Sunday Sermon 3 May 2015 – The Gospel as Salvation!
Preacher: Bill Davey, Elder at B.B.P.
Our texts: Matthew 9:10 ― 13 and Romans 1: 1 ― 17 (N.I.V.)
Our Lord and our God: ― Thank you for being here with us! We do believe that You love us and that You want us to know how much you care for us! Please open Your Word to us this morning. Amen!
I want to begin with a quote from Augustine of Hippo, an authority in the early church, who declared: “God made man without any help from man, but God will not grant salvation to any man without his help.”
Today we celebrate the 5th Sunday of Easter, still part of Easter. We continue to re-declare, re-proclaim and re-state the truth of the resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, our Messiah and King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
First, let me address the title of the message:― The Gospel as Salvation
When we reflect upon the word, “Salvation“:― I want us to recall the day of the circumcision of our Lord ― (the baby Jesus) ― then only eight days old. In the Temple Court, an elderly man named Simeon proclaimed: ( Luke 2: 29 ― 32 )
“Now, Lord, you may dismiss your servant in peace, according to your word; For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have set before all the nations. As a light of revelation for the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.
Let us, therefore, recognize from the outset that “when we use the word, “Salvation” we are speaking of a person” (our Lord Jesus Christ). Jesus is our Salvation ― Our salvation is not a process or a procedure ― Our Salvation is the person of the only begotten Son of God, Himself!
When we use the words, “The Gospel“:― We often, rather glibly say the “Gospel” means the “Good News” ― and so it does ― However it may also be properly called the God-Spell (literally meaning the “God-word / s“.― This is also the meaning of the Jewish word “Torah“: meaning the “God-Teaching” or the “God Instructions“).
I think those of you who have heard me speak on previous occasions know that I often refer to the role of a Christian in one of two ways:
We are to: “Know God, Love God and Serve Him” and yet equally we are to:
“Listen to God, Obey God and Live in His Presence”
I now want us to reflect upon some Old Testament understandings of Who God is and how His Jewish people sought to know Him!
Following that, I want us to reflect upon a couple of names that Jesus applied to Himself as part of His ongoing teaching of His disciples.
As their Rabbi (tutor), Jesus was comfortable using illustrations from everyday life and using various comparisons as teaching tools. Today we can learn to understand His words in just the same manner as His disciples did those many years ago.
To Moses at the “Burning Bush” the Lord introduced Himself first ― as a Holy God and told Moses to take off his shoes for he was on holy ground ― while in His Presence. When God set a task for Moses ― Moses cross-questioned God about Who He was and what name Moses could use to tell the People Israel who had sent him, God declared His Name as: “I AM WHO I AM” see Exodus ch. 3: v 14
We probably, all know that religious Jewish people, then, and even to this very day, use the name of G-d because they regard G-d as too holy to have a name that is spoken by men! Our Christian Bibles use the name Yahweh (sometimes translated as LORD) to signal the most Holy Name of God. Other names afforded to God in the Old Testament are Adonai (Lord) and Elohe (God of Israel). It is most interesting that one Old Testament name for God was Saboath (Lord of Hosts). 1 Samuel ch. 1: v 3 and Isaiah ch. 6: vv 1 ― 3
In our Christian Bible we find the name Yahweh Saboath (God ― our Saviour and Protector). When we think of the first Commandment we can almost hear God proclaiming:
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the ‘Land of Egypt’, out from the ‘House of Bondage’; You shall have no other Gods before Me!”
I want to suggest that God was declaring His own love, care and character to His People Israel, ― on the holy mountain ― to show His nature as Saviour, and to promise ongoing provision for His people, provided they observed no other Gods’ before Himself! Let us consider three of the names Jesus used of and for Himself:
Jesus uses simple words to explain the most glorious truth of Himself:―
I Am: the Way
that is Salvation ― as was declared in the Old Testament John ch. 14: v. 6
I Am: the Good (true) Shepherd of the sheep ― that belong to my Father!
“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – John ch. 10: v.14
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life for the sheep. v.15
I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. — v.16
They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. — v.16
The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life ― only to take it up again. — v.17
I Am: the (true) Vine, you are the branches, my Father is the Vine Grower!
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. — John ch. 15 v. 7
Now to our Gospel Scripture: Matthew 9: 10 ― 13
I think these words convey a short but vital message that can be helpful to us in this present time: Matthew writes:―
10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples.
11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”
12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
When I checked the meaning behind verse 13 I found the following Old Testament references:―
Psalm 51: 16 ― 19 God isn’t interested in penance: he wants a broken and contrite heart.
Jeremiah 7: 21 ― 23 It isn’t sacrifices God wants; he desires our obedience and promises that he will be our God and we will be his people.
Micah 6: 6 ― 8 God is not satisfied with offerings, he wants us to be fair and just and merciful, and to walk humbly with him.
In the Epistle Scripture (Romans 1: 1 ― 17) the Apostle Paul writes:―
16 I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”
In our texts today, we find Jesus identifying:―
with sinners (the unclean ― the lost ones ― all the sheep of Israel), rather than the righteous.
while the Apostle Paul speaks of the practise of Christian charity:
He is not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.
Salvation is clearly intended for everyone, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. What can we learn from pondering our two Scripture texts?
Jesus taught His disciples:
Jesus Himself is our Salvation ― the only begotten Son of God ― When we know Him, we know we have the greatest of gifts ― He is Salvation ― i.e. We have become part of the Family of God, and we become progressively more like Jesus every day as the Holy Spirit moves in us and within us! Salvation is clearly intended to be shared with everyone! ― And we are the messengers!
Jesus also taught His disciples:
I Am the (true) Vine, you are the branches, my Father is the Vine Grower!
When you are grafted into the true Vine ― you become part of that Vine:―You have become part of your Lord Jesus!
Just for one moment, please consider the power of the words of promise, spoken by Jesus: “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” John ch. 15 v. 7
You also now have the purest explanation of the understanding of Salvation when you receive the words of Jesus, who taught His disciples:
I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life, (I.e. that is Salvation). John ch. 14: v. 6
Summary ― The Gospel as Salvation — Matthew ch.28: v 20
Please apply the truths of the message today into your response to the personal Commission your Lord has honoured and blessed you with. And remember ― the prophecy of Jesus, as He declared:
“When you teach others everything I have commanded you ― then, I will be with you always, even to the end of the Age!”