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Soulwinning – Part 2

Something is dreadfully wrong

I have written a book “Shipwreck Soulwinning” because I believe that our soulwinning is shipwrecked. Our efforts do not bring the same results we see in Scripture. I don’t think many would argue that everything is well in modern evangelism. The first problem is fewer and fewer are even pretending to get saved. The second is, most of those who make a profession of faith, show no real evidence of becoming a new creature in Christ.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

There is no shortage of evangelistic activity, it is the results that don’t measure up to the biblical standard. The product of our efforts gives little evidence of being truly changed by their “salvation experience.”

It is interesting that we talk about decisions for Christ, while the Bible never does. It talks about believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

We recently had a big evangelistic event in Charlotte, NC. It was limited to independent Fundamental Baptists, and there was a lot of noise about the results. Although there were professions of faith, there was little effect seen in the area.

I will get in trouble for saying this, but the money would have been better spent in local church evangelism. When someone is reached for Christ through a local church, there is a connection between the convert and the church. This connection allows the church to follow up in a way that is natural. The kind of evangelistic campaign we saw in Charlotte does send the names of the people who “get saved” to a local church in the area where the person lives, but it is not the same as the church reaching them in the first place. I have been on the receiving end of this kind of names, and most of the time the “converts” had no idea what I was talking about when I visited them.

The zeal of those who are behind this kind of campaign is well intended, but it would be better to see this zeal in local churches reaching the communities where they are located. I believe this is the biblical way.

I fear that many of those “saved” with our modern evangelistic methods will hear the same thing Jesus said to those who professed to be His disciples in Matthew Chapter 7.

And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. (Matthew 7:23)

Most of the churches in the area where I live have one or two revivals a year. Their goal is to see people reached for Christ. This a praiseworthy goal, but the result is that nothing changes. The churches don’t grow, and the people are not revived. They now wait for the next “revival” with great enthusiasm, but the results will be the same as the last one.

How did I come to this study

More than 35 years ago my wife and I were discussing the effects of modern soul-winning. We saw a problem that concerned us greatly. There were things that didn’t fit with what the Scriptures said about those who were won to Christ. When people got saved in the New Testament, there was a major change in their lives. They were not perfect, but their lives were different from what they were before their salvation.

It was some years before I had the time to really look into the issue, but when I did, I learned some very important principles. When I applied these principles, it changed the results of the evangelism in our church.

If you are only looking to see more professions of faith, you need read no farther, you won’t find that here. If you are interested in seeing salvation experiences that truly change the lives of people, I believe you will find this book very helpful.

When you read of the revivals in the past, you will see people with true conviction of sin crying out to a holy God, begging for His forgiveness. You will see broken and contrite hearts and real tears of godly sorrow. Isn’t this what we should be looking for?

To be continued…

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Soulwinning – Part 1

I am starting a series of articles that deal with what I think is the greatest area of compromise in Bible Believing Baptist circles. It has to do with how we present the Gospel in our efforts to win the lost to Christ.

Looking back to the 1970s I see something that I believe is at the root of the problems in our churches today. At that time, success was counted in numbers. The most common, and probably the first question asked at a preacher’s meeting was, “How many did you have Sunday?”

I don’t know when it really started, but many Baptist churches were doing outlandish things to draw a crowd. Pastors and youth directors were doing things like swallowing live goldfish. Churches were announcing that they were going to have the biggest, fastest, most unusually [you fill in the blank] next Sunday. They were inviting people to come for the show rather than for the preaching of the Word of God.

The cry of the day was, “We must reach the lost, at any cost.” I took issue with this statement back then, and I take issue with it today. We must not reach the lost at the cost of God’s glory and His righteous precepts. There is no shortcut to growing a church the Bible way. Souls must be won to Christ, not to the pastor. They must not be seeking salvation from Hell, they must be seeking salvation from sin because they will face a holy God. Spurgeon put it this way:

“The unsaved sinner loves a salvation from Hell. The true Christian loves a salvation from sin. Everyone desires to be saved from the pit, but it is only a child of God who pants to be saved from every false way.”

I believe there are a few things that are necessary to bring someone to true salvation. I will cover these things in this series of posts. They are all found in Scripture, so I am confident that they are sound.

I am really bothered by the fact that we claim to believe the Bible, but when things are not going well, when we aren’t seeing as many souls as we think we should see, instead of seeking a Bible answer, we add a new program or method.

The things we add are based on human psychology. For example, we do things during our invitations to make people feel guilty if they don’t respond. For example, we have them raise their hands if they are not sure of their salvation. Once they do that, we make them feel uncomfortable if they don’t come forward.

I understand that after one of D.L Moody’s meetings an old man asked him, “Why don’t you let the Holy Spirit do the work?” I have the same question for most Baptist preachers today. We can get people to come forward at an invitation, and even coerce them into saying the “Sinners Prayer,” but only the Holy Spirit can bring true conviction of sin and work repentance in the heart, both of which are needed for a person to be truly saved.

I might point out that the “Sinners Prayer” is not found in the Bible, and I can’t find where anyone ever prayed a prayer to be saved. People are not saved when they pray, they are saved when they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Acts 16:31

These articles about bringing more people to true salvation. They are about how to get lasting change instead of empty professions from those who are supposedly saved.

It is my hope that all who read these posts will take seriously what is in them. It is also my hope that each one will examine their evangelism by the Word of God, and not by what we have been taught in Bible schools, or even by what I say in my posts. I am not the authority, the Bible is. I am just voicing how I see things. It is the reader’s responsibility to compare what I say with the Scriptures to see if it is accurate.

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Political Issues of the Last Days

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. (2 Peter 2:1-2)

This passage tells us to expect false teachers in the last days. These teachers will bring in “damnable heresies” and will “bring upon themselves swift destruction.” The sad thing is many will follow them, and because of these false teachers, the “the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.”

In this next passage, great sorrow or distress (woe) is pronounced upon those who, among other things, “call evil good, and good evil.”

Woe unto them that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope: That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink: Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him! (Isaiah 5:18-23)

I think it is obvious that these two passages describe our day very well. There are false teachers in the pulpits of this land, in our education system, in the news media, among our politicians, and among political pundits.

In the early twentieth century, the progressives tried to become mainstream in America. They were soundly slapped down by the American voters. They did not go away, they just quietly slipped into the background and started infiltrating our schools and our media. They understood that if they could influence the thoughts of the people, they could eventually take over the nation. They have done their job very well and we are seeing the results today.

This was only possible because of the liberalism in the pulpits of America. The decline really started in the nineteenth century when our preachers started going to Europe, especially Germany, to further their education.

Theistic rationalism, which actually has its beginnings in the eighteenth century, is a hybrid of natural religion, Christianity, and rationalism, in which rationalism is the predominant element. By the middle to late part of the nineteenth century, it pretty much dominated the Protestant schools of Europe.

Natural religion is a type of theology that derives its arguments for the existence of God from reason and the ordinary experiences of nature. It is distinguished from revealed religion, which derives its arguments from Scripture. Nature has many things that show the truth of revelation, but it is not the basis of revealed religion.

Man’s reason is the primary basis of the arguments for or against the existence of God in theistic rationalism. In other words, rationalism makes man’s reason the primary source of knowledge and the test of truth. In essence, it replaces God’s revelation with man’s reason.

The principle of calling evil good, and good evil, is not new. Those who sought to destroy our Baptist ancestors, especially the Albigenses and the Waldenses, used their goodness to condemn them. The wickedness of those who did all they could to destroy our ancestors said:

“If an individual is found who neither curses, swears, lies, commits adultery, murders, possesses himself of another’s goods, nor revenges himself on his enemies, they say he is a Waldensian, and deserves to be punished.”

Isn’t this exactly the attitude of the left today? This attitude has permeated the Democrat Party. This is not to say that all Democrats hold this view of things, but the majority of the leaders in that party do.

The Democrat Party supports almost every kind of debauchery. They are for killing babies in the womb, legalizing drugs and prostitution, abhorrent sexual conduct and relationships, taking away our freedoms of speech and religion, taking away our constitutional right to keep and bear arms, and I could go on and on.

The Democrats have convinced many of our youth that capitalism is bad, and socialism is good. They don’t tell them that capitalism is what made America great and that socialism has destroyed every nation where it has been implemented. Margret Thatcher said that socialism works until they run out of other people’s money. It would be hard to find a more true statement concerning the nature of socialism.

Socialism ignores the nature of man. In theory, it sounds good to say that everyone contributes to the pot, and everyone takes out what he or she needs. If man was not selfish by nature, this might possibly work. But, man is selfish by nature. He will contribute as little as possible and will take out as much as he can.

Capitalism, on the other hand, rewards those who work hard by allowing them to benefit from the fruits of their own labor.

Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be well with him: for they shall eat the fruit of their doings. (Isaiah 3:10)

The capitalistic system rewards the efforts of those who apply themselves, whereas the socialistic system rewards the lazy. There is much more I could say on this, but my purpose is not to deal with the pro’s and con’s of these two philosophies, but to show why we are in the state of corruption we find ourselves in today.

America was founded on the precepts of the Bible. Our law is based upon the law of God as summarized in the Ten Commandments. Rationalism has made man’s opinions the standard and has dismissed God’s precepts as archaic and outdated. The result is, there is no objective standard by which we are to live.

We teach our young people that we, as humans, are nothing more than evolved animals. We then wonder why they act like animals.

We teach that everything is relative, and there are no fixed rules to follow. Every person has the right to make up their own rules and decide which “truth” they want to follow. We then wonder why there is so much rebellion and why everyone thinks they have the right to do whatever he or she wants.

Our pulpits have failed to feed the flock with the Word of God. Fear of offending has caused preachers, even in fundamental Baptist circles, to soft-peddle the truth. They have also failed by making most of the preaching about reaching the lost. It is true that the lost must be reached, but the main purpose of the church is not evangelism, it is building the saints so they are prepared to reach the lost.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11-12)

I suggest you read the rest of the passage to get a more complete understanding, but for the sake of keeping this from getting too long, I will just deal with these two verses.

The body of Christ is the local church. I am not taking the space here to prove this, but you can get my book on the universal church on Amazon.

The edifying of the body of Christ has two aspects. The first is the perfecting of the saints. The pastor cannot do all of the work of reaching the lost by himself. It is the duty of each and every Christian. The lost will not, and cannot, be reached if they don’t see something different in the lives of Christians. Christianity grows the best under persecution because the Christians prove they really believe what they say. It is seen in their willingness to suffer, and even die for their faith.

Another aspect of perfecting the saints is teaching them doctrine. How can they reach the lost if they can’t give a good answer for what they believe? How can they convince unbelievers of the truth if they can’t articulate it?

When our young people go to school and are taught evolution and relativism, how can they remain strong if they don’t know why they believe what they believe? The left has risen up as a formidable force because, first of all, they were not taught the truths of the Word of God. Secondly, realizing that our pulpits were not teaching doctrine to the young people, the left know that they could control the thoughts and attitudes of Americans by infiltrating the education system and the media. They have done a good job, and we need to start fighting back by teaching the deeps truths of the Word of God. We need to instill the precepts of God in our children so they cannot be fooled by the lies being taught in our schools and by the media.

Let me wrap this up by telling you what motivated this article. It is totally beyond me how a Christian can vote for someone who holds to those principles of the Democrat Party. I know that there are some politicians in the Democrat Party who are pro-life and don’t support some to the evils promoted by this party. However, there is a biblical principle that they are violating.

Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (1 Corinthians 15:33)

You can’t hang around bad folks and not be tainted by their evil. I have experienced this principle personally. As a young Christian, I went into the Army and didn’t smoke or drink alcohol. I thought I could go to the club and drink Coke with my lost friends and maintain my purity. It took some time, but I finally became just like them and took up drinking and smoking. It wasn’t until many years later, when I changed by companions, that I was able to overcome these bad habits. Even then, it was not easy.

There are enough Christians in America, who say they believe the Bible to sway any election. More than seventy-five percent of them don’t even bother to vote. A large part of them who do vote, don’t vote on biblical principles, but on what they think the government will give them.

There is no politician who is perfect. Most of them are not saved and don’t really know what the Bible says. There are, however, many who have relatively righteous convictions. We need to seek them out and vote for them.

Party affiliation is also an important issue. The way our government works makes having the right party in control extremely important. In the most recent election we ended up with a divided government. The Democrats in the House will do everything they can to stop the Republicans from doing what needs to be done for our nation. They will slow down the improving economy, and maybe even reverse it. National security will undoubtedly suffer. Unrighteousness will surely increase throughout the land.

The reason more was to done to turn back the evils imposed on us by the left is there are too many RINOs in the government. This term means Republicans In Name Only. We didn’t get health care fixed because of one such Republican. We didn’t get funding for the border wall because weak RINOs were unwilling to stand up for our security.

I could go on and on, but this has already gotten longer than I intended. The bottom line is, preachers, don’t be afraid to speak about political issues from the pulpit. Christians, educate yourselves about the issues and vote for those who will support biblical precepts. Not voting is supporting the opposition.

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A Christian Attitude toward the Kavanaugh/Ford Drama

Non-Christians often determine guilt or innocence based on their political opinions and whom they WANT to be right. As Christians, we must not do this.

We must remember that we really don’t know who is telling the truth; we weren’t there. We live in a time when false accusations are made all the time. An example is the Duke Lacross team being accused falsely of inappropriate actions. As Christians, we should distinguish ourselves by being ready to listen to each side, slow to voice our opinion, and not allowing anger to color our “discernment.”

Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: (James 1:19)

Any thinking person should disapprove of the handling of the accusation by Senate Democrats. Their goal was not to help or protect Dr. Ford, but to use her as a political tool for vengeance on the Republican Party because of their hatred of President Trump. Like Dr. Ford, Judge Kavanaugh was only a tool. The lack of compassion on the part of Democrats has subjected what seems to be a very wounded woman to more stress, pain, and anxiety than was ever necessary.

As I watched the testimony of Dr. Ford with an open mind, I can see why some would believe her story. It did not lack sincerity or emotion. There were, however, many holes in her story that left many important questions unanswered.

As I watched Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony with an open mind, I found nothing objectionable about either his demeanor or his responses. I thought this is precisely how you would expect a man who has been falsely accused and unjustly smeared as a rapist in front of the entire country to act.

I have no doubt that the emotions of both parties were real, genuine, and appropriate. This is why cases in our courtrooms are based on evidence, not emotions. It is impossible for even the most discerning mind to determine, from the emotions and sincerity of the witnesses’ testimonies, who is right and who is wrong.

As Christians, we should distinguish ourselves from the world. We should not determine guilt or innocence based upon political or emotional feelings. We should never make a decision based upon what or how we want things to be. The only righteous moral standard for justice comes from God alone. Without this standard, everything becomes an effort to gain political power and to impose one’s moral code on others. Those who unjustly accuse others can justify what they do by saying “The end justifies the means.” The Bible says something entirely different.

Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment. (John 7:24)

God’s system of human judgment requires proper evidence. “She said,” he said allegations are not sufficient to condemn. A person’s life should not be destroyed simply because someone accuses them of something. There must be corroborating evidence to support the allegation.

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. (Deuteronomy 19:15)

As Christians, we are not to make hasty judgments based upon who or what we want to be right. A simple accusation is not sufficient to determine the guilt of a person. We are to listen carefully to the accuser and the accused. One thing is certain, in every accusation, there is an injustice. Either the accuser has been treated unjustly by the accused, or the accused is unjustly maligned by the accuser.

Remember, the legal system in America was based upon the legal system found in the Bible. God cares about justice. He expects His children to care about it also. If He required the corroborating testimony of multiple witnesses, so should we. We are to be persuaded by evidence.

In the presence of evidence, we do not dismiss it. In the absence of evidence, we do not condemn. If we do not use God’s standard for justice, we are moving toward the loss of all of our freedoms. There must be a presumption of innocence for the accused or the result will be more injustice.

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Do We Believe The Bible?

In my study of Baptists I have found that their number one distinctive is that the Bible is their sole authority for faith and practice. I have asked before how many of us, as Baptists really believe the Bible.

The Scriptures teach clearly that the church and the body of Christ are the same thing.

Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

The body of Christ is described in I Corinthians Chapter 4 as a local body. It functions together as a unit. When one member suffers the whole body suffers. When one member rejoices the whole body rejoices.

In verse 27 Paul tells the church at Corinth that they are the body of Christ. By saying “ye are the body of Christ,” Paul shows that he is not part of that body. If he was, he would have said “we are the body of Christ.”

Verse 13 is used by those who believe in a universal church to make the body spoken of in this passage into a universal body. Actually, the verse is in perfect agreement with Acts chapter 2 verse 41: “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

Acts Chapter 2 starts out with a church of about 120 souls meeting together. They had a business meeting to choose a successor to Judas. There was a great movement of the Holy Spirit in that meeting and He gave them the ability to speak languages they had never learned. They went out into the streets and started preaching in those languages. The result was more that 3,000 souls being saved.

The only message God chose to preserve in His Word as the one preached by Peter. Those who received the word preached by Peter, and I suppose the others, were then baptized and added unto them, the church that met on that morning (see verse 47).

The word “church” or “churches” is used 117 times in the New Testament. There is not one single time that it is used in a sense that indicates that the church is anything but a local assembly. There are a few times, very few, that could have that meaning, but only if you come to them with the preconceived idea of a universal church. You can get my book “The Universal Church: Fact or Fiction” to learn more on this subject.

I went into this discussion of the universal church to show how many say they believe the Bible when they don’t really. Historically Baptists have stood against the idea of a universal church. Prior to the Reformation the doctrine was different than it is now. It taught a universal, visible church. This was the Catholic (universal) church and it taught that there was no salvation outside the church. The Baptists stood against this from it inception in the fourth century until some time after the Reformation.

The reformers, who were no longer part of the Catholic Church, were now outside of the “universal church” and had a real problem if there is no salvation outside the church. They invented a new doctrine, the doctrine of the universal, invisible church where only God knows who is a member.

Non-Baptists, like C.I. Scofield, put the universal church in their study Bibles, theology books used in Baptist bible colleges were written by non-Baptists and many Baptists now accept the word of these men instead of the searching the Scriptures to find the truth.

My whole point in this article is that we should be Bereans and search the Scriptures to see what is true and not take the words and opinions of men. Great men can be wrong. Abraham, Moses, and David, for example, made a number of mistakes, yet they were great men of God.

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America’s Only Hope

I don’t think I need to tell you that America is in really bad shape today. We often lay the blame on the fact that we are in the last days. We use passages like 2 Timothy 4 to justify the decline.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)

One thing that we seldom do is ask why this time has come upon us. Is it just something that God has ordained so it had to happen? I know that God foresaw it and recorded here so we would understand what happened, but I don’t think that is what He really wanted to happen. I am sure He would rather that we would remain faithful to His precepts. This does not take away from God’s sovereignty. Sovereignty does not mean He always gets what He wants, it means He has the right and power to correct and punish.

We also blame it on the liberals who have no moral compass to guide them because they have rejected the God of the Bible. They will do absolutely anything to get their way. If you will think about it, they are this way because there is no real righteous example for them to follow.

A French political scientist and historian, Alexis de Tocqueville, visited America to seek the secret to America’s greatness. Here is what he said:

“I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers – and it was not there . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests and it was not there . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce – and it was not there . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution – and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits aflame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”

The secret to America’s greatness was found, not in her resources, her institutions, or even in her Constitution. It was in her goodness that came from the pulpits of her churches being “aflame with righteousness.”

Here are some sad statistics that give insight into why America has lost her greatness.

  • 4,000 Churches close their door every year
  • 4 out of 10 American attend Church weekly
  • 4 out of 10 Church attendees will Divorce
  • 3 out of 10 Pastors report that their Children are not in Church
  • 9 out of 10 Pastors believe the Bible speaks to the controversial political issues of our day
  • 1 out of 10 Pastors preach on these controversial political issues
  • We “win souls” only to see most of them disappear in a few weeks or months (more later)

Neither President Donald Trump, nor any other politician, can make America great again. America has lost her greatness because she is no longer good. She is no longer good because American pulpits are not aflame with the preaching of righteousness.

We are all familiar with 2 Chronicles 7:14:

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

This was the solution for Israel of old, and it is the solution for America today. This will not happen until our preachers put on their big-boy pants and start making our pulpits “aflame with righteousness.”

Paul’s message to Timothy was:

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:1-2)

All preachers, pastors, evangelists, missionaries, revivalists, or any other name you want to give to a preacher, must follow the principles in this passage. Nothing else can stop the drift away from sound doctrine. It has been my experience that if we do this, those who are true Christians will love our preaching, and many of those who are not will respect us and want to know more. This is how I turned around three dying churches and got them back on the path to both spiritual and numerical growth.

Preach the Word

The first principle is that we must preach the Word of God. Notice that it doesn’t say teach the Word, it says preach the Word. Teaching is good and necessary for spiritual growth, but the Word must be preached if it is going to change lives. “This is what the Bible says,” is not enough. It must be “Thus Saith The Lord.”

I may offend some here, but verse by verse is good teaching, but it is seldom good preaching. I challenge you to find verse by verse preaching in the Bible. Bible preaching always preaches on topics. Don’t misunderstand me, we should do verse by verse teaching, but if we want our people to be sound in the faith we must teach doctrine. I have been told that verse by verse covers every doctrine in the Bible, but this is not wholly true. It does touch on every doctrine, but it does not get into the depth of doctrine.

Ask your church members if they can defend the deity of Christ to a Jehovah Witness. Can they defend eternal security to a Pentecostal? Can the prove, from the Scriptures, that it is God’s will to save all men, and not just a few that He chose in eternity past?

Read the writings of the old time Baptist church members and you will see that they could. I am not talking about pastors, I am talking about ordinary church members. I once asked these questions to one of our good and faithful church members, a man whose heart is set on serving God faithfully, and he could not defend these issues.

Be instant in season, out of season

This just means be ready at all times, when it is convenient (in season) and when it is not (out of season).

Reprove

This means we must be willing to point out error, even when it offends.

Rebuke

This means to make it personal and charge the person with his sin.

Exhort

Exhort means to encourage, through the use of strong language, to do what is right.

How are we to do this?

First of all, we are to do it with longsuffering. This simply means that we are to do with even though we may suffer some undesired consequences. It may cost us church members. We may suffer resistance from our deacons. It may offend the brethren. If we don’t do it we offend the God of Heaven, to whom we will all answer one day.

Secondly, we are to do it with doctrine. When I was a baby Christian, we never talked about discipleship or discipleship classes. They were not needed because our pastors taught doctrine from the pulpit. If you were in church you learned what we believed, why we believed it, and how to defend what we believe against those who teach false doctrine.

Why aren’t our pulpits aflame with righteousness?

We have been spoiled by men’s philosophies and traditions.

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. (Colossians 2:8)

It starts with a fear of man. We would rather offend God, and be accepted by men. We have been taught to be positive in our teaching because negativity drives people way. We have tailored our presentation of the Gospel so as not to offend the sinner. One of the first things we tell the lost person is, God loves you. Then we quote John 3:16. Next, we present all of the benefits of being saved. We make it all about the person, rather than all about God.

We do reap many benefits from salvation, but that is not why God saves us.

That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)

In our invitations, we use man’s psychological methods to get people to the altar. We ask inoffensive questions and have the people answer them by a raised hand. We ask these questions to prime the pump and take away any fear that the lost may have about raising their hands. We then ask those who are not sure of their salvation to raise their hands. Then, during the invitation, we use the fact they raised their hand to shame them to coming forward. Of course, we do it inoffensively, but we do it.

Where in the world do we find this in the Scriptures?

In Acts Chapter 2, Peter’s message told them that they were in dire trouble with God because they had just crucified His Son. On Mars Hill, Paul told the philosophers they would have to answer to the unknown God who created the universe. In Nineveh, Jonah told them that the city would be destroyed in 40 days. Steven’s message to the religious leaders when he was stoned told them how they, like their fathers, had rejected God and His precepts, and that they would be judged for this.

There was no invitation, yet people got saved in each case. I am not saying invitations are wrong, but that is the Holy Spirit that is to do the convicting and bring about a reaction.

In Acts Chapter 2, 3,000 got saved. On Mars Hill, a few got saved, and through them, the Gospel came to Europe and America. In Nineveh, it is estimated that something like on million souls repented and turned to God. Steven’s message only reached one soul that we know about, but it was the great Apostle Paul who was used of God to give us most of our New Testament.

Our problem is, we don’t believe what the Bible says about how souls are saved. I am not talking about the fact that it is by grace, through faith, without works. I am talking about what it takes to bring people to understand their need and desire to know how to be saved.

For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. (1 Corinthians 1:21)

It is the preaching of God’s Word, not men’s plans and methods, that brings sinners to seek salvation and believe the Gospel. When preaching has its proper place in our soul-winning efforts we will see a good harvest. We will see professions that do not fade away in a few weeks or mounts.

The only hope for our nation is a return to God’s precepts and methods by God’s people.

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Real Revival

In North Carolina it seems that there is a season when churches have what they call revival services. Each time we go through this season, I think a lot about revival. The questions I have been asking are: What causes revival? How do we know when revival comes? What does revival look like? And what are the results, or fruit, of revival?

The starting point in my study has been looking at the revivals of the past and comparing them with what we see today in “revivals.” Today we see a lot of shouting and praising God. We see people jumping up and giving testimonies of how good God has been to them. This is not necessicarily a bad thing, but it is not what we see when we look at the great revivals of the past.

While it is true that there was, in some cases, a lot of noise, they did not start with rejoicing and praising God. The noise of the great revivals of the past was crying and lamenting over sin. People fell on their faces in tears crying out to God for mercy and forgiveness.

In Isaiah 6:1-8 we see personal revival breaking out in the life of one man, Isaiah.

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his1 train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one2 cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole3 earth is full of his glory. And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: And he laid it upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me. (Isaiah 6:1-8)

In this passage we find the answers to all of my questions. It started by getting a vision of God. Isaiah saw God in all of His glory. Romans 2:4 tells us that the goodness of God leads us to repentance. When we see God in all of His holiness (goodness) it reveals our badness (lack of true holiness) and leads us to repentance. This repentance is what causes true revival.

When we see God as He really is we can respond in one of two ways. 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 speaks of two kinds of sorrow. The first is the sorrow that works, or causes, repentance. The second is the sorrow of the world that works death. The first is being truly sorrow for having offended God and recognizing our guilt before Him. The second is being sorry that our sin has been found out and wanting to excuse it just to avoid punishment.

We know that revival has come when we see godly sorrow. We see this in Isaiah when he cried out “Woe is me! for I am undone.” You will notice that he not only confessed his own sin, but also the sin of his people. This is what true revival looks like. There will be an acute sense of our sinfulness and broken and repentant hearts.

In true revival there will be a crying out for mercy and forgiveness. Repentance will be clearly seen in those who are revived. They will turn from their wicked ways. They will search the Scriptures to learn what God expects of His people. They will change their lives to match what they find. Then, and only then, God will make us fit for His service and remove our iniquity.

One of the most important results of revival is that people hear the call of God. In Isaiah 6 Isaiah hears God say “Who shall I send, and who will go for us?” When this call is heard, those who are revived will volunteer for the mission at hand. This does not mean that they will all surrender to what we call “full-time ministry.” It means that all will surrender to minister for God where He has placed them.

If we want real revival we must first seek to know God. We must see His holiness and our sinfulness. We must have godly sorrow and repentance. We must be willing to do what God desires regardless of the cost.

Revival is expensive, it requires all that we have. The end result of true revival is that God is glorified, souls are saved, and then there is great rejoicing in Heaven and on earth.

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Universal Church: Fact or Fiction – Introduction

Baptists exist because they refused to be associated with those who changed the meaning and purpose of baptism. From the time in the second century when baptismal regeneration became prominent, until sometime after the Reformation, Baptists stood separate from the apostasy of those churches which later became the Catholic or Universal Church. Sometime after the Reformation, they became protestantized (allow me to invent a new word) and over time accepted the false doctrine of the “universal church.” If the “true church” is the “universal body of Christ” how could Baptists maintain this separation? If we all are part of one great universal church, shouldn’t we all join together in the work of Christ under the authority of the Catholic (universal) Church?

The doctrine of the universal church is the basis of the ecumenical movement. This doctrine teaches that since we are all part of the “true church” we should all join together in Christ’s service. This is not what the Scriptures teach.

I Timothy 6:3-5 tells us:

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing

nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. (Emphasis mine.)

It is not my purpose in this book to deal in depth with the issue of separation, but this passage does tell us to withdraw ourselves from those who teach other than what the Scriptures teach. That would surely include churches that are based on false doctrine. Many denominations teach false doctrine on such important things as how one is saved. Baptists are not to join with them, but withdraw ourselves from them.

The universal church doctrine has an effect on church discipline. How can someone be put out of a local church for immorality or false doctrine if they are still part of the “universal or true church?”

There are two other important doctrines that Baptists have stood for from the beginning. These are the authority of, and the autonomy of, the local church. If the “true church” is universal, is it not a bit prideful to stand for these doctrines? The Scriptures clearly teach that the church is to be unified, but if every church has the right to be self-governed, how can this unity exist? If the true church is universal, then what the Catholic (universal) Church teaches about no salvation outside the church and having a “vicar of Christ”, the Pope, to keep unity makes perfect sense. If, on the other hand, the true church is a local assembly, shouldn’t we follow the simple structure we find in Scripture to keep unity in a church?

Even though there is nothing in the New Testament to support the idea of a universal church, unless you bring the idea in from outside and try to find support, many Baptists continue to believe in and teach its existence. This doctrine undermines everything Baptists have stood for since the time of the apostles. It also flies in the face of biblical ecclesiology.

Baptists have sat at the feet of Protestants too long. We have been protestantized by using Protestant systematic theology books in our schools. It is time we cease to follow the error of the Protestants on this issue and examine the doctrine of the church from the Scriptures. Getting doctrine from theology books is always dangerous because such books are written by fallible men. If we get our doctrine of the true church from Scripture, we will find that it is the local church. The Scriptures will show the universal church to be a fraud foisted upon Baptists by the Catholics and Protestants. The Catholics developed the universal visible church and the Protestants invented a new doctrine of the universal invisible church because they needed to justify their leaving the Catholic Church. It had taught them that there was no salvation outside the church, and they found themselves outside of the Catholic Church.

C. I. Scofield probably had more to do with Baptists accepting this false universal church doctrine than any other individual. Many of us older Baptists were raised on the Scofield Bible. It was well loved by Baptists because its study notes taught dispensationalism and the pre-tribulation rapture. An on line search shows that Scofield has many detractors. Most of them are trying to destroy his reputation only because they disagree with his doctrine. This is not my purpose here.

