Gloryland's New Christian Series Bible course may be copied freely, but must not be sold except to recover the cost of copying or printing. We only ask that proper credit be given and that you notify us if you are copying or distributing the course or making links to it on the Internet. Please let us know if you translate the course into another language, or if you wish to have it translated into another language. © Copyright 1994 Linton M. Smith Jr.
"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,"
— Acts 16:31
The repentant sinner need only have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and believe in Him as the Saviour to receive eternal life and the free pardon from sin— that is salvation. When he does this, he is born of the Spirit of God and acquires a new home in Heaven. After trusting Christ, it is natural that one become a student of the word of God and grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.
In his classic work, The Preacher and His Preaching,
Alfred P. Gibbs says,
"It is not enough that a soul has been won for Christ and thus regenerated. That soul must now be led on in ways well pleasing to the Lord and built up in His most holy faith. The preaching and teaching of the word of God is the means by which this is accomplished."
Today many believers are confused about the teaching of scripture, because as new babes in the Lord they were not grounded in the precious doctrines of the word of God. It is vitally important that we study the scriptures if we are to become effective servants of the Lord. Daily devotions are sweet; a program for reading the Bible through in a year is profitable; but nothing can take the place of real study.
I think every believer will agree with J.C. Ryle, who said:
"No one ever said at the end of his days, I have read my Bible too much; I have prayed too much; I have been too careful with my soul."
The Bible instructs us:
"Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own steadfastness.
But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever..."
— II Peter 3:17,18
In verse 18, we are given the simple commandment, "grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord." It is evident from the warning in verse 17, that obedience to this commandment will keep us from "being led away with the error" that will cause us to "fall from our own steadfastness."
Just as we are commanded to pray, to witness, and to live for the Lord, we are also commanded to study the word of God.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." — II Timothy 2:15
The Bible will be much easier for us to understand if we follow some standard rules of study.
Never study under a man who is a Bible corrector. When dealing with the Holy Bible, we will let the scriptures correct us, not contrariwise. Even while the Apostle Paul was still alive, men had already begun to correct the word of God.
Paul sets himself apart from such, saying;
"For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God..."
— II Corinthians 2:17
It has been well said, "A text without a context, is a pretext." Always study the verse in the light of its own setting.
Scripture should not be made to conform to a preconceived theology; on the contrary, scripture determines theology. As the light in the candlestick gave "light over against it" (Exodus 25:37), so scripture illuminates and explains scripture. The Bible is the only commentary that is absolutely dependable.
For example, the Bible definition of the words "swine" and "dogs" is found in Matthew 7:6 and II Peter 2:22.
"If the literal sense makes good sense, seek no other sense, lest it result in nonsense." Unless the passage is obviously figurative, it is always to be taken in the plain and literal sense.
A. The doctrinal application (often prophetic).
B. The historical application, meaning the event
actually occurred in human history.
C. The devotional or spiritual application, which is
the practical application of the passage to the life
and conduct of the believer.
As we study the Bible these rules should help us make proper application of even the most difficult passages of scripture to our lives.
Some suggested methods of study are:
Association: The words "like" and "as" are the key words in the Bible for understanding anything that cannot be seen.
Contrast: This is called "rightly dividing the word of truth" in II Timothy 2:15. Remember, things that are different are
not the same.
Repetition: Nothing is learned without constant review of the same material. It must be gone over again and again until it is learned by heart.
These are just a few guidelines that will help keep us from error as we study our Bibles. Keep them in mind as we study, and use them as tools to help search the scriptures. At the end of our study we want to know what the Bible says about the subject, not what man says. Billy Sunday said, "When the Bible says one thing, and scholarship says another, scholarship can go plumb to the devil."
Here is a Helpful Hint
While studying these lessons, use a notebook to write down any thoughts and questions that may come to mind. Those notes will be useful for years to come. If possible, get a Bible with a wide margin so you can have more room for your notes. Brief personal notes and cross references help us to recall the things we learn today for years to come. As we study the word of God let's ask the Lord for light and understanding— ask Him to help us to grow in grace and knowledge to the stature of a full-grown Christian.
In his epistle to Timothy, Paul says
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." — II Timothy 3:16,17
Paul instructs the young pastor, Timothy, and each one of us, that "all scripture" is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. Let's examine these three.
Of all the things we want to learn from the word of God, doctrine is the most important. ("Doctrine" simply means the things that the Bible teaches about a certain subject.) There are over 5,000 different denominations in the United States today, each one having a different interpretation of the scriptures. Members of these denominations strictly adhere to the teaching of their own peculiar sect; but in our study, we are interested in what the word of God teaches, because it is the only pure source of doctrine we will ever study. We must set our hearts upon learning what the Bible says, and not what a man or a denomination believes. The only way we will ever know the truth is to take the scriptures in the King James Bible at face value. The Final Authority for the believer, above what anyone teaches, the faithful standard by which we may judge all things, is the 1611 Authorized Version.
As we read in the book of Romans:
"Let God be true but every man a liar." — Romans 3:4
The Psalms also warn us:
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."
— Psalm 118:8
In II Timothy 3:15, "reproof" implies the exposing of error and conviction of sin, with a suggestion of shame upon the one convicted. Scripture can be very pointed about our sin, but it is always for our good and in preparation of the remedy. The purpose of pointing out our sin is that we might receive correction and instruction. Some things may be hidden from men; but scripture is the light that uncovers all things, for nothing is hidden from God.
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
— Psalm 119:105
"All things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light." — Ephesians 5:13
"For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." — John 3:20
Once reproved, we should heed the warning of Proverbs 29:
"He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." — Proverbs 29:1
Let us not be as this man, but accept the reproof of the scriptures as a kindness from the Lord, and the attending correction with joy.
Correction is the remedy that will lead us to the restoration of our relationship with the Lord after we have sinned. In the scriptures, chastening is closely linked to correction.
"Behold happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty." — Job 5:17
"My son, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction." — Proverbs 3:11
For we know that;
"[N]o chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby." — Hebrews 12:11
The Bible never leads anyone to do wrong; it always instructs us to do right. It is not even necessary that we understand everything in the scriptures in order to profit by them; but it is necessary that we believe them. We know that by and by the Holy Spirit will give understanding to the man who believes what God said.
Paul expressed his desire for all believers in this regard.
"For this cause also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;" — Colossians 1:9
The Bible teaches us how to live a life pleasing unto the Lord, but we must study the word of God and give attendance to the teaching and preaching of the word of God. Thereby we can learn the great doctrines of the faith. Studying the scriptures will help perfect us and thoroughly furnish us unto all good works.
What Martin Luther said hundreds of years ago still holds true:
"In truth, you cannot read the scriptures too much; what you read, you cannot too well read;
What you read well, you cannot too well understand; What you understand well, you cannot too well teach; And what you teach well, you cannot too well live."
If not established in the faith through the study of the word of God, we are likely to be deceived by false teachers.
As the Apostle Paul warned:
"That we henceforth be no more children tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the slight of men and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive."
— Ephesians 4:14
The devil uses many false teachers to confuse young believers, persuading them to believe peculiar doctrines and follow them. Beware, they are thoroughly familiar with their own doctrine and, as the Pharisees, very convincing. But we need not be deceived if we are firmly established in the true doctrines of the word of God. We should know what we believe so we will not be confused by these emissaries of Satan.
Because of ignorance or false beliefs, many believers are unaware that eternal life is a present possession— they do not realize that the salvation of their soul is already complete and secure forever. But, as we study the doctrine of salvation, we should gain assurance in the finished work of Christ by learning to rightly divide the scriptures. Many today are deceived in believing that only parts of the scripture are inspired, but that isn't what the Bible says (II Timothy 3:16). We who trust the word of God know that every word of the King James Bible is true.
The Bible says;
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe."
— I Thessalonians 2:13
Paul says that the word of God it won't work in those who do not believe. It only works in those who believe it to be "as it is in truth, the word of God."
Newborn babies must have proper nutrition in order to grow properly. All who are born of the Spirit, are also like newborn babies. From the moment of their birth believers should begin to grow by studying God's word (spoken of as "milk" in I Peter 2).
"As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word that we may grow thereby." — I Peter 2:2
Paul's letter to the Hebrews also says;
"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
For everyone that useth milk is unskillful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
But strong meat belongeth unto them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." — Hebrews 5:12-14
The Lord is a good dietitian and He gives His children a balanced diet to help them grow strong spiritually. In this respect the word of God is variously spoken of as:
The Lord sets a table that gives his children a balanced diet.
Earlier saw in Bible that a Christian is to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord." When he does, he begins to mature.
Where are you in your present spiritual growth? Some have existed such meager diets, that, although saved for many years, they are still babies. Then there are others who have been saved for only five or six months, but have already begun to mature. The difference is a balanced diet. If we are to grow, we must have daily nourishment from the word of God. Studying the New Christian Series Bible course, the student will be exposed to enough Bible truth to equip him with a true knowledge and proper understanding of the basic doctrines of the faith. We will continue until we are feeding on some good strong meat— Porterhouse steak doctrine.
Thus, the diligent student will find himself:
2. Better equipped to work of the Lord. (We should expect to be used by Him according
to our spiritual gifts.)
3. More yielded to Him and better able to discern His will.
4. Growing in the love of the word of God. (The more we study and yield to it, the more
we love it.)
5. Growing in his love for God.
The more the student learns about all the fantastic things that the Lord Jesus Christ has done for him, the more he will love the blessed Saviour.
Dr. James McGaughey sums it up this way:
"Many of God's people have never grown in the Lord because they have not appropriated the things essential to Christian growth. A little poem I read illustrates the truth:
Use the words listed below to answer the questions which follow:
contrast speaking associate like scholarship heart scripture grow context spiritual doctrinal error historical fall repetition rightly dividing study take away add to literal
1. II Peter 3:17,18 says that we are to "___________ in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord" so that we will not be "led away with the ______________" that will cause us to ______________ from our own steadfastness."
2. Never ________ _____ or __________ __________ from the text of the King James Bible.
3. II Timothy 2:15 "____________ to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, _________________ _____________________ the word of truth."
4. Never take a verse of scripture out of ____________.
5. _______________ illuminates and explains scripture.
6. Never go to ___________________________ for the definition of something the Bible has already defined.
7. Always ask WHO is ____________________ and to WHOM.
8. Always take the plain, ____________________ meaning of every verse of scripture except where it is impossible to do so.
9. List the three applications that every verse of scripture has:
10. The words "____________" and "as" are the key words in the Bible for _____________________ anything that cannot be seen.
11. Remember, in studying the Bible, things that are _____________ are not the same.
12. Going over the same material again and again is called _________________.
13. Nothing is really learned from the Bible without constant review -it must be learned by ___________________.
1. II Timothy 3:16,17 "All scripture is given by ______________ of God, and is profitable for _______________ , for _____________ , for __________________ , for ________________ in righteousness."
2. Which word from II Timothy 3:16,17 means "the things that the Bible teaches about a certain subject?" ____________________.
3. What is the only source of PURE doctrine? (see II Timothy 3:16) ________________________.
4. What is the Final Authority for the believer in all matters of faith and practice? The ________ _________________ _________.
5. Which word from the II Timothy 3:16,17 implies the exposing of error and conviction of sin? _____________________.
6. Which word from II Timothy 3:16,17 means "the remedy that will lead us to the restoration of our relationship with the Lord after we have sinned?" ______________________.
7. Which words from II Timothy 3:16,17 tell us that the Bible always teaches us to do right? __________ ___ __________________.
8. The devil uses many ________________ ______________ with deceitful doctrines to confuse young believers.
9. To keep from being deceived we must be firmly established in the ____________________ of the word of God.
10. _____________ ______________ in the King James Bible is true.
1. I Peter 2:2 "As newborn _______________ , desire the sincere ____________ of the word that we may grow thereby."
2. Which word in I Peter 2:2 refers to a new believer? __________
3. Look up the following scripture texts and write down the word that is used to describe the word of God in each verse.
Hebrews 5:13 ____________________
Hebrews 5:14 ____________________
Psalm 119:103 ___________________
Proverbs 25:11 ___________________
Luke 4:4 _________________________
4. If a Christian is to grow in grace and knowledge he must have daily nourishment from ____________ ___________________ ______________ _____________________.
Three things EVERY Christian should Know
The purpose of this lesson is to establish the believer in the true doctrines of Bible salvation. In Lesson 1 we will learn that:
Unless we know these three things, further study will be fruitless. These are the basics— they are essential to our growth. Still, there are church members all over this country who profess to be Christians, but do not have the assurance that they are really saved.
For example, consider a Campbellite preacher teaching his congregation what they must do to get saved. What are his instructions?— repent, believe, confess and be baptized by a Campbellite elder. He teaches this to his people every week. Now, if we asked one of these preachers if he had repented, confessed, and believed, he would say, "Yes!" If we asked him if he had been baptized, he would say without hesitation, "Of course!" But if we asked him, "Are you saved?" He would say something like, "I hope so," "I think so," or "I'm doing the best I can." Can you imagine anything more ridiculous than a preacher telling 400 or 500 people each week how to be saved, when he can't even testify that he knows he himself is saved? In fact, he actually believes that no one can be certain they are going to Heaven. If his church members did get saved by trusting in the blood of Christ, by faith alone (instead of Campbellite doctrine) they would never grow in the word of God. They would be hopelessly confused about their salvation and about most other Bible doctrines as well.
Now let us look more closely at the three things every believer should know.
The first thing every Christian needs to get settled in his heart and mind is that he possesses the gift of eternal life now— he must know he is saved. Nowhere does the Bible teach that a born again child of God will probably go to Heaven when he dies. We have a know-so salvation, firmly based upon what God said, not a hope-so salvation.
Any repentant sinner who has believed the gospel of the grace of God (I Corinthians 15:1-4), is saved and can know for certain that he has eternal life now. Still, there are many self-righteous people who believe that if they are good and if they work hard at being a Christian, they will probably go to Heaven. Of course, they have no assurance of their salvation at all. They will try to tell us that no one can know for sure that he has eternal life, but this does not upset us at all. We believe what the word of God says, not what people say.
As we read in the Psalms:
"It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man." — Psalm 118:8
We also read that we are to
"[B]e ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." — I Peter 3:15
To do this, we must be prepared to show others, from the Bible, what we believe.
Let's see what the word of God says in I John:
"He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son!
And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in His Son." — I John 5:10,11
"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." — I John 5:12
If you have the Son of God, you have eternal life. If you do not have the Son of God, you do not have eternal life— it is just that simple. The Bible is the record God has given to show how we can have eternal life.
"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the son of God, that ye may know that ye have eternal life and that ye may believe on the name of the son of God." — I John 5:13
It is clear from the Bible that believers can know they have eternal life. However, perhaps ninety percent of professing Christians do not have this blessed assurance. In we asked them, "If you died tonight, do you know for certain that you would go to Heaven?", what do you think most of them would say? They would answer, "I hope so"— "I'm working on it"— "I'm trying to be"— "You can't know that until judgment day," or some similar nonsense. Others would reply: "Well, I'm a Catholic"— "I'm a church member"— "I've been baptized." But few would look you straight in the eye and say, "Yes, I know I am saved by grace through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ." If that seems hard to believe, just go out on the street and distribute a handful of tracts to passers-by, and ask them if they are saved. They will say they attend church, read the Bible, and pray etc; but few will have any real assurance that they possess eternal salvation now. You will see how little regard they have for the authority of God's word, for while the Bible says we can know that we have eternal life, some still say they cannot. Should a man believe what he thinks, or what the Bible says? Surely we must believe the word of God. The Lord has already told us what to do when men's ideas conflict with His word.
"[L]et God be true, but every man a liar..." — Romans 3:4
That is why so many are in doubt about eternal life— they just refuse to believe what God said. The final authority in their lives is not the word of God, but their school, some radio preacher they follow after, or their own fickle emotions. Folks will put their trust in many things before they will wholly trust in The Book God gave them.
I know of a Baptist pastor who, while witnessing to a Roman Catholic priest, showed him God's plan of salvation from the scriptures. The priest confessed his ignorance of the scriptures, saying that he had spent more time studying philosophy than he had the Bible. Then, frustrated at being unable to answer the scriptures shown him, he finally said, "The Bible is just a bunch of baloney."
In another instance, a so-called Charismatic Christian told me that studying doctrine was dangerous, and that we shouldn't talk about doctrine anyway, but just love each other and try to get along.
In still another conversation, a member of the Church of Christ sect was shown from the Bible how he could receive eternal life. At the end of our conversation, he still did not believe anyone could know they have eternal life— showing a total disregard for the authority of God's word.
On another occasion, I had an opportunity to present these verses about assurance of salvation to a Calvinist. When he was unable to argue with the plain statement of scripture that "you may know," he broke off the conversation, saying that interpreting the scriptures should be left in the hands of preachers. He was saying that a Christian couldn't understand the word of God by himself, but had to have a preacher with a college degree to interpret it for him. That is the same thing the Jehovah's Witnesses and Roman Catholics will say. I have even heard some so-called Christians get so mad they would say, "I don't care what the Bible says!"
These all had a problem with conflicting authorities. When the Bible did not agree with their church's theology or tradition, they threw the Bible out, accepting the authority of their church, school, or tradition above the word of God itself. If the word of God is the final authority in your life, simply stand on what it says. It can handle every argument and can lead you to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ until you are firmly established in God's word.
There are many today who make a profession of faith in Christ, but never become real students of the word of God. Because they fail to do so, they never grow in grace and the knowledge of the Lord. If we were to ask them if they are saved, they might say something like, "Yes, I got saved two or three years ago, but I'm not sure just exactly how to tell you about it." This has been so noticeable among some groups that now they repeatedly drill their new converts the steps of salvation until they can repeat it like a computer when questioned about their salvation. These still may have no real assurance, but can give the right answers and put off the soul winner. How foolish to convince a man that he is saved when he does not really know for sure. For example, can you imagine asking a married man, "Are you married?" and receiving the answer, "Well, I hope so; I mean I think so; that is, my marriage license says I am; but I can't tell you for sure how I get married." Listen, he met that woman at a certain time and place, and entered into vows with her. He took her home and made her his wife. In fact, he saw her only about an hour ago at home, where she served dinner and put the kids to bed. How could a married man become so confused?
In like manner, if we are truly saved, we had to come face to face with God Almighty, the Creator of the universe, with all our sin. Stripped of any hope of salvation by our own goodness, we fell upon Christ as our only hope and He saved us and made us His child. We are now born again, forgiven and made clean as a new creature in Christ. We were just at church rejoicing in the Lord over the preaching of the cross and were mightily moved by the Spirit of God. How then, could a believer not know for sure whether or not he is really saved? How is it that he finds himself unable to tell others how they might be saved? Folks, if you do not know for certain that you are saved, then you probably aren't. Now, that does not mean we will never doubt our salvation— Satan loves to bring doubts to our minds. He will tell us how unworthy we are and remind us of our past sins. Later, we might even have to rehearse in our minds our meeting with God to settle the business of our salvation and the forgiveness of sin. But brother, if we do not know whether or not we have ever even been there, then it is very likely that we are just lost.
I like that old hymn, The Old Account Settled. It reminds me of the time that I met with God to settle accounts.
The first verse goes like this:
"There was a time on earth,
When in the book of heav'n
An old account was standing
For sins yet unforgiv'n;
My name was at the top,
and many things below,
I went unto the keeper,
and settled long ago.
Long ago, long ago,
Yes, the old account was settled long ago;
And the record's clear today,
for He washed my sins away,
When the old account was settled long ago."
Can you remember when and where your account was settled? If not, maybe you are still lost, and not really saved at all. Of course it does not necessarily mean that you are not saved, but it is a curious thing if you do not have a real good idea about the time when you were saved from eternal punishment of your sins.
One nationally known pastor responded to an inquirer's question about his personal testimony of salvation by saying that he had been raised in a Christian home and really could not remember a time when he was not a Christian. That is a mighty shaky testimony with which to face the judgment. While it is possible for one to be saved at an early age, a deep conviction of sin and a repentant heart must have been manifest. How anyone could come before God Almighty, the Creator of the universe— be stripped down to their bare soul and confronted with the blackness of his sin and the desperate wickedness of his heart— and not remember it, is beyond my comprehension. Often, those saved in their childhood do not remember the occasion, but will of necessity be compelled to go to God again later in life to make sure of his salvation. You need to be able to mark a date and time in your life when you did business with God; you need to make sure you have eternal life and forgiveness of sin.
Let's look at the scriptures now, and see by example how one man was saved. In Acts 16, Paul the Apostle dealt with a Roman jailer, who asked the most important question anyone could ever ask, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" (Acts 16:30). He asked how he could get saved. This is a very important verse to remember when dealing with the unsaved, because it is simple, honest, and straight forward.
The answer Paul and Silas gave was equally simple:
"And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." — Acts 16:31
The man was told that he and his household would be saved if they would believe on the Lord. The right question is in verse thirty, the right answer, in verse thirty-one.
We see the clear answer according to the scripture:
The answer is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." That's right— the very moment a person believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, He receives the gift of eternal life. It is not a reward we look forward to later on, but a present possession.
See what John the Apostle says:
"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.
For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.
He that believeth on Him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God." — John 3:16-18
That is the same thing Paul told the Philippian jailer in answer to his searching question in Acts 16.
Again John says;
"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." — John 3:36
"Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that heareth my word and believeth on Him that sent me hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life."
— John 5:24
In every one of these passages of scripture, condemnation is based on a man's unbelief, and nothing else— it has nothing to do with water baptism. Knowing this, look at Mark 16 (one of the verses often used to teach that water baptism is a necessary element of salvation.)
"He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." — Mark 16:16
The apostle Paul wrote a letter of warning to the church at Corinth warning them of subtle manner by which Satan deceives men about the assurance of their salvation.
"But I fear, lest by any means as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." — II Corinthians 11:3
Salvation is the free gift of God to all who believe!
To receive this gift you must simply believe in His Son, yet many remain unsaved because of their unbelief and blindness.
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost,
In whom the god of this world [the devil] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them."
— II Corinthians 4:3,4
When we speak of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not mean simply believing that there is a God. But, that is a starting place.
As the book of Hebrews says;
"[H]e that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." — Hebrews 11:6
We must believe on Christ as Saviour in order to be saved:
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." — John 3:14,15
In Acts chapter 10, we see an example of this progression from believing in God, to believing in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.
The Roman centurion, said to be;
"A devout man, and one that feared God with all His house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway."
— Acts 10:2
"And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews..." — Acts 10:22
Paul said this man was just and devout, but though he prayed, gave generously to the poor, feared God, and had a good report among the whole nation, he was lost. In Acts 10:4, the angel tells him that his prayers and alms had come up for a "memorial before God," but this didn't cleanse the centurion from his sins. Acts 10:35 says that any man who fears God and works righteousness is even "accepted" with God, but not saved. Rather, he is accepted as ready to receive the gospel. What happened to the Roman centurion? God rewarded him for seeking God (Hebrews 11:6) by sending Peter to preach the gospel to him. When the centurion heard it, he believed, and then he was born of the Spirit of God. (He received eternal life.) No doubt he was an unusual man (better than many Christians I know), but being good, and even believing there was a God could not save him.
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
By which also ye are saved ..." — I Corinthians 15:1,2
Saved by what? By the gospel!
Now, let's read the rest of this passage of scripture and learn exactly what "the gospel" is.
"[I]f ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:" — I Corinthians 15:2-4
Nothing about water baptism can be found anywhere near this passage. Plainly, water baptism is not an essential part of salvation, and it is heresy to teach that it is. The gospel is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. A man can believe in his mind that the gospel is true, yet remain unsaved. It is only when one comes to God with a repentant heart, believing upon Jesus as his Saviour: crucified for his sins, buried and resurrected, that he becomes a child of God. Believing the gospel in one's mind does no good; it must be coupled with a recognition of personal and individual need. Many believe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the whole world, but that is not good enough. They must believe that He died for each one of them as an individual. To better understand how a man gets saved, let's take a look at three things that lead to his conversion.
A. He Must Realize His Condition.
B. He Must Respect God's Provision.
C. He Must Receive God's Appropriation.
Now, let's examine these three steps in detail.
1. He is a Christ rejecting sinner
Man must see, from the Bible, that he is a sinner and he must understand that without the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour, he is without hope and on his way to Hell. Some good Bible verses to use are:
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God."
— Romans 3:23
Paul says that "all" have sinned— without exception! (That is not my interpretation of the verse; it is simply what the Bible says.)
"As it is written, there is none righteous, no, not one."
— Romans 3:10
"Wherefore as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world and death by sin and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." — Romans 5:12
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." — Romans 6:23
Romans 6:23 shows that the reward of sin is death, but it also makes it clear that the singular remedy is "life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Because of Adam's sin, everyone since then has been under the curse of death. Each of us must also suffer physical death if the Lord tarries, but the death that "passed upon all men" is that spiritual death that has cut us off from God. This leads to "the second death" of Revelation 20:11-15 (the wrath of God poured out upon the lost in Hell), where the lost man is cast into a Lake of Fire, and eternally separated from God. The contrast is "eternal life," passed on to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour. When we believe, we experience the new birth by which we are quickened.
"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." — Ecclesiastes 7:20
"The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it?" — Jeremiah 17:9
"But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags and we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities like the wind have taken us away." — Isaiah 64:6
God does not give anyone eternal life because they deserve it. No, Jesus came to save ungodly sinners — that is why one must realize he is lost before he can get saved. Counting his own works as nothing, one must trust in Christ's work. The following verses make this plain.
"I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." — Matthew 9:13
"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
— Romans 4:5
"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly." — Romans 5:6
In the following passage of scripture from Luke's gospel we have an example of two unsaved men with very different backgrounds and lifestyles. One is a self-righteous man, while the other, by his own confession, is a unsaved sinner.
"Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee and the other a publican.
The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess."
— Luke 18:10-12
That is the proclamation of the self-righteous man, who believes that his works would justify him before God.
Now, read the confession of the poor lost publican:
"And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner." — Luke 18:13
Then Jesus said:
"I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other: for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." — Luke 18:14
To which prayer does God give attention?— to that of the publican. Broken in spirit because of his sins, he confessed to God that he was a lost sinner, and cried out for mercy. Therefore, it was also he who "went away justified, rather than the other." There are still people like the Pharisee today, who try to justify themselves before the Lord. They usually say things like:
2. He is hopelessly lost and on his way to a burning Hell, under the wrath of God.
Many so-called good, clean, moral people will be in Hell because they were unwilling to come to the Lord Jesus Christ with their sin. But, no matter how good a man thinks himself to be, he must realize he is a lost Hell-bound sinner before he can get saved. An honest man will see from the Bible that without Christ, he has no hope.
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:"
— Ephesians 2:12
Furthermore he is a child of wrath:
"And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins:
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."
— Ephesians 2:1,3
1. He must see that God's only provision for the cleansing of sin is the blood of His Son.
So many think they have to do something to get saved, but we can do nothing. God is the only one who can help us: He is our only hope.
As Paul says in Ephesians:
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast." — Ephesians 2:8,9
And again in Romans he says;
"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." — Romans 6:23
Every Christian should memorize Romans 6:23. It shows clearly that salvation is a gift, and not of works. Romans 5:15-18 also deals with this, comparing Christ and Adam. Using a colored marker, highlight in your Bible the word "gift" each time it occurs in these verses. (This will emphasize that salvation is indeed the free gift of God to all who believe.)
