Saturday, September 15, 2018


Sermon Summary, 8/26/18, “Encountering Jesus: Our Savior” (Mt 3:13-17;4:1-11; Eph 6:10-17)

When Rosemary and I were in college, we attended Canyon Lake UMC.  Their pastor was a rock star, right out of Hollywood casting, and he spent time with us during the week to answer questions.  I had questions about my salvation.  If I committed a capital sin, eg killing, and lost my life before I could repent, would I lose my salvation?  His answer was “yes.”  It took me over 20 years to get over that answer.  I now come down on a solid, “maybe.” 

Many of you know people with a “once saved, always saved” theology.  But here’s the deal, my salvation is my relationship with Jesus Christ who loves me and gave his life for me.  But like any relationship, I have the free-will to turn my back on him.  I can walk away.  I can ignore grace.  In fact, it is that subtle “devil” that confronted Jesus in the wilderness that does everything he can to sever our relationship with God.  He tempted Jesus.  Remember, he was the wiliest creature in the garden.  “Jesus, you’re hungry.  Turn these stones into bread.”  Eating is not a bad thing, is it?  His objective is not to fatten us up, but to detract us from Jesus.  We need a Savior!

Evil exists.  We need a Savior.  Evil exists.  Now I don’t know if evil causes cancer, or Alzheimer’s, or accidents, but I do know that Satan will use every opportunity to sever our relationship with Jesus.  Paul tells us that “12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” 

We are at war!  Tim Keller tells us, we must know three things to prepare for battle: who the enemy is; where the front is; and what is our best defense.  The enemy is Satan.  The front is the identity of Jesus (Satan to Jesus: “If you are the Son of God”).  We cannot let Satan deter us from knowing Jesus as Savior!  We need a Savior.  And the best defense for us Methodists is grace.

Grace!  Our defensive position is to immerse ourselves in grace through prayer, scripture, the Lord’s Supper, acts of mercy, and Christian Conferencing.  Conferencing.  We need one another to lift us up, to hold us accountable, to be Christ to us. 

We need grace.  Through grace, we grow in knowing Christ as Savior.  Amen.

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