By Pat Fraher
In preparation for our upcoming Referees Embracing Faith Conference, where this year's focus is 'Salvation: A gift and a call', I thought that we should begin doing some serious thinking about salvation. Over the next five Sundays, we will be discussing different aspects of salvation, and doing some critical, honest thinking about where each of us stand.
In week one, we reflected on just how aware we really are of what God did for us by sending his only son Jesus to be sacrificed in our place.
In week two, we examined salvation through the metaphor of a courtroom, with each one of us as the defendant, and Jesus as our defense attorney,
This week, we look at the question, "how do you become saved?" For this, we will talk about three things: Repent - Born Again - Fruit
To set up this week's message, let's watch the following sermon excerpt from Dr. Charles Stanley.
Mark 1:15 tells us, “repent and believe in the gospel.” People need to know that this was a call to fully surrender to Christ. To “repent” is most commonly translated as to “turn” or “return”. Biblical repentance is turning from your life of sin, and returning to God and his will.
So what does this look like?
He was calling people to turn from their lives of sin, and to surrender their lives back to God and His ways.
You cannot earn salvation through good deeds or self-effort. To this, Jesus said in Luke 5:32, “I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” Following Jesus and having a relationship with Him is not about being superior to another, but acknowledging that on your own, you are not enough, and are in need of a savior, Jesus.
He gives us all a choice of living our way, or His way. Proverbs 14:12 states, "there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” We can repent from our way of sin and live…or we can die in our sin.
Ezekiel 18:30 says, “repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall.” We either belong to ourselves, or we belong to Him. 2 Tim 2:19 also says, "the Lord knows those who are his,' and 'everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."
When we repent, and turn to Him, we surrender control of our life.
Now, we must understand the question, 'what is faith?' Faith is belief in, trust in, and loyalty to God. When we believe in Him as Lord and Savior, you trust that Jesus Christ is the Son of God in the flesh, who came to earth to pay for the sins of humanity. You are loyal to his lordship and teachings. Subjects are expected to obey their kings, and He is the King of kings. If you believe that He is Lord and Savior, then there is only one appropriate response: total surrender to Christ.
By repentance and belief, we are born again. That isn't the final product, rather, it is the beginning of a journey as God works in you and through you. In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." When you make the decision and say, "God, I believe, and I invite you to be Lord of my life," He can begin his transformative work in and through you, and your life will begin to bear fruit that is only possible when we fully surrender.
As you allow Him to guide and direct your life, your faith will be evidenced by the good fruit that your life produces, and the gradual refinement of your character to reflect His, as addressed in Galations 5:22-23, which reads, "but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
That is our evidence of faith. It is no more complicated than that; He desires your heart. But He requires all of it.
I implore you, brothers and sisters to surrender your life unconditionally to God!
Referees Embracing Faith Conference is now less than THREE weeks away!
Register today at: https://www.sportsofficialssurrendered.org/events-1/referees-embracing-faith-conference-2019
There is no registration deadline, and registration will be available at the door, but we do encourage advanced registration if you are able. This will help us better prepare to serve you.