Title: Five Instructive Words
Text: Psalm 115:3
Readings: Office: Buddy Daugherty Auditorium: Merle Hart
Subject: How Sinners Are Saved
Date: Sunday Evening - November 17, 1996
Tape # T-9
We often miss great privileges by failing to observe and take advantage of those things that are nearest us. We seldom notice those things that we see every day.
· Old Salem
· Old Fort Harrod
· McDowell House
Frequently, we miss great blessings by failing to observe those things revealed in Holy Scripture which are most common. Tonight, I want us to observe some things that are very common in the conversation of religious people, but seldom meditated upon with serious thought.
If you are taking notes, the title of my message is Five Instructive Words. Here are five words, found throughout the Bible, words full of instruction, words we need to understand. What I have to say tonight is so simple that the smallest child can get it and so profound that we will never fathom it. Follow me through the Scriptures, as we look at these five words together.
Psalms 115:3 "But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased."
Without question, the greatest word in the bible is the word “GOD.” Here is a word that has no rival. It contains all things. When I read the word “God,” I think of the Eternal Trinity - The Mighty Creator - The Marvels of Creation - My Heavenly Father - My Savior - and My Master. “God is love!” God is truth. God is gracious. God is holy. God is wise. God is omnipotent. God is everywhere. God is great, infinitely, incomprehensibly great! “Canst thou by searching find out God?” Who can measure the fulness of this word - “God?” Let his name be spoken with reverence and fear. “For holy and reverend is his name!”
No doubt, the blackest word in the Bible is “sin.”
Psalms 51:1-5 "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. (2) Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. (3) For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. (4) Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. (5) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me."
It takes three words to describe this horrible thing we call sin.
· Iniquity - In Equity, Missing the Mark
· Transgression - Breaking the Law
· Sin - Our Evil Nature
Sin brought death to our race. Sin separated us from God. Sin has marred, defiled, and deformed God’s creation. All that is good in this world is caused by God. All that is evil in this world is caused by sin. Thank God, he rules the evil as well as the good. But the cause of evil is sin. Murder, rape and robbery, persecution, poverty and pain, sickness, bereavement and death, are all the fruits of sin. Were it not for sin, these things would not exist. And when God has completely delivered us from sin, these things will exist no more (Rev. 21:4-5).
The saddest word in the Bible is the word “depart.” There are some people to whom the Lord Jesus Christ will one day say, “Depart from me, ye cursed; I never knew you.” In your wildest imagination, in your terrifying nightmare, can you think of any word that is more horrible, more dreadful, more hopeless, more sad than that? What a sad, sad word -”Depart from me!”
Matthew 7:22-23 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."
Matthew 25:41 "Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:"
Matthew 1:21 "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins."
The most precious word in the Bible is the word “Jesus!” “Thou shalt call his name Jesus,” the angel said to Joseph, “for he shall save his people from their sins.” “Unto you therefore which believe, he is precious!”
“Jesus,” O how sweet the name!
“Jesus,” everyday the same!
“Jesus,” let all saints proclaim
His worthy praise forever!
A. Jesus is Jehovah, our God!
B. Jesus is the Lord our Righteousness!
C. Jesus is our sin-atoning Substitute!
D. Jesus is our Advocate and Great High Priest!
E. Jesus is our Great King!
F. Jesus is our Savior!
· I have no need but Jesus!
· I have no want but Jesus!
· I have no claim but Jesus!
· I have no plea but Jesus!
· I have no hope but Jesus!
· I have no right but Jesus!
· I have no peace but Jesus!
· I have no might but Jesus!
Isaiah 45:22 "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else."
I believe the happiest word in the Bible is the word “saved.” We hear this word al the time. We use it constantly. It is used in the Word of God to describe the state and condition of those people who have been brought into a living union of faith with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. “God hath saved us and called us.” “By grace are ye saved through faith.” All who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, all who truly trust the Son of God, are saved. It is written, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” But what does it mean to be saved by the grace of God through faith in Christ? To be saved is...
· To be loved and chosen of God (Eph. 1:3-4).
· To be redeemed and justified by the precious blood of Christ - “The Son of God loved me and gave himself for me.”
· To be born again and called by the Spirit of God (Eph. 2:1).
· To be forgiven of all sin (Eph. 1:7; Rom. 4:8).
· To be freed from the curse of the law (Gal. 3:13).
· To be freed from all possibility of condemnation (Rom. 8:1, 33, 34).
· To have peace with God (Rom. 5:1).
· To have eternal life (1 John 5:11).
· To have the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:9, 14).
· To own and acknowledge that Christ is Lord (Rom. 10:9-10).
· To love the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 16:22).
· To be an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:17).
Do you see what a blessed, happy, delightful word this word “saved” is? It is a choice word in the vocabulary of God’s elect. “The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!”
There is good news in this word “saved.” “Look unto me,” the Savior says, “and be ye saved!”
I want us to look at this word, “saved,” as it is used in five passages of Holy Scripture. The Bible tells us that all who are saved are...
· Saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
· Saved with difficulty (1 Pet. 4:18).
· Saved by faith (Lk. 7:50).
· Saved by hope (Rom. 8:24).
· Saved by losing (Matt. 16:25).
A. The apostle Paul tells us that we are saved by grace (Eph. 2:8-9).
Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (9) Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Throughout the Scriptures we are taught, again and again, that salvation, from start to finish, is the work of God’s rich, free, abundant, sovereign grace in Christ. The Word of God allows no place for human merit, gives no credit to human dignity and offers no reward to human works, except eternal damnation.
1. The covenant of salvation is a covenant of grace (2 Tim. 1:9).
2. Election to salvation is the election of grace (Rom. 11:5-6).
3. Redemption, the basis of salvation, is a work of grace (Rom. 3:24).
4. The call of the Spirit is the call of grace (2 Tim. 1:9).
5. Faith in Christ is the gift of grace (Eph. 2;8; Col. 2:12).
6. Perseverance in salvation is the preservation of grace (1 Pet. 1:5).
7. Heaven, the completion of salvation, is the reward of grace.
“Naught have I gotten, but what I received;
Grace hath bestowed it since I have believed!
Boasting excluded, pride I abase -
I’m only a sinner, saved by grace!”
Salvation is the work of grace alone. And the grace of God by which we have been saved is...
· Sovereign Grace!
· Eternal Grace!
· Unconditional Grace!
· Immutable Grace!
· Effectual Grace!
The whole work of salvation is God’s work; and it is entirely the work of grace (Col. 2:10-15).
Colossians 2:10-15 "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: (11) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: (12) Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (13) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (14) Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (15) And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it."
Any mixture of works with grace is a total denial of grace (Gal. 5:1-4; Rom. 11:6).
Romans 11:6 "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."
Galatians 5:1-4 "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. (2) Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. (3) For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. (4) Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."
B. The apostle Peter tells us that we are saved with difficulty (1 Pet. 4:18).
1 Peter 4:18 "And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
The word “scarcely” does not imply that there is any uncertainty about salvation for God’s elect, or that their eternal acceptance with God is not sure.
· We are complete in Christ (Col. 2:10; 1:12).
· He is able to save to the uttermost!
· Christ knows his sheep. He will most assuredly give them everyone eternal life (John 10:27-29).
The word “scarcely” does not mean that some of the Lord’s people will just barely get into heaven! A full entrance is provided for God’s elect in Christ. We shall sweep into glory triumphantly, in full array, clothed in the righteousness of Christ!
“Bold shall I stand in that great day!
For who ought to my charge shall lay,
While through Christ’s blood absolved I am
From sin’s tremendous guilt and blame?”
What, then, does this word “scarcely” mean? It means that it is no easy thing for God to save a sinner. There are many difficulties which must be overcome. The law must be honored. Justice must be satisfied. Righteousness must be maintained. Sin must be punished. Before God’s elect could be saved, a mighty work of redemption had to be performed. A better translation of this verse is - “If the righteous with difficulty be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
1. The difficulty lay with the holiness and justice of God.
How can God be just and yet justify the ungodly? How can God both honor his holy law and save guilty sinners? How can the sinner be punished and yet forgiven? How can the guilty die and yet live?
The answer is Christ! As a man, as the sinner’s Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ met every need of fallen man, met every demand of God’s holy law, satisfied every claim of divine justice, fulfilled every requirement of God’s righteousness, and overcome every difficulty that lay in God’s way for the salvation of his elect (Rom. 3:24-26).
Illustration: One Room School
· Christ brought in everlasting righteousness for us (John 17:4).
· Christ satisfied divine justice as our Substitute (2 Cor. 5:21).
· We have been made the righteousness of God in him.
2. The difficulty also lay in the nature and will of man.
It is written, “Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” “Men love darkness rather than light.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God.” All men and women by nature are “lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.” The difficulty in salvation is the depraved nature of man, the fact that we are all sinful flesh, proud, rebelling against God and the gospel of his grace. Before any sinner will ever be saved, two mighty miracles of grace must be performed.
· The heart must be renewed (John 3:5-7).
· The will must be broken (Psa. 110:3; Zech. 12:10).
Christ must be formed in you (Gal. 4:19). You must be created anew in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17). This is a miraculous work which only God can perform. The new birth is a resurrection from the dead; and a resurrection is a miraculous thing!
“It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
It took a miracle to hang the world in space,
But when God saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!”
C. Our Lord Jesus tells us that we are saved by faith.
Faith is not the cause of salvation. That is the grace of God. Faith is not the basis of salvation. That is the obedience of Christ. And faith is not the power by which salvation is performed. That is the call of the Spirit. But faith is the means by which salvation is received and enjoyed; and personal faith in Christ is vital. Without it, you will never be saved.
1. Look at Luke 7:50 - “And he said to the woman, thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace.”
You know the story of this woman. It is one of the most touching and instructive stories in the Bible. The object of her faith was Christ. Her tears washed his feet. Her hair was the towel with which she dried his feet. Her lips tenderly kissed his feet. What does this story teach us about faith?
· Saving faith looks to Christ. She came to him.
· Saving faith grieves over sin. She wept.
· Saving faith is humble. It takes its place “at his feet.”
· Saving faith loves Christ. She kissed his feet.
· Saving faith is submissive, self-denying and sacrificial. “Costly ointment!” (Mk. 14:4-5).
· Saving faith serves Christ. “She hath done what she could” (Mk. 14).
2. Now look at Luke 18:42. Our Lord spoke these same words to blind Bartemaeus. “Receive thy sight, thy faith hath saved thee.”
The experiences of Bartemaeus and the woman in Luke 7 were not at all alike. Their faith was the same. It had the same object - Christ. And it had the same characteristics - Humility and repentance, love and submission. But they experienced different things.
· The woman’s faith acted like a woman. She showed tenderness and affection. The man’s faith acted like a man. He showed determination and strength, crying, “Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!”
· The woman did not speak. As a woman should be in public, she was silent. But the man continued to cry aloud. He could not be silenced.
· The woman wept much. The man pleaded for mercy.
· The woman’s faith gave quiet service to the honor of Christ. The man’s faith gave public praise to the honor of Christ.
The important thing to note is the fact that their experiences differed greatly; but their faith was the same. They both believed Christ. That simply means, there is not need for you to try to match your experience of grace with mine. Do not look to your own experience or to mine. Look to Christ alone. “Look unto me!”
“My faith looks up to Thee, Thou Lamb of Calvary,
Now hear me while I pray, Take all my sin away,
Oh let me from this day be wholly Thine!”
D. In Romans 8:24, the apostle Paul tells us that we are saved by hope.
The world uses the word “hope” to express a baseless wish, or desire - “I hope it will rain today.” But that is not the way the Bible uses this word. In the Bible the word “hope” has a foundation. It is full of expectation. The believer’s hope of salvation is a hope based upon revelation. Our hope is more than what we desire. It is what we have reason to expect and anticipate. If you trust Christ, you have reason to expect eternal salvation. If you do not trust Christ, you have not hope.
1. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we have “a good hope through grace” (2 Thess. 2:16).
· We hope that our sins are forgiven.
· We hope to be resurrected when Christ comes.
· We hope to be made like Christ.
· We hope to receive a full reward through grace in Christ.
· We hope to reign with Christ.
These are all blessings of grace which we have good reason to anticipate and expect if we trust Christ. Peter said, “Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you.”
2. Here is the threefold reason of our hope.
a. Our hope is based upon the Word of God (Isa. 1:18-19; Matt. 11:28-30; John 3:16, 36; 1 John 1:9).
b. Our hope is based upon the righteousness and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa. 53:4-6; 2 Cor. 5:21; Gal. 3:13; 4:4-5; 1 Pet. 3:18).
I have no merit before God, except the righteousness of Christ. I have no plea for mercy, except the blood of Christ. But resting my soul entirely upon the merits of Christ’s righteousness and shed blood, I am full of confidence, hope, and expectation before God. “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32).
c. Our hope is based upon the resurrection of Christ (Rom. 8:31-39).
NOTE: Do you see what I am saying? “We are saved by hope.” That hope is a great desire. But it is more. It is a confident expectation, based entirely upon the Person and work of Christ. His Word - His obedience to God as our Substitute, and his resurrection as our Representative.
E. Our Lord tells us that we are saved by losing (Matt. 16:25).
It will cost a man something to follow Christ and be his disciple. It will cost you your life! No one is Christ’s disciple who retains possession and ownership of himself. Salvation involves submission to Christ - Total, unreserved submission.
Illustration: One old missionary, who labored faithfully in the service of Christ on a remote island, buried his wife and three sons on that island. Finally, when his body could no longer endure the hardships of pioneer missionary life, retired and came home. He made this statement - “If I had my life to live over again, I would walk the same path, trust the same Savior, weep the same tears, visit the same graves, and preach the same gospel, for all that I have lost on earth is gained in glory.”
This is what I am saying -
1. That man, or woman, who tries to save himself from the reproach of Christ, the offense of the cross, the afflictions of the gospel, or from the trials, troubles, and difficulties that come with saving faith shall lose his soul.
2. But whosoever shall lose his life to the rule and dominion of Christ, in the cause of his gospel, his kingdom and his glory, whosoever shall willingly bear the cross, the reproach and offense of the gospel in an open confession of Christ and walk of faith shall be saved. The one issue of salvation is this: Who shall have the rule and dominion of your life? You, or Christ?
Illustration: Paul (2 Tim. 4:6-18).
Application: Do you see the happiness, the blessedness of this word S. A. V. E. D? We are saved...
1. By grace - Through the operation of God.
2. With difficulty - By the power of God.
3. By faith -Trusting the Son of God.
4. By hope - Believing the promise of God.
5. By losing - By our union with and submission to the Son of God. Would you be saved? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved!” Lose you life to Christ. If you do, you will gain it in Christ eternally.