THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-10-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF GOD: PREACH IT AND LIVE IT”
Isn’t it great to know God and to have the privilege of gathering together and praising His name on this wondrous Lord’s Day? Thanks for joining us on this special day. We are so happy to have you this morning for this time of offering to God. How blessed we are in this country to have the freedom to assemble this day and to give this time to our Creator. It is my hope and prayer that we will each do our part to make this time of worship acceptable in God’s sight and according to His Will!
Now as we begin to focus our thoughts on God, will you bow with me before His throne in prayer?
When was the last time you had a completely quiet and relaxing day? Personal and rejuvenating times like these are certainly a commodity and they usually are few and far between. I know as a parent who works, it really seems that there is never a dull moment or any time for self. However, at the end of the day we all need our own space from time to time.
However, the Bible speaks of a day that we will have rest and peace for an eternity. These blessings will be ours in heaven. So I hope you will join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Just Over In The Glory Land Way!”
(SONG # 1)
Sometimes we might wonder just how much God cares for us. We are probably even guilty of feeling that sometimes God just doesn’t care at all. However, I can assure you that this is completely untrue. In fact, the Bible is full of personal examples and statements given by God’s followers that proves the true care and concern of our Lord for us.
One such verse that confirms God’s care is found in Isaiah 43:1,2. Here we read about God’s true love and care for a faithful servant and just how far God will go for those He loves. There we read, “But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.” God loves us enough to always be there and to always stay by our side.
Another great verse in the New Testament that helps us with this thought is found in Hebrews 13:5, there it says, “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” Brethren and friends, I think we often forget just how much our God does love us and care for us as His ultimate creation. Now, the question is, “have you responded to that love and care through an obedience to His Will?” If not, why not? Choose today to serve this loving and caring God as He has commanded you to.
As far as our series, today we will be continuing to talk about, “The Gospel Of God” The specific lesson of the day will focus on the thought, “Preach It And Live It!” So please stay with us and after our next song, I will be leading us in this study from God’s Word. Now let’s join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thanks for continuing with us now as we go back to God’s Word and consider together what it is that He wants of those who follow the gospel of Christ. In fact, the Bible certainly tells us many things as we have seen for months now about the precious gospel and what it means to us, the challenges from it and once again today we are going to look at the gospel of God. Specifically what we will look at today is our need to preach it and to live it.
If you’ll turn with me to the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 9 there is a verse that actually mentions these two aspects in relationship to the glorious gospel of God. Verse 14 says, “Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should (what?) live from the gospel.” Notice what it states. God has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live by the gospel. Wow what a mighty statement and a powerful statement, what a challenge to you and to me that we might make sure that we spend our lives in proclamation of the gospel not only in word that others might hear it, but in the way that we live that they might see it and want to know Christ through us.
Now with that in mind and we read about this command of God, I want you also to notice with me that this is the very concept given to us in the Great Commission. In Mark chapter 16 there around verses 16 and following, we find that Great Commission given to “Go into all the world (and what?) preach the gospel.” Who was to go? God’s chosen ones, His disciples. We know that included not only the apostles but also the hundreds and even thousands of individuals who had obeyed the gospel of Christ. So what was the challenge? That not only they but the whole world might hear the gospel through believers. He said to “preach the gospel to every creature.” Why? So that he that believeth might be saved and he that believeth not will be what? Condemned. You see there was a need to believe and obey. On the other hand, if one rejected after hearing the gospel, certainly they would not receive the great rewards, but rather the punishment or the curses found therein. With these things in mind, then what we would like to do today is to look there again at 1 Corinthians 9 and other passages throughout scripture that show us that we are to preach the gospel of Christ, but also things pertaining to preaching the gospel.
Then on the other hand, what we will look at is the need to live the gospel. Not only because as we read in verse 14 that we are commanded as those who preach it that we should live it, but that’s exactly what we continue to find emphasized in the scriptures and which would make common sense to anyone who loves God. How could I say I know the gospel and I believe it but I’m not going to follow it or live it? Or how can I tell others what to do that is right and then not live it at all? We know we have all heard that idea about practicing what we preach. The sad reality is that many in the religious world today do not practice what they preach. On Sundays, you might hear a sermon or you might see certain types of dress and clothing and you might hear certain types of language that seems spiritual and you might hear those proclaiming to be Christians and all that they do and say on the Lord’s Day is proper in His sight and is pleasing, but then you meet that same individual in town or at Wal-Mart or at the ball field, or you meet them somewhere in a common situation at work and what do you find? Language that is contrary to the Will of God. Maybe jokes that are being told that are not proper, maybe all types of dress that is worn or actions that are being done or on and on and on we could go to show how important it is that when we preach what we preach that we live it. Can you imagine if Jesus had come to the earth and He had preached the gospel but He had lived as a wicked or sinful person? How many would have listened to Him? How many would have heard Him? Zero! Because they would have said, “Why should we listen to someone who He Himself has not proven to be truthful?” We can’t claim one thing and be another thing. We must prove that we are of God. How? By seeing as those who obey God and who live for God and who illuminate the life that is God-like.
