Salvation, saved or not? PDF Print E-mail
 
I would like to talk today on the subject of salvation. You would think, as churched as we are in this age that we would be beyond the need for this kind of study. But this is not so, as youíll see as we go on. This is not addressed to the lost of the world, to those with no knowledge of the Savior, but to those who sit in the church week after week, who identify themselves as Christians, who claim to have a relationship with the Lord, yet in action and life style deny the very faith that they proclaim. This is addressed to those who come to the alter each week, rededicating their lives to a God that they have no intention of serving, without repentance or sorrow for their sin. Sorry enough to cry, but not sorry enough to change. It would seem to me that not every one that sits in the church is saved, nor do they really understand what salvation is.
This study has come about as a result of an alter call I attended a few weeks back. I say attended because I work as a prayer counselor on Sundays, and get to share with many as they give their lives to Jesus or rededicate them selves back to the Lord. We always have a shortage of men to work as prayer counselors, so I shared with three men at once. All three sat attentive as I explained the process that they were going through. That they had backslidden, were repenting ( I assumed) and now there were certain things they would need to do to insure that this didnít happen again; which are to read the bible regularly, begin a morning devotional and active prayer life, attend church regularly, and get involved in some form of ministry. This doesnít guarantee that a person wont backslide, but itís part of developing a stronger relationship with the Lord, and will strengthen a person spiritually.
It was at that point that the first man revealed that he had a live in girl friend. I explained to him that when he got home he needed to move his stuff into a different room, to separate himself until they could either get married or if he didnít feel she was the one to be his wife, to move out. His trip to the alter would be in vane if he planned on continuing to live in sin.
The second man said that he didnít make it to church often, but when he did, he went to the alter, because he had heard that if you confess Jesus before men, that he would confess you to the Father. He admitted that he was a practicing sinner, that he sinned all the time. No remorse, no repentance.
The third man requested that we talk in private. He wanted to talk about the Holy Spirit. He shared that he was going to pre-marital counseling with his fiancťe, and that they were getting married next year. But then it came out that they were living together. He said it like it was nothing! I was flabbergasted. The man wants to talk about the Holy Spirit, he wants to talk about the deeper things of God, heís going to pre-marital counseling, and yet heís living in sin. Iíve never preached a turn or burn message before, but this bother knew too much to let it slide.
 1 Corinthians 6:9 ∂ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
The whole day made me step back a step. Three men to the alter for recommitment to the Lord, and no repentance in any of them. How could this be? How could their understanding be so darkened? How could they not know what was required for true salvation.
Ephesians 4 17 ∂ this I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
 18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
 19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
2Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
1John1:6 If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth. 7 If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
These were the scriptures that came to my mind as I listened and advised these men according to the word of God.
Now please donít think that I pointed a condemning finger at these men. But truth is truth.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness, considering yourself, lest ye also be tempted.
The word tells me what to do, but I say this because people are very quick today to accuse you of judging if you try to correct or bring attention to anotherís sin.
What could have caused these men to be so deceived? Have they been blinded by the devil? Have we raised a generation of Christians that have no concept of repentance, or holiness? How could they sit and hear the word of God preached and yet have no understanding of salvation. Is it our fault? Have we created a generation of bless me Christians who think that a magic prayer is all it takes to be saved, with no responsibilities or obligations to change or be separate? Are we so afraid of offending that we no longer call sin by name?
As I shared this travesty with a another member at our church, she made this comment; ďThatís nothing, thereís a whole lot of people in this church living like that.Ē Not only was I shocked by this revelation from her, but also more so by the flippant way that she said it. Like it was nothing to be concerned with. Acceptable behavior? God help us if thereís many that think that way.
So what happens to the man or woman that refuses to turn away from their sin?
Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,
 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,
 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:
 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.
I donít claim to have all the answers, but I think I know part of the problem. I believe that the Gospel message has been altered, that weíve developed a form of religion that leans too heavily on the grace of god. When I say we, I mean that the body of churches have began over the years to lean to a more liberal, user friendly, style of religion. Theyíve taught men that all it takes is a simple prayer to buy a ticket to heaven. When Jesus taught a lifestyle, he said make disciples, deny yourself, take up the cross and follow after him.
So let me share a couple scriptures that we use as a base for todayís salvation message, and show you where I think the error lies.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast
It is through the grace of God that we are saved, no doubt. Nothing that we can do can make us worthy of that gift. The key here is the words, through faith; Through faith in what? Why, Jesus Christ of course. A faith that is in Jesus Christ, That knows that he came to take away the sins of the world, that he came to set men free of sin. He preached repentance, self denial, servant hood, love, a new life. He said why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say. Faith says that I believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that he lives in my heart, and Iím willing to follow Him what ever it takes. Todayís believer seems to think that saying the words ďI believeĒ is sufficient to signify enough faith to save.
James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God? Thou doest well, the devils also believe and tremble.
The second part of the scripture says; not of works, lest any man should boast. Is repentance works? Is a changed life works? Your works will not save you, but your works will result from your salvation. You cannot earn your salvation, but if your saved, youíll work out your salvation for the rest of your life. So many have received the gift of God then tossed it into the closet like some unwanted Christmas present, neglected and unappreciated.
Now my second scripture is just as abused as the first. Weíve said the words so many times that they no longer have any meaning.
Romans 10:9-10 If thou will confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shall be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
If thou will confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus. That means confessing Him as Lord, master, ruler of your heart. Submitting to His teachings, to be His disciple.
For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness. Repentance, right living. Jesus has come into your heart which causes change. Itís a decision that I made to follow Jesus, to forsake the old sinful ways and to live a life of righteousness and holiness. If you say what the words mean, and really mean what the words say, then definitely youíre saved. But it must be evidenced by a changed life.
Now lets return to the repentance part. To think that one could obtain salvation with out repentance from sin would be to say that the blood of Jesus was shed for nothing.
1John 3:5 and we know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.
1John1:5-6 This then is the message that we heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.6 If we say we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth. If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
1Peter 2:24 who His own self bare our sins in His own body to the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness; by whose stripes ye were healed.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?
The bottom line, the black and white, the truth that nobody seems to want to face, is this. A Christian is a follower of Jesus Christ and if youíre not following Jesus Christ youíre not a Christian. This is what Jesus has to say about the whole thing;
Luke 6:46 Why call ye me Lord, Lord and do not the things that I say?
John 14:21 He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
John 14: 24 He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
Matthew 7:21ot every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
Work iniquity, practice lawlessness, never repented of their sin even though they were very busy in church.
Thereís not much more that I can say on the subject. I believe that Jesus said it all and quite plainly.
I think itís time that we awaken to the truth, examine ourselves and become the bride thatís worthy of Christ return.
1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
 2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
I pray that the eyes of the church would be opened, that the true gospel would be revealed, that a revival of repentance and holiness would sweep through our churches. Lord, help us to be what you intended us to be.    amen
 
 
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