Date: December 29, 2002
Bible Text: Psalm 116:12, Psalm 103:2, Psalm 68:19 | Roger Voegtlin
Series: Transcribed Sermons
Bible Text: Psalm 116:12, Psalm 103:2, Psalm 68:19 | Preacher: Roger Voegtlin | Series: Transcribed Sermons
Please turn in your Bibles to Psalm 116:12. I want to preach a message that I call “Loaded with Extras.” I used to like to hear the accounts of my father growing up in northern Minnesota when they had the first car in the county. There were no roads as we think of them, and the car just had an engine. It was a “box” to get into and away you went. That’s why they knew how to fix them.
But now it’s common for a car to have air conditioning. I guess it’s uncommon for it not to have air conditioning. Cars have power brakes, power steering, power locks, power windows. There’s even something called On-Star, so if you can’t find a place, you just press a button and a person answers, “Hello, Mr. Voegtlin.” You say, “I want to get to such-and-such a place.” And the person says, “Take a left, take a right, and you’re there.” Or if you lock your keys out, you call them up and they say, “Your car is now open.” That’s what the used car dealerships mean when they have a sign that says, “Loaded with Extras.” That’s what I want to preach on this morning.
You say, “Preacher, what exactly do you mean?” Well, read these passages with me, starting with Psalm 116:12 where it says, “What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits [or extras] toward me?” Now turn to one of my favorite passages, Psalm 103, starting with verse 2. “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” We’ll look at one other, Psalm 68:19. We could read many, especially in the book of Psalms. Psalm 68:19, “Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation. Selah.”
I think almost everyone in this auditorium understands that when you receive the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, you are saved; and instead of going to hell, you’re going to heaven. But whether you realize it or not, there are many, many extras. Bob Jones, Sr., used to say that all things being equal—intelligence, abilities, talents, physical makeup—if all things are equal, the Christian should stand head and shoulders over the unsaved because of all the extras that Christians have.
First of all, we have redemption by grace. Do you know what that means? Turn with me to Ephesians chapter 1,verse 7. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace...” Have you ever really thought about what it means to be redeemed? In order to really understand redemption, you must realize that before you are saved you are a slave to sin. You have no choice. You are on your way to hell, and sin has you by the throat. This is why we have such a drinking problem in the world today. This is why there is such a drug problem. Those who are hired to stop it become involved in it. It seems like something that can’t be stopped, and some say we ought to make the laws less strict so that drugs are legal. People are admitting they can’t handle it. That’s why we have such a lying problem and cheating problem, an adultery problem, a fornication problem. That’s why we have such problems in our homes with bickering and fighting and arguing--Because the person outside of Christ is a slave to sin.
The Bible says, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are...?” You are either a servant of God this morning or a servant of Satan. There is no “in between.” It’s one or the other. And millions, billions in this world are addicted to sin. They are slaves to sin; they are hooked on it. They cannot break sin’s grasp alone. They are helpless. They don’t have the power or ability.
But praise God, I know One who has the ability to break the power of canceled sin and set the prisoner free, and He’s done it! He has redeemed those of us who have accepted His gift of salvation. The Bible says,”... ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold,... But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:” We’re redeemed this morning. That’s something to be excited about! The Bible says, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins...” Through the cross we have redemption. Through the empty tomb we have redemption. He redeemed us from the curse and slavery of sin.
Listen, do you have a habit? Jesus Christ can break it. We have so many addicts today. We have so many people whom some sin has by the throat. Do you ever feel like you are going down for the third count? Do you feel you cannot conquer it? You can’t break loose? I’ve got wonderful news for you. Jesus Christ can set you free. Jesus Christ CAN. I’m not saying you get saved and, all of a sudden, you’re free. I’m saying He can set you free. That’s exciting.
Now this word, redemption, means “to buy.” In those days there were slave markets. People would bring slaves to a common market, and buyers would come and pay a certain amount of money and take their slave home with them. But Jesus didn’t go down and lay down some money for our redemption. He laid down His precious blood. We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. But the word also means “out of.” You weren’t bought out of the slave market to have a chance of going back to it again. You never have to be bought again. When He bought you, He bought you out of that market, never to be put on sale again. Another idea in that word redemption is that you are loosed; you are set free. “All hail the power of Jesus’ name.” He set us free.
