9-20-15 MY SAVIOR
September 20, 2015
Notice the title of today's message isn't just 'Savior', but 'My Savior'. If someone asks how to get to heaven, or 'how to be saved', the standard answer is "you must ask Jesus Christ to be your personal Savior and Lord". Today's message deals with the first half, which is 'asking Jesus to be your personal Savior'. Next week we will examine the second half (asking Jesus to be your personal Lord).
Take a look at this property deed...
To acquire a property deed to a home in heaven, you need the same three things that are required when you purchase real estate on earth:
1. A description of the real estate involved
2. The names of the respective parties
3. The signature of the person transferring the real estate
Number one is a description of the real estate - emphasis on the word "REAL". Unless you actually believe there is a real place called heaven, you would have no interest in acquiring an estate there. The problem is, while you may be fortunate enough to have a home on earth, the day is coming when you will be 'evicted'; and unless you have a property deed for a new home in heaven, you will find yourself living in the streets of an eternal hell - a place of complete darkness, where you will be alone with your sins for an eternity. Of course, if you don't believe in heaven, you probably don't believe in hell, either. Makes no difference. Just because you don't believe in something, that doesn't make it any less real. Once you get to hell you will definitely believe in it, but then it is too late to go anywhere else. Jesus has promised in His Word that He is preparing a home in heaven especially for you. (see my sermon from 8-30-15, titled "HOME"). It may seem too good to be true, but it is indeed true.
Number two is the names of the respective parties. Naturally, only the true legal owner of the property can transfer the deed to a new owner. So unless you get a property deed from the true owner, your deed is worthless. You can present a thousand deeds that are not signed by the legal owner, and you will not be given possession of the property. Those who believe there are many roads to heaven, and it does not matter which god you serve, as long as you are a 'good person', will only find out too late that they will not be granted a home in heaven (John 14:1-6 and 1 Timothy 2:5). However, merely acknowledging that you believe in the one true God, is not enough. As James said, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that - and shudder." (James 2:19) And we know the demons are NOT going to heaven!
There is a price to be paid before God will sign over the deed. The trouble is, none of us, not you and not me, and no one else that has ever been born on this earth - save one - can pay the price. The price is so high because of our sin. Heaven is a restricted neighborhood. No sin is allowed inside the gates. But all of us have sinned. It doesn't matter if you think you are no worse than anyone else. Or even if you think you are better than everyone else. There is not enough money in the universe to pay the price, because money won't take away sin. There are not enough good works that can be done to gain entry, because good works do not take away sin. There is only one way to remove your sins, and that is to have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, who died and rose again to pay the price required by God. When you put your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior, His precious blood cleanses you of all of your sin, and God will write your name in the Book of Life and sign the property deed to your home in heaven.
Does that sound too easy? Yes and no. You can't buy your way into heaven and you can't work your way into heaven. But that doesn't mean it doesn't cost anything, and that you can just mumble a few words and you're in. To truly accept Jesus Christ as your Savior means you have to first of all acknowledge that you NEED a Savior. That means admitting you are a sinner that does not deserve a home in heaven. That means admitting that you can't earn your way into heaven on your own, and that you need a Savior. Pride has caused many people to not be able to get past this first step. It is the main reason many 'good people' will be in hell, and many 'bad people' will be in heaven.
Next, you must truly want to be saved from your sins. A person might admit they are drowning, but if they don't want to be taken out of the water, they will eventually sink and drown. Likewise, if we want to be saved so we can go to heaven, but don't want to be cleansed of our sin, we will eventually sink into hell for all eternity. I'm not saying once you are saved that you are going to lead a perfect sinless life. We are still in our human bodies, and are still subject to temptation. Justification and sanctification are two separate (yet intertwined) processes. But unless your heart's desire is to be rid of sin, unless you feel real remorse for your sin, and it pains you to live in a world that is drenched in it (2 Corinthians 7:10) - you don't want a Savior, you just want to escape the consequences of your actions. That would be like taking pain killers to take away the pain of an infection that is destroying your body, but not taking the antibiotics you need to kill the bacteria. Sin infects your soul and will eventually cause spiritual death (which equates to an eternity in hell), unless you ask Jesus to rid you of it. Numbing your guilt with the mistaken belief that you can just keep on sinning without a second thought because you believe in Jesus, doesn't save you from it. There are even some preachers, such as Rob Bell who authored the book "Love Wins", that are feeding false hope to millions with the idea that everyone will eventually go to heaven. Just as Timothy warned, "For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear." (2 Timothy 4:3)
So, the question is not just, is Jesus a Savior, but is Jesus YOUR Savior? All the world offers is temporary. You might find ways to numb the pain for a while. But only Jesus can save you from an eternity of despair, wishing that you had asked Jesus to be your Savior before you took your last breath. And only asking Him to be your Savior, and truly meaning it from your heart, will put God's signature on that property deed to a home in heaven that has your name on it. If you have never really asked Jesus to come into your heart, and be your Savior and Lord, ask Him right now, in your own words. There is no prayer that you have to say perfectly word for word. God hears what is in your heart. Just call to Him from the depths of your spirit, and cry out, "Save me Lord Jesus!" just as Peter did when he was sinking in the sea. Do it now, as I recite the first two verses of Amazing Grace¦
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found;
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed.