Intro: What does the word “salvation” mean to you? For many, if not most in this audience, our first thought is spiritual. We so often use the word to refer to being saved from sin. We even use the term saved as a noun, referring to those who are Christians, asking others, “have you been saved?”
- But if I used the word in a story about a drowning man another connotation would come to mind. Then the salvation points to a physical rescue from harm or even death. The Bible uses the word both ways. In fact, one picture of salvation points to the other.
- Our intention this morning is to consider our God as the God of Salvation. This is not difficult to do, as He is often described in just those words. But we will notice how the theme of salvation, and God as the Savior of men, is developed in the Bible promises. ( as we viewed in the narrative of the flood) The points we will make will be fundamental and simple to see.
I. “See the Salvation of the Lord” – one of the first appearances of the word “salvation” in the Bible is found in Exodus 14. We are familiar with this context. It was a foreboding scene for the Israelites. After their initial release and exodus from Egyptian bondage they found themselves trapped between the waters of the Red Sea and the approaching chariots of the Pharaoh. They were defenseless and hopeless. They needed someone to save them. Read Exodus 14:10-14 – And when Pharaoh drew near, the children of Israel lifted their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians marched after them. So they were very afraid, and the children of Israel cried out to the Lord. 11 Then they said to Moses, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, have you taken us away to die in the wilderness? Why have you so dealt with us, to bring us up out of Egypt? 12 Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, ‘Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness.” And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. 14 The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
A. Moses told these fearful former slaves who were n a hopeless situation – “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord…” Moses promises the people, through His own faith in God’s promise, that the Egyptians who were pursuing them would all be destroyed that day. That is exactly what happened. God saved His people, and destroyed their enemies. Ex 14:30-31 – So the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore. 31 Thus Israel saw the great work which the Lord had done in Egypt; so the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord and His servant Moses. They saw the salvation of God.
B. What followed was a celebration – Ex 15:1-2 – Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: “I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! 2 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; He is my God, and I will praise Him; My father’s God, and I will exalt Him.
C. Israel was given the opportunity to see the salvation of the Lord many times. This event (Exodus) is mentioned numerous times in the words of the Psalmists and prophets of Israel.
• Ps 44:1-3 – We have heard with our ears, O God, Our fathers have told us, The deeds You did in their days, In days of old: 2 You drove out the nations with Your hand, But them You planted; You afflicted the peoples, and cast them out. 3 For they did not gain possession of the land by their own sword, Nor did their own arm save them; But it was Your right hand, Your arm, and the light of Your countenance, Because You favored them…. 6 For I will not trust in my bow, Nor shall my sword save me. 7 But You have saved us from our enemies, And have put to shame those who hated us. 8 In God we boast all day long, And praise Your name forever.
1. This image of God was an important first impression for these liberated people. God did not choose them to be His people because they were the most powerful and moral nation on the earth. They were slaves. Israel’s status as God’s people was rooted in their initial slavery and oppression.
a. Go back to God’s promises to Moses and Israel when He began to free them from their slavery. Ex 6:6-8 – Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. 7 ‘Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 8 ‘And I will bring you to the land which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and I will give it to you for a possession; I am the Lord.'” (NASB) God would claim them, only after He saved them. This was a connection Israel was not to forget. Our identity as God’s people is always connected to our salvation from sin. It is what He did for us that makes us His, and we must always trust Him to save us.
II. “Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord” – God consistently and repeatedly presents Himself to His people, Israel, as their Savior; their only Savior. God promises to defend them against their enemies and save them from destruction. The nation’s identity rested upon God’s work to save them and defend them.
A. As Moses revealed the Law of God to the nation, he declared God’s promise to be Israel’s Savior. Num 10:9 – When you go to war in your land against the enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. Just as He did in Egypt, Jehovah would remember His people, and He would provide salvation from their oppression, and victory over their enemies.
B. Later, in his dying words to the people, Moses once again called on Israel to remember that it was God who had saved them. Deut 33:27-29 – The eternal God is your refuge, And underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you, And will say, ‘Destroy!’ 28 Then Israel shall dwell in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, In a land of grain and new wine; His heavens shall also drop dew. 29 Happy are you, O Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the Lord, The shield of your help And the sword of your majesty! Your enemies shall submit to you, And you shall tread down their high places.” Israel failed on so many occasions to trust in God to defend them and rescue them. They were disobedient to His words and worshipped false gods. Because they forgot that God was their Savior, their enemies defeated them, and they were taken off the land.
1. In our claim to be God’s people we must not forget the centrality of our spiritual salvation through Christ. We are not Christians because we are American, or free, or democratic. We are God’s people because He saved us from our sins. As God’s people, we have no Savior but God.
III. “And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior. But even though they were rebellious, God’s desire and promise to save His people continued to ring in the message of His prophets. It was God’s plan to save. He is faithful, even when we are not. This does not mean He will save us in our rebellion. But God’s plan to be the Savior is not, and was not, forfeited by the unfaithfulness of men.
A. God’s unique power to save His people was presented as a clear distinction from the useless gods of the other nations. Isa 45:14-22 – 14 Thus says the Lord: “The labor of Egypt and merchandise of Cush And of the Sabeans, men of stature, Shall come over to you, and they shall be yours; They shall walk behind you, They shall come over in chains; And they shall bow down to you. They will make supplication to you, saying, ‘Surely God is in you, And there is no other; There is no other God.'” 15 Truly You are God, who hide Yourself, O God of Israel, the Savior! 16 They shall be ashamed And also disgraced, all of them; They shall go in confusion together, Who are makers of idols. 17 But Israel shall be saved by the Lord With an everlasting salvation; You shall not be ashamed or disgraced Forever and ever. 18 For thus says the Lord, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. 19 I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the Lord, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right. 20 “Assemble yourselves and come; Draw near together, You who have escaped from the nations. They have no knowledge, Who carry the wood of their carved image, And pray to a god that cannot save. 21 Tell and bring forth your case; Yes, let them take counsel together. Who has declared this from ancient time? Who has told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no other God besides Me, A just God and a Savior; There is none besides Me. 22 “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.
B. Who can save you? In Zechariah 9, the prophet shouted words of true hope to Israel in a hopeless situation. Zech 9:9 – 9 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey. Zechariah went to say that God would free those in prison (v 11) and defend His people… v. 16 – The Lord their God will save them in that day, As the flock of His people.
1. These words looked forward to the coming of Jesus Christ, fulfilled specifically as he entered the city of Jerusalem prior to His crucifixion. Matt 21:7-9 – They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David!’Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Hosanna in the highest!”
a. The word “hosanna” in the Hebrew, means “save, we pray.” The word seems to have become an utterance of praise rather than of prayer, though originally, probably, a cry for help. It was taken from the words of the 118th Psalm, recited at the Feast of the Tabernacles, as a reminder of God’s work in saving His people; a cry for help. A cry for a Savior
• Ps 118:14-15 The Lord is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation. 15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation Is in the tents of the righteous… v. 21-26 – I will praise You, For You have answered me, And have become my salvation. 22 The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. 23 This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes. 24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
b. Again we recognize that these words point directly to Jesus. He is the stone which the builders rejected. Peter healed a lame man in Acts 4, and aroused the attention of the Jewish council. They put Peter and John in the middle of the assembly and asked them by what power they accomplished this miracle.
• Acts 4:10-12 – 0 let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. 11 This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ 12 Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
c. Those who carefully listened to the words of the O.T. prophets and John, the Baptist anxiously anticipated the coming of a Savior. John’s father, Zacharias, the priest, declared…Luke 1: 68-75 “Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people, 69 And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David, 70 As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began, 71 That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us, 72 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant, 73 The oath which He swore to our father Abraham: 74 To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, 75 In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life. When John arrived He identified Jesus as the Messiah, and declared… “And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.'” (John 3:6)
d. The plan of God to save His people came to full fruition at the cross, and was made known in the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Rom. 1:16 – “the gospel is the power of God unto salvation”. It is in this gospel that all people can see the salvation of God – Jesus Christ.
• 1 Corinthians 1:18 – For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
• 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 – Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you — unless you believed in vain.
Conclusion: The implication of this are clear. IF God sent Jesus to save us, then we must need saving. This is at the heart of the matter of the gospel message today. Most people do not believe they need a Savior. We must convince them that without Jesus they are hopeless and defenseless. We need Jesus to save us.