"But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses unto justification.
For if by one man's offense death reigned by one, much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.
Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men by justification of life." — Romans 5:15-18
If good works could save us, God would owe us our salvation as a debt. It would no longer be a "free gift," but a reward. Grace, however, is the free unmerited favor of God (Romans 4:4,5).
"Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness."
— Romans 4:4,5
According to these verses, when one receives Jesus Christ by faith he has "obeyed the gospel." The Bible does not say that obeying the gospel means "repent, confess, believe and be baptized," no matter what anyone says. The Bible definition of obeying the gospel is found in Romans chapter 10.
"That they have not all obeyed the gospel, for Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report," — Romans 10:16
We obey the gospel by believing in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. As the Bible says, it is a free gift, not an earned reward. Regarding salvation, all religions say do, while God says done. When Jesus died on the cross, the work of salvation was completed.
These were Jesus' last words from the cross:
"[I]t is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." — John 19:30
God's only plan of salvation in this Church Age is by grace alone, through faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.
"For by grace are ye saved by faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Not of works, lest any man should boast." — Ephesians 2:8,9
If man's works contributed in any way to his salvation, God would be saving sinners to pay a debt He owed them. But God is indebted to no one, because we are saved by His work on the cross.
Here is a simple illustration to help explain that salvation is absolutely free. Holding a pencil or a coin (or any small item that is handy) in the palm of your hand, offer it as a free gift to the person you are dealing with. When he accepts it, tell him that's all he has to do to receive eternal life— just simply take the free gift.
"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
1. The Holy Spirit Draws Men To Christ
We cannot lead people to Christ unless the Holy Spirit is convicting them of sin, and drawing them to Christ.
The Bible plainly says,
"No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him..." — John 6:44
Furthermore we read in the Gospel of John:
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth will draw all men unto me." — John 12:32
Those called Calvinists teach that Christ died for only a select few, not for all. That is a lie straight out of Hell! The Lord Jesus promised that He would "draw all men" to himself.
Again we read in the scriptures, that:
"The Lord is… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." — II Peter 3:9
Still, not everyone will be saved. The Holy Spirit will convict a man of sin and give him faith to believe, but if the sinner hardens his heart toward the gospel, there is nothing more we can do with him. We can show him the scriptures and pray for him, but we cannot give him the desire to be saved. In the last chapter of the book of Revelation the Holy Spirit gives this invitation for all to be saved.
"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." — Revelation 22:16
You may be wondering, "What about repentance— on't I have to repent?" Yes, that is clear from the word of God.
"God...now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:"
— Acts 17:30
But what is repentance? Well, it is not merely sorrow for sin. There are many who weep over sin, but without repentance, immediately return to their wicked ways. Judas Iscariot and Esau showed great sorrow for their sin, but they did not repent (cf. Matthew 27:3-5; Genesis 27:34-38).
The Bible tells us that Esau:
"[F]ound no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears." — Hebrews 12:17
Remorse and tears often accompany repentance, but they are not repentance in themselves.
Charles H. Spurgeon wrote:
"A man may hate sin just as a murderer hates the gallows, but this does not prove repentance. If I hate sin because of the punishment, I have not repented of sin. I merely regret that God is just. But if I can see sin as an offence against Jesus Christ, and loathe myself because I have wounded Him, then I have true brokeness of heart."
Doing penance is not repentance either; for that would give the sinner some works by which he might think himself to merit salvation. In reality, this unscriptural teaching actually hinders true repentance, which is a change of mind that leads to a change of conduct.
As touching the intellect
In Matthew 21, we read a story of a lad called to work.
"He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went." — Matthew 21:29
At first the boy refused to work in the vineyard, but later he repented, changed his mind and actually went to work in the vineyard.
As touching the emotions
While sorrow is not itself repentance, one cannot be said to have experienced true repentance with some remorse for his sin.
"Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance.
For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." — II Corinthians 7:9,10
The publican in Luke 18:13 smote upon his breast, indicating sorrow of heart and seeking of repentance. In Luke 7:38, the woman who anointed Jesus with ointment literally washed His feet with her tears. She demonstrated her sorrow for sin and repented unto salvation. Just how much emotion is necessary in true repentance no one can say. But it is evident from the use of the word in the scriptures that it involves an emotional upheaval. And even though it be not it be not accompanied by a flood of tears, or even a single tear, there should be a certain amount of heart movement.
About this Spurgeon says:
"A sinner has a heart as well as a head; a sinner has emotions as well as thoughts, and we must appeal to both. A sinner will never be converted until his emotions are stirred."
As touching the will
One of the Hebrew words for repent means "to turn." The prodigal son of Luke 15:18 said, "I will arise… and he arose." He not only thought upon his ways, and felt sorry because of them, but he also turned his steps in the direction of home. So in a very real sense, repentance comes through crisis, that brings the hope of a changed life ahead. Repentance is not only the result of a heart broken for sin, but extends to the turning from sin as well. In Paul's epistles, repentance is more of an experience (as the" rising" and "going" of the prodigal son) than a single act. We may say it is a twofold act of turning from sin, to God.a. The confessing of sin to God.
"For I will declare mine iniquity: I will be sorry for my sin."
— Psalm 38:18
"But if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
For with the heart, man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed.
For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.
For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." — Romans 10:9-13
The "confession... made unto salvation" in verse 9 is our confession to God. It is made when we "call upon the name of the Lord." It is the confession of our sin and our belief in the Lord Jesus as Saviour. This naturally leads us to confess Him before men, because, as verse 11 says, "whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed." True believers aren't ashamed of their Lord, and He is not ashamed of them. Not once has He ever turned away a repentant sinner coming to Him for salvation. Hear the words of the Lord Jesus:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come to me and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out.
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me.
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me that of all which He hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." — John 6:37-39
The publican said, "God be merciful to me a sinner." The prodigal cried, "I have sinned against heaven."
b. The forsaking of sin.
"Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return unto the Lord." — Isaiah 55:7
"He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy." — Proverbs 28:13
c. A turning unto God.
Turning from sin without turning to God is reformation without regeneration. As Paul shows in his letter to the Thessalonians, the part of the will and disposition is shown in these verses.
"[H]ow ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God." — I Thessalonians 1:9
"And rend your heart and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful," — Joel 2:13
Repentance is not something we can pump up within ourselves— it is granted of the Lord to all who seek Him through brokenness of spirit and godly sorrow for sin.
"The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as are of a contrite spirit." — Psalm 34:18
"Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." — Acts 11:18
"[I]f God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;" — II Timothy 2:25
Repentance is a prominent subject in the scriptures, being mentioned over one hundred times. The burden of God's heart is for all to repent.
"The Lord is… not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." — II Peter 3:9
Failure to obey results in eternal damnation.
"Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish." — Luke 13:3
In actual experience, confession, repentance, and belief all take place at practically the same time.
3. Believing God.
The key to salvation in any age is believing what God said. The foundation and assurance of our salvation lies in the word of God.
"Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."
— Romans 10:17
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God which effectually worketh also in you that believe." — I Thessalonians 2:13
"But these things are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." — John 20:31
We know that preaching from the Bible is God's primary means of making His word known unto the lost.
"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." — I Corinthians 1:21
We must not base our salvation on an emotional experience, but on the word of God. Some people cry when they get saved, and some shout when they get saved. Others quietly believe the word of God and yield to His will. However, if they have truly believed the gospel, all of them are saved, whether they cry or shout or say nothing at all. Different people have different kinds of emotions. We cannot see, feel, or touch Jesus. Our salvation rests solely upon what the Bible says.
Suppose we awaken one day feeling terrible, as if the whole world were falling apart and landing on us. Because we don't feel well or feel like praising God, does that mean we're no longer saved? Not at all! We will never have assurance of our salvation if we rely upon our feelings to prove it. The Bible says we must have a single mind about things—the mind of Christ. We must believe what He said, not what we think or feel. Otherwise we will always be on the roller coaster of our emotions; first up, then down, never settled and stable.
The Bible says:
"A double minded man is unstable in all his ways." — James 1:8
In contrast, the scriptures also say of the Lord, that:
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." — Isaiah 26:3
We must set our hearts upon the Lord and fill our minds with the word of God. Thereby we shall find peace, because we can trust in Him and we can believe His word.
Now, we are going to find out what the Bible says about being saved, and what it means to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible verses we are going to look at actually have the word saved in them and talk about being saved. When we trust in the word of God and do what it says, we can have all confidence that God will do what he says He will do. The next passage is in the Gospel of John.
"But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name."
— John 1:12
To "believe on his name" (John 1:12) is to receive Christ as Saviour, and become a son of God. In the verse following that we see the new birth spoken of.
"Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." — John 1:13
"Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." — John 3:3
To be born again, we must trust Christ as our personal Saviour. In Ephesians chapter 1, Paul tells those who have already trusted Christ.
"That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ,
In whom ye also trusted after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise."
— Ephesians 1:12,13
We must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and receive Him as our Saviour. Let me emphasize that we get saved by receiving a person. The Roman Catholic church teaches that salvation is centered around the sacrifice of the mass (eating a little wafer and drinking liquor). But no one gets saved by receiving a thing: we must receive a person. We acknowledge our trust in Christ by simply asking Him to save us.
"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." — Romans 10:13
The third thing every Christian should know is how to lead others to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. If we understand the first two points we have looked at, we won't have any problem leading someone else to the Lord. Now we are going to see how to take the word of God and lead others to the Lord.
To build their congregations, preachers will run everyone they can through some sort of soul winning course to get them to appear to be evangelistic. They are trying to get them to do what should come naturally to one who is saved and walking with the Lord.
R.C. Halverson once said:
"Evangelism never seemed to be an 'issue' in the New Testament. That is to say, one does not find the apostles urging, exhorting, scolding, planning and organizing for the evangelistic programs… Evangelism happened! Issuing effortlessly from the community of believers as light from the sun, it was automatic, spontaneous, continuous, contagious."
The method used in witnessing is going to depend on the person we are dealing with. Different people must be dealt with in different ways. This is something we will learn only by experience. We must also use wisdom from the Holy Spirit. We will have to give some people more than just the Romans Road to reach them. It may depend on the amount of time that we have to talk to that person. On some occasions we may have plenty of time to search the scriptures together, while with others we may have only a few minutes. If necessary, we must be ready to quickly point them to the right scriptures to show them how and why they must be born again. Always be sensitive to the moving of the Holy Spirit. The most important thing is to be ready to sow or to reap, as the situation dictates.
There is more to winning souls than memorizing the steps of a soul winning course and marking a few verses in our Bibles. If we really want to win souls we must fill our heart with God and His word, and always maintain a good testimony before God and man. We might be surprised how God will use us to bring men to Christ. It is useless to promote a program to get folks out witnessing, when they have a wretched personal testimony and no assurance of their own salvation.
The Romans Road Map To Heaven
We can easily lead a lost sinner to the Lord using only the book of Romans. Dr. Jack Hyles says, "You can be a soul winner even if you don't know a single verse of scripture, if you can draw a map in your Bible to tell yourself where to go." The road map he is speaking of is a chain of scripture references appropriately called the Romans Road Map to Heaven. Many Christian workers use this. It is a good way to build confidence in the use of the scriptures in soul winning. (While this is a good way to begin, we emphasize the importance of knowing and memorizing the scriptures so that we might become intimately acquainted with our Bible.)
First: You will need a Bible or New Testament, preferably one with large print. This will enable the person you are dealing with to easily read the scripture for themselves.
Second: It would be helpful to use a felt tip marker to highlight verses you will be using. This will cause them to be more easily read by those to whom you are witnessing.
Third: Write down a chain of scripture references in your Bible.
1. To begin the first chain of references on the subject of salvation, write the word Salvation on a blank page in the front or back of your Bible. Beneath the word Salvation write Romans 3:10. Turn to that verse in your Bible and in the margin of the page next to verse 10 write 3:23. So, after reading Romans 3:10 we will know what verse to turn to next. We are making a sort of road map with signs to tell us how to get to where we want to go.
2. Now turn to Romans 3:23. Mark that verse and beside it write 5:12.
3. Turn to Romans 5:12; write in the margin beside it, 6:23.
4. Find and mark Romans 6:23, and beside it write 5:8.
5. Turn there to mark Romans 5:8 and write in the margin 10:9-13; Romans 10:9-13 is the last verse in the chain.
There are hundreds of verses we could use to show lost people these things, but it is best to take five or six that clearly show these points and learn to use them well. Do not use too many verses, as that tends to confuse a lost person. Always remember, the simpler we can be, the easier it is for them to understand and be saved. However, here are some other verses that may also be helpful.
If there is room on the page, you may also want to write comments that will be a reminder to say certain things about certain verses. Now, after leading them through the scripture references in the Romans Road Map to show God's plan of salvation, go back to the beginning and:
Review the main points to be sure he understands.
Dr. Jack Hyles always uses something like the following:
"Now, Mr. Doe, there are only four things you must know to be saved.
First, you must know that you are a sinner. For example, Romans 3:10 says, 'As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.' Let me illustrate. If there is none righteous, that means I'm not righteous, doesn't it? (Notice, I didn't get him unrighteous first; I got me unrighteous. Never put the sinner below yourself. Always let him know, that but for the grace of God, you would be in the fix he is in— get yourself lost first.) So if there is none righteous, I am not righteous. If there is none righteous, then Mr. Doe, you are not righteous. Also, it says, 'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.' Now if all have sinned, that means I've sinned— right? That means your wife has sinned, and that means you have sinned.
If he still acts like he is not a sinner, just list a few sins and you will catch him. A lot of times I say this: 'You do realize that you are a sinner? For example, the Bible mentions some sins such as evil thinking, bad literature, ugly disposition, etc.' Somewhere along that line there will be something that he does. Show him he is a sinner.
