How to Be Saved

How to Be Saved

Scripture: John 3:14, Zechariah 3:1-5, Luke 5:27-32
Date: 08/02/2014  Lesson: 5
"This week we will look at Jesus' teachings regarding the simple practical steps needed for salvation."

Formula 4 Faith by Doug Batchelor

Formula 4 Faith by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. We are so glad that you are tuning in and I hope you've had a wonderful week. We have and we're ready to sing songs and open up God's Word and study together. So if you are at home or you're listening on the radio, various television networks - however you're joining us - if you have a hymnal at home, pull it out and join with us as we start singing, 'I must tell Jesus' - #485 - and this is a request from Moses and silkala in australia, selina and jonathan in the netherlands, ignacius in saint lucia, and Simon in uganda, and there were several more names for this. It's a nice favorite.

We're going to sing the first and last stanzas. #485 - Join with us. Isn't it wonderful that you can tell Jesus? All of your burdens you can tell him and he will always listen and he will help you if you let him. Our next song is #145 so if you have a favorite that you would like to sing with us on an upcoming program, go to our website at 'saccentral.org' and click on the 'contact us' link and send in your request. And this is one that clearly nobody - one person here has heard this one before and I don't think anybody else around the world has because no one has requested this.

So we're definitely going to learn this altogether today. #145 - 'Songs of thankfulness and praise' - first, second, and fourth stanzas. Join with us. Oh, I love the tin whistle on that song and the strings and, of course, Joseph on the piano. Wonderful.

Lovely. Lovely. At this time let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, we do give you songs of thank-fulness and praise today for the wonderful things that you have done for us and we know that you are going to do for us and we just love you and we open up our hearts to you today and we ask you to come in and fill them. Thank you so much for blessing us with the Sabbath and your word and the freedom that we currently have in this country.

Be with Pastor Doug as he brings us our lesson study and thank you so much for his ministry - not just here at central but around the world as well. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you very much debbie and our musicians and singers up front and singers out there. Happy Sabbath.

Good to see each of you. We know that especially during this time of year we sometimes have guests and people are coming and going with some of the summertime travel and vacation. I want to welcome those who are tuning in - part of our ongoing Sabbath school class - and we'd like to welcome you to central study hour. We're continuing in just a moment with our new series. I guess we're about five lessons into it now, 'the teachings of Jesus' and we'll get to lesson five in a minute.

I just want to let you know we have a free offer - 'three steps to heaven' and the - it's offer #102 so when you call just ask for that and we have Christian operators that will take that down. Make sure they send you the right book. And the number you call is -study-more and that acronym is for 866-788-3966. Ask for the book 'three steps to heaven.' And please read that and share it. Our lesson today - now last week we had a lesson on salvation - that was lesson 4 - today's lesson #5 'how to be saved'.

I don't know if you can think of anything more important that we can be studying and even for those of us, myself included, who may have been Christians for years, we need to have a refresher course on this subject all the time. Even Paul said, 'I die daily.' And we need to be born again every day. I've always reasoned that if you die daily and you're not born again daily, you end up more dead than alive. So it's important for us to have a refresher in this experience. We have a memory verse and the memory verse is John 3:14 and 15.

We all know John 3:16, these are the verses that immediately precede that. John chapter 3:14 and 15 - we'll read it from the new king James. Are you ready? This is how it is in your lesson. Here we go. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must The Son of man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

" What a wonderful promise. Now, probably a good idea to, by way of introduction, talk about what does that verse mean? As Moses lifted up the serpent, I mean, so The Son of man must be lifted up like a serpent? Where did sin originate? There in the Garden of Eden you hear about the woman and it says the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent and the serpent would bruise his heel. So why would Christ be symbolized as a serpent being lifted up? And this has caused a lot of confusion for people. I'll tell you, when I read this verse, it came to me. I was actually living in the mountains in the desert as, you know, this experience happened in the desert.

Maybe I ought to talk about the experience real quick. The children of Israel, during their wandering time - in the book of Numbers it says they became dissatisfied with the manna they were eating every day. They began to complain and say, 'you know, wish we had the fleshpots of Egypt and the onions and the fish and' - and God withdrew his protection from them and a plague of serpents - they all hatched out and these fiery venomous serpents all of a sudden just began to hatch out all around the camp and slithering into their tents and they were being bitten by them, putting on their moccasins and getting bitten and they were dying. And they came to Moses and said, 'forgive us for complaining' - by the way, when you complain about God's manna the serpent comes in, right? When eve didn't want to eat what God said she should eat and wanted to eat what she wasn't supposed to eat, the serpent came in. Isn't that right? It still happens today.

Anyway, so they cried to Moses and said, 'what shall we do?' God told Moses, 'take a bronze - make a bronze serpent' - you know, obviously they could do forging even out there in the wilderness. They'd forged a golden calf and they were pretty quick about setting up a forge and making things - 'and make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole and tell the people whoever looks at that will live.' And you think, 'does that mean they're supposed to worship snakes?' Even they got confused about that because years later they still had that serpent even during the time of hezekiah that thing had somehow survived - that relic - and the people were praying to it and hezekiah said, 'no, don't do that.' And he broke it into pieces and said it's just a piece of brass. And God never intended for them to worship a serpent or pray to a bronze serpent on a pole. It symbolized something. Now, when I lived in the desert I had a stick there leaning up against a wall in my cave and I called it my snake stick because it was not uncommon, especially during certain times of the day - I've been out hiking with friends they go, 'be careful.

This is rattlesnake country.' And I'll say, 'you have nothing to worry about, it's the middle of the day. You won't find one anywhere. They're hiding. It's too hot.' Or they'll say, 'be careful. It's rattlesnake country.

' And I'll say, 'it's the middle of winter, you have nothing to worry about.' But there are certain times of day when they come out and I always - you get a feel - in the desert it was just a little before or after sundown - maybe even in the morning when it warmed up a little bit - and they were out at those prime hunting times. And I had a stick because I'd find one and, you know, it's hard - unless you're really good - throwing rocks at a snake, but with a stick you could clobber them. My stick actually had a noose on the end of it. I had a little wire noose and I'd put it over their head and just pull and it would take care of them. But then, even after that, if I just clobbered it with a stick, you never reach out and pick up a snake when you think you've killed it because many people have been bitten thinking, 'it's mortally wounded.

' And it snaps around instinctively - they're very tenacious - and it bites. So if you're going to take it off, you want to bury it. You don't leave a dead venomous snake out on the open ground because even the fangs in the skeleton, if someone steps on it, can still cause a lot of problems. So you take it out and you bury it. And it was very common for people in this shepherd community in the desert to see a shepherd carrying a snake lifted up on a stick - on a staff.

That represented a dead snake headed for burial. You got that? So when he lifted up this serpent on a pole it represented the ultimate demise of the serpent and its work - its venom would be overcome - the power of the devil and sin. And so that was a sign of hope for them - that they would be saved - they would be delivered from the power of the venom - the power of the serpent. And so by looking in faith, Christ, as Moses lifted up the serpent, when Christ was lifted up Jesus took sin - he took the venom of the devil in himself and it represents through faith in his sacrifice, we can be delivered from the disease of sin. That venom was in their blood when they got bit and we've got sin in our natures and it requires a miracle for us to be healed.

I mean, you can't put a - tourniquet around a whole body, you know, to save them - we need a miracle because it's diffused all through us. And so that was represented by that. So let's get into our lesson - lesson #5 - go to the first page, 'recognizing your need'. Now this comes from, in Luke :30 when the scribes and the pharisees were complaining - let me just get some of you set up first. Somebody has psalm 14, verse 3.

I don't know who has that verse - if you do - over here? We'll get you a microphone so you'll be next. And somebody else, I think, has got Matthew 14:7. I don't know who has that one. Well, maybe I said that wrong. Matthew 4:17 - well - you got a microphone over here? Juan, why don't you bring that up to mike for me.

And, in the meantime, let's look at Luke 5, verse 30. "And their scribes and the pharisees complained against his disciples, saying, 'why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?' Jesus answered and said to them, 'those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.'" Where was Christ's ministry the most successful? Among the religious leaders or was it among the shepherds and the rough fishermen and the tax collectors and the harlots? The Bible tells us not many wise - not many noble - it seemed to be it was the off-scouring of society that came to Jesus - the poor people. And they recognized their need. That's why Jesus said it's hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of heaven.

We can get where we're self-sufficient. But the poor and the sinful, they knew they had a problem. So the first step in salvation - we're talking about 'what do we need to do to be saved?' - The first thing is you need to know you have a problem. I like to say that's really not the first thing. I think the first thing is you need to have a picture of God.

When you see the goodness of God, by contrast you will know you have a problem. The reason that these scribes and pharisees and tax collectors - I'm sorry, the reason that the tax collectors and sinners came to the house of Matthew is because they saw Jesus - because Jesus had shown them mercy. In the same way, when we see our sin - we see the goodness of God, we become aware of our sin - it's like that story of Isaiah. "In the year that king uzziah died" - Isaiah 6 - it says, "in the year that king uzziah died, I saw the Lord" - and after he sees God on his throne, surrounded by holy angels and in his glory, then Isaiah sees himself and he says, "woe is me." So first thing is we see God, then we realize we've got a problem. And so when we're aware of our sickness, that's the first thing.

