THE LIVING WORD TRANSCRIPT
PROGRAM AIR DATE – 10-14-12
LESSON TITLE: “THE SINNERS PRAYER.”
WELCOME TO THE LIVING WORD PROGRAM ON THIS WONDROUS LORD’S DAY MORNING. IT IS ALWAYS AN HONOR AND PRIVILEGE TO HAVE YOU WITH US. WE ARE THANKFUL YOU HAVE CHOSEN TO BE WITH US AS WE COMMIT THIS TIME TO THE THINGS OF GOD.
IT IS OUR HOPE AND PRAYER THIS MORNING THAT WE MAY EACH PARTICIPATE AND DO OUR PART TO MAKE THIS TIME ACCEPTABLE BEFORE HIM AND ACCORDING TO HIS WORD. NOW LET’S BEGIN BY TALKING TO GOD THROUGH PRAYER!
THIS MORNING WE WANT TO BEGIN WITH OUR SONGS OF PRAISE THAT WE MIGHT GIVE GLORY AND HONOR TO GOD. SO, AT THIS TIME, WON’T YOU JOIN IN WITH THE CONGREGATION AS WE SING TOGETHER, “THE GLORYLAND WAY.”
(BREAK FOR SONG # 1)
IT SEEMS MORE AND MORE IN OUR SOCIETY THAT WE ARE FORGETTING THOSE WHO HAVE DONE SO MUCH TO BRING OUR COUNTRY TO WHERE IT IS TODAY. WHO AM I TALKING ABOUT - THE OLDER PEOPLE IN OUR NATION. CONSIDER WHY WE HAVE THE FREEDOMS WE DO TODAY AND THINK ABOUT THE SACRIFICE THAT MANY HAVE MADE IN PAST YEARS TO SEE THAT WE COULD LIVE AS WE WANT IN THIS COUNTRY. YES, THE FACT IS, MANY OF THESE INDIVIDUALS ARE STILL ALIVE AND REMEMBER WELL THE PRICE PAID TO ACCOMPLISH THE JOYS AND PRIVILEGES THAT WE ALL SHARE IN TODAY IN THIS GREAT COUNTRY THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
BUT WHY DO I BRING THIS UP? WELL TODAY, MANY STAND STRONG AROUND THIS WORLD TO ENFORCE OUR CONTINUED LIBERTY. MANY HAVE STEPPED UP AND COMMITTED THEMSELVES TO PAY WHATEVER PRICE IS NECESSARY TO SEE THAT OUR LIBERTIES REMAIN INTACT. SO WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT ALL OF THOSE MAKING THIS EFFORT TODAY, WE CAN NOT FORGET THE MANY WHO HAVE MADE IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN IN THE PAST TO SEE THAT THIS DAY WAS EVEN POSSIBLE. TO DEFEND SUCH A GREAT COUNTRY THAT IS ESTABLISHED ON THE EQUALITY AND FREEDOM OF ALL MANKIND.
IF WE GO TO GOD’S WORD WE FIND IT DEALS A LOT WITH HONORING AND RESPECTING THOSE WHO ARE OLDER IN AGE AND WHO HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH THROUGH THE LONG AND FRUITFUL LIVES THAT THEY HAVE LIVED. IN FACT, YOU MIGHT RECALL WHAT SOLOMON SAID IN PROVERBS 20:29. THERE WE READ, “THE GLORY OF YOUNG MEN IS THEIR STRENGTH, AND THE SPLENDOR OF OLD MEN IS THEIR GRAY HEAD.” HERE WE HAVE ADDRESSED BOTH REALMS OF OUR DECISION THIS MORNING. THE YOUNG WHO STAND STRONG TODAY TO DEFEND OUR NATION. ALSO, THE OLDER WHO ARE NOW WISE, WHO HAVE TAUGHT US SO MUCH ABOUT WHY TO STAND AND WHAT TO STAND FOR.
THIS CONCEPT OF GRAY HAIR IS USED IN AN HONORABLE WAY TO CONFIRM THE WISDOM OF THE ONE WHO HAS EXPERIENCED THE MANY UPS AND DOWNS OF LIFE. NOTICE WHAT ELSE SOLOMON SAID ABOUT THIS TOPIC IN THE SAME BOOK, CHAPTER 16, AND VERSE 16, WHERE HE STATES THAT “WISDOM IS BETTER THAN GOLD.”
THIS IS ALSO THE SAME IDEA WHICH PAUL DEALS WITH IN TITUS CHAPTER 2. THERE HE CHALLENGES US TO UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF THE “OLDER MEN” AND “OLDER WOMEN,” AND THERE WILLINGNESS TO TEACH AND TO BE EXAMPLES TO THOSE WHO ARE YOUNGER. ARE WE TAKING ADVANTAGE OF SUCH A BLESSING AMONG US?
SO, LET’S ALL REMEMBER THOSE AROUND US WHO HAVE SUCH A VAST EXPERIENCE TO SHARE WITH US TO MAKE US BETTER PEOPLE IN THE LIVES WHICH WE NOW LIVE. FURTHERMORE, LET’S SHOW THEM THE RESPECT AND THE HONOR THEY DESERVE FOR BEING WILLING TO STAND DURING THEIR PRIME OF LIFE FOR THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE WORTHY BEFORE GOD.
THIS MORNING, WE WILL CONTINUE WITH OUR SERIES CALLED, “TEACHING AS DOCTRINE THE COMMANDMENTS OF MEN!” OUR SPECIFIC TOPIC TODAY FOCUSES ON, “THE SINNERS PRAYER!” SO, PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US THIS MORNING, AND AFTER OUR NEXT SONG TOGETHER I WILL RETURN WITH THIS STUDY FROM GOD’S WORD. THE NAME OF OUR NEXT HYMN IS, “STEPPING IN THE LIGHT!”
(SONG # 2)
By Ray Sullins
We thank you so much for continuing with us today as we now go to God’s word and consider yet another lesson from the Bible in relationship to many doctrines of men. This morning what I would like to begin with is actually by reading a prayer that someone, a man that is, has written. Consider this prayer with me, “Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner and I deserve to go to Hell. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins I do now receive Him as my Lord and personal savior. I promise to serve you to the best of my ability, please save me. In Jesus name, Amen.” You might notice that, that prayer is very similar even to something that you at one point or another has prayed or said. In fact it might have been something that you read upon instruction, it might have been something you repeated upon what someone told you to say. It often is referred to, or something of a similar nature, as “The sinner’s prayer.” But what I would like us to think about today is really do we find an example or even a commandment of the sinners prayer today in the Bible. When we go to the New Testament, which was given to you and I as our rule book or guide unto salvation, what does the Bible say concerning salvation? Is it true that if we pray we are saved? Does the Bible give again even one command or one example of even an individual who spoke the prayer, or who read the prayer, or who was told to pray that they would be saved?
I would like us to begin as we think about these things to realize that it is a mistake anytime that we take only a verse or only a concept out of the Bible and stand on that concept as if it is valid alone without the rest of the Bible. For example, let’s say that love is it, well we know that the Bible says that love is the greatest thing that we can have and is the foundation of all things. But is love it or do we need faith, do we need obedience, do we need to know truth, do we need to know about worship? You see there are more things that we must not only know but understand than just love. We have just said faith, the Bible says that it’s impossible to please God without faith, Hebrews 11:6.
So how could I only have love and be saved and yet not have faith? It would be just as wrong to only have faith, faith alone or to claim faith alone we’ll say, when I know that the Bible says that one must love in order to be saved as well. The same is true in relationship to many of the different concepts and ideas that people proclaim concerning salvation. Another words what we are talking about are again those things that actually add one to the body of Christ. What does God command that you be added to the body of Christ? Well you might remember with me there even in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19, he said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Well is baptism alone going to save someone? Certainly not! It will not because there are other things required, yet by me taking the one verse out of context or out of the whole I might begin to present or teach something that is actually contrary to the word of God.
Let’s look at another verse there in Mark 16:3, we begin to see there the concepts of Jesus again at the tomb and those who came there to see Him and the fact that He was crucified, but then the Great Commission again later in that same text. In verse 16 Jesus actually says that not only are they to go into the world and preach the entire gospel but then He says “He who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” Ok, that means that if I believe and I am baptized I am saved. Well yes, but what does that encompass? What about repentance? It says nothing about repentance oh you see repentance isn’t important. Well you also know with me that Jesus said over in Luke 13:3 repent or perish. He said unless you all likewise repent you will perish. We also know that through the Holy Spirit, Peter there in the day of Pentecost, Acts 2:38 said, “Repent and be baptized.” So what does that belief Intel, that belief unto baptism. Believe and be baptized and you will be saved. Now certainly those are a part of the requirements of salvation that were doing proclaimed to the individuals within the discussion but it’s not the whole conversation.
Now as we begin to move over we find similar ideas also even in the book of Acts. And I want you to notice with me in Acts 2 in just a moment but before we go there I would like to actually go to Romans 10:13, a quote from the prophet Joel in the Old Testament the Bible says, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Ok, so if I call on the Lord, “Lord God I believe!” Does that save me? What about the verses we even have just considered about repentance and about baptism. What about what it says earlier in verse 9, that one must confess with the mouth unto salvation. There is nothing said concerning the call about those things but what do we know, the call must encompass the one who has been called, who has responded to the call, has to encompass that which is required in the whole of the text. I might also even ask you to look at the same context there in verse 9, and notice with me that He even goes there to say, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Now in that verse 9 we actually see only confession is necessary, you don’t have to believe, you don’t have to repent, you don’t have to be baptized. Well you see how silly it is again to feel that we can just grab one concept and one idea when really even when verse 10 of the same context goes into tell us more about what belief. About how it is a step unto salvation, verses 14-15 talk about the need to hear the word and that one must believe and act on their belief and that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Then we even begin to see the action in works throughout the rest of that text.
So what I want to again ask is do you find the sinners prayer in the Bible? Now don’t get me wrong is there anything wrong with prayer, no. Do we need to pray continually, without ceasing the Bible says. But the question we are asking is where are we commanded in the New Testament to pray a sinner’s prayer and then we are saved as so many in the denominational world say. Where is but even one example anywhere in the New Testament or even in all of the conversions of the book of Acts that show a mans prayer will save him. Well, you are not going to find it and you know why? Because it is not there and it is man made. You know another thing that I found of great concern about that prayer before we actually get into some more details from the scripture. What I found concerning is that within the statement that this individual wrote up concerning the prayer he says, “I believe that Jesus Christ died…” but do you remember what the confession was? Do you remember what the confession was that Jesus said that Peter was so righteous because the Father had revealed to him in Matthew 16? Do you remember the confession there that we find of those in Acts 2? Do you remember the confession that Philip told the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8? It was not that Jesus Christ died on the Cross; it was that Jesus Christ is the son of God. See that is what is unbelievable to me because not only have so many men chosen to follow their own desires and paths in proclaiming a sinners prayer, they can’t even get the confession right. They won’t even take the time to look to the scriptures to find out what really is to be confessed and what really is repentance, and what really is baptism which shows that by professing that prayer it will say that they have not done their study or their homework at all.
Even in the verse that many of them go to, once again the quote from Joel we find within Acts 2 the day the church began in verse 21, in fact it is only the last part of a very lengthy quote where Joel has spoke of those things concerning the prophecy of the coming of Christ. But in verse 21 of Acts 2 he says again, “‘and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’” Ok, well what does that mean? Well, if you just stop there and grab it out of the middle of the text and you take it out of the Bible and you just stand on that one thing and you forget faith, love, and everything else then I guess that would be what you believe and you would be wrong. But the fact is if you look at the context what is it that Peter goes on to tell them, “that you are sinners”. That’s what he tells them, that ‘you just murdered the son of God you are guilty of sin’ and they believed because of what he says there verse 36 that ‘you have just crucified Jesus Christ who was the Messiah, who was the son of God’. They were so moved and cut to the heart believing in these things that they cried out, “men and brethren what must we do?” And you know what Peter said, pray the sinners prayer, isn’t that ridiculous that’s not at all what he said. He didn’t say well pray the prayer and then we will work out with you later the other things that you might need to think about or do in order to be saved, no not at all. But Peter and the rest of those with him said repent and be baptized. They had just within their hearts been convicted and confessed their belief in the name of Jesus Christ being the Son of God and their actions proved it as they cried out, “What must we do to be saved?” and then immediately they were told upon that belief and upon that confession, and upon your desire to act on that repent and be baptized. Don’t you find it interesting that within the same text that was how in verse 38 they would receive remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, still nothing mentioned about prayer unto salvation, although prayer is good and there is nothing wrong with prayer, pray without ceasing. But prayer is not one of those acts or avenues that will save in and of itself.
Now for one to say, “Let’s pray for this one who has just become a Christian.” Praise God! Let’s pray that this individual will understand the truth and then act upon God’s word, Praise God! Prayer is great, prayer is powerful but prayer is not identified as one of those acts that lead an individual in the final moments of conversion to being saved. In fact what we learn in example here in Acts 2:41, is that, that day 3,000 souls were added to the Church, 3,000 by what? It says they were baptized, 3,000 were baptized! Now do you think they repented, certainly. Do you think that they had also confessed the name of Jesus, certainly they did all of those things that are required as we see from the whole of those commandments of conversion and examples of conversion throughout the New Testament. But do you notice baptism the requirement and still no mention of prayer within those things. Who was being saved that day? Well, if you look down to verse 47 it said, “…the Lord was adding to the Church daily those who were being saved.” But what Peter told them to do, what must we do to be saved when that question was asked, repent and be baptized.
The same idea was told to Cornelius over in Acts 10 he and his household had a similar desire to know the truth. And as they were commanded the things of God by Peter they eventually he and his whole house were baptized in verse 48. But now I would like to go over to the story of Acts 16, the Philippian jailer because there I find it also very significant that Philip is talking to them or rather the Philippian jailor is rather being communicated to by Paul and Silas as they are trying to convert and help him to know the truth. But what I want you to notice is in verse 31, when they had told him these things he asked a question. Verse 30, “… ‘Sirs what must I do to be saved?’” He actually asked what he must do to be saved. Then in verse 31 Paul says, pray the sinner’s prayer, he doesn’t say that and he doesn’t say anything about prayer. Upon the question, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul says verse 31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved…” Well there we have it again, belief. We know belief unto salvation, he didn’t say anything about repentance, and he didn’t say anything about confessing the name of Christ which is also required unto salvation. We know they were all involved, we know that Jesus doesn’t just preach different things to different people. He doesn’t send different messages to different people that they might be saved in different ways. He’s one God, He is with one purpose, and He is with one doctrine in truth. So therefore we know that they were standing on the things of God. But guess what the next thing he said was; well after he says believe on the Lord he still didn’t say to say the sinner’s prayer. The next thing that he said is verse 33, “And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” So what were they told to do? Believe and be baptized. Kind of sounds familiar to Mark 16:16 doesn’t it, where Jesus again told the disciples, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved…”
You see what we are trying to understand together is that what we always should search for as those who love God, those who are religious, is the purity of scripture and the truth of God’s word. What is it that God says? I think that so many times people will just grab hook, line, and sinker whatever it is that a religious man says to them and they really don’t investigate and they don’t look to the word of God. I always love the thought of the Berean’s, do you remember the Berean’s in the New Testament it says they were well known because they searched the scriptures daily. Do you do that? Do you search the scriptures daily? Do you search the scriptures on Sunday mornings when you are at worship? Do you search those scriptures when the preacher is mentioning different scriptures? I hope your preacher mentions different scriptures, there aught to be lots of scriptures within sermons, why? Because we are about God’ word not our own, not about our own stories or our own thoughts, but the proclamation of God’s word. And in relationship to salvation the Bible does not teach, does not command, does not even have by example anything even remotely like the sinners prayer unto salvation. But what it does have is the plan of Jesus, he that believes and is baptized shall be saved. Within belief the encompass concept that we even find within Acts 26, the works befitting repentance, that someone chooses to repent and turn away from their sins to confess with their mouth Romans 10 again as we looked at earlier verses 9-10. Also the idea of that need for baptism there where Romans 6 says that we as Christ are buried in the watery grave also die and are put in the watery grave and as he rose on the third day, guess what, in the likeness of his resurrection we come forth as new creations of God. Isn’t that a beautiful thought? Why wouldn’t I want to be baptized? Why would I reject repentance? Why would I not confess the name of Jesus Christ? And why would I only proclaim that all those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved without understanding what calling on the name of the Lord really is? Will you not serve God, will you not do it his way, and will you not understand that Heaven and salvation is only found in the one creator.
(SONG # 3 - “THE GOSPEL IS FOR ALL!”)
AGAIN, LET ME THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING TO BE WITH US THIS MORNING. I HOPE WE ALL HAVE BEEN ENCOURAGED THROUGH OUR TIME SPENT TOGETHER. PLEASE REMEMBER, YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US EVERY SUNDAY MORNING AT 7:30, AS WE COMMIT OURSELVES TO THIS SERVICE OF GOD.
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WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR OWN SALVATION, WHO ARE YOU LOOKING TO FOR THE ANSWERS? ARE YOU LOOKING TO MEN WHO ARE NOT ABLE TO SAVE YOUR SOUL OR ARE YOU LOOKING TO GOD? MAY WE ALL REALIZE THAT THE ONLY ONE WITH THE POWER TO SALVATION AND THE TRUE PLAN TO GET THERE IS GOD! WILL YOU CHOOSE TO FOLLOW GOD OR MAN?