OceanSide church of Christ
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THINGS THAT CANNOT SAVE
Victor M. Eskew
A. There are three realities that all men to take very serious.
1. We will die (Heb. 9:27).
2. Jesus will come again (Acts 1:11).
3. There will be a Judgment (Acts 17:31).
B. At the Judgment, all will wish that they can stand before God in a saved condition.
C. Many individuals understand these concepts. However, many are seeking the wrong things to save them. In this lesson, let’s consider the subject: “Things That Cannot Save.”
I. FALSE GODS CANNOT SAVE
A. Among the heathen nations of old, there was the worship of many false gods. There are at least thirty-five mentioned in the Old Testament.
B. There are many cultures in our world that still believe in idols. The Hindu religion is one of the largest religions that has many gods that are worshipped.
C. False gods cannot save because they do not exist.
1. Isaiah. 41:29
Behold, they are all vanity; their works are nothing: their molten images are wind and confusion.
2. I Corinthians 8:4
As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.
3. The prophets of Baal learned this lesson when they were confronted by Elijah on Mt. Carmel. They cried unto their gods all day long with absolutely no answer (I Kings 18:20-40, esp. v. 29).
And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, not any to answer, nor any that regarded.
II. WE CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES
A. When man sins, he has violated a law that is higher than man-made law. He has violated a divine ordinance.
B. In order for sins to be atoned for there must be the death of a victim (Ezek. 18:20).
1. The victim must be equal or greater than we are.
2. The victim must be absolutely sin-free.
3. NOTE: Since we do not meet these qualifications, we cannot pay the price and save ourselves.
a. We are like a person who is floating in the middle of the ocean.
b. We are like a person who has stepped into quicksand.
c. We are like a person sentenced to the death penalty with no hope of a stay.
C. Ephesians 2:12-13
That are that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
1. They were without Christ and without God.
2. Only “in Christ” could they be made nigh unto God.
III. MAN-MADE DOCTRINES CANNOT SAVE
A. In the long ago, Jeremiah penned these words: “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jer. 10:23).
1. Man has no clue what God wants him to do in order to be saved.
2. And, if God has revealed what man must do, then man has no right to try to legislate in the place of God.
B. Colossians 2:20-22
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (touch not; taste not; handle not; which are to perish with using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
1. False teachers had entered into the church at Colossae.
2. They were teaching these Christians to be subject to ordinances not in the Word of God.
3. He classifies them as “commandments and doctrines of men.”
4. He plainly says that these are to “perish with using.”
C. There are literally thousands and thousands of doctrines of men that have been created that are contrary to God’s will.
1. Not one of them will save.
2. All of them will perish, but God’s Word will endure forever (I Pet. 1:25).
But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
IV. THE JEWISH RELIGION CANNOT SAVE
A. There are multitudes of people who believe that the Jews are still God’s chosen people. They believe that when Jesus returns, He will restore them to their rightful place in the world during the millennium and save them in the end.
B. This is not the case at all. No man can be saved by the Jewish religion.
1. The Old Covenant offers no forgiveness of sins (Heb. 10:11).
And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
2. The Jews do not believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Savior (See Acts 4:12).
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
C. Paul understood that there was no salvation in Judaism. Here is how he expressed his condition under the Old Law (Rom. 7:24).
O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
V. HUMAN TRADITIONS CANNOT SAVE
A. Human traditions seems to demand extreme loyalty.
1. My parents and grandparents were this or that.
2. Our family has practiced this religion for “x” number of years.
B. In I Peter 1:18, Peter refers to “vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.”
a. Strong (3152): empty, that is, (literally) profitless
b. Thayer: devoid of result, useless, of no profit
2. These individuals were living an empty life because they were following the tradition of their fathers.
C. The only tradition which is profitable is the tradition given to us by the apostles and prophets of Jesus Christ (II Thess. 2:15).
D. All others are vain and empty regardless of who held them and how long they have been held.
VI. MAN’S GOODNESS CANNOT SAVE
A. There are a lot of people who believe they can be saved just by being good.
B. Three problems:
1. First, “being good” is relative.
a. Everybody believes they are good.
b. Even some of the most evil individuals have been called “good” after they died.
2. There is really only one being who is good, and that is God (Mark 10:18).
And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God.
3. Goodness does not put us in contact with the blood of Christ which cleanses man from sin (Ex., Cornelius, Acts 10:1-20).
There was a certain man in Cesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, a devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God always.
a. By man’s standards, Cornelius was a very good man.
b. However, he was lost and stood in need of the salvation in Christ. This is why Peter was sent to his house (See Acts 11:14).
VII. SHEER HOPE CANNOT SAVE
A. There are many people who will say: “When I die, I hope that I will be saved.” What they mean by that is they desire to be saved.
B. Desire alone will not save. If it did almost all men would be saved. No one wants to die lost and condemned to hell.
C. The Bible does not teach that the multitudes will be saved. It teaches just the opposite. Most will be lost.
1. Matthew 22:14
For many are called, but few are chosen
2. Matthew 7:13-14
Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
A. The majority of the world falls into one of the areas that we have discussed.
1. They think their idols will save them.
2. They believe they can save themselves.
3. They believe man-made doctrines can save them.
4. They believe the Jewish religion can save.
5. They believe human tradition can save.
6. They believe goodness will save.
7. They believe that sheer hope will save.
B. Salvation, however, can only come through
1. Jesus Christ
a. John 14:6
Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
b. John 10:9
I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
2. The plan God has revealed in the New Testament
a. Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
b. James 1:21
Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls.