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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Robert Jeffress » Robert Jeffress - What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation - Part 2

Robert Jeffress - What Every Christian Should Know About Salvation - Part 2
TOPICS: What Every Christian Should Know, Salvation

In our culture today, the worst thing you can be accused of is intolerance. Today, that term has devolved into meaning all ideas are equally valid. To be tolerant means to say, "I don't have a market on the truth. Your way to God is just as good as my way to God". And such a claim is idiotic when you think about it. There are whole areas of our world that are very intolerant. The world of mathematics is intolerant. Seven times seven doesn't equal 51 or 103. There's one answer: 49. When you ask what temperature does water freeze at, it's not 103 degrees, it's not 33 degrees. There's one answer: 32 degrees. When we come to the idea of faith, the faith that is required to get into heaven is very intolerant. There are not many ways to God; there is one way to God.

A second objection people raise often about the exclusivity of Christ is this: "Well, how could so many other people be so wrong? I mean, after all, Pew Research says that only 31% of the world's 7 billion population can be categorized as Christians, and that's only because they live in what is called a Christian land. The actual number of real Christians is much more than that. And if Jesus is the only way to heaven, then you're saying billions and billions of people living today and billions that have lived in the past are all wrong about faith. How could so many people be so wrong? How could Hindus, and Buddhists, and Muslim, how could they all be so wrong"? Well, isn't that what Jesus predicted? Jesus said most people will miss heaven. Most people won't find that narrow way that leads to salvation. In Matthew 7, Jesus said, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter into it. But the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few, few who find it".

A third objection, people say, some people say, "Well, you don't have to claim to be exclusive, because all religions teach basically the same thing. All the world religions teach basically the same thing". The only people who say that are people who are ignorant about world religions. Because if you look at world religions, you see they were very different. They don't all teach the same thing. And interestingly, most all of them claim to be exclusive. Their way is the only way to heaven.

Finally, people say, "Well, it's just unfair for God to send people to hell, especially because they just haven't believed the right thing about Jesus. I mean, what about all the people who have never heard about Jesus? Is it fair for God to send them to hell"? We talked about that at length in our series in the book of Acts. And remember we saw that everybody has a knowledge that there's a God. They can accept it or reject it, but everybody can look in the stars, and look at the sky, and look at the sun, and the planets, and know they didn't create those things. Romans 1 says everybody can know something about God just by looking at creation. Now, belief in God isn't enough to save you from hell, but it is enough information, if rejected, to continue to hell, to continue to hell. The fact is when God sees somebody who wants to know him, God will see and send a specific information about Jesus that that person needs to be saved.

You see that in Acts, Acts chapter 8. Here's that Ethiopian court official reading the Old Testament. He's wondering whom Isaiah 53 is speaking about, the Messiah. He wants to know him. And God miraculously sends Philip the evangelist to sit in that chariot with him. Or in Acts chapter 10, Cornelius, the Roman centurion, he prayed. He was a good man, but he didn't know Christ. God sent the Apostle Peter supernaturally to witness to him. And God continues the same thing today. Every day of every week, we hear testimonies about people in Africa, most recently, Ukraine, who knew nothing about Jesus Christ, but by accident they tuned in to "Pathway to Victory," our church's ministry, and they came to a saving faith. Is that by accident? No. God gets the Word to those who really want to know him.

And, you know, when it comes to being unfair, I always use this illustration. Just imagine there are 100 people on death row in Huntsville, Texas. I don't know how many are on death row, but let's just suppose it's 100. And suppose the governor one day decides that he's going to pardon one of those prisoners from death row, set him free. Now, some might disagree with the governor over doing that. But could he be accused of being unfair because he didn't release everybody? I mean, after all, the one prisoner who was freed received the governor's mercy. The other 99 who remain on death row are receiving justice, what they deserved. But in no sense is anybody being treated unjustly. And it's the same way with God's pardon of our sins.

The fact that God chooses to save some and not everybody is not because God is injust, unjust. People who receive Christ, his pardon, they receive God's mercy. Those who reject Christ receive God's justice. But in no case is God acting injustly. Well, how do you communicate that truth of the exclusivity of salvation in a pluralistic world in which we live. You know, there are three things I like to say to people when they object to this idea, and I hope you'll write them down and remember them. When people object to the exclusivity of Christ, and by the way, 60% of professing evangelical Christians believe there are multiple ways to heaven. So, it's not only non-Christians who object to this, but Christians, as well. What do you say to people?

First of all, I always like to say, "Your argument is with the Bible, not with me". It's very important to point people back to what the Bible says. That's where the power is. The Word of God is alive and active and sharper than any two-edged sword. I remind people of Jesus' words in John 14:6. Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me". Acts 4:12, Peter said, "There is salvation in no one else. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved". It's only through Jesus that we're saved. Paul said it in Romans 10:9. "And if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved".

Do you know what's interesting about these three verses? They come from the lips of the three most prominent Jews in the New Testament: Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Many times, I get accused of being antisemitic because I say Jews have to trust in Jesus, in order to be saved. In fact, the media loves to pull up, they still do, I saw it again last week, a clip of me from 10, 15 years ago on a TV show saying Jews cannot be saved through Judaism. And they cut it right there. "See, he's antisemitic". If they'd played the entire clip, they would've heard me say Catholics can't be saved by Catholicism. Baptists can't be saved through Baptist churches. Only people can be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. And who said that? Paul, a Jew, a Hebrew of Hebrews said, "My soul desires that Israel be saved".

