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June 21, 2022 7:00 pm
Dr. Steve Pettit begins a series on Evangelism.
Welcome to The Daily Platform from Bob Jones University in Greenville South Carolina today with a wood platform were beginning a four-part series on evangelism. Today's message will be preached by BJ you president Steve Pettit like – you take your Bibles this morning and turn with me please to the book of Romans Romans chapter 1 like us to read this morning, beginning in verse 13 and will redound to verse 17 is our theme this week is really on your personal witness for Christ. I've shared this a little bit but my 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 my Christian experience. I was really moved by the responsibility that I felt to share the gospel.
I was in the school of unsafe 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 fell in just sharing the gospel and being overwhelmed with what to say or how to express how a person could be saved as 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 was it had a form to it in the other way 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 the plural. I would say one of them is just our own personal struggle with sharing the gospel and so I'm not gonna 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 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 he 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. He graduated from Bob Jones University so I knew BJ you grants pretty well and what was the first thing that they needed to learn what 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, use the term works or I can 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 seven and the biggest barrier that they had overcome is actually to believe that the gospel that they were preaching could actually save people, and God can save people right now.
You can preach the gospel and people can get saved right now. So the question is will. How did that happen and the answer is, it actually became it. It had actually happened, as they experience the preaching of the gospel. So as the gospel would be preached. They first of all, had to observe it is I would preach the gospel in the in the services and then once they observed that they could begin to participate in it. And as they observed it. As they participated in. People started getting say they actually started believing because they saw God at work.
They solve the gospel working two weekends ago we were at a church in Reading Pennsylvania. We held a concert there on a Sunday evening we had seven different churches come in at the end of the concert. I preach the gospel sermon in an adult and an adult man accepted Jesus as his savior. Gospel works. Last weekend we were in a church in New Castle, Indiana. The church was packed Easter Sunday morning I preach 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 which is what really moves us to believe that the gospel works and so this morning I like us to look at what Paul says here Romans were 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 say and so were really in Romans chapter 1 verse 13 where Paul says these words now would not I would not have you ignorant brethren is writing to the church of Rome that often times I purchased comedy I wanted to come to see you but he says but was let hitherto that you simply means I was hindered I wanted to come. I had roadblocks, but notice what he said why wanted to come that I might have some fruit among you also even is among the 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 into the unwise.
So as much is in me in so as much is 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 the salvation to everyone that believe it 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 with 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 believe that he would come the gospel would be preach any actually believe people would get say, 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 was in Corinth or Athens or Philippi or Thessalonica, or whether I preached in in in Turkey and where where I went to the regions of Galatia or Ephesus. I saw the power 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 so God brings forth the harvest he brings forth fruit and Paul was convinced that the gospel works because he had seen it change people's lives. He'd seen people go from darkness to light. He'd seen people go from death to life. He'd seen people go from slavery to freedom. He'd seen people go from being an enemy of God to becoming a friend of God.
He'd seen people who were unclean become clean. He'd seen people who were guilty, who became righteous. He saw people whose lives were unusable now are usable for God.
He saw people who were 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 believe 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 we see this here in the text of Scripture is that we must believe in the power of the gospel. But what he says in Romans 116 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 was 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 heat 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's character is righteous, so we 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 is loving God can't sit still at RCN. 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 at 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 live the life that you and I should have lived here is what we call his active obedience. He lived perfectly. He's not like you and I he is righteous. But secondly, Jesus died the 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 is passive obedience.
That is, he went to the cross and took upon himself and 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 and our place in the moment that you believe in Jesus that is in his dad in his life his life that he lived for us in his death bed 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 is like you owing a school bill and the debt is paid by somebody you 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 okay how many of you would be deliriously happy if you went and found out that your bill had been paid in the credit on your account means that you owe nothing to the school. I maybe 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 of all your sins are paid for. That means your your account looks blank empty nothing 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 in the spirit of God opens people's eyes suddenly they understand are not saved by what they do or say. But what Jesus did. They're not saved by working their way to heaven there saved by that Kevin came down the man Jesus and he lived among us any lip perfectly righteously died on the cross for our sins. And he rose from the dead, and you and I cannot really be forgiven but we can stand before God justified in 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 pre-if I can say it this way. There are actually two preachers when the gospel is proclaimed 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 the pulpit in the church, 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 first Peter 112 pieces, those that preach 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 two. Peter went out and preach any preach to the most unlikely crowd to believe the gospel. Who was that the very people that had murdered the muscle, the Messiah, the one city crucified the Christ were the ones that Peter preached to the day of Pentecost was not.
You know it was Easter Sunday in Atlanta, Georgia, where people maybe have heard the gospel but was a very crowd that he killed the king, and it was to that crowd. He proclaim the gospel, but he did it with the spirit of God and what happened 3000 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 is the Holy Spirit do number one becomes to convict us of our sin.
