THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 4-19-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF GOD: PREACHING JESUS”
What a wonderful Lord’s Day it is, as we again gather together before the throne of God to Worship our Maker! We are so happy that you have chosen to be with us today and to give this time to the Lord. In fact, it is our privilege to be with you every Sunday morning, as we consider together, God’s Living Word.
It is my hope and prayer today that we are all uplifted in our fellowship together. Furthermore, I pray that we will glorify and praise our Creator in these acts of Worship which we participate in collectively as those who love God.
As we begin our homage to God on this day, will you bow with me in prayer!
In Ephesians 2:8, Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are saved by the very grace of God? Today, we would like to begin our songs of praise with a hymn that reminds us of this wondrous grace which God has bestowed on all of His Children. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “I Will Sing The Wondrous Story?”
(SONG # 1)
There are many in this world who are willing to take strong stands for things they believe in. In fact, many go to drastic extremes to make a point, or to show they are willing to stand up for those causes they support. You can turn on the news about any day and see those who march boldly on the picket line, or others who are being carried away by the? Again, consider how far these individuals are willing to go to support their agenda.
Now, my question is, where are we in our support of Christ? How far are we willing to go as followers of God to show this world that we support Him and that His Will comes first? Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we break the law or do things which set a bad example for Christ. However, there are many things we can do within our rights in this country to show where we stand in connection to those things which are according to God’s Word and those things which are against His Word!
One verse that always stands out in my mind in relationship to this point is found in 1 Corinthians 15:58. There we read, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” In this text we read that the follower of God is suppose to be visibly obeying those things of the Father! Therefore, Paul encourages us to be steadfast, not cowards or wishy-washy - but ready to be counted and considered an asset to the cause! He says we must be immovable, not blowing with every wind that comes, but being consistent and strong in our belief according to God’s Will.
Finally, this text says we are to be, “always abounding in the Work of the Lord!” Are we workers for our God? Are we serving our Creator by doing all we can to show we are willing to do that which He requires?
Brethren and friends, let me remind you - all this will surely be worth it. Our labor will not be in vain, but we will be rewarded and receive that which God has promised to His own, who are faithful to the end. The question for us this morning may be, “Just how far are we willing to go to serve our God?” “What sacrifices are we willing to make?” Or, “what type of suffering are we willing to endure for the sake of Christ?” “Will you choose to be ‘steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.’?”
Today we will be continuing our series on “The Gospel Of God!” Our next lesson will deal with, “Preaching Jesus!” And we are happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us for this time of study from God’s Word. Brother Kevin is the minister for the HWY 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar and we thank him for being with us again.
So stay with us and after our next song together, brother Patterson 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, “All The Way My Savior Leads Me.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
The place in the scripture which he read was this, “He was led as a sheep to the slaughter and as a lamb to the shearer is silent, so He opened not his mouth. In His humiliation, His justice was taken away. And who will declare His generation for His life is taken from the earth.” So the Eunuch answered Philip and said, “I ask you of whom does the prophet say this of himself or of some other man?” Then Philip opened his mouth and beginning at that scripture preached Jesus to him. That passage of scripture is from Acts chapter 8 verses 32-35.
I thank you for staying with us this morning and being a part of this worship to the one true God of the universe and to be a part of this study of His most Holy Word.
Several weeks ago, we began a series of lessons entitled “The Gospel of God.” Within that series, today we are going to specifically examine the focus that must be at the heart of any gospel message that is taught or proclaimed to others, and that is the message of preaching Jesus.
The gospel of God is very simply the good news of God. It is this Good News that Jesus commanded in Mark chapter 16 verses 15-16 that we are “to go into all the world and preach.” We are to preach that gospel to every creature or to all of creation. Verse 16 reads, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not believe will be condemned.” This is why the apostle Paul said in Romans 1 verses 15 and 16 that he “was ready to preach the gospel.” He was ready to take that Good News out to the world and to share it with others. He further said in verse 16, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first and also the Greek.”
