Salvation: The Only Solution

Salvation: The Only Solution

Scripture: John 3:16
Date: 10/27/2012  Lesson: 4
"The sin problem is very big; how thankful we should be that the solution was big enough to solve it."

History of Redemption (Brown) Ellen White by Everlasting Gospel

History of Redemption (Brown) Ellen White by Everlasting Gospel
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Welcome so Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church here is sunny Northern California. We are so glad that you are tuning in wherever you are from. We have a house full, right now, of visitors from all over - thailand and Canada and all over the united states and we are so glad that you are tuning in, whether you are watching live on our website at 'saccentral.org' or on the various television networks, through dvd, however you are joining us, welcome - and listening on the radio. So, pull out your hymnals those of you at home - those of you who are here we're going to start with #229 - 'all hail the power of Jesus' name'. This is a favorite from jizelle and cherry in antigua and barbuda, eric in brazil, andrea in the british virgin islands, leon, betty and gigi in California, diane in the cayman islands, juan in colombia, diamond and shavon in england, maisie, karl, pascal, martine and judith in france, tetteh in ghana, whitney, juanita, juan and zaun in guyana, satish in india, avis, angelli, and milton in jamaica, andrew in Massachusetts, rut in the netherlands, horace, vanessa, and trudy in New York, aleru in nigeria, weng and joatham in the philippines, kenny, thelma, and Micah in the seychelles, and kevon in trinidad and tobago.

We want to hear you singing this loudly wherever you are around the world and here - we will sing as well. #229 - We'll do the first, third and fourth stanzas. One day we will throw our crowns at Jesus' feet and say he is lord of all. Hopefully you're on the side where - when Jesus comes and the wicked are raised and they acknowledge that Jesus is lord of all, hopefully you won't be in that group that just admits it because what can they do? But you're with the group that casts your crowns at Jesus' feet and worship him because he is lord of all and he has changed your heart and you can spend forever with him in heaven. If you have a favorite Christmas request, start sending those in.

Some of you have and that's great. I told you last week, send in silent night and all the other Christmas requests because we're going to sing those very soon. So, it's very simple, go to our website 'saccentral.org', click on the 'contact us' link and you can send in your favorite Christmas song for the next few weeks. Our next song, #29 - we are singing about praising God and it is a wonderful theme to think and sing about and this is called 'sing praise to God'. This is our new song as we work our way through the hymnal singing songs that probably aren't familiar to any of us - not to me anyway, so we're going to sing the first, second and fourth stanzas - #29.

This is from maisie and karl in france, and ligia in New York. 'Sing praise to God'. Father in Heaven, we sing your praises because what else can we do when we realize what you have done for us? You have changed our hearts. You have given us something to look forward to and we are getting excited when we see what is happening in this world because we know that soon, very soon, we are going to get to sing praises to you face to face and you are going to come back and take us home to heaven. I pray that we will each be ready for that day so that when you come and those clouds are split apart and we can see you and all the angels that, father, we won't be the ones calling for the rocks to fall on us but we'll be saying, 'lo, this is our God, we have waited for him and he will save us.

' Please help us to be there, ready on that day. Be with us as we open up your word - we study together - that we will sense your presence here and that it will be here indeed. Be with our speaker as well. In Jesus' name, amen. At this time our lesson study is going to be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor.

Thank you Debbie and Kula, our musicians - appreciate it. Good morning everybody. Glad to see you here if you're visitors - we're even glad to see, if you're members, that you're here. We welcome those, who are part of our extended family, that are studying with us through the television, satellite, internet - we're glad you're there and we're going to get right into our lesson here. We're talking about 'growing in Christ' - we're on lesson #4 - this is our new quarter's lesson and we have a free offer and the free offer is a book by joe crews - this is a really good book - 'is it easier to be saved or lost?' - If you've not read this you ought to read it.

A lot of people think, 'oh, it's hard to be saved.' It's actually easier to be saved than lost. 'The way of the transgressor is hard' the Bible says. Jesus says ,'my yoke is easy and my burden is light.' Right? So you might want some encouragement on that point and - 'is it easier to be saved or lost?' - We'll send it to you for the discounted price of free. All you've got to do is ask for it - it's offer #124 and here's the phone number for those who are on the radio - it's -study-more - that's -788-3966. Ask for the free offer #124 and we'll send that to you.

