Tag Archives: Salvation

Himself He Could Not Save

Read Matthew 27:39-43 before your read the blog.  

The Scene at the Cross

 “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, ’You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’” (Matthew 27:39-40)

 “If he is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ’I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:42-43)

 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” (Luke 23:34)

“Likewise the chief priests, also mocking with the scribes and elders, said, ’He saved others; himself He cannot save.’ (Matthew 26:41-42)

Jesus Could Not Save Himself

“Do you not think that I cannot now pray to my Father, and He will provide me with more than twelve legions of angels?” (Matthew 26:53)

That’s one of the great paradoxes about salvation! He saved others, but to do that, He couldn’t save Himself.

It was His love for us that held Him there.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10)

“Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” (Hebrews 9:22)

“….You were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold….but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” (I Peter 1:18-19)

The Mystery of Christ

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Jesus knew what it meant to have people misunderstand His motives and lie about Him, to have His friends turn on Him and His best friend to deny Him three times, to stand up and say three times, “I don’t even know the man.” He moved into our smelly, stinky situation and He took our sin, our frailty, our weakness upon Him and He carried it to the cross.

We Cannot Save Ourselves

“If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Summary

The love that Jesus showed us through His death is difficult to understand. But it is a death that deserves our full commitment in return. The question I raise as we close the lesson this morning is this: how will you react to the one who loved you so much?

He saved others, but He couldn’t save himself. That was true because He died for you. Won’t you make up your mind that you’re going to live for Him?

 

The Philippian Converts Acts 16:11-15 and 25-34

0002Lydia by the River

Read Acts 16:11-15

When they arrived at the river, they find several women who had gathered to pray.

Luke did not say whether these women were Jews, proselytes or God-fearers.  But Lydia is called a “worshipper of God.”

This “Certain Woman”

She was a business woman.  She has come from Thyatira to Philippi to sell her wares.

She was a worshiping woman.  We find her praying with other God-fearing women.

She was willing to listen to Paul.

She was an obedient woman. She and all of her household were baptized.

She was hospitable.

She was Baptized

In this account we see people being baptized.  Just being a worshiper of God was not enough, and so after she is taught, she does something to show her faith.  And she does it immediately.

A Slave Girl 

She followed Paul for many days.  But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.”

Paul and Silas are beaten and jailed.

Read Acts 16:25-34

What Must I Do To Be Saved?

What?  This man wants to know what to do to have the faith that Paul and Silas have demonstrated.

Must?  What are the essential elements?

I?  This is a personal question.

Do?  This is an active question.

To Be Saved? This is a timeless question.

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Some ask, why didn’t Paul give the same answer as Peter in Acts 2:38?  Why didn’t Paul give the same answer as Ananias when he was commanded to be baptized.  Well, to do something in the name of the Lord, presupposes that one knows who Jesus is and believes in Jesus.  The jailer did not have that knowledge; he did not have that faith. If he had been told to do something in the name of Jesus Christ he would have answered like the blind man in John 9:36 “Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?”

To do something in the name of the Lord, presupposes that one knows who Jesus is and believes in Jesus. The Jailer did not have that knowledge; he did not have that faith in Jesus yet.

Read Acts 16:32 Slowly  “And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.”

Romans 10:17 tells us: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

What the jailor hears about Jesus produced faith in Jesus.

Paul and Silas would have talked about…

  • Jesus and the Cross
  • How to benefit from the sacrifice of Jesus
  • The life that we are called to live now
  • How to obey the gospel story of Jesus

Read Acts 16:33-This is why I believe they taught all of this.

The fact that he responded immediately was proof of his sincerity.

The fact that he washed their wounds was proof of his sorrow.

The fact that the jailer was baptized was proof of his submission.

Read Acts 16:34

“having believed in God”

The jailer’s motivation was his belief in God, the very thing that he was told to do to have salvation.  And we can see his belief, we can see his joy in having the salvation that he was seeking.

Jesus has also demonstrated His love for you. May that be our motivation to not only become His followers, but to live for Him  every day.

 

Shall We Gather At The River Romans 6:1-11

baptism 9The Story of the Gospel is Soaked in Baptism

At Pentecost, Peter orders it.

Blind Saul finds sight in it.

The Ethiopian will not go home without it.

Cornelius gets it.

Lydia requires it.

The jailor’s got to have it tonight.

Priscilla clues Apollus in on it.

All of these five components (hear, believe, confess, repent, and baptism) should be seen as gifts from God and part of His grace.

Even though they are all work together, many times the New Testament texts will mention only one item out of the five that save us.

In other words,  sometimes we read that we are saved by repentance, or faith, or confession or by baptism.  Notice for example…

Repentance

2 Cor. 7:10 “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”

Faith

Eph. 2:8,9 “For by grace you have been save through faith.  And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

Confession

Matthew 10:32 “So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven,”

Renewal of the Holy Spirit

Titus 3:5 “he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.”

Immersion

I Peter 3:21 “Baptism, which corresponds to this, “now saves you, not the removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience.”

Sometimes one is not mentioned alone, but with other components.  Consider these verses.

Faith and Baptism

Galatians 3:26, 27 “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”

Colossians 2:12 “having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead.”

Hearing, Faith and the Holy Spirit

Galatians 3:2 “Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith?”

Baptism and the Holy Spirit

I Corinthians 12:13 “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free- and all were made to drink of one Spirit.”

Faith and Confession

Romans 10:9, 10 “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Baptism and Confession

Acts 22:16 “And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”

Faith and Repentance

Acts 20:21 “testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Repentance, Baptism and the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:38 “And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

Faith, Baptism, Repentance and the Holy Spirit

Acts 10:43-44, 11:15-18 in the case of Cornelius.

Acts 19:2-6 with the disciples of Ephesus.

When we put it all together what do we get?  We get five different components that are all said to be involved when someone responds to the gospel of Grace.  All five are said to save us individually.  All five are used in various combinations with one another and are connected to salvation.

Rather than seeing these items as different responses or even as steps to salvation, we should rather see them as part of the same response.  All five of these components were present when people responded to the gospel in the New Testament.

It is reasonable to conclude that all five of these items are present when someone becomes a Christian today.

Summary

The sinner believes, repents of sins, and confesses his or her faith.

A representative of the church baptizes the individual into the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And God gives regeneration through the outpouring of His Holy Spirit.

The New Testament portrays baptism as a picture of the death, burial ad resurrection of Christ and as our answer of a good conscience before God.  At the same time it proclaims our unity as a church and our responsibility as individuals to live lives of holiness and commitment.

Romans 6:3, 4 “Do you not know that all of us who were have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

What we have here is an invitation to the Cross

It is the invitation to put your trust in the saving power of the cross.

An invitation to judge your own sinfulness as God judged it at Calvary.

An invitation to confess to all your willingness to believe in the Christ.

 

What About the Thief on the Cross?

Thief on the Cross 3TEXT:  Matthew 27:38-44 and Luke 23:39-44

Introduction:

If you ever teach people about the gospel of Christ you have probably heard the question, “What about the thief on the cross?”  Maybe you were pointing out that Jesus said both faith and baptism were essential to salvation. (Mark 16:16).  But they said, the thief was never baptized, and he was saved!  Or perhaps you were showing them the first sermon preached by Peter and what he says in Acts 2:38

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

And they said to you: “But what about the thief on the cross?  He wasn’t baptized, and he was saved.”  Or maybe you were in Acts 22:16, Galatians 3:27, or I Peter 3:21—only to hear, “But what about the thief on the cross?”

It is interesting to note that after that great sermon from Peter, where he tells them that they must be baptized that no one said, “Well what about the thief on the cross?”  Rather they were baptized.  In Acts 8 when the treasurer was taught about Christ he did not say, “Well what about the thief”, he said, and “What prevents me from being baptized?”  He then confessed Jesus and was baptized.

Who was this thief?  What did God intend that we should learn form him and his response to the Lord?  There are only two bible references that tell about this individual.

In Matthew’s account, initially both thieves insulted the Lord.  As time went by, Jesus’ demeanor on the cross evidently had a positive effect on one of them.  According to Luke, “one of the criminals who were hanged there” continued to hurl “abuse” at Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Christ?  Save Yourself and us!?  (Luke 23:39).  While there was a change in one man, the other seemed to just hurl more abuse as the pain intensified.

Now, I believe that this story is here for a reason, but I do not believe that this story is here to prove that baptism in not essential.  There are several lessons that we can learn from this man. Since this incident has been misused, we will first clear away misconceptions.

His story does not teach the way of salvation.

Before we focus on the disagreement, let us focus on what we agree upon.  We agree that the thief was saved.  Jesus promised that he would be in Paradise that day.  Paradise is that part of the hadean world where the saved await the Judgment.  I believe that Jesus kept His promise—that, when, the thief died, he was taken by angels to Abraham’s bosom, even as Lazarus had been (Luke 16:22).  Nevertheless, this fact does not prove that the account was given to teach the way of salvation for non-Christians today.

Much is assumed regarding the thief.  Many assume that he was not one of God’s people already.  Think about this:  “Who crucified him?  The Romans.  Did the Romans crucify Roman citizens?  No.  Whom did they crucify?  Disobedient subjects in a given vicinity.  The subjects in that particular area were Jews.  So it would be safe to assume that this man was a Jew.  Now this man had been disobedient of God’s law in that he stole.  Nevertheless, he was a Jew.  That made him a child of God, because—up to the death of Jesus—the Jews were God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6).  If the thief’s salvation is to serve as any kind of example today it is an example of how an erring Christian, not a non-Christian, can find forgiveness.

More is assumed about this thief.  It is assumed that the thief had never been baptized.  He died near where John the Baptizer’s ministry had begun.  We read this in Matthew 3:5-6

Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him [6] and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.

Many who lived in that area had been baptized by John.  Later, when Jesus began His ministry in the same general area, He and His disciple baptized even more than John.

John 4:1

Therefore, when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John

Is it not at least possible that, at some point, the thief had been baptized by either John or Jesus’ disciples?  Whether he was or not is really unimportant, but an argument made from a biblical text should not be based upon assumptions.

Now, why do I say that whether or not the thief was baptized is unimportant?  As previously stated, his salvation was never intended as an example for non-Christians today.  Let me share with you three reasons for making that statement.

His Story does not teach the way of Salvation today.

Why?  Because the thief was saved before the old law was removed.

Using the story of the thief as an example of conversion for non-Christians today violates a principle taught in 2 Tim. 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

One way to handle accurately the word of truth is to distinguish between that which relates to the old covenant (Old Testament) and that which relates to the new covenant.

(Are we under the Ten Commandment Law or are we Under Grace?)  The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death is the dividing point between the old covenant and the new.  Paul wrote to the Colossians and said this.

Col. 2:13-14

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, [14] having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

In case there was a question regarding what regulations the apostle had in mind, he listed several categories in verse 16:

Col. 2:16

So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or regarding a festival or a new moon or Sabbaths,

The phrase “Sabbath Day” proves that Paul included the Law of Moses in his statement; one of the Ten Commandments was Exodus 20:8

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The phrase “canceled out” and “taken it out of the way” are strong terms indicating that the Law had been abolished.  When did that occur?  Verse 14 tells us “having nailed it to the cross.”  This is not a reference to a piece of wood on which Christ was impaled, but rather an allusion to the death of Jesus.  Jesus and Jesus only, fulfilled the old covenant, keeping its demands perfectly.  At the end of His life, it became a fulfilled or completed agreement.  The old covenant was “taken out of the way” at Jesus’ death.

At the same time, Grace as we know it begins.  Look now at Hebrews 9:15

And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

He then explained what had to transpire before that new covenant came into effect.  In other words, there had to be a death.

Hebrews 9:16-17

For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. [17] For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.

This analogy that the writer uses is based on a special agreement that we call “a last will and testament”.  When does this will and testament go into effect?  It goes into effect when the maker of this agreement dies and not before.

Your Bible has two testaments.  When did the new will and testament of Jesus Christ go into effect?  When he died, and at that same time the old will and testament stopped being in effect.

The thief is not an example for the salvation of non-Christians today because he was forgiven before the old law was taken out of the way.   True, he was promised Paradise just a few hours before Jesus died, but the promise was still given “on the Old Testament side” of the cross.

The comparison between the New Testament and the last will and testament can be extended.  A principal purpose of a will is the distribution of the will-makers’ property.  After the will-maker dies people must adhere to the terms of the will to benefit from the provisions of the will.

Let’s notice another example of someone receiving “forgiveness of sins” on the other side of the cross.

