Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Salvation’

The bread of life

March 5th, 2012

John 6:25-35, 51 

  • Jesus is trying to teach about Himself with miracles – like the bread that came from heaven. Jesus is referring to Himself as the Bread that came from heaven.
  • 4 main points:
  1. The Bread from heaven
  • He came down – different to other religions, where the god doesn’t come down but is too high to come down into the thick of our lives. But God did come, becoming flesh.
  • If He didn’t come down then we would be left in confusion about who God is.
  • You can know God personally through Jesus Christ. Do you know Him?
  • God became vulnerable in this world, knowing it would cost Him His life. You can go to God knowing He has been there, known every form of vulnerability.
  1. He satisfies the deep hunger we have
  • Jesus is the only one who can satisfy the spiritual hunger we have for life.
  • We try to find fulfilment in various places – family, friends, career, etc. But at the end of it all we are empty still.
  • We have different ways of handling the emptiness we face – so many substitutes for the Bread.
  • The first step alcoholics take towards recovery is admit they have a problem and are powerless. We need to do the same.
  • Jesus is like the stimulant for life that we crave deep down. We receive true freedom and satisfaction from Him.
  • God the Father had His seal of approval over Jesus, God the Son, and was pleased with Him – before Jesus did any miracles. God’s approval is not dependent on performance.
  • Are you driven by fear of approval? If you accept Jesus, the Father accepts you and puts His seal of approval on you.
  1. He gives life
  • Jesus came down to give His life for us.
  • This is brought to a climatic point at the cross – Jesus gave His life for us; He gave up His life to save us.
  • God comes down and fulfils His perfect justice to pay for our sin, so we could come into relationship with Him.
  • We can’t achieve salvation through merely trying to follow Jesus’ example.
  1. He is to be received
  • V.29 – in order to achieve salvation there is no work to be done but to believe and receive Jesus. It is finished!
  • Jesus is a gift to be received.
  • You don’t “sort yourself out” or “clean yourself up” in order to come to God – you simply come as you are and give all your baggage to Jesus!
  • Seize the day!

 

Author: Categories: General Tags: ,

Welcome Home: The offer of Salvation

September 15th, 2011

It is Free

  •  Jesus removes the social, cultural and moral barriers to offer her salvation. Culturally, men and women didn’t speak to each other and morally, she had five husbands so would have been shunned by society.
  • If we want to see Brightonians saved, we need to leave barriers at the door – dress, career, intellect, education, sexual orientation…We can’t let them get in the way of the good news of Jesus that we have to share.
  • It’s important that we don’t enter into conversations with non-Christians by taking the moral high ground or speaking out of compulsion or to ‘look good’ to others. People also don’t want to be treated as a ‘project’ to be completed.
  • Sharing our faith with others should be sweet but challenging. Jesus’ salvation is a gift, but it also challenges our pride – we like to think that our efforts contribute towards our salvation.

It Satisfies

  •  As we need water to survive, Jesus says we need living water to be satisfied as well.
  • On the outside, people might look happy but often feel empty on the inside. People who have accepted Jesus into their lives will live with a well of living water inside and it will be like a flowing stream – no matter what you throw at it, it will keep on going.

It is a process

  •  We cross a line of faith to become a Christian but it is also a process over a period of time.
  • Nicodemus was morally incredible but Jesus is very direct with him in telling him that salvation is a free gift and that his morality counts for nothing but with the lady at the well, he knows she is already aware of her mistakes so he takes the opportunity to offer her salvation.
  • When someone is at the top of their game in looks, wealth etc., they are least likely to think about the meaning of life but when things start to crumble, friends start to disappear and they will be ready to hear the good news of the gospel.
  • We must look at ourselves as carriers of the good news of Jesus Christ. Are we amongst our neighbours and our community? We need to know them so that we can be there for them in crisis.
  • We need to bring about conviction as well as tell them of good news. Jesus asked the woman at the well to fetch her husband, knowing that she had five previous husbands. He showed her that she was putting her meaning of life into her relationships to bring about her conviction. This then highlighted her need for salvation in Jesus Christ.
  • John 4:14 – Only Jesus can quench our thirst
  • Jesus offers so much more that forgiveness – he can be our essence of life and our all in all

 How is Salvation received?

  •  Jesus says to us that He has seen us at our worst but He still loves us. He has died for us in our place so that we can be forgiven and have a relationship with God.
  • He has cleared our debt for us –something that no man can do for us, and he does it joyfully.
  • Salvation is only received when we respond. The woman at the well responded and her life was turned upside down. She went to tell people of Jesus, people that had hated and neglected her
  • We must feel confident to meaningfully invite people to church – if friends see how important Jesus is to us, they will take our invitations seriously.
  • John 4:13

 

 

 

Author: Categories: Welcome Home Tags: , ,

The Test of Faith

March 14th, 2011

Background

James 1:2-4

  • James is the brother of Jesus but doesn’t mention this – only referring to himself as the servant of God; the bond-slave of Jesus Christ.
  • Although James cared about God’s teaching, he was an unbeliever of Christ for a large part of his life (John 7:5, Mark 3:21).
  • James believes in Jesus when the risen Christ appears to him (1 Corinthians 15:7). James was profoundly affected and later became leader of the Church in Jerusalem.
  • The book of James assumes that all readers are followers of Jesus Christ. Of 108 verses, 60 are commands. It is important to remember that Christianity is not moralism – James tells Christians how to live in a godly way in light of what we have become in Christ. First we must accept the Saviour, then we can receive advice.
  • We must look at our brothers and sisters and be able to see qualities of Christ, the refining of godly character. Non-Christians looking in must be able to see this life lived out – to see the action that comes from being loved by God.

The doctrine of joy in trials

  • Count it only joy when you meet trials and times of testing, rather than looking at it as punishment or the absence of God.
  • The word ‘meet’ is not sufficient, we will be set upon by trials and they will be sudden and savage. Everybody who wants to live a life in Jesus will be persecuted (2Timothy 12). But we must find God’s purpose within the trial, rather than just praying that he remove it.
  • Trials might come in God calling us to hard things which might require the laying down of cherished things. Whether these sacrifices of our own desires are sinful or not, God is calling us to sonship and His intent is for us to receive the riches of Christ.
  • We must count it (the testing of faith) all joy because trials produce endurance/steadfastness. We gain stability in the place of anxiety and confusion. God wants to show us what we’re made of and to trust him in our time of testing. All things work together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

James 1:12

Difference between temptation and trial

  • Temptation and trial are similar in that they both mean ‘testing’.
  • Temptation is often associated with overstepping and being indulgent. God sees it as selling ourselves short and settling by not attaining to that which he has purchased for us. We must trust his ways, otherwise we will be left disappointed and bitter.
  • We are also tempted to doubt, fear and avenge. But His perfect love drives out fear.
  • There are two shades of testing. Trials test us to prove character and to show us what we’re made of. Temptation aims to disprove and tests us for destruction.
  • The Devil is the one who tempts us, but he can only do it with our own desires and with a door that we have left open. Do not give the devil a foothold (Ephesians 4:22).
  • Temptation can lead to sin and in doing so, will affect our view of God. We must repent and break the barrier that we have created with it.
  • 1 Corinthians 10 – God will not tempt us beyond what we can handle. He is sovereign and has control over everything, even the Devil. He does not commit evil but permits it to happen for His purposes.
  • Evil comes from ourselves and what man has done with his relationship with God. We ushered death into the heart of creation.
  • We have a will and our will may suggest ideas to us, but if we are in Christ, then our will is under the control of the Holy Spirit.

Tempted in every way but without sin

  • It was God’s will to lead Jesus into temptation and to test his resolve, but Jesus’ weapon was scripture. The words of God in the hands of his children are powerful.
  • Jesus experienced temptation to a far greater extent, we give in before it can fully take hold.
  • Because Jesus was tempted, we have a high priest who can identify with our struggles and walk us through them.
  • God wants to establish us; He is looking for progress and wants to restore and build us up. We must take action (Job 5:17-18).

Hebrews 2:1-11

August 2nd, 2010

Hebrews deals with the glorious theme of the Supremacy of Jesus Christ.

Here in this passage there are 3 main ideas.

Don’t Drift Away

Sadly some do drift away out of church fellowship. But here are compelling reasons not to do so.
• Because of the supremacy of Christ. This is particularly described in Hebs 1:1-3
• Because of the anger of God. The writer asks here; how can we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? (vs.3)
• Because this message of salvation is the Truth. It was spoken first by the Lord himself who is the Truth. It was attested to by first hand witnesses. It was confirmed by signs and miracles.

The Plan of God

The writer quotes from Psalm 8 which exalts the greatness of man as God’s plan was to bring everything under his feet. Men and women are meant to rule on the earth but because of sin we’ve mucked it up. However through the death of Christ not only have our sins been forgiven but we have been restored to the position that God intended – but we don’t yet see it! (See vs. 8).
However right now we recognise that Christ created the earth, so we should be living responsibly with regard to the environment and also anticipating the new earth which is part of the fruit of Christ’s redeeming work at Calvary.
Also, God’s plan will be fully worked out in us when finally we rule with Christ over a new creation. Rev 11:15 says that when the final trumpet blows then the kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever. Yes, and we shall reign with him.

Jesus is the Perfect Saviour

Vs. 10 says that Jesus is made perfect through suffering. This is not a reference to his character, but simply to the fact that he became our perfect Saviour when he died for our sins, as nothing else needs to be done to achieve our redemption.
He is our perfect Saviour because:
• He sorts out creation. He will rule over it forever with joy.
• He sorts out our destiny. He is leading many sons to glory (vs.10) and glory includes the fact that we will reign with him.
• He sorts out relationship. Through his redeeming work Jesus makes us his brothers and sisters. (vs.11).

