INTRO: There are no wasted words in scripture. There is no small talk. Yes, there are a number of personal reference and matters mentioned. But even these are instructive of our faith and provide us with help in understanding how discipleship is expressed in life. So, even in the greeting (or salutation) of various New Testament letters sentences are packed with truth. The diligent student of the Word finds much to savor and enjoy! In the text I have read I would like to focus on Two Great Gifts From God.
I. BEGIN, THO, WITH GOD ... AND ... THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
A. Whence come all good gifts?
1. our answer would be typically ... Jas 1:17
2. God is our benefactor!
B. Yet, here Jesus is noted to be a giver, too
1. our attention is drawn to an equality between God and Jesus both are Deity
2. in Acts 20:28 Paul apparently applies the name god directly to Jesus (whose blood was shed)
3. ancient and modern heresies concerning person of Jesus are addressed powerfully in Pauls writings
C. God our Father
1. this was a favorite mode of Jesus address to God
2. Mt 6:8,9 with 7:11 Father which is in heaven
3. Rom 8:15 apostle delights in concept of Gods Fatherhood, too ... children by adoption
D. the Lord Jesus Christ
1. each name is deeply significant
2. each name suggests a vital fact about our Jesus!
3. Lord - master, ruler; Jesus - savior; Christ - the anointed Messiah (cf. Lk 2:11)
II. THE GIFT OF GRACE
A. As a person Jesus
1. Jno 1:14 full of grace and truth
2. His life was one favoring others; His ministering, His word constantly had others in view ...
3. others who could not help selves and who had no claim on any favor from Him
B. As a gift salvation
1. Eph 2:8 by grace are ye saved
2. unmerited favor bestowed on Philippians ... and us
3. we note the merit of Christs blood and the utter hopelessness of humanity without it in Eph 2:12,13
C. As a state in which we abide
1. Rom 5:2 and Gal 5:4 wherein we stand
2. Fatherhood of God must be prominent in this idea
3. too, in this state cleansing of sin continues as a daily reality 1 Jno 1:7
D. As a quality in our lives
1. 2 Pet 3:18 grow in grace
2. the charm, the beauty of Christian life is intended
3. graciousness which - as Christ - reaches out to others, touches others, affects others benevolently
III. THE GIFT OF PEACE
A. Tranquility of mind
1. growing out of reconciliation with God
2. Isa 57:19-21 it is this very state of mind which God can heal through total forgiveness - and reconciliation
3. note Eph 2:13,14,16 earlier grace is mentioned now, peace becomes prominent ... peace is fruit of grace!
B. Tranquility of mind even in trial, dilemma
1. Jno 16:33
2. our lives seldom free from difficulty, turmoil
3. but peace of the tranquility of mind variety is a reality possible through our Lord (it seems to me that the promises of God and His faithfulness in keeping them contributes much to this peace)
CLOSE: Grace was the typical Greek greeting. Peace was the usual greeting among Jews. Particularly in Pauls writings these two words are joined and given such a new wealth of meaning. The two words may truly encompass the totality of our blessings from God!
Cecil A. Hutson
14 November 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)