Isaiah: Prince of Prophets—Salvation Made Plain and Simple
On January 9, 1876, Charles Spurgeon preached a message from the same text that I have read to you. In the introduction to that sermon, he shared his testimony on how he came to know Jesus Christ. "It was about twenty-six years ago, that I looked unto the Lord, and found salvation, through this text. You have often heard me tell how I had been wandering about, seeking rest, and finding none, till a plain, unlettered, lay preacher among the Primitive Methodists stood up in the pulpit, and gave out this passage as his text: "Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." He had not much to say, thank God, for that compelled him to keep on repeating his text, and there was nothing needed—by me, at any rate—except his text. I remember how he said, "It is Christ that speaks. 'I am in the garden in an agony, pouring out my soul unto death; I am on the tree, dying for sinners; look unto me! Look unto me!' That is all you have to do. A child can look. One who is almost an idiot can look. However weak, or however poor, a man may be, he can look; and if he looks, the promise is that he shall live." Then, stopping, he pointed to where I was sitting under the gallery, and he said, "That young man there looks very miserable." I expect I did, for that is how I felt. Then he said, "There is no hope for you, young man, or any chance of getting rid of your sin, but by looking to Jesus;" and he shouted, as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, "Look! Look, young man! Look now!" And I did look; and when they sang a hallelujah before they went home, in their own earnest way, I am sure I joined in it."
This great passage of the Bible was used of the Lord to bring that great man to Jesus Christ. Now, we need to understand that Spurgeon's experience was not unlike that of any other believer. He was brought face to face with his own condition and of his need for Jesus Christ. Then, when he believed the Gospel, he was saved.
Now, there is a tendency to on the part of preachers and other Christians to make salvation more difficult to understand than it really is. In fact, the doctrine of salvation itself is remarkably simple! Yet, we use words to speak about it that people are totally unfamiliar to those outside the church. It is as if we have our own special coded language. We use words and phrases like, saved, blood bought; blood washed; born again; redeemed; and the like. These are all good words and phrases, but they can be overwhelming and confusing to those who do not know what they mean. Yet, there is nothing confusing, mysterious or hard to understand about salvation. God has fixed it so that anyone can understand it!
This evening, I want to preach to you from this verse on the thought, Salvation Made Plain And Simple.
To begin with, the word salvation means The act of saving from harm. Of course, this could apply to being saved from harm in any arena of the human experience. It is possible to be saved physically, financially, emotionally, mentally, etc. However, I want to use the word as it relates to your spiritual need. Any other type of salvation is only temporary in nature. Yet, when a person experiences the salvation of his or her soul, they have experienced something eternal that can never fade or be taken away.
Allow me to share with you a few features of God's salvation. These few simple features are all you need to know to be saved. And, they are what make salvation so plain and simple. All I ask is that you give your attention to the Word of God and that you allow God to speak to your heart. If you see that you need to come to Christ for salvation, please feel free to do so at any time during the service. Someone will help you to get what you need from the Lord. Now, let's look together at the features that make salvation plain and simple.
I. THE SOURCE OF SALVATION
- "Turn to ME and be saved"; "I am God, and there is no other."
- this verse is crystal clear!
- there is no doubt that God says that salvation can only be found in Him!
- there is only one road to Heaven
- there is only one remedy for sin
- there is but one way to escape from Hell
- and that is through God's plan of salvation
- salvation does not come through the church, the baptistry, the denomination, or through family associations
- it comes only through God's plan of salvation.
- salvation can not be obtained through good deeds and clean living
- it comes only through God's plan of salvation
A. GOD'S PLAN IS AN EXCLUSIVE PLAN
- “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6, NIV84)
- this verse makes it clear that Jesus Christ is the only avenue that man can take that will bring him to God
- if a man must have a million dollars to be called a millionaire, then he must have Christ to be called a Christian
- “He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.” (1 John 5:12, NIV84)
- no one goes to Heaven because they are a Baptist
- they do not get to go because they are good people
- they do not get to go because they have done good things or because they have been a good person
- salvation comes through Jesus Christ and Jesus alone
- “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12, NIV84)
- not because I am a Baptist preacher
- not because I attend church
- not because I have been baptized
- not because I pay my tithes
- not because I try to live right
- I am going because I know Jesus
- one thing and one thing alone was required for me to be saved and I did that thing
- I looked to Jesus and He saved my soul!
- ILLUS.My hope is built on nothing less, than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is seeking sand.
- He is the sole source of salvation!
II. THE SCOPE OF SALVATION
- “All the ends of the earth."
- one of the truths about God's plan of salvation is that it is for is for sinners, who if they repent of sin and come to Christ in faith, will be saved
- the church must proclaim the free offer of the gospel to all men
- “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, NIV84)
- “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life.” (Revelation 22:17, NIV84)
- “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture.” (John 10:9, NIV84)
- “Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth—to every nation, tribe, language and people. He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.” (Revelation 14:6–7, NIV84)
- the Gospel will go out to all the ends of the earth because it’s a gospel for sinners in every nation, tribe, language and people
- and if we can’t take it there ourselves, we’re to make it possible for those who can go to be able to go
- ILLUS. Steve McQueen was one of Hollywood’s A-list performers for several decades. He also led a life as tough as some of the characters he portrayed on the screen. Success filled his life until alcohol and a failed marriage left him empty. In his despair he attended a Billy Graham's crusade. McQueen came forward and made a profession of faith. After the service he requested an opportunity to speak with Billy Graham. Before his flight left Los Angeles Dr. Graham spent several hours with Mr. McQueen in the actor's limousine. The great evangelist shared numerous scriptures in his quest to give spiritual hope and confidence. Steve McQueen struggled with the thought that God would give eternal life to a man who had such a checkered past as he had. But, in Titus 1:2, Steve McQueen found his hope: "in hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began." He requested something to write down the verse, but Billy Graham gave McQueen his Bible instead. Many years later, Steve McQueen died in Mexico while seeking experimental treatment for his terminal cancer. He passed into eternal life with his Bible opened to Titus 1 and his finger resting on verse 2. Regardless of our past, we have the hope of God's eternal promise.
- not a single person in eternity will say, "I tried to come to God, I tried to believe in Jesus, but He would not save my soul."
- this is why Romans 10:13 says, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
III. THE SIMPLICITY OF SALVATION
- "TURN TO me and be saved"
- notice carefully the wording of the text
- does it say
- "Look unto me and be and be baptized and join the church."? No!
- does it say,
- "Look unto me and pay your tithes."? No!
- does it say,
- "Look unto me and live right."? No!
- does it say,
- "Look unto me, turn over a new leaf and promise never to sin again."? No!
- it merely says "Look unto me"
- the simple look of faith is enough to bring you salvation
- ILLUS. In the Old Testament we have the story of God’s people sinning. The consequence was God’s judgment in the form of poisonous serpents. God’s remedy for the bites is found in Numbers 21. God commanded Moses to create a Brazen Serpent. When the people looked to it they would be healed. Jesus parallels this with his own crucifixion: “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:14–16, NIV84).
A. SOMETIMES, SALVATION IS SO SIMPLE THAT PEOPLE STUMBLE ALL OVER IT
- ILLUS. For a while I resisted the Gospel story because it simply seemed too simple
- “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sinsaccording to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,” (1 Corinthians 15:3–4, NIV84)
- “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” (Romans 10:9–10, NIV84)
- wow, there’s just got to be more to it than that!
- nope, their ain’t
- ILLUS. Aaron’s profession of faith and her father’s response. “When my little girl says, ‘I want to be saved’, I want her to know some of the basics of the faith, like justification, and sanctification, and glorification.” I looked at the dad and said Karis, there are deacons in this church who couldn’t explain those doctrines to you!
IV. THE SECURITY OF SALVATION
- "Turn to me and BE SAVED"
- the Bible says here that those who look to the Lord will be saved
- this is a word that means, to rescue from all harm and danger
- an unsaved person who hears that word tends to think of someone pulled from physical harm: a burning building, or from a wrecked car, from drowning
- these are all valid uses of the word "saved" in the physical realm
- the spiritual realm is no different!
- there is a danger we must be saved from
- when a person looks to Jesus Christ for salvation, that person is saved from the penalty of sin
- every person who comes into this world is under a penalty death and damnation and hell
- but, when you trust Jesus, He saves you from that penalty
- when I got saved, I was saved from the penalty of sin
- but there is more
- when I got saved, I was saved from the power of sin
- but there is more
- when I get to Heaven, I’ll be forever saved from the very presence of sin
- when Jesus saves a lost soul, He does it eternally! He does it permanently
- there is no way that you can mess up salvation!
- you say, "Pastor, wish I could believe that!"
- listen to these great verses ...
- “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37–40, NIV84)
- “who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5, NIV84)
- “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28, NIV84)
Conc: Charles H. Spurgeon looked to Jesus, and he lived. If you will look to Jesus, you will live. If you tell this simple story to others and they look to Jesus, they will live.