The Great Salvation
Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.† 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,† 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,† 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?†
These verses stress how important is that we pay close attention to what we have been taught is Scriptures because if we donít, we can drift away from what we have been taught. We know this to be true in just about anything we might get involved in. For example, I used to work copiers for about 13 years before I started preaching. While it has only been 4 years since I stopped working on them, I can tell that I have forgotten some things that I used to know with ease and in another 4 years I will find it even more challenging to remember all the tricks I learned.
The same thing happens when we neglect Godís Word. At first, we will remember what it said, but after awhile things will start become fuzzy and the longer we stay away from His Word the harder it will be for us to recall it, which is why we can drift away from the truth when we neglect it.
These verses make a comparison between the old Law and the new Law of Christ. He points out how the law that was spoken by angels or messengers was steadfast or trustworthy because what was said came from God and those who broke that law received a just penalty. Since that law or teaching was true, the new law that was first taught by Jesus should be considered even more trustworthy because He is the Son of God.
If those under the Law of Moses could not escape the wrath of God what makes us think that we can escape the wrath of God under the new law given by His Son, which was proven by signs and miracles.
The answer is, there will be no escape, so we need to take heed to the warning and not neglect the Word of God or we will drift away. But why is salvation so great?
First, I would say that salvation is great because it came at high cost.
John 3:16 "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.†
If you have children, I want to think about how hard it would be for you to willingly give up your son or your daughter to become a sacrifice for mankind so they could have chance at having salvation. We need to keep in mind that only a few will actually take advantage of that salvation. Would you be willing to do it? Well, God was and this was His only begotten Son.†
Romans 5:6 For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.† 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.† 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.†
God loved us enough that He was willing to purchase our salvation with the blood of His Son and He did is this knowing that Jesus would be rejected by His own people and He even knew that He would tortured to death. While most would never give up their child for sinners, God did. This is one reason salvation is so great because God does not owe us anything, and we donít deserve His love or His grace, but He offers it to us anyway.
Jesus also did this for us willingly. He left the riches of heavenly home to become poor so that we might become rich. Not only did He bring about a new covenant for all people, He also purchased the church with own blood (Acts 20:28). The church, which is described as His body is very important to Him and He will only save those that choose be part of His body because He is the savior of the body (Eph. 5:23).
Another reason salvation is so great is because Jesus is the author of it.
Since Jesus was willing to come to the earth to die for us for the purpose of offering salvation, it is only fitting that He is the author of it.
Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.† 9 And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,
The reason is so great that Jesus is the author of eternal salvation is because He understands us. He knows what it feels like to be tempted and tried. He understands why we fail to do what is right sometimes because He has lived our life as:
Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.† 15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.† 16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Even though Jesus never gave into sin, He can relate to us and this makes Him the best author of eternal salvation. We can know with confidence that He will be fair with us when it comes to our weakness, and He will know the best way to help us. Knowing that Jesus is in our corner gives us the confidence we need to come before Godís thrown with boldness knowing that when we pray to God for help that He will help us in our time of need.
Whenever we choose to embrace the salvation that God offers through His Son, we get to have this wonderful avenue of prayer of where we can pray to our God, praising Him, and letting Him know about all our troubles, and we can know that He is listening and answering our prayers.
Jesus is also the author of faith.
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,† 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is our example, and He showed us that it is possible to stay steadfast in our faith. While I wish we could be perfect like Jesus was, we cannot, but if we want to enjoy the great salvation that has been given to us by Jesusí perfect obedience to Godís will, then we must learn to be obedient as well.
Since Jesus is our perfect example for embracing salvation, we should look to Him and keep our eye on Him so when sin enters our life and tries to pull us down, we can look toward Jesus and the example He has left us to help give us the strength we need to break free from our sin. Paul expressed this attitude in:
Philippians 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.† 13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
So, salvation is great because when we have it, Jesus will be there to give us power over our sin.
Another reason salvation is great is because it takes away sin.
This is why Jesus gave His life for us, so that we could have our sins removed and be reconciled to God. One of the first things that Jesus commanded His disciples to do after He was raised from the dead was The Great Commission.
Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.† 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,† 20 "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.
Mark 16:15 And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.† 16 "He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.
Jesus did not die for us so that salvation would be limited to only a few or that we should take our salvation and keep it ourselves. No, Jesus commands us to take the good news of salvation to the world so that they may learn about what Jesus has done for us, and so they might have the opportunity to choose to embrace salvation.