His study notes have had great influence among Bible-believing Baptists, and for the most part, this influence has been good. What I want to point out is that he was not a Baptist and some of his doctrine did not line up with Scripture. He, like all the rest of us who write on biblical subjects, was not infallible. One example of his doctrinal errors can be seen in his notes on Genesis 1:1-2 where he taught the gap theory of creation. Here is what his notes say.

Without form and void

Jer. 4:23-27; Isa. 24:1; Isa. 45:18 clearly indicate that the earth had undergone a cataclysmic change as a result of divine judgment. The face of the earth bears everywhere the marks of such a catastrophe. There are not wanting imitations which connect it with a previous testing and fall of angles.

Relative to the discussion on the church, it must be remembered that he was born into a nominal Episcopalian family. After his conversion he was the pastor (even though he was divorced) of Congregational churches, and in his latter years became a Presbyterian. He was a Protestant and held Protestant doctrine concerning the church.

The purpose of this work is to bring us back to a scriptural view of the church. I ask you to prayerfully examine this material and study it with an open mind.

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The Forgotten Message of the Gospel

The most common message that is taken to the lost in our day is the message that God loves them. While it is true that God loves the world (John 1:16), and that this means He loves each and every person including the lost, this is not the message that needs to be communicated to the lost. The message that the lost need to hear is the message of God’s wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness.

The whole idea of love in its modern interpretation is that one who loves will never punish. Nothing could be farther from the truth. God loves all of His creation, and because of this love, He must separate all that would harm it. This includes Satan and his hordes and all those who would live contrary to His righteous laws.

Numbers 14:18 tells us, “The LORD is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

We forget that letting someone get away with doing wrong is unjust. If someone were to murder someone close to you and the judge was to let them go free you would call him an unjust judge. God is a holy, righteous, and just God. He cannot allow sin to go unpunished. This is not a sign of His lack of love, it is a sign of His perfect love.

Romans 1:18-19 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them

Most of the new Bible translations change “hold the truth” into “suppress the truth.” The Greek word translated “hold” means to have something in your possession. It does not mean to suppress. Those who hold on to something, those who have it in their possession, may very well suppress it, but this is not the meaning of the Greek word. The context doesn’t deal with suppressing anything, it deals with being without excuse (Verse 20) because they know the truth (Verse 21).

Everyone has (holds in his consciousness) that measure of truth which may be known by the natural man. Many refuse to profit from the light they have and love the darkness rather than the light. All who do not live up to the knowledge they possess, who do that which they know they should not do, hold the truth in unrighteousness.

Verse 32 supports this interpretation. It says, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

They know the judgment they deserve and instead of turning to righteousness, the encourage others to live in unrighteousness. I suppose it makes them feel less guilty if everyone is doing it.

While on the subject of guilt, let me explain what it is. Guilt comes from the law that God has written in the hearts of all of us. It is that part of us that makes us know that some things are wrong. We don’t need anyone to tell us that it is wrong to kill someone just because we don’t like something they have done or because they have we want. We call this the conscience. The conscience is the policeman in our lives. It brings conviction when we do wrong.

John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

The sad thing is the conscience can be rendered useless:

1 Timothy 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;

When we refuse to listen to God and deliberately go against His precepts He does something that makes it very difficult, if not impossible, for us to turn back from our sinful ways. Listen to the following verse:

Romans 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

A reprobate mind is a mind that is void of sound judgment. It is a mind that can no longer tell right from wrong. It is a mind that is seared with a hot iron.

It is important that we give the lost the right message before they reach this point. You and I cannot tell for sure when someone has reached this point so we need to try to reach even the most unrighteous among us. But you can be sure that those who have a seared conscience and a reprobate mind are pretty much unreachable.

We need to understand where we came from. We were once the children of wrath just like the lost in the world today. Here is what Paul had to say about this:

Ephesians 2:1-3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Notice in whose way we walked. It was the course of the world according to Satan, the prince of the power of the air. He is the spirit in those who are disobedient to God’s precepts. Notice also that it is in the past tense for those of us who are saved. A true Christian walks according to the precepts of God. He is not perfect, but when he stumbles, he is quick to confess his sin to his heavenly Father who cleanses him (1 John 1:9).

We are told in Ephesians 2:8-9 that we are saved by grace, through faith, without works. This does not mean that we are not to work. It simply means that we don’t work for our salvation. We are to work because we have been saved (Ephesians 2:10).

Let’s look at some other verses that deal with what we should be telling the lost.

John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

This verse contains two very important thoughts. The first is that those who believe on the Son have everlasting life. Believe on does not simply meant to believe He existed, or even to believe what He said. It means to put one’s trust in Him totally for salvation. Those who do so have, right now, everlasting life. That is a life that will never end.

You will note that it says “he that believeth not the Son,” it doesn’t say believeth not on the Son. This tells us that those who don’t believe what He says shall not see life. Of course, the main point I want us to see is that the wrath of God already abides on them. This also is present tense. The lost person needs to be taught this before the love of God will mean anything to him.

Ephesians 5:6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

The context of this verse is dealing with our conduct and obedience to God. It tells us that those who disobey God will fall under the wrath of God. The lost don’t need to know that God loves them, they need to know that they are in danger of the condemnation that comes with God’s wrath.

Colossians 3:6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:

This verse, like the one before, tells us that those who disobey God will be subject to the wrath of God. This is the message the lost need to hear.

My whole purpose for writing this article is to point out that we are giving the wrong message to the lost. The message most are communicating to the lost is that although they are sinners, God has provided for the free forgiveness of sin because He loves us.

It is true that God loves everyone, including the lost. It is also true that forgiveness of sin is free from our point of view. However, it is not true that salvation places no obligations on the saved as the love-centered message implies. The depth of God’s love cannot be understood until the sinner understands the horror of his sin and the danger of his position.

The one thing that the “love” message fails to communicate is the need for repentance. Repentance essentially means to change one’s mind. Most who preach repentance say that we are to repent of our sins to be saved. Although there will be a change of mind concerning sin if one comes to Christ for salvation, the Bible never says that sin is what must be repented of. I have looked at every reference to repentance in any form in English, Greek, and Hebrew and I have not found any reference to repenting of sins for salvation.

There is a passage that tells us what one must repent of for salvation. It is found in Hebrews 6:

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

Notice that we are told that part of the foundation is “repentance from dead works.” What are the dead works that we are to repent of? They are the works we try to do for our salvation. Every religion in the world except biblical Christianity teaches some kind of works for salvation.

Until the lost understand they will face God’s judgment there will be no real conviction of sin. Without the conviction of sin, there will be no seeking the solution to their dire predicament. When they understand their sin and God’s justified wrath, they will realize that they cannot be good enough to earn their own salvation. They will then turn to God for mercy. Then they are ready to hear about God’s love and to put their faith in Christ for salvation. They will then have a grateful heart that will work a change in their life.

The fact that we are putting the emphasis on God’s love instead of God’s wrath when we talk to the lost is resulting in many false professions of faith. This explains why it is so difficult to get new “converts” to be faithful to the precepts of God. They are like those in the parable of the sower which are represented by the stony ground.

Matthew 13:18-23 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.

The stony ground is those who are only interested in the Gospel because they think it will solve all of their problems. This is why they receive the word with joy. They have no root in themselves. There is no possession of the new life in Christ. They are just looking for a Santa Clause god who will give them what they want. As soon as the trials come they are offended and turn their backs upon the things of God.

Some professing Christians don’t believe God will send the lost to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire, but here is what the Scriptures say on the subject.

Revelation 20:11-15 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

The destiny of the lost is too important for us to risk leading them astray. We need to follow the example of the Scriptures and present the Gospel in a way that brings conviction of sin and works repentance in the hearts of those we speak to.

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The Wrath Of God And Salvation

Today there are a lot of people who say they are Christians who are not. As a matter of fact, there are many who may be truly saved, but who are not Christians. We are saved by faith, through faith, without works (Ephesians 2:8-9). It was not believers who were called Christians, it was disciples. Although we are saved without works, we become disciples by putting into practice the teachings of our Master, Jesus Christ. You can’t biblically call someone who is truly saved, but not following Christ’s principles a Christian.

The reason we are having so much trouble keeping church members, the reason we are having so much trouble reaching the lost, is that we put a totally wrong emphasis on our presentation of the Gospel. We are not sharing a false gospel, we are presenting the true Gospel in the wrong way. We are telling people to come to God because He loves them, which He does, but that is not how the Gospel is presented in the Scriptures. The Scriptures never use the love of God as an enticement to come to salvation. When I say this, people bring up John 3:16, however, if you read it in its context, it is not enticing people to come to salvation, it is explaining why God has a way of salvation for mankind.

Read the message preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost and the message preached by Paul at Mars Hill in Acts 17, read the other salvation messages in the Scriptures, and see what you find. Even when Jesus was talking to the woman at the well He did not use the love of God. They didn’t use the word, but they were all a warning concerning the wrath of God and God’s judgment.

People have to have enough fear of God to want to change something. Listen to what the Bible has to say:

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things. And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: (Romans 2:1-6)

This is a hard passage of Scripture, and I think we should preach on it more often. I think we should learn it well enough to be able to use it when we talk to the lost about their souls.

Before I continue with the main subject, I want to take a quick look at Romans 1:18.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (Romans 1:18)

What this verse means is, God will pour out His wrath against ALL ungodliness and unrighteousness of men because they hold the truth in unrighteousness. Some of the modern translations translate this as those who suppress the truth. This is not what it is saying. It means they have the truth, they know what it is, yet they live in unrighteousness. The rest of this chapter describes those of whom Paul is speaking. Then look at verse 31:

Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. (Romans 1:32)

This is the context of our text. There is no excuse for disobeying God’s precepts because He has put them in the hearts of every man, woman, and child. We all know that certain things are wrong and certain things are right. The basic principles of God’s law, the Ten Commandments, are written in the hearts of all people.

No matter what culture you look at, certain things are known to be right or wrong. In some cultures you will find that some things may be perverted by that culture, but basically you find the same things considered right and wrong. A great example of this is the difference between most cultures and cannibalistic cultures. In most cultures is is wrong to have people for lunch, but in cannibalistic cultures it can be something that raises one’s stature.

In today’s world everyone wants to say there is no absolute truth, and everything is subjective. That, in itself, is an absolute statement. It proves that the idea that there are no absolutes is a lie.

We find absolute truth in the Word of God, and it can be depended upon throughout all eternity. Our text says we are without excuse because God has put His law in our hearts.

It is certain that God’s judgment will come. You may say that because you are saved you don’t have to worry about judgment. If you do, you are greatly mistaken. Have you ever heard of the Judgment Seat of Christ? Every saved person will stand before Christ in judgment for what he did after his salvation. His salvation will not be in question, but the reward that he receives will be.

I believe that persecution is coming for Christians in this nation. First of all, the Bible predicts it, and secondly, the signs of it coming are all around us. To you really think that someone who has so little desire to be in church that he stays home when it is raining is going to stand when the persecution does come? If a person can’t be in church on Sunday night or Wednesday night, do you really think they will stand for Christ when it really costs them something.

One of my specialties is Baptist history. What amazes me about Baptist history is what our ancestors were willing to suffer so they could keep their doctrine and testimony pure. Our Baptist ancestors fought for more than 1700 years so we could have the freedoms we enjoy today. We will not have them much longer if we don’t do something about it soon.

I have read the testimonies of people who were saved under the preaching of Shubal Stearns. Boy, something is really different to day. People used to break down in tears when the saw God as He is and themselves as they are. Shubal Stearns was so filled with the Holy Spirit that he could sometime simply look at a person and he would come under conviction. When is the last time you saw someone have that kind of spiritual power?

In verse 4 of our text is says:

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? (Romans 2:4)

Notice that this verse says the goodness of God leads to repentance. We talk about the Love of God in trying to bring people to repentance. When we bring someone to repentance using the love of God, it causes laxness on the part of those who say they believe. They understand the hopeless condition they are in when we use the wrath of God to Christ it because it brings them to conviction of sin. It does not necessarily cause true repentance because you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

One of my favorite passage in all of the Bible is Isaiah Chapter 6. Isaiah was a prophet of God for 5 chapters before we get to this point.

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. (Isaiah 6:1)

Think about what this verse says. Isaiah saw the power behind the throne. He saw who was, and still is, the absolute ruler of the universe. God is not subject to anything we say, He is the absolute ruler with the final say on everything. We are subject to His opinion, not the other way around. We need to return God to this place in our hearts and minds.

In verse 3 of this passage it says the Seraphims call Him holy, holy, holy. Notice that He is the thrice holy God. When we see His holiness, it will impress upon us our unholiness. We will see ourselves as the sinners we are. It leads us to repentance, but it does not say that if really brings repentance.

Let’s take a moment to look at 2 Corinthians 7: 9-10:

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after1 a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. (2 Corinthians 7:9-10)

Notice that there are two kinds of sorrow, godly sorrow, and the sorrow of the world. Godly sorrow works repentance not to be repented of, but the sorrow of the world works death. Once one has true repentance based upon godly sorrow, he will never change his mind (repent) and turn away from it. Godly sorrow is a true sorrow, not for being found out, but for have offended a holy God by our sin. The sorrow of the world is being sorry that you were caught, and trying to express regret to avoid punishment. Godly sorrow realizes that the punishment is well deserved and seeks God’s mercy.

My son-in-law did a study on the revival on the Lewis Isle. People were coming under conviction for their sin and crying out to God for mercy because they understood that they were under the wrath of God, just like what we saw in Romans 1:18. They saw how short that fell from the glory of God.

Today’s revival meetings are little more than pep rallies. They work up people’s emotions so they can get a lot of amens and other emotional outbursts. They are not bringing people under conviction for their sin and causing them to seek God’s mercy. There are no broken and contrite hearts and spirits.

I am working on starting a new ministry. I am calling it “Rock The Boat Ministries.” I want to rock the boat and disturber the status quo a bit. I want to shake up Baptists enough where they get back to what they used to be. Baptists used to be the conscience of this nation. Today we are salt that has lost its savor, and lights with smoked chimneys.

When this passage says that godly sorrow works repentance, it is telling us that if we have godly sorrow, repentance will come. It will cause a real change of mind, and as a result, a real change of life.

Those who say they got saved, got involved in church for years, and then turn their backs on God never had the kind of sorrow that works repentance not to be repented of. In other words, they never got saved in the first place. I am not talking about someone who may backslide for a while, I am talking about those who really turn their backs on God to the point of saying that it they really don’t believe any of it any more.

Sadly, our churches have many people who are religious but lost. They do all the right things and fool people, but it is not in their hearts. It is all for a show, hoping that if they look right they will be excused for their corrupt and sinful hearts.

Recently my wife talked to a women who is faithful in our church, and who daughter is married to a man in the military. She asked if he was saved, and after some stuttering, she said, well he went to a Catholic school and a couple of other things, but never said anything that would give you any reason to believe that he is saved. Another lady in our church told her grandson that his father, who had recently died, was now an angel. Another lady, whose cousin had recently died, and who just got saved a year or two ago, told my wife that the cousin was always saved. No one has always been saved. All of these things, and I could give a lot more, were said by people who are in almost every service in our church, and are, or have been very active in it. The things I have mentioned show that even in good churches, there are people who don’t pay enough attention to what is taught to know Bible doctrine.

Let’s get back to our text. In verse 5 it says:

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; (Romans 2:5)

To understand this verse we must understand the holiness of God. We can’t understand why there will be a day of wrath because we don’t understand how horrible our sin is. We can’t until we see our sin in the light of God’s holiness. Our hardness and our impenitent hearts are laying up a treasure of wickedness that must be judged by a holy God.

When we grasp what this verse is talking about, we understand that God has a book in which He records our works. Every time we sin, it is written in this book and we build a treasure of sins that must be judged when that “day of wrath” comes. God’s judgment will be righteous.

Christians must not forget that they too will be judged by God. It will not be a judgment that determines our salvation, but it will determine our reward.

Those who find themselves at the Great White Throne Judgment will not have a second chance. They will be cast into the Lake of Fire where they will suffer in torment for all eternity. There will be no relief, and there will be no escape. Those who face this judgment are those who have not placed their full faith in the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Anyone who thinks that anything he does helps in his salvation will find himself at this judgment. If you are trusting in anything you do, anything a church does, any ritual, like baptism, or anything other than Christ and His work on the cross, you will stand before God at this judgment.

What I want you to get out of this is, if you are not fulling trusting in Christ, you add daily to the treasure of sin that God must judge. Remember, the penalty is eternity in the Lake of Fire. There will be different levels of reward for the saved in Heaven, and there will be different levels of punishment for the lost in the Lake of Fire. Even the least of these degrees of punishment will be beyond anything we can imagine.

The day of wrath is coming. The Bible says:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: (Hebrews 9:27)

Those who think they can be good enough to get into Heaven are fools. Doing good things does not negate the bad things one does. A murderer is a murderer no matter how many good things he does afterward. He still deserves to be punished for his crime. Our text tell us that we will be given reward according to our deeds. We have all sinned, that is, we have all broken God’s law. His holiness and righteousness requires that all breaking of His law be punished. Either we take the punishment on ourselves and spend eternity in the Lake of Fire, or we accept the payment of Christ on the cross, and spend all eternity with Him in glory.

The secret to bringing people to Christ, no matter who they are or what they believe, is to get them into the Scriptures. By Scriptures I men the Holy Bible. It is these scriptures that God, the Holy Spirit, uses to bring conviction of sin and to a place of godly sorrow and true repentance.

Let me wind this down. It is true that God loves the world, and because of His love, He offers us salvation for free. There is but one condition. This condition is that you stop trusting in your own good works, which are dead and cannot save you, and put your full faith in the work Christ did on the cross.

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, (Hebrews 6:1)

Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)

These two verses teach us that the way of salvation is to turn to God for mercy, turn away from our own efforts to save ourselves, and put our faith in Christ. There is no other way.

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12)

This verse is talking about the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. No pope, no prophet, no church, nothing else has the power to save.

The whole purpose of this message is to remind us that it is understanding God’s holiness and our sinfulness that brings us to Christ. The wrath of God is the motivation used by the preachers in the Bible to bring the lost to repentance, not the love of God. We need to get back to doing things the Bible way if we want to see a change in our churches and our nation.

To the modern mind, love means there will be nothing that condemns or cause displeasure. It give the prospect license to live as he chooses and simply say I believe in Jesus, and still expect to go to Heaven. The wrath of God cause the prospect to turn to God for mercy, and when the Gospel is presented, to trust in Christ, and Christ alone for his salvation.