Peter wasn't a southern Baptist evangelist. He was a Jew, and he said, "There is salvation in no one else, other than the name of Jesus". I had a Jewish man tell me, and he was kind of kidding, but he said, "You know, aren't you the guy who tells Jews they're going to hell"? And I laughed, and I said, "Well, actually, that idea didn't come from me. I got it from a Jewish rabbi. His name was Jesus". Jesus was a Jew, and yet he said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father, except through me". We need to remind people their argument is with the Word of God, not us. Secondly, we need to emphasize that God wants to save as many people as possible, not as few as possible. That's the heart of God. You see that in 1 Timothy 2. "God our Savior who desires that all men be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth".

Now, all people won't be saved, but that's God's desire, that they all be saved. 2 Peter 3:9, "For God is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but He's patient toward you, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance". And even Jesus himself said this about himself. Luke 19:10, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save those who are lost". Finally, I remind people the fact that God has provided one way of salvation demonstrates his love not his hatred. The fact that he provides one way of salvation demonstrates his love not his hatred. Romans 5:8 says, "For God demonstrated His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, He sent Christ to die for us".

You might use this illustration. Imagine you're awakened in the middle of the night by the smell of smoke. You look around, and you realize your house is on fire, and you can't find a way out, when suddenly the fireman comes crashing through your bedroom door and says, "Follow me. There's one way out of this burning house". Would you accuse that fireman of being hatred, hateful, or intolerant, because he said there's only one way out of the house? Would you say, "I'm gonna argue with you about this; I think there may be another way out"? No. If a fireman came into your burning bedroom and said there is one way out, you would thank him and you would follow him.

The reason Jesus said there is one way out of this planet that is soon to be destroyed is because there is only one way out. And the fact that God has provided and told us what that one way out is, is not a sign of his hatred toward us. It's a sign of his love for us. God demonstrated his love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Well, who is able to be saved, the availability of salvation? I included this, because there are a lot of theologians and would-be theologians who love to argue about who can be saved. Is it just the predestined and the elect? Do we believe in limited atonement, that Jesus' sins were just for the elect, or is Jesus' blood sufficient for all to be saved? Who can be saved? An interesting study for you to do sometime is look up the word "whosoever". Whosoever, and see how many times it's used in the New Testament.

"For God so loved the world," Jesus said, "that he sent his only Son, that whosoever believes in him shall not perish. They shall have eternal life". Or what does the Word of God say in 1 John 2, verse 2? "And He," talking about Jesus, "and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for those of the whole world". That word "propitiation" means satisfaction. It means to appease somebody who is angry. Jesus' blood is the satisfaction. It satisfies the wrath of God. As we sing that song, "On the cross where Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied". That is propitiation, not just for our sins, but for the sins of the entire world.

"Well, wait a minute, Pastor. If his blood is for the whole world, then does that mean everybody is automatically saved, everybody is automatically saved"? No. Remember what we saw last time in Romans 5? Paul said, "Through one man, Adam, sin came into the world and all sin". By one man's sin, everybody was condemned. But then Paul says in Romans 5:17, the gift of salvation is not like the curse. The curse comes automatically. You don't have to do one thing to be under the curse. All you have to do is be born. And you don't have to do anything to go to hell when you die. Just keep going the way you're going. And if nothing happens in your life, in your relationship with God, you'll end up in hell. We are all under the curse, but the gift is different. It doesn't come automatically, Paul says.

Romans 5:17, "For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, that is Adam, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the one Jesus Christ". I often use this phrase. It's built on somebody else's phrase. I tweaked it a little bit about the blood of Christ. Christ's death was sufficient for all, but it's efficient for only believers. Christ's forgiveness is available to everyone, but it only applies to those who receive it. Isn't that what John 1:12 says? "But as many as receive Christ, to them He gave the power to become the children of God, even to those who believe on His name".

William Talper was an 18th century poet, who had a horrible life. When he was 6 years of age, his mother died, and relatives bundled him up and sent him to a boarding school, where he was bullied and badgered by older boys. He fell into deep depression. He tried to commit suicide several times. Finally, in 1756, at the age of 25, William Talper was committed to what they used to call an insane asylum. That was the worst fate that could befall anybody in the 18th century. He was in that asylum. He would wake up in the middle of the night crying out, "My sin, my sin; if only there were a fountain somewhere to cleanse me of my sin".

But then in the providence of God, a doctor took over his case, a Christian, who was a psychiatrist, Dr. Cotton, and Dr. Cotton introduced William Talper to Jesus Christ, who could forgive him of his sin. Later, William Talper gave this testimony of what happened to him. He said, "The happy period which was to shake off my fetters and afford me a clear opening of the free mercy of God had now arrived. I flung myself into a chair near the window, and seeing a Bible there ventured once more to apply to it for comfort and instruction. The first verses I saw were in the 3rd chapter of Romans, 'being justified freely by His grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God had set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to manifest His righteousness.' Immediately," Talper said, "I received the strength to believe and the full beams of the Son of righteousness shone on me. I saw the sufficiency of the atonement he has made, my pardon in his blood, and the fullness and completeness of his justification. In a moment, I believed, and I received the gospel".

Many years later, William Talper would write a song about his experience. It's a song we still sing today. "There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel's veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stain. The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day. And there may I, though vile as he wash all my sins away". Would you sing it with me? "Wash all my sins away, wash all my sins away. And there may I, though vile as he, wash all my sins away". Salvation is not a reward. It is a gift from God based on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.
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