February 13, 2018, 3:37 PM

Who can be my Savior?

Several weeks ago, I wrote on Ephesians 2:1-5 and we let the passage answer the question “Why do I need a Savior?” This passage causes us to have to face the necessary truth about ourselves, which is we are lost. More specifically, we are spiritually dead (separated from God) because of our trespasses and sins, we are a slave to the world, to Satan, and to our sinful nature, and we are bound for hell. But we learned that, thankfully for us, there is hope and that hope is found in one Savior who can save us, but who is that Savior? Well, today we answer the question “Who can be my Savior?”

First thing we must understand is that it can’t be you. You will never be able to do enough good to deliver yourself from your sins. You must understand that you need Someone to rescue you; Someone powerful enough to raise you from your spiritual death and make you alive to God; Someone strong enough to overcome the rule of Satan in your life; Someone with the power of God Himself to snatch you out of the pits of hell and secure your home in heaven forever!

Today, I present to you who that someone is: Jesus Christ. At this time, I want to lay before who this one is, the one whom God sent, whom the Bible consistently presents as our only hope for forgiveness of sin, reconciliation with God, and a new life that never ends.

Let’s begin by going back 2,000 years ago. Go with me to an upstairs room where Jesus and His disciples are gathered to partake in a Jewish Feast known as Passover (To learn more about what the Feast of Passover is read Exodus 12). While they are feasting and re-telling the story of God's deliverance from slavery in Egypt, Jesus explains that He is about to leave them. Knowing that the cross is just hours away, He tells them in John 13:33, "Where I am going you cannot come."

This news greatly upset His disciples. So much so that one of the disciples, Peter, asks for more information. In v. 36, he asks, "Lord, where are You going? Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow later." Peter pressed the issue and says: "Lord, why can I not follow You now? I will lay down my life for You.” Peter and the other disciples clearly didn't understand what was about to happen and why Jesus would no longer be with them. Jesus demonstrates His sovereign insight into Peter's heart when He quietly answers, "Will you lay down your life for Me? I assure you: a rooster will not crow till you have denied Me three times." As Peter thought upon these words, Jesus addressed the whole group, which brings us to John 14. In John 14:1-6, Jesus speaks some of the most powerful words of His entire ministry.

John 14:1-6 ESV “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Now look at what is happening here. Jesus is telling them about where He is going. He's going to heaven, where the Father is, and He is telling them that they will be separated for a time. But while they are apart, Jesus will be working on a place there for them, which of course means that He will be coming for them one day. Then He adds this sentence: And you know the way where I'm going. In other words, you already know the road that leads to heaven, the place where I am going. Jesus deliberately spoke these words to get the disciples attention. Thankfully, Thomas refused to pretend to understand and he wants to know. "Lord, we do not know where You are going. How can we know the way?"

It is here that Jesus makes one of the most powerful statements, I believe, ever made. It sets Him apart from everyone else. This one line alone gives hope to all of mankind! In John 14:6, Jesus answers Thomas and all of us: "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through Me" (v. 6). This is a bold statement about salvation. When it comes to salvation Jesus is boldly proclaiming to you and me that one way is right, and every other way is wrong. Think for a moment about the full meaning of these words. Jesus knows that the cross awaits Him; He knows what it means and why it must happen. In that context, here is what Jesus is saying:

1. I Am the Way.

By saying “I am the way” Jesus is saying the way to heaven is not a religious system or a set of rules to follow. The way cannot be found in you or in your good works. Jesus is simply saying that the way is Him. Jesus is saying to His disciples, “you know the way to where I am going because it's Me.” Jesus is making it clear that the way to heaven isn’t based on a list of do's and don'ts. If a person basis it off a list of do’s and don’ts that person has put himself on a path that leads to eternal death in Hell." "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death." (Proverbs 14:12) If you want to be reconciled with a Holy God, if you want to walk across the gap of sin that separates you from God the Father, then you must understand that Jesus is your Way. In fact, He is not just your Way, He is the ONLY Way.

