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September 2, 2007 AM

LK 8:11-15

INTRO: It is not all that unusual for us to say of another person, "But he/she has such a good heart." Now, we may be saying this of a person who is otherwise in a "position" morally or spiritually where that person probably should not be. But we are a generous people not wanting to be seen as condemning. So, we refer to that person's "good heart". If we do this long enough, we may even convince ourselves that the "good heart" which we have defined outweighs the moral or spiritual things amiss in that person's life. When we come to this place in our assessments, we are no longer making righteous judgments ... but emotional ones.

    1. Acts 10:1,2,19-22 - The general assessment? A good hearted man
      1. it is interesting that even the Jews considered him a good person
      2. he was religious; he was benevolent; he was without reproach
      3. if ever there was a man with a "good heart", it was he
    2. But something was amiss in his spiritual life
      1. Acts 11:12-14 - he was religious, good hearted ... but unsaved!
      2. it is the assessment, the definition God gives which really counts
      3. we do not want to be uncharitable, unkind ... but we really must begin to see things from God's point of view
    1. Prov 4:23 - Our hearts must be guarded carefully
      1. why? because from our heart comes the person we really are
      2. the heart is the seat of our personhood
      3. heart and life are inseparable linked - we cannot have a bad heart and a good life
    2. Mt 15:18-20 - Whence come the defiling things
      1. sin begins in the heart - then, it becomes the action that is recognized
      2. Mt 5:27,28 - we cannot separate what goes on in the heart from the action, activity of life
      3. character, moral and spiritual, begin in the heart and issue in life action
    3. Mk 7:20-23 - In Mark's account his "list" of evil things is more extensive
      1. so, what we could correctly conclude is that neither list is exhaustive
      2. what is contrary to God's revealed will, morally or spiritually, must be considered that which "defiles" a person
      3. Mt 12:35 - still, a good heart produces "good things" - remember, we are thinking of a good heart as God views it - not as you and I might judge
    1. Rom 8:5-7 - Carnal mind versus spiritual mind
      1. "point: carnal mind is enmity against God"
      2. scripture uses "mind" and "heart" as synonyms - so, one whose heart is dominated by things of the flesh is the enemy of God
      3. notice why - "for it is not subject to the law of God" - a spiritual mind, a good heart, is submissive to God's law
    2. Ps 119:11 - A heart guided by God's word
      1. such a heart (mind) is spiritual - led by the Spirit of God
      2. such a heart (mind) accepts the direction, instruction of God's word
      3. 1 Pet 4:1,2 - one armed with the mind of Christ lives to "the will of God"
    3. Lk 8:15 - The "honest and good heart"?
      1. that heart (mind) which has heard the word of God ... and keeps it
      2. further, it is that heart (mind) which continues in His word with patience
      3. from that heart (mind) comes "fruit" - demonstrating the domination of the will of God over/in the heart
    4. There are many, many "good" people - as Cornelius
      1. all around us are people who are kind, caring, morally upright
      2. and for that we should be grateful - I most assuredly am
      3. but in order for these people to be "good hearted" by God's definition (the definition which ultimately counts for eternity) they must hear the word of God and do it (from the heart) - Mt 7:24,25

CLOSE: My emotions and emotional attachments to people whom I love are certainly strong and prejudicial. So, it is difficult, at times, for me to see past my emotions and prejudices to accept God's judgments and definitions. But I do my emotional relationships no favor by trying to make that "good" which God has not made good. Lost people are needing our concern!

Cecil A. Hutson

02 September 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)