THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-1-08
LESSON TITLE: "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE LIFE OF CHRIST"
Think of what John said in 1 John 4:19, "We love Him because He first loved us." Have you responded to the Love of Christ?
Welcome to the Living Word Program on this wondrous Lord's day morning. We thank God that you have chosen to be with us today, as we commit this time to our wondrous Creator. What a great privilege we have today to join in this opportunity to praise our God and glorify our Savior. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
Once again this morning, we have a wonderful privilege as Christians to lift up our voices in praise to God. So, this morning won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together our first hymn of the day. The name of the song "The Great Physician!"
(SONG # 1)
One of the hardest lessons that we have to learn as Christians is to put others first. The reason that it is so hard to learn and practice this characteristic, is because our society says just the opposite. When we turn on the T. V., radio, or read the paper, we find plenty of things to keep us from thinking about others, and rather keeping our attention on self. Even the examples and stories that we read always promote and show the successful lives of those who "take care of themselves." The old idea of "dog eat dog!"
I remember a song that was very popular several years ago that spoke of the greatest love of all. The singer clarified over and over again that the greatest love of all was in self. That's not what the Bible says. God said that the greatest love is that which is found in the first commandment. In fact, Jesus said, "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind," Matthew 22:37. The greatest love we can have is the love we return to our God, because of all that he is doing and has done for us. The second great commandment is mentioned in verse 39, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Again the greatest love we can have is first for God, second for others, and then we can consider our love for self.
In the Bible, Jesus was always trying to teach His disciples the great lesson of humility. Christ always wanted them to think of others, their needs, and their feelings. Remember the golden rule? The Lord said, "we are to treat others as we want to be treated." Wouldn't this require that we think of others first and consider how they will receive or react to, that which we do or say.
All of us have probably seen the acrostic before which is made from the word Joy. The "j" stands for Jesus first, the "o" for others second, and the "y" stands for yourself last. If we want true joy as Christians we must follow God's plan. Furthermore, the only way God will be happy with us, is when we learn to put Him and others first.
Finally, notice what this scripture tells us, "Let no one seek his own, but each one the other's well-being," 1 Corinthians 10:24. We are not to look to our own good in a selfish way, but we are to put the good of others even before self. How many times have you made decisions in life that benefit you, but really they harm others? Let's all try to learn the lesson from God, that we need to put him first, others second and then ourselves last.
So, who comes first in your life? Are you putting God and the interest of others before self? May we all learn more every day to be greater servants to God and our fellow man.
Today we will be continuing our series, "The Gospel Of Christ." Our specific topic this morning will focus on the "Life Of Christ." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together, brother Jerry Sullins will return with this lesson from God's Word. We are glad to again have brother Sullins with us to guide our thoughts from the Bible. Well, it's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary."
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
I'd like to welcome you to "The Living Word" broadcast this morning and I appreciate so much your tuning in to this television program. I'd like to also take an opportunity to invite you to the graduation ceremony of The Bible Institute of Missouri which will take place on June 8th at 2:00 in the afternoon at the Kansas Expressway church of Christ at 2540 North Kansas Expressway. We're very happy to have some young men who are graduating from our Institute who will be going out and preaching the gospel of Christ, hopefully throughout the world, but at least here in the United States.
We thank you so much for your presence each Sunday morning and we know that it is a pleasure for not only us to have you, but we've had so many express how much they're happy that this program is on the air and that they have an opportunity to tune in on the Lord's Day and to listen to Truth from God's eternal Word the Bible.
We're continuing this series about Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior and today, I'm going to be dealing with the ministry of Jesus Christ.
There are a few statements that are made in the scripture that point to the very purpose of Jesus' ministry. In fact, in Luke 19 verse 10 a statement was made by Jesus Himself who when He said, "I have come to seek and to save those which are lost." Another statement made was made by our Lord in John chapter 9 verse 4 where Jesus made the statement, "I must work the works of Him who has sent Me for the night cometh when no man can work." And just soon after His ministry began, as you know Jesus would start His ministry after He had been on this earth for about 30 years, then He started approximately a 3 1/2 year ministry where He went out and did the works of God. We see as recorded in Luke, that is Luke chapter 4 beginning with verse 18 when Jesus entered into the synagogue in the city of Nazareth, having been there for about a year, He entered the synagogue and He began to read from Isaiah chapter 49. It is recorded for us in Luke chapter 4 verses 18-19 where Jesus read, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me (speaking of Himself) because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and the recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who were oppressed, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."
Now we have there a description of the very ministry of Jesus Christ and that is to do these things that were prophesied by Isaiah the prophet several thousand years before Jesus actually came.
A verse that is very much known by all of us is John 3:16 showing also the reason why Jesus came to this earth. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, for God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved." So Jesus, the Son of God, came to this earth for a specific purpose and that was to seek and to save those which were lost and that included the Jews and the Gentiles.
Now first of all, we see in His ministry that it was mostly as we can see in the scripture revealed to us, was to be to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. He came to the Jews to first present to God's chosen people the message of the Truth of God's Word as pertained to their salvation. But from the very first, it was noted from the very first of His ministry that He had come also to the Gentiles but first of all He was going to focus on God's chosen people, the Jews. We see this very clearly in John the 12th chapter where actually as we see that John is only about, well it sort of half involves the life of Christ and then after these verses right here the rest of the book deals with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ or events leading immediately up to that.
But we see what He has said in verse 37 as sort of the culmination of His entire ministry. And what would be the culmination of that ministry specifically to the Jews? We see in verse 37 that it says, "But although He had done so many signs before them, they did not believe in Him." How tragic that was because they had an opportunity, many of them if not most of them to actually meet Jesus, the Son of God. They had the ability and the opportunity to see the many signs that He worked. They saw Him work miracles and signs like healing the sick and making the blind to see and the dumb to hear or the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak. They saw Him heal all kinds of sicknesses. They saw Him feed the hungry through miracles and signs. They saw Him still the tempest. They saw Him cast out demons and they saw Him even raise the dead. What marvelous signs were done among them yet they did not believe. Well that was tragic indeed. The Jews didn't need an additional testimony. Yet, they still disbelieved in what they actually saw even being in the presence of Jesus, the Son of God.
Now why did they disbelieve? Well some insight is given to us in the book of John. If we look there in verses 38 through 41, it says the word of Isaiah, that same prophet that we just read from a few moments ago, spoke this: "Lord, who has believed I report and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?" Therefore they could not believe because Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes and hardened their hearts lest they should see with their eyes, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn so that they should be healed." Now was God literally blinding their eyes, coming down and blinding their eyes and forbidding them to understand the truth? Certainly not, because He sent His Son so that they might hear and understand the truth, but it simply means that He just continued to allow the forces of evil in this world as it had always been on this earth since the very beginning of mankind continue to influence the Jews. And the Jews' free moral agency wasn't taken away, their freedom to make a choice as to whether Jesus was the Christ or not was not taken away. He simply allowed them to make that decision as to whether or not they would believe and obey the Lord Jesus, whether they would believe the signs and wonders that they saw that He was performing among them or whether they would discount them and disbelieve that He was the Son of God and thereby not have an opportunity to be saved. So basically, yes, their hearts were hardened but they were hardened because of their own disbelief, but some did have faith and we know that because the scripture reveals to us that many in the time when Jesus was walking around on the face of the earth, many of the Jews did believe. In fact, even some of the priests believed. Many of those who were of the Jewish faith, some even in the Sanhedron were those who believed in Christ and who were willing to obey what Christ actually came to this earth to do as far as God was concerned.
But let's summarize the claims that Jesus made as are revealed to us here in John chapter 12 verses 44-50. I hope you have your Bible and you can look along with us as we look at these things. Let's look at His relationship with God while He was upon the face of the earth. He had declared that faith in God also meant faith in Him. He said over and over again to the people, and this was one of the very things that He was saying when He entered that synagogue in Nazareth and He read from Isaiah the prophet, He was actually declaring to them at that time at the first of His ministry that He indeed was that Son of God and over and over again He told the people, "I am the Son of God." He would tell them, "If you see Me, you have seen the Father. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, the same was in the beginning was God. All things were created by Him and without Him was nothing created that was made." He was saying simply that by Jesus Christ all things came into creation and claiming at the same time that He was God Himself.
He also said in verse 46, "I have come as a light into the world and whoever believes in Me should not be," as He said there that, "I am the light of the world and he who believes in Me," and that is in verse 46, "that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness." Jesus is the light of the world. Well, He said we are also the light of the world. But here He said He came into the darkness of sin, and darkness always depicts sin spiritually. He came into the world where sin was present. The world was in darkness and He brought the light of salvation to all of the world.
He also stated that He came to save world. Look at verse 47. "And if anyone hears My words and does not believe, I do not judge him for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world." Well now the world had basically been judged by the sin. Jesus came into the world to save the world from the judgement that was basically already there because they had sinned and transgressed God's will and because of that, as the scripture says, "The wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." Because the scripture says that, Jesus came into a world that had already been judged by their sin and was condemned and so He came to shed His blood that those sins might be forgiven. The world desperately needed a view of a Savior. The world was hopeless without the Savior and the Jews knew this. They knew that under the Old Jewish system, and there was no other system available at this time or had ever been available whereby they could receive the forgiveness of their sins so they knew they desperately needed a Savior. Jesus says, "I am the One who has come to seek and save the lost. I am God who has come to this world to shed my blood so that you may have hope of eternal life. This is My blood of the New Testament which is given for the remission of sins." That's what Jesus was telling the Jews.
Then we will also be judged by His Words. We know the verse John 12 verse 48. "He who rejects Me and does not receive My words has that which judges him, the word that I have spoken will judge him the last day."
So what did Jesus come to do? His ministry was focused on bringing the words of God because someday the people would be judged by the words of God. That is indeed our ministry today. Every preacher's ministry is to bring the words of God because people will be judged in the last day by those words that are spoken. And so it was all those words that we saw in Matthew 5, 6, and 7, the Sermon on the Mount, and all other directions that Jesus gave since He was the Lord of the Sabbath, since He was bringing in the New Covenant. Those directives are for us today. We are to follow them especially if they are directives that He was giving concerning the kingdom of Heaven. In the last day, we will be judged. 2 Corinthians 5:10, "For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ for we will be judged according to what we have done in our bodies whether it be good or whether it be evil."
So Jesus brought to the world the Word of the Father and we see that in verses 49 and 50. "For I have not spoken of My own authority, but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command what I should say and what I should speak and I know that His commandment is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak just as the Father has told Me, so I speak." My friend, we see clearly the very purpose for Jesus coming to this earth and that was to speak forth the words of the Father although He was the Son of God, He was bringing the words of the Father and it is through those words that we are saved. "Sanctify them in thy truth. Thy words are truth." Jesus told His disciples in John 17:17. Why? Because He said that when you need it that I am going to send you those words that you need to speak forth those words of our eternal Father.
So what is the message of this hour? Simply to understand that as we focus on the ministry of Christ, we know that He came into this world to do simply basically one thing and that is to bring the words of salvation. Those words are so important to us because they will determine where we will spend an eternity whether it be in Heaven or whether it be in Hell. "Enter in by the straight gate or narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and few there be that find it, for wide is the gate and broad that leads to destruction..." and that is the way that many will go by, but those who enter in by the narrow gate and go down the straightened path it will lead to life eternal.
So my friends, we hope this morning that you will understand the ministry of Christ and His desire to bring the Word of God to this world because it is through our understanding of that and our obedience to those words that we will have an opportunity to be saved.
(SONG # 3 - "Blest Be The Tie That Binds!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust, that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord's Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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How blessed we are to have a record of the Life of Christ as found in God's Word the Bible. May we learn much from it and strive to imitate the perfect example which He left us.