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Why Did God Save Us?
Why did He not take us to heaven shortly after He saved us?
I have often wondered why the Lord did not take us straight to heaven
as we came up out of the water of baptism.
After we have confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, and
knowing of His lordship,
we turned away from self-centered living
to Christ-centered living, and
so we died to ourselves in baptism, and
as we came up out of the water,
we now live for Jesus, but
we also have new lives, because
He has washed away all our sins.
Why then stay here where we can sin again?
It must be, I figured, that He wants us here for a reason.
I believe I have found the reason, expressed in the passages I will show you.
Ephesians 2.1–9 – God Saved You
1 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph 2.1–9).
We were dead in sin,
separated from God,
as we followed the leader of this world.
Then something wonderful happened.
The God who is rich in mercy,
awakened us from the dead,
raising us up from our sin, and
caused us to sit with Jesus in the heavenly places.
In this way, God showed His super rich grace,
overflowing in kindness
by means of Jesus Christ.
His grace connected with our faith, because
He started the whole thing,
not because we were doing good works, but
it was His grace,
it was His gift, and
He saved us from our hell-damning sin, and
gave us the hope of eternal life.
Why? Why did He do such a thing?
Why did He not take us straight to heaven
after He saved us?
The next verse supplies the crucial answer,
showing us why He saved us, and
what He expects to see in us.
Ephesians 2.10 – Why God Saved Us
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them (Eph 2.10).
We are His workmanship.
He worked on us.
He made something of us.
Why do you make things?
Do you make them for no good reason?
Why did God make us?
Why did He save us?
Paul explained in the next clause
that God created us in Christ Jesus
for the purpose of doing good works.
God prepared beforehand,
sometime in the past,
before time began,
that we should walk around in good works.
Doing good works should characterize us as Christians.
Titus 2.11–14 – Why Jesus Purified Us
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Tts 2.11–14).
God’s grace appeared,
teaching us to deny our former manner of lives, and
to live godly, because
we look for Jesus to appear a second time.
How we live now affects our eternity.
In verse 14, Paul revealed why Jesus appeared the first time. He appeared
to redeem us from all our lawless deeds,
to purify us to be His own special people, and
to make us His special people who are zealous for good works.
He saved us, but not merely for our own benefit.
In verse 14, by saying that Jesus purified us to be His own special people,
Paul indicated that we do not live for ourselves any longer, but
we live for the purposes for which Jesus Christ lived, and
if you want to know how He lived, listen to Peter speak to Cornelius,
36 “The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10.36–38).
If we are disciples of Christ,
should it not be said of us that we go about doing good?
What have Ephesians 2 and Titus 2 said?
We now exist to do good works.
Paul continued to stress to Titus
the necessity of Christians filling their lives with good works,
1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work (Tts 3.1).
8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men (Tts 3.8).
14 And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful (Tts 3.14).
16 [Some] profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work (Tts 1.16).
What does it mean to maintain good works?
If I said to you that I maintain my car, what would you think?
If I said to you that I maintain my health, what would you think?
You would conclude
that I give attention to those things,
following a schedule to make sure
that things get done.
So should it be with maintaining good works.
We should see to it that we do them regularly,
even having a schedule of doing good works,
if that insures we do them.
Whatever it takes to maintain good works in your life, do it.
Mark 10.35–45 – We Are Here to Serve
Mark 10 shows the life of our Master, Teacher, and Lord.
Why did Jesus leave heaven to live on the Earth?
What about Him attracted you to Him?
I would not be surprised if your answers
show what we see in this passage,
35 Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?” 37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory” (Mark 10.35–37).
I think this is the extent of most people’s Christianity.
They see the promises of God and
they expect Him to fulfill those promises.
If not, they rail against Him, or
wonder what they did wrong.
People see Him as their servant.
Jesus will explain to them
that they did not know what came with a request of that nature, and
that their thoughts about themselves were all wrong.
Pay close attention to what Jesus said to these brothers,
38 But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?” (Mark 10.38).
We ask and demand things of God,
perhaps not always knowing for what we ask.
If we get what we want,
we might be sorry later.
He granted that they would experience the baptism of suffering,
39 They said to Him, “We are able.” So Jesus said to them, “You will indeed drink the cup that I drink, and with the baptism I am baptized with you will be baptized; 40 but to sit on My right hand and on My left is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it is prepared” (Mark 10.39–40).
Often there are prerequisites to blessings, and
those prerequisites often come with a high price tag.
Are we willing to pay that price?
However, not receiving God’s blessings is worse.
Next, Jesus touched upon the real issue involved,
41 And when the ten heard it, they began to be greatly displeased with James and John. 42 But Jesus called them to Himself and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 43 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. 44 And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Mark 10.35–45).
His life was about service,
not about being served.
Therefore, He showed what should characterize His disciples.
We do not look to be served,
even when we go to a place where they are serving us, but
ultimately we have entered that place to serve someone.
John 4 demonstrates what I mean.
Let us have a plan of doing good works, things that we do regularly, but
even when we are not executing that plan,
we are still here to serve.
We may think
that we go into businesses and
have dealings with people to be served, but
that is not how Jesus lived His life, and
since we claim the name Christian,
we should be living as He did,
looking to serve, not to be served,
5 So He came to a city of Samaria which is called Sychar, near the plot of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. 6 Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food (John 4.5–7).
He started off to seek service, but
if you know Jesus,
you know that He only did it
to find a reason to be of service.
Then watch what He did,
9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water” (John 4.9–10).
We do not go here and there for our purposes,
although we think that we do, but
the Lord always speaks of us as serving others.
Why was He thirsty?
We can make a good argument
that Jesus Himself made our bodies with the need for water.
However, why did He come into the world initially?
It was not to get a drink of water.
It was to serve, ultimately giving His life on the cross.
What have I just shown you from Ephesians 2 and Titus 2?
We have not been created for ourselves, but
we now live to serve,
to serve God and
to serve our neighbor.
Why do you go to the mechanic?
Why do you go to the doctor?
Why do you go to the grocery store?
Why do you go to the restaurant?
You think you go into those businesses to get something, but
not according to God who created you for good works.
Even as Jesus had the need for water that He might serve a woman,
so your car, your body, or whatever, has a need and
you go to those various businesses,
not to get service, but to give service.
Keep your eyes open. Listen.
You will see or hear an opportunity to do a good work.
It might be simple like holding a door open for someone, but
Jesus promised that even the smallest things have great impact,
42 “And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple, assuredly, I say to you, he shall by no means lose his reward” (Matt 10.42).
You might think it is a small thing, but
in the eyes of the Lord it was not small, nor
was it small in the eyes of the person who received your kindness.
Good works do not have to be
grand, life-changing, sacrificial events,
although we do not want to exclude those.
Let us never forget what God has done for us through Christ.
God wanted Israel to remember what He had done for them, but
what He did for us far exceeds what He did for Israel.
This sermon shows the way of true peace, because
the spirit behind this sermon
is something that Jesus said,
35 “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20.35).
You will never know what Christianity is about
until you start maintaining good works.
You can do good works, because
even if you think you have no time or resources,
the Lord will make both available,
8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work (2Co 9.8).
Do you think you can trust and obey the Lord?
If you step out in faith,
will He do the things we have seen?
Do not look at your time and your resources, for
you may conclude that you cannot do good works, but
if you look to Him who created time and all the resources of Earth,
then by faith you know He will make the way possible.
I encourage you to do two things:
First, be flexible and ready to do whatever opportunities open up before you.
On the Southwest corner of Savage and 9th,
a family needs help.
Buy their produce or
give them something,
either giving it in person, or
mailing it to them.
Second, find something to do regularly.
Remember why God created you in Christ Jesus.
Remember why He purified you.
Remember how Jesus lived His life.
Salvation is not merely about us.
If you think that now you have been converted, and
have been baptized and
God expects nothing else from you,
then you are probably still lost,
22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart (1Pe 1.22).
Do you need to repent?