THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 6-6-04
LESSON TITLE: "THE IMPORTANT DOCTRINES OF CHRIST: THE DOCTRINE OF GRACE"
Good morning, and thanks for joining us for the study of God's Living Word! We are glad you are with us this morning to give this time to the things of God. At this time may we start our praise to God by talking with our Father in prayer. Bow with me please!
Let me begin this morning by thanking our viewers in the Rogersville, Missouri area. Furthermore, let me encourage you to visit with one of the faithful congregations which meets in your area, even today. First may we encourage you to visit with the Rogersville Church of Christ. This family of God will assemble even today beginning at 9:30 a.m. Following this Bible class period these brethren will come together collectively to worship God - this service begins at 10:15. A Sunday evening gathering is also offered beginning at 6:00 o'clock. If you are able on Wednesdays, I know this congregation would love to have you for another period of study beginning at 7:30 p.m. So, please visit with this congregation very soon. If you need any further information about this family of God, please contact their minister Darin Chappell at (417)753-3126.
I would also like to encourage you to visit with another fine congregation in this same area, just a little further south in the Plainview community another assembly of our Lord gathers for Worship. The Plainview Church of Christ has been a good supporter of this work and we would like to encourage you to meet with this family of God. This morning these brethren will begin with a Bible study at 10:00, this will be followed by a main worship assembly at 11:00. On Sunday evening, these brethren as well come together beginning at 6:00. Finally, let me encourage you to join them in their mid-week service which is held every Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. If you need further information about this congregation, please contact their minister Bob Brickner at (417)883-9001.
We again thank both of these congregations for their continued love and support of this work of our Lord. Well, it's time to join in our first song of the morning, so won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Are You Washed In The Blood!"
(SONG # 1)
It doesn't matter how young or old we are, we all love to receive gifts. No doubt all of us look forward to birthdays, holidays and special times of the year as we know we will get some presents and be able to open them up in surprise. As we think about the giving and receiving of gifts, let me ask a few questions for us to consider. When is the giving and receive of a gift complete? Is it when it is given, is it when it is receiving, or is it when it is opened and responded to? Now apply this to all that God has done for us.
God created us, gave His son to die on the cross that we might have forgiveness of sins, and thus He has offered us eternal life if we are willing to obey what he commands. So, God has done His part! He has offered the gift of promises and blessing as His faithful Children. But when is it all complete - not until we respond! You see, if we are to truly respond to the things of God we must acknowledge the gift, open it and respond to it as required. Then and only then has the process been completed and the final outcome been accomplished - because God has done His part and we have fulfilled ours. How have you responded to the gift of God? Keep in mind that the salvation of your soul counts on your response! As Paul said in 2 Corinthians 9:15, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our series, today we will be continuing to talk about, "The Important Doctrines of Christ!" The specific lesson of the day will deal with the, "The Doctrine of Grace!" So, please stay with us this morning and at the appropriate time I will be leading us in this study from God's Word. Now let's join together in our second song of the day. The name of this hymn, "Bring Christ Your Broken Life."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
As we continue to look at the doctrines of God today, we will be focusing on grace. Certainly as we've already considered in our introduction, there are many things that we might demonstrate the concepts of grace by. In fact, once again the idea of actually being given a gift certainly shows us that there has been something given by God, something that is special, that is different from anything else in this world or in this life and as something that has been extended to us that we must do something in order to receive.
I think that gift is clearly mentioned there by Paul in the book of 2 Corinthians chapter 8 and verse 9 where the Bible says, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He has become poor that you through His poverty might become rich." Here we see the concept that is clearly defined as you being able to know the grace of our Lord. What is the grace of our Lord that is referred to and mentioned here? It is the very fact that our Lord was willing to leave His deity, that is His Godship, His Sonship, there in Heaven as He was over and above the world to become an actual man, as the Hebrew writer said, to even become lower than the angels, to present Himself in the flesh that He might live and walk and be tempted and be tried and as well even die on the cross for our sakes. That is the thought. That is the concept, if you will, of the grace, the great grace that entails mercy and this wondrous love that God had, although we are undeserving.
