Jeremiah 8:20 - “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and.......WE ARE NOT SAVED.”
What a sad thought! When life comes to an end, most people will have to say this very thing: “...we are not saved.”
God is not willing that any should perish and be lost forever. But the awful truth is that most will come to the end of their earthly journey and have to say: “..[I am] not saved.”
At the Great White Throne, where the final judgment of mankind before eternity begins takes place, the multitudes assembled that day will have to say: “...we are not saved!”
You that are reading this may someday be one of those, who, when your time is up and your life is over, and you cross over the river of death into the hereafter, will have to say: “...[I am] not saved..”
In a good, doctrinally sound (Baptist) church, where the Bible is believed and the Gospel is faithfully preached, folks know “how to be saved.” There is enough “gospel” in the average Baptist church to save the world, yet many have not believed this gospel and received the Saviour for themselves, and are not saved.
Now when we talk of being “saved,” we mean that a person has repented of their sin and trusted Jesus Christ as their own personal Saviour. At the very moment that a person does that, he/she receives the forgiveness of their sins and the free gift of eternal life, and is therefore ready to meet God, and on their way to Heaven.
In this message I want to come at the issue of salvation from a different direction. We are not going to come in through the front door, but we are going to break down the back door of the sinner’s false hopes of salvation. Instead of talking of “how to be saved,” I want to preach today on the subject: “How NOT To Be Saved.” (A lady in our church one time told after preaching this message, “But we need to know how to be saved, David.” Makes you wonder if she was saved, and she taught a Southern Baptist ladies Sunday School class for years.)
I.We are not saved by FAMILY HERITAGE.
The Bible says in John.1:13, “who were born,NOT of blood ” - i.e., not of human parentage. We must be born of God. We must be born again (John 3:1-7). God has no grandchildren! No one is born a Christian - everyone of us is a “ natural born sinner.”
The Bible says in Psalm 51:5 ‑ “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” That means that when David was in his mother’s womb, even at the moment of his conception, he had already inherited a sinful nature from his human parents. We are all born sinners in need of God’s forgiveness.
In Job 14:4, speaking of natural birth, Job asked this question: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.” We are all sinners, from Adam and Eve on down to today. Sinners produce sinners. If you are a part of the human family, you were born a sinner in need of redemption.
In Matthew 3:9 that great prophet, John the Baptist, anticipated the response of the religionists of his day. The Pharisees came to hear him preach on the banks of the river Jordan, and so he preached to them. He preached repentance to those who counted on their ancestry to save them. He told them: “Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”
These Pharisees were counting on their family heritage to save them, but John told them that their bloodline that tied them to Abraham, the father of the faithful was not going to save them. The rich man in hell (Luke 16:24) called Abraham his father, and although racially that was true, it did not save him or keep from the flames of hell. He was not saved!
Earthly family ties & racial identity do not save!
Let me say that you can’t LIVE on your Mama’s religion and you can’t DIE by your Daddy’s religion. You must be born again by faith Jesus Christ if you want to be saved.
II. We are not saved by SELF-EFFORT.
The Bible says again in John 1:13, “who were born...” NOT of the “will of the flesh.”
Individual self‑effort does not save. A man cannot “lift himself to heaven by his own bootstraps.” Personal resolve & human determination won’t get you to heaven.
Benjamin Franklin was an unsaved deist. He was a friend of the famous English evangelist, George Whitefield, yet he remained lost and died an unsaved man. Franklin wanted to obtain what he called “moral perfection,” so he composed a list of 13 virtues to be a uniform code of personal conduct. He believed that if a man could abide by them, then he would reach that moral perfection. The 13 virtues that he thought a person would need to have were: Temperance, Silence, Order, Resolution, Frugality, Industry, Sincerity, Justice, Moderation, Cleanliness, Tranquility, Chastity, and Humility. He had a checklist that he marked every day to show his progress.
After several months of trying to keep them, he wrote: “I was surprised to find myself so much fuller of faults than I had imagined.....I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell short of it...”
There is a verse of scripture that comes to mind when I think of old Ben Franklin’s failed experiment in human virtue— Romans 3:23, which says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”
For those of you that think you can make it to heaven by your own self‑will and human effort, you need to consider this: If a man can’t live up to his own standards, how can he expect to live up to God’s? The Bible says in Romans 8:8 ‑ “they that are in the flesh CANNOT please God.”
Your self‑effort cannot save you. You need to depend on Christ and what He did for you on the Cross. He is the only One whose efforts ever pleased God 100% and did not fall short of God’s standard of perfection. His work on the Cross is the only thing that you can count on for your salvation.
III. We are not saved by MAN-MADE RELIGIONS.
Consider another part of John 1:13 -“who were born...” NOT “of the will of man.”
This is speaking, not of an individual person, but of Mankind as a whole. I believe that it is referring to the organized systems of religion that man has developed over the centuries: his church traditions and religious rituals. The world has tried to replace the Gospel with moral, religious, and ethical systems that deny the need for being born again. But the fact is that NO religion can save - Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Mohammedism (Islam), Mormonism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Confucianism, Secular Humanism, nor any other “- ism.”
RELIGION can’t save a dead horse! And it sure can’t save you!
The Jews in Christ’s day claimed to have the TRUE religion, but Jesus told them if they didn’t believe He was the Messiah, they would die in their sins and go to hell (John 8:24). Salvation is not in any religion, but in the Lord Jesus Christ. Even the religion of the Jews, which was given to them by Moses from God Himself, could not save. They needed a Messiah. They needed the Lord. The whole Old Testament pointed to the coming Redeemer, and when He showed up on Israel’s doorstep, they rejected Him. They had the right religion, so to speak, yet rejected the Saviour their religion said they needed to receive.
There are many churches today with people in them that reject the very Saviour they proclaim. I know plenty of people in the Baptist church that need to be saved as much as anybody in any other religion.
A man I tried to witness to and leave a gospel tract with told me: “I have placed myself in the hands of my priest, and he is responsible for my salvation.” How sad that someone could be so deceived. This was an intelligent man, and yet he was so spiritually ignorant.
Friends, you can have your name on the church roll, but is it on Heaven’s roll? Have you been born again?
IV. We are not saved by GOOD WORKS.
The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8,9 that we are saved by grace through faith, “NOT of works, lest any man should boast.” Again, in Titus 3:5the Bible clearly states that we are NOT saved “by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy...”
As sinners, even our best works are tainted by sin, and therefore unable to contribute one iota to the salvation of our souls. The prophet Isaiah said in Isaiah 64:6 - “All our righteousnesses (that is, the BEST things that we can do) are as FILTHY RAGS” in the sight of God.
The Bible is crystal clear that keeping the Law cannot save, either. The Bible says in Romans 3:19 ‑ “Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Law of God REVEALS our sin and need of forgiveness, but DOES NOT remove our sin and our guilt. Only Christ can do that.
Again, in Galatians 3:11, “But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident... ”
Galatians 2:16 continues to pound out the truth that salvation is NOT by our good works or keeping the Ten Commandments: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
And in Galatians 2:21 - “I do not frustrate the grace of God (he means he does not complicate the way of salvation):for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”
If you are counting on your good works to save you, then you need to ask yourself this question: “If I can earn my salvation, then why did Jesus die?”
Before his conversion, John Wesley, the famous founder of the Methodist church, left England for the state of Georgia in America. His purpose was to evangelize the Indians. He left in discouragement, doubting if he would ever be saved. He said to himself, “I came to convert the Indians, but who shall convert me?”
On the voyage back to England, he was asked by a Moravian missionary, “Do you hope to be saved?” Wesley replied, “Yes, I do.” “On what basis do you hope to be saved?” the missionary asked him. Wesley said, “Because of my endeavours to serve God.” The Moravian shook his head and walked away without saying a word. John Wesley thought to himself: “How uncharitable (insensitive) of the man - would he rob me of my good works?” Later on during their voyage, he was frightened in a storm at sea, frightened of where his soul would spend eternity. Back in Engalnd at a Bible study he was converted to Christ, saved by faith and not by his works.
We are not saved by our good works, but by the Good Work of Christ on the Cross!
V. We are not saved by a CHRIST-REJECTING FAITH.
The Bible says in John 3:17,18 - “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”
Let us say that you can accept Christianity without accepting Christ; you can accept His teachings without accepting Him; you can believe what He said without believing ON Him; you can have a creed, code, culture, cause, or a church and still not have Christ!
As the old spiritual goes: “Everybody talkin’ ‘bout heaven ain’t goin’ there!”
In closing, I will answer the question: “How then can a person be saved?” (That is, have our sins forgiven and be sure of heaven.)
Well, that very question, and the answer to it, is found in the Bible in Acts 16:30,31 ‑ “Sirs, What must I do to be saved? And they said unto him, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
Simply put, a person must Believe the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for you, as your substitute, and that He died for your sins, as your sacrifice to pay your sin-debt. And a person must Receive the Saviour. The Bible says inJohn 1:12 that “As many as received him, to them gave he the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” To “receive” Christ means to accept Him as your own personal Saviour. Revelation 3:20tells us that Christ knocks at our heart’s door, and that if you will let Him into your heart by faith, He will come in, and be your Saviour.
The Saviour is waiting to enter your heart - why don ’t you let Him come in?
Solid Rock Baptist Church - Serving the Lord in the Memphis/Mid-South area