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Bible Study 10:00 am
Worship 11:00 am
Bible Study: 7:00pm
Sunday September 28, Sermons
A.M. Many Called; Few Chosen—Matthew 20:16
P.M. A Strong Church—1 Timothy 3:15
STAY WITH THE SAVIOR OF THE SCRIPTURES
In the sermon on the mount Jesus introduced the concept that the way of salvation
would not be crowded. He said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate,
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in
thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). Yet, down through the ages and up to
the present moment people seem to follow the crowd irrespective of any other
considerations, doctrinal or moral.
A study of the three and a half year ministry of Jesus Christ yields the observation
that there were those who followed him because of what they wanted and not
because of what the Savior wanted. For example, at Capernaum the Lord replied to
the people’s question, “Rabbi, when camest thou hither?” with, “Verily, verily, I
say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat
of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that
meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto
you: for him hath God the Father sealed” (John 6:26-27). After Jesus revealed his
will and purpose, John wrote, “From that time many of his disciples went back,
and walked no more with him,” (v. 66).
A lesson from the night of Jesus’ betrayal will motivate a desire to “stay with the
Savior of the scriptures.” At Gethsemane, the scene unfolds along four fronts.
First, the Savior is alone praying. In Matthew 26:36 it is written, “Then cometh
Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit
ye here, while I go and pray yonder.” Second, the three disciples were taken with
him on into the garden where he prayed. Matthew revealed, “And he took with him
Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy” (v.
37). Closest to Jesus were Peter, James, and John. Third, the eight disciples were
told by the Lord to “sit ye here” (v. 36). And, fourth, a large, armed multitude were
coming out to arrest Jesus. Matthew wrote, “And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one
of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from
the chief priests and elders of the people” (v. 47).
So, first there was the Lord alone. He was praying. Second, there were the three
disciples. They were sleeping. Third, there were the eight disciples. They were
waiting. And, fourth, there was the murderous mob. They were approaching.
The lesson is the further away you get from the Lord the greater may be the crowd.
The application of the lesson surely must include the light this lesson shines on the
problem with popularity. On one occasion the Lord cautioned, “Woe unto you,
when all men shall speak well of you! For so did their fathers to the false prophets”
While the apostle Paul is one of the greatest of New Testament characters and
greatly admired, the words he penned toward his impending demise grip the soul.
He said, “Only Luke is with me” (II Tim. 4:11). Those who would long to remain
faithful as Christians must develop the cohesion to Christ Paul had even against all
odds. In order to be acceptable to Christ one simply must “stay with the Savior of
“IS IT NOTHING TO YOU?”
When Judah was taken into captivity to Babylon in the 7th century B.C., the prophet Jeremiah asked a very relevant question: Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger” (Lamentations 1:12). Like Elijah before him, Jeremiah experienced that empty feeling of being alone in his grief over the indifference of his people.
While many individual causes contributed to Judah’s captivity, one of them was their neglect of their worship to God. Jeremiah lamented, “Judah is gone into captivity because of affliction, and because of great servitude: she dwelleth among the heathen, she findeth no rest: all her persecutors overtook her between the straits. The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh, her virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her adversaries are the chief, her enemies prosper; for the Lord hath afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions: her children are gone into captivity before the enemy” (vv. 3-5). Consider especially, “The ways of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn feasts: all her gates are desolate: her priests sigh….”
The things that happened during the Old Testament period serve to benefit us today, if we will stop and consider them. Paul wrote, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4). Jeremiah’s question then is as important today when he asked, “Is it nothing to you?”
Is it nothing to you when the Lord Jesus Christ has suffered on Calvary’s cross shedding His precious blood to purchase His church and there are Christians who forsake the solemn assemblies? (Hebrews 10:25). Is it nothing to you when the faithful few are reverently gathered around the Lord’s table on Sunday whereupon rests unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine commemorating His death and other Christians sleep in or simply forgot? Is it nothing to you when the church is meeting to sing the praises of Zion together and many Christians choose not to be there? Is it nothing to you that the Word of God is being taught from the classrooms and in the pulpit and there are Christians who choose rather to hear the television blaring some crass language and project obscene images before their eyes and into their hearts? Is it nothing to you when there are preachers who must leave their work reaping the souls of men in the mission fields to fulfill their primary responsibility financially to their family (1 Timothy 5:8) when the contribution of prospering Christians is withheld and wasted on worldly pursuits? Like Jeremiah we repeat, “Is it nothing to you all ye that pass by?”
