ building, in Springfield. We hope to see many of you there.
Now let's begin praising our God through song. Won't you join with the congregation at this time as we sing together a hymn that reminds us of the great sacrifice our Lord and Savior made for each and every one of us. The name of the song, "Low In The Grave!"
(SONG # 1)
The death of our Lord is certainly a strong reminder of just how much He loved each and every one of us. I often think of the great sacrifice which our Lord made for you and me and I am reminded of the great agony and suffering He was willing to endure that I might have forgiveness of sins and salvation through His name.
In the account of Jesus life, leading up to that moment of His final death we are reminded of just what He was willing to bear. I specifically recall the mockery of the soldiers who led Him away from Pilate. In fact, in Mark 15:17-19, we read, "And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, 'Hail, King of the Jews!' Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him." Can you imagine this type of taunting and abuse. They proclaimed, "Hail, King of the Jew," however, they didn't mean a word of it.
What about us today, do we praise and uplift our God as we should? Do we laud and magnify His holy name and proclaim with our lips, "All Hail the Power of Jesus name!" I know that we often sing this in a song, but do we really understand it and mean it. Or have we allowed the fruit of our lips to become a mockery as well?
Brethren and friend, for all that we know and for all that our God has done for us, may we truly do all that we can to give Him praise, honor and glory. Our God is truly worth this adoration and is certainly deserving of it. Will you give to God the adoration which He is due, and not only in word, but in deed! Make a commitment to do so today and every day that you might be found faithful before His throne in the end!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. We are glad to again have brother Kevin Patterson with us. Brother Kevin is the minister for the South Bolivar Church of Christ. It is great to have him with us this Lord's day to lead us in our main study from God's Word.
As far as our topic of the day we will again focus on our new series which is entitled, "Partakers of the Divine Nature." Our specific lesson of the morning deals with the first of the Christian virtues, "Faith." So please stay with us and after our next song together we will be lead by brother Patterson is this discussion from God's Word! Now let's join in our second hymn of the day, It's name, "All Hail The Power Of Jesus."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
"Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust, but also for this very reason giving all diligence add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For is these things are yours and abound, you will neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ."
I want to thank you for tuning in and staying with us this morning as we study another portion from God's most holy Word.
The passage of scripture I just read came from 2 Peter chapter 1, verses 2-8, and it sets the stage for a series of lessons that began last week entitled, "Partakers of the Divine Nature." The apostle Peter wrote this letter to new Christians in the 1st century teaching them how to live in this life so that they would be assured of the life to come. It's application can still be made for our lives today and this morning, we are going to be examining the first of the qualities that Peter lists that all children of God are to have and are to have increasingly. This morning, we are going to talk about faith.
First of all, I want us to recognize some of the important characteristics from this passage. First of all, Peter tells us that all things pertaining to life and godliness have already been given to us. Therefore we know and we can be assured that God's complete plan has been revealed to us in the Bible. Therefore we go to the Bible for our answers and we go to the Bible so that we can learn how to live in this life and so that we can look forward to living with God in Heaven in the life to come. All of those things have been given to us. In addition, he says in verse 4 that "exceedingly great and precious promises have been given to us and it is through these that we are able to be partakers of the divine nature." In other words, we are able to be participants with God in holiness and righteousness throughout eternity. What a wonderful gift this is that has been given to us. But then he starts to say... Peter writes in verse 5, "But also for this very reason..." In other words, because all things have been given to us, because of these great promises that have been given to us, because we can be partakers of the divine nature, because of this then there is something that God wants us to continue to do. He wants us to first of all build upon the basic foundation of Christianity and that is our faith.
In the weeks to come, there will be more of these qualities that we're going to study but this morning, we are going to talk about that fundamental foundational building block of Christianity called faith. What is faith? Probably no better definition can be given for faith than the one that is given in Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1 which reads in its entirety, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." You know I have never seen God face to face, but I believe whole-heartedly that he exists. I am convicted that He is. I have never been to Heaven, never seen the pearly gates, never walked the streets of gold, but I believe it awaits me and all Christians who desire to live godly lives. So faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Perhaps that's why Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 and verse 7, "We walk by faith not by sight." I believe in God. I believe that Heaven awaits me although I have never seen God and I have never witnessed Heaven. I walk by faith, not by sight and so have other Christians throughout the centuries who have believed in these things that they have not been able to physically see or experience with their eyes or lives.
How do we develop such a faith? How do we come to such an assurance of things that we have not witnessed in this life? Perhaps the answer is found in Romans chapter 10 and verse 17. Romans 10:17 teaches us that, "Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." It goes right back to this book, The Living Word. From this book, we gain faith. From this book, we establish a faith, and from this book we continue to walk by faith. Perhaps that is why Jesus said in Mark chapter 11 verses 22-23, He said, "Have faith in God for assuredly I say to you whoever says to this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things that He says will come to pass, he will have whatever He says." Faith is a powerful, powerful blessing, and it has been given to us by God and it is something that God wants us to use and to use in increasing measure.
But the Bible also teaches us something else, something that perhaps is a little bit confusing in the religious world. The Bible teaches us that there is just one faith. Now perhaps that's not confusing in and of itself, but bear with me. Ephesians chapter 4, verses 4-6 describes for us a lot of things that there is only one of. It reads, "There is one body and one spirit just as you were called in one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is above all and through all and in you all." In Paul's letter to the church at Ephesus, he was trying to describe for them the oneness of God and so many things that are godly. Although we know that there is one God the Father and one God the Son and one God the Spirit, these three make up the one God of the Bible. The Bible doesn't say that there are many Gods. The Bible simply says that there is one God made up of three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We understand that. We understand the oneness of that and how it's composed of three parts.
We also see the one body that is referenced in verse 4. We realize that the body is a church and although the church is one body, it is composed of many members, so we understand this oneness and how it is seen in many ways.
We also talk about baptism. He says that there is one baptism in verse 5. We recognize that baptism is also composed of a number of parts. It is being immersed in water for the forgiveness of sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. All of these qualities need to be present for New Testament baptism to take place. So why would we find it any less of a problem to understand that faith also, although there is one faith, it is composed of more than one part. You see, in the religious world today, faith is often described as a belief system only and that is what I want us to talk about in the first part of what Biblical faith is all about. There is an element of faith that requires us to believe. There is an element of faith that requires a mental belief system on our part. This is very clear in scripture. For instance, going back to Hebrews chapter 11, what many people call the faith chapter. In Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 6 reads, "But without faith, it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." If we want to please God with a pleasing faith, the very first thing that we have to do is that we have to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
In John chapter 6 and verse 47, Jesus said, "Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." Would anybody argue that you can go to Heaven without believing in Jesus Christ?
What about John 8 and verse 24 where Jesus said, "Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins. Therefore if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."
Can you imagine for just a moment all of the things that Jesus did in His life that we have not been able to witness? We do get to enjoy those accounts in the Bible and we do get to study about them, but wouldn't it have been neat to have been able to see them on hand? Well, John actually writes that there are a lot of things that are written in the Bible that are there so that we will believe and many other things that were not written down because it would just take up too much space.
In John chapter 20 and verses 30-31, we read that, "Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples which are not written in this book." These things are taught so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name. Belief is an absolute necessity. It is an essential part of faith. But is that the only part?
You see, we read in James how James asked that same question in James chapter 2 and verse 14, but he asked it in this way. He said, "What does it profit my brethren if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?"
He goes on down to make this point in verse 19 "You believe that there is a God, you do well. Even the demons believe and tremble." Does the devil in God? You better believe it. Does the devil believe in Heaven? Absolutely. But is the devil going to be saved in the end? Absolutely not. You see, there is another part of faith that is just as important as belief and that is how to put our belief into action.
Let's read James chapter 2, verses 14-19 to hear what James says in a fuller sense. He says, "What does it profit my brethren if someone says that he has faith but he does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my works by my works. You believe that there is one God, you do well, even the demons believe and tremble." You see, belief alone is not enough. There is something more to it. If we go back to that passage from Hebrews chapter 11, the faith chapter, we read some of the many examples that are given there. We see that people by faith did certain things. Their faith involved action on their parts. For instance in chapter 11, verse 7, "By faith, Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain." Verse 7, "By faith, Noah being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household by which he condemned the world and became heir of righteousness which is according to faith." Verse 17, "By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac." By faith, Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac. There are passages of scripture that talk about the belief that Abraham had and what a great belief that was. But this passage adds to that and talks about the faith that Abraham was willing to put into action.
If we go back to James chapter 2, we read a continuation of this thought. James writes in verse 20, "But do you know, o foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac, his son, on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works..." and pay real close attention to this statement, "...and by works, faith was made perfect."
You see, without works, faith is imperfect. It is incomplete. It is not what God designed it to be. It is two-fold. There are two parts to it. It begins initially with our faith, but it is acted upon by our works. So we recognize once again that faith without works is dead.
Paul said to Titus in Titus 3 and verse 8, "This is a faithful saying and these things I want you to affirm constantly that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to man."
Remember what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 7 and verse 21? He said, "Not everyone who says unto Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the Will of My Father who is in Heaven." Only someone who believed in Jesus would call Him their Master, but only a true servant of the Master will do what the Master wills.
So this morning, we want to encourage you to not only have a faith, but to have a faith that increases and abounds in the Lord. May God bless you.
(SONG # 3 - "There Is A Place Of Quiet Rest!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. No doubt our time spent together has been uplifting to us and acceptable to our God. We invite you to join us every First day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of offering before God!
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Our Faith in Jesus Christ is truly a victorious thing which helps us to overcome all things in this world. Furthermore, it helps us to see the wondrous promise of eternal life. What type of faith do you have in God.