Matt Hagee - The Borders of Salvation
A border is a blessing. Say that with me: "A border is a blessing". And the reason that a border is a blessing is because without a border, you have no idea where the good starts and the bad stops. You see whenever it comes to this topic of "Border control" in our modern world, one of the compelling reasons that people want to discuss having an open border is that they say the quality of life on the wrong side of the border is so bad: that if we removed the border, then we would have the opportunity to improve the quality of life, which is exactly wrong. Because the reason there is a distinction in the quality of life is the very fact that there is a border. You see when you remove the border and you open it, all you've done is taken the quality of life and made it one all the way across both borders.
Now you say, "He's talking political". No, I'm not. I'm talking practical. And I'll prove it to you. One of the things that we hear a lot about in the church today is that the statistics in the street are the statistics in the sanctuary. The divorce rate in the world is the same as the divorce rate in the church. The bondage in the world is the same as the bondage represented in the church. The problems in the world are the same as the problems that are represented in the church. Why? Because the modern church has removed the border of the cross. We have stopped preaching salvation through the blood. We have taken down the very barrier that Christ gave us between life and death, light and darkness, wheat and tares, sheep and goats! And when we remove the border, now we have access that the quality of life in the world is the same as the sanctuary. A border is a blessing.
And there is a challenge for people who live upon wrong side of the border. You need to know that that's exactly why God sent his son to die and redeem you is he saw you on the wrong side of the border. He saw you in your bondage and your slavery and your sin. He saw you in your chains of addiction and abuse. He considered the burdens that you were carrying and the yokes that you were wearing. He saw your future and your hopelessness without him. He saw how the world was going to break your heart. He saw where the enemy would attack you. He saw what would steal your hope, and robe you of your joy, and kill your potential. And when he considered the quality of your life on the wrong side of the border, the gospel of John captures his response with these words. It says, "For God so loved that he gave his only begotten son: that whosoever will believe in him shall not perish but have everlasting life".
Listen to the all-encompassing word, "Whosoever will". Say that with me. "Whosoever will". That means that this border is available to all. It's available no matter how far you've gone, no matter how broken you are, no matter how desperate your needs are. He saw you on the wrong side of the border and he loved you. He saw you, as Ephesians says, "Without hope, without God, and outside of the covenants," and he said, I'll take you. I'll take you. I'll take the addict that's so locked in their bondage that they can't live without a fix. I'll take you. I'll take the abused so broken in the offense that they have no hope for tomorrow. I'll take you. I'll take the lonely and the frustrated. I'll take the angry and the tormented. I'll take the weary, and the sin-stained, and the shameful! I'll take them all to a place called Calvary! I'll take them all to the border of salvation! I'll bring all who are willing and I will wash them white as snow!
But that's the challenge. It's not that life on the wrong side of the border is worth living. Life in sin, the Bible describes as, "Dead already". It's that those who are living on the wrong side are not willing to come to the border that Christ made at the cross. "Whosoever will, " that's a very important word because it means it's up to you. He's done all he can do. Now it's up to you. If you will, he will lift your burdens and destroy your yokes. If you will, he will break your chains and erase your pain. If you will, he will heal the wound and give you hope. If you will, he'll redeem and restore. He'll renew and give life. He'll provide and he'll protect. He'll shelter and he'll shield. He'll guard and he'll guide! But it's up to you. "Whosoever will". You not only have to be willing to come to the border, but you have to be willing to come through the border. You have to be willing to leave your old life on the wrong side of the border, and recognize what 2 Corinthians 5:17 says. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation".
Now I've heard people use a translation that says, "New creature". And I don't like that word because some of you, as old creatures, aren't worth renewing. He said you're "A new creation". Say that word with me, "A new creation". Why is that such a more powerful word than "Creature"? Because as a new creation, the next sentence makes perfect sense. "All things have passed away". All things are dead. They are gone. I have loved ones, relatives, friends, who are no longer living. And we talk about them in the context of having passed away. I know where they are, but they're not accessible to me because they're gone. They no longer exist in an atmosphere that I can connect with.
And what the Bible says, in 2 Corinthians 5, is that when you come to Christ, your old life is dead. The problem is, is that a lot of us want to leave our old life on life support so that we can access it whenever we want. It didn't say, "Your old life is in ICU getting fluids". It said, "Your old self has passed away. And behold, all things..." How many things? "All things have become new". The problem is: that many people want to come to the border of the cross, and they want access to the life on this side of the border, which is salvation: and they want access to this life, the life on this side of the border, which feeds their sensations, their flesh, and their desire.
Paul said it this way, "I am crucified with Christ. Therefore, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me". And the challenge is, is that we have made the death of Jesus Christ a crucifixion and an execution. But we've made our crucifixion a process. Jesus didn't die in a process: he died at an execution. And if you are crucified with Christ, he's not still working on you: you're keeping your old self alive. He wants it to die. "If any man comes after me, let him take up his cross and follow me. Let him deny himself". Oh, well, he's still working on me. Wrong! You're just keeping yourself alive. This is how Jesus said it, "I am the door". In John 14, he said, "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No man comes to the father but by me".
So that literally means that whenever you come to the cross, when you willingly get to this place of salvation, the Bible says that it is by grace that you have been saved through faith. In faith, you come to the cross. You open the door of salvation. You walk from death unto life. But look: whenever you get on this side, shut the door! Why? Because you already know what the quality of life is on this side of the border. You already know what you want to leave behind. The problem is, is you want to have an open border so you can go back and forth anytime that you want. You want to live on this side on Sunday. And you want to be right back over here on Monday. You want to do feels good at the Bible study over here. But you want to live and be with your worldly friends on Friday. "I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life". "I am the door". Didn't your mother ever tell you, "Close the door"?
I'll illustrate it this way: I've got some willing volunteers. Come down here. Have you ever heard people in church talk about what a struggle it is to get to Sunday? "Oh, I just barely made it this week. The enemy came after me Monday through Friday. I didn't know if I was going to get there". And I'm not talking about you, but I'm talking about people you might know. What part of that kind of mindset and speech sounds like we are more than conquerors through Christ? The reason that they've got a problem is because in their old life of sin, these chains represent sin. There you go. You take greed. Go ahead and you take lust. You take shame. You be poverty and generational curses. Everybody know what your sin is? Good.
So this is what everybody looks like whenever they're living on the wrong side of salvation. They're bound up. Who knows how long it took these chains to get here? Who knows how many generations there's been struggle? Who knows how many situations and circumstances have created every link in one of these vices? But this, my friend, hears about the word of God. He comes to church. In faith, he reaches out and he opens this door of salvation. And he says, you know I think that there's something for me on the other side of the cross. And he begins the process of walking through. And all of a sudden, he thinks to himself: but you know I've done so many things in my life: I'm not sure that God can redeem me. And then he comes back to church the next Sunday. And he goes back forward one more time.
I mean maybe I got water baptized and it they didn't hold me under long enough. Maybe I need to go up there and get it again. And he's starting to work out his salvation, as he gets on this side of the cross. And the next thing you know, all of a sudden, somebody cuts him off in the parking lot. And the old man shows up and he just goes right back into it. But then he joins a home ministry. And he gets involved in one of them Bible studies. And he's got some brothers in Christ that are keeping him accountable and strong. And he's starting to read his word. And he's starting to become the man he should be. And he's starting to live like the father he should be and the husband he should be. And all of a sudden, the boss says, "We're going to have some cutbacks at the office". And he's heard that God is a provider.
But the next thing you know, he's stealing money out of the safe at work, because he doesn't know how long he's going to have a job. Then he comes to church and he repents for that. He returns the money. He tithes on what he took. No, I'm kidding. Just seeing if you're listening. And he starts to work through this door of salvation again. But then all of a sudden, one of his friends calls, and says, "Hey, man, it's Friday night. Let's head out to happy hour and go do like we used to". You see the thing about this individual is he wants access to the freedom and the liberty of salvation, but he believes that it's up to him: that he's got to work out some form of way to get free from all of the bondage and chains. He does not accept the fact that the word of God is alive, and it is powerful, and it is sharper than any two-edged sword. He does not recognize that it is not by works that we have been redeemed: it is by grace through faith.
And whenever he comes to this door of salvation, if he's willing, in the name of Jesus, to let the chains be broken, and the burdens be lifted, and the yokes be destroyed: the next thing you know, he can walk through this border of salvation. And when he leaves that old man behind, he can be free. "For whom the son sets free is free indeed". Give the Lord a handclap of praise! Thank you, gentlemen. You see the Bible says that Jesus Christ died that we might go free. That means that these chains are broken. That means that these barriers ended right here at a place called Calvary. The only reason that you are struggling with these chains is because you have not allowed the freedom, and the liberty, and the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to set you free. You want that door open. You want the border to swing both ways. You want to live on one side and then the other, not one side or the other. And the Bible says, "Choose you this day whom you will serve".
This border separates light from darkness. It separates sleep from goats. It separates wheat from tares. It separates life from death. But what you've got to come to terms with is that this is not an open border. This is not an open border. You cannot live on both sides of this border. Jesus said it this way, "You are either for me or you are against me". In the book of revelation, it says, "You are neither hot, nor are you cold. So I'm going to spew you out of my mouth". Understand, on this side of the cross, is nothing but guilt and shame. And on this side of the cross, "There is now no condemnation unto those who are in Christ Jesus". On this side of the cross, is nothing but poverty and lack. And on this side of the cross, "My God shall supply all of my needs, according to his riches in glory".
On this side of the cross, there's nothing but sickness and there's nothing but disease. And on this side of the cross, "By his stripes, I have been healed". On this side of the cross, there's generational curses, and there's mountains that I can't move, and there's problems that I can't solve. And on this side of the cross, I can speak to that mountain and the mountain will move. I can call on him and he'll show me great and mighty things that I know not. He'll make the crooked way straight, the high places low, and the low places level. On this side of the cross, I have no hope, I have no power, I have no ability. On this side of the cross, I have the authority of his name. I have the power of his word. I have the redemption of his blood. What I bind on earth is bound in heaven. What I loose on earth is loosed in heaven. I can put on the whole armor of God and I can wage war with the enemy. And I know that if God is for me, then who can be an against me?
Child of God, have enough courage today to leave that old life behind! Walk away from the old man! Walk into the salvation and close the door! But you have to be willing. This is the border of salvation. And in you, is the border of belief. Because the Bible says, "All things are possible to those who believe". And as much as Jesus Christ did for us at the cross, as much as God made possible through his sacrifice: the only way that it comes alive in your life is when you cross the border from unbelief to belief. And no one can force you to do that. You have to do that for yourself. If you're going to cross this border, if you're going to walk through this door, then you have to believe that this book is true.
If you're going to cross this border, if you're going to leave that old life behind, then you have to believe that you are a sinner in need of a Savior. And you have to believe that he is loving and he is faithful: and if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. You have to believe that the blood of Jesus Christ can and will redeem you. You know it doesn't matter what border you come to. In this natural world, every time you go to a border, you have something that you have to declare. They give you a form. You've got to fill it out. Where are you coming from? Where are you going to? What are you bringing with you? How long are you going to stay?
Well today, I have some declarations to make. As I come to the border of salvation, I need to declare that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. And if I come as I am, I bring brokenness, and rejection, and shame, and heartache, and torment, and pain. And I declare that the only thing that I want to cross this border with and by is the precious blood of Jesus Christ. I'm willing to open the door with faith and walk through by grace divine. I'm willing to leave behind everything that's not worth having on this side of the border.
And how long do I want to stay? Forever, and forever, and forever. I don't ever want to go back. I don't ever want to return. I don't ever want to see the other side of salvation again. When I breathe my last breath here, and I walk through the gates of paradise, I'm going to shout with the apostle Paul, "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? For the victory has been won through Christ the Lord". I am set free! My chains are gone! I'm set free! I've been redeemed! I'm set free! I am saved by blood divine! Give the Lord a shout of praise in this house today!
Would you stand to your feet? With your head bowed and your eyes closed, you're in this place today and you say, pastor, I am living on the wrong side of the border. I am living on the opposite side of salvation. I am living in a land of bondage. I am living in a place of addiction. I am living and carrying the chains of my past that I need to be broken today. And today, I want to walk through the door. I want to open up that door of salvation and I want to get to the other side. And I want the past to be gone. I want the chain to be broken. I want to run in freedom, and I want to close the door behind me. If that describes you, you know you need to cross this border of salvation today, I want you to raise your hand right where you are and let me see it in this sanctuary.
Today, we're going to see what it looks like when chains are broken, when the past is buried, and when you have a future that is filled with hope. If you have your hand in the air, and you want to receive this gift of salvation, you want to receive this gift of freedom, you want to walk through this door and never turn back today, if you want those chains to be broken: then as we worship the Lord, I want you to begin walking this way, because I know that he brought you here that you might receive this message today: and that today is your day of salvation. Begin walking now. "If you need freedom or saving, he's a prison-shaking Savior. If you've got chains he's a chain breaker". I want everyone in this room to raise their hands and repeat this prayer with me:
Lord Jesus Christ, today I come to your cross of salvation. And in the mighty name of Jesus, the only name by which I can be saved, I receive your salvation. I receive your freedom. I receive the chain-breaking power of your shed blood, so that today, I am free. I have opened the door in my faith believing. And now I'm walking through that door and closing it behind me. The old is gone. And I have a new life in Christ. Thank you, Lord, for sending your son. Thank you, Jesus, for being my Savior. Thank you, holy spirit, for being in this place. In Jesus' name, I receive it.