July 5, 2015
For the past few weeks in Bible Study we’ve been looking at theology. We are looking at what is called the Order of Salvation. Now, it can sound really, really boring and dry. But, it is not. We have a good time with it. Lots of discussion and laughter and we even came up with a cheer – which covers a recent topic –
Monergism – Synergism — predestination — all for election stand up and holler!
Sad thing is nobody stood up and hollered! But we did laugh!! So, what does that have to do with today? I think nothing . . . and I think everything!
We’ve been talking about this thing called the Order of Salvation. Very simply, we’ve been looking at the stages of salvation, which comes first and so on.
So, what is salvation? It means we are delivered from the power and penalty of sin. We are redeemed.
Sometimes, Christians will ask, “is someone saved.” What does that mean? That’s a buzz word in Christian circles! But if you aren’t a follower of Christ, you have no clue what it means to be saved or why you need to be saved.
You see, in our world, we crave our independence. We want to be free to do what we want to do. We want to do what we believe we should be allowed to do. Yet, in the midst of our striving and fighting for independence, we are called to be dependent upon God. If we are independent, then we’re also fighting for control. And that goes against the very nature of who we are called to be in Christ.
As one person put it a few weeks ago in Bible study . . . ‘it’s not do you know about Jesus, but do you know Jesus?’ That’s the question is – do you know Jesus?
And that’s really the issue . . . so, whether you believe salvation is monergistic or synergistic or whether you’re in the Calvinist camp or are more Arminian in your theology . . . all topics we’ve hit on in Bible Study, as well as tiptoeing through Calvin’s TULIPs — —
In the end, and for some of you, you’re not going to like this next statement, it may even be a little controversial — but honestly — get over it — because most of this theology — in the end — as fun as it is to talk about — it really doesn’t matter! GASP!!! GASP!!!
What really matters is the question, do you know Jesus?
You can know all the theology in the world — you can argue from all sides because you’re so smart — but who cares. The question comes right back to the same simple question . . . Do you know Jesus?
You see I can know about Jesus, I can know all kinds of facts and figures about Him.
How about this guy —
– he wrote his first symphony when he was just 8 years old.
– He earned a great deal of money from his successful operas, he also spent money extravagantly and ended up poor.
– He was buried in a simple grave. He had no graveside ceremony or even a grave marker.
– By the age of 3, he learned to play a clavier. By the age of 5, he was playing the harpsichord and violin.
– He could write music before he could write words.
– He could listen to music just once and then write it down from memory without any mistakes.
– When he visited the Sistine Chapel as a 14 year old, he shocked everyone when he remembered and wrote down, note for note, Allegri’s Miserere. The composition was a secret. MOZART
Or this guy —
– he’s afraid of water.
– One of his closest friends was a Chicago cab driver.
– He was cut from his high school team as a sophmore.
– ESPN named him as the greatest North American athlete of the 20th century.
– One of his famous quotes is: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
– A pair of his early Nikes were sold for over $71K at an auction.
– His line generates $1 billion in sales for Nike.
– It’s estimated he will make $100 million this year.
I’ve said it before the only difference between Michael Jordan and Michael Deutsch is this piece of paper. Give me another 11″, And you’d want to be LIKE THIS MIKE!
All that being said, we can know a lot about a lot of people, we can even know a lot about Jesus, but we go back to the question . . . do you know Jesus?
Paul tells us ~~
9 If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
So, Paul is helping us to understand this . . .
OK, faith is simple and yet so deep and powerful. Paul is telling us you need to profess your faith! Declare it, agree with who Jesus is. It’s not like you’re giving in during a disagreement to keep the peace. And you say, “OK, you’re right about Jesus!” NO! This is a declaration of Dependence upon Jesus. This is about what you REALLY believe deep inside.
So, you say, I declare Jesus is my Lord! If Jesus is Lord, that means He is my Master, and He is the One who has authority over me.
If I believe that — AND proclaim it — AND if I believe in my heart God really raised Jesus from the dead . . . and that’s a big one, because lots of people don’t believe in miracles. They don’t believe that’s possible. But if you believe in God, anything is possible with God.
So, if you believe that, if you can say that out loud and believe it in your heart. I want to make sure you’re with me. . .
Then Paul says us you will be saved. Really, we can say YOU ARE SAVED! There can be lots of meanings. To be saved means — you are delivered or protected, healed, preserved, made whole. And those are all true when you proclaim Jesus. You have heaven. You have eternity with God after you die. You have the promise of the Holy Spirit to be with you no matter where you go, no matter what you do. You have access to the greatest source of power ever . . . God!
Now, do we use this power and our God given resources well? NO! But that’s another sermon or 2 or 3.
Paul goes on to say ~
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. – Romans 10
Paul kind of links this together for us. He tells us it’s from our heart where we believe. Think about it for most people, when they believe in something, it starts in their heart. You fall in love, and you don’t think about it, you say it just happened. That’s because it’s a matter of the heart. When we believe in Jesus, we open our heart to the love and grace and power of Christ. And when that happens we are justified. In short, we are forgiven. God now views you as clean! Not because of anything you did, but because of what Christ did for you. And when you say YES! I believe what Jesus did for me, that He died for me and rose again . . . God says “YEE – HA!” You have salvation. You have eternity with me . . . forever and ever!
On top of that, when we declare we believe in Jesus, verbally, which is a big part of baptism . . . it’s our saying to the world, “I believe in Jesus!” And we have that salvation!
When all this happens, Paul tells us in Romans 8:1 ~ “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus!”
That’s great news! Now that you have Jesus you will never be condemned. You will not be judged at the final judgement and cast aside and never gain heaven. You will always have Jesus. It doesn’t mean everything goes your way, it means the God of the universe is always with you!
Later in that chapter, Paul added ~
38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isn’t that great, nothing can separate us from the love of Christ!! Nothing can! I want to make sure you get this . . . what can separate us from the love of Christ? NOTHING!
Friends, I’m not sure what you’re going through right now. Maybe all’s good and there are really no major life issues! Fantastic! But . . . we call know nobody is exempt . . .
The good news is that when we have Jesus, there is nothing which can happen to us which God didn’t know about, and in which God says “Oh, that’s Deutsch, he can handle it by himself.”
That’s not how God works! He tells us there is nothing which can separate us from the love of Christ Jesus our Lord.
So, when we think about salvation, the order is important, but it’s who you know, not what you know about him. It’s not even, my mom and dad believe, so that’s good enough for me. Nope, faith is personal and communal.
We believe in our hearts and we become part of the community of believers . . . called the church.
While we strive to be independent and be fully in control of our lives, the real goal is to be INDEPENDENTLY DEPENDENT! We are independent, yet we are 100% dependent upon God. And we can only be that way when we know God!
So, as we prepare for communion . . . the question is do you know God? Do you know more than just some abstract thing you call God . . . Do you know Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus, then at the end of the worship come to me and we’ll pray together and God will give a great big YEE HA! And we will welcome you into the family of God.
Now, this table is open for all who believe Jesus is Lord and Savior.