THE SALVATION IN CHRIST
The subject of salvation is viewed by the voice of inspiration as something to be “obtained.” Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10). The Bible discusses many features of salvation that draw the reality and meaning of the subject clearly into view.
The God of heaven is the saving Lord. Peter proclaimed, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). God is referred to as the “God of our salvation” in Psalm 68:19. “Salvation is of the Lord,” declared Jonah from the whale’s belly (Jon. 3:2; Matt. 12:40). Known all too well is the answer “no where” to the refrain of the beautiful Christian hymn “Where Could I Go but to the Lord?”
God’s planning (Eph. 3:8-11), Christ’s performing (Heb. 10:7), and the Holy Spirit’s revealing (I Cor. 2:9-10) have brought about “the salvation in Christ.” The entire human family can know about it because it stands unassailably codified in the eternal word of the living Lord (Psa. 119:89; Matt. 24:35). James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21).
The gospel message is God’s power unto salvation, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The sinner cannot be redeemed without sufficient power exerted upon the sinful condition of the soul to save him or her from spiritual ruin and death. That saving power is the gospel of Christ. The entire gospel system presented in the New Testament stands upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1-4).
Another feature of “the salvation in Christ” is God’s amazing grace. Saving grace is made known by “the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). In his word he said, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:4, 8-9). Four kinds of works are mentioned in the New Testament. One, works of self-aggrandizement, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:5-7). Two, works legitimate under the Mosaic system, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Three, works of human merit, which are those works being considered in the passages initially presented from Ephesians 2:4-9. And, four, works of faith, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jas. 2:18-20). The recipient of “the salvation in Christ” must be “rich in good works” in order to be saved by grace (I Tim. 6:18).
“The church doesn’t save you” is a statement often made today. Usually those uttering it mean that it makes no difference concerning the church in which one has membership or the church is not crucial or vital to “the salvation in Christ.” None of the features mentioned in this study unconditionally save. Obedience to God is mandatory. The writer of Hebrews said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). The truth is that no one is saved outside of the church of Christ because the church is “in Christ,” “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:4-5). The one body is “in Christ” and the one body is the church of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Rom. 16:16). Paul wrote, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23). All the saved are added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47). The church is an integral feature in “the salvation in Christ.”
ARE YOU “IN CHRIST”?
The vital importance of being “in Christ” is seen in the many New Testament references to it. 77 times the New Testament mentions the phrase “in Christ.” Let’s explore several of these occurrences and see what may be gleaned from the pursuit.
The Faith Is “In Christ”
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ” (Acts 24:24).
Redemption Is “In Christ”
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
Life Is “In Christ”
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
Love Of God Is “In Christ”
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
The Truth Is “In Christ”
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 9:1).
“Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (I Tim. 2:7).
The One Body Is “In Christ”
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
Sanctification Is “In Christ”
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (I Cor. 1:2).
Wisdom Is “In Christ”
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised” (I Cor. 4:10).
Hope Is “In Christ”
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19).
Triumph Is “In Christ”
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place” (II Cor. 2:14).
Simplicity Is “In Christ”
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
Liberty Is “In Christ”
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal. 2:4).
Unity Is “In Christ”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
The Faithful Are “In Christ”
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).
All Spiritual Blessings Are “In Christ”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
All Things Are “In Christ”
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:10).
Created “In Christ”
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
His Promise Is “In Christ”
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
His Eternal Purpose Is “In Christ”
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8).
The Saints Are “In Christ”
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).
“Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you” (Phil. 4:21).
Consolation Is “In Christ”
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies” (Phil. 2:1).
Rejoicing Is “In Christ”
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).
The Prize Is “In Christ”
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Faith And Love Are “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Grace Is “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Salvation Is “In Christ”
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10).
Are You “In Christ”?
How Do You Get Into Christ?
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3).
". . and upon this rock I will build my church . ." -- Matthew 16:18.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.