Solving Our Ultimate Problem
 Solving Our Ultimate Problem

 

            What is your ultimate problem? You may list any of many things, but the Bible says that mankind’s ultimate problem is spiritual. So could we together ask and answer some questions? Please take some time and see what you think. There’s no ‘catch,’ by the way. These are just some interesting questions that you can answer for yourself. I encourage you to write your answers out on a piece of paper. That often helps me to really understand what I think on a particular topic.
1.       What are your spiritual beliefs?
2.       To you, who is Jesus?
3.       Do you believe in heaven and hell?
4.       If you died tonight, where would you go? If you think ‘heaven,’ why do you believe you would go there?
5.       The ultimate question: If what you believe is not true, would you want to know?
 
When you’ve answered those questions, would you like to compare your answers with some of the things that God has stated in His word, the Scriptures? If so, take a look at these seven verses, and compare what they say with the answers you gave yourself. If you like, you can also answer the question that follows each verse, again to yourself. By the way, can I suggest one other thing? I’ve discovered that you will get the full impact of their meaning if you read them, and answer the question that follows them, aloud. It doesn’t matter whether you are with someone or alone, just read and answer them aloud. You can assume we are having a private conversation where you read aloud the verse, I ask of you the question that follows it, you answer the question aloud, and I just listen to your answer without trying to correct or teach you if I happen to disagree.
            For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. –Romans 3:23.
            What does that verse say to you? You can assume I’ll just listen.
 
            For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our
                        Lord. –Romans 6:23.
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” –John 3:3
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” --John 14:6
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” --Romans 10:9-11
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            And he died for all, that those who lived should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. –2 Corinthians 5:15
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. –Revelation 3:20
            What does that verse say to you?
 
            Well, what do you think? How close do you believe your answers of the first questions above came to what God has said in His word in these verses? Does God agree completely with you, or just on some points?
            If you would like, you can take a look at five more questions, and answer them for yourself. Here they are. Again, if you want, you can assume I’m asking them, and just listening to your answers.
1.       Are you a sinner?
2.       Do you want forgiveness for your sins?
3.       Do you believe Jesus Christ die on the cross for you and rose again?
4.       Are you willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ?
5.       Are you ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life and into your heart?
 
Obviously, I don’t know what you answered to these last five questions, but let me assume temporarily that you answer each of them with “yes.” In other words, you accept that you are a sinner. By the way, I am, too! I accepted that fact of my life many years ago. It was very discouraging to do so, but also very healthy to accept the truth about myself.
            Let me assume for the moment that you also answer the other of these last questions with “yes.” You not only accept that you are a sinner, but, yes, you also want forgiveness for your sins, you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for you and rose again, you are willing to surrender your life to Jesus Christ, and you are now ready to invite Jesus Christ into your life and into your heart.
            If so, that’s wonderful! I answered “yes” to those questions many years ago! What a relief to do so! I have always been so glad that one day I did so. If you did, congratulations to you! What a relief to simply acknowledge the truth about ourselves, and what we want from Jesus!
            Now what? What can you do next, if you answered “yes” to those questions, and so choose?
            You can do what I did. I said those things from my heart to Jesus. I told Him I am a sinner, and that I wanted forgiveness from my sins. I told Him that I believe that He died on the cross for me and rose again. I told Him that I was willing to surrender my life to Him. I told Him that I was ready to invite Him into my life and into my heart.
            Then I asked Him to just do those things. I asked Him to forgive me of all my sins—past, present, and future (He can do this, no problem!). I told Him I surrendered my life to Him. I asked Him to come into my life and into my heart.
            In other words, I asked Him to be my Forgiver. In surrendering to Him, I asked Him to be my Master or Supervisor of my entire life. In asking Him to come into my life and into my heart, I asked Him to take up residence in me, so that He could always be with me.
            If you so choose, you can do what I did. If you like, you can say these things from your heart, just as I did, to Him. In fact, you can do so right now, wherever you are.
            “Lord, I acknowledge that I am a sinner.
             Lord, I want forgiveness for all my sins. Please forgive me of all my sins.
             I believe you died on the cross for me and rose again, just as the Scriptures say that You did. I believe You are exactly who and what the Bible says of You.
             I surrender my life to You. Please be my Master or Supervisor of my entire life.
             I want You in my life and in my heart. Please come into me, and dwell within me, as the Bible says that You can and will do, if I ask You.
             I ask all this in Your name, the name of Jesus. Amen (so be it).”
 
