THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 7-25-04
"OUR PRIVILEGE TO BE IN GOD'S FAMILY: GOD'S FAMILY HAVE FAITH IN HIM"
We are truly excited to have you with us today as we together break the Living Word of God. We are certainly glad that you have chosen this day, to give this time to our Creator - so that together we may Worship and Praise His Holy name!
As we come together this day, it is my hope and prayer that we will each participate and do our part to make this time acceptable before God. As a collective offering of those who love God, and who are willing to submit their own sacrifices before His throne.
So, At this time, as we turn our full attention to the reason we have come together, let's approach our Father's throne in prayer:
Just what are you willing to give up for Jesus? Wow, that's a tough one isn't it? We all know that we are to sacrifice for God and give Him the best of what we have to offer. But sometimes that is easier said than done. Our first song of the morning, helps us to focus on the type of commitment we must be willing to make. So, won't you join in and participate with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "All To Jesus I Surrender!"
(SONG # 1)
Do you ever get tired of being lied to or mislead in this life? It seems like that more and more in our day that people tend to exaggerate and bend the truth, rather than just telling things like they are. So what does God think about all of this?
Well, go with me to the words of Jesus found in Matthew 5:37. There we read, "But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No.' For whatever is more than these is from the evil one." Jesus said we should be able to be taken at our word and if we can not be, then we are really not of Him! No doubt James had the same teaching in mind when he said, "But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your 'Yes,' be 'Yes,' and your 'No,' 'No,' lest you fall into judgment," chapter 5, verse 12. Here the same idea is confirmed, as those who follow God we should be considered as completely trustworthy, and if we are not this verse says we will be judged accordingly.
Now think for a moment as to why we should be trustworthy? Aren't we suppose to strive in this life to be like God? Is God trustworthy, can His words be counted on? Certainly they can! Notice what Paul said to Titus in Titus 1:2, there Paul speaks of his, "hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began," Did you catch that, God who does not lie! This is not something new in the scriptures, even as far back as the Pentateuch, Moses penned some similar words. In Numbers 23:19, we read, "God is not a man, that He should lie, Nor a son of man, that He should repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?"
Thanks be to God that He is trustworthy and dependable. Even though the world seems to present just the opposite. May each of us as those who love God, show ourselves to be of the King, by being able to be counted on and trusted in all that we do and say. Can you be depended on by God?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. Our topic of study will again focus on "Our Privilege To Be In God's Family." Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, "God's Family Have Faith In Him." So please stay with for this study from God's Word, and I will be leading our thoughts at the appropriate time. Now let's join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "Angry Words."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
Last week, we began to discuss a new series about God's family. Hopefully, we were able to lay down a lot of good ideas from scripture that show us that certainly the house of God or household of God or family of God is clearly described as such and compared to our physical families of this earth.
Today, we want to continue that series as we begin to look at some things that the family of God are required to do, those things that really stand out in scripture, that cannot be left undone if we are to be proper before God. I would like to really use as a text for the next several weeks a verse that is found in the great love chapter, that is 1 Corinthians chapter 13. We all recall there that Paul says, "There are three things that abide," in verse 13. He says, "Now abide faith, hope and love." He goes on to say that the greatest is love and we plan to look at that as well as hope in our following sermons. However today, we want to look at that which abides which is faith. The family of God has faith in God. Faith is of the utmost importance. Here something again that abides in one who is a lover of God, one who does love as God loves, and one who is a follower of God in the house of God. And we know that to be the case because furthermore in Hebrews chapter 11 which is often referred to as the great chapter of faith, it tells us there in verse 6 that, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." That really clarifies for us that we cannot please God. We are unable with complete finality to please God unless we have faith, unless we are faithful. So when we begin to sing ourselves maybe songs that we have in our songbooks about maybe the faith that we have, the concepts of faith being a victory or living by faith. Then we certainly need to know what we are saying because I believe that often you and I are guilty of looking at faith and not fully understanding it and maybe dismissing it as simply knowing God or being aware of God or having in some way to acknowledge the existence of God.
Well today we want to see that the family of God is required to have faith in Him. It is one of the great things that a child or servant of the King, a son of the Father, will demonstrate. A daughter of the Father will show herself to be faithful unto God.
So what then does this faith mean? Hebrews 11 and verse 1, backing up a few verses actually helps us with a clear definition as far as God is concerned as it says there that, "Faith is the substance or the realization of things hoped for." It goes on to say, "It is the evidence (another word there, the confidence) of things not seen." In other words, things that we long and we hope for and that the Bible tells us about and the apostles have clarified and Jesus clarified as He was on the earth. Faith is all of those things that we have heard, that we believe in them although that we have not actually touched them. We have not actually seen them. We've not actually had the ability ourselves to touch them. It's believing that Jesus lived and He did the miracles that He did and He was the Son of God and He was God in the flesh. It's believing that the Holy Spirit was there and because of what Jesus requested of the Father led the apostles and it's believing that the Bible was penned through inspiration using the Holy Spirit and holy men of God as they recorded the things that they did. It's believing that Christ planned the church and that all these things happened and came about according to God's eternal purpose although we weren't there and we haven't seen them. You might say, "Ray, that's unreasonable that we would believe in something that we have not seen." Let me ask you, How many of you have been to Europe? How many of you have been to the city of London or how many of you have been to Russia, to Moscow? How many of you have been to one of the countries in the continent of Africa or somewhere in Asia, furthermore in Asia or in Australia? How many of you have been to some of those places in the world? Well many of you probably have not traveled outside the borders of the United States, but you believe they're there. How can you believe that if you've never been there, you've never seen it yourself? "Well, I've been told." You've been told about God, too. You've been told about the Bible. I know the other day, we just were traveling on vacation and have only been back for a few weeks, and there as you travel at night you're driving down these highways and roads that you've never been on before and you know that the map shows that the road is there. How do I know it? I believe it's there. I believe it's there because I've been told. I've seen it. It's evidenced on the map. But how do I know? Have I actually seen it myself? No. Not until I've driven it. How do I know that my headlights aren't going to reveal that it was a lie and that when I go over the next hill there is no road at all? Well faith is being able to believe in things that we hope for, that we've been told, that we have been really revealed through the Word of God in a spiritual sense although we have not, as it goes on to say in verse 1, "seen it." We've not touched it or held the cross with our own hands. We've not smelled the blood or heard the chanting and the spitting and the ridiculing against Christ as He hung there on the cross. We were not there, but we were and can be there through the Word of God in our faith.
That's what faith is and that's what's so great and wonderful about the concept of faith. It is that ability of believing what we've heard. But it doesn't stop there. A lot of people want faith to stop there and they want to say, "Well, you can be saved by faith alone and if you believe you're saved, praise be to God." That's not what the Bible says. It says that and something else and adds more to it because it goes on to tell us in further verses that faith is not only believing and acknowledging God in some way. The great faith chapter in and of itself proves to us that faith is more than having heard of or acknowledging God. Faith is demonstrated in life, in word, in deed. It is everything.
James, a writer that I love, there in James chapter 2 and verse 19, he said, "Even the devils believe." To an extent, they have a faith, but not really. Why? What distinguishes the belief of the devils and my belief? It is the demonstration of faith, the action that is included, the faith that is demonstrated and proves that I believe in God because I'm doing what I've read.
You've all heard of Paul Harvey before. He made a statement on one of his programs and he said, "If you don't live something, you really don't believe it." That's true. How can you say that you believe what God said, but you're not living it? How can you say that you have faith that God exists but you haven't obeyed Him and you are not following Him? That's faith: going on to act on what you believe. That's the difference in faith and belief. It's not just believing and saying, "Yeah I believe there's a God." It's going on to accomplish and fulfill His Will and obey His commandments.
Well, isn't that what we again find in the great faith chapter? Beginning in verse 4 of Hebrews 11, we find a man named Abel who by faith offered a better sacrifice. He acted in a certain way on his faith and proved his faith. We go on to see there a man in verse 5, Enoch, a man who never died. Why? Because of his faith, his action. We see a man in verse 7, Noah, a man who didn't just say, "Oh, I believe in God," and just sat around. A man who went out and built an ark and people laughed and ridiculed and mocked him and said, "Are you crazy building this ship in the middle of a desert?" But Noah had faith. He believed unto action.