Jesusí apostles did not disobey this command, because we find them in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost gathered together as Jesus had told them to, and on that day, the Holy Spirit was poured out them as promised by Jesus, and the great noise that was heard drew thousands of people to them and the 12 apostles stood up and began to proclaim Jesus death, burial, and resurrection as the spoke in different languages by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Now this did not impress some of them because as they were speaking in these different languages some thought they were just speaking gibberish and accused them of being drunk, but Peter assured them they were not drunk because it was 9 in the morning. When they finished preaching many of those gathered were pricked in their heart and they realized what they had done to their Messiah and they asked an important question:
Acts 2:37 †Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
Notice, their question was asked to all the apostles, and they wanted to know what they should do. I wish more people today would get to point their life to ask this question when it comes to obtaining salvation. Notice the response:
Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.† 39 "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."† 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation."† 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.
These people already believed that Jesus was the Son of God and that had died for them and was raised from the dead, but more than belief was necessary for their salvation. Peter lets them know that they must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of sin and they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
The only other step not
specifically mentioned here is confessing Jesus as Lord as commanded in
All these commands must be followed in order to have salvation and we cannot separate them. However, we do learn from our text that the final command that causes us to have our sins removed is by being baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of our sins. Without baptism, your sins will remain with you and salvation will not be yours. The same thing can said about any of these other commands.
If you do not believe, repent, or confess and you are simply baptized, then all you have done has gotten wet because you have not followed the instructions of the author of our eternal salvation.
Out of the thousands of people that had gathered about 3000 of them accepted what they heard and they were baptized and they were added to them, which means that they were added to the church. Their baptism did not add them to a denomination or any other manmade institution, no they were added to the church that Jesus bought and paid for with His blood and they were added to the church by God as:
Acts 2:47 †And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.
Once again, Paul makes it clear that baptism is the point that happens in:
1 Corinthians 12:13 †For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body
I have already mentioned that Jesus is the savior of the body in Eph. 5:23, so it stands to reason that if you want to have the great salvation offered by God, then you have to be in His church, and the final command that puts you into the church or we could say the body of Christ is baptism.
When you read through the book of acts you find that the disciples of Christ spread the good news of Jesus all over the known world, and they all taught the same thing. Do you know what two commands are always emphasized in the conversions in Acts. Number 1 is belief and number two is baptism. Peter rightly said:
1 Peter 3:21 There is also an antitype which now saves us -- baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
I could say whole lot more about this topic, but I have said enough that the honest heart can know that Godís Word teaches plainly that if we want to obtain salvation, we must love Jesus enough to obey His Word, which includes believing He is the Son of God, repenting, confessing Him as our Lord, and yes we must be baptized in the name of Christ for the remission of our sins before God adds us the church that Jesus will save.
Another great thing about salvation is that is available to everyone.
God wants everyone to be saved and He wants everyone to know the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
1 Timothy 2:3 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,† 4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
Calvinism teaches that some people are destined to be saved or lost no matter what, but that teaching contradicts the Scriptures we just read because God does not operate that way. Peter figured this out when he was told to go the Gentiles for the first time. He came to this conclusion:
Acts 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth and said: "In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.† 35 "But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.†
So no one can say that salvation is not meant for them, which is why salvation is so great.
Our last reason for today of why salvation is great is because it gives us hope.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
When we obey the Gospel and we are baptized into Christ, we receive all the spiritual blessing that are found in Him. One of those blessing is hope:
Colossians 1:27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
When we are in Christ, we have the hope of a heavenly home with God for eternity. When times get tough, and bad things are happing all around us or to us, we can cling to the hope that salvation has been given us. This is the attitude that Paul had:
Romans 8:18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 19 For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
In other places, he tells to keep pressing on to our goal of getting to heaven. I do want point out that once we have salvation, we can choose to loose it. You cannot find the teaching once save always saved in the Bible. If all we had to do was obey the Gospel call and get baptized into the church, then why is the NT filled with warnings about the possibility of falling away, and why do the writers encourage us to fight the good fight of faith and keep sound doctrine, and walk in the light if there is no chance for us to lose our salvation?
Jesus makes clear in:
Revelation 2:10 †Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.
Do not be fooled, we can lose our salvation if we choose to. As we come to close of our lesson, I hope it has shown you why salvation is so great, and why we should want to obtain it and keep it because it makes the difference between us spending eternity in heaven and spending eternity in hell. Again, I want to read the passage we started out with the morning:
†Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.† 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward,† 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him,† 4 God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?†
If you are here this morning and you have been neglecting to put Godís Word into your heart, I hope this lesson will encourage to start taking time out of your busy life and study Godís Word so that you donít find yourself drifting away from God because you will not be able to escape the wrath of God if you do.
If you are hear this morning and you have never been saved. I have shown from the Word of God of what He says is necessary for salvation, but I cannot force you to believe it. You have to choose whether you are going to listen to Godís Word or to yourself or someone else. So, if you are ready to embrace the great salvation that Jesus has offered you by believing in Him, repenting, confessing Him as Lord and yes being baptizing in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins then why not come forward and make today the day of your salvation. Make today the day you are added to the church by God.