Matthew 9:2

Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”

As far as the text is concerned, Christ forgave the man on the basis of the friend’s faith.  Did the paralytic also believe?  We are not told.  If the thief on the cross can be used as proof that baptism is not essential to salvation, this story might be used to prove that personal faith is not essential.  (Do you see how far off we can get?)  In either case, however, was it Jesus’ intention to establish the terms of our salvation today?  Rather, in Matthew 9, at least one reason Christ forgave the man was to establish His spiritual authority.

Matthew 9:4-6

But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? [5] For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? [6] But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”–then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”

“that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins” is just another way of saying, “While I am alive, still walking on earth, I have the right to distribute My spiritual assets in any way I choose.”

There are others who were forgiven by Jesus before His death.  The thief of the cross and this paralytic are not the only people who received spiritual assets from Jesus while he was here.  In John 8:3-11, the woman taken in adultery is another example of Jesus forgiving sins.  All are examples of Jesus distributing His spiritual assets before his “last will and testament” came into effect.  It is interesting that no one mentions these when trying to establish the basis on which a non-Christian is saved today.

Since the thief was forgiven on the Old Testament side of the cross, his salvation is no more an example for today than the salvation of Noah and Abraham.  Have you heard anyone say, “Noah was not baptized and so neither will I?”

The thief on the cross is not an example of salvation today because he was saved before the old law was removed.

His Story does not teach the way of Salvation today.

Why?  Because the thief was saved before Christ gave the Great Commission.

During Jesus’ personal ministry, He made reference to requirements for salvation.  For instance, He spoke of a new birth (John 3:3, 5) and the need for conversion (Matthew 18:3).  He emphasized the need for faith (John 8:24), the necessity of repentance (Luke 13:3), and the importance of confession (Matthew 10:32).  Nevertheless, it was not until after His death, burial and resurrection that He gave His Great Commission.  It spells out His terms of salvation: what men must do to appropriate God’s grace.

What Do We Do?  Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

In order to fulfill what Christ demands, we need to become his disciples and be baptized into Him.

What Do We Do? Mark 16:16

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

In order to fulfill what Christ demands, we need to believe in Jesus and be baptized into Him.  We might also note that baptism without faith is worthless.

What Do We Do?  Luke 24:46-47

Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, [47] and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

In order to fulfill what Christ demands, we need to believe in the resurrection, turn from our sinful ways and submit to baptism.

(Let’s use a modern day example)  A basic legal principle is that a law cannot be retroactive.  This provision is included in the U.S.Constitution, Article I, Section 9.  If our legislative bodies pass a law today, those who did something that would be considered a violation of that new law yesterday would not be tried under that law.

The thief did not have to be baptized, but we do.  Why, because the Great Commission was given after his death, and so the terms of this new law do not apply to those who did or did not do something before the law came into effect.

Example:  Do we have to pay taxes?  Yes.  Well, could you argue that since George Washington and Abraham Lincoln never paid income taxes neither do I?  Yes you could make that argument but if you did not pay your income taxes you would still go to jail.

We cannot point to the thief as an excuse for not being baptized since he was saved before Jesus gave the terms off salvation in the Great Commission.

His Story does not teach the way of Salvation today.

Why? Because the thief was saved before the Gospel was preached in Fact.

According to Paul, the heart of the Gospel is the Death, Burial and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1 Cor. 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, [2] by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain. [3] For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, [4] and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

The sequence of the death, burial and resurrection had been set in motion at the time the thief was promised Paradise, but Jesus had not yet died; His burial and resurrection were still in the future.  The gospel could not be preached or obeyed until after the Lord arose from the dead.

The first time that it was preached was on the Day of Pentecost, by the apostle Peter. (see Acts 2).

Today this wondrous gospel is God’s power to salvation.  (Romans 1:16).  We cannot be saved without it.  In contrast, the thief died before it was ever publicly proclaimed.  He lived and died without ever hearing the full gospel story.  Therefore, his salvation is not an example for non-Christians today, who must hear that gospel and obey it. (I Peter 4:17 and 2 Thessalonians 1:8).

Summary:

Way back in the introduction, I stated that everything in the Bible has a purpose.  All of the incidents surrounding the death of Jesus have been preserved for a reason.  They are all there to enhance the cross, to increase our appreciation of what Jesus did for us.

At this time then, let me urge you to turn your eye from the side cross, where the thief died, and focus on the center cross, where the Savior died for you.

