Mentoring the New Believer - Lesson 2


In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the concept of conversion in the Christian faith. You will explore its definition, importance, and occurrences in the New Testament, while examining the various factors that influence an individual's conversion, such as personal, social, and divine aspects. Additionally, you will delve into the stages of conversion, including pre-conversion, the conversion experience, and post-conversion. Lastly, you will learn about the vital role of mentors in guiding and supporting new believers as they embark on their spiritual journey.
Bill Mounce
Mentoring the New Believer
Lesson 2
Watching Now

I. Understanding Conversion

A. Definition and Importance

B. Conversion in the New Testament

1. Examples of Conversion

2. Conversion Components

II. Factors Influencing Conversion

A. Personal Factors

B. Social Factors

C. Divine Factors

III. Stages of Conversion

A. Pre-conversion

B. Conversion Experience

C. Post-conversion

IV. Mentoring the New Believer

A. Role of the Mentor

B. Providing Guidance and Support

C. Fostering Spiritual Growth

  • In this lesson, you'll discover the origin of the New Believers Class, created out of frustration with the lack of resources for new Christians, and learn how the class is structured around the "life as a journey" metaphor, emphasizing the importance of following Jesus on this journey.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insights into the process of Christian conversion, its influencing factors, and the importance of mentorship for new believers' spiritual growth.
  • By studying this lesson, you grasp the concept of salvation in Christian mentoring, explore its elements (justification, sanctification, and glorification), and learn practical applications for guiding new believers.
  • This lesson teaches you about the key elements of salvation and the Holy Spirit's role, equipping you to effectively mentor new believers in their faith journey.
  • Through this lesson, you will understand the importance of baptism, its various forms, and its relationship to salvation and faith in the Christian life.
  • In this lesson, you'll learn the significance of confession in spiritual growth, how to practice personal and corporate confession, and its impact on the mentor-mentee relationship.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the vital role of listening to God, the Holy Spirit's guidance, and various ways to listen, while overcoming common obstacles and implementing practical steps to improve your listening skills.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the importance of prayer and worship in a new believer's life and discover how to mentor them effectively in these spiritual disciplines.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the incarnation and deity of Jesus, supported by biblical evidence, and learn to embrace His dual nature as Savior and Lord in your personal faith journey.
  • Through this lesson, you learn about the Holy Spirit's role, work, gifts, and how to cultivate a Spirit-filled life for spiritual growth and maturity.
As a new believer begins their walk with God, a mentor can help them understand what a relationship with God is like and what they can expect along the path. By listening to the comments of the new believer as they interact with the New Believer's curriculum, a mentor can help correct some misconceptions and guide the new believer to get started in the right direction. The New Believer's class is entitled, Life is a Journey. You can find this class in the Foundations section. Click on Class Resources heading on the class page to see the links for the resources. This class will help prepare you for the types of questions the new believer may ask, and give you answers and resources to continue the dialogue with them. This is the first time Bill has taught this class, and he plans to update it. We are missing the last several lectures.

Dr. Bill Mounce
Mentoring the New Believer
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:01] I've been in the NIV translation team now for two years, has been my third time. My first time. You'll appreciate this that we were locked up in Whistler up in Canada and which is kind of nice, but we had to handle all the gender issue in the team. And Zondervan had told us this book is going to print on October 1st and we don't care if you're done or not, is going to go up because the Navy was just really dropping in sales. The new one had to get out. That was my introduction to Navy arguing about he and man for three weeks, but I stayed on. I say that Norman asked a good question and I wanted to come back and answer it just in case there's a question. If he was looking at and I need to define what systematic theology is, if that's a term you're not used to. It's not only the title of Williams book, but it's a whole area of study. Here's a way, he says. Chapter one Systematic Theology is any study that answers the question What does the whole Bible teach us today on any given topic? So systematic theology will it'll look at the Gospels, it'll look at Paul to look at the Old Testament, look at the whole Bible. It'll find all the passages that are dealing with a certain topic. And often systematics will deal with modern culture and philosophy and kind of pull that into the discussion as well. And then the person will come to make and say, This is what the Bible teaches about blank.

[00:01:48] So it's systematic in that it tries to look at our whole system of of belief. What do we believe about the Bible? What do you believe about God? What do we believe about ourselves? What do we believe about the church? What do we believe all the time times? I mean, the whole umbrella of belief and the put it together in some kind of logical, systematic, coherent system that doesn't disagree with itself. The other word that is interesting that Wayne defines as doctrine is that a doctrine is what the whole Bible teaches us about some particular topic. So you have the doctrine of justification, you have the doctrine of redemption, what the whole Bible teaches about one specific topic. That's the doctrine that all of those together form systematic theology. Okay. Let me quickly go through some of the other introductory comments I wanted to make, just to make sure we're oriented. And then I'm going to we'll get into the whole the first chapter on conversion. What's the goal? Let me give you some specifics in terms of what goals I have. Number one, we want the new believer to start thinking rightly about God. We want the new believer to start thinking quietly about God. There's a lot of theology in these 12 chapters. There's a lot of doctrine. And, you know, some people say, well, you know, we don't like doctrine because doctrine divides. And it is true that historically doctrine has been used to divide people. Do you baptize people, putting them back words or do you baptize people going from work? Those are two different Baptist denominations, right. Speaking as a Baptist, do you do you say in the name of the Father, Son of the Holy Spirit, as you're putting him down? Or do you say it when they're under the water? Okay, those are two more Baptist denominations.

[00:03:44] And so doctrine has been used in a divisive way. But good doctrine unifies it really does. Good doctrine unifies. And so part of the whole issue of doctrine is to find out what what do we all have to believe, and then what are those things that we can agree to disagree? I mean, that's all part of what systematics, all part of what theology is all about. The fact of the matter is, you can't love God if you don't know who God is or what love looks like. And some people want to say, well, we just don't do doctrine. Well, the fact that everyone everyone's doing doctrine, we all have core beliefs that propel us in certain directions. So we all have a theology, whether we know it or not. My contention is that our general contention is that good theology unites, and so we need to get new believers united, go in the right direction. Yes, sir. He talked about that type of approval. These are just stories that I've heard. I was raised in the Swedish Baptist Conference up in Minnesota, Wisconsin area. There's some interesting heritage back in there about a rigidity on things that really don't matter and people not being able to worship together if if they do So some I mean, some people are baptized, push forward into the water, some people are baptized, pushed back I've never seen before and I just heard about it. For some people that's a real area. That was an area of contention that split churches. The discussion over and some baptism of believers. Baptism has also, you know, caused a lot of division. And the question is, is that a good division? I mean, Paul does say First Corinthians, that divisions have to exist to know the true believers from the false.

