Sunday, September 26, 2010

What is Salvation? - Part 1 Biblical Salvation


No greater question could be asked than, “What must I do to be saved?”

I have had many ask me this very question over my years of ministry.

Just as many have also asked me, “How do you know when you’re saved?”

Addressing these two questions today, we must assume that the one who is asking already believes in God, and the Holy Bible as God’s Word.

Obviously, without these two fundamental foundational pieces, there is nothing to build upon.

“What must I do to be saved, and how do I know when I am saved?”

Who knows the answer?

Does it matter what your Pastor thinks?  Does it matter what your parents or friends think?  Well, that all depends on who you are trying to please.

For me, I want to please the one who will judge me on the last day.

Since God will be our judge, whether you ever believe in Him or not, we should then only consider His opinion on this matter and do our best to disregard human traditions.

God’s word gives us the pattern for biblical salvation, with examples of salvation, as well as enough information for us to truly know the how-to of being saved, as well as the how to know if we are truly saved.

In today’s sermon, instead of strengthening trust in the general availability of salvation, we will gain confidence for our own personal salvation.


This question cannot be answered by a simple self-examination of our personal feelings.

When asked if you are going to heaven or hell when you die, 9 out of 10 people will say heaven.

Our personal feelings can be very deceptive.

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.”

Paul committed terrible sins of persecuting and killing followers of Christ before his conversion, and his conscience never warned him he was doing wrong!

Acts 26:9-11 “ 9"I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them.”

There is a way that seems right to us, but we cannot trust our judgment.

I have heard some say, “I just know in my heart of hearts...”

But the heart is wicked!  Can you trust a heart that is wicked?

Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure...”

So if we can’t trust our feelings, and we can’t trust our hearts, what can we trust as truth?

The Words of the very Judge who we will stand before on that Great Day of Judgment.

 I John 3: 16-2016This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. 17If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? 18Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. 19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

I John tells us that one way to “know” we belong to Christ (the Truth), and set our hearts at ease, is to look at how we behave in life.

It’s not the feelings or emotions, but the “How” we live, that will show us if we are saved or not.

First, in John it says that someone who belongs to Christ puts others before themselves. - or do you live selfishly for yourself, putting yourself first?  Are you self centered and selfish?

Secondly, if you have material possessions, and give them freely to others in need, you are living in love. - or do you hoard your possessions, building up storehouses of your “things” and counting them as wealth?

The scripture clearly says, if you show no pity for those in need, the love of God cannot be in you.

19This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence 20whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.”

John wrote this first epistle so that “you may know that you have eternal life” I John 5:13

John tells us that this is important to know so that “your joy may be full” I John 1:2-4

One can never truly experience full joy as long as their heart remains unsure of their salvation.

So what is the basic pattern of salvation in the Word of God?

I.                   HEAR THE WORD OF GOD

a.      You have to hear the Word
                                                              i.      Romans 10:13-14 “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." 14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

                                                           ii.      You cannot call on the name of the Lord, if you have never heard of the name of the Lord!

b.     Faith comes by hearing the Word
                                                              i.      Romans 10:17 “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

c.      You MUST respond to the Word
                                                              i.      James 1:21-2221Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

II.               BELIEVE
a.      Once you HEAR the Word and start “doing”, or living by what the Word says, your faith will grow, and so will your belief.

b.      Jesus tells us in Mark 1:1515"The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"

c.      Therefore, not only must we believe, but we MUST repent!

III.            REPENT
a.      We are commanded to REPENT!
                                                              i.      Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
1.      Producing fruit means to live your life in a way that shows you are not the same old sinner, that you have accepted Christ and He is changing you.

2.      If you are saved, according to scripture you will stop living in sin.

b.      Luke 5:3232I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
                                                              i.      Again, Jesus makes it clear we MUST repent to be saved!

c.      What if you do not repent?  Jesus answers that question as well.
                                                              i.      Luke 13:3 “unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
1.      Without repentance, there is no forgiveness, and no salvation.

