The Joy of Salvation
10 Nov 2001, Pr George Porter
(George is Thornleigh's Church Pastor. Communion was also celebrated today.)
THEME The Joy of Salvation Restored
SCRIPTURE READING Phil 3:7-14; 4:4
INTRODUCTION Dr Arch Hart, is an orthodox Presbyterian Minister who lectures at Fuller Theological seminary in California. While addressing Seventh-day Adventist ministers at Avondale a few years ago he claimed that he "weeps for the sins of Christianity."
He claimed that Christian churches during the past fifty years or so have tried to construct their denominational development by being architects of various types of Christian movements. Movements which focused on a particular method of evangelisation.
He gave three examples of the main thrusts developed over the past 50 years. He listed them in order.
1. The Church Growth Movement. Emphasis on numbers by multilying adherents.
2. The Small Groups Movement. Churches hiving off and planting groups in new areas.
3. The Health Club Movement. Arch feels that this movement will be the dominant surge of Christianity in the next few years. Another attempt to make the Christian church feel strong and saved.
In his opinion Church Growth was limited in bringing benefits to Christianity because while it attracted new members they were more interested in social company than holiness and sanctification. From his experience he has questioned the benefit of Small Groups because they tended to perpetuate offshoots, heresies and fragmentation. Theological wolves devoured the flock. Thirdly, he predicts that Health will become a means of Salvation, a 'Gospel According to Health', and bypass the refining process of sanctification & soul growth.
He claims too many Christians in every Christian denomination are "Camped" in the Church. They are keen on salvation knowledge and Christian social fellowship, but "they do not want to be whole" At least, he claims they give that impression. He feels Christianity has the "form" but not the "power" of the Spirit of God. He says, What we need is Christ's Holiness. We need sanctification in Christ. We must stop camping and activily live the Gospel as Christ instructed.
I believe the Church will never be better than we are personally. We must know and feel our need whether it is Growth, Study of Scripture, Health, Sanctification and Christ's holiness. We can only be truly joyful Christians when we know we need Christ's Righteousness and ask Him for it. Before expansion we need Restoration. Restoration of the true Joy of Salvation.
A. RESTORE THE JOY OF SALVATION (Prior to Ordinance of Humility- feet washing)
Psalm 51:12 "Restore to me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free (willing) spirit. Only Christ can.
"It is impossible for man to save himself. he may deceive himself in regard to this matter, but he cannot save himself. Christ's righteousnes alone can avail for his salvation, and this is the gift of God. This is the wedding garment." E.G.White 1SM 331
"Christ, only Christ and His Righteousness, will obtain for us a passport into heaven." E.G.W. Letter 6b 1890
"The thought that the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, not because of any merit on our part, but as a free gift from God, is a precious thought." E.G.W. GW 161
Ephes 2:8-10 By grace are we saved through faith. Not of our works.
We cannot earn salvation, sanctification holiness or righteousness. We cannot earn it by diet, exercise, health, church going, or being busy in outreach programmes. These must be the RESULT of Christ's merits for us and His righteousness in us by his Holy Spirit. He is our righteousness. In the spotless garment of righteousness by faith there is to be no thread woven by any human agent.
Soiled garments need washing. Soiled Christians need Christ's cleansing. Feet washing is a symbol of the need and the cleansing in Christ.
SOUL MAINTENANCE (Prior to Holy Communion - The Lord's Table)
Human beings Christians need soul maintenance. To maintain Christ's quality of Sanctification through righteousness by faith. That is why we come to the Table of the Lord for spiritual sustenance.
B. BREAD OF RIGHTEOUSNESS (Scripture readings for Communion)
Ephes 5:25-26 Sanctified by the washing of the Word.
1 Thess 5:23 Sanctified wholly, whole spirit, soul, and body - preserved blameless for His coming.
"May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together - spirit soul and body - and keep you fit for the coming of the Master, Jesus Christ. The One who called you is completely dependable. If he said it, he'll do it." Message - Eugene H. Perterson
1 Thess 4:3-4 The will of God is our santification. We are to behave like His kids by His Spirit and power.
1 Cor 1:2,30 We are sanctified in Christ Jesus , called to be saints (holy), In fellowship with Christ we receive wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption. Note the process.
"The only defence we have against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin." E.G.W. DA 324
C. WINE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS
Heb 13:12 - Sanctified by His blood. Made holy by faith in His sacrifice.
Jer 23:6 - Christ is called "The Lord our Righteousness
Jer 33:16 - His name above is our name if we return to Him. Wonderful gift.
Isa 54:17 - Wonderful news. Our heritage is His Righteousness.
Matt 5:6 - We are to be hungry for His righteousness
In Acts 4:8-12 Pastor Peter filled with the Holy Spirit, made it clear the rulers, that Jesus Christ of Nazareth, crucified and resurrected was our only Saviour. "neither is their salvation in any other: there is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." v12.
"Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and "God is love." 1 John 4:16......The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We recieve righteousness by receiving Him. ...Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it. ... Isa 55:1; 54:17 Jer23:6" E.G.W MB 18
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