Some years ago at an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jerry Rankin told the following story about one of our missionaries. A Hindu trader in India once asked a missionary, "What do you put on your face to make it shine?" With surprise the missionary answered, "I don't put anything on it!" His questioner reiterated and said emphatically, "Yes, you do! All of you who believe in Jesus seem to have it. I've seen it in the towns of Agra and Surat, and even in the city of Bombay." Suddenly the Christian understood, and his face glowed even more as he said, "Now I know what you mean, and I will tell you the secret. It's not something we put on from the outside but something that comes from within. It's the reflection of the light of God in our hearts."
Far too many Christians lack the "shine" of joy on their faces. Too many believers seem to think that to be truly spiritual, one must wear a sad expression and be gloomy. For some reason, we equate seriousness with spirituality. Many seem to allow life’s troubles, other people’s insensitivity and personal misunderstanding hinder their joy. It seems that some have forgotten what God has done in their life. This evening, as the Lord gives liberty, I would like to preach from these verses on "How To Enjoy Your Salvation."
Now, you need to understand that these verses have a primary interpretation to the nation of Israel. Here God is promising to sustain them, and to deliver them from captivity and ultimately gather them together in His Millennial Kingdom. Even though these verses were written for them, there is still tremendous application here for you and me. In these verses, we encounter reminders and promises that are designed to teach us How To Enjoy Our Salvation. Let’s take a few minutes this evening to see what these things are.
You can enjoy your salvation because you have:
I. You can enjoy your salvation BECAUSE YOU HAVE A GOD HAS DEALT WITH YOUR PAST
- “But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1, ESV)
- “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.” (Isaiah 43:3–4, ESV)
A. MANY BELIEVERS WOULD JUST AS SOON FORGET THEIR PASTS
- ... or at least parts of them
- a lot of our pasts are not anything to brag about!
- however, it is the very past that we wish we could forget that makes the present so wonderful
- in verses 1 and verses 3-4 God reminds Israel of all that He has done for them
- He has formed Jacob which means He established them as a people and as a nation
- ILLUS. The word “created” in verse one means to “make something out of nothing.” Isaiah is reminding them that God chose the nation at Mount Sinai, creating a great nation out of a loose affiliation of tribes. When He approached Israel in covenant, it was a slave people in Egypt, not even an independent nation able to stand on its own. What Israel has become, therefore, is due to the pure grace of God alone.
B. THREE THINGS GOD HAS DONE FOR EVERY BELIEVER IN HIS PAST
- “and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.” (Revelation 1:5, ESV)
- “knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:18–19, ESV)
- we are saved because 2,000 years before we were even born, the Lord Jesus willingly died to save our souls
- and, when we came to Him by faith, He was willing to receive us just as we were and through pure grace forgive us and save us
- when God says He called them by their name, that implies an intimate knowledge of who they were and are
- when they became His, He changed their name because He had changed their character
- ILLUS. If you remember, Isaac named his first-born son Jacob. His name meant Trickster and turned out to be an appropriate name. After he turns to the God of his fathers, the Lord changed his name to Israel which means Prince with God.
- before our faith commitment we were called lost, children of the devil, sinners, the wicked, the children of wrath, the damned
- after our faith commitment we came to be called Saints, Children of God, The Redeemed, Saved, Citizens of Heaven
- God reminds the Israelites that He has taken possession of them and they are His alone
- when we came to Jesus, we were received just as we were
- “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (John 6:37, ESV)
- “for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:20, ESV)
- by the way, nothing can ever change that status
- “if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Timothy 2:13, ESV)
II. You can enjoy your salvation BECAUSE YOU HAVE A GOD HAS BECOME OUR PROVIDER
- “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2, ESV)
A. GOD REMINDS THE ISRAELITES THAT HE HAS MET THEIR NEED
- since day one God has pledged Himself to continue to meet the needs of His people
- this verse references some of the notable events in the life of Israel when God supernaturally intervened on their behalf
- passing through the waters is a reference to The Red Sea crossing – Ex. 14
- passing through the rivers is a reference to The crossing of the Jordan – Deut. 4
- walking through the fire is a reference to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – Daniel 3
- what does this mean for us?
- just that God has not changed!
- what He did for Israel, He can be counted on to do for you and me!
- there is not an area of life in which God won’t work to fulfil His promises to you
- ILLUS. In my own life I have seen the promises of God at work. In Luke 18:29–30 Jesus told his disciples, “ ... Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.” (ESV). That has been true for Linda and I.
- He will meet every need you have for His own glory
- “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19, ESV)
- He is Able
- “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,” (Ephesians 3:20, ESV)
- He clothed Israel in the wilderness – Deut. 29:5
- He fed them Manna during all their wanderings – Ex. 16
- ILLUS. Some body has figured out that if approximately 2.5 million Hebrews left Egypt, then it took approximately 240 box car loads of Manna per day to feed them! God is a master theorist at ‘supply and demand’ econmics.
- in fact, God is more willing to bless us than your desire to be blessed
- “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:25–33, ESV)
- “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.” (2 Corinthians 1:20, ESV)
- “[I am] fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” (Romans 4:21, ESV)
- “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5, ESV)
- we should be able to enjoy our salvation and we can when we learn to leave the worrying to Him
- “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7, ESV)
III. You can enjoy your salvation BECAUSE YOU HAVE A GOD WHO KEEPS HIS PROMISE
- “Fear not, for I am with you; I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you. I will say to the north, Give up, and to the south, Do not withhold; bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the end of the earth, everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:5–7, ESV)
- in these verses, God reminds His people that they have a bright future
- He promises to gather them together and bring them back to their promised land
- in the millennium, this will become a reality
- Israel will again rest in peace and His chosen people will occupy all that is theirs
- what a day that will be for them
- while these verses speak primarily to Israel, again, there is application for you and me
- we too live under the hope of His promises
- There will be a Gathering – 1 Cor. 15:51-52; 1 Thes. 4:13-18; John 14:1-3
- one day, Jesus will return in the clouds and receive His people unto Himself
- one day, a day known only in the omniscience of Almighty God, Jesus is going to come again and He will establish His Kingdom
- what are we to do?
- We are to Be Ready – Matt. 24:44
- We are to Be Looking – Luke 12:37; 2 Tim. 4:8
- We are to Be Pure – 1 John 3:3
- We are to Be Telling – Mark. 16:15
- There Will Be Glory
- verse 7 reminds us that God’s purpose in the creation of man and again in his redemption is to bring glory to Himself
- however, on of the greatest ways that God will ever bring glory to Himself is by bringing us to glory!
- We Are Heaven Bound
- “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:3, ESV)
- “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (1 John 3:1–2, ESV)
- “For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.” (1 Corinthians 15:53, ESV)
- Heaven will be about the praise and worship of the King!
Conc: Let’s think back over what we have heard this evening.
1. God saved us in the past.
2. God provides for us in the present.
3. God has a beautiful plan for us in the future.
With these thoughts in mind, don’t you think we have the right to enjoy our salvation? I certainly do! When I look behind me, around me and ahead of me, I see many reasons for joy in the Christian life. So, tonight, let’s get on with the business of enjoying this wonderful thing called salvation that God has so graciously given to us. Are you enjoying your salvation this evening?