Jesus at the Center of Freedom
Salvation •Message 4
February 11, 2024
Thanks for joining us for the last week of our series entitled Jesus at the Center of Freedom.
Along with our Breakthrough weekend, we have been talking about the ministries of Jesus in Luke 4.
“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
for He has anointed Me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,
and that the time of the LORD’S favor has come.”
Luke 4:18-19 (NLT)
Today we are discussing the idea of bringing Good News to the poor. Our theme verse today is from Luke 19:10. It expresses the intention behind Jesus coming to the earth and His mission.
“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.”
Luke 19:10 (NLT)
Last week Bryan spoke about Physical Healing. It reminded me of this moment from Jesus as He looked at the crowd.
“Is it easier to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up and walk’?”
Matthew 9:5 (NLT)
Which would have been easier?
Now if you grew up around the South or in the Bible Belt this idea of salvation isn’t foreign. But I did want to give a bit of an explanation. Here is an older definition of the word and its implications for us.
Salvation - The redemption of man from the bondage of sin and liability to eternal death, and the conferring on him of everlasting happiness.
As you can see it is not only about escaping the penalty of our sins, it is also being given something.
The idea of Salvation is separated into many different pieces. You’ve heard it before in our church that salvation is more than just a ticket to heaven. It is more than forgiveness of sins. It is more than receiving a new heart and new desires. But it is also not less than those things.
So, I’ve wanted to list out some of the theological terms associated with the word salvation:
Predestination, Election, Calling, Regeneration, Faith, Repentance, Justification, Adoption, Sanctification, Perseverance, Glorification
I just want to take a few of these terms out.
The idea of salvation includes but is not limited to these three terms.
Justification (Past Tense) – I’ve been saved.
Sanctification (Present Tense) – I am being saved.
Glorification (Future Tense) – I will be saved one day.
But I think the challenge is to think of our salvation as all of these, not just one of these. For instance, a common view would be that Justification is the Finish Line and Sanctification is Extra Credit.
B. The offer of Salvation includes…
1. The FORGIVENESS of sins. (Psalm 130:3; Romans 5:6-8. C/R: Psalm 62:12; Matthew 9:5; Romans 3:24; 2 Thessalonians 1:9)
This is ultimately what the salvation of Jesus provides. Our sins are forgiven.
But why do we need our sins forgiven?
Because sin is rooted in idolatry and pride and a desire to live life on our own terms instead of God’s.
And God sees all, He knows all. Check out the way the Psalmist rightly asks this rhetorical question.
LORD, if You kept a record of our sins, who, O LORD, could ever survive?
Psalm 130:3 (NLT)
He does keep a record, and no one could survive. I want you to understand while some of you might be terrified by this, I want you to also understand that God will bring justice onto those who do evil in His sight.
What kind of God would He be if He did not punish wrongdoing? Impotent. Lacking power.
But God is not lacking power. He is holy and will bring holy justice and judgment to those who do evil in His sight.
But the Psalmist continues in the next verse
But You offer forgiveness, that we might learn to fear You.
Psalm 130:4 (NLT)
I think that some of us might wrongly see Salvation and Judgment as opposed to one another. But I think salvation comes by judgment.
What do I mean by that?
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were saved by God’s judgment of their enemies. The Egyptians and the Philistines come to mind as guilty of God’s judgment and God saves His people through that judgment.
Salvation for all believers no matter their background, age, language or socioeconomic status are saved by the judgment that falls on Christ. That He can take our place as a sacrifice and take the judgment rightly rendered to us.
The Scriptures explain it in this way in Romans 5.
When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
Romans 5:6-8 (NLT)
Jesus through His birth, life, death, burial and resurrection was counted as a worthy High Priest and offered Himself up so that our sins might be forgiven. But that is not the only thing that salvation offers to us as God’s people.
2. Freedom through Faith. (Romans 6:18-22; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21. C/R: Psalm 51:10-12)
In addition to our forgiveness, Christ also offers us freedom through an exchange of His righteousness.
Our sins are not just covered over and wiped away by the blood of Christ, we are also seen as righteous in God’s sight.
Not just neutral…holy, righteous, good.
Imagine believing and living out of this Scriptural truth that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, we are good in God’s sight.
What would change about how you work? How you parent? How you pray? How you share your faith? How you manage your finances? How you spend your time?
Romans 6 explains it in this way.
