God’s Essential Musts: Part 2 of 3
by John Lowe
WE MUST BELIEVE
In Hebrews 11:6, we are told, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”
When Nicodemus asked Jesus, “How can these things be?” the answer to His question was the must of rebirth. When the jailer asked Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” the answer was the must of belief. Only God can work out the first must, so that a man can be born again. The second must, however, must be worked out by every man and woman, with God’s help, since He is the one who gives us faith. Faith is the essential must that links the believer to God.
The table is set, the dinner has been prepared, and the dinner bell has been rung, but you must eat or you will starve. The car is full of gas, and the engine has been started, but it will just sit in the street unless the transmission is engaged. The plane is on the runway, and the great jet engines are running, but it will not be able to fly until the control tower says that it is ok to take-off.
The Lord Jesus has died, and the essential must of the Cross has been fulfilled, yet you must believe or you will be eternally lost. But who is it that we must believe in? It is Jesus. We must believe that Jesus died; this is essential to our justification. We must believe that Jesus rose again; this is essential to our sanctification. We must believe that Jesus is coming; this is essential to glorification. We must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ: believe in Him as Jesus; who died upon the Cross. We must believe in Him as the Lord; who is exalted to the right hand of God. We must believe in Him as Christ; who is the anointed of the Father. And we must believe He is the Messiah and the Coming King.
There is no use to quibble about it; salvation comes only to those who believe. We are not saved by giving our hearts to God. What does God want with our vile and filthy hearts? We should be ashamed to even offer them to Him, before they have been washed in the blood. We are saved only when we believe. We are not saved by cleaning up our life, and joining the church, and being baptized, and taking the Lord’s Supper. These are things that we do because we are Christians, but to be saved, we must believe.
We are not saved by some big experience, a wonderful dream or a startling voice, so don’t pay any attention to such things, they will take care of themselves. As far as we’re concerned, we must believe. The sixth essential must is-
THE GOSPEL MUST BE PREACHED
There are a series of four questions in Romans 10:14-15: “How shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed?” “And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard?” “And how shall they hear without a preacher?” “And how shall they preach except they be sent?” If a sinner must believe to be saved, then he must hear, and if he must hear, then the Gospel must be preached.
There was a woman who lived in the Samaritan city of Sychar, who was a sinner. However, she was evidentially seeking to know the truth, and she was ready to accept Jesus as her Savior if she got the opportunity. Jesus, who is God, knew about her and He wanted to give her the opportunity to accept Him, and so we are told in John 4:4: “And He must needs go through Samaria.” Jesus said, “I must go to Samaria.” He walked sixty miles to tell this woman about the “Living Water.” But, why did He have to go?
Jews hated the Samaritans, because they were not full-blooded Jews. Earlier in their history, foreigners were brought into Samaria by conquering armies and they had intermarried with the Jews. And now the population of Samaria was people who were not of pure Jewish ancestry. Jews would go miles out of their way to avoid going through Samaria, so why did Jesus say, “I must go through?”
The only answer can be found in the result of His trip. The Bible records that He was tired from the trip and He sat down beside a well outside Sychar. The disciples went into the city to buy food, so He was alone. That’s when a woman came out through the city gate to fill her water pot at the well. Jesus immediately spoke to her, and soon He was telling her about the “Water of Life.” When the disciples returned and saw Jesus talking to a sinful, Samaritan woman, they wondered why he would do such an unusual thing. They tried to get Jesus to eat the food they bought at the city market, but Jesus refused, saying, “I have meet to eat that ye know not of.” The woman left, and went back to the city and told everyone she met about her meeting with Jesus at the well. Because of her testimony, many of the people came to Jesus and were saved. Therefore, He stayed with them two days and told them about the things of God. It may be hard for someone to understand the must of that trip. But the reason can be found in God’s Word in Romans: “How can they believe in Him, of Whom they have not heard?” And, “How can they hear without a preacher?”
I have heard preachers say, “Let scripture interpret scripture.” In Acts, there is the account of Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, and it illustrates the meaning of these verses very well. Philip was one of the first deacons, and he was also a good preacher of the Gospel. The Holy Spirit called Philip to leave the city of Samaria, and hurry down a desert road. But why? The answer lies in the result of that trip. He soon came across an Ethiopian man who was traveling home from a trip to Jerusalem. He was a very important person in his country, since he was a member of Queen Candace’s court and in charge of her treasury. The man was reading from the book of Isaiah, but he didn’t understand what he was reading. The Holy Spirit put Philip in the chariot with him, where he asked the man: “Understandeth thou what thou readeth?” The answer is very revealing: “How can I except some man shall guide me?”
Folks, the Gospel must be preached. Sinners in this country and sinners in foreign lands cannot believe in Him of Whom they have not heard. Do you see how important it is for us to tell others about Jesus? Let’s take the Gospel, the good news about Jesus Christ, to those we meet. And let’s pray for them and for preachers and missionaries until everyone on earth has heard the saving message of God’s love. The Gospel must be preached, but there is another must, which is—