The Gospel was in Matthew through John. It was written to the lost so that they
The Epistles were written to saints to establish them in the faith. The "Romans Road," used to win souls, is a case of using teaching to saved people to convince lost people. If this was not a problem, John would not have said that his Gospel was written so that the lost could believe. Almost all "soul winners" use verses from the Epistles for proof texting and avoid the Gospels. We accuse the Jehovah's Witnesses of taking a verse alone and using it for their own private interpretation, but then we take a verse here and a verse there from Paul, and we claim to be giving the Gospel.
The reason that the Gospels, Matthew through John, are essential is that men do not know who God is, let alone who Jesus Christ is. Gentiles in John's day did not know who God was, and they don't know today. The world has a cool head Jesus who is alien to the Gospel of John, as did the people on Mars hill in Athens in Paul's day.
One Sunday evening, after our service in Yermo, California, one of our very faithful ladies came and asked me if I had some tracks about God. I thought this was a strange way to ask for Gospel tracks, but I went into my office to find some things to give her. She said she was going to L.A. Monday morning to visit a niece, and the young adult did not know who God was. When I handed here several Gospel tracks, she politely told me she could not start there. She said this young adult, who was a very bright college student, did not know who God was. I was floored. How could anyone not at least know who God is in America in about 1978? Since then I have learned to talk about God before I go on to talk about Jesus Christ, at least where I don't get any signals from the person in front of me that they understand.
The Holy Ghost knew that NO MAN would know God without seeing Jesus Christ. We start our soul winning with the assumption that the sinner at least knows who God is. They do NOT, and you are a fool to assume that. The Bible plainly says in John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. How dare we assume that people know God and will feel sin and guilt simply because they have some idea that God is holy? No wonder so many people who were allegedly "won to Christ" don't have a clue what happened to them.
One reason people do not know who God or Jesus are today is that, much of the time, a light weight Jesus is promoted in soul winning and in evangelistic preaching. Five or six verses from the Epistles are used, along with much persuasive sales talk, often done by sheer wrote canned chatter. The chatter may be by a born again saint or preacher, but he is NOT the same authority as the Gospel of John. Worse, I hear heresy all the time from Fundamental Baptists, and others, as they try to illuminate the Gospel with their illustrations and sales talk.
The listener comes to know a Jesus with no history, no authority, no origin, no power, no miracles, no teaching of truth, and no relationship to God that amounts to much. Why? Answer: The "soul winner" is the persuader, NOT the Holy Ghost. Why do I say this? The Holy Ghost uses the Word of God to persuade men that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Modern soul winning consists of men persuading men with little of no Word of God, save for a handful of verses written to people who are already convinced (The Epistles).
It is no wonder that so many people have walked the aisle, "prayed through," repeated a canned prayer, only to become confused a day later, or a year later, as to what they really believed. No wonder there is such hate for the evangelist later. The evangelist is the persuader, he is the message, and he is the salesman of a mongrel gospel that may never have been couched in one single Bible verse from one of the four Gospels in the Bible. Why do we run to Romans so much to win souls WHEN GOD SAW TO IT THAT WE HAVE FOUR COPIES OF THE GOSPEL to use to win souls?
The Hyles method is perhaps one of the worst. Indeed, if the soul winner is asked a question about the life of Jesus, or his works as exalted in the Gospel of John, the alleged soul winner is told by Hyles to brush this question aside with the comment, "That is important, but we need to talk about that later." The Hyles sales trick is then to press forward to get the right answers to questions not found in the Bible. Once the right answers are forthcoming, the alleged soul winner declares the victim born again.
The next trick is damning.
The alleged soul winner asks questions, like, "What just happened to you?" Or, "What did Jesus just do for you?" The right answers result in the end of the process and a declaration of salvation to the victim and on a "response card." This whole trick is found nowhere in the New Testament, and there is NO evidence that the victim is born again-- only that he was sold a package of assurance by a clever talker.
