He Saved Us

This Message Of Hope Explores The Question, "Have You Been Saved?"

Dan Franklin
Sep 4, 2022    42m
This message of eternal hope explores many questions of faith, such as when did God save us, how did God save us, and why did God save us to help you answer the personal question, "Have you been saved?". Video recorded at Upland, California.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Intro: [00:00:00] Hey there. Thanks so much for checking out one of our messages here at Life Bible Fellowship Church. And we know there are two great ways you can connect with us. You can visit our website at LBF.church to learn more about all of our ministries and what we believe. And also, you can subscribe to us on YouTube to make sure that you don't miss one of our future videos.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:18] Last week, we just finished our summer series, Glory and Frailty, where we spent 12 weeks going through an extended section of Second Corinthians, talking about how God shows the world His glory through the frailty of his servants, and how He uses us in our weaknesses to show off his glory. And then next week, as you already heard Lori talk about earlier, next week is fall kickoff, where we start our fall series. That's going to be an extended series that takes us at least into November, and we're going to be talking about justice and mercy. We made a new rule, every series has to be something and something. So glory and frailty, justice, and mercy, that's just how we're doing it now.

Dan Franklin: [00:00:59] But we're going to be spending ten weeks just talking about how us practicing justice and mercy is near the center of God's calling for us as believers, and also near the center of the sign that we really are walking with him. And what we've got this morning, is we've got an open Sunday. We've started building this into our schedule sort of about once a quarter, and here's the reason behind it. The reason behind this is because we like to plan things out, we like to prayerfully and in the leading of the Holy Spirit, try to discern where God is leading us so that every week is not just sort of random and disconnected, but we also want to build in weeks where we're able to just say, let's leave this open and see if the Lord brings something up that we feel like needs to be talked about. And so that's what this Sunday is.

Dan Franklin: [00:01:45] And so we went into this for a while, and I was thinking about, you know, is there going to be something that happens in the world that triggers something we should talk about? Is it going to be something that happens in our church that's timely and just feels like it's something that needs to be addressed? And more and more as we approach this Sunday, I felt led to a specific thing that I felt like we needed to talk about related to where our church is at right now and even related to where our culture is at right now.

Dan Franklin: [00:02:11] And so here's I want to do, I want to do something actually first leading into this, that what we're going to talk about today is not simply related to the fact that we have new people at this church. But one of the exciting things over the past couple of years is we have had a lot of new people joining our church. In fact, I want to ask for a quick show of hands if you have become a part of this church in the last three years, just go ahead and raise your hand. All right let's just look around, that is awesome. And welcome. Some of you even got connected to our church during COVID, which is a weird time to get connected to a church. So you had to weigh you're like, I like these people, but I haven't even seen them yet. But this has been an exciting thing, and we always love this. Some of you have been here for a long time at LBF Church, you predate me. I've been around for about 11 years, so you predate me and my family. Some of you are even like I was here before Gary was the lead pastor, your guys are like, we're veterans of LBF church, and some of you, you're fresh and your new life here, that's coming. And part of the excitement, there's all this excitement when God brings new people around and we say, what is God going to do through the new set of gifts and through the new faces and the new passions? But one of the things that also happens is it triggers sort of a concern, and the concern is this, the concern is as people join the church, are we accidentally in our excitement, skipping a step to make sure we are all on the same page about what we are about? And not only what we're about as a church, but what our message is about. Because people join churches, and even people sort of turn their gaze to God for different reasons.

Dan Franklin: [00:03:54] And as we get into this, I want you to think about this question that I'm going to put up on the screen. What is it that we think we need from God? Because if you recently have said, hey, we need church, we need God in our lives, or even if it was a while ago that you said we made that switch, we realized that we needed God in our lives. There are different things that trigger us to say, we need God in our lives. I'm not going to ask for an out loud answer, but I came up with four answers to this that I think pretty well covered the different reasons why we might turn to God or turn to the church.

