Salvation - Not Ashamed

October 25, 2015   Romans 1:16 – 18    Salvation 

 

  There is a whole theme through the bible that God wants to fellowship with us.  God wants to walk with us and be our God.  God wants to be involved with our life with every detail of your life.  But God is holy and we have sinned against him.  At the heart the very center of the scripture is the gospel.  It is good news that God has made a way for us to be reconciled to Him.  The writer to Hebrews writes that this is a great salvation and if we neglect it how can a person escape?  .  In this passage Paul writes I am not ashamed of the gospel and in Galatians 1 Paul writes if anyone preaches another gospel to you may he be accursed.  In Galatians 1 Paul said if an angel from heaven or if I would preach another gospel to you let him be eternally accursed. 

   Two families from the state of New York were studied very carefully.  One was the Max Jukes family and the other was the Jonathan Edwards family.  The thing they discovered in this study is remarkable like begets like.   Max Jukes was an unbelieving man and he married a woman of like character who lacked principle.   And among the know descendants over 1,200 were studied.   Three hundred ten became professional vagrants, 440 physically wrecked their lives by a debauched life style, 130 sent to jail for an average of 13 years each, 7 of them for murder.   There were over 100 who were alcoholic, 60 habitual thieves, and 190 public prostitutes.   Of the 20 that learned a trade 10 of them learned a trade in the state prison.   It cost the state 1.5 million and they made no contribution whatever to society. 

    In about the same era the family of Jonathan Edwards came on the scene.  And Jonathan Edwards a man of God married a woman of like character.  Their family began and they became a part of this study that was made.  Three hundred became clergymen, missionaries and theological professors; over 100 became college profs; over 1000 attorneys, 30 of them judges, 60 of them became physicians, over 60 became authors of classics, good books; 14 became presidents of universities,.  There were numerous giants in American industry that emerged from this family.  Three became United State congressmen and one became the president of the United States. 

   Do you want your children to walk in the ways of Jesus or the world?   Do they see your sacrifice and your love for Jesus?  If you are not doing it your children most likely will not either.  I see that many are concerned about losing this younger generation.  It seems each generation is less committed to Jesus than the previous one.  If you want your children to be involved in church you must be committed.  If you want them to be in a close Christian bible study or life group then you must make the time to do that.  Pray for these young folks. 

   Where would this world be without the gospel?   Think of the schools, hospitals and great things done in the name of Jesus.  Where would we be without the gospel?  This gospel makes a real difference in people.   There would not be any true churches without the gospel.   This is a great gospel. Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel.  Are you excited about the gospel?   What is the gospel?  I Corinthians 15 Paul writes what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  The gospel is the good news from God for us.   It is good news of what God has done for us.  It is good news because God did not come to condemn us.  We sinned and God could have condemned us or ignored us but God did not.  God sent his son to save us and not to destroy us. In the book of Romans Paul asks who is he who condemns.   It is God that justifies.  God would rather forgive and justify.   How great is God’s love.  Every good and perfect gift is from the father.  What a loving God. 

    Here is an illustration of how love impacts children.  More than fifty years ago, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a young sociology professor assigned his class the project of interviewing 200 city youth residing in downtown slums.   He asked them to predict their future. Students predicted that ninety percent would serve time in prison.   Twenty-five years later the same professor asked a class to track down the original boys and discover what had happened.   One hundred eighty were located and only four had ever been in jail. Why were predictions so far off?   Looking for common factors, over 100 of the boys mentioned the strong influence of a teacher they all had in common.  They then located the teacher, a seventy-year-old Sheila O’Rourke, in a Memphis nursing home. Puzzled by the interest in her, she could only exclaim, “All I ever did was love each of them.”   The love of God has certainly changed lives. 

   The gospel is a great story.  It is valuable and it is precious.  It is valuable and precious because of the cost of it.  I have a normal everyday penny up here and would any of you give me a $100.00 for it.  Would anyone give me $1,000.00 for it?  No because it is only worth a penny.   Actually it cost the government more than a penny to mint it but its worth is a penny.  Our salvation cost God a great deal.   God cared enough to send his very best.   God sent his only son. God spoke and created the worlds.  That was easy enough.  Salvation was not easy. 

   Have you heard the story of the chicken and the pig?   The chicken approaches the pig and says lets donate to breakfast.   I will donate an egg and you donate some bacon.   The pig said to the chicken the egg is just a donation for you but the bacon cost me my life.  There is a big difference in the cost of the donation.    For our salvation it cost God his only son.  It cost Jesus his life.  There was a great deal pain for the Father and the Son to pay for our salvation beyond our ability to comprehend the cost.  We can ask God how much do you love me.  He loved us to death.  Jesus loved us to the end.  He poured out his soul unto death. 

