June 10, 2016
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
There is an incident attributed to the famous evangelist of the last half of the nineteenth century – Dwight L. Moody. I cannot find an historical basis for this story. It may be apocryphal. But it sounds like something Mr. Moody would have said, and it makes a good point for this blog!
The evangelist is reported to have made the controversial statement that went something like this: “I would rather they tear down all the liberal churches in this city, and build drinking houses in their places!” His listeners were shocked! “Mr Moody,” they exclaimed, “How can you dare say such a thing?” He thus explained:
If a person comes out of a liberal church – a church where the sacrifice of Jesus
Christ on our behalf is not emphasized; where the blood is not proclaimed as the
only thing that can wash us clean from our sins – and you try to tell that one that
he is a sinner who needs the Savior, he will tell you, “I am a good person! I go
to church regularly, and I try to live by the Golden Rule!” But meet a drunk
staggering out of a drinking house. He falls in the gutter, and you pick him up
and tell him, “You are a sinner and you need Jesus Christ to save you!” He will
readily admit, “Yes, I am a sinner! Look at me! I am a drunken sinner!” Admit-
ting you are a sinner is the first step in getting saved!
I remember talking to my next door neighbor when I pastored my first church. Jim was a fine upstanding man, a Roman Catholic from birth who regularly attended Mass. I told him, “The Bible says we are all sinners before God.” But Jim protested, “I’m not a sinner! I go to church, and I am generally a nice guy!” Yes, Jim was a nice guy – by society’s standards! But what does the Bible say?
• I Kings 8:46 (see also II Chronicles 6:36) – “…for there is no one who does not sin….”
• Psalm 14:3 – “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is none who does good, no, not one.”
• Ecclesiastes 7:20 (our featured Scripture) – “…there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.”
• Isaiah 64:6 – “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away”
• Romans 3:10, 23 – “There is none righteous, no, not one…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….”
• Galatians 3:22 – “…the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
• I John 1:8 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
A person will not put their faith in Jesus and be saved if they see nothing from which they need to be saved! If there is no perception of sin in their life, why bother? Sometimes It Is Hard To Find Sinners! Perhaps we should say, it is sometimes difficult to find people who have a Biblical understanding of sin! If we are going to be effective witnesses, we must give God’s view of sin to those with whom we share! And His view is that everything coming from within our natural selves (see Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 7:20-23) – everything we do, say or think is shot through and through with sin!
If the world view of a person is formulated by godless society (see Luke 4:5, 6; I John 5:19), even if influenced by the Church, and especially by the liberal brand of Christianity that does not emphasize sin, but instead puts forth the innate goodness of man, that one is almost impossible to convert! Thank God that it is written in Luke 18:27, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.” He accomplished the ‘impossible’ by sending His own Son to die for us on Calvary’s cross! As the Apostle Peter wrote in I Peter 2:24 (God’s Word to the Nations):
Christ carried our sins in His body on the cross so that freed from our
sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have
So when you share Jesus Christ with someone, do not leave out the necessary fact that we are all sinners in need of the Savior! Even if you have to take extra time to establish this truth, do it! I remember once hearing a preacher tell his audience:
If I had just one hour to speak to a man on his deathbed I would spend 55 min-
utes of that hour convincing him that he is a sinner. I would spend only the last
five minutes leading him to the Savior.
I am not advocating that everyone hold to this 11 to 1 ratio – 55 minutes to 5 minutes! But, remember, if someone is going to be saved by the Lord Jesus Christ, they must see their need! And only sinners have that need of a Savior!