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September 3, 2000 AM

Ps 119:47

INTRO: The B-I-B-L-E. Yes thats the book for me ... So sing our children in their earliest years of Bible school. For me, nothing changed as I have enjoyed years as an adult. The Bible is still the book for me. One of the great joys of preaching has been the time I have been permitted to spend with the Bible. Over the years I have read other books ... interesting, inspirational, informational. But only one book has commanded so much of my attention. I am thrilled with Gods wonderful word.

I IT ...

A. Counsels me

1. a counselor should be a wise advisor

2. Ps 119:24

3. in any quandary it has Gods advice to offer - but one must spend time knowing, appreciating

B. Reproves me

1. which of us does not at times need correction?

2. Prov 15:32 and 2 Tim 3:16 reproof/correction

3. more than a few times have I been reading, studying in a quiet time and found myself being corrected by what Ive been reading (Prov 3:11,12)

C. Encourages me

1. life as a Christian is counter culture - is a high calling ( Phil 3:14)

2. so, Heb 11:13 and 12:1-4

3. they lived counter to their culture and did it without encouragement of the church, the written word, the cross, etc. - surely, I can, too!

D. Calms me

1. so many questions; frustrations; disappointments

2. illustration: Jno 14:1-3 with Ps 46:10

3. reading scripture is so engrossing - but coming across promise, certainties stills the storms

II IT ...

A. Is perfect in its message

1. Ps 18:7 perfect - without blemish

2. in all of its detail I have never had cause for uncertainty ... its history; its reference to natural law; its prophecy and fulfillment ... all reassure for their integrity

3. its unity of purpose is without glitch - 1 Pet 1:22-25

B. Is a companion in every situation

1. its message, comfort, counsel is always available

2. it goes with me to every place - it is always available as I call on it for the moments need

3. 2 Tim 3:16,17 heres why I need its companionship

C. Is a mine of wisdom I can never exhaust

1. I seldom read it that I do not find another gem

2. Ps 139:17,18 great is the sum of them ....

3. the more one reads, studies, the more connections seem to be made ... the more lights come on

III IT ...

A. Reveals my Makers purpose for me

1. oh, not, the mundane which so many people seek

2. Eph 2:1-7 life through/with Jesus

3. Phil 1:27 life that is becoming (1 Cor 6:19,20)

B. Reveals my lifestyle ...

1. as husband, father, friend, servant, etc.

2. the great principles governing life in Christ are clearly revealed and can be applied by a willing mind

3. so, Eph 5:15-17

C. Reveals my hope - Ps 73:24

CLOSE: If, in my life, I can have brought some of the joy and thrill of the word of God to others, I will feel my life has been worthwhile.

Cecil A. Hutson

03 September 2000

God's Plan of Salvation

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 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 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 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)

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!

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)