            If you have chosen to pray this prayer to Jesus, you may want to know the answers the Bible gives to some other questions. Here they are.
1.       How many sins has Jesus Christ paid for? 1 John 2:2 says, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for all the sins of the whole world.”
2.       How many of our sins does Christ remember? Hebrews 10:17 says, “Then he adds: ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’”
3.       Where does Christ live? Galatians 2:20 says, “. . . I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
4.       What can you pray to Him about? See Matthew 7:7-11, which says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”
 
Do you know someone who has been praying for you? You may call that person,
if you wish. I think they would like to know what you prayed to Jesus.
            Do you know where your friend goes to church? If so, you can go with them. If not, or if they live too far away, call 562-676-5640 (my cell phone). I can help you find a church anywhere in the country, no matter where you live. I have contacts with anyone who is a Director of Missions or Associational Missionary like myself in the United States. In fact, I know ways to contact pastors in many parts of the world, and would be like to help, if you like.  I'd also like to know myself if you prayed that prayer.  Could you email me at the email address below?  Thank you.
 
            But what if you answered “no” to those questions? You can, of course. God gave you that ability, although I would suggest to you He may know more about you than you or I, and the “no” answer is in all probability untrue.
            If you did answer “no,” I’d be interested in hearing why. Not to argue with you, but just curious. If you like, you can email me at rgrahamdom@yahoo.com. I promise to not try to change you or correct you.
            Thanks for going with me through these verses and questions. I think talking about spiritual things is tremendous and fun! I enjoy it—always have. If there are other questions or things you’d like to talk over, just let me know by the email address above.
            May the Lord Jesus bless you greatly!
 
Richard Graham, Director of Missions
Long Beach Harbor Southern Baptist Association
 
From Share Jesus Without Fear. Used by permission, LifeWay Christian Resources, 2007.
 

Additional information: Salvation involves the redemption of the whole man, and is offered freely to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, who by His own blood obtained eternal redemption for the believer. In its broadest sense salvation includes regeneration, justification, sanctification, and glorification. There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord.

A. Regeneration, or the new birth, is a work of God's grace whereby believers become new creatures in Christ Jesus. It is a change of heart wrought by the Holy Spirit through conviction of sin, to which the sinner responds in repentance toward God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Repentance and faith are inseparable experiences of grace.

Repentance is a genuine turning from sin toward God. Faith is the acceptance of Jesus Christ and commitment of the entire personality to Him as Lord and Saviour.

B. Justification is God's gracious and full acquittal upon principles of His righteousness of all sinners who repent and believe in Christ. Justification brings the believer unto a relationship of peace and favor with God.

C. Sanctification is the experience, beginning in regeneration, by which the believer is set apart to God's purposes, and is enabled to progress toward moral and spiritual maturity through the presence and power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. Growth in grace should continue throughout the regenerate person's life.

D. Glorification is the culmination of salvation and is the final blessed and abiding state of the redeemed.

Genesis 3:15; Exodus 3:14-17; 6:2-8; Matthew 1:21; 4:17; 16:21-26; 27:22-28:6; Luke 1:68-69; 2:28-32; John 1:11-14,29; 3:3-21,36; 5:24; 10:9,28-29; 15:1-16; 17:17; Acts 2:21; 4:12; 15:11; 16:30-31; 17:30-31; 20:32; Romans 1:16-18; 2:4; 3:23-25; 4:3ff.; 5:8-10; 6:1-23; 8:1-18,29-39; 10:9-10,13; 13:11-14; 1 Corinthians 1:18,30; 6:19-20; 15:10; 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Galatians 2:20; 3:13; 5:22-25; 6:15; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-22; 4:11-16; Philippians 2:12-13; Colossians 1:9-22; 3:1ff.; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; 2 Timothy 1:12; Titus 2:11-14; Hebrews 2:1-3; 5:8-9; 9:24-28; 11:1-12:8,14; James 2:14-26; 1 Peter 1:2-23; 1 John 1:6-2:11; Revelation 3:20; 21:1-22:5.

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