2. I Am the Truth.

When He says I am the Truth, He means, "Trust Me in this. Count on what I'm saying to you. I am about to pay the price for your forgiveness with the shedding of My blood.” What I'm about to do on the cross is all that is needed to provide a way across the gap that is caused by your sin. You cross it by believing in Me, you cross it by trusting that what I've done for you is all you'll ever need to be right with God. Jesus is saying, “I am the Truth, the whole Truth, nothing but the Truth, and you can trust Me."

3. I Am the Life.

When He says I am the Life, He means, He is both the source of life and the content of life. To know Jesus is to have life. He means that life without Me is empty and leaves a void that can’t be filled by things in this world. But, He says, the life I give is abundant and eternal. It’s a life that outlasts the few years you will have here on earth. It gives life a purpose and the life He gives easily outshines what this world can offer. He means, it is the very life of God in you. In other words, He is saying I'm not here to point you to this kind of life, I am your life. Let Me loose in you and watch what happens! Let me change your life!

4. I Am the ONLY way to the Father.

Now Jesus could have stopped right there, and it would have been enough. But He doesn't stop there. He raises the bar even more when He adds; No one comes to the Father except through Me. Basically that means that you can add the word only to each preceding phrase. “I am the only Way, I am the only Truth, and I am the only Life.”

Now let’s be honest for a moment, this truth doesn’t go over well in a “postmodern” world. If that term is new to you, it simply means that we live in a time in which our culture has largely abandoned the notion of truth. The old consensus about right and wrong has almost entirely disappeared, replaced by pluralism and moral relativism.

However, against the spiritual confusion of our day, John 14:6 is not the only verse that makes this “exclusive” claim about Jesus. Consider these “exclusive” claims regarding Jesus Christ: A. He is the only Son of God–John 3:16.  B. He is the only name by which we can be saved–Acts 4:12.  C. He is the only mediator between God and man–1 Timothy 2:5. D. He is the only sacrifice for sin–Hebrews 10:12.

These are completely exclusive statements of the New Testament. You, nor I, have any right to water them down and make them say something else that they don’t mean. You may choose to reject them or to call them narrow-minded, but the fact remains that the Jesus of the Bible is an exclusive Savior. He stands alone and no one can be compared with him. He is the only one who can save you, and Jesus makes that very clear in John 14:6.

Because Jesus makes it very clear that He is the only way to God. Let me close by sharing with you five words that will take you all the way to heaven. If you take these five words to heart, and make them part of your life, if you will say them and believe them and trust upon them, these five words will grant you access to heaven when you die: Jesus only and only Jesus!

The best part about this truth is that anyone can believe this and be saved. The Bible says it like this: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Rom. 10:13) So here's what's at stake. You can hear Jesus' bold statement and conclude that He and His statement is intolerant and arrogant. Or you can see in this the most loving act in history, when the Son of God comes for you, secures what you needed most through His death and resurrection, and then points the way for you to get in on it. I ask you again, "Who can be your Savior?" Jesus only and only Jesus.

If you are reading this and you see your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, please email me at so we can talk.  I promise you, the decision to repent of one’s sin, to believe in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for your sin, and to surrender your heart and life to Him will be the greatest decision you will ever make.  It is a decision that will have an eternal impact on your life.

By His Grace,

Pastor Travis

January 23, 2018, 11:21 AM

Why do I need a Savior?

Over the next few weeks I will be answering three very important questions in this blog. What makes these questions important is because they deal with one of the most important doctrines, salvation.  I will let scripture answer the why of salvation, the who of salvation, and the how of salvation.

We begin with question number 1: Why do I need a Savior? Ephesians 2:1-5 answers that question for us, but before we read I want to put chapter 2 in context by sharing the highlights of Ephesian 1. Ephesians 1 reveals that God desires a relationship with us; He wants us to be in his family. The awesome part about being in this family is that God has provided a way for us to be adopted into His family through Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ one can be redeemed from sin and given eternal life. Paul also reveals that the Holy Spirit enters into our lives as a sign of our adoption into the family of God. That is part of our spiritual inheritance spoken of in Ephesians 1:11. That leads us to Ephesians 2:1-5. As you read the passage, keep in mind that he is talking to Christians, which is why Paul is speaking in the past tense. He’s reminding them of why they needed a Savior and in return, it answers our question of “Why do I need a Savior?”

In the first three verses, Paul gives us a clear picture of what a life is like without Jesus Christ and in return it helps us to see why we need a Savior. The first reason we need a Savior is:

1. Without Jesus Christ we are dead. V. 1

If you were to ask a believer why they need a savior, many would answer with: “I have sinned, so I need a Savior who can forgive my sins and take away the punishment I deserve.” While that statement is true, according to Ephesians 2:1 it just doesn’t go far enough. V. 1 “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins…” In the Bible there are two words used for death. One speaks of a “physical death” where the spirit separates from the body but, that’s not the word used here. The other speaks of a “spiritual death,” where a person is separated from God and that is the word used in Ephesians 2:1. He is reminding us that the reason we need a Savior is because we are spiritually dead, causing us to be separated from God.

Why are we born separated from God? Paul uses two words that give the reason why we are born spiritually dead and separated from God. 1. Trespasses = False step.  It means to take a false step, go off a path, slip, or fall. As used here it is a picture of us wandering from the right path, whether that occurs as a result of inattention or a deliberate act. 2. Sins = Missing the mark. This word comes from an archery term which means missing the mark. As used here it is a picture of us failing to hit the target of God’s standard for our lives.

Since we’re spiritually dead, and there is not a thing we can do about it on our own, we’re decaying spiritually. Spiritually speaking we are rotting away because of our trespasses and sins and we are completely helpless to do anything about our condition. Now, this is not a pretty picture. But, there is more:

2. Without Jesus Christ we are slaves. V. 2-3b

The second characteristic of our life apart from God is that we really don’t have any control over our lives. Our lives are controlled by three powerful forces that we can’t break free from on our own: A. World. V. 2a “…you once walked, following the course of this world.” Paul is describing here a life that regularly conforms to the ways of this world. He is describing a person whose behavior is determined by the influences of the world. He is describing someone who has become a slave to the things of the world. Without Jesus Christ in our lives, we are in slavery to a worldview that totally and completely goes against God’s plan for our lives. This, in return, leaves us with a problem.  What is that problem?  Without Jesus Christ we are incapable of freeing ourselves from the ways of the world. Now, if that was the only force that controlled our lives, that would be bad enough, but there are two additional powers that also control those lives without Christ.

B. Satan. V. 2b “…following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience…” First off, we need to understand what Paul means by the “power of the air”. Paul was obviously familiar with the Jewish concept of the heavens of his day (2 Corinthians 12:2). According to the Jewish concept of the heavens, there were three levels: • The air – the atmosphere in which human life takes place here on the earth. • The universe beyond the earth where the other stars and planets are located. • The third heaven, which is beyond our human vision, is the place where God resides (2 Corinthians 12:2). So, the “power of the air” is just another word for the earth where mankind makes his home and according to this verse, there is a ruler/prince, who has some power over this “first heaven”. Now, there is no doubt that Paul is writing about Satan.

Now, fortunately for those of us who are believers, Jesus already defeated Satan on the cross. But Even though he is already defeated, Satan does not just leave us alone, he just changes his tactics and he continues to make his influence felt. But, before a believer had Jesus in their lives, they were completely powerless to battle that influence. In fact, the literal interpretation of this passage is that the prince of the power of the air is the spirit who is at work in the “sons of disobedience”.

Now, the “sons of disobedience” is speaking of those who are without Christ, but who are they sons too? They are sons to the “prince of the power of the air.” This is a reminder that there are only two families in this world. There’s God’s family and there’s Satan’s family. What we need to understand, whether we like or not, we are all born into the wrong family. We are born into Satan’s family and we are a slave to Satan as long as we are a slave to sin. But, when you become a Christian, you change families. Satan disowns us and God adopts us (Ephesians 1:5). But, until that happens you are still in the wrong family.