We read in John chapter 16 verse eight when he comes the spirit, he will convict the world send 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 to think are pretty good in the exam before God to be okay. The spirit of God is to convince you that you are a lawbreaker that you were 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 to go to hell. Now this is not complicated to understand this the first time I really understood the gospel was 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 to the Holy Spirit only convicts when he drawls people listen to what what Jesus said, no man can come to me unless the father who sent me draws him.
The word drawl there literally means to drag somebody when you have to drag somebody was at me means the 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's the make. He is to make the unwilling, willing he is to make the resistors yield there's used to make those with no desire to have the desire and how is that done. John 1232 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 when Christ was lifted up to glory to be seen 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 drawls people the work of the Spirit is convict the work of the spirit is to draw in the work of the Holy Spirit is the Quicken or to make alive. Paul says in Ephesians 2 in verse five even when we were dead in sins, we have been quickened together with Christ, was it mean to be Quicken means to be made alive.
It means to be regenerated. We read in first Peter 123 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 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 who 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. 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 saying is by simply believing God's profound promise. Listen to what Paul said Ford is the power of God and the salvation to every one that believe it. He says again in verse 17 for in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. 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. Let me see if I can illustrated to help all of us see it better. History's most famous tight rope walker was a Frenchman named Charles Blanc, Dean, at the age of 34 years old. He was a French Acrobat. He stood 5 feet tall. She is me 5'5" tall. He weighed 140 pounds.
He had bright blue eyes and he had golden hair. That's what they called and Blondie on the morning of June 30, 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 blonde Dean walk across Niagara Falls on a 1300 foot 2 inch in diameter. 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 Cole cord was there to give tours to the press explaining the logistics of what this great blonde Dean was about to attempt that day he wore fine leather shoes with soft souls. He carried a balancing pole made out of Ashwood that was 26 feet long and weighed nearly 50 pounds. Shortly after 5 o'clock in the afternoon. Blonde Dean takes his position on the American side. He is dressed in pink tights and he starts his track. About 1/3 of the way across the shots the crowd by sitting down on the rope and he calls the maid of the mist that is the famed tourist vessel to anchor momentarily beneath him. He then cast down a line any halls 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 sinner 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 sheer and so he calls for an encore performance that was to take place on 4 July and after 37 years blonde Dean walk across Niagara Falls. Some 300 times but the most dangerous crossing took place on August 19, 1859 when he carried his manager Mr. Harry Cole cord on his back, piggyback blonde Dean gave his manager the following instructions. He said, look up Harry. You are no longer cold toward you are blonde Dean 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 blonde Dean walking across the tight wire that's called works, faith is Cole cord hanging on the back of blonde Dean for dear life. Now how many of you believe that that Blondie can carry Harry Cole cord across time. If you believe you can do that.
Reggie I would hope that you all raise your hand because that's what he's doing.
So how many of you would be willing to get on the back of blonde Dean 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 calm and I trust you in 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 say 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 say how then shall they call on him in whom they cannot believe and how shall they believe in him of believe of him whom they thought heard and how shall they hear without a preacher.
Paul understood that the God ordained the end that salvation ordain the means. That's called preaching. Therefore Paul made three personal statements about gospel preaching, and these are the things that make a preacher affected him 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 10 is to me. If I preach not the gospel. Don't pat me on the back just because I preach the gospel. I am the burden to do it. Why, because God is laid this all my heart. We are ambassadors for Christ. What is 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 say that they don't hear the gospel. That's why we read in the Old Testament that they often talk about blood being on their hands because he didn't share the gospel. Everyone of you this summer to come across people who are unbelievers. They God's going to bring them providentially across your pathway.
You are a debtor to share the gospel with apposite I feel bad. Secondly, he said.
Not only did he feel a debt, but he said he felt a desire look at what he says in Romans 115 to as much is it me as I am ready to preach the gospel, the word I am ready the word ready comes from two words. The word before in the word anger is the anger somebody has before they kill somebody. Now you been mad enough maybe to hit somebody, but probably you were 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.
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 awake and because you do it when you start sharing the gospel.
It's as if God likes the fuse in your heart and you begin to go out and spread Christ 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'm not ashamed is technically what we call a light totes a light toad is simply an understatement.
It's it's a positive statement being made by a negative state when he when he says I'm not ashamed what is really saying is I'm proud is the opposite and the reason why.
Often times 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 he Paul saying he transformed me my life is been changed and I know that when the gospel is preached, that your life can be changed as well. That said, 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 father, we thank you that you have given us this privilege to preach the gospel.
Help us Lord necessity has been laid upon us well beyond us and we preach not the gospel. Forgive us Lord of not taking the opportunities Lord. May this summer be a great summer of gospel preaching in Jesus day. Amen.
You been listening to a sermon preached by Beecher you Pres. Steve Pettit, which is part of the series on evangelism.
Listen again tomorrow is we continue the series on The Daily Platform