THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-22-08
LESSON TITLE: "THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE CHALLENGE OF CHRIST AND HIS GOSPEL"
Good morning! Thank you for joining us today for God's Living Word. I hope everyone had a great week, and I hope your weekend was a profitable one also.
Here we are on another glorious Lord's Day morning. What a wonderful opportunity we have again today to join together in the worship of our Redeemer. I hope you are ready to begin this new week with a day of service and offering to your God.
As always, it is our commitment through this program to proclaim the simple truth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ - which is confirmed for us in the Bible. I hope you all have your Bible's handy and I hope you are ready to worship God together as we sing praises to His name and study from His wondrous word. Now let's begin by talking to our Father in prayer!
At this time, we want to sing a song that reminds us that God is always there for us. Won't you all join in with the congregation at this time as we praise God together with the hymn, "Face to Face."
(SONG # 1)
How many times have you said something that you regretted? You know what I mean, "open mouth and insert foot." I think we have all been there and done that. However, the real question that we must consider is, just how important is it that we do and say the right things? Well our Lord said it is very important.
In Matthew 12:35, Jesus said, "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." Also in Revelation 20:13, we read that each one is judged according to His works! Now we have the answers! It matters because the things we do and say will judge us in the last day! We will either receive a good reward for the righteous lives that we have lived or we will receive damnation, according to our choices in this life which forgot God.
In the same text back up in verses 33 and 34, Jesus summed up what causes us to do and to say the things which we do. There He says, "...For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things." Christ says we do and say things according to what we are inside. The heart and soul of man cause him to produce either good treasures or bad. Solomon said, "as a man thinks in his heart, so is he," Proverbs 23:7.
The things we choose to feed our heart, soul, and mind with, will determine whether we produce that which is good or bad. You and I know that a good tree doesn't produce bad fruit nor does a bad tree produce good fruit. Again, it was our Savior who said, "Therefore by their fruits you will know them," Matthew 7:20.
So my question today is, what type of fruit do you produce through your words and deeds. Is it the good fruit according to the will of Christ, or is it bad fruit according to the evil's of this world? Remember, it does make a difference, it does matter - so choose this morning to only bear that fruit that makes you acceptable before God.
In our study of the day, we will be continuing our discussion on the wondrous, "Gospel Of Christ." Our specific topic of the day will deal with, "The Challenge Of Christ And His Gospel." So please continue with us this morning and after our next song together I will return with this lesson from God's Word. It's now time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Walking Alone At Eve."
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We're glad you've stayed with us today as we continue now looking at "The Gospel of Christ." We so far have seen so much about Jesus and about His life and ministry. In fact, we started with His birth, Him coming to the world and the fact that He grew up and even lived a good, wholesome and pure life, eventually even going to the cross and dying, being buried and last week, resurrecting for our sakes that we might be saved.
This morning, we want to continue to look at "The Gospel of Christ" by specifically considering together the concept of "The Challenge of Christ," and then also "His Gospel." At least next week, we will focus mainly on the gospel itself that is proclaimed, but this week we want to look at really Jesus. What was the challenge that He came to present? What was He striving to set forth?
I think one of the best places that it is found is in a very familiar story of Luke chapter 19. We recall there where the man, Zacchaeus, a tax collector who was known very much for his stature for he was a very short man, or as the children sing, "A wee little man was Zacchaeus." And so as Zacchaeus knew Jesus was coming he climbs into a tree. That tells us how short he was because he could not see over the crowds to even get a sight, to look upon or to even see the Lord Himself. And so after all of this transpired, Jesus comes to the tree. He stops at the tree and he tells him to come down from the tree because He was going to go to his house and eat with him. I want you to notice what it is that He tells Zacchaeus and the others after Zacchaeus has really responded, taking Him to the house and began then to believe in Jesus Christ. There in verse 9, Jesus says to him, "Today, salvation has come to this house because he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which is lost. Now what did the Son of Man come for? To seek and save the lost. I think in a nutshell, that is exactly why Jesus came to the earth and the purpose of His ministry on the earth. Certainly He proclaimed the good news of the gospel. Certainly He spoke of the specifics of it. But the goal was to seek and to save the lost, to give all men who certainly without Christ are dead without hope and lost the chance of being saved. That means blessings today, now and blessings forever more eternally.
And so as we consider all of the concepts that are being said in this text and throughout the gospels about the work of Jesus, the challenge that He presented. We find that they are all centered around this one concept of being soul-centered. He was interested in souls. When is the last time that when you were out maybe at the store or maybe you were out at the park or doing something here or there, maybe a restaurant, and you looked around and you thought about souls, people who needed to hear the gospel of Christ. Well, that's what Jesus was centered around. That's what He thought about. That's what He wanted, that no one would be lost, but as Peter said, "Everyone would come to repentance." Well isn't that then what we should desire? If Jesus' main desire and goal was to seek and save the lost as His child, what should I desire? The very same thing.
Just how important are souls to Christ? I think in the book of Luke again back in chapter 15 we find out just how important, not only that a new soul come to Christ but even a lost soul, someone who has strayed or found themselves outside of God after having been in God. Well there are some parables in chapter 15 and one is the "Parable of the Lost Sheep." There is a parable also of the "Lost Coin" where an older lady loses a coin and searches frantically for it and then "The Lost Son" where a son goes away and eventually returns. Each of these parables show us the same thing, the idea of the love of God and the focus that He has even on one's soul. What stands out about the parable here of "The Lost Sheep" is that he was willing to leave the 99 faithful or sheep that he had that had not been lost in order to go and to search for the one that had run off or walked off or strayed off. And so how precious are souls to Jesus? Of the utmost. I tell you any God that knows that hair on our heads, that knows intricately every point, every facet of our bodies, everything about our heart and soul inside and out is a God that cares about souls first and foremost. And therefore again we are challenged by Christ to understand that we must care about souls.
So now in caring about souls, in seeking to save the lost, what was it that Christ did to see that He accomplished the task? If you will now go back to the book of Matthew with me to the gospel according to Matthew in Matthew chapter 20 in verse 28. I want you to notice with me here what Jesus proclaims about the work that He came to do. The verse there, verse 28 says, "Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many."
In the text if you look here, He actually talks about the idea of being a slave or a servant. Then He turns around and He says, "Well even I Myself, even I as God in the flesh, the Son of God, did not come to be served." Boy, that's a wake up call. In fact, it might be even a little scary for some of us because we think, "Wow, you mean we are the ones who have to do the work? We are not to be served? No. Jesus says, "I don't want to be served. I have come to serve." How many of us are ready and willing to serve our fellow man, to serve them, to serve their souls that they might know God, to make the effort, to use the energy, to take the time, to give of our means and our prosperity to see that others knows we are here to serve them and to help save their souls. How far was Jesus willing to go? Look at the verse again. "He came there to seek and save the lost, to serve and not to be served and to give His life a ransom for many." Well what did Jesus do? He died on the cross. How far was Jesus willing to go to show that He was a servant? Death on the cross!
Now I ask you, I ask us all to consider, what is our focus, our understanding of servitude? How far should we go? Are we willing to die? Are we willing to die for the souls of others? You see Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He came because He was interested in the lost of the world, the erring. He was interested in souls and in turning them away from sin into eternal life and He knew that to do that He must be a servant. Although He could have required that He be treated like God and the Son of God, He came to be a servant and as a servant, He was blessed by His Father. As a servant, He was effective. As a servant, He did for the will of God exactly what was required that men might be sought and that men might be saved.