Dunk him next Sunday, and he may well have been made twice the child of hell Jack Hyles was.
The first souls saved in the Word of God were already believers in the Old Testament message who went on from faith to faith, as with the thief on the cross, the folks in the Upper Room, and with Cornelius. Read about that in the book of Acts. Later, the Gentile pagans were given plenty of time to listen to Paul and other soul winners take them from zero knowledge to a point where they believed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
The Eunuch was taken from where he was reading in Isaiah to learn about Jesus Christ. He believed so zealously that he asked Philip to be baptized. Why? Answer: The obvious fact is that Philip taught him for a long time, and baptism was included in the teaching. Try to find that in your soul winning guide from Hyles or D. James Kennedy. We make a fuss over Philip's insistence that the eunuch had to declare his faith in Jesus Christ before baptism. That does answer the issue of salvation BEFORE baptism, but the point is, Philip wanted to hear the precise words that John used in John 20:30-31-- "And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." The Eunuch had eternal life at that point and was ready to be baptized. Philip was following the "Plan" to win souls which John gave us.
Read the last paragraph again please.
How did the Eunuch come to make that statement? Not because Philip was persuasive, rather; because the Holy Ghost quickened the eunuch and gave him light as Jesus and the Gospel were opened to him in detail. They may have ridden in that eunuch's chariot for hours. It was NOT, "One, Two, Three, repeat after me........" Or, "Take my hand and let me pray for you." Philip did not stop giving the man the Gospel, THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST, until the eunuch asked for action. Think about that please.
We have a big Fundamental KJV Only Baptist church in Powell, Tennessee nearby where hundreds, even thousands of people yearly, walk the aisle to allegedly be saved. Christian friends of mine meet them regularly, and they say they got saved at the big church. They say they repeated a canned prayer someone prayed for them, and, if you press them, they will almost always admit that they don't have a clue what happened to them at yonder altar. They feel like they have done something soul saving, but they cannot tell you what they did. And, they often will not consider the question further, thus, walking on into the destiny of eternal damnation. That big church in Powell is damning souls to hell every Sunday with their vile tricks. They are hirelings who refuse to obey the Master, the Great Shepherd of the sheep.
So, it is necessary, not optional, that the sinners you try to win to Christ MUST have knowledge of Jesus Christ from the Gospel IN THE WORD OF GOD, not in your persuasive plan or your clever jabberwocky sales talk.
In fact, I will go even further; if you win souls by your clever persuasive trick, or some "plan" of a man, and use the teachings of Paul to saints, WITHOUT using the Gospel to sinners which God the Holy Ghost wants you to use, you have an alien Gospel made up of a mix of God and you. No wonder your fruit does not remain. Indeed, you are turning men away from Christ, for God has NOT promised to use your best efforts if you do all the talking. He promises that HIS WORD will not return to him void. Three verses from Romans and you, you, you, you, are NOT the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
WHERE DO WE PREACH THE GOSPEL?
The Gospel is almost exclusively preached in pulpits in church houses today. Seldom do Bible believers give the Gospel on the street and at work.
That means that sinners, lost damned filthy people, have to "go to church" to get saved. They don't, and they should not, "go to church." That is ONLY a place of edification of the saints according to the Apostle Paul and the New Testament.
Here is a video by some people who are trying to get hell, judgment, and sin back into the Gospel message. I commend them as far as they deal with it, but they missed the whole point. They fail to deal with the fact that the Gospel, when it is all there, is not taken to the street. It is cloistered away in the stone pile, declared as the private property of a dude in a three piece suit, for people who no longer need it- they are already born again.
This may be the single most blasphemous aspect of Gospel preaching today.
These people have taken out another patent on Christian zeal. They are persuasive. But, they are off center. They are lifting up sin, the law, and repentance, but Jesus Christ as the Son of the Living God seems to have been left behind.
