30 Minute Radio Lesson - WAVG Radio 1450 AM

Clarksville church of Christ

December 10, 2000

Speaker: Richie Thetford

"The Bible and Salvation to Those Who Obey It"

Good morning and welcome to another presentation of "What Is Truth?" I'm Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ, located at 407 W. Hwy 131 in Clarksville. I want to thank each and every one you for taking the time to listen this morning as we examine another truth of God's word. Today we are going to examine the subject of "The Bible and Salvation to Those Who Obey It." I want to encourage you to have your Bible readily available so that you can examine the scriptures to make sure that what I am presenting is in fact God's will for you.

Psalms 19:7-11 says, "The law of Jehovah is perfect, restoring the soul: the testimony of Jehovah is sure, making wise the simple. The precepts of Jehovah are pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Jehovah is clean, enduring for ever: the ordinances of Jehovah are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the droppings of the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: in keeping them there is great reward." The word "Bible" is the equivalent of the Greek word biblia, meaning originally books.

The Bible has been the guide of man for thousands of years; it has been providentially copied and recopied by many hundreds of devoted scribes in order that it might be preserved and transmitted; it has been on the printing press for more than four hundred years and it has been translated into more than a thousand languages and dialects. It continues to be the best seller each year and is the most widely read and studied book in Western Civilization. Its influence on mankind cannot be measured. Its beneficent and guiding star will never set. As long as this creation stands, the Bible will still be guiding and comforting men. What about this wonderful book and what is its nature?

The Bible is From God -- Inspired by Him. The word "inspire" has a multitude of meanings. For example, on a clear night when one looks into the sky and sees the beauty of the stars, he is inspired as he is moved by that beauty and the wonders of the heavens. A painter may stand and look into the colors of a beautiful sunset and may be inspired to paint a striking picture. One may see the grandeur of the towering Alps, or view with awe the majesty of Niagara Falls or the Grand Canyon, and be inspired. One may read a great masterpiece in literature, or hear an accomplished musician, and be inspired. Is this the type of inspiration possessed by the writers of the Bible? Let us look closely at the question.

In 2 Peter 1:21, we read: "For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit."In this statement Peter had in mind primarily the prophets of the Old Testament. Each of these prophets when he spoke as a prophet was aware that it was not he who was speaking, but God speaking through him. In Exodus 35:1, Moses declared: "These are the words which the Lord hath commanded." Isaiah urged: "Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth: for the Lord hath spoken" (Isaiah 1:2). Jeremiah said, "The word of the Lord came unto me" (Jeremiah 1:4). Ezekiel declared: "The word of the Lord came expressly unto Ezekiel" (Ezekiel 1:3). These expressed convictions, with many similar ones in the Old Testament, indicate that men of God in Old Testament times spoke and wrote from God, "being moved by the Holy Spirit,." as Peter stated. Thus the Old Testament was written by men of God, speaking from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.

Near the end of His ministry, Jesus announced His imminent departure from His apostles. He promised them: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:16-17). This Comforter or Spirit of truth would teach them all things and bring to their remembrance all that He had said unto them and would guide them into all truth. Read John 14:26 and 16:13 for such declarations. This Comforter came on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus in the person of the Holy Spirit in fulfillment of the promise of Jesus. He, the Holy Spirit, guided the apostles into all truth and brought to their remembrance all that Jesus Christ had said unto them. This guidance was with them as they wrote the New Testament. The Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, his son in the gospel: "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness; that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

We have learned thus far that both the Old and the New Testament writers were inspired of God and that all inspired Scripture is profitable. What is meant by inspiration? We have seen that inspiration comes from an influence from without a person who is inspired whether that influence be from another person or in the heavens a ceiling of unsurpassed beauty, a gorgeous sunset, or some other handiwork of God. Does the inspiration which possessed the writers of the Bible differ from that which comes naturally by beauty or eloquence? It does differ as far as the east is from the west. The inspiration of Biblical writers was unique in that they possessed the Holy Spirit and were inerrantly guided in writing the Bible, since they were inspired of God.

The Bible is the Eternal Word of God. There are some who believe there is no place for the Bible in our scientific age. In the past, many attempts have been made to destroy it, but it is still here. At the turn of the fourth century of our era, the Roman emperor, Diocletian, decreed death for any person in the Roman Empire who owned a copy of the Bible. He later boasted: "I have completely exterminated the Christian writings from the face of the earth." Some years later when Constantine became emperor he asked Eusebius, bishop of Caesarea, if he could locate some copies of the Bible. Within twenty-five hours he found fifty copies.

Voltaire, the French skeptic of the eighteenth century, boasted that within fifty years the only Bibles to be found would be in the large museums of the earth. It is reported that within a short time after his death the press used to print his writings was employed to print Bibles and the house from which his writings were distributed was used by the Geneva Bible Society for the distribution of Bibles.

