Thursday, November 4, 2010

Should We Pray, Ask, Or Invite Jesus Into Our Hearts?

The modern day teaching of praying, asking, accepting, or inviting Jesus into your heart is not found in the New Testament scriptures. There isn't one example in scripture where you find Jesus saying, 'you must accept me into your heart or repeat a prayer in order to enter the kingdom of God'. He didn't teach it to His apostles who He sent out to be witnesses of Him throughout the world, and they never converted any Jew or Greek to Christ in the 1st century doing it. So why is it being taught today?

Let’s take a look at the few scriptures that are used as the foundation for this doctrine.

Romans 10:8-12

“But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that 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. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

These scriptures definitely sound like the roadmap to salvation don’t they? And in truth these words are a part of the good message that the apostles preached about the kingdom of God. But who was Paul talking to here? Was he talking to us today giving his apostolic revelation of the gospel? Or was he talking to unconverted Jews and gentiles who needed salvation? Let’s answer these questions.

Take a look at Romans 1:7 and 10:1

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.”

We can read clearly in these scriptures that Paul wrote this letter to the Roman saints, who were already converted to Christ during the two years that he spent in Rome after arriving there as a prisoner from Jerusalem. (Read Acts 28)

Paul is talking to the brethren in Rome telling them his heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that THEY may be saved. Why? Because they were rejecting the gospel of Jesus Christ! These scriptures were not written for us to quote and repeat for the salvation of our soul. If that were true then everything else Paul said regarding the gospel message he preached would be in question. For example:

Acts 16:29-33 (The Philippian Jailer)

“Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

This is an example of an unconverted person in need of salvation. If all you had to do was confess Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead then Paul would have said that to the Philippian jailer in Acts, but Paul told him to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and THEN he spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house, and immediately after that the jailer and his whole family were baptized!

Paul also told the disciples he found in Ephesus what they had to do in order to be saved.

Acts 19:1-6

“And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

In the above scriptures Paul finds some disciples in Ephesus who had believed John's message and received his baptism of repentance, but after Paul asked them some questions he understood that they were NOT born again and they needed to believe on Jesus Christ and be baptized in His name, then they would receive the Holy Spirit. The same message Peter preached on Pentecost. Most are taught today that all you have to do is believe, or repeat a prayer and that's it, but here we can clearly see that the salvation process is more than just believing.

How would you respond if you were those disciples Paul met in Ephesus? What about if a minister today were to question you about your salvation experience? What would you do if your experience didn't line up with the conversion process outlined in scripture?

The truth is that ALL the apostles preached the same message, they didn’t change the gospel to suit the people; they were obedient to what they were taught by Jesus Christ. Here is part of the gospel message the unconverted Jews heard preached by Peter on the day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:36-39

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Again we read the conversion process for unconverted people. Hear the gospel message preached, believe the message, repent (change your mind or think differently), be baptized in water, and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Now back to Romans 10, when you read further down and put the preceding verses of scripture in context, you can understand that Paul was not telling the Roman saints then or us today what we must do to be saved.

Romans 10:14-16

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things! ”But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “LORD, who has believed our report?”

Clearly what Paul wrote to the Roman brethren was not a roadmap to salvation, but a word for the already converted saints to know how much Paul wanted to see his own countrymen saved!

If you believe that you are saved just by quoting the scriptures, repeating a prayer after someone, asking, or inviting Jesus into your heart, then you must understand that you are disregarding the very words of Jesus Christ Himself whom you profess to believe when he said in John 3:5Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” You would also be dismissing the inspired words of Peter, the rest of the apostles, Phillip the evangelist, and Paul who received the gospel by revelation from Jesus. And all scripture is inspired by God! (2nd Timothy 3:16)

In The Love Of Christ,
Tyrone