The Call to Salvation

Pastor Jeff Struecker

We started talking about how the Holy Spirit calls people out of their sins and into a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus. Well, today, we’re going to take that idea, and we’re going to take it one step further.

Every week we challenge our church to memorize the scriptures. And one of the main reasons behind this is that we firmly believe that it’s essential to have it in your mind so that you can ponder over it throughout the week. Although most people have the Bible on their phones, we still encourage memorization so that you can have it readily available whenever you need it.

Memory Verse

I love this verse. I love this verse because it says brown skin, white skin, yellow skin, red skinned people from every culture, every part of the earth, from every language, from every ethnicity. You are invited by God to turn from your sins and to turn to Him. And it also says that He alone is the God of the universe and to turn to anyone or anything other than Him would be a foolish mistake. Why would you settle for a cheap substitute when you can have the real deal?

God is reminding us that to follow Him genuinely, we have to turn from something and turn to something. I want you to think about this idea of salvation. That’s really what we’re talking about when we talk about the Holy Spirit’s general call to salvation. What does it mean for God to invite the whole world to come to Him? Because Jesus even says that though many people will hear the message, some will reject it and choose the broad road and wide gate that leads to destruction. Only a few who hear it will go down the narrow road and go through the narrow gate and find eternal life.

So theologians and pastors over many years have really struggled with the concept of “being called by God” and this general call of God for the whole world to be saved—the language from John 3:16 versus the people that are actually going to end up in heaven.

How do those two things work? And to describe it for you, let’s think about a battlefield. On the ground, good guys and bad guys are fighting. Sometimes, good guys and bad guys are flying through the air. In addition to the physical battle, there is also a spiritual battle where warriors contemplate the Bible and salvation. There are both air and ground campaigns taking place. Today, we will focus on the air campaign and salvation from God’s perspective. According to God’s point of view, He is calling for everyone on earth to have a personal relationship with Him.

If you lived 2000 years back, you would be surprised to know that this verse would have sent shock waves to your family. As a Jew, you believed the only way to get into heaven was by being born into a Jewish family. But now, the Bible tells you that people not born into Jewish families can also get into heaven. God calls them to respond to Him in faith.

If you were a gentile (anyone who is not a jew). Well, you’re not good enough because you weren’t born to a Jewish mother and a Jewish father. So you can’t get into heaven. You can be a good person, and God may reward you, but you can’t get into heaven without being born into a Jewish family. And this verse is saying even those outside of the traditional family, a bloodline of Abraham, can get into heaven. The Bible even uses language like many have been grafted into the vine of Abraham had been invited to become part of the family of Abraham. Jesus said I have sheep that are not from this fold that are also part of my family. And I got to go to those sheep. And Isaiah is telling us what it looks like from God’s perspective when we are called into a relationship with Him.

It can be confusing. It can seem a little bit frustrating when we look at next week’s particular call of God. But I want you to hear the language of the Bible one more time. Come to me, everybody, all the ends of the earth, turn from your sins and find forgiveness. And according to the language of Jesus, be born again and made new or turned into a new creature, which now leads to a very important question that I want to ask you to talk about.

Challenge

What could a person do that’s so bad that the death of God’s only Son as a sacrifice on their behalf couldn’t rescue them? I want you to think about this. I want you to talk about this, and then I want you to really keep this in mind when you think about who you are and what you’ve done or about the people in your life that have done some really bad things.