The Preacher’s Notebook

The Paper and Electronic Pulpit of the First Baptist Church of Mineral Springs, NC
(Delivered by E-mail and Us Postage Through Subscription as an Extension of the Pulpit Ministry of this Church)

Dr. Terry W . Preslar – PO Box 388 – M ineral Springs, NC 28108 (704)843-3858 – E-Mail: preslar12@windstream.net
Copyright (C) 2007-2009. Terry W. Preslar All rights reserved.

Vol. III

May, 2009

Issue 5

Evangelism – Part 4
The Evangelistic Invitation

Introductory Remarks
In this essay, the last, at this time, in this series on “True Evangelism”, we must restate the thesis of our current case: The matter of the work of evangelism is of the highest order in the modern pulpit. It has The Good News is that Christ Says: “Come unto me, all been said by this author in the first ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you installment of this series that “The biggest rest.” (Matt. 11:28). scandal of religious history is the abandonment of “true evangelism” by the bulk of preachers in this generation.” This case did not start in recent times and the best way to discern the “True” from the “False” is to observe the best examples of “True Evangelism.” The example of Paul the apostle, among others, proves the “Natural Evangelist” wrong. No man ever expressed a stronger and clearer belief in the sovereignty of God and the truths of “True Evangelism” than Paul in, for example, the eighth and ninth chapters of his Epistle to the Romans, and the first chapter of his Epistle to the Ephesians. And yet this same man evangelized a vast portion of Asia Minor and the Greek peninsula, and eventually in Rome. A gross lack of understanding, as to what true evangelism is, has been manifested in most of our churches. Our English word for “Evangelism” derives from the Greek noun euangelion (euaggelion = Strong’s #G2098), which means “good news,” and the verb euangelizomai, “to announce or proclaim good news.” Biblical evangelism is “The proclamation of the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ with a view to bringing about the reconciliation of the sinner to God the Father through the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit” (Evangelical Dictionary of Theology). A Biblical (or true) evangelist is one who obeys the mandate of Jesus Christ to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15), relying solely upon the saving work of the Holy Spirit to use that preached gospel to regenerate sinners and bring them to Christ (1 Cor. 1:21; 1 Peter 1:22). The evangelism of “Natural Men” is not Biblical. They do not believe preaching alone is sufficient for bringing the lost to Christ. The “Natural Evangelists therefore have invented what is never found in Scriptures: an “Extended Invitation” after their sermons in which verse after verse of some invitational hymn is sung while the preacher tries to elicit from sinners the response which the Holy Spirit has not wrought. In these invitations they deny the omnipotence of God by telling sinners, “God has done all He can to save you, but He is helpless to do so unless you let Him. Please! Let God save you!” The “Natural Evangelists” are content with a mere “decision for Christ,” and pronounce him who makes a “Decision” to be a Christian even though he may never live the holy life of a disciple of Christ. They often employ this method in what they call “child evangelism,” in which very young children incapable of understanding the gospel are pronounced “saved” if they will but give the right answer to the evangelists, or recite the prayer they are

