THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 8-22-04
LESSON TITEL: "PRIVILEGE TO BE IN GOD'S FAMILY:
GOD'S FAMILY HAS JOY IN THEIR SALVATION"
"...Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,..." 1 Corinthians 15:58! How about it, are you standing up for God? Are you standing strong in His will and promises? And are you always abounding in His work!
I welcome you as fellow laborers this day in the service of our God. I furthermore thank all of those who have joined us, who have not yet fully submitted to the will of God. My hope and prayer this day is for you and your obedience. As God said, "Today is the day of salvation." Are you willing to submit to the things of God and obey?
What better way to begin our time together this morning, that in speaking with our God in prayer. Will you bow with me at this time!
I hope everyone is ready to worship God in song at this time! We will begin today with a hymn which takes us back to the precious sacrifice of the Cross. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, "Night with Ebon Pinion."
(SONG # 1)
We read a passage a moment ago that talked about our need as Christians to be steadfast and immovable. No doubt this is the same idea which the Hebrew writer had in mind as we read in Hebrews 12:28-29, there it says, "Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire." Obviously the connection is clearly given here. We are to be those who are founded and secured because we are a part of God Kingdom which is the same and has the same foundation. However, notice another aspect which the writer adds here. He went on to say that we receive the kingdom, and we remain unshaken, so that we may serve God acceptably with all reverence and godly fear. How wonderful it is to know that we have such an awesome and powerful God which we are to serve. Furthermore, how wonderful it is to know that in doing so, we will receive great blessings in this life, as well as, the hope of eternal life when our Lord comes again.
Now back to our original text in the book of 1 Corinthians, if you go back to verse 57, we find confirmed for us as to why we must stand firm and strong with God. There we read, "But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." We are truly made victorious through Jesus Christ! Not only in the fact that we are able to become Christians and followers of the King. But as well, because we are able to know that our God is able to care for, protect and deliver us. How blessed we are to serve such a loving and caring savior!
As far as our study, we will be concluding our important discussion concerning our "Privilege to be in God's Family." The specific lesson of the day is entitled, "God's Family has Joy In Their Salvation!" So stay with us and after our next song together, I will be leading us in the main thoughts of the day. But for now let's join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, "O The Depth."
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Ray Sullins
We thank you so much for continuing with us this day as we now come together and look into the pages of God's Word to even grow further as those who love Him.
We've had a great series, I believe, over the past many weeks and in fact now a little over a month in relationship to God's family where we've been able to look at God's precious family, the faith, hope and love that we are to have as the family of God as well as the great reward and eternal existence that is ours in the end if we are found faithful before our God. And today, we want to conclude this series by looking at another aspect of God's family that I think should be the overlying cause or really feeling that exists in those who are in the family of God because of the preciousness of the family, the faith, the hope, the love, the great promises of this life and blessings, as well as the hope of eternal life. Certainly the family of God is a family that has joy, joy because of so many wondrous things from God and of God that we learn in His Word and certainly first and foremost, the great joy that we have because of the salvation that is ours and found through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
We'll look there together in 1 John chapter 1. We find here that John is writing no doubt to those whom he knew and loved. But as he begins in verse 1, he first really states some things that they should know and be reminded about him as to why they should hear him. But notice what he says here up to verse 4. "That which was from the beginning, which we have seen and heard which we have seen with our own eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled concerning the word of life. The life was manifest and we have seen and bear witness and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us, that which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with the Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." Notice what John said. He says, "I as an eyewitness, an eyewitness of Christ who was there to see and to taste and to touch knowing that He was real and knowing the Word of life," as it specifies there in verse 1. He says, "I, John, as one who has bore witness to the eternal life that is mine through Jesus Christ as well as that eternal life that is yours in the same way because we now share and have fellowship not only with the Father, but with one another thus bring us joy." Notice what we have through God and because of God and at the great love of one another, joy. There is great joy in our lives as Christians because of these wondrous truths and the knowledge that we have from God. Men like John have helped us to know these things and thus to make us joyous.
Verse 5 goes on to say, "This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all." He says, "The message that we have, the Word of life, the knowledge of blessings on this earth and the eternal existence that will be yours in God, the fellowship that we share and that we then share as well with God, these things we write as witnesses so that you might have joy and that your joy may be full." Oh yes, God wants us to be a joyful people, a joy such as that joy that we have even in earthly things such as the day that we have our birthday, the holidays that come around, maybe the Christmas holiday, maybe the day that we graduated from high school or college or the day that we had joy because we looked there into the eyes of our bride and we said, "I do," the joy that we have when we hold the first child in our arms and the child begins to grow and speak and we have other children and the joy that we have as grandparents when we look there at the grandchild and that new grandchild and even our grandchildren as they grow up and make fine men and women. Oh, how wonderful and joyous many things are in this life. But what I'm suggesting today and founded Biblically is the idea that we have even a greater joy than all of those things in the great blessings from Jesus Christ, again through His Word, through His promises, through our obedience, through eternal salvation. Yes, joy is ours.
If you were to look at the dictionary and find our what joy is really defined as, it is an emotion that really expresses the concept of being excited, excited to accomplish something or the expectation of goodness and gladness and delight that our souls somehow have made peace with God. Oh what joy to know the great peace that surpasses understanding, the love that we can't understand because it's depth and it's width and it's height is so wondrous. Oh yes, God brings us joy. The knowledge of His truth and growing as His child makes me joyful and joyous because of all that He tells me and the truths and how they affect me in making me a better person and in helping me to know all the help that I have from God and the promises that He bestows as well. Oh yes, He wants us to be a happy people in our secular lives as well as in our spiritual lives.
Now does that mean we won't have sad times? Certainly it means we will have times. The Bible tells us of tribulations, of trial, of difficulties, but still of joy. Joy is the ultimate, the ultimate feeling and attribute and attitude of the child of God who is faithful because although the problems are there from time to time and the trials, joy overcomes. Joy overcomes because God overcomes and is always there with us in all respects, in all ways.
I might further mention to us that God's family in the New Testament was a joyous people, one that was referred to often as having joy and having glad hearts even on the Day of Pentecost, the day that the church was established there when the Holy Spirit came with power and really caused them to speak in tongues, languages that all heard in their own language. We find even that day that those who received the Word became children of God. But notice what verse 46 says. It says, "they had glad hearts at the knowledge of Jesus Christ," of the great joy it brought them to know that salvation was theirs and the power of God had truly given them the ability to not only know they were saved, but to know that God was with them and blessing them in His family as His children. Oh yes, they had gladness of heart as they worked for God everyday in house to house eating together and enjoying the fellowship that John had spoke about that we share as well with God. Oh how joyous we should be as Christians.
I'm also reminded of a story in Acts chapter 8. We are reminded there of a man known as a Eunuch, the Ethiopian Eunuch. He was actually the treasurer of the queen and as he there was approached by Philip, he was reading the scriptures and as the whole story goes and coming about to the end we find that he responded to the message, the gospel that was preached to him. He sees water and he says, "What doth hinder me to be baptized?" and Peter says, "If you believe, you can." They both go into the water, down into the water. He baptized him and they come up. When they come up out of the water, verse 8 tells us that, "he rejoiced." He rejoiced. He was one that truly, truly knew that God now was with him. He was one that knew as even earlier those in the same chapter, chapter 8 learned there in Samaria that there was great rejoicing in the fact that the city had heard of Jesus and so many had responded.
Oh yes, in the book of Acts we find the response that Jesus gave to people, the answers, the great comfort and the care and knowing who He was and in obeying Him, the great joy that brought was something that happened time and time and time again, and the excitement was clear. Even in Acts 13 and verse 52, we find there that the disciples are said to have been filled with joy, those there in Antioch of Pysiddia, those there who were with Paul and Barnabus, who even after they had been rejected by many and they had been persecuted. Still, what did they find? Joy in those who loved Christ. Joy in the face of good things. Joy in the face of trials and tribulation. Joy in the fact that we learn that we re sinners and separated from God and we need God to bring us back to Him. Joy in the reality that the church is real and that we become a part of it through our obedience. Joy after joy after joy.
Paul and Silas exemplified the same joy later in Acts, in Acts chapter 16. While there in prison, they began to sing praises to God. Can you imagine those in the other cells hearing? What is wrong with those men? Do they not understand they are in prison? They have lost their freedom because of what they believe and now they again sing it knowing that is why they're here. Oh what joy. Oh what joy fills the heart and the life of an individual who really loves and obeys his or her God.
But as well we learn what joy there is as those who are Christians and should be as those who follow the Will of God.
Another word that often is used in the New Testament is the concept of being a people who are willing to rejoice. If you'll turn there in the book of Philippians as Paul wrote to the church there at Philippi, we learn a great emphasis again being placed on those in Philippians chapter 4 who now had learned who God was. Remember that the church at Philippi, like others that we will discuss here in just a moment, were those that were born in a situation of persecution. People hating Christians and the church and trying to even imprison and harm and hurt men like Paul and men like Barnabus and Peter who traveled around to preach the gospel of Christ. They were hated many times. So even out of great trial and persecution, what was the attitude there of the Philippian brethren and what was Paul encouraging them to do there in verse 4 of chapter 4? He says, "Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say, rejoice." There he says, "Look be a people who are happy, a people who are excited, a people who are joyful because you allow the trials and the tribulations not to pull you away from God but to draw you to God." Oh when will we learn as those who are followers of God that when times are tough we need God even more and guess what. He is there even more. He is ready and willing to help us because He loves us and He is wanting to be our Father and He is wanting to be the one who again cares and protects and provides for us if we will but be His children so that He might again respond as our Father.
In the book of Thessalonians we find there a very familiar concept. To the Thessalonian church, Paul again speaks of rejoicing in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5 and verse 16. In fact, the very words that he uses there as he encourages them to rejoice is saying to "rejoice always," and in verse 17 he says, "in everything give thanks," or rather verse 18, "in everything give thanks." So rejoice always. Rejoice always and pray without ceasing. But then in everything give thanks. Oh again, the great opportunity we have to speak to our God in prayer, to communicate with not only God, but one another, to be encouraged and even as the Thessalonian church had been brought out of persecution and established, they as well were told to rejoice in everything, to thank God in everything, and to be those that always pray for all things.
What about God's family in Rome? In Romans chapter 12 and verse 12 again a people that rejoiced in the hope that God had placed before them. A people who living in the largest city of the empire, the most corrupt perhaps and maybe having sometimes the greatest of all trials, still loved God, still stood strong, stood fast, were immovable, and always were striving to abound in the good works of the Lord. Oh what joy again it brings us when we live this way before our God.
I'm as well reminded of the Galatian church as Paul told the Galatian brethren in Galatians chapter 5 in verse 22 that one of the great fruit there of the spirit, that one of the wondrous things that identify us as Christians, that help us to enter the kingdom of Heaven, one of those precious truths is joy, along with kindness and love and gentleness and all the other things we might talk about. What is there? Joy. Joy. We need to be a happy people. When the world looks at me as a child of God, what do they see? Joy? Or do they find sadness? Do they see that I am happy as a child of God or that I'm somehow unhappy with what God is doing or what He has done? You see joy is something that we not only should but must have as His children.
In Luke chapter 15 we're told of a story there of the lady who lost her coin. We're told of a story there, the lost sheep. We're told of the prodigal son. In every story there, we find a common theme, a common thread of the great joy there was when one was obedient or when one returned to be obedient to the Father or to the things of God. That's what the parable is teaching and that's what we can learn and how we must learn that joy is ours and that we can be a rejoicing people, an excited people, not only as individuals, but as His church. We can be joyful and why? Why once again? Because God has done so much for us. Again, by giving us His Word. Again, by promising me the blessings of this life, all that I need, that He will care and provide and protect for me and my family and all that is in connection with, and as well that we might have the great promise of Heaven, the great hope that shows us that Heaven is ours, that Heaven is truly ours as one who lives and moves and has his being in the things of God. Oh yes, we can be joyful.
But the question might be today: Are you joyful? Perhaps you're outside of Christ. Well no wonder you're not happy. No wonder you're not able to deal with the problems of life and the trials that come your way. You need to know God and obey Him and become obedient by repenting and being baptized after believing in Him and allowing the Lord to add you to His family so that you might share in the great joy that we have spoken of this morning. But as a child of God, maybe you need to repent and get your life back right, knowing that God is always there for you.
Overall, will we all, as those who love God, show joy one to another and rejoice that we truly are His children?
(SONG # 3 - "O Worship The King!")
Thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in giving this time to God. I hope and pray that our time and sacrifice has been according to His will. We invite you back every first day of the week at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to the wondrous truths of our God!
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How great it is to have the joy that comes from being in the family of God. May we live every day, so that joy may be seen in us, and so that others may be affected by Godly joy which is in us!