I think there is also another interesting passage in Matthew back in chapter 9 that tells us who should we be seeking. You know we've talked about the lost coin. We've talked about the lost sheep. Who is it that Jesus sought? Did He come to the faithful? Was His objective to save those who are already saved? You know think about that for a moment. Sometimes as the church, those who love God, are very good about keeping house or about keeping up with what we need to do as the people of God. But what about reaching out? What about those lost again, those outside? Notice there in chapter 6 what He is clarifying in relationship to the treasures of life, the facts of life there in the great Sermon on the Mount. But then I want you to move over again there as I mentioned a moment ago to chapter 9 and what then is this reaction? What is it that we do? How should we look at those in this world who need salvation? There if you will read with me there beginning in verse 12. "When Jesus heard that He said to them, 'Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.' Then He goes on to say, 'But go and learn what this means. I desire mercy and not sacrifice for I did not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.'"
Who has the greatest need of being saved? Those who are not saved, the sinners, those who are lost. And so when Jesus said, "I came to seek and save the lost," He automatically was focused on those who had not obeyed, who did not know Him, who had not responded and who needed to possibly hear for the first time that Jesus Christ was the Messiah, the Son of God, the Savior of the world, the one who died for all lost, the one who had come to serve although He was worthy of being served, the one who was willing to make all sacrifice that He might save the lost. Well you see again the challenge of Jesus, of Christ is to save the world.
We also learn there that seeking and saving the lost requires that we preach the gospel of Christ. What was it in the Bible that saved man? It was the good news. It was the good news that Paul himself declared as he spoke there to the Corinthians. Do you remember what he said there in 1 Corinthians 15 and verse 1? "Moreover, brethren," he says, "I declare to you the gospel which I have preached to you which also you received and in which you stand." He says, "I preach the gospel to you." And what did the gospel do? Look at verse 2. "By which also you were saved." He says, "I preached the gospel. You were saved by it." Then the next thing he says, "And then you also hold fast to." He says, "You live it." Now what should we do? We should we strive for to seek and save? We must preach the gospel. We must preach it so that we might be what? The world might be saved and finally as we read here that "They might hold fast to the truth, the Word of God, the power of salvation." As we even read there, "The gospel is," in Romans chapter 1 and verse 16. NO wonder the Bible says that, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." The seeker, the servant, the savior. To do what? To come to the earth that whoever would believe in Him might be saved that he might have eternal life.
You see that was the focus of Jesus, that He was willing, that He was ready, that He was able to do the work of the Father, to accomplish the task, to focus on the goal, to seek and save the lost, and do whatever it took even physical labor, hard labor and effort and time and energies in order that he might bring others to the gospel of Christ.
Well that brings me then finally to the idea of the need to preach the whole gospel. Not part of it. Not what we like. Not what we discard because we don'' like it or what fits in to what our desires are or the church that we go to. The whole counsel. Isn't that what the Bible spoke about in Acts chapter 20 and verse 27? Paul said there, the same Paul that said, "I preached the gospel," said, "I have not shunned to declare the whole gospel to you, the whole counsel of God." You see he didn't want to leave anything out because he knew if it was important enough for God to have given it and revealed it by the mystery certainly it was important enough that they hear it, that they be able to believe it and that they respond to it. No wonder Jesus said, "We can know the truth and the truth can make us free." Because the truth has been given to us that we might be saved.
No wonder Paul as well said that not only did he preach the whole gospel, but he said, "I didn't even hesitate for an hour," Galatians 2:4-5, "but I stood up and proclaimed the truth in its fullness, in its entirety." I believe that's exactly what Jesus did as He came to the earth to seek and save the lost, to lead the example so that Paul and Peter and James and John and so many others might follow that example, so that you and I might follow that example, so that after being saved ourselves and making the great confession, returning from sin and being buried with our Lord and Savior in baptism. After being a child of God to take that same message, the heart of the gospel and the fullness of the gospel presented to the lost and dying world that they might be saved in our day the same way they were saved in the day of Jesus so that in the end we might all live together eternally in heaven with our God on high.
(SONG # 3 - "This Is My Father's World")
What a wondrous time we have had together in participating in the things of God. 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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What a wonderful challenge we have from God through Christ Jesus and the Word. May we always strive to obey our Savior and have the love for saving souls just as He did while on this earth.