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The Two ‘Musts’ of Salvation

 
I believe that John 3 is one of the greatest chapters in the Bible with regard to the salvation of the sinner. The chapter is built around two great ‘must’ statements—both of which are essential for salvation.
 
The chapter begins with a man who wanted to speak with Jesus privately, so he comes to Him by night—the man’s name was Nicodemus. This gentleman was a ruler in Israel, which meant that he was a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council—it also tells us that he was a Pharisee.
 
The Pharisees were ultra-conservatives and lived by the strictest possible religious rules, and even though the term ‘Pharisee’ has become synonymous with hypocrisy—not all of the Pharisees were hypocrites.
 
Many Pharisees, like Nicodemus and Saul of Tarsus, were very sincere in their desire to obey God and live a life of separation from the pollution of the world—in fact the word ‘Pharisee’ means ‘to separate.’
 
John 3:2 (NKJV)
This man came to Jesus by night and said to Him, “Rabbi, we know that You are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”

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When Life Takes A Turn For The Worse

 
What do you do when you’re going along in life and things are going fine, you’re being blessed, your family is healthy and your company is prospering—when all of a sudden the bottom drops out?
 
(Your spouse tells you they want a divorce; or you find out one of your children is very sick; or maybe that your company is laying you off)
 
What do you do when the road you’re on suddenly takes an unexpected turn and you find yourself in a place you never thought you’d be in, facing a situation you’re not prepared to deal with?
 

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The C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S Story

 
As a pastor I’m always looking for new ways to communicate the timeless truths of Scripture in a way that will help God’s people remember them and apply them into their lives.
 
This morning I would like to attempt to do that very thing by using the word “Christmas” as an acrostic which I hope will help you to remember what the Christmas story is all about.
 
 
Of course, Christmas is about the birth of the Christ-child—something that has gotten lost in all the hype and commercialism that has come to characterize the Christmas season.
 
The birth of this special Child was foretold in numerous places in the O.T.—one of the prophecies that we’re most familiar with comes out of Isaiah 9:6—

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Saved, Sealed and Secure

 
In Ephesians Chapter 1 Paul is talking about how those of us who are Christians got saved. In verse 13 he gives a very simple 3 point outline—“You heard the word of truth (the gospel), you trusted in Christ, and you were sealed with the Holy Spirit.”
 
1. You heard the word of truth—v.13a
 
Romans 10:17 (NKJV)
So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
 
1 Corinthians 1:21b (NKJV)
…it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
 
This is our part in God’s plan for saving the lost—to honor God with our lives and to share the gospel with our words.  We really have not been called to “win people to Christ” or to “save souls”—that’s the Holy Spirit’s ministry.
 
Our responsibility is to, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone” as Jesus commanded us.
 

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God Created You For A Purpose

Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
 
This verse clearly teaches that you are not an accident—God created you on purpose for a purpose.
 
a.    For we are His workmanship
 
The Greek word translated “workmanship” is poiema, from which we get our English word “poem.”  A poem is a literary work of art—and here Paul is using it to describe Christians, that each of us as Christians is a living work of art, a masterpiece in the making.
 
b.    Created in Christ Jesus
 
The only way we can begin becoming God’s masterpiece is through the new birth where we become a new creation in Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
 

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Gaining A Godly Perspective

Several years ago, I heard the story of Larry Walters, a 33-year-old man who decided he wanted to see his neighborhood from a new perspective. So, he went down to the local army surplus store one morning and bought forty-five used weather balloons. That afternoon he strapped himself into a lawn chair, to which several of his friends tied the now helium-filled balloons. He took along a six-pack of beer, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and a BB gun, figuring he could shoot the balloons one at a time when he was ready to land.
 
Larry, who assumed the balloons would lift him about 100 feet in the air, was caught off guard when the chair soared more than 11,000 feet into the sky — smack into the middle of the air traffic pattern at Los Angeles International Airport. His lawn chair had shot up so quickly on take-off that Larry dropped his BB gun—leaving him to the mercy of helium and wind currents. He stayed airborne for several hours, forcing the airport to shut down its runways for much of the afternoon, causing long delays in flights from across the country. Soon after he was safely grounded and cited by the police, reporters asked him: “Larry why did you do it?” To which Larry replied simply, “Because sometimes you gotta do something—you can’t just sit there.”

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