Second, show him the price on sin. Romans 5:12: 'Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin...' What kind of death? All death, both spiritual and physical death, the sum total of death;… and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.' And Romans 6:23, 'For the wages of sin is death...' So there is a price on sin. What is that price? Death! What kind of death? That includes the second death of Revelation 20:14, and that second death is the Lake of Fire. So ultimately a person who is a sinner must pay for it by going to Hell. That's the basic price on sin.
Third, the next thing we must do is show that Jesus paid the price. So I say this: 'Mr. Doe, God looked down from Heaven and saw that you were a sinner. He saw that you were in debt. He saw that you and I deserved to go to Hell. He wanted to save us and made a plan to do it. He came to the world Himself. His name was Jesus. He was God in a human body. For thirty-three years He lived here in this world. He did not commit one single sin. This is important. Mr. Doe, suppose that Jesus Christ had sinned one time only. The price on sin being death or Hell, where would Jesus have had to go when He died? The answer is Hell, but He did not sin. He did not commit one sin, but He went to the cross, and on the cross He suffered spiritual death when He said, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' He suffered the same thing that a lost person will have to suffer in Hell. I'll go farther than that. I believe that He suffered as much in that moment on Calvary as the sum total eternal suffering of all the lost people who will ever go to Hell to stay forever. Actually He was paying our price for our sins. He was becoming our substitute.'
Fourth, 'If we will receive that price as our hope for Heaven and receive Him as our Saviour from sin, He will make us His children and take us to Heaven when we die.'
That's the review. You explain it to them first, then you review. Let me review it with you now. 'Let me ask you a question, Mr. Doe. Do you realize that you are a sinner?'
Do you realize that people who die in their sins must go to Hell? (Now be as severe with that as you can. If a sinner knows he is going to Hell, say, 'Do you realize that if you died right now, you would go to Hell?' If he is a little sensitive about it, then you can say, 'Do you realize that a man who dies in his sins goes to Hell?' (Be as severe as you can but don't make your patient so sick you will kill him before you heal him. You have to stay with him.) 'Do you realize that Jesus Christ has suffered your Hell already for you? If we knelt here together and had prayer and you sincerely received Christ as your Saviour, do you believe God would make you His child?'
That is the review. I have explained to him how to get saved, then I have reviewed and ask these questions.
Ask if you may pray
There are several ways to do this, but you must try to get them to pray. If he is really ready, say, 'Could I pray for you, and while I pray, would you pray and ask God to save you today?' Maybe he is not quite that ready. Maybe you don't know. You could say, 'Could I pray that you will get saved?' Maybe you don't think he will let you pray for him to get saved. Then you say, 'Could I have a word of prayer with you before I go?' Anyway, to get your head bowed is good. If you are talking to him, he might interrupt, but if you are talking to the Lord, he won't. You can preach him a little sermon in the prayer. If you can't win a fellow to Christ, and if he won't let you present the plan to him, the best way to tell him how to be saved is to tell the Lord and let the sinner hear you.
I stop abruptly in my prayer. I pray a simple prayer. Never pray a big prayer. You must pray a prayer so simple that he won't mind his prayer following yours. If you pray, 'Jesus Thou God of Jacob; oh, Thou God of Rehoboam and Jeroboam and Jehoshaphat; oh, Thou great God of the universe, the omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient God, would you save this man?' After that, he won't pray. But you can pray this, 'Dear Lord, here is a fellow who needs to get converted. I pray You will help him get saved. May he receive Christ. You love him, dear Lord...' 'Now fellow, will you pray?' You pray like that, and he can pray his little prayer in a minute.
I always stop in the middle of my prayer. I say, 'Dear Lord, lead this man to be saved. You led me here and I pray that he will be saved today. May his wife have a Christian husband and the little children a Christian daddy. Make this be the day of his salvation. Now while our heads are bowed in prayer, Mr. Doe, would you be willing today to ask God to forgive you and tell Him you want to get saved?'
Let me say this: By the time you get there, the forces of Hell will be fighting you. By the time you get this far talking to a sinner, you will feel like everything you own depends on what you do right now. Realize the seriousness of it all."
See, you stop in the middle of your prayer and lead him to pray. Let me say this: Fifty percent of the time when you get this far, the lost person is going to pray. Now, I would suggest you tell him what to pray but not the words. Like this: 'Would you ask God to forgive you and tell Him you want to receive Jesus today?' Fifty percent of the time he will make up a prayer. I've heard some of the sweetest prayers. A lot of times he won't pray. He does not know how to pray. He says, 'I have never prayed before.' In that case I say, 'Mr. Doe would you just say these words and mean them in your heart, Lord, be merciful to me a sinner— …forgive my sins and save my soul— I now receive Jesus as my Saviour?'
Do not be disappointed by failures. There may even be some who will make a profession of faith but then won't come to church to make it known publicly. Keep crying and keep trying; always keep praying. God has promised to reward your labors with souls won for Jesus.
"They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.
He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." — Psalm 126:5,6
After someone receives Jesus Christ as their Saviour, there are at least three things we should show them to help give them assurance.
First: Show them that they are born again and have become a new
creature in Christ (John 1:12,13; 3:3,7; II Corinthians 5:17).
Second: Show them they are sealed by the Holy Spirit until
Christ returns to take them to Heaven (Ephesians 1:12,13;
Third: Show the new Christian he can know he has eternal life as a
present possession. (I John 5:11-13; John 3:18; 3:36; 5:24)
After that we should proceed to tell them the importance of attending a Bible-believing Baptist church where the word of God is faithfully taught. If at all possible follow up on your own converts yourself. Get their phone numbers and check up on them a few weeks later. Get additional Bible study material into their hands. Try to get them into church and help them with their problems. They will appreciate this demonstration of love and always remember you for it.
the first lesson
You may still have some questions, but as the late Mark Twain said, "It's not the things in the Bible I don't understand that bothers me, it's the things I do understand." If you thoroughly understand the things you have studied, you need never doubt your salvation again. Review this lesson, pray about it, confirm it in the word of God and you'll be ready to take Lesson number two. There, we will continue to study the doctrine of salvation and learn what happened to us when we got saved. These are things that will affect every area of our life and give us a greater appreciation of His love.
We should pray for the Lord to give us wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the word of God to enable us to lead others to Christ.
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him."
— James 1:5
This promise from God's word says that if we will ask, He will give us wisdom.
One of the most important things a new Christian can do is tell others how to get saved. The Holy Spirit will always give power to those who do this.
Jesus told His apostles:
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me." — Acts 1:8
The Lord wants all of us to witness for Him and to be His ambassadors. That is what Paul taught the believers at Corinth.
"Now then we are ambassadors for Christ as though God did beseech ye by us we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." — II Corinthians 5:20
We are to go out and try to reconcile people to God; telling them about the gospel. We need to carry gospel tracts wherever we go. Always have some in your car. Ladies can put them in their purse or carry them in their pocket. At the grocery store, give the cashier a gospel tract; on the street, just pass out gospel tracts here and there; in phone booths and different places. These are like seed we are planting, that may find root in some lost person's heart and bring forth fruit unto eternal life. What a blessing it will be to stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ and learn we had a part in someone's salvation. The Bible teaches that there is a soul winner's crown for those who witness and try to win souls to Christ. I pray that you will study the word of God and be a faithful witness for the Lord Jesus.
