Program Air Date - 7-21-02



We are excited to have you with us today for the Living Word Program. What a glorious Lord's Day morning it is.

As always it is an honor and privilege to have you with us. We are thankful you have chosen to join us as we commit this time to the things of God. It is our hope and prayer this morning that we may each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before Him and according to His Word. Now let's begin by talking to God through prayer! (Short Prayer)

Let me take just a moment this morning and let you know about a gospel meeting which will begin at the Rogersville Church of Christ in Rogersville, Missouri. You might recognize this congregation as one of the supporters of this television program. The meeting will begin this morning at 9:30 and these brethren will meet again this evening at 6:00. During the week this meeting will continue from Monday through Friday evenings at 7:30 each night! Their speaker for this time of spiritual growth is Darrin Chappell. We hope you will be able to be a part! If you need further information feel free to contact me or the congregation their in Rogersville!

What a wonderful privilege we have to glorify our God through songs of praise. In fact, the Bible says we are to "lift up Jesus," in all that we do. Let's begin this morning, with a hymn that reminds us of this great opportunity which we have - to serve as Christians. So, won't you join in with the congregation and do your part as we sing together, "To God Be The Glory." (SONG # 1)


We have already mentioned this morning and sung about how great and wonderful our God is! I hope that everyone joining us, has already established this fact in his or her own mind.

However, another encouraging fact concerning God is that we are made like Him. In Genesis 1:27, we read, "so God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." We find two important facts here that confirm to us just how special we are. First, we see that we are created by God. How could we be more honored or more perfect, than by being created by the almighty God of the universe? It was the very hand of God that provided us this opportunity of life. Thus, we are made by Him unto His glory.

The second thing we read about in the previous verse is that mankind is created in the image of God. So, we are not only made by Him but we are also made in His likeness. However, don't let this concept confuse you, because God is not made with flesh and blood. This is confirmed for us in John 4:24, where Jesus said, "God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John said God is a spirit. Paul said, "Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God," 1 Corinthians 15:50. God is not flesh and blood, nor is His kingdom. Furthermore, no physical body can inherit the kingdom of God. So, what does this tell us about being created in His image? It means that we are created in His spiritual likeness. We can strive to imitate His spiritual characteristics, thus making ourselves to be found approved in His sight. In verse 52 and 53, of the same opening, 1 Corinthians 15, Paul went on to say, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality."

I hope now you are beginning to see just how special we are for a being like God to not only create us, but to also create us in His image. I really like the way the psalmist, David, put it when he said, "I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well," Psalms 139:14. We should praise God for what He has done in making us His most special and precious creation, thus giving us dominion over all things.

Today we want to begin a new series of study that is entitled, "Undeserved Blessings From God." It will be our goal through this study to remind ourselves of just how blessed we are by our Creator, although we really don't deserve it. Our specific lesson this morning will deal with "Salvation!" So, please continue with us and after our next song I will return with this study from God's Word.

Now let's join in our second song of the day. The name of the hymn is, "Amazing Grace." (SONG # 2)


Speaker: Ray Sullins

Thank you for continuing with us this morning as we now go into the pages of God's Word to find out more of what He has to say on a Bible-related topic. As was mentioned this morning, we are going to begin a new series. In fact, last week we began by really looking at this concept of what must I do to be saved, You know God has done so much for us and so we want to begin really a series by looking at those things that we receive from God although we really are undeserving of it as man. In fact, if you look at what Isaiah said about man. It said that really "it is our sin that separates us from God." Or we could go to places like what Paul said in Romans chapter 6 where it says that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." We see that man has always had a problem from the very beginning there in the garden of Eden of transgressing or doing that which is contrary to the Will of God.

Now with that in mind, then we think about our new topic, the idea that really we somehow receive things from God even though we are undeserving of these things. Well, that's what our series will be all about. In fact, this morning we'll begin as was stated with the concept really specifically of how blessed we are to have the opportunity to be saved. The idea of salvation that has been extended.

I want you to begin with me really in the book of 1 Peter chapter 1 because Peter does an excellent job of introducing us to some of the concepts about salvation and how it is ours in Christ Jesus. But there again in 1 Peter chapter 1, verse 3 begins to talk about God and about the faith that you and I must have. But then the next verse, verse 4 says something about "an inheritance, something that will be incorruptible." In other words, like God, special and precious. But as you might go on to verse 5, it mentions there something else that God does. It says, "who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." You see, we have been kept by God, reserved, cared for. Compassion, love, all that has been given to us in the fact that He has bestowed to us the opportunity of salvation. In fact, the next verse if you'll notice there continues on by talking about the trials and the problems of life. But then again down in verse 9, he begins saying that we have an end that is salvation. The salvation of what? "The salvation," it says there, "of our souls." Verse 8 says the "joy and the excitement, the wondrous blessings of life that God gives us." Again accumulated into one thing, that is the glorious opportunity to be saved. You and I know that salvation really infers that concept of eternal life, living forever and ever, never dying. What a wonderful thought that is especially to us as mankind.

Now if you'll go with me to the book of Titus, I think that Paul does a wonderful job here also of trying to show us the significance, if you will, of salvation. There in Titus chapter 2 and verse 11, it tells us the following. "For the grace of God that salvation has appeared to all men." Notice here it says "according to that great mercy, that undeserved favor that God has bestowed on us." According to that, it says that we have salvation. And who might we ask is it that has salvation? Well clearly here it says all men. Anyone who responds to that gift that was given. Next week we are going to look at grace. We'll talk somewhat about the concept of grace and the favor that we have from God and the giving of a gift. But here again in salvation we find the very same thing, something that is set before us, an opportunity to reach out and grab it and to take hold and to achieve and receive what God has not only asked us to do but He has promised us through His Word the Bible.

Well as we think about this great opportunity that we have to be saved, we might first wonder some of the things that extend us this opportunity to be saved. Well, the first and foremost and the primary thing really at the heart of the opportunity is something that we've spoke about already somewhat this morning and we've already sung about in our songs and that is the fact that Jesus Christ lived, that He died, He was buried and resurrected on the third day. There are many verses that we could look at to really show this to be the truth. In Romans chapter 5 and verse 6, it talks there about how that Christ died for us. Again in verse 8 of the same opening talks about the death that Christ suffered on the cross so that we might be called His children. But again, we want to look at some other verses that might help us to understand clearly that Jesus Christ is the one who brought us the opportunity to be saved.

In Hebrews chapter 5 and verse 9, notice how this author put it. He said this. "And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation." Eternal salvation. You see, Christ being made complete or perfect was what? He was the author. He was the giver. He was the bringer of what? Eternal salvation. But I don't want to end there because the verse said something else. The verse goes on to say, "to all who obey Him." Yes, Christ is the one who gave Himself so that we might be saved. Christ is the one who that glorious and that wondrous sacrifice, but He did it and that was His part and then He asked our part, the second avenue of this verse, as He says that we do what? That we obey Him. You see, our duty as Christians to receive salvation is obedience. Christ has already done His part by dying on the cross and extending the gift of salvation even though we don't deserve it, even though we're sinners, even though that as a child of God I make mistakes everyday and I sin everyday. God still loved me enough knowing all of this as my Creator and the Giver of all. He loved me enough to say, "Ray, salvation is still yours if you choose to follow Me, if you choose to be obedient."

Not only that, but we see others involved in the concept of salvation. Besides Christ and the Father, the Bible talks about the Holy Spirit and the part that He played in bringing the message and revealing things during the time of the apostles and the New Testament church. In the book of Revelation chapter 22 and verse 17, we see there the reference there of the bride of Christ and how that really the church or the kingdom that God established is that bride that we're able to be a part of so that we might be as a bride unto our Savior who died for us.

