THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-17-09
LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF GOD: THE POWER UNTO SALVATION”
The Lord is my shepherd I shall not want! Who is your shepherd on this wondrous Lord’s Day? We hope and pray that it is God and that you’ve joined us today as His child - to worship before His throne.
As followers of God, how blessed we are to have opportunities like this to praise our God and to do those things according to that which He has asked of us through His will. Are you willing to do your part this morning to make this time successful in the service of God? Let’s each do our part to give this time completely to Him.
Now, as we begin our offering to God, will you bow with me in prayer!
How are you living in this world today? Well, our first song of the morning challenges us with how we should live in this life. The fact is, if we love God we will strive to have the proper type of faith in Him. So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing, “Living by Faith.”
(SONG # 1)
Have you ever considered why it seems that sometimes God isn’t listening? Maybe you have been praying and praying, yet things just aren’t going right in your life.
It is amazing to me today how the religious world seems to think that it doesn’t matter what we believe, what we practice or what we do - God accepts us anyway. The reality is, this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fact is God expects us to do what He says, and the way He says it, if we are to be pleasing in His sight.
The Bible has many verses that would help us to understand this doctrine. Consider the Words of Jesus Himself in Luke 6:46, there we read, “But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say?” It isn’t enough to know God and call His name. Nor is it enough to do what we want or choose to in the name of the Lord. It is only right when we do God’s commands. Jesus confirmed this even better in Matthew 7:21, where the Bible says, “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”
Brethren and friends, when will man ever learn that serving God is not about us, our wants, our needs and our desires. Serving God is all about putting God first, by knowing His Will, obeying His commands and doing only that which is according to His Will.
So who does God hear and who does God respond to? The Bible says, those who are striving to be found faithful according to His Will. Just as Hosea concluded long ago, “Let us know, (and) Let us pursue the knowledge of the LORD. His going forth is established as the morning; (then) He will come to us like the rain, Like the latter and former rain to the earth.” If we want our God to be there for us and to do what He has promised, then we have to be willing to do our part! Are you willing to completely submit to the will of God? Are you willing to seek His Kingdom first and put Him before everything else in this life? Well, the reality is, God expects nothing less!
Today we will be concluding our series on “The Gospel Of God.” Our final lesson in this series will deal with the, “The Power Unto Salvation” So please stay with us and after our next song together, I will be lead us in this important study of the day.
So, for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “More About Jesus.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We’re glad you’ve stayed with us today as we kind of wrap up in our series concerning “The Gospel of Christ,” a final lesson that hopefully will challenge us to again remember just how precious, special and important the gospel of Christ is.
You might recall that together we have no doubt looked many times at the book of Romans chapter 1 and verse 16 where we actually learn that it is the gospel of Christ which is the power of God unto salvation. So when we think about the gospel we see something that is powerful, but powerful enough to do what? To save me. So I know that it if God has given me a gospel that is powerful enough to save me, then certainly within it, He must tell me what I must do to respond to that gospel. That’s what we have tried to do together to understand the many facets of the gospel of Christ, what it all involves and entails including our part, not only God’s part, but our part. So today, we want to ask the question: What does the gospel teach concerning salvation? How do I become a Christian? If God gives me that gospel, then certainly He tells me how to become a Christian. So how do I become a child of God?
If we look in the Bible, this was a question that was asked time and time and time again. Often we find that individuals would ask, “What must I do to be saved?” We even find on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 that they cried out to Him and they asked that very question, “What shall we do?” For they knew they were in sin. They knew they had just killed the very Son of God and therefore they wanted to know the remedy to get out of that sin, to have salvation. But we have learned together that the gospel is essential for that salvation and so what might they have been told? Well earlier in that lesson they were told why they needed Jesus. It was because of sin.
The book of Isaiah many times tells us why we need God. For instance, in Isaiah 53:6 it says that, “We are all like sheep and we have been led astray, led into the wrong ways and fall into temptations and sin.”
In Isaiah again 59 and verse 2, it says that, “Our sins or iniquities have (guess what) separated us from God.”
Over in the New Testament in Romans 3 and verse 23 we also learn that, “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”
On and on we could go including verses like 1 John there in chapter 1 and verse 10 that tells us, “If we say we have no sin, even as Christians, we are liars and the truth is not in us.”
And so we know that sin is something that has come from the very beginning, a plague if you will, that even Adam and Eve dealt with and the problem is that often we fail the test because we do commit transgressions. We do things contrary to the Will of God and we learn as we have seen also in 1 John chapter 3 and verse 4 that, “Sin is a transgression of the law of God.” When we commit that transgression of God’s Law, certainly He cannot be pleased with us. So I need something that will cover my sins, that will wash them away, that will cause me although I seem as to have red on me, to be washed white, white as snow and we know that is through the blood of Jesus Christ.
