Summary: Gospel pollution and what it takes to truly be saved. Link included to Formatted Text, Powerpoint, and Handout.

What Does It Take?

Acts 15:1-11

If someone were to walk up to you on the street and ask you out of the blue, “how can I be saved?”, what would you say? Would you know how to answer them? What would you say it would take for them to be born again?

This is no small question…for the correct answer determines where we spend eternity.

Paul and Barnabus have just returned from their 1st missionary trip all over the Gentile world…preaching the gospel, seeing many saved. Then some men came from Judea and said to these new converts, you’re not really saved, you just think you are…if you really want to be saved you need to become a Jewish proselyte first, and go thru our rituals, and keep the OT law of Moses. They were saying that to get into the house of faith, you have to go thru the door of Judaism. Well, this disturbed the faith of all these new, young believers…so Paul and Barnabus here rise up in defense of the simple gospel.

They said, we are Jews, we understand Judaism, but you need to understand that has nothing to do w/ being saved. They said, we are saved by grace…thru faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on Calvary…plus nothing, minus nothing! […do you believe that?!]

Paul recognized what these men were doing…it was gospel pollution.

Ill—air pollution/water pollution…not nearly as bad as gospel pollution, which still is going on today. [Satan knows that most of us want to believe…something…so, clever as he is, he just injects all belief systems w/ his poisons, toxins, leaven, etc. He doesn’t mind us believing some truth, as long as it’s mixed w/ enough error to keep us off course!]

The clear waters of grace get so easily muddied today…the fresh, clean winds of heavenly grace are so polluted by the smog of works salvation. Satan has succeeded in lacing our beliefs w/ a cyanide that is deadly to us!

In Ch. 15 the disciples decided to talk this out and mark it down in stone, what salvation is all about…and I’m glad they did, for if not, then the stream of grace would have been polluted right from it’s very fountainhead. But here it is, crystal clear: salvation is by grace alone!

v. 11 Every person who is truly saved is saved in the same way: by grace, plus nothing, minus nothing.

It doesn’t matter if jew or gentile/black or white/rich or poor…if you are truly saved, you are saved by grace.

Take all the churches in our area who claim to be Christian, and you can divide them into 2 groups:

1. those who say faith in Christ alone is enough to save a person.

2. those who say faith is the starting point, but you have to then do something.

3 truths about salvation to help keep the waters clear:

I. Salvation is imperative, not optional.

Almost all would agree on this. But why is salvation imperative?

vv. 8-9 “no difference” –…

Romans 3:22-23

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We all have this universal problem…the sin problem. The idea that there are good people and bad people is a notion which only exists in the eyes of men. We think of terrorists as evil [axis of evil], and ourselves as good.

Abortionists/murderers/child abusers…and we feel pretty good about ourselves!

I’m glad for the Romans study you’re doing right now on Sunday nights. You’re in the middle of the book, the heart of the meatiest passages in the Bible.

But go back to Rom. 1 and it says that bad people need to be saved.

Rom. 2 says that GOOD people need to be saved.

Rom. 3 says that so-called “religious” people need to be saved…and it all culminates in vv. 22-23 saying there’s no difference, we all need to be saved!

Satan doesn’t like this clarification I’m making now…he has several in this room and countless who will hear this online and from the lips of other preachers using our notes completely duped into believing his deadly lie: that good people go to heaven and bad people go to hell.


There is no difference. The man who lusts after women, undressing them w/ his eyes is no different than the man who commits the act of adultery with them. The person who robs a store at gunpoint is no worse in God’s eyes than the person who cheats on their timecard at work, falsifies their taxes, etc. Sin is sin, and the most moral people in our community, if they are honest, will admit that they sin…there is no difference!

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Barry Helms

commented on Sep 29, 2009

It''s very important to express these truths to our people. Salvation comes not from anything we can do; but, only by the grace of a loving God. Thanks Brother Jerry!

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