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Affirming Christians
Affirming Pentecostals
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Pastor Charles Curtiss
There exists no greater tragedy than an individuals believing that they are beyond salvation because of who they are.  Millions of people today have thrown in the towel and given up on the church, convinced by spiritual leaders that they cannot possibly be saved.  Interestingly enough, this dilemma is not at all new.  Even as far back as Biblical times there were people who believed that they were hopeless and forsaken by God.  Today however hearts are crying out to God with the earnest query, “Lord, can I possibly be saved?”  And the answer is an emphatic yes!

The Woman At The Well – John 4:1-29

When the Lord approached the lone Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well requesting a drink of water, the woman stood astonished.  Like many today she questioned Him, “How is it that you, a Jew, would even speak to me a Samaritan?”  (vs. 6-9)  The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans.  To those of the Jewish faith, the Samaritan people were unclean and polluted.  They represented everything that Judaism abhorred, the mixing of pagan, Gentile blood with the pure blood of the Hebrew nation.

Amazingly, Jesus not only spoke with this woman, but He also acknowledged that He was well aware of her lifestyle and present circumstance.  As she confessed to Him that she was several times divorced and not presently married, but living with a man outside of a marital contract, He expressed His pleasure with her blatant honesty by saying, “You have well said…”  (vs. 16-18)  Oh, how God loves honesty.  He appreciates people who can approach Him, hiding nothing, and confess plainly their faults and failings.  

When the Lord began to speak of the promises of the Messiah, this dear woman showed her earnest desire to be included in the plan of God that would provide a Savior.  What was her main concern?  The Jews say that to worship God one must do so at Jerusalem, at the Temple.  But the Lord shattered this misconception and declared plainly that the time was coming, and indeed had arrived, when true worshippers would worship the Father in Spirit and in truth, and therefore, location would not at all be an issue, but motivation and sincerity.  (vs. 20-24)  What a thrilling truth to find its way into this ladies hearing.  “You know,” she responded, “when the promised Messiah comes, He is said to share all these type of truths with us.”  The Lord’s clear response to her, “I that speak to you am He.” (vs. 25-26)

She was so excited to hear this news!  Could it be that Messiah had indeed come?  Could this man she had a chance meeting with near the well that Jacob had dug really be the promised Christ?  She must have believed it to be true.  For the Bible tells us that she left her water pot beside the well and ran back to her town to share the news of Messiahs arrival with all her fellow outcasts.  (vs. 28-29)

No one would have believed that this woman could be saved.  Religious men of Jesus day would have condemned Him for even speaking with this filthy sinner.  But not only did the Lord speak to her, but He also went to great effort to help her understand that the Holy Spirit was about to be poured out upon humanity.  And that precious invisible presence of Christ Himself would act like a spring of living water springing up from within the very belly of all who received Him.  Why would He tell her all this good news if she could not possibly be a partaker of this promise?

Her status as a Samaritan did not disturb Him, nor did her marital situation offend His sensibilities.  He spoke not a word of condemnation, nor did He encourage her to somehow rectify her present situation by either marrying her common-law husband or separating from him.  His only words to her were of the hope that lies within the salvation that was to come.  God honors those who come to Him honestly and acknowledge openly their humanity and frailty.  He offers hope to all who are willing to partake of His salvation by obeying His Gospel.  He looks far beyond any faults that we might reckon too great to overcome and extends to us a welcoming hand.  Yes, you can be saved.

The Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-39

Any man who had mutilated his genitals in any way was not permitted to even enter God’s holy temple in Jerusalem.  And yet this man had made the long and tiring journey to Jerusalem to worship and pray.  He may have stood outside the western wall and prayed as men do to this day.  Perhaps he watched as those he counted much more worthy and godly than himself entered the holy place most sacred to the Jewish people.  As hopeless as he may have felt, he was determined to do what he could, regardless of what the Law of Moses said he could not do.  And when the Spirit of the Lord spoke to Philip to go and speak with the man on the chariot, enroute to Ethiopia to resume his duties as the treasurer to Candace the queen; Philip ignored his instinctual abhorrence of a man the law would label unclean and approached him without reservation.   There in his chariot this hungry soul was studying Scripture, reading in fact the very passage in Isaiah that spoke of the Messiah who was to come and offer His life for the souls of all mankind.  When he questioned Philip, “Of whom is this author speaking?”  (vs.32-34)  Philip was given the perfect segue to introduce this mutilated slave to the liberating Savior!

As the chariot continued on it’s way, Philip’s conversation must have included some mention of the apostolic plan of salvation, which had been preached since the day of Pentecost as the answer to the question, “What must we do to be saved?”  When a pool of water appeared around the bend, the Eunuch’s heart leapt as he cried out to his guest, “Here is water, what would prevent me from being baptized?”  Philip’s answer, “If you believe that Jesus Christ is come for you and arisen from the dead, you may.”  “I believe” the once hopeless man answered, and the two men walked together into the pool of water until it was deep enough for Philip to lower him under the surface in symbolic burial, only to raise him up again in ritual resurrection.  (vs. 36-38)  Baptized, no doubt, in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.  Baptized into the body of Christ.  In spite of every apparent obstacle that existed in this man’s life, God Himself had sent Philip to bring him hope and salvation.  Yes, my friend, you can be saved!

Cornelius the Gentile – Acts 10

No segment of society was more removed from God’s provision for salvation than were the Gentiles.  The Jews stood convinced that Messiah would not only be brought to the world through a man of Jewish heritage, but alas, they also believed that the salvation He would bring would be only for the Jewish nation and no other.

Peter had been raised from childhood to believe this way.  He lived according to the law and ate only those foods, which the law allowed, and he abstained from mixing with those who were not of Hebrew birth.  He never did quite understand the way that Jesus would mix and mingle with publicans and sinners; those whom he had been taught were unclean.  When the Spirit of the Lord pulled Peter into a deep trance one evening as he prayed on the roof of his home, Peter was stunned by the message that God would send to him by reason of a vision of a sheet and all kinds of animals the law of Moses labeled unclean.  “Arise, kill and eat,” were the words of the Lord to this man who had not eaten in several hours.  (vs. 10-13)  How could God Himself so tempt Peter to do something, which he had been taught not to do since his youth?  Three times the Lord offered Peter this bountiful meal and three times Peter refused.  Upon the third refusal Peter is recorded to have made the statement, “I have never touched or eaten any unclean thing and I shall not do so now.”  What was the Lord’s reply?  “That which I have called clean, you shall not call unclean or common.”  (vs. 15)

When a couple of men showed up at Peter’s door asking if he would be willing to return with them to their master’s home, Peter was ready to comply.  The Spirit of the Lord had prepared his mind and heart, telling him after this vision that men were coming and that he should prepare to go with them.  It didn't’ matter to Peter at this point that these men were Gentiles and that they represented a man of Gentile heritage.  Bringing with him several of his Jewish brethren who had just recently received the gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter made his way to the home of a devout and godly man named Cornelius.  There he was greeted warmly and welcomed.  (vs. 17-28)

All he could do, he figured, was tell these Gentiles of the coming of Messiah.  Tell them of His death, His resurrection, His ascension, and His promised return.  Little could Peter have imagined what was about to happen.  As he was preaching the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost fell on those Gentiles hearing him preach!  Suddenly, all these men whom the Jewish believers would have hours earlier labeled unclean and without hope, began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit of God gave them the utterance.  (vs. 44-46)  There could be no doubt, for they could see and hear with their own eyes and ears the clear and distinct evidence that God Himself had immersed these Gentiles into His Spirit, and welcomed them into the family of God.  “What’s next?” they questioned.  Peter replied, “Where is water that these may be baptized who have received the Holy Ghost just as we did?” (vs. 47)  And immediately, without delay, the entire household of Cornelius was brought to the nearest river and immersed in the waters of baptism in the name of the Lord.  (vs. 48)

No one had really fully understood the words of the Lord when He said in Acts chapter one and verse eight, “But you shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, in Samaria, and unto the utmost parts of the earth.”  The gospel of Christ was to reach far beyond the confines of that holy city Jerusalem.  It was to extend far past the borders of that sacred nation of Israel.  It would, the Lord said, go into the forbidden territory of the Samaritans, and the unclean world of the Gentile nations.  No one was to be excluded, regardless of who they were or where they came from!   Yes, you can be saved!
What must you do?

Dear friend, in these examples today I have shared with you the simple truth of hope when all seems hopeless.  There are no prerequisites to one’s hearing, believing, and obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The plan of salvation as preached throughout the Biblical history of the church is as valid and universal in application today as it was some two thousand years ago.  On the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit of the Lord first fell and the church was effectually born, Peter declared to all those who had come to Jerusalem that the answer to the question, “Can I be saved, and if so, what must I do?”  “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,” was his clear reply. (Acts 2:38)

There are none upon this earth who are hopeless.  There are none today who cannot be saved.  The grace of our God is far too great and His love and mercy far too reaching for any sincere seeker of truth to be lost.  You must only learn to look beyond yourself and focus on the Christ of Calvary.  He died for your sins.  He loves you as you are.  He knows good and well that as long as you are on planet earth in a flesh and blood existence, you will have sine and failings in your life.  He does not seek perfection, but rather He seeks a desire within you to one day be perfected.  (Romans 7:14-25)  We obey the Gospel of Christ today and look forward in faith to that day when He shall come to redeem His purchase.  (Romans 8:22-24; Titus 2:11-14)

You can make certain your name is on that purchase order on that great redemption day.  How can YOU be saved?  By turning from unbelief to faith in a living God.  Your first act of faith is submitting to water baptism, by immersion, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins.   (Acts 2:38; 8:11-12, 16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:48; 18:7-9; 19:3-5; 22:16; Romans 6:3; I Cor. 1:13-15; Galatians 3:27)  And knowing now within your heart that Jesus Christ is indeed who He said He was, God Himself, wrapped in human form (I Timothy 3:16), you can inhale the very breath and presence of God, receiving within your own body and soul the Holy Spirit of God whereby the Bible promises that we are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (Ephesians 4:30)  If you, like those in Cornelius house, earnestly and sincerely desire to be filled with God’s Spirit, and He honors your faith and sincerity by giving you this wonderful gift, how can you ever question that you have been received by Him as you are and are ready now to meet your Creator, Redeemer, and King?  (Luke 11:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13)

Can you be saved?  Oh friend, but of course you can.  Obey the Gospel today and see if God doesn’t keep His end of the bargain by giving you His sweet Spirit.  Yes, you most certainly can be saved!  Come as you are, all are welcome.
Can I Be Saved?
By: Rev. Charles Burnett-Morrow