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Lesson 4: Salvation and the End Time *

Introduction: What separates true Christianity from every other religious belief system in the world? It is that Christians understand that they are saved by faith alone, and not by their works. Other religious systems involve some sort of work to "purify" your life or please the god that you serve. True Christianity is especially hard for those who live in a culture that believes hard work will be rewarded with success. How can you have a philosophy of work that is so opposed to your theology? It is difficult. That is why so many Christians are unwittingly serving Satan when they write articles suggesting that Christians who do not meet their rigorous religious standards are lost. Let's dive into our study of the Bible and learn the difference between salvation and the Christian walk towards holiness!

  1. The Path to Salvation

    1. Read John 14:1-4. If you were listening to Jesus, what should you immediately ask yourself? (I would check to be sure that, in fact, I knew "the way to the place" Jesus was going.)

    2. Read John 14:5. How would you rate Thomas's question? (I give him an "A." Have you noticed that some unpretentious student will ask the question on the minds of all of the rest?)

    3. Read John 14:6. Thomas believes that the answer to his question is a physical destination. That is what I would have concluded had I been sitting next to Thomas. What does Jesus say is "the way to the place where I am going?" (It is not a place, it is a person: through Jesus. The way to heaven is through Jesus.)

    4. Read Romans 10:1-2. Were these Israelites hard workers? (Yes! You would look at them and say they are "observant." They are on the "straight path.")

      1. Is there something wrong with this? (They are not properly educated. They do not understand God's ways.)

    5. Read Romans 10:3-4. What is the defect in the knowledge of these zealous followers of God? (They think righteousness comes from their own works.)

      1. Are they rebels against God? (Yes. As strange as that label seems, the Bible tells us they did not "submit" to "God's righteousness.")

      2. Is keeping the law the path to righteousness? (No. This says that "Christ is the end of the law," so that cannot be the path to righteousness. Instead, the Bible says "so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes." Belief in Jesus is the path to righteousness.)

    6. Read Romans 10:9-11. How is this belief that saves us described? (You confess that Jesus is God. You believe that by Jesus' life, works and resurrection you are saved. This confession and belief is the path to heaven. If you trust Jesus for your salvation, "you will never be put to shame.")

    7. Let's go back and read a text we recently studied. Read Revelation 22:12-15. What is it that the righteous, who hold a pass to enter heaven, have done? (They have washed their robes. Revelation 7:14 makes it absolutely clear what this means: "They washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." They relied on the perfect life and the atoning death of Jesus.)

      1. Look again at Revelation 22:15. What have the wicked done? (A whole list of sins.)

      2. Have heaven's pass-holders done the same things? Could these things describe them? (Apparently this is irrelevant for the Bible does not say. We don't know what specific sins have been "washed" out of the robes of the righteous. We are told two things: these works entitle you to eternal death. Washing your robe in the righteousness of Jesus (whatever the original condition of your robe) gives you a pass to heaven. The saved understand and accept this. See Romans 10:2-3.)

    8. Read Matthew 7:21. Does this text cast doubt on our understanding of what we have been reading? (It might. So, we need to understand it.)

    9. Read Matthew 7:22-23. Are these people, who will be denied a pass into heaven, all talk? (No. They have done some tremendous works. These works are more impressive then the works of most Christians I know!)

      1. What should these lost individuals have done? (Known Jesus.)

      2. Let's revisit Jesus' conversation with Thomas. Re-read John 14:6-7. What is Thomas's problem? (He does not know Jesus. He does not understand that "no one comes to the Father except through Me." You do not come to the Father by your own tremendous works. That is why Jesus tells those who claim their (powerful) works as the basis for salvation, that they do not know Jesus. They do not understand the path to salvation runs only through Jesus.)

  2. Understanding the Path to Holiness

    1. Let's continue with the disciples' conversation with Jesus. Read John 14:9-14. This is a long reading, but I think we need read the verses together to understand Jesus' instruction. What is the purpose of the miracles Jesus performed? (To inspire belief that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God.)

      1. If these miracles are to prove that Jesus is the Messiah, why does Jesus say that His followers will do "greater things than these?" Are we showing people that we are with God? (That misses the point. Verse 13 tells us that the miracles we do result in "the Son" bringing "glory to the Father.")

    2. Read John 14:15. Why do you think this is true? I loved my parents, but sometimes I did not obey them. (Consider the context. Jesus is discussing how we can bring glory to God. Obeying God's commands brings glory to God. If you love God, you will want to bring Him glory.)

    3. Read John 14:16-17. Why does Jesus immediately speak of the Holy Spirit? (The Holy Spirit is the One who gives us the insight, the conviction and the power to obey - to do the works.)

    4. Let's skip down a few verses to tie this together. Read John 14:26. How does this describe the role of the Holy Spirit in our lives?

    5. Read John 14:23-24. What is the additional value of obeying God? (God will love us and make His home with us.)

      1. I thought that God loved everyone! Romans 5:8 says that God loved "sinners" so much He died for them. How do you understand John 14:23? (I think this means more than the general love that God has for all sinners. This means that God will bless your life with His presence.)

      2. Read Psalms 91:14-16. What details does this add to the idea that our love relationship with God improves our lives?

    6. Read 1 John 2:3-6. Why do you think John used the term "walk" to describe the life of someone who loves Jesus? (This is the progressive life. A life in which you advance towards holiness.)

  3. Preach It!

    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. What does this say should be done with the "eternal gospel?" (It should be proclaimed to those who live on earth.)

      1. How does this angel describe the eternal gospel? (To fear and worship God. The Creator God is Jesus. John 1:1-5, 14.)

      2. What else does the angel ask us to do? ("Give Him glory." Our obedient life gives glory to God.)

    2. Read Revelation 14:8. How are the lost described? (They have drunk the "wine" of adultery - infidelity to God. Do you see how this is a call to make a choice? It is not a discussion of whether you have committed specific sins. The line dividing the good from the bad has to do with allegiance. Recall our discussion of Romans 10:9-10. Have you accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?)

    3. Friend, don't miss this message. You are saved by grace alone - none of it has to do with your works. But, once saved, you want to bring glory to God because you love Him. You do that by being obedient. The great thing about obedience is that it blesses you. Obedience results from your love for God. It is not the key to your salvation. But, your life should reflect a "walk" towards greater obedience, a walk towards holiness! Do you understand your assurance of salvation is based on accepting Jesus? If so, confess and believe in Jesus right now! Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you begin your walk towards holiness.

  4. Next week: Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary.
* Copr. 2018, 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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