Welcome back to this series on “How to Fulfill Your Calling”. We’re now in episode three, and if you don’t get what I’m saying in this episode, the whole series could be a waste of time and I’m going to spend a little bit more time on this episode than maybe some of the others but it’s worth it. So just quickly to recap what we looked at in episode two, we looked at Jesus being our example of how we are supposed to operate if we’re going to fulfill God’s purposes on the earth and fulfill the calling that He’s placed on our lives and we looked at how Jesus was full of the Spirit, led by the Spirit and operated in the power of the Holy Spirit and I talked about the promise that Jesus made that if we believe in him, we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and he talked about streams of living water flowing out of us and I talked about how the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not just for you but it flows into the people around you as well and then I said that there are two categories of people… there are some who are genuinely saved but have not been baptized in the Holy Spirit, and we looked at that in Acts chapter 8. And in this session I want to talk about the fact that some people are not baptized in the Holy Spirit because they’re not genuinely saved. So let’s jump into episode three and in this episode we’re going to be talking about ‘salvation must be genuine’. You see you hear people saying things like “we’re saved by faith”, “all you need to do is believe”, “trust Jesus” and they’re talking about trust and they’re talking about faith, but faith in what exactly? You see the apostle Paul warned us that there’s a true gospel and there are also false gospels so if we talk about faith and believing but we don’t explain exactly what it is that we need to believe in to be saved, we could end up with people who think they’re saved but actually they’re not. Because in James 2 verse 19 it says, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” So are the demons saved? They believe that there’s one God. Of course they’re not saved! And sometimes you hear people say, “invite Jesus into your heart” or “ask Jesus to take you by the hand” and these things sound great but you won’t find them in the Bible. And I don’t know about you but I’ve heard many pastors and preachers claim to be preaching the gospel without ever mentioning the word ‘repentance’ and I just want to say to you at the beginning of this session, if you hear a gospel message without any mention of the word ‘repentance’, it was not a gospel message. If we don’t explain the biblical basis of salvation to people, they might walk away thinking they’re saved but in reality they’re not. And then what’s going to happen is that they’re going to start to wonder why they don’t see all the promises in the Bible becoming true for them. They’re going to wonder why they’re not operating in the fullness and the power of the Holy Spirit and things like that. So we’re going to talk about that in this session. And the idea of trying to fulfill your calling without being genuinely saved, is crazy. This is the beginning. You see we talked in episode one about how God works on the earth and how He fills people with His Spirit and empowers them to do things with his power… now that promise was not available in the old testament, that happened to just one or two different people but now that promise is for everybody who is genuinely saved – everybody who’s become a child of God and entered into God’s kingdom. That promise of being filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Holy Spirit and operating the power of the Holy Spirit is available to us but it starts with genuinely accepting the true gospel, giving your life over to Jesus and into his Lordship and that’s where the journey begins. So, it starts with salvation, and the Bible is quite specific when it talks about the requirements for salvation. The first thing that the Bible makes absolutely clear is that Jesus Christ of Nazareth is the only name by which we can be saved. Acts 4 verse 12 is talking about Jesus and it says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” And Jesus said himself in John 14:6, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” So the next questions we have to ask is, why did we need a savior and what exactly did he do? You see many people wonder, if there is a God, why can’t I see him, touch him, hear him speaking to me? Why doesn’t He seem to answer my prayers? Well the Bible answers this question really clearly in Isaiah 59 verses 1 to 2 it says, “Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities” – that’s another word for sin or crookedness – “have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you so that he will not hear.” So it’s sin that separates us from God. Our sin separates us from Him but don’t worry – that would be really bad news if there wasn’t a solution but there is a solution! Jesus came to reconcile us to God and God is our true life source and that’s why Jesus said this in John 17 verse 3 – he said, “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” So in order to give us eternal life, Jesus had to deal with that which was separating us, right, because ‘eternal life is to know him’, and we can’t know Him and have a relationship with Him while sin is separating us and there’s a verse in the book of Romans which I’ll show you the whole verse in a minute but I’m just going to tell you the first part. It says, “the wages of sin is death” so because of our sin, because of the sin that’s been in the human race for generation after generation, death is what we have all received. In fact we were all born spiritually dead. Spiritual death is separation from God and at the end of our lives, if our sin is not dealt with, we will receive punishment. And according to the Bible that punishment is eternal, and of course it’s known as ‘hell’. But God loved us so much that He sent His son to the earth to be punished in our place. Jesus came to earth, born of a virgin, so he didn’t come from the generations of humans that have sinned. He had no sin in him. He went through all the same temptations that we go through on earth, but he lived a sinless life. Jesus was a hundred percent God and a hundred percent man, and he never sinned. And Jesus was the only human being who didn’t deserve death. So, because Jesus had no sin of his own, when he was crucified on the cross – this is what the Bible says, Isaiah 53 verses 5 to 6, “he was pierced for our transgressions” – again that’s another word for sin or where you’ve gone away from God and done your own thing – rebelled against God, “he was crushed for our iniquities” – again another word for sin – “the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” It says “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him” – put on Jesus – “the