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False Teachers of the Word of Faith

False Teachers of The WoF (WoF Cult)

(Gal. 1:9- “As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”)

Paul is speaking to the Galatian church about how false teachers had crept into the church there and had polluted the Gospel message with error. The false teachers and preachers had infiltrated from within and disguised as Christian teachers and preachers had added “improvements” to the gospel message making it not the gospel at all but heresy (grossly false doctrine). Today I want us to look at one of the fastest growing cults within the church. This false movement is called the “Word-Faith Movement” or “Word of Faith Movement” (hereafter will be WoF). You might know some of the names of the false teachers I name today but most importantly we will expose the lies they espouse as gospel.

I. Cultic/Occultic Origins(2 Tim. 4:3-4, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.”)

You may not be familiar with the name Word-Faith or Word of Faith movement but you might have heard of some of it’s teachers/preachers: Kenneth & Gloria Copeland, Robert Tilton, Creflo Dollar, John Avanzini, Eddie Long, Marilyn Hickey, T.D. Jakes, Juanita Bynum, Fred Price, Rod Parsley, John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, Jerry Savelle, Paul Crouch (TBN), Charles Capps, Leroy Thompson, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Joel Osteen, Pat Robinson, R.W. Schambach, Myles Munroe.

The WoF movement did not start overnight, but began in the early 1900’s with a man named E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon was greatly influenced by New Thought founder Phineas Quimby (his false teachings are the basis for the cult called Christian Science started by Mary Baker Eddy; early New Age beliefs). E.W. Kenyon went to Emerson College of Oratory in Boston which was a breeding ground at the time for the newly emerging New Thought cult. New Thought claimed to have discovered laws of faith, advancing a Christianized version of their occult teaching.

With these cultic/occultic teachings Kenyon would mix and blend it in with orthodox Christian doctrine to create the false, peculiar beliefs that became the WoF. So we see then cultic/occultic roots of WoF and now let’s look who brought into the present. The man who was most influential in spreading this heresy into the 20th and 21st century is Kenneth Hagin. And his disciples and devotees affectionately call him “Dad” Hagin. “Dad” Hagin died in 2003 but the heresy of the WoF keeps rolling on even stronger today. But what do you ask is the false teachings of the WoF.

II. WoF False Doctrines – (1 Tim 4:1- “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils”)

1. Faith in Faith

The primarily false teaching of the WoF’ers is that a Christian by their faith can make God do anything. In the WoF they put their faith in their ‘faith’. To them faith is a force that we use to make God heal us and keep us healthy or make God make us rich and get us all that we desire. WoF say faith is the stuff God made the earth, the universe, and even humans according to the WoF false teachers. They twist the scripture in Heb. 11:1 (in the KJV)- “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for…”; this proves to them that faith is a substance that allows God to be a slave for you, to make him create the world that you want and desire, to be healthy, wealthy, and master of your own life. The WoF heresy is nothing more than Christianized humanism that we are in control because God is not and that only saved man can allow God to work in the world and we activate God by the law and force of faith but we will get to more of that later. The truth of Hebrew 1:1 is that the archaic terms of the KJV is not very understandable to us, so the better translation of ‘substance’ here is the word ‘assurance’ (NASB). True faith is the assurance that the promises of God never fail, it is human beings trusting in a God they cannot see, to do things that He has promised. To the WoF teachers faith is the substance that we get what we desire, even God has to have faith because faith is the source of God’s power. And this leads us to our next WoF false teaching, positive confession.

2. Positive Confession

This is the WoF belief that we have what we confess because words are the containers of faith. For example, if we speak positive confessions of healing and quote bible verses (even taken out of context) then the force of faith is activated and healing and health will eventually be manifested to you but you must keep on positively confessing in order to stay healed or if your broke it will make you rich if you use the same formula of faith: confess or speak it, believe it, and receive it because God is obligated to do so because we use faith and confession. Because the WoF God used the same formula when He made the universe because to them He spoke (and visualized) it in the beginning when He said, “Let there be…” and of course He had to believe it would happen because it came into existence, for every faith-filled word that He spoke. But there is a drawback to confession because if there is a positive confession there must be a negative confession. Positive confession works off of faith and it attracts God’s power to work on the our behalf to make us rich and well, while negative confession is fear that attracts the Devil to allow him to make us sick and poor. They say our words are so powerful that we attract sickness like cancer and even death if we just accidentally utter a negative confession like “My head is killing me” when we have a headache because it could cause us to die of a brain tumor or a brain hemorrhage. The WoF teacher has the answer to reverse the curse by only having us utter positive things even though our bodies may tell us we’re sick, we are to ignore and deny the symptoms and confess we’re fine, we’re well, we’re healed, and free of pain and to quote over and over “by His stripes we are healed” or twist some other scripture with the word ‘healing’ in it to suit our need of confession. (Side note: If you ignore symptoms of being sick and deny them it won’t make you well no matter how much you confess you are healed, symptoms are God’s built in warning system that something is wrong and needs attention.) Contrary to the beliefs of the WoF movement sickness and poverty is not the individual’s results of each person’s sin. It is a part of this cursed and fallen creation we are born into without choice. It is not sinful to be sick or poor (which is what they teach; K.Copeland: “Poverty is an evil spirit”; J. Hagee: “Poverty is caused by sin and disobeying the Word of God.”). They need to be informed that it is sinful to be spiritually sick and spiritually poor believing the heretical teachings of the WoF movement and living selfishly (Rev 3:16,17- “So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked”) that is their spiritual state.

3. Little Gods: Man Promoted, God Demoted

A hallmark of any cult is to alter the truth about the Godhead and specifically undermine the person and work of Jesus Christ. The WoF does this as well, not only do they demote God but they promote man to a “little god” (they spell it with a little ‘g’). They promote the same lie as Satan hissed in the Garden, “You will be like God”. How do they get to the place to say that man is a “little god”? Well many of the WoF teachers believe that when God created man in His image and likeness that He made a “little god”. Their flawed reasoning to think this let me quote Joyce Meyer, “If you as human being have a baby, you call it human kind. If cattle have another cattle, they call it cattle-kind. I mean what’s God supposed to call us? Doesn’t the Bible say we’re created in His image? Now, you understand, I’m not saying you are a God with a capital ‘G’” (“Joyce Meyer-Little Gods” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y4eVu2oxP8). We are left with no doubt about what she is saying and the rest of the WoF teachers all mirror the same belief like Kenneth Copeland (You don’t have a god in you, you are one!”; “The Force of Love”, Audiotape, 1987), Creflo Dollar (“You’re not a sinner saved by grace, your sons and daughters of the Most High God. You are gods!”; “Changing Your World”, April 17, 2002), and there are too many to quote but say and believe the same thing, they are gods. They believe when God made man (the “little gods”) that He gave man dominion over the earth and their belief about dominion was that man was a god over this world. But when the Devil deceived Adam and Eve well that defaulted man’s title over earth and gave it to Satan who became god of this world. God then was locked out from doing anything on earth and in the affairs of mankind. And God’s avenue back into this earth was through man and He found it in Abraham. The WoF teach that because Abraham and other people of faith gave God permission to act on the earth. They teach that their poor WoF God finally had access to earth and man finally had access to God. How twisted the WoF teachings are, man is deified and God is humanized and the devil is on an equal playing field with God and man is in control and allows God to work. How that false, evil belief is shattered by this verse about the sovereignty of God (Dan 4:35 – All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven And among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand Or say to Him, “What have You done?”). God is in control and we aren’t, thank God.

4. Spiritual Death of Jesus

How could any God-fearing, saved Christian man or woman believe that there is any other redemption or salvation other than the suffering and death of Christ on the cross. Well, the WoF false teachers do it again. According to them, Jesus paid for our sins not on the cross but in the very pit of hell itself they falsely claim Christ had to die spiritually and burn in hell to save us. I will quote one of the popular WoF teachers, “if you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on the cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price.” (Fred Price; ‘Ever Increasing Faith Messenger, pg.120). This is believed and repeated by all the WoF teachers from Kenneth Copeland to Joel Osteen, from Joyce Meyers to Paula White, and Benny Hinn to T.D. Jakes. But Galatians 6:14 gladly says this, “But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ”. We can boast only in the suffering, shed blood, and death of Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and nothing else.

III. Things to Consider

This is just a small part of the false, cultic teachings of the WoF. It seems that I’m making this up and surely Christians don’t believe this fractured fairytale. They push these false teachings anywhere and through any outlet they can where they can make a buck and fleece the sheep. Irregardless if their false promises for healing kill someone because going to the doctor or taking medicine is sneered at for a “lack of faith” or if people have fallen on hard times or born into poverty their seen as sinful by these false brethren and tell those who have been deceived by them that if there sick or poor, it is because it’s their fault. These false teachers will have a fearful end. The Apostle Paul pronounced upon them anathema, destruction, false teachers will face the wrath of God and will receive their reward at the Great White Throne Judgment.

Remember Jesus’ warning, Matt. 24:4, “Take heed that no one deceives you.” Stay true to the truth of God’s word and false teachers will easily be seen.

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Resurrection of Christ

cross.jpgResurrection Of Christ
(1 Co. 15:3,4;12-20)
Verses 3 and 4 are the foundation of Christianity.  The death and resurrection of Jesus, it is our hope and the reason and ground of all we believe.  We looked at the crucifixion and death of Jesus in my post on the crucifixion.  We saw that our salvation and cleansing from sin was because of the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross at Calvary.  But what about the resurrection, what does it mean to us.  Well, we know that it means everything for the Christian.  Because He lives we have salvation and assurance of eternal life.  
I. It Ensures Salvation From Sin
(1 Cor 15:17 KJV)  And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
   If Jesus had not rose again bodily from the grave we would not had the salvation from sins.  If Jesus did not rise from the dead, then sin won the victory over Him and continues to be victorious over you too. If Jesus remained in the grave, then, when you die you would also stay dead. Furthermore, since “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), were you to remain dead, death and eternal punishment would be your future. The purpose of trusting in Christ is for forgiveness of sins, because it is from sin that we need to be saved. “Christ died for our sins” and “was buried, and … raised on the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). If Christ was not raised, His death was in vain, your faith in Him would be pointless, and your sins would still be counted against you with no hope of spiritual life.  It is Jesus who gives us spiritual life to us who are spiritually dead.   
   It says in Col.1:13,14 – 13  For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,  14  in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.  By the power of our resurrected Lord and Savior we have been delivered from sin and our sinful nature.  Because He rose from the dead, we know that Jesus is victorious over sin and we who by faith receive Jesus as Savior, knows that He gives us that victory over sin also.  
   Eph. 2:1-5 shows us exactly what Jesus has done for us and our sinful condition, “2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”;  we see in the first 3 verses that Paul describes just how Jesus has made us alive spiritually from our condemned state of our soul.  He says Jesus has made us alive from our trespasses and sins, from our spiritual bondage to worldliness, to the devil, and to our own sinful fallen state (spiritually dead).  Jesus defeated and destroyed the powerful affect of sin, destroyed the works of the devil, and has given us life for our death sentence.  
   Verse 4 & 5 shows us through God’s mercy and love He has made us, who are dead in our sins, alive in Christ.  If Jesus is to be called the Lord of Life, then He cannot be held down and defeated by death.  Jesus himself told Mary and Martha that He was the ‘resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live’; Jesus came not to make bad people into good people but to bring us out of our spiritual death into spiritual life.  That’s why Jesus said that He was ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life…’,  we were blind and could not see the way, we were living in our life of lies and didn’t know the truth, and we were spiritually dead and lifeless and incapable of having life till Jesus came, died, and resurrected to give us the Way to the Father, the Truth that only He could cleanse us from sin, and Eternal Life is found only by putting our faith into Jesus who is the Lord of Life, victorious over sin, Satan, death, Hell, and the grave.  If He was not victorious over death then our faith, our hope, our salvation would have been in vain.  If He had not risen from the dead we would have been trapped forever in the bondage of our sins and forever condemned to eternal death.  
II. It Ensures Our Eternal Life and Resurrection.
1 Co. 15:18-19; 18  Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19  If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
   If Jesus had not victorious over death then death would be victorious over us all.  Every Old and New Testament saint, and all the faithful and prayerful saints you’ve known–every other believer in every age also would be in hell. Their faith would have been in vain, their sins would not have been forgiven, and their destiny would be damnation.   But because He is our Living and Risen Lord, we can rest assured in the peace of knowing that we have a ‘blessed hope’ and a resurrection from the dead.  Death is not the end for the child of God because Jesus has rose victoriously from the dead.  The grave, the power of death could not hold Him.  Jesus the creator of life is the Lord of Life and death could not hold Him bound up in the grave.  
   Without Christ’s resurrection, and the salvation and blessings it brings, Christianity would be pointless and pitiable. Without the resurrection we would have no Savior, no forgiveness, no gospel, no meaningful faith, no eternal life, and we could never have hope for any of those things. 
   To have hoped in Christ alone in this life would be to teach, preach, suffer, sacrifice, and work entirely for nothing. If Christ is still dead, then He not only has no ability to save you in the future, but He can’t help you now either. If He were not alive, where would be your source of peace, joy, or satisfaction now? The Christian life would be a mockery, a charade, a tragic and cruel joke. Christians who suffer and even die for the faith would be just as blind and pathetic as those “believers” who followed Jim Jones and the People’s Temple, David Koresh and the Branch Davidians, and Marshall Applewhite and the Heaven’s Gate cult. 
   Since a Christian has no Savior but Christ, no Redeemer but Christ, and no Lord but Christ, if Christ is not raised, He is not alive, and our Christian life is lifeless. We would have nothing to justify our faith, our Bible study, our preaching or witnessing, our service for Him or our worship of Him, and nothing to justify our hope in this life or the next. We would deserve nothing but the compassion reserved for fools. 
BUT, God did raise “Jesus our Lord from the dead, He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification” (Romans 4:24-25).  “Because Christ lives, we too shall live” (John 14:19). “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had put to death by hanging Him on a cross. He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:30-31). 
   We are NOT to be pitied, for Paul immediately ends the dreadful “what if” section by saying, “But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:20). As Paul said at the end of his life, “I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” (2 Timothy 1:12). 
   Those who do not hope in Christ alone for salvation are the real fools; they are the ones who need to hear your compassionate testimony about the triumph of Christ’s resurrection. So don’t forget the resurrection; rejoice in it and glory in it, for He is risen indeed.   
I want to end with this verse; (1 Cor 15:57 KJV) “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
 

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The Crucifixion Of Christ

The Crucifixion Of Christ (Matt. 27:26b-37)

We often are thankful for Good Friday to be off from work but are we thankful for the meaning of Good Friday? The crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is the foundation of our faith and we must be worshipful to remember the great work of salvation achieved only by the person and work of Christ not just on Good Friday and Easter but everyday of our lives. It shows the great love, grace, and mercy God has shown to us through Christ. The horror, the suffering, the blood shed, the cruelty, and death Christ endured to cleanse us from sin shows the great depravity that man had to be saved from. For all of us that have received Christ by faith as Lord, we must remember it was for us He died and rose again. Let’s look with fresh eyes again at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I. Before the Crucifixion

A. The Garden (Matt. 26:36-46)– we see here in passage in Mt. 26 that Jesus has come to the Garden of Gethsemane (means ‘Olive Press’) with the disciples. He has come to pray and enters further in the garden with Peter, James, and John. This passage mentions in verse 37 that Jesus is ‘sorrowful and very heavy’, this means that he is grieved and distressed and even verbalizes that fact to these three. He is feeling the immense stress and when He prays, He asks the Father, ‘O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt’ and later prays in v. 42, ‘O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done’. Jesus is not fearing death, the cup is not the cup of death but it represents the wrath of God against sin. In that moment, the sin of the world was being ‘poured’ on Jesus. He was going to bear our sins on that cross and die for our sins in our place; He took the punishment and penalty for our sin for us. 2 Co. 5:21 says that, ‘For he hath made him to be sin for us’, Jesus took our place and took the wrath of God for us.

The taking on of the overwhelming weight of the sin of the world was a great stress on our Lord because we see that in Luke 22:34 it tells us that, ‘And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’; now this is actually a known medical condition called hematidrosis. It is caused by great psychological stress which causes a release of chemicals that breaks down the capillaries in sweat glands which results in a small amount of bleeding in the glands and when sweat is released it is tinged with blood. We see our sinless Lamb taking our sins on Himself and the great weight causes our Lord great stress. He was the only One who could do it.

B. The betrayal and arrest (vv.47-68)– we all know the Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver and they came and arrested Jesus and took to the High Priest Caiaphas. The disciples had fled away into the night and Jesus was before the Sanhedrin council and they charged Him with blasphemy for they rejected Jesus as the Messiah. They also pronounced a death sentence, beat, and mocked Him.

C. Before Pilate, the crowd, and the scourging (Mt. 27:11-31)– in chapter 27:11, we see Jesus has now been brought to Pilate. He is questioned by Pilate and Pilate says in the passage from John that he could find no fault in Him. When the crowd was given a choice to release a prisoner by Pilate, he gave them a choice between Jesus and a criminal named Barabbas. The crowd there cried out they wanted Barabbas and when Pilate asked what they wanted to do with Jesus and the crowd cried out ‘crucify him!’. This was probably a lot of the same crowd that had cried out only days before ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Blessed is He that comes in the name of the Lord’ when Christ rode in on that donkey when He entered Jerusalem. When Pilate expressed that he felt Jesus was innocent it says in v. 23 that the crowd cried out even more, ‘Let Him be crucified’. Pilate washes his hands before them and says that he is innocent of this man’s blood and the crowd answers and says, ‘His blood be on us, and on our children’; the fact of the matter is that we are all guilty of the death of Jesus Christ and none of us are innocent of His shed blood, it is because of our sins that He came, suffered, and died on that cross. Barabbas is released and Jesus is then scourged and delivered over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified. Scourging was a practice used by the Romans that involved a whip of braided leather thongs with metal balls and sharp pieces of bone woven into them. It was usually consisted of 39 lashes but depending upon the mood of the soldier chosen to give the lashes it most likely was more. Needless to say the flogging would be from the shoulders down the back and buttocks to the back of the legs. It would rip and tear skin and muscle down to even exposure of the spine and bowel. It was a horrible thing to be scourged and many would die just from being scourged and the loss of blood. Then the soldiers mocked him, spit on him, and drove a crown of thorns upon His head.

II. Crucifixion (vv.32-44)

We now come to the place of the crucifixion; as horrible as the scourging was crucifixion was even more horrible. When one was crucified, they had to carry the cross beam part of the cross called the patibulum to the place where the execution was to be carried out. When they would arrive the vertical part of the cross would already be placed in the ground. They would take the condemned and nail him to part he carried. The 5-7 inch spikes and nailed him to through the wrists. Note that the wrist was considered part of the hand in the language of the day. If it was through the palms, the skin would have torn and would have fallen off the cross; the spike through the wrists lock the hands in place and was a solid place to secure the condemned. Part of the torture involved in nailing through the wrists is that the nail would go through the place where the median nerve runs to the hand. It would crush the nerve and cause intense pain; it like the feeling of hitting your funny bone but this pain is constant and it would be like taking a pair of pliers and squeezing and crushing that nerve. The pain would be unbearable and Jesus was feeling that pain. The pain was literally beyond words to describe; in fact they invented a new word for it and that word: excruciating. Excruciating means ‘out of the cross’. They had to make a new word for that intense anguish and suffering felt on the cross.

The cross beam was raised and attached to the vertical beam and then a spike was driven through the feet also hitting a nerve with a similar intense pain as the others. Upon being raised on the cross the arms would be stretched at least 6 inches and the shoulders would become dislocated. Once hanging in that vertical position, crucifixion was a slow painful death caused by asphyxiation. Because of the position of crucifixion, Christ had to push Himself up by His feet to exhale and relax back down to inhale. Eventually a person would die do to being to exhausted to push themselves up to keep breathing. This is the great physical pain and agony endured by Christ out of His love for lost and sinful mankind. And we see in the Garden and at the cross the great psychological and physical suffering Jesus faced for our sins.

III. His Death (vv.45-53)

It talks in v.45 that there was a great darkness over all the land. This was not an eclipse, because they knew what an eclipse was and there is no record of any eclipse at this time period. This was a supernatural occurrence performed by God the Father. But what was the reason? At His death there is darkness from the sixth hour until the ninth hour. The Jews begin to measure their day from 6 A.M., the sixth hour is noon. From noon to three it was dark. Mark 15:25 says, “He was crucified at the third hour,” 9 A.M. So the first three hours He was hanging there visible, naked before the watching people in the light. Those three hours passed. Soldiers had nailed Him there. They had placed the sign over His head. He is suspended there in the horrific indignity as the passers-by, the soldiers, the curious, the religious leaders watched and mocked and insulted Him. During that three hours He only broke the silence three times. Once He said to the soldiers, of the soldiers to the Father, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

The second time He spoke to a penitent thief at His side and said, “Verily, this day you will be with Me in paradise.” Once more He broke the three-hour silence looking down at Mary and John, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son,” pointing to John. And to John, “Behold your mother,” thus giving her into the care of John. In the light He said three things. All three of them were demonstrations of mercy, mercy toward the soldiers, mercy toward the thief, mercy toward Mary. Each was a revelation of the light of His grace, the shining beauty of His compassion. Darkness in the Scripture is a symbol of judgment; God’s salvation is always seen as light. God’s judgment is always seen as darkness and God was saying by the darkness that the cross was a place of judgment. This is not an indication of a judgment to come in the future, this is a judgment in itself right then and there. And God only judges one thing, what is it? Sin. God turned out the lights because this was a judgment on sin. And yet, the One receiving the judgment was sinless, a Lamb without blemish and without spot, holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, Hebrews 7:26 says. “In all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin”. Second Corinthians 5, “Him who knew no sin.” What is happening there then is a judgment on sin being borne by an innocent sacrifice. Isaiah 53 verse 4, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore and our sorrows He carried, yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God and afflicted. He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well being fell on Him and by His scourging we are healed. The Lord caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him.” It further says, “The Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief, rendering Him a guilt offering He will bear their iniquities and justify many.” Paul put it this way. Romans 4:25, “He was delivered for our offenses.” First Corinthians 15:3, “He died for our sins.” First Peter 2:24, “Who in His own self bore our sins in His body on the tree.” First Peter 3:18, “He died the just for the unjust.” First John 4:10, “God sent His Son to be the atonement for our sins.” Galatians 3, “He was made a curse for us.” And in Matthew 20:28 it says, “He came to give His life a ransom for many.”

