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November 11th, 1998, Sunday Morning
"The Fundamental Questions of Salvation"
Becoming "saved": the Greatest Theme in the Bible
OPENING: John 3:14-17
The central theme--of all themes in the Bible--is the redemption of man to God
- Mankind is composed of two major components: body and spirit
- The first man, Adam, sinned (disobeyed) God and at that moment, his spirit died and he was separated
from God because God is holy and cannot co-exist with sin
- Effectively, man and God were now separated by the depths of hell, in which all descendents of
Adam (all the world) inherited this dead spirit when born and could never fellowship with God for the rest of eternity
- Therefore, if your spirit is not brought back to life (regenerated) before your body dies, you
will spend eternity (because your soul cannot die) in hell--forever separated from God
- Ezekiel 33:11: While man believes in exacting justice and revenge for wrongs, God
does not take pleasure in the death of those who disobey Him; He wants your spirit regenerated (to become saved)
so you may fellowship with Him on earth and forever in Heaven, after earth
- (ASIDE: The above contradicts religious extremists' belief that
require the killing of religious non-believers and non-conformists)
- Galatians 2:16 and Isaiah 64:6: God declares that no amount of work man can do is enough to pay
the price for his sins and receive eternal life (salvation)--and even all the work we do in life is summed
up by God as "filthy rags", anyway; From this, we can conclude:
- The Catholic Sacrament system will not save you
- Being a Mormon or a peaceful, non-confrontational Amish person does not make you any better than the wicked
- That being a Jehovah's Witness will not earn you a ticket to Heaven
- That vows of silence or celibacy will not bring you any closer to God
- That wounding or hurting yourself to identify with Jesus' crucifixion (like some do on Good Friday) mean
nothing to God
- That no amount of dollars you give to church or charity--whether zero or a zillion--will result in God
favoring you more than any other person on earth
- That no amount of personal time you sacrifice to church, community or your job will bring you acceptance
in God's eyes
- John 16:2-3: Killing non-believers and non-conformists (as some believe this is doing God's service) is
not God's intent (but is accurately predicted as a sign of the "end times")
- Being the best singer in the choir, never having missed church in your whole life or becoming baptized
does not pardon you from hell
- The act of being baptized with water is not a saving act (but is customarily performed after being saved to
demonstrate obedience and public profession of your faith and belief in the Lord Jesus Christ)
- ...you get the idea.
- God's plan for "saving" your soul is to offer a "perfect" sacrifice so powerful, it would pay
the penalty of the accumulated sins of the entire world (including yours)--past, present and future--until the
end of the world
- John 3:16: God decided this perfect sacrifice was to be His only Son, Jesus Christ
- So Jesus descended from the utopia of Heaven to be born in the virgin Mary, who didn't have the
seed of man's sin within her
- From His very birth until His crucifixion (payment for our sins), Jesus lived in what society
considers "below the poverty line:" he was born in a manger where animals ate because the inn was full;
he grew up a poor carpenter; he never had a home of his own; he never owned or wore jewelry (because he didn't
care about the temporary material things of this world--including money); he did not seek a secure, comfortable
life; and he died, loving the world He made that hated (John 15:18) and crucified Him
- John 6:38: In short, Jesus came to earth not to make a life for himself but to do God's
mission: tell the world of the Gospel and then make the gift of eternal life a reality to all mankind
John 15:13: So how much does God love you? Quoting the Bible,
"Greater love hath no man [Jesus] than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."
- Jesus Christ's crucifixion and burial (observed on "Good Friday") and resurrection three days later
(observed as "Easter Sunday") signified He defeated death and now offers you the FREE gift of eternal
- Acts 20:28: The random for your soul was paid for by the blood (crucifixion) of
Jesus which means you (and your soul) now belong to God--no one on earth or in hell can get it now
- COMMON SENSE: FREE implies you don't have to work for it; GIFT means you don't inherit or
automatically get it just because you may be of a royal lineage or know the right people--it means you must
willingly and genuinely accept this gift of salvation
- CONCLUSION: The Bible's most important theme is the telling of the Gospel ("Good News"):
that no matter who you are or how unworthy you believe yourself to be, Jesus Christ believes you are worthy
and proved His love by dying for you and, today, offers you His free gift of eternal life
#1/5: WHAT IS SALVATION/BECOMING "SAVED"/"BORN AGAIN"? IT'S BEING SAVED FROM ETERNAL HELL
- In today's society, the Bible is a joke and those who bring up Jesus in conversation normally
are segregated or shunned by their friends; the world's belief is that your job/career is life, everything
else revolves around that and maybe there's room at the end of the week for "the usual church gathering"
- 1 Timothy 6:12: In the New Testament, Paul told his student Timothy not to earn
a reputation, gain power or build wealth--he told Timothy to "lay hold on eternal life" to be saved
- Matthew 16:26: Being the most powerful, influential, wealthy person in the entire
world is of no value because life on earth is temporary--your soul lives now and after the world so become
saved so you may secure your soul for an eternity in Heaven
- Matthew 6:19-20: Earth is not your home--you're just "passing through" to your
permanent home, Heaven; Building material goods and wealth on earth runs the risk of burning in fire, theft,
spoilage, loss of value because of the stock market, etc.; But once saved, your deeds and works for God