But not only do you have redemption by grace, you have a remedy for guilt. One of the great problems of people in the world today is guilt. Romans 3:19 says, “...and all the world may become guilty before God.” We are all guilty. We are guilty sinners. In fact, today there’s been a great increase in guilt, and I know why. It’s the looseness, the perversion, and immorality. Everybody says, “I have a right to do this.” Well, according to the laws of the land there are a lot of things you can do and have a right to do, but you will pay. You see, we could look at anything the Bible calls sin. The old family nucleus is just about disappearing. People say, “Well, I can have an affair if I want to have an affair. There’s no law against it.” There’s not a law against it, but you will pay. You’ll pay in a lot of other ways, but you will certainly pay in guilt. Consider pornography. People might say, “You’re just an old fogy. You don’t believe in looking at pornography.” Even some marriage counselors use it to “help” the marriage. But you will pay for it, guaranteed. It won’t help your marriage.
Homosexuality. I mentioned last week that there are laws being put forth across the land that say it will be against the law for a preacher to preach against homosexuality. But I just want to make it clear. They can sue us, and they can take this building. They can take this property. I’ve said this for 32 years. There’s a nice building we can rent; it’s the old Jewel over here. We’ll go over there, but we’re not going to stop preaching the Word of God. Homosexuality is a sin. Just pick up your Bible and read about Sodom and Gomorrah. See what God thinks about it. Read the first part of the book of Romans, one of the most wonderful books in the Bible. See what God has to say about it. A person says, “I’ve got my rights.” Yes, but you’ll pay. I don’t want to sound mean here this morning, but the problem the Catholic Church is having is that the priesthood is full of homosexuals. They don’t want to say that. Even the news media doesn’t want to say that. But that’s what it is all about. I’ve read that some in the Catholic Church would estimate that 50 percent of those in the seminaries are homosexuals, and that they prey on little children. That’s the result of homosexuality, whether they want to admit it or not. That’s the result. Now tell me that a person can play with little kids and not feel guilty.
We could look at any area. Women’s liberation today. “I can have an abortion if I want.” Yes, you can, but I have to deal with those who are honest, though. You’ll go to the grave with the guilt--I don’t care how much you try to say that that baby is not a human being until it’s actually born. Did you hear on the radio that in Chicago somebody had a baby and threw it in the garbage and it froze to death. The newscaster said, “If she only would have left it at a hospital.” Amen, I wish she would have. But isn’t it interesting--they said that the fact that she didn’t is considered murder. On the other hand, she could have aborted the baby and it wouldn’t have been considered anything in man’s eyes. Listen to me, in God’s eyes, it’s murder. I’m sure there are people sitting out there who live with this guilt. I’m not trying to make you feel guilty, but I’m saying you’ll live with it until you die.
People react to guilt in different ways. Some try to suppress the guilt through means of alcohol or drugs or sex. Today, tranquilizers are outselling all other drugs because folks are hooked on sin. They are trying to suppress it. I’m not saying there’s no time or place for them, but what I am saying is that when a person cannot be happy unless he’s sedated, there’s something badly wrong. We need to be set free, and this guilt problem cannot be suppressed.
Others will transfer their guilt. Do you ever notice that people will say, “It’s the government’s fault.” As far as I’m concerned, the government has one function, and that is to give us freedom. It’s not their job to provide for me. They give me freedom to live my life and provide for my family. But today people say, “It’s the government’s fault.” I hate cigarettes. I won’t sit where people are smoking. I won’t be around people who are smoking. I think it’s poison. I think tobacco producers are wicked people. But, isn’t it crazy and stupid the number of people who are suing tobacco companies because they smoked and they got cancer? Don’t transfer your guilt. You smoked them. Today people are suing McDonald’s for making them fat. They didn’t open your mouth and shove it down! Don’t transfer your guilt.
