Thursday, November 27, 2014

sharing the gift (part 4)

Continuing our study this week, to make it as simple as possible to follow the "Romans Road" as we learn how to effectively witness to others, I recommend the following technique:

In the front or back cover of your Bible, take time to make an outline and include the comments (below) with their corresponding verses. I like to write the actual page numbers where each verse is located in my New Testament next to each point so that I can easily show my audience the verses first hand in my Bible. Here is a simple walk-through for God's plan of salvation to use in evangelizing.

Can people in today's world have hope?
Yes. God's power can make us secure.

Many people today live without hope. They have no resources to strengthen them or guide them through their struggles in life. However, the focus of the Christian faith is God's power to help us in whatever trials arise. Through Jesus we are able to receive a power great enough to bring salvation and deliverance. It is available to any person who believes His Word.

Romans 1:16, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile."

God's power results in change.
Through God's loving plan, people can change. The biblical word for "change" is repentance. This means allowing God to change the direction of our lives for what is best.

Romans 2:4, "God's kindness leads you toward repentance."

Sin makes change necessary.
Why do people need to change? According to the Bible, every human being has to face the problem of sin. Sin is to fall short of the standard we were originally created to uphold. The Bible teaches that God created us in His image with a standard of perfection. (See Matthew 5:48) However, man failed to meet that standard by disobeying God's plan. As a result, man has to face his problem of sin. We may do much that is good, and we may not want to do anything bad, but no person can measure up to God's standard of ALWAYS doing what is right.

Romans 3:23, "All have sinned and fall short to the glory of God."

God still loves us.
Some people think that our failure to meet God's standard results in God being our enemy. But the message of Jesus is that in spite of our sin, God still loves us. God hates sin.... not men. But God's love for us is not based on an unawareness or intolerance that overlooks our sin. God cannot tolerate sin. So, the Lord sent His perfect Son to take man's place for the penalty of sin. God demonstrated the depth and reality of His love for us, by doing what was necessary to overcome mankind's problem with sin. (See John 3:16)

Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Sin earns death, but God gives life.
Sin would not be a problem, if it did not have serious consequences. However, the consequences of sin are too serious to overlook. Whenever we sin, the Bible says we earn the wages of death. This means, if every person is guilty of sinning, then every person must die. This does not refer to a physical death alone. This refers to a spiritual death and complete separation from God for eternity. (See John 3:36 and Revelation 20:11-15) However, because He loves us, God provided an eternal solution so that we may live with Him for all eternity. Jesus died on the cross in our place as a sacrifice to save us from death. (See 1 Peter 3:18) He took our guilt for sin upon Himself so that His death would fulfill the judgement against our sin. (See 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Colossians 2:13-14) Basically, Jesus substituted Himself so that we could live! By our own works, we earn death. But by His grace we can receive eternal life. This is the loving gift that God offers to mankind.

Romans 6:23, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

The Call to Salvation: Confess / Repent / Believe / Call

Confess: The biblical word translated confess means to "say the same thing". When we confess Jesus as Lord, we are recognizing His rightful authority over us - agreeing with who He says He is. (See Isaiah 45:5-7, 22-24 and Philippians 2:10-11) In acknowledging Jesus as our Lord, we admit our sin and the problem it poses for us.

Repent: In accepting Jesus authority, we can then repent of our sins and turn away from the hopeless life we have been living on our own terms. Rather, we can obey and serve Him by living a God-oriented life (rather than self-oriented). This turning away from sin in order to follow Jesus is called "repentance".

Believe: Believing God means to trust God. When you you choose to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, you have confidence that the death and resurrection of Jesus are enough to secure your salvation. You are trusting the work of Christ, rather than your own works to save you. You are putting the certainty of your physical and eternal life in His hands.

Call: Acknowledging that Jesus is now the rightful Lord in control of your life, and believing in His work alone for our salvation results in our calling on Him to be saved. Anyone who is willing to call on the name of the Lord will be saved. Anyone. No other qualifications are required. To call on the name of the Lord is to ask Him for forgiveness of sin and for salvation. By doing this, you are acknowledging Jesus as your Lord and expressing your intention to live a life following Him.

Romans 10:9-10, 13, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. For, 'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

The Sinner's Prayer
Would you like to have an intimate, eternal relationship with the One who made you and loves you unconditionally? If so, tell Him in your own words or repeat this simple prayer of repentance (below). Note: The language used in a person's prayer of salvation is not the primary issue. The action of genuinely committing one's life to Christ matters the most. Words are not more holy or effective if they are scripted. The prayer shown below is only to help someone express what they want Jesus to do in their life.

“Father in Heaven, until now I have been living life my own way, but I want to start living for You. I trust You. Through the working of Your Holy Spirit, I realize I’ve sinned before You and come to You in repentance. I believe that You loved me so much that You sent Jesus, Your Only Son, to fully pay the penalty for my sin by dying on the cross. I receive the sacrifice Jesus made on my behalf and trust Him as my Lord and Savior. Because Jesus rose from the dead, I will live eternally in Your perfect, glorious presence. Dear God, thank you for forgiving me, making me Your child, and preparing a place for me in Heaven. Amen.”

We now have hope because we are heirs of God!
Once we have accepted God's gift of salvation, God adopts us as His own children, and His Holy Spirit assures us that we are part of His family. According to Roman law at the time of Paul's writing, someone's adopted son also became his heir. While Christ is God's heir by nature, Christians have become God's heirs by adoption. Therefore, we are now joint heirs with Christ Jesus.

Verses 38-39 tell us that we are eternally secure in God because Jesus defeated the principalities and powers of this earth. The result is that we need not fear any human or superhuman enemies. Nothing can separate us from God's love in Jesus Christ!!! Believers can live with hope because they are God's children - secure in His eternal love. GOOD NEWS!!!

Romans 8:16-17, 38-39, "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

Faith = Life for God
Once you become a Christian, God calls you to live your life for Him. He wants only the best for you and by following His commands, your life will change to become more like Jesus who is perfect. New Christians can expect their life to be different because of this. God wants a Christian's life to change (even if it means sacrifice). The goal for believers is to look and live less like the unsaved world and more like Jesus. That kind of change only happens because God brings it about. He will transform the new Christian's life, making it more like the life of Jesus. (See Philippians 1:6 and 2:13) It is important to note that a person does not need to be "religiously inclined" to become a faithful Christian. Jesus is all you need to focus on. He will make you look and live like one of His children.

Romans 12:1-2, "I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will."

In blogs to come, we will review the "next steps" in how we must encourage new believers to take action by publicly professing their faith, being baptized, studying God's word in scripture and praying.

Then, we will conclude our blog series on evangelism by identifying ways to overcome distractions and barriers presented by the enemy when witnessing and sharing the gospel.

God bless you, ladies! By equipping yourself with God's Word, you will become a living witness ready to share the gospel of Jesus with anyone! Glory and all honor to our mighty and loving Savior for all He has done for us! WOO HOO!

~Victoria

© 2013 The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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