[00:05:34] So just because there's a division doesn't mean it's a bad division, right? The bad divisions are the one at the beginning of first Corinthians once all about popularity. I'm a Paul, I'm a Paul of some of Jesus. But there's going to be some division in the visible church because the visible church is the sum total. It's all the people. And Wayne has a great discussion of this, by the way. But there are people in the church that are nonbelievers, right? We all know that there are people that come every morning, every Sunday and listen and leave, and it's water off a duck's back and they're on the way to hell and we know it. The Swedish Baptist Church was founded on two principles. The Swedish church was teaching that the government has control and the Swedish church was teaching that if you baptized as a baby, you automatically go to heaven no matter what. And so a bunch of the Swedes left. They came to the New World, and the basic premises were independent. The state can't tell us what to do and only believers baptism and what they said. Those are such significant issues that we will disagree on this and we will separate company on this. So that is just a stronger statement. So we want to help people to think rightly about God. That's one of the tasks. The second of all, we want to help people develop good spiritual habits. We want people to understand that this is about relationship, and part of relationship is listening to God. That's reading a Bible. Part of any relationship is communicating well. We call that prayer. I write emails to my wife. I communicate by writing. So the church has historically taught that the journaling is a good idea.

[00:07:18] My wife has journals since she was, I don't know, junior high school. This is the single most important spiritual discipline she has. And so what we want to do is to help the new believers start to develop habits. I've been reading lately about the brain, and it's the brain fascinates me. In one of my next lives, I'm going to be a brain surgeon. When the baby is born. All the dead drones, all the neural pathways that are in the brain are a jumbled mess. And as a baby starts to think a certain way, to listen, a certain way to make sounds, because the same brain can become fluent in Chinese and fluent in English is the same brain, right? But as they start to listen and they start to speak, the actual matter of the brain starts to shift and to line up in certain patterns. In the case of speaking, the roots of our mouth are molded up until we're about two years old, which is why an Oriental person can't say certain sounds that we make in English. And we can't make sounds that they can make because our mouths along with our brains got shaped and we simply can't. I can't roll my eyes. I just can't. I've tried. I can't do it. It just doesn't come out. Well, what do we call those? We call those habits, Right? And so what's true of how we speak and how we think and is true of how we act, and these are all patterns that we develop. And part of what? And so if somebody becomes a follower of Christ when they're 18 years old, they've had 18 years of largely dysfunctional patterns, established patterns that say it's okay to respond in anger patterns, whatever you want to say.

[00:09:03] And so part of what spiritual disciplines or biblical spirituality, whatever you want to call it, what they're all about and what we need to help true believers do is to start develop new habits. And that's hard, isn't it? Because you're used to doing it one way and now you have to learn to do it another way. Now, thankfully, we've got God living us. We have a spirit living in us, and that's the force of rearranging the dendrites and getting us thinking differently about things. That's why this class is so, so crucial. I think a third goal of the curriculum is life transfer. Formation. If you don't know this about me already, you're going to find out. Part of the joy of preaching, isn't it, is that you start developing ways of saying things. I remember when I first started preaching and I tried to express them and I just I couldn't find the right words. But as the years went passed and as I kept thinking and talking, we all developed ways of speaking. And the phrase that I started developing is that change People live, change lives. That was my way. I don't want Christianity to be viewed as a bunch of rules of do's and don'ts. I want people to understand that at conversion at the gate, they're fundamentally changed. And when people are fundamentally changed, it's going to show itself change. People justification are going to live, change lives. Sanctification actually is what chapters 3 to 12 are about. It's about what does that life transformation look like? What God didn't do was to come to Earth and discern his son and have his son die so that we could believe certain things and have certain spiritual experiences. All that stuff happened so we could live in relationship with him.

[00:10:47] Everything's relationship, right? You have to understand that as you start to live in a relationship with someone, you start to change. For those of us who are married now, we're the same person we were when we first got married. Well, if you are, you haven't married very long or you have a question, you have some issues in your marriage, right? Is that nicely put and carefully put. We got married. I was you know, the personality types are very much a cleric, very much pusher, not strongly relational. My wife is pure sanguine. She just feeds off of people as she is with people. She gains energy. When I was with people, Earl added, Just suck me dry. We married 20, almost 29 years now, and both Robin and I are fundamentally different people because we've changed. That's what happens in a relationship. And Robin actually has gotten task oriented. It's wonderful. She doesn't quite know how to handle task. She hasn't figured out the stress involved of having something to do and not being able to get it done. And all her life she just wanted to go play and have fun. My wife's a lot of fun. I know that I'm a complete stick in the mud. Who'd rather study to do anything? And so the idea of going to having fun or having conversation with guests just bores the living daylights out of me. Well, that's where we were 29 years ago. And you're married. You're in a relationship. You go through experiences. We had a miscarriage, and then our daughter died in my arms 4 hours after birth. That fundamentally changes you, doesn't it? You know, you go through experiences together and your personalities meld, and you're both hopefully come to this place that you're better than you used to be.

[00:12:33] Now, God doesn't change the problem of the analogies. God says exactly who he is, that we moved towards him. But that's what happens in relationship. People are we're changed. And so it's the most natural, supernatural thing for us to start to change, to become more like Jesus, who delivers that we are being changed from one degree of glory to the next. That's what it is, isn't it? We're being changed into the light. We are created in the image of God, but we are being changed into the likeness of His son. And we are looking more and more like Jesus, I believe. And Wayne makes the point beautifully that when we go to heaven, we don't automatic look look like Jesus. We keep for all eternity becoming more and more like Jesus. Wayne once asked me, You said we're talking about heaven. He says, Bill, what lasts forever is about the global. Faith, hope and love. Right? First Corinthians 13. He goes, What? Why does Faith continue? I guess we still have to live. Trust in God. See, I always thought of heaven as a terminus, where after everything ended, we were whatever we were. But we continue to live trusting in God. We continue to live in hope, confident anticipation of what God has in store for us. There's always going to be something head for us. Love. We continue to relate to one another and to God through love. Heaven is a journey. This journey never, ever stops. And so the new believers need to know that things are going to change. But here's the challenge. Here's the challenge. Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount that Alicia righteousness exceeds that of the scribes in the first season. Never enter the kingdom of God.

[00:14:15] They were the most religious people in the history of the world, right? They won all the Bible drills. They did every law. Exactly. I mean, just blah, blah, blah. The problem, of course, is there is nothing in the heart. Right. And the phrase that John Start uses is that the the righteousness that exceeds the scribes and the Pharisees, righteousness is it's not more. It's deeper. And what Jesus was calling for was a deep obedience and obedience that would well up from the heart, because our hearts have been changed. And so our lives start to change. If we can convey that to new believers, it makes all the difference in the world, doesn't it? Because then being a follower of Christ isn't about believing certain things or doing certain things. Is first and foremost being something that's different and then who we are inside wells up and changes from one degree glory to the next, and we start to look more and more like Jesus. So that's one of the purposes in this curriculum, and I'll talk a lot about what's the difference between knowledge and wisdom? What's the difference between something that's external and something that's internal? What's the difference between data acquisition and the process of reflection and internalization? Have you heard about the new study that Hybels Church is doing? I forget the name of the book and publish. I think it's more, but I'm not sure. More as the name of the book. They did a study and they found that where people are lacking is in the whole stage of reflection that you can have a sermon on some biblical passage, you can convey the content, but that's not enough. That gets you to being a Pharisee, right? Data acquisition gets you no further than the Pharisees because they knew all the data.

