One of the common mistakes that we often make is assuming that people know what we are talking about. I have a bad habit of thinking about something and then saying something to Pat assuming that she knew what I was thinking. We need to realize that everyone may not understand our terminology when we talk about the Lord.
A most important term is the word "salvation". The dictionary definition is as follows: preservation or deliverance from destruction, danger, or great calamity. A man is drowning, going down for the last time, a lifeguard dives into the water and pulls him to safety; a child is trapped inside a burning building and a fireman rushes in and rescues the child from certain death; or a man is facing bankruptcy in his business and a friend gives him enough money to prevent it from happening...all of these are examples of salvation.
But the salvation which Christ offers to a sinner involves much more than this. It involves all that happens to a person from the time they trust Christ until the time they meet Him face to face in glory.
I. Salvation is an Experience.
A. Something happens between God and the sinner.
1. They meet each other in a very real way.
2. The person places his faith in Christ and God forgives them.
3. If you have never had this experience, then you have never been saved.
4. Note the Scriptures:
a. John 1:12
b. John 3:36
c. John 3:18
B. God takes the first step in salvation.
1. He calls sinners, sinners do not seek God.
2. When Adam, the first man, sinned we do not hear Adam crying out to God for forgiveness.
3. As a matter of fact, Adam and Eve tried to hide themselves and it was God who cried out to Adam, "Where art thou?" cf Ge. 3:9
4. When Jesus came into the world He said, "The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
5. In John 6:44, Jesus said, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him."
C. We are saved when we respond to that drawing power.
1. We are lost if we refuse to come to Christ when He draws us.
2. The Holy Spirit convicts us, shows us our lost condition, and then we respond to His convicting power by exercising faith in Christ as Savior.
3. Faith means trusting our lives to God.
a. We exercise faith every day of our lives.
b. We get on an airliner and trust our lives to the pilot and the aircraft.
c. We get on an elevator and trust the cables and motors.
d. Faith is a committal of our life to Christ.
4. Some time ago there was a serious forest fire in New Jersey.
a. Soldiers were sent in to help fight the fire.
b. Eighty soldiers found themselves trapped by the fire unable to see there way out.
c. A plane flying overhead saw their plight and radioed this message to them.
d. There is only one way out and if they would follow him he would lead them to safety.
5. That is exactly what the Lord wants us to do...He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." Jn 14:6
II. Salvation is an Expression.
A. The Word of God instructs us to make a public confession of our faith in Christ.
1. Some may say that this just isn't necessary.
2. But God does not have any secret agents in His army.
3. We ought to want to declare our faith in Christ to others.
4. We will not hesitate to express our allegiance to a particular sports team or political party.
B. Note Romans 10:9-11
1. We find here that salvation is an experience of the heart and an expression of the mouth.
2. In verse 11 the Scripture says that "Whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed."
3. Someone who is ashamed to confess Christ to others may not have experienced a change in their heart at all.
C. Other outward expressions of salvation.
1. Certainly we should desire to make a public profession of our faith in Christ through obedience in the matter of baptism.
2. However, there are other ways that we outwardly express our faith.
3. We do so when we openly take a stand against sin.
4. We do so when we witness to others about Christ.
5. We do so when we gather together for worship services.
6. We do so when we give of our means to meet the needs of others.
7. We do so when we get involved in ministering to others in a variety of ways.
III. Salvation is an Expectation.
A. Life truly worth living.
1. All too often people get depressed and discouraged and say that they have nothing to live for.
2. Unfortunately without Christ there is certainly nothing to look forward to in this life or in eternity.
3. But for the believer, there is everything to look forward to.
4. Every day with Jesus is sweeter than the day before!
B. A home in heaven awaits us.
1. Jesus said, "I go to prepare a place for you."
2. There are two avenues that can lead home for the Christian.
3. One is the avenue of death:
a. One day we will say our last word, breathe our last breath and our eyes will close in death.
b. But praise God that won't be the end of it!
c. If we have been born again, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, our body may be buried in a grave, but we will be with the Lord!
d. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.
4. The other avenue is the return of Jesus Christ.
a. The Word of God tells us that He will come in the air and catch away those who are in Christ.
b. We call it the rapture.
c. "The dead in Christ shall rise first, Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord." 1 Th. 4:16
What is salvation? It is an experience between an individual and the Lord. It involves an expression of our faith in Christ. And it means an expectation of what the Lord has in store for us in the future.
Have you trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior? Have you publicly confessed Him before others? Are you looking forward to His coming or your going?
Christian, are you living a life that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ? Are you pointing others to Him? Whatever your need today the invitation is for you to come and meet God.