INTRO: Just how much does the kingdom of God mean to you? What value do you place on the church? Asking such questions of old and young alike, I hope to provoke us to think. At Zech 2:8 God refers to Israel as the apple of His eye. And He most assuredly has such a view of the church. But is the church anywhere near the apple of your eye? Do you consider the church to be an integral part of your life ... without which your present life would be incomplete?
I. TWO BIBLICAL SIMILES OF VALUE
A. Mt 13:44 Treasure hid in a field
1. too often people focus on ethical issues, etc.
2. the point: a treasure which - in order to possess it - cost all the man owned
B. Mt 13:45,46 One pearl of great price
1. a man searching for the best ... life long search?
2. but to have the best would cost everything he had ... decision time!
II. SOME THINGS FOR US TO CONSIDER
A. Recognition of value
1. both men recognized value when they saw it
2. but do we? how do we determine value of the church?
3. Eph 5:25 gives a look at Jesus value of it
4. Eph 3:10 notes something of Gods value of it
5. do you know you cannot be saved apart from the church? Eph 3:21
6. but valueto you only you can determine
B. Desire to own
1. both men desired what they found
2. one of them was noted to have expressed joy
3. desiring and having are two different things!
4. is the cost to own acceptable? (Lk 14:25-28)
5. the value, the benefits ... Jno 10:10
C. Must sacrifice to own
1. both learned theyd have to give everything to have the one thing ... sacrifice
2. Lk 9:23,24 here is the way Jesus puts it
3. there is far more than money involved here - priorities are involved; family may be involved
4. and I wonder how many of us have sacrificed much to be in the kingdom ... an easy faith?
5. so, the question is, Have we given all?
D. I am committed to own!
1. both men did everything necessary to own
2. just looking, just dreaming, just wishing were not enough
3. the value to receive far exceeded the cost to them
4. our names are in a directory, a church data base - but are they in the Lambs book of life?
5. the difference is in our making the sacrifices ,,, in whatever form they may come ... but the world is so much with us (2 Tim 4:10
1. both men were no doubt thrilled to possess
2. they enjoyed their priceless treasure
3. do we ever have second thoughts? Lk 9:62
4. we must move from concentration on the sacrifice to enjoyment of kingdom life and blessings
5. joy in the kingdom will take us far in how we ultimately value and view it - get beyond price to the precious pearl
CLOSE: Is the body of Christ, the church, so important to you that all of your decisions are made in view of your being a member of it?
Cecil A. Hutson
16 April 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)