[00:16:07] Well, what they found and again, any one of us that have preached for an extended period of time probably figured this out already is that you've got to take the data and you have to internalize it. Don't you? How do you help a new believer or an old believer internalize stuff? How do you listen to a sermon or a lecture on the sovereignty of God, that God is king and does all that He chooses to do? My definition of sovereignty. Well, that's great. Now you can pass your theology exam and get an in houses class, All right. But doesn't help you in life. Right. It's the process of internalization. The scientist application is the process of reflection and internalization. And what does this teach me about God? What does this teach me about myself and my character? How does this inform, then, how I should act? That whole process. That's what the study out of the Willow Creek is, is really pushing that. We need to learn how to reflect on scripture and untruths. So a lot of what we're going to do in this class is raising this question How do we help a new believer start out not just by acquiring data, listening to the sermons, reading one group, but rather to do those things and then to internalize them and make them part of themself. I started to ask a new question of people. I want you to think about this. When I was on the ESV, this is my favorite thing in the world I did because I thought I had Wayne Graham and Professor Wisdom, Westminster and and Plagiarists. I had some really, really, really smart people. We had a guy on the committee that had memorized the entire RSV from Genesis one to then a revelation word for word.

[00:17:53] And he had memorized four other English New Testaments. Now, he knew all the Greek in Hebrew, too. But this is what he did for fun. And he was whatever he voted whenever he voted against the change where he wanted to keep the RSV. We just used that or you just want to memorize it of the Bible. You are so lazy. You get really, really smart people supporting and trying to say every week that we had translation meetings, I'd come with a different question and they were used to this by now. And so I would ask them things like, you know, what's the minimum it takes to get into heaven? You got 2 minutes to explain the way of Christ to someone. 2 minutes they're going to be gone. You're never going to see them again. What do you tell? And it was always interested in me who had thought about it, who had an answer, and who had no idea. But here's my big question. How do you know that God loves you? As someone this last night is a Christian leader in a very well known organization. I can't give you the name for it, said, Well, the Bible says so. Well, I thought really does that. I didn't say it to them, but I said, Do you find that satisfying? Really? I mean, down deep in the visceral, in your gut, that that you are propelled to love God because you the book said he loves you. Really? Oh, you got a whole lot more faith than I do. I want new believers to know why they believe God loves them. Because the greatest commandment is. To love, right? It's not to know the answers. It's not to go to church. Not the ties.

[00:19:31] Not to be the elder. It's not to do the religious things. It's to love God. Not to do what is right by God. To not do your duty. To not do what you are obligated. To not do what you do out of fear of punishment. But recall the love. So you think that we would know why we're so deeply convinced that God loves us? It's a hard question to answer. Think about it. Those are the kinds of things I'm dealing with in this curriculum. Okay. By the way, the curriculum uses the ESV, but in class I'm going to use the new ANOVA because I'm switching over to it and it's for new believers especially, I think, despite what other professors here will tell you, I think the novel is a little bit better to help the New Believer, especially when has no background. This translation philosophy is to explain the texts a little more than the ESV does, so I'm switching the curriculum to use the Navy. All right, let's talk about conversion. Go to the workbook on conversion. Okay. It starts looking like this. This is the first page of the actual content, the workbook. This was my big shock when we put this together. I had anticipated most of the topics in the curriculum, but one person is there, one person that's who had made their list. So conversion. And I remember thinking, Well, that's odd. This is new believers. The next person went through his list of what we needed to cover conversion, go to the third person conversion. What is going on? I don't understand. This is so obvious now. It's kind of embarrassing. The starting point with anyone who is just started following Jesus is, are you really following Jesus? And we're going to get into some examples of why this is so important.

[00:21:40] But there's a lot of different altar calls out there, aren't these? There's a lot of different ways. I know this one Pastors altar call is do you believe megachurch pastor, 5000 people in each service. And he says and he said, if you believe stand up and in my caustic side of my personality, I say, oh, great, all the demons just stood up. But I know a man who served as James, Jeff and Jeff really did believe it. He just believe he believed in Jesus. And the work of the Holy Spirit started in just life. And he started to change. He started to grow. And wherever he was when you stood up was not where he is now. So yeah, there were new believes that were standing up. But my concern is those people who because they're in this modern culture, because they're spiritually bent, who believe that now they think they're automatically going to go to heaven no matter what. That's the problem. And so the starting point is let's review your conversion. Let's go through it. Let's celebrate it together. Let's talk about it. Why don't you share it with me? And what the mentor is doing in this stage is asking the question, is this person really a believer? One of my wife's best friends was the leader at BSF for seven years and finally figured out she wasn't a Christian. She'd been raised in a mainline denomination and advertised as an infant. She did certain things and she's a very good person. She figured this all there was to it. And after seven years of BSF, she finds a said publicity fellowship. She goes, Wait a minute, this isn't me at all. And then she became a Christian. So it's really important that we do this.

[00:23:33] So what the workbook does is just starts with a couple of verses just to kind of introduce the topic in day one, it right side and I write out all the verses here so you don't have to know, you don't to go looking in the Bible for. I think an Isaiah 53 is the best place. He was wounded for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. You know, part of him was the chastisement that brought us peace. And it's just an encouragement for the new believer to start self-discovery right now. There's a time and a place for lecture, but there's also a time and a place for self-discovery and to get people. So again, it's a spiritual discipline system. It's reading intelligently. Look, here's the verse. And there needs to be like points one, two, three, four, five going down there, but just kind of like. What does it say? What does it say to you? You know, hopefully they would catch things like the pronoun changes. He was crushed for our iniquities. You want to just kind of start reading the Bible, and then I need to introduce them to Psalm 23. And again, this is such a great song is people just let's just celebrate who God is. What is he doing in your life? You're not alone. This journey is. You're not by yourself. So you do that. Day three was an encouragement then, just to kind of think back over your conversion. Kind of what we want to do is get it in their head, want them to kind of think back and rejoice to celebrate for the kind of. So what did I do? What did I say? What did I believe? What what was the commitment that I made this this kind of stuff day for? Then it's a sermon and we'll come back that in a second.

[00:25:17] And then you notice on page 19, there are reflection questions. This gets to what I was talking about earlier is if all that we do is to convey data to the new believers in our churches, we've done them, I believe, a disservice. I had a friend of some of my pastored with who used to say that Bible study is the most dangerous thing in the world. And what he meant by that was if all you do is study your Bible and you stop at that stage, is God pleased? It'd be like reading a love letter, but not going to see the beloved. So I have an annoying saying whenever anyone says to me, Oh, I just love the word of God. Just love the word of God. I say, That's good. It's good. You should do you love? It's author. And you'll understand those are two different things. And I always get blank stares. But we know that a relationship, don't we? We know that. If I could analyze, Robert, if I could. There's a cleric talking about a sanguine if you could analyze my wife, you know, if you could put her down in black and white, if you could completely describe her. Is that Robert? No, it'd be a poor copy. Robin's a person, and the only way to really get to know Robin is to live in a relationship with her. And that's where we're trying to get the new believers to live in this relationship. So that's what the reflection questions are all about. They're not regurgitating the data, but they're all designed to help people think about while to reflect. Okay, so here's a truth that I learned. So what? And it's not just application. Encourage the mentors to not go write the application.