But what is this Good News? Well perhaps the best definition of this is found in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verses 1-4 where the gospel, the Good News is more greatly defined for us as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. Paul writes, “Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that Word which I preach to you unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
If the gospel is the Good News of Jesus Christ, if it is information that we can hear and that we can then believe, why does Romans chapter 10 and verse 16 concern itself with those who have not obeyed the gospel? That’s because the gospel of God is not simply a message of hope, it is the plan through which all men might be saved.
In passages like Romans chapter 3 and verse 23, we realize that men sin. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” that passage reads. And in Romans chapter 6 and verse 23, we realize that the payoff or the price or the consequence of that sin is death when Paul again writes, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So we realize that we are in a difficult predicament if we stay immersed and ultimately lost in our sin. We want to be saved and God wants to save us. This is why the comparison or the gospel of Jesus Christ, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ can be so easily compared to the way by which God wants us to be saved. In the same way that Jesus lived and died and was buried in a tomb and rose again, according to Romans chapter 6 verses 3-4 we, too, have the ability to live in sin, but if we will die to that sin and be buried in the waters of baptism, we can rise to walk in newness of life. Paul wrote to the church at Rome, “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death. Therefore, we were buried with Him through baptism into death that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
In the same way that the story of victory of Jesus’ resurrection is told to us, we can experience that victory by rising to walk a new life as a Christian leaving the sins of the past behind us and walking forward into the glory that God wants to share with us. But if a person wants to go to Heaven, obeying the gospel is not simply an option, it is a necessity.
If you were to turn with me to 2 Thessalonians chapter 1 verses 6-10 you would remember that Paul wrote the church at Thessalonica and he said to them, “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who (listen to this) know not God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul says, “These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power when He comes in that day to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe because our testimony among you was believed.” To know the gospel of God, believe it and to obey it as He has commanded is necessary for eternal life. That plan is such a wonderful plan. That plan is something that we can believe, but we must accept it and we must live it in our lives so that the plan that God intended to use to save us in the end will come to fruition in our lives. I would say however that many well intentioned people have started off on the right path only to end up in the wrong place. And why is that? That perhaps is the key to our lesson today. It is perhaps because they failed to keep at the heart of their message or at the heart of their gospel Jesus.
Let me give you an example. If you were to turn to the book of Galatians chapter 1 verses 6-9 you would hear once again the apostle Paul writing to a group of Christians. He was writing to the Christians of Galatia, a group of people who had strayed away from the central theme that they had once embraced. You see, these Christians according to a later passage, chapter 5 and verse 4, had been separated from Christ. They had fallen from grace because they had traded the gospel that had been entrusted to them, the Good News of Jesus Christ, the death, the burial and the resurrection of the Son of God. They had traded that for something else. They had tried to add to it maybe some things from a previous covenant and in so doing they changed, they distorted the gospel of Christ and turned it into something which Paul addresses as really no gospel at all because it was not what God intended you to believe. It was not what God intended for you to obey. It was not what God intended for you to live.
Galatians 1 beginning in verse 6, Paul says, “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ, but even if we or an angel from Heaven preached any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed and we have said before so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you other than that which you have received, let him be accursed.”
Nearly 2,000 years have passed and the same possibility is true today as in the 1st century when Paul penned this letter. You see the Galatian Christians had tried to change the gospel of Christ. They had lost their focus. They had missed the central message of Jesus Christ and they had replaced it with another. Some people today have replaced the gospel of Jesus with other gospels, with perverted messages and other centralized themes. Let me give you an example or two.
Some people today have replaced the gospel of Jesus with a gospel of money. Let me give you an example. Just turn around to your local radio station or television station and listen to some of the speakers that come on there and consider how long it will take you to listen to them before they ask you for money, before they ask you for a donation.
