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Saved, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear
The Truth Network Radio
February 14, 2023 9:00 am

Saved, Part 2

Summit Life / J.D. Greear

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February 14, 2023 9:00 am

As sinners, we don’t just need improvement. We need to be saved. We don’t need a life coach to help us start over. We need a resurrected Savior to raise us from death.


Today on Summit Life with J.D.

Greer. Faith is choosing to rest the hopes of your salvation on Jesus Christ and what he said he did when he died on the cross. And you come to him and say, I got a lot of questions and I don't know if I understand everything, but I am hoping and what you said you did is my salvation. And I may not understand how all this works until I get to heaven, but Jesus, you're my hope and you're my savior. That's the instrument of salvation is faith. Welcome to Summit Life with pastor, author, and theologian J.D. Greer.

As always, I'm your host, Molly Vidovich. As sinners, we don't just need improvement. We need to be saved.

We don't need a life coach to help us start over. We need a resurrected savior to raise us from death. And today, pastor J.D. teaches us the four things that we must understand about salvation in order to fully appreciate the gift of grace. Are you looking for answers to life's questions? Here at Summit Life, we see those answers in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

So come along with us right now as we join pastor J.D. in Ephesians chapter two. Verse four contains probably the largest conjunction ever uttered in human history, but God, but God, that's it.

John Stott calls those the two most significant words ever uttered in the English language, but God, would you just let the force of that hit you for a minute? You were helpless, but not hopeless because hope wasn't going to come from inside of you by your ability to help yourself. Hope was going to come from outside of you when God in mercy looked at you and bared his mighty arm and began the process of salvation. When you were dead in sin, but God being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us.

Let's talk about those for a minute. Great love. Some theologians, some Christians talk about salvation so coldly and mechanically, like it's just this doctrinal thing that's being worked out, but our salvation was birthed in the love of Jesus Christ for sinners that he didn't want to see die. Read a story recently, Robert Coleman, who's a pastor, lived about 50 years ago, talked about in his congregation, there was a little girl, eight-year-old girl who contracted a disease that the doctors believed were going to be fatal. They discovered though that her brother who was two years older than her had had the same disease the year before and had miraculously recovered.

The doctor went to the parents and this was all happening super fast because it was progressing really quickly. And so they went to the parents said the only chance she's got to live is if she could get a blood transfusion from him because if they got the same blood type and if we can get his blood's got some of the resistant antibodies or whatever and we think that it might save her life. And so they went to the 10-year-old boy and said, would you be willing to give your sister a blood transfusion?

He said, he said, well, of course I'll do it. And so the little 10-year-old boy goes in the hospital room where his sister is just barely conscious. And Robert Coleman says, he watched this little boy look at her, smiled and gave her a thumbs up and he laid down on the gurney. And the doctor took the IV and put it, the needle into his arm and saw the blood begin to come out. And he says, when he saw that his face just immediately went, it blanched and he just began to tremble and he started to cry. And he looked up at the doctor and he said, doctor, how long does it take? He said, what do you mean?

How long does it take? How long does it take until I die? The doctor said, no, no, no, you're not going to die. We're just, a blood transfusion was taken a little bit, but the little boy going in there thinking that he was basically going to give his blood to his sister so she could live.

That kind of love is rare. And what God is saying is he didn't even show it for his siblings. He showed it for his enemies. When we were still in sin, Christ died for us. He gave his love.

It was mercy, rich in mercy. It's a mercy that honestly, you and I would never have showed. I know we like to flatter ourselves and think, oh, well, if I were God, I'd just be more merciful than God. And I just forgive everybody. And that's just what I do because I'm awesome.

I hate to burst that kind of bubble. That is not true. Every single time without exception that somebody in the Bible is in a situation where you compare their mercy and God's mercy every single time, Jonah, Abraham, David, God is always way more merciful than the human being every single time. I love how Martin Luther said it, the reformer.

If I was God and the world had treated me like it has treated him, I would have kicked the vile wretched thing to pieces. You see, I've heard it said like this, until the gospel seems too good to be true, you haven't really understood it. It was mercy, a mercy that you and I could barely comprehend. But God, the greatest words in all the Bible being rich in mercy because of the great love with which he loved us, when we were dead in our sins, he made us alive together with Christ.