The lesson today is lesson #4 dealing with the subject of salvation. Now, in this quarterly it's kind of like an evangelistic series. It's going through some of the high points of our faith and we talked about the creation of man last week. Now we're talking about the fall, the problem, and the cure - salvation - very important study so please pray for me as I do my best to present a very important subject. You know, Amazing Facts is developing a new website and it's going to be our regular website but we're refreshing it with new technology - making it easier - and so one of the things that someone suggested, and it was a good idea, they said, 'we ought to have a place on our website - just a tab they click that says, 'how do I accept Christ?' ' You know, your website you're always talking about your latest programs and your products and projects and where you're going - all this stuff and someone said, 'well, we're all about bringing people to Jesus, right there at the website it ought to say, 'how do I accept Christ?' But with the internet, you know, you can't give them 90 pages of information.

You want to have a summary of 'how do you accept Christ' - make it simple - and so I started doing some searches on the internet. I said, 'alright, we'll see what other Christians are doing out there.' And it's amazing, you know, some people have everything from one point or three points or four points or ten points or 6 points or seven steps and I'm thinking, 'you know the ones who have three points it just makes it really simple, but then you look at those who've got ten and you think, 'what are they leaving out?' And 'are they leaving out anything crucial? What are the steps to salvation?' I mean isn't that what we all want to know? We go to church ostensibly because we are or are wanting to be saved. Do we know how to be saved? Some might say, 'one step. Believe.' Believe what? Why do you have to believe? You need more information than that. And then I saw one that said, 'three steps - the abcs - admit, believe, and confess.

' And then I saw the six steps and the seven steps. I have a book that I wrote that's called 'to see the King - seven steps to salvation.' Do you want to know what my seven steps are? But, you know, before I get to that, there's a great book called, 'steps to Christ' and it's got 13 chapters and I think they're all important. I was on Facebook last night and someone was asking me about salvation. I said, 'you ought to read 'steps to Christ'.' And they said, 'Pastor Doug, I want you to explain it.' I said, 'no, you read the book.' I said, 'i can't do it as well.' You know, people just wanted to visit and I said, 'oh, you need to read the book.' People sometimes they want it to be, you know, just tell me in one word - believe.' Well, it's more than that. Or when you have an altar call in the church and, you know, we have altar calls almost every week here at central church but they're sort of general where they're asking for specific prayer about different things, but when you have an altar call and you're inviting someone to be saved - what do you tell them if they've kind of walked off the street and really, you know, they've grown up sort of agnostic - they don't have any Bible background and they say, 'alright, what do I need to do to be saved?' What do you tell them? Well, I'd give them this book but let me tell you what I - what has helped me in looking at what the steps to salvation are.

Turn in your Bibles really quick - and we will get to the lesson but I actually - the lesson got deep in places and I thought, 'we need to keep it simple.' Turn real quick to the book of Isaiah chapter 6 - and what I did is I looked at the conversion of Isaiah and I see clearly in there seven very important but basic steps a person must go through - and in the right order also - to be saved. Isaiah 6 - just bear with me - I'm going to read verses 1 through 9 and a half, okay? Yeah, one through 9 and a half. "In the year that king uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above it stood seraphim; each one had six wings: with two he covered his face, with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another and said: 'holy, holy, holy is the lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!' And the posts of the door were shaken by the voice of him who cried out, and the house was filled with smoke.

" Okay, first point. He sees a vision of God in his holiness and his glory and notice the context - he sees the vision in the year that his king died. So I think step #1 - we need to see God. We need to see him in the year that our king died. Uzziah, by the way, was a good king.

So he sees the Lord in the year that their good king died. Uzziah, also, was one of the longest reigning Kings of judah. After he sees God in his glory, his holiness, his love, his goodness, by contrast he sees himself and then he says, "woe is me, for I am undone!" This is verse 5? "Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the lord of hosts." When he sees the goodness of God, the Bible says, 'the goodness of God leads us to repentance.' Now, you see, he is confessing and repenting of his sin - that's part of salvation. Sometimes I'll ask people, 'what do you need to do to be saved and they'll quote Peter during the pentecost sermon where he says, 'repent!' I go, 'repent? Repent of what? Why repent? Repent for what?' First they must see the goodness and glory of God before they see their badness. By contrast, then they say, 'oh!' It's the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, right? How are we going to love God? 'We loved him because he first loved us.

' So we must first see his love - his goodness. What brought - what brought Paul to conversion? He said he saw the Lord. The thief on the cross - what brought about his conversion? Did he see Jesus lifted up? And he looked at Jesus in the year that his king died and he said, 'lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' He saw the love of God. He saw those people cursing and he heard Jesus forgiving and that contrast - that vision of God evoked from within him a public confession and repentance and then asking for mercy. So it's seeing the goodness of God.

It starts there. What brought about the conversion of zaccheus? Why did he climb a tree? He wanted to see the Lord. Do you see the point here? See - we need to see God. Now, where are we going to see God? If that's the most important step - well, at pentecost they saw God - Peter preached through the Word of God. Sometimes the Lord will appear to a person personally, like he did with Paul.

You might see God through the things that he made. Coming back from grandma's house last night, nathan and I were in the car - mom, this week, is up at the ladies' retreat at leoni meadows so nathan and I are Batchelors this week - I love saying that. So we just were leaving and the sun - any of you see the sunset last night? Oh, it was beautiful. There were some wispy clouds up there that looked like the Lord had taken a pink paintbrush on a blue canvas and it was just beautiful. And you see things like that and you think, 'God is love.

' So you need to see the goodness of God. Or he sees this and he says - he sees himself and he says, 'woe is me! God is holy, I'm not.' "I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people with unclean lips;" he not only confessed his sin, he confessed his people's sins. You know, that's part of confession is not just individual but it's corporate. Daniel chapter 9, it says, 'while I was confessing my sin and the sin of my people.' And in the Lord's prayer it says, 'forgive me my sins' - or is it 'forgive us our sins?' Have you ever considered that part of repentance is not only asking that the Lord forgive you, but that he forgive your family, he forgive your people. Job offered sacrifice for his family.

We always feel like it's just about us. I think real repentance is about us collectively. We always think it's about me - it's about us. It says, "for my eyes have seen the King," - so he tells you what brought about his repentance - "my eyes have seen the King." Have you seen the King? If you wonder if you've really repented and confessed your sins - if you've had a sense of the goodness of God, and you haven't seen the King - how does that happen? Christ said, 'if I am lifted up I will draw' - before you read John 3:16 - oh, you know what? I never gave our memory verse for our lesson which is, John :16. How many of you have that memorized or do you need to look at it? Do you want to say it with me? King James version? "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

" And you know what John 3:15 is? "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness and whoever looked upon that serpent was healed" - you remember? "Even so The Son of man must be lifted up. Why lifted up? So they could see a position of visibility. So when we see our king lifted up - alright so Isaiah - I didn't want to make this the whole message. Isaiah sees the Lord and then after he repents and confesses, what does God do? He forgives. "One of the seraphim" - verse 6 - "flew to me, having in his hand a coal, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar.

And he touched my mouth with it, and said: 'behold, this has touched your lips; your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged." How long after he repented and confessed his sin before he was forgiven? Right away. How long after zaccheus sees the lord - he's then convicted of his sin - he says, 'lord, if I've taken anything from anyone by false accusation I'll restore it fourfold and half my goods I give to the poor.' That's a public repentance and confession. And then what does the Lord say? 'Truly I say unto you, salvation is come unto this house.' He is forgiven as soon as he repents and confesses. Right? The thief on the cross, 'lord remember me when you come into your kingdom.' After he says 'we are getting what we deserve for our sins.' What does Jesus say to him? Verily I say to you today, you will be with me in paradise.' He is forgiven. So once you come to the Lord and you genuinely repent and confess does God then put you on a probation program? Or can you receive forgiveness - can you be justified instantly by faith? When you ask and believe you can receive.

Yeah. You can be justified but - instantly by faith. Notice then, 'your sins are forgiven. Your sin is purged.' I'm still in Isaiah chapter 6, verse 8. "Also I heard the voice of the lord, saying:" - now after he is forgiven he hears God's voice.

When Jesus came up out of the water after baptism was there a voice? After we are cleansed from our sins is there a voice? Do we hear God better after? He communicates with us in a new way. You're adopted into the family. When Christ was baptized, - that's also a little microcosm of salvation - he came up out of the water, the heavens were opened - are the heavens opened for us after we're forgiven? the Spirit descends - does God promise to put his spirit in your life? 'And there was a voice from heaven that said, 'this is my beloved son.' We will hear God the way we haven't heard before - and what does that voice say? You're his son - you're his daughter - now adopted - and he calls you son or daughter. 'Behold what manner of love the father has bestowed on us that we should be called sons and daughters of God. We are adopted into the family.

