INTRO: A book I am reading has some challenging thoughts. In a section which makes some comments about preaching the author comments that preaching needs to occasionally bring us back to joy and wonder of what God has done. If we neglect or forget the amazing acts of God on our behalf , we have eviscerated the faith. Religion becomes rite. Certainly, there is a valid place for the entire spectrum of Bible preaching. But (and I confess inadequacy here) we do need frequent reminders for why we should find joy and wonder in the faith. For example ...
I. THE WONDER OF GODS LOVE
A. 1 Jno 4:19 Here is the great truth in a nutshell
1. ... He first loved us
2. I am awed by the fact that the eternal, almighty God would find anything about mortal man to love!
3. the fact is that He did ... and manifested it
B. Rom 5:8 God loved in spite of our being unlovable
1. God did not stop loving because of mans rebellions
2. He went right on with His plan rooted in love (true, there must be a loving response, etc.)
3. our way is this: if you love me, Ill love you! maybe thats why there is wonder in His love
II. THE WONDER OF THE CROSS
A. Jno 3:16 The golden text of the Bible?
1. He first love us ... and gave His Son as sacrifice
2. there were no options if Holy God was to reconcile unholy man to Himself
3. 1 Jno 2:21-24 only sinless Son could atone
B. Rom 5:10,11 ... reconciled ... by the death of His Son ...
1. now, remember, God took the initiative
2. people were not clamoring for a Savior ... and most obviously rejected Him
3. the cross is a wonder in view of such ingratitude
III. THE WONDER OF GODS FORGIVENESS
A. Rom 3:23-26 through the forbearance of God
1. Ive so often read these wonderful verses
2. but Ive not given enough attention to this little explanatory note!
3. sin should call for swift punishment ... but God (wonder of wonders) sought to forgive
B. Think of Mt 18:21,22
1. does this not help us to appreciate and see the wonder of Gods forgiveness?
2. listen to the wonder: 1 Tim 1:12-17!!!
3. or Heb 10:17 forgiven: forgotten
IV. THE WONDER OF GODS REVELATION
A. Jno 1:1-3,14 Deity mingling with humanity
1. and we beheld His glory
2. 1 Jno 1:1-3 revealed and declared
3. only Christianity has this great blessing - the so-called world religions (pagan, or not) call upon their deities which have not revealed themselves!
B. 1 Pet 1:3,4 ...exceeding great and precious promises ...
1. the written, preserved revelation of God is unparalleled!
2. everything we need for life and godliness God has graciously given us
3. to search seriously for guidance, help in scripture, one cannot help but wonder ... and rejoice
V. THE WONDER OF GODS FATHERHOOD
A.1 Jno 3:1 What manner of love, indeed!
B. To Be owned as Gods child ...
1. is just about more than can take in
2. yet, that is exactly what He chooses to do
3. Rom 8:15-17 here is reason for wonder, awe
CLOSE: If, in these grand initiatives of God, we cannot find wonder and joy, we are sadly deficient in our own relationship to Him. And you can, this morning, begin your spiritual journey of joy by being baptized into Christ.
Cecil A. Hutson
04 November 2001
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)