Brethren, that's what separates our belief and the belief of anyone else in the world, faith, that we act on what we believe, that we read the Will of God and that all of these individuals such as Abraham is mentioned and Sarah. And as we continue on down through the text, we find men such as Isaac and Jacob and Joseph, and in verse 23, Moses, and even Rahab the harlot who is mentioned there. On and on and on, all of these demonstrated their faith by acting on their belief and that's what separated them from others in their time.
I don't know about you, but I want as James said in chapter 2 to "show you my faith by my works." What good is it if I go around saying, "Lord, Lord," all the time? What good is it if I am always saying, "I'm a Christian. I'm a member of the church," and then people see me in bars or out with women or doing things that I should not be doing or disobeying the law or getting in trouble or using profanities or cursing or taking the Lord's name in vain? What good is it, all of my words of belief, if action is not there? You see, that's the distinguishing mark. Faith requires an action. In fact, we might even put it this way. Faith requires a reaction, a reaction to the belief to what God has done, to the love that He has shown us. Faith costs us something. Heaven forbid that there are those in this world who really have presented the concept that there is nothing that we must do to show God that we love Him. It's true that we can't do enough to be saved. It's true that grace is the only thing that will save us, that God's the only one who has the power to save me because there's nothing I'll ever do to accomplish enough to pay Him back for all He's done. But it's just as true that you and I understand that our faith demonstrates itself in word and deed. "All that we do in the name of the Lord," Colossians 3 and 17. Faith costs something. Nothing in this life is free. Nothing worthwhile, education, a good job, nothing in this life comes free or doesn't come with a cost or something that we have to pay a price in time or efforts or money or sometimes even just getting a...
Even in the New Testament that was true. Look at the faith of those in Acts 7 like Stephen who had enough faith to stand up and say what had to be said and eventually was stoned. Consider the many times that Paul, throughout the book of Acts, and even clarifies in many of his own epistles, when he was in prison or beaten or shipwrecked or hurt or harmed by brethren or those outside the church. How many times did he suffer because of his faith? His faith was seen in action. Stephen's faith was seen in what he was doing. Men like Peter were imprisoned and sang praises to God so their faith would be in action. People wouldn't have to say, "Well, are those some of the believers?" They could see they were some of the believers because of their actions and their words. Oh to have a faith, a faith that is demonstrated and seen as those in scripture. Oh to be willing to count the cost and to realize that although we might not suffer like they did and be imprisoned and harmed and physically abused in some way because of our physical beliefs, that we might be looked at as weird or peculiar in some way by our friends or that others might shun us and say, "Oh there's those Christians or those people who believe in God," or that others might ridicule. We might not suffer the same. We do and can suffer persecution. But that we look at they did in the New Testament as those who love God and see that happy are those who suffer for the name of Christ. Blessed are they. "Rewards will be ours," 1 Peter 4:14. Also, 2 Corinthians 4 verses 8-9, "Persecution is a part of the life of a child of God."
Counting the cost and being willing to pay whatever it takes is something that we must all do. It's not just for God. It's for us. You know, we've talked about having faith in God and loving Him and demonstrating not only for God and others seeing it and being effective for the sake of God, but what about for ourselves? What's in it for us? Isn't that usually our attitude? Sad to say, but it is. What's in it for us is eternal life. His blessings on this earth or things like we find there, Noah being saved from the flood because of his faith and his action to do what God said previous to that. Men, others like Abraham and Joseph whose faith again caused them to receive reward after reward, blessing after blessing, to have wealth in this life and every other thing.
Oh, you and I can have that kind of a faith. You and I can look to God and have that strength and be blessed as God blessed those in Bible times. We as well can have those things of life. We can be given those things that we have need of. God's going to care for His children because in God's family, as you and I as parents love our children and care for them, God will care for us. Where is our faith? "Oh ye, of little faith," Matthew chapter 6. God loves you enough to know that if we have faith abiding in us that certainly we will have all the blessings and the rewards not only now as we live, not only will He care for us and guide us and protect us today and tomorrow and thereafter until the end of life, but He will also give us that promised reward of Heaven, where there He prepares a place for us that will be far better than anything that we know according to His Will. Are you ready to obey your God?
(SONG # 3 - "Are You Washed In The Blood!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to us all. We invite you 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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How thankful we should be to God that we can know His Will, in order to have the faith that is necessary to please Him. Are you a part of God's precious family? Or, as a part of God's family are you demonstrating the faith He requires? Why not get things right with your God today!