This coming week June 20-27, our Youth Fellowship will be going to Soldiers Grove Wisconsin for our work mission trip. Needless to say this will probably be my last blog post until I get back. We are going to be in a pretty rural setting so the odds of us having WIFI is probably slim, but I am not sure. Even if we do have a connection the odds of me having time to post anything is about 1:100. So, farewell for a week or so! What I want to share in this post is what is going to be taught during our evening programs all week so you can get an idea of what our heart is in this.
Saturday night we will be speaking about ‘What is salvation’ and the entire focus of this message and discussion will be to destroy 4 false notions about salvation. First, that salvation is a result of doing good works or that it can be earned. Second, that salvation is all about heaven and hell. Third, that salvation is about you. The fourth is that salvation is only for the future, are a mere event in the past.
Sunday morning I am preaching at two churches out there and the message will be a very basic gospel presentation, using the invitation of Isaiah 55. We will lay out a foundation of God’s character contrast it with our character, then reconcile God’s character with our character in Christ on the Cross.
Sunday night we will look at past tense salvation, Justification or salvation from the penalty of sins past. We will look at the fact that sin must be punished and that Christ Himself drank down the wrath of God on our behalf. One of our secondary functions of this night will be to make it clear our need of salvation, the primary function will be to elevate the love of Christ by showcasing the magnitude of what He has done on our behalf!
Monday night we will look at the future tense of salvation, glorification, or salvation from the presence of sin in an eternal heaven. The focus of this will be to showcase that heaven is heavenly because God is there, and that heaven is not a fantasy land where you do whatever you want whenever you want. We will discuss how heaven really is not a place an unbeliever would want to go if they actually knew what it was, but that it is the most wonderful place for the true believer who will have their desire to be near to the Lord actually fulfilled in eternity.
Tuesday night we will look at present tense salvation, sanctification, or salvation from the power of sin. This is not a lesson on sinless perfection, but it is a lesson on God working in us to overcome sin today... not just forgiveness, but a practical fruitful living out of faith. In my eyes this is the climax of the weeks teaching, the place where the rubber effectively meets the road. The problem with having a view of salvation that primarily focuses on heaven, or on forgiveness, is that salvation becomes almost theoretical, something fun to talk about, but ineffective. Salvation in the present tense is equally important to discuss. It is such a gracious act that God would effectively and practically work in us today, right now, and that is what present tense salvation is all about.
Wednesday night we all the same question the writer of the Hebrews asked, how shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation. We will ask it with regards to Justification... how can we escape if we neglect forgiveness and freedom from guilt... We will ask it with regards to Glorification... how can we escape if we neglect hope for a complete freedom from the presence of sin... We will ask it with regards to Sanctification... how can we escape if we neglect the power God gives us over sin today. Of course it is a rhetorical question, and the answer is that you cannot escape if you neglect so great salvation. Again this is not all about heaven and hell, this is about hope, victory, and forgiveness.
Thursday night we will speak on assurance of salvation. How do I know I have believed? How can I know that I am saved? The scriptures are clear, not just in the words of Christ, but throughout the entire cannon, that you will know them by their fruits. Assurance comes from seeing the evidence of Christ working in your life as a believer. The call is to examine yourselves, test yourselves...
Friday night we will speak on working out your salvation with fear and trembling. This is not going to be a fire and brimstone type thing. Recall that we have spent the entire week speaking on salvation and there will be enough fire in that, as well as much grace, but the primary function for Friday night will be a commissioning and an encouragement.
Of course we would appreciate your prayer with regards to this week, it is a little too late for your suggestions. If you would pray that God indeed would move upon us and through us this week we would greatly appreciate it, and be honored. Realize that when we ask for prayer it is not a trite question. We indeed are asking you to go before the King of Kings and Lord of Lords on our behalf, that is no small request.
Thank you brothers and sisters