< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: God's Plan for Evangelism Part 9

Thursday, January 10, 2013

God's Plan for Evangelism Part 9

Faith is NOT believing in something you can’t prove. It’s rock solid, truth-grounded, promise-founded trust in the risen Jesus to save you from Sin.

Romans 4:18 – 21 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

“Fully convinced that God was able to do what He had promised.’

What are we relying on Jesus to do? A human’s greatest need is to be found righteous in God’s sight, rather then wicked. When we stand in front of God we need Him to pronounce us righteous not condemned. That is what the Bible calls “justified”. God’s declaration that we are righteous in His sight rather then guilt.

How do we get this verdict? Not by asking God to look at our lives that’s for sure! For God to count us righteous He has to do it on the basis of someone or something else other then our sinful record. That’s where Jesus comes in. When we put our belief in Christ we are relying on Him to stand in as a substitute before God in both His perfect life and his penalty-paying death for us on the cross.

We are trusting that God will substitute Jesus’ record for ours and therefore declare us righteous.  Romans 3:22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile,

All of our sin, rebellion and pride has been imputed (or credited) to Jesus and He died for it. All of His perfect life is imputed to us and we are declared righteous. God looks at us and instead of seeing our sin He sees Jesus’ righteousness. By His choice!

Again from Romans 4:5,7 God “counts righteousness” to us apart from works, and our sins are “covered”.

We don’t go to Heaven because we are good! And thank God that is true. Because how could we ever be good enough to stand before a perfect and Holy God on our own? God saves us by pure grace. Not because of anything we’ve done, but solely because of what Jesus has done for us.

There’s an example from the prophet Zechariah about what will happen. In this case to Joshua, but it could be any of us:

Zechariah 3:1-5 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan  standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”

3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”

5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.

We are totally dependent on Jesus for our salvation. His death for our sins – His life for our righteousness. The Bible is insistent that Salvation comes only through faith in Christ. There is no other way! Every other religion rejects this idea that we are justified by faith alone. Others say salvation is won through moral effort and good deeds. It’s so human to feel like we have to do something to earn our way. But there is no other hope. No other way.

The part about repent in” repent and believe” is turning from sin with God’s help. You turn away from sin and toward God. There are people who say they’ve accepted Jesus as Savior and that they are a Christian, but they aren’t ready to turn from their sins. So they haven’t repented. But you can’t accept Jesus as Savior without accepting Him as Lord.

To put one’s faith in the king is to renounce his enemies. This doesn’t mean a Christian will never sin. Christians are still fallen sinners even after God gives us a new spiritual life and we will struggle with sin until we are glorified with Jesus.

Galatians 5:17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.

1 John 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.

We will no longer have peace with sin. We will dedicate ourselves to resisting it by God’s power. One of the problems we have with the idea of repentance is we expect that if we genuinely repent, sin will go away and temptation will stop. And when that doesn’t happen we fall into despair and question whether our faith in Jesus is real. Yes God will give us the power to fight against it. But we have to remember that genuine repentance is more fundamentally a matter of the heart’s attitude toward sin then a mere change of behavior.

Do we hate sin and fight against it? Or do we cherish it and defend it?

At the moment we are saved our life does change. Gradually. We begin to bear fruit. We start showing the same love, compassion and goodness that characterized Jesus. We begin to do the kinds of things Jesus did because our fruit is from His tree.

Luke 6:44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.

When you stand before God don’t start pulling out things you did in life to try to get into Heaven. Just point to Jesus. If you want to say anything – say “Count me righteous not because of anything I have done or anything I am, but because of Him. He lived the life I should have lived. He died the death that I deserve. I renounce all other trusts and my plea is in Him alone.”

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