Tuesday, March 31, 2015
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I grew up around Lake Michigan. And when I was little, I used to go in it. Now I mostly just look at it when I'm in Chicago or in the Great Lakes area. Part of that is because of what happened to me when I was ten years old. My memories of that lake are memories of a struggle I will never forget. I was out with my friends. I didn't know how to swim and I was too proud to tell them. Well, I started to go under. No one took me seriously. I mean, I'm yelling. I'm trying to get some help. I'm drinking the lake! I'm in a panic, flailing around, and my friends are going, "Oh, Ron, you know him. He's such a clown!" Great! Finally, just in the nick of time, someone came. They grabbed me and they literally saved my life.
Let me tell you what I contributed to my rescue. That's right, absolutely nothing.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Spiritual Drowning and How to Be Rescued."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 2:8-9. "It is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast." Okay, fasten your seat belt, because these statements out of God's Word are so radical they basically challenge every religious system in the world, whether it's Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, you name it. Because every system says, "Here are some good things you can do that will commend you to God, and He'll forgive the bad based on the good you do."
But this says, "No good you can do will pay off the bad." "Not by works." Those are radical words! Nothing you can do to contribute to your rescue. No amount of religion. No amount of being a good boy or girl. This word "saved" here indicates that there's a rescue needed. We're dying spiritually because we have broken God's laws. We're away from God. We're powerless to get back to Him. It's like me in Lake Michigan that day. You can't rescue yourself.
Maybe you've been depending somehow on your own goodness to get you to heaven, or your family connections, on the fact that you agree with all the Jesus stuff. You've got Christ in your head but maybe not in your heart. It is, the Bible says, "the gift of God" paid for. Not by you, but by Jesus Christ. You don't pay for your gifts. It's paid for by Jesus because you and I couldn't pay for it. He took your hell. He took your payment for your sin dying on the cross.
How do you get it? It says, "through faith." Faith is what happened that day I grabbed that lifeguard. I just pinned all my hopes on him. For us to be saved-to be rescued-through faith, it means that we recognize that we are drowning spiritually, powerless to rescue ourselves. Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to surrender your self-efforts in order to finally get the peace of really knowing God personally?
You quit depending on your religion. It's not Jesus plus anything else. It's just Jesus. So you grab heaven's lifeguard like a drowning person would grab the person coming to rescue them. When did you do this? Have you ever had that moment with Jesus? You say, "I don't know I have." Well, then, you probably haven't. Maybe God is coming to you through this conversation today because He's courting you. He's after you. He's reaching out His hand to save you. This is life-or-death stuff-forever life or death.
If you haven't pinned all your hopes on Jesus, do it now. If you're not sure you belong to Jesus, let me invite you to go to our website. It's there so I can help you nail down your own relationship with Jesus and know for sure that you belong to Him. Not just believe in Him, but that you belong to Him. Let's get together at ANewStory.com.
Jesus plunged into your world to rescue you from sin. You can't rescue yourself from it. Today, as He comes to you, grab hold of your Rescuer.