THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-1-07
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING IN THE SPIRIT: HOW DO WE BEGIN OUR WALK WITH GOD?"
In James 1 we read, "Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone!" We're glad you have joined us today 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.
Who do you turn to when the trials and burdens of this life get you down? Our first song of the morning reminds us that we do have a place to go for help. So, won't you join in the first song, as we sing together, "Bring Christ Your Broken Life!"
(SONG # 1)
One of the hardest things for us to deal with as followers of God is Temptation. Oh, how difficult it is for us to understand why we are tempted if we are striving to do the Will of God.
However, the fact is God's servants have always dealt with temptation. In fact, in the Bible it seems that the more faithful someone was - the more temptation they had to deal with. One example we are all familiar with is Job. This man had been greatly blessed by God. But because of his faith, Satan desired to tempt him, claiming that he would not remain faithful without all of the physical blessings he had been given by God. Well, we all know the story, Job does remain faithful and bows down before his God and thanks Him!
You see, we will suffer if we are living according to the ways of God, because the more we live for God the more Satan wants to cause us to fall away. In 1 Peter 4:15, we read, "if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter." James said, "Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him," James 1:12. Notice that these verses not only say that we will suffer, but that when we suffer and endure we will be blessed for doing so. Back in James 1:2-3, James also says we should be joyful in trials, because when our faith is tested we learn to be more patient and to depend more on God.
One final reason why we should endure temptations in this life is found in Hebrews 2:18. There we read, "For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted." Yes, we have been left the perfect example for dealing with temptations, because even Jesus Himself had to suffer like trials. In fact, this verse goes on to say that He will also help us through our sufferings if we will simply do His Will. Paul even told the Corinthians that God will "not allow us to be over tempted and that in temptation He will provide a way of escape," 1 Corinthians 10:13.
The best thing we can do as Christians is to acknowledge the fact that we will be tempted. Then we will be ready to deal with these trials when they come our way. However, we can further find confidence in the fact that God has promised to help us and show us the way when we are tempted - so that we will be able to remain faithful to His Will! Have you learned to deal with temptation as a Christian?
Our topic of study this morning will again focus on, "Walking In The Spirit." The final lesson in our series will answer the question, "How do we begin our walk with God?" So won't you stay with us and in a few minutes our speaker of the day will return with this study of the day.
As far as our guest speaker, we are again happy to have brother Kevin Patterson with us. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Hwy 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. We thank him for being with us this Lord's day.
Now it's time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, "Because He Lives."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning, and thank you for staying with us.
Last week, we concluded a series of lessons from Galatians chapter 5 entitled, "Walking in the Spirit." It focused on verses 19-23 which distinguished between the sinful works of the flesh and the godly fruit of the spirit. The apostle Paul wrote this letter to various congregations of the church in the region of Galatia who were abandoning the purity of New Testament Christianity and replacing it with the worldliness or the sinfulness of the teachings of man. Notice Paul's statement in Galatians chapter 1 verses 6-7. "I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ to a different gospel which is not another, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ." The churches of Galatia were indeed doing wrong. They were turning away from the Lord and allowing the gospel to be perverted to the point that Paul would tell them in Galatians chapter 5 and verse 4, "You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law, you have fallen from grace."
It is important to realize that in order for these people to have turned away from the gospel of Christ, they must have first turned to the gospel of Christ. In order for these people to have fallen from grace, they must have first received the grace that comes from God. And that's what we're going to be examining today. How does one turn to the gospel of Christ? How does one receive God's grace? We're going to answer these questions as we study the topic: "How To Begin Our Walk With God." In doing so, we will discover what the Bible has taught mankind for nearly 2,000 years, how to turn away from sin and turn to the salvation that is found only in Jesus Christ.
It is important to remember as we begin this study the single-mindedness of God, to coin the phrase: "It's God's way or no way at all." God reveals this to us when Jesus taught in Matthew chapter 7 verses 13-14 that there are basically two ways in life, two roads, two paths that one can travel, one that leads to an eternal destruction and one that leads to an eternal life. Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and there are many who go in by it because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life and there are few who find it." When a person makes up their mind, "I want to travel down the path that leads to Heaven," there is more to it than that. There is more to it than simply acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord or calling Him verbally your Master. In fact, just a few verses later in chapter 7 and verse 21 of Matthew, Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but He who does the Will of My Father in Heaven."
To begin walking with God, one is first going to have to hear what God has to say on any given subject and that's what the Bible teaches. In Matthew chapter 13 and verse 9 Jesus said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear." Certainly we all have ears that we are to use to hear, but there is more to it than that. He is saying, "Those of you who are really serious about this thing called salvation, those of you who really want to learn so that you can come about into a relationship with God where you can truly walk with Him, you need to listen and you need to pay attention to what God says."
2 Timothy chapter 2 and verse 15 reads, "Be diligent," or as the King James Version reads, "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workmen who needs not be ashamed, who rightly divides or handles correctly the Word of Truth."
We need to be people who study God's Word. We need to be people who focus a lot of time and attention on what God has to say to us so that we can then do what is necessary as the next step in beginning our walk with God to develop a faith because Romans 10 and verse 17 says that, "The result of hearing God's Word can lead to the kind of Bible faith that is pleasing to God, so that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God."
Hebrews chapter 11 and verse 1 defines faith as, "The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Just a few verses later in verse 6, we read that, "Without faith, it is impossible to please Him for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a Rewarder of those who diligently seek Him."
Certainly, once we have heard God's Word and we choose to believe it with all of our heart, we realize that that faith is absolutely essential in order to be saved. But let us also point out that once again even though we listen to God's Word and we believe it, that's not enough because even James draws distinction between those who say they believe and those who do nothing about what they believe. We read in James chapter 2 and verse 14 and the verses following, "What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says that he has faith, but does not have works? Does that faith or can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food and one of you says to them, 'Depart in peace. Be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead. But someone will say, 'You have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works and I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God, you do well. Even the demons believe and tremble. But do you want to know, o foolish man, that faith without works is dead?"
I don't think anybody is going to argue that a dead faith is pleasing to God, but that's exactly what James says will happen if a person claims to believe, but will do nothing about that faith. We must be a people who put our faith into action in order to be pleasing in the sight of God.
Once again, to begin our walk with God something else needs to accompany our faith. That is repentance. Jesus said two times in Luke chapter 13 and verse 3 and also in verse 5, He said to a group of people, He said, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish." Certainly repentance is necessary.
In Acts chapter 3 and verse 19, Peter said, "Repent therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
When one repents, he makes a change. He makes not only a change of mind, but he makes a change of life. He makes a change of action. He turns away from sin and self and he turns toward self and God and His righteousness. When a person truly repents, then he is going to do those things which would be pleasing to God.
One of the things that is pleasing to God as we begin this walk is confession. Now the word "confession" is used a number of different ways in the Bible. For instance, "Confessing your sins one to another." But the type of confession we are talking about here is an acknowledgement of Jesus Christ not only in word but in action and Jesus said in Matthew chapter 10 and verses 32 and 33, "Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in Heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in Heaven."
Paul would go on later to write in Romans chapter 10 verses 9-10, "If you confess with your mouth that the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved, for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Peter made that great confession in Matthew chapter 16 and verse 16 when he answered Jesus and said, "You are the Christ the Son of the Living God."
You might remember in Acts chapter 8 the Ethiopian Eunuch who had been taught by Philip what he needed to do to begin his walk with God. You might remember in verse 36-37 as they went down to the road and they came to some water and the Eunuch said, "See here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" This was Philip's response. "If you believe with all of your heart, you may." Listen to what the Eunuch responded by saying. He answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." At that point, the Eunuch had made his confession that he believed that Jesus Christ was the Son of the God, but had he begun his walk yet? Not yet because notice what happens in the next few verses. In verses 38-39, "Philip commanded the chariot to stand still and both Philip and the Eunuch went down into the water and he baptized him. When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord called Philip away so that the Eunuch saw him no more and he went on his way rejoicing." Why was he rejoicing? Because he had begun his walk with God. His baptism was that important? Yes, it's a part of this plan of salvation God has given mankind. In the same way that we need to hear and in the same way that we need to believe and in the same way that we need to repent and the same way that we need to confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, the Bible teaches very clearly that one must be baptized in order to be saved as well.
1 Peter chapter 3 and verse 21 reads, "There is also an anti-type which now saves us, baptism. Not the removal of the filth of the flesh but the answer of the good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ." When a person is baptized, he is not taking a bath per se, not cleansing any of his outer body from the filth of the flesh, but rather this is the mode by which God has chosen to save man, to bring them from sin into salvation.
Jesus Himself taught this in Mark chapter 16 and verse 16 when He said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved."
Peter reiterated this on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 and verse 38 when he told that crowd of people who had just previously in the days before crucified Jesus, he told them, "Repent and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission or the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Later on when Saul was called by Jesus to be saved, we read that Annanias said to him in Acts 22 and verse 16, "Now, why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord."
A very famous man by the name of Nicodemius once came to Jesus by night and he asked Jesus those same questions, "How do I begin my walk with You? How does one escape the eternal suffering that would accompany the consequence of sin?" Jesus said to him in John chapter 3 and verse 5, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
Once a person begins his walk, we still need to be faithful and that's one of the tough things because I want to remind you of what happened to those churches of Galatia. How do we begin our walk with God? If we hear His Word, believe it with all of our hearts, repent of our sins, confess Jesus Christ is Lord, and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, then we are added to the body of Christ and counted amongst the saved as members of the family of God. But I want to remind you that the churches of Galatia had also been saved, and yet they had turned away from the gospel of Christ and had fallen from grace. Once we become a child of God, we must strive to live in faithful service to Him. I want to encourage you today to begin your walk with God and be faithful to Him.
(SONG # 3 - "God Is Calling The Prodigal!")
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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Have you obeyed God's plan in order that you may be saved? If not why not do what is necessary this day to be found faithful as a true child of God!