Summary: This is a basic doctrinal sermon about salvation.
“SALVATION” John 14:1-7
INTRO – When you hear the word “salvation,” what do you think about? For many of us in this Deep South culture, our thoughts immediately go toward thoughts about Jesus, or the cross, or the church. We’ve brought up that way. We’ve always heard things that way. We’ve always thought that way. Many of us have grown up in church and feel that we have some knowledge of what salvation is.
But not everyone thinks in that way. Many people have a distorted view of what salvation is. Some think it is church membership. Some think it is living right. Some think it is trying to keep the 10 commandments. Some think it depends on doing more good things than bad things and hoping that when you die, the scales tip to the good side and God lets you into heaven. Some don’t think about it at all. – This life is all there is, so you better eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Our world is full of hundreds of thousands of different religions. And these religions have their own ideas of what salvation is all about and how a person gains salvation. Even within Christianity, there are different ideas and views about salvation. Can cause confusion, division, and doubt in a person’s heart.
There are so many who are wandering around in a cloud of confusion and doubt. May be some of you here today. Tough for you to admit it b/c of our culture. You want to believe. You know there’s got to be more to this life than what you are experiencing right now. Something way down deep inside is gnawing away at you, telling you that something is missing in your life. There’s an emptiness in your heart that you just can’t quite explain.
Maybe you’re an adult. You might be a church member. Might have been a church member for years, but you know that there is still a void in your life that you just can’t quite fill. No matter how many times you come to church, it’s still there. No matter how many times you do good things, it’s still there. No matter how many times you read your Bible or pray, it’s still there. Jason & I met a couple of elderly ladies in the airport in Dallas yesterday – had been to NO – one was 90 yrs. old – thought it was about time to start using a walking cane. The other said, “I had to tell myself, ‘Stop reading the t-shirts!’” Conversation turned to spiritual things – I asked about church involvement. Lady sitting next to me, “Oh, I don’t do that. Baptized in a Baptist church. Christened in an Episcopalian church. Get more out of my flowers and gardening than church.” Soon left the table. Other lady – “I can’t live w/out it!”
Maybe you’re a teenager or college student. No matter how popular you are or how many activities you are involved in, there’s still something missing that you just can’t put your finger on. Your friendships don’t make the feeling go away. Your relationship w/ your boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t make that feeling go away. You might forget about it for a little while when you’re playing ball or doing your schoolwork. But when Jason talks about it, or when you hear me talk about it, or when you do the DNow thing or summer camp thing, or some other student ministry activity, that feeling’s there again.
Truth is that the world would have us believe that salvation is something we don’t really have to worry about right now. Right now, is the time for you to live it up. Just go for it and have fun. That’s what life is all about. Need to be more worried about your stuff than your salvation; about having fun than your future; about your popularity and prestige than your place in heaven; about your plans rather than God’s plans for your life. Need to be more concerned about building up your IRA’s and 401-K’s rather than building up treasures in heaven.
The way we live our lives right now was illustrated by something that happened at a Wal-Mart in Elkhart, IN, this past Thursday. Seems that 3 yr.-old James Manges got upset at his mom b/c she wouldn’t let him get a stuffed animal out of one of those vending machines w/ the crane inside. So he decided that he would just take matters into his own hands and get that animal. He climbed up the chute to get the prize himself. His mom took her eyes off the little boy for a moment to pick up a juice bottle. When she turned back around, he was up inside the machine. Had to call FD to get him out.