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    MANY ARE CALLED(Question 65)

    The Bible is clear when it teaches that not everybody will be saved. There are those who are sheep, and there are those who are goats. There are those who have been adopted into God's family and those who will remain dead in their sin and enemies of God. Some people have trusted in Christ by faith while others continue to rebel against His will. The question we want to ask today is how do we receive this faith that saves us? Why are some people saved while others continue on their way to hell? To answer the first question, we go to the catechism.

    Q.65 From where do we receive true faith?
    From the Holy Spirit who works it into our hearts by the preaching of the Gospel and confirms it by the holy sacraments.

    God uses the preaching of the Gospel to work faith into people's hearts and lives. If you remember, the Gospel is telling the story of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When you hear at church how you are in need of a Savior and how Jesus died in your place, you are hearing the Gospel. And by the preaching of this simple message God gives true faith and eternal life to His children. To understand this better, let's look at two examples of how the Gospel gives us faith.

    1. It raises us from the dead
    Before the Gospel works faith in our hearts, we are dead in sin. This means that we are enemies of God. We don't want to do anything for Him and we don't care what He has done for us! But once we hear the Gospel message, God takes our dead spirits and raises them to life. Some people call this being "born again". They say this because we who once were dead are now alive. Look at these verses to get a better idea of being raised from the spiritual dead.

    2. We are given spiritual ears and spiritual eyes.

    Because of our sinful nature, we cannot hear the things of God or see things the way He wants us to. Instead we hear what we want to hear and see what we want to see. But when the Holy Spirit moves by the preaching of the Gospel, suddenly things change. We begin to hear God for the first time and understand that He is talking to us. We begin to see the world and sin for what it is and appreciate the things God has done for us.

    Now comes the time when we ask ourselves the hardest question of all-do I have true faith? Am I born again? Do I hear the things of God and see things the way He does or am I still dead in my sin? Let's close with these last verses from Jesus...

    It is a very dangerous thing to be spiritually deaf and blind. Imagine if you saw a person walking into the street as a large bus approached. To save that person's life you yell, "Get out of the way! Here comes a bus! Look out!" But to your horror the person keeps walking and the bus hits them. Why didn't they get out of the way like you told them to? Because that person was deaf. He couldn't hear you warning him. Or perhaps he was blind and couldn't see which way the bus was coming from. Because of their deafness and blindness they were caught unaware and their life was ended.

    It is the same way for you if you hear the preaching of the Gospel and continue in sin. Maybe you are deaf and cannot hear the words of Jesus. He is saying, "Repent! Trust in Me! I will save you from hell!" But instead of listening to Him and allowing Him to save your soul, you continue on your way to death. Jesus opens our ears and our eyes through the preaching of the Gospel. If you can hear Him today, this is what He says to you:

    John 5:24

    1. How does God work faith into our hearts?
    2. What does it mean to be born again?
    3. Does everybody hear the Gospel call?

    1998 Pomona Youth Chapel/Pastor Tim Shultz