taught. The apostle experienced the move of God on a sinner by the river where he met Lydia. (“...whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.” Acts 16:14). We who must answer to God, without reservation, reject this False “Natural Evangelism” of “Decisionism.” But the history of “True Evangelism” proves that Biblical evangelism is a very important aspect of the ministry of the Gospel. And Church History reveals that the paragons of Christian evangelism were those faithful leaders who believed and preached the Gospel of God’s Grace. Consider a few: I- John Calvin (1509-64) was very influential in the Evangelism of Europe and Britain. Calvin has given his name to a system of theology that is counter to the “works” system of theology and when applied in a “hyper” degree has many dangers. (Anything “hyper-” is serious when seen in excess). “Natural Evangelist” portray him as devoid of the evangelistic spirit. The facts prove otherwise. He taught many refugees of Romanism, from various lands, in his school in Geneva and instilled in them the desire to evangelize their countrymen. These schooled refugees did so, upon returning to their homelands, delivering their countrymen from the darkness of Romanism. Their evangelism resulted in John Calvin becoming the spiritual father of the Covenanters of Scotland, the Puritans of England, the Burghers of the Netherlands, the Huguenots of France, eventually the Pilgrim Fathers of America, and many others. He may therefore be called the most fruitful teacher of evangelism since the apostles. II- The seventeenth-century Puritans of England and Covenanters of Scotland were “True Evangelists”, and most exemplary in Gospel Ministry. They realized from reading the second Psalm that God has given all the nations of the earth as an inheritance to Jesus Christ, and required those nations to submit to Him. (“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.” Psa. 2:7-8). They therefore obligated themselves to publish this word from God. Their devotion to evangelism was exemplified in the Reformer John Knox, who prayed to God, “Give me Scotland, or I die!” Their sermons are rich in exhortations to all men to believe the gospel. III- The seventeenth-century Pilgrim Fathers of New England were “True Evangelists”, and most exemplary in missions. We here speak particularly of those Englishmen, mostly Puritans, who emigrated to Massachusetts from 1629. They viewed New England as a new Canaan, and their duty to evangelize its inhabitants, the American Indians. One of their pastors, a Mr. Francis Higginson, expressed their evangelistic desire when he declared upon leaving England, “...we go...to propagate the gospel in America.” IV- The first missionaries to the American Indians were “True Evangelists.” The desire of the Pilgrim Fathers to propagate the gospel to the American Indians resulted in the ministry of John Eliot in the latter-1600's, who lived to see 1100 Indian converts worshiping Christ in six churches pastored by Indians. He was followed by David Brainerd, who died of tuberculosis at age 29 in 1747 after only four years as a missionary. But he baptized 78 Indian converts in that short time. His autobiography has been an inspiration to many missionaries. On May 19, 1747, Brainerd moved into Jonathan Edwards' home in New Hampton, where he would spend the last nineteen weeks of his life under the care of Edwards' daughter, Jerusha. Finally, what he referred to in his diary as "that glorious day" came; he died of tuberculosis on October 9, 1747, at the age of 29. V- The foremost preachers in the greatest revival experienced in America were “True Evangelists.” This revival was the Great Awakening of the 1740's. Its foremost preachers were Jonathan Edwards, a Massachusetts Congregationalist; and George Whitefield, an English Methodist. Edwards is also credited with being one of the foremost thinkers America has ever produced, and with having preached the most influential message ever heard in America: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” It was throughout an evangelistic appeal for sinners to turn to Christ. VI- The founders of modern foreign missions were “True Evangelists.” They were the Baptists of England. Andrew Fuller, pastor in Kettering, desired to fulfill the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19

after reading Jonathan Edwards’ account of the Great Awakening in America. Fuller planted the seed of foreign missions in 1785 by publishing “The Gospel Worthy of All Acceptation.” This seed was cultivated in 1792 by William Carey, pastor in Leicester, in his celebrated sermon to the pastors of other Baptist churches. Taking his text from Isaiah 54:2, he titled his message “Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens.” In it he spoke the oft-quoted expression “Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God.” His brethren were persuaded thereby to take action. The seed of foreign missions bore fruit in the formation of the “Particular Baptist Society for the Propagation of the Gospel”, later renamed “Baptist Missionary Society”. VII- The first missionaries to foreign fields were “True Evangelists.” The afore-mentioned missionary society in 1793 sent to India William Carey and John Thomas, who had surrendered his medical career to be a missionary. They were joined in 1799 by four others: Joshua Marshman, William Ward, and two others who died shortly after their arrival. The accomplishments of these missionaries are sterling, in spite of the travails they faced which would have overwhelmed lesser men. Carey and Marshman were exceptionally gifted linguists, and mastered various Indian languages and dialects. William Ward was a master printer. Carey supervised the team in translating and publishing six complete translations of the Holy Bible, and 24 additional partial translations. They published also grammars and dictionaries in Sanskrit, Marathi, Punjabi, and Telugu. They baptized many Indian converts. They founded Serampore College for training Indian preachers to evangelize their own countrymen. And Carey’s humanitarian efforts led to the abolition in 1829 of the Suttee, the Hindu custom of having widows cremated at their husband’s funerals. VIII- The first American missionary to foreign fields was a “True Evangelist.” He was Adoniram Judson, sent by Congregationalists to India in 1812. Anticipating his meeting with the Baptist William Carey, he and his wife studied the doctrine of baptism en route, and became Baptists themselves before reaching India. Judson ministered but briefly in India before moving to Burma in 1813, where he ministered until his death in 1850. Although he ministered seven years before baptizing his first convert, his perseverance was later rewarded by many thousands of converts. All these, and hosts of others like them, are the champions of Christian evangelism. And they were all dedicated to “True Evangelism.” Divine sovereignty and human responsibility was no paradox to them. They believed in this “True” Gospel because God reveals it. They evangelized the world because God requires it. They were successful because God rewards it! Let us pray the Head of the church will raise many more to follow in their steps. (“...The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” Luke 10:2, See also Matt. 9:37-38).