[00:27:15] There's a church in Spokane outside of Spokane actually post false. You know, the real life. It's a church that's fully committed. The small group model, 40% of the people that are came in on their outreach. They they reach out to the community like, I've not ever seen a church. The line is a mile and a half long the day before school. It's a real poor area where people are lined up to be given school supplies. They're the only organization in the state of Idaho that's allowed to pay other people's heating bills. I mean, this is a church that understands what it means to reach out to people and everything in their in their whole church. A small group, they're nine years old. They while they were nine years old, they were 9000 people. They're calling a thousand people a year in a very poor area and a scary place in Idaho. And we went over to talk to him once about what they do with small groups. They do it now. A lot people come from all over the world actually to learn, but they said our Bible study method is very simple. There's the leader who is responsible to he'll read the passage and then he'll have to paraphrase the passage in his own words, kind of bringing out the meaning. And then there's two application questions What does this passage teach you about God? What did you learn about God? What did you learn about yourself? Isn't that great? There's a Bible study method. There you passed your hermeneutics class because it starts with God and doesn't start with the Almighty me. It starts with God. What did I learn about God? It's vertical, it's heavenward. It's putting God in a position of glory.

[00:28:49] Put him where he belongs and where He deserves all that I learned about God. So you're organizing the ten drawings in your brain? The Lord's Prayer starts with glorification of God and then supplication for needs, right? But it always starts with God. But what happens in Bible study? So what does this mean to you today? That's a terrible. I'm sorry, that's a terrible question. And I've asked it a million times, so I'm just as guilty as the next person. But that's what this church is so good. What do you learn about the character of God? And then, if I'm remembering this correctly, there wasn't so much apply it to yourself is what do you what do you learn about yourself? See, they're going to character, they're going inside. They're going pass knowledge to wisdom, They're reflecting. It's going deep inside. And there are people that will find this process very easy, right? Women more than men. To be a journalist, my son is 18 years old, wants to be a sniper in the Marines and can't reflect. He just that part of his brains dead. He just he's a he's an 18 year old testosterone laden Marine sniping, advanced recon man. That's Hayden. And you ask him to riff like he can't reflect on anything except maybe on the of the difference in gun cartridges between the moles on the gotten to throw out six. You know, that's his world. So it's going to be harder for some people. But this process of reflection questions don't let your new believers skip it. It's not optional. It's actually the heart of what we're trying to do, right? We're not conveying data that doesn't get you in the kingdom of God. We're trying to take information. We're trying to take a relationship, and we're trying to internalize it.

[00:30:39] What do you learn about God? What do you learn about self? What do you learn about others? And so when you're done with that, they say, how is this going to propel you to action? What do you do? So there always is an action item, right? It gets done with the staff meeting. You always end with action items. I never did used to drive the staff absolutely bonkers. And finally the seminars sat me down, said, Bill, you've had all these great ideas. Your mind's ranging all over the place. We have no idea what you want us to do. Oh, what's a novel concept? Action items. And so then every staff meeting, I'd say, okay, Steve, so what are you going to do? This, this and this job? I never go down the list. What are we going to do? So action is important and everything, right? Robert and I have a relational conflict. We have one lot further apart now. Usually about once a year. And when you're done with the relationship and you're learning more about the other person, say, okay, what am I going to do? You've got to have action. But that's not where you start with this stuff. The New Believer. What do you learn about the character? What do you learn about yourself? What do you learn about others? Then how is that going to change what you do? That's what the reflection questions are all about. And by the way, part of the assignment for this class is to read all these things through as you guys have comments, questions, corrections, if you have other reflection questions. I would absolutely love it if you communicate these things with me. I have an email that's on the syllabus that's just for faith.

[00:32:13] I've got two emails and I get unbelievable amount of email every day, but I know to watch this account, so I will get it if you send it to me. So any kind of comments, corrections, but especially if you have any other kinds of reflection questions I would love to hear. So day five is usually a memory verse and then day six or something in application. Okay, so that's a very typical week in this. Let me walk you through what the sermon is, what the lectures I'll try to do in about 10 minutes. Let me hit one of the main points and then we're going to throw it open and start talking about questions. In one of the next sections are all my sermon notes. What you download on the website are these things in word? I didn't do PDFs. I did them in word so you can take them and change them and modify and do whatever you want with them. Because the topic of the new believers conversion is so important. That's where I start. And using the imagery of a trail, the sermon all talks about the trailhead and I have a cabin objectives. There was a picture that earlier in the northeast corner of the state. It's it's where God is going to come back again because there's just no the place is gorgeous. As a ponder, I have a separate building up there. It's a little ten by 14 woodshop where I do of my writing. So when I'm working, I go up there and hide and write. Most of the chapters in the book I'm writing are about hikes out of my own. I go on these hikes and I reflect on them and that's what I write out of.

[00:33:50] But there's a lot of places to hike up in that area of the woods. But at the beginning of everyone is a trailhead, right? And so the trailhead is the beginning of the hike in Jesus's metaphor, the gate in the past, the trailhead is the the gate. There's a starting point. In other words, we all start somewhere, which of course, is what makes the topic a conversion so difficult in talking with someone. Because everyone starts in different places. We all have a different set of assumptions, different set of feelings, different set of experiences. We all use words differently. What I mean by faith is not going to be what a spiritual person in post-modern America is going to mean by faith, right? You just got to have faith. I say faith in what? She's got to have faith. What's the Polar Express the other night again, great movie. Completely wrong. Got to believe. Believe in what not just believe. Like believing anything is equal to believing anything else, which we all know is not true. But anyway, that's why the topic of conversion is so important, because we all have different trailheads, we all have different starting places, and we've got to find out where the new believer actually is. So in the talk, I use the imagery in Matthew seven and say, you know, we're all born on the wide, easy road. We we learn that it's headed to destruction. There was a gate off to the side. I often think of the Narnia story. You go to the wardrobe and there is that lamp post. I wish Jesus had a lamp post. In his metaphor. It would help the imagery. But, you know, I think of this, this little single sided entry, only one personal to the gate at a time.

[00:35:40] Off to the side and this little path reaching off into the lived in my mountain, which is a mound across from our cabin. And life is a journey. But we all had a starting point. Our trails all start somewhere. We understand that we have to go through the gate till the story of Pilgrim's Progress of Freight, the character's name. But Christian, about half the way to Celestial City meets someone who says, Do you have a certificate? In a certificate is something you get in Pilgrim's Progress when you first go through the gate towards heaven. And he says no, because this is where you have to have a certificate of whatever it was called you. No, no, no, no, no. I'm fine. I'm going to the celestial city. Do you remember the name of the character, the verse recently? You all know that Pilgrim's Progress, right? Is this allegory John Bunyan's allegory of the Christian life. Pogba's Progress doesn't end with the story of Christian going to the celestial city. I mean, it's a marvelous, marvelous picture. Christian goes across the river. He has I think it's hope with them to help him get across. There's a party waiting for him. There's angels coming, there's hooting and celebration, and they walk up the hill. The river, of course, is death, and they walk up to the hill. And he hands in his certificate is led into the sauce just sitting. You think it's the end of the book, but it's not. There's two more pages because this character that Christian met on the path who didn't go through the gate, comes up and knocks on the door. And Alvin, think of the door. It's like in The Wizard of Oz, you know, the little doors is open.

[00:37:20] They look through. He asks for the certificate and guess I don't I don't have one, but I walk the path and I'm here. A door opens in the hillside, right next to the door, to the celestial city. And the demons come and they take the man to hell. And Bunyan's last statement is the gates of heaven and hell are right next to each other. It's not what you expect when you're reading the book. That's his metaphor about the necessity of going through the gate in Bunyan's situation, where they were being taught, If you were born into the Church of England, you automatically get to heaven. You don't have to go through a gate. So the Swedish Baptists came here because the Swedish church was saying, You don't have to go through the gate, you don't have to go through conversion. And so the importance of the gate can't be overemphasized. Well, I decided to do was use John 316. I was doing two things. I was looking for a verse that many people might know, most famous first in the Bible, but I also wanted to use it because of how it starts. John 316 Search for. God so loved the world. You know, it used to be, you know, Camps, Crusade for Christ. We had four spiritual laws. And the first law is so many of you're familiar with crusade nonsense. Now it's like a second. A second. Well, good Lord, God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life. They can't use the force frictionless anymore because in our culture, if you start God loves you, it is one of a kind for your life. The answer is who? Mm hmm. And I've been told that they're redoing the for spiritual cause.

[00:39:01] I've not seen it yet. But our culture has become so deep, Christianized in any shape and form. And people's basic understanding of Christianity has is so far from the truth that you can no longer talk about a God who has a plan for your life. Because what's God not Who's God? What's God? I like to start with John 316 because it starts where it needs to start. If everything is relationship and I believe it is, then you start with the person who creates the relationship to begin with. So God. And so in the talk, I start by saying, you know, there's God and he's a person. He's not the force, he's not Mother Nature. He has personality. He is knowable. This loving God created the world. He created us for relationship. And in fact, he created us as the apex of his creation. We're not here by chance. We're here by design, we're here by purpose. And we and we alone are formed in the image of God. Wayne's got a great discussion of the image of God. The image of God is not just one thing. It's all of those things that allow us to live in a relationship with God. That's what we have that my dog doesn't. Here is the hard part in this talk. Okay, then I'll tell you this. This is the part that you need to watch really carefully for God so loved the world that he gave. What's missing? Yes. Why do we have to give John 316 skips over soup for God so loved the world that he gave. And we need to form a bridge. So when the talk, I say God created the world. He created us to be in a relationship with him. But then something terrible happened.

[00:40:51] Our first parents, Adam and Eve, and I've actually been told that I shouldn't talk about Adam and Eve because most people don't know who Adam and Eve are. But the way the talk goes is that our first parents were created. We lived in fellowship with God. They lived in relationship with God. They only had one rule to follow. They had one concrete way that they could show to their creator that they understood that he was the boss and they weren't. That he was the creator and they were the creation. They were given us one substantive way to be able to demonstrate that, yes, we understand this, don't eat that one tree, don't eat that. Weren't you. And so I tell the story that they ate it. And what happens again, I keep coming back to relationship. What happens in any relationship when you break the rules of the relationship separation? If you explain in those terms, it makes sense to almost anybody. At least that was there had a boyfriend or girlfriend. They understood that when you violate the rules of a relationship, the relationship is severed, not necessarily personally broken, but walls come up, there's problems. And when Adam and Eve sin, when they did what God told not to do, then a wall was established. They were kicked out of the garden. And the consequence of separation is death. And then I say, What Adam and Eve did we have done? We two were created for relationship with God need to have done the things that he that are contrary to his character, that he's that he said this is the rules of the relationship. And so we two are separated and if we die, separated will end up in hell. Was going to talk about hell at this point, but that's the idea.

[00:42:26] But I'm using relationship the whole time to try to express what we were created for and then what we did. And then in response, what did God do? God's love. The world that He gave his only son. And so in the Torah talks about what Jesus did and that he not only showed us what God was like, but that He died on the cross. And the whole point of the cross was that it was to enable the relationship to be reestablished. Because everything. Everybody can understand that. But just because Jesus has enabled the relationship to exist doesn't mean the relationship exists, doesn't mean that we have to respond. We have to go through the gate. We have to respond to the good news of Jesus Christ that whoever believes in him. And it's been interesting to talk to people about the whoever, because a lot of people think that they are so sinful that God can't forgive them. And apparently it's a real issue. So in the talk, I stress it shouldn't matter what you've done, that Christ death on the cross is sufficient to cover the sins of all who come. I wouldn't say that on the sermon, but that's the idea that what Jesus did on the cross was enough to cover everything. But it's not just that whoever believes, it's whoever believes in him. So it's the whole idea that there's an object that is it's a movement of trust from ourselves into trusting God. And if people do respond, then instead of perishing, they will have eternal life. Now, here's the last thing in the stream. I'm going to take a break because it is getting hot in here. And this is the other thing that's really difficult in this address.

[00:44:19] And you have to decide whether you want to put this in or not. Okay. This is you can do whatever you want. Do you talk about counting the cost? Salvation is absolutely free and undeserved, and yet it's going to cost you everything. It's not in John 316, but Jesus talks about it elsewhere. So it's one of those things that I struggled with. I don't want to be a downer. You know, I don't want to say, you know, what is going to be miserable. It's going to cost you everything. But Jesus says, you know, you don't go to war until you count the cost. You don't start to build a tower and you count the cost. And I think it's important that people understand that while salvation is totally free, totally undeserved, totally is by God's grace, is received totally by faith. I mean, there's there's nothing you can do to inherit or earn or anything. Understand that you're going to be changed to the gate and you will start to live a different kind of life. It's going to cost you everything one way or the other. That's for me, is the really hard issue in this talk. All right. Let me show you one thing. We'll take a break. And this that's just a real quick summary of that talk, what I gave you then. And it looks like this. He this is the same thing on both sides, but it's different front and back. But a guy in the church, I was doing sermon notes and they were sitting there with their Bibles. You know how you tend kind of keep moving the paper around to write because the Bible is not as big as eight and a half by 11. And Charlie said, Can you put the notes on five by seven or turn them sideways so they'll fit on my Bible so I can write? That's a great idea.

[00:45:57] So all of the sermon notes I did are done like this. Then we would run off front to back and chop them in half. And so the sermons that people had, they could put on top of the Bible and take notes. That's the other section that's in there. So, again, you can take these. You can do whatever you want with them. You can modify them, but they're yours to use. Okay. So the first place we're going to start is the nature of conversion. I use John 316. Let's take a five or six minute break just to clear minds. And then we're going to come back and talk about some of the challenges that we'll meet in dealing with conversion issues. Okay. Yeah, but I've been talking more than I had wanted to and. And more than willing to do the rest of the week. So let's get a bit into some of the discussion, which is why you're here. The reason this is so important is that there's so many different kinds of altar calls. There's so many different kinds of experiences that if somebody can think they're a Christian and not be one, I have this image in my head and I think that all preachers should be required to stand by the judgment seat when all of the people in their church walk by to be judged. And I think that every preacher should have to watch God pronounced judgment, yay or nay on every single person. And I think that that picture should be how you preach every Sunday. Well, Jim, I wonder why he's not preaching anymore. But I. I met with a very well-known pastor once who was very aggressive, more even more so than I am, and I'm pretty aggressive.

[00:47:48] But I just said, what drives you? And he said, I'm convinced the church is full of people going to hell. And I thought to myself, That's a little harsh. And then I started pastoring and I realized he could be right, not completely full. But there's always a doctrine of the remnant, right in the Bible. The true believers have always been the minority. They were the minority in the Old Testament. They're a minority in Daniel's days. They're a subgroup of the visible church. The true church is a subgroup of the visible church. And so we just have to be so careful when we preach that if we do altar calls, if we do evangelistic sermons, what are they responding to? And is it enough? That is it just a plea from the deepest levels of my heart? Please don't have altar calls if there's not enough to respond to. I got in trouble for this. There's a person in my church that was from the South and grew up with the tradition of altar calls and just drove her nuts. We didn't have altar calls and I said, I can't preach on Second Corinthians and the doctrine of giving and have an altar call. Because I haven't talked about the personal work of Jesus Christ. I haven't talked about the sinfulness, humanity. I haven't I haven't talked about our separation from God. I haven't talked about what Christ did on the cross for us, what we could not do for ourselves. I haven't talked about repentance. So what is there to respond to if I haven't truly described the gospel to the. What are some of the different altar calls that you have heard, not necessarily that you have done, but that you have heard that you think are deficient? What are the kinds of things that mentors will have to deal with when they're dealing with a new believer, for example? Well, I believe.

[00:49:49] Oh, okay, good. You in Beelzebub? No, I wouldn't say that. Well, the pastor told me to repent. Repent of what? What does it mean to repent? Well, it means to be really sorry. You know, I ran down at the Crusade and the Sardis Trail, and I was truly sorry for my sense. Is that person a Christian? Is there ever a doctrine of justification by sorrel in the. In the Bible? No, no, No. Doctrine of justification by sorrow. Sorrow just means you're sorry. Right. But that doesn't mean necessarily more than that. We've heard of altar calls where people are offered the benefits of salvation. Do you want Jesus to heal? You receive Jesus. Was that person a Christian? Yeah. Yeah. I want to. I want to be healed relationally, socially. You know, everyone Is that person a Christian? No, it's going to be this wants to be healed. What are going to be some of the other deficient views of conversion that we're going to have to deal with in our churches? What have you come across? I went to a service recently where the passengers run up to the altar. As if to move it from the. Few see the physical appearance of that person at the altar. Was the mirror coming forward? Well, I went forward. I didn't actually get to hear the sermon, but the girl I was dating at the time heard it. She told me about it. But the person said, If you come down this aisle and you sign the rule book sort of wandering about, you shall be saved. And the good news of the gospel is there's two ways to live. You can go out and you can have a good person. You can be a good Christian, and that's good.

[00:51:59] But the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is that if you come to the front of the line and sign up the rule book, you can go out live any way you want. It doesn't matter. You're going to go to heaven. Know the church burned down a few layers later than that. And I always wondered, I wonder if that was just divine retribution or not. I don't know. You know, your feeling is I wish it had happened in that night. But see. But there is someone that it was. It was the biggest church in town. And it was a Sunday night service where he emphatically preached that it was simply the movement forward was enough to guarantee get their get out of jail free card, as we used to say. I was in a church once that he would use the verse for, and there's a huge name for it. I remember the night before the other night so people would feel like walking the aisles. Kind of the same thing. The welcoming element I wasn't denying and sitting in my chair meant that I was denying it was so I can't sit in my chair. So I got to go forward people. I asked him about it and he said, Well, I know it's not actually ethically correct or it's not biblically correct, but it works. You just can't recognize that it wasn't exactly the best medication in the first place. It works. Yeah, Yeah. And it's too bad. I mean, maybe for the record and the illustration is that if you don't go forward, that means you're denying Christ. And if you deny Christ, now will deny you a judgment. Yeah. And that's a problem is denial. It's a relational thing. If you deny your relationship with me, if you if you say you're not one of my followers, if you cut off the relationship, then I'm going to cut off the relationship with the judgment.

[00:53:44] Denial is a powerfully relational concept. Understood properly. Yeah. You know, you have to define what of is. You know what you're talking about. It's like the same experience that I have. Know we have also called during the regular worship service, and that's where people come and pray and they pray, oh, in worship. And so that comes, you know, they come to the altar and then they have the invitation of the call to discipleship is a time when our deacons and our ministries out into the congregation and then they pray with people and talk to them and help them to make decisions, and then they come forward at that particular point. So, you know, you know, yeah, for me, when you said after Christ and you know, this this but this is a really good illustration because I've only heard all to call you one one way in my whole life. And so if you talk to no believer in as well, I responded to an altar call. If they're in your church, that's something totally different then in the churches I was in. So in your tradition, an altar call is a believer, most likely as an act to worship going forward and praying the leader, unbeliever. They come to the altar and they pray. Yeah, they're in prayer and then they pray in the prayer. And then at that point they go back to their seats. Yeah, yeah, that would be nice for everyone. So it was an act of worship for the entire church. Come forward. Yeah. Yeah. The time of prayer, sometimes led by ministers, sometimes they're by lay leaders who get to pray, praying in a corporate sense, and then they go to petition intercession and, you know, the whole whole piece.

[00:55:28] But, you know, if you a large crowd at the end of service as it come to the altar, they would everybody would come up they would be praying that that is that is fascinating. I've never heard that before. But that's any of your other traditions Use that phrase altar call that way. And then we have to call people come to your church an altar call to join the church. Okay. If you haven't sold the phrase altar call can mean a whole lot of different things. Yeah. Okay. Yeah. So that that's a great illustration of why we have to be aware of that. These words mean different things to different people. Yeah. One time I've got a person that has the question to me that there is no altar call in the gospel. Yeah, and why would you to go. Yeah. Why do we do altar calls when there's no altar call in the gospel? The counter argument that Billy Graham would give is that every person who was called in the Gospel was called publicly. But that's not so. Yes, but that's not so. So who is who is private? You. You give me an Ethiopian or. Yeah, he was Ethiopian. Yannick was with Philip. Mm hmm. Yeah, that's. That was a pretty private. I mean, it wasn't by himself, as was one of the person. Well, we don't know how many people there were with him. He was, but yeah, they're trying to find out. There could have been other people with them. Yeah, yeah, yeah. We find out about. Yeah. Yeah. I'm just saying this. That's the other side. So maybe it would be safe to say that there are many people there who are called, you know, publicly in Scripture. And so it certainly is one of the ways in which it's perfectly legitimate to call people to make a commitment is to make it publicly.

