INTRO: From time to time one comes across a text in the Bible which is so full of meaning and truth one hardly knows from which direction to approach it. That is how I feel about the two verses I have just read. No doubt many sermons could be preached with these verses as the text. But it is my intention to preach only one tonight. From the immediate context jointed with these verses it appears profoundly that there are Two Sides Of Salvation. There is obviously Gods side in the salvation of mankind. But there is also - as these verses remind us - mans responsibility in this matter.
I. SALVATION IS OF GOD (2:8,9)
A. We must begin with the fact of Grace
1. Eph 2:8 by grace are ye saved
2. the entire initiative in this matter rests with God ... the plan for salvation and subsequent provision of it are of God
B. Certainly, then, the offering of Christ is of God
1. Gal 4:3-5 it is still Gods initiative
2. without such an offering man was apparently doomed to remain in bondage ... but freedom can now be chosen
C. It is salvation which had been years in preparation
1. 1 Pet 1:9-12 through hundreds of years before Christ, God had been carefully working out His plan
2. when one considers the scope and dimension of all of this preparing, he may begin to sense how important our salvation is to God!
II. SALVATION IS OF MAN (2:12,13)
A. Man must respond to Gods offer
1. God does not withhold salvation - man robs himself of it
2. in Gods dealings with mankind a response based on choice from man has always been required Deut 30:15-18
3. I think mans place in salvation has been minimized
B. Obedience keynote of our response of faith
1. notesActs 6:7 and Rom 1:5; 16:26 obedience
2. certainly obedience must be willing Rom 6:17
3. obedience must always be natural development of faith - it is, in fact, second side of same coin!
C. Consistency true test of our response of faith
1. always ... in my presence ... in my absence
2. the glory of a parent is in a child who is obedient even when out of sight of parents
3. when you are away from church building or from other Christian people, what kind of person are you then? are you consistently a child of God in more than name? (Col 3:22b)
D. Persistence a lifetime response of faith
1. work out to bring to completion; full, complete, perfect accomplishment and conclusion ... dont stop halfway!
2. daily application of our faith - Jno 12:26 - Gal 5:25
3. 1 Pet 1:5-9 the end of your faith ...
E. Reverence and humility concerned response of faith
1. fear and trembling certainly not fright
2. but our response of faith must be daily concerned about our salvation, our relationship to God (1 Cor 9:27 and Gal 6:1)
3. perhaps another way of coming at this thought is does it really mean something to you - this relationship to God and this salvation which you claimed in baptism?
III. EFFECT OF THIS SALVATION: A PERSON OF GODS GOOD PLEASURE
A. Our wills and doings are dominated by Gods desire
1. thus, Rom 8:29 more and more like Jesus
2. qualities of humility and selflessness which have been mentioned earlier are most assuredly Gods desire
B. A thumbnail sketch of Gods good pleasure?
1. 2 Pet 3:9 changed lives repentance
2. 1 Tim 2:3,4 saved people
3. Eph 2:10 lives of good works
CLOSE: Gods side in the matter of salvation is an accomplished fact. The provisions are all there. It remains, of course, for each of us to work out his own salvation by being people daily at Gods bidding and conformed to His purpose.
Cecil A. Hutson
26 March 2000
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)