Where is Diocletian and where is Voltaire? They are gone and their influence is scarcely felt. Since Voltaire lived, hundreds of critics and enemies of the Bible have endeavored to destroy its influence, some of whom have hoped for its annihilation. Through the centuries the enemies of the Bible have come and gone, their works are little known, while the Bible is still here, known, loved and read by increasing millions as the years come and go.

Books come and books go, but the Bible lives on. The best seller today is a back number tomorrow. A best seller may come back temporarily, but soon will disappear from the book shelves of up-to-date books sellers. Jesus said: "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away" (Matthew 24:35). The Bible will outlive the heavens and the earth. When the sea is no more, when the sun will be turned into darkness, and the heavens rolled up as a scroll, the Bible will still be here. Jesus stated, "This word that I speak unto you will judge you at the last day" (John 12:48). The Bible is eternal. It is here to stay. It will be here when time is no more and beyond time into eternity.

The Bible is All Sufficient for us. As earlier quoted, the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy: "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" (2 Timothy 3:16-17). NOTE: "that the man of God may be COMPLETE, furnished COMPLETELY unto every good work" by the Bible and not by the creeds of men. The Bible treats every relationship of life either directly or indirectly and concerns itself with the age-long and great questions of life.

Men have always asked: "Whence came the universe and from when did man come?" The only true answer to these questions is in the Bible. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1). "And Jehovah God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Genesis 2:7). Man has always been concerned with his duty on earth and has learned that he is to fear God and to keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

In the Bible man learns of the Hebrew people through whom the Messiah of the world came. All the prophets of the Old Testament told of His coming and pointed toward the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem of Judea. In the Gospels the story of His wonderful life is told. In the Book of Acts men and women are informed concerning the establishment and identity of the church and how to become Christians or followers of Christ. This they do by belief in Him, repentance from past sins, the confession of their faith in Him before men, and their burial in the waters of baptism for the remission of their sins. Letters to churches and to individual Christians follow the Book of Acts, telling men and women how to live the life of a Christian.

There is not a relationship of life for which the Bible is not relevant. Obedience to its teachings will make a man or a woman what he or she ought to be: it will make a home right; a community ideal; a state and a nation a servant of God. Obedience to the Golden Rule will cause men to "beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks"; and to learn war no more.

Not only is the Bible all sufficient in this life, it is the only book upon which we can rely on in the hour of death, and we must all come to that moment. David said: "Yea, thou I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me" (Psalms 23:4). Paul exclaims, "Death is swallowed up in victory, Or death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" (1 Corinthians 15:54-55). Again he states, "For we know that if this earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens" (2 Corinthians 5:1). John saw, by inspiration, that beautiful city prepared for God's people in Revelation 21:2-4.

This same all-sufficient Bible tells of the destiny of the unsaved beyond death. They will be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, "where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:48).

What a wonderful book is the Bible to tell us of such a wonderful place as heaven. What a wonderful book to warn us about the horrors of Hell. The Bible is the all-sufficient guide, inspired by God, able to supply man's every need. Will you not, my friend, listen to its teachings, and determine right now that, "I am going to follow, to obey its commands." May God give each of us the courage to so act and pattern our lives because it is the Bible that offers salvation to all those who obey.

We can see it at every level of society. There is a tremendous lack of respect for authority today, and this has led to a weaker, less secure society. Lawmakers, in many cases, have failed their constituents in Washington, abused their offices and flaunted their authority. The frailties of every recent president have been placed under a microscope. Kids talk back to parents, and while some kids have always done so, today it is often with new levels of venom and resentment. Teachers at some schools fear for their lives. Police departments in many places are looked upon as corrupt.

In fact, many politicians do not deserve a whole lot of respect; and many judges are corrupt; and many religious leaders do not deserve admiration. But what has happened to our society is an open rebellion against almost all rules and regulations, moral and otherwise. Anarchy and lawlessness will not make our nation better. And when it comes to the Scripture this rebellion against law is also seen, as many today dismiss the teachings of the Bible with the same ease as they cheat on their taxes, or lie on their job application. Most who do not cheat say they do not do so because they are afraid that they might get caught. Only a small minority say they do not cheat because it is dishonest or immoral.

And as we have lowered our standards of conduct, we think God has lowered His as well. Society suggests that God doesn't really care if we lie a little, cheat a little and steal a little. Many think it is unnecessary to obey God, one must only believe in Him to be saved, they insist. But let us turn our attention to salvation that is offered by our high priest, Jesus Christ, and what the Bible says about it.