Dan Franklin: [00:04:30] The first one is assistance, and here's what I mean by this. Sometimes we reach a point in our lives where we realize there's something we just can't handle. And so maybe there's a habit, or maybe there's a practice, or there's something that you've just said, I've been unable to defeat alcohol, I need God to give me power over this. I've been unable to conquer different challenges in my life. I've been unable to conquer my laziness. I've been unable to conquer this different thing that's getting in the way. I can't handle it, and so I recognize I not only need the church, I need God, otherwise, I'm not going to be able to get past this hurdle in my life. And so we come to God looking for assistance.

Dan Franklin: [00:05:09] The second reason why we might turn to God is we might turn to him for guidance, which is similar, but it's a little bit different. Where we might say, I've come against something in my life and I can't figure out the path forward, it's just too much to handle. There are lots of different ways that we run up against this, but frankly, the most common one is when we have kids, or when we have something happen with our kids that's hard to handle. I mean, it's amazing, and I'm not knocking you because some of you are going to say that's what happened with us. Once you have kids, you suddenly realize you can't handle life on your own. You're like, I need help. How are we going to do this? And God, a lot of times sort of reignites people to come back to the church and to draw near to him because having kids is such a weighty responsibility. And for you, it might be something different than having kids, but there might just be something that you say, I don't think we have the wisdom to handle this, we need some divine guidance, and so you turn, rightly, to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:06] And then there's another reason why we might turn to God, because we feel like we need peace. It is amazing and sad how the numbers of people with anxiety have skyrocketed recently, and in particular with young people with anxiety. It doesn't matter how safe our culture is, it doesn't matter how prosperous we are, anxiety still runs rampant. And there may be some of you that were like, yeah, I turned to God because I just needed some peace, and I needed something to help me in my anxiety and in all the chaos that felt like it was going on around me or just going on inside of my own head and inside of my own spirit. I needed peace, and I felt like God was probably the one to give me peace.

Dan Franklin: [00:06:49] And that a fourth reason that may be related to that, is just the idea of hope. But you might have been at a point in your life where you were like, I was in despair, I didn't see any future in my life. Or maybe it wasn't even personal, you just looked in the world and you're like, why in the world am I hoping that things are going to get better? What is my expectation that things are going to improve? Politicians, those people, I need hope. I need hope that God is going to bring about justice. I need hope that God is going to do something in my life. And so you turn to church, and you turn to God.

Dan Franklin: [00:07:20] And again, if you look at these four things up here, for me, here's my perspective. Anything that gets somebody to turn to church or to turn to God, I count as a win. I'm like, that's great, that's great. So if you're looking at this, I'm not trying to say at all, hey, shame on you that this brought you to God. What I'm saying is I want us to recognize this, for this reason, some of you might have been drawn to say it's time to turn back to God because we need assistance, or we need guidance or we need peace or we need hope. And once you started to feel like I've got a little traction in this then, you felt like, now I'm good. And what I want to say is I want to make sure that we all understand that as amazing as it is that God addresses all four of these things, that God empowers us for things that we can't handle, that he guides us in areas that are only darkness to us, that he gives us peace that passes understanding, and that he gives us hope in the darkest valley. All of those things are true, but none of those things address the thing we most need from God. What we most need from God is summed up in three words right in the middle of the passage that you heard read earlier, he saved us. The greatest thing that we all need from God, as much as we need peace and as much as we need guidance, the greatest thing that we need from God is for him to save us. The greatest gift that God gives is salvation. And I think that it's possible that there are some of you, and again, it might not just be the people who are newer to our church, it might be some of you who've been around here for a long time, and you've skipped a step. You're still around, you're saying I'm going to show up on Sundays because when I show up on Sundays, I feel like I get more peace. But you've skipped the most important step, which is for God to save you.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:21] Now here's the deal, I know for a lot of us as Christians, we talk this way. We talk about, yeah, when did you get saved, or when did I get saved? But the natural question when we're talking about God saving us is to ask the question saved us from what? And verse 3 of Titus chapter 3 gives us help on this. Hopefully, some of you have already turned to Titus 3 when Linda was up here reading it. But if you haven't and you have a Bible, or you're using your phone for your Bible, you can turn there now.

Dan Franklin: [00:09:50] Titus 3:3 starts off our passage by saying this, "At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another." Pretty grim list, isn't it? It's a pretty grim picture. And please notice here, Paul is not saying, hey, guys, can you believe that there are people out there in the world like this? Paul is saying at one time we all were this way. At one time, we all were foolish, we all were disobedient. Which isn't just saying disobedient to human authorities, but disobedient to God. At one time we were all deceived and enslaved to different passions and pleasures. At one time we all lived in malice and envy, which are ugly things that come out of us that we don't like to admit, but we recognize that we're there. At one time, we were all hating and hated by one another. Paul is not throwing stones here, Paul is reminding the believers that he's writing to, and reminding all of us, we all were once at this point where we needed to be saved.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:07] And even in reading this, though, if you just read verse 3 in isolation, you might think, okay, well then here's what it must mean for God to save us, what it must mean is that He sees us in just our pathetic way of life, that we're living these totally misguided lives, chaotic, conflict-driven with one another. And he's going to come in and he's going to improve us. So that's what it means for God to save us, he's going to improve us so that we stop living in this horrible way and we just start living better, so maybe that's what it means. It's not what it means to be saved, that God just improves us.

Dan Franklin: [00:11:43] And in some other passages, the same apostle, Paul, who wrote this, gives us some further insight that I think he implies here, but he states clearly in other passages. So let's look at Colossians chapter 3, verses 5-7, you'll see it starts off similar, where he gives this very grim list. He says, "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry." Look at verse 6, "Because of these the..." What? "The wrath of God is coming." And then as he started in the Titus passage, he says, "You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once live." So once again, he's not saying he can't believe those non-Christians, he's saying we were all once this way. And he doesn't just say, because we live this way, God had to come in and morally improve us. He says because of all of this, God's wrath and judgment was appropriately against us. We were headed for condemnation, we were headed for punishment, we were headed for hell, and God was right for all of that. Because of these things, the wrath of God is coming.

Dan Franklin: [00:12:53] He says something similar in Ephesians chapter 2, verse 3, he says, "All of us also lived among them." And amongst them, he's talking about the unbelievers, the pagans. He says, "All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts." And again, he says, "Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath." Ugly word, we were all deserving of God's wrath.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:20] And here's why I'm bringing these passages up. When we're looking at Titus 3:3, we can say, okay, yeah, we all have junk in our lives. And maybe some of it's in the past, but some of it is in the present. And so here's what God does for us, God comes, and he morally improves us so that our lives are more harmonious and we don't live in the chaos of broken relationships and bad habits and addictions. All of what I just said, though, is the outflow of us being connected to God. At the core, what he's saying is, what you needed is to be saved from the appropriate wrath of God, because all of our sin was heading us towards judgment.

Dan Franklin: [00:13:59] Paul says in Romans Chapter 5, not only that we were lost, but that we were God's enemies. And again, you think of it, it's easy for us to look at our sins as just think, these are foibles, and these are flaws and these are just things that that we need to get better in. Think for a second about how audacious it is when we sin, think of Genesis chapter 3, if you're familiar with the passage, of the fall of Adam and Eve, God sets you up in an absolutely perfect paradise, you have everything that you could ever want, everything that you could ever need, Adam and Eve even have each other in this beautiful, untarnished relationship. They can be connected with God, the world is perfect, they are blessed, and what they end up saying to God is, God, I know you have certain things that you've told us to do, but we think we have better ideas, so we're going to go ahead and be our own gods. Think of how audacious it is when we sin, and then we might start to realize God is right to judge us for our sins.

