Are you active in sharing your faith? (Philemon 6) If you saw a blind man heading toward a cliff, would you stop him? The road to heaven is narrow, said Jesus- consider all the people you meet every day that are perishing- do you care? Are you prepared and confident in how to share words of eternal life with them?
Imagine having a restless night and glancing out of the window of your bedroom only to see flames darting from your neighbor’s house- what would you do? Would you knock gently on the door and say, “Excuse me, I think it is more comfortable over at my house”? I think rather you would beat on the door and shout, warning them of the fire. Jude wrote, “Others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.” (v. 23)
We’re concerned about many of the modern methods of evangelism and whether they are Biblical. Are we compassionately warning people, or are we trying to seduce them with a smooth sales talk? Is God’s love and our felt needs the place that we’re to typically start in a conversation about evangelism? Others speak of friendship evangelism- developing a relationship and hoping that in due time the unsaved friend will recognize the difference in your life and ask you about it- but would your evangelism method change if you knew someone had 24 hours to live? Some teach evangelism claiming they use “the Romans Road”- is it truly the Romans Road, or is there something missing?
Why do we need a Savior? To save us from our sins and the resulting judgment/wrath that are a result of our sins, right (Matt 1:21)? What is it that reveals that we are sinners? To most unsaved people, the word sin as lost its significance. If you go out on the streets and ask someone if they think they deserve hell when they die, virtually all the unsaved will say ‘no’- thus, they have no grasp of sin and its’ consequences, for God’s word says “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Telling them that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” doesn’t do much to alarm many sinners- they really don’t see that they’re any “different” than anyone else- and God will forgive their petty sins- after all, there are many people far worse than them, so they think.
So, again, what reveals to an unbeliever that they’re a sinner and in deep trouble? The Holy Spirit works on their conscience (John 16:8, Rom 1:14-15), convicting them of sin through God’s Law, summarized in the Ten Commandments. “The Law is a tutor, leading us to Christ” (Gal 3:24)
What is the function of God’s Law- was it just for the Jewish people? Was it just for people up until the time Christ died on the cross? No- the Law of God is a tutor to lead people to Christ.
Let’s say you recommended a doctor for me to get a physical and I felt fine, but I decided to have the physical, for I haven’t had one in 20 years. The doctor walks in my room and says, “I’ve got this tremendous cure for you- it will do wonders in your life” and offers me medicine. Do you think I would be interested? Of course not! But what if the doctor said, “It’s time for your physical- please take off your shirt.” He then proceeds to show me 10 clear signs on my flesh that I’ve got a rare disease and that I’ve got a week to live. He’s now got my full attention, “Doc, what do I do?” He replies, “I’ve got good news- here’s the cure- take this and live.” I would gladly take the cure, regardless of cost and side-effects- we’re talking about my life. In the same way, when we have the 10 Cannons of God’s Law pointing at us, showing us our utter sinfulness, we’ll hunger and thirst for a righteousness that comes only through Jesus Christ and not through our own goodness.
The Book of Romans shows us this path. Paul introduces Romans by saying he’s “not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation of everyone who believes, for in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith, as it is written, ‘the just shall live by faith.’” (Rom 1:16-17)
What will we need on Judgment Day? We’ll need righteousness. How do we get righteousness? By faith in Jesus Christ. The unbelieving world doesn’t buy that, so Paul spends from 1:18-3:20 showing the whole world that they have no chance to obtain righteousness apart from the gospel of Christ, and he uses God’s Law to punch the wind out of all our self-righteousness, and to dangle us above the flames of hell. Paul opens by talking of the wrath of God being poured out for all the unrighteousness and ungodliness of men who seek to suppress the truth in unrighteousness (1:18-19). Paul ends the section by stating, “Now we know that whatever the Law says, it says to those who are under the Law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the Law is the knowledge of sin.” (3:19-20) Romans shows us the purposes of the Law of God:
It speaks to all who are under the Law (and 2:14-15 says our conscience reveals we’re all under the law- it accuses us and is written on our hearts)
The Law stops every mouth of its’ self-justification- the mouth that says, “really, I’m ok, I’m not deserving of hell and judgment.”
The Law holds the whole world (that’s everyone!) guilty before God.
The Law doesn’t justify anyone, rather it condemns everyone- it brings about wrath (4:15)Without the Law, sin is not taken into account (4:15,5:12-13)One offense results in condemnation (5:16) and death (6:23).The purpose of the Law is that sin might abound (5:20) and be “exceedingly sinful” (7:13).
The Law has dominion over us as long as we live (7:1), only when we die to the Law through Christ (7:4) can we be set free from the “Law of sin and death” (8:2).
The Law doesn’t stop sinful passions, rather, in exposing sinful passions it just makes us that more aware of just how sinful we are (7:5).
We can’t even know what sin is without the Law (7:7, 1 John 3:4).
The Law judges the heart- Paul was convicted of his own covetousness (10th Commandment) by the Law and realized he was a dead man (7:7)- the Commandment brought him to the awareness of his spiritual condition (7:10).
The Law is holy, just and good (7:12)- as we review the commandments with people on the streets and ask them to honestly compare their lives to the commandments, much as some may try, they have a tremendously difficult time denying the holiness and perfection of the Law.
The Law is spiritual (7:13) and reveals our utter carnality- we come to realize as we clearly hear the Law that it is perfect and we are evil (7:16-21), in spite of all our good intentions.
The Law leads us to salvation in a Person, Jesus Christ, instead of in works: “O wretched man that I am, WHO will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God- through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:24-25)
The Law shows us the impossibility in the flesh to please God, for the flesh is not subject to the Law of God and cannot be subject to the Law of God (8:7).
Finally, “Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone who believes” (10:4) The Jews and the rest of the world have sought a righteousness through good works, but the Law reveals the impossibility of that, “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the Law, ‘The man who does those things shall live by them’” (10:5) and none of us can live the Law. After 2 blistering chapters exposing our own utter depravity, we deeply hunger and thirst for the blessed righteousness that can only be found in Jesus Christ, “But now the righteousness of God apart from the Law is revealed… even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness…Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the Law!” (3:21-28) Note how improper it is to start the Romans Road with 3:23!!! So too is it inappropriate to share with unbelievers who believe they don’t deserve hell the gospel until their hearts have been properly plowed with the Law as a field is plowed before the seed is planted. Indeed, the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor 1:17-18). Plow the ground with the Law, prepare the soil for the seed of the gospel and God will cause it to grow!