05
Sep
07

Five Questions

If you have not already noticed, I have been keeping an unrealistic and hectic pace these last 10 days. The chaotic days began with CrossPoint’s annual staff planning retreat on Sunday, August 26. We returned on Tuesday, August 28. I spent the next day preparing for my CrossPoint University Class, and then on Thursday, August 30, I departed for a family wedding in Granville, Ohio. My family and I did not return from the trip until late Sunday, September 2. I used Labor Day to catch my breath, and yesterday I returned to the fast-paced grind.

Part of my frantic movement involves a class I am teaching for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary at The Church at Brook Hills. The class meets every Tuesday evening from 5 to 7 PM. I am teaching personal evangelism to about 30 graduate students. Even though the class has added to my frenetic schedule, I am so glad I was invited to teach. The practice of preparing for the class and presenting the lecture notes each week is a great exercise for me, and one I believe will ultimately benefit CrossPoint.

I entitled last night’s lecture “Evangelism for the Glory of God”. For those of you interested, provided below is the outline to my lecture.

There are five basic questions each person must ask pertaining to their existence on this earth[1]:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
What is wrong?
What is the solution?
What time is it?
Question #1: WHERE DID I COME FROM?

This question deals with man’s true origin.

There are basically two answers to the question of origin. You can say you either evolved or you were created. Evolving into existence is the result of matter plus time plus chance. Being created into existence is the result of being fearfully and wonderfully made by the Sovereign, Loving Creator, God Almighty.

Colossians 1:16 says I was made by God,

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Question #2: WHY AM I HERE?

This question deals with man’s purpose.

The Bible says very clearly why we exist. The Bible says I exist for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches,

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Question #3: WHAT’S WRONG?

This question deals with man’s dilemma.

There is something wrong in this world. Man’s problem has to do with his basic human nature. Man, by nature, is a sinner and who has sinned against a Holy God.

The Bible says,

The soul who sins shall die.
Ezekiel 18:20

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Our problem is not that we are wrong or that we are bad or that we make mistakes or that we are imperfect. Our problem is that we are sinners. We are born sinners. As a result of being a natural born sinner we sin against God. Our sinful nature and behavior offends God’s holy character. As a result God must judge us. He must hold us accountable for our sin.

Question #4: WHAT’S THE SOLUTION?

This question deals with man’s remedy.

The solution to our problem is not education.
The solution to our problem is not government.
The solution to our problem is not money.
The solution to our problem is not counseling.
The solution to our problem is not religion.
The solution to our problem is not random acts of kindness.

The solution to our problem is found only and entirely and wholly and completely and thoroughly through the Savior of all mankind, Jesus Christ.

In John 14:1-7 Jesus said,

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”

In John 6:35 Jesus said,

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.

In John 8:12 Jesus said,

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

In John 10:10-11 Jesus said,

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

In John 11:25-26 Jesus said,

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Acts 4:12 gives a perfect summary to the previously mentioned passages, when it says,

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Question #5: WHAT TIME IS IT?

This question deals with man’s destiny.

This question determines why God left us here on this earth after saving us.

Have you ever questioned why God would create us and save us, and then not take us to heaven immediately to live with Him and for us to enjoy His presence for all eternity?

Some of us might say, “The reason God has left us here on the earth after He saved us is to win souls.”

This statement, although sincere, is misleading.

Perhaps a better way of saying it would be to say, “One of the reasons God has left us here on the earth after He saved us is to win souls,”

To say, “The reasons God has left us here on the earth after He saved us is to win souls” implies that the number one reason we are here is for the purpose of soul winning, and that soul winning is the one thing that God is concerned about more than anything else.

Question: Is this really true?

We would certainly agree that the salvation of the lost is of utmost concern to our blessed Lord whose own blood was shed to redeem lost sinners. In the Great Commission we are commanded to preach the Gospel to every creature and to make disciples of all nations. The salvation of the lost is very high on God’s priority list because He is a God who desires all men to be saved and to come to a full-knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4). The Lord Jesus is very much concerned for the salvation of the lost because He Himself said, “I am come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). The Savior of sinners is more concerned about the salvation of souls than we will ever be. May God help us to share HIS COMPASSION for the sheep that are scattered, having no Shepherd (Matt. 9:36). May the Lord of the harvest be pleased to send workers into His harvest (Matt. 9:38)!

As important as soul winning is, it is not the number one reason why God has saved us and allowed us to remain on the earth.

Ultimately and fundamentally there is but one reason why we are here and that reason is to GLORIFY the God who saved us.

1 Peter 2:9-10 says,

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

One of the ways—one of the more significant ways—I can glorify my God and my Savior is by allowing Him to use me as a channel in reaching lost men and women with the glorious Gospel of a crucified and risen Savior.

In Romans 11:33-36, Paul concludes an incredible section of biblical theology by stating,

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
“For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
“Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.

for of Him [He is the SOURCE],
and through Him [He is the CHANNEL],
and to Him [He is the GOAL], are ALL THINGS: to whom be GLORY for ever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36).

This is, in my opinion, the most important piece of the Gospel puzzle. The entire puzzle of God’s purpose and program fits together only when the piece representing God’s glory is placed into its rightful position of preeminence.

We share the Good News of Jesus Christ for God’s glory.

[1] Adapted from the preface of The Drama of Scripture: Finding our Place in the Biblical Story by Greg G. Bartholomew and Michael W. Goheen.
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