Thunder in the Holy Land

Salvation In One Word: Yes!

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Charles Byrd (Host), Andrea Endries, Levi Longoria, Stephen Fowler


Series Code: THL

Program Code: THL000006

00:10 What seems to be the problem, mate?
00:11 I tried to get a broad sheep,
00:14 but the suitcase is hard to manage.
00:19 Any topic that big needs a handle.
00:34 Yep, any topic that big needs a handle.
00:40 The same is true regarding salvation.
00:43 I read through the four gospels over 30 times
00:45 and studied much of it in depth.
00:48 You know, every time I read the gospels
00:50 I find something else,
00:51 something new about His love and salvation.
00:55 One author wrote that this will be the study
00:57 and science of the redeemed throughout eternity.
01:01 Well, if that's true,
01:02 then we've a huge suitcase of truth to deal with here.
01:06 No one would want to travel
01:08 with a large suitcase without a handle.
01:10 So, let me start by putting a grip on salvation.
01:14 A summary statement that somehow
01:16 encompasses the whole subject.
01:18 A simple single sentence
01:20 that effectively puts a handle on this topic.
01:24 In fact, if you don't remember anything else, do remember this,
01:28 "Salvation is saying yes to the Lord,
01:31 with all my known choices."
01:34 I know it seems a bit simplistic,
01:36 but simplicity is one of the hallmarks of truth.
01:40 And the truth taught by Christ
01:42 regarding salvation is no exception.
01:45 His salvation is as far reaching as eternity
01:48 and yet simpler enough that a child can fully embrace it.
01:53 Yet it caused a whole lot of thunder in the Holy Land.
01:56 Virtually, everything Jesus said about salvation
01:59 was opposed by the religious leaders of the Jewish people.
02:02 And I'm pretty sure that what Jesus taught
02:04 about being saved is still causing
02:07 some serious thunder today.
03:02 Just outside the old city of Jerusalem is a very old quarry.
03:07 A Jewish tradition points to this hill as Beth-has-sekîlah
03:11 or the house of stoning.
03:14 Early Christian tradition fixes it
03:16 as the scene of the martyrdom of Steven.
03:20 More recently, some have wondered
03:22 if this might be Golgotha,
03:24 the very spot on which Jesus authored
03:27 the gift of salvation with the cross.
03:30 Paul told timothy that it was the purpose
03:32 and plan of God to save all of mankind.
03:36 To accomplish that, it seems to me
03:38 that Jesus went out of His way to make salvation
03:41 simple to understand and experience.
03:44 No place on earth is the simplicity of getting saved
03:48 made more clear than on Golgotha.
03:52 Levi is standing by on Gordon's Calvary to explain.
03:57 Thanks Charles, and I know
03:58 you've been here on more than one occasion.
04:00 Yep, I am working on my second handful of times.
04:04 Well, today for the first time,
04:06 I had the privilege of standing atop Gordon's Calvary
04:09 right above the bus station here in Jerusalem.
04:12 As early as 1842, a German theologian
04:15 named Otto Thenius, proposed the idea
04:17 that this outcropping could possibly be significant
04:20 in the identification of the site of the crucifixion.
04:24 But not until General Charles Gordon
04:26 wrote about this site, well on sabbatical,
04:28 here in that area in 1882 and '83
04:31 that the idea really take whole
04:33 and people began to look seriously at the claims
04:36 that this could possibly be the site
04:37 listed in the New Testament as Golgotha or Calvary,
04:41 the place of the skull.
04:43 Today, well, over a century later
04:45 it looks remarkably the same.
04:48 Archeologically it matches
04:49 some of the key biblical descriptions
04:51 of the site Jesus crucifixion.
04:54 The shortlist of evidence
04:55 in favor of this site starts in Mark 15:22,
04:59 "And they brought Jesus on to the place called Golgotha,
05:02 which is being interpreted the place of a skull."
05:06 Of course, 2000 years ago
05:08 this hill may not have looked like this at all.
05:11 From the other hand
05:12 it may have looked even more skull like.
05:15 The second evidence is in John 19:41.
05:19 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden.
05:22 Just to the left of the hill is this garden.
05:26 In the Bible the word garden is used broadly
05:28 to include an orchard, olive grove, or vineyard.
05:31 And there is evidence to suggest
05:33 that this was a vineyard since it contains
05:35 this ancient wine press and a cistern for storing water.
05:40 The third and forth evidence is found
05:42 in verses 41 and 42 are that A.)
05:46 "In the garden there a new sepulcher,
05:48 wherein never yet man yet laid." and B.)
