The Message - Sermon

Salvation – A Gift of Grace

SALVATION- A Gift of Grace

John 3:16 is one  of the most popular and most often quoted Bible verse that focuses on our salvation: “For God so loved the world, that He  gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Our salvation is a gift from God and the Bible is very clear about it. “8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this,  it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” Ephesians 2:8-9  (NLT). We cannot take advantage of the grace of God like our abuse in the free will that God gave us. 

Salvation is a process of redemption, it cleanses us of our sin, and it gets rid of any foreign spirit in our body that made us imperfect. Salvation is regarded as a wall to prevent any toxic attack to our freedom from sin. Sharing our personal experience is one of many ways to return the favor that God has given us, through sharing they might accept the Son to stay in their lives,  so the old man will flee and the new man will be born.  In John 4:38- 42, a woman whose life has changed after she met Jesus, told others about her encounter and they believed.

When we testify about the goodness of God and the Son, the people that hear our testimony will be enlightened through us.  The word of God becomes the way for them to know God, like the water that they will drink will become living water, the water of salvation.  Through us, they will never be thirsty again. 

They do not need to go anywhere to worship God but to the place or mountain of their choice. Jesus said to the woman that it doesn’t matter whether she worship the Father on the mountain or in Jerusalem.  The time has already come that worshipping God is not about location but about how we worship the Father. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

When we plant the seed about God’s righteousness, purpose, and will, the process to enjoy the gift of salvation begins. We have a saying that I planted the seed, I cooked it myself and other people enjoyed it.  It means accepting the calling of God to spread His word, we become the bridge of their relationship with God. You become part of them receiving the saving grace of God, from death for lack of knowledge to life of knowing the Spirit that gives life. When we are saved, our sins are washed away; our sins which had defiled us are forgiven.

We are rescued and freed from the force of sin through the power of the Holy Spirit. The sin who kept us captive for a long time will be put under our feet.  It will be our choice on how to manage our new life without sin.  It could be a struggle, but faith, hope, and love can manage that for us. Do not let sin get out of our grip and start its evil work again.  We should always remember that we are God’s children and no one can snatch us from Him, but we should always be on guard.

Once saved always saved! Salvation guarantees eternal security. It doesn’t mean that being saved is the same thing as salvation. Saved is our standing after regeneration, and salvation refers to come into possession of the divine inheritance.  Salvation is God’s work and His sovereign power can wash out our sins and renew our spirit and reform our body. We can feel it that every morning we wake up we are a new person. 

If we do not feel it that way, then we need to talk to Him before we go to sleep. We can compare ourselves before we go sleep and when we wake up and in between confession is needed to see and feel the difference. Is that the way it feels when the body is resurrected? Refresh and rejuvenated. Since in the flesh it feels sinless for a second, then back to be sinner again for hours till we sleep again, and the cycle goes on and on like a spinning wheel that goes around and around.

When salvation is an act of God there is a guarantee it is secured, and we have to do nothing but to be faithful to Him. We have to avoid offending God, obey His will, and work with His plan to be with Him forever. We might not even know that we are offending God by not examining the lifestyle of those people that are using His word for their own benefits. We have to be mindful that God can also be using them for you to hear the word but the responsibility lies on our shoulder. It is our responsibility to do what we think is right if we feel that we are called to do such a thing.

Many preachers are good entertainers.  They will manipulate our emotions and in response, we take it as a blessing.  We should not fall for this because in reality, sometimes, it is just full entertainment, a show that will lead our focus to His talent rather than make us feel good, blessed, and satisfied to hear the word of God.  It takes away the glory of the word of God and replaced by a show.

We have to follow the attitude of the Bereans that according to the Book of Acts when they received the word of God being preached and with readiness in mind and habit when they get home, they searched the scriptures whether those things that they heard were true”.  And to add to our knowledge they do not search for only one day but daily and many of them believed. When our senses dictate our soul, it is already given as it is our nature to listen to ourselves. However,  sometimes, the substance of the preaching is not able to reach the understanding of the human brain, but because our total submission is to the world of entertainment.

The Preacher will entertain us with their talents and they give joy to our soul than our spirit. We have to be mindful of faith leaders who are interested in their advancement in life and not to the spiritual growth of the members. We see preachers who are only interested to know or to get easy access to our pocket. They use their talents to get into people’s minds and souls so they can maintain their lavish life. 

Jude mentioned about; “These people are grumblers and complainers, living only to satisfy their desires. They brag loudly about themselves, and they flatter others to get what they want.” Jude tells us also: “But you, my dear friends, must remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ predicted. They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them” Jude 1:17-19.

For God to act on our salvation, we have to defend the faith that God entrusted to us that some ungodly people made their way to churches wearing sheep clothing, and inside they are goats.  They say that God’s grace allows them to live in abundance. For example, some claim that God told them to buy jets to reach places, and live in a mansion.  And many of us fall through these lies.

Jude even compared these people to be like animals doing things with their instinct or whatever their instinct tells. This we do not have to worry because they are doing this on their own destruction. Be sure to be alert for they will divide or confuse us with our fellow workers. When these ungodly people fellowship with us, we must be aware that there are dangers for our faith to be attacked. We must be aware that when they start opening their mouth, we must also start to open our mouth to rebuke them.

Now that we are aware the act of God about salvation, we need to act on our part to receive the saving grace that He said in the Gospel of John:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16  (NKJV) There are hidden message in this word of God and was revealed to others and not to all. Those who got the revelation should act accordingly. Spread the love and we will be glad we did. Due to our faith and acceptance of God’s only Son, we are saved. Once we are saved we are always be saved “38-39 “for I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39; We have to bear in mind that the God who gave the gift of salvation is the same God that saved us and that God will keep us because He wants us to be with Him through eternity. He is the only God and no one else besides Him.

John 3:16-17 is the center passage of our salvation, maybe we already heard more than enough that God sent the Son to die on the cross for our sin, is that how we want to pass on to the generation to come about our God? How could you justify when the Bible can prove that God disagrees and punished those who did sacrificial offerings of their children. But then again those who lack understanding and quick to judge may ask why did God ask Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac? With respect to God, Abraham followed God, but when the sacrificial act is going to carry out a messenger from God stopped Abraham. God’s power intervened and a ram was sacrificed instead. Abraham was called then a friend of God.

God sent His one and only Son not to die but through him, the world might be saved. Does God want the Son to die on the cross, to suffer, and to be humiliated? Is that the way to redeem us for our sins? Or Is there something else besides that we should know or we must not know? When we seek the truth the truth will set us free from doubt, confusion, and lack of understanding. Jesus Himself said in John 10: 17-18 “For this reason the Father loves me because I lay down my life that I may take it up again.  No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.” John 10:17-18.  It is very clear that it is a voluntary act of the Son of God. God has all the power to stop it but He will not transgress the authority He has given the Son. The will of the Son is respected by the Father.

Jesus said if anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.” We can say life will go on and on it can be an up and down,  but everyone who believes in Him shall not be lost. No principalities in the heavenly realm can snatch anyone from Him because the gate is already opened for those who believe in the Son. The arms of the Lord is our refuge and will protect us all the way through.  The Lord keeps watching over us as we come and go, both now and forever. Wherever we go and whatever we do, we will be blessed. Ref: Jeremiah 37:4, Psalm 121″8, Deuteronomy 28:6 28:6.

Once we are saved we are saved and it cannot be undone. We don’t lose our salvation, but for those after accepting the assurance of salvation then returned to the old ways and lost it, then being saved is just the sense that controls our soul or emotional feelings and not the spirit that gives life. It is stated in John 3:15 that said “that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will “have eternal life, not the eternal soul or immortal soul.” The promise of eternal life will never be in error as it is written in the Bible that what we believe is free from error. It is harder to understand that salvation can be lost than a guarantee of eternal security. Once we have it, it is ours and God never wants it back. God wants everyone to be saved and to fully understand the truth of His word. There is only one God, only one way to be saved, one deliverer of truth, and one source of life

Bishop Joseph

Dr. Joseph Vitug, Ph.D. - Bishop Emeritus

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