Summary: Part 1 of 4 Advent sermons focusing on the Four-fold Gospel (C&MA distinctives)
Christ Our Savior
I. Why Do I Need a Savior?
A. Because of personal insecurities
B. Because of personal sin
C. Because I cannot save myself
II. What Is God’s Plan to Meet My Need?
A. A costly solution
B. The only solution
III. How Do I Receive Christ as My Savior?
A. Admit my need
B. Repent of my sins
C. Accept God’s gift
We began this service by lighting the first candle of our Advent wreath. The season of Advent is celebrated by Christians throughout the world. In A.D. 600, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that all Christians should prepare for the celebration of Jesus’ birth by observing the four Sundays prior to December 25 with the symbolic lighting of candles. We continue in that tradition this morning of preparing for the first Advent of Christ.
The word Advent literally means “coming.” The coming that we are anticipating is, of course, that of the Christ-child, born over 2,000 years ago in a little town, in a lowly stable, the first son of a very ordinary couple. Yet, that single birth has altered the course of history. It is indeed the focus of history. That obscure and humble event gives meaning to all others that have preceded it and followed it.
Most of us would agree that the significance of the first Advent of Jesus cannot be overstated. It marks the initiation of God’s plan to reconcile His defaced creation to Himself once again. It is the beginning of His strategy to make all things new and to restore the innocence lost.
But what does the rest of the world think about this time of the year? Is there any sense of anticipating the arrival of the One who can rectify what is wrong? In all of the busy shopping and wrapping and planning, is there even a hint of looking beyond the giving and receiving of gifts, the visits from friends and relatives, and the colorful lights and festive decorations to an ultimate reason for celebrating? Is this really all there is for the majority of people? And if so, then why?
I suppose that as I observe the traditions that so many go through during this season—most of which are completely void of any biblical basis—I have to ask myself, “Why has it come to this? Why don’t we celebrate that which is really worth celebrating? Why have we drifted so far from the simplicity of the first Advent, and turned it into a commercialized event by which we determine the economic stability of our nation?”
I know there are lots of answers to those questions, but I believe that there is one prevailing reason: we have forgotten why Jesus came in the first place. No one is really certain why He came, so it is assumed that it mustn’t have been all that important. And if Jesus’ coming is not that important, then we have to find something that is, which has led us to where we are today.
This morning I am beginning an Advent series that focuses on answering the question of why Christ came. But I’m going to embark on this quest from a vantage point that is different than where you probably would expect me to begin. We will look at both the OT and NT references to Christ’s coming, but our central focus is going to be on our neediness—why Jesus needed to come.
Some of you have been in the C&MA for a number of years, while others are quite new to this denomination. Those who have been around for a while have undoubtedly been introduced to the Four-Fold Gospel, which our founder, A.B. Simpson, set as one of the cornerstones and distinctives of this church. Simply stated, the Four-Fold Gospel teaches that Christ is our Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.
We see these four roles demonstrated in the life and ministry of Jesus at His first Advent. But they are also roles that He continues to assume in heaven and ones that He will perfectly and eternally carry on throughout eternity. These four roles represent four basic needs of every human being. Each of us needs someone to save us, sanctify us, heal us, and govern us. And each of these needs is met for us in Christ.
Over the next four weeks, we will examine each of these inherent needs, what plan God devised to meet our needs, and how we are to respond in order to have our needs met. This morning we begin by looking at our need for a Savior.
Why Do I Need a Savior?
The first question we must ask is, “Why do I need a Savior? What am I in danger of that I need to be saved from it? What’s all this hype about anyway? My life is great. I have a loving family. My job is secure. All my bills are paid. I haven’t broken any laws. Why do I need a Savior?”