Wrapping up, Salvation…a 30,000′ View

Wrapping up Salvation

Sunday 09/27/20

Series: Do we REALLY believe?

MESSAGE: Wrapping up, Salvation…a 30,000′ View

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Wrapping up, Salvation…a 30,000′

So we are probably concluding our 30,000 foot aerial view of salvation with some simple truths outlined in the Gospel.

So far we have seen that…

  • In the beginning – God created us in His image and after His likeness.
  • We covered how God’s likeness was more about character than outward image. Character traits like honor, integrity, trust, devotion, love, consideration, deferring to others, living for the benefit of others…etc.
  • This choice to make us after their likeness, we now know HAD to be a selfless act of high praise and adoration of Each towards the Others. If any one member of the Godhead had made us for themself it would have been an act of selfishness – but Theirs was an act of mutual admiration of each other. As such, to crown creation with creatures who share in Their collective likeness was the highest and most sincere form of praise.
    • In times past, as we have learned about other topics in scripture, we have explored how the character and the ways of the Father are most prevalent in men and how the character and ways of the Holy Spirit are most prevalent within women and how Christ is seen in their inter-relationship with each other and with their offspring. They made us a UNITY in a manner not at all dissimilar to Theirs.
    • This by the way, is satan’s motive in seeking the destruction and redefinition of the family. It distorts God’s image and dishonors the Creator.
  • As we learned last week and as is recorded in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – we are, at least in part, the Godhead’s poem…or you could say, love letter to each other.
  • They collectively created us for their mutual pleasure.
    • Rev. 4 says, “Worthy are You, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because, as for You, You created all things, and because You willed it, they existed and were created.” The King James uses the words “and for Your pleasure they are and were created.”
  • We’ve seen this in MANY places throughout scripture. God often has spoken of Their love for mankind.
      • In Matthew 23 and in Luke 13 we hear Jesus say, how like a hen gathers its chicks under its wings, so God has longed to gather us, but we were unwilling.
      • Or in Isa. 43 He says, “…you are precious in My sight and honored, and I love you…”
      • In Jer. 31 He says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued to extend faithful love to you.”
      • In Zeph. 3 He says, “The LORD your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.” 
      • And in Psalm 132 he says of His people, “I have chosen you; I have desired you for My home: I have said of you –   “This is My resting place forever; I will make My home here because I have desired it.”
      • Or Psa 149:4  “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He adorns the humble with salvation.”
  • We know according to 1 Cor. 13 that Love is selfless and kind and does not consider it’s own but others before themselves. So each member of the Godhead created us for Their mutual pleasure and praise.
  • It was from this likeness of perfect love, devotion and selflessness that mankind fell. 
    • From a state of perfect union, they fell into disunity with God and each other.
    • From a state of perfect love and deference, they fell into love of self and self-serving.
    • From a state of life, to a state of death and dying.
    • From a state of light, to darkness…and the list goes on.
  • We discovered that the core of their fall and treason was a consideration of self-interest, self-preservation and a lack of trust. As such it was a declaration of INDEPENDENCE from God. (Which is what death IS)
    • Which is why we have seen over and over and over, throughout the scriptures spanning over 3,500 years that God desires and requires that in order to be reconciled to Him we must love Him with NO reservations and trust Him completely!
  • Our fall from God’s likeness turned mankind into a monstrous distortion of the image they bore. Our action was something which, from within the Godhead, seems unimaginable – an act of self-focused treason against Godhead.
    • I say unimaginable not because the act surprised Them, but because it is so foreign to their collective natures that regardless of the foreknowledge – it was something they could only grasp conceptually – having, from all of infinity past, never acted that way Themselves and being wholly incapable of such actions.
    • We have to understand that, They have a leg up on us which is completely unavoidable. They are GOD. They have no rival, They have no lack of understanding and They ARE love and devotion. As such – an act of selfishness, committed in order to protect Themselves from a  perceived threat is as foreign to Them – as being God is to us. The things you and I consider common place were altogether outside of Their experience. 
  • So man fell from a very, very lofty height.
  • What was the response of the Godhead?
  • Anger and love!
  • How do they reconcile these conflicting heart geographies?

Well that is where salvation comes in!

He could not ignore the treason and thereby, place man in a position of greater importance than the God they rebelled against.

But – They could equally not destroy man, for in so doing They would destroy the delight of each other’s heart. They would wound Each other – the very Ones They had created mankind FOR!

So, God so loved the world that He gave!

  • The Creators – in Christ –  became one of Their Own Creations – and now as a Creature – having never rebelled – Jesus paid the only penalty worthy of our treason which was death – Death of the body, Soul and Spirit – through bearing the sins of all mankind IN HIS BODY on the tree, becoming SIN for us and thus temporarily disconnected from union with the Father for the first time ever. It was an unimaginable loss he sustained, that we might escape liability for our treason – by assuming it Himself. Justice was satisfied – the Godhead was honored and we redemption was made available to mankind!
  • The scriptures say that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their tresspasses to them and now you and I have been commissioned to share that good news of reconciliation with the world.

We have learned that salvation was not just from something but TO something.

You know, when a person is capsized out in the open ocean, there is MUCH danger. There is heat from above, cold from beneath, there is hunger and thirst and creatures which are both huge and dangerous. So for a ship to come along side you and throw you a life line- you are being saved from death for sure, but you are equally being saved TO something. 

Saved to the safety of the deck, the provisions of water, food and warmth and medical care and believe it or not, for humans, one of our greatest needs is to not be alone. Even in this illustration of being saved from a shipwreck,  you are saved into the safety of community. 

So it is with salvation! 

It isn’t just what we were saved from – but what and to WHOM we’ve been saved to that is the complete message of salvation.

We were saved from all we fell into – sin, guilt, loss, darkness and death, separation from God…but even more to the point – we were saved TO reconciliation with God (He is the safety of the deck), to bearing His likeness once more, to a future of perfect and unbroken unity with the Godhead forever…as well as the ability to live in perfect union and fellowship with our fellow man.

These are the things we have uncovered in or 30,000’ aerial shot of salvation.

So what should be the focus of our lives now that we have been reconciled with God – or brought to the safety of the deck so to speak?

Well, we are to continue forging on forward towards the realization of the rest of our salvation. As Philippians says (and I paraphrase as you turn to the book of Philippians)-  it says, “Work out your own salvation with a deep and penetrating devotion towards God which makes you inwardly quake, because it is God Himself, Who is within you, influencing you towards His Own will and good pleasure.”

Let’s turn to Philippians and look at how Paul talks about salvation to these believers and see if you don’t recognize many of the things we’ve uncovered regarding Salvation. 

That it is not about us – it is about God. That it is not just about being saved from death, destruction and the eternal torment of separation from God forever, but that the other side of the coin of salvation is what we were saved to – being His likeness, His inner character, to selfless love and devotion. To not walking alone and independent of our Creator, but walking and working in union with Him. Saved to living our lives for the benefit of God and others. To having Christ’s likeness perfected in us again – NOT through self-effort as if we were doing something apart FROM God FOR Him, but rather allowing God to do something IN us for Their pleasure and our eternal benefit. 

That we have and enjoy perfect fellowship with God beginning now and continuing in perfection forever.

Have you arrived at Philippians yet? We are just looking at the first three chapters today. This is NOT an in-depth study for we have already done this book earlier this year, but this is intended to be a simple reading so that by exposure to Paul’s words of encouragement you can see so many of the things we have just discovered regarding salvation.

Php. 1:1-30, “(1) Paul and Timothy, slaves of Christ Jesus: To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, including the overseers and deacons.  (2)  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  

(3)  I give thanks to my God for every remembrance of you,  (4)  always praying with joy for all of you in my every prayer,  (5)  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  

(6)  I am sure of this, that He who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  

(7)  It is right for me to think this way about all of you, because I have you in my heart, and you are all partners with me in grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and establishment of the gospel.  

(8)  For God is my witness, how I deeply miss all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.  

(9)  And I pray this: that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment,  (10)  so that you can determine what really matters and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ,  (11)  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.  

(12)  Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has actually resulted in the advancement of the gospel,  (13)  so that it has become known throughout the whole imperial guard, and to everyone else, that my imprisonment is for Christ.  

(14)  Most of the brothers in the Lord have gained confidence from my imprisonment and dare even more to speak the message fearlessly.  

(15)  Some, to be sure, preach Christ out of envy and strife, but others out of good will.  

(16)  These do so out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel;  (17)  the others proclaim Christ out of rivalry, not sincerely, seeking to cause me trouble in my imprisonment.  

(18)  What does it matter? Just that in every way, whether out of false motives or true, Christ is proclaimed. And in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice  

(19)  because I know this will lead to my deliverance through your prayers and help from the Spirit of Jesus Christ.  

(20)  My eager expectation and hope is that I will not be ashamed about anything, but that now as always, with all boldness, Christ will be highly honored in my body, whether by life or by death.  

(21)  For me, living is Christ and dying is gain.  

(22)  Now if I live on in the flesh, this means fruitful work for me; and I don’t know which one I should choose.  (23)  I am pressured by both. 

I have the desire to depart and be with Christ–which is far better–  (24)  but to remain in the flesh is more necessary for you.  

(25)  Since I am persuaded of this, I know that I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and joy in the faith,  (26)  so that, because of me, your confidence may grow in Christ Jesus when I come to you again.  

(27)  Just one thing: live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or am absent, I will hear about you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind, working side by side for the faith of the gospel,  (28)  not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is evidence of their destruction, but of your deliverance–and this is from God.  

You remember it was out of slavish fear that mankind rebelled and satan gained control and inroads into our nature. So for us to now live free from fear of their threats is PROOF of our deliverance and of their destruction.

(29)  For it has been given to you on Christ’s behalf not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for Him,  (30)  having the same struggle that you saw I had and now hear about me.”

God Bless!

I hope this message will bless you richly…not because I taught it, but because it reveals Christ. He alone is our blessing and if in any way – whether big or small, 100% accurate or even just partially so – I have revealed our great God and Savior to you in a relationally knowable way, then this was time well spent on both our parts.

We at Living Grace Fellowship encourage you to place your trust in Jesus Christ, deliberately choosing Him and bowing the knee to Him as your Master and Lord, so as to come to realize Him as your Savior.

You have a special place in God’s family & kingdom. The fact that you exist… that you are His creation, says you were in His heart, you are His delight!

If you do not know Him, please reach out to us. Give us a call at the number located on every page of this website or use our ‘Contact Us‘ page. We would be deeply honored, if you gave us the privilege of introducing you to the Lord. Neither money nor attendance at our church will EVER be mentioned.

If you HAVE been spiritually fed by this ministry and WANT to give, we truly appreciate that and you may do so here, but please understand that all the outreaches of this ministry are FREE for you and anyone to enjoy at no cost.

Blessings!

Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it right...safety in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" that did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keep authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provides teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!

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