Isa. 53:6, All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on [Christ] the iniquity of us all.
In Rm 3:23, Paul teaches: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Gal. 3:22: “The Scripture has confined all under sin…”
And so, the Bible teaches all of us are guilty of sin… But because of God’s Love, mercy & grace… Jesus came and died that we might live thru’ Him...
The often quoted passage of John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
1John 4:9-10 The love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (appeasement offering - payment) for our sins.
I) God’s Desire To Save
The Bible tells us, After coming to the age of accountability (knowing right from wrong)… We all have sinned… But it also tells us, God has never desired anyone’s Damnation (which is what sin brings on us)… but rather our Salvation (which is what Jesus makes available to us).
1Tim. 2:41 God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
In 2Pet 3, we read where God gives illustration of a final coming judgment -
& Yet (v.3) some will scoff (even as they did before the great flood of Noah’s day) v.6 the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. NOW ABOUT THAT SAME WORLD THAT THEN EXISTED WHICH WAS FLOODED W/ WATER – Peter says: v.7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
Doom faces this decaying world… All things will not continue as they have from the beginning… And thou’ the Lord may postpone His Final return, Peter warns, Don’t think Him slack (or relaxed about His promises – v.8) But in v. 9 We should now He …is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
We will each stand before God -- Rom 14:11 "As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God." 12 So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.
Heb 4:13 there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.
But God’s design and Divine Will is for All to be saved. Ladies and Gent… no one was created to go be lost… Every person born, every person who has sinned and fallen short, Was & Is created to enter that eternal Home with God.
Does it mean everyone will? - No… some will refuse God’s hand of salvation. Turning to Heb 3 – Notice vrs.8 (the writer quoting from a prophetic utterance from David the Prophet, reminds people still today, of God’s desire: He says, Do not harden your hearts (as the people who left Egypt, led by Moses – God describes it as) …the rebellion… the day of trial in the wilderness, 9 Where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, And saw My works forty years. 10 Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, 'They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' 11 So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'" 12 Beware, … lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God…
Heb 3:15 "Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts & says the same again in Heb 4:7.
There is coming a day of finality (where in we will each stand before that great Creator & Judge) – and there are only 2 ways in which we view that:
•One is in a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Heb 10:27, (also – chart v.31)
•The other is in full assurance of hope until the end, Heb 6:11 (also - chart jn 14:3)
One view is filled w fear, … The other w hope & joy… & each of these possibilities are dependent upon our current relationship to God.
The Choice is one's own, But God’s desire is to save… and the need is urgent.
II) The Need For Salvation Is Urgent!
In Acts 2:37 we read of some who asked the apostles “what shall we do” and Peter told them: “Repent and be baptized every one of you, for the remission of sins and you’ll receive the gift of the H.S.”
In Ch. 8:12, as the Samaritans …believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.
In Acts 8:36 As Philip and the Ethiopian Nobleman went down the road, (Studying God's word regarding salvation)... they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him. 39 Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.
In Ch. 9, Paul “arose and was baptized (in Ch 22:16 reveals he did so, because Ananias impressed upon him the urgency of choosing, Asking: “and now, why are you waiting, arise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”
In Ch. 16:14 a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul. 15 And … she and her household were baptized…
And in v. 29 of the same ch. the Prison guard of Paul and Silas asked "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" 31 So they said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household." 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.
After believing that Jesus is the Son of God, Making the decision to desire to follow Him… did any of these wait to be saved?... each of these people saw an URGENT need to be saved. – And for some, it was seemingly, at the most inconvenient time. – Yet, Nothing should take precedence over our salvation.
There is never a need to wait… as Paul says, 2Cor 6:2 Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
God desires to save, and the need is urgent.
Why is it urgent?... because we have no Guarantees –
Going again to 2Pet 3 (this time notice v.10) where Peter declares: 2Peter 3:10 the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.
Thieves don’t check w you to see if it’s a good time to rob you… and the Peter says, the Lord’s not going to check w people to see if it’s GOOD W/ THEM, to see if it’s a continent time to return… Readiness, preparation is the point.
In 1Cor. 15:52, Paul declared: that when the Lord returns it will be in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.
i.e. As long as it takes to blink… is how quickly the Lord will appear.
1Thess 4:16 Paul tell us: For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first.
Not to mention our life could be snuffed out before His return... Because there are no guarantees about the things in this world ... it is only temporary
III) Consider the Alternative
The need is urgent, because there are no guarantees –
ILLUSTRATION: Some people survive natural disasters, and man-made disasters (like tornados etc.) Or like happened on 9-11— There were some who escaped the destruction that day… But that will not be true when the Lord returns – on that day, the heavens will pass away w a great noise and the elements will melt w fervent heat, and both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. -- If we are not prepared, there will be no escape.
& Just as heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people… hell will be a prepared place for UN-prepared people.
2Thess 1:7 When the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, 8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
In Rev 21:8 John reports that the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death."
But the alternative is seen in v. 27 … in heaven , there shall by no means enter it, anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.
Heaven is a place we all want to go… but it’s not for everyone…
Jesus says in Mt. 7:21, Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23 And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
Matt 25:31-34 We learn that When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. 33 And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…
Matt 25:41 "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels…
& in Mark 9:43-48, Jesus uses extreme illustrations to show we better do what we have to… overcome any obstacle that stands in our way… to obey Him and be saved …
If it means cutting off your hand… then you better be willing to do it… because It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched — 44 where 'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.' 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched —
46 where 'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.' 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire — 48 where 'Their worm does not die And the fire is not quenched.'
Rev 20:12-15 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it, and Death and Hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15 And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
To know what one needs to do, but to resist the will of God… is to take a gamble that time will be given for us to do it some other time.
& if one resists the will of God now, what would make them think they won’t still feel the same way later… Are you one this morn… who is giving up eternal life, for a sin-filled life in this world? Jesus asked: Mark 8:36 What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? 37 Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?
Nothing can be compared to heaven… and the same could be said of hell…
Some will have not prepared themselves to go Home to God… -- Salvation is urgent, because none of us are assured that tomorrow will come, and a Home w God, or a Home w Satan is certain, for us all.
IV) It’s Great To Be A Christian!
As We Conclude this morn… let me give you 3 verry quick reasons, of why it’s Wonderful to Be A Christian.
1) My Sins Are Forgiven
First & Foremost, It’s wonderful to be a Christian, because my sins have been forgiven.
In Rom 4:7 Paul quotes from the Ps… saying: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, And whose sins are covered; 8 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin."
Paul says 3 things happen when we become a Child of God…
•Our Lawless deeds are forgiven…
•Our sins are covered,
•Our sin is not accredited to us. (imputed / held against us)
& you realize this means You and I don’t have to pay the penalty that sin demands.
It means We don’t have to face God w/o having taken hold of the sacrifice for my sin…
It means I don’t have to be lost!
It’s great to be a Christian, because only then, are our sins forgiven, Thru’ the sacrifice of Jesus & the Wonderful Grace of God. I don’t have to die in my sins.
2) My Life Has A Higher Purpose
Secondly, It’s Wonderful to be a Christian, because Our life finds Higher Purpose.
1Peter 1:6-9 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith--the salvation of your souls.
The world does not understand how A Christian can have Long-term joy in his / her life, while facing the difficulties of life. – Ever had someone tell you, “You are so encouraging… every time I see you, your always smiling…”
Ladies & Gent… I want to tell you, There will always be heart-ake, there will always be moments of pain, & difficulty in our lives… But our Hope is to be "...found to praise, honor and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, ... receiving the end of your faith-- the salvation of your souls." Our life has higher purpose.
3) My Future Is Secure
& Finally, It’s great to be a Christian, because my future is secure.
Aren’t you glad you have more to live for than SS, Medicare, & a retirement plan? – And more than any of these things… aren’t you glad you have the polar opposite of a place like hell to live for?
Paul must have felt the same way… because he says: 1Cor 15:16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. -- Paul looked forward to something more!
It’s great to be a Christian, because this world is not all there is to life (v.20, "...but Christ is risen!..."– we look forward to the resurrection of the saved – and a home w/ God!
It’s great to be a Christian , because Our Future Is Secure in Him.
The greatest concern, when we look into our future is: “Am I A Christian… and Am I striving to Be a TRUE to Him.”
If you’re a Faithful Christian Don’t let the world convince you that they are living a better life than you are… There is no better life… than the life of a Child of God!
But let me say, If you’re not a Christian… and you see the REAL choice is yours between Salvation or Damnation, Heaven and Hell… and you know:
•Your sins are not forgiven,
•Your life has no Higher purpose than the grave, and eternal destruction…
• & your greatest problem is still in your future. – Why aren’t you a Christian?
Thanks be to God, You can change a picture of "lost" to "saved" through God's gift of Jesus Christ.
- Are you a Christian? Have you decided to live for Him? ... turning from a lifestyle of sin? Are you willing to confess Jesus as God's Son? Then as Paul was told...
Acts 22:16 “why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'
So the invitation is the same even now… We can help you in your desire to become a Christian right now…
If subject to God's Invitation to become a Christian, step forward...
If you would like to hear this sermon in Audio: http://thelordspeople.org/LubbockChristians/Podcast/Podcast.html - Or if you would like PPT charts please contact by e-mail: MilwaukeeChurch@nts-online.net or through "Questions" at web site.