INTRO: A while back one of our fine members suggested a sermon idea around this question: What if people could see your spots? The thought intrigued me. James wrote that a Christian should keep himself unspotted from the world (Jas 1:27). Suppose, though, everyone could see our spots. We represent ourselves to be pure, to be holy ... but thats how we want others to perceive us. In reality, we may be far from that representation. So, what if others could actually see my spots of impurity. Embarrassing!
I. LETS START WITH CLEANSING
A. Jer 13:23 Can a leopard change his spots?
1. we all know the impossibility of such a thing
2. and the question involves the deep seated, well taught evil which consumed Judah
3. she would not change ... and judgment from God was coming
B. 1 Cor 5:17 ...he is a new creature ...
1. note Eph 4:22-24 something dramatic happens!
2. Jno 8:24 the true believer has real hope
3. Acts 26:20 true believers can repent of sin, evil
4. Acts 22:16 believing, penitent can be cleansed
5. how, why? Rom 1:16 the power of the gospel to affect the hardest of hearts
C. So, the spots are gone
1. Heb 10:16-18
2. 2 Cor 7:1 but holiness is our choice, our responsibility, too
3. in Christ, we must continue in holy living (Acts 26:20, again) - or the spots of sin will begin to attach themselves ... so, Jas 1:27
II. KEEPING THE SPOTS OFF
A. Suppose we become spiritually careless? (Heb 2:3)
1. we begin to neglect our relationship with God
2. neglect leads to bad choices which are sinful
3. and quickly the spots are there ... defacing
B. But we carry on with the charade of spirituality
1. notice Rev 3:1 thou hast a name - reputation
2. most saints in Sardis were, however, dead ... and the Lord knew that
3. but they just kept on with the spiritual act
C. Suppose everyone could have seen the spots
1. the act would be over!
2. shear a sheep ... and his spots will show!
3. they were covering their spots with a spiritual show but the spots were still there
D. I know thy works ...
1. you do not have to impress me - I can be deceived
2. what spots is the Lord seeing - He knows if they have returned because of carelessness, neglect
3. He knows the heart that is not penitent, not seeking true holiness because of a changed heart - Eph 4:24
E. Still, 1 Jno 1:6-10
1. v. 6 suggests the actor - I have no spots
2. the balance of the passage is that of great hope
3. v.7 gives the contrast - habitually walking in the light - this person is instructed (Ps 119:105,130) - this person is penitent for recognized sin occurrences (2 Cor 7:10) - this person is cleansed
F. Where are we?
1. spotted, unspotted? hiding spots?
2. Ps 119:59 we must examine ourselves - we must be honest with ourselves - we must carry on with the real transformation (Rom 12:2)
3. a leopard cannot change his spots ... but you can be rid of yours
CLOSE: But the issue this morning is not whether or not I can see your spots. The issue is that God can ... and does. If there are some changes you need to make because of your spots, make them now!
Cecil A. Hutson
10 November 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)