TITLE: Real Salvation
TEXT: Acts 4:6-14
Acts 4:6 And Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas, and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. 7 And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this?8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. 11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them**, they could say nothing against it**.
INTRODUCTION – Another Jesus, Another Gospel, Another Salvation?
- The Popularity of the Alternative
Many follow after a substitute not because it is an improvement or a better choice, but purely because it is an ALTERNATIVE. What is proven and genuine is quickly discarded for what is NEW and DIFFERENT. Within Christianity the movement is great toward whatever is trendy at the moment.
This is illustrated in ALISTER MCGRATH’s comments, _The “Christian heretic” popularity derives largely from the fact that we picture it in ways that resonate with powerful ideas in contemporary culture. The heretic is the innovative underdog who challenges authority and freely chooses for himself what he will believe. The fundamental Christian is the oppressor who refuses both to see other possibilities and to allow others to explores those possibilities for themselves. <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Which would you rather be?</span>_
- Quotas must be filled in government agency. Not seeking to hire the most qualified, but the 11th minority in the department or have to hire at least one homosexual.
- Righteousness and Justice is sacrificed upon the altar of Diversity & Equality.
The devil has successfully turn the debate from WHAT IS TRUTH?, to WHAT FEELS GOOD? Or What fits my preferences best?
The Deception of a Substitute for Real Salvation
“We are Losing not Gaining”
Give me that OLD TIME RELIGION
- Not because it is old and familiar but because it WORKS.
Lu 24:30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
- Because Truth is our standard not preference
Real Salvation is Exclusive
An exclusive way. ONLY through Jesus. A Narrow Way.
_8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,9 If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole; 10 Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole<span style="text-decoration:underline;">. **11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. **</span>12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved._
1. **The Narrow Mind**
1. Narrow minded? Is it narrow minded to say the sun will give its light tomorrow? Is it narrow minded, to say Birds have wings and most dogs bark?
2. It is never considered narrow minded to state a fact having general consensus. If we all generally agree, then there is no complaint of narrow mindedness.
3. The complaint of narrow mindedness against the Christian, comes not because the facts of the Gospel can be disputed, but because **<span style="text-decoration:underline;">they are in conflict with how the sinner WANTS things to be</span>**
**Nothing is more narrow minded, than to live your life guided soley by your own selfish and very deceptive heart.**
ILLUSTRATION on the truly narrow mind:
**PERSON:** (someone on the phone.) I’m trying to serve God but can’t find a church. I can worship God at home because there is no church good enough for me.
**ME**: You need to find a place of worship. If nothing else the church down the street will provide you with someone you won’t agree with you everytime. IF you are the only member in your congregation you won’t have the accountability and value of someone else’s opinion.
The truly narrow mind, eliminates the heart and will of God from its thinking and is limited to the bounds of the temporal, earthly and that which is of human origin.
_Acts 4:11 This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner._
In their narrow mindedness, They have discarded this stone, and it is the very stone that has become the CORNERSTONE. The discarded because it didn’t FIT their system.
** **The Gospel confronts the sinner and exposes his WRONG and WEAKNESSES.
EXPOSES US. “I don’t none of that hard preaching!” If God anoints it, I want it! Why is the preaching and teaching always so challenging? Why can’t it be soothing and comforting? Because have a problem and real Gospel EXPOSES it!
2. **The Narrow Way**
Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Luke 13:23,24_—Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, 24 Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able._
Matthew 7:13—_Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it._
Christianity is a straight and narrow way. A way bounded and restricted by TRUTH, Righteousness and Holiness. * Pr 4:14 ¶ Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. * **AMOS’ PLUMBLINE **Am 7:8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
**Being EXCLUSIVE, Christianity EXCLUDES. **
- The opportunity is all inclusive (WHOSOEVER), but God’s benefits are only for the redeemed. This leaves the sinner without the umbrella of God’s protection and the blessing of His favor.
Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
Mt 7:21 ¶ Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Mr 10:15 Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.
**1Co 6:9 ¶ Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. **
While modern preachers rework and try to re-write the manual on salvation:
There is already a **<span style="text-decoration:underline;">definite formula for salvation</span>**: HOW are you Saved?
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. 45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.
Ro 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Real Salvation is an Experience
Acts 4:13,14—Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 14 And beholding the man which was healed standing with them**, they could say nothing against it**.
It is not a club you join, a name tag you put on. It is something that Happens to you when full faith is placed in Christ out of a repentant heart.
The Evidences of Salvation are a Great Contrast 1. Our sin must be past tense. Such WERE some of you!
I Cor. 6:11 “And such **<span style="text-decoration:underline;">were some of you:</span>** but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 1. Sinner Saved by Grace? You are either a SINNER or you are saved! If you are saved, The Life you NOW live, must CONTRAST the life you use to live! 1. It is not just a talk, it is a walk. v. 14 _they could say nothing against it._ 2. _THEY HAD BEEN WITH JESUS, v.13_ 3. _THE MAN HAD BEEN IMPOTENT, BUT NOW WAS WHOLE, v.14_
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is Liberty. 2 Cor. 3:17
Not the same, ever since the savior found me!
CONCLUSION – ALTAR CALL
- Do You Have Evidence of a Changed Life? 4. Do you daily enjoy the sweet fellowship of Christ and the communion of the Holy Ghost? 5. Do you speak of Christ as a Friend or more like the friend of a friend? (The God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob.) 6. Do you have liberty in your spirit? 7. Are you dramatically different from the old you? 8. Is the will of God more important to you than anything else?
If you have embraced a substitute there is still ROOM at the cross for you. REAL SALVATION. ALIVE, POWERFUL, LIFE CHANGING, ETERNAL.
Christ is in the business of changing lives!
Josh McDowell was a hard-nosed skeptic regarding the accuracy of the Bible and Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God. His intense quest to disprove it led him into a spiritual experience with Christ that radically changed his life. There were obvious changes in his behavior, but the most significant change happened as he faced the need to forgive people who had damaged him as a child.
The small community where the McDowell family lived knew his father as the town alcoholic. Josh hated him for the abuse and the shame he brought them. When Josh accepted Christ as his Savior, a powerful love consumed his life. He described how it affected his feelings for his father: “God’s love took that hatred, turned it upside down, and emptied it out. I looked my father in the eyes and said, ‘Dad, I love you,’ and I really meant it.”
A short time later, his dad visited him. “It was one of his few sober days,” Josh said. “Dad paced nervously around the room and finally blurted out, 'Son, how can you love a father like me?'”
Josh answered, “Dad, six months ago I despised you, but I have placed my trust in Christ, received God’s forgiveness, and invited Him into my life. He has changed me. God has taken away my hatred and now I love and accept you just the way you are.”
After they talked for almost an hour, Josh’s dad said, “Son, if God can do in my life what I’ve seen Him do in yours, then I want to trust Him as my Savior and Lord.”
His father’s life changed right before his eyes. Josh saw his father touch alcohol only once after that. The beverage got as far as his lips before his father thrust it away.
There was another person Josh needed to forgive. Between six and thirteen years of age, he was abused by a man hired to cook and clean on their farm. When his parents needed to leave for any reason, they would stand Josh in front of him and say, "You do everything Wayne tells you to do or you'll get a thrashing when we get home.” He was afraid of their punishment, so Josh did what Wayne told him.
When Josh told his mother what Wayne did to him, she didn’t believe Him. “I felt totally alone and unprotected,” he admitted. “Even at the young age of six, I knew what Wayne did to me was evil, and I hated him for it.”
Josh’s work on the farm made him stronger, so by the age of 13 he waited for an opportunity to confront his abuser. When his parents were out of sight, he walked into the house, cupped his hands around Wayne’s neck and pushed him against the wall. His grip tightened as he spoke. "If you ever touch me again, I will kill you!" Wayne never touched him after that.
Years later, as a new believer, Josh told his pastor about Wayne. His pastor looked at him sympathetically and said, “You need to forgive him.” Josh’s anger exploded. The years of abuse and his personal battle for his own protection had scarred him deeply. He admitted, “I hate the man! I want him to burn in hell!”
Josh faced his abuser once again, but this time he didn't threaten him. “Wayne, what you did to me was evil,” he said, “but I‘ve trusted Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. I believe that Jesus died as much for you as He did for me, so I forgive you.”
“I had no warm emotions,” Josh admitted. “I simply said the words in faith because I knew it would please my Heavenly Father. Faith carried me through both experiences of forgiving my father and Wayne. Through it all, I had the haunting conviction that the Bible was true and I could trust Jesus to give me victory.”
ITS NOT FOR SALE
During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to her, wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, "Colonel, just ask for it!" A smile broke over Roosevelt's face. Now he understood--the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.
GOD IS CHASING YOU
In 1981, a Minnesota radio station reported a story about a stolen car in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and the driver, even to the point of placing announcements on local radio stations to contact the thief. On the front seat of the stolen car sat a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. Now the police and the owner of the VW Bug were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car. So often when we run from God, we feel it is to escape his punishment. But what we are actually doing is eluding his rescue.
Joh 6:68 Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. 69 And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.