The Way Of SalvationSeries: The Way Of Salvation
THE WAY OF SALVATION
Sermon By Terry Siverd
Cortland Church of Christ / June 09, 2019
Our 43rd Annual Camp 2:52 Summer Youth Retreat is now just two weeks away.
Last year we have 46 campers. Attendance wise, we are up this year with 58 campers 27 staff + 8 kiddos and 6 cooks.
If all remains as it is now we will have a group of 100 at this year's summer youth retreat.
One evening during the retreat we will be lighting water lanterns complete with written prayers.
It is going to be a beautiful sight - - scores of candles floating on the lake in the darkness.
No one will want to go to sleep. It's going to be quite the night light.
In our sermon from last Sunday we spoke about the concept of imputation.
The word “impute” is a legal term that describes the process of,
“attributing wickedness or merit to a person as transmitted by another.”
It is an abnormal process of “reckoning” – a judicial act of ascribing either wickedness or goodness to someone else.
In this particular instance, it is the attribution of both sin & righteousness -- a Divine dispensing of both justice & mercy.
This double-dose heavenly imputation is see most clearly in 2Cor.5:21 - -
(God) made (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
This means that Christ became sin in our place and that we can become righteous by virtue of Jesus, the perfect Lamb.
In 1Jn.1:5, John declares: God is LIGHT and in Him there is no darkness at all
Because of His holiness and purity God cannot countenance sin.
But because God is also the epitome of JUSTICE in every way, God could not/can not excuse sin.
So in His great mercy, God devised a plan of redemption for mankind which was made possible by His decision to
ASCRIBE OUR SINS TO JESUS. This was the transaction that caused Christ Jesus to become a CURSE for us (Gal.3:13).
But it wasn't enough to simply assign our sins to Jesus, God also needed to remedy the problem of our unworthiness.
Therefore in one fell swoop, by means of the cross of Christ, God also extended to us THE RIGHTOUSNESS OF CHRIST.
This marvelous act of imputation is what gave birth to Paul's words in Philp.3:7-10 - -
Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
from who I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ, and
may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that
which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith...
In Heb.9:26b, Paul notes - -
But now once at the consummations of the ages He (Jesus) has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
If you read these passages and conclude that there is nothing we need to do, you will be misreading them.
Last week I quoted to you the first half of Jn.3:16a - -
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son...
But there is a second half to Jn.3:16b - -
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever BELIEVES IN HIM should not perish, but have life eternal.
There is indeed The Way of Salvation (the title of our new sermon series which begins today).
This term, the way of salvation, was used by a slave-girl who was possessed by a spirit of divination (Acts 16:16-17).
She followed after Paul and his co-workers crying out, saying:
These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.
Although she was speaking the truth, the manner in which she spoke came to annoy Paul.
The text says this went on for many days - - perhaps it became a distraction to Paul while he was preaching.
Paul may have taken issue with her claim that they were preaching a way of salvation, rather than THE WAY.
To silence her Paul cast out the spirit/demon (Acts 16:18).
This story from Acts 16 reminds us of the words of Jesus recorded in Jn.14:6 - -
I am THE WAY, and THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE; no one comes to the Father except through Me.
We are now living in a secular world that finds this definitive declaration to be offensive.
Many find this claim of Jesus to be unacceptable and intolerable - - too narrow, and too restrictive.
They would argue that to speak this way displays a lack of cultural sensitivity (an absence of political correctness).
I predict that someday soon, some will be clamoring for these words to be banned from our pulpits.
My task as a preacher of the gospel is not to pare down the message of the gospel so as not to offend anyone.
My assignment is to speak where the Bible speaks, to teach and preach what Jesus and the apostles taught.
So for the next several weeks,
we want to look at what the Scriptures teach about OUR RESPONSE to the gospel.
Some people get so mistakenly caught up in the grace of God that they find themselves arguing,
“There is nothing we can do or need to do to be saved because Jesus did it all for us.”
I mean this kindly, but those who affirm such are ignorant of the Scriptures.