iniquity” – the sin – “of us all.” So Jesus took our punishment upon himself. He made it possible for us to have our sins forgiven, for us to have the barrier that was between us and God removed forever, and then what happened next? You see don’t forget what I said a minute ago… the first part of that verse, it said “the wages of sin is death”. What was the one thing Jesus never did? Jesus never sinned, and the Bible says in Acts 2 verse 24, “it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” So of course on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead! He had to, death could not hold him down, and this was the proof that Jesus had defeated sin and he had defeated death and because of that, you and I can have a new life. Now I said I’ll tell you the rest of that verse – it’s Romans 6:23 and it says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” And we’ve already seen that eternal life is ‘to know him’. It’s an everlasting relationship with Him and of course when we die it doesn’t stop there, we continue to live with Him forever and the Bible calls that ‘heaven’ or ‘paradise’. Now, receiving this gift is the beginning of fulfilling your calling, so how do we receive this gift? This is really important. There are two things the Bible talks about that we need to have to receive this gift. The first one is faith and the second one is repentance. So, first we’re going to talk about faith. We need to have faith in Jesus’s death and resurrection. So first of all we need to believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so that we can be forgiven. Now the next part is quite specific – Romans 10 verse 9, it says, “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart” – there’s the faith – “that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” So we have to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead in order to be saved, and so we could ask the question, “what type of faith saves us?” and the answer is: ‘believing that God can raise the dead type of faith’ and we’re going to come back to that in a few minutes but I just want to move on now. So we know that we need to have faith in his death and his resurrection. Let’s just move on to repentance and then we’ll come back to that type of faith in a minute. So the second thing that’s clear in the Bible is that in order to receive this gift of salvation, we can’t work to earn it but we need to repent. That means that we need to turn from our old life, our sinful life where we were living for ourselves, you could say we’re trying to achieve our purposes and our dreams in rebellion to God, and give up that life and follow him – follow Jesus, find out his ways and live by them. So faith and repentance. Now I’m concerned that a lot of people who think they’re saved but are not have actually heard a gospel that tells them all they need to do is believe. ‘Jesus I believe in you’, and you’re saved. But they haven’t ever come to true repentance. Now they may have even started going to church, they may have even been baptized in water because they were told that that was what they needed to do, but if they haven’t ever repented, the truth is that they have not received the gift of eternal life, and Jesus does say that on the last day there will be people who think that they’re going to heaven when in reality they’re not. But you might say to me “but David, we’re saved by faith alone. Why do you need to add anything to that?” Well actually the scripture says we’re saved by grace through faith but it also talks about repentance and I would say to you, I agree with you! There is nobody who will be able to stand before Jesus on judgment day and say that ‘my good works have earned me a place in heaven’, nobody will be able to say that. Anybody who goes to heaven, everybody who goes to heaven, is there because of what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross, not because of their own works. But if repentance is not necessary, why did John the Baptist preach it? In Matthew 3 verses 1 to 2, “In those days john the baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea and saying, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'” And if repentance is not necessary, why did Jesus preach it? In Matthew 4:17, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.'” And you might say to me, “but David, that was before Jesus died on the cross! Now he’s paid the price for all sin, all we have to do is believe.” Okay, so let’s look at the first sermon after Christ’s death and resurrection. This is the apostle Peter preaching in Acts chapter 2 and in verse 38 it says, “Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Now we know that the people he was talking to had already believed because they were ‘cut to the heart’ when they heard the gospel, and Peter said to them, “Repent”. And if repentance is not necessary, why did the apostle Paul preach it? You see the apostle Paul, you have to remember this, he encountered Jesus after Jesus’s death and resurrection and Paul said about the gospel that he preached, in Galatians 1, he said this, “For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not according to man. I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught; it rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ. So, what was the gospel that Paul preached? Well in Acts chapter 26 verse 20 it says, “First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and then to the Gentiles, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and demonstrate their repentance by their deeds. Now I am not saying that our deeds can save us – I’m not saying that. The core basis for our salvation is that we are saved not because of what we have done, but because of what he has done. However, true faith always shows itself by its actions and in fact I’m going to say this: faith without repentance is not genuine faith and cannot save you. How do we know this? Well, first of all we know this because of the example of Abraham, okay. Abraham, we call him the father of our faith, and Abraham was also the first person who the Bible says ‘his faith was credited to him as righteousness’. Now when God asked Abraham to go up the mountain and sacrifice his son Isaac, for Abraham this meant giving up everything. And when Abraham lifted that knife, ready to kill the son whom all God’s promises for Abraham were depending on, his actions demonstrated ‘God can raise the dead’ type faith. Look at Hebrews 11:19, it says, “Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive isaac back from the death.” Did abraham have faith? Absolutely! Was it just ‘in his heart?’ Absolutely not! Abraham’s faith was shown by his actions. James 2:21-24 says this, “Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. And the scripture was fulfilled that says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,’ and he was called God’s friend. You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.” You see faith is only true faith when our actions follow. It’s not the actions that save us, it’s the faith in Jesus that saves us, but in order for it to be true faith there has to be action. The action proves that the faith is genuine. That’s why faith without repentance is not true faith at all. The second way that we know this is we know it because of what Jesus said when he was on the earth. In Matthew 16:25 he said, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” You see repentance is letting go of your old life, and the evidence that you really believe that Jesus laid down his life for you is that you lay down your life for him. The third way we know it is Jesus in the book of revelation. Jesus is speaking from heaven after he’s gone back to be in heaven, he’s speaking to the churches and to one of the churches he says this, Revelation 3:15-16, he says, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I’m about to spit you out of my mouth.” You see Jesus says to them, “I know your deeds”, he doesn’t say, “as long as you believe, it’s okay I know your heart, as long as you believe, your actions are not that important to me.” No, Jesus is very interested in what they are doing, and a few verses later he says this to them, “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Do you see that? Jesus is still preaching repentance from heaven now! Now this doesn’t mean that salvation is not a free gift. You could never earn it! If you worked for a million years you would not be able to earn your salvation. It is a free gift – it’s by grace. Grace is when God gives us something that we don’t deserve. But in order to receive genuine salvation, there must be repentance. And it’s not even enough just to be sorrowful about our sin, that sorrow, if it’s there, must lead to repentance. In 2 Corinthians 7:10 it says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” And you know after Jesus tells that church to repent he says this, in Revelation 3:20, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” So whether you’ve repented when you received salvation or whether you’ve never repented and you need to receive salvation, actually this message of repentance is for all of us, because here Jesus is talking to believers, and their faith, their their walk with him has gone lukewarm – they’re not hot and they’re not passionate and he says ‘repent’. So all of us can come before him in repentance, and that promise, he says, ‘if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person and he with me”, he’s talking about having intimate fellowship with you, he’s talking about how he wants to walk with you and talk with you and to be part of your life and every decision that you make. So, there’s deep communion with the Holy Spirit available to those who believe and repent and receive genuine salvation – become children of God. And I said at the end of this session that I would give you an opportunity to receive salvation and an opportunity to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, so let’s pray. If you want to receive salvation, if you’re not sure whether you’ve genuinely been saved, you can pray this prayer with me right now. Father God, I thank you so much that you sent Jesus to die on the cross for me. I thank you that he took the punishment of death that I deserved because of my sin. And Father I want to say sorry to you right now. I want to say sorry to you for the things that I’ve thought, the things that I’ve said, and the things that I’ve done which were not pleasing to you – the things that I’ve done which were sin, and I want to thank you so much that Jesus’s death on the cross and his resurrection mean that I can be forgiven. So Father I receive that forgiveness now, that free gift of grace and salvation, and I say Jesus, would you be my Savior, would you be my Lord. And I want to come before you right now in repentance, and I want to say Lord I’m sorry for trying to do my life my way. I want to let go of my old life now. I want to let go of my sinful behavior, I want to let go of my desires and the purposes and plans that I have for my life and Jesus you said that whoever wants to save his life will lose it, that whoever loses his life for me will find it, and Jesus I want to say to you right now that I’m letting go of my old life and I’m choosing to follow you and I’m choosing to put all of my faith in you Jesus. Thank you for your forgiveness, thank you for your salvation. Would you lead me in Jesus’ name. And just stay in that place of prayer because I just want to pray that God will baptize you in his Holy Spirit now and you can just say between you and God “Father, would you baptize me in your Holy Spirit.” So Father I just want to pray right now for everybody who’s watching this video and I ask you Father would you come now and baptize them in your Holy Spirit right now. Holy Spirit would you come and do what you promised you would do – fill them with streams of living water that will flow from within them. Lord, you said you would pour out your Spirit on your men servants and your maid servants. Lord, you said that we would speak in tongues, that we would prophesy, and I ask you Father right now, would you do that Lord, in the lives of those who are watching this video – every person who’s been genuinely saved, who wants to fulfill your call on their life. Lord, would you baptize them in your Holy Spirit right now, in Jesus’ name. I just want to say to you, if you’re watching this video and you want to just take a few minutes to wait on the Lord, just wait on the Lord, spend some time with Him. I believe that He wants to speak to you in this time. Don’t be surprised if you see pictures and visions as you’re praying right now, don’t be surprised if scriptures come to mind or the Lord speaks things into your heart. Don’t be surprised if you feel an urge to make sounds with your mouth and start to speak in a language that you’ve never spoken before because the Holy Spirit will bring the words out of your mouth and He’ll be speaking through you and that’s called the gift of tongues. So I’m going to leave you with the Lord for a few minutes. If there are specific things that you know you need to repent of and you really need to say sorry, maybe you’ve looked at things or touched things that were unclean and you feel convicted about that right now, take your time, this is so important. This is eternal value stuff right now. What you do in these moments between you and God can determine not only where you spend eternity but how you spend eternity and also what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, so I’m going to leave you with Him and may you enjoy that deep communion and fellowship that Jesus promised to those who believe and repent, and I will see you in episode 4.