INTRO: There are times when my focus becomes blurred or misplaced! Do you have that problem? It may be that this is just one of those characteristics of humanity with which we must constantly deal. But my specific problem is that in the rush of so many activities and so much planning I lose sight of Jesus, my Savior! I am not talking about a lack of faith or a loss of the knowledge that without Him I would be truly nothing. I am talking about a situation which can develop in which I am not seeing everything through His eyes ... I am not keeping my reading focused in the gospels ... I am not always seeking to learn more, to know more of Jesus. In recent months, however, I have found myself yearning for refocusing and have spent a great deal more time both reading and reflecting on Jesus. Think along with me for a bit.
I IF JESUS...
A. Is not the Christ of prophecy...
1. then, who is He? He could not be the Messiah, the Savior
2. further, He would have to be judged an imposter
3. Lk 24:27 - ...he expounded...the things concerning himself - He certainly believed and claimed He was the Christ of prophecy
4. Acts 3:22-26 ... now, notice Acts 4:4 - the people who knew the prophecies best and could see how Jesus fulfilled them accepted Him as the Christ of prophecy
B. Did not walk on water...
1. then, who is telling us such fairy tales?
2. indeed, the credibility of the gospel records is in serious question
3. Mt 14:24-32 - a dozen or more men saw and reported this - and no one apparently questioned it after the gospel record was written
4. maybe the question of Jesus, ...wherefore didst thou doubt? if valid now
C. Did not heal the blind man...
1. who lied? the man? his parents? the neighbors?
2. someone was determined to mislead others about this event
3. Jno 9:18-21 - the fact is that even the Pharisees were convinced of the miracle ... but they did not want to give Jesus any credit for it!
4. Jno 9:40 - Are we blind also? - maybe that question is relevant
D. Did not die on a Roman cross...
1. then, who did?
2. if it was not the Son of God, then, there is no atonement, no forgiveness
3. 1 Pet 2:21-24 - Peter certainly thought it was Jesus who died on cross
4. Mt 27:26 - Pilate certainly thought it was Jesus whom He sent to cross
E. Did not rise from the dead...
1. then, what happened to the body that had been in the tomb?
2. Christianity rests on the greatest of all hoaxes
3. Lk 24:1-3 - ...and found not the body of the Lord Jesus - empty tomb
4. few have denied that the tomb where He was buried was empty
A. He is the Christ of prophecy - Acts 8:32-35
1. the man was reading from one of the very familiar Messianic prophecies
2. and Philip identified Jesus as the fulfillment of that prophecy
B. He did walk on water - Mt 14:33
1. what else could these eyewitnesses conclude? amazing events!
2. some claim miraculous powers ... but none have walked on water!
C. He did heal the man born blind - Jno 9:10,11
1. notice v. 30 - they knew the blind man was seeing - but were blind
2. this is one of the amazing present realities ... people know that Jesus did these things ... but they do not see the significance of them
D. He did die on a Roman cross - Acts 2:22,23
1. the fact is stated for those who were involved - and they did not deny it!
2. in fact, Acts 2:36,37 - the very people who had demanded His crucifixion are now acknowledging the crucified Jesus is both Lord and Christ
E. He did rise from the dead - 1 Cor 15:4-8
1. an impressive array of witnesses ... none of whom every recanted
2. Rom 1:3,4 - Jesus is the Messiah, the Lord, the Son of God
F. But how has this well attested fact affected your life
1. for many, no doubt, this is just interesting history with a religious twist
2. if, however, all of this never brings you to belief and obedience ... to having Jesus be truly your Lord, you have sealed your eternal fate
CLOSE: It will be a tragedy of tragedies if Jesus is lost in the busyness of our lives!
Cecil A. Hutson
19 September 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)