Watch there. You see the tenses of those verbs? Tenses in the book of Ephesians are very, very important. He's not talking about something that's continually happening. He's not talking about you're made alive by this gradual religious process where you slowly become a good God-fearing person and your church attendance gets more regular and you start to read the Bible and you quit cussing his mind.

He's not talking about that. He's talking about something that Jesus did for you all at once in the past. On the cross, Jesus became your sin. He died a sinner's death. He was treated by God like he was a follower of Satan. He was treated by God like a son of disobedience. He was treated like a child of wrath because he was burying our sin in our place so that we could be made alive together with him. Sometimes people wonder like, well, why did Jesus have to die for us to be forgiven? Why would God need Jesus to die in order to be able to forgive us? Why can't God just wipe the slate clean and be like, all right, you know, blow the whistle, everybody back in the pool, everybody, you know, all skate, go on the same drought. Why can't he do that?

You think of it like this. You know, say that you borrowed my car and you took it out and you wrecked it totally. You come back to me and you're super sorry about it.

What are my options here? I can make you pay for it. If you refuse to pay for it, I don't know, maybe I can take you to court. If I forgave you, what have I just agreed to do? I haven't just made the car wreck go away. I haven't just automatically erased the damage. If I forgive you for wrecking my car, then what I have done is I basically said that I will absorb the cost that you incurred.

I'll absorb it into myself and I'll pay for the damage to the car. That's what forgiveness is. Forgiveness is absorbing the effects of sin. When Jesus Christ died on the cross, this was God himself saying, you sinned, I'll take the effect. I'm going to give you mercy. I'm not going to repay you for your sin. I am going to absorb the cost of your sin and I'm going to give you life in its place, which is why around here we say that you can summarize the gospel in four words.

Jesus in my place. He lived the life that I was supposed to live. He lived the perfect light, and then he died to death that I'd been condemned to die in my place. That's why we say Jesus did not merely die for us.

Jesus died instead of us. Paul continues verse six, and then God raised us up with him and seated us. You see past tense?

You see it? He seated us already. He seated us with him in the heavenly places. Again, not will see this one day, but has seated us. Past tense in the heavenly places.

Y'all listen to this. In God's eyes, I am already seated with Christ at the place of honor around God's throne. I could not be in a higher place in heaven closer to God. Have you ever gone to an athletic event and you see people in like the really awesome seats?

You know, like who do you got to know to get in there? I am already in the greatest place in the world. I'm seated in the very best place.

I could not be in a higher place. Not if I gave a billion dollars to the church. Not if I prayed for four hours every day. Not if I visit every country on a mission trip.

Not if I want an entire decade never sin because he literally put me in Jesus's seat. Do you know what kind of confidence that gives you in life? Listen, I'm as sure of heaven as Jesus is. And when I say that, people sometimes are like, what?

They're like, how arrogant is that? Who do you think you are? You think you're that righteous?

No, that's the whole point. Jesus was that righteous. And he paid my sin debt in its entirety. We traded places and now I'm going to heaven on his account, not mine.

And by the way, already I experienced the benefits of that privilege. When I go to God in prayer, I know that God hears me as if I were Jesus. That's why we end our prayers by saying, in Jesus's name. We don't put that at the end as like a signal to God that we're almost done. That's not why we say in Jesus's name at the end of the prayer. What we're saying when we say that is I know that I'm God. I'm praying from his seat.

I'm praying based on his record, not my own. Because sometimes what happens is when I come to God in prayer, I tend to start thinking that he's going to hear me based on how well I've lived. Isn't that how you are? So I just think sometimes when I come into church and we start praying, sometimes I've had an awesome week, not every week. Sometimes it's been awesome. I read my Bible every day. I shared Christ with three people. I was super nice to my wife, even when she was a jerk to me.

I was really patient with my kids. I just did awesome. And I can just feel the pleasure of God all over me. And I'm like, oh, I know that God in heaven is like, man, I love being with that guy. And I feel like I can just ask him anything and he'll be like, sure, sure, man, look at your week.