Dan Franklin: [00:15:03] I know some of you in here, you're on the younger side, which as I get older, the people I consider to be younger goes up more and more. But specifically, some of you in here are under 18, some of you in here are kids or on the younger side. And sometimes, for those of us that are older, there's this thought that we're like, we're going to mess up the kids if we tell them this. We're going to mess up the kids and give them a complex if we tell them, no, like you're broken sinners who need to be saved. I'm not going to act like everybody is like me, but I'll just say this, and I think those of you who are younger, some of you are going to resonate with this. When I was young, I didn't need anybody to tell me that I was guilty before God. I didn't need to be brainwashed. I didn't need to be convinced. I knew, because God had given me, just like he's given all of us, something that we sometimes call a conscience. And we do things wrong, and we know we do things wrong, and some of us as parents and grandparents are doing our kids a big disservice today because we're like, no, you're beautiful, you're wonderful, don't ever change, God loves you just the way you are. Yes, God does love you just the way you are, thank God, because God loves sinners. If you are a young person, and again, some of you might feel this way, some of you might say, yeah, I'm a Christian, I've always been a Christian. No, you haven't, that's not true of anybody in this room. If your testimony is that you're saying, I've always been a Christian, I grew up in a Christian home, I've always been a Christian. No, you haven't, you were born in the sin and you needed to be saved, that is true of every single one of us in here.

Dan Franklin: [00:16:36] And Paul starts off by saying, yeah, we didn't just need moral improvement, and we didn't just need God to kind of give us some help in our trials, we needed to be saved, we needed to be cleaned by God. And what he spends the rest of the passage saying is God saved us, and then answering three questions about how God saved us. Real simple, he answers the question, when did God save us? Then he answers the question, how did God save us? And then he answers the question, why did God save us? And so let's look through those as we go through the rest of the passage.

Dan Franklin: [00:17:13] When did God save us? Look at how verse 4 starts off, after all this horrible stuff, he says, "But when..." That's a good transition, something happened, "But when the kindness and love of God appeared." Now, if you have an open Bible, you're going to know the three words after verse 4 are, "He saved us." So that's where we're going, "But when the kindness and love of God appeared, he saved us." But he tells us when salvation came into the world, and salvation came into the world when the kindness and love of God appeared. One quick thing on both of these words here. Kindness has to do with God's deep generosity. Love is not actually the normal Greek word that we're used to hearing for love, it's not the word agape, it's actually a compound word that could be translated as God's People Love. This isn't just God's love emanating to trees and animals and flies and all of that, it's specifically that God loves human beings in our sin and in our brokenness and while we were enemies, God's love comes to us. Now here's a deal, I promise, this is not a trick question. When? Paul is saying that something happened, there is a point in time where God's kindness and love appeared. God's kindness and love appeared when a certain person appeared. And who is that person? Yeah. good job. I told you it wasn't a trick question, when Jesus appeared. First appearing that day in Bethlehem, and then appearing as a man who lived a perfect, sinless life that he could give to us, and then a man who appeared to die a sacrificial, horrific death for us, then the man who raised from the dead and ascended to heaven and promised to come back. When Jesus appeared is when the opportunity for salvation came to all of us. And here's why this is significant, as we think of the idea of us being connected to God and as we'll talk about later, of us being children of God, that is impossible unless Jesus appeared. We are not saved because we figured out a path to God, we're saved because the kindness and love of God appeared in Jesus. When were we saved? When Jesus showed up on the scene.

Dan Franklin: [00:19:42] And then for verses 5 and 6, he moves on to the question, all right, how did God save us? And look how he starts out verse 5, this is the key to the whole thing, as we have already talked about, "He saved us..." Which tells us, again, this isn't something primarily that we did, this is something that God did. "He saved us, (first of all) not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." We are not saved because we found out God's rules and started to do them, and then God said, welcome to the family. We're not saved because of righteous things that we've done.

