INTRO: Last Lords day morning we began this lesson. Our emphasis was on the Lords words at v. 20. Rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. The disciples were rejoicing in the fact that beings of the demonic kingdom were subject to them. And they spoke to the Lord of their joy. From the Lords response to them it is obvious that they were rejoicing in the temporary and had become distracted from the ultimate..
I. OUR LESSON CLOSED AT 2 COR 4:16-18
A. In that passage the temporary and the ultimate are seen
1. the point the apostle made was that the immediate, the temporary had to be kept in perspective of the ultimate
2. yes, he experienced physical trials and discomforts because of his faith
3. yes, it would be easy to focus on them
4. but they were so momentary! They could not become his life
B. A similar thought at Heb 11:13-16
1. the Abels, the Enochs, the Noahs, the Abrahams, the Sarahs faced the same difficulty we face...
2. they could have become so consumed in the temporary that the ultimate would be lost in the immediate
3. but the kept the ultimate in view - and they were pilgrims
4. they rejoiced in a promise yet to be fulfilled for them
II. SO, WE LOOK AT FOUR GREAT TRUTHS TO REMEMBER
A. Successful life is not determined by perishable experiences
1. this is not a truth by which the world lives or operates
2. Rom 14:17 ...the kingdom of God is not ... but ...
3. Lk 12:20 no matter how significant ones accomplishments may be; no matter how great may be ones accumulation, it will all be remain behind
B. Successful life in not in praise and gratitude of men
1. surely those people out of who disciples expelled devils were grateful - and gratitude is a wonderful virtue
2. but note Mt 6:1,2
3. the most important thing? Mt25:21 - the praise of God
C. Successful life is concerned with the soul
1. yes, all of these other things are important - Mt 6:32 - and the Lord knows we have need of them
2. but Mt 6:33 - an often read passage - and it is still true (is this, however, a truth to which we only give lip service?)
3. 1 Tim 4:7,8 - the promise of godliness! The promise is the thing!
D. Successful life rejoices in what God has done for us ...
1. rather than rejoicing in what we have done for Him
2. Gal 6:14
3. its far too easy for one to glory in what he does, to rejoice in what he does
4. were it not for the cross, Id be nothing - were it not for the fact that my name is written in heaven, Id be a true no hoper!
Close: In our lives we will have opportunities for service, lowly and great, to the Lord. And I certain find joy in those opportunities. But all that really matters is what the Lord had chosen to do for us. Once again, the big question is this: is your name written in heaven?
Cecil A. Hutson
19 May 2002
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)