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May 6, 2007 AM

LK 12:15-21

INTRO: Reading this text, I need to remember that there is no sin in having a good harvest, no sin in having prosperity, no sin in having large barns. We need to think carefully about what Jesus is teaching. He starts with a reminder about "covetousness". And He gives us an illustration of it in a man whose whole world was himself! Note the number of times he uses the little pronoun "I". This man was self centered, and his self centeredness resulted in the sin of covetousness. The age in which we live is truly an age of self centeredness and self absorption. And before we begin to think in terms of others who have this problem, we need to take a hard and honest look at ourselves.

    1. Look at some Biblical illustrations:
      1. Adam and Eve - Gen 3:5 - "just think what we could be"
      2. David and Bathsheba - 2 Sam 11:2-4 - "And David...took her"
      3. Ahab and Naboth's vineyard - I. Ki 21:1-4,15,20
      4. Rich young man - Mt 19:20-22
      5. Demas - 2 Tim 4:10
    2. In each case "self centeredness" is at the root of the sin, the failure
      1. Jas 1:14,15 - notice "drawn away of his own lust"
      2. sin is the behavior of self centeredness!
      3. "it's all about me!" - so many of the choices people make are "all about me" choices ... and sin is certainly "all about me"
      4. until Jesus becomes central to/in our hearts, self will continue in control
      5. we may go through the motions of religion, but sin & rebellion will keep surfacing - self has not been crucified - Rom 6:6
    1. Lust - "a longing for that which is forbidden"
      1. Mt 5:27,28 - here is a very good illustration of "lust"
      2. to have another man's wife is clearly forbidden - no debating that
      3. but Jesus refers even to longing for that which is forbidden!
    2. Longing for the forbidden takes place within us - our minds
      1. the longing too often, though, is allowed outward expression
      2. given the right set of circumstances, the longing is allowed to become overt sin
      3. but the point is that the longing is personal, it is self centered
    1. Permits people to do sinful things and not be able to see their sin
      1. this is one of the amazing things about David's sin with Bathsheba
      2. wise people were telling him, "She's another man's wife"
      3. it required Nathan's story of the two men and the lamb to bring David to his senses - 2 Sam 12:1-6
    2. Permits people to see the sin in others but not in themselves
      1. David quickly saw the sin, the injustice in the little "parable" of Nathan
      2. but Nathan had to identify the sinner as David
      3. Mt 7:3-5 - a graphic word picture illustrating the point perfectly!
    3. Permits self to justify almost any behavior
      1. 1 Ki 21:7 - "you're the king ... you can do or have anything you want"
      2. "I am strong. This won't hurt me. I'm the exception!"
      3. self centeredness causes us to forget that there is no right way to do a wrong thing
    4. Permits self to misbehave without any thought for effect on others
      1. 1 Cor 10:23,24 - Christian behavior must always consider others
      2. the selfishness of sin rarely sees beyond the satisfaction of my desires
      3. notice Gal 2:11-13 - Peter's self centeredness feared the Jewish Christians from Jerusalem ... so, he committed the sin of hypocrisy ... but look how others were "carried away" and sinned with him!
    5. Is self deceiving
      1. Titus 3:3 - note here the progression - "deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures"
      2. deception and illicit desire are permitted by self centeredness
      3. if self is in control, we can convince ourselves of just about anything

CLOSE: Many years ago there was a comic strip called "Pogo". One of the most famous lines from the years of cartoons was this: "We have met the enemy, and he is us." In a world of self absorption we are our own enemy. Is Jesus really enthroned in your heart?

Cecil A. Hutson

06 May 2007

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)