1 PET 4:17-19
INTRO: I want to begin this morning with of affirmations. I believe in the grace of God. I believe in the mercy of God. I believe in the love of God. I bask in the reality of these truths. There is a contemporary view of Gods love, however, which seems to want to ignore personal responsibility. People live and act in a way which pleases them, and they expect that Gods love will ultimately overlook their choosing not to please Him! Furthermore, many folks become unwitting enablers by saying, Dont you think Gods love will overlook that? So, a person just continues in his wayward irresponsibility ... making no correction ... expecting God, I think, to just look the other way. So, work with me this morning as we explore this matter.
I LETS BEGIN WITH SOME TEXTS WHICH MAY BE FAMILIAR
A. Jno 14:15 - If ye love me, keep my commandments
B. Jno 15:14 - Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you
C. 1 Cor 6:9-11 - And such were some of you...
D. 2 Cor 10:3-6 - ...bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience...
E. 1 Thes 4:1,2 - ...how ye ought to walk and to please God...
F. 2 Thes 1:7-9 - ...taking vengeance...on them...that obey not...
G. 1 Jno 2:3-6 - ...if we keep his commandments...
H. 1 Jno 5:2,3 - ...this is the love of God ... keep his commandments...
I. These texts from the New Testament are so clear - no ambiguity
1. how, then, can we be comfortable with the belief that Gods love will overlook sin and disobedience?
2. in fact, it is God who explicitly says that our love for Him is manifested in our obeying Him
II BUT LETS LOOK IN ANOTHER DIRECTION
A. Lk 24:46-48 - ...and that repentance and remission of sins...
1. our entire discussion may very well hinge on the word repentance
2. that is the word which says profoundly that Gods love will not overlook sin and disobedience
3. very basic to the meaning of this word is change ... turning
4. so, the gospel is a message of change - scripture does not contemplate the idea that people may go on living in their sin(s) ... and please God
B. Did you notice the were in 1 Cor 6:11?
1. being washed did not sanctify their adultery, their homosexuality, their stealing, etc.
2. repentance said they had to change ... couldnt keep on in their sin
3. Rom 6:1,2 - change involves not only attitude and heart ... it involves our actions ... our choosing to leave our sin behind and live in holiness
4. 1 Tim 1:12-16 - question? could Paul have continued his blaspheming, his persecuting, his injuring after having been cleansed in baptism? I know of no one who would answer, Yes
III SO, WHAT DID (DOES) GODS LOVE DO?
A. First, Gods love made provision for cleansing by Jesus blood
1. 1 Jno 4:9,10 - notice the words God sent ... and sent...
2. Rev 1:5 - Jesus blood is the cleansing agent - God provided it
B. Second, Gods love published this great news to people in sin
1. Mk 16:15,16 - this news was too good to be kept secret
2. and the love of God wanted people everywhere to know of this
C. Third, Gods love forgives penitent people when they are baptized
1. Acts 2:38 - notice, however, that repentance (change) is explicit here
2. when dirty clothes are washed, what do you expect? clean? yes - but the point is there is a change in them! - if there is no change, you look for a new washing machine! you expect (and correctly) change
3. so, sweet friends, does God!
D. Fourth, Gods love reveals what kind of life pleases Him
1. 1 Thes 4:1,2 - how could we please Him without this word from Him?
2. Gods love, therefore, is not in question here - what may very well be in question is our love for Him!
3. I know that sounds harsh ... even judgmental - that is not what I intend
4. however, we need to wake up to reality
CLOSE: Never doubt Gods love for you. That fact has been demonstrated abundantly. The thing with which we need to be concerned is how are we manifesting our love for Him. He has explained how we manifest our love for Him in scripture. Are we willing to do as He has revealed?
Cecil A. Hutson
29 February 2004
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)