THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 8-15-10
LESSON TITLE: “THE GLORIOUS CHURCH: HOW DOES ONE GAIN ENTRANCE INTO THE CHURCH?”
The Psalmist David once proclaimed, “O Lord, Our Lord, how excellent is your name in all the earth!” (Ps.8:9) No truer words have ever been spoken, for how truly wondrous and excellent the name of our Lord.
We are glad that it is before this Lord that you have assembled on this Lord’s Day. What a privilege and opportunity this is for those of us who love God and desire to serve Him according to His Will. I hope and pray that we will each do our best to participate in this worship to God and to offer those sacrifices which are acceptable in His sight.
So, as we begin our reverence to God the Creator of all, won’t you bow with me before His throne at this time?
Well, it’s time to begin our songs of praise this day. Our first hymn of the morning focuses on the wondrous Grace which God offers to all mankind. So, won’t you do your part by lifting your voice to God, as we sing together, “Amazing Grace?”
(SONG # 1)
How often in this life have we failed because we put our trust in the wrong things? Maybe we put our trust in our family or friends, and they let us down. Others have put their trust in their jobs or skills and again they are let down. And how about those who put their faith in self or their own knowledge and ability? The sad reality is, there seems to be no guarantees in this life and we often are let down, but why? Because we again put our trust and faith in the wrong things.
However, with this in mind, do you realize that there is a proper place to put our trust and faith? If we make the right choice, there is a way we can have full confidence and assurance in this life. There is a way that we can have the guarantees and absolutes that are unchanging. The only one who could offer such wonders and promises is obviously our God! I love the way Solomon said it in this proverb, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding,” Prov. 3:5. And why can we trust in the Lord with all of our heart, because He is God and able to work all things for good in our lives according to His Will. You see this wise man realized that if we lean on our own abilities and understanding, we will always be let down. But with God on our side, we will never be alone or without hope!
Two final verses to consider that help us with our discussion are found in Malachi 3:6, and 1 Thessalonians 5:24. In Malachi we read, “For I am the LORD, I do not change.” In Thessalonians we read, “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” Our God can be counted on, He will do what He says and He will not change His mind like those of this earth. Our God truly is a God to be trusted!
In just a few minutes it will be time to begin our main study of the day. As far as our lesson, we are still focused on our series which is entitled, “The Glorious Church.” Our specific lesson of the day asks the question, “How Does One Gain Entrance Into The Church?” So please stay with us for this study from God’s Word, and we will be lead in these thoughts at the appropriate time.
As far as our guest speaker, we are happy to have brother Jerry Sullins with us. Brother Jerry is the Director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank him for joining us this Lord’s Day! Now let’s join together in our next song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “Be With Me Lord.”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
It is certainly a pleasure to have you again viewing “The Living Word” broadcast. E ach week, we appreciate those who regularly view this program, and for you today, who are our first-time viewers, we are certainly thankful that you have decided to take the time to look at “The Living Word” broadcast, and we hope that after this broadcast is over you can truly say that you have heard God’s Will concerning the things that are going to be discussed.
For the past few weeks, the great subject of “The Glorious Church” has been considered. Today, I have the privilege of discussing the subject of, “How Does One Gain Entrance Into the Church of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ?”
We know that Jesus built one church. In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” He always intended that that church not be divided into denominations. As we well know, division has always been condemned.
The Lord condemned division in John 17 where He prayed that, “All might be one as thou Father are to Me and I in thee, that they all may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
Also the apostle Paul and others of the apostles, but especially Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 verse 10 said, “Let there be no divisions among you, but be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
So division is not something that the Lord has ever wanted. But He wanted people to become a part of His body which is His church. There is ample evidence that has been presented for the past few weeks that the church is indeed His kingdom, and the kingdom is His body, and the body is His church. Those three words are used synonymously in the New Testament as it pertains to the church or assembly of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
So how does one get into the church of our Lord? Well Acts chapter 2, verse 47 says, and this is after those people on the Day of Pentecost obeyed the message that Peter delivered unto them. It says that, “The Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.”
Now how were these people being saved? In the religious world today you can find so many different people teaching so many things as to what one must do to become a part of the church that Jesus died for and shed His own blood for. (Acts 20:28)
But what does the Bible have to say? My friend, we shall not base our salvation upon and which is also the same as entrance into the kingdom of God upon the ideas of man. Well did Solomon say, “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Did you also note what Jesus said in John 7? “Not everyone that sayeth unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the Will of My Father who is in Heaven.”
Now unfortunately, and I hate to even use that word, but unwisely, men have chosen to follow men as it pertains to how they will gain entrance into the kingdom of God, the body of Christ. In fact, they have even joined themselves to churches that do not even bear the name of Christ, and in no way represent what Jesus taught in matters pertaining to “What Must I Do to Be Saved?”
I challenge you this morning and certainly I challenge anyone in this listening audience, if you do not agree with what is being said in this sermon today, then you’re disagreeing with God because I am going to bring exactly what the Bible says on how you gain entrance into the kingdom. Some of you may be so adamant about what you believe as to what one must do to be saved that you would be willing to discuss this in a public debate. Well I am willing and ready to do that at your place anytime that you desire to do so. That’s how strongly convicted I am that what is going to be said in the next few moments is God’s eternal truth.
Now gaining entrance into the kingdom of God is the same as “What must I do to be saved?” The answer would be the same because if one does what one needs to do to be saved, one is added to the church as we pointed out in Acts 2 verse 47. You can read that for yourself. Well what must I do to be saved then? What must I do to gain entrance into the kingdom of God?
Let me ask you a simple question. How can you know what to do unless you’ve heard what you need to do? That’s the way God communicates to mankind. It is through words and those words are found in this Book of Books especially from the New Testament as we well know to be the New Covenant that God has given to man. So how could you know unless you hear? The Bible points that readily out. In fact, the Bible says as we know in Romans 10:17, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”
Remember the statement that the apostle Paul made in Romans 10 verses 13-15? “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. But how shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe on Him in whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear except they preach? And how shall they preach except they be sent?” So preaching what? The gospel! Was it not Jesus who said to His disciples, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature? He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Yes, that is exactly who said that as is recorded in Mark 16 verses 15-16.
I am reminded of one of nine cases of conversion in the book of Acts chapter 8 beginning around verse 32-33 or somewhere around that place in that chapter and it is around those verses, that we see Philip was sent by the Holy Spirit to a man from Ethiopia to a man who had been to Jerusalem. Some people say he was a proselyted Jew and he had been there worshipping and on his way back to Gaza, he was reading from the book of Isaiah chapter 53 and he did not understand what he was reading. He was reading those words, “As a lamb before shear is… so he opened not his mouth.” Those words that prophesied concerning Jesus Christ the Son of God. So Philip was brought up by the Holy Spirit to him as he was riding along in the chariot reading those words and Philip said, “Do you understand what you are reading?” He said, “How can I except someone guide me?” So he had to hear something, did he not? Yes! The Holy Spirit sent Philip to him to preach to him the words of salvation. Now as we see the Ethiopian Eunuch heard. Did he believe? Well he must have believed. We see in John 8 verse 24 that Jesus said, “Except you believe that I am He you will die in your sins.” Did not the scripture reveal to us in John 3:16 that verse that all of us know by heart, probably all of us who claim to be Christians do, that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Well we know as Philip went along with the Eunuch in the chariot preaching unto him Jesus, he said, “Here is water, what hinders me to be baptized?” He said, “If you believe with all of your heart, you may.” He said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He made that great confession. We know how important that is. We must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
How could any man be saved, and you would agree with me, unless he or she says that they believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, or at least believes that?
Well what about repentance? In Acts 2:38 as we said it stated in Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.” That was the first time the gospel was actually preached. In Acts chapter 2, that is when the church began. We see there that Peter was preaching along with the other apostles, and Peter said, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Now Acts 2:41 says, “They gladly received the Word and there were about 3,000 souls that day baptized into Christ.” These are the people the Lord added to His church, to His kingdom, to His body.
Now how could one be saved without repentance? Some people might say, “Well, you see the Ethiopian Eunuch didn’t repent.” Well certainly we can assume or more than assume, but it is taught the implication that if repentance is necessary for one to be saved, when Philip preached unto him Christ, certainly he did not leave out repentance. We would all agree to that, and want to be at least fair-minded about the scripture.
Well how can one be saved without confession? The Bible says in Romans chapter 10:10 that, “With the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Now we go back to that Ethiopian Eunuch again. Philip asked him, “How can I do this unless you believe?” He says, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” He made the great confession that Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Who in this audience today would doubt that someone needs to make that confession in order for someone to become a Christian? So how is it that I can have interest in the kingdom of God, which is the body of Christ, if I do not desire or want to confess that Jesus is the Christ? Well certainly I would not prove to anyone that I wanted to gain entrance unless I were willing to do that.
Then why is it, my friend that you disagree with other parts that Jesus has given us, conditions on our salvation and entrance into the kingdom, and one of those as you have been hearing me mention it by the quotation of scripture is being baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins? Why would you refuse to that when this same Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Not “he that believes shall be saved, and then he can be baptized to join a church, a denomination.” Where does it say that in the scripture? The condition of one’s salvation is to be buried with Christ in baptism to arise to walk in newness of life. That’s why the Eunuch said, since Philip was preaching unto him Jesus, “Here is water. What hinders me to be baptized?” Then after he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,” Philip went down into the water with him and baptized him and they came up out of the water and Philip went on his way rejoicing.
How can anyone refuse to do what all nine cases of conversion those people did? Lydia, the seller of purple, the Philippian jailor, the apostle Paul especially in Acts 22:16 where Ananias told him, “And now why are you tarrying? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord.”
Now how do you gain entrance into the kingdom of Heaven? How do you gain entrance into the church? How do you gain entrance into the body of Christ? It is upon the conditions that Christ has placed for us that we gain entrance into the kingdom, the body, the church. It would be the requirements that Jesus has placed upon mankind so that they might enter into the kingdom of God, the church, the body of Christ.
Someone made a statement one time, “If you could show me in the scripture that baptism saves, I will be baptized.” Well, they were shown. 1 Peter 3:21, “The like figure whereunto even baptism does also now save us. Not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience to God.” What is the answer of a good conscience to God? Being buried with your Lord in baptism to arise and walk in newness of life.
My friend, there is no way to ignore the scripture here. We are baptized into the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. (Romans chapter 6 verse 3-4) That’s the way we gain entrance into the kingdom of God. Why would any person on the face of this earth refuse to do so?
Do you remember the Great Commission that Jesus gave in Matthew 28:19-20? First of all, in verse 18, He said, “All authority has been given to Me both in Heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” How would disciples be made in all nations? Baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things. “Whatsoever I have commanded you and lo I am with you always even unto the end of the world.” Jesus once said, “Why call you Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not the things which I say?”
If you want to gain entrance into the kingdom of Heaven, my friend, the Bible has been very clear on this matter. There is no way you can misunderstand unless you are misguided. You must hear the gospel. You must believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Repent of your sins. Confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Be buried with your Lord in baptism. And live a faithful Christian life unto death.
I close with these words. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be condemned.”
Let’s do the Will of our God.
(SONG # 3 - “Anywhere Is Home!”)
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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May we all be willing to submit to the will of God and do what He commands in all things? Especially in relationship to the way we become a part of His Church? Have you submitted fully to the demands of Jesus?