THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 5-26-13
LESSON TITLE: “FAITHFULNESS SAVES!”
We are excited to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. What a glorious Lord’s Day morning it is.
As always it is an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God.
I hope you are ready to worship God this morning! Furthermore, It is our hope and prayer that today we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. With these things in mind, let’s begin by talking to God through prayer!
What a wonderful privilege we have to glorify our God through songs of praise. In fact, the Bible says we are to “lift up Jesus,” in all that we do. So, let’s begin this morning, with a hymn that reminds us of the great friend we have in Jesus Christ. So, won’t you join in with the congregation and do your part as we sing together, “There Not A Friend Like Jesus.”
(SONG # 1)
We have already mentioned this morning and sung about how great and wonderful our God is! Furthermore, we have seen what a great friend our God is to us. I hope that everyone joining us today, has already established these facts in his or her own mind and that you are putting God first in all things.
However, another encouraging fact concerning God is that we are made like Him. In Genesis 1:27, we read, “so God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” We find two important facts here that confirm to us just how special we are. First, we see that we are created by God. How could we be more honored or more perfect, than by being created by the almighty God of the universe? It was the very hand of God that provided us this opportunity of life. Thus, we are made by Him unto His glory.
The second thing we read about in the previous verse is that mankind is created in the image of God. So, we are not only made by Him but we are also made in His likeness. However, don’t let this concept confuse you, because God is not made with flesh and blood. This is confirmed for us in John 4:24, where Jesus said, “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John said God is a spirit. Paul said, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God,” 1 Corinthians 15:50. God is not flesh and blood, nor is His kingdom. Furthermore, no physical body can inherit the kingdom of God. So, what does this tell us about being created in His image? It means that we are created in His spiritual likeness. We can strive to imitate His spiritual characteristics, thus making ourselves to be found approved in His sight. In verse 52 and 53, of the same opening, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul went on to say, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”
I hope now you are beginning to see just how special we are for a being like God to not only create us, but to also create us in His image. I really like the way the psalmist, David, put it when he said, “I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well,” Psalm 139:14. We should praise God for what He has done in making us His most special and precious creation, thus giving us dominion over all things.
Today we will continue our series of study that is entitled, “I Say These Things That You May Be Saved.” Our specific lesson this morning will deal with “Faithfulness Saves!” So, please continue with us and after our next song I will return with this study from God’s Word.
Now let’s join in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn is, “To God Be The Glory.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
Thank you so much for continuing with us this morning as we now go to God’s word and consider yet another lesson from our series concerning salvation and those things which are involved in being saved. So far we have been able to look at really all of those aspects which are required in order that one might become a child of God. That would include not only the fact of hearing the word of God but believing what we hear. Then confessing what it is that we have learned such as Jesus being the Christ. A willingness as well to repent of our sins which means to acknowledge and to turn away from our sins. Then finally last week we looked at together the idea of being baptized or immersed in water that we might also accomplish that task of washing away our sins in the blood of Jesus Christ. That we then by Christ himself Acts 2:47 might be added by the church for those who are saved, according to the Will of God, are added by God to His church or His family.
But today we would like to continue that discussion by not only beginning to look at the picture of what a Christian needs to do in order to be saved or we might actually say continue to be saved. Then from this day on we will actually look at several aspects of Christianity that really are a requirement of a child of God to be saved. Now what does that mean? Well, what it means is that one can actually become a Christian, go through those acts that are required by God up to and through becoming a child of God added by Christ to His church, and then as a Christian they might actually fail God and therefore no longer be saved. They might actually fall from the grace of God. Why? Because they are not obeying the commandments of God enough to show Him that they love Him. Now we know that because of what the Bible teaches. So therefore as Christians we understand that there are things required unto salvation, or that we may be saved. Even after the fact of becoming part of the family of God, or becoming a part of the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. So today we are really going to begin the discussion of these other aspects or characteristics even of the Christian by looking at the need that we have to be faithful to God.
We all know that the Bible talks a lot about faith in fact we know that there are verses such as in Hebrews 11:6 where we know the Bible says that without faith it is impossible to please God. So how could one become a Christian and cease to have faith at some point and still please God? You see the reality is they can’t. We know of other verses such as Ephesians 2:8 where we read that we are saved by grace but then the preposition is used through faith. You see grace is God’s part of salvation but then our part, what that grace is offered by or through, is our faith. So we know what faith is and we know that faith is a requirement. Now there is another usage of that word, another form of it in the English which is that which we call faithfulness and we begin to find it throughout the Bible as many times if not even more times than the word faith itself. So as we begin to look for instance in the book of Revelation 2:10 at the church there at Asia minor that was called the church of Smyrna which was a faithful church before God and a persecuted church. We have heard many, many times the quote used from verse 10 where that church is told after they are warned about the tribulation that is coming, in fact even the reality that many of themselves would find themselves in prison for a period of time he then said, that is Jesus, “Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” You see there was a requirement in their actions, the requirement even in the face of trial, tribulation, persecution, and even imprisonment, ultimately even death, faithfulness. You mean that I have to endure temptations and be faithful through them all? Yes, that is what God says. You mean I would be thrown in prison for my faith and I would have to remain faithful? Yes. You mean that if I died I must die faithfully to God or I will not be saved? Exactly, that is what the verses say, be faithful up to and through the point of death and you will receive the crown of life.
It was not only there spoken to the church at Smyrna but we can actually back up in a very significant way and look at several of the churches that Paul addressed and we can begin to see that within even the introductory remarks which he makes to them that he mentions this idea of faithfulness thus showing its requirement. What was it that he loved about the Ephesians church? Well, there in Ephesians 1:1 after he says, “Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ by the Will of God,” he then says, “to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.” You see Paul was writing not just to those who had become Christians, he was not just writing to those who loved God some, or were doing some of the things God wanted. He was writing to those who were qualified to be called saints and who were faithful to the call. Not only the Ephesian brethren but we turn over to the church at Colosse we find again the same wording used and after Paul introduces himself as well as Timothy who was with him in verse 2 he says, “To the saints and faithful brethren n Christ who are in Colosse.” You see who he was reaching out to, who he was edifying, who he was challenging to keep on keeping on, to do the work of faith faithfully before God; the church. Who makes up the church my friend? Well, we all make up the church, we are the church as the children of God and so therefore we are to be faithful up unto and through death, if we are to receive the crown of life. That sounds pretty important to me. That seems as if I really need to know what faithfulness is and what it is all about if I am to be what my God wants. In fact not only do we see that Christians were encouraged to be faithful, the church was encouraged to be faithful, we even can go through the Bible and see where different individuals were spoken of as being faithful before God. How that those who were faithful were right in the sight of God.
Did you know that even God Himself is often referred to in scripture as being one who was faithful. One who could be counted on and trusted in all things. One such text that helps us with that is found in the book of 1 Corinthians and there in 1 Corinthians 1:9 it starts out by saying, “God is faithful by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ.” You see there God can be counted on, He is trustworthy, He will do what He has said, He does not lie, we know that He will not only do what He says but that all things according to His blessings and promises will be fulfilled. And not only God in relationship to the God head or even the Father but we also see this same concept really attributed to Jesus Christ Himself. In fact in Hebrews 2, if you will notice with me there in that text verse 17 we again find the idea that God is faithful but specifically here Jesus. And therefore it says, “In all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest,” What made Jesus such a committed, counted on high priest, one who as God could be known to be at His word, and to do the things promised? Because He was willing not only as God to become man but there to bear the temptations and as this texts also then indicates to bear the sins of the people ultimately to the cross itself.
So as those who are faithful we know that it is not only a requirement of God now but it is something commanded and it is also something exemplified. You know one of the ways that the Bible teaches us as we are to be imitators of God as His dear children in Ephesians 5:1, or Paul said to imitate me as I also imitate Christ 1Corinthians 11:1, one of the ways that we learn what we should do from our God is through His own example. So if God is faithful what should we be? Created in His image. If God is one who can be counted on and trustworthy what are we required to be? Faithful as God is also faithful. Now as we then think about this idea and as we consider the idea of keeping ourselves in the faith of God and in the things of God I also want us to understand the application of such an idea. When those who love God that are faithful what does that entail? What does that mean? We might even say what does that include? So I’d like to turn back to the book of Acts and look there specifically at a verse there in chapter 5 where we find Peter and the other apostles with Him making a clear declaration those who no doubt were of God. They were those who were willing to be faithful to God even within these passages, we see even in the face of imprisonment, in the face of beating, and in the threats of death they still were willing to be faithful. You know what they said in the midst of the discussion there in chapter 5 read with me if you will verse 29, “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’” What had they been told? They had been told countless times to cease preaching the Christ, to cease doing those things that were contrary to what the Jews believe and yet what did they respond with? We will be faithful; we must obey God rather than man. No wonder they did such a thing because they knew that God required it. They knew and they taught us that God required it. What it not Jesus Himself in Matthew 7 who clarified for us in verse 21, “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.” What is the distinction of faithfulness and those who are of no faith or weak faith? The faithful one does the will of the Father they don’t just think about God, they don’t just believe that God is, they don’t just accept the things they like about God or the things that feel good to them, they do the will of God. Not some of it but all of what God requires.
Now the final thing I would like to look at in just the few minutes remaining is the idea of really then how we apply this required obedience. This faithfulness therefore being trustworthy before God and the world which is before us. And I think one of the best passages that might help us perhaps in the application is found there in the book of Hebrews specifically chapter 6. You might recall at the end of Chapter 5 he was talking about the need of those who were the Hebrew brethren to move out of baby hood and to move onto maturity to grow up. They were still stuck on many of the elementary principles as it was referred to there in chapter 5. But then in chapter 6 he reiterates the same concept but he also adds this in verse 1, “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection.” Do you know that faithfulness requires a growth in the things of God? How do we know the things of God? Well if you look even at this text he goes on to specify, “not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works,” notice the idea of dead works which were unacceptable, “and of faith toward God,” There again having to lay down again the ideas of faith and the doctrine of baptism he says. Not going back to all those things that you should already know, that you should already believe, that you should be well past, and therefore growing and maturing in the meteor matters of the law of Christ but he says go on to perfection. So what was he dealing with? The will of God. Where do we learn the will of God except it be in the word of God? No wonder in the book there of Timothy specifically 2Timothy 2:15 we are challenged to study to show ourselves approved to God, or to be diligent in that study, committed to growth, that we might rightly divide the word of truth. How can I know the will of God, and how can I faithfully do what He has asked if I do not commit myself to the word and the word alone that shows me the required law of Christ Jesus my Lord. And yes it is a law, it is required, and if you do not do the Law of Christ you cannot be faithful according to scriptures. In fact the scriptures go so far to say even there in Matthew 7 by the words of Jesus that those who do not do the will of the father will be told to depart from Me the lawless ones, the ones who will not do the law.
So my question for you this morning, are you faithful? Have you been faithful to become a child of God in all the things God requires and are you faithful as a child of God? If not, repent today and correct your life and make sure that you do all those things that God requires so that you might be rewarded with heaven in the end.
(SONG # 3 - “This World Is Not My Home!”)
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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Are you striving to be faithful to your God in all things? As we have seen this day, faithfulness is certainly worth it for our God offers great blessings for those who loved Him. Why not give God your very best today and every day in this life.