April 9, 2017
Father, we’re grateful for this morning; grateful for the Sunday that we celebrate today, which is the showing up of Jesus exactly as prophecy demanded, and He showed up at an exact time in history to be rejected by His own people, but You took that, Father, and turned that into a blessing and through that the sin debt of the world has been paid for. So we recognize this very special day in the life of the ministry of Jesus Christ. I just ask, Father, that You’ll be with us as we look into Soteriology in Sunday School this morning in Daniel 6; I just ask that your Holy Spirit would be present and would be illuminating the Scriptures to us and that we would leave here edified even if we’re here or watching from some other location I pray that people would be edified, challenged and You would do something eternal today in people, ever perhaps people could be watching that aren’t saved maybe today on Palm Sunday would be the day of their salvation. We know that only You can do things like that and so we ask that You’ll take our meager loaves and fish and as we put those into Your hands that You would multiply them. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Did you guys bring your palms with you to Palm Sunday. I’ve got my palms right here, right, okay. Let’s open our Bibles to Isaiah 53 Let’s open our bibles to Isaiah 53 if we could, you should have two handouts, the test which is what we’re going through, and then also a copy of the slides that we’re using today. If you didn’t get either of those or you only got one maybe you could put your hand up.
We are actually on page 5 on the test and we’re in question number 35, so we’ve done 52 weeks of teaching in soteriology and rather than just rushing into the next subject I have this test that I’ve given you which is really designed to cause you to think back on some of the things that we’ve talked about to kind of dust the cobwebs off because it’s easy to put these things into your mind somewhere and never really use them, and if you don’t use it what typically happens? You lose it, so a test is actually your friend in that sense. This isn’t graded or anything, it’s for your own edification and we have a copy of this test on our website, if you go to our Sermon Archives and you go to Soteriology Lesson number 54, under Sermon notes, this test should be accessible.
Just real quickly by way of review this is the outline that we’ve used, going through soteriology and we’ve looked at these eight major topics. And now we’re taking our final exam and we’re already at question number 35, and you’ll notice that once you hit question 35 it says: Define what are the false views of the atonement by circling the correct answer. So question 35 says: How do the false views of the atonement differ from the true view of the atonement. And one of the things to understand is why is it that we today are not meeting in a mainline denominational church? The mainline denominations, I would call the seven sisters, you have Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Methodism, and there’s seven of them and some of them are escaping me. Episcopalian, which is my roots. I’m not sure if Baptist is one of the seven sisters.
But what you have to understand and I’m not trying to broad brush because when you go to certain groups within those denominations there’s conservative elements and split offs. But by and large when you go to a church like that what you have to understand is most of those churches abandoned some time back something called the fundamentals of the faith. So what happened is they began to send their best scholars to Europe to be educated and when you go sit in Europe under unbelievers, and I like what Thomas Jefferson said, he said, “The difference between America and Europe is the difference between heaven and hell. [Laughter] But there’s this mindset that they’re the best scholars over there, we’ve all got to go sit under them, and so they sent they sent their best and brightest over there to study in Europe and they got exposed to something called higher criticism.
Higher criticism is the idea that man sits in judgment on the Bible, so a higher critic would basically say Moses did not author the Pentateuch. They attribute those to redactional works written long after the time of Moses, Genesis through Deuteronomy. They would say Daniel, that we’re studying on Sunday mornings, was not written by Daniel, it was someone using Daniel’s name 400 years after the real Daniel died. They would say that the book of Isaiah is not unified so they don’t attribute the book to the singular author, Isaiah. So they divide up the book of Isaiah into Proto Isaiah, that’s the real Isaiah, he wrote about a third of it, and then someone later picked up the slack and wrote Deutero Isaiah, he’s not the real Isaiah either, he’s someone using Isaiah’s name. And then the final section was written by Trito Isaiah.