Let's read a passage of scripture from the New Testament book of Hebrews, chapter 5, verses 5-10: "So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: "You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." As He also says in another place: "You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek"; who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest "according to the order of Melchizedek,"

Jesus Was Appointed To His Office By God the Father. Jesus has all authority because God gave it to Him. Following Jesus' resurrection, He makes the grand announcement concerning this, with the added admonition to teach "them to observe all that I have commanded you." (Matthew 28:18-20). When we reject the authority of Jesus' covenant by refusing to obey it, then we are rejecting God. In Luke 10:16, our Lord when speaking to His chosen apostles, said,"He that heareth you heareth me; and he that rejected you rejecteth me; and he that rejecteth me rejecteth him that sent me." And again in John 13;20, he states, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." When it comes to the teachings of Jesus, we ought to be very concerned about obeying them. There quite simply is no other mediator between ourselves and God. The inspired apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit states: "For there is one God, one mediator also between God and man, himself man, Christ Jesus." (1 Timothy 2:5).

It may be fashionable today to think it a clever thing to disregard laws and get away with it. A favorite religious belief is to think that actually obeying the words of Christ is unnecessary as long as one at least believes the right things about Him. But if we treat King Jesus is such a disrespectful way we will stand before Him in judgment, and be condemned for our disobedience. John 12:48 reads, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day." And again in 2 Thessalonians 1:8, "rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus, who shall suffer punishment, even eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might."reading through verse 9.

Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ experienced life in the flesh. He knows the "feelings of our infirmities," as Hebrews 4:15 very clearly points out. In Hebrews 5:7, we read, "In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety." "The days of His flesh" refers to the time Jesus walked on earth. As the eternal Son of God, His days did not begin with His conception. He has existed from eternity. So states the writer John in John 1:1-3, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and without him was not anything made that hath been made." In verse 14, we learn, "and the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth." Read John 8:56-59 for more information as to Christ's eternal existence. It was because of His unselfish love that Deity became man. Though He had existed in the form of God, He did not hold on to His equality with God. Instead, He emptied Himself by becoming a man. In Philippians 2:5-8, we read, "Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being of an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross."

But the incarnation of the Son did not mean He ceased to be God, but only that He also became man. Thomas came to understand this. When Thomas demanded to see the place where the sword entered the side of the Master, Jesus told him "to reach hither thy hand, and put it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing." "Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God." (John 20:28). It was an entirely appropriate thing to do to fall down and worship Jesus when He walked on earth because He was and is still Deity. Matthew 28:9-10 reads, "And behold, Jesus met them, saying. All hail. And they came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped. Then saith Jesus unto them, Fear not: go tell my brethren that they depart into Galilee, and there shall they see me."

There are things that Jesus experienced as a man that as God in heaven He had never experienced. For this reason, the Bible speaks of Him "becoming poor" when it tells of His leaving heaven and coming to earth. Listen to Paul in 2 Corinthians 8:9, "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might become rich."

In His body of flesh, Jesus suffered temptation, exhaustion, tears, pain and ultimately death. But one thing He did not experience was personal sin (Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16).

It seems as if the Hebrew writer specifically is mindful of the scene in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-46). The Father could and did save Jesus from death; not from dying but from the bonds of death. Jesus was saved "out of" death by the Father (Acts 2:25-28; 31-32).

We learn from the Hebrew writer that Jesus Learned Obedience. In Heb 5:8, it says, "Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered." Jesus learned by experience. When He suffered in Gethsemane and later on Calvary's hill, He experienced something completely foreign to His experiences in heaven, for there is no pain, tears or death there. Of course, being omniscient, Jesus had always known what pain and death was, but had not experienced it until He became a man and suffered.

The Bible says, "And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8), as we read earlier in this lesson. Because of Jesus' experiences in the flesh, and because of His obedience, we are assured that He understands, and we have a perfect example to follow as we live by faith. Peter states, "Because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow his steps." 1 Peter 2:21.

Jesus Became The Source of Salvation to Those That Obey Him. "And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the author of eternal salvation..." (Hebrews 5:9). The word"perfect" here means "complete". Jesus became perfectly able to function as our high priest by becoming like us. Old Testament priests had to meet certain qualifications to become consecrated as priests. Jesus completely fulfilled all the qualifications of the priesthood, not according to the Levitical qualifications, but rather"according to the order of Melchizedek".

Thus, Jesus became the "author of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him." We must respect the authority of Christ by obeying His word, or else He is not the source of our salvation. Enough of this sinful and rebellious attitude that obedience isn't necessary to be saved. It is necessary if we are to be saved by Jesus, and there is no other who can do the job. "And in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved." (Acts 4:12). Jesus says in John 14:6, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no one cometh unto the Father, but by me." Quite simply, if we do not obey Jesus, then we cannot be saved by Him, for He is the "source (author) of eternal salvation to all those that obey Him."

This is Richie Thetford, evangelist for the Clarksville church of Christ thanking each of you for listening to this morning's broadcast and invite you to listen again next Sunday morning at 8:30 A.M. for another presentation of "What Is Truth?"