Summary: The first of a series of messages etitled ASk The Pastor. A simple gospel message
ASK THE PASTOR: What Does It Mean To Be Saved?
I want you to think of one event that happened in your life which changed everything for you. ( First car; first apartment; marriage; when children were born)
The most life transforming event that ever happened in my life, was not when I got my first car. It was not when I was married, although that was really great. It was not being present at the birth of my children; even though that was pretty awesome.
All of these life events, pale in comparison to one Sunday night during an evangelistic service at Sheppard Gospel Temple, in 1969 as a 9 year old boy, I knelt and prayed and asked Jesus Christ to forgive me of my sins, come into my life and be my Lord and Savior.
That night changed my life forever. I was saved.
And most of you here today can also testify to having that experience.
For some of you it was in a Sunday school classroom where a teacher taught you about Jesus and you received Jesus as your Savior.
For others it may have been the result of the faithful witness of a friend who introduced you to the Lord.
Or you may have watched a Christian TV program, and something happened during the broadcast where you felt strangely warmed inside. You wanted whatever it was the hosts and guests were talking about. So, you called a prayer line and someone on the other end helped to introduce you to Jesus.
At the time you did not understand all of the theological ramifications of your decision, all you know is that you were saved and your life has never been the same.
What does it mean to be ‘saved”?
In our culture it means to be rescued from danger, harm or loss.
Our environmentally conscious society urges us to conserve energy so we can save our environment.
Our unstable economy is causing people to reconsider how they are saving for their future. This past summer I experienced new lessons in shopping and saving money by shopping in second hand stores.
In sports when a goalie prevents the puck from going into the net it is called a SAVE.
Today we are talking about more than just avoiding waste, economizing, avoiding spending too much money or keeping a person from physical harm.
What exactly does it mean to be saved?
I read a cute story this week which illustrates the confusion there is today about what it means to be a Christian.
A group of four year olds were being questioned by their Sunday School teacher on Palm Sunday. The teacher asked this question: Does anybody know what today is?
A little girl held up her hand and said, ‘Yes, today is Palm Sunday.’
“That’s fantastic”, the teacher said. “That’s wonderful. Now does anybody know what next Sunday is?”
The same little girl lifted her hand. “Yes”. She said, “next Sunday is Easter Sunday.”
The teacher was all smiles. “Oh, very good.” Now…does anybody know what makes next Sunday Easter.” On a roll, the little girl responded,
“Yes, next Sunday is Easter because Jesus rose from the grave.” Before the impressed teacher could congratulate her, however, the girl added, “But if he sees His shadow, He goes back in for seven weeks.”
(Greg Laurie, 10 Things You Should Know, p.12)
It’s clear that many people really don’t have a grasp on what it means to be a Christian.
When you ask someone if he or she is a Christian, one of the most common responses you get is,
“Of course I’m a Christian. I go to church don’t I?”
That’s like saying I am a golfer because I own a set of golf clubs. Or I am a mechanic because I own some tools stored in the garage.
What does it mean to be saved?
Maybe you have heard someone say something like, “When I get my life straightened around, then I’ll get right with God”. Listen if you are waiting for the right time to be good enough, you will be waiting a long time. The truth is, no one is or can ever be good enough.
Wait, a minute pastor, I volunteer at the community care, teach Sunday School, serve on the church board. And I’ve even been baptized.
I commend you for your good works and volunteering spirit. We need more of it in our church and community. However, Performing good works, being actively involved in church, is not a guarantee of being saved either.
“Pastor, I remember that I was baptized in water. Water baptism is right but it is not what will guarantee your salvation. Baptism is an act of obedience by which we publically profess our decision to live our lives wholly and solely for Jesus Christ.