At the tale end of the sermon on the mount, Jesus told the multitude that had gathered around Him (Mt.7:24-27) - -
Everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man,
who built his house on the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew,
and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock.
And everyone who hears these words of Mine, and does not act upon them, will be like a
foolish man, who built his house upon the sand. And the rain descended, and the floods came,
and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and it fell, and great was its fall.
In Acts 11:13-14, the apostle Peter reported back to the other apostles and leaders of the
Jerusalem church concerning his visit to the home of Cornelius (a Gentile household).
(Cornelius) reported to us how he had seen the angel standing in his house, and saying,
'Send to Joppa, and have Simon, who is also called Peter, brought here. And
he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'
Some are surprised to discover in the reading of Acts 10, which tells the story of the conversion of
Cornelius and his household, that they are ordered/commanded to be baptized (Acts 10:48).
In our fellowship we often speak of our response to the gospel as STEPS TO SALVATION.
In no way, shape or form is the intent to lay out a pathway as to how we might earn our salvation.
Paul states clearly in Eph.2:8-9 - -
For by GRACE you have been saved through FAITH; and that no of yourselves,
it is the GIFT OF GOD; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
There is no conflict between the free GIFT OF GRACE and FAITH.
The problem is that many want to re-define and dumb-down faith, as if it is void of any action or doing on our part.
The simple act of believing - - professing our trust in the saving grace of Christ - - requires ACTION on our part.
Likewise, for confessing, repenting, being baptized into Christ Jesus and living a faithful life.
These “actions” are not meritorious deeds done on our part, but rather, they are acts of obedience.
In his epistle to the church at Rome, Paul coins a term, the obedience of faith (Rom.1:5 and 16:26).
James writes (Js.1:20 & 26) - - faith without works is useless...faith without works is dead.
There is much more to being right with God that just calling Jesus Lord.
Sometimes talk can be cheap. OUR TALK MUST BE BACKED UP BY OUR WALK.
Listen to these words from Jesus (Mt.7:21) - -
Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven;
but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.
The focus of this sermon series is two-fold.
First, I want to persuade those of you who have not been obedient in taking the steps of salvation to do so.
Secondly, I want to provide us some key Scriptures that we can use in talking to our non-Christian friends.
Here are some important questions that I want us all to prayerfully consider.
Are you saved? … Would you call yourself a Christian? … Have you been obedient to the will of God?
If your answer is “Yes!” to these questions, let me ask you further:
Is this just a feeling that you have or do you stand on the words of Scriptures in making such a claim?
If your answer is “No”, why not? Why aren't you a Christian? Why aren't you saved? Why haven't you obeyed?
Is there something that is holding you back?
I have baptized individuals who wanted to be baptized so badly but were scared to death of being dunked in water.
Biblical baptism is indeed an immersion, but there are various ways to accomplish such.
I baptized someone with hydrophobia and we had her sit on a chair in a pool of water and just bow her head.
Do you need to search the Scriptures on this subject and would you like some help in doing so?
We have a number in our church family who would be more than willing to teach you in a private setting.
We call it a Home Bible Study - - it can be done your home, in someone else's home or at Panera or wherever.
And I can assure you that nobody is going to strong-arm you into doing something you're not ready to do.
Do you have a desire to live for God but don't quite know where to turn?
Have you been thinking about being baptized but don't understand what it is all about?
Our advice is to let the Bible be your guide.
The book of Acts is filled with stories that tell how people came to be saved.
Are you afraid of not being able to remain faithful for the rest of your life?
God has promised to help us in our journey and to provide us with strength if we will but trust Him.
Is your faith in Christ just beginning to blossom?
Would you like to cultivate this faith and grow in your knowledge of Christ and His Word?
We ask that you give us ears that we might hear and a heart and mind that is wide open to instruction.
Grant us courage that we might be bold enough to ponder this great question, “What must I do to be saved?”
And bless those of us who are already Christians so that we'll have a deep desire to help others come to faith.
Through Christ Jesus, who died for our sins and in whom we become righteous, we pray. Amen