THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-17-07
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: FAITHFULNESS AND GENTLENESS"
Jesus said, "on this rock I will build My church!" Thank you for joining us this morning for "The Living Word Program." It is always a privilege to have you with us for this time of offering to God. We welcome you to this service for our Creator.
Today, we have the opportunity together to worship and praise our God. This morning we will glorify our Lord through songs of praise and through the study of His perfect Word. Won't you do your part to make this time together acceptable in His sight. Now, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer.
It's time to start our praise through song. Won't you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, "There's A Great Day Coming!"
(Song # 1)
When you consider all that god has done for us it is really hard to believe. How difficult it is to comprehend such a magnificent and wondrous God, doing so much for such small and insignificant people. All of this is further compounded in the fact that we are not really worthy of anything, especially when you consider how often we do that which is contrary to His Will.
However, despite all of these facts, God does love us and has done so much for us. Even today, we are all being blessed beyond understanding, but a God who not only gives us all, but who also created us all.
When I think about all God has done and is doing for us, one of the things that stands out foremost in my mind is that fact that he gave his own son to die on the cross for me. An opportunity to be called out of darkness and into the light. An opportunity to be called a child of God.
Did you hear what I just said, "Why did He do it?" Again the answer is simple, for you and me! Jesus put it best in John 3:16, when he said, "For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."
Now as we think of all God has done and why He is so worthy of our honor and praise - let me ask another question, "What was the significance of Christ shedding His blood for us?" Well, Paul sums it up well in Acts 20:28, there it says, "Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood." Here we have clarified for us that the blood of Christ, purchased the church! So let me ask you, "Are you serving this God, the One, True and only Creator. Furthermore, consider just how important the church of our lord must be if Jesus was willing to die for it!"
We are happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us today as our guest speaker. brother Sullins is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri, right here in Springfield. We thank him for joining us to lead us in our main thoughts of the day.
As far as our lesson today, we will be continuing with our study entitled "Walking In The Spirit!" This morning, our specific discussion will deal with the characteristics of, "Faithfulness and Gentleness!" So stay with us and in a few minutes brother Jerry will return with this study from God's Word. Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Trust and Obey."
(Song # 2)
Speaker: Jerry Sullins
It's a pleasure having you watch "The Living Word" broadcast this morning. Before we enter into the lesson for today, I would like for any of those who might be interested to consider coming to "The Bible Institute of Missouri," Our next classes begin in September of this year. In fact, the first full week in September. And certainly it would be our pleasure to have you make application to our Bible School. We train gospel preachers. It's a very intense college level two-year academic training, actually four years of college work is put into two years of training, six hours a day, five days a week for a period of four quarters and each quarter lasts for nine weeks. After two academic years, you will have studied forty Bible or Bible-related subjects and hopefully be prepared to go out and to preach the gospel to those who are lost. So certainly, you are welcome to make application, to make inquiries into the school by getting in contact with us through the addresses and numbers that will be given at the end of this program.
We've been studying for the past few weeks on the subject of "The Fruit of the Spirit" which is found in Galatians chapter 5 beginning in verse 22. Let us read these short two verses to begin our study today. "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control against such there is no law." Then the apostle Paul said in verse 25 just two verses later, "If we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit." These are characteristics that a child of God must have to be considered to be faithful to God or to consider to be a faithful child of God. And so that's why it's so important that we understand each one of these and for the past few weeks, you've been studying several of them. Today, I will be examining the two characteristics which are faithfulness and gentleness which is also referred to as meekness.
Now faith is something that is necessary for every child of God to have. In fact, how can you be a child of God unless you have faith? Hebrews 11:1, the scripture says, "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Then in Hebrews 11, verse 6, it says, "For without faith, it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto God for he that comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek after Him." So how could one believe unless he has faith? Well, that's the truth. One has to have faith in order to develop a system of belief that brings he or she into that relationship with God that they so desire. That is that belief that causes them to believe that Jesus is the Christ, to confess his sins, as Luke 13:3 says that He must repent and to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Matthew 10:32, and to be baptized into Christ for the remission of sins as Jesus when He gave His great commission in Mark 16:16 when He told His disciples to, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemned." Now that, my friends, and you who are my fellow Christians, we know that that is the system of faith that has been put in place by Jesus Himself that we must obey in order that we become children of God.
But after that, is there anything demanded of us as Christians or followers of Christ? Well, we just listed some of them here in Galatians 5 beginning with verse 22, and two of those for our consideration this morning are "faithfulness and gentleness." Now faithfulness is so important. How can a man really please God without being faithful? Well certainly, he cannot be pleasing to God unless he is faithful. This has been true throughout all of the scripture as we see many examples of that in what is called sometimes "A Hall of Fame," that is concerning those who are faithful in Hebrews chapter 11.
Now if you'll turn quickly to Hebrews chapter 11. We only have a little time this morning. It says there, "By faith Abel offered." Now in Abel offering that sacrifice he made to God which was an excellent sacrifice and a more acceptable sacrifice than of Cain's. The fact that he offered an acceptable sacrifice, he was deemed to be faithful because he did what God required of him.
By faith, Enoch was taken away. Enoch was that one who had walked with God. So he was faithful in his life before God.
Hebrews 11, verse 7, "By faith, Noah..." Now what did Noah do? Well now, we know the story. Noah built an ark and preached to the people for over 100 years. He was faithful in his generation.
"By faith," verse 8, "Abraham obeyed." So he did what God required that he do in order that he be deemed as one who was faithful.
Then it says again in verse 20, "By faith, Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau."
Verse 21, "By faith, Jacob..."
Verse 22, "By faith, Joseph..."
Verse 23, "By faith, Moses..."
Now all of these people were considered to be faithful people because they did what God expected them to do and it has not changed in this generation today. A characteristic or one characteristic of a Christian who is following after Christ is that of faithfulness. This word here actually is faithfulness which is based upon one's faith. Now what does faithfulness mean? It means, "One who is loyal. One who is reliable." Now are you loyal to Christ? Are you reliable in doing what Christ has asked that you do on the face of this earth while you are still alive to proclaim His Truth to all this generation, to live as Christ wants you to live so that others may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven and on and on as Christ has taught us? Are you faithful to those things that Jesus has asked you to do? That is a question that you must answer for yourself.
More specifically or specifically, in Ephesians chapter 6, maybe to bring this lesson closer to home. As we look at our generation today and as we look at our society, there are many parents who are faithful to the commitment that they have made to God. Faithful to what commitment? Well, as parents, fathers make a commitment as children of God that they will do certain things as it relates to their children. Ephesians 6 verse 4, "And you fathers provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up, raise them up in the discipline and training of the Lord," or as the Kind James Version says, "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Now I ask you fathers, are you bringing your children up in the discipline and training of the Lord? If so, you are found what? Faithful to the charge that has been given you by Jesus Himself as a faithful parent.
Of course, in Titus 2, mothers are to love their children, to love their husbands and many other things are said there about faithful Christian women.
So no one in this audience today who is a faithful Christian would deny the need for us to continue in that faithfulness in whatever role we are to play in this life. Even an employer, as we look at Colossians chapter 4 verse 1, the writer of the book of Colossians, the apostle Paul, points out the need for us who are over others as we might employ them, and in this relationship it was a master to a servant, that all things be done honorable. In fact, it says, "Give your bondservants what is just and fair knowing that you also have a master in Heaven." I don't know if this is a warning or what, but certainly it seems to be a warning that you as employers need to treat your employees just and fair because remember this, you also have a master who is in Heaven.
Then on the other hand, in the same book back in chapter 3 verses 22 and 23, it there speaks of a bondservant which was a slave, but we can say also this would apply to an employee, that you as an employee, as a Christian employee are to treat your employer not just with eye service as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart fearing God. Now I wonder when is the last time many people who claim to be Christians have felt that way about their employer, other than the fact that, "Well, I'm going to work this forty hours and I'm going to get out of here and I'm going to do my own thing," and sometimes you cut short of that forty hours or don't really fulfill the responsibilities that you have toward your employer but you still expect the same wage. That's not right! That's what is told us here in the book of Colossians chapter 3 verses 22-23. So we're to be faithful as children of God.
Early Christians continued steadfastly in many things from the very beginning in Acts chapter 2. We see this so clearly represented. These people had just become Christians. It couldn't be very soon after that that this statement makes reference to them where it says in Acts chapter 2 verse 42, "They continued steadfastly in apostle's doctrine and the breaking of bread, in fellowship and in prayers." So they continued what they continued faithful in the apostle's doctrine. Is that what we're doing? In fellowship with one another, in the breaking of bread, that is the partaking of the Lord's Supper and in prayers. So they were faithful to the commitment that they had just made to Christ on the Day of Pentecost when over 3,000 of them or about 3,000 of them were baptized into Christ for the remission of their sins. 1 Corinthians 15:58, there the apostle Paul said, "Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord for as much as you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." So they were to be steadfast, that is to be faithful and unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. And then that great statement in Revelation 2 verse 10, a statement which almost all New Testament Christians have heard before who hear the Bible preached that is. That is when Jesus Himself said, "Be faithful unto death and I will give you that crown of life." "Be faithful to the point of death and I will give you that crown of life." So the admonition is one of "The Fruits of the Spirit" is faithfulness.
Then the other one for our consideration is meekness, as the King James Version says, but in most versions it is mentioned as being gentle or gentleness. It's very difficult for me to explain just exactly what this word means, but if I put it together with another word that we all well know, that is the word of humility, maybe we can get a better understanding or grasp as to what meekness actually is. Remember Jesus said in His great "Sermon on the Mount" and what we refer to as "The Beatitudes?" "Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth." Blessed are the meek. Who are the meek? Some people have described the meek as those who have strength under control. They are strong people, but it is under control. Maybe in that way when we put together humility as Jesus demonstrated humility in all of His life, we can understand just a little bit about what this word is talking about. Meek people are people who are willing to be taught.
Remember what James said in James 1 verse 21, "Therefore laying aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, let us receive with meekness the engrafted word, let us receive with gentleness the engrafted word which is able to save our souls." What a wonderful admonition there.
We turn to Colossians or that is Ephesians chapter 4 and the apostle Paul here mainly is speaking of unity. But I want us to see that this principle is also here when we seek to fellowship with one another or to be unified in Christ where Paul said in Ephesians chapter 4 verses 1 and 2. "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace." That's strength under control. Being meek. It was Jesus who said, remember that beautiful statement in Matthew 11:28-30, "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me for I am meek, I am gentle and lowly, (that is humble) in heart and you shall find rest unto your soul." Jesus was what? He was meek. He was strength under control. If any person ever had that quality, it was Him because at any time, He could have sent many thousands of angels to serve destruction upon those who were trying to harm Him and His people, but He refused to do that. He had strength under control. He was humble. Remember what the writer said in the New Testament? "He that humbles himself shall be exalted, but he who exalts himself shall be humble."
So I encourage you today in every way that I can to seek to have those characteristics of a child of God that are listed in the book of Galatians chapter 5 verses 22 and following. Those are so important. In fact, Peter said they were so important when he said in 2 Peter chapter 1 that, "If these things are in us, we are neither barren nor unfruitful, but we are abounding in what Jesus has to offer us in that day to come, because if we know that these things are in us and they abound us, there will be administered unto us an entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
So I commend you brethren who are striving to live faithful Christian lives and pray and hope and trust that you will continue in every way you can to live as God wants you to so that you can be saved in the hereafter.
(Song # 3 - "All Things Are Ready!")
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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Are you living for god by demonstrating the proper faithfulness and gentleness which He requires. Make sure today, that you are truly walking in the spirit as God commands.