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December 4, 2005 AM

HEB 11:1-6

INTRO: Among the best known subjects in the religious world is probably the subject of faith. The fact, however, that the subject is one that is well known does not necessarily mean that it is well understood. In fact, the subject of faith, as it relates to relationship with God, is very confused in the world of Christendom (as some would call it). How is it that a subject so basic can be so confused? How is it that a subject so necessary can be so divisive? Those are questions it is not my intention to examine or answer. But they do give emphasis to my thoughts this morning. It really does matter what you believe about faith.


A. Some believe that faith is a gift from God

1. a belief based on Eph 2:8

2. the Calvinistic belief in limited atonement (that God decides arbitrarily who will be lost and who will be saved) requires such a belief

3. the grammar here indicates it is salvation which is the gift of God

4. as one has so well put it: grace is Gods part, faith ours (Robertson)

B. Some believe that faith is all that is necessary to be saved

1. Reformation theology holds to the faith alone viewpoint

2. Rom 5:1 - in reading commentaries, etc. on such verses as this you might well find the commentator adding the word alone after faith

3. this perhaps explains the emphasis on the sinners prayer

4. but the word alone does not appear in the text!


A. That faith is necessary to salvation

1. Heb 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please him...

2. Jno 8:24b - ...if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins

3. 1 Cor 1:17,18 - we must believe in the atoning sacrifice made at calvary

4. universal salvation is simply a fairy tale

5. but what about infant baptism in the absence of faith?

B. That faith is based on the revealed word of God

1. if faith is not a gift, there must be some basis from which it springs

2. Rom 10:17 - the word of God, studied and believed, is that basis

3. Acts 16:14 - this passage has always seemed very significant to me - notice the progression: Lydia heard the word; her heart was opened; she applied what she heard ... so, the next verse!

4. or, Acts 16:30-32 - how could he believe until he hear the word?

5. for this reason we must be people of the book ... seeking, searching, learning, applying

C. That faith alone does not save

1. yes, this is a point of great confusion, controversy

2. but if we simply take what scripture reveals, it truly is very clear

3. for example, Heb 11 demonstrates that faith which receives Gods blessing is always active ... not passive

4. Jas 2:17-24 - ...and not by faith only

5. Rom 16:25,26 - clearly, the nature of saving faith is obedient faith

D. That faith is confident trust

1. it is this confident trust that lead to application, action, obedience

2. Heb 11:24-27 - what led Moses to forsake Egypt? ...seeing him who is invisible (confident trust in Gods promises)

3. Col 2:12 - what led them to baptism? faith in the operation of God

4. 2 Cor 5:6-9 - how can we be accepted of the Lord? walking by faith!

5. I wonder if this daily walk of faith may not be more of a challenge that the obedience of faith in baptism, etc.?

E. That faith must be growing in a disciples life

1. 2 Thes 1:3,4 - points of commendation? growing faith, abundant love

2. Rom 1:17 - a life of righteousness is lived, from beginning to end, by faith ... and faith can never be viewed as a static thing

3. 1 Pet 2:2 - growing faith heavily depends on the word and our ingesting of it

4. it is a lack of growing faith which causes so many disciples to fall

5. it is a lack of growing faith which causes so many dilemmas, perplexities in disciples lives

CLOSE: Faith must be constant in us. It is when faith ebbs that we find ourselves in spiritual trouble. I close with this question of the Lord. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? (Lk 18:8)

Cecil A. Hutson

04 December 2005

God's Plan of Salvation

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 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 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 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)

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!

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)