Free Will Tenets Not Found in Scripture
If there is one belief which has skyrocketed to fame in the church, it is the belief that a person can exercise free will to become saved. (It has become a “sacred cow” for many). This belief puts man in charge of his salvation and takes it away from God. It places God in an auxiliary position to man in reference to salvation as we shall see in the tenets which I will present. We must realize first that “free will” does not exist in regards to salvation. That would mean that man is both objective and neutral in the area of salvation. The following two verses show us that man is neither: I- “But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (Rom. 6:17) II- “Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Rom. 6:18) As we see from these two verses that man is placed into two categories: A) Servants of Sin - Unsaved B) Servants of Righteousness - Saved Man is not objective since the human race is living in sin and each one born is living in sin. (“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psa. 51:5). As a matter of fact we are conceived in sin and even babies are sinners as shown by the following passages: “The wicked are estranged

from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.” (Psa. 58:3-5). From the moment a person is born, they are born in sin which means it is absolutely impossible for a person to objectively sit down and weigh God’s salvation program to determine whether they want to accept Him or not. Being born in sin creates another major problem for the human race, and that is we are born dead: “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins: 2 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: 3 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. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;).” (Eph. 2:1-5). The word “dead” in both passages (Verse 1 & 5) is the word “nekrous” (nekrous = Strong’s #G3498) which means lifeless or useless. Before you became a Christian, how filled with life were you and how useful were you to the Kingdom of God? Until God saves us and gives us eternal life, we are of no value to the Kingdom of God. Even if you donated to your church before you were saved, here is what God thinks of the gifts of the unbeliever: “The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.” (Prov. 15:8). “The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination: how much more, when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?” (Prov. 21:27). How many times when we donated to the Lord or did things for the church in an unsaved state did we think we were impressing God? Because we had a wicked mind, we all thought God would be pleased at what we did for Him. It wasn’t until we became saved that we realized the Scriptures taught that we can do nothing to please God. “Free Will” plays no part in salvation because as we saw we were dead and how can a dead person do anything for life? So with these few thoughts in mind let us attend to many of the common tenets taught by the free will proponents and let us compare their teachings to Scripture.

Accept Christ – Biblical Support: None
How many times have you gone to a church and heard your free will pastor say at the end of the message, “...and now I would like to invite any of you who would like to accept Christ as your personal savior to please come forward.” Or have you ever endured an endless preacher who will do an invitation by telling everyone present to close their eyes, bow their heads, and then he goes into his invitation speech and keeps repeating “anyone else” about twenty times and many times I have wanted to raise my hands just to give him the response that he needed so badly. These things happen because man believes that he has enough intelligence to make a decision as to whether he wants to go to heaven or burn in hell. Imagine calling someone intelligent who makes a decision to burn forever in hell. The term “accept Christ” is not found in the Scriptures anywhere and is nowhere implied in Scripture that a person can accept Christ at any time. Now the question arises about a few verses which you are probably thinking about right now, so let us look at the “whosoever” verses and see if the common interpretation of them fits into biblical truth. Verse # 1- “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:15). Verse # 2- “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16). Verse # 3- “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21). Verse # 4- “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (Rom. 10:11). Verse # 5- “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13). Verse # 6- “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.” (1 John 5:1).

