Summary: Jesus offers the benefits of salvation to all who will come to Him on His terms.
Title: A Personal Invitation From The Master
Series: The Harvest Is Ripe
Text: Matthew 11:28-30
When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they tried to cover their sin by sewing fig leaves together to hide their nakedness. Since that time, man has worked relentlessly to provide for his own salvation, and like Adam, he has always failed in his efforts. Still, people work harder and harder, trying to earn their way into heaven and into the graces of God. They foolishly believe that somehow they will be accepted if they do enough good. But they are ignoring the root problem of personal sin that must be dealt with, either by being forgiven or being judged. They want to go to heaven, but they also want to keep their sins. So, rather than repenting and turning from their sins, they invent ways to get to heaven while still enjoying the pleasures of sin. This will never work, of course, because in the matter of sin, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
So, no matter how accomplished and polished our works may be, they will never be of a sufficient quality or quantity to merit eternal life. Our self-righteousness will never be good enough to cover a multitude of sins. We can work until we are utterly exhausted, and we will still die in our sins without Christ. But God has provided a way, the way of the cross. Jesus tells us this is the only way. It is the way that leads to life. All other ways lead to death.
Illustration: It Doesn’t Work Any Other Way
My granddaughter, who is 3 years old, has entered the “Why” stage of development. It doesn’t matter what I am doing, she will invariably ask, “Papaw, what are you doing?” No matter what I tell her, the next question is always, “Why?” This is followed by an endless string of “whys” until I finally tell her something to the effect of “It doesn’t work any other way.”
That’s the way God has designed the plan of salvation. He says, “I am the way.” We ask, “Why?” The final answer has to be, “Because it doesn’t work any other way.” Jesus prayed, “Father, if there be any other way…” The answer was, “There is no other way.” No one will go to heaven except through Jesus Christ. With all due respect to those of other religions, it doesn’t work any other way.
I. THE DOOR OF SALVATION OPENS THROUGH FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST. (Matthew 11:28)
Illustration: It’s The Boat
Imagine a ship filled with people crossing the Atlantic. In the middle of the ocean there is an explosion. The ship is severely damaged and slowly sinking. Most are dead, and the rest are rushing for the lifeboats.
Now suppose one man doesn’t know about the lifeboat, so he does not get aboard. He doesn’t have knowledge, so he is not saved.
Suppose another man knows about the lifeboat and believes it will save his life, but he is grief-stricken over seeing his wife killed, so he chooses not to get aboard and dies with his wife. He has knowledge and mental assent, but he is not saved.
Others believe the lifeboat will save them, and they get into the boat. They are saved by faith, that is they have knowledge, mental assent, and trust. However, it is not their faith that saves them--no matter how much they have. It is the boat.
Saving faith trusts Christ, and Christ saves. (Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, M. Cocoris, Moody, 1984, p. 77)
Note: Christianity is often disparaged by the world because of its exclusive claim to eternal life through Jesus Christ alone. The false religions of the world would rather us acquiesce to their claim that all roads lead to God, but that is not what Jesus taught us.
1. There is no other way to heaven except Jesus.
2. There is no other truth on earth except Jesus.
3. There is no other life worth living without Jesus.
B. Salvation Is Impossible Through Our Own Effort.
1. Salvation is by the grace of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
2. Salvation is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
3. Salvation is according to the mercy of God. (Titus 3:4-5)
5. Salvation is through the love of God. (Ephesians 2:4-5)
II. THE REST OF SALVATION IS AVAILABLE THROUGH BONDAGE TO CHRIST. (Matthew 11:28-29)
Note: A yoke was made of wood, hand-hewn to fit the neck and shoulders of the particular animal that was to wear it in order to prevent chafing. For obvious reasons, the term was widely used in the ancient world as a metaphor for submission. The yoke was part of the harness used to pull a cart, plow, or mill beam and was the means by which the animal’s master kept it under control and guided it in useful work. A student was often spoken of as being under the yoke of his teacher, and an ancient Jewish writing contains the advice: "Put your neck under the yoke and let your soul receive instruction."