The title for the lesson this morning is The Old Path to Salvation. It's a simple lesson if you will, but one that is so misunderstood throughout the religious community.
If you go to Acts chapter two and in verse 47 you see these words.
"Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved." - Acts 2:47, KJV
Or, those that were being saved, depending on which translation you are reading.
The Lord is the only one who can grant us salvation. The question is, what are the conditions that will allow us to be added to the church.
Something as great as salvation can not be without some sort of cost. The offer of salvation is freely given to all men, but that isn't what we're considering this morning.
We're going to talk about the cost, or what can we do to make sure that we receive salvation given to us by God.
There are many ideas from people in the religious world but oftentimes they don't consult the Bible before giving their answer about what the cost of salvation is. But these ideas come from men's feelings on what they believe is necessary, or traditions from previous or current faiths they are a part of and sprinkled in there may be some truths from God's word.
There is no need for us to speculate. There's no need for us to guess what God requires for God to give us salvation, in order for us to receive salvation. It is not a mystery. We do not need to be surprised by what we find.
Let us consider this old path to salvation.
- Jeremiah 6:16
The Prophet Jeremiah, by the Word of the Lord, instructs the people to seek the old ways, to walk the old paths of salvation. Why? Because by walking in the following the old paths of salvation their souls we see rest. Their souls would finally be at peace.
We understand through the conclusion of that verse and following in chapters seven and eight, that the people refuse to follow in the old paths that God had established for them. We need to recognize that God is the one that can direct our steps.
- Jeremiah 10:23
Throughout history, man has tried to devise his own plan to salvation. But here, very clearly we see that it is not going to work. It is not within the authority of human beings, which is nothing in the sight of God, to direct our own path of salvation. It is not possible. Without the revelation of God, we would not know the way of salvation. We would not be able to recognize the old path and be able to find it.
- Proverbs 14:12
This is where we get into the idea of, "This sounds right to me." or, "I feel that this is the truth", and we get into all sorts of problems and issues by making those statements ahead of say, answering someone's questions about the righteousness of God.
We Need to Know what the Bible Says about Salvation
We can know what the Bible says about salvation. There was a time in the Garden of Eden where man and God were linked together. Go back to the Genesis account and we see where they shared an intimate relationship with one another, no separation had taken place.
- Genesis 3:8
Up until this verse it seemed to be a regular occurrence for God to walk with Adam and Eve in the Garden. We don't know what they talked about, but we see that there was a close relationship. We see in this verse, that God will no longer walk with them.
We see in the previous verses, that Eve was tempted to eat of the fruit which God had forbidden. And, she gave it to Adam and he too ate. Because of the sin they had entered in, they were to be separated from God.
We learn from the prophet Isaiah what happens when this separation occurs.
- Isaiah 59:1,2
God has not moved. He will never be moved. If there is a separation between mankind and God it is because we have to separate ourselves from Him. It is because we separate ourselves from Him. Because we have given in to temptation. When we do this we separate ourselves from God.
- Romans 3:23
Because mankind is separate from God, there must be a reuniting. There must be a way to bring man back into a right relationship with God if we ever expect salvation to be our reward.
The question is what is that path of salvation?
I would suggest there are two ways, there are two ways that we do that. There are two responsible parties that are required to bring man back to a right relationship with Him. There is God's part, and man's part.
God's Part in Salvation
Let's begin with God and His responsibilities to bring man back into a right relationship with God. Let us look to see if God has fulfilled His part.
The Love of God
- John 3:16
- 1 John 4:8,9
- Romans 5:6-8
Without the love of God, there would be no reason, at all, for God to offer salvation for mankind. It is because of the love of God that salvation is even a possibility in man's sight.
Grace is a gift of God
There is the grace of God to consider.
- Ephesians 2:8,9
- Titus 2:11; 3:7
The grace of God is freely given to all mankind. It is the gift of God. The grace of God is the offering of His Son. Without the grace of God, we would immediately receive punishment. Through the grace God is saying, I'm not going to punish you right now, but there is an opportunity to be saved.
The Word of God
We also have the Word of God.
- Romans 1:16
- 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
The way that we're going to access the salvation that God provides is through His Word. And since He has provided His Word, God is fulfilling His role in providing the way.
- 1 Corinthians 1:21
We're saved today through the preaching, and hearing, and understanding of His Word which He provided so many years ago.
We Need His Son
The Son of God is provided on God's behalf.
- John 1:14
- John 14:6
Someone needed to carry out God's plan for redeeming mankind. Someone needed to be sacrificed for the sins of the World. And, only the Son of God had blood pure enough to be that sacrifice. So He sent His Son to redeem us for our sins.
Blood is Shed
Through His blood, we have redemption for our sins.
- Ephesians 1:7
- Hebrews 9:12
Jesus didn't have to be like the priests of the Old Testament to go in every day to make a sacrifice for the people. Jesus' blood was pure enough, was a sacrifice enough, to be offered but one time, for sins of all, for all time. It would never have to be given again.
- Acts 20:28
Builds the Church
Because Jesus shed His own blood, it allowed the way for the church to be established.
- Matthew 16:18
- Acts 20:28
The church is the gathering of souls, called away from the world through the power of the gospel. Notice something, that's God's part in bringing man back to Him.
The question is, are we united yet? There are links in the chain that are missing. People in this world will tell you there is not one single thing man can do to obtain salvation because God has already done everything. We've seen what God's part of salvation is.
But are we united with God?
There is a second part. What is the second part?
Man's Part in Salvation
This is man's responsibility. God's part has already been done. The building of the church, the shedding of blood, the sending of the Son, the Word Provided, the gift of grace, and the love of God have already been accomplished.
Hear the Word
We must hear the Word of God.
- John 6:44,45
There is a responsibility of man that takes place.
- Matthew 17:5
On that day of transfiguration, Peter wanted to offer sacrifices. He wanted to offer three altars for Jesus, Elijah, and Moses. God, in somewhat of a rebuke, says that is not appropriate because My Son trumps all of them, Hear ye Him.
Believe in God and His Son
But, having heard the Word we also have to believe in the Word and believe in Jesus.
- Acts 16:31
This is when the conversion of the Philippian jailer happens. Paul and Silas were imprisoned, yet they were singing praises until midnight, and the great earthquake takes place. No one tries to escape, but the jailer was going to kill himself, Paul instructs Him in God's word in how to be saved.
- Acts 19:3
- Acts 17:30
- John 8:24; 6:29
Repent of Sins
Once we have received the instruction from God's Word. We have a responsibility to return from those things which separate us from God. Word, we must identify what we must do, once we believe we learn of our sins, we learn that we must change from our sins and turn to Jesus.
- Acts 2:38
- Acts 3:19
- Acts 17:30
What separates us from God? Sin is what separates us from God. When we read God's word, we learn what we are to do and make the change needed.
Confess the Name of Jesus
- Matthew 10:31,32
Those who are at the point of conversion, know it's not a difficult thing to confess the name of Jesus Christ.
As a side note; how often, as New Testament Christians, fail to confess the name of Jesus? We need to remember that we give permission to those in the church who should direct us in righteous living. Within the church, if we see each other doing things we shouldn't do, we ought to bring us back. It is the church's responsibility to, in the same love that God brought to us, help us to return.
Notice, mankind is still not in a united relationship with God.
Be Baptized to Wash Away Sins
We must be baptized in water. Go back to a time when Paul is reciting what took place at his conversion.
- Acts 22:16
- Acts 2:38
- Galatians 3:27
The soul that goes into the water is weighed down by the guilt of sin that weighs down each of us. But, that soul when it is raised up from the water, raises up fresh, new, and cleansed from those sins.
There is an old path to salvation. It is through the study and understanding of the Word of God. There is a way to be reunited with God once again. There is no reason for anyone to die separated from God. If we would just follow the old path to salvation.
If you are a Christian, how has turned back to sin, and once again are separated from God, it is time for you to bring your life into a right relationship with God. You can turn, again, and repent, once again calling on the name of the Lord.
If you are not a member of the body of Christ, in this simple lesson, we've taught you what needs to be done. God has already done His part, and now, it's up to you to do your part.
If we can assist you in coming to know the salvation of God, please contact us.