Intro: When you talk to people about their spiritual life and zero in whether they are saved and certain of going to heaven you will get different answers. When one says he is because he believes in God that should be a sign that you have a prospect to share the gospel with. Believing in God for salvation is not the way. One who is saved knows that it is specifically Jesus Christ who saves. When one refers only to God, it could mean the god of different religions. Muslims have a specific name for their god, Allah. The Jehovah’s Witness God is Jehovah, which is one of the names of God that describes who He is. But we know what Jesus said of Himself, that He is the only way and the truth and the life. Here then is what differentiates true Christians from others. They have a Savior and He has a name.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
True believers know that name, however in this passage it is not mentioned but that name is revealed in the Bible. Paul reveals this in his letter to the Philippians.
“Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil. 2:9-11
Last Sunday we looked into what Jesus Christ came for. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Today we will follow with this message on God’s Redemptive plan.
“God’s Continuing Work in Redemption”
So, because Jesus was doing things on the Sabbath, the Jews persecuted him. Jesus said to them, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”John 5:16-17
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise you have believed in vain. For 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.” 1 Cor. 15:1-4
I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.” Rom. 1:16-17
We have three separate texts because we will see the workings of God in saving sinners by the three persons of the God head.
The first act of God in salvation is by God the Father and He is working to this very day. Does that mean today? Yes, even now, at this very minute. He could be working around us and among us with someone who is not yet saved and is here with us. Last Sunday we saw the work of God in the life of Zacchaeus. God drew Zacchaeus to Jesus by working out the circumstances by separating him from the crowd. He was all alone on the tree because the people prevented him from coming to Jesus and yet Jesus singled him out from all the people that were there to see Him. He was given to Jesus by God the Father.
“No one comes to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44
This was affirmed by Jesus in His prayer the night before His crucifixion.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours: you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.” John 17:6
God gave Zacchaeus to Jesus because he already belonged to God. God knew him and worked out the circumstance to encounter him with Jesus. When was this?
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realm with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Eph. 1:3-4
Zacchaeus was chosen by God and drew him to Jesus at the appointed time. Jesus passed by Jericho because He too was working with His Father to seek and save those His Father was giving to Him. What about today, has Jesus stopped working? No, for He said, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” What is the work of Jesus? To save those His Father gives Him. But how is He seeking them since He is not here anymore in person? He is here because He has many off-springs. Everyone whom Jesus has saved is His offspring and He lives in them. Paul revealed this truth when he wrote to the Galatians,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Gal. 2:20a
This is true to those who have received Christ Jesus into their hearts as Lord. This may not be fully realized when one has not grown in knowing Christ and have not fully surrendered to Him as Lord by dying to self, which we ought to. So then, what is Jesus’ part in God’s Redemptive plan? He was given the most painful task in saving people for God. He paid the price of Redemption. He left His throne in heaven came down lived in a human body and after 33 years gave up His life to pay the ultimate price of saving sinners from hell. It was costly and painful beyond anyone can imagine and experience. Here’s how His death was described to us by an Old Testament prophet that Jesus will go through.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed … Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.” Isa. 53:5, 10
This is the gospel as revealed by Jesus Himself to Paul. This is what one needs to hear and believe and take a stand for Jesus to save him. “By this gospel you are saved.” His death was the punishment for our sins. He did not sin but God His Father placed on Jesus all the sins we have committed and made Him pay for the sins He did not commit. No one is spared of this punishment because we all have sinned and deserve to be thrown in the lake of fire. To give us another illustration and picture what Jesus took upon himself is this. Leprosy is an incurable disease. Once one has leprosy he becomes an outcast of society and is ashamed to show himself. Leprosy in the Bible is the illustration of sin which everyone is affected with. So when those with leprosy came to Jesus He cleansed them completely. When Jesus was finally nailed to the cross, God His Father took our leprosy and laid them on His Son. Jesus was made leprous (that stands for sin) and God His Father could no longer look at Him. This is when Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God and sin have no fellowship. Thus Jesus was abandoned by His Father. Calvary became dark.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
In another passage Paul wrote this truth:
“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise Holy Spirit.” Gal. 3:13-14
Before this, Paul stated this truth about those who rely on their obedience to the law believing that this would get them to heaven as taught by most religions.
“All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” Gal. 3:10-11
Relying on the Law and keeping it in order to be saved are under a curse. It is because no one can keep and obey the law of God 100%. Only Jesus kept and obeyed all the law of God 100%. So then, this is how one enters and kept saved by God. This is now the work of the Holy Spirit. Paul was not ashamed nor intimidated to share the gospel. He knew that not everyone will accept it and some will persecute him just as Jesus was persecuted when He told the Jews who He was. They could not and did not believe Him. Yet if the gospel is not preached Jesus will not save anyone. The gospel is the power of God for salvation. The authority and power comes from the One who accomplished what was required by God in salvation. The death of Jesus Christ justifies God to forgive all the sins one has and will unintentionally commit because Jesus has fully paid them all. Jesus’ 100% obedience to the Law of God is credited to our account while all the sins we have committed is charged to Jesus’ account which He paid for at the cross. His death fully paid our sins and satisfied the law and justice of God. “For the wages of sin is death.” Then after three days God vindicated Jesus and accepted His offering of Himself because God’s justice was met. Because of what He accomplished, He is given all authority to save and to receive glory and worship by all who have believed in His name. This was Jesus’ prayer on the night before His death, praying back the authority God gave Him after He accomplishes the cross.
“For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” John 17:2
No one else has that authority to give eternal life. No one can come to the Father except through Him. And He has the power to keep everyone He saves.
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” Heb. 7:25
The gospel came to the Jews first. But because they rejected Jesus, the gospel was given to the Gentiles an act by the grace of God. But take note that salvation is personal and by individuals. It says, the gospel is the power of God for salvation first for the “Jew,” then for the “Gentile”. Everyone has to believe the gospel personally because salvation cannot be inherited nor by legislation. Us Gentiles ought to be thankful that the gospel came to us because the chosen nation, descendants of Abraham rejected Christ. So God called Paul to reach us.
But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Acts 9:15-16
But what is the guarantee that we are kept saved by Christ through the gospel? First, the gospel is the righteousness from God as to how one gets saved. This is not made up by man or by any religion. God is the author of salvation. We are given the faith by the author of faith, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the saving faith that came to us after hearing the gospel, the message of salvation given as a gift. Who then produced this saving faith? Not by us but by the Holy Spirit.
“But the fruit of the Holy Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Gal. 5:22
Peter inspired by the Holy Spirit affirmed this.
“To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours:” 2 Pet. 1:1b
Salvation then is all the work of the Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit working together in God’s redemptive plan. Those who are the object and recipient of this salvation are held secure in the hands of the Triune God and nothing in all creation will be able to separate them from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.
How does God continue His work in redemption? Through those who are already saved by the grace of God. Just as Jesus came to seek and to save the lost, everyone who is in Christ must carry the good news to those God will give to His Son. So then, if God has given you to His Son and are now reconciled with God, then you and I have a mission and are commissioned to…
“And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassador, as though God were making his appeal through us.” 2 Cor. 5:19b-20
If you are here today and the Holy Spirit is giving you the understanding of the gospel and convicting you of sin and your need for salvation, here is our appeal,
We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. For he says, “In time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 5:20b-21, 6:1-2
Is God drawing you to His Son? Believe the gospel, then come to Jesus, repent of your sins by giving all to Him to pay, then receive Him into your heart as your Lord and trust Him to save you.