Jesus is the ‘founder’, or better the ‘Champion’ (vs.10) of our salvation.
We cannot drift away from such a great salvation.

Author: Categories: Hebrews Tags: , , , , ,

Joy… Because of Salvation

May 4th, 2009

Download video | Download audio

In my last 3 messages as an Elder at CCK we are going to ‘go out with Joy’ as we consider first of all ‘Joy…because of Salvation’.

Hebrews 10:14 ‘Because by one sacrifice he has made perfect for ever those who are being made holy.’

Firstly, One sacrifice. The priests of Israel offered up daily sacrifices for sin in the Temple. But despite the daily and continual sacrifices permanent cleansing from sin was never accomplished. The Priest of the new order, Jesus Christ offered up himself in sacrifice for our sins once and for all. This good news is so good that throughout Christian history so many have been unable to accept how good it is and have tried to add their own offering to the offering of Christ. But Christ sat down at the right hand of God (Hebrews 10:12) to demonstrate his work was finished and his sacrifice was accepted. Nothing else is necessary to achieve the forgiveness of our sins other than this one sacrifice.

Secondly, Perfect for ever. The logical outcome of one sacrifice for our sins is that we become perfect for ever. Challenging as this concept may appear it is:

  • Our legal status. 2 Corinthians 5:19
  • How God sees us. Ephesians 1:4
  • The very meaning of eternal salvation.
  • The way we ought to live, actually reckoning ourselves dead to sin. Romans 6:11
  • An assurance of our salvation. Cf. Hebrews 10:14 and Hebrews 7:25

Thirdly, Being made holy. ‘Perfect for ever’ is justification which must be accompanied by sanctification – ‘being made holy’. This is the most succinct statement of these two great doctrines in one verse. Being made holy is not a matter of going back to the Law for our sanctification. We are joined to Christ who is our righteousness and holiness
(1 Corinthians 1:30). As we draw our life from Christ we will grow in holiness.
If you’ve lost the wonder of your salvation think and pray this verse and go out with joy!

Mount Carmel – Gunfight at OK Corral

April 19th, 2009

Elijah arrived at Mount Carmel for the showdown with the prophets of Baal. This represents the climax of Elijah’s ministry.

God often allowed Israel to be up against overwhelming odds where his hero stands virtually alone so that God can break in and demonstrate that salvation comes ultimately from God.

Moses stood against mighty Pharaoh and his army. David stood against Goliath and the Philistine army. Each of them stood virtually alone. Gideon had to cut his army down to only 300 to stand against the tens of thousands of Midianites. Each time God wanted to demonstrate His own power to intervene with salvation.

God always needed a mediator who would represent Him through obedience and faith so that He could work through His agent to bring deliverance.

Elijah represented God on this occasion. He showed complete contempt for the false religion represented by Baal. The Bible never suggests that all religions ultimately lead to God. False religion is despised (Romans 1:21-23).

The exposure of false religion
The prophets of Baal begin their ritual leaping around the altar.

They move on to ‘cutting themselves’ and displaying the kind of self-harm sometimes associated with religions that try to rid themselves of guilt through asceticism, special washings, pilgrimage etc.

Thirdly, they raved, moving into a frenzy totally unrelated to life.

Some reject Christianity because of its outrageous claim to be uniquely right. Many would argue, ‘How can only one religion be the right one?’ but this is not a scientific reason to question but rather an emotional response of rejection. It is not logical.

Not all religions lead to the same conclusion.

Restoring the covenant relationship
Elijah invited the people to draw near and rebuild the altar with its reminder of the twelve tribes and God’s covenant relationship to them, as reflected in Exodus 28:17-21 by the twelve beautiful gems on the High Priest’s chest, each expressing God’s tender love towards His people.

Elijah, the obedient servant, prays according to the will of God and fire falls.

Jesus said, ‘If you abide in me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will and it will be done for you’ (John 15:7).

Another greater showdown

Before we close, let’s remember another hill where another encounter took place, another crowd stood against a single mediator.

On this occasion, instead of the mediator taunting like Elijah did the prophets of Baal, he himself is being taunted.

‘He trusts in God let Him rescue him if he delights in Him.’

‘If you’re the Son of God, come down from the cross.’

‘He is the King of Israel, let him come down now from the cross and we will believe in him.’

No fire falls from heaven. No answer comes from the sky. They cry, ‘He saved others, he cannot save himself.’

If Jesus the great mediator of God is going to save us, he cannot save himself. There can be no answer from heaven. There can be no miraculous escape. He must endure the suffering that others might be saved.

Later, Paul explains, in Colossians 2:14, ‘He cancelled the writing that stood against us with its legal demands. He set it aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to an open shame by triumphing over them.’

He could not save himself because he was saving us.

This is the greatest showdown of all time. Salvation is from the Lord. He must save. He must deliver.

This is Jesus in his glory
King of heaven dying for me.
It is finished, he has done it.
Death is beaten
Heaven beckons me.

You can watch or listen to this sermon here

Author: Categories: Elijah Tags: , , ,