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November 9, 2008 AM


ISA 53:6

INTRO: Toleration, acceptance, self esteem and such are words and ideas which prevail in our society. A contemporary television commercial advertises self image training for little girls who find themselves in a society of great competition. Books like the best seller I'm O.K., You're O.K. tell us that we are all just fine in the skin in which we problems. And there may be some validity and need for all of the above. But I wonder if we have become so enamored with self that we have forgotten the true human condition. What began as an idyllic paradise for man in his relationship with God became a nightmarish situation because humankind was unresponsive to God.

    1. Rom 5:12 - Here is the picture of the human condition
      1. Gen 3:8 - from communion to estrangement
      2. when guilt enters our lives, we do not relish facing God!
      3. and we try to hide from God in so many ways - but there is an inescapable fact...we cannot hide from God!
      4. sin quickly developed into thorns and thistles ... and family crisis
    2. But sin ruins all it touches
      1. Isa 57:20,21 - there was no peace for Adam and Eve
      2. and sin, because of its immediate consequences, disturbs ones peace!
      3. but many choose these days to ignore the fact of sin
      4. and society is awash in the sordid consequences of sin!
    3. Rom 3:23 verbalizes the reality of the human condition - sin
    1. A simple fact: sin has many attractive sides
      1. Satan portrays sin in the most attractive packaging
      2. and Satan has lots of help in "selling" the package
      3. it appeals to eyes, to tastes, to ego - desires are whetted
    2. The apostle John wrote this: 1 Jno 2:16
      1. these things were exactly the appeal to Eve - Gen 3:6
      2. and not one thing has changed in all the years since ... the appeal of sin is so very real - people become immersed in the carnal life
      3. Rom 8:7 - God may be acknowledged as "existing" - but not in any personal way such that His will is acknowledged (more and more, people question even the existence of God - Ps 14:1
    1. Do we understand the term "dead"?
      1. Rom 5:12 - because of sin "death passed upon all men"
      2. why? "for that all have sinned"
      3. and the death here is not the physical phenomenon of caskets/graves
      4. Eph 2:1-3 - "dead" in God's eyes because of sin
    2. ConsiderEph 2:12
      1. a life apart from God is a no hope life ... because one is dead
      2. is such a life appealing, fun, etc.? I have no doubt that it is
      3. see Eph 4:17-19 - this lifestyle, then and now, is that of the world
      4. but I keep seeing "alienated from the life of God"
    3. 2 Cor 4:3,4 - "Lost" is another descriptive word without hope
      1. Lk 15:24 puts both of these words together significantly
      2. "lost" describes so well the human condition
      3. notice, too, Lk 15:6,7 - are you one of the lost?
    1. And I am not speaking here of the great resurrection at time's end
      1. true, I look forward to that time when the dead come from their graves
      2. Jno 5:28,29 - such a day is coming at a time known only to God
    2. But Jno 5:24-26 - This is the great human hope
      1. it is only possible, though, through hearing the message of Christ
      2. it is not possible in carnal living - today's pervasive lifestyle
    3. Col 2:12,13 - Notice "risen with him" and "quickened together"
      1. believing, penitent people who are baptized are made alive again!
      2. people dead in sins are buried and are raised to walk with new life - Rom 6:4,5

CLOSE: "Dead" and "lost" are not particularly pretty words conveying attractive word pictures. But they describe the human condition. They do not have to describe your condition, however. Heaven awaits your decision this morning.

Cecil A. Hutson

09 November 2008

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)