Religion seeks salvation.
The religions of the world are all in search of one thing - salvation. Religion is a search for redemption from guilt, sin, and the ultimate enemy - death. Each religion seeks to provide answers for how individuals can find salvation and meaning.
The story of 1 Samuel 11 reminds you how biblical Christianity is different from every other religion. In this story, a small town in Israel comes under threat of attack from the Ammonite king. The town of Jabesh is helpless against this violent Ammonite king.
The leaders of Jabesh send messengers throughout the tribes of Israel asking for help. Their message was urgent and simple: "Come save us!"
The plea for help arrived about 42 miles down the road in the town of Gibeah. Do you remember anything in the Bible about Gibeah? If you have forgotten, take a few minutes to read the account of what happened in Gibeah in Judges 19. But be prepared: the story in Judges 19 is horrific.
The town of Gibeah was known for perhaps the most immoral, wicked act every recorded among God's people until this point in history. The town of Gibeah was known for it's spiritual and moral corruption as evidenced from the immorality and violence of Judges 19.
Yet, it's from this questionable town that salvation comes for Israel. It's in this town that the Holy Spirit comes upon a shy, reluctant farmer named Saul. The Spirit of God rushed upon him and empowered him to be the savior of the town of Jabesh. Under the power of the Holy Spirit, Saul led three divisions of troops against the Ammonites, defeating them and saving God's people from destruction and death.
This story is a picture of the unique message of biblical Christianity. In this story, the wicked town of Gibeah is transformed by God's Spirit into the city that will produce the savior of Israel. In this story, the quiet withdrawn farmer is transformed into a mighty leader because of the power and presence of the Holy Spirit.
Salvation in 1 Samuel 11 comes because of God's Holy Spirit.
That principle is true today for you. While many eastern and western religions teach you how to redeem your life, only biblical Christianity asserts that salvation belongs to the Triune God. Your salvation from sin and death is planned by God the Father, accomplished on the cross by Jesus Christ, and applied to you by the Holy Spirit.
It is the work of God's Holy Spirit to apply all the benefits of Christ's work to you when you repent of sin and turn to the crucified and risen Son of God. Redemption belongs to the Triune God. Salvation is not your work, it is God's.
Today, the same Holy Spirit who transformed Gibeah and Saul can turn a broken sinner into a child of God.