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Lesson 5: How to Be Saved *

Introduction: In our last two lessons we discussed the power of the Holy Spirit, grace and salvation. That logically leads to our study this week. What would you answer if someone asked: "How can I be saved?" Many years ago, a fellow in my Sabbath School class asked me whether he was saved. I told him I was sure that he was saved because he knew the gospel, he understood grace. However, I as I reviewed our conversation later, it occurred to me that with my focus on grace, I had not suggested that he repent of his sins. He unexpectedly died a little later. Sometimes our conversations are more important than we realize. Let's jump into our study of the Bible to be sure we know what to say when someone asks us, "How can I be saved?"

  1. Guilt

    1. Read John 16:7-8. My best friend when I was growing up no longer seems to have any interest in me. I used to see him regularly when our travel paths crossed. Because it had been decades since he attended church, I would talk to him about his salvation when I would see him. He used to say, "I've spent years in therapy to get over guilt." I would respond, "Guilt is good" - meaning that he should pay attention to his conscience. My wife says that it is my fault that we are no longer friends. What do you think, is it the work of the Holy Spirit alone to help us recognize our need to repent, or should we be helping?

      1. How are you convicted of your sin? Is it because of the words of others, or the Holy Spirit speaking to you? (I am mostly convicted of sin when I am studying the Bible. But, the words of others also help me to see things more clearly. I believe the Holy Spirit speaks through the Bible and others. However, I know that no one likes to be criticized. My friend and I used to be very open and frank with each other, but I think my wife is right that I pressed too hard.)

      2. If you are worried about the salvation of friends, co-workers, family or neighbors, what should you do? (The most fundamental rule of Christianity is love ( Matthew 22:37-40). I think that we need to love those who are not serious about God, and pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them of their need for grace.)

    2. Read 1 John 1:8. What is the problem with this person? (This person is self-deceived.)

      1. Is this common? (Read Romans 3:10-12 and Jeremiah 17:9. We all want to deceive ourselves about our sin problem, including you and me.)

      2. What does this problem suggest about us and recognizing our need to repent? (We need to give our own hearts a good, long look. Let's look more closely at this in the next section.)

  2. Repentance

    1. Read 1 John 1:9-10. What is necessary for the forgiveness of sin? (To recognize it, contrary to our natural inclination, and confess it.)

    2. Read Acts 2:37-38. What does Peter tell us to do when we are convicted of sin? (To repent and be baptized.)

      1. Notice something very odd. Peter says you will receive the Holy Spirit after you repent. How do you explain that? We previously learned that the Holy Spirit brings repentance. (We know from the Pentecost story that the Holy Spirit was already present in power. It was the Holy Spirit working with Peter and the others who convicted the listeners of their sins. Peter is telling them that in the future they can have the Holy Spirit as an active agent in leading their life and living in them.)

    3. Read Psalms 51:3-4. To whom should we confess our sins? (King David says that we only sin against God. Thus, the confession is to God.)

    4. Read Leviticus 6:1-5. Notice that this repeats the idea that sin is being unfaithful to God. But, what does it suggest we should also do? (It says that we need to make restitution. There is a personal aspect to sin that requires us to try to make things right, to the extent possible.)

    5. Read James 5:16. What does this mean? The texts we read in Psalms and Leviticus say that we sin only against God, does James disagree with this? (This seems to be more like a Christian "support group" situation in which we confess our failures and pray for each other.)

    6. After reading these texts about repentance, why do you think God tells us to repent? Why is repentance directed to God? Is there a practical reason for this?

    7. Read John 3:19-20. What reason does this text suggest that we would not want to confess our sin to God? (Because we love the sin. If we confess the sin, we are saying that we should turn away from it. Confession of sin to God is an admission that we have a problem - and that is the first step to turning away from sin.)

  3. Belief

    1. Read Mark 16:15-16. How important is belief? (It makes the difference between life and death.)

    2. What, exactly, is it that we need to believe to be saved? (Read Romans 10:9-10. We need to believe that Jesus is our Lord, that He died for our sins, and that He was raised to eternal life. We need to believe that He did that for us, and that if we accept what He has done for us, we have died and will be raised in Him to live eternally.)

    3. If Jesus is our substitute, if belief in Him gives us salvation, why do we need to repent and confess our sins? (I've not completely worked this out in my mind, and my thoughts at this point are tentative, but I think that it has a great deal to do with our decision to turn away from sin and turn to God. This is not so much about single sins as it is about areas of sin in our life. We give God all of our life.)

  4. Salvation Illustration

    1. Read Matthew 22:2-3. Often we learn something more easily when it is illustrated with a story. What is this story about? (It is an illustration of the Kingdom of Heaven.)

    2. Read Matthew 22:4-6. Why did the invited guests not come to this wedding? (They were either indifferent or hostile.)

      1. Does that describe the world today?

    3. Read Matthew 22:8-10. What kind of people ended up coming? (Both good and bad.)

      1. What was most important to these people coming to the wedding -- which we learned represents the Kingdom of Heaven? (That they came. They were not indifferent, they were not hostile, they made the decision to come.)

        1. Is that what is really meant by repenting of sin? That we decide to come to God?

        2. Did these street people have help in coming? (Notice that they were "gathered." God encourages us to be saved.)

    4. Read Matthew 22:11. Where do you think the guests got their wedding clothes? (They had been in the streets, they must have received them from the King when they came to the wedding.)

    5. Read Matthew 22:12. Why was the man "speechless?" (He had no excuse. This is further proof that the wedding garment was a gift - all he had to do was accept it!)

    6. Read Matthew 22:13-14. After considering this story, what do you think God means when He says, "few are chosen?" (God cannot mean few are invited. He cannot mean that merit is the basis for being chosen because both good and bad came. What God must mean is that few chose the free gift of the wedding garment. Few accept the free gift of Jesus' righteousness.)

      1. Why do you think that is? (People love sin more than they love God.)

  5. Freedom

    1. Read John 8:31-32. What happens after we receive the free gift of salvation? (We hold to the teachings of Jesus.)

      1. Why? By obedience do we merit salvation? (No. Our robe of righteousness is a free gift. In obedience we experience the freedom of a life well lived. We experience the freedom of being released from the slavery of sin. We experience the freedom of walking with God! All of this reflects our decision to love God rather than sin.S)

    2. Friend, what will you say when someone asks you how to be saved? How about this: Repent of your sins, accept the life, death and resurrection of Jesus through baptism, accept righteousness as a free gift of God, and then experience the freedom of living a life in accord with God's will. If you have not accepted salvation, why not accept right now?

  6. Next week: Growing in Christ.
* Copr. 2014, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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