Hell's Best Kept Secret... The Law
Someone has said, "Before you can get someone saved, you have to get them lost." In other words, if the sinner does not understand that his sinfulness puts him in a hopeless position before God, he will not recognise how lost he is and how badly he needs a Saviour.
The following article by Ray Comfort, author of the book 'Hell's Best Kept Secret', illustrates how witnessing can be far more effective if the soul-winner takes the time to explain God's view of sin as taught in the Ten Commandments.
"No zeal for the lost, no hunger for the Word, no burden to pray... strangers to holiness." This describes a large number of the people who sit in our church pews today. This is the result of our man-centred gospel which is being served up in our pulpits. We have multitudes of lukewarm Christians with a false sense of security regarding their salvation. This man-centred gospel also has a massive casualty rate; it is producing 90 backsliders per 100 decisions. These people are not really backsliders. I would like to suggest they have never slidden forward. These people have not been warned of the coming wrath. Consider this illustration:
You are seated on a plane when you suddenly hear, "This is your captain speaking; I have an announcement to make. As this plane is about to crash, you are going to have to jump. We would therefore appreciate it if you would put your parachutes on."
You take one look out of the window at the 25,000 foot drop and immediately put the parachute on. You glance at the man next to you, and to your horror, you see he is still watching the movie. You nudge him and say, "Didn't you hear the captain? Put the parachute on!" He casually says, "I don't think the captain really means it... besides, I'm quite happy as I am, thanks."
"Follow-up" is not in the Bible. Those who want to know God should be following us, hungering after the Word.
Then with zeal, but without knowledge, you say, "Please put on the parachute... it will be better than the movie." But that doesn't make sense! You give him a wrong motive for putting the parachute on. Instead, tell him about the jump. Show him the 25,000 foot drop and thus remind him of the law of gravity.
He immediately (and gratefully) puts the parachute on.
Think about it. As long as that man knows he's going to have to jump out of the plane and face the consequences of breaking the law of gravity, there is no way you are going to get the parachute off his back. His life depends on it!
Can you see that his motive, his reason for putting it on, is the factor that determines whether or not he keeps the parachute on? As we look around us we see that multitudes of "passengers" are enjoying the flight: they are enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season. But modern evangelism, in sincere zeal, but without knowledge, says, "Excuse me. Did you hear the command from the Captain of our Salvation? Put on the Lord Jesus Christ! He will give you love, joy, peace, fulfilment and lasting happiness. He will help your alcohol problem, your drug problem. He will take away your loneliness, heal your marriage, and help your finances!"
Sadly, this gives him a wrong motive for coming to Christ.
Instead, we must take courage and tell him about the jump. Explain to him about the Law of God like Jesus did.
Open up the Commandments and show him he must face the fearful consequences of breaking the Law of God. Let the Law of God convince him he needs the Saviour in the same way the law of gravity convinced the passenger he needed a parachute. Then, when he responds to the Gospel and puts on the Lord Jesus Christ, he will never "backslide". His knowledge of the consequences of breaking the Law of God would cause him to cling for his very life to the Saviour. Therefore, follow-up is not necessary.
In ACTS 8:36-40 the Lord left the Ethiopian without follow-up. Philip was caught away by God to another town.
As I studied the Scriptures, I found that God gave the Ten Commandments (the Law), not for justification, but to convert the soul. (PSALM 19:7:
"The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul...").
I saw where Paul said the Law brought "the knowledge of sin" (ROMANS 3:20:
"... for by the law is the knowledge of sin."). It was given to leave us guilty before God (ROMANS 3:19
"...that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God").
In fact Paul didn't know what sin was, without the Law (ROMANS 7:7:
"...I had not known sin, but by the Law..."), it was a
"schoolmaster to bring us to Christ" (GALATIANS 3:24). In MATTHEW 5:19, Jesus even said we would be called "great" in the Kingdom of God, if we taught the Law. Why?
Because we will drive men and women to Christ.
On one of my many airline flights I had a chance to speak to the lady sitting next to me. I asked her what she had been doing in the city we had just left. She had been skiing. We discussed the joys of the sport for several minutes. Then she asked me my occupation. This was my chance to create an opportunity to mention Christian things.
I told her that I write Christian books, then asked her if she had a Christian background. She said she had. Did she see herself as a sinner in God's sight? She didn't. I said that for years I didn't until I saw the standard with which God was going to judge the world on Judgment day. Then one by one, we went through the Ten Commandments.
Suddenly she began to see sin for what it was. She said, "That's what I've been doing. I've been measuring myself by man's standards!" Tears welled up in her eyes as I shared that Christ had redeemed us from the curse of the Law. The gospel made sense to her. She asked what she should do, and I had the joy of leading her to the Saviour as the plane began to land. I enquired as to whether she had a Bible and if she knew any Christians. She did have a Bible and a Christian at work had been sowing seed. God usually orchestrates a number of encounters with labourers before a person comes to Christ.
Bible translator John Wycliffe said, "The highest service to which a man may attain on earth is to preach the Law of God."
John Wesley suggested preaching 90% Law and 10% grace.
Charles Finney said, "Failure to use the Law is almost certain to result in false hope, the introduction of a false standard of Christian experience, and to fill the Church with false converts."
John Bunyan (Pilgrim's Progress) said, "The man who does not know the nature of the Law, cannot know the nature of sin."
Martin Luther said, "The first duty of the Gospel preacher is to declare God's Law and show the nature of sin."
Because the Church has forsaken the Law as a "schoolmaster" to drive sinners to the Saviour, it has fallen into a trap of trying to attract them to salvation.
If I am wrong and modern evangelism has found a way to see sinners saved without the Law, then PSALM 19:7 is wrong when it cites the Law as the God-given instrument which converts the soul.
Then Jesus wasted His time going through each of the commandments. Then Paul was wrong when he said that he hadn't known what sin was without the Law.
So was Charles Spurgeon then wrong when he said, "They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law."?
If the Church will not listen, it will continue to reap false conversions through its lawless Gospel, and find its terrible error when it hears Jesus say,
"Depart from me, ye workers of iniquity (lawlessness)
." They will be destroyed through lack of knowledge of God's Law (HOSEA 4:6).
by Ray Comfort
Source: "Battle Cry", March/April 1988, Chick Publications, P.O. Box 3500, Ontario, CA 91761, USA