I believe that only the Gospel, from the Word of God, will bring lost sinners to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. After they read and believe the Gospel of John without reservations, and tell you so as the eunuch did, you don't have to ask all those dumb questions in the soul winner's guide you studied. You also don't need to help them doubt their salvation months later in one of your mongrel Weslyan sermons.
Do they need assurance after they believe? Send them to John's First Epistle, the "we know" book. That is what it is for-- assurance and confidence.
Finally, to you who cannot memorize the sales pitch of Hyles, and to you who cannot remember the right verses in the right order, rejoice. I have the solution for you. Buy yourself a bundle of Gospels of John. Add a note in the fly leaf area asking the reader to look at John 20:30-31. In your note, ask them to read thoughtfully the first 21 chapters of John. After reading that, if they can honestly say that they believe that every word of John is the truth, they have come to believe that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God," and they at that point have eternal life. Simply remind them of all the people who worshipped Jesus and spoke their belief out loud to him, and encourage them to speak their faith in Jesus Christ to him right out loud to their friends.
Tell them in the note that if they still have questions to call a phone number, yours or your pastor's, and include the phone number. Tell them you would like to hear from them if they believed the Gospel of John.
That is so simple, right? Some high pressured "soul winner" will tell you that this is too easy. LIE! It is profound because it is precisely what God wants-- He wants sinners to read the Gospel of John and believe it. Nothing which you say can add one thing to this plan because it is GOD'S plan. I have not discovered some new thing. This is not a new soul winning trick. This is the "plan of salvation" from about 35 AD, and it is the only one that will get a verdict out of a sinner. Heaven and hell are just up ahead, and I for one want to use God's promised plan to win a few souls for his glory. Do you?
Why use the Gospel of John?
Answer: This Gospel makes the clear claim in John 20:30-31 to be written to persuade lost sinners, and it is the Gospel most clearly for the Gentiles. But, if you want to win Jews to Jesus Christ, you may want to buy some Gospels of Matthew. Get Luke for plain language to intellectuals who need to be humbled. Get Mark for people who think they are the sensitive type. If they cannot get the Gospel out of Mark, they will just never be saved. But, use the Gospels, for they are the ultimate soul winning tool God has given to us.
The first and last mention of a word is important. Here is the last mention of the "Gospel" in the Bible:
Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,
The Gospel was authored from eternity past by God himself. Why would you and I have the audacity to embellish it in any way. Let us give it to sinners just the way God gave it to us.
Have you ever heard one of the following:
"If I can talk you out of your salvation, then you were never saved anyway." Or;
"I don't know if anyone here is saved. I only know I am."
"if there is no fruit in your life, then you may have never been born again."
Why do preachers and evangelists say these things? The answer is very obvious. They want you to doubt your salvation so they can talk you down the aisle to the altar again for a retread. It only takes one stamp to get the letter of your faith to God's Throne, but why not put two stamps on the letter just to make sure?
There is NO biblical example of Jesus or the Apostles taking the saints' confidence away from them. To say the above things is to take up the office of the accuser, which is already taken by our adversary the devil. Revelation 12:10 and Job
You preachers who preach this doubt into God's people are the same ones who never preach book studies. You prefer topical sermons because you think YOU are the one appointed to convince men of sin and righteousness and judgment. The Holy Ghost is just not changing those dirty sheep fast enough for your self-righteous soul. You pick YOUR agenda of topics that bring people down the aisle to "get right." You are, in fact, nothing but a Pharisee. You want to help God make people holy. You don't have ANY confidence in the Epistles to change people as you teach though the letters of Paul.
So, when you seek to undermine the confidence of a saint, you are an hireling. You are attacking sheep, not helping them. When saints sin, or are sick in body or mind, they can easily fall into doubt. Jesus Christ never doubts their salvation, but they do, and you slow bellies who crave more notches on your gun will help them lose their salvation if you possibly can. You show that you really do NOT believe a saint is secure in Christ once he is saved. I will do unto you what you have done unto them-- If you doubt THEIR salvation, how can you be sure of YOUR salvation? If you can get them unsaved, then maybe you can get YOURSELF unsaved.
Why don't we get into the business of believing in the saints, like the Apostles did?
Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in
bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,
12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
Philippians 1:3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel
of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that
holy Spirit of promise,
14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession,
unto the praise of his glory.
A FRIGHTENING STORY:
I have a web based business where I sell piano related things to people. A man was online buying piano key tops, and he had seen my Christian journal as well. He asked some questions.
I asked him to look at these articles on the Gospel, first to be sure he was born again, and then to encourage him not to doubt his salvation if he was born again.
He said he was in a Bible believing Baptist church in Texas. His wife had been Pentecostal, but he convinced her to go to church with him at his Baptist church.
This should make some of you slow bellies tremble. The man's wife told him she was very comfortable in the Baptist church. The reason she gave was that the Baptist pastor also taught that a believer could lose their salvation.
That preacher would probably be horrified to hear that, but the fact is, he, and many of you reading here, regularly help people to believe they have lost their salvation. You are, de facto, a Weslyan or Pentecostal preacher as regards salvation and the security of the believer.
Damnation on you, you hireling.
Why do alleged preachers use intimidation and doubt in order to cause the sheep to tremble? This has to be a great offense to our Savior who died for these sheep and has no intention of throwing them away. The logic I have heard from these slow bellied apostles of doubt is that they are worried that some of those sheep sitting in the pews on Sunday are not born again. These, who will not visit the sheep between Sundays, claim to be deeply concerned for the eternal destiny of the sheep on Sunday morning. Let me ask a question. When did Jesus Christ teach the disciples how to doubt the salvation of one another. The disciples clearly did not even know Judas was a devil until just before the crucifixion.
You are heretics who blaspheme the faith of the saints, like Sarah:
Hebrews 11:11 Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who had promised.
You judge God unfaithful to keep his sheep as he promised. These are the promises you bring the sheep to disbelieve:
13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things
as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
6 So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.
6:24 The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
25 The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
26 The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
6:37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me
I will in no wise cast out.
38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.
39 And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.
10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
2 Timothy 2:13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.
When did the Apostle Paul teach Timothy, or the churches, how to doubt the salvation of the saints? Never. Paul believed their profession, and if it was a false profession, Paul obviously did not feel one whit responsible for their lies about personal salvation. Read the beginning verses of his Epistles. Over and over he thanked God for their profession of faith.
The real reason for all this preaching of doubt, and pushing people in soul winning session who make a profession of faith, is that these lazy bums don't really want to win souls the hard long way, beginning with a check out boy or a coworker at their part time job. So, they try to get saved people unsaved so that they can talk them down the aisle again. Some of these dear saints have been re-treaded a dozen times by the time they die, and they die with no more confidence in Christ than the Pope has. Their pastor, and visiting evangelists, have robbed them of the hope of their salvation.
So, cut it out. Give the Gospel to the lost, the OBVIOUSLY lost sinners. Encourage the saints who fall into doubt. Remind them that God has no dumpster in heaven. If you still think you need to preach doubt, then I say YOU are not born again yourself, for you do not know the heart of Jesus Christ. If you did, you would see his love and tenderness for those he has purchased with his Blood and taken into his hand and arms for eternity. You would NEVER want to cause his sheep to doubt him. You might pick up a wandering chick and shove it back under the mother hen, but when you see a doubting saint, you start to drool and shove them farther away from the Lord Jesus Christ.
Corinthians 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you:
7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:
8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our
Lord Jesus Christ.
9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
Revelation 3:2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.
You are looking for imperfect works, like church attendance, by which to bring doubt on the salvation of the saints. That is wicked. Try strengthening the wandering sheep next time. If they buck up and start getting closer to the shepherd again, you have gained a brother. If they don't take strength, don't give up. You do NOT answer for the fake sheep. You are simply called to "feed the flock of God."