I will close with this illustration from Dr. Peter S. Ruckman's sermon Judgment Seat Of Christ.
"Years ago, a liberal, modernistic preacher came down from a very restless night and sat down in the breakfast nook at the table. His wife fixed him a cup of coffee as he sat there pale and shaken. She asked, 'What's wrong.' He said, 'I had a terrible dream last night. I dreamed I died and came up to a cloud. There was someone on that cloud who pointed his finger at me, and it looked like he had a hole in his hand. This one who was standing on the cloud pointed his finger at me and said, 'Preacher, where are the souls of your wife and children?' I said, 'Souls? What souls?' He pointed his finger at me and said, 'Preacher, where are the souls of your mailman and your TV repairman and your newspaper boy?' I said, 'I don't understand what you mean by souls. I don't know where they are.' Then I dreamed that the bottom dropped out of the cloud and it felt like I fell a million miles down into a lake of fire. In that fire was you, the children, the TV repairman, the grocer, the mailman, and the newspaper boy; and all of you were pointing your fingers at me and cursing me.' His wife said, 'Well, honey, you probably just had something bad to eat last night.' He stirred his coffee, picked up the cup, and dropped dead of a heart attack.
Now, don't you go that way. If you are saved, don't go home empty-handed. Win someone to Christ."
Three Things Every Christian Should Know
Circle the correct answer for each question:
Three Things Every Christian Should Know
Circle the correct answer for each question:
1. Every Christian can _______________________ that he is saved.
hope know think pray
2. A Christian can have a know-so salvation firmly based on ___________ ___________ .
church membership water baptism God's word right living
3. Christians who don't have assurance of salvation can find it only in ________________________ ___________________________ .
the church the Bible much prayer good works
4. Those who don't believe one can know for sure that he is saved put _______________ ahead of God's word. (circle all that apply).
their own reasoning tradition their church's teachings
5. According to Acts 16:31 what is the one thing a person must do to be saved?
hope believe pray join a church be baptized
6. According to John 3:16-18, 36 what condemns a person to hell? (circle all that apply)
mortal sins breaking the golden rule unbelief not confessing sin breaking the commandments
Fill in the blanks from II Corinthians 4:3,4.
"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost. In whom the god of this world (the devil) hath _________________ the minds of them which _______________ ________________, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them."
Choose the best answer from the list at the bottom of the page and fill in the blank with the appropriate letter.
1. ___ On whom you must believe to be saved?
2. ___ The devout man who was lost.
3. ___ Scripture verse for today's gospel.
4. ___ ___ ___ The three elements of the gospel.
5. ___ Element NOT found in the gospel.
6. ___ To be saved a man must first realize he is this.
7. ___ How many people are sinners.
8. ___ The Pharisee in Luke 18 was this.
9. ___ Because of his confession, the Publican in Luke 18 was this.
10. The unsaved have no ___ and ___ are the children of ___ .
a. Lord Jesus Christ b. Baptism c. Hope d. All e. Christ's resurrection f. Cornelius g. Justified h. I Corinthians 15:1-4 i. Wrath j. Christ's death k. Self-righteousness l. Sinful m. Christ's burial
Read each statement below paying special attention to the words in bold print. If the statement is correct as written, write the word "True" in the blank. If the statement is not correct, cross out the incorrect word(s) and write the correct word(s) in the blank.
1. ______________ Romans 6:23 says eternal life is a work of God.
2. ___________ The blood of Jesus can wash away some of our sins.
3. ______________ Eternal life is a free gift.
4. _____________ Justification is the free, unmerited favor of God.
5. _____________ According to Romans 10:16 to "obey" the gospel means to be baptized.
6. _____________ According to Romans 4:4,5, after you believe on Jesus your works are counted for righteousness.
7. _________________ The Holy Spirit convicts the lost of their sin.
8. _________________ According to John 12:32 only some men are drawn to the Lord Jesus Christ.
9. _________________ God doesn't want anyone to go to hell.
10. ____________ Anyone can trust Jesus to be his Saviour if he will.
11. __________________ Repent means to be sorry for your sins.
12. _________________ Repentance means turning from sin to God.
13. __________________ According to Romans 10:10 a man believes unto righteousness with his mind.
14. ____________________ Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be heard."
15. ____________________ True believers are not ashamed of Jesus and will confess him before men.
16. ____________________ God occasionally turns away a repentant sinner who comes to him for salvation.
17. ________________ John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out."
18. ______________ According to Luke 13:3 failure to repent results in eternal damnation.
Instructions: Answer the questions below in your own words.
1. "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God." Romans 10:17. What does this verse mean? _____________________
2. According to I Corinthians 1:21 the "foolishness of preaching" saves many people. What are some different ways a person might act at the time he is saved?
3. Since we can't base our salvation on how we felt when we got saved, what should we base it on? _____________________________
4. What are some Bible phrases that mean the same thing as 'to be saved'?
_____________ _____________ ______________ _____________
1. A good soul winner must fill his heart with ______________ and His __________________ , and always maintain a good testimony before God and ____________________ .
2. Different people must be dealt with in _________________ ways.
3. We must also use wisdom from the ___________ ____________.
4. From page 33 list three things that soul winners should have: (1) ____________________ (2) _______________________
5. Rearrange the following references in the correct order for the proper presentation of the 'Romans Road Map to Heaven.'
Romans 5:8 (1) ______________________________
Romans 3:10 (2) _____________________________
Romans 6:23 (3) _____________________________
Romans 10:13 (4) ____________________________
Romans 3:23 (5) _____________________________
Romans 5:12 (6) _____________________________
6. Of I Corinthians 15:1-4; John 1:12; and Ephesians 2:8,9
a. Which one of these verses shows that salvation is not of works?___________________
b. Which verse defines the word "gospel"? __________________
c. Which verse says that a man must be "born again"? _________
7. You may want to write ____________________ that will help you remember what you want to say to your prospect.
8. List the four things a person must know to be saved:
a. ____________________ b. _____________________
c. ____________________ d. _____________________
9. Even knowing the things above, a person still must receive Jesus as his Saviour. If you bow your head to _________________, you may get him to pray for his own salvation. Review pp. 38-39.
10. What scripture verses should be used to show a new convert how he can know he has been born again and a new creature in Christ?
11. What verses of scripture show the new convert that he has eternal life as a present possession?
12. New converts should be urged to attend a _________________-believing Baptist Church.
13. If at all possible you should _____________________ up on your own converts yourself and get additional ________________ study materials into their hands.
Edited and expanded by
Linton M. Smith Jr.
ThB., ThM., DD.
This Bible course has been prepared and distributed as a ministry of Gloryland Baptist Church. It and other gospel materials may be obtained from: