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Jamie Johnson
15 June 2012

Gospel Metaphors

This is the written version of a sermon given at Tri-Cities Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Cumberland, KY, on June 20, 2012.

This is also the final monthly message I delivered to a group of residents at Kings Daughters Community Health & Rehabilitation Center on December 4, 2016.

I was provided the opportunity to speak to a group of people in a region where I have never been and am unsure if I will return since only the Lord knows. Given that, I thought about the most important thing I could share with them and I thought of the Gospel. So, influenced from several of my other articles1, 2, 3, where I discuss the Gospel, I share as follows:

We are all as bad off.

Do you think you are a pretty good person? Do you think I am? What about being good enough to get into Heaven? Well, to see if we are good enough, let's consider the Ten Commandments and see how we do (source, with my modifications):

  1. How many of you (including me) have ever not put God first?
  2. How many of you (including me) have ever had idols (something or someone we put equal to or above God)?
  3. How many of you (including me) have ever used God's Name in vain?
  4. How many of you (including me) have ever not kept the Sabbath Day holy?
  5. How many of you (including me) have ever dishonored our parents?
  6. How many of you (including me) have ever murdered? None? Well, the Bible says that whoever is unjustly angry with his brother or hates his brother is guilty of murder according to Matthew 5:22 and 1 John 3:15. Have you ever been unjustly angry or hated someone?
  7. How many of you (including me) have ever committed adultery? None? In Matthew 5:28, Jesus says that anyone who looks lustfully upon a woman (or man) is guilty of adultery.
  8. How many of you (including me) have every stolen? This could be anything, even the smallest thing, even a penny.
  9. How many of you (including me) have ever told a lie? Or even a little fib? Or not telling the whole truth so as to deceive?
  10. How many of you (including me) have ever been envious or jealous or wanted something that belonged to someone else? That is coveting. It doesn't have to be a thing, but it could be a circumstance or status as well.

So how did you do? I didn't score very well. Even if I don't do some of those things now, I am still guilty since I have done them.

I remember when I took a psychology course in the 1990s and the professor asked who thought that they had nothing wrong with them. Everyone in the class raised their hands, but I did not. The professor asked me why I didn't raise my hand. I told him that the others raising their hands to say there was nothing wrong with them was what was wrong with them. In the Bible, 1 John 1:8 (NASB) states, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us." This means saying that we have no sin means we are lying, which means we are sinning.

Still, some may say they have a "clean record" or that they are a Boy Scout or a kind-hearted grandma, not a serial killer. Well, imagine that a Boy Scout, a kind-hearted grandmother and a serial killer are in a canoe in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Now, imagine the canoe has a gaping hole in it that cannot be plugged. One could say, "They are not all equally as bad, but they are equally as bad off." They have no hope in and of themselves. We are the people in the canoe. We may not all seem as equally bad, but we are all sinners. Psalm 53:3 and Romans 3:23 verify that we are all sinners. Like the people in the canoe, we are all equally as bad off.

However, there is good news.

Really? What do the people in the canoe need? The people in the canoe need a Rescuer. They need a Savior. We need a Rescuer. We need a Savior. And the good news is there is One. His Name is Jesus Christ. He is God (Isaiah 9:6, John 1:1, John 8:57-59, John 10:30, John 14:1-10, Romans 9:5, Revelation 1:8 along with Revelation 22:13, 16; and many others). And therefore, His work is perfect. You can trust His perfectly righteous works, His death on your behalf, His burial, His Resurrection. You can trust His love. You can trust that faith in Him means that your sin is nailed to the Cross - your resumé for His. Did you pick up on that - "your resumé for His"? Not only does He take your sin, but He gives you His righteousness (see Galatians 2:20). That is the good news -- the Gospel!

I mentioned how Jesus takes your resumé for His. I call this The Great Resumé Swap. Similarly, I could refer to this like an application for a certain position. Say you want to hire someone, but all the applicants have felonies on their applications. Due to sin, we have felonies on our applications to Heaven. In and of ourselves, we cannot enter in. Then there is One who has no felonies and is perfectly qualified. This is Jesus. So, whether you call it a resumé or application or works, here is the conclusion: Due to our failures against God (sin), we have resumés that are imperfect, overshadowed by our wrongs. Yet, there is hope. God sent One (Jesus) who is perfect and has a perfect resumé. He freely provides this and will give us His perfect resumé in exchange for our imperfect ones. We just have to trust His provision.

The resumé discussion prompts further thoughts. Typically, we think of resumés as objectives, goals, vision, rewards, work, activities, and education to brag and sell our way into jobs and positions. What if we revisited it and asked the following questions:

And one more question: If we are all wearing white robes and some roll in the mud and others just have a few splatters on their robes, then which robes are dirty? All of them are. We all need to be washed.

How? The answer is Jesus. We need Him. We must be washed in His blood. He can save you. Only His resumé -- His work -- qualifies for Heaven.

How about Today?

Let me tell you a quick story.

There was once a man in a flood. The waters rose above his ankles. So, he went up on his porch.

A car went by and the driver asked if the man needed help. The man told the driver that he was fine, that God would save him. The driver wished the man well and drove away.

The waters continued to rise and the man had to go to the upstairs of his house. A boat floated by and the sailor asked the man if he needed help. The man said that he was fine, that God would save him. The boat sailed away.

The waters continued to rise. The man climbed onto his roof. A helicopter flew by and the pilot asked the man if he needed help. The man said that he was fine, that God would save him. The helicopter flew away.

The waters continued to rise and eventually, the man drowned. In Heaven, the man asked God why He didn't save him from the flood. God responded that He had sent a car, a boat, and a helicopter, but the man did not take any of them.

It may be a simple story, but it brings up a critical point: TODAY is the day of salvation. In 2 Corinthians 6:2 (NASB), the Bible states the following:

for He says,
"At the acceptable time I listened to you,
And on the day of salvation I helped you.

Behold, now is "the acceptable time, behold, now is "the day of salvation"

Mark 8:29 (NASB) describes an interchange between Jesus and Peter:

And He continued by questioning them, "But who do you say that I am?" Peter answered and said to Him, "You are the Christ."

Is your answer the same as Peter's?

Do you know Jesus? Who do you say He is? Today could be your day!

Romans 10:9 states, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (NASB).

John 14:6 (NASB) states, "Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me."

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 (NASB), Paul writes the following:

Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures...

We know we are all guilty in and of ourselves. We know there is hope in Jesus Christ - His death, burial, and resurrection. And we know what we have heard (read) today. Are you trusting in Jesus today?

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