The exclusivity of salvation and inclusivity of Christianity, part 1

Introduction:

Mr. Johnson, a businessman from Wisconsin, went on a business trip to Louisiana. He immediately sent an e-mail back to his wife, Jean. Unfortunately, he mistyped a letter and the e-mail ended up going to a Mrs. Joan Johnson, the wife of a preacher who just passed away.

 The preacher’s wife took one look at the e-mail and promptly fainted. When she was finally revived, she nervously pointed to the message, which read: “Arrived safely, but it sure is hot down here!”

Well, the Bible does teach the salvation is opened to everyone through Christ.

Chuck Swindoll writes:

Shortly after World War II came to a close, Europe began picking up the pieces. Much of the old country had been ravaged by war and was in ruins. Perhaps the saddest sight of all was that of little orphaned children starving in the streets of those war-torn cities.

Early one chilly morning an American soldier was making his way back to the barracks in London. As he turned the corner in his jeep, he spotted a little lad with his nose pressed to the window of a pastry shop. Inside, the cook was kneading dough for a fresh batch of doughnuts. The hungry boy stared in silence, watching every move. The soldier pulled his jeep to the curb, stopped, got out, and walked quietly over to where the little fellow was standing. Through the steamed-up window, he could see the mouth-watering morsels being pulled from the oven, piping hot. The boy salivated and released a slight groan as he watched the cook place them onto the glass-enclosed counter ever so carefully.

The soldier’s heart went out to the nameless orphan as he stood beside him.

“Son . . . would you like some of those?”
The boy was startled, “Oh, yeah . . . I would!”

The American stepped inside and bought a dozen, put them in a bag, and walked back to where the lad was standing in the foggy cold of the London morning. The soldier smiled, held out the bag, and said simply: “Here you are.” As he turned to walk away, he felt a tug on his coat.

He looked back and heard the child ask quietly: “Mister . . . are you God?”

We are never more like God than when we give. “God so loved the world, that He gave” (John 3:16).

Let me encourage you, in spite of the high cost of giving and the small number of servant-models you may see around you, to determine to be different. God tells us He “loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7), and He promises us that the one “who is generous will be blessed” (Proverbs 22:9). Let’s believe Him!

Deep down inside most Christians I know is a deep-seated desire to release instead of keep . . . to give instead of grab. It is worth whatever it takes to let that start happening. Moms, dads, singles, kids, teachers, preachers, businessmen, professionals, blue-collar workers, students—it is worth it!

Become a giver . . . and watch God open the hearts of others to Himself. We are never more godlike than when we give.[1]

God so loved the world that He gave… think about our salvation. Praise God for our salvation. Ask God to give you the joy of your salvation (Psalm 51:12). Okay, so we continue the sermon series on Scriptures that I have been convicted to pray for my children. Today, we come to a Theological Truth. I desire that my children and descendants understand the exclusivity of salvation and the inclusivity of Christianity recognizing John 3:16-18 and John 14:6 as well as Luke 9:23 and Galatians 2:20. Today, let’s look at John 3:16-18 as well as John 14:6.

My theme today is: pray that your children and descendants understand the exclusivity of salvation and the inclusivity of Christianity recognizing John 3:16-18 and John 14:6 as well as Luke 9:23 and Galatians 2:20.

Let’s read John 3:16-18:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

  1. God loved and God gave.
    1. Notice that God loved.
    2. Notice further that God loved to the point where God gave.
    3. One Bible scholar points out: The Greek construction puts some emphasis on the actuality of the gift: it is not ‘God loved enough to give,’ but ‘God loved so that he gave.
    4. The same scholar continues The construction of the Greek sentence stresses the intensity of God’s love. He gave His best, His unique and loved Son. The Jews believed that God loved the children of Israel, but John affirmed that God loved all people regardless of race.[2]
    5. God loved and he loved everyone.
    6. No one is left out.
    7. God so loved the world, it is the Greek word: kósmos which means the inhabitants of the earth.
    8. God so loved the world that He gave. How are we with giving? Are we giving people? I like how Swindoll pointed out that we are never more like God than when we give.
    9. God gave his only “begotten” Son, or His “one and only Son” or His “unique” Son. Last December I started researching the Greek of this passage. I was required to study Greek in seminary but I am not that good with it so I contacted two Greek scholars to look into that specific word. The Jehovah’s Witness like the word “Begotten” best because it literally means that Jesus was born. It literally means, “only born.”
    10. But Jesus was never born we know that. One Greek scholar, Dr. Long from Asbury Theological Seminary believes “Unique” is the best translation of the adjective. The Greek adjective from which we get “begotten” is monogenḗs and literally means “one and only” or “only born.” This is a case where tracing a words derivation is not helpful because as I stated Jesus was never born. This adjective was also applied to Isaac that Isaac was the only monogenḗs of Abraham. Of course, Isaac was born and Abraham did have another son. Yet, Isaac was the child of promise.
    11. So, as we consider which term is best to translate the Greek remember that the Greek adjective monogenḗs literally does mean only born.
    12. However, also remember we do not form Theology based on one verse. We form Theology, in this case, Christology, based on the whole Bible. Look at John 1:1-14 and we see that Jesus was not born.
    13. God so loved the world that He gave His only “begotten” (sticking with the NASB) Son…The rest of the passage picks up the purpose: that that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
    14. Salvation is opened to all people but only through Jesus. Look at John 3:18:
  2. Salvation is only through Jesus.
    1. John 3:18 says: He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    2. We have to believe in Jesus.
    3. Salvation is opened to anyone through Jesus.
    4. Salvation is exclusive in that it is through Jesus, BUT Christianity is inclusive. Christianity is opened to anyone.
    5. I remember the 1996 presidential debates. Senator Bob Dole was debating President Clinton. The moderator asked Bob Dole about his tax cut proposal and Senator Dole instantly replied, to the moderator that “he is eligible.” This meant that the moderator is eligible for the tax cut.
    6. Everyone is eligible for the free gift of salvation in Jesus.
    7. Rejecting Jesus is rejecting God the Father.
    8. Let’s look at John 14:6: Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
    9. We see this idea all throughout the New Testament, actually all throughout the Bible. We need away to take care of our sins and it is only through Jesus.
  3. Applications:
    1. Do we believe this truth?
    2. Do we care?
    3. Salvation is real and eternity is real:
    4. Two Christians have lived very good, and also very healthy lives. They die, and go to heaven. 

      As they are walking along, marveling at the paradise around them, one turns to the other and says “Wow. I never knew heaven was going to be as good as this!”

      “Yeah”, says the other. “And just think, if we hadn’t eaten all that oat bran we could have got here ten years sooner.”[3]

    5. Do you believe in Jesus?
    6. Is Jesus your Lord?
    7. Are you trusting in Him for salvation?
    8. Do you want others too as well?

Close:

As John Wesley rode across Hounslow Heath late one night, singing a favorite hymn, he was startled by a fierce voice shouting, “Halt,” while a firm hand seized the horse’s bridle. Then the man demanded, “Your money or your life.”

Wesley obediently emptied his pockets of the few coins they contained and invited the robber to examine his saddlebags which were filled with books. Disappointed at the result, the robber was turning away when Mr. Wesley cried, “Stop! I have something more to give you.”

The robber, wondering at this strange call, turned back. Then Mr. Wesley, bending down toward him, said in solemn tones, “My friend, you may live to regret this sort of a life in which you are engaged. If you ever do, I beseech you to remember this, “The blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin.” ”

The robber hurried silently away, and the man of God rode along, praying in his heart that the word spoken might be fixed in the robber’s conscience.

Years later, at the close of a Sunday evening service, the people streamed from the large building with many lingering around the doors to see the aged preacher, who was John Wesley.

A stranger stepped forward and earnestly begged to speak with Mr. Wesley. What a surprise to find that this was the robber of Hounslow Heath, now a well-to-do tradesman in the city, but better still, a child of God! The words spoken that night long ago had been used of God in his conversion.

Raising the hand of Mr. Wesley to his lips, he affectionately kissed it and said in tones of deep emotion, “To you, dear sir, I owe it all.”

“Nay, nay, my friend,” replied Mr. Wesley softly, “not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ which cleanseth us from all sin.”[4]

Luke 9:23

Do you know Jesus?

God created us to be with Him. (Genesis 1-2)

Our sin separated us from God. (Genesis 3)

Sins cannot be removed by good deeds (Gen 4-Mal 4)

Paying the price for sin, Jesus died and rose again. (Matthew – Luke)

Everyone who trusts in Him alone has eternal life. (John – Jude)

Life that’s eternal means we will be with Jesus forever. (Revelation 22:5)

Pray

 

[1] Excerpted from Improving Your Serve: The Art of Unselfish Living, Copyright © 1981 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.

[2] Tom Constable, Tom Constable’s Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Jn 3:16–18.

[3] http://jokes.christiansunite.com/Heaven/The_Healthy_Christians.shtml

[4] Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations: Signs of the Times (Garland, TX: Bible Communications, Inc., 1996), 1195.

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