“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

To have the saving knowledge of Jesus is a treasured possession indeed. Many in this world have a far greater saving knowledge than I, and they are an inspiration to be around. I have what the Lord has given me over the years, and life experiences gained wisdom from the Lord’s knowledge. I am going to make a short controversial statement and then move on. A solid saving knowledge of Jesus in itself will not save you. Instead, I see the saving knowledge of Jesus as a blueprint of God’s plan of salvation for humanity.

God’s plan of salvation is a result of why humanity needs salvation. The short answer is all humanity has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) God is holy and therefore cannot allow the presence of sin in His Kingdom. God loves humanity and desires fellowship with them. God needed to redeem them to bring humanity back into unity. The wages of sin are death, and humanity is unable to save itself. Humanity can neither forgive itself on behalf of God nor pay the wage of sin. Sin requires a perfect death to pay the debt. No man is perfect; therefore, God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus to be His sacrificial lamb. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. (John 3:16) All one needs to do to receive salvation is receive Jesus as their savior on faith. (John 14:6)

If humanity does not accept who Jesus is and does not live in faith His Word is true, they cannot find salvation any other place in this world. One must accept the why; they are a sinner and repent from sin towards the Kingdom of righteousness. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Knowing the truth will not save you from God’s wrath, only make you all the guiltier. You must live through the truth in faith, turning away from the darkness of evil. Jesus is the truth, and to know Him is to have complete faith in Him. If we believe Him to be the truth, He will set us free from the bondage of sin and reward us with eternal life due to our faith.

We cannot live righteous lives, and there is no amount of work to be done nor money to be earned that can purchase God’s salvation. The cost is far higher than the efforts or wealth of God’s creation. Salvation is not for sale, and good works cannot earn it. It cannot be awarded by participation and cannot be received just by knowing its availability. It is God’s gift to humanity by His grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith is the key to receiving God’s gift of salvation. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Some people take faith as a wish, while others take what they call faith into worldly possibilities. True faith can come only from Jesus, who knows the full possibilities of God the Father. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The faith Jesus, as the Word of God, is born from believing His word and living in its truth. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness, as the hymn says. Our hope is the salvation God offers, and faith gives the conviction of the unseen’s reality. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) By the Word of God, we live and move through the world to our destiny, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word is our home now, and we long to be there. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)

Our mission is the same as our Lord’s to share the gospel message to all who will receive it. That does not mean we are all evangelists by calling or pastors and teachers of the Word of God. We were created in Jesus for good works. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10) The good works we were created to accomplish have been prepared before the beginning, which takes the stress out of wondering what we are to do. Jesus said, take up your cross and follow me. Rather than taking the initiative, we climb out of the boat and wake where Jesus leads.

Accomplish the good work; every thought and every deed is focused on the will of the Father. Jesus’s thoughts and deeds were in the Father’s will, and He is the example we follow. We keep our focus on Him, like Peter before he sank by taking His eyes off Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-46) With Jesus at the core of every thought and deed we do, all our works will be good. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Rather than just focusing on the Great Commission, I look to the Sermon on the Mount. “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) God may not call you to the foreign mission field, and He may not call you to be a traveling evangelist, as you might now be where He needs you to be. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Do not be anxious but pray for your needs in the confidence that where God guides He provides. Always remembering that faith is key, and your faith pleases Him. Faith unlocks all the possibilities God has in store for our lives. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and our mission is to tell His story and what He has done in our lives.

We cannot save one soul from the wrath of God, as only Jesus forgives, and it is God’s gift of salvation. Ours is the work of sowing the seeds of the truth, the Word of God. It is His Word that holds the power of salvation through the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to present, and Jesus saves. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23) (Matthew 13:18-23) Salvation is the good work of God. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)

The burden of our hearts is we know the truth and that everyone needs to hear the saving knowledge of Jesus. Humanity has the free will to accept His truth or to reject it. We can do nothing other than our very best to get His Word into their ears and pray that God opens them to hear. The work is to have our and everyone’s names in the Book of Life. All when they leave this world will face the judgment of God. The final judgment is not of salvation, as one must receive God’s gift of salvation on this side of death. The judgment is that of works. For the believer, it is the Judgment Seat of Christ to reward our works done in the Holy Spirit’s power and burn the selfish works and receive rewards or the lack of reward. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Those who have not claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior, have not their names written in the Book of Life, will bow at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then they cannot deny the truth, it is there they will bow and confess Jesus as Lord, and it is there with fear and gnashing of teeth they will be tossed into the lake of fire. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

For us who know the truth to beg and plead, the ears and hearts of the wicked will be opened to receive the truth. So they will stand for righteousness and be counted in the number of the saints. In the power of Jesus’ name, our prayer is they to overcome this world and join us in His Kingdom evermore. “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 16, 2021

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