Here you go. Right? And then what happens is I go out from that and I usually have a bad week. And a bad week is, you know, I didn't hardly read my Bible and I didn't leave anybody to Christ.

In fact, I cussed a few people out and probably drove them further from Jesus when they had a little summit sticker in the back of my car. And then my wife was nice to me and I was a jerk to her. And then I kicked the dog. And it's not even my dog. It's the neighbor's dog. So it was just bad.

It was just bad. And I come in and what do you do? You sort of in the worship time, you're kind of like, you're just sort of like, and so you start making promises to God. Oh God, I'm going to do better next week.

Oh God. And it's like, I'm like, God, I need some stuff from you, but I'm going to try to buy them on credit. I'm going to tell you what an awesome week I'm going to have next week. And then I want you to answer my prayers based on that. You see, both of those are basically saying that you don't understand where God has already seated you in the heavenly places. Cause when you come to pray, you're not praying based on your record, good or bad.

You're sitting in his seat based on his record. When you get to the end of your prayer, you say in Jesus' name, what you're saying is, and the reason I expect you to hear this prayer from me is because I fasted for 40 days this week in the wilderness and resisted Satan to his face. And then I had so much faith that I walked on water. And then when they crucified me, I just looked at them from the cross and said, father, forgive them for they know not what they do. That's why I think you should hear me in Jesus' name. Amen.

Because I am literally praying from his place with his position. I couldn't get higher because his became mine. The way I describe it to kids sometimes, it's like, it's a report card. When you get a report card, that's like your passport and to wherever you want to go to college. And so you got to get grades if you want to go to college. So imagine you wanted to get into Harvard university, you had B's and C's and got a 750 on a 1600 scale in the SAT. You're not getting into Harvard, right? Well, let's say that you had the ability somehow to have the smartest person in the world who had ever lived, who got a pure, not just a 1600 on the SAT, they gave him like a 2000 because you finished it in 10 minutes. You know, so extra point, you got a perfect SAT score.

You've never missed a single question on any test that you've ever taken. And that one becomes yours. That is the entry that you're going to use to get into Harvard.

You're going in, no questions asked. What God says is I made Jesus sin who knew no sin so that you could become his righteousness so that you could expect heaven based on his record and not your own. In verse eight, Paul is going to begin his great summary of the gospel versus you should memorize for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not even of your own doing, it's the gift of God.

It's not a work so that nobody should boast. There are four things I'm going to point out to you really, really quickly there. Four crucial things for you to understand about salvation. You see the basis of it, the instrument of it, the result of it, and the confidence that comes from it.

You ready? Here we go. Number one, the basis of salvation is grace. Notice this, by grace you have been saved.

Notice that it's passive. You have been saved means it's being done to you. You're not saving yourself.

You're not gradually getting better. You have been saved and the basis of that was grace. Grace means that it was based on nothing good or meritorious about you. It was a gift of God, not a reward for good behavior, not because you were less bad or had a good heart or had great potential or made promises to God. It's not even, by the way, watch this, it's not even a reward for having faith.

Let me show you how I know that. You see this word this right here? This in the Greek language, this is hard to explain in English, but this, where it is in the sentence in Greek, what does it point back to? What is the this that it's referring to?

And this is not of yourself. Where it is in the sentence, it points to both this word, saved, and it points to that word, faith. So this is not, salvation's not from you and the faith by which you laid hold of salvation is not from you. Even the faith itself was a gift of God.

It's like we've looked at throughout this series, right? Ephesians one, God is the one that chose you. God is the one that drew you. God is the one that awakened you. God is the one that put it in your heart to believe. God is the one who gave you the ability to choose. God woke you up in the ambulance and just said, I'm saving you.

And then let you consent to him. That's basically what the salvation process was. It's by grace. We'll return to our teaching in just a moment, but I wanted to tell you about our featured resource this month, meant to help you take this study even further. The book of Ephesians shows us how God's eternal plans impact our darkest hours. The strength that we need to overcome opposition, obstacles, and spiritual oppression is found in the incorruptible love of God and the unchanging purposes of God. To go with our teaching here on the program, we have a new study to share with you and it's from our friends at The Good Book Company. This study through Ephesians is called Your Place in God's Plan, and it's made up of eight unique sessions that explain and apply this most important book of the New Testament to our lives, both as church members and as individuals. It comes with your generous gift to the ministry right now.

So give us a call at 866-335-5220 or check it out at Now let's return for the conclusion of our teaching series on Summit Life. Here's Pastor JD. Hey, so maybe you've heard salvation described like this. I was drowning in a sea of my own sin and Jesus pulled up alongside.

He was like the Coast Guard. And Jesus saw me drowning in sin and he threw me a life preserver and he pulled me into the boat and rescued me and saved me. Hallelujah.

That sounds awesome. It's not the gospel. The gospel is that when Jesus pulled up in his Coast Guard boat, you were face down. You'd already drowned.

You were dead. And he reached out and he picked you up out of the water and he put you in the boat and he breathed into your lungs the breath of eternal life and he resurrected you. It is by grace from start to finish. Number two, the instrument of salvation is faith. The instrument of salvation is faith. Paul says by grace we've been saved through faith.

Now what does that mean? Because Christians are so confused about this. I find they think faith is like this general religious feeling. It's something that gets stronger throughout their life. It's your confidence and how sure you are that Jesus is true. And that's really not what it is there. This is really important.

Get this. Faith is the instrument. Faith is the hand that simply lays hold of Jesus.

That's all that it is. It's the hand that lays hold of Jesus. The best picture of this is in the Old Testament where all the best pictures are. When you brought a lamb to sacrifice for your sins, you would take it up to the altar, the priest would put it on the altar and then what you would do is you would take your hand and you would reach it out and you would put it on the head of this lamb and you would begin to confess your sinfulness. And as you confess your sinfulness with your hand in this lamb, the priest would take the knife and he cut the throat of the lamb and the blood would drain out. And what the hand was showing was that your sinfulness was being transferred onto this innocent lamb. That's faith. When you become a Christian, watch, all that happens is you reach out to the lamb of God with the hand of your heart and say, I believe that you died for me. I believe that you came for me. I believe there's nothing I can do to save myself and I am transferring the guilt of my sin onto your head and I am resting in you and Jesus, you are mine.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine. You see, people ask questions like, I don't know if my faith is strong enough to be saved. That's the wrong question. It's kind of like, imagine you've got a tribes person and you've got a Harvard PhD aeronautical engineer both standing on the tarmac of a runway. A tribes person literally has never seen a plane, never seen anything electronic. And they're both looking at this huge plane and the tribes person has never seen anything fly, has no concept of how something that big could fly. The aeronautical engineer not only knows that it can fly, he could build a plane for you. Well, the moment comes for you to get on the plane and because this tribes person has a friend that he trusts, the tribesman with all of his doubts and with all of his confusion gets up on the plane and the smug Harvard PhD stands on the tarmac. Plane takes off, now what do you have? You got one guy filled with doubt soaring through the air. You've got another guy filled with understanding standing on the ground.

Who's gonna get to the destination? Not the guy who knew everything, but the guy who chose to get on the plane. Faith is not absence of doubt. Faith is choosing to rest the hopes of your salvation on Jesus Christ and what he said he did when he died on the cross.