If you look, for instance, in John 16, verse 8, speaking of the work of the Holy Spirit, "and when he has come, he will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." And so one of the things that the Holy Spirit has to do is show us we have a problem. Now, in our culture today, it's increasingly popular to tell virtually everybody, no matter what immoral thing you're doing - assuming it's not too illegal - not to feel bad about yourself, but to 'be accepting of yourself.' And 'we're all different.' And the whole concept of guilt is viewed to be just categorically evil - all guilt being bad. 'You should never feel guilty for anything.' That's kind of the message that you get in the songs and the shows and the media and the billboards and the magazines - it's just like - don't ever - 'if it's making you feel bad then you're not buying the right product.' Or 'if you're feeling bad about something it's just your attitude.' There's really nothing wrong because, after all, if we've all evolved - 'if it feels good do it.' 'Survival of the fittest.' Right? It's kind of a hedonistic mindset in our world today but, biblically, guilt is not all bad. Matter of fact, yes, the holy spirit does come to convict people of sin. Loose translation: make you experience guilt.

By the way, if you are guilty, should you feel guilty? Yeah. If you're a parent and your children are shoplifting - whenever you go to the store they're purloining all kinds of things - and you get out of the store and you've got to shake 'em down because they're stealing and you say, 'you shouldn't do that. That's not right. That's stealing.' And they just shrug and say, 'oh, I got caught. I'll be more careful next time.

Mom, dad, you wouldn't want me to feel bad. Should I feel guilty for doing what comes naturally?' Should they be ashamed? You want them to experience appropriate shame because it's then that you go for forgiveness and cleansing. You know, some people have never really experienced the right kind of shame and guilt and conviction for their sin and, because of that, they've never really experienced forgiveness and healing and joy. Alright read for us psalm 14, verse 3. Psalm 14, verse 3, "they have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.

" Romans chapter 3:23 - how many have sinned? All. How many are sick, spiritually? All. By the way, psalm 14:3, Paul quotes that same verse in Romans. Jeremiah 17:9, "the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" You know, our world today is very much like the world in the days of Noah, where it says, "the thoughts of men's hearts are only evil continually." Ecclesiastes 7, verse 20, "for there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin." Job 5, verse 7, "yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward." You've probably seen when you throw a piece of wood on the fire and all of a sudden the sparks fly - they don't fly down, they fly up. Heat rises.

And so job is saying, 'just as sparks fly upward when you throw something on the fire, we've got this natural bent to sin.' John 1:10, "if we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His Word is not in us." So one of the signs that His Word is in us is, at least, confession and recognizing that we've got a problem. We're sinners. Now, just, you know, I want to cover the important components of salvation here and so I don't want to take it too far but, in the simplest of terms, man was originally made by God with a nature - adam and eve - where they were motivated, naturally, by love. Love for God and a desire to please and obey him was spontaneous and natural. After sin, they damaged their nature themselves and instead of being motivated by love, they'd become selfish and they were motivated by selfishness.

There's only two roads. There's only two motives. There's only two masters. It's either Christ and love - the devil and selfishness. It's either living for the honor of God and living humble lives or being proud and living for our own glory.

There's only two masters - two directions - two roads - in life. We are all naturally inclined towards the proud, selfish, self-glorifying road. It's just like a broken magnet or compass that points the wrong way. It's always pointing inward. And so what Jesus did is he came - through the power of the spirit he lived a perfect life of love to God.

He gives us the ability to have that change. It's a new birth. A change in the heart where, instead of being motivated by selfishness and pride, we do what is not natural. We are motivated by love for God. Now that doesn't mean once you're born again that you don't see that compass needle wanting to fight back in the old direction.

We have to keep calibrating it through His Word, through prayer, to set our attention upon him, to fix our eyes on him, to remember how much he loves us - because why do we love him? Because he first loved us. So as we see his love for us - alright, so we're moved by the love of God but we're all naturally sinners. Let me give you another verse or two here before we go to mike. Luke 18, verse 13 - you've got to recognize you've got a need - Jesus tells the parable of two men that come up to the temple to pray. One's a publican and one is a pharisee and the pharisee's praying.

He's saying, 'lord I thank you I'm not like other men.' But the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but he smote on his breast and said, 'God be merciful to me, a sinner.' What's he looking for, justice or mercy? "'Be merciful to me, a sinner.' And Jesus said, 'I tell you this man'" - the publican - because he recognized his need - "this man went down to his house justified rather than the other for everyone that exalts himself will be abased and he that humbles himself will be exalted." So, again, you see in the teaching of Jesus - the man who knew he had a need. He humbled himself. God could work with that. When Jesus said, 'I'm going to spew you out of my mouth.' To the church of laodicea, he said, 'I would that you are hot or cold.' Does hot or cold mean 'I would that you were saved or lost?' No. All of the - all the people of the world are naturally lost.

