Summary: Sermon 1 in a series on Free Grace
Believe in Jesus the Lord
Sermon 1 in the series, “Free Grace in Focus – A Biblical Answer to Lordship Salvation”
Chuck Sligh / August 8, 2010
Illustrations and some key thoughts for this sermon came from Charles Ryrie’s book So Great Salvation and a sermon by Paul Decker titled, “What Did He Say?” at http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/what-did-he-say-paul-decker-sermon-on-divinity-of-christ-47672.asp?page=0.
TEXT: John 1:1-2 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God.”
Illus. – In the comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin is sitting at his desk in school, taking a test.
He’s quite dismayed when he reads the first question: “Explain Newton’s First Law of Motion in your own words.” In the next frame, a big smile comes across his face as it’s obvious as he has an idea. In the third frame, he begins to write: “Yakka foob mog. Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork. Chumble spuzz.” In the final frame, having made the answer in his own words, Calvin sits back with his hands behind his head and says, “I love loopholes.”
Which brings me to this significant question: Isn’t the goal of communication clarity? Today, the communication of the Gospel—the most important message in all the world—has been tragically muddled.
For instance, listen to a random sampling of expressions of Gospel messages taken from tracts, sermons, books, the Internet and radio and TV sermons which, if we gave even HALF of them to an unsaved person would leave him befuddled about exactly WHAT he should believe:
--“Repent, believe, confess your sin to God, and confess Him before men to be saved.”
--Another says: “The clearest statement of the Gospel in the New Testament is found in Luke 9:23: ‘If any man wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’”
--Another: “May God reveal to the sinner that the only way for them to be saved from their sins is to repent with a godly sorrow in their hearts to the Lord.”
--Or: “Utter the prayer of the prodigal son—ask Jesus to be your Lord and Master.”
--Or: “Believe in Him, trust in Him, accept Him, commit your life to Him.”
--Or?: “We have the warning of Christ that He will not receive us into His kingdom until we are ready to give up all, until we are ready to turn from all sin in our lives.”
--Another: “God offers eternal life freely to the sinner who will surrender to Him in humble, repentant faith.”
--And this: “Do we literally have to give away everything we own to become Christians? No, but we do have to be willing to forsake all.”
--Another still: “Matthew 7:13-14 is pure Gospel: ‘Enter by the narrow gate…’”
--Or: “No one can receive Christ as his Savior while he rejects Him as Lord.”
With this mish-mash of confusing terminology, how in the world can anyone know for sure how to be saved or have the assurance that they have been saved? When you read the New Testament, one thing that stands out is that the Gospel is SIMPLE. Even a CHILD can understand the Gospel and be saved. What child could figure out what I read?—What ADULT could figure it out?
I thank God that I grew up in an era in which the Gospel of simple grace was preached clearly and without adornment. When I fully understood who Christ was, what He did for me and what He offered me, I didn’t have to sort out a bunch confusing requirements to know how to be saved. I simply BELIEVED in Christ one day—and that day I passed from death unto life.
In the weeks ahead I want to show you from the Bible that God’s clear, simple and SOLE condition for salvation is FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST—plus nothing and minus nothing and that lordship has to do solely with discipleship AFTER salvation. But to do that, first we need to understand why John wrote His Gospel, what his claims about Jesus are, and what the ramifications of that are with regard to our salvation.
Let’s look at this today.
I. FIRST, CONSIDER WITH ME WHY JOHN WROTE HIS GOSPEL.
John doesn’t leave us in the dark; he’s unambiguous about why he wrote his Gospel. In John 20:30-31 he says: “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: 31 But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name.”
John is very clear and very to the point that he recorded the things he did for two reasons:
1. First, to establish that Jesus was the Lord God.