THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
Program Air Date - 9-24-06
LESSON TITLE: "WALKING WITH GOD: WALKING IN THE STEPS OF FAITH"
Here we are together again on another wondrous Lord Day! As the great Psalmist David said, "This is the day the LORD has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it."
How truly blessed we are to be given this new day in the service to our God. So let's start out the day right by singing praises to His name and by studying His word. Furthermore, let's take advantage of the opportunity right now to speak to our creator in prayer. Bow with me please!
This morning let me bring to your attention that we have planned another date for the taping of songs for the Living Word Program. The new date is October the 22nd and we hope that many of you are able to be involved in this time of services to God. Go ahead and mark your calendars now, so that you can join us in this time of worship before God!
Isn't it wonderful to know that in Jesus Christ we have a master who shows us the way to go. He also guides us in what to do and tells us what is expected. Another thing which is encouraging to me is to know that He is there beside me, holding my hand - helping me day by day.
This morning, our first song speaks of this wondrous God who is doing and has done so much for us all. So, won't you join in with the congregation at this time, as we together sing, "Holy, Holy, Holy."
(SONG # 1)
As Christians, we often become introverted from this world and really seem focused mainly on those things related to the church and our brethren. However, what about those in this world who need help. Aren't we to help those who need help or do as much as we can for our fellow man?
Well, if we look into God's word this is the attitude of Christ. In fact, throughout His ministry we find that Jesus was willing to help all of those He came in contact with as best He could, but Why? Because Jesus said He came to serve in this world, not to be served. Read with me His words in Matthew 20:28, there it says, "the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." Jesus was focus on serving others and in helping this world know Him in order to be saved.
Another question we might ask is, "what type of people did He serve?" The Bible tells us that Jesus died for the whole world, 1 John 2:2! It also tells us that whoever believes in Him will be saved, John 3:16. So Christ was a servant to all.
Now this is the very reason that we see the writers of the New Testament confirming our duty of service toward all mankind. John said, "Beloved, you do faithfully whatever you do for the brethren and for strangers," 3 John 1:5. Paul said, "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith," Galatians 6:10. These men realized that we are not only to do good to our brethren, but also to the whole world.
But again, you might ask why? Read with me from 1 Corinthians 9:19. There it says, "For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more." Paul said, we serve others as Christ did, so that we may influence them for His sake and so that we may truly let this world see God in us. If we want this whole world to follow Jesus we are going to have to let them see that He does wonderful things in the lives of those who follow Him.
So I ask you, are you allowing this world to see Christ in you because of your service to those who live around you in your daily life. Are you helping your neighbors, friends and family to know more about Christ, because of the things you do and say in your life. If so, praise be to God. But if not, why not begin today serving God through doing good to others in this world. Remember the words of Jesus, "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me," Matthew 25:45!
Today, our specific topic is entitled, "Walking In The Steps Of Faith!" This is our next lesson in the series called "Walking With God." So, please continue with us this morning, and after our next song together we are happy to have a guest speaker to lead us in these thoughts of the day. We welcome brother Max Patterson, one of the full time instructors at the Bible Institute of Missouri. We appreciate this fine brother and his stance for the Word of God. However, before we join in our main discussion of the morning, let's sing together the second hymn of the day, it's name, "How Sweet How Heavenly!"
(SONG # 2)
Speaker: Max Patterson
Thank you and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. It's my pleasure to appear on this program and to present this lesson today.
We're talking about "Walking in the Steps of Faith." But let me give you just a little background to our lesson. Jesus said in the Great Commission, "Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Now the Jews understood this to mean, "Go into all of the world and preach the gospel to every Jewish creature." But obviously the Lord meant for us to preach the gospel to the whole creation, to all of the world. Now, in the early church, there were those who wanted to stick with the Old Testament, with the old Law of Moses and in particularly they wanted people to be circumcised and so they were (inaudible) at whether the gospel ought to be preached to the Gentiles, but if it were preached to them, they wanted them to be circumcised according to the Law of Moses. Paul deals with this in the book of Romans. These people that are wanting everybody to be circumcised, even the Gentiles, are called Judaisers. And in the book of Romans, he answers the question, "Should these people be compelled to be circumcised?" And so in reading from Romans 4 beginning with verse 7, the Bible says, "Blessed are those whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered." Obviously the purpose of Jesus coming into the world was to present a plan by which we could be saved. So no doubt, "happy are those," or the word is blessed, "blessed are those whose sins are forgiven."