If you really love him you will do what he asked you to do.  You will not invent excuses to postpone obeying Him.  Rather, with a heart love and gratitude, you will surrender to Him with complete trust.

If you need to be baptized today, do not ask, “Well what about that thief?”  But ask the question that the treasurer asked, “What prevents me from being baptized?”  To which Phillip said, “You can if you believe.”

So if you believe with all your heart, you may.  Then you can confess your faith and go down in to the waters of baptism that you might rise and go on your way rejoicing.  If you need to be baptized, now is the time to do it.

Receive the free gift of Grace that Jesus offers to each and every one!  Do it today.

Adapted from a sermon by David Roper

The Gospel

Today we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  You say, “today?”  Yes today, today we celebrate the resurrection because without the resurrection we are nothing, have nothing and will never be anything.

Romans 1:16-18  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek, For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

What is this gospel?  I Corinthians 15 “Christ died, was buried and was raised on the third day.”

2 Timothy 1:8-10  “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.”

I Corinthians 15:12-19 “Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.  We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.”

I want you to understand what God has done for you.  Without God, you would have no hope, you would be nothing and you would have nothing.  Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ there is no reason to live, no reason to serve, no reason to give our lives over to a way of living as described in this book!

And the salvation that comes through the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a free gift–you can’t earn this.  Yes, Jesus commands us to do some things, but even that does not earn it.  But God freely gives salvation to those who obey Him.

Acts 20:24  “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel for the grace of God.”

Because of the Gospel,  I must partake of this gospel, I need to move on this gospel.  This, the responsibility to respond to the gospel is on me.

For one to participate and enjoy in the blessings of Christ, I must obey this gospel.  But woe to those who do not obey the gospel of Christ.  (II Thessalonians 1: 5-12)

4 Points

1. You must be born twice.

2. You must die three times.

3. You must be buried twice

  1. You must be resurrected twice

Or you aren’t getting out of this alive.  If we don’t react to this gospel as Jesus has commanded us to react to this gospel, then we are not going to like what is coming to us.

  1. You must be born twice. 

How many here today were born of a woman?  show of  hands

One birth, you come from your mama.

There is a problem if I miss out on my second birth.  If I miss out on my second birth then I miss out on what I could have in Jesus.

Now, you and I as we got older, we inherited something from Adam that helped us understand something.  We did not inherit his sin, but we did inherit his ability to tell right from wrong.

Have you always chosen to do good?  No.

Have you sometimes chosen to do evil?  Yes.

So according to Romans 3:23, what does that make you?  a sinner.

We have all sinned.  So what does Jesus tell us to do about this sin problem?

John 3: 1-5  Read it for yourself out of your own Bible.

Must be born again of water and of Spirit.  Is Jesus talking about your first birth?

Titus 3:3-7   Saved by washing,  we were renewed by the Spirit.  Does that sound like what Jesus said in John 3?

What do you wash your hands in?

What do you wash your car in?

What do you wash your dishes in?

What are we to be washed in?  Water.

Acts 2:38  Saved by baptism in water, and you receive the gift of the Spirit.  Does that sound like being born again of water and Spirit as Jesus talked about in John 3?

I Peter 1:22-23.  Your souls were purified when you obeyed the truth, when you came with a pure heart to Jesus.  Peter uses that phrase that Jesus introduces in John 3, and that phrase is born again.  You were born again to imperishable seed, when you heard and responded to the living and abiding word of God.

If you are going to make it to where God wants you to be, you must be born twice.

  1. You must die three times.

The first death that we all go through is a spiritual death.  I see this with youngsters all of the time.  You see them full of life, ready to do anything and willing to participate in any way.  And then one day all you see is a sullen teenager.

What happened?  They are involved in sin.  And now they need to repent of that sin and experience the new birth!  They need to die to self, because they have died a spiritual death.

When we have died a spiritual death, we are dead in our sins.

Romans 6:23 “for the wages of sin is death,”

What needs to happen?  We need to die a second time!

Luke 9:23 “And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

John 12:24, 25 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.  And the life I now life in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

Galatians 5:24 “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Now if the Lord doesn’t come in y our life time, then you will die a third time all by yourself.  A casket is awaiting you someday, sooner than later.

Now what, I have understood that I have to be born twice, and I have to die three times.

  1. I need to have two burials.

I know it has something to do with the water and the Spirit,  (Jesus says so in John 3).  And so, I need to be buried just like Jesus was buried if I am to emulate His resurrection.

