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Making the Connection: Making the Connection to Christ

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Making the Connection

Making the Connection to Christ

1. Who is Jesus?

When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"  They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets." "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Matt 16:13-16 NIV

2. What did Jesus do on the cross?

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24 NIV

He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

1 John 2:2 NLT

3. What must I do to be saved?

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household."

Acts 16:29-31 NIV

Making the Connection:

Have you made the connection to Christ?


Welcome…

New Series…Making the Connection

It is a series that help us to clearly see the vision God has given Violet Baptist Church and what it will look like for us to live out this vision in the next 3-5 years.

The Vision:

To build bridges to people in our community in order that, together, we may become fully devoted, passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

 

Let’s say that together….

To build bridges to people in our community in order that, together, we may become fully devoted, passionate followers of Jesus Christ.

The definition of the word bridge…

One of the entries in Encarta Dictionary:

Link or means of approach…

something that provides a link, connection, or means of coming together

Bridges are made to connect…not to collapse

I can remember being a young boy growing up in Ashland Ky.

We would have to cross the Ashland bridge in order to cross the Ohio River…if we wanted to go to Ironton, OH…

I can remember my uncle Bill trying to scare us every time we would cross that bridge by saying there were alligators in the river…so we better hope that bridge doesn’t fall down!!

Fortunately that bridge never collapsed on us!!!

Bridges are made to connect and not collapse!!

Just recently we remember the horrible scene of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi in Minneapolis collapsing.

It collapsed during rush hour on August 1, 2007, plunging dozens of cars and their occupants into the river.

The disaster disrupted transportation, aimed a spotlight on public infrastructure, and evoked an outpouring of public response…and unfortunately killed 13 people.

Bridges are made to connect and not collapse!!

What happens when they collapse?

People get hurt…and some even die.

God has called us to build bridges to this community…to build bridges that connect…not collapse!!!

God’s vision for our church is to build bridges that connect.

1. Bridges to Christ

2. Bridges to others

3. Bridges to ministry

4. Bridges to the world

Today I want to begin our series by talking about:

Bridges to Christ

Making the connection to Christ.

If we don’t get this right nothing else matters!!!

As a church we our called by God to do everything we can to help people make connection to Christ!!

In fact on of the goals we have is:

Goal: Violet Baptist Church will baptize at least 60 people in 2008 (September 2007 to August 2008) with at least 10 of those being youth. The church will baptize at least 70 people in 2009 and 80 in 2010.

Today I want to talk about the most important connection of all…

Making the connection to Christ!!

Some obstacles…confusion about making the connection…about salvation.

I read about a mother who realized her daughter was confused about salvation, she wrote in an article:

 When our 2-year-old daughter used the word "salvation" in a conversation one day, I thought I should ask her if she understood what the word meant.

 

"I know all about it, Mommy," she said. "We saw it at the movies." I was puzzled.

 

The only movie she had ever seen was a Disney production. "What movie?" I asked.

 

"You know," she replied, somewhat impatiently, "101 Salvations!"

Kids aren’t the only ones confused about salvation.

Results from a recent LifeWay Research study indicate that many American teenagers are confused about what it takes to get to heaven.

More than 1,000 teenagers (12-19 year-olds) were surveyed in January and February of 2007 by mail questionnaire.

Results show that 69 percent of teenagers believe heaven exists.

Also, a majority of teens agree with the traditional Christian belief in Jesus Christ’s death for their sins as the reason they will go to heaven (53 percent strongly agree, 16 percent somewhat agree).

While many teenagers believe they will go to heaven because of their belief in Jesus Christ, one quarter trust in their own kindness to others (27 percent) or their religiosity (26 percent) as their means to get to heaven.

Out of the 69 percent of the teenagers who strongly or somewhat agree they will go to heaven because Jesus Christ died for their sins,

60 percent also agree that they will go to heaven because they are religious,

and 60 percent also agree they will go to heaven because they are kind to others.

This indicates that approximately 28 percent of American teenagers are trusting only in Jesus Christ as their means to get to heaven.

Some adults are confused about salvation.

Thom Rainer president of Lifeway Christian Resources conducted a study a few years ago where a research team found that 31% of the people leaving a church immediately following a worship service were unable to articulate clear of salvation.

Today some of you may be confused about your salvation.

Perhaps you are asking: Am I really saved?

Perhaps you are asking:

Can I really be sure about my salvation?

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

1 Jn 5:13

Today I want to clear up the confusion about salvation by answering three important questions.

We will find the answers to these three questions in God’s Word.

And my prayer for you today is if you haven’t made the connection to Christ…today will be the day.

And my prayer for you today is if you

Are not sure that you’ve made the connection to Christ…today will be the day…that you are sure.

What are these 3 questions?

Let me encourage you to write them down…


Making the Connection to Christ

 

Question #1:

 

1. Who is Jesus?

This is a question that has been asked many times over the last 2000 years.

In Matt 16, Jesus asked his disciples this question…

Matthew 16:13-16…

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?" 

14 They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

15 "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?" 

16 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Matt 16:13-16 NIV

It is a question you need to answer.

Some people say Jesus was just a man.

One cult teaches that he was an angel.

Some say he was just a prophet.

And some question whether He even existed.

The question Jesus asked Peter was an important question: “Who do you say I am?" 

It is still an important question.

Peter answered correctly when he said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Underline that in your Bible or in your notes… You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

What does it mean?

The term Son refers to his humanity and the term God refers to his Deity.

Although He was born in a manger in Bethlehem, He also existed in eternity past as God.

Jesus existed as God in heaven, then put on flesh and lived among us (John 1:1, 14).

A quick review of John 1:1 unpacks Peter’s great confession.

The apostle John writes in John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 NIV

 

1. Jesus is Eternally God

 

John begins with this affirmation:

“In the beginning was the Word…”

John 1:1 NIV

This does not refer to a start, but to an infinite state.

John refers to Jesus as the Word

2. Jesus is Equally God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV

In other words there is more than one person in the Godhead, and Jesus is one of those persons.

3. Jesus is Essentially God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 NIV

John is saying, Jesus is Essentially God.

That is, in His essence, in what he actually is, in His nature, person, and personality, in His attributes and character, Jesus is all that God is.

All the essential characteristics of deity are His.

Throughout the bible Jesus himself claimed to be God…

Last year we exposed the Da Vinci Code as a truly fictional book and movie.

One of the things that we discovered was Dan Brown’s response to the question who is Jesus was: He was a mortal prophet…a great, powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”

What a contrast between the truth found in Peter’s words and John’s words.

Dan Brown’s words are not only fictional but foolish.

C.S. Lewis the Oxford and Cambridge scholar, said:

I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him:

 

“I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.”

 

That is the one thing we

must not say.

 

A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus

said would not be a great moral teacher.

 

 He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell.

 

You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the

Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.

 

You can shut Him up for

a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call him Lord and God.

 

But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about Him being a great human teacher.

 

 He has not left that open to

us. He did not intend to.

(C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, pp. 55-56).

So what will it be…

Jesus asks the question:

Who do you say that I am?

Dan Brown’s response is: You are a a mortal prophet…a great, powerful man, but a man nonetheless. A mortal.”

 

Peter’s responds to that question in Matt 16:16, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

John‘s response in John 1:1 is:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 NIV

You are eternally God, equally God and essentially God!

 

What is your response?

Josh McDowell  says you have only three choices…he calls it a Trilemma: Your 3 choices: He is Lord, Liar or Lunatic.

Let me give you hint:

He wasn’t a Liar or a Lunatic…He is Lord!!!


*Making the Connection to Christ

 

1. Who is Jesus?

 

Question #2:

 

2. What did Jesus do on the cross?

Most people would be able to answer…that Jesus died on the cross.

But something happened beyond that goes beyond what was seen with the human eye.

Peter tells us what happened in 1 Peter 2:24:

4 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.

1 Peter 2:24 NIV

What did Jesus do on the cross?

 

Underline the phrase… He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree

This phrase also comes from Isaiah 53: He personally carried away our sins (from 53:12); you have been healed by his wounds (from 53:5).

Only Christ himself, the sinless Son of God, could bear our sins on the cross.

Christ took the death penalty for sin, dying in our place, so that we would not have to suffer the punishment that we deserve.

In a transaction we cannot comprehend, God placed the sins of the world on Jesus Christ, so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.

Because all our wrongdoing is forgiven, we are reconciled to God.

All who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior can have this new life and live in union with him.

Our evil desires, our bondage to sin, and our love of sin died with Christ on the cross.

This is called substitutionary atonement.

Jesus died as our substitute; his wounds have healed ours.

It is reported that three faithful missionaries of the Gospel came to see Gandhi while he was on one of his extended fasts.

During their visit, Gandhi requested that they sing a hymn for him.

When they asked him which one, he replied, "The one that expresses all that is deepest in your faith."

They thought for a few moments and then sang with hearts full of deep conviction,

"When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of Glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride."

What does the cross mean to you?

It ought to humble you when you realize the Prince of Glory died for you!!!

Once you realize what Jesus did for you, you won’t be the same.

People who look at the cross and walk away unchanged do not see what really happened there.

Do you see what really happened at the cross?

Obviously, most people by now have heard about Mel Gibson’s movie The Passion of the Christ.

 

In fact many of you have seen it. It is a beautiful and brutal portrayal of the

day Jesus was betrayed, tried, and crucified.

It is a very graphic movie…

It is rated “R”. In this case the “R” shouldn’t stand for “Restricted” but for “Realistic”.

It is a very disturbing movie…After seeing it, you won’t read the gospels in the same way.

After seeing it, you won’t take your sin lightly.

I remember thinking to myself while watching it, “why did Jesus have to endure so much? Why did he have to be beaten so badly?”

[Show ppt  pictures from movie]

Then the answer quickly came to me… It’s because that’s what it took to pay for my sins.

In the words of 1 John 2:2

 He is the sacrifice for our sins. He takes away not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

1 John 2:2 NLT


Normally people are remembered by something they’ve accomplished by living.

For example:

When you think about George Washington you immediately think he was the 1st president of the United States.

When you think about Benjamin Franklin…you remember he discovered electricity.

                                  

When you think about Thomas Edison…you remember he invented the light bulb.

And when you think of Neil Armstrong…you know he was the first man to set foot on the moon.

When you think about Walt Disney…you think the creation of Mickey Mouse.

Normally, biographers spend much time on the lives of their subjects…and very little time on the deaths of their subjects.

However, when we come to Jesus, the rule is broken.

Because one-third of the Gospels, which are the closest we have to a biography of Jesus…is devoted not to His life, but to His death!

Why?  Because according to the Bible, the most significant thing Jesus ever did was to die.

Two thousand years after Jesus left this earth physically, the universal symbol of the movement He began is not a cradle, nor a crown, but a cross.

 

"When I survey the wondrous cross

 

On which the Prince of Glory died,

 

My richest gain I count but loss,

 

And pour contempt on all my pride."

 

The  one who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf was Jesus Christ, Son of God.

 

What did Jesus do on the cross?

He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.

He became our substitute for our sins!!!

He took our place on the cross!!

But there is one more question you must consider if you want to make the connection to Christ:

Making the Connection to Christ

1. Who is Jesus?

2. What did Jesus do on the cross?

Question #3:

3. What must I do to be saved?

I love the account of the apostle Paul in a Phillipian jail in Acts 16 as a result of casting out a demon in one of the slave girls….so the authorites put him in Jail.  

He and his companion Silas  are in jail and at midnight they are praying and praising God…first version of Jailhouse Rock.

Suddenly an earthquake comes and all the prisoners would be able to get away.

The Philippian jailer was ready to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had excaped.

Paul said don’t do it we are here!!

Notice what happens then in Acts 16:29-31

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

3They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved-you and your household."

What must I do to be saved?

That is the all important question…

What must I do to be saved?

And the all important answer is… Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved

I love history and seeing how others have made the connection to Christ.

Martin Luther, the instigator of the Reformation, has his life chronicled in this biographical film.

Martin Luther makes a bargain with God. If He allows Martin to survive a terrible lightning storm, Martin will become a monk.

He makes good on his vow, but all he knows is fear of God.

He is visited in his priestly cell one evening by the head priest who shows him a better way.

Watch how Luther finally made the connection to Christ…

[DVD Chapter: 2     Start Time: 0:05:48     End Time: 0:08:05]

Luther (2003)

The Big Idea:

God has not given us a spirit of fear.

Scene Setup:

Martin Luther makes a bargain with God. If He allows Martin to survive a terrible lightning storm, Martin will become a monk. He makes good on his vow, but all he knows is fear of God. He is visited in his priestly cell one evening by the head priest who shows him a better way.

Scene:

Martin is railing in his cell against unseen demonic voices. The head priest comes in and Martin tells him, "I live in terror of judgment." The priest is dumbfounded, not able to recall any sins in Martin's confessions that would warrant this response.

Martin asks the priest if he ever "dared to think of God as unjust?" He goes on to describe the righteousness of God and how He is "angry with us all our lives for our faults. This righteous judge who damns us," and who condemns sinful men to hell.

The priest points out that Luther isn't evil, "You're just not honest. God isn't angry with you, you are angry with God."

Martin exclaims that he wishes there were no God. The priest wants to know what kind of God Martin seeks. Martin cries out, "A merciful God! A God who I can love and a God who loves me."

The priest responds, "Then look to Christ, bind yourself to Christ, and you will know God's love. Say to Him, 'I'm Yours, save me. I'm Yours, save me."

Martin repeats, "I am Yours, save me. I am Yours, save me."

Application:

Have you ever looked at the circumstances of your life, at your own inability to do what you believe God wants you to do, and felt that God was unfair? You are not alone. The reason people feel this way is that they are angry with God for not smoothing out the road of life to suit them. The walk is hard, the road long, and we get weary.

Thankfully, God is not vengeful, but is patient toward His children. All He asks is that we seek Him so that we may put away fear and condemnation and put on His righteousness. If we confess our sins, it is His good pleasure to redeem and save us.

Sermon General's Warning:

Luther's torment may be upsetting to some.

Topics:  Salvation   Fear   Anger   Judgment   Repentance  

Scripture:  Romans 8:1-16    2 Thessalonians 5:9-10    Romans 8:31-39    1 John 4:17-21   

Keywords: salvation, fear, anger, judgment, repentance

Rating: PG-13     Genre: Drama

DVD Chapter: 2     Start Time: 0:05:48     End Time: 0:08:05

© 2003-2007 MovieMinistry.com, All Rights Reserved


Martin Luther made the connection to Christ when he turned away from trying to work his way to heaven…and simply turned to Christ and trusted Him as Lord and Savior.

Thankfully, God is not vengeful, but is patient toward His children.

All He asks is that we seek Him so that we may put away fear and condemnation and put on His righteousness.

If we confess our sins, it is His good pleasure to redeem and save us.

Some of you this morning have been asking that question for a long time:

What must I do to be saved?

And like Luther, so many others you been trying to earn your way.

There is a way that seems right to man, but the end thereof is death.

Wrong ways to God…

1. “My mother was a Christian so…”

SALVATION BY HERITAGE

2. “It doesn’t matter what you believe, just be sincere.” 

SALVATION BY SINCERITY

3. “I’ll give up all my bad habits.”

SALVATION BY SUBTRACTION

4. “I’ll work real hard and earn it.”

SALVATION BY SERVICE

5. “I’ll be religious and go to church.”

SALVATION BY RELIGION

 

What is missing in all of these ways to God?

 

A relationship with Jesus Christ!!!

 

Salvation through the Savior!!

 

“What must I do to be saved?”

“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved…”

 


Making the connection to Christ:

1. Admit that God has not been first place in

your life and ask Him to forgive you of your

sins.

2. Believe that Jesus died to pay for your sins and that He rose again on the third day, and is alive today.

3. Receive God’s free gift of salvation. Don’t try to earn it.

4. Ask Jesus Christ to come into your life, and be the Savior and Lord of your life.

Share personal testimony??

Concl: 

Making the connection

Have you made the connection to Christ?

Prayer…

Dear Lord Jesus,

I know that I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness.

I believe that you died on the cross for my sins.  I want to turn from my sins. I now invite you to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Connections card…fill it out

Decision:

·    Salvation

·    Baptism

·    Class 101


Salvation

The Gift Must Be Received

            The work has been done on the cross. The blood has been shed. The price has been paid. The only thing left is for the forgiveness to be received by you.

          I could offer to give you a hundred dollar bill by holding it out with my hand. But until you reach out and take it from me, it will never be yours. The same is true with God's forgiveness. Until you receive it, it's not yours. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 55)


Cannot Save Ourselves

          The first thing we need to understand is we cannot save ourselves. Imagine being on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and falling overboard. Because no one saw you fall in, the ship continues toward its destination, leaving you hopelessly stranded. After treading water for several hours, you find yourself surrounded by sharks. You face certain death at any moment. Exhausted from trying to stay afloat, you slip underwater and begin to drown. Somehow, you force your way to the surface for one more gasp of air.

          As you are about to go under for the last time, a helicopter appears miraculously out of nowhere. The rescue squad inside the helicopter throws out a rope and lassoes your hand, pulling you out of the water just seconds before the sharks move in for the kill. The helicopter flies you back to shore, where you receive treatment in the hospital.

          After you recover, you begin to brag about how you saved yourself.  "I'm really proud of my hand. This hand saved me. Let me tell you how I found the helicopter in the middle of the ocean..."

