The ABC’s of Salvation

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You can find the “ABC’s of Salvation” in a variety of forms on the internet.  What’s below is how I preached them at the end of my message on Easter Sunday, 2014.  I’ve tried to present these in a way that acknowledges some of our Lutheran distinctives.

A. Admit that you need God.

Some of you are just trying to do life without God.  You think you’ve “got this” all by yourself.  How’s that working for ya?  If you haven’t already, you will encounter something in life that is going to break you and bring you to your knees and show you that you need someone stronger.  And more that that, you need someone better than you.  The Bible says …

No one is good—except God alone (Luke 18:19, NIV).

We know that’s true, because the Bible tells us …

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23, NIV).

In other words, none of us is good enough to please God or earn eternal life on our own merit. We may not be as bad as the next guy, but the next guy’s not your standard.  God’s perfection is.  And you need to admit, that if it depends on you alone, you come up empty handed.  You need God.

B. Believe in him.

Jesus said …

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NIV).

You say, “that’s too easy!”  But why is it that we think that for something powerful to happen, it has to be all magical? – thank you Harry Potter.  We think we have to have the right skills, the right spell, the right supplies, before something dramatic can occur.  But we see a man in the OT cured of leprosy just because he believed enough to get off his horse and wash in the Jordan. (see 2 Kings 5, particular attention to v. 13)  So when Jesus tells Martha, “anyone who believes in me will live” … it’s so simple a child can do it, it’s so accessible that it’s available to everyone – yet it’s so powerful it saves lives.  Believe!

C. Be Cleansed/Claimed in the waters of Baptism.  

Jesus says plainly,

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved.”  (Mark 16:16, NIV).

But baptism is more than a ritual.  It’s not about something you do, but about something God is doing TO you… It’s about Him placing His Name on you and claiming you as His child, and cleansing you of your sin.

How can a little water do such powerful things?  There’s that faith-thing again.  But the One who told us to be baptized, is also the One who rose from the grave, and is also the One who says – give me your hard heart, and I will give you a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), and make you a new creation!  The old has gone the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17) The Name of God, the forgiveness of sins, a fresh start and a new heart that is restored to God… all of that is yours in Baptism!

So what are you waiting for?  Do you still have questions?  I’d love to hear your comments and questions – just click “comment” on this blog, or send me an email.  And if you’re ready to be baptized – that’s great!  Come to Redeemer by the Sea, or find a Bible-believing church, where the Word is preached in its purity and Truth, and the Sacraments are rightly administered, and ask about baptism.  Let me know how I can help you in your spiritual journey.  May you respond to the Lord’s invitation… Come!

In The Name of Jesus!

– Pastor Augie.

Today You Are Leaving

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Scripture: “Then Moses said to the people, “Commemorate this day, the day you came out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery, because the LORD brought you out of it with a mighty hand. Eat nothing containing yeast.  Today, in the month of Aviv, you are leaving.” (Exodus 13:3-4)

Observation: The ten plagues have occurred.  Pharaoh’s heart is hardened.  There is a wake of God’s destruction in an unbelieving nation. And God’s people are free.  After 430 years in captivity (Ex. 12:40), the people of God are freed from slavery.  They have made unleavened bread and eaten it in haste, and they have left Egypt with wealth as the Lord made the Egyptians give them their articles of silver, gold and clothing.  But the words that strike me are the words of Moses to the Hebrews: “Today, you are leaving!”  430 years later, dozens of generations, and just like that, they are now set free. After years of bondage, with a simple statement, God tells them about their entirely new reality – “you are leaving!”  They undoubtedly had prayed for the day, waited for the day, hoped for the day, and perhaps given up hope for the day… but now it is here… “Today, you are leaving.”

Application: Why is it so hard to believe that God can set us free with a word?  If he created light with a word, and spoke the universe into existence with a word, why can’t he set captives free with a word?  I imagine that there were many of the Hebrews that scoffed at Moses’ message from God, “Today, you are leaving.”  And yet it was God’s will.  God did not ask, He did not bargain, He did not call them into a committee to deliberate, He simply declared “Today you are leaving!”  I wonder how hard it was for them to believe that it really was happening.  I wonder how frightened they were to leave Egypt – their familiar land of chains.  And I wonder how difficult it is for the forgiven sinner to leave their life of bondage.  They are just as much a slave, and also just as familiar with its constriction.  I wonder how challenging it is to believe the message of God, when He says to you and me, “Today, you are leaving” … when He declares to us that we are no longer the property of the devil.  How hard is it to accept the spoken Word of God that assures us that sin and slavery is no longer our home, and that today He is setting us free and leading us out?  Because that is God’s Word to you and me today, no matter what bondage we find ourselves held captive by – “Today, you are leaving!”

PrayerFather, thank you for speaking your Word of freedom to me today!  Thank you for declaring to me through your Son Jesus that I am free to leave my land of slavery.  Help me to trust you completely that you are calling me out of the darkness into your marvelous light – Today.  Amen!