These 6 verses use the term “whosoever” which has been interpreted to mean that a person of their own free will can accept Christ if they so choose. However, the word which underlies “whosoever” is the Greek word “pas” (pas = Strong’s #G3956) which is used about 1,200 times in the New Testament. The term simply translated means “each, all, everyone, every.” There is absolutely no implication in the word “pas” of “anytime, anywhere, or choice.” This word does not endorse any idea of a person having a free will to make a choice. To inject the idea of a person having the free will to do so is to bring in a foreign interpretation to the word. Now let us look at two more verses which seem to indicate the same teaching of free will. Verse # 7- “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:14-15). The word “whosoever” in this verse is not the word “pas” but it is the word “Os.” (oV = Strong’s #G3739 It is pronounced “hos” because of the heavy breathing mark over the O. My word processor program does not have the ability to do that inflection. It is a relative pronoun which may be translated “who.” This word does not offer any implication as to a free will anytime, anywhere, or choice in the word or its surroundings in that passage. Verse # 8- “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” (Rev 22:17). There are two words in this verse which need to be closely looked at. The first one is “heareth” which is the Greek word “akouw” (akouw = Strong’s #G191) which means to hear with understanding not just the physical act of hearing. The second word is “whosoever” which is the Greek word “thelo” (qelw = Strong’s #G2308) which means “to wish to have or desire.” Uh oh, does this mean that a person can desire the things of the Lord on their own? The word “thelo” is a word which is defined by the context it is used in. Remember the word “akouw” to hear with understanding? Who are the only ones who understand? (“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” John 6:44) Do you remember the passages of Scripture we started with in the beginning? Ephesians 2:1-5 showed us that we were dead in sins. The only way a person can desire the things of the Lord is if God opens their eyes to the Scriptures. A dead man cannot raise himself nor do anything except remain dead. When God resurrects us with our resurrected souls, we then will have a desire for the things of the Lord since we are commanded to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. (“Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,” Luke 24:45) Jesus had to open the understanding of the disciples on the road to Emmaus for them to know who He was. It is the same way with anyone approaching the Scriptures, God must open the meaning of Scripture as well as granting salvation according to whom He chooses to draw. God does the drawing as well as the saving. Only those who God elects to salvation will hear and understand and then have a desire to come to the waters freely which is the water of the Gospel. It is God who initiates salvation and it is God who completes salvation, we are only passive in the reception of that salvation. There is no way that any of these verses convey a free will, anytime, anywhere, salvation plan because the language will not support it. This is just another attempt for man to exalt himself to a position higher than God in the area of salvation.

Scriptural Evaluation of Salvation Invitations
The “Invitation” or the whole proposition of “Decision-ism” is raised into question. Any evangelist who “gives an invitation” is as if I would invite all of the readers over to someone’s house for a meal. The house is not mine and the invitation would be presumptuous. Heaven is not mine to proffer and the results of such an invitation are doubtful. Conversion of the sinner is the objective of evangelism and this work is vital for the Church of this day! Conversion is the result of that work of the Holy Spirit which draws a lost sinner to Jesus Christ for

justification and regeneration, and changes the sinner’s standing before God from lost to saved, imparting divine life to the depraved soul, thus producing a new direction in the life of the convert. The objective side of salvation is justification. The subjective side of salvation is regeneration. The result is “True” conversion. As long as pastors can coerce a handful of people down the aisle through the year with 17 verses of “Just as I think I am” at the time of invitation, churches feel that they are accomplishing something great for God. Emotionalism rules the day and drives the results in the average evangelical and fundamental churches. Sadly, the vast majority of those who make decisions couldn’t be found today with a sheriff’s search warrant. These un-warranted invitations are troublesome and there can be a Biblical appeal within “True Evangelism.” I- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you give your heart to Christ?” – This invitation is misleading. The Scriptures never tell us to give our heart to Christ. Such an invitation implies some effort on our part. We are not saved by giving God anything, but rather by receiving His gift of eternal life (Eph. 2:8-9). Remember also that the human heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jer. 17:9). Romans 10:10 tells us that with the heart man believes unto righteousness, but the nonbeliever is unable to give his heart to God. Some use this Scripture, however, with the idea that the unsaved person is making a decision of his will to accept Christ. Even so, this invitation contains very confusing terminology that does not clearly present the truth of the gospel. II- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you surrender your life to Christ?” – Surrender implies “giving everything’‘ to the Lord, while salvation is accepting the work of Christ on our behalf as a free gift. This invitation is the reverse of scriptural teaching. We are saved by receiving rather than by giving (John 1:12). The appeal of surrender is fitting only for a believer to yield his life to obedient service to the Lord. Such an appeal cannot be used for salvation. The expression “yield” in Romans 6 and “present” in Romans 12, both of which apply to believers, are calls to obedience and the need for dedicating one’s life to God’s will. Do not confuse these expressions and concepts with accepting and believing for salvation. III- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you confess your sins and ask the Lord to forgive you?” – This is an appeal for a believer who needs to renew fellowship with the Lord on the basis of 1 John 1:9. This is not a salvation verse. It is God’s direction for a sinful believer to be restored to fellowship with Himself. The unsaved person is not asked to confess his sins to get saved (he couldn’t remember all of them anyway). Rather he is asked to recognize his sinful condition and accept Christ’s payment for him. The unsaved person is forgiven and cleansed of his guilt because of his acceptance of Christ’s death for him (Rom. 3:24). IV- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you come to Christ tonight and promise to serve Him from now on?” – The promise to serve Christ has meaning only for the believer. No invitation for service could be given to the unsaved because he has no spiritual life (Eph. 2:1). Also, the idea of “coming to Christ” may give the thought of trying to make oneself acceptable to Christ. If “coming” means deciding to accept Christ and His finished work on the cross, however, such an invitation may be acceptable. This invitation contains vague terminology, though, and will very likely be misunderstood by the unsaved person. The promise to serve Him is unacceptable for salvation, because it gives the idea of works (Eph. 2:8-9). Serving the Lord is a result of being saved. Service has nothing to do with getting saved. V- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you come and “pray through” to Christ?” – The whole idea of praying through, hanging on, letting go, etc., is entirely foreign to a salvation invitation. Such terms imply some kind of action on our part and do not apply to receiving Christ. All we need to do is believe the gospel and receive the gift of salvation. Christ promised to save us when we accept and believe (John 3:18). Never are we told that we must plead with God. The way to Christ is open. When we come to Him in faith, He accepts us as we are (John 6:37). Such invitations are often used by those who put great emphasis on emotions. They insist that a person must keep on praying until he has a feeling of being saved.

VI- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Right now ask Jesus to come into your heart.” – We are not saved by Jesus coming into our heart, but rather by trusting in His death for us (Eph. 1:7). When we believe, He does indwell us. Our body then becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit However. that is a result of salvation. It is not the method whereby we are saved. Children find it confusing because they wonder if Jesus can physically come into their hearts. The simplicity of believing and trusting is misunderstood. Revelation 3:20 is often the basis of this invitation. Yet this passage does not deal with salvation. It does not focus the attention on Christ dying in my place and my acceptance of His work for me. VII- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you make your commitment for Christ tonight?” – This is one of the most misleading, vague invitations imaginable. A “commitment to Christ” could mean any number of things, such as serving, breaking wicked habits, obeying. making greater effort to do right, changing friends. or changing my life-style. Committing or promising something to God is certainly a “work” on my part. The unsaved person who is dead in trespasses and sin is unable to make any kind of commitment whatsoever. We are not saved by our promises to God, but by believing Christ’s work is for us (John 3:18). The unsaved person needs a new life in Christ. Only when he places his faith in the finished work of Christ will he receive that life in Christ (1 John 5:12). VIII- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you make Him Lord of your life?” – This invitation deals with personal dedication and obedience by the believer (Rom. 6:11). It does not deal with salvation for the unsaved. The idea of “lordship salvation” is not scriptural. Jesus saves us from sin because of His work on the cross. There He took upon Himself the punishment for our guilt and died in our place (Rom. 5:8). The unsaved person cannot make Christ the Lord of his life. He has no spiritual life and no ability to obey the Lord. The work of Christ on the cross saves all who believe. His death and resurrection give spiritual life whereby the believer may obey and serve Him (1 Peter 2:24). IX- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Will you repent of your sins to get saved?” – Repentance means a “change of mind” and is followed by a decision or action because of that change. Genuine repentance is the result of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit and is often accompanied by sorrow. Repentance is more than just sorrow, however. It involves a change of mind about guilt and the penalty for sin, one’s need of salvation, and the Savior’s sacrificial provision for salvation on the cross. While it is associated with salvation, repentance alone is not salvation. Faith and trust in the work of Christ on Calvary is the needed result of repentance. It must be followed by faith in the Lord Jesus to save from sin and to give spiritual life (Acts 20:28, John 1:12). Emphasizing only repentance leaves the unsaved with an incomplete message that does not give clear understanding of salvation. X- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Just believe now and allow Jesus to touch you.” – The idea of Jesus touching me appeals to my emotions and feelings. It doesn’t say anything about receiving Christ as Savior. The emphasis in this invitation is on feelings and some unusual experience that indicates I am saved. Nowhere in Scripture are we told that Jesus saves us by touching us nor are we told to seek or expect any particular feelings when we trust Christ as our Savior. Feelings of joy, cleansing, and relief may all come as a result of believing. Our assurance of salvation, however, is based on the simple promise of the Word, not on how we feel (John 1:12). Even if there are no special feelings, the promise of God is to save everyone who believes the gospel. On this basis alone, salvation can be claimed by the believer (John 3:16). XI- The Natural Evangelist asked: “Are you willing to forsake all your sins to obtain salvation?” – As a person who is dead in transgressions and sins, the sinner has no ability to forsake his sins. Even if he could forsake his sins, it would only be self-reformation, not regeneration by the Holy Spirit. Scripture never tells us to forsake anything as a requirement for salvation. Rather Scripture commands us to believe the “Good News” that Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8). God saves us just as we are – lost and without hope outside of Christ. We cannot make ourselves more acceptable to God by trying to forsake our sins. This invitation puts the emphasis on something we cannot do. Rather, we must believe that Christ in His death and resurrection has done all we need to become saved. All God requires is that we

believe and trust Him (Rom. 4:5). Once we are saved, it is a different matter. Then the believer should forsake sin with the power of the Holy Spirit and obey the commands of Christ to live a godly life (Gal. 5:16). This invitation confuses the results of salvation (godly conduct) with the method of salvation (to receive and believe). XII- The True Evangelist asked: “Will you accept the Lord Jesus as your own personal Savior?” – This invitation is biblically correct. Accepting (receiving) the Lord Jesus as my Savior is believing that He died for me and paid the penalty for my sin (Rom. 5:8). Because He loves me, He died for me. Placing my personal trust in His death for me is God’s only requirement for salvation (Rom. 3:24). Trusting Christ is personal. Christ died for me, and I personally trust Him to save me from the penalty of my sin. “As many as received Him” (John 1:12) is the open invitation to anyone to be saved. “Receiving” results in an immediate salvation. Christ died for your sins. Believe it personally. That’s all you need to get saved. This is the heart of the gospel (Rom. 5:8). The Bible uses believe as an absolute trust in the work of Christ for me (John 3:18). Christ died for my sins and demonstrated His victory over sin by His physical resurrection from the dead (Rom. 4:24-25). The work is all done! Our Savior lives to assure the believer that He can and will complete our salvation (Phil. 1:6). The payment is complete for the penalty of my sin (1 John 2:2). Knowing my guilt of sin, all that I can do is believe that He died for me and trust that payment to be all I need for salvation (Rom. 4:5; 6:23). XIII- The True Evangelist asked: “You can be saved right now by believing that Christ died for your sins.” – This is a correct statement. It includes the immediate fact of salvation when we believe or trust in the work of Christ at Calvary. It also includes the substitutionary aspect that Christ died for me in my place (2 Cor. 5:21). Christ shed His blood for me; that is the payment for my sins (1 Peter 1:18-19). His sacrifice fulfilled the Old Testament stipulation that “without the shedding of blood there is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). We have redemption and forgiveness through His blood (Eph. 1:7). His bodily resurrection assures us that He lives to keep the believer saved, to intercede for him, and to finally present him faultless before the throne (Heb. 7:25, Jude 24). Because He lives, the believer has the blessed assurance of the physical return of the Lord and the certainty of his place in heaven (1 Thes. 4:14-18). XIV- The True Evangelist asked: “Will you believe Jesus took your place on the cross?” – This invitation is also true to the Word of God. All the penalty of our sins was laid on Christ (Isa. 53:6). He suffered the consequence of death for us (1 Peter 3:18). He took my place when He died for me. To believe is to trust Him completely to do all that is needed to remove my penalty of sin and impart spiritual life to me. The Bible usage of “believe’‘ is different than our common daily usage. Today “believe’‘ usually means “maybe” – something I think I may do or want. The Bible uses believe as an absolute trust in the work of Christ for me (John 3:18). XV- The True Evangelist asked: “Right now believe that Christ paid the price in full for your sins.” – Again, this is a correct statement that centers on the need for immediate action. The basis of salvation is also indicated. Christ paid the awful penalty for sin – death. Note the emphasis also that He paid the price in full. There is nothing left to pay, to do, to join, or to earn. We must only receive Him and trust in what He accomplished for us at Calvary. We are justified “freely by His grace” (Rom. 3:24). He loved us while we were yet sinners. His love was not based on any goodness on our part. He loved us because He wanted to save us and make our salvation possible by paying the price of our sin on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). The urgency of our believing is important! There is no promise of tomorrow, or some future opportunity. Rather, “now” is the best time of all to receive Christ (“...behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Cor. 6:2).