          Just like we can't save ourselves if we were stranded in the Atlantic, we are also helpless to save ourselves from hell. God doesn't want our help, either.  Because Jesus does all of the saving, we have no right to brag about anything we have done.  "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 221)


The Vacuum in Your Heart

"There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God the Creator, made known by Jesus Christ." --Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)

The same question Martin Luther was asking…

Wo

We cannot save ourselves…

Cannot Save Ourselves

          The first thing we need to understand is we cannot save ourselves.

Imagine being on a ship in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean and falling overboard.

Because no one saw you fall in, the ship continues toward its destination, leaving you hopelessly stranded.

After treading water for several hours, you find yourself surrounded by sharks.

You face certain death at any moment.

Exhausted from trying to stay afloat, you slip underwater and begin to drown.

Somehow, you force your way to the surface for one more gasp of air.

          As you are about to go under for the last time, a helicopter appears miraculously out of nowhere.

The rescue squad inside the helicopter throws out a rope and lassoes your hand, pulling you out of the water just seconds before the sharks move in for the kill.

The helicopter flies you back to shore, where you receive treatment in the hospital.

 After you recover, you begin to brag about how you saved yourself. 

"I'm really proud of my hand. This hand saved me. Let me tell you how I found the helicopter in the middle of the ocean..."

 Just like we can't save ourselves if we were stranded in the Atlantic, we are also helpless to save ourselves from hell.

God doesn't want our help, either.  Because Jesus does all of the saving, we have no right to brag about anything we have done. 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9). (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 221)

Eph 2:8-9

8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

(from New International Version)

Not of Works…Lady and rowboat story…911 p.222.

The Gift must be received…

Salvation

The Gift Must Be Received

 The work has been done on the cross. The blood has been shed. The price has been paid. The only thing left is for the forgiveness to be received by you.

 I could offer to give you a hundred dollar bill by holding it out with my hand. But until you reach out and take it from me, it will never be yours. The same is true with God's forgiveness. Until you receive it, it's not yours. (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook, Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2003, 55)


Luther": Jesus Took What I Deserved  Send to printer

Topics:  Atonement; Christ, only Savior; Christ, our righteousness; Christ, substitute for humanity; Cleansing; Forgiveness; God, grace of; God, love of; God, mercy of; Gospel; Salvation; Salvation, need for; Theology; Truth

Filters:  Church History; Famous People; History; International; International; Movies & TV; Pop Culture; Stories

References:  Romans 3:24-26, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10

Tone:  Commend

The film Luther traces the struggles of the young scholar to relate the message he was learning from Scripture to the rigid church of his day. Martin Luther's own religious upbringing had taught him a gospel that was an exercise in fear.

Preaching to his congregation in Wittenberg, Martin Luther dared to proclaim the truth of the Christ of Scripture over the terrors of the institutional church.

Standing before his congregation he says, "Terrible. Unforgiving. That's how I saw God. Punishing us in this life, committing us to Purgatory after death, sentencing sinners to burn in hell for all eternity. But I was wrong.

"Those who see God as angry do not see him rightly but look upon a curtain as if a dark storm cloud has been drawn across his face. If we truly believe that Christ is our Savior, then we have a God of love, and to see God in faith is to look upon his friendly heart.

"So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this," says Luther, as his sermon rises to a crescendo, "I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? For I know one who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also."

In such simple and straightforward preaching of the gospel, the Reformation was launched.

Content: PG-13 for images of violence

Elapsed time: 00:21:52 to 00:23:10

Luther (MGM, 2003); written by Camille Thomasson and Bart Gavigan, directed by Eric Till; submitted by Rubel Shelly, Nashville, 

 Luther (2003)

The Big Idea:

God has not given us a spirit of fear.

Scene Setup:

Martin Luther makes a bargain with God. If He allows Martin to survive a terrible lightning storm, Martin will become a monk. He makes good on his vow, but all he knows is fear of God. He is visited in his priestly cell one evening by the head priest who shows him a better way.

Scene:

Martin is railing in his cell against unseen demonic voices. The head priest comes in and Martin tells him, "I live in terror of judgment." The priest is dumbfounded, not able to recall any sins in Martin's confessions that would warrant this response.

Martin asks the priest if he ever "dared to think of God as unjust?" He goes on to describe the righteousness of God and how He is "angry with us all our lives for our faults. This righteous judge who damns us," and who condemns sinful men to hell.