05:51 "It was nigh at hand."
05:54 And in this garden there is a tomb
05:56 and it's within a mere of 300 feet
05:57 of the skull like outcropping.
05:59 Original site are not,
06:01 it makes a great place to tell a story
06:03 about that radical simplicity, the salvation of Jesus.
06:08 It was on Calvary that two men were crucified with Jesus.
06:11 Both were bad men, thieves.
06:13 By the emission of one they were both worthy of death.
06:17 At the end of their wasted
06:18 and pathetic lives they were stripped off
06:20 everything except for the one thing that matters.
06:25 The one thing that you can't take away from anyone
06:27 possessed of mind and reason, choice.
06:32 And one of those men chose to put his trust in Jesus.
06:37 He prayed the most pathetic deathbed prayer
06:39 a person could make.
06:41 The one that I wouldn't accept,
06:43 but Jesus did. Yes, he did, Levi.
06:47 But that shouldn't surprise us, should it?
06:49 Jesus said that our salvation was the reason
06:52 he came to earth as a man.
06:54 "For the Son of man is come to seek
06:56 and to save that which was lost."
06:59 Jesus came to save people,
07:02 sinful people, unpleasant people.
07:05 He also came to save the people who are the hardest to save.
07:09 Bad people who think they are good people.
07:14 Levi emphasize with clarity who it is Jesus came to save.
07:18 John 3:16 says the world.
07:21 God send his son to save the world.
07:25 That's why Paul could boldly say,
07:27 "All have sinned."
07:29 That's everyone, we all are sinners.
07:33 The prophet in Psalmist, David said,
07:35 "there is none that doeth good, no, not one."
07:39 So that would mean we all need salvation.
07:42 That means we all need a saviors.
07:45 So what do Jesus, our savior, teach about salvation
07:49 that caused so much thunder in the Holy Land?
07:52 What did he say that is still troubling so many people?
07:56 Perhaps, we should start with
07:58 what Jesus taught about justification.
08:00 And there is no better place to talk
08:02 about justification than at the temple.
08:05 Of course that building was destroyed
08:07 by the Romans in 1870.
08:09 So I visited the model of Jerusalem
08:11 at the Israel museum built to 1:50 of scale.
08:14 In Luke 18, two men went up to the temple to pray.
08:18 One, a Pharisee the religious elite of the day
08:22 and the other a publican or a tax collector.
08:25 A publican was looked on as a trader,
08:27 like Benedict Arnold or as an extortioner like Bernie Madoff.
08:32 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself,
08:36 "God, I think you that I am not like other men extortioners,
08:41 unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.
08:47 I fast twice a week and I give tithes of all that I possess."
08:52 And the tax collector standing afar off
08:56 would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven,
09:00 but be his breasts saying,
09:02 "God, be merciful to me, a sinner."
09:06 All people are sinners, even this Pharisee,
09:10 but his pride didn't let him see that.
09:13 The publican on the other hand was closer to salvation
09:16 because he said yes to God's evaluation.
09:20 "You're right, God, I'm a sinner.
09:24 But you are a merciful God.
09:26 So, be merciful to me.
09:29 Not because I deserve it but because I need it."
09:35 So, with that Jesus teaches
09:36 the outcome of the publican's prayer.
09:39 "I tell you, this man,
09:41 the tax collector went down to his house
09:43 justified rather than the other."
09:46 Justified means declared righteous.
09:50 If you want to be declared righteous by God,
09:52 pronounced not guilty by the judge of all mankind
09:57 then you must agree with Him.
09:59 He only came to save sinners.
10:03 Lay your pride in the dust, admit you are a sinner
10:07 and cast yourself on his mercy.
10:11 And one more thing that you'll have to say
10:13 yes to at this point,
10:15 if Jesus declares you righteous as one not guilty
10:19 of any sin as one under no condemnation
10:23 then you have to say,
10:25 yes, Lord and accept that as a your new reality.
10:29 Your new state of being.
10:32 And that was a problem.
10:34 Jesus was making salvation away too simple, too easy.
10:40 What? Just tell God you're sorry throw yourself
10:42 on His mercy and you're forgiven.
10:44 That's what Jesus taught.
10:46 That's the lesson Jesus illustrated
10:48 by for giving the thief on the cross.
10:50 And he didn't even say I'm sorry or payback what he stole,
10:53 but as best he knew how he put his trust in Jesus.
10:57 He chose to believe
10:58 that against all odds, Jesus was going to escape
11:00 the death that was apparent to all
11:02 and setup a kingdom that would never end.
11:05 In His own way, He said yes.
11:08 With the only know choice he had,
11:10 he chose Christ.
11:14 Oh, no, thanks.
11:25 Jesus said, "by thy words though shall be justified
11:30 and by thy words thou shall be condemned."
11:34 Because of His words of confidence and faith,
11:37 Christ promised that unnamed thief
11:39 a place in heaven at last.
11:43 The same is true for you.
11:44 When you say yes to God with all your know choices,
11:47 salvation begins for you at that very moment.
11:51 Note of caution, the enemy of our souls
11:53 would be as happy as a tornado in a trailer park
11:56 if you can get you to think you're saved,
11:58 just because you said yes once.
12:01 But there's more into the teachings of Jesus
12:03 regarding our salvation.
12:05 If you really read texts in the four gospels about
12:07 what Jesus taught,
12:08 you'll discover that salvation is lesser than event
12:11 and more of an ongoing vital
12:12 and dynamic relationship with the living God.
12:16 When Simone came into the temple
12:18 and saw the baby Jesus he said,
12:20 "mine eyes have seen thy salvation."
12:22 He wasn't merely looking at a doctrine
12:24 or a belief system, he was looking at a person,
12:27 the son of God.
12:28 Jesus told Nicodemus,
12:30 "whosoever believes in Him, the son of God,
12:33 should not perish, but have eternal life."
12:35 Eternal life is once again not so much a church
12:38 or a creed as it a person, The Person, Jesus.
13:06 After Jesus left the upper room,
13:08 He spent a little time sharing with the disciples
13:10 before He was betrayed.
13:12 Notice His doctrine in these last words.
13:14 John 17:3, "And this is life eternal,
13:18 that they might know thee the only true God,
13:21 and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
13:24 Life eternal, is about knowing and experiencing God,
13:27 a living being and that sets us up for a lifetime of choices.
13:31 Just before Judas betrayed his master Jesus prayed a prayer,
13:36 a prayer that will never be fulfilled.
13:39 Never fulfilled unless you and I say
13:41 yes to God in a very definite way.
13:45 While thinking of us Jesus asked his father,
13:48 "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy word is truth."
13:55 Part of salvation is sanctification
13:58 and sanctification is a process
14:00 where we are actually made righteous.
14:04 Jesus prayed to the Father
14:05 that He would sanctify us through the word.
14:09 When Jesus said this, He was talking about the Bible,
14:12 the whole Old Testament.
14:14 He said, it was the truth
14:17 and it is these truths found in the Bible
14:19 that inform our know choices.
14:22 For example, in Matthew 19:16,
14:25 a rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked Him,
14:28 "Good master, what good thing shall I do,
14:32 that I may have eternal life?"
14:34 Jesus told him and He's telling us too
14:37 what we must do if we would be saved,
14:41 "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
14:45 The rich young ruler asked Jesus,
14:47 "Which?" Good question,
14:49 since the Torah contains 613 laws not to mention
14:54 the thousands more in the Talmud.
14:57 But the commandments Jesus was referring
14:59 to here are from the Ten Commandments.
15:03 Jesus said, "Thou shalt do no murder,
15:06 thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal,
15:11 thou shalt not bear false witness,
15:13 honor thy father and thy mother"
15:16 and then He quotes also one commandment
15:18 from Leviticus 19:18,
15:21 "And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
15:26 So Jesus informs my choice.
15:29 Don't steal, the word of God tells me.
15:31 Then when I'm tempted to steal a penny,
15:34 some influence or my boss' time, I have a choice.
15:38 Am I going to do what I want to do,
15:41 what the tempter encourages me to do or am I going to say
15:45 yes to my savior with all my known choices?
15:49 The rich young ruler told Jesus
15:51 that he had been faithful in keeping those commandments
15:54 and indeed according to the letter of the law,
15:56 he probably had.
15:57 But he knew something was missing in his life
16:01 and I can tell you what it was.
16:03 It was a person.
16:05 You see salvation is not so much a list of rules
16:09 as it is a committed and obedient relationship
16:12 with our loving creator.
16:14 So Jesus directed His attention from the second half
16:18 of the Ten Commandments to the first half.
16:21 And Jesus said unto him, "If thou wilt be perfect,
16:24 go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor,
16:28 and thou shalt have treasure in heaven
16:31 and come and follow me."
16:34 Let's unpack this verse in light our simple single sentence.
16:39 Salvation is saying "yes" to the Lord
16:41 with all our known choices.
16:44 Jesus knew this man was one,
16:47 just one step away from perfection.
16:50 If you would be perfect He said,
16:52 "then you have to quit breaking the first commandment,"
16:55 which says, "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me."
17:00 I meant, there are no other Gods,
17:03 but you have made your money
17:04 and the influence that it buys you
17:06 the most important thing in your life.
17:09 So if you want to have peace
17:12 that thing you're missing sell everything,
17:15 give it to those who are in need.
17:18 Now look at the promise Jesus made,
17:21 this is breath taking, "And he said unto him,
17:24 if thou wilt be perfect, go sell that thou hast,
17:28 give to the poor and thou shalt have treasure in heaven."
17:33 You can't have treasure in heaven
17:35 without having eternal life.
17:37 Jesus was offering him eternal salvation.
17:42 And then Jesus finished by saying,
17:44 "And come and follow me." Look at this.
17:48 He would not only have eternal life in heaven at last,
17:52 Jesus offered the rich young ruler Himself,
17:56 His friendship, companionship, His personal presence.
18:00 Oh, what a gift.
18:03 But at this point,
18:04 there is a burning question he has to answer.
18:07 A choice he has to make.
18:10 Am I going to say yes to Jesus with all my known choices,
18:15 am I going to allow Him to not only be my savior,
18:19 but also Lord in my life.
18:21 Matthew 19 tells us, his choice was, no.
18:26 What choice will you make?
18:28 The rich young ruler went away sorrowful.
18:31 He could have been happy,
18:33 he could have found peace and joy,
18:35 but he traded all that for money.
18:38 But check out the thunder Jesus dropped
18:41 on his own disciples regarding salvation.
18:45 He sure did Charles.
18:47 Once while preaching to the Jews in the synagogue
18:49 in Capernaum with many of his disciples around,
18:52 Jesus launched a stunning thunderbolt.
18:55 "Whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood,
18:59 hath eternal life and I will raise him up at the last day.
19:03 For my flesh is meat indeed and my blood is drink indeed.
19:08 He that eateth my flesh and drinketh
19:10 my blood dwelleth in me and I in him."
19:15 For the strict Jew talk of eating the flesh of Jesus
19:19 and drinking His blood, sounded like an abomination.
19:22 And even to us today it sounds a rather cultish,
19:26 but salvation is a person.
19:28 Jesus himself in seeking to drive that point home
19:33 he made this radical statement.
19:35 But instead of loving Jesus, the truth,
19:38 some of his own disciples began to murmur.
19:41 Verse 60 says "Many therefore of his disciples,
19:44 when they heard this, said, this is an hard saying,
19:49 who can hear it?
19:51 And from that time many of his disciples went back
19:54 and walked no more with him."
19:58 They said no to a truth from Jesus
20:00 that was strange to their ears.
20:02 Instead of saying, "Lord, this is a hard saying
20:06 will you help us to understand
20:08 what you really mean by this."
20:10 They showed they were more in love
20:11 for the doctrines of the Jews
20:13 than they were with the doctrine giver.
20:16 So what was Jesus talking about?
20:19 His words, "The flesh profits nothing
20:22 but the words that I speak unto you,
20:25 they are spirit and they are life."
20:28 And that's why John started his whole letter with these words.
20:32 "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God
20:37 and the Word was God.
20:40 And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."
20:45 When Jesus asked his twelve disciples,
20:47 "are you going to go away too?"
20:49 And Peter showed that he got it and then he said to Jesus,
20:52 "Lord, to whom shall we go?
20:55 Thou hast the words of eternal life."
20:58 He is God. His words can create planets and galaxies.
21:03 His words can create life
21:05 and His words can create spiritual life.
21:09 Every day we have the privilege of picking up the living word
21:15 and eating and drinking the very life of Christ into our lives.
21:21 We can know Him, we can hear His voice
21:25 and it's this voice of His spirit made audible
21:28 through these stories that encourages us
21:31 to embrace His will for our lives.
21:34 And just another wonderful opportunity
21:36 to say yes to his goodness.
21:39 If you want to embrace the salvation offered by God,
21:43 Jesus told us what steps must be taken.
21:47 In Mark 16:16, he said,
21:49 "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved,
21:53 but he that believeth not shall be damned."
21:58 There are many today who totally misunderstand
22:00 what it means to believe
22:02 and what it means to be baptized.
22:07 Belief is not just a mental ascent,
22:10 a simple acknowledgment that there is God.
22:13 The devils believe in God,
22:15 but that doesn't mean they love Him,
22:17 nor does it mean that they will be saved.
22:19 They certainly don't say yes to His leadership, His lordship.
22:25 For example, Noah was told by God
22:28 that he needed to build a boat.
22:30 It was going to rain and flood the world.
22:33 Now up till this time it had never rained, but Noah believed.
22:40 "Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen,
22:44 moved with godly fear,
22:46 prepared an ark for the saving of his household
22:50 by which he condemned the world
22:52 and became heir of the righteousness
22:54 which is according to faith."
22:57 Even though it had never rained,
22:59 Noah believed and the proof, he built a boat.
23:05 That is how he became an heir of the righteousness of God.
23:09 And here is the doctrine of Jesus,
23:12 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
23:17 and all these things shall be added unto you."
23:21 The righteousness of God is something
23:23 that we should seek for.
23:25 The farmers land can be full of corn,
23:28 but he has to plant it.
23:29 The ground is full of water,
23:32 but we have to dig the well.
23:35 When Jesus says, seek first that eternity
23:38 and that holiness that makes eternity worth living in,
23:42 it is our job to say yes.
23:45 True belief is not just something we think,
23:49 but it's something we do.
23:51 True faith, true belief and His righteousness,
23:56 is what we seek for daily in His word and in our lives
24:01 and that's how we attain eternal life.
24:05 Salvation is simple.
24:07 Just say yes to the Lord of all your know choices,
24:10 but it's not always that easy.
24:11 The battle itself is the greatest battle
24:13 we have to fight
24:14 and Jesus understands he had to fight self too.
24:18 That's why he said, "If any man will come after me,
24:21 let him deny himself
24:22 and take up his cross daily and follow me.
24:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it,
24:27 but whosoever will lose his life for my sake,
24:30 the same shall save it."
24:32 That's what baptism is all about too.
24:34 Learning to say yes to the Lord
24:36 with all your know choices while dying to self.
24:40 And this experience is daily.
24:42 Jesus said so, "take up your cross daily and follow me."
24:46 Paul agreed, "I die daily."
24:50 But this I know for sure,
24:51 if you make just yourself in saying yes to the Lord
24:54 a daily deliberate part of your life,
24:57 it does get easier.
24:58 It does become a habit
25:00 and it is exciting when you see God changing you.
25:04 "For it is God which worketh in you,
25:06 both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
25:09 He will help you to make the right choices,
25:11 He will provide you the power to live above the world.
25:14 But every step of the way and into eternity,
25:16 we must continue to say yes.
25:19 Just imagine the thief arriving
25:21 and having--and seen in the golden streets.
25:23 He then picks up a hammer
25:24 and it shows that he's getting ready
25:25 to chip off a piece of the curb.
25:27 Angel then taps him on the shoulder and says,
25:29 "What are you doing?"
25:31 "That's gold," the thief says, pointing to the curb.
25:33 "That's pavement," says the angle.
25:36 "No, no you don't understand, that's gold,
25:38 don't you know what you can do with gold?" the thief asked.
25:41 "Paved streets," the angles says.
25:43 "But that's gold," he says again.
25:46 Then the angel says,
25:48 "Jesus would like you to leave it there."
25:51 And he'll say, "okay."
25:53 That's what makes heaven a place worth seeking for.
25:56 Everything there would be perfect,
25:58 because we're all saying yes to the Lord
26:00 with all our known choices.
26:02 So, do you want to be saved?
26:06 Do you want to go to heaven?
26:08 Then he who has ears to hear let him hear
26:11 the doctrine of Jesus.
26:14 Revelation 21:27, "And there shall in no wise
26:18 enter into the New Jerusalem anything that defileth,
26:22 neither whatsoever worketh abomination or maketh a lie,
26:25 but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life."
26:30 Do you know the number one thing that will defile you,
26:33 making you unsafe to save?
26:36 Not saying yes to God with all your know choices.
26:40 That's what happened to Lucifer.
26:42 At some point he quit saying yes to God's will.
26:46 He encouraged Adam and Eve to make the same choice
26:49 and that is the reason for every war, every rape,
26:53 every theft, every murder or domestic abuse.
26:57 That's why there is cancer and Alzheimer's and diabetes.
27:00 That's why there is death, pain, tears and sadness.
27:05 The good news is, Jesus came to not only save us
27:09 from the consequences of sin,
27:11 He also came to save us from sin itself.
27:15 So next time the Holy Spirit whispers to your heart
27:18 "love your enemies" say yes,
27:21 "obey your parents" say yes.
27:26 Some folks may hate you, but don't stop being faithful.
27:30 Don't stop saying yes to God with all your know choices.
27:35 For Jesus said, "he that shall endure unto the end,
27:37 the same shall be saved."
27:40 So, keep saying yes, to his love.


Revised 2014-12-17