Tuesday, August 16, 2016


In his book TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, Chris Anderson states that "the only thing that truly matters in public speaking is not confidence, stage presence, or smooth talking. It's having something worth saying." He asserts that the foundation of any good presentation is the gift the speaker wishes to give to his audience, that one thing the speaker feels passionately about, that he genuinely believes will benefit his listeners.

Mr. Anderson believes everyone has something important to share with the world, and he asks his readers, "If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one idea you'd most love to spread to other people's minds?"

I am a relative newbie to public speaking, so I am taking notes as I read through Chris Anderson's book. In response to his comments on pages 14-15, I wrote in my notes: What do I feel passionately about? What ideas would I like most to communicate to those who hear me speak?

It did not take me long to formulate an answer. Two things popped into my mind right away: I want most to communicate something to others about the sufficiency of Christ and about the value of motherhood.

If I can effectively communicate only one thing to a reader or listener, it would be this: Jesus saves sinners, Jesus alone, and Jesus saves completely and eternally.

To the young mother, I would also want to offer this encouragement, simply because the calling of motherhood seems so grossly underappreciated in our day: Yes, motherhood is a difficult job, but it is also a worthy endeavor. Lean hard on Jesus, young mother, and persevere.

Jesus alone saves sinners (and He also sustains mothers!).

We live in a culture that insists there are many ways to overcome our fallen state, many paths to a glorified life, many roads to heaven. We hear from politicians, from celebrities, and even from so-called Christian preachers, that all faiths are equally valid. The mentality seems to be that it doesn't matter what you believe or who you follow, as long as you are sincere in your faith, think positively about yourself, and act kindly toward others.

Jesus, however, taught something very different. Speaking to his disciples, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6). In the book of Acts, we read:  "This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must by saved" (Acts 4:11-12).

The apostle John tells us that "God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life" (1 John 5:11-12). Could Scripture be any clearer? Christ alone is the way of salvation. To teach anything else is to teach a lie.

Now, not only is it true that we find salvation in no one but Christ - not in Allah or in the Buddha or in our own inner goodness - but it is also true that Christ saves us by Himself, without any help from us. Our salvation is not accomplished by a joint effort between us and Jesus, where we do our part and He does His part. No, our salvation is accomplished completely and absolutely by Christ, and by Christ alone.

Some churches today teach that we are saved in part by our good works, but, again, that is contrary to what we read in Scripture. Citing the psalmist, Paul tells us in Romans 3:10-11, "None is righteous, no not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." Paul continues in verse 20, "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin."

Without Christ, we are dead! Without the quickening of the Holy Spirit, we can neither choose to trust Christ nor can we do any good work! How can dead men do anything to accomplish even the smallest bit of their own salvation?

No, our salvation is God's work, accomplished in Christ alone, and by Christ alone. "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made  us alive together with Christ..." (Ephesians 2:4-5).

Paul writes in Philippians 3:  "Indeed, I count everything loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake...I count them (Paul's good works) as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith..." (Philippians 3:8-9).

Christ alone. Yes, that is an offensive particularity to some. But to the Christian, Solus Christus is a source of peace with God, eternal security, and glorious doxology. And to the young mother laboring to raise up the next generation, it is a source of tremendous comfort, power, and hope.

Remember, sinner, it is not thy hold of Christ that saves thee - it is Christ; it is not thy joy in Christ that saves thee - it is Christ; it is not even faith in Christ, though that is the instrument - it is Christ's blood and merits; therefore, look not to thy hope, but to Christ, the source of thy hope; look not to thy faith, but to Christ, the author and finisher of thy faith; and if thou doest that, ten thousand devils cannot throw thee down. - C.H. Spurgeon

No comments: