Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Only Sure Bet

The Only Sure Bet
Rev. Greg Schermerhorn

People make lots of bets today.  I’m not necessarily talking about the lottery, poker, other or forms of open gambling.  Certainly these types of bets are prevalent in our society, but the bet I am writing about today is the bet on our future.  So many people today are leveraged to the hilt with debt.  They have bet their financial future that they will be able to make enough money to pay that bill tomorrow.  So many people are living their lives buying everything they want right now on credit.  They buy and buy, with the hope of being able to continue to pay their bills, with hope and anticipation of a future date where they will somehow, if not miraculously be able to get ahead of their dreaded payments and retire.

This same wishful attitude and lifestyle has crept into the hearts of people who would consider themselves to be Christian.  They attend church on the occasional Sunday, but live a different life during the rest of the week.  This is not isolated to a particular denomination, culture, ethnic group, or nationality.  People around the world are betting their eternal soul that they can live their life chasing after anything they wish without consequence because they consider themselves Christian and basically good.  My friends, that’s a bad bet that could cost you everything for all eternity!

Stop rolling the dice!  You can know for sure that your eternal future is secure.  Jesus said several things about Himself and eternal salvation and the security of that salvation so that we would know He is the sure bet.

John 3:3 (NAS)
Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 3:3 is where Jesus is talking with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was considered to be a righteous man by his Jewish countrymen.  Jesus teaches him that he must be born again.  This is a new concept to Nicodemus, so Jesus explains that he must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the Kingdom of God or Heaven.  This discussion leads to one of the most well know verses of the Bible.

John 3:16–17 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

Johns 3:16-17 together tell a great part of the story of God’s love for mankind.  The Amplified Bible says, “For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world” that He sent His Son Jesus to be the final and complete atoning sacrifice for our sin, the sins of the entire world for all eternity!  Verse 17 emphasizes that God didn’t send Jesus to judge the world, but to save the world from the judgment it was already under due to its sin.

Romans 10:9–11 (NAS)
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.”

Romans 10:13 (NKJV)
For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Romans 10:9-11, 13 says that salvation is an act that is as simple as confessing verbally that Jesus is Lord because He is the incarnate Son of God, believing in your heart that God the Father raised Jesus from the dead demonstrating His accomplishment of our ultimate atonement for sin then we WILL be saved from eternal death and separation from God.  Verse 13 emphasizes that this invitation to receive salvation is open to everyone who calls out to the Lord.  We simply have to receive the work that Jesus has done on our behalf.

John 14:6 (NAS)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:6 is where Jesus teaches that He is the only path to God the Father, and therefore to Heaven.  He is very clear that He is THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE; NO ONE will get to heaven unless they go through Jesus.  Being good is a great thing, but it has nothing to do with going to Heaven.  Only a personal relationship with the Savior will allow you to enter Heaven’s gate.

John 10:27–30 (NAS)
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. “I and the Father are one.”

Your salvation is secure if you have received Jesus as your Savior!  Hallelujah!  Here, Jesus says that all who know Him (ie:  have a personal relationship/saved) are His sheep, He know us, we follow Him, He gives us eternal life, we will never perish, and NO ONE CAN SNATCH US OUT OF HIS HAND!  Oh, and Jesus adds, My Father (God) gave you to me and He is greater than all things and NO ONE can snatch you out of HIS HAND EITHER!  Once you are saved, you are always saved.  At the moment of salvation, God changed you into a new creation.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NAS)
Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

The sure bet is Jesus Christ, the lover of your soul, as well as, the rest of you.  He has demonstrated His great love for you by creating you, by laying aside His divine prerogatives to be born as a human to know firsthand our struggles, by dying a cruel death He did not deserve, and by being resurrected to intercede on our behalf at the right hand of God the Father.  As the old hymn says, “Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed me white as snow!”  The sure bet is eternal, not temporal.  It’s time to stop sowing wild oats and get serious about your future.  Become a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ.  It will radically change your life.