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1277. The Gospel Works

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University
The Truth Network Radio
June 21, 2022 7:00 pm

1277. The Gospel Works

The Daily Platform / Bob Jones University

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June 21, 2022 7:00 pm

Dr. Steve Pettit begins a series on Evangelism.

The post 1277. The Gospel Works appeared first on THE DAILY PLATFORM.

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Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina. Today on The Daily Platform, we're beginning a four-part series on evangelism.

Today's message will be preached by BJU President Steve Pettit. I'd like to ask you to take your Bibles this morning and turn with me please to the book of Romans, Romans chapter one. I'd like us to read this morning beginning in verse 13 and we'll read down to verse 17 as our theme this week is really on your personal witness for Christ. I've shared this a little bit, but my personal experience of salvation was when I was a freshman in college. I became a believer at the age of 19 years old. And over the first year of my Christian experience, I was really moved by the responsibility that I felt to share the gospel. I was in a school of unsaved people and it was not hard for me to do that in the sense of looking for people to talk to about the Lord because they were everywhere.

They were all around me all day long, all the time. That wasn't the problem. The problem was not them.

The problem was me. And that is the incredible fear that I felt in just sharing the gospel and being overwhelmed with what to say or how to express how a person can be saved. And so it was really my sophomore year of college that I began to learn how to share the gospel.

I learned a gospel presentation, how to work through the scriptures, how to talk to people, both in some ways it had a form to it and the other way it was very natural. And so I think for all of us here in our student body, I would say that if we have some weaknesses, and I mean that more in a plural, I would say one of them is just our own personal struggle with sharing the gospel. And so I'm not going to preach down to you to make you feel guilty about that.

That doesn't really help anything. It's just the burden of responsibility that we should be personal witnesses. And this morning what I'd like to focus on is not really so much you, but actually the gospel itself. When I was an evangelist for 29 years, during that timeframe, almost 20 years, we had young people come to travel with us that had graduated from college. We had a total of 57 different people who came to travel on our team over a period of 19 years and 42 of them had graduated from Bob Jones University.

So I knew BJU grads pretty well. And what was the first thing that they needed to learn? What did they really need to learn as they came on the team? And the first thing that they really needed to really grasp is that the gospel itself, and I'm going to use the term, works. Or I could say the gospel is effective or the gospel changes people's lives. I was training them to do evangelistic work.

It's something that we were doing 24-7. And the biggest barrier that they had to overcome is actually to believe that the gospel that they were preaching could actually save people and God could save people right now. You can preach the gospel and people can get saved right now.

So the question is, well how did that happen? And the answer is it actually became, it actually happened as they experienced the preaching of the gospel. So as the gospel would be preached, they first of all had to observe it as I would preach the gospel in the services.

And then once they observed it, they could begin to participate in it. And as they observed and as they participated and people started getting saved, they actually started believing because they saw God at work. They saw the gospel working. Two weekends ago, we were at a church in Redding, Pennsylvania and we held a concert there on a Sunday evening. We had seven different churches come. And at the end of the concert, I preached a gospel sermon and an adult man accepted Jesus as his savior. The gospel works. Last weekend, we were in a church in Newcastle, Indiana.

The church was packed Easter Sunday morning. I preached the gospel through the resurrection of Jesus Christ and that morning an adult lady and an adult man accepted Jesus as their savior and the gospel works. It's seeing the gospel and the power of it and the effect of it, which is what really moves us to believe that the gospel works. And so this morning, I'd like us to look at what Paul says here in Romans that we're going to draw out of this, really the message that I'm just trying to convince you today that the gospel is powerful, it does work and people do get saved. And so we're reading in Romans chapter one, verse 13, where Paul says these words, now I would not have you ignorant brethren. He's writing to the church of Rome that oftentimes our purpose is to come unto you.

I wanted to come to see you, but he says, but was let hither to that just simply means I was hindered. I wanted to come. I had roadblocks, but notice when he said why he wanted to come that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles, I wanted to come and preach the gospel. And I wanted to see God work to bring forth the fruit of converts. Verse 14, he says, I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians, both to the wise and to the unwise. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also, for I'm not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is a power of God and a salvation to everyone that believeth to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the just shall live by faith. Now let me ask you a question as we begin this morning. Do you think the apostle Paul believed that the gospel works? Well, the answer is of course, obviously yes.

Why? Because he said, I wanted to come to Rome and I wanted to reap some harvest among you. He actually believed that he would come, the gospel would be preached and he actually believed people would get saved. And one of the reasons why he could say that was because this was happening everywhere he went.

He said this was happening among the rest of the Gentiles. So when I preached in Greece, whether it was in Corinth or Athens or Philippi or Thessalonica or whether I preached in Turkey and where I went to the regions of Galatia or Ephesus, I saw the power of the gospel and I saw the effects of it, the gospel works. And I want to say to all of you this morning, the gospel still works. And if you will spread the gospel, you may not see instant immediate results, but wherever the word of God is sown, God brings forth a harvest.

He brings forth fruit. And Paul was convinced that the gospel works because he had seen it change people's lives. He had seen people go from darkness to light. He had seen people go from death to life.

He had seen people go from slavery to freedom. He had seen people go from being an enemy of God to becoming a friend of God. He had seen people who were unclean become clean. He had seen people who were guilty who became righteous. He saw people whose lives were unusable now are usable for God. He saw people who are broken who are now made whole. He saw people that were blind who can now see.

And he saw people that were living in conflict with God who are now at peace with God. And Paul believed that the gospel works. So what must you and I believe in order to see the gospel work?

Three things this morning. Number one, the first thing, and we see this here in the text of Scripture is that we must believe in the power of the gospel. Look at what he says in Romans 1 16, for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for the gospel message is the power of God. And the power of God is demonstrated in two key ways. Number one, we see God's power being demonstrated through God's righteousness. The gospel demonstrates God's righteousness. Or let me put it this way, the gospel answers life's most challenging question.

What is that question? I want to read it to you from Job chapter 15 verse 14 where Job says, what is man that he can be pure? Or he who is born of a woman that he can be righteous?

What is the question he's asking? The question is, how can God make unrighteous people righteous? How can God take us who are unrighteous and actually accept us so that we can be right in His sight? And how can He do that in a righteous manner? And the answer is, it's found in the gospel. He says in verse 17, for in it, that is in the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed. God reveals to us how He does things in a right way.

His plan of salvation. You see, God in His character is righteous so He can only do what is right. And therefore, because God is righteous, He has to reach out and save people and He has to do it in a right way. He has to do it because He's loving. God can't sit still at our sin.

He's going to do something about it. But He has to do it in a righteous way. He can't just forgive us and not deal with our sin. So how does that work if the right thing for God to do is to judge unrighteous men?

That's the whole point. How can God take us who are unrighteous and make us righteous? And the answer is, He does it through the gospel. Or to make it very simple, He does it through His Son, Jesus Christ. And two important things, number one, about Christ. Christ lived the life that you and I should have lived. His, what we call His active obedience.

He lived perfectly. He's not like you and I. He's righteous. But secondly, Jesus died to death that we should have died. You and I should die for our sins.

That's the righteous thing to do because of our breaking of God's laws. And so what did Jesus do? He went to the cross.

We call that His passive obedience. That is, He went to the cross and took upon Himself God's judgment for sin. So God's justice is satisfied through the death of Jesus and God's righteousness is satisfied through the life of Jesus. And so all that Christ did, He did that for you and I. He did it for you and I in our place.

And the moment that you believe in Jesus, that is, in His death, in His life, His life that He lived for us, in His death that He died for us, the moment that you believe that a miracle takes place. And that is God credits your account with the righteousness of Christ. It's like you owing a school bill and the debt is paid by somebody else. How many of you owe a school bill? Would you raise your hand? How many of you would love for somebody else to pay for it? Okay. How many of you would be deliriously happy if you went and found out that your bill had been paid and the credit on your account means that you owe nothing to the school? How many of you would love to have that? How many of you would love to have not only that you owe the school nothing, but the school owes you?

Okay. Actually that's what happens in justification. Not only do I not owe God for my sins, but all my sins are paid for. But that's not all that is involved because if all your sins are paid for, that means your account looks blank, empty, nothing.

You don't have anything. Not only does God pay for what you've done, but He credits your account with the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And folks, the reason why this is so important for us to understand, this is God's plan of salvation and this is God's power. This is how God saves people. And when you preach that and the Spirit of God opens people's eyes, suddenly they understand they're not saved by what they do, they're saved by what Jesus did. They're not saved by working their way to Heaven. They're saved by that Heaven came down to man, Jesus, and He lived among us and He lived perfectly and righteously and He died on the cross for our sins and He rose from the dead. And you and I can not only be forgiven, but we can stand before God justified and righteous. And when this message is preached, God demonstrates His power by saving people.

This saving plan truly works. But not only does God demonstrate His power through this justification, but God also demonstrates His power through the ministry of the Holy Spirit when the message is preached. If I could say it this way, there are actually two preachers when the Gospel is proclaimed. And by the way, preacher, I'm not talking about standing behind a pulpit, I'm just talking about sharing the Gospel. Whether it's in private or whether it's in a Bible study or whether it's behind a pulpit in a church or wherever, there's always two preachers. There's one on the outside and there's one on the inside.

The outside is the individual who shares the message. The inside is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Listen to what Peter says in 1 Peter 1-12. He says, those that have preached the Gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven. We know that there is power in the Spirit because on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, Peter went out and preached and he preached to the most unlikely crowd to believe the Gospel.

