THANKFUL FOR SALVATION by Pastor Shah, Clearview Church, Henderson
Introduction: How many of ya’ll love dad jokes? Here are some Thanksgiving dad jokes:
- “What is a turkey’s favorite dessert? Peach gobbler!”
- “What did the turkey say to the computer? Google, google, google.”
- “Why did the cranberries turn red? Because they saw the turkey dressing!”
- “What do you call a turkey on the day after Thanksgiving? Lucky.”
- “What music did the Pilgrims listen to at the first Thanksgiving? Plymouth Rock!”
- “Why can’t you take a turkey to church? Because they use fowl language.”
We’re in our series called “Thankful,” to prepare us for the Holiday Season, and this is the final message titled “Thankful for Salvation.” What I have discovered is that the more we grow in the Christian life, the more grateful we become for our salvation. In other words, the longer we are Christians, the more we’re amazed at why God would save someone like us. Today we’ll meet someone who towards the end of his life, in spite of his circumstances, was truly amazed and grateful for being saved.
1 Timothy 1 12“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting meinto the ministry, 13although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I diditignorantly in unbelief. 14And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. 15This isa faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
Question: How thankful are you for your salvation? How do you see yourself in comparison to others? Are you saved?
Context: If there’s one word that is constantly found in Paul’s letters, it’s the word “charis.” Many of you may have heard it before. It is translated “grace.” Paul constantly used it in his letters, especially in his opening and closing: Opening – “Graceto you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”; Closing – “The graceof our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.”That word was much more than just a polite greeting. For Paul, that word was a reference to the saving act of God in Christ Jesus.But, that word “charis” in certain forms also had the meaning of “thankfulness.”Paul used it often to express thankfulness to God for his salvation.In this message we are going to learn from Paul how to be thankful for our salvation:
I. ACKNOWLEDGE OUR WEAKNESS.
12“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting meinto the ministry.”
Background:That word “enabled” means “to be strengthened.” Paul was thanking God for giving him the strengthen but also continually strengthening him. Now, there is a mistranslation here. It should not be “because” but “that.” Here’s a better translation: “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled/strengthened me, that He counted me faithful/trustworthy, putting meinto the ministry.” What he is saying is that in his own self he could not have served God. He is giving God all the credit.
Illustration:Parents have to help a toddler walk. Then they try to pull away.
Application:Do you understand how weak you are? Do you see how much you need Christ to enable you? Do you give him thanks?
II. REMEMBER YOUR FALLENNESS.
13“although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy…”
Few weeks ago, I preached a sermon titled “The Witness Stand” in which we looked at Paul’s conversion and transformation from a Spectator to an Accomplice, from an Accomplice to a Criminal, from a Criminal to a Master Mind, and, finally, from a Master Mind to the Most Wanted. What do you do when you have a Most Wanted on the loose? You have to bring in the big guns. Jesus himself had to come and capture Paul. He made a raid on him on the road to Damascus, tackled him to the ground, blinded him, and took him into custody. What was the result? The Chief Suspect became a Chief Witness to the gospel. I don’t want to repeat that sermon.
“…but I obtained mercy because I diditignorantly in unbelief.” Mercy came to Paul but he could have resisted it. There are 2 kinds of unbeliefs:Ignorant Unbelief and Deliberate Unbelief. Jesus encountered a lot of deliberate unbelief. John 8 22So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?” 23And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I amHe,you will die in your sins.” 25Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” Paul asked the same question. And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” 27They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.”
Illustration: There’s a man who is constantly rejecting the gospel when I have witnessed to him.
14“And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
God had to show me graceand give me faithand even reach out to me in loveto save me. Paul uses the Greek word “huperpleonazo.” Huper is the word that gives us “hyper.” The cross is hypergrace, faith, and love.
Application:Do you remember where God found you? Are you still lost? Is it ignorant unbelief or is it deliberate? Listen again to Jesus in John 9 39And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 40Thensomeof the Pharisees who were with Him heard these words, and said to Him, “Are we blind also?” 41Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains.”
III. WORSHIP WITH GRATEFULNESS.
15This isa faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
Background:Paul is so overwhelmed by what he is sharing with Timothy that he launches into praise God for his salvation.
16However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.
Application:Do you see your life and circumstances as a tool to bring others to Christ?
17Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, behonor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Background:Most scholars believe that Paul wrote this letter to Timothy in the last 2-3 years of his life before he was martyred. The point is that what we read earlier is not from Paul who just got saved but from Paul who had been saved for a while. We also should become more and more grateful for our salvation as we grow in our Christian life.
Do you express your gratefulness to God for your salvation? Are you saved?
So, what is the gospel?
- Jesus brought God’s kingdom into the world.
- He is Christ, God’s Anointed King.
- He died on the cross for our sins, according to Scriptures.
- He was buried but rose again on the third day, according to Scriptures and was seen by many.
- Repent – change of thinking about sin, self, and Savior.
- Believe – trust that Jesus is God’s Son who has paid the penalty of our sins and he can remove the guilt of sin and give eternal life.
- Follow – as our King, we are to obey and follow him no matter the cost. Without this element, the gospel is not the true gospel. First, the decision and then, one day, the test.
Invitation: Are you ready to follow Jesus your King?