THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 8-22-10
LESSON TITLE: “THE GLORIOUS CHURCH: WHY SHOULD I WANT TO BE IN THE CHURCH?”
Joshua once proclaimed to God’s people, “Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left.” What a beautiful challenge this is to us as well, as God’s followers on this wondrous Lord’s Day - to do all that is written in God’s Word for us.
Thank you so much for joining us this day for this time of Worship to our God. And it is my prayer that we are all doing our best, today and every day, to accomplish everything according to God’s precious will and His eternal purpose. Won’t you do your part this morning so that God may truly be praised and so that all we offer toward His throne will be done in spirit and in truth.
With these thoughts in mind, will you bow with me before His almighty throne in prayer?
Now let’s join in our first song of the morning. It reminds us of the great assurance we can have when God is on our side! So, won’t you join in with the congregation at this time as we sing together, “Blessed Assurace?”
(SONG # 1)
When considering our service to God, how do we know that we are doing enough? As we read earlier, God is only satisfied when we are doing all that we are commanded according to His Will. I remember a similar thing which Jesus said in John 14:15, there we read, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.” Here we find that a true love for Jesus is seen through our obedience to His Law. And we might wonder, how much of His law? Well, scriptures again require us to do nothing less than He commands, but to do even more than he requests. We must give our all, obey all and follow all just as He has confirmed in His word.
In Acts 13:22, we read about King David of old. Luke there records for us that David was a man who “did all,” of God’s Will! Now does that mean he was perfect? Certainly not, he made mistakes just like you and I do. However, he was striving for perfection and completeness in relationship to what God had commanded and required of him. Because of this, he was found as a man who did all of God’s Will.
We might also ask, just how important is it that we get God’s Law’s right? James helps us with this in chapter 2:10 of his book. There we read, “For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.” Yikes, that’s kind of scary isn’t it? The point is, we must do our very best to keep all of God’s Law just as He has commanded, because when we stumble in one point - especially willfully, we have been found guilty of breaking the whole law.
Let me encourage us all this day to study God’s Word, to learn His every precept and to obey His every command. Then and only then can we know that we are right with our God and thus pleasing in His sight! So let me ask, “how committed are you to your God in keeping His entire law?”
As far as our main study of the day, we will be concluding our discussion on the series entitled, “The Glorious Church.” Our specific lesson of the morning will deal with, “Why Should I Want To Be In The Church?” So please stay with us this morning and after our next song together, I will be leading us in our main thoughts of the day. But for now let’s join together in our second song of the morning. The name of this hymn, “A New Creature.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We’re so glad you’ve continued with us this morning as we now go to the study of God’s Word in our last part of the series concerning “The Glorious Church.”
Over many weeks now, we have been looking at, I think, some beautiful ideas and concepts certainly Biblically founded to prove to us just why the church is so glorious. Together we have been able to learn in our study many things about just why it is so precious such as the fact that our Jesus is both Lord, Savior, Founder and Builder of the church.
We’ve also been able to see together the fact that there is but one church that Jesus built and His desire has always been that there but one church and certainly division or dis-unity has always been condemned by our Lord. He wants us to be one, in one family, in one body. And so therefore certainly the very concept of denominationalism is unscriptural.
We’ve also learned the fact that there is a way to identify the true church that is only in the true word, or Bible. In the Bible, when we look and we find what the church is and was from its beginning and we compare what we are and what we do to that church, certainly then we are able to easily identify ourselves either as the true church or maybe as some other type of church following a different gospel. Such marks as the way a church worships. Such marks as the way a church is organized. Such marks as the way a church might preach how one becomes a child of God. All of these things help us to see which church we are a part of, God’s church or man’s church. Really what our series has been all about is to provoke us and to challenge us to make sure what we are doing has nothing to do with me or what others think or what others want, but that what we are and what we strive to be is all about God. Why would we want anything else? Why would we desire anything else knowing that is in Jesus alone and through Christ that salvation is found?
A few texts then that we want to look at this time is then understanding further why I should want to be in the church. What are reasons that I would want to be a part of what is referred to as “the church?” That being the case, when so many in the religious world, believe it or not, even those of the churches of Christ, there are many today who claim that the church is not important. I just can really almost lose my jaw and drop it to the ground when I hear such things because you and I are well aware of what the Bible says concerning the church. One of my favorite passages, Acts 20 and verse 28, where there as the elders of the church at Ephesus are being addressed, as they are being told to “Shepherd the church of God,” guess what it says purchased the church? “The blood of Jesus.”
