JOHN 3:16; 14:1-6


Billy Sunday told of a man who came to him and said, “I will cut out the booze and get on the water wagon,”  “Good; what else?”  “Of course, I am a gambler; I will quit gambling and I will never touch a pack of cards.”  “All right; what else?”  “I am a bad man, and I will live a clean life.”  “Good;  what else?”  He said, “If I quit these things, I think they cover about all.  I will quit drinking, swearing, stop gambling,and I will quit being impure.”  Billy said, “Good.  Give me your hand and say you will accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.”  He said, “No, I will not.  If I stop those things, I won’t need to do that.”

True Christians are absolutely CERTAIN that apart from  Christ there is no salvation, doing good works cannot save anyone.  (Ephesians 2:8-9)  “For there is none other name under heaven given among men, where we MUST BE saved.” (Acts 4:12)  To help us understand this as a practical reality let’s consider an ACROSTIC with the letters of the word MUST.

M stands for the MANDATORY salvation provided by God.  Jesus said:  “Marvel not that I said unto you, ye MUST be born again.”  (John 3:7)  Jesus also said:  “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by ME.” (John 14:6)

Peter writes:  “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”  (I Peter 1:23)  Peter writes here of being born again, and the place that God’s Word has in that conversion experience (see Romans 1:16).  Many of us will recall some word of scripture that has been the contact point between the truth of God, the grace of God, and our need—a word that has been trusted, believed and received.  It has been indeed a living word to us and in us, and it abides forever.

God has the right to make the terms of salvation.  They MUST be regarded, Paul, in Galatians 1:11, states “…that the gospel which was preached by me is not according to man.”

GET ON BOARD—Suppose an artist sees a piece of canvas on which he desires to paint a beautiful picture.  However, if that piece of canvas does not belong to him, do you think the painter would work diligently on that canvas?  No!  Yet people want Jesus Christ to bestow His grace upon them in taking away a bad temper or some other sin, though in their hearts they have not yielded themselves to His command, “ye must be born again,” and His keeping. However, if you will come and give your life into His charge, Jesus Christ waits to be gracious. (John 3:16; Romans 5:6-10; 6:23)  Jesus waits to fill you with His Spirit.  It is the Holy Spirit alone who by His indwelling can make a spiritual man.  (Ephesians 1:13-14; 5:18)

U stands for YOU—and all others:  because ALL have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  (Romans 3:23)  There is none righteous, no, not one.” ( verse 10)  They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, not one.”  (v. 12)

Often when confronted with the fact that God declares everyone a sinner, some people will attempt to claim they have not and do not commit sin.  There was a young man who once said to a preacher,  “I do not think I am a sinner.”  The preacher asked him if he would be willing for his mother or sister to know all that he had done, said or thought, all his motives and all his desires.  After a moment the young man said, “No, indeed, I certainly would not like to have them known—not for all the world.”

PRAY INFORMED PRAYERS—There was a small group of young Christians who decided to go on Sunday afternoons to a nearby hospital to visit the sick and to take turns praying for their recovery.  Finally it was a young man’s turn.  Nervously he prayed for God to heal the woman and spare her any recurrence of the illness.  After his “Amen” he went back into the hall, only to be told that they were in the maternity ward!  An informed prayer for salvation MUST include the fact that ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God.  That includes YOU!

S stands for the Son of God, the only Savior.  He alone can provide a sufficient SACRIFICE. (John 3:16; 14:6)   John 20:31 – “These are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”  (see also I John 5:11-13)

Did you ever wonder why Jesus came into the world?  The prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 64:1-8 tells us it is because we are like a flawed vase.  I don’t know how this vase was made, but in the old days a potter would take some clay and very carefully mold it into a beautiful vase with his own hands.  Sometimes, however, after a vase was made he would find a flaw in it.  So he would have to start all over again to take out that flaw so that his vase would be perfect.

The Bible tells us that people have a flaw.  It is a flaw that causes people to be mean to one another, to lie and cheat and steal.  That flaw is sin.  Jesus was God’s way of coming into our world so that we could have that flaw removed from our lives.  When Jesus comes into our hearts, He helps us to be loving and kind and honest and all the things God created us to be.  That is why the birth of Jesus is so important and that is why we thank God that Christ has come into the world to save us from our sins.  (John 3:16)

T stands for TODAY, which is the TIME you can be saved, have eternal life and be sure of heaven (I John 5:13).  2 Corinthians 6:2 – “I have heard thee in a TIME accepted…now is the accepted time; behold NOW is the day of salvation.”

Hebrews 3:7-8 – TODAY if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”

We have no lease on TOMORROW.  Isaiah 55:6 – Seek ye the Lord WHILE HE MAY BE FOUND call ye upon Him WHILE HE IS NEAR.”

“Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year here, buy and sell, and make a profit”; whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow.  For what is your life?  It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.”  (James 4:13-14)

I know that there are some persons who stay away from a knowledge of Christ simply and solely because it seems too easy.  How sad.  We are like that Old Testament general with leprosy who refused to bathe in the River Jordan.  It was too easy.  We want a theology that we have to wade through.  We want a catchism that we can laboriously memorize.  Theology and catechisms are fine.  They help us understand the deeper implications of our faith.  But they are not what saves us.  Only one thing saves us.  Do you know Jesus?  “…Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…Acts 16:31.

The only time you have to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior may be right now.  You have no guarantee of tomorrow.  “Seek ye  the  LORD while he may be FOUND, call ye upon Him WHILE HE IS NEAR.”  You cannot afford to trifle with God’s “MUST.”  “FOR WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED.”  (Romans 10:13)  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9)