Romans 6:1-8.  This verse puts it all together.  If I am going to have the resurrection promised by Jesus, then I must be buried in water for the forgiveness of my sins.

My motivation now is not to continue sinning.  My motivation now is not just say, isn’t grace wonderful,  I can live anyway I want.  No!  That’s craze talk.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ motivates me to die to myself and be buried just like Jesus was buried.  I need this second burial.  If I am not buried with Christ, then what?

  1. I need to have two resurrections.

What do I raise out of?  water

The power behind my salvation is Jesus’ resurrection.  I told you we were celebrating Jesus’ resurrection today!

The power is not in the H2O, it is not in the one helping you in and out of the water, but in the power of His resurrection.

Philippians 3:8-11

Colossians 2:11-12    Circumcission is the cutting away of flesh, skin is cut and removed and was a sign between the seed of Abraham and of God.

So how did the sin get cut from your person?   How is it cut from any person?

Keep reading  Colossians 2:13-15

Keep reading  Colossians 3:1-6

Summary:

Today we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  The day that you died to self, submitted to baptism became your new birthday.

All of us…

have to be born twice,  die three times, be buried twice, and be resurrected twice if we are to have any hope.

Those of us who have done what Jesus has called us to do, we are to live faithfully unto death.

Faithfully, not half hearted.

Faithfully, not part-time.

Faithfully, not when I feel like it.

The world will reject the message of Jesus.

They will HATE you.

They will EXCLUDE you.

They will INSULT you.

They will REJECT you.

Don’t let what others will do to you make you miss the resurrection of the dead in Christ!

(Thanks to Mr. Phil Robertson for the basic outline and direction for this lesson.  I claim very little originality with this one.   Doug)

What Must I Do?

When the apostle Peter preached about Jesus, his listeners cried out, “Brethren, what shall we do? (Acts 2:37).  When Christ appeared to Saul, Saul asked, “What shall I do Lord?” (Acts 22:10).  After the Philippian jailer narrowly escaped death, he said to Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?”  (Acts 16:30)  You can ask no more important question than this: “What must I Do?”

 

SOMETHING TO DO

Perhaps we should first establish that there is something for you to do if you desire salvation.  Christ has died for all mankind (Titus 2:11), but this does not mean that all will be saved.

Read Matthew 7:13, 14.  “Enter by the narrow gate.  For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few.”

In other words, there are two ways which men travel: a narrow way that “leads to life” and a broad way “that leads to destruction.” In other words, many will be lost, while relatively few will be saved.

Salvation is a gift, but a gift can be accepted or rejected.  Each individual decides whether to accept God’s gift of grace or to reject it.  Jesus’ statement that we just read tells us that most people will reject the gift of grace.

How can we accept the gift of salvation?  God tells us in His Word that we are to accept it through obedient faith.

Read Matthew 7:21. “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

The writer of Hebrews wrote concerning Jesus, that “He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,” Hebrews 5:9

Some object to these verses.  They say that if men have to do anything to be saved, salvation is no longer by grace.  Let it be clearly understood that our obedience does not earn our salvation. Rather, through obedience, we may appropriate the salvation provided by the Lord.

So what is the difference between earning and appropriating?  Let me tell you a little story.

A man knocks at the door of a house.  When a woman comes to the door, he says, “I am very hungry. Do you have any work I can do to earn a mean?”  The woman replies, “There are logs in the back yard that need chopping.  If you cut the wood, you may have a meal.”  The man chops the logs and finally sits down to the meal.  Let me ask you a question: As the man eats the food, will he feel that he has earned the meal?  Certainly, he will.

Let me change the story: A man knocks at the door of a house. When a woman comes to the door, he says, “I am very hungry. Do you have any work I can do to earn a meal?”  The woman replies, “I’ve just put a big meal on the table, much more than I can eat.  Come in, sit down, and eat all you want.”  The man happily accepts her invitation and is soon enjoying the food she has prepared. Now, I ask you again: Did this man earn the meal? Not at all.  It was a gift, “by grace.”  What he did was appropriate it.

How did he appropriate it?  By accepting the woman’s invitation, by coming into her house and sitting at her table and eating the food.  What if he had not appropriated it?  What if he had gone into the house but had refused to eat?  Obviously, he would not have benefited from her generous offer.

Now it would have been foolish to answer the invitation, but people reject Jesus’ invitation all the time.

We cannot earn our salvation, but we can and must appropriate God’s gift—by faith and obedience.  What is involved in our response of faith and obedience will be made clear as our study continues.

What We Must Do

When Jesus gave the Great Commission to His disciples or followers, what did He say?

Read Mark 16:15, 16.

Paul said that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).  He also said that the good news about Jesus (the gospel) is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16).  Salvation begins with learning about Jesus and His way. One must be an attentive hearer or reader, a responsible and responsive student.

So, what do we read is necessary to respond to this good news, this gospel of Christ?

Believe in Jesus

The first response is faith, or belief: “Faith comes from hearing.”  The importance of faith is stressed in John 3:16. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Acts 16:31, Romans 5:1, and Ephesians 2:8, 9 are among the many passages which teach that Christians are saved by faith.  John 8:24 Jesus said “unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Belief and faith mean the same thing.  What is the faith or belief that saves us?  Saving faith can be expressed by the word “trust”: To be saved, we must stop trusting in our own goodness and start trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of faith.  Faith is the foundation of every other positive response to the Lord.  In John 1:11, 12 we read that Jesus “came to his own, and his own people, did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Notice that the words “receive” and “believe” are used interchangeable. We cannot receive Jesus into our lives without first believing in Him.

Faith is the beginning, not the end, of our response to God.  It is never presented in the Bible as Faith alone.

Before I married Linda we secured a marriage license.  Even though we had the license, we were not yet married.  The license gave us the right to get married.  Likewise, faith sets us on the road to salvation; it is not the end of the journey.  We are saved by faith, but not by faith alone.

Saving faith cannot be separated from the expression of that faith.  This can be illustrated by John 3.  As we have already seen, verse 16 stresses the necessity of faith.  Now let’s go a little further in the chapter and to something that was said.  Read with me verse 36.  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

John the Baptist was talking here about Jesus Christ.  He tells us that we are not only to believe in Jesus, but that we are to obey him.  (See also Romans 10:16)

The faith that saves is not just something that happens in our mind.  The faith of the Bible is alive and active.  (See also James 2:14-26 for more on this reasoning.)

Repent of Sins

One of the ways that true faith expresses itself is in repentance.  Luke 13:3 Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”  Peter told the listeners “Repent, and be baptized every one of you” (Acts 2:38).  Later Paul said, “(G0d) he commands all people everywhere to repent.”

As our faith in Jesus grows, we should come to see ourselves as what we are: sinners in need of salvation.  This should produce repentance.

What exactly is repentance?  Some think of repentance as sorrow for sin. Others think of it as a change of life.  When a man truly repents, he will be sorry, that he sinned, and his life will be changed, but repentance itself stands between the two responses.

Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation(2 Corinthians 7:10). Everywhere Paul traveled, he told people “”that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (Acts 26:20)

Repentance comes after godly sorrow and before a change of life.  To repent literally means to have a new mind.  It refers to an attitude change, our attitude changes about sin.

When a person realizes that sin breaks God’s heart, he sees how terrible sin is.  When someone learns that sin caused Jesus to die on the cross, he is repulsed by sin. Sorrowing over his own sinfulness, he determines that with God’s help, he will live a better life.  This decision is what the Bible calls “repentance.”

True repentance will always have an effect on a person’s life.  It will not produce a perfect life, but it will change the life for the better.  It there is not change of life, there probably was no repentance.

Repentance is the hardest thing you will ever do.  It is hard because it requires a change in lifestyle.

Confess Christ

Another way that faith in Jesus expresses itself is by the confession of that faith.

Read Romans 10:9-10.  If we want to be saved we must confess that “Jesus is Lord.”

Read Matthew 10:32-33.  Here is where Jesus talked about confession.

What does it mean to confess Jesus is Lord?  According to these two verses:

  • It is a confession of faith in Jesus (not a confession on sins)
  • It is a confession with the mouth  (I am doing something)
  • It is a confession before others (so it is not a secret  confession)

We see an example of this in Matthew 16:16 where Peter says “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Peter expressed belief in Jesus as the Messiah sent from God.  By saying “Son of the living God” indicates that Peter realized that Jesus was divine.

Baptism into Christ

Baptism is a response of faith.  Jesus commanded baptism in Mark 16:16, in Luke 24:47 and in Matthew 28:18-20.  The men He taught also commanded baptism, for mankind to receive forgiveness of sin.  (Acts 2:38, I Peter 3:21)

Baptism is probably the easiest part of the salvation process.  Yes it requires water enough to bury someone, but it is something that is done to you, rather than something that you do yourself.

Before anyone is baptized into Christ, we need to confess our faith in Jesus.  When Jesus gives the great commission in Mark 16:16, He says that we must first believe before we are baptized.  Thus I cannot scripturally baptize a man before I am sure he believes.  How can I know that he believes?  He has to tell me.

Paul in his letter to the Galatians says “for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”  (Galatians 3:26, 27)  As a follower of Jesus, Paul knew the vital link between faith and baptism.

Summary:

This lesson has centered on the response of faith—a faith that lead to repentance, a faith that will cause us to confess Christ.  A faith that will lead us to be washed in Jesus’ blood as we are baptized into His death (Romans 6).

Do you believe in Jesus?

Do you really believe in Jesus?  Then do what Jesus commanded.  Do what His disciples continued to teach.

Put your faith in Jesus, repent of your sins, confess Him as Lord and be bap

When “Lord, Lord” is not enough. Matthew 7:21-23.

When “Lord, Lord!” is not enough.  Matthew 7:21-23

Did Jesus really Say That?  #5

Read Matthew 7:13-14.  There are two ways and destinations—we need to pick the right one.

The way to heaven is much more difficult—our discipleship is often difficult. There are going to be obstacles that make choosing the right path very hard.

Read Matthew 7:15-16. Some will be led away by false prophets.  We have to examine what people say to make sure we are not led by false prophets. Read Matthew 7:17-18.

In Context: The “false prophets” are the same ones who cry “Lord, Lord”.

The context of Matthew 7:21-23 is still focused on the two ways that we enter, either through the narrow way or the wide way.

In our text there are two different types of disciples. There are those who obey Jesus’ words and there are those who do not. Jesus’ words here continue the theme of false prophets who suffered from self-deception. Not only did they deceive those they were teaching, but they also, in the end, deceived themselves.

Notice two points about these people that Jesus rejects here in our text–

First, they made a verbal confession.

Read Romans 10:10   A public confession of faith is very important.

Jesus rejects these who confess Him as Lord—they must not be making the true confession.  There was something about their confession or their lives that made the difference.

How do I know if my “Lord, Lord” was a true commitment or just words?

Second, they claim religious experience and service to God.

Matt. 7:22 “did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?”

Read I Corinthians 13:1-3.  This list of service to God sounds a bit like our text.  Their service was not relational—not motivated by love.

You can do great religious things without a real relationship to God.  That is what is happening in our text-service without relationship.

This is a contrast between those accepted and those rejected.

The accepted are those who “does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”

Discipleship: Turning the other cheek, second mile, overcoming hate and lust.  Putting into practice what Jesus taught.  Read Matt. 7:24.

The rejected are “evildoers” despite their religious acts. Read Matt. 7:23.

This is the foolish person who does not act on Jesus’ words. Read Matt. 7:26.

The difference between accepted and rejected is that of relationship.

Jesus says, “I never knew you.”  They didn’t live in relationship with God.

They did not seek to live out the lifestyle to which God was calling them.

They did not live God, trust God, and seek to honor God with their lives.

Good News/ Bad News

Good News! There is one thing we must do-we must live in relationship with God.

Read Philippians 3:12-14 Seeking that one thing, the Spirit will lead us to grow and serve.

That one thing is seeking to know Christ more and more.  Read Luke 10:42

God requires us to love Him—that means following Him and obeying His commandments the best we can.

There is no one thing that you can do!  The false prophets who said, “Lord, Lord” pointed to their acts of service.  “Look at the stuff we did!”  They thought they had done the one thing!

Do we think we have done the one thing?

We are part of the one church! We believe the truth on baptism! We are so involved!

Did Jesus really say that? “I never knew you.”

We must seek Jesus for a lifetime!

Listen to Paul: “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves.  Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? –unless indeed you fail to meet the test!” 2 Corinthians 13:5

Listen to Peter: 2 Peter 1:3 -11  Again, Obey Christ, seek and grow into Christ.  That’s the choice we need to make each and every day.