Series: The Cure [#16]
WHAT SALVATION ISN’T
Most weeks I start off with a personal story; but this week, I want to share with you what God has shown me. God speaks to us in several ways: Through prayer, through Scripture, through circumstances, through other believers, and through dreams and visions. I can’t remember a time in my life that God has shown me something in every one of these ways; but this time He has. I have been working very hard to try to get members to show up to services and participate in the ministries of the Church and I have been very unsuccessful. Then God showed me what to do through a friend, a sermon, prayer, my daily Bible reading, people I have encountered during the week, and a dream.
Luke 14:16-23 (NIV)
“Jesus replied: "A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, `Come, for everything is now ready.' "But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, `I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.' "Another said, `I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I'm on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.' "Still another said, `I just got married, so I can't come.' "The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, `Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.' "`Sir,' the servant said, `what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.' "Then the master told his servant, `Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.”
What we have to offer this world is the life changing power of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ saves. When we talk about salvation, people are very confused about the truth. This morning I want to look at what salvation isn’t.
Romans 9:6-7 (NIV)
“It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children. On the contrary, "It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned."
Salvation isn’t about…
Salvation is based on grace. Your genealogy does not save you. You are saved through faith in Jesus Christ, not your family. It doesn’t matter where you come from, who your family is, etc… It’s about Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead.
Romans 9:8-13 (NIV)
“In other words, it is not the natural children who are God's children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham's offspring. For this was how the promise was stated: "At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son." Not only that, but Rebekah's children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad--in order that God's purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls--she was told, "The older will serve the younger." Just as it is written: "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."
Salvation isn’t about…
The firstborn was supposed to be the heir. That’s how it had been for a long time and yet God allowed Isaac to be the heir of the promise from Abraham and Jacob to be the heir of the promise from Isaac. Salvation isn’t based on the traditions of the Church. Salvation is based on God’s promise of the Savior.
Romans 9:14-29 (NIV)
“What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, `Why did you make me like this?'" Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath--prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory-- even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? As he says in Hosea: "I will call them `my people' who are not my people; and I will call her `my loved one' who is not my loved one," and, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, `You are not my people,' they will be called `sons of the living God.'" Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the Israelites be like the sand by the sea, only the remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence on earth with speed and finality." It is just as Isaiah said previously: "Unless the Lord Almighty had left us descendants, we would have become like Sodom, we would have been like Gomorrah."
Salvation isn’t about…
This passage of Scripture gives us numerous examples about the fact that God is sovereign. Why would God harden Pharoah’s heart? Why would God allow bad things to happen to Christians and good things to happen to evil people? You may be thinking, “It’s because God is not fair.” I must tell you, “You don’t what is fair”. There is no one here who wants what is fair. What is fair is that we all spend eternity in Hell.
Romans 9:30-33 (NIV)
“What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; but Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." As it is written: "See, I lay in Zion a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
Salvation isn’t about…
We are saved by faith not works. No matter how hard a person tries, they will never be good enough to be saved.
Salvation is offered to all. Think back to the beginning of the sermon- Maybe God is asking you to go out to the people and places that you would not normally go to and minister to them. In the sermon I listened to, the pastor went door to door in the worst neighborhood in town and simply asked them if he could pray for them. What a great challenge to each of us.
God has shown others this vision or challenge to the Church- God is going to grow our Church with people who in most churches are considered the untouchables. God is going to bring people to our Church who have problems and needs. Are you ready?