Some Concluding Words
Theologically sound Bible colleges struggle to find students who desire to serve the Lord and learn truth. Missions is missing from most church budgets, and very few are willing to heed the Great Commission in

their own neighborhoods, much less have a concern for the world! Why is all of this happening? How is it that we have come so far from the examples seen in the early New Testament churches? How is it that churches, pastors, and members have all failed so miserably in the pursuit of being Christ-like? The answer is what this series has all been about – WORSHIP! True, biblical worship failed to be a part of services a LONG time ago. Worship began to be seen as a means to an end, instead of the end itself. It devolved from high and lofty views of the Creator of the Universe to the lifting up of man. It went from being Christo-centric to anthropocentric (man centred). When worship ceased to be about God and became all about man, religion and the world won a victory in the struggle between the true church and the forces of evil. Pastors began to preach that you could come to God as you were and stay that way! They began to preach easy-believism instead of the truth that to be a disciple of Christ demands sacrifice. Church no longer demanded that worship must be done God’s way. Secular music was brought in and the overwhelming vast majority of such was being written by those who had never had a true encounter with the Living God or was being written with the god of money in mind. Much of it was (and still is) being written to soothe the emotions instead of appealing to the mind, and we can be assured that we will never have the mind of Christ as long as our hearts are filled and longing for the things of the world. And through all of this, the list of gods being worshiped in our churches today continues to grow. Each person wants to be their own god, wants to worship in a way that suits them and makes them happy, wants to try and kick God off the throne and make themselves the master of their own fate, and then wants to demand from God why their prayers are not answered, why revival does not take place, why lives are not being changed, why children remain rebellious and no longer desire to go to church, and why their marriages are falling apart. However, deep inside the minds of a faithful few – there is a true desire to worship. There is a true desire to worship the One True God, and to worship Him in sincerity and truth. There is a longing to know the God Who has revealed Himself to us in the pages of Scripture. Their desire (and my desire) is to learn more of the One Who willingly gave Himself a ransom for many. We want to be found faithful when the Bridegroom appears or we go to be with Him. We want to hear the words, “Well done, you have been a good and faithful servant!” The only way this will happen is to see change in our minds, and only then will we see our hearts change. We must see God high and lifted up, and get back to the realization that apart from Just as I am, without one plea, Him we are nothing! May our But that Thy blood was shed for me, hearts and minds be brought And that Thou bidst me come to Thee, back to the Lamb Who is the O Lamb of God, I come, I come. only One worth being the object of our worship!

This Periodical is printed by Gospel Publishing and Colportage, a ministry of the First Baptist

Church of Mineral Springs, NC, and is designed for education, evangelism, and edification. If we may
assist you in knowing more about Christ and the Christian life, please write us without obligation: First Baptist Church of Mineral Springs PO Box 388, Mineral Springs, NC 28108 (704)843-3858

Psalms 107:2 S É S Romans 12:1-2
These Sermons are used through the subscription to an E-Mail list maintained by Bro. Preslar (preslar12@windstream.net) and are the copyrighted property of Dr. Terry W. Preslar. This document is part of a growing collection that is part of the Fresh Waters Digital Library. Re-distribution is allowed with this restriction: This document must not be disassembled or reverse engineered and all pages must be distributed together. This material may not be used in any commercial manner. All files in this series are in the PDF file format and can be read with the free pdf reader fro adobe called acrobat reader. It is hoped that this restriction will not hinder the effective use of this sermon/essay in the teaching and preaching of this document. – The Editor

“...when thou comest, bring with thee...the books, but especially the parchments. (2 Tim. 4:13) Psalms 107:2 S É S Romans 12:1-2
P.O. Box 388 Mineral Springs, N.C. 28108 1(704)843-3858
E-Mail: preslar12@windstream.net

First Baptist Church
PO Box 388 Mineral Springs, NC 28108

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