Before we begin with John Chapter 3, we need to take a look at Acts 16. If you ask the question," How can I be saved? " Most teachers will point you to Acts 16:30, where the Philippian jailer asks Paul and Silas, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
They fail to consider the context of that statement. There had been a great earthquake, which caused the prison doors to be opened and the prisoner's chains were loosed. The jailer was not asking about his eternal salvation. He was obviously talking about his present circumstances, and feared for his life.
" Saved " can have four different meanings. It can mean saved from the effects of a natural calamity as in Acts 16:30. It can mean protected or defended, as in Luke 1:71. It can mean healed, as it does in Luke 7:50. And, saved can mean saved in the eternal sense,- saved from hell and judgment, as it does in John 3:16 and a number of other places in scripture, where it almost always indicates saved in the future. Words like will, and shall, indicate that the verse is talking about being saved in the future, when one really needs to be saved, not in the present, when there is no real imminent danger, or threat.
It is in John chapter 3 where we come as close as possible to answering the eternal question, " How can I escape hell and go to heaven? "
John chapter 3 is divided into two parts. From verse 1 to verse 21, Jesus is talking to Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee, who came to Jesus secretly, to ask Him some questions. Most of this section consists of direct quotes from Jesus, Himself. The second part, from verse 22 to the end of the chapter is about the teaching of John the Baptist.
There is much confusion concerning the teaching of 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. "
This verse is a part of the teaching that Jesus gave to Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee. It must be taken in that context. Nicodemus was told in three different ways, that it is necessary to be born again, or more accurately, born from above. Therefore, John 3:16 is still talking about people who have been born again by the Spirit. John 1:12,13 teaches us that those who " BELIEVE " are the ones who have first been born of God.
Tragically, many quote this verse, and think that since they have " believed " they are on the way to heaven. They have been taught that they have been " saved " and that there is nothing that can cause them to lose their salvation.
The problem with that kind of thinking is that this is not what this scripture says. John 3:16 is a statement of fact, concerning those who have been born from above, not an instruction in how to get to heaven. It is certainly true that if we have been born from above, and are living our lives truly believing ( or better translated trusting ) in Jesus, and obeying his teachings, we will not perish but have everlasting life. That Greek word, πιστευων, usually translated " believe " is better translated "trust", and is talking about a lifetime of trusting in the teachings of Jesus and obeying His commandments.
Salvation is a process. It is NOT A PROCESS BY WHICH WE DO WORKS TO GET SAVED. It is a PROCESS, BY WHICH GOD WORKS IN US, first by giving us the new birth, or born from above experience, and then by guiding us, and helping us along the difficult pathway. We need His help and His guidance on a daily basis. We do not obey Him to get saved. The new heart and new spirit, which God puts within us, make us delight in serving Him.
Let's look again at what the Bible says:
" For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us, WHO ARE BEING SAVED, it is the power of God. "
1 Corinthians 1:18
" For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those, WHO ARE BEING SAVED, and among those, who are perishing. "
2 Corinthians 2:15
Many teachers quote verses such as:
" ... whoever calls on the name of the LORD SHALL BE SAVED, "
( but ignore that is is in the future tense, not the present! )
Sirs, what must I do to be saved? So they said, " Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you WILL BE SAVED, you and your household. "
( Future tense, not present! )
There are some 28 scripture references like this in which the tense is not past, but future. It is future! Many teachers ignore this and teach a present day salvation experience, rather than a present day born again ( born from above ) experience.
The Bible says," By their fruits, you shall know them. " Many, who boast that they are saved, show by their conduct, that they surely are not either saved or born again. Many sincere christians mistakenly and tragically, call their friends, children, or other family members
" saved " on the basis of a sinner's prayer, or other act, when their lifestyles are living proof, that they have not yet been born-again ( born from above ).
There is a test in First Corinthians 6. This was written to Christians!
" Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. "
1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Are those, kinds of activities, things that you used to do, or things that you are still doing? If those are things that you are still doing,- I don't care who told you that you were saved. You are lost and headed for hell.
There is another test in the book of Galatians. Hear what Paul says:
" I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But IF YOU ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that THOSE WHO PRACTICE SUCH THINGS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD. "
No, you are not saved, or born from above, by works. But if you are truly born from above, your desires and your actions, will show yourself and others, that you are truly different, than you were before. If you have been truly born from above, you have become a new creation.
There are many professing christians, who are living sinful lifestyles just like the unbelievers. I know individuals, who tell people that they were " saved " on such and such a date, yet they show daily, by their lifestyles, that they are just as lost as ever, and headed for hell.
Scripture says that God looks at the heart of a person. We are told," There is none righteous, no not one." And," All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." How foolish it is for police officers, and prosecutors, and judges, and others in authority, to be thinking in terms of good people and bad people! All people are bad, until God changes their hearts! For a person to be truly born from above, God has to change the heart, and give the person a new human spirit.
There is no magic formula for this, but I believe that the person, who shows God that he/she really wants a new heart, will receive it. That is how the new covenant is described in the old. ( Jeremiah 31:31-34 & Ezekiel 11:17-20 )
When people are living together as man and wife, without being married, that is called fornication! They are on their way to hell! When people are having sex with those of the same sex, they are on their way to hell! The Bible says so!
So, how can you receive that new heart and human spirit that God wants to give you? How do you become a new creation? It is not by going through some ceremony.
Get by yourself alone, somewhere that only God can hear you. Tell Him that you want to surrender control of your old life, and all of your sin. Ask Him to give you a heart to do things His way, and to serve Him. Ask Him to give you the new life that He wants to give you. Ask Him to make you the kind of person that He wants you to be.
If you haven't done this, or still don't know how, we would like to help you become truly born from above, and demonstrate it by your lifestyle, so that you will be able to be confident about your future. Click the Contact Us link, below, and tell us about your situation.
Our Sunday AM services are being held at the Mexico Beach Civic Center. In accordance with federal laws, we have permission to use this heated, and air conditioned, facility on Sunday mornings at 10:00 AM central time. We begin with a short time of greeting and fellowship, and then TJ leads us in worship. After the service we have holy communion, a time when people can request prayer, especially for healing, and sometimes, a pot luck luncheon.
The Mexico Beach Civic Center is located at 105 N. 31st Street. It is the white building with the dark green roof, which is just behind that new Mexico Beach restaurant, Mango Marley's. It is behind Parker Realty, and is on the northeast side of Rte 98. It is about 7/10 mile south of the Mexico Beach Welcome Center. For a map showing the location of the Mexico Beach Civic Center, click below the photo:
Mexico Beach Civic Center
Map of Civic Center Area
God Bless you!
Would you like to know more about the return of Jesus Christ?
Check out this page: Jesus Is Coming Soon!
The number of visitors to this page is: