THE EARLY YEARS OF HEARING THE GOSPEL
- My dad’s ministry lasted as far as I know nearly forty years. Donald and I were born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1947, 1948. Dad was pastoring there. Then we moved to Roanoke in 1950 and lived there until dad died in 1966. Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ was dad’s life. It seemed that we were in church all the time. Dad was preaching revivals, or he was preaching in the Gospel Tent Meetings. The only Gospel I knew was the kind that dad preached. Quite simple in terms, but I believe it was right. So how do I know? By the result of the preaching, and the evidence of those who were saved.
- I realize that the Gospel of Jesus Christ never changes. People have been saved the same way from the beginning. By the grace of God, by faith in God, and by trusting God in obedience to do His will.
- I am still working out in my own mind, how this process took place with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, David, Isaiah and Jeremiah and Nehemiah and Ezra, and Samuel. When I have the answers I will write an article. "How were people in the Old Testament Saved?"
- Are people saved today the same way that people were saved in my dad’s day? Well, the answer to that is simple: YES.
- If I remember one thing about the preaching in my early days, there was a lot said about "repentance." I understood that for a person who wanted to be saved, there was a need of repenting of their sins, and obeying Jesus Christ in all that Christ asked us to do and be.
- It seems over the years, preachers have gotten away from preaching repentance, and obedience. It’s more "just believe by faith and you will be saved."
- I have finally woke up to the fact that there are people in this world who are not Baptist. (Well, in the last thirty years). I think the Hell fire has gone out of a lot of preaching today. I think a lot of "repentance" has been removed from a lot of sermons preached.
I remember at FBC I spent a lot of time talking about "salvation." I would point out the results of one who has been saved. If you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, here is what will happen.
- Today people will turn to Television and here a lot of religious teachings that are false. But to the unbeliever they do not see any different in Joel Osteen’s preaching and Paula White’s teaching than they would mine. So as a pastor I need to be clear from Scripture to point out what the Gospel is, and how God brings one to a saving knowledge of Himself unto salvation.
What must a sinner do to be saved?
To this question, we answer as Peter did in Acts 2:38, "Repent;" and as Paul and Silas did in Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ." We echo the words of Romans 10:9, "If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." To confess (willingly acknowledge and affirm) Jesus as Lord (meaning God, the sovereign Ruler of the universe—Php. 2:10) involves both allegiance and worship. And to believe in your heart (meaning trusting completely in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross) involves dependence. Saving faith necessarily includes both of these elements: allegiance (or affection, devotion, and worship) and dependence (or wholehearted trust). The sinner must turn from his sin, which 1 John 3:4 defines as lawless rebellion, and turn toward Christ. To "turn from" is to repent. To "turn toward" is to believe.
A repentant faith, then, is what God requires.
As Paul described it in 1 Thessalonians 1:8-9, saving faith evidences itself in a turning from idols to serve and worship the living and true God. "turning from idols" includes turning from the idolatry of self-love. "Turning to serve God" necessitates giving Him first place (Exod. 20:3; Mark 12:30). To claim to have turned to God, and yet remain in rebellion to Him, is to deceive oneself. Or as the apostle John said it, "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth" (1 John 1:6).
Repentance, then, is essential to our evangelism.
This is why Jesus Christ commanded His apostles to preach a message of "repentance and remission of sins" to the unbelieving nations (Luke 24:46-47). Peter, in evangelizing the Jerusalem crowds, commanded his hearers to "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out" (Acts 3:19). The apostle Paul, in his evangelistic sermon on Mars Hill, said that God "commands all men everywhere to repent" (Acts 17:30). He later said, in his evangelistic sermon to Agrippa, that his message to both Jews and Gentiles was "that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance" (Acts 26:20) And he did this because Christ himself had commissioned him to do so, "that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]" (v. 18). Free Grace advocates may assert that it is not necessary to include repentance in our evangelistic presentations. The Word of God (from these verses and others) says otherwise. What God commands and Christ commissions, we must do. (Contributor Nate B)
ARE WE CALLED TO SALVATION /AT THE SAME TIME CALLED TO DISCIPLESHIP?
Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant 11-15-16 2006 Proof read by Charity Whisnant Posted 11-17-06
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