We are then his children. Jesus said to some of the religious leaders - they said, 'we're children of Abraham.' And he said, 'no, you're children of your father the devil. Because if you're not doing what I am saying then you're not.' Alright so quickly - oh no, one more thing. He hears the voice of the Lord and what does it say? "'Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?' " As soon as he's saved God then gives him a work to do and that's what he's offering us. And then he volunteers, "here am i! Send me.

" And then God says - half of verse 9 - "go." You notice it starts out you come to God and then you go for God. You've got the great invitation - you come to Jesus - and then you go for Jesus, right? It's really you come to Jesus and then you go for Jesus. It's like the cross. Alright now, here you have a summary - now look at what the steps are. And maybe I can post this on the internet.

By the way, I did post the last lessons that are coming up so you'll have those. First of all, he sees God, secondly, he sees himself by contrast. Next, he repents of his sin and he confesses. Repentance and confession are really two steps, but they always go hand in hand. Then he receives God - he receives that hot coal that came from the angel - he hears God, and then he goes for God.

But it begins with, of course, seeing and then you receive and then you believe. That's salvation. If you look in the book 'steps to Christ' - I'm just going to read the contents for you - I've got something else I'll read in a minute but let's start by just looking at the contents. 'God's love for man' - step #1 you see God. You've got to see his love for you.

'The sinner's need of Christ' - we've got a problem, he's got the answer. 'Repentance, confession' - right? They go hand in hand - 'faith and acceptance' - that's the receiving. 'The test of discipleship' - so once you've received the Lord, are you any different? Are you going for God? Are you doing the work of God? 'Growing up into Christ' - alright, we finished justification, now we're talking about sanctification. 'The work and the life' - those two chapters are really doing that. 'A knowledge of God' - eternal life is knowing him so it's the ongoing study and knowledge of God.

And then 'the disciplines of the Christian life'- prayer - what if the devil tempts you? And doubt - 'what do you do with doubt?' And ultimately 'rejoicing in the lord' - because it's easier to be saved than lost - it's better to be saved than lost. Alright, now back to our lesson. In the lesson, the key thought that they're dealing with is the sin problem is very big. We've got a big problem. How thankful we should be that the solution is big enough to solve this very big problem.

Now let's talk a bit about the scope of the problem and I'd like to have somebody look up a verse for me. Please, someone look up Jeremiah :9 - someone else Romans 5:12 - who has those two verses? We've got one back behind you, I think, and then someone over here. Okay? And I'll get to you in just a minute. I'm going to read John 2:25 and then we'll set up for the other verses here. John 2:25, "and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for he (Jesus) knew what was in man.

" How did Jesus know what was in man? He's the engineer. He's the designer. He knows everything about man. Did Jesus know what was in people's hearts and minds? Was he able to read their minds and their hearts? Does he know about the problem that we have? Now this is a very - what's the word for it? Oh, it's a very hotly contested doctrine. What kind of nature did Jesus have when he came to earth? Did Jesus possess the unfallen nature that adam possessed before sin or did Jesus possess the fallen nature that adam had - that you and I grapple with - after sin, yet lived an unfallen life - a holy life.

There are good people out there on both sides of that opinion but only one side is right - my side. No, but there are good people on both sides of this opinion but I believe that Jesus, when he was born, that he possessed the same kind of nature that adam had after the fall. And what I mean by that is he never sinned, but Jesus overcame what we must struggle against and overcome - the way that we must struggle and overcome it. Why would the Bible go through all the genealogy of Jesus? The Bible was a storybook of Jesus geneaology up to Christ - the stories about Ruth and hagar and tamar and all of these - or Sarah, I should say, and all of these characters - and rahab. It's telling about the genetic family of Jesus and then it gets down to Jesus after going through all this - and David and all these people that are his ancestors and finally comes to Christ - for us to say - and by the way, he wasn't anything like them and got nothing from them.

And the reason that Jesus overcame is that he was a new factory product like adam before the fall. But the Bible says that he was tempted in all points as we are. He is a faithful high priest because he knows what it is to be tempted like we're tempted. So I think Jesus never sinned - there was something different, I admit that - he never sinned. He never sinned as a baby.

He never sinned as a child. It doesn't mean he didn't stumble and fall over - it doesn't mean that he didn't need his diapers changed, that's not sin. But the Holy Spirit was in him from the beginning and he overcame through the same means that are available to us. Did Jesus pray? Do we need to pray? Did Jesus the Bible or was he born with this supernatural cyclopedic knowledge of Scripture? How could he quote the Bible to the devil? Because he had read it at his mother's knee and he remembered - the Holy Spirit brought it back to him. And so he gave us an example that we could overcome the way he overcomes.

And so I think that Jesus had the nature that adam had, but not the sinful nature. I think that he had the same kind of dna that you and I inherit where, you know, we're tempted to be selfish. But Christ overcame. Otherwise, how can Jesus be our example? You may as well bring an alien into the world and say, 'he's our example.' You see what I'm saying? The reason he's our example is that he did something miraculous with the tools that you and I have, you see what I'm saying? That's why he can be a faithful high priest for us. Alright - he knows what's in man - now - but we're still talking about the problem.

Someone read for me - who has Jeremiah 17? You do, keith? Alright, go ahead, read Jeremiah :9 please. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Adam and eve, when they were made, they were loving and good and kind but if we give in to that lower nature we're just - there's selfishness in the heart. We've got this selfishness - this sin - in our natures, right? And so, the heart is desperately wicked. Alright, read for me Romans 5 - over here I think - Romans 5:12. Romans 5:12, "therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.

" Our great, great, great ancestor adam, when he sinned, something radically changed within him. Matter of fact, I saw a little verse I was going to read from 'steps to Christ' - it's in the chapter 'the sinner's need of Christ' - this is my old version. I used to do a series on the steps to salvation and this is - the book I use is all Marked up, but let me just read the first few - maybe the first paragraph on page 17. It says, "man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being and with thoughts of God.

His thoughts were pure. His aims were holy, but through disobedience his powers were perverted and selfishness took the place of love." There you have it - Jesus is love, satan is selfishness. Through sin man became selfishly motivated. "His nature became so weakened" - this is the problem - "his nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him of his own strength to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by satan and would have reMained so forever had not God specifically or especially interposed.

" If adam, who had come from the hands of God perfect, once he disobeyed he became helpless, how much more helpless are we, after generations of practicing disobedience, to save ourselves without supernatural interference? We need the Lord to come in and create within us new hearts. We need to become new creatures so that the motives and desires of the heart are changed. And once God gives you that spirit you may still feel temptations and struggle - was Jesus tempted? Is it a sin to be tempted? You can be saved and be heavily tempted as long as you're not surrendering to those temptations but you're surrendering your will and your choices to God. So, alright let's go back - we've got more Scripture to cover. Let me see here.

I'm going to read for you psalm , verse 2. It says, "deliver me from the workers of iniquity and save me from bloodthirsty men." Just again talking about the helplessness. 'All we like sheep have gone astray, we've turned every one to his own way and the Lord laid upon him the iniquity of us all.' All have sinned - with the exception of Christ. Isaiah 5:23 - these are all in your lesson - "who justify the wicked for a bribe, and take away justice from the righteous man!" And then in 2 Thessalonians 2, verses 10 through 12, "with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all might be condemned that they did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

" It's not that God is deliberately trying to deceive them, they are loving unrighteousness - they push away truth because they would rather cling to their sins. And this is the state of fallen man. What can we do? Have you read what Paul says about he battle? 'The thing that I would do, I do not and the thing I would not do that I do.' You read there in Romans chapter about this struggle that we all feel inside. And so - matter of fact, why don't we go there? Go to Romans with me - this was not in my notes but it just kind of strikes me, right now, as perfect for what we're talking about. Go to Romans chapter 7 - Romans chapter 7, verse 24.

'Oh wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" Now, is Paul's condition going to be forever hopeless - where you're just sinning and you can't do what you want to do? Or does he say that he's looking for deliverance from the wretchedness of sin? He asks this question, then he gets an answer. "I thank God through Jesus Christ our lord so that i, with my mind, I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin." In other words, there's a law within all of us that will be tempting us. As long as you're this side of heaven you are going to be tempted to sin. You're going to have that lower nature. You're going to have a carnal nature, you're going to have flesh - the question is: which nature is ruling? Is it the lower nature? The flesh? The carnal nature? Or is it the Spirit? We don't have to wonder.

Go to the next verse - chapter , verse 1 - Romans chapter 8, verse 1, "there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus," - when you are in Christ - "who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh,' = we've all got this weak flesh - "God did by sending his own son in the likeness of" - what kind of flesh did Jesus come in? - He came "in the likeness of sinful flesh." Is that any doubt in your mind - what nature Jesus took? The fact that Jesus came in the same kind of flesh you and I have - and what did he do? "On account of sin: he condemned sin in the flesh," - he did not let it rule in him - "that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk" - does everyone understand what 'walk' means in the Bible? It means your practice, your pattern, how you live - "who do not walk according to the flesh." Let me make it simple for you - I've heard some theologians do the most mind-bending gymnastics with these verses and then you ask them some simple questions like, 'alright, so you got a man and he's married, but he's tempted with adultery and he's cheating on his wife and he wants to be a Christian and he's going to church and he reads those verses and says he's no longer going to walk after the flesh but now he's going to walk after the Spirit. And I've heard some theologians basically say, 'well, none of us are really going to be successful in the flesh. You know, we are in Christ in our minds but our bodies do the things of the flesh.

' I said, 'okay, so you're going to tell that guy's wife, 'don't expect him to stop cheating because Paul said we're all going to do the things of the flesh and that's how he's going to walk. No. Christianity means you don't do that anymore because Christ is giving you the victory. You stop bad behavior. You may be tempted but you no longer walk after the flesh, you now walk after the Spirit.

Christ has made you free from that old life. I mean, let's be practical about it. Does the Lord want us to have victory? You'd be surprised how many theologians I've run into and they read Romans 6 and 7 and 8 - when they get down I say, 'now, let's put this down where the rubber meets the road. Does the Lord want us to stop sinning?' 'Well, the weight's in the flesh and you heard Paul, he said, 'i don't do the thing I wanted to do and...' - And they start hemming and hawing and I say, 'so you're telling me that we're just to go right on and say, 'well, you know, it's just a philosophical victory that we have.' ' I don't want a philosophical victory, friends. I wanted victory over alcohol and the Lord gave it to me.

I don't want a philosophical victory - I needed victory over tobacco and the Lord gave it to me. I don't want the flesh to control my life. That's where all my problems and death and disease comes from - from sin. We need something more than the philosophical victory. We need to, by God's grace, stop sinning.

Jesus came to save us from our sins. Now, that happens in stages. First, you come to Christ regardless of what your future is. You are justified by faith when you come to him immediately. Do you understand that? When you come home - when the prodigal comes home and he still smells like the pigpen - and may look a little bit like the pigpen - any of you remember snoopy? And charlie brown and they had this one character - he had this cloud of flies and stench with him everywhere he went? Yeah, that's how the prodigal son comes home.

How does The Father receive him? Does he say, 'don't you dare come to me looking like that. You get cleaned up and ill talk with you.' Or does he embrace him just as he is? You do not need to stop sinning to come to God. You come to go to stop sinning. Do you got that? He embarrasses you, he accepts you, he receives you with your sin when you come to God. He shows his love and then the goodness of God leads us to repentance.

We believe that he loves us, that he's accepted us - we have not gone 60 minutes without sin - you haven't gone 60 seconds without sin. You come to the Lord as a sinner and you believe that he can make you a new creature and save you, he embraces you - he then gives you his spirit and then, by faith, he says, 'i am going to give you power to be a new creature. Then you enter that next phase which is - what's it called? Sanctification. Now, in the sanctuary - Jewish sanctuary - I'm talking a little jump here - there were three principle areas in the sanctuary. You've got a courtyard and in the courtyard you've got the laver, there's the water, you've got the altar - not in that order, first thing you've got the door and then you've got the altar of sacrifice, then you've got the water, then you've got the holy place - three things in the holy place - principle - what are they? Bread, light - the candlestick - and altar of incense.

You've the bread, you've got the light and you've got to smoke. But it smells good. And in the holy place you have the mercy seat on top of the ark where the Ten Commandments are it says one thing - it's the ark of the covenant - representing the ark of the covenant. There are three ares of salvation - justification - that means you come to the Lord just like you are. Sanctification, that's the process of learning to be a saint.

Glorification is when you are - you have arrived, you are in the presence of God. Now, I'd like to believe that most of you hear that are listening or those who may be watching that you have come to Jesus and you are justified by faith. And then I might ask, how many of you are sanctified? Well, you - people aren't sure how to answer that question because they're thinking, 'well I'm in the process. I, you know.' Paul says, 'i do not count myself to apprehended' and then later he says, 'i fought the good fight. I finished my course, and then you can see a process in the life of Paul but 'I'm being sanctified.

