“Saved for Something Special”
Hello and welcome to "Key to the Kingdom." My name is Bret McCasland. The greatest thing any of us could ever talk about or share with others is the love of God. He makes His free gift of salvation available to every person. No one is excluded from it and everyone is invited to receive it. Oh, the salvation God offers, through His son Jesus Christ, is special. It is unlike anything else. It is unique and different, and it is a life-changing experience. His salvation saves us from sin. It saves us from spiritual death. His salvation even saves us from the kingdom of Satan. And, we know those things, and we have studied them before. Yet, there are some things we sometimes overlook. Yes, God's salvation also saves us for something very special. Today on "Key to the Kingdom," we will focus on what we are saved for. We will highlight some of the plans God has in store for those who are His children. Among other things, God saves us for a new and better way to live. He saves us for the purpose of doing good deeds. And, He saves us for the purpose of living to the praise and glory of His name. Yes, God's salvation sets us free from some very bad and tragic things. And yet, it also sets us free to live as His representatives in this world. For the next few minutes, God's Word will remind us of some things for which we are saved and for which we are to live as His children. I hope you will now join us as we open our hearts and our Bibles to study together.
When we talk about God's salvation, we often times focus on God saving us from something bad; and that's true. His salvation does save us from sin, separation from Him, eternal death, and the kingdom of Satan; and we could add many more things to that list. And yet, there is much more to God's salvation. It includes being saved for something good. Yes, the salvation we receive from the Lord gives us something we never had before. It gives us a brand-new life in Him. He saves us for a new life in order to give glory and praise to His holy name. For the next few minutes, I want us to think about the salvation that we enjoy through our faith and obedience in Jesus Christ, and to focus on a new life that we have in Him. When I think about the salvation God has given to me, I realize that He saves me for a life of transformation. Listen to these words from the apostle Paul. They are found in the letter of Romans, chapter 12 verses 1 and 2. <"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God —this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —His good, pleasing and perfect will."> Christians are people who belong to God. We are a part of His family. We are His children. And, because of that, we now conform our lives to His son Jesus Christ. No longer do we conform ourselves to the ways and the practices of this world. We don't line ourselves up with what this world tends to believe and to practice. But rather, we align ourselves with the good, pleasing and perfect will of God, as we conform ourselves to the image of God's Son, Jesus Christ. Now, that's called a life of transformation. We transform ourselves from being like this to being like Him. And that's important. God has saved us for that, to go through that transformation process. We recognize that Jesus is now the Lord of our life and so we submit to Him. The example that He has left for us to follow is what we do. We follow that example and we incorporate those teachings into our life so that we will be lined up with Him, with God's one and only Son. And, that is expressed in the way we live, the way we talk, by our relationships, and by a host of other things. We don't go through the motions of simply saying that we belong to Jesus. Most anybody can say and do that. But rather, our activity, our daily life, proves that we belong to Jesus Christ. And that is what we call the transformation process; and that doesn't happen overnight. It takes time. It is a continual effort that we put forth to being made in the image of Jesus Christ. And in fact, none of us will ever achieve that completely, totally, until Jesus comes back. And so, it is a never-ending process of growing and maturing into the likeness of the One who saves us. We grow up in Jesus, we go through that transformation, and we do that which is pleasing and acceptable in the sight of the God who saves us. For those who are parents or grandparents, we enjoy seeing our children or grandchildren grow up. We see them as babies, as infants, grow into toddlers; and then, before long, they go off to school. And, they begin to expand their realm of ideas, and they begin to experience all of the things in the world around them. Before long, they go through school, they graduate, and they become independent and responsible and embrace all of the things a new world has in store for them. And as parents, as grandparents, we enjoy watching that transformation process unfold in the lives of our loved ones. And no doubt, our loving Heavenly Father anticipates and watches us go through a transformation process, as we become more and more like His son, Jesus Christ. And so as we think about what God has saved us for, first of all we know that it is a life of transformation. But then secondly, He also saves us for a life of praise. In Ephesians chapter 1, beginning with verse 3 and going through verse 14, we find one long sentence in the original language; that's 12 verses in our Bibles, but in the original language it's only one sentence. And it seems that what is happening is that the apostle Paul, as he writes these words, cannot find a place to stop. He is so excited about all of the spiritual blessings that one has in Jesus Christ, he just keeps on writing. Over and over again, he highlights those blessings and those benefits and those privileges, and he can't find a stopping place. But there is one theme that is found in those 12 verses that is repeated at least 3 times, in verse 6, verse 12, and also in verse 14. And that is, we as Christians are created to live to the praise of God's glory. Let me read just two verses, 5 and 6, and you can get the idea of what I'm talking about. <"In love, He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Christ Jesus, in accordance with His pleasure and will -to the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves."> Christians are to live to the glorious praise of God. And that's a natural thing for us to do once we recognize who He is and what He has done for us. We live to sing God's praises. We lift Him up and we thank Him on a continual basis for what He has done in our life. And again, that is something natural we do when we as Christians recognize the magnitude of His love and sacrifice, and the free gift of salvation. We live to praise Him for it. We live to tell the world around us about it. Often times, we like to sing the praises of those people whom we adore. We might sing the praises of our favorite athlete, or our favorite entertainer, or perhaps a political figure, or somebody in the past world history. We like to sing the praises of our children, when they do something good. Or, we sing the praises of our parents, our mentors, those people who mean something to us. We are proud of them and we like to tell other people about them. And yet, the greatest praise that we are to give is to Almighty God in heaven. He is worthy and deserving of our ultimate praise and thanksgiving, as we give Him the recognition that He truly deserves. And that is what God has saved us for; to live to proclaim His glory; to live so that we can sing His praises for the salvation that He has entrusted to us. Here's something else for which God has saved us, number three: He saves us for a life of love. Notice these words from Paul, in Ephesians 5, verses 1 and 2. <"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."> It's easy, sometimes, for us to imitate our parents. We find, often times, that we are doing some of the very same things that our father did, or our mother did; and we're imitating them, whether we realize it or not. The apostle Paul says that's the way it is with your Heavenly Father; imitate Him; follow His example, and the first one is love. When we think about all of the characteristics of God, perhaps the first one that comes to our mind is that God is a God of love. He loves people. And as His children, we imitate Him, we follow His example, and we love people, too. That's a natural part of being one of His children. When we think about the love of God, one of the passages that we can go to is the gospel of Matthew chapter 5. Beginning with verse 43 and going through verse 48, Jesus talks about His Father's love. And in those six verses, he describes God's love in a couple of ways. He states that God sends the rain on the good and on the bad. He makes the sun to rise on the just and on the unjust. And by saying that, Jesus is simply pointing out the fact that God does not discriminate. He does not show favoritism. He sends the rain and the sun on the good and on the bad. It doesn't matter who people are, He demonstrates His blessings and His love to all people. That's the way, God is! He is a God of love! And then at the very end of that passage, in verse 48, Jesus states, "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." Now obviously, the first five verses in that section are talking about loving people, and God loving people; and so, Jesus concludes by saying, "Be perfect in your love, just as God is perfect in His love for people." That's a challenge sometimes, isn't it? It is hard, sometimes, to imitate a loving God when people don't love us. And yet, that's the way, God does, and He saves us to live the very same way; to live a life of love. In John chapter 13, verses 34 and 35, we find these words from Jesus: <"Love one another as I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another."> Jesus wants us to recognize that as His disciples, as His followers, we are to love people. We love those whom God puts into our life. And, when we do that then the whole world will know that we belong to Him, that we are imitating our loving God in heaven. But when we don't practice love, when we don't demonstrate love to others, then people wonder whether or not our salvation is real and if it's true. And so, God has saved us for the purpose of loving people. There are some people who love me, and I appreciate that. But, there are some people in this world who do not love me, who don't care anything about me, who perhaps wish that I did not even exist. And I understand that, and that's okay. But as Jesus has pointed out here in Matthew chapter 5, we are to even love our enemies. It doesn't matter how people respond to me. It doesn't matter if people love me or not. God has called upon me and you, as one of His children who has experienced His free gift of salvation, to love people. And that's what God has asked us to do because that is the very same thing that God does. He loves people, irregardless of how they respond to Him. Here's something else for us to consider: God has saved us for a life of good deeds. He saved us for doing good, for ministering to the people He puts into our life. In Ephesians chapter 2, verses 8 through 10, we find these words: <"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith –and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."> God has prepared some good works for us to do, when we, through our faith in Jesus Christ, are saved by His grace. He's already put that together. He already has some things in mind for you and for me to do, some good works that we can do for other people that demonstrate we belong to Him. And we do those good deeds, we do those good works, not to earn our salvation, not to say to God that we deserve this free gift, but rather because we already have it, and so it frees us up to be an encouragement and a blessing to other people. Part of God's plan for those who are saved by grace is to do good works. And there are many good works we can do. I have my list of good works. You have your list of good works, and no doubt you are following through on that list. There are many ways that you can bless people, many ways that you can serve others who are in need, who are less fortunate, who are struggling to make it in this world. And that's what God has prepared and saved us to do. In Galatians chapter 5 and verse 1, we find that we are set free through our salvation in Jesus Christ. We have freedom in Him. And because we have that freedom, we are now free to bless other people. We are free to share with others what God has done for us, and for them. We are free to minister to those who are in need. We are free to do good things, because God has done something tremendously good for us; and that is, He has saved us for doing something good. There are many underprivileged and poverty stricken people throughout our world. In third world countries, often times people try to survive on just a dollar or two, each and every day. Some of them can't do that, and they don't survive. But those people are struggling to make ends meet. They are struggling to feed their family, from one day, from one hour to the next. And perhaps God has called upon us and He has saved us, as Christians, to minister to people like that; to become involved in their lives; to minister to them and to serve them; and, to do good works so they will know that somebody loves them, somebody cares about them. And that is the fact that God has sent us to represent Him to those who are in need. And so let us keep in mind, fourthly, that God saves us for doing good works. But, here is one more thing I want us to consider. As we experience the salvation of the Lord, He saves us for a life eternal. Oh, I love the words of 1st John chapter 5 that begin in verse 11. <God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.> That is one of my favorite verses in all of the Bible. John says, I am writing this to you so that you can know that you have eternal life; that if you believe in Jesus Christ you have eternal life. If you believe that He is the one and only Son of God, if you believe that He died on the cross and then was buried in a tomb and then rose up from the grave, you have eternal life. When we believe in Jesus Christ and when we act out that belief and when we demonstrate our belief in Jesus then we know that our future is certain. We know where we will spend eternity, and that is an eternal life with God. John reassures us that eternal life is a reality. It is not something that might or might not take place. It is both a gift now, as we experience some of those blessings and privileges, it is a possession that God has entrusted to us, today, but it is also something that will be fully realized when Jesus comes back to claim all of those who belong to Him. And on that day, our eternal life will be fully realized. And that offers great assurance to us that we are saved for an eternal life with God. What reassurance! It frees us up, now, to live our life in a victorious and glorious way, as we live a life of love and as we minister to the people God puts into our life. Lots of things in this world concern us. We are concerned about our health and well-being. We are concerned about our loved ones and their health and their well-being. We might be concerned about the world affairs and how there seems to be a lack of peace in the world today. We might be concerned about our financial situation, the economy, whether or not we have a job and a purpose and a direction in life. Those things concern us. They bring about a great deal of worry and anxiety. We don't know for sure what's going to happen from one day to the next. And yet, a child of God does not have to worry about one thing. We don't have to worry about where we will spend eternity, because God has saved us for a life eternal with Him. Yes, a very special life is reserved for those who belong to the Lord. And when we receive His salvation, yes, we are saved from something bad; but perhaps more importantly, we are saved for something good. We are saved for a very special life in Jesus Christ. Join with me as we go to our Father in prayer. <<Dear Father, we thank You so very much for the salvation that we have received through Your son Jesus Christ. Thank You for this gift. Thank You for the privilege to be a part of Your family through our faith and obedience in Your Son. We know that He saves us from so many things that are bad; from sin, and death, and separation. But God, He saves us for a good life. And may it be that all of us who have received that free gift of salvation live out that salvation, each and every day; that we are saved for something good, and we experience and we share that goodness with others. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.>> I truly am thankful for the many wonderful gifts that God has given to me through His son Jesus Christ. On a regular basis, I thank God for that gift of salvation. I thank Him for setting me free and redeeming me from sin and from the kingdom of Satan, and saving me from spiritual death and eternal separation from Him. Yes, there are lots of bad things that He has saved me from. There are many more that we could mention. And no doubt, He has saved you from those same bad things, as well. That's what salvation is about. But, that's part one. Part two is that God has saved us for something good, and that goodness is to be demonstrated in the way we live. It is to be demonstrated in our daily walk with Him. And as we have looked today at just five things, I would hope that you incorporate them into your life, as you have experienced the salvation of the Lord. My prayer and my encouragement for you today is that you will recognize that God saves you for a life eternal, a transformed life, a life of singing glory and praise to God. He has saved you for a life of love and doing good deeds to those that God puts into your life. Oh, there are so many things we can talk about in regards to God's salvation; but let us never forget, He saves us for something very good and something very special, as we become a part of His family, His sons and daughters.
Thank you for being our guest today. I trust this message blessed your life and that it reminded you of another important aspect of God's salvation. If you would like to hear or view it again, please go to our website, keytothekingdom.com. While there, I hope you will take time to look at some of the other things we offer. There is a Bible study, divided into six lessons, there are short, three minute video clips, and there are other resources that perhaps will be of benefit to you. All of these things are absolutely free and they require no commitment of any kind. A toll-free number is also available. If you would like to receive the Bible study by mail, please call the number on the screen and we will be happy to send it to you in a few short days. We would love to hear from you and I hope that you will take time to give us a call. Roku television and a smart-phone app will also take you to our website and to previously recorded messages, and perhaps you have access to one or both of these technology items. Our goal at "Key to the Kingdom" is to share the message of God's saving love with as many people as possible, all around the world. He wants His Word to go out through the whole world, and we are thankful to have a small part in that big plan. We are also very thankful you have chosen to join us for today's broadcast. And, we hope that you will decide to join us again next time, as we continue to study the Bible on "Key to the Kingdom."