Convinced of Righteousness (Conviction – 3)

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John 16:8-11

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.

Lost souls are captivated by sin, so God uses the fear of hell to shift their focus from this world and the pleasures of sin to their need for salvation. It give the sinner the opportunity to put his eyes on eternal things so that he might choose life instead of wrath. But the fear of wrath is not enough to set the soul free from the love of sin. A person who only fears the consequences of sin will not leave sin because it is evil, but simply because it is not worth it. The sinner will begin to hate sin because of its ultimate outcome, but he will still love sin itself. The only way for a heart to be truly freed from sin’s hold on him is by glimpsing the goodness of the One Whom he has sinned against. When a lost soul faces the consequences of sin he realizes his danger, but when he sees to beauty, love and grace of the God he has rebelled against, he begins to see the evil of his sin. Continue reading

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Convinced of Judgment (Conviction – 2)

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Isaiah 66:2b

But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

John 16:8

And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment

God by His Spirit destroys people’s self-deception so they can see their sin for what it is. But seeing ourselves is not enough to break the powerful grip sin has on our souls. In order for the allure of sin to be broken people need a glimpse of the eternal consequences of sin. It is one thing to be humbled by realizing we are wicked people. It is quite another to find out that our sin is so offensive to God that He is going to send us to a place of eternal torment because of it. Continue reading

Convinced of Guilt (Conviction – 1)

 

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Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Isaiah 66:2b

But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.

Though mankind is corrupted by sin, God has given each person a conscience that alerts them to the sinful things they do in thought, word and deed. Because people are not able to escape this ever-present warning system they spend their lives debating with it and rejecting its testimony against their sin. They prefer to think of themselves as good people, and so they diligently throw out all the testimony to the contrary. They accuse their conscience of bearing false witness and are thus able to prop up their fabricated dignity. In duping themselves they mistakenly imagine that they deceive God as well. And so they are able to live day to day in rebellion against God, all the while imagining that they are more upright than their neighbor. Continue reading

Not by Marketing, Not by Manipulation (Human Sinfulness – 4)

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Acts 18:27

And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace

Acts 16:14

Now a certain woman named Lydia heard us. She was a seller of purple from the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God. The Lord opened her heart to heed the things spoken by Paul.

John 6:44

No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.

The sinful hearts of men will never consent to leave their sin and follow Christ unless God convinces them of their need for salvation and gives them a desire for it. Mankind is by nature rebellious and at enmity with God, but God is able to make the unwilling willing, and cause the stiff-necked to bow their hearts before His goodness and authority. We can seek to entice people with all the blessings God offers, try to alarm them with warnings of the wrath He promises, or plead with them until our hearts break, our eyes fill with tears and our voice wears out, but without God’s convincing grace, they will remain uninterested, unalarmed and unconvinced. God commands, “Cry aloud, spare not; lift up your voice like a trumpet,” therefore, knowing the terror of the Lord we should seek to persuade men (Isaiah 58:1, 2 Corinthians 5:11). But we must never imagine that our appeals and exhortations have any power apart from the grace of God’s Spirit. We must place all of our hope for success in “the demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). Continue reading

The Deception of Moralism (Human Sinfulness – 3)

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John 3:18

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all like an unclean thing,  And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;  We all fade as a leaf,  And our iniquities, like the wind,  Have taken us away.

Those who have not been saved through Jesus Christ are without God and without hope in this world. They are willfully alienated from God and wicked through and through. This is the shameful truth about humanity apart for God’s saving grace. But there is something still more terrible about mankind’s situation; they are condemned under the wrath of almighty God. Continue reading

Willful Rebellion & Lenient Christianity (Human Sinfulness – 2)

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Romans 8:7-8

Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 

Titus 2:11-12

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age

Everyone without Christ is lost in sin. But we must not imagine that this means they deserve any kind of pity. It is true that God pities them and that He calls His people to pity them as well, but that is not because they deserve it, but because God is kind and merciful. They are not lost because they have to be, but because they want to be. They are separated from God because they hate Him, His will and His ways. Though they might not admit to themselves that they hate God, the Bible teaches that all people are enemies of God until they are transformed by His saving grace. Every unsaved person has silently declared war on God. Every day they oppose His will and set themselves up as their master and lord.

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Lost Souls and Idolatrous Evangelism (Human Sinfulness – 1)

People are saved when they are reconciled with God through Jesus Christ. In this sense salvation is not a process but something that happens in a moment. Though this is true, it is also true that there is a process that leads up to that moment. If we desire to be useful to God in the salvation of others, we need to understand how God leads people to Jesus Christ so that we will be able to work with God every step of the way as He leads people to the Savior. In these lessons we will cover the following steps in the conversion process:

  1. Human Sinfulness
  2. Conviction by the Spirit
  3. Repentance from Sin
  4. Faith in Christ
  5. Baptism into Christ
  6. Reconciliation with God
  7. Transformation by the Spirit

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Ephesians 2:12

…at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. Continue reading