The problem is Jesus quotes all three sections of Isaiah and attributes it to the author, who? Isaiah. The problem is Jesus quotes the book of Daniel and says who wrote it? Daniel. And Jesus quotes the Pentateuch and says who wrote it? Moses. So what happened is people got under this teaching in Europe, higher criticism, and a lot of the things coming out of Europe at that time were based on certain assumptions that we know today aren’t true. So one of the things they started to come up this, this would be the late 1800’s–early 1900’s, is there was no writing in the time of Moses. So if there was no such thing as writing in the time of Moses obviously the Pentateuch couldn’t have been written in the time of Moses. Well, the problem is now we’ve discovered the Code of Hammurabi which precedes the writings of Moses by about 400 years. So obviously there was writing at the time of Moses. But that discovery was made too late to deactivate this liberal idea that Moses didn’t write the Pentateuch or the Torah.
And a lot of it is evolutionary in thinking because poor man, in his un-advanced devolved state couldn’t write anyway, he could just kind of grunt and grumble and the poor guy didn’t even know what fire was until lightning struck and he could scribble a few things on the cave wall. And over the process of a long time a language evolved. The problem is when you go back to early Genesis you learn in Genesis 4 that they were making instruments out of bronze and iron in Genesis 4. Now that in and of itself deflates evolutionary anthropology because first they told us we had what? What comes first, the bronze age I think was first, then the iron age, and that’s all based on evolutionary assumptions. And when you go back into the biblical text you discover them using bronze and iron at the same time.
So what I’m trying to say is if you believe in evolutionary assumption you start to develop all of this higher criticism and you start to second guess things in the Bible. So what happened is we started sending our best and brightest future scholars, future theologians, future pastors over to Europe to get this training and our best and brightest didn’t necessarily buy into everything they were taught but they brought back a little piece of it here and there. So I can’t find a single verse in the Bible that says to qualify to teach believers you’ve to go sit under unbelievers for five years or however long. So what happened is they brought back little pieces of liberalism here and there and you can’t sit in an unbelieving environment for a long time and have it never affect you. So that’s why when you’re choosing an institution to study under you should choose very carefully because there’s going to be some impact on you; you can’t be in that environment that long without it affecting you at least a little.
So they came back into the mainline denominations and they started to say things that the laity think well, that doesn’t sound right, and so what started in the mainline denominations, this takes you to about 1920, and it’s what’s called The Fundamentalist-Modernist Controversy. And the Scopes Monkey Trial, you remember that from history, was happening around the same time which kind of expedited or intensified the conflict. But there was an actual theological war that took place in these mainline denominations in what are called the Seven Sisters.
And there was a famous sermon preached during that time period by a guy named Fosdick, I think his first name was Harry, middle name was Emerson, Fosdick, and he preached the famous sermon called Shall The Fundamentalists Win? In other words, we’re not going to let the fundamentalists control these mainline denominations. So what happened is there’s this conflict that goes on and guess who lost? We lost, I mean, if we didn’t lose we would still be meeting in the mainline denominations, right? So when you lose a battle like that there’s always a cost, so we lost libraries, we lost buildings, we lost universities, we lost endowments. And see people mock our side of the ledger, they say well, you fundamentalists always meet in these store-front buildings, you don’t have the big steeples and stained glass windows. Well, there’s a history there that explains why we’re not meeting in the well-endowed buildings of modern day Christendom.
And one of the things that started to get denied during this time period was the bodily substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. So what they started to say, coming from the influence of Europe into the mainline denominations is this is how you could recognize if you were sitting in a conservative church or a liberal church, is you would basically what are they teaching about the bodily penal substitution of Jesus Christ? And they started to present Christ as—well, He died on a cross to be an example for us. Now that’s partially true, He is an example, but that’s not why He died on the cross if you’re looking for a complete reason. Or He died on a cross to teach us to work harder. Or He died on a cross to help us to love our fellow man. And all of these definitions are missing why He died on the cross. He died on the cross as my substitute. That’s why we call it the vicarious… now you now the word vicarious, right—in the place of somebody else. So if you’re saying someone is living vicariously through me you’re saying they’re living their life through me.
So you recognize the word “vicarious.” You recognize the word “penal” as in punishment, that’s why we have in the legal system a penal code, a punishment. So vicarious penal substitution is the correct definition of the atonement. And if a preacher or a teacher or a theologian was either denying or not emphasizing the vicarious penal substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ you could recognize that you’re under a ministry that may be corrupted because of higher criticism coming from Europe.