No one's born saved. He's saying, 'I would that you were repentant. You may be struggling with sin but I would that you are humble and repentant. I can deal with that. If you know you've got a problem.

And if you're saved and on fire and out working for me, I can work with that. But when you're Lukewarm and you think you're fine the way you are, I can't do anything.' So the first step is you've got to know that there's a problem. And it's seeing the goodness of God that helps us recognize that. What brought about Paul's conversion? He saw God. He said, 'I lived what I thought was a great life.

I was a good pharisee. But then Christ revealed himself to me and I - my comeliness turned within me into corruption.' I'm paraphrasing two different verses now. But it works - right there anyway. So what brought about zaccheus' conversion? He saw the Lord and Jesus wanting to be at his house it just converted him - broke his heart. And I could just go down the line of different ones.

The thief on the cross - what brought about his conversion? He saw Christ lifted up and he saw Jesus say, 'father, forgive them.' He saw the sign above his head, 'this is the King of the jews' and those things, by seeing Jesus, it brought about his conversion. Alright, so one more - John :39, "and Jesus said, 'for judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.'" What did he mean by that? People think, 'oh, I see fine. I'm okay. I understand.' He can't reveal anything to people that are full. But those that recognize that they're blind, he can open their eyes.

Jesus said most of the world are following blind leaders. Alright, so then when we see the goodness of God and we recognize we've got a problem, that leads to the next step, which is what? Repentance. How many people need to repent? Let's read this verse from our lesson: John - I'm sorry, Luke :1 - Luke 13:1 - this is kind of a troubling verse, "there were present at that season" - during the feast - "some who told him about the galileans whose blood pilate had mingled with their sacrifices." - There was a riot in the temple - some people had gone to sacrifice, the roman soldiers were sent into the temple and they just took no prisoners. They just started killing the guilty rebels along with people who had come to offer sacrifice and a number of people were slaughtered. And the religious leaders were saying, 'well, if those men had come to church to offer sacrifices but they were slaughtered, it's because they were really guilty in their hearts.

They weren't sacrificing for the right reason.' And Jesus said, 'no, that had nothing to do with it.' Do you ever meet people or find that a plane crashes and someone says something dumb like, 'well, that's because everyone on that plane they were coming back from reno.' Or whatever it is. You know. We just try to say, 'well, it happened to them because they were all doing something really bad.' And Jesus said, 'don't think that way.' Solomon said, 'time and chance happens to all.' Isn't that right? And so some people are like a bird taken in an evil snare. Things happen. Even good people get involved in deadly collisions on the road, right? And so we've just got to remember that.

He said, "do you suppose that these galileans were worse sinners than all other galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." Can that be misunderstood? When he says the word 'you' it doesn't mean 'you' singular, it means 'you' plural. You - unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. He's not done. Verse 4, "or those eighteen on whom the tower in siloam fell" - there was a tower and it buckled and it fell over and a bunch of people had been gathered by the wall and 18 men were crushed and killed when the tower collapsed and everyone said, 'oh, those 18 that were closest to the wall, they must have had some special sin in their life and that's why that happened to them.' - People think that way. And Jesus said, 'no.

' This ought to make us all shudder a little bit. We think that just because we serve the Lord, nothing bad will happen. Did bad things come to job's family? Even job said, 'good and evil comes to all.' Jesus said, 'God sends the rain and the sunshine into every life.' But one thing Christ wants us to know - he said, "do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." So, we all need to repent. What is repentance? Repentance is a sorrow for sin and a willingness to turn away from it. Alright, mike, are you ready? Go ahead.

I'm going to have you read Matthew - what did I say? 4:17. Matthew 4:17, "from that time Jesus began to preach and to say, 'repent for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.'" When Jesus first began to preach, what were the first words out of his mouth? R-e-p-e-n-t - repent. And when John the baptist began preaching in the wilderness, what was the first word out of his mouth? You can look in Matthew 3, verse , "in those days John the baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, - here it goes. First word - "'repent!'" So is this a priority message from the Lord? Do you hear very many messages these days about members needing to repent of their sins? So many of the sermons are feel good. Repent is not a feel good sermon.

Repent is a - it's a troubling, uncomfortable, uneasy sermon. And you don't hear that very often. But Jesus said unless people know that they're going to perish - unless they repent they're going to perish. They've got to turn. Acts chapter 2 - after Peter preached there at pentecost, verse 38, saying that the people had crucified the Messiah, they said, 'men and brethren, what shall we do?' First words out of Peter's mouth were, "repent and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and you will receive the gift of the holy spirit.

" Now that's the good news. How long after repentance were they to receive the Holy Spirit? After Isaiah said, 'woe is me, I am undone. I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips for mine eyes have seen the King." After Isaiah repented what happened? It says God sent cleansing with a coal from the altar right away. After zaccheus repented and confessed and said, 'if I've taken anything I shouldn't have taken, I'll pay back four times.' Jesus said, 'salvation has come to this house.' Right away. After Paul prayed and repented - of course, Paul prayed three days.

He'd been out killing Christians. But as soon as he repented God forgave him. He sent ananias to his house and he was baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit, right? And so as soon as we repent, God wants to cleanse us and accept us. But it needs to happen. Now what does the word 'repent' mean? In the Hebrew it comes from the word 'naham' which means - it almost sounds like the word - to sigh or breathe heavily; to be sorry; to repent.

In Greek it's metanoeo - to feel regret; to think differently; to turn from sin to God.' In the dictionary 'repent' means, 'remorse, regret, or contrition for past conduct or sin; to feel such regret so as to change one's mind regarding it as in repenting for intemperate behavior; to make a change for the better as a result of remorse or contrition for one's sin. Now, biblically, and it doesn't spell it out as much in the lesson because the lesson is short, but I think it's important to say. Part of the steps of salvation, along with repentance, is confession. The Bible tells us 'whoever confesses and forsakes his sin will have mercy.' So there's a part of repentance that means verbalizing that you recognize that you are a sinner to God. Have you not only thought that you were a sinner but also told God? You might be thinking, 'well, I don't need to tell God.

He knows what things I have need of before I pray. I don't need to tell him.' Well, maybe you do need to tell him. If we know that we have broken God's law - if we've violated the standard of why he created us - if we've rebelled against his purpose for our life and the laws of the universe, and our rebellion has cost the life of his son, don't you think that is worth telling him that you're sorry? Confessing it; telling him. And it's something you may want to do by yourself. Does that mean confessing all the sins you've ever committed? Yes, but you may not verbally remember them all or mentally remember them all or articulate them, but you do it by category, in my mind.

In other words, say, 'lord, I'm sorry for all my sin.' Right? And then specify what you do know. If you've been dishonest say, 'lord, I'm sorry for my lying.' Spell it out. Tell him, you know, 'I'm sorry for my pride, my selfishness - I'm sorry.' Just go through the Ten Commandments. Make a list. Pray that prayer that says, 'search me and try me and see if there be any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

' And you pray and say, 'lord, show me my sin.' Wouldn't you like God to show you now while you can still be forgiven as opposed to showing you in the judgment day when it's too late? Someone said, 'every day you put off repentance is one less day to repent in and one more day to repent of.' And another man asked a rabbi, 'what's the best time to repent?' And he said, 'the last day of your life.' And he said, 'really? What if I don't know what the last day of my life is?' And the rabbi said, 'exactly.' Meaning the sooner you do it, the better. And so, yeah, you don't want to put that off. And repentance is a gift. You can't schedule your repentance. Some people think, 'I'm going to live for the devil all my life and when I get a notice from the doctor that I've got six months to live, after five months I'll repent.

' And they just think they're going to put it off to the end but you don't know that you'll have the ability to repent. It's a very dangerous thing to do. People usually die the way they live and if you live procrastinating, you die that way. And I've also seen many people in their final illness - if it is a final illness, which is usually the case, not always - sometimes people die suddenly. But often in their final illness their health and mind is just so feeble and frail and sometimes they're all doped up with medication that they just don't have the lucidity to even understand and repent and they die with their sins still on their record.

And so you want to take care of it today. If you hear his voice, don't harden your heart. And tell him you're sorry. If you say, 'lord, help me repent.' Repentance is a gift God gives. It's the Holy Spirit that gives it, right? The goodness of God leads us to repentance.

How many does God want to repent? Peter 3:9, he is "not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." So if you tell the Lord, 'I'm wanting to repent. I'm willing to repent.' Does the lord want you to come to repentance? Will the Lord help you do what he wants you to do? That's very important. So if you say, 'lord, help me. I'm not even nearly as sorry as I should be.' If we could see ourselves through God's eyes, it would overwhelm us. Sometimes he only uncovers as much conviction as we can handle with the Holy Spirit.

Alright, and one more thing here - well, I've got several more things - 2 Corinthians 7:9, "now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry," - Paul is writing to the corinthian church - "but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a Godly manner...for Godly sorrow" - this is what we're talking about - Godly sorrow - "Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of:" - it's the kind of sorrow for sin you shouldn't be sorry about. You understand that? It's a repentance not to be repented of. It's a kind of sorrow for sin you should not be sorry about, you should be thankful. You know, if you've got a son or a daughter that gets mixed up with drugs or alcohol and they start squandering their lives and, like the prodigal, they come to their senses and they come home weeping and say, 'father, I've sinned against heaven and I'm no more worthy to be called your son or your daughter.' They're sorry but you're happy about their sorrow, right? Well that's how the Lord feels when we are sorry for our sin. Someone look up Ezekiel 33:15 - who has that verse? We - like little fortune cookies we gave them out.

Get a microphone over here to manjeet, please. We'll get to her in just a second. Hold your hand up. I want to read Lamentations :40, "let us search out and examine our ways and turn back to the Lord." A lot of times people say, 'don't think about yourself, just keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.' That's right, we should keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, but every now and then, the Bible says, let every man examine himself whether he be in the faith. And sometimes we need to take our bearings and see where we are.

And it doesn't mean you spend all your time focusing on yourself, but in the balanced Christian life you need to say, 'where am i? Am I being a good reflection of Christ.' Alright, go ahead manjeet. Ezekiel 33:15, "if the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statues of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die." Now we can't necessarily unwind and unscramble all the eggs we've scrambled in our lives. There are things that we've done, there are things that we've taken - you can't go back and find everybody that you may have gossiped about, but the Holy Spirit will bring things to your mind. There are wrongs that you can right. If it's something that's been stolen, if it's some pledge you've violated that you need to confess - and God'll give you wisdom how to approach that and you'd be surprised how many times I've had people come to me and they said, 'pastor, I'd like to meet with you.

' And this is usually serious. They want an appointment. And they say, 'I want to go to heaven. I want to be forgiven. I want eternal life, but I've stolen from my employer.

I stole thousands of dollars. It's been several years ago. I was never caught but I know that if I confess this I risk going to jail. What should I do?' I say, if you're going to suffer you're better suffering for doing good than evil.' And if you know that you've done something wrong and you've taken something that belongs to someone else - even if you can never pay it back, you need to go to them and at least come clean. And I can't think of one case - so many people have just said, 'pray for me.

' We've even had whole churches praying for people and they've gone to their employers or they've gone to whatever the situation - for some it was the government - it was like tax evasion - and we've prayed and I don't know any of them that ever ended up going to jail. Some of them - the boss said, 'I am so amazed. I'm going to hire you back.' Or - I mean, they said, 'because if you're honest enough to tell me this, I know that there were other things going on that no one ever told me. But because you're honest - you've got a conscience - I can trust you. I don't know who I can trust but I can trust you because you've got a conscience.

And even the government - they're called - believe it or not there are people at the government - you probably didn't know that there were real humans that work at the government. And some of them in the tax department the person called up and they didn't know anything about it and they said, 'I tell you what, we will waive these penalties and we'll do this and there's a payment program.' And it's amazing but the Holy Spirit works but the Lord says - and sometimes, more times than not, God just removes the problem. He blesses and he takes care of things. But even if you are going to have to suffer, we need to right some wrongs. And you know what? You'll be free even if you have to pay off some kind of payment or restitution.

At least your conscience will be clear. But sometimes it involves going back. I've had to do that. When I became a Christian I had to talk to some people I'd stolen from. I stole my step-mother's car - jaguar xke - wrecked it and she - she always assumed somebody drove into our driveway and hit the car.

We had a circular driveway. She thought someone drunk went through our driveway and hit the car and I let her just think that for years. After I became a Christian the lord put that on my heart. I don't know why that, but when I told betty that she thought, 'wow, this religion thing you're doing' - don't worry, I didn't have to buy her another jaguar. But my dad bought her a lamborghini after that.

But the thing was I needed to come clean. I had to go back to an employer. I stole from my baskin robbins employer. He trusted me with the keys. When I quit I made a copy of the key to the freezer where he kept the bank bag and before I ran away I went in there and I stole and he never knew.

It was always just a little bit, but I went back to confess. And so, sometimes it might be a relative. It might be your parents. But you should right the wrongs. That's evidence of the holy spirit working in our lives.

The Bible calls this the fruits of repentance. Matthew 3, verses 7 and 8, "but when he saw many of the pharisees and sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, 'brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance." Now some people think I'm old fashioned but when someone comes to me and they say they want to get baptized and they're still living a life of sin - they say, 'well, you know, I love Jesus.' I say, 'wait a second. There should be fruit of repentance in your life. If you're sorry about the drinking and the smoking or whatever it is' - 'my girlfriend and I we're going to get married but we just want to get baptized.' 'No, you're living together. I'm not going to baptize you.

' If you're sorry, show fruits of repentance. Move out. Live in different places, right? 'Oh, but that'll cost too much.' Who said following Jesus was cheap? Isn't that right? People want to make all these excuses - 'that'd be inconvenient to obey.' Well, yeah, taking up your cross and following Jesus - there is a price to pay. It's - there's a cost. And so there ought to be fruit.