With that in mind, let’s go back as I have said to 1 Corinthians. We’ll look together in chapter 9 and now we are going on from verse 14 seeing furthermore what is said about the great gospel and the challenge given to preach it. First of all, we might ask the question about when we preach the gospel; preach it in a certain way. There for instance in verse 16 he says, “I preached the gospel and I have nothing to boast of.” Do you think there has ever been people who preach the gospel because they want to be seen of men or because they like the glory or the praise? They want somebody to say, “Great sermon,” or “How can you preach in such a great way?” Do you think people boast within themselves in their own glory and power? Certainly they are at times, and certainly the apostles or some disciples could have been in the scriptures and in the New Testament times. However, Paul says, “I am not here to boast. I am not here to talk about who I am or my abilities or what I have been given because everything I am and all that I do is glory to God and from God.” There he goes on in verse 16 to say this, “For it is of necessity laid upon me that I preach the gospel.” Why? “Woe is to me if I do not preach the gospel.”
There are several other challenges that we find there besides the idea that we should not boast but be humble in the proclamation of the Word of God. The gospel is all about God, nothing about us. But then on the other hand what we find is it is our responsibility to preach it for if we do not we are guilty of the gospel. In other words, if God has revealed Himself to me and I have obeyed and I am a child of God, how can I shirk my responsibility or not fulfill my responsibility to preach the gospel if that is commanded of God and certainly it is. Well what we find once again is that God tells us, “Woe unto me,” through Paul. “Woe unto me if I don’t preach the gospel because I know that I have been called of God and commissioned of God, challenged of God and commanded by God to preach and if I preach then I must live it as well.”
We might also ask, “Why should I preach the gospel?” Well we’ve seen already it is a command of God. It is a command for you and I if we love God and I want to do what He has asked me to do, but notice with me in verse 17 of our text. There he says, “There if I do this willingly, I have a reward, but if against my will, I have been entrusted with a stewardship.” You see there are some ideas here yet again challenging us to know why we preach. You know in all things of life we generally do something because we feel like we are going to get something back. I want you to notice that here. There is a reward if we preach the gospel, if we do what God has asked us to do, if we give others the precious truth and message, he says here that we have a reward. Why? We do it willingly. We do it there of necessity. Why? I have been bound in the gospel. I have bound myself in giving myself to God and therefore as a bondservant, I am a steward of God.
Do you know the story of the talents? We read there about those who were given five talents or those who were given maybe four or three or two and then some were given one talent. What is the challenge of the story? The challenge is that if we were given the talent of God and we are called a child of God, we are to use our talents or abilities to God’s glory and what are those talents that He challenges us to use? To go into all the world, to preach the gospel, to be a steward and to know that when we do Heaven is ours, the reward of Heaven, and brethren, not just Heaven. Notice with me also verse 18. There we read, “What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel that I may present the gospel of Christ without charge that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel.” Again what does Paul say? It is not about me, not about abusing my authority as apostle, but about presenting the gospel of Christ, presenting God and knowing that my reward is not from me or from men, but from who? God again. You see, I preach the gospel that I might receive the reward. Now what I also want us to know about that as our reward is that it is not only a Heavenly reward. God has told us it is not only a Heavenly reward. God has told us that, “Lo I am with you always. I am here to help you. I am there to guide. I am there to guide and I am there to protect.” Our God is like a Father to us and He is there every step of the way. He wants us to succeed because He realizes as tools of His, if we preach the gospel and others hear the gospel and they respond and obey that not only are we saved, but guess what. They are saved as well. That’s the objective, the ability to know God, to love Him and to seek and save souls.
