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He Came To Save Sinners

by Julius Hovan

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

Welcome to this Words of Life broadcast, words that we believe, if you will hear, pay attention and listen to what God has asked you to do and what God has promised to do for you that, indeed, they will lead to life, maybe life as you have never known it.

If you are not a Christian this morning, think about what you are going to be doing with the rest of your life and where God would have you to be. Would you consider becoming a Christian? Would you look at the evidence of a living Savior the Lord Jesus?

Our text this morning from the inspired Word of God is 1 Timothy chapter one and verse 15. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. What is this faithful saying? Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

What good news that is, indeed, a Savior of sinners. Notice what we find in this interesting little verse of Scripture. First of all, it is a most wonderful kind of salvation. It is for sinners. I happen to be one. I am sure you are aware that you are, as well, a sinner. And the salvation that is promised in this verse is not a salvation from poverty, as much as we would like to see that, or even from sickness or war or ignorance or maybe bad government. We probably would like to be delivered from that. We often think if we had these thing and had just have enough money and never got sick and there was no war and government would just take care of me that everything would be all right. This verse reminds us of a deadlier evil which is behind all other evils. It is the original cause of the mess in our lives and the evil that runs rampant in the world today. The Bible calls it sin, S I N in the English. And at the very center of that is the I. I am part of the problem to be sure. Sin.

Sin, and not in the modern psychological sense, where we talk about psychological abnormalities and all of that sort of poppy cock, but plain, old fashioned Bible sense of the word sin. We have missed the mark. We have broken God’s law. We have practiced unholy things that result in trouble in my personal life with my family, with others. Maybe it has put me in jail or in the hospital or brought disease. And inevitably it leads to eternal destruction

The human poets have written their sweet words of all the great dreams they have. The evolutionary philosophers of our day have fond fancies of some better world somehow or other. Unfortunately much like these philosophies that follow the world wars, we were told here is the war to end all wars. It did not happen. It cannot happen. It will not happen. Man- made ideas, modern philosophy, the great society has never come to pass nor can we of ourselves bring it about. Is it true in your nation like it is here in America that our nation has been shaken to its very foundation, that the world is in a state of social and political and moral upheaval, that between the 20th century brutalities and calamities and agonies, is this sin leading us running rampant on into the 21st century? The world vainly pins its hopes on big business or some person who is going to be a great reformer who will bring about change or some world diplomat that will bring about peace, or some wizard that has all the answers.

Have we not proven how totally futile all such thinking is?

My friends, our need today is for a Savior, the Savior Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He alone can save an individual from sin. He alone it is who can save families from failure, nations from falling into corruption and destruction. It is he who has the answer to the world to keep it from annihilating itself. How pathetic to see educated people pretend otherwise that some other answer is adequate and they shuffle through life. They bluff themselves into some hypocritical happiness and deep down they know it has not and will not be any different if we apply the same solutions. There is a most wonderful kind of salvation. Do you need it? Salvation from sin? Yes, you do, as I do as well.

My friends, the most wonderful kind of salvation demands a most wonderful kind of Savior. We don’t like to look at ourselves and think about it, but sinners are ugly, not in the physical sense, but in the spiritual sense. The Bible says our best, our righteousness is as filthy rags. We are rebels against the goodness and law of God. We are undeserving of the help of God. In a moral sense, sin is a loathsome leprosy and in the legal sense it is treason against the divine law of God. We are all guilty of that.

Unfortunately the vast majority in this condition don’t want to change. They are not interested in change. It may well be somebody who tuned in this morning decided ‘I don’t want to listen to that. I am going to punch the button. I am going to change the station’. We are glad you didn’t do that. As long as we enjoy the pleasures of sin for a while, we will just keep on our terrible path of destruction.

Our need is not only for pardon from our past sin, what are you going to do with your past? Just think of those evils that you have done, some of them not so bad, some of them maybe quite bad. We not only need pardon from those, but what about the present day? What am I going to do today and tomorrow as long as I have time? We need deliverance from our nature to continue in sin. We have an inherited nature that is twisted and perverse and unclean. Inner change is necessary and without deliverance and help we face a holy God in perfect judgment. He demands an answer to that. He demands that our sin debt be paid. For the wages of sin is death. If we choose to pay it ourselves, it will be with death and eternal separation from God and all that is good and pleasant and joyful. Can you even think about it? Is there an answer then? What did we say? There is a most wonderful salvation that comes from a most wonderful Savior. And this one little verse tells us who that is, Christ Jesus.

The term, the name, the title Christ links him to the Old Testament. It is the Hebrew word for the anointed one, the promised one, or the Messiah as he was called. The one whose goings forth have been from of old, even from everlasting, the one described as a wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the prince of peace. That is no average person, is it?

Paul told Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:10: We trust in the living God who is the Savior all men, especially of those who believe. Now notice two things here. Number one, this makes it clear that this Jesus, born in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, a man, a babe was also God. It was proof of that without any question. But secondly he, in his work, came to be the Savior of all. But notice, that all can be only those who come in faith and belief. His death, his suffering to save all is effective only for those who follow him and put their trust in him.

Have you done that? We hope we will be able to help you make that decision if you have not. The name, the title, Christ, links Jesus to the Old Testament. The name Jesus links him with the New Testament. The angels instructed, you will recall, Mary and Joseph were told. His name shall be Jesus. It is a common name of that day and in some societies very common today, equal to the name Joshua, and it means Savor. We who are Christians love to sing the hymn How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds in a Believer’s Ear. Here is the Christ of the Old Testament and the Jesus of the New Testament and what did it say? He came, not merely that he was born, not that he began his existence a little over 2000 years ago when he came here. He came and took on this form of a babe and a man from a preexisting form. He had lived in heaven. He had been there with his Father and now he left the heavenly home and came to this earth to be among mankind.

Before he became the son of Mary, he was already and always the Son of God. Think about it. Before the world began, this eternal Son had his full being. With that first little baby breath of Bethlehem’s chilly night air, the King of the ages had come from beyond the stars to dwell with us and our blood relations, So Mr. Baxter writes. The one who gave the stars and suns their flesh and their flame and their flash became a helpless babe. Christ Jesus came oh, where? He came into the world. That is where the need was. That is where wrong raged. That is where people rebelled. That is where darkness dominated. That is where ignorance of God abounded. That is where sin and wickedness destroyed lives and homes and young people and nations. He came into the world. He came knowingly. He came voluntarily. He came compassionately to a rude and ugly world that would accuse and abuse and seek to annihilate him. He came to our world, my friend. He took on our form. He lived our life. He shared our joys and sorrows and suffering to show the great love of God. He came to bear our sins and to take our punishment. Christ Jesus, God and man, came to save and he came where the salvation was needed here in our world and he is still God and man in heaven, there interceding for us.

It is, indeed, a wonderful kind of salvation provided by a wonderful kind of Savior. Now as we look at this and bring it to its conclusion, this is, to be sure, a most wonderful message. What did Paul write? This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.

We have seen the wonderful kind of salvation for sinners like us, like me and you. We have found there is, indeed, supplied freely in the grace and mercy of God, this wonderful Savior. But you may say this morning, “Is that really true?”

Sometimes we say something is too good to be true. Well, I have good news for you, my friend. This is no myth. This is not just a good religious story. This is not just something we can talk about every once in a while to give preachers something to preach about. Oh, there may be some things that have been told in the church or where you come from that are not true. This is true. It was true then. It is true now. It is a faithful saying that it is true and trustworthy, a sure word. Reliable is the message one translator said. It is worthy of all acceptance.

Are you willing to give it consideration this morning? Allow me to share an illustration and a true story. Back in 1934 we are told that the young Prince Edward, heir to the throne was visiting a small hospital where 36 hopelessly injured and disfigured veterans of the First World War were being tended. He stopped at each cot, shook hands with each veteran and spoke words of encouragement. He was then conducted to the exit, but he observed, “I understood you had 35 patients here. I have seen only 29.” The head nurse explained that the other seven were so shockingly disfigured that for the sake of his own feelings he had not been taken to see them.

The prince insisted that he must see them and he stayed long enough to thank each soldier for the great sacrifice he had made and to assure each one that it should never be forgotten. And he turned to the nurse again. “But I have seen six men. Where is the seventh?” He was informed that no one was allowed to see him. He was blind. He was maimed. He was dismembered. He was the most hideously disfigured of them all. He was isolated in a room which he would never leave alive. “Please do not ask to see him,” the nurse pleaded.

The prince, however, could not be dissuaded. And the nurse reluctantly led him in to the darkened room. It is said the royal visitor stood there his face turning white and pale, his lips drawing as he looked upon that wounded soldier. He looked down at what had been a fine man, but was now a horrible horror. And then the tears broke out and with a lovely impulse the prince bent down and reverently kissed the cheeks of this broken hero.

Now, my friends, listen to me today if you will. This story, a true story, speaks of one who felt the need to stoop from being a prince to this one who had been so mortally disfigured and wounded. But it speaks to us as illustration of someone who stooped far lower than did the prince, someone who stooped lower to kiss a far worse ugliness.

You see the soldier’s disfigurement physically, that of a broken hero, deserved that reverence and that gratitude. But we are talking today about God himself becoming a man, coming to show love to leprous, evil, the ugliness of corrupt sinners. Calvary, that is where Jesus went to die, Calvary is the gracious compassionate redeeming kiss of the prince of heaven upon the sinful hearts of the people of the world like you and like me.

Christ Jesus came into the world to do what? To save sinners. Is that not worthy to be accepted? Would you accept it? Would you give your life to him? And if you are a Christian would you share it with someone else who needs it? And to refuse such a gift, is it not the most unworthy behavior of all? Why would anyone say no to God’s great gift of forgiveness and love and grace and eternal hope?

And so I would ask you. Do you have a better way than God’s way? Do you think you can work hard enough and get enough done to deserve it? Impossible. What about your past? Do you believe some religious ritual will get you there? If I just say these words often enough or go to church often enough or read my holy book often enough or whatever, is your behavior above that? Oh, I am better than a lot of other people so surely God will take me to heaven. Are you smarter and stronger than God? Listen to what he has said. We need to understand what God has planned for those who will receive him. A most wonderful kind of salvation, it is for sinners.

If you recognize you are a sinner, this gift is for you. And it is supplied by a most wonderful kind of Savior, the eternal one who came to where we are and became the wonderful Savior to provide the wonderful salvation. And, thus, we are able to present on Words of Life and in the pulpits of churches around the world, the most wonderful message worth hearing and believing and sharing and receiving. It is true. It is true, my friends. It has been proven by millions for 2000 years and longer. What worked then, when people turned to Jesus and were born again, will work today. That is why we call it the gospel. It is good news.

The Bible says he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. Are you a believer today? And have you followed God’s instructions and commands to follow Jesus into that watery grave there showing that you have died to self, raised to walk in newness of life?

-Julius Hovan lives in Harrodsburg, KY and preaches at the Bohon Church of Christ

 




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That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12:10