                                                           ii.      2 Corinthians 7:10 “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

1.      It is through Godly sorrow for your sin that brings repentance and leads to salvation.

2.      If you are not sorrowful for your sin, then you will not repent, and will not receive salvation.

3.      Not repenting from your sin is called “Living in Sin”, and it literally is the difference between heaven and hell!

IV.            CONFESS
a.      Are you confessing Christ with your lips but not your life?
                                                              i.      2 Timothy 2:1919Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."
1.      You cannot claim to belong to the Lord, and live in sin.
2.      If you confess salvation, and Jesus, yet continue to live in sin, and do not repent, you are living the cause of many to stumble, and not believe in the Lord.  You are a living stumbling block, deceiver and bring the cross to shame daily with your life.

                                                           ii.      I John 1:9-10 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.”


The scripture of God makes it clear that biblical salvation takes place when we;

1.      Hear God’s Word
2.      Respond to it becoming a doer of that Word, believing it
3.      We MUST also REPENT!
4.      Confess and we will be baptized with God’s Holy Spirit!

If you do not live a life that is producing fruits of repentance, or you are continuing to live in your sin, you need to do what the scripture says and repent!

This is the pattern for biblical salvation!

Next week we will look at some of the signs, we are saved.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Grace and Peace be with You!

Grace and Peace Be With You
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |



Galatians 1:3-5
 3Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.


I.                   GRACE AND PEACE TO YOU
a.      From God
                                                             i.      our Father and Jesus Christ
                                                          ii.      who gave himself for our sins to rescue us
1.      from the present evil age
                                                       iii.      This is God’s will
1.      That ALL are saved!
b.     Do you have the grace that has been given to you?
                                                             i.      Grace = unmerited favor
                                                          ii.      are you showing favor to those who don’t deserve it?
1.      such as forgiveness
2.      help
a.      Jesus said, what you do to the least of these, you are doing to me...
                                                       iii.      Not just having God’s grace, but showing it to others is how you share the fact that God loves them.
c.      Do you have the Peace that has been given to you?
                                                             i.      Being still in times of trouble
1.      Be still and know that I am God
2.      This shows your faith in God is GREATER than anything that can happen in your life!
                                                          ii.      Do you show this peace to others?
1.      We need to show others how “trustworthy” God is
2.      We need to show others they too can trust in Him with all their troubles.
3.      We witness to others how GREAT and MIGHTY and IN CONTROL God is when we show the peace which God has given us.
II.               TROUBLING TIMES
a.      9/11 nine year anniversary
                                                             i.      time has passed but many still hurt
b.     Times were troubling in Daniels time but he remained faithful
                                                             i.      are we?
c.      Times were troubling in Jesus’ did He act?
                                                             i.      Did Jesus picket with “God hates you” signs?
                                                          ii.      What did Jesus do in troubling times?
1.      He trusted our Father in heaven
2.      He preached the Gospel of love
3.      He did not hate nor attack...
a.      with the exception of the temples where men were standing in the way of people trying to reach God.
4.      He commanded Peter to “put away your sword, those who live by the sword shall die by the sword.”
5.      He would not allow the Apostles to call on the heavens to rain down fire when the Samaritans would not the Apostles cut through their land.
6.      why?
a.      facebook post on 9/11
                                                             i.      Today, let us all pray for the families who have lost loved ones, not
just at the towers, but around the world because of violence, war, and
hate. Let us also remember that we battle not against flesh and blood, but our fight is a spiritual one. This fight will only be won through true forgiveness, compassion and love.
b.     Ephesians 6:10-18 makes it clear;
c.      PROMISES things will get WORSE
                                                             i.      We are told in the scriptures that things are going to get worse.
                                                          ii.      The end times are quickly approaching.
                                                       iii.      But we should not fear!


John 17:1-7

John 14

Jesus Comforts His Disciples
 1"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God[a]; trust also in me. 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going."
Jesus the Way to the Father
 5Thomas said to him, "Lord, we don't know where you are going, so how can we know the way?"
 6Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know[b] my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

What is Sin - Part 18 : The Answer to Sin

Part 18 - The Answer to Sin
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |



Today I am going to discuss the answer to our sin.

We will look at how Jesus took something that was known and understood by men in the first century, marriage, and used it to illustrate the New Covenant.

We will see how one of the ordinances of the church symbolically represents a spiritual truth, covenant and commitment.


a.      A contract offer must be drawn up and presented to the bride.
                                                             i.      The man would agree with his father on the terms for the contract (considering the Father would be giving land and livestock to help the new couple begin their lives together), then the man leave his father’s home and go to the woman’s home to offer his Ketubah, or marriage contract in Hebrew.

                                                          ii.      Once there, he would explain the Mohar, or “Bride Price” in Hebrew.  The bride price offered for the woman was often high because women were often regarded as an expense instead of an asset mostly because they could not tend or till the fields or work outside the home to bring in an income.

                                                       iii.      The bride price was to compensate the father for the cost of raising the daughter.

                                                         iv.      The higher the bride price, the more valuable the bride was to the groom.

                                                            v.      This high bride price would give honor to the family, bride and groom if the price was extremely high, because it showed how valuable the bride was.

b.     When the man would bring this contract, there was an agreement.
                                                             i.       In Jewish tradition, the man would then pour a glass of wine and give it to the woman.  If she accepted his contract, she would drink of the cup which would seal the contract making it complete and legally binding. 

                                                          ii.       Although there was no consummation or physical union between the two until the night of the ceremony, they were regarded as husband and wife from this moment on.  She was considered to be “consecrated”, “set apart”, or sanctified exclusively unto the husband.

1.      We know Mary was in danger of being accused of adultery against Joseph, and he struggled with whether or not he would marry her (have the ceremony), because she was already “with child”, Jesus. The scriptures in Matthew 1:18, 19 refer to Joseph as her husband, even though no ceremony or consummation had taken place.  But a contract, an agreement, the ketubah had been agreed upon.

c.      Our Father in heaven has a contract. 
                                                             i.      Jesus Christ brought that contract with Him to earth to purchase us for a great price.  The bride price God was willing to pay for you and I was very high.  There is none higher, for He paid His very life.

1.      Jesus left the home of the Father to bring this contract to us.

2.      He lived among us to explain the details of this contract, and made it clear during the last supper.

                                                          ii.      The price was then paid, making it available to all whom wish to be part of it.  It is binding, and legal.

1.      We are considered in contract (or covenant) with God, even though the ceremony has not yet taken place (the great feast in heaven), and we have not yet been physically with Christ in heaven, only in Spirit here on earth.

2.      This is why the Jews will step on the glass in their wedding ceremony.  This symbolizes that another contract will never be offered or accepted.

d.     Why do we drink of the cup at Communion?
                                                             i.      Jesus explains to us;
1.      I am here with a contract for you, a “New Covenant”.

2.      I am the groom, and the Body of Christ, the Church is my bride.

3.      The bride price that will be paid, is my very life, a sacrifice, my blood for you, which is represented by this cup.

a.       1 Corinthians 6:20 “For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

b.      1 Peter 1:18, 19 “Forasmuch as you know that you were not purchased with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

c.       Acts 20:28 “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he has purchased with his own blood.”
4.      Drink this cup to accept the contract I am presenting you, and have purchased with my blood, so that you may be with me forever.

a.       Matthew 26: 27, 28 – “And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”

e.      To all who can hear...
                                                             i.      To the literalists, the ritualistic, and those who think this is a ceremony of the flesh, listen up.

1.      Jesus used worldly things to help the apostles, and us, understand spiritual truths.

2.      Communion is a symbolic representation of a spiritual truth.

a.      The Body of Christ and its members are not a literal “bride”

b.     Jesus is not our literal “husband”

c.      Marriage itself was given to man to help them understand the spiritual truth that when two are in covenant together, they become one, and inseparable.

d.     The cup we drink is symbolic of Christ’s shed blood...not magically changed into His literal blood as some denominations teach.

                                                          ii.      If you do not get past the ritual, you will never truly experience the Spiritual.

f.       This is the New Testament!
                                                             i.       This is the New Covenant.  We drink the cup accepting His contract, His bride price for us.  We now belong to Him.  We are set apart, sanctified. Exclusively Christ’s own!  Not when we die, nor at the rapture, or later when we get to Heaven, but NOW.  We are His RIGHT NOW!  We belong to Him right now!

                                                          ii.      That is, if you have accepted His offer, His Contract.  The New Covenant.

a.       After the covenant or contract had been established, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare a place for His new bride, a bridal chamber in his father’s house where the bride and groom could be together.

                                                             i.       John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

                                                          ii.       Neither the bride nor groom knew WHEN the groom would return for the bride because the bridal chamber that he was preparing for his bride had to be approved of by his father. 

                                                       iii.       Mark 13:31-34 “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away. But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.”

                                                         iv.       Like so, the bride would watch for her husband’s return, anxiously, keeping the oil in her lamp full in case he came at night.  Watching and longing for his return, while preparing herself for her future with him.  All this time learning the ways of the married so as to give her husband the best marriage that she possibly could.

1.      Are we waiting anxiously for His return? 
2.      Have we been preparing ourselves for our future with Him? 
3.      Are we ready for Him to come at any time? 
4.      How will He find us? 
5.      What will we be doing when He comes? 
6.      Will we be faithfully looking and waiting for His return, or perhaps forgetting Him, turn to something else?

                                                            v.      During this period of time apart from the bride, the groom would be preparing this place.  This was typically built in his father’s house.  The chamber had to be beautiful because the bride and groom were to spend seven days there.  The chamber had to be built to the father’s specifications. 

                                                         vi.      The groom could go for the bride ONLY when his father gave his final approval of the bridal chambers.

1.      When the Father in heaven gives His final approval, Jesus will return for us, and we will spend seven years in the bridal chamber, the great feast will then take place and our table will be made before our enemies.

2.      This takes place immediately after the rapture, and the tribulation will then take place on earth for seven years.

a.       It is Jewish tradition for the groom to send gifts to the bride so she will see his appreciation and love for her and to remind her of his future coming for her.  The contract is complete, and they are already married.  It is not a matter of IF he is coming for her, just a matter of WHEN. 

b.     Jesus gave us gifts as well during this period of separation.

                                                             i.      John 14:26 – “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

                                                          ii.      Romans 12:6 “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us...”

c.      He gave us the Holy Spirit to bring into remembrance Christ’s teachings.  The Holy Spirit gives us Spiritual Gifts to edify and grow the Church, or bride, so that we may be preparing ourselves for the coming of Christ and the eternity we will be spending with Him!

a.       During the time of separation, the bride would partake in a cleansing bath called a Mikveh.  This is the same Hebrew word that is used for Baptism.  To this day in Judaism, the bride cannot marry without the Mikveh.

                                                             i.      The cleansing bath that Christ has provided for His bride during this time of separation is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. 

                                                          ii.      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.”

b.     Here we see that water baptism is called the baptism of John by Jesus...water baptism was a “symbolic” act representing a spiritual truth, which is brought by Jesus Himself.  Remember, even John said “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” - Matthew 3:11

                                                             i.      The water baptism is symbolic of the real baptism which takes place...the spiritual truth of us receiving the Holy Spirit.

                                                          ii.      Again, God used worldly things to help us understand a Spiritual Truth!

a.       When the groom’s father had approved of the bridal chambers, the groom would then go and abduct the bride secretly with her bridesmaids. 
                                                             i.      This was usually done at night.  But before he would arrive at her house, he would give a shout and blow the shofar (or Ram’s horn) to give her notice so she could grab her things for the seven day stay in the bridal chamber.  She did not know when he was going to come, but she knew he was coming!  Coming to take her to the bridal chambers for seven days of feasting and celebrations!

b.     Just as the groom came for his bride in the night without warning, so is the way Christ will come for us. 

                                                             i.      1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 – “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”

c.      Just as the groom came for the bride with a shout and a trumpet, so shall Christ come for us.

It’s not a matter of IF He will come; the question is WHEN will He come? 
Only the Father in Heaven knows. 
Are you ready?  Have you accepted Christ’s contract? 
Do you agree with the bride price? 
Have you made the commitment to Christ in your heart?