God’s Essential Musts: Part 1 of 3
by John Lowe
“There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
This lesson is a very important one. We are going to look at some of the things that God says “MUST.” And when God says MUST we need to listen and do what He says. God’s Word is absolute truth, and as such it is undeniable. Folks, when God has spoken, we cease to speak.
Jesus told His disciples how He “MUST suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes,” and how “He MUST be KILLED.” Peter began immediately to scold the Lord for saying such a thing. He said: “Pity Thyself Lord, this shall not be to thee.” Immediately, Jesus said to Peter: “Get behind Me, Satan, thou art an offense unto Me.”
There are seven MUSTS in today’s message, and every one of them is God’s decree, and they MUST be just as He said. Let’s believe what He will tell us today by His Word.
First-WE MUST BE BORN AGAIN
Jesus said, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). When God says “must,” we certainly can’t afford to use a word that’s less insistent. There is nothing indefinite and nothing optional in “Ye must be born again.” Everyone who wants to see heaven, and to enter into heaven, must be born again.
Salvation is not just patching up our old self, it is a new man created by God. Salvation is not just cleaning up the outside of the platter, but instead, it is the cleansing of the inside of the platter. Jesus said, “Cleanse first the inside of the cup and the platter, that the outside may be clean also.”
Salvation is a new creation. That’s made clear in the Bible, where it says, “If any man be in Christ Jesus he is a new creature.” And it also says, “For we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus.” We should never speak of salvation as “a change of nature” or as a “change of heart.” Salvation is not a change, but it is a birth, a new birth; it is a second birth. “Ye must be born again.”
There is nothing about the old nature that God will accept, because it is corrupt. And He doesn’t have any plans to improve it or to change it. The old nature is too weak to follow Jesus. Paul understood that and that’s why he said, “I want to do right, but I can’t.”
Those who are controlled by the old nature cannot please God, and therefore they can’t serve Him either. Doesn’t it say in God’s Word, “Can a bitter spring give forth sweet water?” and “Can an evil tree bring forth good fruit?”
We are given a description of the old man in the Bible, where it talks about those controlled by their old nature. It says, “Their throat is an open sepulcher; their tongue has used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness; their feet are swift to shed blood: destruction and bitterness are in their ways: there is no fear of God before their eyes.” How are you going to reform or patch up or change such throats and tongs and lips and feet and eyes as these?” It is impossible!
Back of all these members there lies a nature which is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.” “Ye must be born again.” Churchianity, signing a pledge card, turning over a new leaf; none of these can be accepted as substitutes—“Ye must be born again.” And the second essential must is—
CHRIST MUST DIE.
The apostle John wrote, “As man lifted up the serpent, in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). This “must”, that Christ must die, stood before Jesus just as unavoidably, as “Ye must be born again” stands before every sinner. Christ experienced the full force of this “must.”
In the city of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus began to show His disciples, “How that He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” There was an eternal must that faced Jesus every day of His life. In fact, He faced it even before the foundation of the world; it was the “must’ of the Cross.
But what was this compelling must that drove Jesus to Calvary? Did Jesus say, “The Son of Man must be killed,” because He saw the multitudes turning away from Him? Once the common people were glad to hear what He had to say. They had eaten His bread and His fishes; they had applauded the power of His miracles; they had applauded when He taught them about the things of God; but now they were leaving Him. The common people had left Him so swiftly and on such a large scale that Jesus turned to His disciples and said, “Will ye also leave Me?”
Did Jesus mean that He must be killed, because the population had turned against Him? Did Jesus say, “The Son of Man must be killed” because the scribes and Pharisees were determined to slay Him? These men had never loved Him. It was because they envied Him that they were going to give Him to the Romans to be executed. It was their power and their prestige that turned the people away.
They sat in Moses’ seat, and they dominated the synagogues, and they wielded tremendous power throughout Israel. Did Jesus mean that He must die, because He couldn’t withstand the constant pressure from the scribes and Pharisees? Did Jesus mean, “The Son of Man must be killed,” because He knew that Pilate had a weak character. Did He mean, “This Roman governor cares more for Caesar’s friendship than for Me, and this Roman governor is afraid of His very shadow. He fears the mob, and he weakly washes his hands and says, ‘I am innocent of the blood of this just person, see ye to it;’ and then he releases Barabbas and turns Me over to the fury of the mob.”
Did Jesus mean the Son of Man must be killed because Pilate, the Roman ruler, was swayed by the populace and priests, who like ravenous and roaring lions were looking for any means to discredit and condemn Him to death. Did Jesus mean the Son of Man must be killed because Satan had marshaled all his troops to meet Him in one final conflict, and because He feared He could not stem the tide? Satan possessed such tremendous power that he made the world tremble, and with great subtlety he swayed the hatred filled scribes and Pharisees, and then he inspired the maddened cries of the multitudes.
Did Jesus mean that He must die because of Satan’s overwhelming power? Don’t give that idea a single thought. Jesus didn’t die like a martyr dedicated to a holy cause, helpless and overwhelmed by His enemies. Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels, if He wanted their aid. Remember, Jesus, who merely by the words, “I am He” caused the mob in the Garden of Gethsemane to fall down like dead men. And He could have thrown back all the combined forces of the Jews and Romans, because He is God. And yet, Jesus said, “The Son of Man must be lifted up,” He must be killed!”
What then, was the “must” that drove Him to the Cross? There is only one answer. It was the “must” made necessary by, “Ye must be born again.”
The “must” that nailed Jesus to the Cross, was God’s answer to the question, “How can God be just and justify the ungodly?” Jesus must die because there was no other way by which His burning love for sinners and His certified promises to saints could be fulfilled. Salvation is dependent on the Cross.
The Son of Man must be killed because apart from the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The third essential “must” is—
THE MUST OF HIS NAME
“There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” These words from Acts 4:12 were written about Jesus. The same “must” that drove Jesus to the Cross, drives the sinner to Jesus. If Jesus must be killed in order for a believer to be saved, then the believer must come to Jesus alone. Salvation is Jesus plus nothing and minus nothing.
There are many other names and many other ways suggested for our salvation. Some would go so far as to suggest the name of Buda, or Confucius, or Mohammed. They may even think that they are equal with our Lord. They may give this argument for their views: Jesus was the head of a great religion and so were they. Jesus taught wonderful ethics, and so did they.
Well, I would answer like this. Jesus was the Son of God, were they? Jesus was virgin born, were they? Jesus never sinned, did they? Jesus died a sacrificial death, did they? Jesus was raised from death on the third day, were they? Jesus is exalted and seated at the right hand of the Father, are they?
Without a doubt, only faith in Jesus saves; without a doubt, there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved. We must approach God through Jesus or else we will never see the Father’s face. Jesus is the Bread of Life and there is no one else; He is the Light of the World and there is no one else. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and there is no one else; He is the Resurrection and the Life, and there is no one else. He is the Door of the sheepfold, and there is no one else.
Peter, James, and John were great Christians and good men, but faith in Jesus is the only means to salvation, and heaven, and eternal life. And you can’t be saved by believing in Spurgeon, or Wesley, or Moody, or Billy Graham; it is Christ alone who saves. It is not Buda or Mohammed, it is Jesus. There is no other name whereby we must be saved. Salvation is in the precious name of Jesus. The fourth essential must is—