A. Their Secular Life
B. Their Church Background
C. Our Church (Their impression)
D. Testimony (Church and personal)
The reason the church is here is to show the reality of eternal life in and through its caring people and to communicate to people how they might have life abundantly and eternally! I feel that we, as the church throughout history, have done an incredibly poor job of conveying that basic message. The result is that there are millions of people in the world today who go to church regularly - good people - who do not have eternal life. I must confess, and this may be true of you also, that I had lived a good many years as a member of a church (or If saved in early childhood, I'm glad that I have eternal life …), but somehow I had never come to the place of knowing for sure that I could have eternal life. Instead, I had a terrifying fear of death. etc …
Before I received eternal life …
Then I received eternal life …
Now that I have …
It's good news that when I die …
May I ask you a question?
E. Two Diagnostic Questions
Q1: Have you come to the place in you spiritual life where you know for certain that if you were to die today you would go to heaven?
The Bible says, "I write these things to you who believe in the name of Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13) May I share with you how I discovered eternal life and how you can know it too?
Before I do, may I ask you a second Question?
Q2: Suppose you were to die today and stand before God and He were to say to you "Why should I let you into my heaven?" What would you say?
Let me be sure I understand what you would say to God. You would say … (repeat his answer) … is that what you would say?
Well, when we started talking, I thought I might have some good news to share with you, but now that I've heard your answer to this question, I know I have the best news you will ever hear. That news is …
II. The Gospel
1. HEAVEN (ETERNAL LIFE) IS A FREE GIFT.
For example, the sunshine, fresh air, clean water are free for us. The eternal life in heaven is a free gift from God. The Bible says, "the GIFT of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23b) It says God gives us heaven as a free gift.
2. IT IS NOT EARNED or DESERVED.
The Bible says, "By grace you have been saved through faith, and that NOT OF YOURSELVES; it is the GIFT of God, NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8,9) You receive eternal life as a genuine free gift. No amount of personal effort, good works, or religious deeds can earn a place in heaven for you because eternal life like any genuine gift is free.
* Friend's Gift
Suppose your best friend (wife, husband, mother, etc.) were to surprise you with an expensive gift and let's suppose your response would be that of immediately digging into your purse or wallet for a couple of bills to (help) pay for the gift. What an insult that would be! You must accept gifts freely. If you pay even a penny, it is no longer a gift. It is the same with eternal life.
Then why do so many people not receive the gift?
This can be understood more clearly when we understand what Bible says about man.
1. MAN IS A SINNER.
The Bible says, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)
* Sin Defined
When we think of sin, many times we think only of robbery, murder, adultery, etc. But the Bible tells us that sin is anything that doesn't please God or a transgression of His law. Anything we do that we shouldn't, like losing our temper or stealing - these are sins of commission. Anything we should do but don't, like failing to pray or read the Bible, or to truly love our neighbor - these are sins of omission. There are not only sins of deed but also sins in word and thought like lying, cursing, lust, pride, and hatred.
The Bible says these are all sins.
By these standards, how often do you sin, brother/sister? Several dozen times a day - same for me.
* Three Sins a Day Illustration
According to psychologists, on average more than twenty thousand thoughts cross a person's mind. Suppose a person sinned only ten times a day or even five or even just three. Why, he would practically be a walking angel! Imagine if no more often than three times a day did he think unkind thoughts, or lose his temper, or fail to do what he ought towards God and man - he would be a pretty fine person, would he not?
Even if he were this good, he would still have over 1,000 transgressions a year! If he lived to be the average age of 70, he would have 70,000 violations of the Law of God on his records. Think what would happen to a habitual offender in a criminal court with 70,000 transgressions on his record. And because of this,
2. MAN CANNOT SAVE HIMSELF.
Then how good should we be to go to heaven? The Bible says "Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) This verse says if we want to go to heaven by doing good, we have to be perfect in obeying God. But No one meets this standard.
* Omelet with Bad Egg Illustration
Suppose I invite you to my house. If I made a dish mixing one rotten egg with five fresh eggs, I couldn't expect you to willingly accept that dish. People often think they have done many good things. But in reality there are many rotten thoughts and acts within our lives. When we offer this to God, we cannot expect God to receive it joyfully.
Do you see why it is impossible? However,
1. God is merciful therefore doesn't want to punish us.
This is because, "God is love …" (I John 4:8b) Bible says, "I have loved you with an everlasting love." (Jeremiah 31:3b)
2. God is also just therefore must punish sins
He says, "I will by no means clear the guilty." (Exodus34:7b), "The soul who sins shall die." (Ezekiel 18:4)
* Bank Robber Illustration
Suppose I were to rob a bank of $5,000. A hidden camera takes movies of me in the act, the teller and other eye witnesses identify me as the robber. When I am brought before the judge, the evidence is undeniable, so I respond, "I am guilty, Your Honor." Suppose I were then to say to him, "Judge, I am very sorry that I robbed the bank. You have the money back and no one was hurt. I promise you I will never rob another bank if you will just let me go.” Would the judge be just if he let me go?
He has a standard of Justice that must be satisfied. If he would let me go, there would be no bank safe in the land. If a human judge, because of justice, must punish law-breakers, how much more a just and holy God must punish sin! That's why the Bible says He can by no means leave the guilty unpunished.
We have a problem. We have all sinned. The penalty for sin is death. We need forgiveness so that we can have a right relationship with God. God solved this problem for us in the Person of Jesus Christ.
1. Jesus Christ is the infinite God-man.
The Bible says about Jesus Christ. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us." (John 1:1,14) Jesus Christ came to earth and lived a sinless life,
but while on earth, WHAT DID HE DO?
2. He died on the cross and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and to purchase a place in heaven for us.
* Record Book of Sin Illustration
Let's imagine this book in my right hand is a minutely detailed account of my life. Each page details the sin of a particular day, every word I have spoken, every thought that ever crossed my mind, every deed I've ever done. Here then (hold up the book) is the problem - my sin. (Place book in palm of left hand) God loves me (point to your left hand) but He hates my sin (point at the book on top of your hand) and must punish it.
To solve this problem, He sent his beloved Son into the world (lift up right hand parallel to the left hand). The Scripture says, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned, everyone to his own way, and the Lord had laid on Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6) (As you say words, "laid on Him," transfer the book in one distinct motion from your left hand to the palm of your right and leave it in the right hand.) All of my sin which God hates has been placed on His beloved Son.
“Christ bore our sin in His own body on the tree.” (I Peter 2:24)
* Tetelestai illustration
Finally, when the last sin had been paid for, Jesus said, "It is finished!" This is an interesting word in the original text. It is Tetelestai, a commercial word which means,
"It is paid; the debt is paid all."
Jesus paid all the expense of our sins. This gift we receive by faith.
Faith is the key that opens the door to heaven. You probably have a key chain with many keys like this. Keys look similar. But if you try to open the door in my house, there is only one key that works. It is no use believing other keys could work. Only with the right key you can open the door. The right key to the gate to heaven is true faith in our savior. But many people mistake two things for saving faith:
1. One is mere INTELLECTUAL ASSENT, that is, believing certain historical facts.
* Intellectual Assent Defined
Some people believe in Jesus Christ the same way they believe in Napoleon or George Washington. They believe that He actually lived. He was a real person in history, but they are not trusting Him to do anything for them now.
* The Devil Illustration
The Bible says the devil believes in God. Did you know that? The demons in the Gadarene demoniac said, "What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou 'Son of God'? Are thou come hither to torment us before the time?" (Mark 5:7) Even the demons believe in the deity of Christ! But they evidently weren't saved!
2. The other is mere TEMPORAL FAITH, that is, trusting God for temporary crises such as financial, family, or physical needs.
* Temporal Faith defined
When you have trusted in the Lord for your finances, you could call that financial - faith. You may have prayed and trusted the Lord to take care of your family - you could call that family - faith. You may have prayed and trusted the Lord to give you a safe trip - you could call this traveling - faith. There is one thing all these have in common.
They are of a temporary nature. They are temporal. Once your financial needs are met, you no longer need to trust the Lord, once you have safely reached
your destination, you don't need to trust the Lord for traveling faith. All the things of this would shall pass away. They are temporary. Now many people I find, trust the Lord for all these temporary matters.
Now these are good, and you should trust Christ for these, but they are not saving faith! What is saving faith then?
3. SAVING FAITH is trusting in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.
It means resting upon Christ alone and what He has done rather than upon what you or I have done to get us into heaven. The Bible says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." (Acts 16:31a) Let me illustrate the faith trusting Jesus alone by this chair.
* Chair Illustration
You do believe this chair exists don't you? (point to empty chair) (Yes) Do you believe this chair would support me if I were to sit on it? (Yes) But it is not supporting me now for a very simple reason. I am not sitting on it. For the sake of making my point, let the chair where I am sitting represent me, and this empty chair represent Jesus Christ. For a long time I believed He existed and could help me. But I did not have eternal life because I was trusting my own good works to support me into Heaven.
Remember what you said you would say to God if He asked why He should let you into Heaven? You said. "I try to do the best I can …" Who is the only person referred to in your answer? "I" Who were you trusting to get you to Heaven when you said that? "Yourself" To receive eternal life I must transfer my trust from myself to Jesus Christ alone for eternal life (sit in empty chair). Does this make sense to you?
* "P.S." Motive for Godly Living
A president of Princeton once said: "As a young man I accepted Christ and the gift of eternal life. All the rest of my life has been simply a P.S. to that day, saying, "Thank you, Lord, for what you gave to me then." The motive for Christian living is gratitude for the gift of eternal life. "The love of Christ constrains us." (2 Corinthians 5:14a)
* Beggar's Hand
Faith is like the hand of a beggar receiving the gift of a King. We don't deserve the gift of eternal life. But we can have it, if we will receive it by faith.
I presented you the key story of Bible.
Does this make sense to you?
Brother/Sister ________ we cannot see God now but He is here. Right now God is asking you.
"My dear daughter (son), I would like to give you the gift of eternal life. Will you receive it?" Would you like to receive the gift of eternal life? (yes)
You have made a very important decision. Because this is the most important decision in your life, I would like to clarify it once more. To receive the gift of eternal life.
First, you need transfer your trust from yourself to Jesus Christ. Do you want to do that? (yes)
Second, you should receive the resurrected and living Christ. into your life.
Third, you should receive Christ as your savior. The Scripture says "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him and he with me." Do you want to receive Jesus as your savior?
Fourth, you should receive Jesus as your lord. Until now, you have been the lord of your life. Now you should leave the wheel to Jesus, who created you, knows best, and wants to give you the best.
Finally, you should repent. Until now you have had your back turned on God. Just like a U-turn sign, you turn the direction of your life toward God. Do you really want to turn your life around? (yes)
If this is what you really want, I can lead us in prayer and we can tell God what you just told me.
Let us pray.
1. Pray for him
Truly wonderful God, we thank you that you led brother/sister ________ to hear the good news, which was achieved by Jesus who did not spare even His own life to save us. Please help her understand and believe this good news and repent.
2. Pray with him
Brother/Sister ________, Christianity is a religion of confession. Please repeat after me. Our Father, I have sinned. I thank you for dying on the cross to forgive my sin. Now I open my heart, and receive Jesus to the center of my heart as the savior and the Lord. I leave my life onto your hands. From now on, I want to live trusting Jesus alone. Please help me. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
3. Pray for him
Dear Loving Father. Thank you. We have prayed upon your words of promise. As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, ever to those who believe in His name. I thank you for this brother/sister ________ born again as your daughter (son). I ask you to give her assurance that all her sins were forgiven and she is a God's child now. We do not know what is waiting for her in the future. But I ask you to help her become pure and blessed in favor of God and men. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
1. I would like you to read something Jesus says about what you have just done.
Would you like to read John 6:47. ?
He who believes has what? (eternal life)
Read the verse again with your name in it. please. ?
2. Two Diagnostic Questions
Based on this verse, I want to ask you one more time. Brother/Sister ________ if you were to die today, do you know for certain that you would go to Heaven? (yes)
if God were to say to you, "Why should I let you into my heaven.” What would you answer (because I believe in Jesus.)
3. Welcome to the family of God
You are born again as a God's child by trusting Jesus and become a member of the God's family. We welcome you and congratulate you to join the God's family.
IV. Immediate Follow Up
This is for you to congratulate your spiritual birthday. This will be of great help for you. In the first half of this book, there is a summary of what we have talked today. In the second half, it explains how your faith can grow well. I well show you the first part.
Would you like to read 'My spiritual Birth Certificate'? Is this the decision you have made? (yes)
If so, please write down today's date here and sign here. I will sign as a witness who presented the good news to you and saw you receive it today. If you have any questions or need any help, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime. I will do my best to help you.
Brother/Sister ________, parents will be glad when a newborn baby grows well. In the same way, God wants you to grow well because you are a spiritually new-born baby.
There are five means of growth in this book. Please take a time to look at them.
Thank you very much for listening for a long time. See you and Good-bye.