Dan Franklin: [00:20:16] But by the way, I think sometimes as Christians, we give ourselves a complex and get a little bit off on this. What this doesn't mean is that you can't do something that we should all look at and say, that was a good thing or even a righteous thing. A firefighter runs into a burning building and pulls somebody out of there at great danger to himself. Is that a good thing? Yeah. A woman spends a decade caring for her aging mother in her last days. Is that a good thing? Yeah. We shouldn't have a problem. It's like some of us are like, am I allowed to say that's good because we can't work our way to God? Yes, you can say those things are good. There are people, there are even non-Christians, who do things that we could say that is a good thing. The question is not do we do individual good things? The question is, first of all, do any of those individual good things make God owe us anything? And you're right. And the second part of it is, could we ever do enough of those good things to offset our sin and guilt before God? And the answer again is, no. The question is not, have you done good things? I'm sure you have done good things. But, you know, we are really easy on ourselves when it comes to this question. Like, I'm sure I've done enough, I'm sure I've done enough good things. I've been a pretty good person. Thank God for Hitler because we can all compare ourselves to him. You know, we're just like, thank God Hitler came around because otherwise, we wouldn't be able to feel good about ourselves. We're like, hey, I'm no Hitler. Somebody's going to pull a clip from this of me saying, thank God for Hitler. But you all were here, you knew the intention of what I was talking about. But here's the point, not because he saved us, not because of righteous things that we had done, but because of his what? Because of his mercy.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:04] Mercy, we're going to be talking about mercy a lot over the next ten weeks as we do our Justice and Mercy series. Mercy is when God, in His great kindness, chooses not to give us what we should get. Sometimes we say grace is when God gives us things that we shouldn't get, and mercy is when God doesn't give us things that we should get. Mercy is when God withholds his judgment from us. So God, in his great mercy, didn't look at us and say, these people are pretty righteous, I should bring them into the family. Not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy, he saved us.

Dan Franklin: [00:22:40] And then look at what he says in the second part of verse 5. He says, "He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." He saved us by cleaning us. In fact, the word for washing is the word that just has to do with bathing, and it also is used sometimes to talk about ritual cleanings like baptism. The idea here is you are dirty, and God washed you by the Holy Spirit. What? The washing of rebirth and renewal, which just seem to be parallel, I don't think that they're terribly different things here. In fact, the word for rebirth. Another translation that you could have for new birth or rebirth is just, a new beginning. The word Genesis is even built into the Greek word for that right there. We needed a new beginning.

Dan Franklin: [00:23:30] Somebody that Karina and I know up in Oregon, one of the pastors that we worked with up there named Alan, would tell the story of how he got saved. And he had somebody to lead him to the Lord when he was a college student, and he was just broken over his life. And before he heard the Gospel, what he said to the man who ended up leading them to the Lord is I'm looking at who I am and I'm just realizing more and more I just wish I could be a new person. He just knew inside of him that he needed to be made new. We are saved because God washed us. I had the privilege of officiating a wedding last night, and I love weddings. And one of the beautiful things about every wedding is the bride coming in dressed in beautiful, pure white, representing the idea that Jesus washes us clean through his blood. And no matter what we've done, we're wearing white because he's washed us.

Dan Franklin: [00:24:29] And then look at what he goes on to say in verse 6, he says, "The Holy Spirit came to us because he poured him out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior." Coming back to the idea that without Jesus, none of this is possible. He saved us. And how did he save us? Well, it's not because we did a bunch of good things And so he brought us into the family, It's because of his mercy, It's because he scrubbed us clean by the Holy Spirit, forgiving all of our sins, And the Holy Spirit was only poured out because of what Jesus did for us on the cross and through His resurrection. If we're going to take one thing from verses 5 and 6, it should simply be this, We don't save ourselves, God saves us.

Dan Franklin: [00:25:12] That's how he saves us, But he doesn't stop there, He goes on in verse 7 and he tells us why he saved us. And I love that he does this, he says, "So that.." There's a purpose for all of this, "So that having been justified by his grace...". In other words, being made right before God, not because we deserved it, but because God showered us with grace, "Having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." Now, we might not talk about heirs a lot in this world, but if you are in heir, what does that usually also imply about you? Yeah, it usually implies that you're a child in a family, you are a son or a daughter. In fact, in the Greek that there are different New Testament passages that you might see, instead of it's saying, we're children of God, or sons and daughters of God, it will just say, we're all sons of God. And here's the reason, in the first century, only sons were heirs. And so at different times, the Apostle Paul wanted us to know, hey, man or woman, were all sons in the Kingdom of God because we all inherit. And what do we inherit? We inherit the hope of eternal life.

