Happy Heralds, Inc
GOSPEL PRESENTATION HIGHLIGHTS
from a Theocentric Approach
by Dr. Fred Wittman
Introduction: How to open (or turn) conversation to spiritual things:
A. For strangers and those you know do not know the Lord:
Has anyone ever taken the time to explain to you the term, eternal life?
Would you like me to explain it to you?
B. For friends who profess to know Christ:
What does the term “eternal life” mean to you? (wait for their answer).
How does one receive eternal life? (wait for their answer).
That is an interesting concept. May I share my understanding of eternal life with you?
(If yes) Before I do, permit me to ask you a question. “Suppose you were to die tonight and come to the gates of Heaven and The God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into my Heaven? What do you think you would say?”
(Repeat after them your concept of what they said. Then ask,) Is that approximately what you would say? You know many people know the term eternal life. But very few can explain it clearly and cogently. The apostle Paul faced such a challenge in late winter of A.D. 51 shortly after going to Athens. The philosophers took Paul to Mars Hill which was the court of the Areogapites. Paul began to succinctly make known The Gospel to these idolatrous Greek-speaking Gentiles. His approach was Theological. He began with The God - The Unknown God to them. This is the best place to begin. This is where The God began when He breathed into holy men of His to write The Old Testament. If that is the place The God and The Bible begins, it should be a pattern for us to learn about Eternal Life.
I. The Only True Living God
First then, let us consider The Only True Living God. Before I make some comments, I would be interested in knowing, How you would describe The Only True Living God (get their answer, then ask,) Where do you think the apostle Paul started to explain The Gospel to the Athenians?).
A. The God is The Creator (Acts 17:23-26; Gen. 1:1).
The only one true and absolutely living God created all things, when this only true and Absolutely Living God created the Heavens and the Earth, He created several kinds of life: angelic life, plant life, animal life and human life, each according to its own kind. Angelic life includes several kinds of eternally living beings. When God created human life, He created human beings to live forever (Gen. 2:7) in their human bodies. When The God made the first man, Adam, He breathed life into him--the father of us all. And Adam became a living or eternally existing soul. Then he made woman to be a helpmeet for man. When The God made humans He gave them the ability to choose.
B. The God is jealous (Nahum 1:2; Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:23,24; 5:9; 6:13-15).
He wants man's worship and companionship. And He will not share His glory with another (Isa. 42:8). The God insists that He is The First, The Last, and The Only God and He desires humans to put Him in that position of honor and priority.
C. The God is a Trinity - three Persons in One Godhead--Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Each Person of The Godhead has three prominent and prime couplet attributes of His character: Holy and Righteous, Merciful and Loving, Light and communicative (must communicate) with man. This presents a seeming problem which is solved in the person of The Lord Jesus Christ Who became man.
II. The Lord Jesus Christ
A. Who He Was:
1. The Creator (Jn. 1:1,3,14);
2. The Son of God (Jn. 20:28,31);
3. The Son of Man by virgin birth (Mt. 1:18-25; Lk 1:26-33).
B. What He did:
1. Lived a perfect life (Jn. 8:46; Jn. 18:38; 19:4,6; Heb. 7:26),
2. Died a vicarious death for all humans (Jn. 3:16; Mt. 10:45; 1 Tim. 2:6),
3. Shed His precious blood (Mt. 26:28; Rom. 5:8-10),
4. Endured the wrath of God in darkness (Mt. 27:45; Lk~3:44,45 cf. Rev. 21:8)
and the fire of The God’s wrath (Lam. 1:12,13 cf. Rev. 1:13,15),
5. Finished the work of atonement (Salvation) (Jn. 19:30),
6. Made His soul an offering for sin (Isa. 53:4,6,10). "tetelestai" (GR.) “It stands finished!” Or “The debt stands paid!” (Jn. 19:30)
