“So, God we begin, by acknowledging that we are incapable of saving ourselves. That we are not the solution, that in every way we are the problem and that Lord, God we need you. We need you to pursue us. We need you to find us. We need you to love us. We need you to save us. And we need you to be before us. Otherwise we find ourselves in inerrable danger. And so God, as we study tonight, we pray that we would clearly see Jesus as our Savior and for that to happen we ask the Holy Spirit help make the Scriptures knowledgeable to us and understood by us. And Lord, God, when all is said and done that we would have clear understanding and a deeper affection for who Jesus is and what he has done to save us. And so we ask these things in his good name. Amen.”
I was getting to this concept of a, of a savior. The basic definition I want to give you. Is a savior is one who rescues us, the hero as it were, from some potentially terrible plight. So something bad is going to happen, so the savior the hero, rescuer is the one who cames, comes in rather and, and saves us from the potential terrible plight.
And this concept of a savior has a very long history. The word was actually popular in the days of Jesus a few thousand years ago in Greek and Roman culture. And there were politicians that were seen as saviors. And they would save then nation. There were philosophers who were called saviors and they would save the intellect and the mind and the ethics of a people. There were God’s like Zeus in Greek culture who, were seen as sort of spiritual saviors for those who lived on the earth. And that theme of savior was incredibly popular and we’ll examine tonight, how it later came to be applied to the person and work of Jesus.
But, it’s interesting even though a lot of Americans wouldn’t say that they were necessarily Christians or don’t have a concept of Jesus as Savoir that concept of Savior or being saved of the experience of some sort of salvation from some terrible plight remains very popular. It’s a common theme in a lot of cultural elements that we’re very familiar with.
Films for example have the title saved or salvation or savior in them. There is a comedy called, “Saved.” There’s a weird horror film called, “Sweet Savior.” There’s a drama called, “Savior.” And a lot of the films themselves focus on a central character, who is essentially a savior. They’re coming into save people from some terrible plight. The concept of a savior is well is common in music. “Savior,” is a song title in works by Bob Dylan, Lisa Marie Presley, 30 Seconds to Mars, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Billy Bob Thornton, all sing Savior as a title of a song. There is also the song “Save Me.” That’s a song title for Dave Mathew, the band Queen, Fleetwood Mack, American High Fi, Aretha Franklin.
These themes are just perennially popular in pop culture. Trident Comics has a comic called, “Savior.” And it’s interesting even a lot of the comic book superheroes, whether it’s Wolverine or Batman, or Spiderman, or whatever you’re into. The concept there is of a Savior. They come in and they save people from terrible plights, and they rescue people from danger and harm and evil doers. And something in us just yearns for these super human saviors and so much of our cultural story telling centers around that theme.
In the world of software there’s software called, “Savior.” I guess will save your hard drive. On TV there’s Law and Order which has an episode called, “Savior.” And a great television show 24, one of my personal favorites, who’s the Savior? Jack Bauer. If you haven’t seen it you can it’s all on DVD. And Christmas is coming and you could spend that whole week in your jammies catching up on the previous seasons because the new season starts in January. And Jack Bauer is the functional Savior in the show.
I mean it doesn’t matter what happens if you give him a roll of duct tape, a cell phone with magic Holy Spirit batteries, that never drain, and a gun he
can take down whole nations all by himself. And he does. And so Jack Bauer is portrayed in that show as a sort of a Savior. And even the trailer on YouTube for the upcoming season uses the word sacrifice. And it’s showing that the whole world is in danger and they keep saying, “And Jack, you need to sacrifice yourself, to save other.” Wow they’re ripping off this Biblical concept of one who is the sacrificial savior to save many people. That’s our story and they sort of adapted it in a culturally appropriate way. Some of you are gamers. You may have played Save Your Knight Vampire Savior, Dark Savior, or World of War Craft; you may have obtained The Cloak of the Savior. In fashion there’s a line of jeans called Savior for Women. I’m not sure what’s saved, but apparently there are savior jeans. Howard Stern was called the Savior of Satellite Radio. Kayne West, was declared the Savior of the Music Industry.
And how many of us didn’t think if we just got little older and reached another life stage, that would usher in salvation the eternal Kingdom of Heaven. That all our problems would go away. Once we got our license. We could drive away from our parents, graduated from High School. Once we graduated from College, got a job, got married, had kids, once those kids moved out of the house. You know there are these life stages that we sort of cling to as well, like they will be functional saviors and they will save us from sin and curse and horror and once we get there everything will be better.
What I think is interesting to, is every election candidate are essentially portrayed as saviors, right? A guy comes on, “If you vote for my adversary they will eat you. And – a – they will run over your dog and they get drunk and they drive around elementary school parking lots and their terrorists. (Laughter) You know, the attack ads but maybe I’m your Savior and they have a big smile. And a flag is blowing in the backdrop and sort of ruddy good looks and a nice square jaw and perfectly manicured look and they are the Savior. I’ll save you from whatever the terrible plight is.
So sometimes politicians, political issues, political parties, you know, they present themselves as Saviors. We will save you from a terrible plight. So just put your vote of trust and faith in us. And what’s interesting to is, in recent years drug manufactures have started marketing directly to us consumers, makes for some of the most curios television. Some of you TIVO through all the ads, those are the coolest things on TV. I love the ads because the ads are pitching pills medication, essentially as functional saviors. Anything is wrong, you take a pill and automatically you’ll be living in heaven. It all goes away.
Even one of the Claritin ads I saw, you know it shows this person sort of escaping from nasal drip, hell as it were, into walking on green grass, blue sky, white clouds breathing deeply, salvation, essentially, nasal salvation through Claritin. (Laughter) and it’s interesting even much of advertising, advertises products and people and things as functional saviors. It will save you from some terrible plight.
And this concept of salvation and savior is also very common in the world of religion. And various religions have various definitions of what our terrible plight is and how we can be saved. But none the less, religion is essentially, most all religions are built on the assumption that there is a terrible plight that we need salvation from. We need to be saved from some terrible plight.
So, if you’re a Buddhist, you will be saved by, saving yourself by ceasing your desires. If you’re Confucian, you will save yourself through education, reflection, self cultivation and moral living. If you are a Hindu you will save yourself by detaching by your separated ego and living a life that is unified with the divine.
If you’re a Muslim, if you’re in to Islam, you save yourself by living a life of good deeds. If you are an Orthodox Jews you save yourself by repentance, and prayer, strict adherence to the laws of God being an obedient, moral person. If you are in the New Age you save yourself by realizing that all is God and all is sacred and all is one. Including all people and all of creation and by coming into this ideology that you’re part of that divine one, you live in harmony with all that is divine. And you yourself participate by being divine. And through that you will bow saved.
And if you’re in to Taoism, you save yourself by aligning with the Tao. That’s what we mean when we say, “go, with the flow.” That’s short hand for aligning yourself with the Tao. And the result is that then you’ll have peace inside of you. Peace around you and you will live a peaceful life thereby ensuring your own salvation.
What I find curious, that essentially all religions teach you that there is a Savior. That Savior is who? It’s you. You save yourself. Religions teach you that you save yourself. And the religion exists to point out the various things that you should do and should not do so you can save yourself. This is the exact opposite of Christianity.
That’s why sometimes to me it’s curious that people say things like, “Well, all religions basically the same.” No, all religions that teach there are ways to save yourself, except Christianity that says, “That we don’t save ourselves. That God saves us, through Jesus.” That he is the Savior. That he is the Hero. That as we read the Bible it is not a series of commands of things that we must do to earn the love and favor of God, it’s the revelation and the person and work of Jesus who came into human history as the Savior to save us, because we can’t save ourselves.
And so, as we get into this, I want to by saying that the Bible declares repeatedly, that we need a Savior. And that there is a Savior, and that the Savior, is not us, but rather that Savior is God. This is a mega theme of the Old Testament, particularly books like Psalms and Isaiah; repeatedly talk about one Savior, one Savior, that Savior being God.
I’ll look at just a few occurrences at the end of the Book of Isaiah. They are in your notes to just show you what God says about this. And in these verses God is speaking and God is telling us who the savior is. And in this God is confirming that this deep yearning, this cultural desire that we all have for a savior, is good. And we just need to be careful to have the right, savior that we select for that person to be the object of our affection and the source of our hope.
And so I’ll read some, Isaiah 43:11 says this, god is speaking, He says, “I, even I, and the Lord, and apart from me there is no savior.” So God says,
“I’m the only Savior, there is no savior but me, it’s just me.” Isaiah 45:21, “There is not God apart from me.” There is just one God. I’m that God. There is no other God. I am righteous God and Savior, there’s none but me.” God says, “There’s one God and that’s me and there’s one Savior, that’s me.”
God says Isaiah 49:26, “All mankind will know that I, the Lord, am your Savior.” God want s all people, all times all places all cultures all religions to know there is one God and there’s one Savior and that Savior is God alone.
Isaiah, 60:16, God says, “You will know, I the Lord am your Savior.” This is something as well God wants us to know personally. That he is our Savior. And in Isaiah, 62:11 we are told, “The Lord has made proclamation to the ends of the earth” A global truth to be known. “Your Savior comes! See, his reward is with him.” So at the end of the Book of Isaiah, 600 or 700 years before the coming of Jesus, this theme is repeated over, and over, that there is one God and that God is our Savior. And that God is coming to save us. And that god is coming into human history. And that God is bringing with him, reward of salvation.
And so, from that time on for hundreds of years people were waiting for the coming of God as their Savior with his reward of their salvation. This leads us up to the time of Jesus. As we enter into the New Testament, looking at the life and death and burial and resurrection of Jesus, this concept of Savior, is inextricably connected to who Jesus is and why Jesus came. And what Jesus accomplished.
The New Testament speaks of Savior 24 times, 8 times generally referring to God. 16 times specifically referring to Jesus and there are derivatives of that same root word, like, salvation and save and being saved that are very common throughout the New Testament. All of which are pointing to Jesus. And so what happens is an angel shows up just as God spoke in Isaiah, that there is one God and Savior. So God sends angles to speak on his behalf. The point of this is we’re not dealing with philosophical or religious speculation. We’re dealing with divine God revelation, telling us who he is and what is going to happen through Jesus.
And an angel shows up prior to the birth of Jesus, or announces or heralds the coming of Jesus. This is what we celebrate at Christmas time. And he says, this, the angel does is Matthew 1:21, “She, – meaning Mary who we will deal with in a few weeks – will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, And the angel says, “Mary’s going to have a boy. And that boys name is to be Jesus.” And the name Jesus literally means, Yahweh, God the God of the Old Testament, the God that Isaiah, writes of, is our Savior. That’s what Jesus means. Yahweh, God is our Savior.
So, everyone was waiting for Yahweh, God to come as the Savior. Jesus comes. The angel says, “His name is God. He is Yahweh, God that promised Savior.” Because he will save the angel says his people from their sins. So the announcement is made that Jesus is coming through the Virgin Mary and so when Jesus is born, the angel again shows up and declared emphatically and clearly and distinctly who Jesus is. He is the Savior God. We’re told this in Luke Chapter 2:11 by the angel. We’re told that, “A Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” So the angel declares, “That Savior god is coming.” And when Jesus was born the angel says, “The Savior God is here.” And then in this wonderfully tender portrait of Scripture, there’s this very Godly man Simeon, who had been waiting many years. He was an elderly man. And he had been awaiting the coming of God the Savior. That’s, that was his hearts longing. And when Jesus was born he was brought to this Godly man, Simeon, and Simeon this grandfatherly figure as it were, got to hold Jesus the baby.
And here’s what Simeon says in Luke, 2: 28 through 30. We’re told that Simeon took him, Jesus, the baby Jesus in his arms and praised God saying, “Sovereign, Lord as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace, for my eyes have see your salvation.” The angel said, “The Savior God is coming.” Jesus was born, the angel said, “The Savior, God is here.” Simeon got to hold the baby Jesus. And that Godly grandfatherly figure, upon gazing at Jesus said, “Thank you Lord. I can die in peace now. I’ve seen salvation. My Savior God is here. My Savior God is here.”
So we have established that we need a Savior. We’ve established that there is a Savior. We’ve established that God is that Savior. And we’ve established that Savior God is Jesus. Will now examine, who does Jesus save? And what I love about this is Jesus does not appear like the Savior that is offered by other religions, philosophies and spiritualities.
Other religions, philosophies and spiritualities will tell you that God loves good people. Or that god loves people of a certain race. Or god loves people of a certain nation, people of a certain part of the earth, or God loves people of a certain language, or if you really want to know God then you must learn this privileged language because only really speaks in that language because he has a particularly an affection for those people. Some religions are almost exclusively for the rich. You need to have a lot of money to actually participate in those religions.
And what we see is Jesus is the Savior not of a select minority group of people. But Jesus came to save a multitude of people. And he is a global, multiethnic, multinational, multiracial God. We’re first told that he came to save the Jewish people. This is part of a sermon from the early church in Acts 5:30 and 31. We’re told, “The god of our Father’s raised Jesus from the dead, whom you had killed by hanging on a tree. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior, that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sin to Israel. It’s a Jewish man saying, “Jesus is the Savior of us Jews.”
Jesus came in human history. God did as a Jew. He spoke the language, participated in the culture and the feast and festivals and the worship and the study of Old Testament Scripture and such, and so many of the early Christians were converted Jews who saw all of the Old Testament, promises about the Savior Messiah as being fulfilled in Jesus.
We’ll deal with many of them specifically next week. And so Jesus was the Savior. Jesus is the Savior of Israel of the Jewish people. But, he didn’t come just for one nationality or race or one culture of people. Scripture also says in Ephesians 5:23, “Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior.” That includes people from all kinds of nations, and languages and tribes, and tongues. So, it spreads beyond just the Jewish people and God has a heart for all people in all of his churches.
What this means is that, what holds us together as Christians. And Christians have differences in worship style. We have difference in secondary theological issues. But hold Christians together as the church is that if you ask any Christian they will say, “I’m a sinner. I need a Savior. My Savior is Jesus Christ,” That’s my Savior. That’s my God. He came to save me. He lived without sin. He died for my sin. He rose for my salvation. Jesus is my Savior God.”
And today there are a few billion people on planet earth that say they are Christians, that acknowledge Jesus as their Savior God and those people comprise the church of Jesus Christ. Some are Baptist, some are Methodist, some are Lutheran, some are Presbyterian. There’s different traditions, there’s different distinctive but Jesus died for the church. He died for all who would receive him as Savior.
Furthermore we’re told in First John 4:14, “The Father sent his son, to be the Savior of the world.” And again I love this. Jesus doesn’t just love one country. Doesn’t just love one nationality, doesn’t just love one ethnicity. Jesus loves all peoples in all nations, past, present and future. Jesus loves the whole world. And Jesus is Savior of, people from all the nations of the earth.
And again this is distinctive. This is the exact opposite of saying, “God, loves us, exclusively.” God loves our kind of people. God loves our gender. God loves our race. God loves our language. God loves our culture. God loves our geographic location. God loves our socioeconomic standing, at the expense of others. No, Jesus is Savior of the world and people from all over the world receive salvation through Jesus, as Savior God.
And it goes on to say also say, as well, Jesus, does in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and save what was lost.” What was lost? See the most horrendous thing that I can think is that you and I have sinned and we’re just lost. And God doesn’t come looking for us. And essentially says, “If you can find me, then I will save you.” But that’s not actually not God saving us, that’s us saving ourselves.
And that’s what essentially what religion says. Religions say, “You’ve gotten yourself lost. You get yourself found. You get yourself saved. You get yourself out of the predicament you’ve gotten yourself into.” Well, if you’re lost you don’t know what you’re doing. You don’t know where you’re at. Have any of you been that kid that got lost. Any of you been the parent, or the big brother, or aunt, or grandparent, that lost a kid. It’s the most terrifying thing in the world. Sometimes the kids think it’s funny. They’re hiding in the clothes rack. No it’s not funny at all it’s terrifying you can’t find the kid.
But the Bible says that we’re kind of like kids and God is our Father and we’ve wandered away from God, our Father and now we’re just lost. We’re just like kids who wondered into the woods. Or wandered away from home or got lost in the mall or the fair and we just don’t know where we’re at. We don’t know where to go. We don’t what to do. We don’t know how to find our way out. We’re just absolutely lost. And what God does is God comes looking for us, in Jesus Christ. Jesus our Savior comes to seek and save those of us who are lost, knowing that otherwise we would never be found, we would never be found.
And, you can imagine somebody’s out for a hike in the woods. What we don’t say is, “Well, they got themselves lost and they need to get themselves found.” No we go look for them, right. God has that same heart. You’re lost I’m looking for you. You need to be found.
And also we’re told if First Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” Paul says, “Who I am the worst.” We’re sinners. That’s why we’re lost. That’s how we get lost. Rather than obeying God. We turn our back on God. We run away to go do whatever we want. That’s why in repentance we turn back, our return to God.
But we’re sinners. We’re all sinners. And this is what just frustrates me. Some people will say, “Well, you need to save yourself. You need to be a good person. You need to do this and do that and the other thing. You need to pray these prayers. You need to go to these places. You need to reincarnate. You need to pay back your debt, all of these things. What essentially is being said is that there is really no hope for the sinners.
That God loves the lovely people. That God embraces the good guys. Well the Bible says there are not good guys. “All of sin has fallen short of the glory of God.” None of us could stand before God and say, “You should love me. I’m a good person. I’m easy to love.” We’ll all stand before God and say, “I’m a sinner. I’m lost. I’ve rebelled I’ve done whatever I wanted to you and I didn’t obey you. And I need you to save me, because I’m my own worst enemy.”
And see sin is not something that’s just out there. Sin is something that’s in me. And it’s a condition that we have. The myth is that I’m a good person and the world is ruining me and I could tap within my goodness to save myself. The Bible says just the opposite. I’m not the solution. I’m the problem. That I can’t save myself because I’m the one destroying myself. And I need to be saved from myself and my fallen, sinful, crocked, rebellious desires of sin. Because those lead to death and I’m going to kill myself, in one way or another.
And the Bible says that, “Jesus is the Savior God.” That Jesus comes in to save me including me from saving me from myself and my sin. And for those of you are here and you’re Christians and you know that Jesus has saved you from sin. Those of us that are Christians would all testify. God has saved us through Jesus, from much trouble and many sins.
And Paul knows he has not right to stand before God and say, “God, I deserve to be saved.” Paul was a murder of Christians. And Paul knows that he was a corrupt sinner. And some of you know the burden of this. You just labor with your own conscience. I mean there are people here that are ex- pedophiles, ex-rapists, and ex-murders, and liars, and thieves and cheats and alcoholics and drug abusers and all kinds of sin. People just trapped in sin. And if the rule is Jesus only helps the good guys then there’s really no help for any of us because we are without any hope.
But if Jesus is the Savior and he comes to save sinners. And he comes to save lost people and he comes looking for those who don’t know what they’re doing or where they’re going. Then there’s hope. There’s hope because the hope isn’t in me it’s in him. And so Jesus is the Savior of the Jews, and the
church and world and the lost and the wicked. And Jesus is the Savior of not only many people, but Jesus is the Savior from many things.
I’ll give you some examples of what Jesus saves us from. Matthew 1:21, it says, “Jesus will save his people from their sins.” Right, think about it. What, if you’re a Christian, what has Jesus saved you from? What would your life be like if you never met Jesus? What would be different? What would not be different?
There are days that I think about where I would be if I did not have Jesus saving me. Even in the present. What would my marriage look like? Would it even exist? How would I treat my children? What kind of daddy would I be? You know, how would I treat food, alcohol and money, I mean just all of these issues. I have had to be saved from destruction. He saves people from sins.
This is an amazing thing because we live in a culture where it’s almost avant-garde and fashionable to sort of accept our sin and declare it to be our personality. And I do believe we have a personality. We can’t say, “Well, I light off fireworks and committee terrorist attacks, drive naked, and get drunk and run over dogs, and can’t drive a clutch because that’s my personality. I’m a high D.” You know it just doesn’t work that way. But, “sir,”- we have this sort of excuse, like well, “You know I’m Irish, and I’m a high D and I’m an extrovert and so, I’m going to shoot you. It’s sort of an excuse sometime for sin.
We don’t need to just accept sin. “This is who I am. This is who I am. You need to accept me the way I am.” Well I do love you, but wouldn’t it be nice to be saved from sin so we didn’t need to just accept it, or live with it, or tolerate it, or manage it, or hide it, or be assume of it or be over whelmed by it or be enslaved under it. Wouldn’t it be nice to be delivered from it? To be saved so you don’t have to commit that kind of sin anymore and you can go live a new life a different life. That’s what it means to be born again. It’s to be saved at such a degree that you get to start over in a very real and practical way.
And so Jesus saves us from sin and what’s amazing is sometimes we can stop one sin but them sometimes we don’t get saved from sin. We get saved from sin to another sin, right. So you stop smoking and start eating a lot. You know, that’s how – then you get depressed, so then you drink. You’re like, “I’m not smoking.” You’re like, “But you’re big and drunk. I’m not sure that is foreword progress that you were anticipating.” That’s not exactly victory right?
And sometimes you say, “Well, I’ve stopped certain sins.” We get very proud and we call it self esteem and that’s a sin, too. So now I’m proud of the fact that I’m not sinning but that’s a sin. It’s just this horrible cul-de-sac. That’s what I’m trying to point out. The guy who says, “I’m doing very well.” You’re worse than you were because now you’re proud, that got Satan kicked out of heaven, that’s the big sin.
We can’t get saved from sin. It’s just this vicious loop. We go from one sin to the next. We rearrange the flesh but we never get out of the loop, apart from Jesus. Who saves us from sin to new life? Also Jesus saves us from the wrath of God. I know I’m not supposed to say this. There’s 50 things I’m not suppose to say. I’ll get to them all by God’s grace.
Romans 5: 9 say’s, “We shall be saved from God’s wrath through Jesus.” I know you say I don’t like wrath. You’re not suppose to it’s an incentive to repent. Nobody’s suppose to like wrath. We like to say things like God loves the sinner he hates the sin. That’s a quote from Mahatma Gandhi and a Hindu so don’t bank on that as your foundation of your theological frame work.
Just as a side, none the less. God is a good God and we’re bad people. I’m a bad person. We do think and say bad things. How does God feel about that? Well, bad, which is consistent? And God is unhappy with sin and we get unhappy right? How many of you are unhappy with the world? How many of you are just like, “The world is not like it’s supposed to be.” The world is not like it’s supposed to be. The guy right there he is not the way he’ suppose to be, or she’s suppose to be.
What we are talking about here is that God is unhappy with sin. And God is unhappy with me. And God is unhappy with us and the result is wrath and that is judgment, that’s consequence that is justice that is holiness at work. The Bible speaks of this hundreds of times it’s a mega theme of Scripture. And it says that God wrath is against us. And the wrath is ultimately experienced in hell, where the wrath of God is poured out as justice, for sin.
And Jesus, were told in Romans 4:9, “Saves us from the wrath of God.” This s amazing this is a wonderful gift. There is no way in the world that I should escape the wrath of God, that I should escape hell. I’m not a great guy. I’m not a good person. I’m not morally superior to anyone none of that. All I can claim is that I have been saved by Jesus. He has rescued me from a terrible plight, that being, standing before a holy and righteous God with no excuse and being sentenced to an eternal condemnation which is justly deserved.
And we’ve been safe from the wrath of God. And some of you have struggled with questions like how can a good God send people to hell. I don’t struggle with that. I struggle with how a good God can let anyone into heaven. That’s the one that continues to perplex me. If I would God no one would get in. I mean you look at what we’ve done to the earth. I’d be like, “Their not comin to my house, that’s for sure.” (Laughter) You know me and the angels. It’s nice and quite here. You know, it’s simple we’ve got it all nailed down.
God is a gracious god that saves us and in Jesus the wrath of God is diverted and the love of God is given because Jesus lived the life we couldn’t live. Jesus lived then died the death we should have died. And Jesus rose for the salvation that is pure grace. That’s the good news of Jesus.
He saves us from sin. He saves us from the wrath of God. He also saves us from death. Second Timothy, 1:10, “It has now been revealed to the appearing of our Savior – there’s our word for Christ Jesus – who has destroyed death, and has brought life and immortality to life through the Gospel. Jesus Christ saves us from death. We don’t like to die. We don’t want to die. Death is our enemy. But because we all sin the wage for sin is death. We all die. Jesus died and now I don’t have to fear death.
This is the most liberating thing in the world. My greatest fear is not dying. My greatest fear is rebelling against Jesus. But, in dying, Paul says, “To live as Christ, to die as one.” It’s gain. Because Jesus, died and rose he conquered death for me and on the other side of the grave there is salvation through Jesus and even life beyond death. And so the great enemy has been defeated, as we have been saved from that great enemy of death.
And lastly were safe from Satan. Some of you maybe think now, I talk crazy talk. Let me explain this to you. I think it’s very pertinent for the city in which we live. I’ll read first from Second Thessalonians 2:9 and 10, “The coming of the lawless one “– right- “the acknowledgement of no law higher than me, no law other than me,” is of in and of itself demonic. “The coming of the lawless one will be coming in the accordance of Satan, displayed by all kinds of counterfeit miracle signs, wonders and in every sort of evil that deceives those that are perishing, they perish because they refuse to love the truth, so be” – and there’s our word – “saved.”
Here’s what it is saying, that some people think that they have no need for salvation because they are spiritual. Spirituality can be synonymous with demonism. That’s what its saying. Some of you here today, say, “I don’t need to be saved. I’m a very spiritual person. I see auras. I’m clairvoyant. I have dreams. I hear voices. I have insights. I have met with angels, supernatural beings, supernatural powers, supernatural experiences. I’m a very spiritual person. Spirituality sometimes is nothing more than deception.
In the world there are people that love God and don’t. In the spiritual world there are people who love God and don’t. Those who do not love God are demonic, are evil. They’re satanic. They’re beings and spirits who masquerade as angels. Who pretend to be working for God, but they do not. And so you must be exceedingly careful not to think by virtue being a spiritual person that you need no salvation because spiritual in your orientation or your experience that everything is covered. In fact it may be covered by Satan which is no comfort or salvation what’s so ever. It’s simply condemnation.
I mean so many people say things like, “I am very spiritual. I have all kinds of spiritual experiences. I have all kinds of spiritual insights. I have exercised certain spiritual powers. Well what about Jesus? Why is that important? I’m very spiritual, because Jesus is the Savior, and apart from Jesus you may be participating with Satan, and demons and darkness and evil and deception, with counterfeit signs, wonders, and miracles.
That may include counterfeit healings, counterfeit clairvoyance, counterfeit auras, counterfeit supernatural orientation, power, insight, voices, personalities, all kinds of things. All counterfeit, masquerading as working for God, in a deceptive way.
And I’ll be honest with yeah, the first 18, 19 years of my life I was totally lost. I did not, know it. I thought I was a good person realized I wasn’t. I was a sinner. There were certain things in life that I should have not been doing. Additionally I was someone who deserved God’s wrath and most assuredly was going to die. And I had some weird, supernatural spiritual experiences and for awhile they deceived me, too. I had this dream that came true or saw this aura, or this spirit being talk to me. I guess I’m good with God. And I’m spiritual so I guess that must be okay. And then I realized that it was all demonic. It was all deceptive. And it was all delusional. And it’s all deadly. And that Jesus is my Savior not spirituality. Jesus.
