Jesus's words on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46), open four windows into what was happening in these hours of darkness. My prayer for today is that as you look through these windows you will be changed by what you see. Window #1: Sin...
Many of you will have a carbon monoxide detector in your home. You have it because you want to detect poison. You know that if you breathe in carbon monoxide, it will kill you.
So, you buy an alarm, and you want that alarm to go off very loudly with that shrieking noise if there is carbon monoxide anywhere near you. My job is to be your alarm today.
I want to give you three ways you might be tempted to drift from the gospel and then to measure them against the Bible so you can steer
Drift #1: Jesus Died, So I’m Ok.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (1 Peter 2:24)
So here is this wonderful gift: Jesus died for our sins. He bore them, and took into his own body the guilt of our sins. He bore the punishment of divine justice that was due to them. That’s why Isaiah says, “the punishment that brought us peace was upon him” (Isaiah 53:5 NIV).
We hear this and it is natural to say, “Jesus died for our sins, so our sins are forgiven.” But I want to ask you this question: Whose sins are forgiven? That’s the important question. If he bore our sins, then who is included in the our?
To answer this question, you must look at the second half of the verse:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. (1 Peter 2:24)
Jesus died for sins in order that there might be a change in us. He bore our sins so that we might die to sins. The our whose sins Jesus carried is the we who die to sin and live to righteousness. This is very different from the casual confidence that says, “Jesus died, so I’m ok!”
Drift #2: I Believed, So I’m Ok
…obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)
Salvation is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. We read from 1 Peter 1:9 that the outcome of your faith is the salvation of your souls. But faith is much more than signing off on a creed.
Some folks have the idea that if they believe Jesus died for their sins, or if at some time in their life they said that they believed this, then their souls are saved. But there’s much more to being a Christian than believing that Jesus died for your sins: “You were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
What does it mean for Christ to be the Shepherd and Overseer of your soul? It means all that you are and all that you have are at his disposal. It means you offer yourself to him in total devotion of worship and service. There is a giving of yourself into his hands.
There is a Savior, a Shepherd, an Overseer, a Guardian of souls, one to whom you can trust your soul. You can invest your soul with him. His name is Jesus Christ, and if you will trust your soul, your life, all that you are, into his hands, your soul will prosper. Your life will become more.
There is nothing greater in this world than being able to say, “The Lord is my shepherd.” Because then you can say, “I shall not want.” You can say this because your life, death, and eternity are all in his hands
Do you see how much more this is than merely saying, “I believe, so I’m ok”?
Drift #3: I’m On A Spiritual Journey, So I’m Ok
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
In our culture, the spiritual journey has become a metaphor for the sum of a person’s spiritual experience: Any faith you have, any doubts you have, any experiences you have, all become the soup of your journey, and the journey becomes an end in itself.
Here’s the problem: There is a spiritual journey on the way to being lost, as well as, a spiritual journey that ends with being saved. Your spiritual journey cannot save you. Spend your life as a wandering sheep, and you will spend eternity as a lost soul. Only the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ, can save you. No one is saved by going on a spiritual journey.
Jesus told a story about a lost son. The son went into a far country and indulged himself in “reckless living.” Then there was a great famine, and he said to himself, “I will arise, and go to my father” (Luke 15:18). He decided to return. And when he came back to his father, he said, “I have sinned against heaven and before you.” Returning to his father meant leaving his life of sin. He couldn’t bring it back with him.
Returning also means submitting. I submit my life to Christ’s Word. With his strength, I can go on dying to sin and living to righteousness.
The starting point for being a Christian is that Jesus Christ is your Lord. And when he is your Lord, you can rightly call him your Savior. If Christ is not your Lord, how can he be your shepherd? And if Christ is not your shepherd, why would you think he is your Savior?
One of Two Things Will Happen to Your Soul
You have a soul that is of greater value than the whole world. One of two things will happen to your soul: Your soul will be saved, or your soul will be lost. I want your soul to be saved.
There is a Shepherd and Overseer; a Savior and Lord who is able to save your soul. He is able to do it because he died for sins. No person who comes to him will ever be turned away. No soul that is trusted into his hands will ever be lost.
Have you returned to him? Have you forsaken your sins? And, have you crowned him as Lord of your life?
Jesus says to you today, “The one who saves his life will lose it,” but then in love he appeals to you: “The one who loses his life for my sake will keep it forever!”