Things Are True
by Dan Coburn
Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church
Kyle was a young 26, healthy and could compete with about anyone he came into contact with. He had been raised in Church, but at about the age of twelve had pretty much abandoned any organized religion for all the usual reasons. Still he was by all worldly standards a good person, so it sincerely perplexed him to end up in the prison system. Like so many who have made some stupid decisions, the daily underlying question was: "How did I get here?"
Some of the guys in his pre assigned (think about that for a minute) group were those "Jesus Freak" type, Bible Study twice a day, Prayer Group, inner-peace in spite of the situation or circumstance, Evangelical by definition folks that Kyle could have easily dismissed had he been somewhere else. But here, now and with the world being totally inadequate to answer the real questions of life, Kyle accepted when they invited him to Bible Study. So here he is, first time, strange people, strange place, and when there was a break in the interaction and the preacher asked if there were any questions, Kyle not really knowing why, blurted out the following. "Can't a man just be a good person type Christian or does he have to go around telling everyone and trying to get other people to believe in God to be saved?" It was not contrived, this was exactly the question Kyle had.
To paraphrase, What is the minimum amount of good works God requires of me to get me to heaven? The preacher shared with him some scriptures about "If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my Father in heaven", and "The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost" ----- and --- and "as the Father hath sent me, so send I you". Also 2nd Cor. 5:19 and surrounding verses = "God was in the world reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ not imputing their trespasses against them, and hath committed unto us the ministry of reconciliation". The Spiritual gifts are given to us to "profit withall" or everyone else. 1st Peter 4:10 = "As each man hath received the gift, so let him minister one to another". In John 14, 15 and 16 we hear Jesus say things like: "Who is it that loves me? It is he who keeps my commandments. I will love him, and my Father will love him, and make our abode (home) in him and he will ------ bear much fruit."
A few verses later He says: "In this is my Father glorified - that you bear much fruit". Eph. 1:3 tells us that we have been blessed with "every spiritual gift". The Great Commission of Matt. 28 says to what? "Go". All of this is not to earn your salvation, but because of your salvation. "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and this not of yourselves, it is the gift of God not of works lest any man should boast" - Eph. 2:8-9 Romans 3 tells us that: "by the keeping of the law shall not flesh be justified". Revelation 7 tells us the a great multitude - to great to number was saved "out of" or during the Great Tribulation. "They have washed their robes white in the blood of The Lamb, and therefore (as a result of that), they are around the throne and serve Him daily". In other words, You aren't even eligible to serve God until you have washed your sins clean in the Blood of The Lamb. Kyle looked confused, and the preacher asked him: "Are you saved? Is there a point in time when you consciously asked Jesus to forgive you and be your Savior? Kyle thought long and hard and responded: "I ask God to make me a better person, but if you press me for a yes or no, I would have to say no". What happened? What will Kyle do? What will his peers do? What will God do?
Tune in next week. God Bless.