What Can I Add?

Posted on 09/19/2010 by Rev. Benjamin R. Faust D.D.

AUDIO: dialup - broadband - podcast

TRANSCRIPT: (does not contain everything found in the audio above)

*** listen to the audio for introduction and prayer ***


Public Prayer Requests:


Please pray for me to have peace. I'm suffering from terrible anxiety and seeking the Lord for deliverance from it.
   -Greg

I need a touch from the Lord, a sense of His love and His healing. I need renewed faith in Him and all unbelief destroyed. Thank you!
   -Greg

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Please turn around and click one of the offering plates by the doors, and give as the Lord leads.

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James 4:14 (NKJV)

14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away.

Hebrews 9:27 (NKJV)

27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment;

Hebrews 9:22 (NKJV)

22 And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

24 (Jesus) Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness, by whose stripes you were healed.

Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV)

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
   The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.

2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV)

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV)

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
      And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
  We all fade as a leaf,
      And our iniquities, like the wind,
  Have taken us away.

Hebrews 4:15 (NKJV)

15 For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

James 1:27 (KMV)

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

Psalm 127:1-2 (NKJV)

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
      They labor in vain who build it;
  Unless the LORD guards the city,
      The watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
      To sit up late,
  To eat the bread of sorrows;
      For so He gives His beloved sleep.

John 5:19 (NKJV)

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."


*** listen to the audio for the message introduction ***


Can you believe September is more than half way over? Only three months until Christmas! Before you know it, next year will be here. And before you know it, next year will be gone, only a memory.

Just imagine how quickly it all will have gone when we are standing in eternity. Right now, it may seem as though Jesus will never return. But this time will be over in a flash, in the blink of an eye. Let's make sure we're ready, watching and praying, living as though he will return today.


I've titled today's message, "What Can I Add." And for the next few minutes, let's think about that question... What CAN I add? And what does the Bible say about it?

Most of us have dreamed, at some time in our life, about making a mark on the world. Maybe you have wanted to become famous, or script a blockbuster movie, or put an end to world hunger.

Maybe you've thought it would be wonderful to come up with some great revelation that people don't know about, and develop a following.

That last one is something we know at least SOME people have shared. Just take a look at Mohammed, who pieced together the worship of the pagan moon god, and stories he had heard about the Bible. We don't know if he really heard from a spiritual being. We DO know, from the fact his teachings contradict the Word of God and from the fruit of that teaching, that he did NOT hear from an angel of God, but from a fallen angel, if any angel was involved at all.

Or how about Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormons, and the writer of the Book of Mormon? That book contains large portions of the King James Version of the Bible, complete with translational errors. It was supposedly taken from a dead Egyptian language, supposedly brought here by the first Native Americans which were Jews... Bible historians would agree this could not be the case, since the ancient Jews considered Egyptian an evil language and would NOT have written in it.

These are just two of hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of people who, either because of mental illness or spiritual deception, mixed with the desire to draw followers to themselves and add something the world did not already have, formed teachings, denominations, and even religions.

And the results are always bad. We come on the scene with grand ideas. And we work so hard to add something, something that people will notice. Then our efforts end up hurting people. At least that seems to be the pattern, does it not?

Now, I'm not saying we don't have something to bring to the table, or that this something won't make a difference. Just hang in there with me, and hopefully before we're done, the Holy Spirit will speak something to our hearts.


We could spend HOURS or even DAYS talking about what we can add to various things, what God might call us to add (with Him as the source, of course), and the reason behind our desire to add something in the first place.

But you can relax. We're not going to. Instead, let's jump right to the most important thing, and then we just might be able to see everything else a little more clearly.

Let's just imagine for a moment that we were able to feed all starving people, heal all the sick, find a real fountain of youth, and bring peace and harmony to everyone on earth.

Would we be better off for it? Now, I realize our initial reaction would be that this question is obsurd. Of course we'd be better of for it! How can you even ask if world peace, abundant health, and long life would make a difference. Don't you see all the suffering in the world?

But let's take another look. What does James 4:14 say? It says, "What is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away."

Just a vapor. Just a puff of smoke. It's there one moment, and gone without a trace the next. And THEN what?

Well, Hebrews 9:27 tells us. It says, "It is appointed unto man once to die, and then the judgment."

So imagine if there was no more suffering. There was no more war. There was no more dying. There was peace and harmony and love. Who would need a Savior?

Of course the answer to that question is "everyone." The condemnation of their souls wouldn't change. The truth of the matter is that these lofty goals are rendered far out of reach by our sinful natures.

But just pretending that weren't the case and we could create paradise on earth. People would live, have peace and joy, and then POOF... like a vapor, like a puff of smoke, they are gone. And then... the judgment.

And no where in the Bible does anyone meet Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates, and have to answer a series of questions to determine if they are allowed to go inside.

Instead, the books are opened. And whoever's name isn't written inside, they are cast out of the presence of God for eternal torment.

What good is a short life of peace and joy if all eternity is darkness and pain?

And now we come back to today's question: "What can I add?" So let's ponder that question in light of what we just realized, that, compared to the Salvation of our souls, everything else is meaningless. What can I add to Salvation? What can you add to Salvation?

The answer, of course, is nothing. Or is it?

Okay, let's think about THIS question: What killed Jesus? Was it the whipping? The beating? The nails? The bleeding? What was it that killed him? For that matter, what was it that even put him up there on that cross?

Let's turn back the pages of time, and consider how sin was taken care of in the Old Testament. Hebrews 9:22, speaking of the Old Testament law, says that "without the shedding of blood, there is no remission (of sins)."

1 Peter 2:24 says that "Jesus Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree." And what does Isaiah 53:5 say?

5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
   The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.

He was wounded, why? For our transgressions. He was bruised for what reason? For our iniquities.

2 Corinthians 5:21 puts it this way: "For (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."

Sounds like one thing we can't add to Salvation is righteousness. Isaiah 64:6 (NKJV) says this:

6 But we are all like an unclean thing,
      And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;
  We all fade as a leaf,
      And our iniquities, like the wind,
  Have taken us away.

So we have no righteousness to add. No goodness. We can add NOTHING to the only thing that really matters, the Salvation of our souls.

Or can we? What did Second Corinthians 5:21 say? "For (God) made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." And Isaiah: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities..."

So we DO have something to add to Salvation. And that thing we can add is....... Our Sin.


In the Old Testament, the sin was passed from the people to the animal being sacrificed. But the blood of bulls and goats could not cleanse once and for all. That's why Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, came to earth: to take all of your sins, and all of mine, upon himself, trading our sin for His righteousness.

Doesn't sound like a very fair trade. All we could bring to the table was our sins again God. And we traded our wickedness for His righteousness, as he gave up His righteousness for our sin.


Without being completely righteous, Jesus could not have born the sins of the world, for he would have had to bear his own, and he would not have been a perfect sacrifice. But Jesus did not sin.

Hebrews 4:15 puts it this way: "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin."

So Jesus' righteousness was rightfully his, just as our sin is rightfully ours. One results in everlasting life, while the other results in neverending death.

If both we and He asked ourselves this question, "What Can I Add to Salvation?" we could only say "sin and eternal judgment." And Jesus could truthfully say, "righteousness and everlasting life."


Just remember that next time you're tempted to look at the suffering in the world and question whether God is good. He traded all His good for all our wickedness, depravity, and sin. He took on our sin, that shameful cloak whose wearer must pay a dreadful price; and in its place, He wrapped His righteousness around us.

So What Can I Add? What Can You Add? Nothing but wickness and shame. Anything good that's brought to the table is brought by Jesus. All of our greatest efforts and intentions are worthless compared to that.


Okay, so we can add nothing but sin to Salvation. But how about all the other stuff? Can we add nothing good to the world? To its pain? To all the injustice? Doesn't the Bible say anything about helping those in need?

Let's take a look at James 1:27 (KMV)... And it says this:

27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

That word "visit" doesn't just mean to show up, talk for a few minutes, and then leave. It means to help. To show kindness and compassion, and to provide for their needs. If we do this, aren't we adding something to the world?

Jesus said there is no one good except God. That means I am not good, you are not good. Remember, our own righteousness is like filthy rags, and our hearts or deceitful and wicked.

And this brings us to a very important realization, and I encourage you to pay close attention to this. And here it is:

If our good deeds do not come through us from God, then they will cause harm. It might be in ways we never see. But our own goodness, in the big picture, isn't really good.

Have you ever stopped to consider just how many people have rejected the cross and embraced a lie because those promoting the lie did good things?

They might be part of a cult, or the Ocult... They might espouse some sort of new age belief, or a global humanity in which all roads lead to God.

Their intentions are probably golden. They are thoroughly convinced of what they believe, and they want to make the world a better place, to help those who are suffering and in need.

But if their good deeds do not come from God, they will end in destruction.


It's been said that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And we might consider that, just as love is not a feeling but an action, so hate is not a feeling but an action.

It doesn't matter how lovey-dovey you feel toward someone, if you don't act in love, even if it means denying yourself, then you're not really loving them.

And it doesn't matter how much love you "feel" toward someone, if your actions destroy them, that is hate. Your intention isn't hatred, your intention is good. It is the intention of human love. But if it doesn't come from God, the end result is the same as if you despised them. Maybe even worse.

So what can we add to Salvation? Sin.

And what can we add to the world? Two things: destruction, and what God gives us.

Psalm 127:1-2 (NKJV) puts it like this:

1 Unless the LORD builds the house,
      They labor in vain who build it;
  Unless the LORD guards the city,
      The watchman stays awake in vain.
2 It is vain for you to rise up early,
      To sit up late,
  To eat the bread of sorrows;
      For so He gives His beloved sleep.

If it's not God working through you, then all your best intentions will end in vanity at best. Even Jesus was no exception, as we see in John chapter 5 and verse 19:

John 5:19 (NKJV)

19 Then Jesus answered and said to them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner."

If Jesus could do good things and make the world a better place, and if he could do them of his own human self, then why would he do things only if they came from God?

We could argue that Jesus WAS God... but he was also our example, and he lived every area of his life just as we should.

While none of us can pay the price for someone else's sins, if God leads us to a cross, we should obey.


Now don't go away thinking I said that, unless you feel God telling you to help someone, you shouldn't help them. God already gave us clear instructions in Scripture. Being led by the Spirit does NOT mean we follow inner guidance independent from the written Word of God. After all, God cannot lie. He will not say one thing in Scripture and then say something contradictory to you or to me.

What I AM saying is that we should all tune our ears very carefully to what God is telling us to do, both through the Scriptures and through the direct leading of his Holy Spirit. And when we do good deeds, we should remember that if they are truly good and if they truly lead to life, then it is only because they come from God.

Exalting the self never did anyone anything but harm. But exalting Jesus.... THAT brings life.


I'd like to open up the altar for a time of prayer and ministry.

Have you been trying to do things in your own goodness? If it's not God building the house, it's going to crumble. If the truth be known, we have ALL done things, good things, that were not of God. And I don't believe God wants us to feel guilt and condemnation today.

Are you covered with the blood of Jesus? Have you asked forgiveness for your sins? If so, then it doesn't matter what sins you remember from your past, even if that past is yesterday, or five minutes ago. Once you repent of your sins and confess them to God, he is faithful to forgive your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness.

The Bible says that he removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, and he REMEMBERS THEM NO MORE. If God doesn't remember something, why should we dwell on it? In God's book, it never happened.

The Bible tells us that we have been made the righteousness of God in Christ. Because of what Jesus did, you are completely covered with his righteousness. By no goodness of your own, you have been made completely good and right in the eyes of God.

So TODAY, right now, let any good you do come from God. Let it be in obedience to His Word and His Spirit, and not for your own glory.

And when the enemy or your flesh try to pump up your pride at being a "good Christian," just remember that the only thing YOU add to Salvation is your sin. All the righteousness, all the good stuff, comes from God.

And then consider that the only suitable response to that Salvation is to give our lives, to lay down our rights, and to choose to obey in all things.


If you feel the Holy Spirit tugging at your heart, if you want to just spend some time in His presence, worshiping, talking with Him, or getting things right, then you're all invited to get out of your seat and come gather at the front.

If you'd like someone to talk or pray with you, feel free to instant message me, Mariposa, or anyone else on the staff or ministry team.

Whenever you need to go, you're dismissed, and I pray you have a blessed week.

Come, and let's lay ourselves on the altar before God, as a living sacrifice.

*** Listen to the audio for ending ***