The priest points out that Luther isn't evil, "You're just not honest. God isn't angry with you, you are angry with God."

Martin exclaims that he wishes there were no God. The priest wants to know what kind of God Martin seeks. Martin cries out, "A merciful God! A God who I can love and a God who loves me."

The priest responds, "Then look to Christ, bind yourself to Christ, and you will know God's love. Say to Him, 'I'm Yours, save me. I'm Yours, save me."

Martin repeats, "I am Yours, save me. I am Yours, save me."

Application:

Have you ever looked at the circumstances of your life, at your own inability to do what you believe God wants you to do, and felt that God was unfair? You are not alone. The reason people feel this way is that they are angry with God for not smoothing out the road of life to suit them. The walk is hard, the road long, and we get weary.

Thankfully, God is not vengeful, but is patient toward His children. All He asks is that we seek Him so that we may put away fear and condemnation and put on His righteousness. If we confess our sins, it is His good pleasure to redeem and save us.

Sermon General's Warning:

Luther's torment may be upsetting to some.

Topics:  Salvation   Fear   Anger   Judgment   Repentance  

Scripture:  Romans 8:1-16    2 Thessalonians 5:9-10    Romans 8:31-39    1 John 4:17-21   

Keywords: salvation, fear, anger, judgment, repentance

Rating: PG-13     Genre: Drama

DVD Chapter: 2     Start Time: 0:05:48     End Time: 0:08:05

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ILLUSTRATION

A Child Defines Salvation 

Topics:  Childlikeness; Children; Salvation

Filters:  Christian Culture; Humor; Movies & TV; Stories; Youth & Children

References:  Psalms 27:1, Isaiah 12:2, Matthew 10:22, Romans 10:9

Tone:  Neutral/Mixed

When our 2-year-old daughter used the word "salvation" in a conversation one day, I thought I should ask her if she understood what the word meant. "I know all about it, Mommy," she said. "We saw it at the movies." I was puzzled. The only movie she had ever seen was a Disney production. "What movie?" I asked. "You know," she replied, somewhat impatiently, "101 Salvations!"

Marcia Ford, Laurel, DE. Today's Christian Woman, "Heart to Heart."

Religious, but Not Saved

John Wesley, like Lydia, was a worshiper of God. The son of a priest, he was named a deacon in 1725 in the Church of England. He entered the priesthood in 1728. Upon his admission to Oxford he led a student group to methodically pursue godliness. From that nucleus the Methodists as a denomination arose. In 1735 he traveled as a missionary to the New World. Despite all of his sincerity and service, he was not personally converted until 1738. Religious people, like Lydia and Wesley, still need the new birth!

Luther": Jesus Took What I Deserved  Send to printer

Topics:  Atonement; Christ, only Savior; Christ, our righteousness; Christ, substitute for humanity; Cleansing; Forgiveness; God, grace of; God, love of; God, mercy of; Gospel; Salvation; Salvation, need for; Theology; Truth

Filters:  Church History; Famous People; History; International; International; Movies & TV; Pop Culture; Stories

References:  Romans 3:24-26, Ephesians 2:8-9, 1 Peter 2:24, 1 John 2:2, 1 John 4:10

Tone:  Commend

The film Luther traces the struggles of the young scholar to relate the message he was learning from Scripture to the rigid church of his day. Martin Luther's own religious upbringing had taught him a gospel that was an exercise in fear.

Preaching to his congregation in Wittenberg, Martin Luther dared to proclaim the truth of the Christ of Scripture over the terrors of the institutional church.

Standing before his congregation he says, "Terrible. Unforgiving. That's how I saw God. Punishing us in this life, committing us to Purgatory after death, sentencing sinners to burn in hell for all eternity. But I was wrong.

"Those who see God as angry do not see him rightly but look upon a curtain as if a dark storm cloud has been drawn across his face. If we truly believe that Christ is our Savior, then we have a God of love, and to see God in faith is to look upon his friendly heart.

"So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this," says Luther, as his sermon rises to a crescendo, "I admit that I deserve death and hell. What of it? For I know one who suffered and made satisfaction in my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God. Where he is, there I shall be also."

In such simple and straightforward preaching of the gospel, the Reformation was launched.

Content: PG-13 for images of violence

Elapsed time: 00:21:52 to 00:23:10

Luther (MGM, 2003); written by Camille Thomasson and Bart Gavigan, directed by Eric Till; submitted by Rubel Shelly, Nashville, 

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