[00:57:15] Yeah. It could be identified as a personal experience that he had encountered unexpectedly, but yet it was publicly presented and demonstrated. Okay, Now I understand this one. Mm hmm. He's ready to publicly demonstrate. Is ready. Right. He has personally and unexpectedly, that is. I mean, it's our gift to go to go over what you just said, that there are many ways, right, that one can be called to experience the revolution. Right. Many, many different ways. But yet you still. If you look at the beginning of the treatment. Jesus. You know they were probably call. Yeah. But in fact, I'm reminded of the story. Everything reminds me of a story, but this reminds me of a story of a very good friend's daughter, married a guy, was raised in the South, was raised in a Southern culture, you know, And part of the Southern culture is almost every year, You know, if you're from the South, you're Christian, right? I mean, this is part of the culture. And he was raised that way and he truly thought he was a Christian and his wife thought he was a Christian. And he was that is it's a marvelous story. And he just went in a small country church and heard the preacher preaching. And the spirit was very clear. You have never given your life to me. You have never gone through the gate. And his first act of obedience was to walk down the aisle to the altar. So, I mean, I think that's what you were getting at. First act of obedience is going to the altar is a pretty good thing. But I'm saying there's a lot of we use words differently. And your mentors and your people are going to have to understand that they need to have the new believer.

[00:59:11] Explain what they mean by these words. And if they simply say, I went for an altar call. What is that? What happened? What do you understand? An altar call to be. I have to. Was it? This exclamation point occurred at the. So that they won't be surprised. And I tell you, that would be an invitation to speak to some. Yeah. And I believe this. You will have a chance to see firsthand. So the Lord Jesus Christ has the same right, the same energy to. Are you ready for me to be safe? What you need to focus. Mm hmm. And completion of that. I would still. Invitation for you to make that. Price. Yeah. So one of the things that I've learned from you, I and I've been the face for a couple of years now is how is this part of the African-American culture? You tend to always whatever the sermon is, correct me if I'm wrong, this is what you've been telling me, is that you want to take people to the cross and I forget who it was. And we don't leave on the cross. We raise them up. It's a good part of the culture, but I applaud you for letting people know that it's coming and trying to give some substance to it. I guess that's where I struggle a bit is when there's no substance to it and when people don't know what they're responding to. But if you're going to say that there's an invitation and this is what it's for, then it's an intelligent decision. They can know what they're doing. What bothers me is when they can't possibly know what they're responding to. I guess the problem with what you said, but some of the language that we use, like we didn't want warning for a while and they they used the language you want to accept or you want to receive.

[01:01:22] And for a kid to receive Christ in your heart. It's such an idea that I don't you know, I've seen. Yeah. So the language you use, Jesus never ask anybody to receive or accept him. So I, I think what we're trying to say is, yes, Jesus, Jesus is calling in. The language we use is so ambiguous that people don't really understand what that means. Yeah, language is really, really hard. And especially when you're raised in the church, there's a whole Christian needs that we're comfortable with. But to try to explain it can be really, really difficult. Wayne, for example, argues that it's probably better to talk about trusting Jesus than believing Jesus, because in our culture, trust has more of the right nuance to it. It's not being self sufficient is being Christ sufficient. It's it's moving the trust out of yourself and saying, I'm going to trust. I'm going to trust God that you granted me access in a relationship with you, that you forgive for my sins, that you know are all these things. But the language is it. It is. It's very, very hard. Wayne's chapter page four or five or six. I'm not going to read this. He actually has a whole paragraph called The Danger of Unconverted Evangelicals. And this is exactly what he's talking about. People who think they've responded, but they really haven't. So I think with what that brings to the image in response to your original question, various methods or incidents, I would work with different organizations or churches that would utilize things like just fill up this card I put a lot of faith in. Well, there was content in the sermon, and hopefully they're not just filling out this card. And the other thing is, and maybe it was a step further, but it was a different church memorization, they would also be like, Go pray after me, you know, pray this prayer.

[01:03:21] And they would pray prayer and they would just repeat it. And then it goes back to kind of what you're discussing. They're just like, do they really understand that? Yeah, I was in a relationship with with a group of people in a small group. And this gentleman, his teenage son, actually was like 19, you know, he just wasn't really into church. And not too long ago, I can't remember. It was pretty recent Safeco Field or whatever it's called now. They are known to be, you know, biblically solid church. You know, Marshall has this huge gathering. And not only are you coming up, you know, they're they went the step further. There was all these little buckets that you would get baptized in as well. And so you'd come up and you would respond to this sermon and then you could get baptized there as well. The dad came back the following week and was really excited because his son went forward and his son, you know, he's okay now, you know, he's good. A couple of weeks later, he's like, he's still not going to church. There's still no fruit. And so, again, I think everything really needs to be whether you're saying except Jesus or whatever, in the context of a relationship. And to me, it's that follow up. And to me, Christianity that you were saying it's relationship. So then that follow up in that conversation, that journey isn't alone. It's okay. After you signed that card, what then? Oh, after you raised your hand or after you prayed that prayer after you were baptized in the stadium, what then? Yeah, I think is a huge piece. Yeah. Yeah. And this to solve all problems. Oh, Christ. 11, 11, 9 to 5. I'm going to start charging.

[01:05:03] No, that goes back to that. You just said earlier in terms of you're talking about who versus what you say. God. Yeah. Well, some people, you know, who then only do it, you know, they say, well, what is God? Yeah. No. Yeah. If you don't trust God, then it's true. You still have to go back to that. Fortunately. Yeah. Who or what? Yeah. What do you trust? Yeah. So the other piece is piggyback on what he said. Another invitation to see the United Kingdom is there's room enough for more and come on up. Oh, I think so. As a song. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I see. And if you know, you wanna hear some crazy. You know, they got some of them. Oh, I'm sorry. Some of them are devoted to the bottom end of the kingdom. I've never heard of salvation by voting. I don't know. I'm sure it's. They're all independents right now. And everybody said, Oh, you know, we have to do that. I don't ask anyone in general. I asked them, do they want to be born again? I think they could understand more what they being born into. And we explain that, you know, after they come forward, you know, what they are calling, because I believe that we can join anything. Mm hmm. To join in a church. Okay. But when you actually ask the people, do they want to be born again? They'll make sure to think they really simple. Yeah. Parents, I have a basic rule that I try to use biblical language because I find that non biblical, which gets me in trouble if I talk about cities while ever talking about receiving Jesus. So if you see me, see the Father in salvation context is the Bible every time about receiving.

[01:07:05] I don't think it does, does it? It's a lot of of repentance, talks a lot about repentance, talks about repentance from since it talks about repentance, from your false understanding of who Jesus is. It talks about responding to the call of the Father. It talks about being born again with Nicodemus. And I just find that other terminology can just get in the way. Yeah, I received. Jesus is in my heart. Really? What? What? What do you understand that to mean? The way that they like to go to receive? Yeah. I mean, did you drop your son to be able to have hands for Jesus or something else? So the language we use is problematic. So I think even use the word Christian is problematic. I don't even like the word believer. Demons believe. I keep going back to following a Christian is a Christian is someone who follows Jesus. And, you know, I mean, I was raised in reformed circles and good reformed theology would never do this. But perverted reformed theology does that all the time where it says, look, you know, if you're you're a lecture, you're damned. It doesn't matter. You'll live anywhere you want. You'll find out, you know, at the gate with reciting a go on. You know, I had a officemate in grad school who believe that I just couldn't get past. But they were all There are non biblical ways of thinking. Jesus talks about repentance. He talks about turning. He talks about following my daughter. If you confess to the messages and believe in your heart, the gutter is from the dead, you shall be saved. So, I mean, there is some of that language, but our church, we are really big on the Greek mission which says, Go.

[01:08:49] It doesn't single me, can't go make disciples. And so the discipleship process is that it's within the conversion, within the and so the discipleship extends throughout. So, yeah, in our church we have an altar call, but it's not just one passages, because if people are to join the church, they are required to go to discipleship classes. Yeah, so you know what we have to truthfully, or should I say this administration believes because we do live in one of the most unchurched states in the U.S., which means that, again, Washington is largely a state. Second, second to Massachusetts is the other place I've lived. Isn't that you? Yeah. There is also a problem when you go to the other countries. Mm hmm. Like I've noticed in the Crusades in India. Mm hmm. You have to be very careful the language you use because they believe in everything. Right? Yes. Syncretism is anything that's touched with Hinduism. If you do, you believe in Jesus? Yeah, sure. Yeah. You know, that's not going to really bring them to a conversion and a proper relationship. And you have to use the right words. Religion versus relationship followers. Right. Turning your life and going in a different direction. Commitment to that. To Jesus. And using the name Jesus very emphatically. Mm hmm. That only you can really communicate the gospel to those people. I got to go to a couple of pastors conferences in India a couple of years ago, and I actually was covering this material and I prayed. And when I was done, no one said came up. Amen. No one said came up. The translator leans over and goes, Here we say, In Jesus name it says, In Jesus name, Amen. There was no gay man. You know, the name was really important.

[01:10:52] It's really important to them. I mean, I've heard stories in Africa of the prosperity gospel. You know, you hear these incredible mushrooming of the church in Africa, and then you hear stories of some of it. Much of it I don't know if it's most or not, but a lot of it is, You know, if you become a Christian, your cow will give milk and your wife won't die in birth. Right. Sign me up. You know, the actual worst example I know of was my old church. We were really big in VBS. I mean, we just threw ourselves into our neighborhood and VBS, and it was a it was a major, major thing. We had this big initial meeting and maybe every one of us does this, but we did a big initial play. I mean, they were hilarious. The kids loved it. It brought in hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids. And then we had different rooms and the kids all in two different rooms learned different things. And we started hearing about this flood of invitations and conversions in this one room. I mean, it was like 46 a day. I'm all I'm here for. This is the high point. I go 46 kids a day. How are we going to follow up on 46 kids a day? I'm going to go down, find out what's going on. I never seen anything like this before. So going on there found out that the person was telling the kids that they were going to burn in hell forever unless they signed on this list saying they were Christian. Guess what a bunch of third graders did. They signed up. I don't want to burn in hell. They're not Christians. They're scared of burning in hell, which is a good thing.

[01:12:34] The problem is they think they're not going to know how we want to describe hell. I guess my appeal is that in this whole thing, as we're dealing with new believers, we've got to find out what their experience was. We got to find out what words mean. We've got to find out how they're using their words. And we want to make sure that they have heard the gospel and they have responded. GILBERT Charisma. So it's a Greek word, so I kind of like it, but it's a technical term that was popularized about 50 years ago by a British scholar named Starts. What Dodd argued was that if you look at all the sermons and acts, there's a common structure all the way through. The same four points occur in every single. Sometimes they're implicit. Almost always they're explicit. And probably not going to get this right off the top of my head. But what the speeches and acts say is that Jesus lived that he died for sins, that he was raised from the dead to validate his claims, and that you must repent. And the repentance is not just repentance from sins like saying I'm sorry it was to repent of who you thought Jesus was when you read through Acts two. There's nothing about being sorry for since that when you get, you know, what must we do? You must repent. The repentance is changing my mind and changing my actions. That's repentance is right. Change actions, change your mind, Change your actions of what we thought about Jesus. And of course, that also then includes sorrow for since I've often thought that is that I don't think I would ever offer salvation if I hadn't covered the charisma because I don't think I have a biblical mandate to do so.

[01:14:34] When Paul says in Romans two, Unless you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, okay, that means you're willing to articulate your heart's commitment that Jesus is God and that He's boss and believe in your heart. The God raised him from the dead. So there's an understanding of Jesus life and his death and his resurrection. Then you shall be saved. I mean, that's the four parts of the charisma, I think. And I encourage people to make sure that when someone is a new believer, they understand. So tell me about Jesus. You know, And I think the thief on the cross, it's it's a wonderful example. Why do you think I mean, one gospel has got the thieves rebuking Jesus. And then I think is Luke has got one of them repenting. What's the difference? And I usually ask is, well, what do you think Jesus was doing on the cross? Do you think for the first time in 30 years he was silent, He was preaching. I mean, what else would he be doing up there? Right? And the thief says, Remember me when you come in your kingdom, Right. And. He learned who Jesus was. He learned about his life. He had learned about what was happening on the cross. And he had the hope of what was going to happen in the future. So, I mean, in all these conversion stories, you've got the Ethiopian eunuch we talked about earlier. He's reading what the suffering servant and Isaiah Philip explains it to him. This is the message of the gospel. I'm sure it's the message the two disciples got explained to by Jesus after the resurrection, when he says the open up scriptures to show that the Messiah had to die. I'm sure it was Isaiah 52 and 53.

[01:16:14] I think that has to be in the new believers understanding, and this is a wonderful time to make sure it is. And I would think that what will happen is that sometimes you'll have someone that goes, Yeah, that's exactly what I was. I was taught. I thought about it. I was challenged to believe in it. And I believe and I committed myself to it all the time to let people go. Wow. No, I didn't not. I didn't understand that Jesus was God. Oh, I see that. Salvation is free. What? It's going to cost me everything because I'm going to come under His Lordship, but I'm going to want that. Yeah, that's cool. Yeah. Yeah. And I can see people in this chapter in the curriculum truly receiving Christ once they get a little. In some in some situations, a better understanding of what it is. That word you use another one use it for free. And I guess acts 2021 where it says repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. That same thing, you know, the word charisma is it comes up from the it's the verb is Caruso, which means to proclaim is one of the two Greek words for preaching, preaching and proclaiming the gospel. That's where the word comes from. And so I don't know what Greek word is in the passage you referred to, but commentators will talk about the curriculum a lot. The thing that we need to deal with is do they really understand what happened? Let's go and stop now for the evening. What I would like you to do is I want to talk about repentance tomorrow because the topic of repentance and lordship, salvation and counting the cost is the other difficult topic in this chapter.

[01:18:05] All right, so this note we're going to come back and talk about what is Lordship salvation, what is in it and what is what is repentance really look like? And I would encourage you, if you get time to read through the acts story and you get X to try to take all your connections that you have with the idea of repent and put it away for a second and read the story and you'll get up to a verse 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other parcels, Brothers, what shall we do? And Peter replied, Repent to be baptized everyone in the name of Jesus Christ and you'll receive the Holy Spirit. What does He mean by repent? Look at it contextually and see, because it will. It will inform your understanding of what conversion is. Okay. All right. Well, thank you. We'll see you all tomorrow.