THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-15-04
LESSON TITLE: "PRIVILEGE TO BE IN GOD'S FAMILY: GOD'S FAMILY HAS AN ETERNAL EXISTENCE"
In Joshua 24:15, we read, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, ...But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Praise God for our opportunity this day to serve Him. Furthermore, It is my hope and prayer that all of us have made this same determination in each of our lives - that we will serve God, with all of our house.
We thank you this day for joining us for the Living Word program. As always, it is a blessing to have you with us as we together break the bread of life and as we magnify our Creator. You have made the right decision to give this time to God, so let's all do so with our full hearts and in accordance to His Will.
So, as we continue to focus on God, will you bow with me in prayer.
Well, it is time to join in our first song of the morning. Our first Hymn focuses on the wondrous grace of God which has been extended to you and me. So, won't you participate with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "His Grace Reaches Me!"
(SONG # 1)
I am always amazed as I read about the Israelites of old, to find that they continually turned away from God and failed to accomplish His will! The verse we mentioned early in Joshua 24:15 makes this very point. The whole verse says, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." This passage is evidence that the majority of Israel were still worshipping other gods and idols. And again, Joshua was challenging them to put away their foreign God's. Later, in verse 23 of the same passage, Joshua told the people, "put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel." It is almost unbelievable that after all God had done for them up to this point - that they were still following other god's.
However, before we get too down on the Israelites, we might need to take a look in the mirror. We may not have literal idols or gods which we worship, but how many things in this life do we allow to get in the way of our service to God? And when we put things before our God, are we not guilty of serving other gods, and of being in idolatry. Well according to God's Word we are. Paul helps us to understand this better in what he said to the Colossian brethren in chapter 3, and verse 5 of that book. There we read, "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry." You see, everything that comes before God or separates us from our proper service to God is considered idolatry.
May we all strive to serve our God and put Him first in all things. And just as Joshua said, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Will you determine to choose God and serve Him first?
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. And to lead us in that study, we have a guest speaker with us. So let me welcome brother Kevin Patterson, who is the minister for the Bolivar Church of Christ, just up the road in Bolivar, Missouri.
As far as our topic of study, we will again focus on our, "Privilege to be in God's Family." Our specific lesson of the morning is entitled, "God's Family has an Eternal Existence." So please stay with for this study from God's Word, and brother Patterson 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, "Let Jesus Come Into Your Heart."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Kevin Patterson
Good morning. As always, I count it an honor and a blessing to be here with you today and to share with you another portion from God's most Holy Word.
We are in the midst of a series of lessons on "The Privilege of Being in God's Family." Thus far, we've studied God's precious family and how that family has faith, hope and love in Him. This week, we are going to examine the specific topic: "God's Family Has An Eternal Existence."
I want to start this morning with some passages of scripture from Matthew chapter 25 which are probably familiar to most of you as we have all, I'm sure, heard sermons along this line. But Jesus said in Matthew 25 and verses 32-33, "All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them from one another as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats and He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left." He goes on to expound on these two groups a little bit later in verses 34 and 41 where He mentions that the King will say to those on His right hand, "Come, you blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." And again in verse 41, He will say to those on the left hand, "Depart from me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels." This whole entire segment of scripture is summed up in verse 46 when Jesus says, "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."
We're going to conclude a little bit later in the lesson, the righteous that we are talking about here is in fact the family of God and as we are talking about the family of God having an eternal existence, at least for the moment, that's going to serve as a good premise. But I want us to examine that last part of the scripture we just read. "But the righteous will go into eternal life," and ask this question: Who are the righteous? I have often defined those who are righteous or the righteousness of God as those who would do what is right in the eyes of God, and I think that scripture will bear that out.
Romans chapter 6 and verse 16 asks this question: "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey? You are that one's slave whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death or of obedience leading to righteousness." We see from this passage of scripture that if you want to be the righteousness of God, if you want to be righteous in the eyes of God, then that's going to start off with a foundation of obedience.
In Acts chapter 2 and verse 38, we see Peter and the rest of the apostles on the day of Pentecost preaching to a large group of Jews, who some of which are asking the question, "What shall we do? We have just crucified the son of God. We realize now that He was the Messiah and we've made this terrible mistake. What shall we do?" Peter suggests that they obey, that they actually put into action the thoughts of their hearts, the repentance that they were willing to manifest that day and do something about it to be righteous in God's eyes. He says to them, "Repent and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Verse 41 of that same chapter teaches us that those who gladly received His Word were baptized. Those who were willing to act, in other words, on Peter and the commandments of the other apostles words, received it willing and were baptized. We see that in verse 41, that day about 3,000 souls were added to them. Added to what? Verse 47 defines that for us when we read that "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." So we see that the church is made up of those people who were willing to put into practice what they believe in their heart based upon what has been revealed to them by the Word of God.
In 2 Corinthians chapter 1 Paul addresses the church at Corinth and he says to those saints that, he says, "Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." I want you to understand and identify the relationship that he points out there. He starts to call in his relationship with these brothers and sisters in Christ attention to their Father who was in heaven. Well, if you are going to have a father, then you in fact, must be a son or a daughter or a child of his.