Some people have replaced the gospel of Jesus with a gospel of popularity. Just listen to religious people who often want to talk more about themselves than they do about the Christ.
Some people have replaced the gospel of Jesus with a gospel of tradition. Ask many people in the religious world today, people who claim Jesus Christ is their Lord, but ask them why they believe the things that they believe and do the things that they do. Perhaps the best answer they will be able to give is, “Well that’s how we’ve always done it. That’s how my mother and my father did it. That’s how I was raised. That’s just the tradition I’ve always been involved in.”
Well even in the body of Christ, many Christians have replaced the gospel of Jesus with a gospel of tradition or perhaps even a gospel of opinion. How many lessons are preached today from the pulpits not the teachings of Christ, but the preferences of the individual? How many lessons are preached not from the Word of God, but from the opinion of the person? How many lessons today are preached not on the rock of salvation but from the soap box of selfishness? In other words, many people claim to preach Jesus, but listen to their words. Observe their actions. If you do so long enough you will soon discover what is really most important to them, what is at the core of their message, what is the central theme of their lives and you will find many times unfortunately that it is not Jesus. Faithful followers of the gospel of Christ cannot be guilty of this. We need to be like Paul who said in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verses 22-24, “For Jews request a sign and Greeks seek after wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified to the Jews a stumbling block, to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called both Jews and Greeks Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” Paul would later say in 2 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 5, “For we do not preach ourselves but Christ Jesus the Lord and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.”
I remember a gentleman that I ran into several years back. I was new in an area and I was attending a local event and the gentleman walked up to me and he said, “You’re Kevin Patterson aren’t you?” I said, “Yes sir.” He said, “Well I am so and so.” I said, “Good to meet you.” He said, “Well you have probably heard of me.” I said, “Well no.” He said, “Oh well I’ve been a missionary. I have done mission work. I went off into a foreign land,” and he started to list off all of the things that he had done. He had established several congregations. He had converted several people. He had gone and done all of these great works in the mission field. I finally looked at him and said, “Isn’t it amazing what God can do?” I think maybe he got the message.
You see, our focus should not be on self. Our focus should not be on anything of this world. Our focus should be on Jesus. I hear so many people talk about spokes of a wheel. They talk about, “Oh we’re all part of the same wheel. We’re just different spokes.” The problem is they focus on the spokes. They focus on all these things and they are missing what they should be focused on and that is the center of the wheel, that’s the center of our lives and that is Jesus Christ. Make no mistake about it. By preaching Jesus, we are not only to preach His name; we are to preach everything He ever stood for. We are to preach the very things that He taught.
In Matthew’s account of Jesus Christ, he also gives a great commission much like the one that we read earlier from Mark 16:15-16, but in Matthew’s account in Matthew 28 verses 19-20 Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.”
You see if we are going to use the wheel as an illustration, if we’re going to use the spokes, then what we are talking about is Jesus Christ is that center of the wheel and all of the spokes are His teachings and all of the things that we teach in life must derive their point of origin from Jesus Christ the source. If we believe in Jesus, if we love Jesus, if we accept Him as our Savior, then what we must do is stand for all that He has proclaimed. We are to teach all that He commanded us.
It is interesting that back in Acts chapter 8 when Phillip preaches to the Ethiopian Eunuch he doesn’t talk about a lot of things that might have been popular in that day. He doesn’t talk about a lot of things that might be popular in our day. What he does talk about is Jesus. Even though they are reading from an old testament passage of scripture, you’ll remember that in verse 35 Phillip opened his mouth and beginning at this scripture preached Jesus to him.
This morning, I want to encourage you as I encourage myself to remember to keep a proper focus on that which we believe and obey. Let us remember to always and only ever preach Jesus.
(SONG # 3 - “Is It For Me Dear Savior!”)
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering for God!
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Thank God for those who preach and thank God for the Gospel of His Son, Jesus Christ. How blessed we are to know the Will of God and to have the privilege of obeying it unto salvation.