   The gospel and salvation are precious because there is no other way for man to be saved.  We cannot work our way to heaven.   We are not saved by our works.   We are not saved by being good because only God is good.   Ephesians 2: 8 + 9 for it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.  Salvation is the gift of God.  It is a gift.   We do not deserve it.  A person cannot buy salvation.  Money cannot buy eternal life.  We are not saved by corruptible things such as silver and gold but by the precious blood of Jesus.  Amazing grace we have experienced.  It is grace that breaks the chains of sin.  Grace sets us free.  The gospel is precious. 

    The Zondervan Bible Dictionary says that the majority of Old Testament references salvation is seen to be the work of a sovereign God.  It was Yahweh who saved his people from Egypt.   Do you remember Moses saying stand firm or be still and see the salvation of the Lord when Pharaoh approached them at the sea.  Moses told them you will not see them again.  In Exodus 14:30 that day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore.     By receiving this precious gift of the salvation we are saved from our enemies.  We are delivered or saved from man’s biggest enemy’s sin and death.   We are saved from sin.   We are given a new nature.   We are given a new power over sin.  We gain eternal life.   We have the precious promises of God.  Salvation is precious and the gospel is a precious message.  Salvation is the central theme of the Bible, and indeed the very heart of the gospel.   Salvation is a promise, a reality and a hope. Mankind has several enemies including Satan, sin, and death.   We need deliverance from those things.   

   The bible dictionary says salvation is deliverance from enemies.   There are many enemies death, fear, the lion’s mouth, the battlefield, the wicked, from sickness, and from sins.  In the Old Testament times God was conceived to be the savior from all foes, both spiritual and physical.  Salvation is not only deliverance form things but deliverance to God.  We often consider it a deliverance from something but it is also to God.   There is a deliverance from the things of the world as we focus on God.  As we focus on Jesus we are not walking in fear, anger and trouble that is all around us.  We are delivered to peace.  We are delivered to blessing.  We are delivered to joy.  We are delivered to purpose.   Does that make sense to you?   We are saved from the corruption that is in the world. 

     The gospel is totally amazing.  This gospel changes lives.    It is such that a child can receive salvation.  Jesus even said you need to become like a child to receive it.  There are many times in life when we all can admit that we do not have all the answers and that we need help.  Salvation is a gift and it is not based on my ability.  God loves everybody.  It is not based on my parents.  That is good some folks do not know who their parents are.  It is a gift from God.  It is not based on my ability.  It is not based on how I have lived my life.  The depth of my sin does not prevent me from receiving salvation.  The ability to receive Jesus is not based on how smart a person is.  The smartest and the simplest can do it.  It does not matter how weak or strong we are.  If a person can say Lord save me that can be enough?    God has made salvation so that all can come.   That is good news.  The common person that is looked down upon can come.  The out casts of society can come.  The lowest can be lifted up and blessed by the Father.  We can receive answers to our prayers from God.  

   Paul said I am not ashamed of the gospel.  I would say I am not ashamed of the church of Jesus.  I am not ashamed of this church.  We preach Jesus and the bible here.  We see answers to prayer.  We love each other.  We lift Jesus up in worship.  There are many churches that do not do that.  My prayer is that God would send people here so they may hear the Jesus and the bible gospel preached and can be inspired by worship.  Years ago I heard that over 90% of the people who came to church came because they were invited by a relative or someone they knew.  Friday at the Regional conference another study from church growth ask 10,000 Christians said 79%. Went to church because someone they knew asked them.    People who are not ashamed of the gospel invited them.  I know several of us are doing that. 

     I think today that many churches water down the gospel.  In 2001, a Kansas City pharmacist was charged with diluting the cancer treatment drugs Taxol and Gemzar to make a profit. After pleading guilty, the pharmacist, Robert Courtney, was sentenced to thirty years in prison. Judge Ortrie D. Smith told the man, “Your crimes are a shock to the civilized conscience.” Judge Smith also ordered Courtney to pay $10.4 million in restitution and a $25,000 fine. In his plea agreement, Courtney admitted diluting drugs for profit since 1992, affecting as many as 4,200 patients.   This man held life-saving power in his hands and for the sake of greed and personal gain diluted it to the point where it could not help people. We can do the same with God’s life-saving truth.  (From 1001 Illustrations that Connect.)   One of my goals is not to water down the word of God.  Many churches today are not preaching the scripture and not pointing others to Jesus. 

     Paul said I am not ashamed.  He knew the value of this message.    The gospel is important.   Story of Billy Graham. On an elevator.     “No, I’m not a great man.   I just have a great message,” responded Graham.  I like that and that is pretty freeing to me.  I am not a great man but I have a great message from God. 

    They gospel is not a popular message today.      Satan does not like it.  Satan will not encourage you to share the gospel.  Conservatives and fundamentals tend to be looked down upon.  We have not done well in presenting God and Jesus to the world today.  Christians have not always presented a message of love.  Most people outside of th3e church see us as judgmental hyper critical.  When we love and serve we speak volumes about the gospel.  We can shatter those negative thoughts that society has toward us.    Hate and love.