THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 7-29-12
LESSON TITLE: “A TRUE WITNESS: FAITH COMES BY HEARING!”
Jesus once confirmed, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Do you know God’s Truth and have you obeyed it in order to be free?
Thank you for joining us this morning 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.
This morning I would like remind you that next Sunday at 2:00 p.m., we will be taping songs for this program at the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ building, located at 2540 N. Kansas Expressway, here in Springfield. We hope many of you are able to join us for this time of Worship and fellowship, as we update the songs which will be used on this program. We hope to see you on August 5!
It’s now time to start our praise through song. Won’t you join in the first song of the morning, as we sing together, “Amazing Grace!”
(SONG # 1)
Have you ever noticed all of the talk about the Truth, the Gospel, and about Doctrine in the New Testament? The inspired writers dealt with this topic a lot!
In fact, we find that there seems to be a specific Gospel and Doctrine spoken about, which one had to follow in order to be pleasing to God. You might remember the verses in Galatians 1:6-8, there Paul said, “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. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Paul here acknowledged the need to believe and follow a specific Gospel.
Paul also warned Timothy about this in chapter one of that epistle. In fact in verse 3, he encourages the young evangelist to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine.” Obviously a warning to help the brethren remain pure. Further down in the same chapter, in verses 10, Paul talks about the “sound doctrine,” which we must adhere to - and in verse 11, he states that this is according to the Gospel, which we have been committed with.
These verses should clearly show us that it does matter what we believe and follow. They also confirm for us that God does care about what we do and say. Wasn’t it Jesus who said the truth will make us free, John 8:32! Wasn’t it our Lord who said, that God’s Word is truth, John 17:17! Certainly we can all agree that God has given us the Bible, so that we might know what He would have us to do. Furthermore, the fact is - when we follow God’s Word and adhere to that which He has commanded us, then and only then are we acceptable in His sight! Doing those things which are according to the Truth, the Gospel, and Sound Doctrine. Won’t you choose to follow God in His Way Today?
This morning we are happy to have Brother Kevin Patterson with us to guide our main study of the day. Brother Kevin is the minister for the Hwy 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar, Missouri. I’m thankful to say that he is a good friend and a sound gospel preacher. We thank him for being with us.
Our topic today will again focus on our series called “But Without Faith It Is Impossible To Please Him!” Our specific study this morning is entitled, “A True Witness: Faith Comes By Hearing!” So stay with us and in a few minutes brother Kevin will return and lead us in our thoughts of the Day. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “Be With Me Lord.”
(SONG # 2)
By Kevin Patterson
Good morning and thank you for staying with us! We so appreciate the opportunity to be with you each Sunday morning and to share with you another portion of God’s most Holy Word. Over the last several weeks, in fact over the last couple of months, we have been taking a look at Hebrews 11 the “Great Faith Chapter” of the Bible. We have talked about what faith is defined for us in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And we have talked about how critical faith is, how absolutely necessary it is for one to be found pleasing in the eyes of God as Hebrews 11:6 teaches us. We have gone on through our studies and taken a look at some of the great men and women of the Bible and have seen how they exemplify a living and vibrant faith in their lives.
This morning we are going to take look at just exactly how we can accomplish the same kind of faith in our lives. How can we have the kind of faith that Noah had? How can we have the kind of faith that Abraham had? How can we have the kind of faith that Moses had? And the answer is very simple, we have to be converted. There are a lot of people who believe a lot of things about the Bible but they have not been converted or changed to Jesus Christ and we have to be the type of people who are completely willing to dedicate our lives to him and serve him always. Psalm 51:13 teaches, “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” It is important that we all recognized that we are sinners and that we are all lost without Jesus. But at the same time we can recognize that in God’s most holy word, the living word, we can be changed to such a state as to be washed clean of our sin and be found pleasing in the eyes of the Lord. This is why Jesus said to some in his very presence in Matthew 18:3, “…unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of Heaven.” Conversion requires that we enter a type of race; we would perhaps call this in the New Testament the Christian race. And it is something that is different from what you might think of as a race because there are fundamentally two types of races. You either have your short, race your sprint, your fifty yard dash or you have your longer race, your long distance, your marathon. And the Christian race is by no means a sprint it is not something you are going to accomplish quickly it is something that you have to enter and run for the very rest of your life in order to be found pleasing in the eyes of God and to obtain that ultimate reward in the end.
If we are going to run the Christian race we are going to have to prepare to run that race and Peter wrote in 1Peter 1:13, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Once translation reads “prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In other words like anything worth while we are going to have to prepare. Romans 10:17 teaches us that, “...faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Which means we are going to need to study the word, we are going to need to study the rule book, we are going to need to know how this race is suppose to be run, and then we are going to have to take that information and choose to believe it or produce a faith in our lives. Remember however that James wrote in James 2:20, “…that faith without works is dead.” Do you want a dead faith or do you want a living faith? Certainly if we are going to run the Christian race and win in the end we are not going to be able to accomplish that with a dead faith so we have to have something that is alive and something that is breathing and something that is working in our world.
In Acts 26:19-20, the apostle Paul told King Agrippa how a person would put faith into practice when he said to him concerning some of his own brethren that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance. Some of those works that would be befitting of repentance would be confession, stating with our mouth what we believe in our heart that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and being baptized in the name of the Father, the son, and the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins as we are taught in Acts 28:18-20. There is a great passage of scripture in Acts 8 that demonstrates both confession and baptism in the life of the Ethiopian Eunuch. When Philip is sent to this man who was studying the book of Isaiah along the side of the road and when Philip taught him what he needed to know in order to put his faith into practice we read that the Eunuch said in Acts 8:36, “ ‘What hinders me from being baptized?’” or what’s keeping me from being baptized. “Then Philip said, ‘If you believe with all your heart, you may.’ And he answered and said, ‘I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.’ So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and Eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.” A lot of people argue that baptism is not essential, that baptism is not necessary but the scriptures beg to differ. It was Jesus himself who said in Mark 16:16, “‘He who believes and is baptized will be saved…’” It was Ananias who said to Saul, who would later be Paul, in Acts 22:16, “‘and now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’” Peter would say in 1Peter 3:21 that baptism is a part of the process that brings us to salvation. Now he very quickly says it’s not the removal of the filth of the flesh but the answer of a good conscience toward God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In other words in the same way that Jesus lived and he died and was buried in the tomb but rose again. Romans 6:3-4 says that this is what enters us into the Christian race. We are alive in sin and we die to that sin. We are buried in the waters of baptism and we rise to walk in newness of life. In other words that is the point when we enter this race for the Lord and we start running for him.
If you are going to run a race you want to run in order to win, 1Corinthians 9:24-27 reads, “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” I don’t know about you but I enjoy a good competition. I enjoy a good race and when I enter into something like that I do so to win. I don’t want to be second, I don’t want to be last, I want to be first because that’s what a competition is all about and Paul says what he does is he prepares himself. He prepares everything in his being so that when he runs that race he will do so successfully even going so far as to say he does it so he himself will not be disqualified or thrown out of the race because he did not run it according to the Lord.
As we have been studying over the last several weeks Hebrews 11 we now give rise to Hebrews 12:1-2 and with these two verses we will bring this series to a close. But it is in these two verses that the Hebrews writer teaches, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance that race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endure the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” If we are going g to run this Christian race we are going to have to be careful not to trip and if you have ever watched those people who run big races, marathon races where maybe hundreds if not thousands are competing. The people who are serious about that race, the people who want to win that race they are very quickly going to distance themselves from the pack so that they don’t get trapped or get tripped up in the mob. That’s exactly what Hebrews 12 teaches us when it says, “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us…” We need to get away from anything that will cause us to stumble.
Then of course we are going to have to run the race well. In the King James Version of Hebrews 12:1, it teaches that we need to run the race with patience, in other words we are going to need to pace ourselves. You can’t go to slowly lest you never finish but at the same time if you go to quickly out of the starting gates your liable to use yourself up and not be able to finish the race that’s going to be a very long, very methodical, very thoughtful competition indeed. Some translations say, “Let us run this race with perseverance…” in other words let us do what is necessary to last until the end. As we read a moment ago in the New Kings James version it says, “Let us run with endurance…” Let us prepare ourselves for this long haul and then certainly according to chapter 12 and verse 2 we are going to need to keep our eyes on the prize, we are going to have to focus on Jesus Christ. It’s interesting that in a lot of races that certainly you want to be out front so that you can cross the finish line first but that’s not the case in the Christian race. In fact in the Christian race we need to make sure that Jesus Christ is in front of us and we need to keep our eyes trained on him so that we can allow him to lead us across that finish line, again looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith. There is an interesting passage of scripture in 2John 9, that reads in one translation that anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God. We can’t run past Jesus, we can’t run ahead of Jesus, we are going to have to follow him and run in the very footsteps that he takes us in across that finish line.
What about that finish line? That’s what we are all shooting for. What about that crown that the Bible promises us that we can have? You know Paul said in 2Timothy 4:7-8, he says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” In other words we are going to have to live our lives in such a way, toward the end of it, we can be like Paul and we can look back and say “You know I have run a good race, I have finished the race, I’m just almost across the finish line, I’m looking forward to that reward that Jesus Christ has prepared for me on the other side.” That is why he said in Revelation 2:10, to some Christians who were going to be facing certain persecution, he said, “…Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.” If you have not been converted to Jesus Christ why not today? Why not change the course of your life based upon God’s word to develop the type of faith that can save you, the type of faith that you can put into practice and be found pleasing in the end and run across that finish line into the arms of Jesus.
Before we close this morning I want to share with you that this will be the very last time that I will speak to you on The Living Word television program. Later this day my family and I will be climbing into our vehicles and into a moving truck and we will be driving to central Florida to the place where we will be making our new home. After eleven years of preaching the gospel in Bolivar, MO in Southwest Missouri, starting next Sunday August 5, I will be preaching for the Sebring Parkway Church of Christ in Sebring, FL. And although our departure from this area in Bolivar in particular will be bitter sweet, we look forward to the doors of opportunity that the Lord is most certainly going to open for us in the days, months, and years to come. Please keep us in your prayers. I want to think my good brother and friend Ray Sullins and the Elders of the Kansas Expressway Church of Christ for allowing me the chance to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ through this television program over the years. I have been a guest speaker on this show for a full decade now and I pray that the lessons that I have brought here have been helpful and edifying to you. Later this morning I will be teaching my last Bible class at 9PM for the Highway 13 Church of Christ in Bolivar and then I’m going to preach my last sermon to those wonderful brethren at 10AM. If you are in the Bolivar area this morning I want to extend to you a very personal invitation to come study God’s word and worship with my family and me one more time before we leave. So many people from the local community and the surrounding area and surrounding congregations have already committed to coming and we would love to have you come and be a part of this praise, glory, and honor to God. As we close together it is my prayer that God bless you according to his will and you keep running the race.
(SONG # 3 - “Anywhere Is Home!”)
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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What kind of witness are you for God? Are you faithful to your call as a child of God? Choose today to make sure that you are everything God expects and demands!