As I have traveled round the world, I have found to my horror that up to 80% of those making decisions for Christ, are turning away from the Lord. In 1991, a major denomination was able to obtain 294,000 decisions for Christ. They can only find 14,000 in the fellowship. In other words, they couldn’t account for 280,000 of their decisions. This is a normal modern evangelism result.
I then made it a point of prayer and also studied great men God had used through the centuries, such as Charles Spurgeon, John Wesley and others. I found out that they used principles which have been entirely neglected in modern evangelism.
If you approach a sinner, and tell him Jesus Christ died on the cross for him, it will be foolishness to him and offensive. Foolishness, because it wouldn’t make sense. Offensive, because you are insinuating he is a sinner when he doesn’t think he is.
But if you follow the footsteps of Jesus, and take the time to open the divine law, the Ten Commandments, and show the sinner exactly what he has done wrong, then when he becomes convinced he is a transgressor, the Good News will not be foolishness or offensive. Rather, it will be the power of God unto salvation
TEXT: Rom. 3: 19
I. GOD’S LAW.
II. The function of God’s law is to stop a sinner’s mouth and leave them guilty before God (Rom. 3: 20).
A. God’s law tells us what sin is (Rom. 7: 7).
B. The law acts as a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ (Gal. 3: 24).
1. The law doesn’t help us, it leaves us helpless.
2. The law doesn’t justify us, it just leaves us guilty before the judgment seat of God.
III. THE TRAGEDY OF MODERN EVANGELISM
A. Instead of using the law and its capacity to drive sinners to the Lord, modern evangelism had to find another reason for sinners to respond to the Gospel.
B. The issue modern evangelism chose is the issue of life enhancement.
C. The Gospel has degenerated to:
• Jesus Christ will give you peace, joy, love, and fulfillment.
D. Illustration of two men sitting in the plane.
E. As believers, we know that the righteousness of Christ will deliver us from the wrath to come.
F. If we put on the Lord Jesus for the right motive, to flee from the wrath to come, when tribulation strikes, we wouldn’t get angry with God, we wouldn’t loose our joy and peace. That tribulation will draw us closer to Christ.
G. Sadly, we have a multitude of professing Christians who lose their joy and peace when there is tribulation. Why?
• Because, that is the product of modern evangelism.
H. There is no need to take the cure, when you are not convinced you’ve got a disease.
I. The law convinces that you have a disease so you can accept the Gospel.
J. Biblical evangelism is always law to the proud, and grace to the humble.
K. Never will you see Jesus giving the Gospel, the cross, the grace of our God to the proud, arrogant self-righteous person.
L. With the law, He breaks the hard hearts and with the Gospel, He heals the broken hearts.
III. THE EXAMPLE OF JESUS.
A. Giving the law to the proud (Luke 10: 25).
1. A certain lawyer stood up and tempted the Lord.
2. Jesus gave him the law.
3. The lawyer was willing to justify himself.
4. Jesus gave him the story of the Good Samaritan.
5. This story silenced the lawyer because he didn’t love his neighbor as himself.
B. The rich young ruler (Luke 18: 18).
1. He said he had kept the commandments of God.
2. Jesus gave him the first commandment to show him his god was his money.
C. Giving grace to the humble.
1. The case of Nicodemus (John 3).
2. He was a humble Jew.
3. The case of Nathaniel (John 1).
4. He was an Israelite indeed!
5. There was no deceit in his heart.
6. The law was the schoolmaster that brought them to Christ.
7. The case of Jews on the day of Pentecost.
8. These were devout Jews from every nation.
• 1 Tim. 1: 8 tells us the purpose of the law.
9. The Bible is full of examples of the law doing its work in evangelism.
D. The approach of Jesus (John 4).
1. Jesus approached this woman in the natural realm first.
2. Then the law of God.
3. The law shows sin in its true light.
4. This leads to repentance.
5. Charles Spurgeon said, “they will never accept grace, until they tremble before a holy and just law: They will never take the cure, unless they are first convinced they have a disease.”
6. So find yourself a sinner, and experiment on him and see if it works. Jesus gave the example so follow it. If someone comes to you, confessing his need as a sinner, give him grace. But more than likely, many people will come to you establishing their own righteousness. That’s when you give them the law.
7. I am not talking about hell-fire preaching. Hell-fire preaching will produce a fear-filled complex. But using God’s law will produce a tear-filled complex.
1. Discuss various reasons why there are many decisions in the church today and only a few of them are real converts.
2. What can we do to change this trend?
3. How does the issue of life enhancement differ from the use of the law of God in leading sinners to Christ?
4. Discuss various approaches you can take in giving the law to the proud, religious and self righteous before the Gospel.
5. When can you change the law method to the grace method?
Study the examples of the Lord in the Gospels on how He used different approaches in presenting the gospel.
Give three examples each of His use of the law and grace.