Dan Franklin: [00:26:24] God saved us, we talked about this last week with the ministry of reconciliation, God saved us not because God was saying, I have a lot of work to do, and many hands makes life work. So I'm going to bring a bunch of people in and save them so that they can be my slaves to go out and do the work that I need to get done. We are not that useful to God. He needs nothing from us. God doesn't save us because he needs more slaves, God saves us because He craves more children, and he loves welcoming children into his family. And we're not only children, we're heirs of the eternal life that we long for. Which means we not only look at the future and say the future is bright because we're inheriting eternal life, but we look at our lives now and we recognize that we have hope in the darkest place because God is working all things together for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:23] God saved us. He saved us through the appearance of Jesus. He saved us by washing us clean, even though we didn't do anything to deserve it. And he saved us so that we could be his children and his family forever. But there's a question that Paul doesn't directly address in here that we do need to take on, because we can look at all of this and we can say, all right, so so God does all of this, does that just mean that every person who exists is automatically saved because God did this? And the New Testament answer is, no.

Dan Franklin: [00:27:56] So we have to pause and ask the question, what are we supposed to do? He saved us, but what is it that we're supposed to do? And to talk about this, I want to go to one passage, it's in the Book of Acts, and I love this passage. I'll give you the context, I'll put Acts 16, verse 30 up here, and then we'll have verse 31 in a second. But here's the context of this, Paul, who wrote Titus, Paul whose words we've been reading, he was in prison with his friend Silas. They were in prison because they had been proclaiming the Gospel, everybody knew this. So they're in prison, and God brings an earthquake that opens the prison doors, and all the prisoners can now go free if they want. And the Philippians jailer, the one who's in charge of the jail, is ready to commit suicide because he sees the open prison doors and he says if the prisoners get away, I'm dead. So he's about to take his own life instead of facing the wrath of Rome. And Paul calls out to him and says, don't harm yourself, we didn't go anywhere, we all stayed here. This Philippians jailer knew what Paul and Silas had been preaching, and so he comes to them in Acts 16:30 with this question, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" This man knew he needed to be saved. And listen to what Paul and Silas say in response, "They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” And by the way, I think you and your household, is just him saying this promise extends to everyone who believes. If you believe in Jesus, you're saved. If your household believes in Jesus, they're saved. It doesn't matter what you look like, it doesn't matter your ethnic background, it doesn't matter how much money you have, it doesn't matter if you've been to prison, it doesn't matter in any of that, believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

Dan Franklin: [00:29:40] And we need to do at least just a little bit of work on what it means to believe, because you might sense from this, he's probably not saying you just got to believe that Jesus exists, although you do. If you don't believe Jesus exists, it's going to be hard to believe in him. And it's not even just that you need to believe that he's the Son of God, although if you do, without believing he's a Son of God, you're not going to be able to put your faith in him. But believe, here, has to do with us desperately coming to Jesus and trusting him for our salvation and our lives. It has to do with us emptying ourselves of all pride and saying, I am lost. If I am trusting in my own goodness to get me into heaven, I'm lost. If I'm trusting in the idea that at one point in time I got baptized and that means I'm going to heaven, then we're in trouble. If I'm trusting in the fact that my parents always brought me to church and I never did something bad enough to get a bad reputation, then we're lost. The only way to be welcomed into the family of God is through what Jesus did for us, and put us putting our full faith, and our full trust, in him. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.

Dan Franklin: [00:30:56] Now, here's the thing, I said I felt like doing this this Sunday with something that has been on my heart. And here's what I want to recognize, for some of us, this Sunday is important for purposes of recalibration. Here's what I mean, for some of us, it's like you got lots of things going on in your life, and you got lots of things that you're trying to tackle, and maybe even lots of things sort of in your walk with Jesus that you're trying to tackle and you're trying to figure out. And this is a moment just to stand back, if you are a believer in Jesus, and recognize, he saved us. You get to live in the joy of knowing He saved us. When you sin and you're frustrated with yourself, you get to boldly come before the throne of grace because, you know, he saved us. And when you're walking through deep trials, you get to have hope because, you know, he saved us. And not only that, we need to recalibrate because as Christians, we should be the most grateful and humble people on the face of the planet. When we as Christians are arrogant, it is an affront to the Gospel of Jesus. Who should be more humble than us? We were lost and broken and dead in our sin, and he saved us. And as Christians, when we're complainers, that is utterly out of sync with the fact that he saved us. I'm not saying there are hard things in our lives that we need to talk to people about and figure out, but when we're complainers, and when we're arrogant, we are totally out of sync, and we need to recalibrate and thank God that he saved us. We need to recalibrate because this also means that we move forward with compassion for others, and that as we spread the message of reconciliation, the main thing that we're telling other people is not you need to do something for God, but that he saved us. So for some of us, today is about recalibration. It's about a moment of saying, all right, you know what, as we're heading into the fall or wherever we are in our lives, let's recalibrate and remember that at the center of our message is not do a bunch of stuff for God, but he saved us.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:07] But I genuinely believe that for some of us here, today is not about recalibration, today is the day of salvation. Now that there may be some of you in here, that you've been coming around for a while, and either you're coming with a spouse or you're coming to explore. And, you know, you're sitting here and you're like, yeah, I know I haven't taken that step yet, I know I haven't put my faith in Jesus. I'm still kind of trying to figure it out. I'm still thinking about things. I'm still a little bit on the fence. All right, so you may know where you're at with this.

Dan Franklin: [00:33:33] Some of you may have come in being like, yeah, I'm a Christian. But as we've talked about this today, you might be saying maybe I'm not, maybe I'm just a church person. And I assumed that sort of I inherited my Christianity from my parents or from my culture. And so now, now you're really thinking about it. What I genuinely believe is that for some of you in here today is not just a day of rededication, today is the day of salvation, and today is the day for you to put your faith in Jesus. And what better thing for us to get to experience on a day like this, than to experience new life in Jesus?

Dan Franklin: [00:34:11] In a minute, I'm going to give an opportunity for response. So I want to invite all our prayer team members, pastors, elders, and prayer team members, come forward to each side of the stage, try to use discernment, and see if we need to spread out to make sure that there are people on either side of the stage. And here's the deal, in a few minutes, I'm going to invite an opportunity for a response. And I'll be real honest with you, whenever we do this, there's a part of me that wants to do this in a way that whatever happens, it'll look good, that whatever happens. So either to do it sort of secretly, or to do it afterward, when nobody will notice what's happening. And more and more, as we talked about this, we said, no, no, we think that this is worthwhile doing actually in our service before other people. And the reason is this if we are really going to walk with Jesus, we're going to have to be ready to stand up for him, we're going to have to be ready to be courageous for him because we are going to be standing up in a culture where he is not at the center of things. And so in a minute, I'm going to invite some of you. Today, for some of you is the day of salvation, don't let the enemy do anything to keep you from taking this next step.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:19] And so I'm going to invite you to come forward in a minute if one of these three things is true of you. Once again, this is not rededication. Rededication is wonderful, but that's not what this is. So, first of all, I want to invite you to come forward if today you are ready to place your faith in Jesus for the first time. So if you're sitting here, you're like, I know I haven't, I know I need to, I'm ready to do it, thank God that he saved us, I'm ready to be amongst the saved. So I'm going to invite you to come forward if today is the day for you to place your faith in Jesus.

Dan Franklin: [00:35:52] The second group of you that I'm going to invite to come forward is if today you feel unsettled and you're like, I'm no longer sure I'm saved. I came in and I was like, of course, I'm saved, but now I'm kind of questioning that because maybe this was just something that I always sort of did as a part of my religious experience, or maybe that I just assumed that because I hadn't done really bad things, I was in the family. And now you're not sure, you're not 100% sure, but you're saying I'm unsettled enough that I want to talk to somebody, and I want to pray about this. So I want to invite you forward if that's you.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:21] And the third group that I want to invite forward is if there's anybody here that you're saying I'm not 100% sure I'm ready to give my life to Jesus today, but I'm ready to take the next step and have my questions answered. I'm ready to lean in and start having faith in the fact that God is going to lead me as I lean in with hard questions.

