In the past three lessons on biblical basics we focused on were these: God has spoken to us through Jesus Christ. We must not change His word. We must receive it in childlike humility. God’s word both saves and changes those who receive it in obedient faith. Is this true? Absolutely! But, sadly, not all who receive the gospel of Christ will remain faithful. Some will never believe, some will believe and fall away, and some… some will be faithful and enjoy eternal glory with Christ.
In today’s lesson we’ll do brief a survey of God’s plan of salvation. I’ve divided it into seven parts.
The Bible reveals these great truths:
1. God, who created all things by His word, created us in His own image and likeness giving us our dignity, goodness and life. God is the Creator.
2. We have sinnedin disobedience to God’s word, and by sin we are separated from God, His blessings, His life and His likeness, bringing us to death. We are powerless to save ourselves, being dead in our trespasses and sins. As in Adam, all die… but,
3. God in His love and grace, does not desire that any perish, but that all come to repentance. He demonstrated His awesome love for us by sending Jesus Christ, His only begotten Son, to save us as a sacrifice for our sins. God has given us a great salvation. This is the gospel, which is the power of God to save us. This gospel was accomplished through Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection from the dead. God has worked salvation for us and extends it to us through preaching of the gospel.
4. But we must choose. Through this gospel of Jesus Christ, God calls us. We hear it, believe it, are convinced it is true and convicted of our sins, so we turn in repentance from serving sin to following Christ our Savior, we confess Jesus Christ is Lord, and are baptized into Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, by obeying the gospel. We are buried by baptism in a watery grave, and raised up to walk with Him in newness of life. We must choose to follow Christ…
5. For those who respond in obedient faith, God forgives us, redeems us, justifies us, sanctifies us, saves us, seals us with His Holy Spirit, dwells within us through His Spirit, empowers us to live for Him by His Spirit, God adds us to His family, the church, and God faithfully leads us as we believe in Him and continue in His word and show our faith by our obedience.God gives us all we need for life and godliness.
6. God has appointed a day of judgment.There is coming a Day when Jesus Christ appears. Every eye will see Him, all the dead will rise to stand before the judgment seat of Christ. He will come in the fullness of divine glory with the heavenly angels in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes on that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.
7. It’s one way or the other. We will either enjoy eternal life in glory reigning with Jesus Christ at the right hand of the Father forever and ever, or we will be cast into the eternal punishment prepared for the devil and his angels eternally lost in hell. The Bible sets before us, life or death, blessing or cursing, salvation or condemnation, heaven or hell. And God calls through His word over and over: choose life! But it’s one way or the other. You can’t have God’s way and the way of this world too. As Elijah proclaimed to Ahab and Israel: Why do you waver between these two, if Baal is god, serve him, but if the Lord is God, serve Him.
These are first principles of the Christian faith. They are basic biblical teachings through stories, laws, songs, proverbs, parables, prophecy, gracious offerings and judgment warnings. These are the matters of ultimate importance that need to stay before us in constant awareness. These are foundational teachings which renew our minds and motivate our lives. If you believe these things to be true, how then should you live?
Romans 5:1-11 tells us. For we who have been justified by faith and have peace with God we rejoice in hope of glory. We rejoice in trials we suffer. We rejoice in God because we are bought by Jesus blood, reconciled to God through our Lord, Jesus Christ. I understand rejoicing in hope and in God, but why rejoice in sufferings? Because they shape me into a mature Christian. They also prove my faith is real. If you won’t suffer for Christ, how can you claim to believe in Him?
How strongly do you hold these basic principles of the Bible to be true? On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do these things guide your life, your relationships, your entertainment choices, your daily decisions, your language, your priorities? How much joy do you have in the hope of glory that God gives you in Christ? Is the saving work of Jesus worth enough to rejoice, or boast even in the trials they bring? Do you appreciate that God uses suffering to grow you into maturity in Jesus Christ? Does that increase your hope, or turn your heart away from Him?
It’s one way or the other.
Listen as I read two final passages and I will offer the invitation: Romans 8:12-18, 2 Corinthians 4:16-5:10.