We can look throughout many different letters once again of Paul's such as the book of Galatians and we can see how that the Bible tells us over and over again that Christ died while we were yet sinners. You and I obviously make mistakes in our lives. We sin and we do things contrary to His Will and therefore we are shameful at times and we hurt God by doing these sins. But yet, at the same time the Bible tells us that knowing all things, knowing what has transpired in our past, in our present, as well as our future that Christ died. That's the concept of grace again, an undeserved favor although I as a man will sin even though I love God and even though I am a follower of God although I will still mess up and make mistakes, although I am undeserving and I cannot be perfect as I should be before God and be sinless and righteous and holy as God is. He still loved me enough and gave His grace that we might be able to be His children, that we might be able to be His sons, His daughters in Christ. Certainly what a great blessing this is and it is something that we must continue to consider this morning and understanding the true power and significance of God's grace and how it applies to us and what we must do in response to it.
Once again as we go back to that idea of the gift, the concept that it is presented to us and yes, we're excited, but as it sits under the tree there for several weeks or a month, I can tell you my kids are crazy or as we have them sitting on the table before the birthday several days before, they want to open them so bad. It hasn't been completed. It's not finished. They know it's theirs. They know it's a gift, but it hasn't been received and we haven't got that big smile on their face and the laughter and the hug and the thanks and the kiss. We haven't got all of those things. It hasn't been finished. Well grace was something offered although undeserved, but what is our part? Well I think Paul as well, once again, in the book of Ephesians helps us to understand the depths of grace, the true ideas that are presented there beginning if you will in verse 8 where again he says, "For by grace you have been saved." There is no doubt that you and I are saved by grace. By grace and that really there is nothing we can do in our human states with our sinfulness and our unrighteous attitudes at times and the way that we mess up. There's nothing that we can do that God should owe us what He has done for us, or that He will owe us salvation, or that He will owe me blessings and promises. There's nothing that I can do to make God owe me anything because of how great and mighty and righteous He is and how lowly I am in my humanity. But here it says, "For by grace you have been saved." Once again, He loved us enough to do what (John 3:16)? "To give His only begotten Son," although He knew we were sinners, although He knew many were unbelievers and would not still believe, although He knew His own people, the Jews, would reject primarily His Son as being His own Son and as being the Messiah that was sent according to prophecy. Although He knew all of these things and knows all things, "for by grace," He says, "you will be saved." You are saved. You are saved because God cared enough and loved us enough even though, even though and despite ourselves and who we are.
But the same verse goes on to clarify some other things about grace because in our world today many have the concept that grace and grace alone without anything else will simply save everybody no matter what, no matter what they do, no matter what they say, that graced saves. Well I will say, "Amen," to the extent that it does save, but what does the verse here, verse 8 of chapter 2 of Ephesians, go on to say that is a part of grace? It says that "we are saved by grace. We are saved by grace..." Notice the next word. "...through faith." Through faith. You see, what is God's part? God's part is that He has given the gift. He has laid it out there. His Son has died. He's made all the sacrifices and He has blessed us and He has created us and God has done so much. He has laid it out there and all we've got to do is take that gift and open it and jump up and down and hug Him and obey Him and follow Him. That's our part. Faith! A belief that God is who He is.
How in the world could we say that God has offered all grace to all men and that it will be given freely and extended to all men whether they believe or not? Well you and I both know that couldn't be farther from the truth. The Bible teaches clearly that if one does not believe, He cannot be a son of God or a child of God. He cannot follow God. He cannot be saved. So why is it that some today have the concept that somehow grace is such a great, large umbrella that nothing matters? Well, certainly it matters because we must have faith. Even the Hebrew writer said that "it is impossible to please God," Hebrews 11 and verse 6. So here we see that for by grace you have been saved through what? Through faith. God's part here is grace, Ray. Ray's part is faith, that I obey Him and again it is not about me. It's not about what I can do, or how much I can chalk up on the board, or how much I can give to God of my money, or how much I can give to God of my... It's not even about all of those things primarily. Ultimately, it's only God's grace that is going to make us worthy in the end, but yet that doesn't dismiss the fact that I am required to believe, that I am required to have faith. It's not of myself, the verse goes on to say, "For by grace you have been saved through faith and that is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God." There's that word again. That gift. He's laid it out there. Here's your gift! Take it! What is my part? How do I take it? Faith! My response is faith. Obedience.
