DONT THINK YOURE TOO GOOD FOR ME!
INTRO: People are important to me. But people are not cookie cutter images of one another ... not in looks; not in abilities; not in economic standing; not in intelligence quotient; not in interests; not in values. So, no matter how similar we may be in very important ways, it is the differences which seem to be emphasized. Differences can make life interesting and relationships enjoyable. They can also keep people apart.
I. THE FOLKS ACROSS THE TRACKS
A. Who are the people from the other side of the tracks?
1. I dont know when I first encountered this
2. but early I discovered that there was a right side and a wrong side of the tracks
3. the tracks often separated races, classes
B. But I made an important discovery
1. people on the other side were nicepeople
2. still, people on the right side often manifested an attitude of, Im too good to associate with people on the other side of the tracks
3. what is the wisdom of scripture: Rom 12:16
C. Its a long standing, pervasive problem
1. I recall that the Jews referred to Gentiles as dogs
2. the Pharisees certainly thought they were the spiritually elite ... better than ordinary
3. prejudices, elitism, preconceived ideas, etc. have always caused conflict, division
II. THE ATTITUDES OF A CHRISTIAN?
A. Certainly, we must recognize a brother in Christ
1. New Testament clearly reveals what one must do to be in Christ
2. it is not my privilege to recognize one as a brother in Christ who has not conformed to that pattern
3. but my thoughts this evening really have more to do with our view of people in general ... our behavior toward them
B. A hard lesson for apostle Peter - Acts 10:28
1. what an incredible hurdle to leap!
2. but Christian people cannot view others as of lesser value, importance
3. people have souls of equalvalue to God (Jno 4:35)
C. Rom 12:3 What makes you better than another?
1. in the text is implication that miraculous gifts were being used with some pride (as in 1 Corinthians)
2. a miraculous gift or a natural talent does not make one person better than another
3. pride and prejudice limit the scope of our well doing!
D. Mt 5:21,22 How you see others can be harmful to you
1. Jesus came to the heart of the matter here
2. if you think youre too good for me, you may well be placing yoursoul in danger
3. here, again, pride seems to be at the root
E. But there does need to be a word of caution here ...
1. we cannot go with one into sin or questionable behavior - 1 Cor 15:33
2. this has nothing to do with anothers personhood, value - it has to do with behavior inconsistent with my calling as a Christian (2 Cor 7:1)
3. still, I need to be careful that my attitude does not have me excluding folks because I think Im just too good for them
CLOSE: When the apostle wrote, Condescend to me of low estate, he set out one of the most challenging things I can imagine. But thats the wisdom of scripture.
Cecil A. Hutson
14 February 1999
You Must Hear the Gospel
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) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
You Must Believe
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
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
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)
You Must Be Baptized
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!
You Must Be Faithful Unto Death
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)