Summary: A missions or evangelism sermon which emphasizes the central theme of the Bible...that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."
Christ Jesus Came Into the World to Save Sinners
TEXT: 1 Timothy 1:15 – “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Satan is a master at using controversial and extra-biblical issues to distract the church.
Illus. – A former police officer tells of the tactics of a group of thieves. – He says:
“They enter the store as a group. One or two separate themselves from the group, and the others start a loud commotion in another section of the store. This grabs the attention of the clerks and customers. As all eyes are turned to the disturbance, the accomplices fill their pockets with merchandise and cash, leaving before anyone suspects. Hours—sometimes even days—later, the victimized merchant realizes things are missing and calls the police. Too late.” (Tom McHaffie)
I wonder how often this strategy is used by the Evil One! We’re seduced by distractions, while our churches are ransacked. Many of our churches have lost not their merchandise, but their MISSION, and “a church without a mission will soon be out of COMmission.”
I’m afraid that’s what sometimes happens with what Paul is talking about in this verse. Here’s the master theme of the Bible, but Satan is adept at distracting us from focusing on it.
When you look at the Bible as a whole, you see that the most prominent theme of the Bible is the work of God to save those who are without God. I mean, the Bible underscores over and over again what Paul tells us in our text—that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” From Genesis to Revelation, you find one conspicuous, continuous theme threading like a scarlet thread from book to book—“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
You know, the Bible speaks on a lot of subjects. It gives us answers about issues of morality and ethics. It tells us how to find joy; how to rear our children; how to handle our money. But its CENTRAL purpose is to lay the groundwork for and then record for eternity the pivotal event of the ages—that Christ Jesus would come into the world to save sinners.
Everything else in the Bible is a sidelight to this salient theme. The great Bible scholar Merrill F. Unger put it this way:
“The Bible is one book, one history, one story, His story. Behind 10,000 events stands God, the builder of history, the maker of the ages.…You can go down into the minutest detail everywhere and see that there is one great purpose moving through the ages, the eternal design of the Almighty God to redeem a wrecked and ruined world.”
That Christ Jesus would come into the world to save sinners…
• is the eminent goal of the eternal God;
• it’s the subject of the centuries;
• it’s the theme of all theology;
• it’s the heartbeat of heaven.
What I’d like to do today is take a very brief, cursory tour of the Bible to show you this wonderful theme, and then close with some personal applications of this truth to our lives.
I. THE THEME IN THE BIBLE
A. Notice first the OLD TESTAMENT emphasis on this theme. (Of course, it would take an entire series of sermons to adequately cover this, so I’m only going to hit very superficially on just a few areas in the whole Old Testament:)
• You can’t get three chapters into Genesis, the first book of the Bible before you’re introduced to this theme. After Adam and Eve plunged the world into sin—an act that would have catastrophic consequences for all of history—God speaks to Satan through the serpent and says in Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” We don’t have time to deal with this in detail, but this the first time the Bible intimates that a messiah would someday come into the world to save sinners.
• I wish I had several weeks to show you how the Genesis patriarchs and many of the events of their lives are types and symbols of Jesus who would come to save sinners or how the Exodus foreshadows our redemption secured by Jesus—but time does not permit us in this cursory examination.
• This grand purpose was foreshadowed by the animal sacrifices in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.… The unsaved reader of Leviticus who doesn’t have the illuminating help of the Holy Spirit might see the Old Testament sacrifices as a bloody, primitive approach to appease an angry god. But the saved person indwelt by the Holy Spirit who compares scripture with scripture soon comes to see the true meaning of the Old Testament sacrifices.