Reflections on Avoiding the Trap of Meaningless Christianity
by Craig Tanner
Today’s sermon, "Reflections on Avoiding the Trap of Meaningless Christianity " (Matthew 15:1-20) by Craig Tanner. This is a stand alone sermon....Download
God wants you to be sure. The Bible says, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
Another question to consider is: Suppose you were standing before God right now and He asked you, “Why should I let you into My heaven?” What do you think you would say?
You may not know what you would say, But…
You can know, because God loves you and has a purpose for your life.
The Bible states it this way, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16)
GOD’S PURPOSE IS THAT WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE.
We receive eternal life as a free gift. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
We can live a full and meaningful life right now. “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
We will spend eternity with Jesus in heaven. “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3)
Eternal life gives meaning to life.
Our sinful nature keeps us from fulfilling God’s purpose for our lives. Thus…
OUR NEED IS TO UNDERSTAND OUR PROBLEM.
We are all sinners by nature and by choice. “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
We cannot save ourselves. “not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:9).
We deserve death and hell. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).
It is true that:
God is holy and just and must punish sin, yet He loves us and has provided forgiveness for our sin. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
The good news is that God has provided for the forgiveness of our sins.
GOD’S PROVISION IS JESUS CHRIST
Jesus is God and became man. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:1,14).
Jesus died for us on the cross. “Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Jesus was resurrected from the dead. “(Jesus) was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification” (Romans 4:25).
That is good news… but the only way Jesus can affect our lives is for us to receive Him. The Bible says,” as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12)
The choice is ours, Thus…
OUR RESPONSE IS TO RECEIVE JESUS
We must repent of our sin. “Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3:19). Repentance is not just feeling sorry for our sin.
“Repent and turn to God, and do works [which give evidence of] repentance” (Acts 26:20).
Repentance is turning to god through Jesus and away from our sin. It’s like making a U-turn.
As we turn…
We must place our faith in Jesus. “By grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Faith is trusting in Jesus.
It’s like taking a trip on an airplane. You will never make the trip until you trust the plane enough to board it.
To trust in Jesus means…
We must surrender to Jesus as Lord. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For…with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:9-10).
Surrendering to Jesus as Lord is not just saying we give our lives to Jesus. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father, which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Surrendering to Jesus as Lord means giving Jesus control of our lives. That is, we must give all we know of ourselves to all we know of God.
To give Jesus control of our lives is like driving down the highway with another person. As long as you are driving, you are in control. If you realize you don’t know the way, but the other person does, you might say, “You take the wheel and drive.” Then the other person is in control and the two of you take the route he or she chooses.
As evidence of giving Jesus control, you will want to identify with Him. The New Testament way of identification is to confess Jesus publicly (Matthew 10:32-33> and to follow Him in baptism and church membership (Acts 2:41).
THREE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS:
1. Does what you have been reading make sense to you?
2. Is there any reason you would not be willing to receive God’s gift of eternal life?
3. Are you willing to turn from your sin and place your faith in Jesus right now?
The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
You need to ask the Lord Jesus to save you.
Read this prayer and see if it says what you want to say to God:
Dear God, I know that Jesus is Your Son, and that He died on the cross and was raised from the dead. I know I have sinned and need forgiveness. I am willing to turn from my sins and receive Jesus as my Savior and Lord. Thank You for saving me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Call on the Lord in repentance, faith, and surrender, using these or similar words of your own; and Jesus will become your Savior and Lord.
Welcome to the family of God. If you sincerely prayed this prayer, you have just made the most important decision of your life. You can be sure you are saved and have eternal life.
You know you have eternal life because:
God keeps His promises.
You repented of your sin (Acts 3:19).
You placed your faith in Jesus (Ephesians 2:8-9).
You surrendered to Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-10)
God heard your prayer. “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).
God recorded your commitment. “rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).
YOU NEED TO GROW AS A CHRISTIAN
The Bible calls new Christians “babes in Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:1). Without certain essentials, babies will not develop normally.
The church is to a new Christian what the home and family are to a baby. You identify with your new family by confessing Jesus publicly and by experiencing believer’s baptism. “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized; and the same day there were added about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41).
Attend church Sunday and share with the pastor that you want to be baptized and become a member of the church.
Praying is to spiritual life what breathing is to physical life.
Breathing must be regular and continuous. The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Learn to be specific in your praying. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
God’s Word is to a new Christian what good food is to a baby.
Good food is a daily requirement for proper growth. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow” (1 Peter 2:2).
My best time for daily prayer and Bible reading is __________________
Learning to witness is to a Christian what learning to talk is to a baby. Christ commands us to share the good news with others “Ye shall be witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
Did You Pray the Prayer?
If so we would like to know: