"Salvation - Me In Christ"
1
1 Cor. 5:17-21

Introd. What do you think your chances are of going to heaven? Some years ago, USA newspaper had a man on the street type interview and published the results in the paper.

Some said 80% I have been a good person - haven't harmed anyone - obey the law

 

Some said 25% I've done some bad things but I've also done some good things - not all bad Most common answer by far was 50% I hope I get to heaven just not sure

 

Some said 0% have no shot at it - Don't believe in God or heaven - this is it. Can you imagine living like that

 

God's word tells me in one more than one place that I can know where I am headed - don't have to spend my days in worry over my eternal future but I can rest in the finished work of Christ.

John 20:31 "But these things have been written
that
you may believe that Jesus is the Christ the
Son of God and that by believing you may have
life in his name. "

11 Tim, 3:15 Paul says: "from infancy you have
known the holy scriptures which are able to make
you wise for salvation through faith in Christ
Jesus
."

Three part series on the foundations of the faith. Today how can we be in Christ - how can Christ be in us - how can we allow Christ to be in us in the world.

Today we are going to look at the single most important topic of the church and Christianity - salvation. The church that ignores salvation is not pleasing unto God even though it may have an appearance of success. Our success is not determined by the number of people or the size of the budget but whether we are helping individuals along the pathway of faith in Jesus Christ. The setting forth of the gospel message is at the heart of Christianity. We use different terms for this
experience
: are saved born again become a Christian

I. Jesus saves

Downtown Indianapolis at end of E. Mich. Right before the ramp on to I 65 is a large dilapidated building run by the Salvation Army- surrounded by the homeless, poor, alcoholic, drug addicts on the
roof of that bu
ilding is a red/white sign that blinks off and on

 

Jesus Saves. What does that mean? Jesus saves. Spiritual sign for a spiritual need. It is certainly a great sign of hope for those who are downtrodden.

 

But what of those in a middle class neighbourhood, fairly omfortable in our jobs and families, lifestyle that is cozy. Do we need to be saved and if so saved from what?

 

What does Jesus save us from?  Is Jesus an economist talking about our money? Is he a lifeguard?

A. From the consequences of our sins as we went through the Christmas season we learned that the angel said you shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins.

Rom. 6:23 says: the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life.

 

Wages what we have earned is death because through our  sinfulness we have fallen short of God's expectations. When pressed nearly everyone will admit that at some point in their life they have either done something wrong or failed to do something they should have done.

The consequences of both our individual sin (personal) and the sin of society (systemic) as a whole has turned the world into chaos and will
continue to do so until
Christ comes again. Some of you have suffered greatly because of your personal sin or the sin of someone else that has affected your life. We can not eradicate systemic sin until Jesus comes again but I have good news for you. Bible says that as a result of our salvation in Christ, he will cast our personal sins as far as the east is from the west - into the deepest sea never to be remember again.

B. From our lostness

Luke 19: 1 0 says that Christ came to seek and save the lost.

 

To be lost physically is a frustrating experience; to be lost spiritual is a fatal experience.

When we are lost, we are not where we are supposed to be. It can be geographical - directions to find our way.

 

It disrupts where we are suppose to be. To be lost spiritually means you are not where you are supposed to be.

 

God has a plan for your life. Jeremiah says it is a plan for good and not for evil. Sin disrupts God's plan for our life. Sin keeps us wandering around in the wilderness seeking solution after solution but finding no
permanent answer to our problems. John says we are like sheep without a shepherd meandering through life with no direction. We remain lost until God shows us his path for us.
Christ saves us from the disruption of God's divine plan for us, redirects our life to one of significance and preserves the eternal design he has for us.

c. From the wrath of God

I Thess. 1 ~ 1 0 says: Jesus rescues us from the
coming wrath of God. Later in that book in
5:9
he says: "For God did not appoint us to suffer
wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord
Jesus Christ. "

One cannot read the book of Revelation without feeling some goose bumps of dread on those who deny the living Christ. It is not something we like to talk about - we don't like to emphasize but it is the truth of scripture.

There will be a day of reckoning; a day of accountability, there will be a day when God asks what did you do with my offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. There will be a separation - a day of wailing.

If God wants to save us from our sin, our lostness and his wrath how does  it happen? It begins with God who loves us long before we love Him.

11. God is the initiator of salvation

II Cor. 5: 17-21 in Christ salvation is coming into Christ. into His life

Vs. 18 all this is from God - he brings us into Christ He wants us IN CHRIST salvation is bringing us into Christ

I Tim. 2:4 says: God our Savior desires all men
to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the
truth:

Rom. 6;23 that salvation is a free gift. He has done everything possible to provide you with the greatest opportunity to receive this gift.

Eph. 1: 11 "he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ."

He wants you in his family. But he has given us free will. We have the opportunity to say yes or no to his offer. It began in the garden when
Adam and Eve had a choice
- eat of the tree or not. We have a choice; we can believe in the son or we can reject the son and there are
consequences to our decision.

 

John 3:36 says: he that believes in the Son of
God has eternal life but he that rejects the son
will not see life but the wrath of God abides on
him.

Ill. How do I receive the gift of God?
A. realize our need

Lloyd Ogilvie says: "the reason that people don't recognize their need of Christ is that goodness keeps us from grace" Many people feel like they are good enough they don't need a Savior - they can just try and be good enough on their own. Try to do the best you can.

We have a tendency to compare our lives with others to see if we are good enough to get in. I'm not as bad as that person - you can always find
someone worse that you.

 

God doesn't grade on a curve - when it comes down to it; we're all guilty - all of these good deeds that we think will get us into heaven just filthy rages - God desires a humble and contrite heart that seeks after him.

When we realize that we are sinful, lost, and deserving of God's wrath; Rom. 3: 23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

B. Repent

We can't get the good news before we get the bad news. We are all guilty of God's condemnation-all have sinned against God. Missed the mark in some ways.

 

Repentance means more than just saying I'm sorry - it means I am willing to turn from an old way to a new way. The word means "to change ones mind or direction" .

 

I don't like to say I was wrong. It takes humility to do so. We prefer to rationalize or bluster our way through or to blame it on someone else. But repentance says: I was wrong - I admit it - I am willing to change. Willing to face the truth. In the NT repentance is always a change for the better not the worse.

As we read the scriptures, we see that time after time repentance precedes belief. Belief is important and we do have to believe but it must be preceded by repentance. Mark 1: 15 Jesus is beginning to preach the good news: he says: "the time has come, the kingdom of God is near, repent and believe the good news."

Mark 2:17 Jesus says: "I have not come to call
the righteous but sinners to repentance. "

Acts 17:30 as Paul completes his message he summarizes by saying: "God commands all men everywhere to repent."

I believe that part of the reason that many people make a profession of faith but fail to change their lives is they refuse to repent. They want the
benefits of salvation with
out the commitment to Christ.
I want to be a Christian but I don't want to change my life.

 

Confession is simply agreeing to what God already knows - you aren't telling him anything new - you are just agreeing that he is right.
When we confess our s
in, God never looks dismayed and says: you're kidding me. I didn't know that.

C. Receive

a gift can be the best gift in the world but it does you no good until you receive it. Christmas gift a gift becomes effective when it is received.

Eph. 2:8-9 'for by grace are you saved through faith; it is a gift of God not by works so that no one can boast. "

 

We receive this gift of salvation by faith. Faith is resting on the completed work of Jesus Christ. Chair illustration. Putting my trust and hope not in myself but in the finished work of Christ.

Coming to Christ - being in Christ - resting in Christ.

D. Rejoice

Luke 10:20 Do not rejoice that the spirits submit
to
you but rejoice that your names are written in
he
aven.

When the prodigal son came home after his long journey of selfish living - the father welcome him and threw a party. Salvation is reason for celebration. The angels rejoice over one sinner who repents.

What about you? Would you like to receive
the gift of salvation?