INTRO: For not a few people their favorite hymn is It Is Well With My Soul. I know I have sung that hymn since my childhood, and it is truly one which I love to sing with saints of the Lord. There are historical accounts of the writing of the words of the song and biographical records of the author. Neither of these, however, is my interest in these thoughts. It is the words and sentiments which are significant. Another hymn, less often heard, asks the question, Is It Well With Your Soul? There is a time in peoples lives when that question is so needed. But it is the affirmation of this hymn to which I would like to address my thoughts. It is well with my soul...
I. BECAUSE I ENJOY A PROMISED PEACE
A. Life does and will have sorrows like sea billows
1. what form those sea billows will take we do not know
2. it can be a terrible illness; an untimely death; a tragic accident; etc.
3. and Christian lives are not exempted from such things
4. Phil 2:25-27 - a faithful Christian man sick ... and nearly died!
B. Phil 4:6,7 - Here is the promised peace for Christian people
1. Isa 66:12 - peace like a river to the Messianic kingdom, the church
2. this peace is so dependent, though, on the consistency, depth, exercise of our relationship with God - the plea of prayer and the power of the word
3. too many hearts of filled with unanswerable questions ... we must simply go to our knees in prayer and to the word for sustenance
4. Ps 130:5I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait...
II. BECAUSE MY SINS ARE FORGIVEN
A. I fear we do not think enough about the horror of sin
1. we are a feel good society which does not like to be reminded of ugly
2. but how can we really be driven to do anything about the ugly unless we are reminded of it? and horrified by it?
3. Ps 38:3-8 - here is a graphic picture of ugly in a persons life - sin!
4. and this ugly has the potential of taking a person to hell in eternity
B. 1 Pet 2:24 - My sin is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more!!!
1. I admit to the ugly that is sin ... no life is spared from Satans temptations and enticements (Rom 3:23)
2. Acts 22:16 - I recall so vividly having done exactly this - cleansed
3. Heb 10:16-18 - and my sins are remembered no more (not in part, but the whole ... forgiven)
4. this is something I know ... and knowing is the best feeling in the world!
III. BECAUSE I HAVE A PURPOSE FOR LIFE
A. I have spent years trying to crystalize, mentally, that purpose
1. purpose is a very big buzzword these days
2. and as long as I can remember, folks have sought their purpose in life
3. so many people are insecure because their have not found their purpose, or because their purpose keeps shifting
4. maybe the problem is that we want to determine our own purpose
B. Phil 2:13 - ..to will and to do of his good pleasure..
1. in simple terms, my life purpose is to please God
2. and that purpose is an unchanging one - never shifting
3. 2 Cor 5:10 - ..we labor, that ... we may be accepted of him..
4. conforming my life, in all of its aspects, to the pattern of inspired scripture is my purpose ... when I deviate from that purpose, complications come
IV. BECAUSE I HAVE A GREAT HOPE
A. This hope is what keeps the present structured
1. here, again, is a concern I have for so many folks
2. they see no hope of any sort ... they only seek pleasure in the moment
3. and, yes, there are those who are simply trying to survive
4. Rom 8:24,25 - reminds us that we are saved by hope
B. 1 Thes 4:13-18 - Here is my hope!
1. finally to be taken to be with God for eternity
2. Rev 22:20 - John would say, Even so, come, Lord Jesus
3. I could say, And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight...
4. this hope, then, keeps my souls well being always in view ... keeps my course from drifting
CLOSE: Truly, truly, it is well with my soul. I wonder, though, has your sin been taken away by the blood of the cross? Has your faith become obedient in baptism? Sweet friend, if not, how is it possible for it to be well with your soul?
Cecil A. Hutson
11 August 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)