“What is the Big Deal About Salvation?”
Hello and welcome to "Key to the Kingdom." My name is Bret McCasland. The mission of God in this world revolves around bringing people into His kingdom. He longs for all people everywhere to be a part of His family and to enjoy His blessings, and He sent His son Jesus to accomplish that mission. His ministry on this Earth included many things. He showed people what living in God's kingdom looked like and how one could become a part of it. He died on a cross, was buried in a tomb, and rose again three days later. Through those things, Jesus provided salvation. He provided a way for us to be a part of God's family and to share in His rich blessings and promises. Now, that is a big deal! In fact, there is nothing greater. For if Jesus had not accomplished His mission on this Earth, we would not have the opportunity to be a part of God's family. For that we can be eternally grateful. In today's lesson on "Key to the Kingdom," we will take a closer look at the significance of that salvation and the difference it makes in our life. We will study some important passages about God's judgment and eternal life. And, we will also look at three great blessings that come as a result of receiving it. My prayer is that you will stay tuned to this station for the next few minutes as we seek to answer the question, what is the big deal about salvation? I invite you now to open your heart and your Bible as we study together.
It really does not matter who we are or where we live throughout this world. There are some really big issues we all face. Some of them are common to us all, while others of them are a little bit different. I think about for some, the big issue is what kind of education will I pursue? What kind of job will I get? What kind of career will I enjoy? Other people might wonder about, who will I marry? How many kids will we bring into the world? And, where will we live?
Other issues, for some, might revolve around sickness and disease and health problems, whether it be for ourselves or one of our loved ones or family members. And then for other people, we might have the big issue of working with our aging parents or raising our young children. Yes, all of us face some really big issues in life. And when it comes to the world of religion, there are some really big issues with which we must deal with on that, as well. And that big issue revolves around three primary things, and that's what I want us to think about for just a moment. The first one is death is coming. Except for only a few people we read about in the Bible, everyone who has ever lived or everyone who will live in the future will at some time or another experience physical death, unless Jesus first returns. The wisest man who ever lived on the face of this Earth, Solomon, wrote these words in Proverbs 7:2. <"Death is the destiny of every man."> And we understand that. We know that death is a part of life. Oh, I do think about the man Enoch, in the Old Testament, who did not see death, but he was allowed to simply walk with God. And the same is true with the Old Testament prophet Elijah. But for everyone else, death is a certain reality. To some it comes suddenly and unexpectedly. To others it comes naturally, and perhaps is even a welcome relief. But let us make no mistake about it; death is something each and every one of us must consider. And with that in mind, we realize it is important for us to come to a realization, and that is the reality of our mortality, to realize that all of us are mortals and all of us will experience death at one time or another. The average age for a man to live in the United States of America is 77. The average age for a woman to live in America is 82. In the year 2015, over 2.5 million deaths were recorded in the United States alone. And, death statistics like that are kept for every nation on the face of this Earth. But, death is a reality and it cannot be ignored. Oh, we've all experienced death to some degree or another, whether it is our family members, a neighbor, a friend, but we know about living and dying. The apostle Paul wrote these words in 1st Corinthians 15:22, <"For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all are made alive."> And we know that to be true. Adam, the first man, came into the world. He sinned. He disobeyed God. He died. That was the punishment. And because of Adam's sin and death, we too must realize that death is a reality. Yet, the good news is through Jesus Christ we can be made alive and we don't have to experience eternal death. Rather, we can enjoy and experience eternal life with Him. What is the big deal about salvation? The first thing to realize is that death is coming and it is certain. But then secondly, what is the big deal about salvation, judgment is coming. If we believe this book that I hold in my hand, the Bible, to be true, then we believe there is coming a time when both the living and the dead will be judged, according to 1st Peter chapter 4, verses 4 and 5. Now obviously, that is different than being judged by one another. And I don't know what it is about human beings, but often times we like to do that, don't we? We judge one another. We cast our judgment upon other people. We like to determine in our minds if they are good, or bad, or right, or wrong, are going to heaven, or not going to heaven. And all that really doesn't make any difference compared to the eternal judgment of Jesus Christ. Yes, He is our judge and His judgment is always final, it is always right, and it is always fair. We notice these words, however, in John 5:24, that come from Jesus himself. <"Whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life."> Now, that's interesting to me; that, if we believe in Jesus Christ we escape judgment. Another way to look at that is we escape the condemnation or the punishment that comes upon all of those who do not believe in Jesus. Instead, we pass from physical life to eternal life because of our belief in Jesus Christ. We believe that He is the one and only Son of the living God. We believe that He died on a cross, and was buried in a tomb, and then rose up on the third day. And when we live with that full conviction and with that full belief then we are spared the wrath, or the condemnation, of our Lord, and we pass into eternal life. Several places in Scripture, we read about the significance and the importance of judgment and we understand that all of us will experience that at some time or another. We also notice, in verse 22 of John chapter 5, that Jesus himself will be our judge; that, Almighty God in heaven has appointed His son Jesus to carry out that judgment. And so we consider, there is coming a time when we will stand before the judgment seat of Jesus and we will give an account of our life. And it will revolve around, basically, this one thing, do we believe in Jesus, or do we not? And those were the words of Jesus himself. The author of Hebrews 9:27 states it like this. <"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not bearing sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him.”> Well, there are a couple of things the author wants us to be aware of in that one verse; that, there is a destiny, as Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, for all of us to experience death one time, and after that comes the judgment. After that comes the determination of whether or not we will spend an eternity with God or an eternity separated from Him. But we also notice that Jesus Christ will come back. Yes, there is coming a day when He will return to gather to himself all of those who are a part of His family, not to bear sin, but to give the full realization of the salvation we already have experienced in Him. Yes, Jesus came to this Earth to purchase our salvation. He died upon the cross. He took away our sin when He did that, and so that is already settled. He doesn't have to do that again. He did it one time, just as man is to die only one time. And now, we have the opportunity to experience that salvation which Jesus offered to us at the cross. When I think about the judgment, I realize that it too is certain, and it is coming. And that is the second thing in regards to, what is the big deal about salvation? But then there is a third thing that I want us to consider. Yes, death is coming and judgment is coming, but eternity is also coming. The Bible clearly states that there is something after this life is over. In fact, there are two things. There is eternal life, and there is eternal death, or separation. First of all, there is eternal life with God the Father and His son Jesus Christ. For those who believe in Jesus and submit themselves to Jesus, those individuals are able to be at home with the Lord in heaven and to enjoy all of the blessings and benefits that God provides to those who are His family members. And that is special. It is a time of rejoicing. It is time of celebration. It is a time of continually worshiping and honoring the God who saves us through His son Jesus Christ. Yet at the same time, there is also eternal separation, where we are set apart from God's presence, and His face, and His glory, and we don't experience that. But rather, it is an eternal darkness, an eternal separation, or death away from the Lord. And that is what the Bible tells us about eternity, that those are the two things that are going to happen; eternal life or eternal death. Notice these words in the gospel of John 3:36. <"Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God's wrath remains on him."> That statement is very true; either eternal life or eternal death. And if we do not believe in Jesus Christ then we experience eternal death and God's wrath, or God's judgment, or punishment remains upon us. That passage simply reminds me of the importance to believe in Jesus Christ, to believe that He is the Son of God, to believe that He did purchase my salvation when He went to the cross. In 1st John chapter 5, verses 11 and 12, we find something very similar. <"God has given us eternal life and this life is in His son. He who has the Son has life; but he who does not have the Son of God does not have life."> It cannot be stated any plainer. If we believe in Jesus Christ we have eternal life. If we do not believe in Jesus, then we do not have eternal life. And over and over again in Scripture, we find the importance of believing in Jesus, which leads to submitting our life to Him, which leads to an eternal home and life with God the Father. And so as we consider these verses, we notice that we can either have fellowship and life with God, we can enjoy His presence and His blessings and all of the promises we read about in His Word, or we can be separated from Him, cast out into darkness, totally separated from God for all eternity. Yes let us know today, number three, what is the big deal about salvation, eternity is coming and it is certain. Take a look at this video clip. It's only two minutes in length, and it is entitled "Before and After." It illustrates the message of today's lesson.
One of the most familiar aspects of advertising is the before and the after. And, we are familiar with those types of advertising. For example, a person is presented with a weight problem, but after going on a diet and losing lots of weight then they look fit and trim. Or, perhaps someone has a financial problem, but after making certain investments then their financial situation is much better. Well, the greatest before and after event revolves around Jesus Christ. Before He went to the cross we were lost in our sin, separated from God and without any hope in this world. But, after He went to the cross, was buried in a tomb, and then rose victoriously on that third day, after that, He provided hope for each one of us. And we now have the opportunity and the privilege to be a part of God's family, and to anticipate and look forward to that eternal home with Him in heaven. I'm sitting beside a cave in the sight of a mountain. I certainly don't know what Jesus' tomb looked like, we have some ideas, but this is something perhaps similar. This is a cave, a hole in the side of this mountain, but imagine in your mind, if you will, Jesus coming forth from a cave or a tomb like this and leaving behind an empty tomb. Yes, when Jesus rose from the grave, when He walked out alive, it gave us hope. It gave us the opportunity to look forward to an eternal home with God. And no longer do we have to live in that before state, separated from God and from His promises.
Those three things, death, judgment, and eternity, are all undeniable facts. Over and over again throughout the Scripture, we find references made to those things. And yet, because God offers His salvation to us through His son Jesus Christ, we who believe in Jesus can begin to experience that salvation, even now. We can begin to experience all of the blessings that come with being a part of God's family. We can anticipate all of the wonderful promises that lie ahead for us in that heavenly home. And as I think about that, I want us to pause for just a moment and to reflect upon three things, specifically, that we are able to enjoy even now. First of all, we can enjoy abundant life. Jesus stated, in John 10:10, <"I have come that they may have life and have it to the full."> Many people don't have that. Many people do not live a full and abundant life because they don't believe in Jesus. But, Jesus comes so that we can enjoy a full life, an abundant life. Oh yes, make no mistake about it, there will still be some problems and struggles and difficulties from time to time, but in Jesus Christ, as our Victor, we can overcome those things and enjoy a relationship with Him. But then, here is something else. We can also experience peace with God. The apostle Paul wrote these words in Romans 5:1-2. <"We have been made right in the sight of God, and therefore we have peace."> Oh, in this world of trouble, in this world of tribulation, and temptation, and difficulties, and problems, isn't it good to know that we can have peace with God, that He gives us a peace that we cannot even fully understand? But, we can have peace in our relationship with Him. And we can know, without a doubt, that all is well because He is in control, and our life is found in Jesus Christ, and we are a part of His family. But then also, we recognize that we can anticipate a future hope. We know, without a doubt, that as God's children we have something to look forward to, something that perhaps is even difficult to understand or imagine. When we read about the hope in heaven, it is not something that might or might not take place. It is a certain reality, and there is coming a time when we will be able to experience that to the full. We know also that Jesus is our source of hope. He is our firm and secure anchor, Hebrews 6:19. When our life is found in Jesus Christ we have a hope in Him that can never be taken away. We have a peace and a relationship with Him that far surpasses any kind of peace or relationship we can experience here upon this Earth. And those are some things that we can experience now, and we can anticipate a time in the future when those will be made full and we can have a fuller realization of those wonderful blessings and promises. There is one final Scripture I want to share with us today. It seems to summarize the message, "What's the Big Deal About Salvation?" These words were written by the apostle Paul. They are found in Titus chapter 2, beginning with verse 11. <For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope— the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good.> Oh, there are many things in those 4 verses that attract our attention. But perhaps the greatest one is this; the grace of God brings salvation to every person. There is not a single person on the face of this Earth God does not love. And, He has offered His salvation to you, and to me, and to everyone else, through His son Jesus Christ. And through Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross, and burial and then resurrection again from the tomb, we have that hope. We can experience that amazing grace of our Lord and Savior. Yes, God brings salvation to every person. He makes it available. It is a free gift extended to each and every one of us, and we have the opportunity to receive it. Yes, through Jesus Christ, He purchased our salvation. He paid a debt that we can never repay, no matter how good we are, no matter what we do. It was the most unselfish act that has ever been demonstrated. Jesus left His home in heaven. He gave His life upon the cross, for you and for me. A sinless man, He was absolutely innocent of any sin and yet He took sin upon himself so that we might live. And through that death, we now have the opportunity to experience God's amazing grace. Join with me as we go to God in prayer. <<Holy Father in heaven, we thank You so very much for Your great and Your amazing love, for Your son's salvation, that makes an eternal difference in our life; and we praise You and we thank You for that. And I pray that each and every one of us who hears this message will consider that indeed salvation is a big deal, and that You have freely offered it to us. In Jesus name we pray: Amen.>> Oh, what is the big deal about salvation? Well, it provides to us the forgiveness of our sin and the promise of an eternal home with God in heaven. It allows us to enjoy just some of the blessings and promises here upon this Earth that will someday be fully realized when we stand before our Lord, Jesus Christ. My hope and my prayer, my encouragement for you today is that you will consider why salvation is such a big deal and that you will make a decision to become a part of God's family through Jesus Christ, today.
Thank you for tuning in to today's broadcast. I hope the message reminded you that God's salvation, provided through His son Jesus, really is a big deal. There is no greater expression of love and there is no greater gift that could be given. This ministry is more than happy to share with you other lessons about God's love and Jesus' salvation. The website, keytothekingdom.com, provides free access to many other messages. It contains reports on our work around the world, and especially in India. It allows you also to view short devotional videos that might be a great source of encouragement. Calling the number on the screen allows you to request a free Bible study. Please leave your name and address and we will be more than happy to send the study to you in a few short days. You can work through it at your own pace and even have someone assist you in that study. Oh, all of these Bible studies and messages are designed with you in mind. If you are seeking a deeper and more personal relationship with God, perhaps they will help. Remember, they are all free and are accessible without any obligation. Hopefully you will want to take advantage of these Bible study opportunities. Thank you again for taking time to watch this episode. And remember, God's salvation really is a big deal, and it makes an eternal difference in our lives! I invite you to join us again next time on this same station, as we continue to study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom."