THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-11-11
LESSON TITLE: “WHAT GOD HAS JOINED TOGETHER: CHRIST AND THE CHURCH”
Our Lord Jesus Christ declared Himself as, “the light of the world.” and added, “He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” Is Jesus the light of your life this day and do you thus have life through Him?
Well, it is before this magnificent “Light” 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?
Isn’t it great to have confidence in the promises of God through Jesus Christ our Lord? With this in mind, it is time to join together in our first hymn of the day, its name, “Blessed Assurance.”
(SONG # 1)
As we read earlier this morning, there are so many passages in the Bible which identify Jesus as being the “Light” of this world. All of us understand the difference between light and darkness, especially in connection to what the Bible says about them. For instance, God is light, thus pure, righteous, holy, and so on. Light is always used to accentuate the good and positive things about God and this life.
On the other hand we read about the darkness. Obviously darkness would be the opposite of light, which means that darkness represents unrighteousness, evil and wicked things. So when we read that we are “children of the light,” we understand this is based on God and His goodness, not the world.
But now I want us to hear the challenge to those of the light which we read a moment ago, there it said, “He who follows me shall not walk in darkness!” The child of God, who is a follower of the God of light, should not, must not and cannot strive or desire to walk in any darkness. As John adds in 1 John 1:5, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” So what does that say about us and what we must strive for? We must work toward being in the light and as well, having no darkness in us at all!
So when we read about our God of light and hear the challenge of God to us that we walk in the same light, just how good of a job are we doing? Do we understand that the only way we can have “life” is by putting God first and thus living as Children of light! So how about you this morning are you walking in the light? Are you a child of the light? If not, why not obey your creator this day and give your life fully over to His bidding!
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, “What God Has Joined Together!” Our specific lesson of the day is, “Christ and the Church!” So please stay with us and after our next song we will be lead in this important topic.
As far as our speaker of the day, we are happy to have brother
Jerry Sullins with us. As you know, he is the director of the Bible Institute of Missouri. We thank this good brother for joining us today and we look forward to him leading our thoughts from God’s Word. So after our next song we will turn our full attention over to him.
Now, won’t you join in with the congregation, as we sing our second song of the morning - the name of this song is, “A New Creature?”
(SONG # 2)
By Jerry Sullins
Welcome again to “The Living Word” broadcast. It is strictly a joy on our behalf to have you as viewers of this program every Sunday morning. Some of you view this program every Sunday morning and you write us and tell us about that and that encourages us so much as we continue to strive to present God’s Word through this television broadcast. Now we’ve been presenting this for about 35 years or more and the Lord willing we will continue to do so as long as we receive your encouraging reports of the work and your joy of being a part of our viewing audience.
For the past few weeks we’ve been discussing different subjects that pertain to “What God Has Joined Together” because we see in the scripture that God has joined together certain things that man has tried to put asunder. In other words, there are some things that correspond to one another that we as mankind need to accept. You can’t have one without the other. And one such subject is “Christ and His Church.”
Now as we look at the world today, especially in Africa and other places… We worked there for about 20 years, and there were many people who brought Christ to Africa but yet it seemed like they didn’t know what His church was about. In fact the Africans were confused because they saw so many denominations coming to them and all believing and teaching that we need to obey Christ but yet they didn’t teach much about the significance of being a part of His church which we all become as we obey the Gospel according to Acts 2 where it says, “The Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.”
So this morning we want to investigate how that you cannot have Christ without the church and that you cannot have the church without Christ. They go together and man does not have a right to say, “I will take one but I’m going to leave the other.” That’s not the teaching that we find in God’s Holy Word. The church was prophesied in the Old Testament. In fact, before the Old Testament prophets, before Abraham, before Moses, before Adam, before Genesis 1 verse 1, it was in the intent and mind of God that the church would be established.
Let’s read ourselves in the book of Ephesians chapter 3 verses 10-11, “To the intent that now the manifold wisdom might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in heavenly places according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The eternal purpose, that means a purpose that, was in the mind of God before what we consider to be the beginning, something that has been there all of the time is what it’s talking about.
Well the prophets did prophesy about that. In fact as we turn to Isaiah chapter 2 and we read in verse 2 the prophet Isaiah said, “Now it shall come to pass in the latter days (we are living in the latter days) that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains and shall be exalted above the hills and all nations shall flow unto it.”
Daniel prophesied of the same thing in Daniel 2 speaking of it as a kingdom which could not be destroyed.
It was Joel who spoke of it also in Joel 2 and throughout many of the Minor Prophets and the books that we would consider the Major Prophets we see these constant prophesies of that kingdom that would be established. Also about the Lord Himself coming.
John the Baptist spoke his major message was this. “Repent ye for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”
It was Jesus who spoke that very same message, and we see the kingdom being established when the Lord left this earth and He left His disciples and encouraged them to wait there in the city of Jerusalem and there they would receive the Holy Spirit and that is when Peter was given, as well as the other apostles as promised in Matthew 16 and also in Matthew 18, the keys to the kingdom of Heaven. That’s when the church began in Acts chapter 2.
When Peter spoke that great message in Acts 2:38 to all of those Jews and others who were assembled from all corners of the earth, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Then soon after that, it says, “The Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved.”
My friend, we cannot separate Christ and His church. It just is impossible.
We’re going to look through the scripture this morning and we are going to see how that is literally impossible. Some people want to say, “I want to obey Christ and I want to be a part of Christ and I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but I don’t want to have anything to do with His church.” Well we don’t have that choice! In fact, a blessed thing that happens is when we become members of the body of Christ when we are baptized into Christ as the writer Peter said in 1 Peter 2:9.
Then we are brought into that marvelous light. We are those who are called out of darkness into that marvelous light. We become His royal priesthood. We become His special people. We become that special generation that is called through Christ. We become a member of the Lord’s Church and it is certainly not any denomination!
Well let’s look at Christ’s relationship to His church. Who built Christ’s church? Matthew 16:18 Jesus said to Peter, and He was speaking of that confession that Peter had just made, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” He spoke to Peter and He said this, “You are Peter,” King James Version says, “Thou are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” Now I have asked African children before, when the hut was filled with people and those little children were sitting on the floor and we would have it read, I would read it in English and then have someone read it in Swahili or another language. I would say, “Now children,” and some of them would understand English, but I would have it translated in Swahili, I would say, “Children, how many churches did Jesus build?” And invariably they would say what the Bible says and that is one! Jesus built His church. It is of divine origin. He is the founder of His church.
He said to His disciples in Mark 9:1, “There are few who are standing here who shall not taste of death til the kingdom of God comes with power on high.” Who was He speaking to? He was speaking to His disciples, those same disciples that He said to go into Jerusalem and wait there for the Holy Spirit who shall come and He will give you that power, and He gave them the power to speak different languages and they spoke forth the Words of God giving the keys to open up the doors to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus is the founder of His church!
Now who founded your church? I say, “Your church” because if it was founded by someone other than Christ it is not the church that we read about in the Bible that is Christ’s church. Jesus gave the keys to His kingdom which is His church and He added to the church daily such as were being saved as is recorded in the book of Acts. So He is the builder of His church.
Now what is the foundation of which Jesus’ church is laid? Well the scripture is clear about that in 1 Corinthians 3:11, “For other foundations can no man lay than that which is laid which is Jesus Christ.” But we see many churches claiming to be of Christ today who are following a man. They are following a creed. They are following a counsel. They are following a catechism. They are following a prophet, some are alive and some are dead. Those are their founders of their manmade churches, but I am built upon the foundation of the rock of ages because I happen to be one of those baptized believers who has been added to His church which is His kingdom, which is His body. Sectarianism, denominationalism, basically we see them denouncing this truth because they refused to accept that Jesus built one church and that it was certainly not of manmade organization.
In Matthew 17 we see Jesus with Peter, James and John, the inner circle and transfigured before them was Moses, Elijah, that was transfigured before or a vision before them, Peter, James and John, was Moses, Elijah and of course Jesus was there. And remember the voice from Heaven? It said this, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Here ye Him.” So what was God saying from Heaven as Jesus was standing there with Moses and Elijah? Well this is the one you are supposed to hear today (Hebrews 1:1-2) not Moses, who represented the Law of Moses, and not the prophets. They were the ones who spoke of Jesus and His coming. And so who do we listen to today? We listen to Jesus. He is our founder. The church was built upon Him and if you are a part of a church, a church that is built upon another foundation, my friend, it is not the church of the New Testament. It could not be Christ’s church.
Jesus is also the Savior of the church. Remember what Paul said in Ephesians 5:23? “The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ also is the head of the church and He is the Savior of the body.”
Paul said in Ephesians 1:22-23, “And had put all things under His feet and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness that filleth all in all.” The Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, is the Savior of the church. Those are the people He saves. He doesn’t save people who are not wanting to be a part of His church. In fact, He saves people and those saved people become a part of His church. That’s what the Bible teaches. He made no provisions for any other church to be established.
Now you take time and you make sure that you make a proper decision concerning this that you want to be a part of the New Testament that Jesus saved. Now if the person you follow in your religious group is not the one who is saved you or is responsible for your salvation, and the only person who could do that is Christ, then you’re following the wrong leader. Jesus is the Savior of the church and He is the Savior of only the church!
Now as we look into the scriptures we see also that Jesus is the head of the church. We just quoted a few moments ago that in Ephesians chapter 1 verses 22-23 that God gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body. He gave Him to be head. There is one head of His body. In the physical life, unless it is a mutant or something like that, a human body only has one head. The spiritual body of Christ has only one head.
Who is the head of your church? Who is the spiritual head of your church? You might say the name of some man. My friends, we’re not supposed to be following men! We’re supposed to be following Christ. He is the head of the church and if the head of your church can be found in some location on the face of this earth at this time or during this time or someone other than Jesus Christ who is no longer living then what does that tell you about the church you are a part of? It tells you that that is not the church we are speaking of.
Christ is the head of His church. That’s the way the Father above intended it. He purchased the church. Acts 20:28 which says, “He purchased the church with His own blood.” Now that might have been offensive to the Jews. It might have been even offensive to the Gentiles, but that is what Paul called the foolishness of preaching in 1 Corinthians chapter 1 and 1 Corinthians chapter 2, the foolishness of preaching to those who do not believe it is foolishness but to us who believe and understand the truth of that statement is the power and the wisdom of God. Jesus purchased the church with His own blood. He purchased us with His own blood (Acts 20 and verse 28). The scripture says, “This is my blood of the New Testament which is given for many for the remission of sins.” So we are saved by the blood of Christ (Revelation 1 verse 5) which says, “He washed us in His own blood.” He washed our sins away from us in His own blood. And also Jesus is King over His kingdom.
The church, the kingdom, the body of Christ, these are synonymous words that are used in the New Testament to represent the very same thing. Colossians 1:13-14 or Colossians 1:13 and 14 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son in whom we have redemption through His blood even the forgiveness of our sins.” So we are a part of that precious kingdom of God.
People think about the kingdom is coming, but my friend, the kingdom is already here!
What did Jesus say again in Mark 9 verse 1? “There are few of you who are standing here who shall not taste of death til you see the kingdom of God come with power from on high.”
Peter was given the keys to the kingdom of Heaven which he used in Acts 2. Paul said that kingdom is the church (Colossians 1:13-14). So we have to accept the fact that the church is the kingdom of God, the kingdom of God is the body of Christ, and the body of Christ is the church of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Yes, He is the King! (1 Corinthians 15:25) “He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.”
So Jesus is the builder of His church, the founder of His church, the Savior of His church, the Head of His church, the Purchaser of His church, the King of His church, or the King of His kingdom. All of these terms are made in reference to that church of whom we are a part if we have obeyed the gospel. And my friend, have you done that? You can be a member of this church. Jesus said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Accept you repent, you will perish,” so we need to repent and show our belief that Jesus is the Christ by making the great confession (Matthew 10:32-33) and as Paul stated (Romans 10:9-10) that “With the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” and then being baptized so that you might be added to the church so that your sins might be remitted. It’s your decision. The Bible that you refer to as God’s Holy Word teaches these wonderful lessons. Now a man can separate a lot of things but he cannot separate these truths. Christ and His church go together. It is your decision, my friend, whether you accept that truth and whether you obey the truth that will give you an opportunity to be a member of the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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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Oh, how blessed we are to know what Christ has done for us through purchasing His Church! Are you a part of His Body this day? Will you submit fully to those things required to be found faithful?