Brethren, you and I and friends, certainly know that there is something we must do to demonstrate our faith. The Hebrew writer once again in Hebrews chapter 11 has already mentioned to us not only what faith is in verse 1, but in verse 6, we said, "Proclaim that without faith, we cannot please God." I want you to notice what the writer goes on to say there in the same letter, Hebrews again chapter 11, as he shows us, he shows us what faith is all about. Hebrews 11 there beginning we find that Abel is mentioned. Abel is mentioned as one who did something for God. We see that also as we go down Enoch was taken. Why? Because of his faith. We see that another man named Noah was one again who was faithful. He was an heir of righteousness. Why? Because he obeyed the commands of God. He did something for Him. "Obeyed," verse 8 says, because he was called to go to a country he didn't know and what did he do? God, where do I go? He went. Then Sarah is mentioned as one being there in verse 11 as one who had faith. It goes on to talk about more such as the patriarchs. There in verse 17, Abraham is not only mentioned, but also Isaac, and then Jacob is mentioned down in verse 21. And that all of these by faith, Joseph mentioned when he was dying made mention of the departure of what Israel would be making in the future. Here again, by faith. By faith. What is it that men like Adam, Seth, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, what is it that all of these individuals, the prophets and the kings and even the... What is it that distinguished them from those of God and those who are not of God? What is it that made the determination that they had been given the gift of grace as all men had been given the gift, but yet they had somehow received that gift and acted on it. The difference was faith. An action. Isn't that why James in James chapter 2 and verse 26 says that "without faith not only is it impossible to please God," but he says there that "faith without works is..." what? "...dead." A faith without works. He talks about so many things in that passage there about how that the devils believe. They tremble. They know who God is, but yet they don't have faith. Why? Because they don't act on it. They don't... We are saved certainly by grace and without grace I am without hope and I a cannot be saved and I cannot receive the promised reward of Heaven. Without grace I am lost.
But with grace and through my faith, I then have responded to something that gives me the great promise, the great promise of God.
There is another thing I want to bring out in our final minutes here back in our main text of Ephesians chapter 2. Verse 8 again talks about how that we are saved by grace through faith, not of ourselves, but it is again God's gift. God is the only one who is worthy enough to make me a sinner, perfect and clean before Him. Notice what verse 9 goes on to say though. He says there again, "Not of works lest any man should boast." God, why is it that my faith, my works really aren't the full-hearted? Why do I still need the grace? Well because it is not about me. When are we ever going to learn in our society that social things and godly things are different? In our society we think that it is all about me. It is all about what I want, what I feel, what I think. With God, it's not! It couldn't be any further from the truth. In fact, it's all about who? God! It's not about what I can do for God. It's about what He has done for me, and all that He has done for me. It's about all of the commitments that He has made, all the blessings, the promises. Over and over and over and over again it can be seen in my life. That's God's grace. That's God's gift that I then have the opportunity to respond to and to do as it says in Mark 16:16, "Believe and be baptized." To show my faith by works. To show my faith in knowledge that I realize that grace is mine. Grace has been extended and that I have received it by opening the gift and acted on it by doing God's precious Will.
I like how John put it there as it was revealed to him in Revelation 2 and 10 that "Be faithful unto death and you will receive a crown of life." How precious that concept is. If we are but faithful, we will have the crown of life. If we have faith, we will have the crown of life.
Won't you respond to the precious gift of God's grace and do those things that certainly through faith prove that you will have that eternal reward forever and ever with Him?
(SONG # 3 - "Because He Lives!")
May I again take this opportunity to thank you for joining us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and thus a blessing to us all. Please remember that you are invited back to join us every first day of the week, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this time of Worship before God!
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Isn't it wonderful to know that we are saved by the wondrous grace of God. Thanks be to our creator that He extended us this undeserved favor so that we might be saved!