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 Sermon on

How long does it take to be saved?

By Brian Pepper

There are some people who are very concerned about the matter of salvation. They feel that to be saved is a very slow and difficult process. Others think that in order to be saved you need to feel saved. Just what does the Bible say about the matter of salvation?
 

Salvation

I believe that this is one of the most important subjects that a preacher can preach about. It is certainly the most important subject to the individual.

In John 5:24, Jesus said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

I am thankful for that wonderful assurance. Jesus says, "Here I am offering you everlasting life. If you will take My word and believe on My name, I will give you everlasting life."

Yes, all a man or woman has to do is to reach out and take it. The moment he or she does that that person has everlasting life. It is not the matter of some future time. The individual is given the assurance that the moment, that very moment, he reaches out and takes Jesus Christ as his or her personal Saviour he has eternal life.
 

Present tense

Some people have the idea that you have to wait until a time when you feel that at last you have reached perfection. Then Jesus will come and accept that person.

Now it is true that to many there will be a period of waiting in the grave. But the Saviour says to those, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and come forth." (John 5:28)

The hour is coming when He will redeem His own. But Jesus says to those who are alive, "Never mind that, it is right now that I make the offer, it is right now that you are to accept."

Everlasting life is a gift 'now'. I find that there are many people who think that it is a very difficult thing to be saved. They seem to think that it is a very hard thing to be saved. But God is a very wonderful God and he has made the way to be saved very clear. In Ezekiel 33:14, 15 he is talking here of a wicked man, "When I say unto the wicked Thou shalt surely die; if he turn from his sin, and do that which is lawful and right; If the wicked restore the pledge, give again that he had robbed, walk in the statutes of life, without committing iniquity; he shall surely live, he shall not die."

Then he goes on to say in verse 16, "None of his sins that he hath committed shall be mentioned unto him: he has done that which is lawful and right; he shall surely live."

The God of Heaven points out a man - He is talking about a wicked man, a man who has been a real rascal; a man who has done some vile things. And the Lord says, "When I speak to that man and call him from his way of error, If he will turn from his iniquity and do that which is right, then he says, all his iniquity will be forgiven, I will remember it no more, it is finished for ever and that man shall live."

Friends, I think that is a wonderful assurance, the fact that the God of Heaven will come into a manís life no matter how wicked he has been and say, "I will receive you; I will take you; I will accept you here now, and all of your sins will be washed away."


Promises of forgiveness

I think of the other promises. Firstly in 1 John 1:9 we have a text which says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

From how much unrighteousness? All! The God of Heaven says, if we repent, He will cleanse us from all unrighteousness. That means that every sin; blasphemy, lying, adultery, murder, cheating, everything. Any sin God will wash away if a man repents, if he confesses and turns from that sin. There are many other texts.

Isaiah 1:18 says, "Through your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."

Isaiah 44:22 says, "I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have redeemed thee."

Then again in Micah 7:18, "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage?"

I do not know where one could find more assurance than that, do you?

Actually Satan has painted God as an awful tyrant, looking for all the sin and fault that he can find in a man. But you will never find a human being that will treat you as kindly as God will. If a human being forgives you, he will almost always keep on remembering 'the sin' that you have committed; he cannot forget. But somehow God is able to put it all behind his back and perform a miracle, in being able to forget it all. So when God meets a man the next time, he does not think of him as a vile sinner. He thinks of him as pure and spotless saved by the blood of his Son Jesus Christ. That is what Jesus died for, he died in our stead; he died that we might have life. It is a wonderful assurance when you find a saviour like that.


When does God forgive?

And when does He forgive? A month from now? A year after you repent of your sins?

When - "Behold now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation."

So God simply wipes the slate clean when a man repents of his past sins. Yes, God washes the slate clean and starts a man on a new record. That is better than any man is willing to do. More than that, Jesus has promised us peace.
 

Promises of peace

John 14:27 says, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

The world is looking for a different kind of peace. The world says, "Why, the kind of peace we want is where men put down their arms. The kind of peace we want is where everybody is prosperous; where everybody lives in a fine home; everybody has a good job; everybody is making plenty of money."

The Lord says, "That is not the kind of peace that I will give."

As a matter fact the Lord discovered a long time ago that the more he gives a man in the way of wealth and prosperity, the less interest that man has in spiritual things. That is a strange thing. The more the Creator opens His hand and bestows blessings upon individuals, the less time they usually have for God. So God, a long time ago, discovered that he has to give man very little, lest in his prosperity he will forget to return gratitude to Him. It is a different kind of 'peace' that God gives, "My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you." It is the peace of a forgiven sinner. I am thankful that the Saviour is ready to forgive the past and to forget it all.

You know, with some people today, if a man comes along and wants to get into the church, if he has been a great sinner, the people stand around and they eye him carefully and they say. "We will have to check you over very carefully and just observe you for a while. We will put you on probation and if you prove good enough maybe the Church Board will have a meeting and recommend you for church membership."

But God does not deal with us in that way. A man might be a murderer, but he comes to God tonight, and God throws wide open the door of salvation and says, "Come right in." He has other murderers in his kingdom. One of them Moses, another will be David. It is a wonderful thing to be able to preach a message of instant salvation, to find that the God of Love stands ready and waiting to receive.

I find that a lot of Christian people, when souls repent and turn from their sins, just keep harping about that awful record he left behind. God never does that. It is gone forever. The very moment a person repents, God says, "Finished, the past is done."

John 3:16 says, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Jesus says, "He that believeth my word, Now has eternal life." (verse 17) I will give it to him now.
 

Appeasing gods of terror

Some people feel that in order to get peace of mind they must endure physical suffering, such as walking on broken glass, or doing such acts of penance. There are men in this world who do some terrible things. In Singapore you will see men with a spear through both cheeks. Sometimes they pull out the tongue as far as possible and then drive a spear through it so they cannot draw the tongue back. That is a terrible sight.

And you ask why they are doing this. The answer is that they are seeking peace. They worship gods of fear. They live in terror. their god is not a god of love. He is a god of terror. Yes, we can be thankful that we worship a God of Love.
 

When you don't feel forgiven

But there are so many who say, "I do not know what is the trouble but I just do not feel forgiven." That is not Godís fault. He has given you every assurance and promise even to the extent of offering His own dear Son who gave His blood for our redemption.

Now, for an individual, after God has given all that assurance, to go right around and say, "I do not believe my sins are forgiven," is not merely to doubt Godís word, but to actually accuse God of not keeping His promises. It is no wonder that it says that the unbelieving will not enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Now some of you are parents. Well, we will suppose that you have a small child. And the little fellow has done wrong. He comes in and asks for your forgiveness. You take the little one in your arms and say, "Why of course I will forgive you, only try and be more careful next time. Now run out and play." Then a little later you hear the little one outside playing with the neighbourís child. The neighbourís child says to your child, "Whatís is the matter, you seem to be worried." Your child says, "I am worried, I feel very badly, I have been so naughty." You heat the neighbourís child say, "Why donít you go and ask your mummy to forgive you." "I did." "And what did she say?" "She said that she would forgive me." "Well what is the trouble?" Your child answers, "I just do not feel forgiven." How would a mother feel? Yes, when God forgives, just take him at his word.
 

No conditions for forgiveness

I think that it is wonderful to know that there are no conditions that God holds in the background and says, "Well I donít know, this fellow has been too bad, I donít think that I can do anything for him."

No, if a man really repents of his sins, God says, "I will receive him; I will love him; I will love him freely."
 

A Christian will never regret it

There is another thing that I am sure of, any person who gives his heart to Jesus will never regret it.

There are plenty of people who buy a certain kind of motor car, after they have had it for a while, wished that they had bought another kind. They changed their minds. Somebody else bought a house, they liked it at first, but afterward they changed their mind and wished they had bought somewhere else. But no individual that has ever accepted Jesus Christ and really and truly surrendered all to him will ever regret it. I have never heard anyone that ever said, "Do not become a Christian like I did." Have you ever heard such a one? Of course there are persons that have put one foot in the church - one foot in the door and left one foot in the world and have come in only half way and lost out, given up in discouragement and later on turned bitter and run down the church.

But we are talking about the individual who really and truly surrenders his life to Jesus. It is very rare, if it has ever happened at all, that a man who has come up to the hour of death and expressed the wish that he would like to become a heathen, or an infidel. Every soul, when 'death' knocks at the door, is most anxious to seek peace with God and try to be ready to meet the Saviour. And those who have surrendered their lives to Jesus are more than ready to meet their Saviour when the great call comes.
 

But I might stumble and fall

There are some folk who say, "I do not want to take my stand and be baptised and enter the church until I am sure that I will never stumble or fall." Have you ever heard people talking like that? Well I have heard people talking that way. It sounds like a very good excuse for waiting but it can be fatal.

Listen, have you ever seen anyone that you could be absolutely sure that he would never do anything wrong? Why no! St Paul says that even he, an apostle, had to be constantly on his guard.

Notice what St John says in John 1:8, 10, "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in usÖif we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

A little child is born into the family. Naturally the father and mother think that he is the sweetest little fellow that was ever born. The parents are so proud of him. Like all babies it isnít long before he begins to make strange gurgling noises. Later on he develops quite a vocabulary, but he simply will not walk. They take him by the arm and try to get him to take some steps but he will not do it. It worries the parents. This goes on for some time, for the child can now talk reasonably well but he still refuses to walk. Well one night the father comes home from work and he says, "Johnny, why wonít you learn to walk?"

The lad answers, "Dad I have decided that I am not going to walk until I am sure that I will never stumble and fall." Now what do you think of that?

You say the whole thing is ridiculous and yet the Lord has to listen to arguments like that every day. Yes you hear folk say, "I donít know, I have seen so many other people stumble; I am not going to start out until I am sure that I will never stumble and fall." And so they linger and wait and gamble away eternal life.
 

The Lord will help you

I like that text over in Hosea 11:3 where it says, "I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms."

Now isnít that a beautiful picture! Just think of the Lord taking a little child by the arm and teaching him how to go, how to walk. I assure you that He is more than willing to take any man or woman who wants to walk with Him and lead them to His home eternal. A man does not have a wait a year, he does not have to wait a month or even a week in order to take his stand for Jesus. Yes, today, "Behold now is the acceptable time." That is what the Bible teaches.
 

Tomorrow could be too late

And do not forget that tomorrow could be too late. D.L.Moody was one of the greatest preaches that ever lived. The Spirit of God used that man in a mighty way. He was preaching in Chicago, that great and wicked city. He had built up a sermon about Jesus Christ and the need for accepting Him as a personal Saviour. Then he thought as he preached, "Tomorrow night I will ask people to accept Jesus Christ." But "Tomorrow night," many of those people were not able to hear Christ speaking to their hearts because they had been burned to death in the great Chicago fire. Do you know what Moody said after that? He said, "From now on in every sermon I will try to lead me and women to decide for Jesus. Tomorrow might easily be too late."

Today is the day for decisions. It is today that we have to decide for Christ. And remember the moment you do that you have eternal life for it is yours right now. Why donít you reach out and accept it now?

 

  Sermons
The Bible in Song Sermons category is expected to be enlarged over time as hard copy sermon notes are scanned, typed and edited in webpage format. Visit Sermons Page for the complete list of sermons and Bible Commentaries
 

 
  PDF Sermon Files
Click image for sample. The Complete Sermon Collection is available at the Store Page. It includes 169 sermons which are listed on the Sermons Page, plus several audio visual sermonettes and a number of incomplete sermons. Original typed sermon notes have been scanned in PDF files on a DVD.

 

 
  PDF Revelation Files
Easy access to all the uploaded Revelation Bible Commentaries written by Brian Pepper. Also a CD of the complete Book of Revelation consisting of 22 PDF files scanned from original typed documents. These files can be downloaded by Adobe Acrobat to view on computer screen, or printed in booklet or other format.

 

 
  SDA Prophecy Chart
Bible in Song Sermons and Commentaries pages have exposed flaws in the "2300 day" prophecy chart most notably used by Seventh-day Adventists. Seventh-day Adventists in their biblical interpretation have favored the tradition of their founding fathers over Scripture and the "divine revelation" of their own prophet Ellen White. Read more.

 

 
 
  Testimonials
Thank you for posting some of (Brian Pepper's) sermons. It's like reading the very words Jesus has spoken to me and is a great encouragement. I cannot say that about many Pastors but I can say that about (Pr Pepper). Thank you. Robert @yeshuaskingdom.org (USA) ... more testimonials.

 

 
 

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