begin building treasure for your mansion (being built by Jesus) awaiting you in Heaven which the world cannot
de-value or take from you
- Therefore, begin treasure-building in Heaven (not earth) by securing eternal life
(accepting the "Free Gift"); After all, we all (both lost and saved) acknowledge (except maybe for Egyptians
who bury their money with their rulers--thinking they can take it with them), "you can't take it with you when
- John 3:4: Becoming "saved" is to be "born-again"; It means your spirit (not body--as
the lost believe) is regenerated or born a second and final time; it cannot die again, thus, you cannot lose
your ticket to Heaven (salvation) once you accept Jesus' free gift to you
- People's interpretation of being "saved" differs; some believe it's about being rescued from
- Acts 27:14-20: Paul was a crew member of a ship that sailed into a tempest (a severe
storm with 12+ foot waves, overwhelming the ship) in which the entire crew lost hope of being saved (physically)
When you ask someone if they're saved, you're asking if they're "100% sure
they're going to Heaven, if they die tonight"
- Romans 6:23: Being saved = being spiritually rescued, redeemed, ransomed from
the defined penalty for sin: death (hell)
- 1 Peter 1:18-19: REDEEMED: By something more valuable than silver, gold and all
the precious metals: the blood of our living Lord Jesus Christ
- 1 Timothy 2:6: RANSOMED: remember you were purchased back from sin with a great price--Jesus' blood;
At birth you were kidnapped and held hostage by sin until Jesus Christ presented His blood as
payment for your release
- Romans 5:8-9: Being saved means we are righteous and justified in God's eyes because
when he looks at us, he sees his Son--not our sin; we are officially "living saints"
- WORD SUBSTITUTION:
- John 14:6: Jesus declares He's "the way, the truth, and the life"
- John 8:32: Says, "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"
- Romans 6:14: To be free = "sin shall not have dominion over you"
- COMBINED = To know Jesus Christ is for Christ to make you free from the dominion of sin
#2/5: ARE THERE ONLY FEW (in this world) SAVED? YES.
- Luke 13:22-30: When asked if only a few are saved because of what Jesus requires for
you to be saved (just faith and belief in Him), Jesus replied:
- Luke 13:24: "Strive to enter in at the strait gate [Jesus Christ] : for many,
I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able"
- TRANSLATION: The only way to Heaven is through faith and genuine belief in Jesus Christ--a
concept the world never tolerated--all the way from Jesus' crucifixion to today's growing removal of Christianity
from society (i.e., Christmas = "X-mas"; Thanksgiving = "turkey day"; Easter is about eggs and bunnies and not
- Contrary to popular belief, a majority of the world believes they're going to Heaven because
they've been "pretty good" about obeying the law and "helping others" in life
- Genesis 7:23 and 1 Peter 3:20: Don't believe God is "mean enough" that a majority of the six+ billion
people in this world are lost and destined for hell? Recall the story of Noah's ark and how God destroyed
the entire world except for those in the ark
- This includes the majority of church-goers, too, because going to church, in itself, is an act;
it doesn't mean you truly believe in Christ
- Luke 13:25: "When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to
the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he
shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are"
- TRANSLATION: The day--that only God knows (Matthew 24:36)--Jesus returns to
rapture ("take home") the saved to Heaven, the church will no longer be filled with God and the lost have lost
their one opportunity in life to become saved
- Luke 13:26-27: "Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy
presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are;
depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity"
- TRANSLATION: The lost will declare they have "eaten and drunk" (meaning partaken of)
the Bible, going to church, saying they believe in Jesus, etc.; But they've done this only with their mouth--not
with true faith and belief in their heart Jesus Christ; Even the devil, Satan, believes in Jesus, but
that doesn't mean he's saved
- Others believe that being saved is inherited: being the child of "godly" parents or simply
knowing the church's pastor well or being baptized must mean they will be automatically saved; but this is not true
- Luke 13:28: "There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see
Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out"
- TRANSLATION: Therefore, the lost will be cast into hell for eternity--forever and ever and
ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever and ever
and ever... where there is crying and pain the likes the world has never seen or been able to inflict
#3/5: WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED? ONLY BELIEVE AND TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST
- Matthew 19:16-22: Most people test God and say they've followed the basic commandments
of not murdering, stealing, honoring mom and dad, etc,; But the ultimate test question is: can you give up all
your earthly possessions in order to follow Jesus Christ?
- Acts 4:12 and Romans 10:13: There is only one person--one name--which you can call upon
to be saved: Jesus Christ--and no other
- Acts 16:23-31: Paul and Silas, two of God's Gospel witnesses and public proclaimers,
were thrown into prison; when the Philippian jailer asked how he could be saved, they replied,
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved"
- 2 Corinthians 6:2: TODAY is the right day to receive salvation--you don't know if
you live tomorrow or even if there will be a tomorrow
- Matthew 6:24: Jesus said you cannot have two masters; people have to choose between
God and earth (man/money/possessions)
- Here's a hint:
- 1 Timothy 6:10: "For the love of money is the root of all evil" (not money, itself)
- Matthew 19:23: Jesus said, "That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven."
- Jesus isn't asking for you to literally give up everything you own to the poor; He only wants your
heart; Again, it's an issue of whom you serve and where your loyalty and trust lie: God or "not God"
#4/5: WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? ANYONE IN THIS WORLD
- John 3:16-17: The rich in money/spirit; the poor in money/spirit; the good; the evil;
God loves the worst offender as much as the most obedient person--He shows no preferential treatment
- A good candidate for salvation is a person to comes to God with a humble/broken heart, a true
desire to repent (meaning not only stopping your sin but not repeating it anymore), not professing your
accomplishments to Him (God doesn't care about works--remember?), not declaring yourself as any good or worth
- Luke 18:10-13: Jesus tells the parable of two men who went to pray to God: one a
self-righteous Pharisee who prayed of all the good things he's done, for the whole room to hear; the other
a commoner who couldn't even raise his eyes to Heaven when he quietly prayed for mercy
- Luke 18:14: Jesus' summary: "for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth
himself shall be exalted."
- Romans 3:23: A good candidate for salvation is simply being (and admitting) you're a sinner,
which the Bible has quoted, "For all have sinned"
- Matthew 9:10-12: Jesus came not to associate with the good and obedient but primarily
the sinners and lost--like when He sat down to dinner with shady publicans and sinners
- Romans 1:16 and Acts 11:16: Salvation was first offered to the Jew--God's chosen
people--but then also to the Greeks and Gentiles (the rest of the world)
#5/5: HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'VE SAVED? IT'S A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE
- 2 Corinthians 5:17: Inspect your faith; if you're truly one of the few saved,
have your "old ways" passed away?
- Has your previous sinful lifestyle of regular weekend drinking outings are carousings with
women at bars stopped?
- Have you gone "cold-turkey" on those pornographic magazines?
- Have you stopped caring so much about gaining money and material possessions and put God and
the church first above all your other work/recreation priorities?
- Matthew 19:16-22: Back to the mentality of the rich: they claim they can follow
all of God's commandments, short of the one about giving up their riches
- Are you proud and excited about telling your friends/family/lost people you don't know about Jesus
- How would you react if one day you tragically lost your family, possessions and health
(like Job did--Job 1:1 through 2:10)? Would you lose the faith
and quit (like a majority of today's Christians) or would you continue to rely on Jesus Christ (like Job did)?
- 1 Corinthians 14:2: Are you beginning to understand what the pastor is preaching?
The Bible is like a different language ("tongue")--the lost will not understand what you're trying to tell them
about the Bible; lost people will pretend to understand the pastor while the saved will truly understand and apply
the sermon in their life
- 2 Corinthians 7:9-10: Simply telling your pastor you've found Christ today doesn't
automatically make you saved:
- "WORLDLY SORROW": Perhaps the pressure or feeling at that moment in church caused
you to proclaim Christ with your mouth to your pastor but if that wasn't followed with lifestyle changes then
you really weren't saved
- "GODLY SORROW": True repentance is the self-convicting your heart: knowing and admitting to yourself you
were wrong and want to make it right with God
- If your repentance is genuine, you won't think highly of yourself; you'll become humble and
consider yourself no better than anyone else
- 1 Timothy 1:15: Paul was one of the greatest Christian-haters there was
but when he came to know Jesus Christ but publicly declared himself "chief of all sinners"
FOR THOSE WHO REFUSE TO BELIEVE AND BECOME SAVED
- Revelation 21:8: Quoting the Bible, the "unbelieving ...
shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone"
- Matthew 13:49-50: Says Jesus, "at the end of the world: the angels shall come
forth, and sever the wicked [lost] from among the just [saved] , and shall cast them into the
furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth."
- WHAT IS SALVATION/BECOMING "SAVED"/"BORN AGAIN"? IT'S BEING SAVED FROM ETERNAL HELL
- WILL ONLY FEW IN THIS WORLD BE SAVED? YES.
- WHAT MUST YOU DO TO BE SAVED? ONLY BELIEVE AND TRUST IN JESUS CHRIST
- WHO THEN CAN BE SAVED? ANYONE IN THIS WORLD
- HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU'VE SAVED? IT'S A CHANGE OF LIFESTYLE
ANALOGY: True story about a daredevil who walked across Niagara Falls on a tightrope without a safety net
- Upon making it to the other side, he asked the cheering, believing crowd how many thought he could walk back with a chair.
Most of the crowd believed and he did so. Now they all believed and cheered for him: "yea! You can do it!!
We know you can!!" But when he asked for a volunteer to sit in the chair for the trip back to the other side,
no one volunteered.
- Jesus--AND ONLY JESUS--can take you across the gulf of hell without danger--but only few
in this world will have the faith in Christ to get into the chair for that one-time ride