Dan Franklin: [00:36:41] We did about a month ago, we did a memorial service for a church member named Knox. Some of you were there at the service. Knox was one of the smartest guys that I'd ever known, a super intellectual guy. And towards the end of his life, he acknowledged that he kind of thought that the Christian way of living was the right way to live, but he acknowledged, he wasn't sure he really believed. He wasn't sure he really believed in Jesus. And here was the interesting thing that happened as we got into conversations. He had certain doubts, certain doubts that probably some of you have. He was like, I'm not sure about sort of creation versus evolution. I'm not totally sure about the virgin birth, I have these doubts. And here's the interesting thing, the interesting thing, Knox thought that because he had doubts, that was the end of the story. I remember talking to Knox and saying, this is one of the smartest guys I've ever known. I was like, do you really think you're the first person with these doubts? Do you really think you're...And I want to say that to you today, you might be out there, and you might be like, I'd love to become a Christian, but I can't because I have these doubts. You are not the first person with those questions, you are not the first person with those doubts. Knox leaned into his questions and leaned into his doubts, and I asked his wife, Terry, after Knox had died, sort of, where did Knox end up with this? And Terry said that in the last days of his life, he had a mantra that he kept telling people who had asked him that question. And what he kept telling them is, I don't know, but I choose to believe.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:09] Now, here's the deal, for some of you, you're like, that's not good enough, you're supposed to know. Well, I want to say is, you don't even know if for sure you're sitting there right now. We are taking everything in life on faith to some degree. What he was saying is, I still have doubts. I still have questions, there are still things that are hard for me to believe, but I am choosing to move forward in faith. You don't have to have every single question answered before you choose to move forward in faith.

Dan Franklin: [00:38:37] So what I want to do right now is, if you fit in one of those three categories, if today is the day for you to put your faith in Jesus, if today is the day that you're like, I feel uncertain, I feel like I need to talk to somebody and pray with someone. Or if you're saying, you know what, today is the day that I take that next step forward to have my questions answered. I promise you, if you get up and walk forward, nobody around you is going to think anything but thank God. And I want to allow some time before we end the service for anybody that's ready to walk forward right now. So if you're ready to walk forward, go ahead and get up wherever you are, come forward to one of the people who are here, and they will start praying with you about whatever it is that you need to pray with them about.

Dan Franklin: [00:39:35] Praise God. Is there anybody else? I promise you, I'm not going to drag this out and I'm not going to manipulate, but I want to leave a moment for anybody that's dealing with doubt and questions right now so that you don't miss the opportunity to come forward. Even as we're coming forward, I want us all to remember you don't become a Christian by signing all the dotted line, you don't become a Christian by joining a church, you become a Christian by putting your faith in Jesus. So even this walking forward is an opportunity to say, I want to take a bold step of faith and be with somebody who is going to walk with me and pray with me on this. These folks are not going to go anywhere, they're not going to rush out of here before the service is over. But let me pray for us now as we close this service and as we take this in.

Dan Franklin: [00:40:33] Father, thank you, that you are a God who loves to bring about new life. You call the people of Israel, but you always had the vision that that light would spread. You sent your son Jesus, so that the nations could all know you and that your light could spread everywhere. You've called us according to your name, so that we could be about spreading the light of God near and far. And Father, I pray for the folks that are up here right now, I pray for those who have boldly stepped forward. And I pray that right now, in this moment, that you'd meet them in a way that they will never forget, that they will be more than convinced that you are real and that you are trustworthy, that you see them and that you love them, that in their darkness and in their lostness, you have met them in Jesus. Father, I pray for anyone out here who has dealt with anxiety and wasn't quite ready to take that step forward. Father, I pray that you help them to see that you see them, that you know them, and I pray that you lead their hearts to the courage of that next step. I pray this in the name of the great savior who saved us, Jesus Christ. Amen. Amen?

Dan Franklin: [00:41:46] As we leave, let just say this. Obviously, we got God at work in folks who are up here right now. If you feel like it is not too late, if you feel like I don't want to miss my opportunity, you can come up. Otherwise, let's just kind of file out as God does his work and the people who are up here now. Be in prayer for them. Be in prayer for one another. Thank you so much for being here. Be blessed the rest of this Sunday.

Recorded in Upland, California.
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Life Bible Fellowship Church
2426 N Euclid Ave
Upland, California 91786
(909) 981-4848