2 Corinthians 5 and verse 21 says about those children of God, he says, "For he made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." So Paul says to those Christians at Corinth, "We have become the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. We have become that which is right in the eyes of God because of the gift that Jesus gave for us and because of our willingness to submit our lives to His Will."
Let us always remember that the church which is the family of God is not a physical structure. It is in fact a spiritual body. Colossians 1, verses 18 and also in verse 24 identifies that the church is the body of Christ. This spiritual body is also referred to as "the house of God." In 1 Timothy chapter 3, verses 14-15, it is identified as "the house of God which is the church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
Ephesians chapter 2 and verses 19-22 identifies those Christians who met in the city of Ephesus as being this spiritual body, this spiritual house of God. We read that, "Therefore you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone in whom the whole building being joined together grows into a holy temple in the Lord in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit."
Galatians chapter 6 and verse 10 calls the church "the household of faith."
1 Peter chapter and verse 5 identifies those of us in the church as being "living stones, as being built up into a spiritual house."
1 Peter 4 and verse 17 asks this question: For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" This is a passage of scripture that identifies the fact that there is going to be a judgment. There is going to be a reckoning. There is going to be a time when we are held accountable for our actions in the body. He implies that those who are a part of the house of God, or those who have obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, because he then asks that remaining question, "What will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?" They are in a different category than those who are in the household of faith.
Well if we talk about a home and assuming that there are children involved, there are generally two roles that are played out in the home, that of the parent and that of the child. Well when we talk about the church, when we talk about the body of Christ, when we talk about the family of God, I think we all recognize that God is our Father and as such, we are His children if we belong to Christ.
1 John chapter 2 and verses 1-3 identifies us as the children of God and identifies God as our Father.
1 John chapter 3 and verses 1-2 makes this statement: "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us that we should be called children of God. God loved us so much that He gave His one and only son to die on a cross so that we might have the hope of eternal life." But in order to access that eternal life, we've got to be a part of the family of God.
1 John 3 and verse 10 reads, "In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest." In other words, there is a distinction. "Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God nor is he who does not love his brother." So again we see a connection between those who are the righteous of God, those who would do what is right in the eyes of God, and as such obeying His Will and being added to the body of Christ, being made a part of the family of God.
Galatians 3, verses 26-27 teaches us, "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus for as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ." Remember that Paul addressed this letter to Christians in the region of Galatia and he reminds them that they are sons of God through the faith that they put into practice in Christ Jesus by being baptized into Christ and going from spiritual nakedness to being clothed with Christ.
Well if we are in Christ, if we are children of His, passages like Romans chapter 8, verses 16-17 tells us that we are heirs along with Christ to something that is given to us as being, or by being a part of the family of God. As heirs in the family of God, what then is it that we inherit? Remember the passage of scripture that we read earlier from Matthew chapter 25 and verse 34. He talked about "those who were blessed of the Father would inherit the kingdom that had been prepared since the foundation of the world."
2 Peter chapter 1, verses 10-11 teaches us that "entrance will be supplied to us into that kingdom abundantly through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
Colossians chapter 3 and verses 23-25 teaches us that "whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance for you serve the Lord Christ Jesus. But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done and there is no partiality."
Hebrews chapter 9 verses 13 and 15 gives us the idea that the old covenant has been done away and we live under a new covenant and as such with Christ, we have a new mediator, one who stands between God and man, and to those Christians that this letter was addressed to, he says, "And for this reason, He is the mediator of a new covenant by means of death for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant that those who are called may receive the promise of eternal inheritance."
What is that eternal inheritance? Remember what we read long ago in Matthew chapter 25 and verse 46 that, "The righteous will inherit eternal life."
That's what 1 John chapter 2 and verse 25 teaches us. This is the promise that He has promised us, eternal life.
Certainly there are a lot of blessings that we have in Christ. We have a joy that knows no bound. We have a peace that passes all understanding. We have forgiveness. We have a family, a spiritual family in this life with which we can work through the problems in this world and I believe that most importantly and certainly eternally to those who are in the family of God, we have eternal life with Christ Jesus our Lord and our Father in Heaven and the Holy Spirit in that place, in that home called Heaven.
Eternity is a very long time and we will reap in eternity what we sow in this life.
I want to remind you of what Paul said to Christians in Rome in Romans chapter 2 and verses 5-9. He said to those Christians that, "We are going to be accountable that God will render to each one according to his deeds. Eternal life to those who are patient, who by patience, continuance and doing good seek for glory, honor and immortality, but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath."
Today, I want to encourage you to obey God and to become a part of His family and by doing so, you will have the opportunity of escaping an eternal punishment and enjoying an eternal existence and an everlasting home called Heaven.
(SONG # 3 - "Love Lifted Me!")
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today. How blessed we all are to have times like this to commit to the things of God. We invite you to join us every Lord's Day, at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this offering toward God!
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Isn't it wonderful to know that some day we will live eternally with our God if we are found faithful in the end. However, may we never forget the part we must play in this life to assure that we are found acceptable in His sight!