THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT

Program Air Date – 7-31-11

LESSON TITLE: “THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST: THE HEART OF THE GOSPEL”

WELCOME

In Psalm 18:2 we read, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” What a truly wonderful and amazing God we serve!

Well, it is before this magnificent “Lord” that we assemble on this wondrous day! And let me welcome you to the Living Word program on this glorious Lord’s Day morning! Thank you for joining us today as we commit this time to the things of God. Together we will have the privilege to study from God’s Holy Word and to sing praises to His wonderful name. Let’s each do our part this morning in making this time of offering acceptable in His sight. Will you go to God in prayer with me at this time?

(PRAYER)

As we think of all the great things our God has done for us, how privileged we are to come before His Wondrous Throne. In fact, our first song of the morning reminds us of our opportunity to worship God and thus receive great blessing from it.

So, let’s join together in our first hymn of the day, it’s entitled, “Lord We Come Before Thee Now.”

(SONG # 1)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHTS

We began with some beautiful words this morning of the great Psalmist David. And let me ask, did you hear all the truths he crammed into that one verse? He said that God is our rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, shield, salvation, and my stronghold. No wonder he added in the same text that he could certainly trust in the Lord! So what about us do we trust in God this much?

It is my hope and prayer that we do. However, I’m afraid we often forget who our God is and what He does, and thus we don’t have the proper confidence in Him that we are required to have! David said my God is a Rock and fortress, which means that God is solid, firm and dependable. Furthermore, God will be that place of refuge and protection which we need in this life. The Psalmist also said that God was His strength and helper in every trial and tribulation of life. God has promised to bring the faithful through every day of life and in the end He has also promised to save us. We might also remember that there is no better place to turn in this life for help than God. As David said, God is my stronghold. Oh, for this type of faith, confidence and security in God.

Finally, think for a moment about our response to such a wondrous God. Over in Psalm 19, verse 14, here the words of one who has fully committed himself to God. “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer!” Oh, how wonderful it is when we do things God’s way and get it right before the Lord.

So again, I challenge you to consider where you stand with God. Have you known Him well enough to understand just how great and awesome He is? Or do you need to turn again to God, His Word, that you might find a strength and trust in your creator who has promised to be with you every step of the way. Our Lord God, truly is a great God!

In just a few minutes it will be time to consider our main topic of the morning. Today we will be continuing our discussion entitled, “The Gospel of Christ!” Our specific lesson of the day from God’s Word is, “The Heart of The Gospel!” So please stay with us and after our next song I will be leading us in this important topic.

Now, won’t you join in with the congregation, as we sing our second song of the morning - the name of this song is, “Higher Ground.”

(SONG # 2)

LESSON

By Ray Sullins

We are so glad you have continued with us this morning as we now go to God’s Word and look at another lesson concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ. Over the past few weeks we have looked together at the importance of the gospel and understanding that it is the gospel that actually has the power unto salvation. Within that concept we’ve looked at the idea of how the apostles of Jesus were even commanded to go and preach the gospel that what? That all of men might be made disciples, that they might be saved. This is exactly what we find taking place even on the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2 where Peter preached the gospel and that day over 3,000 souls were added to the kingdom of God or the church.

As we think about these things though this morning, I would like us to begin to consider the fact of what the heart of the gospel is. We consider this thought this week as well as next week thinking about the reality that so many individuals in the religious world today seem to spend an awful lot of time and in fact an awful lot of effort and energy trying to explain why the gospel is different from the Word of God or the Truth or even the doctrine of God or the patterns that Christ has laid out. Really I believe what the Bible teaches is that they are the same. Those who spend so much time trying to convince themselves as well as others that the gospel and truth and doctrine are all different, I think have failed to understand that when the Bible speaks of each of these things, it says that these things save us. And so the reality is that if all these things save us, how could they be different? Are there many different things that save us or is it but one thing that saves us?

And so let’s begin this morning by looking at specifically that heart of the gospel. What is at the foundation? What is it really that building block point of the gospel that everything else is built on and certainly the answer begins to be easy and we know that it has to be centered around Jesus. For everything that the Father planned from the very beginning when He created all things through His Son to the very really conclusion of that which we have recorded in scripture or even the concept of eternal life in Heaven, all of these things center around Christ. In fact, the Bible itself has a central theme, Jesus. Everything before Christ was leading up to Christ in action, word and prophecy, but everything after Christ was looking back and reflecting on Jesus coming as a man and living and dying and being rose again.

If you will then look over with me in the book of 1 Corinthians 15 and perhaps better than any other place, Paul here specifically speaks to the Corinthian church about what he preached to them and he calls it the gospel and then he explains what that gospel is. And so if you will I would like to read several verses there again in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 beginning in verse 1. There Paul begins by saying, “Moreover brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preach to you which also you received and which you stand.” Whatever this “Good News” is that he preached to them, they did receive it and not just by hearing it but acting on it because it says, “They stand in it.”

He also says this about the gospel they receive and stand in. Verse 2, “By which also you were saved…” Is that not also what we learned in Romans 1:16? “The power of God unto salvation by which you are saved if you hold fast that Word which I preach to you unless you believe in vain for I delivered you first of all that which I also received that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Then the text goes on to clarify that even after He rose again, there were those like in verse 5, Cephas and the twelve chosen, as well as even at one point hundreds that witnessed the resurrection of Jesus Christ that He did come forth from the grave and that He was alive even after He really died and was buried for three days.

If you think about these things, what then is he declaring to them? The Gospel! The Good News! That which he says has saved them after they received it and stood in it! And so what was the heart of that Gospel? He says that it was the same thing I received concerning Jesus that He was what? That He came to the earth, that He lived, that He died, that He was buried in the grave and He rose again. What I really like about the concept of the scripture is that it was not something Paul was making up in his mind or thinking of himself. It wasn’t something that only he had heard from God directly or was receiving through the Holy Spirit, but if you’ll notice here he credits the scripture. He says, “according to the scripture which I received the knowledge that Jesus Christ came or would come and die for our sins.” And then he says also, “Scripture has revealed to us that He was buried into the grave, and that He rose again on the third day.” How do we know that? Scripture! Not only has Paul been given this knowledge by special revelation of the Holy Spirit as well as the concept of God speaking and teaching him directly even in His early years, but here he says he already knew these things. He knew that someday the lamb of God would come as a sheep led to the slaughter and that He for our sins would become blood stained and would even bear those sins to the cross. He knew those things. What was He waiting for? The same thing the rest of the Jews were, for somebody to fulfill it. And guess what; through Jesus Christ this was fulfilled. And so these things concerning the Gospel, that Good News did not just come about or start or be brought to man’s attention when Jesus first came there in Matthew chapter 4 and began to preach the Good News of the kingdom of God because of what He was about to do through His death, but it actually began all the way back in creation when even God made man and He told them, “Someday through the seed of woman I will bless all nations. Through the seed of woman I will overcome the power of evil and that through the seed of woman all nations will have a chance to come to Me.” Isn’t a beautiful thought, a wondrous thought to know that through the actions of our loving Savior who now is head of that church and kingdom that we can be saved through the Gospel?

Interestingly enough it’s the same Paul that we find speaking to the evangelist Timothy over in 1 Timothy and I want you to notice the mystery that he often speaks of and says that was revealed to him that he might also reveal it to others because since Jesus came it no longer was a veiled mystery, it was a known mystery. It wasn’t something being waited for. It was something being done and therefore they now had opportunity to act upon as we saw back in Corinthians to be what? To be saved! And so they would receive it and then obey as well. But he writes to them about this great mystery, this great mystery, he says specifically of “how to conduct yourself in the House of God (verse 15) the pillar and ground of the Truth.” What? In the House of God? What’s the main purpose of the House of God? To be the pillar, the ground, the foundation, unshakable, unmovable, even like Jesus concerning truth. That is really one of the things we’re going to focus on next week because if that is the foundation of the church and they are different, then what in the world is God trying to do? Confuse us? Certainly not! What he is saying is that they were grounded in that pillar of truth, truth which is the Word, the Word of God and what’s the Good News? The Word that Jesus Christ came and did those things for us. How else do we know it than in what? The Word of God, the Will of God. So certainly again they are one in the same.

But notice the mystery of godliness revealed. Drop down to verse 16. “God was manifest in the flesh.” Jesus came to the earth, justified in the Spirit. He was God in the flesh; the Word (verse 14 of John chapter 1) became what? Flesh! Seen by angels! Remember in the birth of Jesus Christ and even before and after we continue to see this work of angels in relationship to not only prophecy, but fulfillment of prophecy preached among the Gentiles. How strange because up to that point only the Jews were the chosen people of God, but now the Gentiles through Jesus and Him coming to the earth have opportunity to what? It says here, “hear the gospel.” And then what happened? “To believe on in the world that He might be received up in glory.” Well what was it? What was it that was preached? Well we’ve already been learning that, that heart of the gospel, that truth that Jesus came, He lived, He died, was buried, He rose again and then was received up at the Mount of Transfiguration. You see, Jesus now (Hebrews chapter 1) is at the right hand of the Father as ruler, as one with all authority over His church, His kingdom that He told us He would build in Matthew chapter 16 that He said was coming, that which He would prepare that when He saw those who believed the gospel and obey as we find in Acts chapter 2, they would be added by God Himself to the church.

Now if we think about the heart of the gospel, I want you to think with me just for a moment about the reality although the heart of the gospel contains the death, burial and the resurrection. How can we only preach Jesus by preaching the death, burial and the resurrection? Certainly that’s the heart. That’s the thing that we focus on. But what does it mean? If I just go around saying, “Well Jesus Christ lived, died and was buried for you and there I just have to tell you. That is the gospel, and He rose again.” Is there not more need to explain? Is there not a need, as we read in the gospel that as Paul said that He died to do what? Wash away my sins, to forgive me of my sins. How is He to do that? The blood! The bloodshed where? On the cross! How does that happen? How does the blood of Jesus who no longer is here save me? Do you see what I am trying to help you understand is that although the heart of the gospel, all that is built, the foundation is the death, burial and the resurrection of what Jesus did, but we have to understand it by knowing what it’s all about. The blood saves! It saves through our obedience. We meet the blood, the Bible tells us, in and through our obedience to the plan of salvation including baptism. We also find the need that we be added to the kingdom of God. Do you realize Acts chapter 20 verse 28 tells us that the blood of Christ purchased the church and it’s the very church that those there on the Day of Pentecost were added to? Now how can I preach the gospel, the death, burial and the resurrection without mentioning the blood and the purpose of the blood in salvation and the purpose of the blood in the kingdom that I now am in once I obey? Well you see I can’t.

And that’s exactly why we go to the book of Acts and we go throughout the New Testament and we see that Phillip was preaching the kingdom of God in relationship to the gospel, that Jesus was preaching the coming of the kingdom and guess what those were called. The gospel of Christ! They encompass not only what Jesus did, but what God requires of one who responds. How can we preach the Savior without preaching our need to respond to that Savior? Does that remove the reality that the heart of the gospel is still wrapped up in the death, burial and the resurrection? No! But does it keep us tied to only the fact that the gospel is the death, burial and the resurrection? Certainly not! If that be the case, then what about faith? Do you know it’s impossible to please God without faith? But I don’t have to preach faith if it’s not encompassed in the gospel, if the gospel has nothing to do with faith. Do you see the point I’m trying to make? I don’t have to preach worship if really the gospel is not about worship and oh worship is something I just might do if I just believe Jesus Christ lived, died, was buried and rose again. Now we’ve got to understand that the book of God, the Word of God, the Truth of God, the Gospel of God is one and the wonderful news is that not only did Jesus come and do these things, but they have great significance and so when I preach Jesus, Jesus coming and living and dying and being buried and rose again how beautiful it is that I can also preach what it means to the individual, how it affects them in relationship to sin, how it causes them to have opportunity to live forever through the blood of Jesus, to be a part of the church, to conduct themselves according to the gospel, as Paul said, that they might be known as children of God that they might be seen on this earth as representatives of the Savior and that ultimately not only they but all those who love God will have that eternal life in Heaven some day.

(SONG # 3 - “Does Jesus Care”)

CLOSING COMMENTS

Again, let me thank you for putting God first and choosing to give this time to Him. It is always a pleasure to have you with us. We invite you to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves this worship to God!

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How wonderful it is to see the heart of God’s plan in His Perfect Word. May we always look to Jesus and His great sacrifice, knowing that if we choose to obey God we will be blessed beyond measure!

(Program closing)