Now you are free from your slavery to sin, and you have become slaves to righteous living. Because of the weakness of your human nature, I am using the illustration of slavery to help you understand all this. Previously, you let yourselves be slaves to impurity and lawlessness, which led ever deeper into sin. Now you must give yourselves to be slaves to righteous living so that you will become holy. When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the obligation to do right. And what was the result? You are now ashamed of the things you used to do, things that end in eternal doom. But now you are free from the power of sin and have become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life.
Romans 6:18-22 (NLT)
We are not just free from the power of sin; we are now given new desires and a new purpose in this life. We are now urged to live holy lives and will live eternal life.
So, it is not just our standing and our present relationship with sin, but our relationship with God is fully restored!
We are alive unto Christ. We are reconciled.
And we share in the message of reconciliation.
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And He gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making His appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
2 Corinthians 5:19-21 (NLT)
The idea here is that Christ is not only forgiving our sins but also entrusting us with a responsibility to share that righteousness with the world. Sharing the Good News of Christ.
So how can we live life in this way? I think it involves knowing that Jesus is the JOY of our salvation.
I learned this device when I was a child growing up in church.
When you keep them in the right order, salvation is a joy. This orients us rightly in how we should view our lives. Jesus First, Others Next, Ourselves last.
Carl R. Trueman when being interviewed about his book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self was asked what the church can do in a world where everyone is an Expressive Individualist, a society so driven by inner desires, dreams, and thoughts as our main identity.
We cannot simply argue our way to a win today. We need to demonstrate the power of what we profess in the way we live our lives.
Carl R. Trueman
That power comes through a transformed life given by the Holy Spirit. Our obedience comes from a new heart that is continually supplied strength from the Spirit of God.
If we want to see our family, friends, neighbors and strangers in our community come to Christ it will come through the power of Jesus and His Spirit working in and through your life.
3. Firm confidence. (2 Peter 1:10-11; C/R: Romans 8:14-17; 2 Corinthians 1:15-20; James 2:17-26)
I think this last point that I am going to talk about today is one that does not get discussed much in our churches. I think that it is crucial for those of us who are seeking to grow in our faith that we should strive to get something that the Bible describes as assurance.
What is assurance?
The assurance of salvation is the certainty that a person’s faith is valid. They have a firm confidence in their standing with Jesus.
So, dear brothers and sisters, work hard to prove that you really are among those God has called and chosen. Do these things, and you will never fall away.
2 Peter 1:10 (NLT)
I want to give you three things that lead to assurance in the order of priority. In other words, the first one is the most important, then the second is next in importance, and the third is the least of these three.
First, we must consider the source of our salvation.
a. The Source of Our Salvation.
It is not the size of your faith, but the object of your faith.
Jesus in the book of Matthew describes differing levels of faith. In Matthew 6:30, He says, O ye of little faith, but in Matthew 8:10 Jesus said He had not seen faith like this in all of Israel!
Yet my question is, of those two groups of people, those listening to the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6 or the Roman Soldier in Matthew 8. Which were truly saved?
Because even though they had different amounts or measures of faith their faith was in the same object, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
The prayer of I believe but help my unbelief is a prayer of faith, even though it is a prayer asking for more faith.
The object of our faith, Jesus saves us to the uttermost. His sacrifice is enough. We must believe and trust in Jesus’ sacrifice in our place to justify us before a Holy God.
b. The Spirit’s Witness.
When we are born again, because of the sacrifice of Christ the Holy Spirit enters into our heart and our relationship with God is restored.
As a result, the Scriptures tell us that we can have assurance because of the witness or testimony of the Holy Spirit.
For His Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
Romans 8:16 (NLT)
c. A Supernatural Change.
This change that we are experiencing is a change that we should see in our present everyday lives. We should also experience a growing likeness to Christ as we mature in our faith.
Again, we see that this faith of the forgiveness of our sins is not separated from the rest of our lives as followers of Christ. James lays out that a test of the legitimacy of our faith is not in our understanding of these facts, but instead that our understanding of these facts is teemed with obedience to the law and overflowing love to others.
So you see, faith by itself isn’t enough. Unless it produces good deeds, it is dead and useless.
James 2:17 (NLT)
Is your faith legitimate?
I believe that this idea of assurance of our salvation is a gift from God. It is our duty to pursue being sure of our standing with God. (1 Corinthians 2:12; Ephesians 3:17-19; Hebrews 6:11-12; 1 John 4:13)
Today you have an opportunity to begin this relationship with Christ. The call from Jesus was simple in language, believe that Jesus took your place, repent of your sin and follow Christ.
We have Care Volunteers down front and in the Care Connection room.
If you believe you are a follower of Christ, but are struggling with assurance, come and pray with one of our volunteers today.