That being said we’ll talk about now, not only who is our Savior, Jesus. But who alone is our Savior. It is it is very acceptable as a general rule in our day to say, “Jesus is a Savior.” Okay fine. He works for you. He doesn’t work for me that’s your perspective. That’s not mine. That’s your ideology. That’s not mine. Good for you. It is okay to say Jesus is one of many Saviors. The conflict, the tension, the resistance comes in and always will when you say Jesus is the only Savior. That’s where the rub comes.
I’ll give you some cultural examples of this sort of pluralism that says, “It’s okay to have Jesus as an option, but not the answer.” And then we’ll look at Scripture on this very debated point.
John Lennon said, “I believe what Jesus, and Mohammad, and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It was just that the translations have gone wrong.” It’s sort of a common theme. Some people say that all the religions and all the religious leaders say the same thing. And the translations are wrong. Because we are all linguists and we all know, curious statement.
Buddha said, “There were 84,000 paths to enlightenment.” Right, now that’s a lot, right. And how many of you would want directions for driving from a religious pluralist like that? Can you imagine you’re driving and you say, “I don’t know where I’m going? I want to get to Canada. You pull over to the gas station.” You meet a directional pluralist. And you say, “I want to get to Canada.” And they say pick a road and drive on it. They all end up in Canada.” Actually they don’t. Some go to Mexico. Some go to the water. Some go to New York. Some go to Florida. Some go around in a circle. Some go to a dead end. No just believe.
It’s just interesting that we don’t live our life that way. We don’t pick up the map and say, “All roads go to the same place,” because they don’t. But spiritually, that’s essentially what some will tell you. It doesn’t matter what road. Just get on it and travel. They all go the same. No they don’t. No they don’t, right. And not all paths lead to salvation. Jesus said, just the opposite. He said, “Broad is the path to destruction and narrow is the way to life so chose carefully, what path you tread upon.”
Another example, the great theologian, Homer Simpson, also said upon his – Homer was gonna die. It was a very scary moment. Homer was gonna die. He said, quote, “I’m gonna die. Jesus, Allah, Buddha, I love you all.” That’s Homer right. Homer’s sorta he’s hedging his bets. Anything he can think of, he’s praying to just in case.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “All paths leading to God are equally good. All paths leading to God are equally good” Gandhi said. Oprah, the great theologian declared, “One of the biggest mistake humans make is to believe there is only one way.” What’s interesting is that’s what Jesus said. One of the humans who said that is Jesus, who said, “I am the way.” Oprah, said, “That’s one of the big problems. People think like Jesus. They think there is only one
way.” Actually said, she says, “There are many diverse paths leading to what you call God.” And it doesn’t matter what path you’re on, just journey. They all lead to salvation.
I say, “Really??” All the religions, even the ones like Buddhism that don’t believe in a God. Ones that Agnosticism, which say we don’t know. Atheism, which says there is no God. Like they all go to salvation? The road that says there are a million roads in Hinduism. The road that says there is only one God. They all go to the same place?
The roads that say, “You’re the problem, say go to the same place, as the roads that say, you’re the solution? The roads that say you save yourself, go to the same place that you save yourself go to the same place, only Jesus can save you?”
There has always been resistance, exclusivity, superiority, and singularity of Jesus. I say this not to be cruel, not to be mean, but to be honest. And that in the early church the reason that Christians were opposed and persecuted and put to death, is because they refused to say Jesus is a Savoir. They continually maintained that Jesus was the Savior. And that got them in all the trouble. And to this day Christians, yours truly, get in no trouble by saying, “There are an infinite number of paths and Jesus is the one that we have chosen. And he is no superior to the options.”
There is however great resistance to declaring with all certainty that Jesus alone is the Savior. That Jesus alone is the path to eternal life. That Jesus alone is the means to which we can be saved from death, and hell and the wrath of God and Satan and sin. That is only Jesus and that is all Jesus. And that is always Jesus.
I’ll give you one verse that got many people killed in the early church. It’s the part of the sermon, in Acts Chapter 4. And faithful Christians have maintained this for millennia. There, in we are told in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else.” Let me say that. “Salvation is found in no one else.” This is exclusivity, superiority, and singularity of Jesus. “Salvation is found in no one else. There is no other name under heaven, given to men by which we must be saved.”
That was the heralding of Jesus. That’s why he got killed. That was the heralding of the early Christians that’s why were likewise persecuted and suffered. And for you and I we must be resolved if we claim the name Christian, that Jesus us our Savior. That Jesus is our only Savior. And Jesus is the only Savior. And in apart from Jesus, there is no salvation. And apart from calling on the name of Jesus there is no Savior to be had. There is no, other name to call on.
This is the issue. The exclusivity, the superiority, the singularity of Jesus as distinct from superior too, all other potential offered Saviors. Christianity really rides in many ways on this fact. And for you and I, we must now come to our own conclusions on this matter. We’re not saying anything that Jesus didn’t say, “I am the way. I am the truth. I am the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I came to seek and to save the lost.” Do you have as your Savior Jesus? That is my question. I don’t know all of you. I don’t know your hearts and, minds and lives. I don’t know? God knows. It’s between you and him. Is Jesus your Savior, if Jesus is not your Savior, who is your Savior? What is your Savior? Where is your hope? Where is your forgiveness? How will conquer death? How will you conquer Satan and demons? How will you overcome sin? How will you escape the wrath of God? How will you avoid the eternal consequence? A part from Jesus, what else is there? Is your hope in Jesus? Is your faith in Jesus? Is your trust in Jesus? Is your salvation from Jesus, alone?
Hey, if it isn’t you need to be a Christian. Inextricably tied with the concept of Savoir is a sense of eminence of urgency or importance that is often times lacking in matters spiritually. If your house is on Savior, you need a functional savior. You need a firefighter, right. If danger is at hand you call the police. You need the police to come like functional saviors and to save you from harm and danger and evil doers.
Likewise we’re in danger. We are living under the wrath of God. We are living separated from God. There needs to be a since of urgency, that we need a savior. As we would call a fire fighter or police officer, or we would cry out to a life guard in our drowning last breath, we should cry out to Jesus. And we should cry out in his name.
And so I would just ask you if you are not a Christian. If Jesus is not you’re only Savior to take time tonight and become a Christian; to ask Jesus to save you, to forgive you, to take away sin, condemnation and death and demonic deception and save you too, a new life as a Christian. And you can do that even quietly in your seat and Jesus is alive, in heaven, He knows your thoughts. He knows your desires. He knows your heart. And he will answer that prayer.
And for those of us who are here and we are Christians. And we know what Jesus has saved us from. Even from what he has saved ups from individually; divorce, addiction, despair, terrible life consequences and circumstances. I mean I get up and I look in the mirror occasionally and I ask myself this terrifying question; if Jesus had not have saved me what would my like look like? And it’s a horrifying thought. If I had my way I would have done great damage to myself and everyone else around me. And Jesus saves me from myself.
And it’s a good opportunity for us, that are Christians in worship and in gratitude and in prayer to thank God for the things that he has saved us from, and is in the process of saving us from. And we respond to him together, by taking communion, which is remembering that Jesus is our Savior and he has become a human being to identify with us. He has lived without sin. He has died. He has shed his blood. Had his body broken in our place. He is
risen and he is alive and well today. And we celebrate the person of Jesus and the work of Jesus in community. If you are a Christian or become a Christian we welcome for you to participate.
We also, respond by giving tithes and offerings to help the work of Jesus and the message of Jesus go forth in the city and the world. And then we sing and we celebrate because people who have been saved are people who have much to celebrate. People who have been rescued from danger, the kind of people that sing songs and throw parties and laugh deeply and sing loudly and are filled with just joy and gratitude that they have been rescued, and worship tonight is in that spirit.
It is also done knowing that Salvation is not yet entirely complete. That in some ways we are also awaiting the second coming of Jesus to conclude the work of our personal and global salvational end, with two verses on that point.
Philippians 3:20, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and we eagerly await a Savior from there the Lord Jesus Christ.” In Titus 2:13, “we are waiting for the blessed hope, the glorious appearing of our great God. Jesus is our God, and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
And we’re gathered today to celebrate the fact that Jesus has saved us. And to celebrate the fact that Jesus is coming again to complete the work of personal and global salvation. And we worship him the spirit of gladness and gratitude and joy. And I would just beg you as a friend to sincerely search your heart and ask yourself, “Do I have any Savior but Jesus?” And if so, can it save? Can it truly save? Can it save me from sin? Can it save me from death? Can it save me from God? Can it save me from hell? Can it save me from demonic deception? Can it save me from myself? There is not name under heaven by which we must be saved. Save the name of Jesus.
I’ll pray, “Jesus we respond to you. Lord Jesus, we know that we are not the hero that you are the hero. That we are not the Savior you are the Savior. That we don’t fix ourselves, you fix us. That we don’t stand before you declaring that we have no need of you because we are fine on our own. We come to you desperate. We come to you repentant. We come to you humble. We come to you honest. We come to you declaring that we need a Savior.
Jesus we thank you for being our Savior God. We thank you for caring so much as to come into history to live, to die, to rise, to one day to come again. We thank you for saving us for sin and death and Satan and wrath and condemnation and hell and all that stands before and stands against us. And all the evil that flows out of us. Jesus I thank you that you don’t just tell us what to do but you went to the cross and you declared, “It is finished.” We rest in that. And we respond as glad people who have been redeemed and saved to new life so that we might give praise to you and live in light of your love. Amen.