Jesus According to Jesus (John 5)

25 07 2006

<<Below are sermon notes from a message I gave this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church. Free downloads or listening are available>>

The focus of chapter five of John’s gospel centers on the vindication of the person and work of Jesus Christ. Specifically we see 3 Christological clarifications that serve to vindicate Jesus’ person and demonstrate his authority. OR if that is too wordy, three theological uppercuts that prove that Jesus is God and he can do and say whatever he wants.

The three clarifications in John chapter 5 are:

  1. Christ’s Special Relationship with the Father (5.19-23)
  2. Christ’s Sovereign Authority over humanity (5.24-30)
  3. Christ’s Sufficient Testimony of authenticity (5.31-47)

The theme of the book of John is expressed in the 20th chapter as we read these words: John 20:31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. So we see here that the Apostle John was writing to communicate the person of Jesus Christ to his audience with the expressed purpose of producing believe and life in Jesus.

In our context here Jesus heals a man who has been ailing for 38 years. And this serves to infuriate the Jews as the healing was accomplished on a Sabbath (for it was a feast day). They were mad at the lame man because he ‘carried’ his mat and aggravated with Jesus for healing him and telling him to carry his mat. Well What does Jesus say back? Joh 5:17 But He answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.”

Basically Jesus says, “Me and My Father are just doing what we have always done…what is your problem?!” In so doing Jesus appeals to the activity of God and puts himself on the same page with God…even working in concert with him. God has enjoyed a Sabbath rest since the last day of Creation (Gen.2.2-3; Heb. 4.1, 3-5), but has still done good for men, even showing mercy on the Sabbath. Even the Rabbis of Jesus’ day would have concluded that God could not break the Sabbath, for God is active all the time (Sabbath or not) and Jesus, himself being God incarnate, is just doing what he has always done.

The Jews were furious. Because in there minds there is one thing worse than breaking the Sabbath, and that is blasphemy…speaking untruth about God, and they understood Jesus as saying that he was indeed God. This infuriated them! Notice that Jesus does not correct them. Instead he proceeds to, for the rest of the chapter, explain the special relationship that he has with the Father. And in an ironic way the Jews here are telling Jesus that he is committing the supreme sin (making himself God)…the irony is that they are disagreeing with God incarnate, rejecting him and so therefore rejecting God…so in an ironic twist the Jews’ charge of Blasphemy against Jesus is itself Blasphemy!!

What follows in verses 19-47 is Christ’s detailed explanation as to who he is and what he is doing and what ensues is a thorough theological spanking by the Savior for the religious leaders’ persistent perversion of truth in the name of their tradition. And so we have Jesus pivot on this emotionally charged situation to vindicate his character, this while indicting the Jews for their devastating sin of rejecting God.

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Blessed by God part iii (Ephesians 1)

10 07 2006

[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church you may listen or download here– ListenDownload]

This is part four of the series on the realities of the blessings in Ephesians chapter one that come to a Christian as a result of who Jesus Christ is and what he does in the life of the believer. The first three blessings were election, predestination, & redemption.

This morning we’ll consider two more blessings, first the believer’s ENLIGHTENMENT. This enlightenment is not transcendental nirvana or heightened reasoning, but rather a special and super natural revealing of who God is and what he does.

This enlightenment is by grace. Notice in verse nine, we are told that this enlightenment was as a result of God acting and making it known. We know based upon Romans that God has previously and continually made himself known, but we the creature look at the creation and say, “What a great creation, let’s worship it!!” According to Romans one this is suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (cf. Rom. 1.18-2.1).

Notice the reasoning why: Ephesians 1:9 according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him

Why does God do this? Why does God do anything? It is for his own good pleasure. This is why we see in the Scriptures saints appealing to God to act based upon his character, for his good pleasure, for his name’s sake. God enlightens us for his own pleasure.

The building blocks are building to a pinnacle. There is a purpose: Ephesians 1:10 with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him

What is the apex of the divine will? It is Jesus Christ, he is the culminating point, the apex, the pinnacle. Jesus is everything. What is God’s ultimate plan for everything that he can get his arms around (which is everything!!) it is Jesus Christ!! This is the will of God.

Even as we see in Genesis God creating everything for his name’s sake, and here in Ephesians that everything is created for the purpose of exalting Jesus Christ. Here we have the architect of the world turning the light on in our noggins to show us that the reason for everything, the supreme reason for everything is the glory of Christ. God has always been about one thing, he has always pointed to Christ as the worthy object of his affections.

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Blessed by God part ii (Ephesians 1)

2 07 2006

[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church you may listen or download the message here.]

We are all created by God to be passionate. So therefore, we are all passionate about something or someone. This is by divine design. So what is to be the catalyst for our most extreme passion? Well quite simply it is that thing that exalts and glorifies God like nothing else. So therefore, we as believers are to be uniquely and supremely passionate about the glory of God through the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the previous post we looked at the first two great realities that should lead to passionate praise 1) Election, & 2) Predestination. Today we’ll look at the third great reality, redemption.

Redemption is a term that means to be bought out of, to be rescued out of bondage. During the time of the writing of Ephesians, historians tell us that there were roughly 60 million slaves in the Roman Empire. Imagine the response of a slave who has been removed from slavery by the paid ransom!? It would be nothing less than passionate thankfulness.

In understanding redemption it is helpful to look at it from the negative side. Consider the plight of the animated corpses in Ephesians 2:

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.

Do you see the bondage here? We, without Christ, are living in the mire and muck of the sin dungeon, bound to do whatever our sinful hearts dictated. To the degree that you understand how wretched and miserable of a sinner you are you will understand and appreciate salvation. If you are having flat praise it is because you are unimpressed with grace, unimpressed with the cross, unimpressed with the power of redemption, and over impressed with yourself and your ‘redeeming’ qualities that are not redeemable, but hopeless apart from Christ. Christians love to hear of sin, because it exalts Christ. Non-Christians hate to hear about sin because it exalts a need for Christ.

Notice that redemption, the purchase was made with a cost: verse seven says “through his blood”.

True or False? Salvation is obtained by work.

TRUE! Not our work, but Christ’s WORK. The finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ! The one who gave up his very life to die in the place of sinners! We have no part in our redemption, but Christ working for us, saves sinners.

The magnitude of the cost of God for redemption should be connected with the magnitude of our praise to him for this grace!! This is why flat praise and lukewarmness is systemic of undervaluing redemption.

Redemption is equated with the forgiveness of sins (cf. v.7, and also Col. 1.14). The only way to have forgiveness is to have redemption. Jesus Christ died in the place of sinners and redeemed them, that is he purchased the ransom to extract them from slavery.

This redemption is not potential or possible but certain. Revelation 5.9-10 teaches us that the saints in heaven are singing perfect songs about the reality that God has redeemed sinners and these who are redeemed will reign upon the earth. Jesus Christ actually accomplished something on that cross. He, being the sinners’ substitute, in a point in time, accomplished redemption upon the cross, and then point in time, when he calls us with the gospel (Rom. 8.29) he applies this redemption. Christ did not accomplish redemption for everyone who ever lived only to apply it to those who would believe. Rather, he accomplished redemption for all those whom he chose (Eph. 1.4) and predestined (Eph. 1.5). And then, according to Titus 2.14 the believer’s life has changed!

This redemption is a sufficient redemption. Our Savior, the head of the New Covenant, accomplished perfect and eternal redemption, because the eternal Son has offered an eternal sacrifice to satisfy eternal wrath, to give sinners eternal life through eternal redemption!!

Psalm 107:2 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,

Psalm 111:9 9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has ordained His covenant forever; Holy and awesome is His name.

Is there a better term to refer to our great redeemer than what Paul uses in verse 6? Paul calls Jesus the Beloved.

Application Questions…………………………………..

  1. Define Redemption.
  2. Why is Christ the only one suitable for the accomplishment of redemption?
  3. Identify some aspects of redemption that should fuel and sustain your praise.
  4. How is flat praise connected with undervaluing the redemption that Christ bought?
  5. Identify the competitors to the glory of Christ in your life (i.e. what rivals Christ for his rightful place of supremacy).
  6. What is the root cause of this rivalry?
  7. What will you do to arrest this competitor and replace this with Christ-exalting praise?


Blessed by God (Ephesians 1)

26 06 2006

[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church you may listen or download the message here=>ListenDownload]

Ephesians 1 is a man-humbling, Christ-exalting run-on sentence that serves to distill the praise and power of God. It is interesting to note that it is the theological truth of this chapter is the catalyst for this exemplarily praise.

What has God done? He has blessed us (believers v.1) with every spiritual blessing. This is why his praise is so ardent.

Well, why has he done it? What is the basis for giving believers every spiritual blessing?

The first basis point of why and how God can give us these blessings:

1. Election v.4:

Verse 3 ends with the reality of this grand blessing, and flowing into verse 4 is the causal statement of why…”just as he chose us” You could render this, since, or because, he chose us, or elected us.

When did he do this choosing? The text says before the foundation of the world! God brought this about, and he did it not only before we were born, but before the world was even formed!! Notice he did not do this when we believed, but before not only when we believed, but before the formation of the world!!

Some say if you believe election you will be prideful. Where is the pride so far in this text? Who chose who? God sovereignly apprehends sinners who are dead (Eph. 2.1-3). There is nothing but man humbling God exalting theological realities.

Some say that election is unloving. Notice the word that is so closely affixed to this sentence: love. Election is done in love. The tender mercies of God, lovingly preventing those who are running headlong into hell, even electing them unto eternal life; this is done to the glory of God according to his good pleasure.

2. Predestination v.5

Paul is excited based upon unconditional love. Notice who predestines? It is God. The elect (v4) have a destination, namely to sonship. The sinner is unholy and blameworthy and God predestines them. This is not about odds or probability but about certainty!

What does he predestine believers to? Sonship. It is a good to eradicate the feminist mindset here, there are no daughters of God…in the Greek culture that Paul was writing in, the son was the heir. Do you want the inheritance? You want to be a son!!

If someone says they do not believe in predestination, I would ask them, do you believe in grace? Do you believe in Christ? It is in the Bible! AND the predestination is tied directly to the inheritance. How do you know you have an inheritance? It is because the sovereign God has predestined this to occur. So when people want to take away predestination, know that it is time to roll up your sleeves and fight, because they are attacking your inheritance! Don’t you dare touch my inheritance!! The inheritance that Christ has bought and sovereign grace has applied. This is in accordance with the divine will and agenda.

What is the focus of the divine predestination? Verse 5 tells us that God is the focus of this predestination. Since God is God this makes perfect sense. If he was not God then this would be ridiculous…but he is God therefore it is perfectly sensible. God being supreme in his person and actions is perfectly eligible to receive the ultimate honor and glory.

What is the basis of the election? Verse 5 tells us that he does this according to the kind intention of his will, or as in other passages translating this Greek word, this is done in accordance to his own good pleasure. God gets pleasure in predestination, why are people so upset about it? God receives pleasure in this grand doctrine, why don’t you? At the end of the day God does this for his own pleasure because he likes it. God predestines because he likes to. If you do not like predestination then know that you are fundamentally disagreeing with that which explicitly gives God pleasure.

So why is anyone saved? It is clear that it is not because we choose God but that he chooses his sheep, even before the foundation of the world. There is no free will. Free will is as much of a fictional truth as the fictional movie Free Willy! We have a bound will. Read Romans 6. We love sin and find so many creative ways to sin. If anyone is saved it is because of the sovereign elective grace of God. If there is no election there is no salvation.

Part II will be continued next week.

Application Questions………………………………………………..

-1- Ephesians 1 is one of the supreme explosions of praise in the Bible. However, it is also one of the most theological. Why must biblical praise be connected with correct doctrine?


-2- In light of Ephesians 1 and Paul’s response, what would you say to someone who stated that theology is not practical? In other words, what is the practical application of the theology expressed here.


-3- In verse four of Ephesians chapter one we see that God has actively chosen his saints. What reaction does this reality bring in your heart? Do you like the doctrine of divine election? Why or why not? How do your preferences line up with God’s?


-4- Could any ever be saved (holy & blameless v.4) if God did not elect and predestine sinners to salvation? Why or why not?


-5-There is little doubt that Paul’s understanding and appreciation of these theological truths fueled his praise. What can you do to enhance and sustain your own amazement and delight in the God who gave his only Son to redeem sinners like yourself?

Unity in the Church

19 06 2006

[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church]

It is good to talk about unity. Not so much because we are experiencing disunity, but because we are experiencing the evidences of grace in our midst. The reality of things is that if you are around other believers, specifically here at Omaha Bible Church, you will be wronged and will probably wrong others, because as saved as we are, we still are not living in the perfection that is coming when we are glorified.

So in this section we’ll consider four conclusions concerning Christian unity from the book of Philippians.

1. Unity is a biblical mandate (V.27)

Here is a bold strong charge from the Scriptures to get along, to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ (v.27). This is a charge to not allow small, insignificant, inconsequential disagreements hinder the prominent charge of the passage to pursue the furtherance and amplification of the glory of God.

Unity is a major artery in the biblical philosophy of ministry. It is critical that we are willfully devoted to standing firm, striving together for the gospel.

2. Christian unity is not an end in and of itself (V.27d)

It is not just that we are united for unity’s sake, but when you read the passage, the emphasis is not upon just getting together and not arguing, but rather, the emphasis is upon being united for the furtherance of the gospel!

If we find ourselves focusing on unity as the main objective and end then we find ourselves in the marginalization of the cross of Jesus. The unity that God demands here is unity that huddles around the cross only to promote and defend the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Unity that is not centered upon the cross will promote passivity in ministry. Disengaged passivity promotes grumbling and discontentment, which will bring about division! There is something about being so fixed upon the cross and its promotion that tends to drown out the rivaling agendas who would compete with the gospel.

3. Christian Unity is never at the expense of the gospel

In chapter 3.1ff the Apostle warns the believers who were just called to unity to watch out for the dogs! These guys here are those who compromise the gospel, they are false teachers who put confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3.3ff) and so therefore undermine Christ. Here believers are exhorted to be unified against such folks. The Christian unity that is prescribed is not at the expense of the gospel. We are about promoting and defending the gospel, this is our goal!

There is a religious unity that is sinful (2 Cor. 6.14). If we are uniting ourselves with folks who do not believe the gospel of Christ then we are in sin. Christians are not to join in spiritual endeavors with unbelievers, they are to evangelize unbelievers!

4. Christian Unity is built on Christ like Humility

In chapter 2 of Philippians the Apostle Paul pleads with his hearers to apply this truth of striving together for the gospel, specifically to: be of the same mind, maintain the same love, be united in spirit, intent on one purpose (which would be the gospel (1.27ff), be selfless, while humbly considering the interests of one another as more important than yourself!

And what is the basis? It is all of Christ!! The illustration here is of the greatest promoter of the gospel, the gospel himself, the evangel himself, the Lord Jesus Christ! He was wronged by others, those close to him, he was rejected and betrayed, and he still loved and saved his people!

So therefore we as Christians are called to follow their master in setting aside rights, wearing humility, magnifying obedience even unto death for the sake of the glory and magnification of God!

Application questions………………………………………………………..

-1- According to chapter Philippians 1, what are Christians to uniquely and supremely strive together to promote & defend?

-2- Why are Christians to unite and “lock arms” for this purpose?

-3- What is the inevitable result of neglecting the gospel as your main focus?

-4- Identify ways in which you are actively striving together for the main thing as identified in v.27.

-5- What is the providential affect of fixing Christ in our minds as the measuring stick of humility and faithfulness in ministry?

-6- How was Jesus committed to the gospel in his earthly ministry?

-7- In the upcoming days, how can you be more like Christ in your interaction with others (cf. Phil. 2.1ff)?

Perfect Illumination (Romans 3.21-27)

13 06 2006

[Included here are sermon notes & application questions from this past Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church you may listen or download the message here=> ListenDownload]

There are no rivals to the cross. There is nothing that God has created, said or done that unseats the cross of Jesus Christ from the supreme demonstration of the divine character. It here at the blood stained wood of Calvary where God communicates in the clearest terms who he is and how he acts.

Therefore to begin to understand God is to begin to understand the cross. In this section of Scripture, Romans 3.21-28, God amplifies his righteousness to infinite decibels through the explanation of the death of his only Son.

In Romans chapter one Paul announces his desire to come and to preach to those in Rome. The specific content of his message is clear: the gospel (1.14-15). However, he does not immediately jump to unpack this sacred treasure, instead he proceeds to quarentine all of humanity into the category of sinful rebellion. This includes those who deny God (Rom. 1), are “moral” (Rom. 2) and those who are religious (Rom. 2-3). As he says in Romans 3.9, all are “under sin”. And not just under sin, but controlled by, in love with and characterized by sin (v.10-17). It is clear that Paul’s point before proceeding with the glorious truth of salvation through the gospel, is to render all peoples in need of righteousness. All people are to be silent, without excuse, realizing and lamenting their deficient righteousness before the unbending righteousness of God.

Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;

It is here that Paul labors to take all of his hearers before giving them the truth of the gospel. There is a great lesson for us here in evangelism; for we cannot show the pearls of the gospel without clear and articulate explanation of the filthiness of personal sin and rebellion. Otherwise, the glories of the cross will be undervalued, and so therefore Christ will be robbed of the glory due him.

It is here that we’ll look at three Christ centered truths that amplify divine righteousness.

1. The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God SUPPLIED (Rom. 3.21)

This is the greatest news the sinner’s ever heard, “But now…” The whole point of chapters 1-3 has been that we do not have sufficient righteousness…but now, the righteousness of God has been revealed…

This righteousness does not refer specifically to the character of God, but rather the provision of righteousness that is consistent and satisfactory to his character. It is God revealing sufficient righteousness to those who are deficient in righteousness.

This righteousness is revealed, apart from the Law. The righteousness of God is not attained but provided. No one in the spiritual condition outlined in Romans 1-3 could ever attain this righteousness, therefore God has to supply it.

2. The RIGHTEOUSNESS of God is APPLIED (Rom. 3.22-24)

This righteousness is received exclusively through faith (v.22), and this faith is not faith in faith but faith in Christ! Notice that the righteousness of God is not automatically bestowed on everyone! It is not like some type of unalienable spiritual right, like voting or something, rather the righteousness of God is for the believers! Literally those who are believing. This righteousness is applied through the instrument of faith in the substance that is the Lord Jesus Christ.

God provides this righteousness by grace! Since we are busy sinning and falling short of the glory of God (v.23)! We are not just missing the bull’s eye by a hair, we are missing the whole target. We have missed the whole point of life! Instead of living for and aiming for the glory of God we are living for and aiming for the glory of self! This is why we are continuing to fall short of the glory of God!!

But all of those who are wayward and rebellious may be justified, may be credited with divine righteousness through faith (cf. also Romans 4.1-7).

Justification is the instantaneous and irreversible legal act of God’s grace in which he forgives the believer’s sin and credits Christ’s righteousness to them. This divine declaration of the unrighteous as righteous in his sight is not due to the believer’s merit, but is solely through faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The participle translated justified, is passive here. Man who is dead in trespasses and sins, is not able to attain the righteousness of Christ, so God, being rich in grace and mercy, actively apprehends the sinner and imputes the righteousness of his Son to the sinner! The sinner is busy sinning and God is busy loving and lavishing grace! It is God who acts, it is God who justifies.

The basis for the righteousness is clearly unpacked in the following verses. It is the death of Jesus Christ that is the means for supplying this righteousness.

As Derek Thomas said, The gospel is not 'God loves us,' but 'God loves us at the cost of his Son.'"

God has provided Christ as the sacrifice that is sufficient to satisfy and provide divine righteousness. It is redemption that is “in Christ Jesus” (v.24). God has acted, just as he did with the nation of Israel, to redeem with an outstretched arm those who were unable to redeem themselves.

Consider the depths of the cost of this redemption!

Stephen Charnock once said: The dying groans of Christ shew (sic) the horrible nature of sin in the eye of God; as he was greater than the world, so his sufferings declare sin to be the greatest evil in the world. How evil is that sin that must make God bleed to cure it! To see the Son of God haled to death for sin, is the greatest piece of justice that ever God executed…” (Stephen Charnock, The Necessity of Christ’s Death)

It is free because we have no means to pay, it is by grace because we have no means to earn, it is redemption because we were in bondage, it is in Christ Jesus because He is uniquely and supremely not only able but willing to redeem!

3. The RIGHTEOUNESS of God is JUSTIFIED (Rom. 3.25-26)

Who is displayed publicly? Christ Jesus. Who displayed Him? God. Why? To demonstrate His righteousness!

It is the will of God that initiates not only redemption but also the crucifixion!

Make sure that we understand that it is God who takes the initiative; it is God who acts in redemption, for it is only with this backdrop can we properly understand biblical redemption:

I like how one Bible teacher summed this up: “The prime doer in Christ’s cross was God. Christ was God reconciling. He was God doing the very best for man, and not man doing his very best for God.” (P.T. Forsyth)

So as we learn in Isaiah, the cross pleases God, it pleases God to “crush Him” as it says in the prophet. Why?

It demonstrates His righteousness! The Father, Son, & Spirit, all harmoniously committed to the ultimate goal of exalting the glory of the Godhead, they would of course all be unanimously united on the most vivid and glorious amplification of the character of God….so therefore, the Son is set forth to be the propitiatory.

Propitiation is both the satisfaction of the wrath of God and the removal of the personal guilt before God. The biblical definition must include both…God’s wrath is satisfied and our guilt is removed.

In the OT the priests would bring the blood offering into the Holy of Holies and apply it to the mercy seat. Paul is no doubt here, in using the same language (hilastarion) showing that Jesus Christ is the believer’s mercy seat. In the death of Jesus Christ, God’s anger is satisfied. He goes from wrathful to propitious (favorable).

This is the only way in which God can be satisfied. For it is only in the eternal Son of God, with eternal righteousness that an eternal sacrifice can be offered to satisfy eternal anger and remove eternal guilt, that the sinner might have eternal life. I agree with Charles Spurgeon here, “Jesus Christ is a better Savior than you think him to be!” Amen!

It is only in Christ where God is shown to be JUST and the JUSTIFIER (v.27)!! There is no other way for God to have his wrath justly dealt with. There is no other way, save the cross of Jesus, that God can harmoniously be loving, just, holy, righteous, merciful, and forgiving. It is only through Christ!! God does not compromise his justice for the sake of his love, but rather he amplifies his justice through his love with infinite decibels!!

How righteous is God? See the Savior nailed upon the cross.

How loving is God, hear the savior say I must go to the cross!

How holy is God? Hear the savior cry It is finished!

Application Questions……………………………………………………….………..

1. Why is it so important that we are standing in the spiritual posture of Romans 3.19 while agreeing with 20 before we can properly receive and understand versus 21-27?

2. In your own evangelism do you labor to explain the need (sin) before supplying the solution (Christ)?

3. Why do we need Christ’s righteousness? Or in other words, why has our sin demanded that our penalty be eternal?

4. In Ephesians 4 & 5 we are given numerous commands for living godly lives as a response to being saved. What are we fundamentally misunderstanding when we live in disobedience? (cf. Eph. 5.1-2 ff).

5. Why is it so important to preach the gospel to yourself daily?

6. What is the fruit of such a discipline? What does it do to your heart?



Lying to Death (part ii)

5 06 2006

[Included here are sermon notes from Sunday morning at Omaha Bible Church. Also included are applicational questions for further review and meditation (Col. 3.16)]

Listen – << Download>>

The most dangerous thing about these lies is that they are giving people assurance when they do not have anything to be assured about. Some feel that if they are busy doing religious stuff and then everything will be ok with God.

The Word is the most powerful tool to lie-proof us as Christians. God uses the Scripture in concert with the Holy Spirit to confront, change, and equip us.

Lie number one was discussed last week (that you can earn your way to God, or that you can earn part of your way to God). When we understand the depths of the depravity of Ephesians 2, where we are spiritually dead, with nothing to offer God, save our own hostility, we magnify the cross, exalt its power in our lowliness.

The only bragging rights in Christianity are Christ’s!! (cf. Gal. 6.14).

In this study we’ll consider the 2nd Lie that Too Many People Believe:

A person can be saved and not live a life of good works

Many people misunderstand biblical Christianity because they do not know where the good works fit in. Remember that we were dead in our sins and God makes us alive; but alive for what?!

Look at Ephesians 2:10 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

Why did God save the sinner by faith alone, in Christ alone? To have you continue on your way to hell? C’mon!!

What did the all-powerful God do when he saves sinners? Notice that that he creates believers in Christ Jesus for good works! Salvation leads to good works, this is the design!

Unless, of course you are willing to promote and defend a theology that states that God is a failure. For God says that he prepared the good works!!

This is simple in the classroom, but it is the application to the people that you may care about; those who profess Christ but live for the devil. Remember that we are not called by God to build our worldview by our experiences, but to submit humbly to his word and then evaluate your world from there.

The cart and the horse analogy works well here. The good works are not the horse but the cart. The good works come after salvation (the horse). If you confuse the two, and put the cart before the horse you have a different religion…but do not deny the cart, it is there!! Good works come, but it comes after salvation!

This is all over the Bible. If you don’t like Paul…I’ll give you Peter; if you don’t like Peter…I’ll give you Jesus….if you don’t like Jesus…well then you have a bigger problem.

Titus 2:13-14 Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

The text here is connected to the cross, to make believers greedy for good deeds!! How do you spot believers? They are zealous for good deeds!! They used to be led around by the nose by the devil, but now they are free to do good deeds, zealously!!

This is all tied to the cross!! It magnifies the cross! Jesus didn’t just try like a weakling to save! He secured sinners from themselves, and implanted new passions in them to glorify his son. The grace of God is so powerful that it doesn’t leave a sinner dead and acting like one on his way to hell!! It actually changes lives…how powerful is this grace!!

Jesus concludes his loving Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 7:21-22 21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'

Notice that Jesus casts them into hell not because they did not make a profession of faith, but because they did not obey him! Their lack of obedience demonstrates that they were actually hypocrites!! Remember that the good works come after salvation.

Luke 6.46 Jesus asks why professing believers do not obey him. Why do you call me Lord and then not obey? This is the ultimate example of taking the Lord's name in vain!! For it is this empty profession of faith that is far more deadly and deceiving vain speech.

All professing believers should be constantly examining and evaluating their lives to be certain that they are indeed regenerate! Contemporary evangelicalism often tells folks not to look hard at their lives and profession, but the Bible does quite the opposite:

2 Peter 1:10 10 Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;

1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;

1 John 2:4 4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;

1 John 3:6 No one who abides in Him sins; no one who sins has seen Him or knows Him.

1 John 1:8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

We must be sure to quote the following verse in light of the previous verses in the context of 1 John…

1 John 5:11-12 11 And the testimony is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has the life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have the life.

Ephesians 5:5-6 5 For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

We are supposed to know these things with certainty. God saves by grace and lives change.

Be careful not to affirm yourselves or others who have no fruit just to make them feel better only to lead them to the end of Matt. 7 to have them greeted by an angry Savior who never knew them!! Rather, lovingly exhort them by the truth to the truth that they may know them for certain! We have a responsibility to God and to others to tell them the truth.

-application questions………………………………………………………

  1. Identify the place of ‘good works’ in salvation.
  2. Why is it so important to keep the ‘cart’ (salvation) before the ‘horse’ (good works)? What happens if the two are reversed?
  3. The salvation of ‘bad’ sinners is a great demonstration of God’s goodness. Run through the book of Titus and identify the placement of the word ‘good’. Discus what is ‘good’ in the life of a believer as a result of God’s grace.
  4. Have you ever found yourself affirming another’s salvation based upon emotion rather than upon fruit?
  5. Why is this dangerous? What would the most loving and God honoring thing to do be?
  6. How does the reality of Ephesians 2.10, specifically the fact that Almighty God has prepared “good works” for you to do, affect your day to day life?