So what is it that we must do? Well not what man has said. For certainly, man has often determined that I know how to save myself or I know what is necessary.
After living in Africa for many years, we often heard of really ridiculous and far out concepts that people would try to say that one could do in order for one to be saved. The only problem with all of them was the fact that they were not found in this book, the Word of God. So the question that we must consider and ask again is what does the gospel say, the power of the gospel that can save me, what does it say that I must do to be saved? Not what man says because man is unable to save himself.
Isn’t it the Bible that tells us in texts such as Ephesians 3 and verse 8, “For by grace you have been saved?” You know God’s grace? There it mentions the idea of faith, a need for faith that we might prove to God that we love Him. Well you see again that importance to see that we need something besides ourselves. We need God. We need His Will and it has been given to us (guess what) in the gospel.
We also read in the book of Jeremiah chapter 10 and verse 23 that, “It is not in man to direct his own ways.” We don’t have the ability or the knowledge or the power because without God we would be hopeless. We would be nothing. But with God, we’re not only all things, but we are heirs, we are children and we are sons and we have the opportunity not only of blessings today but blessings forevermore. And so our God loved us enough to redeem us, to offer us a pardon that through His Son Jesus Christ we might be saved.
That’s why we read in familiar verses like John 3:16 that, “God so loved the world that He (what?) gave His only Begotten Son that whoever will believe in Him would have everlasting life.” Not perishing but everlasting life! That’s exciting! It’s exciting to know that my God has loved me enough that He gave Himself in the form of the Son that we might have life, but not only life now, but life eternal.
In Romans chapter 5 again in verse 8 we read there the concept that, “God demonstrated His love toward us while we were yet or still sinners.” How did He do that? Christ died for us. And so when Jesus came and died and established His church (Acts 20:28) purchasing it with the blood, after He set all of those things in motion and then He also after establishing His church, He also provided for us a gospel, a Will that He even promised back in John 14:15-16 to His apostles that He would send the comforter, the Holy Spirit, that in there (2 Timothy chapter 3:16-17) it is said to have been the scripture that is from God that is profitable unto all things. Jesus has given us that gospel and has shown us the way. So when they cried out, “What must I do to be saved?” they were wanting to know the plan that God had. They were wanting to know what it would take for an individual who is caught up in sin, who is bogged down in sin to rise and to be saved, to walk in a newness of life, to find out what it is to be cleansed in the blood of Jesus Christ. So when we go to that same scripture and passage, we begin to learn what was required. Notice that Peter and the others had been preaching Jesus. They had been preaching sin and the need to follow Jesus to get out of that sin. But also notice that they were challenged to do something. When they said, “What must we do to be saved?” or “What shall we do?” as they were cut to the heart. They were told there in verse 38 of Acts chapter 2, “Repent and be baptized.” Don’t you notice that in this text that they already had demonstrated their belief in what was said? Because Peter has just told them, “You have crucified both Lord and Savior. You have just killed the very Son of God, the Messiah, the Prophesied One and you are guilty of His blood.” Then they were cut to the heart. They were pricked and they said, “What shall we do? How do we get out of that sin? How do we overcome that problem?” So they were told, “Repent and be baptized.”
Before we look deeper into those things, I want us to think for a moment about Hebrews 11. There in the great faith chapter not only do we learn what faith is, but we learn also in verse 6 that “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” At some point, Romans chapter 10, we have to be able to hear the preaching of the Word, we have to be able to hear the Word of God and to begin to develop a belief. That’s the faith we are talking about, the beginning of saying, “You know I think that sounds right. I believe that and now because I believe it, I want to (what?) act on it.” So we have to have faith. The very actions of belief, of repentance, of baptism, all of these things are demonstrations of our what? Our faith!
There in Hebrews 11 again we learn that by faith Moses did that, or by faith Abraham… And so by faith, we prove to God that through obedience that not only we understand and believe but that we are going to act on that belief. So that’s what we begin to learn here. They said, “We killed the Son of God. What shall we do to overcome this?” He said, “Repent.” Repent of what? The fact that they had just murdered Jesus Christ, that they had just killed God in the flesh. (John chapter 1 and verse 14) So they were cut to the heart because they realized they had killed the very Savior that was sent to help them, and to save their souls. So they wanted to repent of that, acknowledge what they had done and change or turn away from that sin.
So often today we have a lot of confusion about what this concept of repentance means. Over and over in the book of Romans and Corinthians and other places we find that this idea of repentance is a work, a work that is required, doing the work befitting or according to repentance. There is something that must be done besides just saying, “I messed up.” Because when I sin and I acknowledge that sin and I have messed up, I want to repent, leave it, but that means also turn away from it. Let me give you an example. Let’s say that I am an alcoholic and I know that it is wrong in the eyes of God and I acknowledge the sin and I say, “Okay, God, forgive me of that sin.” What must I also do? Turn away from that sin! Doesn’t that make sense? Or do I go back immediately after salvation and continue in that sin? Let’s say I am a thief. I go out and I steal and I acknowledge the sin and say, “I’ve got to get rid of this sin. I repent of it.” But does that mean that after salvation I go out and I can continue in that sin as long as I don’t do a whole lot more or add to what I was already doing, I can continue in it? How ridiculous we would say!
If you look there with me in the book of 1 Corinthians chapter 6 there is a whole list of sins (guess what) that the Corinthian church had evidently began to return to: Fornication, adultery, idolatry, homosexuality, etc. And what does he tell them there? He says, “Don’t you remember that you were washed? That the drunkard left the drunkenness, the adulterer left the adultery, the homosexual left the homosexuality?” Doing all of these things why? Because you were washed in the blood of Christ. Repentance means I acknowledged and I turn away from that sin. Then after I have believed unto that faith and repentance, I as well need to what? Confess my Lord. Because we learn once again in Romans chapter 10 once again in verses 9-10 there that it states that without the confession of the mouth, we cannot be saved. “For with the mouth, confession is made (guess what) unto salvation.” The gospel of Christ, the power of God unto salvation, and with the mouth the confession is made unto salvation.
What confession? Probably a good example is found there in Matthew 16. If you will recall there that Jesus says, “Who is it that they say that I am?” Peter finally says, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Do we not also notice there in Acts chapter 8 that the same challenge was given there when he says, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” The Eunuch made the confession. He was willing to say, “I’m going to turn from sin. I’m going to get on the right path and I’m going to confess my Lord and Savior Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah, the very Son of God. But it wasn’t stopping there because there in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 he says that we should repent and be baptized. Isn’t that what we learn in Mark 16:16 when Jesus Himself said, “He that believes and is baptized.” Romans chapter 6 we learn what baptism is. It is a figurative act that demonstrates that we die as Christ died, we are buried in the watery grave and we rise as He rose on the third day, but we rise to be what? A new creation, leaving the sin in the grave and rising to be a new creature, striving to be sinless, striving to be like Christ.
Where does that take place? In baptism, the watery grave of baptism. Figuratively, it is the blood of Christ cleansing me from my sins and therefore, even great men that we know like Paul (Acts 22:16) was told by Ananias this, “Arise and be baptized and wash away your sin.” Doesn’t that explain it? Could it be any simpler to understand that concept? Then even on the Day of Pentecost down in verse 47 of Acts chapter 2 and verse 47 the final verse, it says, “And those that were being saved were (what?) added to the church.” How were they being saved? “What shall we do? We believe in Jesus. We have just killed Him. We want to know what shall we do?” “Repent!” “We repent. What shall we do?” “Repent and be baptized.” They were baptized. How many? Three thousand souls, men primarily mentioned there. So what about the women and the others? Over three thousand that day were baptized, obeyed the gospel of salvation by acting with faith upon it and even as we have just learned are those who were then added by God to His church.
You know the plan of salvation couldn’t be any simpler. If we want to become Christians, if we want to become Christ-like, followers of Christ, there’s only one way to respond to the gospel of salvation and that is in this book, the gospel itself. It shows us the way unto salvation for it is only the power of salvation. I don’t know about you but I don’t care what I think or want. I don’t care what you do. I care what God says. So I challenge all of us to get to His Word, find out what the gospel says and obey it because the only way we can be the children of God is to be those who act on the Will of God and that is found in His Word, the Bible.
There’s a final verse we might briefly mention and that is found in Revelation chapter 2 and verse 10. The faithful Christians there that were challenged to know that the tribulations were coming and they were being encouraged to keep on keeping on. This is what they were told by Jesus Christ Himself. “Be faithful until death and I will give you a crown of life.” Our objective after becoming a child of God is to live the life of the gospel, the life that Christ has left us a pattern to live, an example, as Peter said, but then to be faithful until death. If we are, not only will we be blessed today as the scriptures say, but we will be blessed eternally. That means that God has made ready for you and me, the faithful, a mansion in Heaven, a mansion as we sing, “Over the Hilltop,” a precious place, an eternal place, a place where we will never die. Isn’t that worth it? Should we follow God and shouldn’t we always look to the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?
(SONG # 3 - “My Jesus I love Thee!”)
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!
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How thankful we should be for the Gospel of God and its power unto salvation. For in it we find the answer to life, death and eternity. Thank God for this wondrous gift!