7. Resurrected the third day and applied His blood on the mercy seat (1 Cor. 15:4; Heb. 9:12-14,24-26).
C. Why He did it:
1. Because of sin (Rom. 6:23):
a. What sin is:
(1) Missing the mark (Rom. 3:23),
(2) Transgression over a line i.e. the Law (Rom. 5:14; 1 Jn. 3:4),
(3) Yielding to temptation (Jas. 1:14,15),
(4) Not doing what you know to be good and right (Jas. 4:17),
(5) Disobedience (Rom. 5:19; 2 Pet. 4:16,17),
(6) Any act against God;
b. Man's potential to sin;
(1) Jesus' emphasis:
(A) Sins of commission:
(a) Sin in thought:
Anger (Mt. 5:21,22),
Adultery (Mt. 5:27,28),
Hatred (Mt. 5:43-45);
(b) Sin in word (Mt. 12:36,37; Ex. 20:16),
(c) Sin in deed - doing what we should not do;
(B) Sins of Omission - not doing what we ought to do (Jas. 4:17):
Pray, read the Bible daily, attend church faithfully, love your neighbor, etc.
[Use illustrations: Three Sins a Day, and the habitual lawbreaker.]
Thus we conclude that humans are sinners, therefore it is impossible to earn eternal life or earn our way to Heaven.
2. Because of what Sin does:
a. It separates from God (Eph. 2:1-3),
b. It condemns to eternal punishment (Jn. 3:19; Rom. 5:18; 6:23);
3. Because of man (all humans) whom God loves (Jn. 3:16; Eph. 2:4):
a. Humans are condemned to death and out of fellowship with God (Gen. 3:1-8).
This brings us to an understanding of death and life. Earlier we learned that when God made the first humans. He breathed into Adam the breath of life and the human being became an absolute living being, or an eternally existing soul with the ability to choose. This ability to choose includes choosing our eternal destiny. We must choose between life and death. Adam, the first human found himself in a predicament. Eve was seduced by Satan, in the form of a serpent, to sin and eat of the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Adam chose to eat also of that same fruit, even though he knew to do it meant death. Immediately he died spiritually and was cut off from fellowship with God. Also he began to die physically which took 930 years.
b. For humans there are three kinds of life and three kinds of death:- physical, spiritual, and eternal. Life is a union and death is a separation.
(1) Physical life is the union of the soul and spirit of a human with the body (Heb. 9:27). Physical death is the separation of the soul and spirit of a human from the body.
(2) Spiritual death is the separation of the soul and spirit of a human from The God because of sin (Eph. 2:1-5). Spiritual Life is the soul and spirit of a human, who initially and persistently commits trust in The Lord Jesus Christ, united with The God through the reconciling death of The Lord Jesus Christ, Who shed His own precious blood on Calvary’s cross to redeem or to buy us back from sin’s dominion and slavery to Satan (Mt. 4:8,9 cf. Eph. 2:2). And He resurrected out of dead ones from the grave and ascended into Heaven to apply His blood on the Mercy Seat to forgive and to justify (that is to free from all guilt, both of sin the root and sins the fruit) and to declare righteous every one who persistently commits trust in The Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual Life is eternal and begins with the new birth or regeneration.
(3) Eternal death is the reunion of the soul and spirit of the disobedient human,
c. No human can save himself (Eph. 2:8,9; Tit. 3:5)!
Or he would be his own savior. But The God’s standard is “perfection.”
(1) The Testimony of Jesus (Mt. 5:48).
(2) Testimony of Paul (Gal. 3:10).
(3) Testimony of James (Jas. 2:10).
d. No one is good enough (Rom. 3:12,23).
If humans could save themselves, there would be no need for The Lord Jesus to sacrifice Himself on Calvary.
e. It is impossible to be saved by works!
[Omelet illustration (6 eggs, 1 rotten); Queen Elizabeth illustration (1/2 kingdom to get well).]
It appears that nobody can get to Heaven, but in (Mt. 7:13,14) Jesus said,
“Enter& through the narrow gate! because the gate |is| wide and the way |is| spacious which is leading away unto the utter destruction[perishing] and many are the ones entering through it. Because the gate |is| narrow and the way which is leading away unto the absolute life stands restricted with pressure and few are the ones finding it” (Mt. 7:13,14APT).
Therefore some people are going to be there. But nobody will get to Heaven by works. If anyone is going to get to Heaven, and we know people will be there from what Jesus said, there must be another way to get there beside works. It has to be a gift! That is the reason the Lord Jesus Christ died, shed His blood, and endured the wrath of God, and paid it all: to offer Eternal Life including Heaven as a free gift. But who receives the gift? Everybody? No! Absolutely not!
Then how can we receive this gift? It must be received by faith, committing persistent trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Scriptural, saving faith is the key that opens the door to Eternal Life. But repentance makes it possible to reach out for the gift in order to appropriate it.
III. Repentance and Faith
In order to reach out in faith to take The God’s gift of Eternal Life, it is necessary to repent. There must be:
A. Repentance: When the apostle Paul spoke to the Athenians on Mars Hill, after pointing out that the God is The Creator, He reasoned this way:
“For by means of Him we absolutely live and we are being moved and we are being, even as certain of the poets with respect to you&, have declared, For we are also species[genus] of His. Therefore we, since existing species[genus] of The God, are legally obligated not to presume The Divine One+ to be similiar[like] to gold or to silver or to stone sculpture[engraving] by craft and by human reflection. Therefore in fact, though The God overlooked the periods of time of the ignorance with reference to the~ things, now He charges all the humans in all places, Be repenting[change the mind so as to change direction]! for the reason that He established a day in which He is about to judge the inhabited Globe in righteousness by means of 0Man Whom He designated, effecting faith in all people by resurrecting Him out of dead ones” (Acts 17:28-31APT).
The reason repentance is necessary is stated by Isaiah, the prophet.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Is. 53:6).
Note the emphasis that Paul placed upon repentance. To repent is to change your mind about the direction you have been going, about the way you have been living, and about the way you have been treating The God. Stop going your own way! Stop going down the spacious and broad way that leads to destruction! Turn around, reach out in Scriptural saving faith and receive The Lord Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior and at the same time you will receive Eternal Life.
B. Scriptural, saving Faith along with repentance is absolutely necessary before regeneration can occur. Of all the keys on a gentleman’s key ring, only one opens the front door of his house. So also, of all the kinds of faith, only Scriptural, saving faith opens the way to Eternal Life.
1. What Scriptural saving faith is not?
a. It is not mental faith nor intellectual agreement with historical facts. It is not simply believing or acknowledging an historical fact or even a Scriptural truth. Because that is believing in God with the head. Scripture states that “the demons also believe and tremble” (Jas. 2:19). [George Washington illustration.]
b. It is not temporal faith or simply trusting The God to answer prayer for sickness, finances, travel, health, employment, salvation from drowning or from a burning building, or from being killed in a foxhole etc.
2. Scriptural, saving faith is committing persistent trust in The Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. [Use 4 Illustrations: John Wesley, chair, train, boat.]
Definition of Scriptural Faith: “an active abiding personal trust in The God of The Scriptures and in The Lord Jesus Christ, Whom He has sent, which results in transaction, action, relationship, transformation, trials, and ultimate triumph” (Jn. 5:24; 6:29; 14:1).
3. Results of exercising Scriptural, saving faith:
Forgiveness of Sins,
A Home in Heaven,
A Heavenly Father,
A Savior Who Cares,
A Lord Who Controls,
A Master Who Leads, and
A Holy Spirit to Comfort and to Guide.
IV. A free gift!
Eternal life can be yours as a free gift from God now, if you will choose to obey God and:
1. Repent and turn to God from sin and disobedience (Acts 17:30; Lk. 18:13; 1 Thes. 1:9,10).
2. Confess your guilt of sin and ask for God's mercy (Lk. 18:13).
3. Unreservedly commit your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, believing He died for you, rose again, and ascended into Heaven to apply His blood on the Mercy Seat to clear you from all guilt (Rom. 10:9; Heb. 9:14,24-28).
4. Receive Him as your Savior and Lord of your life (Jn. 1:12; Col. 2:6).
5. Publicly and openly confess the Lord Jesus Christ before your fellow men. Tell others how he saved you (Rom. 10:9,10; Mt. 10:32,33).
Are you ready to appropriate this wonderful, free gift of God, The Lord Jesus Christ and Eternal Life NOW?
The choice is yours! May I ask, What is your choice?
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