INTRO: "Sing them over again to me, wonderful words of life..." For how many years have we been singing those words in that great hymn? And we recall that Jesus said, "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (Jno 6:63). As I continue to study New Testament expressions describing the word of God, then, I am not surprised to find the apostle Paul's referring to it as "the word of life". In Mt 6:25 Jesus posed this question: "Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?" The implied answer is, "Yes". Still, our pursuit of those things related to physical life occupies the majority of our time, our energy, our thought. It is the word of life which provides the "more" to which Jesus referred.
I. LIFE BEGINS WITH "BEGETTING"
A. Spiritual life requires "new birth"
1. Jno 3:3-5 - one cannot be a citizen of God's kingdom without new birth
2. Titus 3:4,5 - the washing here is called "washing of regeneration" - rebirth
3. there must be a new birth because there has been a "death" - Eph 2:1
4. we may be able to life an entire physical life without any thought of the "more" to which Jesus referred ... but at physical death there will be no hope
B. That brings me to1 Pet 1:22,23
1. the "born again" is specified as not of "corruptible seed" - not physical
2. but birth requires seed - here it is "the word of God" - spiritual
3. the word of God, then, truly is the word of life
4. spiritual life, a new birth, is only possible with the implanting of the word
C. I need to come back now to that word "washing" the apostle mentioned
1. Titus 3:5 - remember that Jesus said "born of water" in Jno 3:5
2. such expressions as these must be references to baptism
3. such expressions tell us exactly when the new birth occurs ... if the word of life is permitted entry into receptive hearts, it will lead to the birth in baptism
4. to anyone who is here and has questioned the necessity of baptism I urge do not be hesitant ... baptism is the moment of the new birth
5. all of this is why Christians must hold forth the word of life in a very material and physical world
II. THE WORDS OF THIS LIFE
A. Spiritual life requires "sustenance"
1. so, Acts 5:20 refers to "all the words of this life"
2. notice the word "this" - the concern is not for physical life
3. the concern is for spiritual life - life in Christ (however, spiritual life will most assuredly have an impact on the way one lives his physical life)
4. there must be guidance, direction for the spiritual life
B. That brings me to 1 Pet 2:2
1. "...milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby"
2. in the context, shortly after mentioning ones being born again (1:23), Peter is speaking of how the new life continues its growth
3. and, once again, the word comes into plain view!
4. the life giving sustenance for the new life is the word of life!
C. A problem? A new life which fails to develop and grow
1. 1 Cor 3:1-3a - the carnal (physical) had not given way to the spiritual
2. read with me Mt 13:22,23 - v. 22 illustrates the problem some have
3. whether or not the words of this life direct us, cause us to grow and mature is the choice each of us makes
4. priorities become the issue as this new spiritual life develops
III. THE GOAL OF THE WORD OF LIFE?
A. The "more" of which Jesus spoke at Mt 6:25 has an ultimate objective
1. yes, the new life has much to do with the here and now
2. it touches our values, our interests, our relationships - everything
3. but it most assuredly is "bigger" than just our years on this earth
4. Mk 10:28-30 - there is "now in this time", and there is "in the word to come" ... eternal life
B. So, that brings me to Jno 6:68
1. Peter knew that there was more to what Jesus taught than a better way of life in the here and now
2. he knew what we should recognize - the word of life is about eternal life
3. Jno 12:50 - Jesus came with an incredible gift - the word giving those who embrace it everlasting life
4. many have written books about life - only Jesus' words, however, can give it
CLOSE: "Sweetly echo the gospel call, wonderful words of life, offer pardon and peace to all." And that gospel call extends to you this morning. It is the call to accept and embrace the word of life. Embrace it and be born anew in baptism. Embrace it and be guided each moment by its ultimate objective - eternal life.
Cecil A. Hutson
11 February 2007
You Must Hear the Gospel
You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)
You Must Repent
You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)
You Must Confess
You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)
You Must Be Baptized
Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)