INTRO: There are some expressions in scripture which are so graphic that their meaning needs but little explanation. These expressions may actually become anchor points of study and faith because they are simple to understand and simple to remember. Such an expression appears in the verse we have read. It is almost overshadowed by the real subject ... that of trouble between two Christian women and Pauls hope for its resolution. Yet, it remains as a great, brilliant gem of thought which is fascinating and worthy of some scriptural exploration. The apostle refers to fellow-laborers, whose names are in the book of life.
I. WHAT IS THIS BOOK?
A. It is a word picture to help human understanding
1. in Phil 3:20 he has referred to our citizenship
2. citizens of that time were enrolled in books of citizenship removed at death
3. your name in that book was privilege and responsibility
B. This book of life is Gods remembrance of His people
1. 2 Tim 2:19 God knows who His people are
2. Mal 3:16 a book of remembrance was written
3. by the same token God knows who is not His
C. This book of life is census of Christs kingdom (Rev 21:27)
1. 1 Pet 2:9,10 the holy nation
2. now, this citizenship does not depend on national origins physical birth does not mean automatic entry - one may live a lifetime and never be in this book
3. but something happens to cause ones name to be enrolled there ... to cause God to consider a person His
II. HOW DOES ONES NAME COME TO BE WRITTEN THERE?
A. Perhaps Acts 2:47 will help us answer
1. here is the Lord adding to the church, the kingdom
2. and He is adding the saved (Col 1:13)
3. our study of Acts 2 will show us the process of this salvation: faith in Jesus, repentance of sin, baptism for remission of sin ... ie, salvation
4. this is that something which happens to cause ones name to be enrolled; to make him a citizen of the kingdom
B. Note some description of these people
1. Mal 3:16 they fear the Lord Dan 12:1 Gods people
2. Rev 3:4 they keep themselves undefiled
3. they live in loyalty to their King they live responsibly to the ideals of the kingdom! what more could God ask?
III. WHAT IF YOUR NAME IS NOT THERE?
A. Remember, if God doesnt put it there, it wont be there
B. Rev 20:15 Cast into the lake of fire
1. here is a vivid picture of the final judgment
2. that book of life is going to be there ... and God will discover your name is not there ... and your eternal fate will be sealed!
3. you should act to have your name enrolled just as the people of the 1st century did
C. But there is another idea here blot out (Rev 3:5)
1. once name is written, it can be removed by God!
2. this is a shocking realization for many people who hold to ideas of once saved, always saved but it is only reasonable
3. Ex 32:33 him will I blot out or Rev 22:19 God shall take away his part
4. 2 Pet 2:13-15 those who have forsaken the right way will receive the reward of unrighteousness ... their names must have been once there ... then, removed because they chose to forsake the Lord!
5. so, 2 Pet 1:10,11 makes a lot of sense
CLOSE: Is your name written in the book of life? Is there a reason in your life for you to wonder if perhaps the Lord is ready to blot out your name? Its something to think about.
Cecil A. Hutson
17 September 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)