Verse 8 says, "Blessed is the man whom the Lord will not impute sin." The idea of imputing sin is to charge them with it or put it to their account. Maybe a better way to translate this would be, "Blessed is the man who sins. The Lord will not take into account." Well, how does that take place? Well obviously, it takes place through being justified by faith.
So verse 9 continues, "Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, upon the uncircumcision also." In other words, what he is saying is, "Does this blessing come on the Jews only or does it come on the Gentiles also?" For we say that, "Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness."
How was it then reckoned? When he was in circumcision or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. Now this blessedness of which he is speaking has to do with the forgiveness of sins. Is this forgiveness of sins, this blessedness to take place upon the Jews only or is it for the Gentiles as well? Now, you have to understand that Abraham was declared righteous through faith, but it was 14 years before he was circumcised. So in like manner, the Gentiles also might be justified by faith without circumcision. So verse 10 asks the question, "How then was it reckoned? While he was in uncircumcision or after he was circumcised?" Well the answer to the question is not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
And then verse 11 says, "And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised that he might be the father of all them that believe though they be not circumcised, that righteousness might be imputed unto them also."
Now there are only two ways of being made righteous. One of those ways is not to sin. In such a case, of course, a person would be righteous by the nature of the case. But the other situation is: What do we do when we sin? How are we made righteous? This brings into view the plan of salvation. The plan of salvation was made so that people might be saved from the sins and therefore be counted as righteous. But notice how this might be accomplished.
In verse 12, the Bible says, "And the father of circumcision to them," talking about Abraham, "who are not of the circumcision only ," that is of the Jews, "but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father, Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised."
Now it seems to me that there are two great examples in the Bible about how Abraham was justified. One of these has to do with his being told to get out of the country in which he dwelt. Now that's first noted in Genesis 11 toward the end of the chapter and the first few verses of chapter 12 of the book of Genesis. Let me read to you what the book of Genesis says. "Now the Lord had said unto Abraham, 'Get thee out of thy country and from thy kindred and from thy father's house unto a land that I will show you and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you and make your name great that you shall be a blessing and I will bless them that bless you and curse them that curse you and in you shall all of the families of the earth be blessed."
In the book of Hebrews, there are a number of verses that indicate that this idea of Abraham getting out of his country and going into a strange land at the command of God was obeyed, and one of the verses that suggest that indicates that he immediately started obeying the Lord when he had been given the command. So the command was to get out of the country in which you live. Now, Abraham lived in Ur of Chaldea. Ur of Chaldea is in what we know in Geography as the Fertile Crescent. It is close to the Tigress and Euphrates Rivers where they empty into the Persian Gulf, an area of the country by the way that has been in the news often of late. But anyway, God told him to get out of that area and go into a land that he would show Abraham. Now this was all done by faith, the Bible says.
Let me read to you from Hebrews 11 beginning with verse 8. "By faith, Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed and he went out not knowing whither he went. By faith, he sojourned into the land of promise as in a strange country dwelling in the tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise, for he looked for a city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God. Through faith, also Sarah herself received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of a child when she was past age because she judged him faithful who had promised. Therefore sprang there even of the one and him as good as dead, so many of the stars in the sky in multitude and as the sand which is by the seashore innumerable. These all died in faith not having received the promises but having seen them afar off and were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country and truly if they had been mindful of that country from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity and returned, but now they desire a better country, that is a heavenly, wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God and He has prepared for them a city."
And then the second illustration that I want to use is brought up also in this chapter. That has to do with the offering of Isaac on the altar.
But you see the point I'm trying to make so far is that the verse here in Romans 4 and verse 12 says that "the Gentiles will have the opportunity to walk in the faith." Well, what does it mean to "Walk in the Faith?" Well, it means what Abraham did because he says, "Walk in that faith of our father, Abraham." What kind of faith did Abraham have? We've already noticed that when God gave him the command to go out of the land of Ur and out of the land of Chaldea and up the Mesopotamian Valley to Haron as some people pronounce it and down into the land of Canaan and he immediately obeyed. Such was the kind of and the character of the faith that Abraham had.
