INTRO: Security! What a word! What a desire! What a peace when we feel secure. A traveler on a stormy sea feels secure when he sets his feet on solid land. A child who has been wandering lost feels secure when finally returned to his parents. A weary and worn husband who has fought the wars of the business world feels secure when he steps into the haven of his own home. Real security, as the apostle Paul viewed it, existed in three words ... found in him. To be in Christ was total security for him. No matter what else might be raging about him in Christ all was peace, calm and secure.
I. ONE IS IN CHRIST BY NO ACCIDENT
A. There is - as Paul knew - a means of access
1. and there are not many roads into Him - just one!
2. this is a position of security which one may choose for himself ... and must choose if it is ever to be gained
B. We note Gal 3:26,27: into Christ
1. two vital words ... faith and baptism
2. faith in Christ (trust, confidence, etc.) and baptism into Him (the obedience of faith which actually brings us into this security) throughout the New Testament we find no other means of access
C. The in him is total identification with Christ
1. we need to understand that Christ is the reason for life for Christians
2. in every step of ones way, in every word and action, we must willingly own that identification with the Master (do we not have a dramatic example of the failure of this in Peters denial?)
II. RIGHTEOUSNESS - THE LIFE THAT IS OF CHRIST
A. But not mine own righteousness
1. it seems there is righteousness and righteousness
2. encapsulated in this verse - it seems to me - is a vital principle making the difference between a living faith and a burdensome religion
B. Righteousness as Pharisees lived and taught it?
1. (I think this is exactly the point here his earlier listing of his pedigree must reflect into this)
2. the law of Moses had given rise to a vast body of tradition and law which was cited as authoritative the Pharisees were strict, picky law keepers
3. Mt 15:1-3 ... Mt 23:23,28 the law had become the thing with and for them
4. Pharisees did not look beyond the law to Him who had given the law ... they had forgotten what judgment, mercy, faith were all about
5. it was a religion of dead and deadly formality!
6. it said, in effect, if I can do all of these things just right, then I will have arrived spiritually
C. The obedience of faith had been forgotten
1. note Ps 51:16-19 and 1 Sam 15:22
2. now, let us not forget that the sacrifices were vital and essential but behind them there had to be faith toward and in God .... and that was missing!
3. legalism developed and enveloped Israel
4. and the difference between legalism and righteousness is faith! please etch that in your mind!
D. So, Paul sought a life of righteousness which is of faith
1. he had to move attention to God, to Christ
2. every step of obedience had to become the obedience of faith
(Rom 1:5,6 and 16:26)
3. every step of obedience was in view of what Christ had done for him 2 Cor 5:14,15
4. obedience was still essential as it had always been in mans relationship with God ... but the vital difference was faith!
E. Even now there is the danger of legalism
1. baptism, Lords supper, Lords day, the church, the Christian walk ... all can become mine own righteousness
2. no one of these can be rightly omitted or neglected (as some in reaction tolegalism would want to do)
3. but each and all must ... must have Christ in full view
4. Eph 3:17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts ...
5. when we are totally dominated by Christ in us, the righteousness of our lives will be through the faith in Christ
CLOSE: I would hazard to say that for many (most) Christians it is a burdensome religion or a social necessity. I call upon you tonight to refocus on Jesus ... to do so will restore the joy of your salvation (or perhaps bring it into your life for the first time!)
Cecil A. Hutson
04 June 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)