But I'm just - I'm so disappointed. So many pastors I hear - they keep lowering the standard of what repentance means to where it doesn't mean anything anymore. American express used to have an advertising slogan that said, 'membership has its privileges' and being a Christian and being part of his body - and that's what baptism means - there ought to be a standard - there should be fruits, in the life, of the spirit. Acts 26 - here's another example. Someone look up for me 2 Corinthians 5:17 - who has that? Right here.

Let's get you a microphone. Hold your hand up so they see you. Okay. In the meantime, I'm going to read acts 26:20, "but declared first to those in damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance." That means repentance is not only a sorrow for sin, but a sorrow, a confession, and a willingness to turn away. So if a person is walking toward destruction and they say, 'oh lord, I'm sorry.

I'm really sorry. Thank you, lord, for your mercy. I'm sorry.' And they continue to walk toward sin, that's not repentance. Repentance is like this: you're walking toward destruction and you say, 'lord, I'm so sorry.' And you change directions. That's where repentance is a turn.

It means 'you turn.' Like a u-turn on the road. Okay, go ahead, 2 Corinthians 5:17. 2 Corinthians 5:17, "therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." Thank you. So this idea that once you repent and you accept Jesus, that you just continue living the same kind of life because, after all, we're all sinners. You've heard that, haven't you? That's not what the Bible teaches.

The Bible teaches there should be a radical transformation when there's a conversion. Old things have passed away. All things have become new. It may not happen in one day so don't become discouraged, but there ought to be a change. You know, with me I don't - I'm always reluctant to say anything because you don't ever feel like you're a standard that people should follow, but I accepted Jesus.

I quit drinking. I quit smoking. I quit cursing. I quit stealing. People who knew me before and then knew me after said, 'wow, you're no fun anymore.

' No, they said, 'there's a radical change.' They understood that there's a Marked difference. It doesn't mean you're perfect, but there ought to be the fruits of repentance in your life, right? God gives you victory. And should a person wait until they feel like they're sinless before they're baptized? No, you'll never be baptized. You should know you're forgiven. This is where I draw the line - how I understand it.

First of all, you ought to have a regular relationship with Jesus. There ought to be no area in your life where you are bound by the devil. There should be no area in your life where the devil has dominion over you. If a person is still held hostage by some addiction, then they shouldn't be baptized because it just doesn't make for a very good witness when you sit down next to somebody in a bar and you're drinking and you say, 'yeah, I got baptized last week but I'm still struggling a little bit with alcohol.' Or with drugs or whatever it is. You should pray the Lord gives you the victory.

It doesn't mean you'll never fall. It doesn't mean there'll never be temptation. It means there should be no area in your life where the devil has dominion because Paul makes it pretty clear that Jesus is the lord of your life. Sin should not have dominion over you, right? Does that make sense? Okay, next - very important section - 'believe' - after you repent and after you accept - you realize you've got a problem and you confess and by the power of the Spirit you experience conversion - a new heart - that comes in connection with believing. Believing is what leads, actually, to that new heart.

James 2:19, "you believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe - and tremble!" So there's something more than just believing that God exists. When we talk about believing, we're talking about a belief where you act upon it. It's real.

When Moses said to the people, 'look at the serpent and you'll be healed.' If a person was laying in their tent and they said, 'I believe.' But they don't ever crawl out of the tent and look, they don't really believe. You've got to act on that belief because there's a belief believing that there is a God and believing Jesus died on a cross for your sin - the devil believes that, right? So it's beyond that. Mark 9:23, "Jesus said to him, 'if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.'" Now, you know, typically when we think of that we think, 'you mean I can work miracles? I can predict the future? I can move mountains?' No. When Jesus says this, he's especially talking about 'if you believe, all things are possible moving mountains of sin.' If you believe through faith, God can make radical transformations in your life that you might think are not possible. All things are possible.

What's the biggest problem we have? Not being able to work miracles or to predict the future? Or move piles of dirt? The big problem we have is sin. So if you believe, the biggest mountain can be moved. Luke 8:12 - does the devil want us to believe? - "Those by the wayside" - speaking about the seed - the good seed - fell on the road - "are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe." He does not want us to believe. The devil will do everything he can to stop that. When Philip was preaching to the Ethiopian eunuch out there in the desert and he believed the Word of God and he said, 'I want to be baptized.

Can I get baptized? What prevents me?' What did Philip say? Acts 8:37, "'if you believe with all your heart, you may.' And he answered and said, 'I believe that Jesus Christ is The Son of God.'" And in believing that you're believing that he, then, took your place and he can forgive your sins. Now you realize what I'm covering here is kind of a really condensed outline of salvation? Alright, more on belief. Ephesians 1:13 - I'm just giving you a lot of verses - "in him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." Through trusting - it talks about salvation - and then we're sealed through believing. We need to trust in - when Jesus said, 'look, I'll trade places with you.' How do you know he trades places? I mean, we can't see The Father. We're living under condemnation.

How do you know it'll be covered? It's pretty frightening if somebody says, 'look, I'll pay a bill for you. Don't worry.' And you know if they don't or if they forget to pay that bill that they promised to pay for you that you're going to lose possession of your house. You'd really have to trust that friend when he says, 'don't worry, I'll make the payments.' And you don't see him walk in and do it. You'd really have to trust that person. Would you really want to risk your house? So when Jesus said, 'I'm going to take all of your sin.

' Can you trust him? Will The Father accept his payment? You're trusting your life in the price that he's paying on your behalf. Believe in Jesus. Romans 1:16, Paul said, "for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes." - Salvation for everyone who believes. There's a power, through the Holy Spirit, that comes into our lives, amen? "For with the heart" - Romans :10 - I'm rushing along - "for with the heart one believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made" - there's confession again - "unto salvation." - Believing, confession, salvation - all there in these verses. By the way, I know I'm going to run out of time before I run out of verses.

I'll post these online at the central study hour website and at Amazing Facts so you'll have these other verses. Then there's the section about the wedding garment. So you believe what? You believe that through faith your sins are covered. And he tells the parable of the king who provides garments for those who come to the wedding. When The Father received The Son - the prodigal son who came home, what did he do? He brought out the best robe.

And when you read in Zechariah 3 - when Joshua, the high priest, had filthy garments, what did God say? 'Take away his garments and give him these beautiful robes to cover his sin.' When Elijah went to heaven, what did he leave behind? His mantle. Elisha tore his own garments and he put on the mantle of Elijah. When Jesus went to heaven he left behind his robe of righteousness that covers our sin. So we are justified immediately by the righteousness of Christ. And in Revelation 7:13 when he says, "who are these arrayed in white robes?" And the angel answered, "these are the ones who come out of great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the lamb.

" the Lord, through his blood, has provided the detergent to cleanse us and to give us those pure, white robes. And the last section is 'following Jesus'. What is a Christian? A follower of Christ. The Bible tells us that - speaking of the 144,000 - 'these are those who follow the lamb withersoever he goes.' I know an old pastor who used to say, 'if you want to follow him there then, you must first follow him here now.' The disciples, who will be following Jesus in the kingdom first followed him here on earth. Jesus said if you want to be his disciple you need to be willing to forsake the sins of this world and follow him wherever he leads you.

Amen? He said to Peter, James and John, 'follow me and I will make you fishers of men.' Anyway, there's so much more I have to share. I - you know - a lot of what I didn't cover also is in this book. Please send for it. It makes it great for notes for the study - 'three steps to heaven' - just call 866-788-3966 and we'll send it to you and, God willing, we'll look forward to studying together again next week. We'll put the notes online.

God bless you. Hi friends. First, let's get this out of the way. I gave myself a haircut Sunday. But right after I finished teaching the lesson this last Sabbath, I thought to myself, 'this lesson is all about what must I do to be saved?' And I went through the entire lesson and I was convicted as I walked out of church, that I did not invite people to make a decision to accept Jesus.

So I wanted to do that right now. I came back in the studio and I said, 'I want to tape an invitation and give you, who are watching, an opportunity to say 'yes, today I would like to pray and surrender my life to Jesus and ask for his salvation and his forgiveness.' Maybe you've been going to church for years. Maybe you've never made that decision. Whatever the case might be, if you'd like to, right now, you can make that decision to accept Jesus as your personal Savior and receive the gift of eternal life - to pray for his spirit and God'll help you repent of your sins and take those other steps. Would you like to pray with me now? Father in Heaven, I believe that there are people who are watching through this lesson that have heard your Holy Spirit speak to their hearts and they not only want to know what to do to be saved, they want to make that decision right now.

Please be with them and bless them. Help them to, by faith, believe - to accept - give them the grace and your spirit to repent of their sins and to confess and then have confidence that, because of your promises, their sins are washed away and they can begin that new life in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your promise, lord, in Your Word and thank you for sending your son because you love us so much. We ask all these things in his name, amen. Now, friend, if you just prayed with me that prayer, you can begin that new life with Jesus right now.

You can experience his forgiveness and his salvation. I recommend you keep studying the word. I highly recommend you go to the 'Amazing Facts' website - it's simply 'amazingfacts.org' and go through our Bible study course there. That will strengthen your faith each day and your relationship with the Lord. God bless you until we study together again next week.

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