Now there is a second illustration that will illustrate what this faith is all about. One of these is, as I continue reading in Hebrews 11, the Bible says in verse 17, "By faith, Abraham, when he was tried offered up Isaac. And he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son." So when God told Abraham to offer his son on the altar, he was giving him a tough command, but it was a command that he immediately started making preparation and obeyed. This is the action of faith. This is what faith is all about. Faith is not just a mental process. Faith is something that expresses itself in real obedience in doing what God has asked us to do, and this is the kind of faith that saved Abraham and is also the kind of faith that will save us. Well what did Abraham do? Not as one of the movies that I once saw portrayed him as acting. That movie portrayed him as getting aggravated and sullen and moped around for three or four days and was so aggravated because he was told to offer his son, but the Bible says in Genesis 22 that "Abraham, when God tested his faith," and this was a test of his faith not for God's benefit but for Abraham's benefit, "when He tested his faith, he passed the test because he immediately made preparation to go offer his son on the altar." And the book of Hebrews says that "Abraham believed that God could raise him up even if he killed him. Even if he killed his son, he believed that God could raise him up. So this is the kind of obedience and the kind of faithfulness that we're talking about here in Romans 4 and so we understand better the idea of walking in the steps of that faith of our father, Abraham.
And notice that his argument is, Paul's argument is, that this walking in this faith and being forgiven of sins is not just for the Jews but it is for the Gentiles as well. Walking by Faith.
Well, the book of James has something to say about this. In James chapter 2, beginning with verse 21, "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works..." That is his obedience to God's Will,. "Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works when he offered Isaac, his son, upon the altar?" You see how faith brought with his works are worked with his works and by works was faith made perfect. And the scripture was fulfilled which sayeth, "Abraham believed God and it was imputed unto him for righteousness and he was called, "The friend of God." You see then how that by works a man is justified and not by faith only.
So the idea that I want to leave with you today is this: Are you ready, as ready as was Abraham, to do whatever the Lord asks you to do? If not, you're not walking in the steps of the kind of faith that Abraham had. It was the kind of faith that justified him, forgave him of the sins that he had committed toward God. The kind of faith Abraham had was an obedient faith. This is the kind of faith we ought to have. In fact, we must have an obedient faith or our faith will not take us to heaven.
Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, "Not everyone that sayeth unto Me, 'Lord, Lord' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven, but he that doeth the Will of My Father which is in heaven." Not the person that does what he wants to do. Not the person that does the will of some other human being or some group of human beings, but whoever does My Will. That's the person that is going to heaven.
Jesus on one occasion said in Luke 6:46, "Why do you call me Lord and do not the things which I say?" The word "Lord" means "master or ruler" and basically means "the one who has the right to tell us what we ought to do." Are we allowing Jesus to be the one to tell us what we ought to do? Is He really our leader? Is He really our master, our ruler, the one who rules our lives? Jesus said, "Why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not the things which I say?"
In Hebrews 5:9 the Bible says, "He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him."
In Revelation 22:14 the Bible says, "Blessed are they that do His commandments that they might have a right to the tree of life and may enter in through the gates into the city.
Do you not see that the gospel is for everybody? And that's why the Great Commission said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." Go preach the gospel. He that beleiveth and is baptized shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be condemned." So the gospel is for the Jews, yes, but it is also for the Gentiles, but it is a gospel that must be obeyed. It is a gospel that we must read and study and do our best to live by it all of the days of our lives.
We appreciate so much your listening to the program today and thank you and may God bless you.
(SONG # 3 - "Let The Beauty Of Jesus Be Seen!")
Again, let me thank you for choosing to be with us this morning. I hope we all have been encouraged through our time spent together. Please remember, you are invited to join us every Sunday morning at 7:30, as we commit ourselves to this service of God.
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May we strive more daily to walk in the steps of faith which God commands, so that we will be found faithful in His sight and thus receive our reward in the end!