That’s what He goes on to continue speaking about in the same context of 1 Corinthians 9. He says, “I have had opportunity to preach it and I have gone to men and I have tried to be what they need me to be in my preparation and in my teachings that they can properly understand.” That’s what he says beginning in verse 19. He says, “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant of them all.” Why? “To win them over.” You see, I have done what it takes to make sacrifices on my part to be able to be effective in preaching the gospel to everyone. Who? Even if they’re (verse 20) Jews, even if they’re unto the law, or not unto the law, if they’re Gentiles, whatever it might be. He says, “I do whatever it takes again that others might know the gospel.” It doesn’t mean that he chooses sin or goes into sinful situations that he chooses to break God’s Law to get close to people. Certainly not! He is first a light of God, but as that light, He says, “I do what it takes. I teach a Jew from their standpoint knowing the law. To someone who doesn’t know the law like a Gentile, I teach them first who God is. I become what I need to become and I prepare to teach how I need to teach that anyone I come in contact with might know Christ. Then we read there in verse 22 that he says, “To the weak, I become weak, and there I become all things to all men that I might by all means save the more that all may be partakers with me and you (verse 23) and (what?) the gospel.” How wonderful it is to know that I have the challenge, the opportunity, the ability and the help of God to preach the gospel of Christ and to know that when I do, it will fall on the hearts of men and that some hearts will bring forth produce although some hearts will not, but in all things to God be the glory for if we do our part, we will be blessed and rewarded for it is God that gives the increase.
Other passages that are found in scripture, for instance there in Luke chapter 19 and verse 10 where it says that, “I came to seek and to save that which was lost.” He says that he came to seek and to save those that were lost. There in 2 Peter chapter 3 and verse 9 he say, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promises and men count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us not willing that any should perish but that all would come to (what?) repentance.” How do they come to repentance? They have got to hear the gospel. How do they hear the gospel? You and me. We are to preach the gospel. We are to preach it and when we preach it, we give others the opportunity to know unto obedience. But not only do we preach it, we are to live it. We have already read that in verse 14 of our same text. We are to preach it and thus live it so that when people see me living what I am speaking, they know I am of God and they know that I am for real.
If you’ll look with me now to the book of Philippians, it is also interesting there in that text that Paul challenging the Christians at Philippi said similarly that they need to preach the gospel of Christ. In fact there in chapter 1 and verse 18 he actually says, What then? “Only that in every way whether in pretense or truth, Christ is preached. In this, yes, I rejoice. He was happy that Christ was preached. But then he goes on if you’ll notice in the next area to make a very familiar statement that we are all aware of in verse 21 of again Philippians chapter 1. “For to me to live is Christ, to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh this will mean fruit for my labors, but I am hard-pressed,” he says there in verse 23, “desiring to be with Christ which is the greater, but knowing if I remain here (verse 24) it will be more helpful for you.” You see, Paul says, “I am living for Christ.”
Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ. Not I that live, but Christ that lives in me.” The objective is to preach it and to live it and the culmination causes me to be a powerful force for God to let this world know who God is and to believe in Him and to have a greater willingness and a desire to follow Him.
Certainly that is as well what Jude would have been talking about here in the very end of the Bible in front of the book of Revelation. There Jude chapter 1 says this, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning the common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you, exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once and for all delivered to the saints.” To contend earnestly for what? The gospel. We talked about that several weeks ago and understanding that these are one and that faith that we have is something that we must live just as they lived in Hebrews chapter 11. That must be a part of our lives, allowing again people to see through my actions that I love God. Why? Verse 4 goes on to say that, “Because there are those who have come and crept in and tried to take away that faith, trying to take away that gospel (Galatians chapter 1:6-9).”
You see the challenge we then also have is to not only preach the gospel and to live it, but to help others to become Christians through that action, but also to keep ourselves strong in it and also to keep those as well who respond to be strong. We don’t want anyone to turn back to the world, anyone to be mislead by false prophets or teachers, anyone to lose their soul or to have snatched from them the most precious thing that this world has to offer. So what about you? Have you responded to the gospel of Christ? Are you one who has confessed the name of Jesus, repented of sin, and obeyed the gospel by being baptized and therefore being added to the church and having forgiveness of sin and there the opportunity to be called a child of God. If you have done that, now your work is ever before you. Will you be willing to preach the gospel of Christ? And as you preach it, will you be willing to live it? As you live it, will you make sure that everything you do is to the glory of God causing not only yourself and others to know God in you and through you? And as Jesus Himself said there in Matthew 5:14 that you might be the light of the world and bring glory to the Father in Heaven, that someday we will go to be together with Him for eternity in that place.
(SONG # 3 - “Let The Lower Lights Be Burning!”)
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today? I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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May we all respond to the challenge of God to preach and to live His Gospel? For in doing so we will be blessed today and forever more.