And you come to him and say, I got a lot of questions and I don't know if I understand everything, but I am hoping and what you said you did is my salvation and I may not understand how all this works until I get to heaven, but Jesus, you are my hope and you are my savior. That's the instrument of salvation is faith. Number three, the result of salvation is good works. The result of salvation is good work for we are his workmanship, Paul said, for Christ created in Christ Jesus for good works. For good works, we're not saved by good works, but the faith that saves will always produce good works because when God saves you, he unites you to Christ and he begins to infuse his power into you. It is inconceivable that you could encounter the power of the grace of God and the infusion of the Holy Spirit and not become a person who just does good works everywhere you go. I think I've described it like this before. Imagine I was late for church and time came, worship team was done and you know I'm not here and so like they get up here and play some more songs and have a prayer time testimony time then I come okay so I come I'm like y'all I'm so sorry I'm late y'all don't believe this I was in downtown Raleigh I was trying to get here and as I was getting in my car a grand piano fell on my head it was like more like a cartoon there was like 10 stories out and they're pulling up by pulling it broke and just landed on my head smashed me into the ground you know like broke everywhere it hurt and we had to clean it up I had to get it up I had to help and I had to fill up there and then I got my car drove here that's why I'm late your response to me liar right liar because there's no way you could get a grand piano dropped on your head and show up here at church and look like you look you got hit with that kind of force a grand piano from 10 stories you'd look different you'd talk different you'd walk different everything about you'd be different and Paul's like yeah that's that's what I mean when I'm talking about the gospel you're not saved by good works but a faith that saves will always produce good works because how could you access this kind of power and this kind of grace and not have it radically transform your life how could you say you love Jesus and still willfully commit the very things that put him on the cross you want to look me in the face and tell me oh yeah I love Jesus I believe he saved me from hell and I continue to practice the things that I know put him on the cross and send other people to hell you're saved by faith alone but the faith that saves is never alone it always comes with good works you're not saved by good works but if you're saved you'll do good works number four in that verse you see the confidence of salvation and that confidence is that what God started he's going to finish I love this which is for we are his workmanship we'll come back to that word in a second created in Christ Jesus for good works with God prepared beforehand prepared beforehand means predestined it means that God has already laid out the good works he's already provided the opportunity he's already provided the resources you're going to need to do those good works he's already predestined them all to happen so you can confident that what God has chosen you for whether it's to be a good husband whether it's to be a good dad whether it's to get off of drugs whether it's to have a he's already provided all the things that are necessary and you just got to go walk in it here's the other thing I love about here for we're his workmanship workmanship literally in Greek is the word poema where we get our word poem we are God's poem we are a poem that God is writing and God is writing a beautiful poem and poems that don't end are not beautiful poems and so what what Paul is saying is you you you were this thing that God is writing for his glory his beauty and what God started he's going to finish by the way the only other place this word right here is used in the bible this is awesome Genesis 1 talking about creation that creation was God's workmanship think about creation for a minute God spoke into the expanse of nothing and he created everything he didn't start with raw materials he started with nothing and he spoke light and life into nothingness when God saved you he took a righteousness that did not exist in you he took a life that was absent from you and he spoke it into being he didn't start with raw materials he didn't say there's still some good left in that one he started with death and he said I'm going to speak life and righteousness and the same powers that spoke the universe into existence began to go to work creating righteousness in you and my friends the darkness in your soul is no more able to resist the transforming creating powers of God than the darkness of the world was able to resist the sunrise he chose you he purchased you by his blood he works in you now through his power you didn't start this process you're not sustaining this process he's not looking to you to finish this process he committed himself from start to finish he is going to finish what he started in you which means that all you have to do is yield yourself to Jesus and let him do these things through you Christianity as I often tell you is not about you doing anything for God it is about letting Christ do everything through you so see what he's done is he's woken you up in the ambulance he's woken you up in the ambulance he's not asking you to help him save you will you let him save you because see if you'll say yes to him then he's going to seat you right now in this moment in the heavenly places in Christ and he's immediately going to start a process in you that can never be stopped not by hell itself do you know for sure that you have trusted Christ as savior have you let him have control of your life have you let this rescue process start if not then right now you can do it by simply reaching the hand of your heart up and laying on the head of Jesus and saying yes I surrender and I believe have you ever received this offer of salvation personally you can do it right now acknowledge your need for a savior and cry out to God for his mercy if you're uncertain how this works please give us a call at 866-335-5220 and we can pray with you right now through Ephesians we learned that the strength that we need to overcome opposition and obstacles is found in the incorruptible love of God toward us and the unchanging purposes of God for us I encourage you to look back at your church's beginning it was founded on the hope of Jesus and the hope of reaching a specific community with the gospel and then I encourage you to study the book of Ephesians which gives encouragement and insight into this mission that we've been given and this month we have a bible study that we're offering called your place in God's plan we'll send you a copy as our way of saying thanks when you donate to support this ministry at the suggested level of 35 or more call 866-335-5220 or you can give online at i'm molly vinovich join us tomorrow for a message about the church and gospel community that's wednesday on summit life with jd greer today's program was produced and sponsored by jd greer ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-21 20:02:58 / 2023-02-21 20:14:18 / 11

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