Mt. 25:46, “And about the ninth hour, three o’clock in the afternoon, Jesus cried out with a loud voice saying, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’” As the darkness came to an end, as the darkness reached three o’clock from noon, the life of Jesus is almost at an end. The fury of God is almost spent. Judgment is almost over. But Jesus can contain the pain no longer and it’s not the pain of nails and it’s not the pain of a crown, and it’s not the pain of wounds of scourges rubbing against a ragged wooden beam, it is the pain of separation from the Father. And with great strength, He cries out where the real agony comes from, and it doesn’t come from the physical pain, the real agony comes from His soul, the realization, the reality, the agony that He is separated from His Father. I don’t think Jesus in the garden was agonizing over the physical pain that He was about to suffer, He was agonizing over the reality of the sin-bearing and feeling the wrath of God because Christ came to be “a ransom for many” which means He had to come and die in our place, and He knew He would feel the fury of God’s wrath. This is a supernatural separation, impossible and yet it happened. And while Jesus was not separated from the Father by nature, He was separated from the Father by fellowship. As a sinful child does not cease to be the essence of his father, but by his sin loses the intimate fellowship with his father, so Christ did not cease to be God but lost the intimacy of fellowship with His Father which He had eternally known. He had never been anything but loved by His Father. In fact, it was His Father’s perfect love for Him that caused the Father to put the whole redemptive plan in motion and to redeem lost humanity. It was the Father’s perfect love for the Son that made it all happen. And now, having been loved by His Father perfectly for all eternity, He is treated as if His Father hates Him and His Father turns His back on Him. Why does He do that? Because “He is of purer eyes than to behold evil and cannot look upon iniquity”, Hab. 1:12, 13. 2 Co. 5:21 says it in a nutshell, ‘21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him’.

He took upon Himself the penalty for my sins and your sins and suffered and died in our place. What great love and mercy that He has shown to us the undeserving. As we read that He cried out, like it says in John 19:30, ‘it is finished’, He said that not because He was dying but because the work of salvation was finished and complete. Heb 10:10, ‘…we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’. The salvation of our souls that we receive through faith in Christ is an eternal salvation because Jesus gives us a complete work of salvation that was accomplished by the suffering and death on the cross for those who are the sons and daughters of God, once for all. There is nothing else to do, no good works, no religious effort on our part because it is only through the redemptive work of our Lord Jesus on the cross.

Because of the suffering and death on the cross by our sinless Lord Jesus, we are now partakers of His salvation. It is only through Jesus we have salvation, the forgiveness of all our sins. Let us, this week especially remember and give God thanks for the awesome work of redemption by King Jesus.

 

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Does God Heal Today?

(Acts 3:1-10)

If you were to ask me the question, “Do I believe God still heals?”, the answer that I would give you would be ‘yes’. But the ‘faith healers’ on T.V. and their false teaching about healing and the way they say God heals through them isn’t what healing from God is about. What is going to be preached today about healing needs to be taught in order that we can be more discerning about false teaching and false teachers that bombard us on the T.V. and radio. There was a reason that Jesus healed and a reason why the Apostles were given the gift of healing and we are going to look at that and we are going to look at the false teaching and “faith healers” in the light of what the scripture teaches about healing.

I. What is the Truth About Healing?

A. Faith Healers– When we think about God healing people, what often comes to mind is the side show antics of the T.V. faith healers. They falsely claim that God wants all Christians to be healthy and well and if we are sick then it is because we don’t have enough faith to be healed or enough faith to rebuke the devil because he is the one who makes us sick. These false teaches will tell you that if you have enough faith then you can make God heal you. How do I know these things? I once believed the same lies.

B. Truth about Healing– They teach that in Is. 53:5 (5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed) and 1 Peter 2:24 (24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed) that these verses teach that there is healing promised in the atonement. Well, the healing in these verses are deals with our atonement for sin and not sickness. The only promise made for healing from diseases in the atonement for all believers is the ultimate healing we will receive in the glorification of our bodies in heaven.

Now the false teachers and ‘faith healers’ will tell you that what they are teaching is the ‘full gospel message’ that the rest of Christianity has failed to tell you about. They will tell you that if you confess healing and scripture then you will finally get enough faith to make God heal you of any disease, cancer, paralysis, blindness, arthritis, etc. whatever it may be. They make out faith as being the coin you can put into great vending machine in the sky called God and get whatever you want. The truth of the matter is that healing is in the hands of a sovereign God; and He will heals whomever He desires to heal when He wants to do so. If God wants to heal, He can heal. That’s completely, obviously within His power, and if it is in his purpose then He will heal. He may heal as a result of prayer. He may heal through simple processes, through medical assistance, or he may heal in a way that we can’t explain medically. God may speedup the recovery mechanism and restore a person to health in a way that medicine can’t even explain.

Sometimes He may overrule a medical prognosis and allow someone to recover from a normally debilitating disease. Healings like that may come, He may do them; He may do them in response to prayer, He may do them just because He wants to do them. When I pray for the prayer requests at my church I always ask God first to heal the people mentioned. Why, because I believe that can heal and He is the source of healing but I also know because of scripture that He will heal if it is His will. It is biblical to pray for healing of a brother or sister in Christ when they are sick, but it does not mean that they will be healed, because it is always a matter of God’s will (James 5:16-and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much). Just because of this, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t pray because we don’t know if it’s God’s will. Remember the scripture in James 4:2-‘…ye have not, because ye ask not.’, we should always pray for healing of our brothers and sisters in Christ because they just might be healed.

II. Why Jesus and the Apostles Healed.

A. Holy Gimmicks– let’s look at some of the gimmicks ‘faith healers’ use to heal. I have a “green miracle handkerchief” that I received in the mail and your suppose to put under your pillow or in your wallet and whatever miracle or healing you need write it down and send the “green hanky” back with some green “paper”(money) to receive your healing. Then I received some miracle anointing oil to use to apply to yourself or loved one or wallet or house or car if it needs healing and of course send back the enclosed envelope with your prayer request and money (seed of faith) that suppose to activate your faith to get what you desire from God. There are too many gimmicks to mention them all but what we have are people claiming to have special “gifts of healing”. The green cloth they try to say is ‘biblical’, they try to use Acts 19 where it says in verses 11-12, “11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: 12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them”, any verse out of context to manipulate money out of the desperate.

B. Why the Apostles Healed– It’s amazing that they try to equate themselves with the Apostles because the apostles were given special miracle and healing gifts to show the authority given to teach and preach the doctrine of the New Covenant and build the church (Eph. 2:19-20- 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone). The importance of the apostles in writing the N.T. scriptures and lay the foundation of the revelation of the New Covenant. These gifts were for the special dispensation of the beginning of the early church specifically to only certain offices of the early church which cease and were not the normative way of things were done. We see this as Paul describes a physical ailment that God did not heal him of and Paul said he asked God 3 times to heal him of it and God answered Paul about the ailment (2 Co. 12:8-10- 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.) Paul may not have understood why he had to suffer but he gladly found peace and contentment in knowing that God gave him to grace to endure in his suffering. Because he knew that God was with him through every step of it all and he did trust and lean on God’s power through it all for he knew when he was weak, then he was strong in God.

C. Why Jesus Healed– Jesus healed to announce He was the Messiah, that He was the Son of God. He was revealing that He was deity in flesh and to prove His authority as Lord of all. ‘Faith healers’ today try to equate themselves also with Jesus. They say that Jesus even had to have faith to heal and do miracles and that my friends is blasphemy. Jesus did healings and miracles by His own power, by a word or a touch. He didn’t have to have faith because He is God and the only ones that need faith are us frail powerless humans. They try to use a passage of scripture in Mark 6:5,6- “5 And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6 And he marvelled because of their unbelief.”; now this passage does not show that He cannot do anything without people’s faith or that their unbelief hindered the power of God but it does show that the people of Nazareth did not believe He was the Messiah and rejected Him. Not many were healed because no one came to Him to be healed. Jesus did not come to earth to die on the cross to save people from disease but He came to save and cleanse us from our sins.

III. Jesus Heals, Not Benny Hinn

I look at the so-called Christian T.V. stations and see all the theatrics that these false healers use to convince us that people are healed by their touch and then I look at how Jesus healed and I see a big difference.

*A. Jesus healed with a word or a touch– That’s all it took. He touched, He spoke, they were healed. He didn’t push them down, he didn’t hit them with a coat, or blow on them; no theatrics at all. No yelling or convincing the crowd; He just healed them.

*B. Jesus healed instantaneously– Never in all His healings does the Bible say He healed somebody and they started getting better. No, there was never a process, because if there was a process the point wasn’t made. Right? Because if there was a process then it could be explained in another way. It was instantaneous. “The Centurion’s servant was healed”, Matthew 8:13, “that very hour.” The woman with the bleeding problem–it went away immediately. Jesus healed ten lepers instantaneously. The crippled man at the Pool of Bethesda, immediately became well. No “progressive” healings only fakes claim that.

*C. Jesus healed totally– When someone was healed they were totally and completely healed–the only kind of healing Jesus ever did. He didn’t partially heal. He healed totally. Faith healers claim that people are healed and when they are still sick they say they “lost” their healing due to lack of faith. When Jesus healed a disease they were healed completely and it didn’t come back.

*D. He healed anybody– You didn’t have to have a long line of people filling out cards. And He certainly didn’t have a whole group of people who came into the meeting in wheelchairs and left in wheelchairs (if they had wheelchairs, or crutches, or whatever). Luke 4:40 says, “While the Sun was setting, all who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and laying His hands on everyone of them, He was healing them.” It’s an incredible thing. He healed everybody. He healed everybody instantaneously. He healed everybody totally and He healed everybody with a word. At the Benny Hinn Healing Crusades, many come desperate for healing and they go away devastated because they were ignored.

*E. He healed organic disease– He didn’t just go around Palestine healing lower back pain, heart palpitations, headaches, and other things like that. He healed the most obvious organic disease; crippled bent legs, withered hands, blind eyes, paralysis. I wonder why the “faith healers” don’t go to hospitals but use a crusade at a coliseum with staff that “weed out” the cases that are in wheel chairs and gurneys and only pick the cases where you have to take their word for it instead of seeing a real miracle of healing. Once I saw a fake healer (R.W. Shambach) that used a young boy who the parents said was legally blind and after laying hands on him got the boy to tell him how many fingers he had up and the boy could. You say why then that’s a legitimate healing, not so, my mother is legally blind but she drives, reads, cooks, everything we do.

*F. He raised the dead– He raised the dead. He came up on a funeral and he raised the dead! You remember that? Here comes the funeral procession; the widow is going to bury her son and Jesus stops the procession, touches the casket and says, “Young man, arise!” and the dead man sat up and began to speak. Now, I will tell you something, people who tout the gift of healing today don’t spend a lot of time in funeral processions; the reason is obvious. And you need to note, by the way, that Jesus did virtually all His healings and raising the dead in public before vast crowds of people. Why? Because the gift of healing was real and it was an authenticating gift. He used it to confirm the claim that He was the Son of God in a way that displayed His power and compassion.

Healing by God’s power can happen today but not by human hands or “healing ministries”. God is not made by anyone to heal them, it is by His divine power and will that He does heal. The gospel is good news about our sin problem, not our sicknesses; Christ died for our sins, not our sicknesses; the focus of the suffering and shed blood and death on the cross was to save us from sin and eternal death in hell. Jesus loves us and He knows and understands our suffering and gives us the grace to face it all.

*-Note: the ideas for these points came from John MacArthur and his sermons on Charismatics

 
 

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The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Acts 2:1-8

This passage tells of the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by our Lord Jesus. The Holy Spirit came and indwelt the 120 in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. This was the beginning of the Church and these were the first to be baptized by the Spirit. We will look at today what it means to be baptized with the Holy Spirit and when it happens.

I. The Promise (Acts 1:4,5- “And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”)
There are many places in the gospels where Jesus told the disciples that He would have to ascend for the Holy Spirit to come to indwell and empower them. This also reminds me of the promise to the disciples when He was comforting them with these words in John 14:16 – “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever”; you see the disciples had not yet received the Spirit. Jesus explaining to the disciples and them understanding what Jesus had said were two different things; they could not understand why Jesus was going to have to die, rise again from the dead, and ascend to the Father and leave there immediate presence (no longer physically with them like He had been). He told the disciples and showed them who He was (the Son of God, Messiah) and they did not completely understand what that meant (their own ideas of Messiah). Jesus told them He would have to die for their sins on the cross but they would not believe that because the unbiblical, popular belief was that the Messiah was going to set up His Kingdom by force and power, not die for lost humanity (they believed that they were spiritually fine, they didn’t see their sinfulness). Peter even tried to rebuke Jesus when He said He was going to die (Jesus told Him get behind me, Satan).
Jesus proclaimed that He was going to die and rise again from the dead after 3 days from the grave and no one understood it. And in talking to His disciples that after all this He would ascend back to the Father to reassume His glory and enthronement at the right hand of the Father (John 16:7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.); they still didn’t understand until it happened.
We see in John 20 that the disciples were in hiding after Jesus’ death and this was just after He had just rose up from the dead; we see Jesus coming to them comforting and reassuring them, and they are finally understanding what He has done and truly who He is and it’s all coming together for them and they know He is their risen Lord and Savior. John 20:20,21- “20 And when he had so said, he showed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. 21 Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you…”; but He does something in verse 22 to remind them of the one promise that is yet to come, “22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost”; He was telling them that the promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit was yet to come.
II. Place (where and when) Acts 2:4
A. Where – Jesus right before He ascends tells them in Acts 1:4 to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the promise from the Father. It says in 1:12-14, that they obeyed Jesus and was in Jerusalem in an upper room, all the 11 disciples and others and they numbered 120 (v.15). They were there obedient to the command of Christ. Obedience is the highest form of faith. They are there eagerly awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit, they were prayerful, fellowshipping together, and just waiting for that blessed promise.
B. When (Acts 2:1-4) – the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was not a coincidence; it was for a reason. “Pente”, “fifty”… 50 days after Passover, the feast of Pentecost, is celebrated for the giving of the Ten Commandments to Moses at Mount Sinai, 50 days after the Passover and crossing of the Red Sea (birth and beginning of the nation of Israel) (Ex.19-20)… and it coincided with the days of the harvest of the wheat. Christians celebrate Pentecost as the coming of the Holy Spirit 50 days after the Resurrection of Jesus (Acts 2)… when the Church was born officially… and God recorded the laws, not on stone, like at Sinai, but in the mind and heart of every Christian, the law of love of Christ. This is the ending of the Old Covenant with the New and Perfect Covenant purchased and enforced by the Perfect Lord. He was the fulfillment of the Law that sinful mankind could not keep and His blood and sacrifice cleansed our sins and forever keeps us in the covenant by faith. Before, the Spirit’s work was without, temporary, and exceptional; now after this point and time on, the indwelling baptism of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit now works within the believer (John 7:37-39 – 37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive…), indwelling is permanent (Romans 8:9- “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”), and now it is normal, involving all the Body of Christ (1 Co. 12:12,13- “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…”).
Under the Old Covenant God’s work had been external, but under the New Covenant it is internal (Heb. 8:9,10- Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people). The Day of Pentecost is a one time event, just like the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ is a one time event, meaning once for all time.
III. Precedent- Acts 2:1-8
A. When does Baptism happen?– I believe and teach according to God‘s Word, that we receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the same time of salvation (The exact moment we are saved by faith in Christ, we receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that means we are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Spirit and indwelt permanently by the Holy Spirit. But here we see that the disciples received it after salvation by Christ. We know that they were saved because Jesus said of the disciples in Luke 10:20 that, “…your names are written in heaven” and in John 15:3- “Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you”. The Bible is not teaching that you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after salvation (Pentecostals call it the doctrine of subsequence). This passage shows the transition of the Old Covenant into the New; and you are reading the birth of the Church. What happens here is because of this transition and it is also seen by the signs at Pentecost.
B. Signs– Sound of a rushing wind and appearance of fire and speaking in other languages was a unique wonder. God wanted to make known that something unusual was happening and this is why the signs. This was to let each in that upper room that they were part of a unique and dramatic event. God wanted the pilgrims in Jerusalem from different countries and surrounding regions to hear the message in their own dialects and languages. This was the birth of the Church, a new era and dispensation, and the New Covenant and a new people of God. This was an unique and unrepeatable event.
C. Peter’s Sermon and 3,000 saved. (Acts 2:14-26)- we see in these verse where cowardly Peter after He receives the indwelling Holy Spirit begins to preach Jesus and 3,000 people are saved (Acts 1:8-“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth”).
In verse 37, we read the convicting power of the Spirit, because it says they were pricked in their heart. And they begin to ask Peter and the 120 what are they to do and Peter tells them to repent and believe in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. And he tells them if they do, then they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. When they were saved they were at the same time received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This is the precedent that we see and are taught by the word of God. (Romans 8:9- “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his”; and 1 Co. 12:13- “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”).
These verses show that we are all at the time that we are saved, we are indwelt and baptized into the Body of Christ and that just means we all have received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Just like the 3,000 when we have received the gift of the Spirit at salvation, there was no signs or wonders or supernatural gift of other languages like the unique upper room experience of the 120. The greatest work and wonder is the miracle of salvation performed in the heart and soul of sinful man by simple faith in Jesus Christ.
The wondrous experience of Pentecost that happened to the 120 was a unrepeatable event. But for those who have been saved by Jesus, all have received, been indwelt, and empowered to live for Jesus and testify of his great work of salvation.

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2009 in Baptism, Church, doctrine, Holy Spirit

 

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Purpose for this blog.

I was in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement for approx. 18 years before God used my love for apologetics to lead me to an understanding that the things I thought were biblical were not in the Bible at all. There were two books that helped me finally break away from the madness and they were “Charismatic Chaos” by John MacArthur and “Christianity in Crisis” and “Counterfeit Revival” by Hank Hanegraaff. When you begin to do a serious study of biblical doctrine, you will find that many of the crazy beliefs and ‘moves of God’ are not even in the Bible. I want this blog to be a help and a light to those who have came out and are coming out of cultic Charismania. Tell me your testimony, your heartache, your illumination of God’s word that led you out. If you have questions that you have asked your church leadership about and they have told you in their way to not question ‘their’ authority (“touch not god’s anointed…”[how many times did I hear that]) or told you that you have a ‘spirit of religion'(I heard that just about as many times), then this is the place to question and ask so that we will find the truth in God’s word. It’s time to end the nightmare of doubt and find the blessed peace and assurance in Jesus. I am just starting this blog so please be patient with me. I will address the cultic (yes, cultic) teachings of the WOF and Signs and Wonders movement, etc. We will even do studies on real theology. We will even have different contributers and authors to blog on their experiences with false practices and beliefs of Charismania. God bless, I can’t wait to hear your story.

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2009 in Charismatic, pentecostal, Uncategorized

 

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Five Things You Need To Know About Salvation

Five Things You Need To Know About Salvation
(Acts 4:10, 12)
We as Christians need to be so thankful for our salvation in Jesus Christ and you say I know plenty about salvation and have heard so many sermons on it that you could teach it.  Well, we need to be reminded so that we can keep a thankful heart and renew the joy of our salvation in our hearts.  We need to hear it again so that we can tell others about salvation found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  So, today we are going to look at five things we need to know about salvation.
I. Salvation and the Two-fold Implication
First we need to define salvation.  Salvation means to fully deliver someone from out of danger, harm, or destruction.  Now does that have any implications for us? It definitely does. We can get two implications from this.  
The first implication is that someone needs to be saved and cannot save themselves.  Well I can imply that to myself, in light of what scripture says about mankind ability to save themselves I understand this truth, I am lost and condemned in my sinfulness and I cannot save myself.  
The second implication of salvation is this, there is someone who is able to save and is willing to save us.  In reading the scriptures we can come to this truth, only Jesus can save us and was willing to save us.   From this we have two unchangeable truths, our inability to save ourselves and the one who can save us (Jesus) who is more than willing to save us.
God chose to save us and went to the tremendous task to save us through the sacrifice of the eternal Son of God.  The awesome love and grace and mercy poured out on a mere creation.  In all rights He could have and should have destroyed us but He did not.  What love and kindness and tender mercies He has shown sinful and disobedient mankind (Ps. 69:14-16 says, “Deliver me out of the mire, and let me not sink: let me be delivered from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters. Let not the water flood overflow me, neither let the deep swallow me up, and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me. Hear me, O LORD; for thy lovingkindness is good: turn unto me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.).  
The subject of the Bible and the object of God’s love is the redemption of man made possible through Jesus Christ, God the Son.
II. Man is Lost
Rom. 3:9,10 – “What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.”
If you ever read the book of Romans in just the first 3 chapters we come to these important truths about the nature of man: man is lost in his sins, it is his nature to sin, and that all people are sinful and in need of a savior.  The sinfulness of man is called the depravity of mankind.  That simply means we are morally and sinfully corrupt and that is our nature.  
Every human being ever born or will be born in this world will be born with a sin nature, Rom. 3:23 – “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, we see it doesn’t say some or most but all.  All people are equal in this that we are sinful and separated from God (Is. 59:2 – “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you).  We can’t let pride say, “I’m not as bad as somebody else”, we are all sinful and in the same spiritual condition without Christ.
III. Man cannot save himself.
Man cannot save himself because he is sinful and cannot come into the presence of a holy God.  Because of our inability, we can only fall upon God’s grace to save us.  Salvation is by God’s grace and not by any works we do (Eph. 2:8, 9- For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.).  
Man-made religions, cults, and philosophies trust in a false hope that somehow good deeds, religious devotion, or self-effort will make us good enough to be accepted by God into His Heaven.  The prevalent philosophy is that if one does enough good things that it will outweigh the bad.  That is far from the truth, the parable of Jesus about judgment day in Matt. 7, in verses 22 & 23, we see them say to Jesus, “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”  Those in that day that relied on good works and religious rituals but never had a personal relationship with Christ and found themselves deceived and facing the judgment of God.  Prov. 14:12 says “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death”.  
Salvation is not earned by church membership, good deeds, baptism, or by keeping the 10 Commandments.  It is by putting your faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, recognizing He is the only way of salvation, because mankind cannot save themselves.  
IV. What is Salvation?
A. Reconciliation- Salvation is reconciliation with God.  Rom 5:10, 11 (NIV) – For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.  The suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ, He has reconciled us back in right relationship with the God.
B. Redemption- Gal. 3:13- Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law.  The term redemption in Greek was used of one purchasing a servants at a slave market that gives us the understanding that Christ paid the price to purchase our salvation from the slavery of sin.  The redemption price was His blood which was sufficient to purchase everyone sold under sin.  The words used to show redemption also mean to purchase and take home, no longer for sale in the slave market, to purchase and give freedom.  Christ redeemed us from the slave block of sin and forever given freedom in Christ.
C. Adoption (Gal. 4:4,5- But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.) – we are adopted as sons and daughters of God by and through the person and work of Jesus Christ. We have full rights as children of God through Jesus Christ.
D. Imputation- Christ’s salvation took the penalty for our sin on Himself Is. 53:5- “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  And because He was the substitute for us, He could give vicariously or impute to us His righteousness. So we could be accepted by the Father.
E. Justification (Rom. 3:24,25 – Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.)- Justification is the forgiveness of sin (past, present, and future) and God declaring us righteous through Christ’s righteousness imputed to us and the removal of His judgment. 
V. Cost of Salvation – the cross; the suffering, shed blood, and death of Christ on the Cross. Is. 53:4,5 -Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Healed, cleansed, forgiven, and set free from our sins by the mighty work of Jesus Christ.  With great love He gave Himself for the salvation of our souls.  With great love we need to confess and believe by faith in Christ to be our Lord and Savior. And after He becomes our Lord we need to serve Him and live for Him and witness about Him to all of those who are still lost and blind in their sins.