A teacher will try his or her hardest to help the child and the parent doesn’t do his or her job, and the child gets an F. Whose fault is it? Almost always, it’s the teacher’s. The parent comes and says, “It’s the teacher’s fault, or the principal’s fault.” A guy will be speeding down the highway going 90 miles an hour, and there’s a policeman behind a bush or behind a sign, and he catches him. It’s normal for the guy who gets the ticket to say, “It’s the cop’s fault. He shouldn’t be hiding.” No, you were speeding,
Then, of course, the third way is to ignore guilt. They say, “I’m going to be an atheist.” That’s what is happening today in America. America was founded on the principles of God’s Word. Nobody can deny it. All you have to do is go back and read. You don’t even have to go back, just look at your money. Look at the chaplains in the service and in the Senate and House, and on and on. America was founded on the Word of God, but now we’re pushing God out. “It’s Christmas time, rejoice! But we don’t want a manger scene, and don’t mention Christ.” His name is in Christmas! Or, “I believe in evolution.” If you believe in evolution, you’ve pushed God out. New Christian, don’t be afraid of that. Come and see me if you have a problem with that. I’ll give you a good book if you like science. It’s not hard to believe in creation as opposed to evolution. Again, what they are saying is, “My sin is so horrible, and it’s got me. It’s so strong that I just want to ignore it. I just want to say there is no God.”
But you know, all over the world people are committing suicide, blowing their brains out, by the millions. We only hear of the famous. We hear of the actors, baseball stars, singers, and rich people. But I say again, by the millions every year, people are jumping off bridges. They are going in the garage and gassing themselves. Why? Because the guilt gets too big, and the victim sees no way out. They can’t handle the guilt. They can’t suppress it, they can’t transfer it, they can’t ignore it. But again, praise God, Christian, if you’ve been blood bought, if you’ve been redeemed with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, you have a remedy for that guilt. You can have what the Bible calls “peace that passeth all understanding.” That’s another extra.
Third, you have a relationship with God. The Bible says that when Adam and Eve sinned, they died. They didn’t die physically, they died spiritually. Before that time they walked with God and talked with Him, and they had fellowship. It must have been wonderful. But after they sinned, they were hiding. Why? Because the relationship between God and man was broken. When we came into the world, our relationship with God was broken. We came into this world out of fellowship with God, dead in our sins. No matter how you try, if you’ve never accepted Christ as your Savior, you will never have fellowship with God. Never. But by faith when you receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, that relationship, that gap, is bridged, and we’re back in the right relationship with God. God, Who would have been our Judge becomes our Father. And the Bible says we can pray, “Our Father which art in Heaven.”
The Bible says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God...” God’s son, Jesus, becomes our joint-heir. We have a relationship with God and His Son. He becomes our elder brother. God is no longer some far-off Being. There is a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father and His Son. At any time and any place, we have the privilege of having fellowship with him. Talk about being loaded with extras! Talk about having an edge! The Spirit becomes our Comforter. That’s not spooky. Jesus said, “...if I go not away, the Comforter will not come...” When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior the Bible says the Holy Spirit dwells within us. Now, we don’t see Him or feel Him as such, but He gives us wisdom if we are right with God. He gives us direction. He gives us peace in the hardest situations, if we’re right with God. So we have a complete relationship with the Godhead—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The Three become real to us. The Three become personal.
But fourth, you also have resources for guidance. Every born-again believer has the Word of God to guide him. The Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” David said, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” As we walk through this world, I’ll be the first to admit the clouds are getting darker, the forest is getting thicker. But while others are wandering aimlessly, we have light to show the way. We have a compass to show us exactly what God would have us to do, and that’s His Word, His promises in His Word. The unsaved can never say, “This promise is mine.” The unsaved can never say, “I’m going to lean on this promise.” Never. But we can read through the Bible and see the way. We can see the straight and narrow way. We can see how to have a right family. We can see how to have happiness in our life and true success.
But not only do we have the Bible, we have prayer. Any time of the day we can go to God and connect with the throne of heaven. We know this theologically, but, oh, sometimes we as Christians forget the benefits. We can connect to the throne of grace! “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear; what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.” What an extra! Do you avail yourself? When you go to the hospital into the intensive care unit, you see people for whom you feel so sorry. They have no comfort, they have no assurance. At times like that everybody prays. But if you are not saved, you have no assurance that your prayers will be answered.
But we as Christians have a right to call Him Father. We as Christians have a right to actually come into His very presence and let our petitions be known. The Bible says, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Every day we ought to claim these promises, these resources, and draw on them. No matter what the plans of unsaved people are, no matter what their ambitions are, they are only existing. That’s all they are doing. But the believer, if he will take advantage of all these extras afforded, his life has real purpose. If we are believers, we have a blueprint in this Bible, we have a blueprint through prayer, we have a blueprint that is given to us through the Holy Spirit—a detailed plan by which we can use these things to be assured of success.
Let me ask you, Christian, do you use these resources? Do you really step out and claim the promises of God, or do you say, “Well, now I’m saved. I’m not going to hell.” That’s the way I’m afraid so many people think of salvation. “I’m not going to hell now, and I’m going to live for myself.” Is that your attitude? Then you are missing out on so much. You may not go to hell, and you may go to heaven, but you are missing out on life if you don’t avail yourself of these resources, if you don’t take advantage of God’s guidance.
Next, we have a refuge for grief. That’s the thing that is always noticeable. It’s always said about a good Christian. If somebody has a loved one in intensive care or somebody has a loved one go to Glory, they’ll hear them say, “I’m the closest to God that I ever have been.” I’ve had several people this year say, “I’ve often wondered, and I never had this experience before, but it’s true. When I needed the Lord the most, He was there. He was close to me.” Don’t get me wrong. I’m certainly not saying that you don’t mourn for your loved one. I’m not saying you don’t shed some tears. I remember the first good Christian I ever saw die right in the beginning of our church. I remember the man was a real soulwinner. He said, “I’m ready to go.” I remember the words. He said, “Just let me alone; I’m ready to go. I only have one regret, and that is, that I did not win more to Jesus Christ while I had time.” What a refuge in the time of grief!
Paul said in I Thessalonians 4:13, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.” Praise God! What a comfort those words are. He lives! He lives! And we shall live again also.
From the earliest time of my ministry, I’ve seen people fall to pieces who are not saved. You’ve probably seen that, too. I’ve seen them run out of the funeral home screaming. I’ve seen them literally take the body and pull it out of the casket. I don’t know exactly how I would act, but I know that I would have despair also if I didn’t believe this Word. Again I say, if we love somebody we’re going to be selfish and we’re going to miss that person. You are going to have sorrow. But we’re not going to sorrow, as the Bible says, as the world sorrows because we know that we have hope. We can say, “Praise God. Isn’t it wonderful I’m going to see him again, and I’m going to live with him or her in heaven for eternity.”
Last of all, we have a residence reserved in Glory. I’m told we ran out of chairs last week in the other building. Now that’s exciting. We had over 1,500 kids over there, and that’s not counting the nurseries—they don’t need the chairs. There have been times when we ran out of parking places. I’m trying to think of something I have hated to run out of more than food. Have you ever driven down the highway and you didn’t have the good sense to make reservations at a motel ahead of time? My wife has experienced this with me. You say, “Well, I’ll just get a little further down the road.” Then there’s no motel room. You can’t get in. Oh, that’s miserable. I can tell some of you have experienced this! When we go to heaven, when I tread down those golden streets, there’s going to be a room reserved for me. There will be a nameplate and a number for you and me, if we’re saved. Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions... I go to prepare a place for you.” By living the right kind of life, we’re sending material to heaven. Not only does God bless our life here, but the Bible says, the more you do for God, the more you’re sending to heaven. That’s the only thing you can get into heaven. You are not going to bring your money to heaven, you are not going to bring your car, your house, anything like that. But what you do here, the Bible teaches plainly, is sending material on to heaven. Everything I’ve mentioned is yours for the taking when you get saved. Redemption by grace. Remedy for guilt. A relationship with God. Resources for guidance. The refuge for grief. And a residence in glory. I’ll just ask you, are you taking advantage of it all?
It’s possible for you to be saved and live as though you are not. You don’t take advantage of anything. Let me put it this way. Is the Christian life just a bunch of rules to you? I’ll just remind you, our standards are no more strict than the Presbyterians’ were, or the Methodists’, or the Episcopalians’, or the Congregationalists’, I can go down the line. It’s just that the world has gotten more wicked and wild while we’ve stuck with the Bible. Is being a Christian just being tied down to you? Is that the view the devil has given you? Or, is being a Christian tremendous, with the opportunities to have that good marriage, those good kids, and that peace that passeth all understanding? It’s all up to you. Everything I’ve preached on is yours if you’re saved—you have to take advantage of it.