THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date – 9-2-12
LESSON TITLE: “ONE CHURCH IS AS GOOD AS ANOTHER.”
Consider this great work that is before a follower of God – Jesus said, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.” Will we accept this challenge to be laborers?
What a privilege we have this morning to join together in the study of God’s Living Word. We are happy you have chosen to be with us today and are excited about this opportunity we have together to glorify our creator. May we each do our part to make this time acceptable in His sight and according to His Will. Now, let’s approach our Father’s throne in prayer.
It’s now time to start our praise through song. Isn’t it wonderful to know that our God is always there throughout life, to lead us every step of the way? Our first song of the morning focuses on this very idea. So, won’t you join in this morning as we together sing, “He Leadeth Me!”
(SONG # 1)
One of the greatest works of a child of God is to proclaim the message of Jesus Christ to the lost of this world. In fact, the Bible is full of commands and examples which teach us this very doctrine.
You might remember in Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Again in Mark 16:15-16, we read, “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.’” In both of these texts Jesus clearly instructs His followers concerning their duty to carry the gospel to the whole world. He even specifies in these verses, to every nation and to every creature.
One of the greatest examples we have in the New Testament concerning our work is found in Luke chapter 8. There we read the parable of the sower! In this parable we are told that there was a sower, the seed, and different kinds of soils. As the story goes on we are told what these things stand for beginning in verse 11. There we read and can understand that the sower is the follower of God, the seed is the Word of God, and the soil are those of this world who need the word. I hope you are beginning to see the importance of our work for Jesus Christ. As Christians we are the workers that take His Word to those of this world who will hear. Then it is up to the soil, or the hearer, as to whether they will respond and follow God or not. Are you sowing the seed of the Kingdom for your God?
Finally, let me return to a statement found back in Matthew 28. As we read, there Jesus promised, “and lo I am with you always, even unto the end of the age!” Wow, what a promise, what a blessing! Our God has promised to help and be with us every step of the way. Praise God for this wondrous truth!
Today we will again be considering a lesson from our series which is entitled, “Teaching As Doctrine The Commandments Of Men!” Our specific topic this morning will focus on the statement, “One Church Is As Good As Another!” So stay with us and in a few minutes I will return with this study from God’s Word. Now it’s time to join in our second hymn of the morning, the name of the song, “He Lives.”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
So glad you have continued with us today as we now go to God’s word and consider another lesson from our series concerning “Doctrines of Men”. Let me begin by asking you a question, what church do you go to? Well, a lot of times you have been asked that question and possibly you have asked many others that question. When you ask someone that question and they say, well I go to this church or this type of church or this denomination, what do you say? Well, often many people say, well that’s great and that’s wonderful I’m glad that you have served God or you go to that place. Then maybe when they ask you and you say, well I go to this different type of denomination over here or this different type of religion, well again they proclaim the same thing of how wonderful, how great, and how interestingly acceptable that is. But let me ask you a question, do those religions teach the same? Do they believe the same thing? Are they standing unified in the teachings of Christ? Do they believe the same in relationship in what it takes to become a child of God, how one worships God? Do they believe even in Jesus completely at all as the son of God? Do they believe Jesus as the Son of God? Do they believe Jesus as God? Do they believe in the same God that we believe? You know I am afraid sometimes that we have become so politically correct that we forget the Bible does set a standard for what the true church is.
Now how do I recognize a church or a congregation as the true Church? Well, the standard is the book, the Bible. If a church aligns itself with what the Bible teaches it is the true church, it is a congregation that is following God and is no doubt the people of God. But if a congregation is following the teachings of men, or things that are contrary to scripture or rejecting Christ as savior or following a different type of God or God in a different way are they really the church? You know what this has often led to? Many in the religious world including what we would refer to as the protestant or the Christian world often use this idea that one church is as good as another. As long as someone believes in a God, as long as someone believes in Jesus as the Son of God, or at least being from God, well one church is as good as another. Is that what the Bible teaches? Is that really what Jesus came to the Earth to die for that really He would have a designated will that He had to follow from the Father but yet He came and died and then man can basically see it any way he wants, do anything he wants to do, and follow God in anyway that he wants to follow God and still be acceptable. Is that what the Bible says?
Do you remember what Jesus said in Matthew 16, right after Peter has made the declaration that Jesus himself said only God the Father could have revealed to him when Peter said “Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God.” Then Jesus there in Matthew 16:18 said, “And I also say that you are Peter, and on this rock…” in other words, what you have just stated, what you have said being of God and according to the will of God, “…I will build My church…” What? You mean Jesus said He was going to build a church? Certainly, Jesus/God has a kingdom, yes. In fact verse 19 goes on to speak about the fact that He would give the keys to the kingdom to the apostles. Why is that so strange? Was it not the apostles there in John 14, John 15, and John 16 that are told that a comforter is going to be sent? Was it not the apostles that were told that they would be guided by the Holy Spirit in all things? So if the Holy Spirit is guiding the Apostles would they not have a right to bind things on earth and bind things as it says there also in Heaven according to that which was in Heaven? Would they not also have the right to loose things on earth according to what, according to the way that they had been loosed in Heaven? Why? Who are they receiving their will from? God himself. When Jesus came to the earth was that not what he did? When Jesus lived here on this earth was he not a man in the flesh as God who said I have not come by my own authority I have not come by my own will or my own words, John 12, but the words I speak to you are from God. Can you imagine Jesus coming and saying well, my Father said it this way but I really don’t care, or my Father said it this way but I like it better this way, or my Father gave me this pattern but I really think we would do a lot better and be able to accomplish a lot more if we followed this. Do you see how silly that is? There is not a person I have ever met who would say that the Father and the Son are divided, or that they believe differently, or that they teach differently, or that they are not one. But yet somehow they believe that those who proclaim to be Christians can be many different believers and many different teachings yet still be one. Again, is that what the Bible teaches? When Jesus said I will build my church was he saying that I’m going to build all kinds of churches and all kinds of denominations that teach all kinds of different things, or was he saying that I will build my church and it will be based on the Father’s will and My will again which is based on the Fathers will.
So what will should a congregation or a church be based on? The will of God whether it be the will of the son because the will of the son is the will of God or the will of God itself that which is found in the book. The only book that tells us what God says, what God wants, who alone is perfect. It has always surprised me how that man will choose to follow man, listen to man, and accept what man says, and say well it just can’t be that big of a deal when God in His own book has declared something different and says it is a big deal whether we are in the church. Don’t you find it also quite interesting that as we go over to for instance places such as 1Corinthians 12, that the Bible begins to talk about the one body. Why is it that after Acts 2 that we read about the church, body, and kingdom as that which has already come but before Acts 2 we read about it as something that is going to come? Do you remember in Luke 9:27, He says “…there are some of you standing here who will not taste of death until they see the kingdom of God come with power.” In Luke 24 we see there that He told His disciples to go where, into Jerusalem, and to wait for the power to come from on high. And when we get to Acts 1 guess what comes from on high? Well in chapter 1 as they are there waiting for the Holy Spirit, the power to come from on high the chapter says, in chapter 2 guess what happens the Holy Spirit comes and they being to speak in tongues. What was established on that day? Well, it tells us three thousand were baptized! Why were they baptized? Well, verse 38 Peter said, after they had cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” He said “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized…” It then says in the text that three thousand that day were baptized, men not counting perhaps women and children or perhaps younger adults. Three thousand Men and then in verse 47 it says, “…and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Guess what the church is? The ekklesia, the same Greek word used back in Matthew 16 I will build my church.
Now if we see that Jesus did build His church, what would that church be based on? His will, His beliefs, His teachings, His method unto salvation, His characteristics, His daily life, His pattern of worship, and way of life. You see it’s God’s way brethren and friends it’s not our way, it’s not what we like or what we think we want, or what feels good to us. It’s about what God says. So again we said 1Corinthians 12, Romans 12:4 also says that although there are many members in the body there is but one body. There is but what? One body. Then when you begin to turn over with me there for instance in the beautiful text that is found there in Ephesians where Paul speaks to the church at Ephesus and tries to help them to understand what the church is. He says there in Ephesians 5:23, “For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” What is the body? Well the body is the church. What is the church? The church is the body. So what does that mean? It means that as a physical body has one head and one body all unified, all together, all collectively one the same is true of the church. Christ is the head of the spiritual body in fact often the Bible speaks of Christ as the groomsmen or the husband and the wife being the church or the bride to be. So therefore we see that same ideology yes are there many people in the church? Sure there are a lot of people that make up the church but yet they are all in the one body, they are all unified. I like another way that Paul puts it earlier in the same text back in Ephesians 4, you might recall with me there what are referred to often as the seven ones of unity. Amongst those things that he says are one by the way including the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, he mentions also baptism there, he mentions hope, and he mentions a lot of things that we must understand. But in verse 4 he starts out by saying, “There is one body…” you mean there is one body? That is what the Lord said. ‘I will build my church’, which is one church and one body. Now again how do I know what is the church? That group that aligns themselves with this, not the one that caused themselves by a man or this man or that man, the one that aligns themselves with the pattern that God gave is the church. So again I might ask is one church as good as another really? Can everyone teach something different and everyone be so different and wrong but right at the same time? Can everyone say things differently from God and teach differently from what the book says and yet be acceptable in His sight? Well, is that really again what the Bible teaches us?
I want you to look over to another text I think is paramount in our discussion. There in the book of Colossians because perhaps better that any other place there in verse 18 it really clarifies for us that the church and the body are one in the same. In fact you might notice with me it talks about again Christ being the head and it says it like this in the English that, “He is the head of the body, the church…” Well what is the body? The body is the church. Who is the head of the church? Christ. Therefore, who has all authority? Christ. Who can we turn to for our authority and understanding in religion? Christ. Where do we find the teachings of Christ? In the word of God. What were the teachings of Christ based on? He said himself only the will of the Father and only by the authority of the Father. But there is another work found in the same text, back up in verse 13 He has already stated the fact that there are those who have been delivered and taken out of the darkness and put into the kingdom. The kingdom of who? The dear, “Son of His Love.” Well the church, the body, the kingdom. Remember Jesus said I will build my church, verse 19 there of Matthew 16, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom…” To the what? Kingdom. The fact is, is God has always wanted unity, He has always expected that we can agree not to disagree but we can agree because what we agree on is not what we think, want, or like but because what we agree on is what He says, what He commands, what He instructs and gives us through His perfect word.
There is another text I want you to notice, that was really given as a great admonition from Paul who was inspire of the Holy Spirit, found there in 1 Corinthians. Guess what he told the brethren in Corinth do you think they were having a few problems, certainly they were, and he says there in verse 10, “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing…” You mean it’s possible to speak the same things, yes, if our standard and our authority is the same. In fact he goes on to say, “…that there be not divisions among you…” But then he uses two other ideas in the same verse speak the same thing that there be no divisions and then he ends by saying this, “…but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” You mean to tell me in the religious world as Christians we have the ability to have the same mind, the same judgment, and to speak the same things and therefore there will be no divisions? Yes, that’s what Jesus said, that’s what the Holy Spirit revealed, and that’s what Paul tells us. Is that what you learn from man? Is that what man says when he says, ‘Well that’s what that church thinks but we think something different.’? Is that speaking the same? But how again do we speak the same things? Because what we speak is of God almighty.
Well, finally we think there of what is said in John 15. In John 15 there is a story about the true vine and someone will always go there and say, ‘Well look Jesus was the vine and everyone else is the branches so he was the vine and all these churches are branches.’ Let me ask you a question about a grape vine, if you plant a certain type of grape vine what type of fruit do the branches produce the same as the vine or different than the vine? Well, you know the answer. The branches are not different from the vine the branches are of the vine, the same way the Father is of the Son we are of the son and of the Father. We must stand in God’s will according to what He says knowing that He has built and given us the church that we might be one body and one kingdom that we might also someday live forever in heaven with Him.
(SONG # 3 - “A Wonderful Savior!”)
Let me thank you again for choosing to be with us today for the Living Word program. I hope and trust that together we have all benefited from this service to our Lord. Let me also invite you to join us every Lord’s Day morning at 7:30 as we give this time to our Creator.
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May we strive not to be caught up in the ideologies and teachings of men, but rather may we study God’s Will and to follow all that He has said. Are you in the one true church of our Lord’s and savior Jesus Christ?