Around that same period of time there was a guy named R. A. Torrey, and others who started to fight back and saw that our side, fundamentalism, was losing. And today even that word “fundamentalism” is a put-down. Today if you use the word fundamental they’re basically making you out to be a member of the flat earth society. But that’s not the way the word fundamentalist originally arose. Fundamentalism, what does that really mean? It’s someone who believes in the fundamentals of Christianity; that’s what a fundamentalist is.
So every discipline has its fundamentals, doesn’t it? In fact, when I do some flying, later on this year, I hope the pilot is a fundamentalist and I hope he believes in the fundamentals of flying, because the gas tank has to be filled up with gas before you launch off, that he’s looking at his compass and taking the numbers literally. I don’t want to get in an airplane with someone that’s not a fundamentalist in the area of flying. So being a fundamentalist, although it’s a put-down today that’s not the way the term originally arose.
So around this time of the fundamentalist, modernist controversy as our side was losing control of denominations and libraries and endowments and things like this there started a movement called “Fundamentalism.” And R. A. Torrey wrote a very influential collection of essays. He didn’t write all the essays but he was the editor of these essays and the essays simply are called The Fundamentals of the Faith. And you can find those today online; most libraries have them. And this is how Biola College started; it was a reaction against the drift of mainline denominations and they wanted to start a fundamentalist school. This is how Dallas Seminary got its start. This is how Moody Bible Institute got its start. This is how College of Biblical Studies is more of a distant relative, it started in the 70’s but it’s all started out of this reaction against this drift in mainline denominations. And so R. A. Torrey set out the fundamentals of the faith, that Daniel was written in the 6th century, that Isaiah is a unified book, that Jesus came out of the grave in a body (which we celebrate next week) and He’s coming back in a body, a literal return of Jesus Christ.
And these were the things that were being denied in the mainline denominations, and right there in the front of the whole thing was this idea of the atonement. And there’s an essay dealing with the vicarious substitutionary penal atonement of Jesus Christ. So Jesus did not die to be a good moral example the way the mainline denominations at that time were teaching. He died as my substitute. In other words, the wrath of God that He bore on a cross 2000 years ago should have been borne by me. See that?
So that’s the spirit behind question number 35. How do the false views of the atonement, and I’ve sort of shown you where they came from, how do the false views of the atonement differ from the true atonement? And the correct answer is B, they all deny Christ died as my substitute. So that’s one of the ways you can recognize, if you’re under somebody that’s more liberal, they have a tendency to talk about all this stuff about Jesus without getting to the heart of the matter which is His substitutionary death in my place. And that’s why R. A. Torrey made a point out of this in the books, volumes that he compiled, edited, called The Fundamentals of the Faith. And it’s not an odd teaching, it goes right back to Isaiah 53 which is a prophecy about Jesus written 700 years in advance. And people say well how do we know this is Jesus, because modern day Judaism will deny that this prophecy is speaking about Jesus. Well, I think Philip, the deacon, thought this was talking about Jesus because he used this passage in Acts 8 to lead who to Christ? The Ethiopian Eunuch. Acts 8:35 says Philip, beginning with that very passage of Scripture, Isaiah 53 being read by the Ethiopian Eunuch, he used this very Scripture to share with him, I can’t remember the exact wording, you can look it up for yourself in Acts 8, but he used this very Scripture to teach him about Jesus Christ. [Acts 8:35, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him.”]
So this is a prophecy about Jesus Christ written 700 years in advance; that’s what this is. And when you look at this notice how substitution is so prominent. It says, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.  Surely our griefs” what? “He Himself bore… see the substitution there? “And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted,  But He was pierced through for our transgressions,” see how it keeps saying He did this for us, “He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging” what? “we are healed.  All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on” what? “Him.” [Isaiah 53:3-6]
So when you get to this subject of atonement the correct understanding of it is substitution. Now I’m not denying the fact that when you look at the death of Christ you don’t see in it aspects of where we should be servants and good to people and that kind of thing, and that’s all true but the problem with the drift into liberalism is they focused on all that other stuff and they started omitting the fact that He was our substitute. So any definition of the atonement that does not use the word “substitute” in it, vicarious, penal, substitutionary atonement, is inadequate, ultimately an unbiblical definition.
And the church really started to hammer this into place as late as the 1100’s because long before the fundamentalist modernist controversy, and I want you to understand something about the devil, he never takes a vacation. Have you noticed that? He never clocks out; you know, you never get an e-mail from Satan saying back in the office in two weeks. I mean, he’s working all of the time to distort and corrupt anything that’s good. And very early on in church history people started to get really fuzzy with the doctrine of the atonement.
And these are the false views of the atonement: the ransom to Satan view, which is this idea that Christ’s death is a ransom to Satan and not the Father. Now the modern teacher that has been flagged as teaching something like this or very similar is Joyce Meyer who you see a lot on TV and if you look at some of the criticisms of her what is being said, and you can ferret out the evidence for yourself, is she is sort of drifting into this ransom to Satan idea, that the death of Jesus Christ is really not a payment for the sins of the world but it’s some kind of payment to the devil. And again there’s an element of truth to it but it really doesn’t capture the idea. I mean, Jesus didn’t die on the cross to pay Satan back anything; He died on a cross to pay our sin debt, right? Our sin debt separates us from a holy God.
And then you see the moral influence view, Christ’s death is an expression of God’s love. That’s what really started to take hold in the mainline denominations. You can see the years when that came into existence, long before the fundamentalist/modernist controversy. Then you have the moral example view; Christ’s death inspires us to be sacrificial, which it does, but that’s not why He died ultimately, He died as my substitute. Then you see the governmental view, Christ’s death promotes respect for God’s law, so look at how much God hates violations of His law, look at the death of His Son, so therefore what should I do? I should work harder to keep His law. Well, that’s a works oriented salvation and again it fails to capture the idea of substitution.
And then this last one, the only way you could embrace it is if you could care less about the Bible and it’s revelation; it’s the accidental view which is this idea that forces took Christ off guard, swept Him off guard and fate accidentally ended Jesus’ life, so He was killed because of forces outside of His control. The easy refutation to that is over in John 10 and verse 18, which says, “No one has taken it away from Me” speaking of His death, “but I lay it down on” what? “My own initiative, I have authority to lay it down and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.” If you go back to verse 17 it says, “For this reason the Father loves Me, because I laid down My life so that I may take it again.” Jesus never lost control of anything; He allowed it to happen. In fact, you recall that He, in… I think it was the exchange with Pilate, if I remember right, He said to shut this whole thing down My Father could just summon myriads of angels to stop it, but He voluntarily submitted to the cross because He had His mission of dying as our substitute.
So this accidental view, fate accidentally ended Jesus’ life, obviously is wrong as well. But really the key thing to understand is all of these definitions of the atonement fall short because they deny the concept of vicarious penal substitution. You guys with me on that?
So therefore the correct answer to 36 is C. The correct answer to 37 is B. The correct answer to 38 is C. The correct answer to 39 is C. And the correct answer to 40 is A. So starting with number 35 the correct answer is B. 36, the correct answer is D, 37 B, 38 C, 39 C, 40 A.
So this takes us to Roman numeral 5, at the bottom of page 5, determine the accuracy of these statements regarding one’s condition for salvation by circling the correct answers. I hope you know this one, number 41, the one condition for salvation, I should have said justification, the one condition for justification is what? C, belief alone in Christ alone. In fact, how many times does the Bible say this? I’ve got a question coming up on that, anybody know the number? 200. Now people have asked me, well can you give us a list of those 200 verses and I can’t because I haven’t done the work but J. B. Hixson, who’s going to be speaking here at the end of this month, has compiled a list of 160 so I think he’s got to find 40 more, if I’m not mistaken, so his work has just begun. But I have taken his list and I have posted it for today’s lesson under Sermon notes. So if you go there and you click on the icon under Sermon Archives, you go to today’s Soteriology lesson, go to Sermon notes and click on it, you’ll see his list of 160 verses, which condition salvation by faith by itself, faith alone in Christ alone.
