|OUR PRIMARY PURPOSE
E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D.
My son, Jayson and I attended The Passion of the Christ on opening week. Throughout the entire movie, there was no talking or moving about. As hundreds of people left the theater, not a word was heard. The closest thing I have seen was a visit to the Oklahoma City bombing site two weeks after the tragedy. There too were hundreds of people: solemn, speechless, walking on wooden legs. We came away form the movie awestruck with a fresh understanding of how much Jesus suffered for us. It gave us an increased hunger for the Word and a much deeper commitment for our primary purpose.
Our primary purpose is NOT to become politically active in order to make the world a better place, although this is good and we should become involved and strive always to improve our world. Our primary purpose is NOT to help the poor, although this is commendable and through it others can see the love of Jesus in us, but we must not stop here. Our primary purpose is NOT to invite others to church, although this too is a worthy goal and we should do it at every opportunity. Our primary purpose is NOT to debate the truth of the Genesis account of Creation and the reality of the Flood and how this is supported by the true facts of science, although this is important and we should be prepared to do so each time God opens a door. All these things are laudable, but there is a more important task for all Christians. Our primary purpose is to win a lost and dying world to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must do this one soul at a time. There is no more important task in this life. Jesus will return soon, quite possibly during our lifetime. Our time is short. Let us focus on job number one! We must die to our sinful self each day and allow Jesus The Christ to live and be seen in us. There is no time to waste on sin or fleshly desires. We must ask God to put lost people hungry for the Gospel in our path every day! Winning a lost world is our primary purpose. Lets become focused on this task...on our primary purpose for living. Let us get into the Word and study and be prepared always as God provides opportunity.
One of the most frightening passages in the entire Bible is the following for it clearly means not all who claim to be Christians will make it to heaven. If meditation on this passage does not break your heart and bring a flood of tears to your eyes, fall on your face and ask God to give you a broken and contrite heart. Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!' (Matthew 7:21-23) Very simply this means many who attend church, witness and even operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit are lost and will spend eternity in hell. It is sad, but many we know who once prayed the sinner’s prayer in a service under intense pressure made no real commitment. Without commitment there is no salvation, yet they go through life thinking they are heaven bound. This is sad and frightening. Many people teach that believing in God or living a “good” life will get them to heaven. This is a lie from the Enemy. You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder. (James 2:19, NIV)
He who wins souls is wise. (Proverbs 11:30b, NIV) It is often said that Salvation for us is a free gift, but it cost Jesus everything. He endured intense pain, endless hours of suffering, humiliation and a terrible death. The Passion of the Christ is a graphic reminder of HIS suffering. He did all this for us that we might have eternal life. To keep this great gift for ourselves is selfish beyond measure. Let me share a tried and proven method of winning the lost.
The simple, but effective method is called "Roman Road to Salvation.” It has long been used successfully by Baptists and others serious about their primary purpose of wining souls. It is perhaps the easiest way to lead someone to a personal knowledge of The Christ. It has all the necessary parts and is easy for a nonbeliever to understand. One way to use it effectively is to write "Roman Road" and the page number of the first passage inside your Bible where you can find it as needed. Find and highlight or underline the passage and near it write the page number for the next verse and so on. This will then help you lead a friend through the entire series of passages in a short time. Remember to discuss each step and make certain they understand it. Answer their questions thoughtfully and completely before moving to the next point. Share your testimony and life experiences. We are commanded to always be ready to share the hope that is in us: But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, (1 Pet 3:15, NIV)
OK, are you ready? Here it is. This is called the Roman Road to Salvation, because all of the verses are in Romans. Mark page numbers in your Bible so you can find them easily. There are many other methods by which you can share the gospel. Find or develop one that you are comfortable with and can use effectively with others. Always pray before you begin asking the Holy Spirit to prepare the heart of the one you are witnessing to and ask for wisdom and sensitivity as you proceed. Remain sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as you continue.
Roman Road to Salvation
1. First, we must establish the fact that our own behavior cannot get us to heaven. We are flawed beyond hope apart from Jesus Christ. We ALL need Salvation. Human nature tells us we are good, but human nature is wrong. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one." (Romans 10:10) The message makes it very clear we need Salvation because we have all sinned. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 10:22-23) It matters not if you have lived the life of Adolph Hitler or Mother Teresa you have missed the mark and need the forgiveness of sin.
2. Salvation is a free gift from God. We cannot earn it. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23) Again this goes against human nature. We want to feel worthy and self sufficient. We want to earn salvation so we can boast as did the Pharisees of old.
3. Jesus Christ paid for our salvation with his sinless life and terrible sacrificial death. Only this perfect Lamb of God can wash our sins away. There is NO other way. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
4. Salvation requires confession and belief in the death burial and resurrection of Jesus on earth. That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10) Many reject salvation because it is so simple. We want more. We want to earn it...this is human nature and damns many to eternity in hell.
5. It is free for the asking for "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame." (Romans 10:13,11) For us it is free, but it cost Jesus his life and God his son.
6. Jesus is a kind of second Adam. Through Adam sin entered into the world and into all of us. Sin is our birthright. It is our very nature. Jesus provided Salvation from our sin. For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:17)
Sinner's Prayer: To gain Salvation one must repent, believe, commit and confess with the mouth that Jesus is Lord. There are many ways to help someone pray for Salvation. Perhaps the easiest way is to lead them in the sinner's prayer and have them repeat after you. Find what works for you, but It does need to contain the following elements: Dear Heavenly Father, I am a sinner and deserve to go to hell. I believe Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life on earth and died a terrible death for my sins. I also believe he was resurrected from death and now sits in heaven at the right hand of God and will return soon to judge all people. Please forgive me for my sins and I now give you my life and make Jesus Lord and ruler of my life. Wash me now and make me clean. Thank you for Salvation. Amen
Congratulate them on becoming a Christian and welcome them into the family of God. Stress the importance of their joining a local life giving church that preaches the Bible as true. Help them to see the importance of reading the Word of God. Have them start with the New Testament books of John and Romans. Encourage them to find and connect with an accountability partner. The reason Christians new and old need to be active in a good church is for growth, for Christian fellowship and for accountability. We all stumble and need others to help us get up and keep going. To fall is human; to stay down is stupid.
What to expect. For many there are no flashing lights or sound of trumpets or even strong emotion. This is a spiritual experience and is not based on intellect or emotion. Most people feel clean for the first time in their lives. Many feel a sense of burden has been lifted. Some are filled with praise and true worship. Some weep. Some are filled with joy unspeakable. Some feel nothing. Regardless of what is felt a life changing exchange has taken place. Sin has been traded for eternal life.
Security of the believer. The following passages help us to KNOW that we KNOW we are saved. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade--kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV)
Salvation is for keeps. We cannot lose it for He keeps us, we do not keep Him. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand. I and the Father are one." (John 10:27-30, NIV)
One reason we have the Bible is that we may know with certainty we are saved. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.
When we are tempted we have this promise for escape...as we submit to God. Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7) Notice this is a conditional promise. Without submission we have no authority over the Enemy.
Ask God today to place someone in your path that is hungry for things of God. I dare you!