I'm going to skip the evening session of day 1, it has more to do with preaching stuff which I can talk on later. I want to get to my favorite session of the conference, day 2 AM. Rob decided to shoot for the stars and talk about the nature of salvation, namely answering this question:
"How do you get saved?"
Before he tore into the Bible, he set up some pretext. Anytime we talk about going to "heaven," many people think of this other place that is not here after this life. This is far from the teaching of the Bible and especially of Jesus. Essentially Rob says this sets up a "gospel of despair." This life on earth has nothing to with whether you go to heaven or not, just if you say the prayer, or accept Jesus, or whatever that is. Jesus teaches about life here and now.
He opened up the session going through this and asking some very honest questions. He said "Can we just be open here today and ask some honest questions about the nature of salvation?
He makes some statements. Which Jesus? Some of the Jesus' we encounter should be rejected. He mentions Stumbling Toward Faith (which by the way if you haven't read, go read it NOW). Rob read an excerpt from the foreword on how Renee's dad raped her while reciting the Lord's Prayer.
"What about the missionary who gets a flat tire?" He asks...moving on.
He also said of all the billions of people in the world, you mean were the only ones going to heaven? Just us? Would God create that many people who were destined for a life of hell? Again, just asking questions.
He then says, "So a select few who happen to believe/confess/do a few things that they can't even agree upon, and they're the ones that are in?
Age of accountability. He mentions how many hold that babies go to heaven and people use the age of accountability (most argue 12). So he says, "What about the 13-yr. old atheist who dies in a car accident? Do you go to their funeral and say, "Well, I guess he's not going to heaven."
Before he tears into the Scriptures he asks, "How is any of this grace? And then makes a beautiful statement to think about. He goes, "It's a free gift, you can't earn it...all you have to do is..." He let it hang there for awhile. He says, "Does that make any sense? It's free, but then you have to do...
He then braces himself and warns us he's going to flip through about 40 passages (which I think he about did) about how people get "saved." He's states an opening question:
"If you only had the Bible to answer, how do we get saved, what would the answer be? He then encourages us to act like we are literally reading this text for the first time.
So here we go:
Luke 7:1-9--the Roman Centurion, Jesus says, "I have not found such great faith even in Israel." This was after the centurion displayed faith that Jesus could heal his servant by just saying the word.
Luke 18:9-14--the Pharisee and tax collector--surely most of you know the view of tax collectors in the first century, not well liked people. The Pharisee brags of his many spiritual accolades, the tax collector beats his chest and says, "Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner." Jesus says that the tax collector is the one who walks home justified before God.
Luke 23:42-43--the thief on the cross, which Rob points out are more like revolutionaries that opposed Rome. Remember me when you come into Your Kingdom. Jesus says that today he will be with him in paradise (because the kingdom is here).
So Rob says, "Is it from what you say?"
John 3:1-3--Jesus with Nicodemus. Nic acknowledges Jesus is from God. Jesus says, you cannot see the kingdom of God unless you are born again.
Luke 20:35--Jesus and the Sadducees. Jesus says, "those who are worthy of taking part in the age to come..."
So Rob asks after these two texts, "Is it something you have to be?"
Matthew 6:14-15--Jesus says that if you forgive others when they sin against you, your sins will be forgiven, but if you don't, God won't forgive your sins.
Matthew 7:21--Jesus says only those who do the will of my Father will enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Matthew 10:22--Jesus talks about persecution, and says that those who stand firm to the end will be saved.
Luke 7:36-47--Woman who wipes Jesus' feet with perfume in the Pharisee's house. Jesus forgives her of her sins.
Luke 15:18--Prodigal Son--he returns and confesses, Father throws a party (he is found).
John 11:25--Jesus says that believing is intricately linked with living.
Acts 2:37-38--the people ask Peter what must they do to be saved. Peter says, "Repent and be baptized."
So Rob asks, "Is it something you do?"
Luke 19:1-10--story of Zaccheus--chief tax collector of Jericho says he will give half of his wealth to the poor and repay those he cheated 4 times the amount. Jesus says TODAY salvation has come to your house.
So Rob asks, "Is it saying what you're going to do?"
Matthew 9:1--men who brought a paralyzed man, v. 2--"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man (the paralyzed man), 'Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.'"
Mark 2:4--Four friends tear a hole open in a guy's roof and lower their paralyzed friend down. v.5--"When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, 'Son, your sins are forgiven."
1 Corinthians 7:15-16--v. 16--"How do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or, how do you know husband, whether you will save your wife?"
So Rob asks, "Is it something someone else does?"
Acts 9:1-6--Saul's conversion...Jesus asks him what he's doing, Saul says, "Who are you?" Jesus then tells him who He is and tells him what he's going to next! Rob is just laughing at this considering the heading at the top of the chapter in his Bible and asking if anybody ever asked the question on how Paul got saved.
So Rob asks, "Is it by asking the right question?" or "Is it something someone says to you?"
Romans 10:14-15--"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent?"
So Rob asks, "Is it something somebody else tell you to say/do/trust/believe?"
I'm going to stop here, and make the statement he mentioned and continue on with the next part later this week. Rob asks,
"If you were asked the question, how does a person get saved, converted, in, redeemed, etc...and you only had the Bible to answer the question..."
Rob says, "You would have LOTS of answers."
People come to Jesus in all sorts of different ways, and Jesus forgives their sins each time.
Does this make you ask questions about the nature of salvation? I sure freakin' hope it does.
Part 2 tomorrow...