The very first time this happens, to my knowledge, where it’s very clear, is Genesis 15:6 which says, “Abraham” what? Committed his life to Christ and repented of his known sins through great emotion and vowed to bear fruit. NO! It doesn’t say that! “Abraham believed God and it was” what? “credited unto Him to righteousness.” [Galatians 3:6] So that’s why the Apostle Paul, in the New Testament, when he develops his doctrine of justification by faith alone keeps quoting which story? The Abraham story. Paul does this in Romans 4, Galatians 3, and many other passages. And the reason Paula keeps doing this is he’s showing that this idea of salvation by faith alone is part of something that God has always wanted. Paul says I’m not making this stuff up, this goes back all the way to the time of Abraham. I would argue going back to Adam and Eve, that’s how they were saved, but it really doesn’t get clear in terms of real strong articulation until the story of Abraham.
So back to the test here, the correct answer to number 41 is what? C. And then moving on to question 42 and we spent a lot of time on this in soteriology, what are the problem passages that seem to contradict this one condition of salvation? And it’s a very peculiar thing that happens today in modern day evangelism. People, instead of building their theological case from the 200 clear passages they go to some weird verse somewhere, I don’t mean to say weird but a verse that doesn’t even deal with the subject of justification at all and they want to build their evangelistic presentation on some remote verse. And these are the remote verses that they use and we’ve gone through each of these and explained why they’re not saying what everybody thinks they’re saying.
You don’t build your evangelistic presentation on some remote verse that really has nothing to do with it; you build your evangelistic presentation on belief alone in Christ alone. So that’s why we like to, when we give an evangelistic model at this church we like to use the five finger model, maybe that’s not the best description of it because when I think of five fingers I think of stealing something. But we have these posted on all of our Sunday School rooms, and the thumb stands for the idea that you are guilty before a holy God. The five finger method is interesting and it’s helpful because in the five finger method I don’t ask anybody to do anything until I get to my ring finger. The rest is education.
So the thumb stands for the fact that you are a sinner before God. And you could use Romans 3:23 for that. [Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”]. And then you move to the index finger and this is where you explain to people that if you don’t want to do the time don’t do the what? crime, and this is where you explain to people that sin has a price tag. And a great verse to use on that is Romans 6:23, which says, “The wages of sin is death,” so you’re telling people that they’re guilty and they are under the judgment of God in those first two fingers. And then you move to the middle finger and this is where you tell them what Jesus did for them to remedy their problem. I like to use at this point Romans 5:8, “For while we were yet sinners Christ” did what? “Christ died for us,” Romans 5:8 explains that. So you’re telling people that Jesus died on a cross as a substitute for YOU as an individual. He wasn’t just thinking about humanity in general, although He probably was to some extent, He was thinking about you as a person. And so you personalize it.
And this is where this presentation is very different than what you get from Calvinistic theologians because Calvinistic theologians, because of their belief in limited atonement do not believe that Christ died for the whole world; they believe that Christ only died for the elect. So J. Adams, a man that I have a lot of respect for because he tried to bring back into Christendom, into the area of counseling, an approach based on counseling from the Bible and the Bible alone. I think it’s Nouthetic counselling if I’ve got my words right. And Jay Adams largely did for Christianity what the late Henry Morris did for Christianity in the area of origins, because Henry Morris came along and he said you know what? This strategy that we’ve been using ever since Darwin published his Origin of Species, which I call the backwards Christian soldier strategy, where we’re intimidated by the world of science and so we rewrite the Genesis text to keep up with what so-called scientists are saying.
Henry Morris wrote a seminal book called The Genesis Flood; Henry Morris being the credential scientist, he coauthored it with John Whitcomb who was a credential Hebrew scholar, and the two of them in The Genesis Flood said enough of this, we’re not going to do the backwards Christian soldier strategy anymore; we’re going to bring back the whole concept of origins based on the Bible. So they started holding the secular world hostage to the Bible. So they started second guessing carbon 14 dating and showing its inaccuracy. They started to show that the evidence for the missing link is still what? Still missing, that’s why it’s called “the missing link.” And The Genesis Flood is such a tremendous book because it brought back a Bible only approach to origins, which is the viewpoint we have here at this church.
And what Henry Morris did for the world or origins Jay Adams for the world of counselling because today what people are doing when they go to a counsellor is they’re sitting under someone that believes in integration, which is you take the theories of Sigmund Freud, who by the way was a complete and total pervert the best I can tell, an unregenerate person, and you take the teachings of Carl Jung, and most people don’t know this but Carl Jung was heavily involved in the occult. Carl Jung actually had a spirit guide that talked to him, named Philemon, of all names. So I believe he got a lot of his theories from demons. So what people think is well Freud has such valuable concepts and Jung has such valuable concepts and they reached into this guy, Abraham Maslow and they brought him in and so they’re mixing all of this stuff together and then they say we’re Christians also so let’s put the Bible with that also. And that’s called integration, which… I was in a Christian gathering once where a guy stood up and said my goal is to integrate the principles of psychology with the Bible, just like people are trying to mix the principles of evolution, Charles Darwin, with the Bible. And my wife, and you guys all know my wife, she turns to me and privately says why don’t we mix oil and water together too?
And so that’s sort of my mindset, is we counsel people based on the Word of God. The College of Biblical Studies believes in that; that’s one of the attractions that I had towards The College of Biblical Studies to work there; they believe in a Bible only approach. And if someone has some kind of physical problem, like for example my cousin was dealing with depression because of a chemical imbalance in his brain, well then you send them to not a psychologist but a psychiatrist who has expertise in medicine. But as long as it’s not a physical issue like this, we believe that the Bible is sufficient to counsel people in any issue that they’re going through because 2 Timothy 3:17 says the Scripture will equip you for how many good works–“every good work.” [2 Timothy 3:17, “so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”]
So Morris brought back this sufficiency of Scripture and see this is a big deal because a lot of people say they believe in the inerrancy of the Scripture, which is all well and good, but I want to know, do you believe in the sufficiency of the Scripture. A lot of people say I believe the Bible is inerrant but it’s not sufficient, not sufficient to help us understand origins, not sufficient for counseling, so let’s reach into the secular world to mix these ideas with the Scripture. What we believe here is the Bible is inerrant and it’s also sufficient. Now that was a big rabbit trail, wasn’t it? I’m explaining why I have a very high opinion of Jay Adams because Jay Adams brought back a Bible oriented approach, a Bible only approach in the area of counseling.
However, Jay Adams, when it comes to the area of eschatology doesn’t know up from down. Now how do I know that? Because I did my doctoral research on preterism and I found this little skinny book that Jay Adams wrote on the book of Revelation in the library and he is what’s called a preterist and he’s arguing that the beast was Nero, he doesn’t believe in a future antichrist, he takes all of the prophecies of the book of Revelation and puts them into the past. I mean, is he going to tell people that when he’s counselling them? I don’t know if that’s part of his approach or what. But I’m just saying you can agree with someone on a point but then the authority is not that person it’s what the Bible says. Right? So I can agree with Adams on a point and I have a great deal of respect for him on the issue of the sufficiency of the Bible but when it comes to eschatology I don’t follow his views at all.
And Jay Adams, in this book, Competent to Counsel, which is his seminal book, it’s of equal significance, I believe, as The Genesis Flood book, he makes a statement that when he shares the gospel to the unsaved he does not tell them, and I’ve used the exact quote so it’s not a matter of misrepresenting him, it’s what he says in his book, when he shares the gospel with the unbeliever he does not tell them that Christ died for them. And you say well why not? Because Adams believes as a very strong five point Calvinist, in limited atonement and he doesn’t know if they’re one of the elect.
So back to our five finger message, that was just an excursus here. In this middle finger here you are telling them that Christ died for them. You should say that unequivocally, unapologetically, because we at Sugar Land Bible Church do not embrace limited atonement; we embrace unlimited atonement, that the whole wide world today, because of what Jesus has done, is savable. So you communicate Romans 5:8-9. [Romans 5:8-9, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”]
And then finally when you get to the ring finger you communicate what they have to do. So what are they supposed to do? They are supposed to fulfill a single condition; it’s stated in the Scripture 200 times. It’s not believe and work. It’s not believe and be baptized. It’s not ask Jesus into your heart. It’s not to publicly confess your sins. It’s not to sell your possessions. It’s not to even forgive others. Am I against all those things? No, but those are things you do after you’re saved. Those are issues related to your growth. See that. To get them saved you tell them to fulfill a single condition which is to believe in Jesus Christ. You’ve told them that they are a sinner, you told them that they’re under the judgment of God, you told them what Jesus has done for them, now you’re telling them what they are supposed to do.
And a great verse on it; there’s 200 to pick from, is Ephesians 2:8-9, you all know that verse very well, in fact sometimes I say we all know it very well and then I go to quote it and I misquote it. So to preempt that problem I’m going to read it. Ephesians 2:8-9, which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, that is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not as a result of works so that no one can boast.” Or use John 3:16, but there the onus is placed completely on the unbeliever, that they are supposed to do one thing and it might be helpful to explain to them what believing is, because a lot of people don’t know. When you look up the definition of believe in the lexicon it says give reliance, dependence, confidence.
Now I wish…. I wish I had the gift of evangelism. I don’t have it and so when I first came to this church part of my mind said well, I’m just going to teach the Word and I’m not going to really give the gospel every week because, you know, I don’t have the gift of evangelism. And I had a talk with my friend, Robby Dean, of West Houston Bible Church about this and he said you know, you really ought to give the gospel every week. And I said well, I don’t have the gift of evangelism, I don’t think anybody is really going to get saved, I mean, why should I do it? He says because you’re creating a model for those in the flock that do have the gift of evangelism so they can share it accurately. So by hearing it over and over again you’re kind of getting a sense of the general things that you should share with the unbeliever.
So Romans 3:23, you’re guilty under sin. Romans 6:23, you’re under the judgment of God. Romans 5:8, look at what Christ did for you as an individual, something Jay Adams won’t say; you can boldly say it though. You move to my ring finger here and you have Ephesians 2:8-9 or John 3:16. [Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”]
And then let’s say a person responds and believes, then what do you do? You move to the pinky and the pinky is you’re telling them that the salvation which they have is theirs forever because you have, as an unbeliever, now a believer, have fulfilled your condition and now you’re living your Christian life based on the promises of God and you give them the assurance of salvation. Now what verses could you use for the assurance of salvation? John 5:24 is excellent on that. John 6:47 is excellent on the assurance of salvation. [John 5:24, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.” John 6:47, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.”]
I think on our Sunday School rooms when we have the hand up, the five finger approach we put on the end there 1 John 5:13, this is excellent on it, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may” what, so that you can be 99% sure you have eternal life? NO, it doesn’t say that, does it. “…so that you may” what? “know you have eternal life.” So it’s not like the weather report, 25% chance of rain today, maybe you’re saved, maybe you’re not. If you understand the condition that God has set out to lost humanity and God’s character, who cannot lie, you can assure people that if you have trusted in Christ then they are on their way to heaven.
So this approach, and I understand that every conversation is different. With a lot of people you don’t really have a lot of time sometimes with people or the conversation goes different ways, they want to talk about the age of the earth or something like that, what about those angels in Genesis 6? And I would say that to the best of your ability to steer away from all that kind of stuff because that’s just a road block, and to get back to this very simple approach of these five fingers and to try to get those five points communicated. And I think that’s theologically the best way to share the gospel.
And one of the problems with parachurch ministry is they put together a formula; many of them have what’s called the ABC method. You hear this all the time. A stands for admit you’re a sinner, B stands for believe, and C stands for confess. And if you don’t do ABC then you’re not saved. Well, you’ve just altered the gospel when you do that. You’ve put in front of people three conditions where God only gives one condition. The other points you’re making are educational; you’re making them aware that they’re a sinner. And again, it’s got to be the Holy Spirit using you because I can’t talk anybody into getting saved; the Holy Spirit has to be at work. And we know that He is at work because of John 16:7-11, where He is busy convicting the world of what sin? Unbelief. He works overtime on the unsaved people convicting them. He’s not trying to morally reform them; He’s’ not trying to say boy, you’re a bad person because you have a tattoo and you shouldn’t color your hair bright green or whatever. And by the way that earring through your nose, you need to get rid of that. And you need to stop cussing also, and you need to stop gambling, you need to stop going to Vegas on the grounds that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
See, the Holy Spirit is not concerned with unbelievers of those sins. We’re all worked up about stuff like that. What the Holy Spirit is doing is convicting them over and over again of the sin of unbelief. See that? So when you evangelize an unbeliever you focus on the stuff that the Holy Spirit is already bothering them about. The more you get into other topics, like tattoos or whatever, the more you’re stepping out and doing things that the Holy Spirit is not involved in. And this is what Lewis Sperry Chafer called True Evangelism. Evangelism that bears fruit. Why does it bear fruit? Because it’s focusing on the things that God is already doing. And the more you have certain Scriptures memorized the more you can quote the Scripture, the more you can quote Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Romans 5:9, John 3:16, and 1 John 5:13, the more you’re actually quoting the Scripture the greater your chances of winning a convert because the Holy Spirit uses the Scripture to convict the lost man or woman of their need to trust in Christ. See that?
[Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 5:9, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.”]
So it is not our oratorical flair or pizzazz that leads people to Christ. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the” what? “the Word of God.” [Romans 10:17] That’s what the Holy Spirit is going to use.
So where are we now? Back to the test. The answer to number 42 is D. The answer to 43, terms that make the gospel overly complicated, is all of the above. What do we say? We don’t say believe, we say confess, deny, surrender, ask, accept, make, receive and this is how a lot of evangelistic tracts look. And that’s why we’re kind of cautious about what kind of evangelistic tracts we allow into our rack there in the church, because what they’ll tell you is you’re saved by grace, not by works, and then you keep reading the tract and it gives you five works you’ve got to do. I hope you’re going to church, I hope you publicly tell somebody, hope you do this, hope you do that. And you put a bunch of works on people that God never authorized.
And try telling this to a parachurch ministry that has their whole structure in place, they’re teaching conferences around the world, and even in many cases God is using them in spite of their bad methodology. Try being in my position as a Bible teacher trying to explain to people that the method you’re using is biblically inaccurate. They don’t want to hear that because our methodology is cranking. And so that’s why there’s a conflict between churches like ourselves, independent Bible churches, and parachurch ministries that want to come in and they want to use their system. See that.
The fact of the matter is you go through the New Testament you don’t find any parachurch ministries. Am I against a parachurch ministry? No, I was greatly blessed in college by Campus Crusade for Christ; I have academic degrees from seminaries and parachurch ministries but what you have to understand is the parachurch ministries, according to the hierarchy established by God, the parachurch ministries are here to support the local church. It’s not the parachurch ministry dictating to the local church. See that?
So many times the mindset of a parachurch ministry is the church is here for us. That is not biblical at all. The parachurch ministry, the church is not here for them, these ministries are there to assist and help the local church. And many times those involved in parachurch ministries have the wrong mindset.
So a lot of them use methodologies that really aren’t found directly in the Scripture and where did those methodologies come from? And I can’t get into that right now because I’m out of time. They from a guy named Charles Finney, who brought into America the second great awakening and Finney taught you induce conversions by (quote) “any means possible.” (close quote) So if you have to darken the sanctuary, if you have get out the dry ice, if you’ve got use guilt, whatever it takes that’s what you do. And so Finney brought in, I believe, a lot of unbiblical methods. And what people do is they hear something and then they hear it over and over again and they think it’s in the Bible. That’s what they use with the lost when in reality we need to get our evangelistic methodology from the Bible and not bring it what? To the Bible.
So anyway, I got off on a lot of things that I didn’t want to get off on; maybe that was the Lord though. So the correct answer to number 43 is D. And you already know the correct answer to 44, right? C. So we’ll pick it up next time, on resurrection Sunday, with question number 45. So we’ll stop talking at this point. We have a couple of minutes left for Q and A.