“FAITH COMES BY – HUH?”

EVANGELISM SEMINAR SERIES – JUNE 5, 2011  10:30 AM
First Baptist Church, Earlville, NY  Rev. Jeremy B. Stopford, Pastor
MESSAGE #3 “Faith Comes By – Huh?”

INTRODUCTION
*  Today’s Special:  “A Guillotine Funny”     In some foreign country a priest, a lawyer and an engineer are about to be guillotined.
The priest puts his head on the block, they pull the rope and nothing happens — he declares that he’s been saved by divine intervention– so he’s let go .
The lawyer is put on the block, and again the rope doesn’t release the blade, he claims he can’t be executed twice for the same crime and he is set free too.
They grab the engineer and shove his head into the guillotine, he looks up at the release mechanism and says, “Wait a minute, I see your problem…”

It seems most appropriate that in this series of messages we have come on our church calendar to “communion Sunday”.  Our Scripture reading  shows the need of God’s servants proclaiming – declaring – God’s Word so that hearts can respond to the Word.  We learned last week that we are not responsible for the hearer receiving of God’s Word – only the Spirit of God can brilliantly change a heart. But we are responsible to declare the Word of God, and then we can enter into the mystery of Romans 10:17:  “faith comes by – “ HUH? Illus.:  Nurse at CMH operating table questioning my hearing!
Hearing!  IF they don’t hear, they cannot come to the cross!
So, you ask, what things would God want every hearer to hear in order for the unbeliever to come to the cross by faith?  THAT is today’s sermon.
The “Romans Road” is a name given by an old-time preacher who wanted to share God’s message of salvation while staying in just one book of the Bible.  It is kind of like a spiritual mapquest, going from Point A (someone who doesn’t know Jesus”) to Point B (bringing him to the cross.)
Let’s check out the “Romans Road” together! PRAYER

I.  MAN HAS SINNED AGAINST A HOLY GOD (Isaiah 53:6)
Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Illus.:  My wife and I have often golfed at the par 3 course at Apple Creek Country Club.  The suggested par is “28”, and I have a laminated scorecard to show I’ve reached that at least once.  But perfection would be “9” – a hole in one on every hole.  “The glory of God” is God’s standard of perfection, and just as it is impossible to get 9 holes in one on one round, so is it impossible to reach God’s standard of holiness.

II. SINFUL MAN IS UNDER DIVINE CONDEMNATION (Ezekiel 18:4)
Romans 6:23a “for the wages of sin is death…”
This would be both physical and spiritual death.  I officiate about 20-30 funerals per year;  I can testify that people die on a regular basis.  That would be physical death.  But there is also a spiritual death – eternal separation from God. See Matt. 7:13,14 for Jesus’ view on this.

III. SINFUL MAN CANNOT EARN HIS SALVATION (Ephesians 2:8,9) Romans 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Illus.:  I once gave my wife Thuvia an expensive piece of jewelry for Christmas.  But I wrapped it in a small box, and then placed the box in a larger one, and that one in a larger one, until it appeared like she was getting a huge gift.  It took her FOREVER to open! God’s gift is not hidden – it is open to all to see!

IV.  JESUS CHRIST, THE SON OF GOD, DIED FOR SINNERS
(1 Corinthians 15:3,4)
Romans 5:8 “ but God commends [demonstrates] His love toward us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Illus.:  It IS possible, unfortunately, to both hate the sin and come across as hating the sinner.  Where are the church and its people to stand?

V.  SINNERS MUST REPENT AND TRUST CHRIST
(John 3:16)
Romans 10:13
“For ‘whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved’.”  [quoting from Joel 2:32]  The word “saved” should not be a foreign one to our vocabulary.  It basically means “delivered”
Illus.:  my first exposure to Biblical Christianity was my friend Jim’s statement, “I got saved at the revival last week.”  I thought he was nuts, and told him in no uncertain terms to keep his religion to himself.  But as I watched his life over the next two years, I too came to the cross, repented, trusted Christ as my personal Savior, and, like Jim, was “saved”.

CONCLUSION
Illus.:  “Great Commission Commitment”  “Christway Ministries” emailed me the following questionnaire, which they call our church’s “great commission commitment”.  How would you do? How would we do?
Is this true of me?… of our church?…
1  I consider the primary purpose of our church to be making disciples from previously lost people.
2  I have invited an unchurched person to church or a church event in the last 6 months.
3  I have intentionally introduced myself to and befriended a new church visitor in the past month.
4  I would like to see our church designate at least 10% of our church’s annual budget to fund our local church evangelism/outreach.
5  I would be willing to take a church visitor to a restaurant or have them for dinner after church once every 3 months.
6  I have talked with an unchurched person about my faith in the past 3 months.
7 I have prayed for a specific lost person to come to faith during the past month.
8  I regularly have lost/unchurched people in my home or meet them at restaurants (every 3 months).

You say, “Pastor, that’s not me.  I can’t do that.  I’m not gifted like that.”
Well, then, think about it:  Aren’t you glad that one day someone was so committed about you?

CLOSE IN PRAYER

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