THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-3-01
LESSON TITLE: WHAT ARE THE GOD-GIVEN AVENUES OF ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP?
"PREACHING THE WORD"
Good morning and thank you for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. We are excited to have you with us for this time of offering and encouragement, as we participate in the things of God. We are glad that you have joined us for this worship to our Savior.
Our commitment this morning is to give glory to the Creator through the singing of songs of praise and through the study of His Word. I hope and pray that each of us will do our part to make this service acceptable in His sight. Now will you bow with me in prayer.
This week we would like to mention another congregation which helps in making the Living Word Program possible, each Lord's Day morning. The Bolivar Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri, has been a long time supporter of this effort for Christ. We really appreciate this fine congregation for their like-desire to see the gospel of Christ taken to the whole world.
Please take advantage of the opportunity this morning to meet with this family of God. Beginning at 9:45, these brethren will begin with a Bible study and then at 10:45, they will have a morning worship assembly. On Sunday evening at 6:00, they will again come together for a worship service. This congregation also offers a mid-week service at 7:00 each Wednesday evening. If you have any questions or need further information about this congregation, please feel free to contact me or their new minister, Kevin Patterson. Their telephone number is: 1-417-326-4727.
This morning we want to begin our songs of praise by singing a song which clarifies who we must believe in as Christians. So, at this time, won't you join in with the congregation as we sing together, "I Know Whom I Have Believed."
(SONG # 1)
One of the hardest things which we must all learn as Christians is how we need to treat others. This is so important because the way we treat others is to be the same way Christ would treat them. In fact, isn't that why we are called Christians - we are to be Christ-like!
The Bible says we are to be imitators of God, as His dear Children, Ephesians 5:1. Furthermore, Christ told us in the Golden rule to treat others as we want to be treated, Matthew 7:12.
Learning how to treat others is especially hard when it comes to those who we really don't like or who don't like us, or possibly even those who have done things against us. The wise man Solomon even understood this as he said, "If your enemy is hungry, give him bread to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink," Proverbs 25:21. This is also the same idea which Jesus presented in Matthew 5:44, when He said, "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you." You might say but why, well verse 45 goes on to say, "in order to be sons of God," we must do this.
I think the best verses on our discussion are found in Matthew 25. Here again our Lord is talking when He told His followers to do good unto all men - no matter who they are. He even mentions those in prison in His discussion. However, He really drives the point home when He said, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me." When we do good to anyone or treat them properly we must consider that we have done the same to Jesus. However, if we do bad or don't help those which we need to, we must also consider that we have not done it to Christ. So I ask, are you treating others as Christ would in your daily lives?
Today, our specific topic will be considering "preaching the Word" as we answer the question, "What are the God given avenues of acceptable worship?" This is our next lesson in our series on Worship. So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together I will return with this study from God's Word. The name of our next hymn is, "I Am Thine, O Lord!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Thank you for continuing with us this morning. We do look forward to our continued study as we look to worship and specifically looking this morning at preaching as a part of our worship to God. But so far in our discussions, we have seen a lot of very, very important things in relationship to worship. We found out what it is and really who we must worship and who must be a part of worship, that sometimes worship might be unacceptable and what will make worship acceptable before God. Last week, we were able to see a lot more about authority, Bible authority and really the authority that comes from Christ and how we must worship. And now we want to start building on this discussion by as we mentioned looking at preaching the word, and then we'll look at every avenue as we try to understand clearly from that authority, from God, from the Bible, what it is that we are to do in worship. What are those acts that are authorized by God, commanded, commanded specifically or even through example to the New Testament church, the apostles in the church of that day. And what should we follow today as a part of that which is authorized?
Well, we find throughout the New Testament that this word "preach" or "preaching" or "preached" is very, very important, a very vital part of the discussion that was taking place there. And if you'll look, actually in verses such as Timothy, in 2 Timothy chapter 4, verses 1, we find there that a charge is given to this young evangelist. And in fact, in verse 2, he says, "Preach the word." This is really something that rings out throughout scripture. "Preach the word." All types of individuals, disciples and Christians, people who were zealous and eager about what they had learned and accepted in Christ Jesus and their willingness to take that to others in order that they might also know Jesus Christ, in order that they might also respond to His will.
In fact this morning, we might also realize that not only is it mentioned so many times in scripture, but we might realize that it was something that was done by everyone who professed to be a child of God, everyone who was pleasing before God, it seems, in the New Testament was willing to spread the word, to preach it, to teach it, to tell others again about Christ Jesus.
We can look at several different ideas today in our discussion. But first of all, I would like to show and really help us understand what preaching is, at least from the standpoint of it's use in scripture. We first of all see that preaching was used as far as preaching to the world. In other words, those who knew not the will of God, those who are ignorant in relationship to who the Father and the Son are, who Christ Jesus is, who the Spirit is, about the word of God, those who don't know God. Preaching must be done to all peoples as we find throughout scripture especially in the Great Commissions. We find there in Matthew 28 as well as in Mark 16 there at the end of those chapters that there the Great Commission is given where we are told to "go into all the world or to every creature and to preach the gospel." To preach what their God has told us through His inspired word so that we might tell people what they need to do again in order to respond to the gospel of Christ and in order to be saved. We also find there what we are to preach, in those verses, as we are told there by Christ Himself that we are to "preach the gospel." On this program, we have discussed doctrine and gospel and those things that pertain to life and godliness before, and we know that the gospel is the word of God. It is that which tells us about not only who Jesus is, but it is that which tells us also about what He died for, what He did it all for, the church, and it tells us about what He would have those who are in the church to do. Just as we find again, those apostles and disciples in the New Testament preaching these things to those who needed to hear that gospel. So go and preach the word. Preach that which will save the souls and bring people into the opportunity not only to know Him, but again to be saved because of Him, that is our Savior.
Now not only do we see that the gospel was preached unto those who were not in the church, those who were outside of the church, those who needed to respond and to become Christians by hearing the word, and repenting, confessing that Jesus is the Christ and being buried with Him in baptism, but we also see that preaching was done in the church by those who were followers of God. Those, in other words, who had already responded to that gospel that we just spoke about a moment ago. If you'll turn with me to the book of Acts, and the book of Acts is a very, very important book especially in the discussions that we might have in relationship to worship and those things that pertain to the Christians of the New Testament, because there is when we find that the church actually began in Acts chapter 2 and in the early days of the church as it grew and spread throughout the region. But in Acts chapter 20, a verse that we have heard no doubt before says this to us in verse 7. "Now on the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight." We notice here that on the first day of the week that they were coming together to worship, to break bread. In fact, if you'll go up to like verse 6, and even following those verses before that, we see what was happening in Paul's life, how he was traveling around and how that it was at this time that he decided to wait until the first day of the week there at Troaz to worship with the brethren in order that he might worship God on the Lord's day, the first day of the week. And so it says, "On the first day of the week when they came together to break bread..." We see that Paul preached. Some translations use the word "preach". Some use as it says here, "spoke to them." Some continue on to say, "he spoke the message until midnight." What do you think he was talking about? Do you think he was there talking about sports or he was there maybe addressing maybe the things of society? Well certainly not. He was there to worship God. He was there speaking the message concerning Jesus Christ. And notice how long he went. Until midnight. How many of us would appreciate that if our ministers this morning preached all day long, all the way to midnight, or even started in the evening and then going until midnight? Well, you see the people there having a great vivid love for God, a desire to hear His word, a commitment in order that they wanted to hear as much as they could and take advantage of that opportunity to know more about God.
So yes, we see that the early church, when they assembled, they spoke concerning the things of God. They proclaimed the word. They would preach the message. And I think if you'll go back to the book of Timothy, I believe that's the very concept that is being mentioned there in 2 Timothy chapter 4 that we mentioned a moment ago. We mentioned that he charged him to do what? In verse 2, he says, "To preach." But what was Timothy to preach? Well notice there in verse 2 as he continues on. He says, "Preach the word (again the word), be ready in season, out of season, convince, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and teaching." Now here we find again this concept of preaching, preaching to anyone who will hear. But remember that Timothy was sent to areas, to churches to strengthen them also. He was sent there to help their brethren, as it says here, "how to be instant in season and out of season." If I want to be instant in season and out of season, what will that require? It will require that I study the word of God, and when I study it, then I'll be able to understand again what God would have me to do in any given situation and that again would be whether I am a child of God and whether I desire to become a child of God. In fact, if you notice the verse here mentions things that it will do. It will convince us of what we need to know. Not only will it convince us, but it will rebuke us. If we are wrong in some way, if we are sinning, it will correct us and tell us which way to go. Not only that but it says here that "it will exhort us, encourage us and strengthen us" so that we will go on day by day doing the work, preaching the word of God just as we see they were doing there in Acts chapter 2 continuing daily house to house, preaching the word of God and studying it. And we see also mentioned here the concept of being long-suffering in our preaching. There we see the idea that yes, preaching was being done. It was being done. It was being done to those outside the church. It was being done specifically to those in the church, but they were patient about it. They were helping people to know what God wanted and being patient until they got to that point as long as they weren't rejecting the message of Jesus Christ, and they were teaching them as you'll notice there. We can go back to the Great Commission again where it says there that not only were they preaching the word, not only were they baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, but they were teaching them to observe all things. They were teaching them through the proclamation of the good news, the preaching of the gospel, what they should do and what they should follow in relationship to the will of Jesus Christ. So yes, preaching was done to those throughout the world and it must be also done by us today as His disciples to all men, to every nation, to every creature, so they might hear the word of God and we must preach when we assemble as Christians. We must study to know what God would have us to do just as Paul, we are not perfect. We must reach toward that goal. We must buffet our bodies daily. We must strive daily to commit ourselves to the knowledge of the word of God, to know more and more what He would have us to do, to come more and more before Him allowing Him to see that we are like Him. We are like Christ Jesus, or again striving to be like Christ Jesus.
So what is then preaching? Well, we've mentioned it already in our discussion as far as what is said here from scripture. It is to teach, to proclaim. Generally though, we do find that historically, it seems that preaching in our English sense really would be those who might do it in a public way. Those who might get up before and really preach a lesson, whereas teaching might be where you might say things and expect responses. Preaching was a proclamation which was done many times throughout not only the scripture but in many different avenues of life throughout time, throughout the centuries as we might look again historically. So preaching is something that must be done. Preaching is a requirement through scripture. It is something that if we will do it, God might be pleased, because it helps us again to know what He would have us to do and it helps again to help others outside of the Lord's church to know what He would have them to do.
But I want to end up our lesson this morning by looking at two different things. First of all, I would like to suggest that there are two primary areas that really should be considered in preaching. First of all being the one who is proclaiming the message. And then secondly, the ones who hear the message. Have you ever stopped to consider what a great and awesome responsibility it must be to those and for those who proclaim the word of God. Think about how they will answer for what they say, how that God will hold them accountable for what things they proclaim on His behalf concerning the word of God. I think this is the very thing that we find in the book of Galatians if you'll look there in Galatians chapter 1, and notice what is said there in verses 6 through 9 as Paul told the Galatian brethren, "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you into the grace of Christ to a different gospel which is not another, but there are some who want to trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ, but even if we or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so say now I again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received let him be accursed." Now here again, we find out that as we proclaim the word, it must be what? God's way. His word. The gospel. What He has told us to. If we preach anything else, as we find here, Paul was saying to them, if anybody proclaims anything else other than what he had received, what would that be? That would be what God had given them, what He had revealed to them through His word, what we now have today also in written form. If you preach any other thing, it's wrong, it's unacceptable. So again, notice here that individual will be accursed. If I as a preacher of the word mislead someone or preaches the wrong thing, I will be held accountable for it.
Now on the other hand, as we know there are false teachers. We know there are wolves in sheep's clothing, as Jesus said in the book of Matthew. We know there are those trying to mislead us as children of God. As we look here again in the scriptures, we find this very, very clear. What about the responsibility of the listener? Should we just take in everything and put it in our minds and accept it no matter what? Or is it our duty to make sure that it is found here. Well, we can really go back to where we were looking in the book of 2 Timothy as we find there where he was instructed to preach and teach in order that they might know all things according to the word of God. He went on to say, "Be careful. Be careful because some people will try to mislead you, misguide you according to what God would have you to do." It is our responsibility, the ones who hear, who are listening, your responsibility. Not to say, "That's what Ray says or what my church says or what my pastor says, or some leader." But to say, "That's what God says." And I know that what Ray says is what God has said because I find it in God's word. You see, the listener has a grave responsibility. Not only does the preacher answer and will he answer if he does wrong, but the listener will also answer according to the word of God if he receives that which is wrong and accepts it as right without confirming himself in God's word whether it be according to the gospel or whether it be according to another gospel as Paul said. Therefore, the one who received it would be accursed.
As Christians, let's always make sure we understand that worship does include preaching. Whether we are talking about outside of the church where we must preach or whether we come together and worship together and preach and proclaim the message on the first day of the week. We must worship God and do what He has told us to, understanding the great responsibility, those who proclaim the message and that those also have who receive the message. All must be done according to the glory of God and according to what He would have us to do.
(SONG # 3 - "My Jesus I Love Thee!")
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.
Now let me ask if you have any questions or comments about today's lesson? Maybe, you would like a free transcript or a free cassette tape of this program? Possibly, we could assist you with free Bible materials or free Bible correspondence courses? No matter what your need is, please contact us at the following address:
The Living Word
2540 N. Kansas Expressway
Springfield, Mo. 65803
Many of these materials are also available on our web sight:
That address is: www.thelivingwordprogram.com
Or if you prefer, you may call us at:
May we all realize that preaching the Word is a commanded part of our worship to God, which is vitally important to our growth as Christians.