Now you explain to me how that something purchased with the blood of Jesus that was shed on the cross is somehow insignificant, unimportant, or does not matter. Well I think you will begin to see very quickly that anyone who makes such a claim either does not understand the truth, either has not studied the truth or they are liars and deceivers because the Bible clearly teaches us that the church is not only important but it is an established institution by God that one is required to be in if they would be saved.
What about Jesus Christ? What did our Lord say while He was on the earth? Why would I want to be in the church (Matthew 16) that He says, “I will build?” Well you might look with me there in John 14 to a very familiar text where Jesus is actually addressed by His own disciples. In this discussion we find that He is telling them that He is about to leave the earth and He will no longer be with them. Then it was Thomas in verse 5 who said, “Lord, how will we know where you are? Or How will we know what to do?” and this and that, and then notice what He says in verse 6. Jesus says, “I am the Way. I am the Truth, and I am the Life.” I don’t know about you, but those three elements I would say are not only dear but paramount to the concepts of following God and being in the church. If we want to find the Way, He says there is only one, I am the Way. He says that if we want to find the Truth, there is only one way to find it, in Jesus. Then He says that if we want to find, there the last part, the life, which is not only life now but eternal, it is only through Christ. But then there is another part of that verse that is equally of great importance. He says that, “No one comes to the Father except by Me.” In other words, if Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, we have to go, He says, through Him, the only Way, the only Truth, the only Life. To get where? To God the Father!
Now what does that tell you? It tells you the same thing that we learned there in Acts chapter 12 and verse 14 that He is the only name by which one can be saved. The very name that many of the Jews rejected is the only name of salvation. Verse 11 there of chapter 4 says, “This (that is Jesus) is the stone which was rejected by your builders which has become even the chief cornerstone, but there is no salvation in any other for there is no other name under Heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
What does that tell us about not only the name of Jesus, but the life of Jesus and the authority of Jesus? If He is the only One, the only Way, the only Name by which one can be saved that tells me. It doesn’t matter what my friends or my family or what a man says or what some leader of a church claims. It only matters what my Lord says. He is the only one who died and shed His blood for us. He is the only one who made the necessary sacrifice. He is the only one then worthy of our allegiance and our commitment and our dedication. Do you serve God or do you serve another?
You might also notice with me as He was speaking with His disciples there in John chapter 6. I also like this text a lot because here Jesus in talking with them is trying to help them understand that they should remain faithful to His bidding. Why? Because in that same text earlier on Christ has just said around verse 60 that “many had began to forsake Him.” In the beginning when He was doing all the miracles and He was providing food and everything was going their way, people were flocking to Him. But when things started to get tough, and the Roman government because of the Jews began to press in and threats began to be made and people began to be those who suffered and imprisoned and even beaten for their faith, guess what happened. People began to run. They began to hide. And they began to deny Jesus Christ.
So what is it that He asked His disciples here? He actually in a very loving way says to them there in verse 67, “And then Jesus said to the twelve, His chosen ones, ‘Do you also want to go away?’” Oh what an intense moment that must have been. Now they realize what they are facing. They realized why so many have forsaken and the challenge comes directly from the Lord as to whether they will also run.
Then I want you to notice what the beloved Peter says. The next verse, 68 says, “And Simon Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’” He says, “Lord, what can we do? Where else can we go? Why would we flee? Because in You alone do we find the words for eternal life.” Kind of sounds like what Jesus said before, doesn’t it? “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life.” Certainly it does.
Then notice what it goes on to say in the next verse and really the proclamation that Peter makes not only in the fact that “Where else can we go for salvation? Where else can we go for eternal life?” He then says this, he then says, “Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ.” He says, “We know that You’re Christ. We know that You’re the Messiah. We know that You’re the very Son of the Living God.” What a wonderful confession! What a beautiful point made to us to understand that truly we are those who are involved in an institution, something established by God through the blood of Jesus and purchased therefore through that same blood, that we now are a part of, that we now are added to, that church that Jesus said, “I will build My church,” and then when we see the church begin in the book of Acts specifically there in chapter 2 and they cry out and they say, “What must we do, men and brethren, we have killed the Son of God?” They are told to “Repent and be baptized.”
What then happens to those who obey? Three thousand that day that are baptized, having repented and confessed the name of Jesus. Look at verse 47 with me, Acts 2. The verse says, “They were praising God. They were having favor with all of the people and the Lord added to the church daily those that were being saved.” Who was added? Those that were saved! And what did God Himself add the saved to? Not weekly, not monthly, not yearly, but daily as they were being saved by an obedience that we even learn of in Acts 2. What were they added to? The church! Notice that he didn’t say, “the churches.” He didn’t say, “the denominations.” He didn’t say, “the groups.” He said, “The church.” What church? The church Jesus Christ Himself built!
So again I ask, “Are you a part of that church? Do you wear the names that Jesus spoke of concerning that church? Do you apply the principles that Jesus confirms in His Word concerning that wondrous church? Do you follow the patterns and the examples and commands that God reveals in His perfect Truth, the Bible? If so, praise be to God, you are His child, you are in the church, you have been added to that kingdom. But if not, you need to re-evaluate who you are, who you are following, and what you’re doing for God. Is it about God, or someone else?
Another verse that really helps us with this thought in Colossians chapter 1. In fact within this context we actually see not only the church, but the body mentioned in verse 18. But earlier that same institution that it says we are added to is guess what. The church, the kingdom, the body! They are the same! What it says there in verse 13 of Colossians chapter 1, it says, “He,” God, “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed or translated us (guess what) into the kingdom of His dear Son, the Son of His love, and we are thus saved.” Now what is that kingdom?
Well what is that we are taken out of that Acts chapter 2 said? When we repent of sin and we are brought into obedience through obedience and baptism, what is it? We are added to the church, the kingdom, the same church mentioned in the same text in verse 18 which is His church, the body.
Are you in that church? Are you in that kingdom? Are you practicing that which is about God and His Will or are you practicing another?
Well let’s turn now to 1 Corinthians chapter 15. There’s a text here that talks a lot about final things and really what will happen to us in the end and happen to our physical bodies as we change from the mortality to the immortal body, no longer of a fleshly nature, because there we also learn that those things of a fleshly nature do not inherit the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is spiritual in nature. There in the same text, it is interesting because when it discusses the end, 1 Corinthians 15, notice what he says in verse 24. He says, “Then comes the end when He (Jesus) delivers the kingdom of God the Father and He puts an end to all rule and all authority and all power.” What’s going to happen in the end? It says that, “Jesus will deliver the kingdom…”
Let me ask you a question. How is Jesus going to deliver a kingdom that doesn’t exist? Why would we be trying to be part of a kingdom or church that doesn’t yet exist? Some claim, in the religious world, that the kingdom does not yet exist. Then we are all wasting our time because it says, “The saved are added to the church.” The church makes up the saved. That’s the body of Christ in which He is the head, and now it is that church or that kingdom, that body, that someday hosting the saved will be delivered back guess to whom. The Father! Eternally! The reward of Heaven!
Are you in that church? Are you in that family? My friends, it does exist. It exists because Jesus purchased it with His blood. If it’s not in existence, then His blood was shed in vain.
The book of Revelation also opens our eyes a lot to the same beautiful concept of the church. Do you remember our beginning passages in Ephesians chapter 5 that we had been made a glorious church, like that wife without spot, without blemish, holy and perfect? That’s what God does. Then when we move to the book of Revelation, we begin to find clearly in chapter 21 the same concepts about Jesus being the bridegroom and you and I being the bride of Christ. There in verse 2 it says, “And then I, John, saw a holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of Heaven from God prepared as a bride adorned for its husband.” Do you see the idea there of the beautiful bride? Later in verse 9 he later says, “The bride of the Lamb was told to come to the feast.” Do you see you and I are recipients as the bride of Christ, the glorious and beautiful church to be able to enjoy all that God has promised us? The only problem is we have to understand God has done His part, and the question remains: Will we do ours? Will you submit to God? Will you do His Will? Will you receive the reward?
(SONG # 3 - “Faith Is A Victory!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today, in this offering to God. I hope our time together has been an encouragement and blessing to all of us. We invite you back every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this worship to God!
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Are you in the church of our Lord? Have you done what Jesus commands to be added to the fold? If not make today the day of salvation! Will you fully submit to God’s Will and be saved His Way?