But then again, believers are those who received this wondrous concept of salvation and they receive it why again? Because Christ provided the opportunity.

Another factor of salvation that we might mention is the Word of God. In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 verse 14, we read there about how that really we are called by the Word of Christ. In other words, He has delivered to us and revealed to us through His Word the message that we need to be obedient and need to really follow and to do all those things again in accordance to what He has asked.

If you look in the book of 1 Corinthians and chapter 15, notice what it said here by Paul to these Christians in the first few verses. Again, 1 Corinthians 15. "Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you which also you receive and in which you stand, by which also you are saved if you hold fast that Word which I preach to you unless you believe in vain." Notice here again, the gospel, the teachings, the preachings are something that had been revealed, that which was preached from who? From Jesus Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit as He inspired the apostles that day. He said, "I now have proclaimed that to you," and as He says in verse 1, "That's what you stand in."

Verse 2 again brings us to our topic because there it says, "By which also..." (the gospel as the discussion is going). "By which also," you are what? "Saved if you hold fast to that to which you have been preached." In other words, if you hold fast to the gospel, the doctrine of Christ, if you hold fast to the Word, the Book, the Bible that has been presented then that's our part again. That's our obedience to love God enough to keep His commandments

Then what is God's part? Well, His part at least as we're talking about this morning is that offering of salvation that it might be grasped and taken hold of. So there are many reasons why we've been extended the great salvation. There are many things that have attributed to that.

But we might also answer and ask a question as to why we need salvation. Because of time we won't be able to look at all of them but I might just mention briefly that we want peace in life, don't we? Well, Christ offers peace. We want mercy. We want grace as we've mentioned today. We want guidance. We want care. We want compassion. We want someone to help us in all areas of life and someday besides the blessings of this life, we want an eternal life, an eternal rest with God. Well again, these are reasons why salvation is so important. We want the opportunity to share in the great rewards that salvation has to offer. So why be saved? Because again, God has offered us so much through salvation, again because of His death and through the Word that He has delivered to us.

Let's also finally mention that there are some conditions once again. We've already mentioned one verse there in Titus and other places where it talked about the need that we have really to be obedient, to follow. We've looked here in Corinthians, the concept again about being obedient to the gospel or following the commands of the gospel. But also, notice here if you will in several verses throughout scripture that we find again in Acts chapter 16 and verse 17 that it says there that we have been proclaimed the way of salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ. The proclamation has been given. Our part again is the obedience.

In Phillippians 12 again, the very same concept that we have a work to do, an ability to receive and obey Christ Jesus. Again, we find that that's what God has told us.

Not only there but again in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews chapter 6 and verse 9, we see there that there are things that are mentioned as accompanying salvation. It doesn't just say that salvation is there and it's yours automatically. It says that there are some things that the Christian should do to accompany or to receive or to have salvation as God had intended.

As we think about our discussion today and we really consider all that we have said, there are so many things that we don't deserve because of what we are as humans because of our frailties and our problem with sin. But God has offered us primarily today the concept of salvation. He offers us bliss and wondrous things of this life, but not only here but also in the life that will come, a life of eternity, a life that is known as heaven the place with streets of gold, of really gates that have pearls and really mansions, as it says, that have been prepared for us. What a glorious and wondrous concept it is to think about the precious salvation that God has offered to us.

I would like to end by mentioning a verse in Acts chapter 4 and verse 12. That verse tells us that our salvation today, that which we have is only because of Jesus Christ our Lord. By no other name can we be saved. Have you been saved according to the Will of Jesus today? (SONG # 3 - "Anywhere Is Home!")


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

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Or if you prefer, you may call us at: (417)869-2284

Isn't it wonderful to have so many physical and spiritual blessings from God, although we are not really worthy to receive all that He does for us or the wondrous things which He gives to us. What a truly magnificent God we serve! (Program closing)