Here is what we need to keep in mind. As a son of disobedience there is nothing you can do, in your own strength or good works, to get out from under the influence of Satan. To get out of Satan’s family, it can only be done through Jesus Christ. So a lost person is controlled by the world, by Satan, but there is also a third force that controls a lost person’s life.

C. Sinful nature. V. 3 “Among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind…” The word which the ESV translates “flesh” is literally the word “sinful nature”. This reveals that Paul is not referring to our physical bodies, but rather to the sin nature that we are born with when we enter this world. Every person who comes into this world enters it with this sin nature. No one must teach us how to sin because every person is born with this sin nature, thanks to Adam and Eve. So, just like the world and Satan, this sin nature, or flesh, controls our lives until Christ enters into our lives. Without God’s help, there is no way that we can ever live lives that are pleasing to God, because our very nature prevents us from doing so. So, apart from God, a lost person is dead, a lost person is a slave, and also…

3. Without Jesus Christ we are bound for hell. V. 3c

The end of v. 3 captures this when it says, “and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” What Paul is saying is that for the lost person, who is spiritually dead and has allowed themselves to be enslaved by the world, Satan, and their sinful nature, the result for them is for God’s wrath to be poured out upon them. What that means is that a person lost in their sins is deserving of the divine judgment of God, which is eternal separation from God in Hell. For those who do not respond to the grace and mercy of God, there is a future judgment to be faced and at that time, a person lost in their sins will experience the wrath of God and will be separated from Him for eternity in a place of eternal suffering called Hell.

So, where does all this leave us? Well, let’s recap. Because of sin we are:

Spiritually Dead—The spiritually dead have within them no ability to respond to God. Unless someone raises them to life, they can never know the God who made them.

Enslaved—Because of sin we are slaves to this world, to Satan, and to our own sinful nature.

Separated from God—Sin has created a massive gap between God and us. We were made to know God, but our sin keeps us separated from God.

Helpless—This is the natural result. A person who is dead, enslaved, and separated from God is helpless with no hope within himself. Any help must come from somewhere else and that is where the good news comes into play. In fact, it is great news!

4. With Jesus Christ there is Hope! V. 4-5

Even though the first few verses are discouraging, God immediately turns our attention to v. 4-5 and we quickly see that this is also one of the most exciting messages because it helps us realize that there is hope. This is made clear in v. 4-5 as it states, “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—by grace you have been saved.” There is hope because it shows us what God, through grace and mercy, wants to do in our lives. He wants to reach down into our lives and deliver us from death to life. He wants to free us from being enslaved to the world, to Satan and to our own sinful nature. He wants to deliver us from the wrath that we deserve. He wants to rescue us from Hell and the awesome part of it is that God has provided a way for these things to happen through His Son Jesus Christ and He offers these things to us, not because we deserve it, but because of His grace and mercy.

Do you agree with God’s description of your desperate condition? If so, you are an excellent candidate for salvation. If you do not agree, nothing else I say will matter one way or the other. But the reality is that we must face the truth about our own condition and why we need a Savior. Until we do, we can never be saved. Please Lord, help us to see ourselves as we really are, and may it cause us to run to your cross, which is our only hope for salvation.

If you are reading this and you see your need for the Savior, Jesus Christ, please email me at so we can talk.  I promise you, the decision to repent of one’s sin, to believe in what Jesus Christ did on the cross for your sin, and to surrender your heart and life to Him will be the greatest decision you will ever make.  It is a decision that will have an eternal impact on your life.

By His Grace,

Pastor Travis

January 5, 2018, 12:00 AM

The Word

“God, I don’t care much for writing.” That is the statement I have been making to God over the last few months simply because it’s the truth.  Why have I been telling God this, you might ask? It’s because several months ago I felt the Lord leading me to start doing some writing or blogging or whatever you call it.  When He did I got this sickening, dreadful feeling in my stomach. Why? Because “God, I don’t care much for writing.”  However, through my journey as a believer I have come to learn that when God commands or speaks you better listen, otherwise you will be miserable.  So, I’ve decided to be obedient even though “God, I don’t care much for writing.” 

Once I decided that I was going to take this task on the question became “God, what do I write about?”  I began to spend time seeking the Lord’s guidance in this matter and in the last few days I believe He has given me some direction.  The church I have the privilege of pastoring (Blanchard First Baptist) is reading through the Bible in a year.  One of the things that I will write about this coming year, for sure, will be some of the passages that will come from our readings.  The rest of the stuff that I write about will be just as much a surprise to you as it will be to me.

So, here it goes.  This past week I read Matthew 4:1-11.  After Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, He was led by the Spirit into the wilderness for 40 days and nights to be tempted by Satan.  At the end of the 40 days Jesus finds himself being tempted by Satan and with each temptation Jesus overcomes Satan’s temptation with scripture.  As I was reading this passage there were three things that jumped out at me when it comes to God’s Word.

1.  The Word of God is important to the believer (Matthew 4:1-4).  In verse 3 Satan, knowing that Jesus is hungry having not eaten for 40 days, suggest that Jesus turn the stones into bread to satisfy His hunger.  Jesus immediately quoted Deuteronomy 8:3 to combat Satan’s temptation and in so doing revealed that feeding on and obeying God’s Word is more important than consuming physical food. In fact, it is our food (John 4:32–34).  In other words, it is better to obey God’s Word than to satisfy human desires.

2.  Context of Scripture is important (Matthew 4:5-7).  In seminary I learned that a text without a context is a pretext.  The point of that statement is that it is dangerous to pull a verse and twist it to fit your situation.  A verse must always be taken in the context in which it was written.  We must be careful not to separate a verse or passage from the rest of the scriptures, but rather we should always compare spiritual truths with other spiritual truths in the scriptures.

When tempting Jesus for the second time this is what Satan did when he quoted Psalm 91:11-12 to Jesus.  In the Bible Exposition Commentary Warren Wiersbe says that “one can prove almost anything by the Bible if we isolate texts from the contexts and turn them into pretexts.  Satan had cleverly omitted the phrase “in all Thy ways” when he quoted from Psalm 91. When the child of God is in the will of God, the Father will protect him. He watches over those who are “in His ways.”’ In other words, according to the psalmist, a person is protected when he is following the Lord’s will. For Jesus to cast Himself down from the temple would not have been God’s will.

Again, we see that Jesus combated Satan’s temptation by quoting scripture.  This time Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:16 and in so doing reminds Satan, as well as the reader, that it would not be right to test God and expect Him to do something when one is out of His will.  We tempt God when we try to make Him contradict His Word.  So, context of scripture is important.  It is important for us as believers to read all Scripture, and study all God has to say, for all of it is profitable for daily life (2 Timothy 3:16–17).

3.  The Word of God is powerful (Matthew 4:8-11).  In the third temptation Jesus is offered a fast pass to the Kingdom by Satan.  Jesus could have enjoyed all the glory without enduring the suffering.  If Jesus would have agreed, then He would have bypassed the cross and we would have remained lost in our sins.  But, Jesus knew this was not God’s will and not only that Jesus did not need Satan’s offer. The Father had already promised Jesus the kingdom (Psalm 2:8). The response to Satan’s offer was Jesus quoting Deuteronomy 6:13 and as soon as it was quoted it says that Satan “left Him.”  In all three scenarios Jesus had resisted the temptations of Satan by standing upon God’s Word.

This truth reminds us that the Word of God is powerful.  It has the power to send Satan running, it has the power to give peace, hope, strength, boldness, comfort, rest, overcome sin, etc.  Therefore, it is vitally important to read, meditate, and hide God’s Word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11) because “it is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path” (Psalm 109:105).  It is “living and active” and “sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12) and it is inspired by God and is useful for “teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” and it is able to equip us “for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16–17). Praise God for His Word and what a wonderful privilege and honor we have as believers to read it daily.

By His Grace,

Pastor Travis