¡°THE MARVELOUS SALVATION¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: John 3:16 September 29, 2013
1) The reason of salvation: The fact that salvation is necessary is because man has sinned and sins bring death to the soul of man. Sin is one thing all people don't want to admit and don't like to talk about. But sin is a fact of life in all people throughout human history. Sin doesn't just separate man from God, it also separates people from people. Many of the problems we have in our society, at home among people, are results of sin of someone or ones. Sin is what we have on the inside while crime is what we express sin on the outside. Everyday we see the work of sin in all of us and the evil effect sin has caused in the everyday chaos in this world.
2) The author of salvation: But God doesn't want to see we are lost in our sin. He said it clear in 2 Peter 3:9, ¡°He is patient with us, not wanting any to perish.¡± In our text today, God expressly tells us because he loves us, that he sent his only Son to pay the price for our sin so none of us may perish in our sin but to have salvation¡ªthe everlasting life. Salvation in the Bible is not something from a man, a religious founder or a moral teacher or philosopher. It is not something someone could imagine or create from silent meditation or self illumination. It is from the loving heart of God. Salvation is also not from any good work or moral excellence man may do on his own to merit himself by exchange the penalty of sin with good work. It is God who engineered this method, the payment of one life, the life of Jesus, for all the lives of mankind.
THREE ELEMENTS IN SALVATION:
1) The destructive nature of sin: According to the 1,400 page Holman Bible Dictionary, salvation is the acutely dynamic act of snatching someone by force from serious peril. In its most basic sense, salvation is the saving of a life from harm or death. In the New Testament, it includes the deliverance from the penalty and power of sin. Even the act of salvation in the Old Testa-ment in the deliverance of the Israelis as a nation from Egypt, it is always on a spiritual connotation, because God is the only source of the act. (P. 1222) It is because of the destructive nature of sin, God interferes to deliver us.
2) The helpless nature of man: The second important part of salvation is the inability of man to save himself from the destructive power of sin. If man is able to deliver himself from the power of sin, there is no need to bother God to save us. Throughout the history of man, countless good and thoughtful people tried countless ways to save their souls from the power of sin. These people worked so hard to create philosophy, religion, education and many other forms of human effort and doctrine, trying to elevate man from sinking to his death of the soul, but none had ever succeed. Just as man can never overcome the power of gravity in physical matter, he can never overcome the power of sin in spiritual matter. Paul supposed is one of the greatest moral men in history, he did try to save his soul from the power of sin, but he ended up crying to God hopelessly: ¡°What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue (deliver, snatch, save) me from this body of death.¡± (Romans 7:24)
3) The love and power of God: Both love and power of God are in display in the act of salvation of man. Love is the driving force of salvation. God saves us because he loves us. God's love is beyond our knowledge or experience. Paul says in Romans 5:8, ¡°God demonstrates his own love in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.¡± Salvation doesn't blind God from seeing our sin, but brings his love to reach out to deliver us from sin. The second part God plays in salvation is his power to do so. While no one may do anything to save his own soul, God sent his Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sin so we may be justifies as righteous in Christ. This is the love of God to meet the requirements of God's justice on our sin.
THREE LEVELS OF SALVATION:
1) Salvation in redemption: ¡°For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son of love, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.¡± (Colossians 1:13-14) Redemption comes from redeem which means to pay a ransom for someone or something sold. In this case, we were sold to the power of sin (Romans 7:14), but Jesus paid the ransom with his blood on the cross to relieve us from that bondage. Even though salvation is free for us, but it costs the life of God's Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. He had paid the price to save us from our sins. This is the starting level, the foundation level.
2) Salvation in sanctification: ¡°Now being made free from sin and become servants of God, you have your fruit to holiness to the end everlasting life.¡± (Romans 6:22) Salvation in redemption is a once for all act of God through our faith in his Son Jesus Christ. Sanctification or holiness is a life long goad and process we are to pursue through the power of God. Holiness is not about being sinless, it is about living a life separated from conforming to the value of the world to the value of God. In The New Testament, especially in the epistles, God has so much to say about our need of purifying ourselves in all aspects of our life to be holy, from our thoughts and words to our mindset to intention and value, we ought to live worthy of the calling we received from God. This is never a once for all step, it is a continuation of spiritual growth to know and obey the will of God in all the things we live and do. This is the next level, a higher level we live and grow throughout our whole life.
3) Salvation in glorification: ¡°When Christ, who in your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.¡± (Col. 3:4) This doesn't mean we are worthy of any glory, but we share the glory of Christ when he returns to this world as King of kings and Lord of lords to reign over his kingdom forever. Jesus promised us he will come back to bring us to his glorious kingdom in that day. (John 14:1-3) This is about the eternity of salvation, the ultimate gift of God on those who accepted his call to believe. This is the top and final level when Jesus takes us to be with him in heaven in his glory forever.
THREE STEPS TO SALVATION: Here are three major steps to be saved.
1) Recognize our helpless situation: ¡°Because of God's great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgression¡ªit is by grace you have been saved.¡± (Ephesians 2:4-5) No one may do anything good enough to earn his salvation no matter how hard he may try. We need to be humble to acknowledge that salvation is not some thing we can earn, but something only God can give. No man is good enough to be saved, and no man is too bad he cannot be saved. This puts all of us on the same leveled ground: ¡°We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.¡± (Romans 3:23-24)
2) Recognize there isn't other way: ¡°Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we may be saved.¡± (Acts 4:12) And that name is Jesus, the Christ. Recognizing our help-less condition is about we can't do anything to be saved. Recognizing there isn't another way by which we may be saved is about we can't turn to other things to be saved, be it religion, philosophy, political system, world methods like power, fame and wealth or even your own efforts like good work. There are people who believe that there may be other ways that may lead man to eternal life such as personal endeavor, piety and good work, other religious beliefs or any other way except putting their faith in Jesus Christ. If you are honest that you are a sinner and need forgiveness of your sin, then you better take Jesus very seriously because there is none other in this world, religion or anything else, offers a firm solution to your sin except Jesus Christ because only Jesus died to pay the ransom of your sins so you can be saved. You have found the only true way to salvation, don't confuse yourself or miss the boat. Listen to what Jesus said, ¡°I am the way, the truth and the life, no one goes to the Father (God) except through me.¡± (John 14:6)
3) Recognize Jesus is Savior and Lord: ¡°To all who received him, to those who believe in his name, he gave them the right to become children of God.¡± (John 1:12) Then in 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.¡± Salvation is offered by God with his love, but it must be accepted by man with faith in Jesus, the Son of God, to be effective. Our only action to receive salvation is our faith in Jesus Christ. It begins in your heart then expressed in our month, then you are saved by God's grace. Salvation is never meant to be complicated, never to cost anyone anything because is has been paid in full by the blood of Jesus, the Lord. All you need to do is accept him into your heart and submit to his Lordship on your life.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH: Salvation is the good news, the gospel:
1) To those who need salvation: Today, the salvation message, the good news, the gospel, has been presented to you clearly in logical steps. This is done to help you accept this precious gift of God, salvation of your soul in eternity and your life with blessing today while you are alive and living. If you have never accepted Jesus as your Savior and Lord in the past, you need to do it now. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose.
2) To those who have salvation: Good news of all kind is never meant only for one person but for all who need to hear and be blessed. So, look around and see who else in your family, in your school, at your workplace or neighborhood who are not saved and need this good news. Pray, go, and invite them to know the good news and help them accept this best gift of life. You may be doing the best thing for them than anything this world can offer. Be an angel to them like no one else can be.