' I believe he'll finish the work that I started in my life. Boy, the Lord's brought me a long way, I praise God but I have things to learn. Do you feel that way? And then you've got glorification. Anyone here glorified yet? Are there any people glorified? Yeah, that's a trick question. The ones in the presence of God - I heard someone say 'elijah', enoch, the ones who are resurrected, Moses, the ones who were resurrected right around Jerusalem shortly after the earthquake - yeah.

So there's some who are actually in the presence of God now, but the vast majority - they haven't experienced glorification yet. The cross is that altar - you come to Christ, he accepts you, you walk through the door. It's through the lamb that you begin the journey. The children of Israel were justified by the lamb in Egypt. They crossed the red sea.

That's like that laver of water - that's baptism. Then you enter the sanctification - you're in the wilderness so to speak. You've got three things happening there - the three disciplines in your life you need to have if you want to be sanctified: the bread - what's the bread? I'll give you a clue. The Bible - 'man doesn't live by bread alone but by every word.' You need the light - Christ is the light of the world but he says we are to be a light to the world - that means you're sharing your faith - you're being a witness. Then the altar of incense represents the intercession or prayer.

If you want to grow as a Christian, you need to have a real - a lot of people just, you know, they kind of read half a verse and utter some memorized prayer and then they go down the road and said, 'i had my devotions.' Come on. You need to really have a devotional life and need to be engaged in not only receiving from the Lord in your devotional life and through your prayer, but sharing, talking to others about the Lord. And I can think of a couple of occasions this week where God brought people into my path - totally separate from being a pastor - that I was able to witness to. And it's so exciting when you meet people like that and you're able to talk to them about your faith. For a Christian you come to the lord and you go for the Lord, right? You can't - if you want to stay alive as a Christian you need to be giving what you're receiving all the time.

So you spend time private with Jesus in prayer, reading the word - that bread of life, sharing your faith - that is the sanctification. And sharing with others is part of your sanctification. How many of you remember when just before Jesus was crucified Jesus said to Peter, 'Peter, satan has desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat but I have prayed for you that your faith does not fail and when you're converted, strengthen the brethren.' I always thought, 'when you're converted?' Peter had already been out preaching. He had been doing miracles. He came back and said, 'lord, even the devils are subject to us.

' And he wasn't totally converted yet, I mean, we know that - you can see when he denies Jesus three times. Boy, he had all those curse words right at his - tip of his tongue - he was ready. He was ready to capitulate his faith much quicker - he thought he was converted - he said, 'o lord, though all men forsake you' - these guys might do it - 'not me.' Right? That's why Jesus asked him three times after the resurrection, 'Peter, do you love me?' So what was the key to conversion? 'Do you love me? Do you love me?' How do you arrive at Christian perfection where you're willing to die for your faith? You need to love the Lord like Daniel did, like elijah, like shadrach, meshach, and abednego - where you would not knowingly hurt him - you love him too much. So that's - that's where we're going. How are you going to love him if you don't know him? How are you going to see him if you don't know him? How important is the devotional life in sanctification? 'You'll search for me and you'll find me when you search for me with' - it's got to be so important to you, friends - you're doing it with 'all of your heart.

' People want three easy steps, you know, and then know that it's all over. You can begin your justification with three easy steps but in sanctification you've got to invest all of your heart in seeking after God. And will - does he promise then that we'll find him? He says 'you will find me.' What's worth seeking with all your heart? You hear about people who spend their lives panning for gold and they risk their lives to do it. This last summer - I don't know if I mentioned it to you - I went camping with our boys and we went up and went exploring these gold mines in Nevada and many of them are still open. And the lengths - and some of these are old mines from the 's - and the lengths that some of these pioneers went looking for a little dust to get $32.

00 an ounce - $32.00 an ounce - they risked their lives - many of them died - you know they died in these mines - for that mineral and some people will spend day and night reading stock reports, searching to make that money. People will invest all kinds of energy looking for things - what is the most important thing you can look for. They've got a program now where people travel all over the world to look for the best places to live so they can get a house - have a nice place to die. What is really worth looking for with all your heart? It's got to be God and yet people are very blasé about the time and energy they invest in searching for God. Okay, 'God's provision' - I'm sorry, I've been rambling but I think this is important.

