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March 11, 2007 AM


2 TIM 2:15

INTRO: When I was a boy there was no television. Ah, but there was radio! Yes, there were soap operas, there were actions programs, there were great musical programs ... and there were quiz shows. One of the programs to which our family listened regularly was "Truth, Or Consequences". I believe it was Ralph Edwards who made this program famous ... and enjoyable. But think about the name of the program a minute ... "Truth, Or Consequences". In our thoughts this morning I want us to think about another way in which the scriptures are described ... the scriptures are the word of truth. Without the word of truth in our lives there will be terrible consequences. In fact, people who fail to live by the word of truth will experience the consequences of that decision on an almost daily basis.

    1. Pontius Pilate asked a question suggesting that struggle
      1. Jno 18:37,38 - "What is truth?"
      2. a cynical question? a skeptical question? a question of confusion?
      3. no matter the intention of Pilate, the question is a burning issue today!
    2. Humanity has struggled with changing truth
      1. is the earth flat ... or, is it round?
      2. does the sun revolve around the earth ... or, vice versa? are their eight planets, or, seven (Pluto was just "downgraded" by astronomers)
      3. is the earth suspended in space ... or, is it on a pedestal?
    3. Then, we must deal with something called relative truth
      1. what is truth for me ... may not be true for you
      2. your truth may be that coconut pie is good ... my truth is "not so"
      3. or, what is true in this situation my not be true in a different one
    4. But there is the word of truth
      1. Jno 17:17 - God's word is truth
      2. it is not true because of some scientific discovery, not situational, not subjective or relative
      3. God's word is truth because He is its Source ... what He says is truth because it was He Who said it
    5. Scripture is not like other written works of science, history, philosophy, etc.
      1. works of human origin are subject to the frailties of human authorship
      2. a new edition of the Bible is not needed in order to fix the errors in the earlier edition ... (as has been the case with science texts, history books, even documents upon which certain religious groups have been founded)
      3. 1 Jno 3:20 - I take great comfort in this simple fact about God - He does not make mistakes!
    1. Jno 8:32 - The truth sets us free
      1. but notice that the truth is "knowable" - "ye shall know the truth"
      2. God's truth is absolute ... not relative or situational
      3. thus, the truth to be known is the same for everyone
      4. Acts 10:34 - what Peter preached to Gentiles was the same gospel preached to Jews ... each could hear it, know it and obey it exactly as others
    2. Jno 16:13 - The word of truth is complete
      1. the Holy Spirit revealed "all truth" - everything to know is in scripture
      2. recall 1 Cor 2:11-15 - the Holy Spirit did reveal as Jesus promised
      3. there is not another/alternative truth out there awaiting discovery
      4. we can depend on the word of truth for correct, accurate instruction and guidance for our lives ... God omitted nothing needed for our salvation
    3. 1 Pet 1:22 - The word of truth can (must) be obeyed
      1. this is not "truth" like that of history or science ... not just "facts" to be absorbed - but which may not have great relevance to my life
      2. the word of truth gives instruction requiring action on our part
      3. so, Mk 16:16 - Acts 2:38 - Acts 10:48 ... instruction for obedience
      4. or, Jno 8:31 - instruction for a life of discipleship
    4. 2 Tim 2:15 - The word of truth must be handled correctly
      1. there were, and are, those who do not treat the word of truth correctly
      2. thy may twist it, ignore its relevance, etc. (2 Cor 4:2)
      3. from the time of the apostles there have been those who willingly misused the word of truth
      4. 2 Tim 2:15-18 - the word of truth saves - twisted truth, however, is fatal to faith

CLOSE: In a world which seldom knows what truth is, a world in which truth is "sold" for cheap returns the word of truth provides us with a refreshing alternative ... a truly beneficial alternative. The wise writer of Proverbscounsels,  "Buy the truth, and sell it not" (Prov 23:23).

Cecil A. Hutson

11 March 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)