The Romans' Road to Salvation. Romans: 3:23, 6:23; 5:8; 10:9, 10, 13.
During the Spanish-American War, Clara Barton was overseeing the work of the Red Cross in Cuba. One day Colonel Theodore Roosevelt came to her, wanted to buy food for his sick and wounded Rough Riders. But she refused to sell him any. Roosevelt was perplexed. His men needed the help and he was prepared to pay out of his own funds. When he asked someone why he could not buy the supplies, he was told, "Colonel, just ask for it!" A smile broke over Roosevelt's face. Now he understood--the provisions were not for sale. All he had to do was simply ask and they would be given freely.
Our Daily Bread, October 11, 1992.
Lord Kenneth Clark, internationally know for his television series Civilization, lived and died without faith in Jesus Christ. He admitted in his autobiography that while visiting a beautiful church he had what he believed to be an overwhelming religious experience. "My whole being," Clark wrote, "was irradiated by a kind of heavenly joy far more intense than anything I had known before." But the "gloom of grace," as he described it, created a problem. If he allowed himself to be influenced by it, he knew he would have to change, his family might think he had lost his mind, and maybe that intense joy would prove to be an illusion. So he concluded, "I was too deeply embedded in the world to change course."
Our Daily Bread, February 15, 1994.
Graffiti from the 1800s discovered by workers renovating the Washington Monument has quite a different tone from that usually found today on the sides of buildings and subway cars: "Whoever is the human instrument under God in the conversion of one soul, erects a monument to his own memory more lofty and enduing (sic) than this," reads the inscription which can now be viewed by visitors to the monument. It is signed BFB. No one knows who that is, or who left the small drawings and 19th century dates on other walls.
The markings in the lobby of the monument were covered over when it was decorated at the turn of the century. They were found when workers removed marble wainscoting as part of a year-long $500,000 renovation which was just completed.
Spokesman-Review, June, 1994.
In 1981, a Minnesota radio station reported a story about a stolen car in California. Police were staging an intense search for the vehicle and the driver, even to the point of placing announcements on local radio stations to contact the thief. On the front seat of the stolen car sat a box of crackers that, unknown to the thief, were laced with poison. The car owner had intended to use the crackers as rat bait. Now the police and the owner of the VW Bug were more interested in apprehending the thief to save his life than to recover the car. So often when we run from God, we feel it is to escape his punishment. But what we are actually doing is eluding his rescue.
Salvation depends upon Christ's work for us, while rewards depend upon our works for Christ.
A marshal in Napoleon's army -- a man who was devotedly and enthusiastically attached to him -- was mortally wounded in battle. As the last struggle drew near and he lay dying in his tent, he sent for his chief. Napoleon came. The poor man thought his emperor could do anything. Perhaps he even sought to put him in the place of God. So he earnestly pleaded with his leader to save his life. The emperor sadly shook his head and turned away. But as the dying man felt the cold, merciless hand of death drawing him irresistibly behind the curtain of the unseen world, he was still heard to shriek out, "Save me, Napoleon! Save me!" In the hour of death, that soldier discovered that even the powerful Napoleon could not give him physical life.
Our Daily Bread.
Back in 1830 George Wilson was convicted of robbing the U.S. Mail and was sentenced to be hanged. President Andrew Jackson issued a pardon for Wilson, but he refused to accept it. The matter went to Chief Justice Marshall, who concluded that Wilson would have to be executed. "A pardon is a slip of paper," wrote Marshall, "the value of which is determined by the acceptance of the person to be pardoned. If it is refused, it is no pardon. George Wilson must be hanged."For some, the pardon comes too late. For others, the pardon is not accepted.
Prokope, V. 11, #5.
A businessman well known for his ruthlessness once announced to writer Mark Twain, "Before I die I mean to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. I will climb Mount Sinai and read the 10 Commandments aloud at the top." "I have a better idea," replied Twain. "You could stay in Boston and keep them."
Moody Bible Institute's Today in the Word, September, 1991, p. 32.
The citizens of Feldkirch, Austria, didn't know what to do. Napoleon's massive army was preparing to attack. Soldiers had been spotted on the heights above the little town, which was situated on the Austrian border. A council of citizens was hastily summoned to decide whether they should try to defend themselves or display the white flag of surrender. It happened to be Easter Sunday, and the people had gathered in the local church. The pastor rose and said, "Friends, we have been counting on our own strength, and apparently that has failed. As this is the day of our Lord's resurrection, let us just ring the bells, have our services as usual, and leave the matter in His hands. We know only our weakness, and not the power of God to defend us." The council accepted his plan and the church bells rang. The enemy, hearing the sudden peal, concluded that the Austrian army had arrived during the night to defend the town. Before the service ended, the enemy broke camp and left.
Several years ago a man and his wife were found frozen to death in their car. A blizzard had dumped tons of snow in the area, burying their vehicle. Before she died, the woman scribbled a note on a piece of paper and stuffed it in the glove compartment. The note read: "I don't want to die this way." Tragically, less than six feet from their icy grave was a stranded bus, whose festive passengers remained warm throughout the night.
Today in the Word, October, 1990, p. 28.
"The life of Christianity consists of possessive pronouns" says Martin Luther. It is one thing to say, "Christ is a Saviour"; it is quite another thing to say, "He is my Saviour and my Lord." The devil can say the first; the true Christian alone can say the second.
Resource, July/August, 1990.
In May, 1963, in an interview conducted by Sherwook E. Wirt , C. S. Lewis said, "There are many different ways of bringing people into His Kingdom, even some ways that I specially dislike."
Quoted in His, November. 1976.
The devil and his cohorts were devising plans to get people to reject the Gospel. "Let's go to them and say there is no God," proposed one. Silence prevailed. Every devil knew that most people believe in a supreme being. "Let's tell them there is no hell, no future punishment for the wicked," offered another. That was turned down, because men obviously have consciences which tell them that sin must be punished. The concave was going to end in failure when there came a voice from the rear: "Tell them there is a God, there is a hell and that the Bible is the Word of God. But tell them there is plenty of time to decide the question. Let them 'neglect' the Gospel, until it is too late." All hell erupted with ghoulish glee, for they knew that if a person procrastinated on Christ, they usually never accept Him.
Resource, July/August, 1990.
Three elements of personality are involved in making a decision to become a Christian, or in making any significant decision for that matter. They are the emotions, the intellect, and the will.
For example, a young man meets a young woman. They are immediately attracted to one another. They both say to themselves, "Now there is someone I'd like to marry." At that point, if the emotions had their way, there would be a wedding. But the intellect intervenes, questioning the impulsive emotional response. Would we be compatible? What is she really like? Can I afford to support her? Both conclude it would be better to take some more time and answer a few questions before they proceed. So the two begin spending more time with each other. He eventually concludes that she is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. Now his intellect has sided with the emotions on the idea of marriage.
But the final and heaviest vote remains to be cast -- that of the will. It stops the march toward the altar with the questions, "Am I willing to give up this lifestyle for another? What about my freedom -- is it worth the trade? Am I willing to assume the added responsibility?" The marriage will occur only when the will finally agrees with the emotions and the intellect. And so it is in coming to Christ.
Jim Peterson, Living Proof , NavPress, 1989, p. 170.
Normally the flight from Nassau to Miami took Walter Wyatt, Jr., only sixty-five minutes. But on December 5, 1986, he attempted it after thieves had looted the navigational equipment in his Beechcraft. With only a compass and a hand-held radio, Walter flew into skies blackened by storm clouds.
When his compass began to gyrate, Walter concluded he was headed in the wrong direction. He flew his plane below the clouds, hoping to spot something, but soon he knew he was lost. He put out a mayday call, which brought a Coast Guard Falcon search plane to lead him to an emergency landing strip only six miles away. Suddenly Wyatt's right engine coughed its last and died. The fuel tank had run dry. Around 8 p.m. Wyatt could do little more than glide the plane into the water.
Wyatt survived the crash, but his plane disappeared quickly, leaving him bobbing on the water in a leaky life vest. With blood on his forehead, Wyatt floated on his back. Suddenly he felt a hard bump against his body. A shark had found him. Wyatt kicked the intruder and wondered if he would survive the night. He managed to stay afloat for the next ten hours. In the morning, Wyatt saw no airplanes, but in the water a dorsal fin was headed for him. Twisting, he felt the hide of a shark brush against him. In a moment, two more bull sharks sliced through the water toward him. Again he kicked the sharks, and they veered away, but he was nearing exhaustion. Then he heard the sound of a distant aircraft. When it was within a half mile, he waved his orange vest. The pilot radioed the Cape York, which was twelve minutes away: "Get moving, cutter! There's a shark targeting this guy!" As the Cape York pulled alongside Wyatt, a Jacob's ladder was dropped over the side. Wyatt climbed wearily out of the water and onto the ship, where he fell to his knees and kissed the deck. He'd been saved. He didn't need encouragement or better techniques. Nothing less than outside intervention could have rescued him from sure death. How much we are like Walter Wyatt.
Peter Michelmore, Reader's Digest, October, 1987.
The thief had nails through both hands, so that he could not work; and a nail through each foot, so that he could not run errands for the Lord; he could not lift a hand or a foot toward his salvation, and yet Christ offered him the gift of God; and he took it. Christ threw him a passport, and took him into Paradise.
D. L. Moody, "Day by Day with D.L Moody," Moody Press.
When the author walks onto the stage, the play is over. God is going to invade, all right; but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else comes crashing in? This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. That will not be the time for choosing; It will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side.
A.B. Simpson is reported to have said that the gospel "Tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, the condemnation of the sinner cancelled, the curse of the Law blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide, the power of sin subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and misery of the Fall undone.
M. Cocoris, Evangelism, A Biblical Approach, , Moody, 1984, p. 29.
Despite the efforts of evangelists, parachurch ministries and local churches, the percentage of American adults who are born again Christians is no different now than in 1982, according to a study by the Barna Research Group. The study found that 34% of all Americans can be identified as born again--that is, they have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ, and say they will go to heaven because they have confessed their sins and accepted Christ as their savior. Among those surveyed, 62% said they had made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ that is still important in their lives today. However, among those who have made a commitment to Christ, only 55 percent believe they will go to heaven because of accepting Christ as their personal savior (the basic belief in the "born again" movement)...Most of those surveyed said they would go to heaven because of living a good life, or obeying the 10 commandments, or because all people will go to heaven. Others who said they had made a commitment to Christ said they were unsure about what will happen to them after they die.
Reported in Inland Northwest Christian News, March, 1990, p. 3.
According to a recent poll of American young adult men, 48% believe that most of the problems in the world today are a result of man himself. Only 41% indicated agreement that Jesus has provided the way to know God personally. Only 29% could correctly state how one becomes a Christian. But 67% were interested in knowing more about Christianity.
What's Gone Wrong With The Harvest.
The Roman's Road to Salvation has been a traditional way of leading persons to faith in Christ for many years. Here is a brief outline of that plan.
1. Every human is a
sinner. Romans 3:23
2. God's penalty for sin is death. Romans 6:23
3. In His great love, God has made provision for the salvation of sinners. Romans 5:8
4. Each person must put his trust in God's Son, Jesus Christ. Romans 10:9-10, 13
CHRISTIANS ARE TO BE FILLED--
Ⅰ. With the Spirit. “ Be filled with the spirit” （Eph.5:18）.
Ⅱ. With the comfort. “ I am filled with comfort” (2 Cor.7:4).
Ⅲ. With joy. “ Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy” (2 Tim.1:4).
Ⅳ. With fruits of righteousness. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God” (Phil.1:11).
Ⅴ. With the knowledge of His will. “ Filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9).
Ⅵ. With good things. “ He hat filled the hungry with good things” (Luke1:53).
Ⅶ. With all the fullness of God. “ That ye might be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph.3:19).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
CONVICTION OF SIN.
The things that come to the heart and produce conviction of sin are a consciousness of—
Ⅰ. The law broken by us (Gal.3:10).
Ⅱ. The heart defiled by sin (Matt.15:19,20).
Ⅲ. The nature wrong (John 3:6).
Ⅳ. Failure to come up to God’s glory (Rom.3:23).
Ⅴ. Helpless condition (Rom.5:6).
Ⅵ. Hopeless state (Eph.2:12).
Ⅶ. Indebtedness to God (Luke 7:41-42).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
Israel is God’s earthly people. The Church is God’s heavenly people. They are—
Ⅰ. Born with a heavenly birth (John 1:13).
Ⅱ. Seated in heavenly places (Eph.2:6).
Ⅲ. Blessed with heavenly blessings (Eph.1:3).
Ⅳ. Called with a heavenly calling (Heb.3:1).
Ⅴ. Kept for a heavenly inheritance (1. Peter 1:4).
Ⅵ. Belonging to a heavenly citizenship (Phil.3:20,R.V.)
Ⅶ. Represented by a heavenly High Priest (Heb.9:24).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》
"A REASON FOR OUR HOPE"
1. In 1 Pe 3:15, we find Peter giving the following command:
"But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to
give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that
is in you, with meekness and fear;"
2. Here we learn that we are to always be ready to explain the basis of
a. What reasons are there for the hope we have in Christ?
b. We must be ready to provide such reasons!
3. In this lesson, I wish to share with you a reason for MY hope...
a. There are many reasons I could give, for the evidences for my
faith are many
b. But this is where I would begin if I were called upon to give a
reason for my hope
4. In sharing with you a reason for my hope, perhaps I can...
a. Strengthen and confirm the hope of my fellow Christians
b. Create faith and hope in the hearts of some who may not yet be
[Let me begin by suggesting some facts which no one can deny, even if
one is an atheist or an agnostic...]
I. FACTS WHICH CAN'T BE DENIED
A. JESUS LIVED...
1. Only the most ignorant or prejudiced skeptic would question
the historicity of Jesus
2. The reason? The evidence from unbiased sources:
a. Roman historians attest to this fact
1) Tacitus (
112 A.D.) in his "Annals"
2) Pliny the Younger (
112 A.D.) in his letter to the
3) Seutonius (
120 A.D.), a court official under Hadrian
b. Jewish sources, while denying His deity, attest to His
1) Flavious Jospehus (b.
37 A.D.), a Jewish general and
historian makes several references to Jesus
2) The Talmud
a) Books of Jewish law, they speak frequently of Jesus
b) Denying not that Jesus lived, only that He was not
what He or others claimed
c. Thallus (
52 A.D.), a Samaritan historian who tried to
explain away the darkness at the crucifixion
3. So overwhelming is the evidence, even atheistic historians
admit Jesus lived
a. "One is obliged to say, 'Here was a man. This part of the
tale could not have been invented.'" (H. G. Wells, Outline
b. Will Durant spent two chapters on Jesus in his book, The
Story Of Our Civilization
B. EVIDENCE FOR THE NEW TESTAMENT AS A HISTORICAL DOCUMENT IS
1. Its authors claim to write as historians or even eyewitnesses
to real events
a. Luke, the physician
1) His gospel (Luke) and history of the early church (Acts)
compose over a third of the New Testament
2) He wrote as one describing historical events - Lk 2:1-4;
b. John, the beloved disciple
1) His gospel (John) was written as an eyewitness account
- Jn 20:30-31; 21:24-25
2) In his epistle (1st John), he claimed to be an
eyewitness - 1 Jn 1:1-4
c. Paul, the Jewish rabbi
1) Half of the books of the New Testament are his personal
2) He claimed to have been an eyewitness, along with others
- 1 Co 15:3-8
2. As a historical document, it's evidence is remarkable!
a. It was written soon after the events it records
1) As stated by Nelson Glueck, former president of the
Jewish Theological Seminary in the
Hebrew Union College
, and renowned Jewish archaeologist: "In my Cincinnati
opinion, every book of the New Testament was written
between the forties and eighties of the First Century
2) "We can already say emphatically that there is no longer
any solid basis for dating any book of the New Testament
80 A.D." - W. F. Albright, Biblical archaeologist
b. It is noted for its historical accuracy in areas that can
1) "It may be stated categorically that no archaeological
discovery has ever controverted a Biblical reference."
- Nelson Glueck (noted Jewish archaeologist)
2) "Luke is a historian of the first rank; not merely are
his statements of fact trustworthy, he is possessed of
the true historic sense...in short, this author should
be placed along with the greatest of historians." - Sir
c. The manuscript attestation is for the New Testament
1) In the number of copies for the purpose of comparison
a) There are over 4,000 Greek manuscripts, 13,000 copies
of portions of the New Testament
b) Contrast that with other historical documents
(Caesar's "Gallic Wars", only 10 Greek manuscripts;
"Annals" of Tacitus, 2; Livy, 20; Plato, 7;
2) In the time between the originals and earliest copies
a) Fragments exist that are within 50-100 years;
complete copies that are within 300-400 years after
the originals were written
b) Compare this with manuscripts of other classical
1/ "Histories of Thucydides" - earliest copy is 1300
years removed from the original
2/ "Histories of Herodotus" - earliest copy is 1350
years removed from the original
3/ Caesar's "Gallic War" - 950 years
4/ Roman History of Livy - 350 years (and the
earliest copy is only a fragment)
5/ "Histories" of Tacitus - 750 years
6/ "Annals" of Tacitus - 950 years (and there are
only two manuscripts)
d. What variances that exist between the ancient copies are
1) Only 1/2 of one percent is in question (compared to 5
percent for the Illiad)