Titus 1, verses 1 and 2 - someone has Ephesians 1, verses and 4. I want Ephesians 1, verses 3 and - who has that verse? Over here's a hand - you'll be next - I'm going to read something first, okay? Titus 1, verses 1 and 2, "Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ according to the faith of God's elect and acknowledgement of the truth which accords with Godliness in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began." God has promised before time began this eternal life. The plan of salvation is not an afterthought. God knew what was coming and all of creation and all of the cosmos and all of the infinite universe and all of eternity is focused on this point of time we're living in right now. How long do you think 6,000 years is or 7,000 years compared to eternity? Have you thought, 'why do we have to be people in this planet that are struggling with sin? What's happening here in this world is a demonstration to the universe and the ages in infinite space and all creatures - this world and other worlds - and angels what God is like.

Sin will never rise up again the second time. God knew it would happen someday because he made his creatures free to love him and that meant some are free not to love him. This shows what the result is of those that love themselves more than God. Selfishness and love are on display on our planet, aren't they? God loves us that while we're sinners and while we're selfish he loves us and he's demonstrating that. Alright, again, talking about the foreknowledge of God.

Please read for us Ephesians 1, verses 3 and 4. "Blessed be the God and father of our lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." Before the foundation of the world he chose us. Let me read you one more - 2 Thessalonians 2 - we studied Thessalonians last quarter - verse 13, "but we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation." Now is that saying that God didn't choose others? You know, the calvinistic idea often takes these verses and say, 'some of us are chosen, others are not chosen.' Doesn't the Bible say, 'God who would have all men to be saved'? Though 2 Peter tell us 'the Lord is' - chapter 3 - 'the Lord is not willing that any should perish.' 'Many are called' - you know who the many are that are called? Everybody. That's many. Everybody want - God wants everyone to be saved but some respond to the call and so the opportunity - 'God who would have all men to be saved.

' 'Whosoever will.' Isn't that what the Bible says? Whosoever will - I mean, all of us qualify as a whosoever. Do I look like a whosoever to you? Well, you look like whosoevers to me. I think that that's everybody so - in other words, God - he knew that he'd love you - it says 'before you were formed' he told Jeremiah - 'i loved you. I have a plan for you. I know the plans I have for you' - a good plan and a future and a hope.

He wants all of us to be saved. So don't get this idea that God is up there and some are his elect and he said, 'you know, I don't have enough room in heaven for everybody so I'm going to pick some and - how shall I do this? How about rock, scissors, paper? No, I'll go eeney, meaney, miney, moe - you're the elect.' And some people actually - that's their idea of predestination - that God is just saying, 'I'm going to save you and I'm going to give you a heart where you want to be saved and I'm not going to save you.' It is through - it is true - it is through the initiative that God that anybody is saved. He is inviting us but he gives us a free will. He doesn't force anyone. We, then, get to choose.

If you have no choice then you are not capable of loving God. Jesus called the twelve apostles - he actually called fourteen - and twelve said yes - oh let me explain what I mean - I'm getting my math wrong, probably. Judas said yes for awhile and he changed his mind, didn't he? There was a rich young ruler - do you know that Jesus called him to be an apostle. He said, 'follow me.' He said the same thing to him he said to Peter, James, and John. Everyone else Jesus saved he said, 'go your way, your faith has made you whole.

' He blessed them and he said, 'go your way. That young ruler - he said, 'follow me.' He said, 'no.' He had a choice. And it says Jesus loved him. He chose him. He called him.

He said, 'no.' And then, I think Paul was called by the Lord as an apostle too. That's how you're getting my convoluted math on that. And so, he's also called many to be disciples - all of us have been called to be disciples - that's different from an apostle, right? All of us have been called to be disciples. Will you say 'yes' and follow? That's the question. And so, we've done our best to cover what the main steps of salvation are.

You come to the Lord - first you must see the goodness of God so you look in His Word, you have someone give you a gospel presentation - you can hear it through the preaching of the word, and then you ask him to forgive you. He will accept you just like you are. You come to him - you'll be justified by what he's done for you and then he'll teach you to learn to walk and live a new life and ultimately we will be ready when the Lord comes for glorification, the third step. Out of time. Please read the book 'steps to Christ' - if nothing else please send for our free offer, 'is it easier to be saved or lost?' It's offer #124 and just call 800-788-3966.

Yes, we're out of time. Thank you, friends, for studying with us.

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