Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘God’s choosing’

SALVATION FAITH #4AM  – SUNDAY MORNING MESSAGE AT PLENTY VALLEY CHURCH. 22/2/15

FAITH IS

Why are we speaking about Faith this year? All we receive from God is by faith, every promise, every blessing and all His plan will be accomplished through faith. Faith is our confidence in God’s word, His promises, and our trust in His character to do as He has promised. Our salvation is the most important subject overall. Nothing is more important in your life that this one question: Are you saved?

Do you know you are saved? Are you merely hoping you are saved? Is your faith in Christ saving faith? Would you deny your faith for any reason? That’s what this month’s theme is addressing.

Our key verse for the month is Ephesians 2:8-9 (AMP)

8 For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favour) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [of your own doing, it came not through your own striving], but it is the gift of God;

9 Not because of works [not the fulfilment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

The bible is full of true stories that illustrate salvation. For example we have

  • Adam and the skins of animals that covered his nakedness.
  • Noah and the ark that saved him and his family from God’s judgement.
  • Abraham and his believing which was accounted to him as righteousness.
  • Isaac and the ram caught in the thicket, a substitute for his life.
  • Jacob who wrestled with God who changed his nature.
  • The exodus where each person was saved by blood on the doorpost.

I could go on!

A famous old church chorus asks this important question:

Are you washed in the blood, in the soul cleansing blood of the lamb? Are fully trusting in His grace this hour, are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Let’s look at the parable Jesus taught about the prodigal son because it is an important illustration about faith for salvation.

Luke 15:10-32.

10 Even so, I tell you, there is joy among and in the presence of the angels of God over one [especially] wicked person who repents (changes his mind for the better, heartily amending his ways, with abhorrence of his past sins).

11 And He said, There was a certain man who had two sons;

12 And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the part of the property that falls [to me]. And he divided the estate between them.

13 And not many days after that, the younger son gathered up all that he had and journeyed into a distant country, and there he wasted his fortune in reckless and loose [from restraint] living.

14 And when he had spent all he had, a mighty famine came upon that country, and he began to fall behind and be in want.

15 So he went and forced (glued) himself upon one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed hogs.

16 And he would gladly have fed on and filled his belly with the carob pods that the hogs were eating, but [they could not satisfy his hunger and] nobody gave him anything [better].

17 Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and [even food] to spare, but I am perishing (dying) here of hunger!

18 I will get up and go to my father, and I will say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.

19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; [just] make me like one of your hired servants.

The power of this story to illustrate salvation, is the change of heart that the son experiences when he realises his lack and poverty. The powerful moment when he “comes to himself” indicates a change of mind and heart which the bible teaches is repentance.

For a person to receive salvation, the forgiveness of sins, that person must exercise faith. Faith is the confident expectation that God’s promise is true and results in trust in His plan. The prodigal son was confident in his father’s love and acceptance. At the time of salvation a transaction takes place. Christ carries your sins and you receive His righteousness.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (AMP)

21 For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness].

For God’s part there is a choosing

Ephesians 1:4-5 (AMP)

4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

5 For He foreordained us (destined us, planned in love for us) to be adopted (revealed) as His own children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the purpose of His will [because it pleased Him and was His kind intent]—

For our part there is a response

Acts 2:37-38 (AMP)

37 Now when they heard this they were stung (cut) to the heart, and they said to Peter and the rest of the apostles (special messengers), Brethren, what shall we do?

38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

 There is a decision, a turning, a repentance, which simply means a change of mind and heart. It’s a turning to God and a turning away from the old life, from sins. This turning leads to a trust in Christ that He saves, and you are forgiven of all your sins. This leads to a cosmic alteration of the eternal accounting ledger where your sins are no longer accounted to you. Your name is now written down in the book of life.

Colossians 2:13-14 (AMP)

13 And you who were dead in trespasses and in the uncircumcision of your flesh (your sensuality, your sinful carnal nature), [God] brought to life together with [Christ], having [freely] forgiven us all our transgressions,

14 Having cancelled and blotted out and wiped away the handwriting of the note (bond) with its legal decrees and demands which was in force and stood against us (hostile to us). This [note with its regulations, decrees, and demands] He set aside and cleared completely out of our way by nailing it to [His] cross.

Having faith in Christ saves you. Faith is your belief in God’s promise and your trust in His plan of salvation through the cross. It was initiated by God’s choosing as He calls you and He reveals His goodness to you. It is then sealed by your response as you accept the truth of your need, you repent and believe the gospel.

WHAT IF I DOUBT? – AM I STILL SAVED?

Doubt enters the mind. Its origin is spiritual and shows us the enemy of our souls, satan, is intent on destroying your faith. This is a real and predictable spiritual attack.

If your heart has been moved by God’s love, then guided by your heart, you put off those doubts from your mind, because your heart is convicted by His truth. Like the bride or groom who has second thoughts on the day of the wedding, the question is: am I assured of my partners love?

The parable of the sower and the seed illustrates this truth:

Matthew 13:18-21 (AMP)

18 Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower:

19 While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside.

20 As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy;

21 Yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away.

WHAT NOW?

Have you heard the gospel and been moved in your heart? Have you “come to yourself” and some point in your life? If the result of that revelation was that you turned away from your old life and trusted in Christ, then you are saved. If not, now is the time to turn to Christ, and turn away from the old life. Are you struggling with doubt? Put away your doubts and fully trust in the promise of God. In order to gain the confidence to do that, read God’s word and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His word to you.

DISCUSSION

1. Does God help people because He feels pity for them?

2. What does the prodigal son parable teach us about our life journey before we meet Jesus?

3. Why is it that some people come to the realisation that they need God when the chips are down and others don’t come to that realisation?

4. We are probably a bit reluctant to admit we have doubts at times but doesn’t everybody have doubts at some stage in their journey?

5. Show how this verse can be applied to doubts that come to mind – 2 Cor 10:4-5.

Read Full Post »