Who was that? The very people that had murdered the Messiah. The ones that had crucified the Christ were the ones that Peter preached to. The day of Pentecost was not — you know, it wasn't Easter Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia, where people maybe have heard the Gospel.

But it was the very crowd that had killed the king. And it was to that crowd he proclaimed the Gospel, but he did it with the Spirit of God and what happened? 3,000 people were saved on the day of Pentecost. That's the power of God being demonstrated. And so we know the Gospel works not only because of this message of justification, but also because of the power of the Holy Spirit. What does the Holy Spirit do? Number one, He comes to convict us of our sin.

We read in John chapter 16 and verse 8, and when He comes, the Spirit, He will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The word convict means to convince you, to be persuaded. I am persuaded that I am a sinner.

You know, most people don't think they're all that bad. They think they're pretty good and they stand before God, they're going to be okay. The Spirit of God is to convince you that you are a law breaker, that you are dead, that you are in desperate need of salvation. He is to convict you of righteousness. That is, God is righteous and you're not.

And how are you going to stand before Him like you are? And to convince you of judgment. If I don't get saved, I'm going to go to hell.

Now this is not complicated to understand this. The first time I really understood the Gospel was as a 17-year-old teenager, and I knew I was a sinner and for the first time in my life, I really realized that I was going to hell for the first time in my life. And I had a sense of God's conviction. That's the work of the Spirit. Number two, the Holy Spirit not only convicts, but He draws people. Listen to what Jesus said, no man can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. The word draw there literally means to drag somebody. When you have to drag somebody, what does that mean?

It means they're resistant. The idea is a force is required to bring somebody because of inertia. And what we mean by that is simply this, that human nature doesn't want to come to God. The natural man doesn't receive the things of the Spirit of God. So what is the Spirit to do in the heart of a person? He is to make the unwilling willing. He is to make the resisters yielders. He is to make those with no desire to have the desire.

And how is that done? John 12 32, Jesus said, and when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to myself. When Christ was lifted up on the cross to die for our sins, and when Christ was lifted up to glory to be seated at the right hand of Father through the crucifixion, the resurrection, and the ascension, it is through this message that God literally changes the heart and draws people. The work of the Spirit is to convict, the work of the Spirit is to draw, and the work of the Holy Spirit is to quicken or to make alive. Paul says in Ephesians 2 and verse 5, even when we were dead in sins, we have been quickened together with Christ.

What does it mean to be quickened? It means to be made alive. It means to be regenerated. We read in 1 Peter 1 23, being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the Word of God, which lives and abides forever. God's Spirit works through the preaching of God's Word, and He brings people back from the dead. He raises the dead through preaching of the Gospel. When Jesus said to Lazarus, come forth, and he came up out of the grave alive, that is exactly what happens when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached. God raises the dead. So my whole point this morning is to do what I can to convince you that the Gospel works.

Why? Because it is the power of God. But let me say secondly, the Gospel, in order for us to really come to this place, we must believe not only in the power of the Gospel, but secondly, we must believe in the promise of the Gospel. How is a person saved? It is by simply believing God's profound promise. Listen to what Paul said, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. He says it again in verse 17, for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith as it is written, the righteous shall live by faith. What must I believe? I must believe that a person can be saved by simply trusting Jesus as their savior. Not adding works to it, not adding baptism to it, not adding some kind of lifestyle to it, but it is simply believing in Christ. So what does it mean to believe?

Well let me see if I can illustrate it to help all of us see it better. History's most famous tightrope walker was a Frenchman named Charles Blondin. At the age of 34 years old, he was a French acrobat. He stood five feet tall, excuse me, five feet five inches tall. He weighed 140 pounds. He had bright blue eyes and he had golden hair. That's why they called him Blondin. On the morning of June 30th, 1859, about 25,000 thrill seekers arrived by train and boat and congregated on the American and the Canadian side of Niagara Falls to watch Blondin walk across Niagara Falls on a 1300 foot, two inch in diameter hemp rope with nothing below him to catch him if he falls.

Swarms of spectators came and they came from all classes of life. And his manager, Mr. Harry Colcord, was there to give tours to the press explaining the logistics of what this great Blondin was about to attempt. That day, he wore fine leather shoes with soft soles. He carried a balancing pole made out of ash wood that was 26 feet long and weighed nearly 50 pounds.

Shortly after five o'clock in the afternoon, Blondin takes his position on the American side. He is dressed in pink tights and he starts his trek. About a third of the way across, he shocks the crowd by sitting down on the rope and he calls for the Maid of the Mist, that is the famed tourist vessel, to anchor momentarily beneath him. He then casts down a line and he hauls up a bottle of wine. He drinks some of the wine and then he starts off again. And he breaks into a run as he passes the center and he goes all the way to the other side and then he comes back. And from one side to the other side and back, it takes him 23 minutes. The crowd erupts in cheer and so he calls for an encore performance that was to take place on the 4th of July. And after 37 years, Blondin walked across Niagara Falls some 300 times. But the most dangerous crossing took place on August 19, 1859, when he carried his manager, Mr. Harry Colcord, on his back piggyback. Blondin gave his manager the following instructions.

He said, look up, Harry, you are no longer Colcord, you are Blondin. Until I clear this place, be a part of me, mind, body, and soul. If I sway, you sway.

Do not attempt to do any balancing yourself for if you do, we will both go to our death. So what is faith? Faith is not Blondin walking across the tight wire.

That's called works. Faith is Colcord hanging on the back of Blondin for dear life. Now how many of you believe that Blondin can carry Colcord across? How many of you believe he can do that? Raise your hand. I would have hoped that you all raised your hand because that's what he's doing.

So how many of you would be willing to get on the back of Blondin and let him carry you across? Okay, that's called faith. That's really what faith is. Faith is when you come to a complete surrender to trust Christ.

God, my life, my eternity, my heart, everything, I come and I trust you. And the moment that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is at the moment God saves your soul. The Gospel works, why? Because we believe not only is it the power of God, but we believe in the promise of God.

If you believe, you will be saved. And then one final thing, and that is coming to the place where the Gospel works, number three, we must believe in the preacher of the Gospel. Paul clearly understood that the Gospel works through proclamation.

How do we know that? Romans 10 verse 13, for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they've not believed and how shall they believe of him whom they've not heard and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Paul understood that the God who ordained the end, that's salvation, ordained the means. That's called preaching. Therefore, Paul made three personal statements about Gospel preaching. And these are the things that make a preacher effective. And again, a preacher, I'm not talking about a guy behind the pulpit.

I'm talking about you as a personal witness. Number one, Paul said, I am debtor both to the Greeks and to the barbarians. Paul says, I feel the duty to preach the Gospel.

I am a debtor. I feel the weight of responsibility. Paul said, necessity is laid upon me. Woe is to me if I preach not the Gospel. Don't pat me on the back just because I preach the Gospel. I have the burden to do it.

Why? Because God has laid this on my heart. We are ambassadors for Christ.

What does that mean? That means that we are literally in the place of Jesus. Every unbeliever that you come in contact with in your life, you are becoming Jesus to them. And they cannot be saved if they don't hear the Gospel. That's why we read in the Old Testament that they often talked about blood being on their hands because they didn't share the Gospel. Every one of you this summer are going to come across people who are unbelievers.

God's going to bring them providentially across your pathway. You are a debtor to share the Gospel with them. Paul said, I feel that. Secondly, he said not only did he feel a debt, but he said he felt a desire.

Look at what he says in Romans 1 15. So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel. The word I am ready, the word ready comes from two words, the word before and the word anger. It's the anger somebody has before they kill somebody. Now, you've been mad enough maybe to hit somebody, but probably you weren't thinking about killing them. But if a person is so angry they kill somebody, what kind of passion is that? We talk about crimes of passion. And what Paul is saying is that not only do I feel a duty, but I feel a desire. I have a passionate desire to see people get saved. Do you have a passionate desire? That passionate desire is not just awakened because you think about it. It's awakened because you do it. When you start sharing the Gospel, it's as if God lights the fuse in your heart and you begin to go out and spread Christ.

And then finally, Paul says not only do I feel the desire and the duty, but I feel the dynamic of the Gospel. He says I am not ashamed. That phrase I am not ashamed is technically what we call a litote.

So a litote is simply an understatement. It's a positive statement being made by a negative statement. When he says I'm not ashamed, what he's really saying is I'm proud.

It's the opposite. And the reason why oftentimes we don't really share the Gospel is we actually don't really believe it. And Paul says I am actually, if I could say it, proud of the Gospel because the Gospel is not defective. But it's effective. It works. That God transforms people.

And how do I know that? Because Paul is saying he transformed me. My life has been changed. And I know that when the Gospel is preached, that your life can be changed as well. I say to all of you, the Gospel works. It works. It works. So preach it.

Go tell it. And watch what your God will do before your very eyes. Father, we thank you that you have given us this privilege to preach the Gospel. Help us, Lord.

Necessity has been laid upon us. Woe be unto us if we preach not the Gospel. Forgive us, Lord, of not taking the opportunities. And Lord, may this summer be a great summer of Gospel preaching. In Jesus' name, amen. You've been listening to a sermon preached by BGU President Steve Pettit, which is part of the series on evangelism. Listen again tomorrow as we continue the series on The Daily Platform.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-30 15:55:24 / 2023-03-30 16:06:04 / 11

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