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Faithlife
Faithlife

Responding To God's Gift

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. When we read this verse, what grabs our attention? For many it is the word” loved”. Our culture has a massive emphasis on love. Yet, The love we hear and read about in our world is very unlike the love displayed by God when He sent His Son to earth. For others it may be “His only begotten Son” that catches their attention. How could a Father give up His only Son? For still others it is the words “should not perish” and “eternal life” that get their focus. Is it really possible to have eternal life?
Romans 4:1–5 NKJV
What then shall we say that Abraham our father has found according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Romans 4:1
We began studying back in March. The first Sunday of each month we have set aside to remember the sacrifice of Christ. This verse is central to understanding that sacrifice.
We have learned so far that the motivating factor in God sending Christ was love. The object of that love was the world. There is no one excluded from the love of God! This love of God's was so great that He sent His one and only Son! Jesus Christ is the greatest gift that could ever be given! Knowing that God loved the world so much that He gave us His Son, the question naturally arises, what should we do about it? This question is what gave rise to our title this morning. “Responding To God’s Gift”, how should we respond?
The first question that this portion of our text answers is…
This question was asked by Jesus’ disciples after He declared that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven (Matt. 19:16-30). Jesus’ response to their question was that with God, all things are possible. This question is very important. Though some find it easy to see their need of a Savior, others do not. Regardless, this verse teaches that anyone can be saved. Notice very carefully what this question is and is not asking. It is asking who can be saved, not who will be saved. Who will be saved is in God’s hands. That is not really our concern. It is who can be saved that should concern us.
I believe that it is Jesus speaking in . Jesus is perfect, He is also God, and He is the creator, so He invented language. Therefore I believe He is very deliberate about His choice of words. Jesus uses a particular Greek word here.
Whoever” is the Greek word πᾶς (pas) meaning every; all; each. Every one considered individually. This word is normally translated “all”. A more literal translation of this verse would be “all the believing ones will not perish but have life eternal”.
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Sometimes this word is used to describe all kinds. Some have taken it to mean that from this verse. However, the context tells us what is being talked about. The “whoever” must match the “world” in the verse. When we dealt with God loving the world we saw very clearly that this means everyone. Therefore, “whoever” means that the gospel invitation is open to all. The difficulty is that we also know from Scripture that not everyone will believe. So While everyone can be saved, not everyone will be saved. Somehow, in the Divine mind of God, there is the ability to reconcile these truths.
The LEB translates this section of the verse very well. (S).
John 3:16 LEB
For in this way God loved the world, so that he gave his one and only Son, in order that everyone who believes in him will not perish, but will have eternal life.
So, who will be saved? Everyone who believes. Who can be saved? Anyone who believes. This truth is borne out in several passages.
; (S).
Acts 2:21 NKJV
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’
Romans 10:13 NKJV
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Acts 2:21 NKJV
And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’
Both of these passages are clear.
; (S).
Mark 2:17 NKJV
When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
1 Timothy 1:15 NKJV
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Christ came to save sinners and it is sinners he calls to repentance! declares that all have sinned. Therefore, God calls “all men everywhere to repent” (). But presents a problem (S).
Romans 10:14 NKJV
How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?
The solution to this problem is found in (S).
Gospel to every creature.
Mark 16:15 NKJV
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.
Gospel to every creature.
Sinners to repentance.
Who will be saved is in God’s Sovereign hands. Since anyone can be saved we must preach the gospel to everyone! The second question our text answers is…
This question was asked by the Philippian jailer in . Paul’s response was the same response we find here in . The condition for having eternal life is to believe.
Believes” is the Greek word πιστεύω (pisteuō) meaning believe. In context the idea is to trust in Jesus as contained in the content of the Gospel. This is from the root word pistis which is normally translated “faith”. What is required to be saved is faith. You must believe. Believe what? We will get to that next.
This is from the root word pistis which is normally translated faith.
Let’s go back for a minute to the Philippian jailer. He wants deliverance, he wants to be set free from the situation he is in. Most of the time when people ask how to be delivered from a situation, they are asking for a course of action to take that will lead to deliverance. They are wanting a work to do! Paul does not give this jailer a job to be performed. He gives him a person to believe in. (S).
Acts 16:31 NKJV
So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
From a worldly perspective, this is a ridiculous solution. If someone is drowning, you don’t tell them to trust someone, you throw them a life saver! Jesus is the life saver! He is the deliverance. He is the salvation they are seeking.
This is strongly emphasized in (S).
Ephesians 2:8–9 NKJV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.
We are saved by grace through faith! It has nothing to do with our works! It is the one who believes! Another very clear passage is (S).
Romans 4:4–5 NKJV
Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
Works are not a requirement for salvation but rather a result of salvation! We cannot do anything to be saved but we should do something because we are saved.
spells out why it is so important to believe and teach that we are saved by grace through faith (S).
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:6 NKJV
And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.
By grace through faith.
With the heart one believes and with the mouth confession is made.
- grace is no longer grace
Any addition of works to the method of salvation destroys the reality of grace. It makes salvation a wage that is earned rather than a gift that is given.
The faith spoken of here has a specific object. Just having faith in general is not enough.
The faith spoken of here has a specific object. Just having faith in general is not enough.
If salvation is earned then God made a mistake in giving His Son because we don’t need Him. states that God gave His only begotten son so that whoever believes will never perish, but have eternal life. The faith spoken of here has a specific object. Just having faith in general is not enough. That brings us to the third question our text answers…
This is the most basic and fundamental of questions. This is what separates Christianity from all other belief systems. The biggest question that matters in evaluating religions is “what do they teach about Jesus Christ?” This phrase “who do you say that I am?”, was spoken by Christ to His disciples (). The answer is of vital importance. When Jesus asked His disciples what people said about him the basic answer was that people thought he was a great prophet. This is what most religions today teach about Jesus! He’s just a real good guy! A great prophet, but not the greatest prophet. Jesus is not satisfied with this answer! It is not enough to just believe that Jesus existed and that was a “swell guy”. You must believe in who Jesus is! Peter proclaims that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the living God! That is who Jesus is!
There is a huge emphasis today on believing that all religions will lead to heaven as long as their adherents are sincere in their belief. The problem is that it is possible to be sincerely wrong!
What you believe matters! It is possible to be completely sincere and still be wrong! When the Philippian jailer asked the disciples what he must do, Paul didn’t tell him to believe sincerely and be saved. He told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ!
This is the most basic and fundamental of questions. This is what separates Christianity from all other belief systems. The biggest question that matters in evaluating religions is “what do they teach about Jesus Christ?” This phrase “who do you say that I am?”, was spoken by Christ to His disciples. The answer is of vital importance.
In , Paul is reiterating the gospel. (S).
1 Corinthians 15:1–4 NKJV
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,
This is the gospel that was preached, received, stood on, and by which we are saved! The gospel is Christ! Christ crucified for sin, buried, and risen again! That is what we place our faith in!
It is the incredible simplicity of this message that makes it so difficult for people. We want a gospel that makes us feel good about ourselves! We want a gospel that makes us seem able to contribute something! The gospel of Jesus Christ is good news because while we are flawed, He is perfect, we are sinners, He is the Savior, we are in darkness, He is the light! The answer to our deepest need and biggest questions are not found in external religious form but through an internal relationship with Jesus Christ!
As proclaims, this relationship comes through faith in Jesus. says this (S)…
(S). with mouth the Lord Jesus.
Romans 10:9–10 NKJV
that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
As believers we must stop living as if the answer to our problems is somewhere out there in the world. The answer to every problem is Jesus and we meet Him in His Word, through prayer, and in the fellowship of the body of Christ. When we as Christian’s do not read the Word, do not pray, and do not come to church we are telling the watching world that Jesus doesn’t really have the answers. Is that the message we want to send?
Turn with me to . This is a time for believers to remember the price that was paid. To be reminded of the penalty of sin. Taking part of communion does not save you. This is simply a way for us to be reminded of what Christ has done. If you know the Lord as savior this morning, please join us in bread and juice as we remember Jesus Christ. These are only symbols, they represent the body and blood of our Savior. Examination – verses 26-32
The gospel invitation is for whosoever will. The requirement is faith. The object of our faith is Jesus Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” That is the gospel message. In Paul has some very direct words for those who alter the gospel (S).
Galatians 1:6–9 NKJV
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.
The gospel is so very simple. If you add works as a condition for salvation, or if you subtract Christ, you are no longer teaching the gospel and Paul says you will be cursed.
This section of has answered three questions for us. These answers leave us with three challenges.
1 - No one is excluded, so preach the gospel to everyone.
The only requirement for salvation is faith in Jesus Christ.
Don’t preach a gospel that adds to or distorts that simplicity.
What we believe about Jesus Christ determines our salvation. You cannot be saved and not believe that Jesus is God, that He really died, and really rose again.
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