Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
303-665-6105
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March 18 – In Constant Need Of Saving

Introduction:  Grace be to you and peace, from God our Father, and from our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Our text is the Gospel Lesson just read, John 3:14-21.  We begin with prayer.

Dear fellow disciples of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ:

  • One of the more resistant certainties that most people have, is the notion we are basically good – and competent in all spiritual matters.  I say “we” because people tend to hold this belief, this assumption, in regard to themselves, but also believe that they can determine those “other people” who do not have this same moral compass and goodness.
  • But if in fact, we and all other human beings “love the darkness rather than the light,” then this basic assumption is flawed – and is in fact an aspect of darkness and delusion that “we love.”  So this faith in our inherent goodness is highly resistant to change, and most people are willing to defend it to the bitter end.
  • This leaves Christians, and genuine Christian pastors, in a rather difficult position – Jesus, and those who believe His teachings,  appear to others to be terribly uncharitable in our judgment of mankind.  We seem to be a small group of “misanthropes,” man-haters.  So, just as Jesus, we begin any discussion of spiritual realities, and the Gospel, swimming against the current of “common sense.”
  • But again – we learn from Jesus’ own Words that this popular conception of the natural goodness of mankind is precisely part of the “darkness” that people love, and this makes it all the more important for us not to capitulate, but to continue asserting the reality, the truth.  We are much like a doctor working with a patient who is in denial about a potentially fatal condition, trying to convince that patient that something must done for them or they will perish – the patient all the while rejecting the doctor’s judgment as ridiculous.  And we would all agree – the doctor should not give up in his remonstrating with the patient, just because the patient wants him to, and thus leave the patient to die.
  • So we must understand clearly that:

 

I.  All People By Nature Love Darkness Rather Than The Light And The Truth Revealed By God’s Word

 

Text:  “This is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light.”

 

A.  This Is In Fact How We All Come Into This World – Born Dead  In Trespasses And Sins

 

Epist.  “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.”

 

B.  And We Are By Nature Impenitent, Unwilling To Acknowledge Or Confess Our Sins

 

Text:  “People loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.”

 

C.  So Human Beings By Nature Are Compelled To Reject God’s Word, And Those Who Are Servants Of God’s Word – We Are By Nature Rebellious, Children Of Wrath, And Doomed To Perish

 

Epist:  “Among whom we once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath.”

 

Statement:

  • One of the clever ruses that the devil uses to confuse human beings and to obscure the reality of human sin, is to present sin as being “atomistic,” just one time events.  With selective memory we can forget most of our sins, and provide well rehearsed excuses and rationalizations for our more dastardly sins – and just this mental process alone keeps us too busy to recognize the vast majority of our sins.  And wrapped up in this challenge of justifying ourselves, we don’t even realize that this is, in and of itself, fleeing from the light, and an exercise in self-delusion.

 

Application:

  • This, of course, is no solution to our problem of “trespasses and sins,” our spiritual “deadness” – no more than a person with a terminal illness can save himself by merely denying that he is ill.
  • I have to admit – it is difficult to swallow that we really are this filled with darkness, delusion, and deceit, but hard as it is, it is the truth.  What we judge in others, the darkness and wickedness we see in them, this also exists in each of us – and the worst of it is our propensity, our insistence upon defending it.

 

Transition:  But, if we are willing to see the reality – and the evidences of the truthfulness of the assertions of God’s Word regarding human sin and darkness are abundant – then we will understand that we are “IN CONSTANT NEED OF SAVING.”  God knows this – and He wants us to know it as well, for then we will surely be receptive to the reality of God’s love, that:

 

II.  God Has Provided Us With Constant Mercy, Forgiveness, And Salvation In Christ Jesus

 

A.  We Have Redemption Through His Cross

 

Text:  “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believers in Him may have eternal life.”

 

Eph. 1:7  “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”

 

Text:  “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.”

B.  This Great Redemption Is Received Through Faith In Jesus, And This Faith And Newness Of Life Is Also The Gracious Gift Of God

 

Epist.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

 

C.  And It Is This New Life Of Faith In Christ, Powered By God, That Alone Can Produce And Empower Goodness In Human Beings

 

Epist.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

 

Statement:

 

  • What a wondrous thing, that in spite of our love of darkness, our deadness in trespasses and sins, and our revulsion to the light of truth and God’s love, that still God loved us and sent His Son to be our Savior – and that in Him we have redemption, because His blood cleanses us from all sin.
  • And what a wondrous thing, that by His own power, God has given us the gift of faith and salvation – by His own work, so that we too might be saved through faith!  What power that must be to turn human hearts back to the light!
  • And if we were dead to doing any good, it is a miraculous resurrection that God should prepare, ordain, and empower us to do good works!

 

Application:

 

  • So these two systems of belief are quite at odds – and contain quite different views of mankind, of God, and of our relationship with God.  So it should not surprise us that the lifestyles, perspectives, judgments, and priorities should also be quite different – between those who “hate the light” versus those living in the light, whose “deeds have been carried out in God.”
  • But how blessed you are if you are in fact living in the light – for you know that God has provided you with constant forgiveness, mercy, and salvation as you put your faith, trust, and confidence not in yourself but in Jesus Christ, the Son of God!

 

Conclusion:

 

  • So, one of the chief differences that results is that some wish to remain in the darkness, making no changes, whereas believers in Jesus are eager to experience and effect great changes, repenting of their sin and trespasses, and eager to get to those good works which God has prepared for us to walk in.  Then we too will be doing “what is true,” and when in the light it will be apparent that our “deeds have been carried out in God.”
  • So remain firm in the faith to which God has called you – repenting of sin and darkness, rejoicing in the light of God’s love, and allowing Him to be doing His work in you.  We do not create our own goodness, but we have been “created in Christ Jesus for good works.”  Thanks and praise be to God!  Amen.

 

Votum:  And the peace of God, which surpasses all human understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds in the true faith, which is in Christ Jesus, even unto life everlasting, Amen.