2) Even then, it can be stated: "No fundamental doctrine
of the Christian faith rests on a disputed reading...It
cannot be too strongly asserted that in substance the
text of the Bible is certain: especially is this the
case with the New Testament." - Sir Frederick Kenyon
(authority in the field of New Testament textual
-- Such evidence for the New Testament has led to the following
statement: "The evidence for our New Testament writings is
ever so much greater than the evidence for many writings of
classical authors, the authenticity of which no one dreams of
questioning. And if the New Testament were a collection of
secular writings, their authenticity would generally be as
beyond all doubt." - F. F. Bruce
C. IF NOT TRUE, THE NEW TESTAMENT IS A CAREFULLY CONTRIVED LIE...
1. The writers of the New Testament leave us no alternative
a. They are either "eyewitnesses" or "false witnesses" - 1 Co
b. Either the events occurred as described, or they are
"cunningly devised fables" - 2 Pe 1:16-18
2. We cannot say they might have been sincerely deceived
a. Especially in reference to the resurrection of Jesus
1) They claim they ate and drank with Him afterwards - Ac
2) They claim they saw and touched Him - 1 Jn 1:1-4
b. They leave us no room saying they were MISTAKEN or
1) Some sympathetic skeptics have tried to offer this as an
2) That perhaps in their grief and loss over the
crucifixion of Jesus they "hallucinated" or had grief-
inspired "visions" of Jesus
3) But "hallucinations" and "visions" are highly
a) One person might see the hallucination or vision
b) But several or many people don't see the same vision
at the same time!
4) As outlined in the gospels and also 1 Co 15:4-8, the
resurrection appearances of Jesus were often witnessed
by many at the same time (over 500 on one occasion!)
-- So they leave us no choice; either the New Testament is a
"Book Of Truth," or it is a "Book of Lies"
[At this point I believe I can fairly say that no one can deny these
1) Jesus lived
2) The evidence for The New Testament as a historical document is
3) If not true, it is a carefully contrived lie!
Given that these facts are undeniable, then consider with me...]
II. THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE FACTS
A. WE ARE FORCED TO MAKE A DECISION...
1. Concerning Jesus
a. We can't deny that He lived
b. Therefore we must decide who He is
1) Is He what His followers claimed, the Son of God?
- cf. Mt 16:13-17
2) Or is the New Testament's representation of Him false?
2. Concerning the evidence of the New Testament as a historical
a. We can't deny the overwhelming evidence for the New
b. Therefore we must decide concerning its historical
1) Will we accept it on the same basis we accept other
2) If so, then will we either accept it at face value, or
reject it and along with all other historical documents
whose evidence are much less?
3. Concerning whether the New Testament is true
a. We cannot say that it was simply a sincere but mistaken
effort to explain who Jesus was
b. Therefore we must decide whether it is true, or a carefully
-- It is this last issue upon which all else truly depends!
B. THE IMPLICATIONS OF OUR DECISION...
1. If we decide that the New Testament is a carefully contrived
a. Then we must concede that a book with the world's highest
standard of morality was composed by a group of liars,
frauds, and deceivers!
1) For what book contains a higher standard of love and
morality than the New Testament?
2) E.g., Jesus' "Sermon On The Mount" (Mt 5-7), and Paul's
"Discourse On Love" (1 Co 13)
b. We must also concede that a book with overwhelming evidence
as a historical document was carefully put together to
1) Known historical names, places and events were carefully
intertwined with bold-faced lies
2) Solemn affirmations concerning its truthfulness are
made, intended to deceive those to whom such
affirmations were made
c. We must also concede that we know nothing about Jesus
1) For outside the New Testament, there is no reliable
historical record of Jesus' life and teachings
2) And how can we trust the record of liars, frauds, and
-- But is it reasonable or logical to draw such a conclusion?
2. If we decide that the New Testament is true...
a. We have a reason for our hope concerning salvation!
1) For it tells us of the life and death of Jesus Christ
2) And how we can receive remission of sins through His
b. We have a reason for our hope concerning this life!
1) For it tells us of the teachings and promises of Jesus
2) And how we can have the peace and joy only He can
c. We have a reason for our hope concerning the future!
1) For it tells us of His resurrection, ascension, and
2) And how we have the hope of our own resurrection along
with eternal life!
1. One reason for my hope is therefore based upon three facts which
can't be denied...
a. Jesus lived
b. Evidence for the New Testament as a historical document is
c. If not true, then it is a carefully contrived lie
2. I have spent over forty years studying the New Testament...
a. To conclude that it is a carefully contrived lie makes no logical
sense to me
b. Instead, I am persuaded that it contains a sincere, truthful
account of who Jesus is and what He did
The testimony of the New Testament, then, is a strong reason for the
hope that I have in Jesus Christ. May it be a reason for your hope as