Summary: Examines the requirements for salvation and how you can KNOW you are a Christian.
CHRISTIANS ARE ABNORMAL IN HOW THEY VIEW SALVATION
On April 13th, 2008, Oprah Winfrey said that Jesus could not be the only way to God. She went on to ask about “People who live on the planet in places where they never even hear the name of Jesus”.
Even more recently, in a men’s Bible study I lead, a man I like and respect, a deacon of a sister church in our association, indicated that he too believed that God had another way for people who have not heard about Jesus.
What does the Bible say? Is Jesus the only way to God? Is He the only way to be saved?
I. WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO FIND THE NARROW GATE?
A. Some folks ideas on salvation:
1. Church Membership – There are some that believe that church membership is required for salvation, or even that being a member of a church will save you.. Half-way Covenant – Partial membership that allowed baptism and the acceptance of communion by people not willing to commit themselves totally to the Lord, or to adhere to all of the church’s requirements.
2. Baptism – Some believe baptism is required and that if you are a member of the church and that if you are baptized, then it’s a pretty good chance that you are saved.
> Acts 2:37-38 When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what must we do?” 38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Church of Christ – “for” – wanted poster, ignore the thief on the cross.
** Reasons for baptism
a. Following the example of Jesus – We are immersed
b. Following the command of Jesus – Matthew 28:16-20
c. Claiming the promise of Jesus – John 14:2-3
3. Believing in Jesus – Well, if I believe Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for my sins, then I will be saved.
Judas believed all of that and yet hung himself because he knew he had messed up
> James 2:19 You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe—and they shudder.
4. Saying you are a Christian –
> Romans 10:9 if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
5. Praying the “Sinner’s Prayer
No where in scripture do you see an instance where someone prayed the “Sinner’s Prayer”. Many people pray that prayer, say those words and yet are not saved. You and I know many examples of people like that. They pray a prayer, may even be baptized and join a church and then disappear. You never see them again.
The South is full of people like that. At least when I was up North, if people weren’t Christians they didn’t mind telling you they weren’t. In the South, there are a lot of people running around who prayed some prayer as a child, and were even baptized, and because of that they believe they are saved, that they are Christians; even though their actions and their lives give no evidence that they are Christians.
You have to get them lost before you can get them saved.
W. A. Criswell estimated that 80% of the people sitting in our churches today are not really Christians; are not really Christ-followers. Billy Graham put the figure at closer to 90%.
B. What Jesus Said About Salvation
1. You must repent – Luke 13:1-5
This means that you acknowledge God is God. You acknowledge that He has standards and that you fall short of them. You regret what you have done, ask Him to forgive you, and set out to live a life of obedience and one that is pleasing to Him.
> Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.
> Acts 2:38 “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
2. You must ask for the pardon God has made available
> Romans 10:13 For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
Gift of a coat. I have to ask for it.
3. You must trust in God alone –
a. Matthew 19:16-22 – He was trusting in his wealth, in his stuff.