BEWARE!!!

OF THE SINNERS PRAYER

In this busy life that we are living in today there is no doubt that you might have seen, read or even heard some one speak of the sinner’s prayer.  Countless Radio Stations or TV preachers or Websites have told people, that all one had to do to be saved was to repeat just a simple prayer (The Sinners Prayer) and believe that God had died for their sins and they would be saved from the wrath of God.  Have you ever heard, “except Jesus as your personal savior?” 

     Here is just a few of the countless sinner prayers that are in use today: 

 

Example 1

     “Father, I know that I have broken your laws and my sins have separated me from you. I am truly sorry, and now I want to turn away from my past sinful life toward you. Please forgive me, and help me avoid sinning again. I believe that your son, Jesus Christ died for my sins, was resurrected from the dead, is alive, and hears my prayer. I invite Jesus to become the Lord of my life, to rule and reign in my heart from this day forward. Please send your Holy Spirit to help me obey you, and to do your will for the rest of my life. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.”

 

Example 2

     "Heavenly Father, have mercy on me, a sinner.  I believe in you and that your word is true. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and that he died on the cross so that I may now have forgiveness for my sins and eternal life.  I know that without you in my heart my life is meaningless.  I believe in my heart that you, Lord God, raised Him from the dead.  Please Jesus forgive me, for every sin I have ever committed or done in my heart, please Lord Jesus forgive me and come into my heart as my personal Lord and Savior today.  I need you to be my Father and my friend.  I give you my life and ask you to take full control from this moment on; I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ." Amen.

 

     These prayers sound innocent enough at face value, but the fact of the matter may be hard for some to swallow but these prayers are NOT founded upon the scriptures.  Jesus Christ never taught it and the Apostle and the early Church never used it.  So, if they never used this form of salvation then the following questions should be asked, “Where did it come from? And why did they use it?”  To answer the first question can be found with three Billy’s, Billy Sunday, Billy Graham, and Bill Bright.  The answer to the second question is very simply, convenience. 

     During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Billy Sunday was attracting great numbers of people to come out unto his religious revivals.  He didn’t have a problem preaching his hell, fire and brimstone messages to convict a soul into repentance.  Nor did he have a problem convincing people that they needed to receive the gift of Holy Ghost, the problem came in the form of Water Baptism.

     With him moving from city to city and trying to keep a tight schedule the question would be, “how to get people Baptized according to the scriptures?”  To solve this problem he simply didn’t baptize them.  He replaced water baptism with the term, “Coming Forward.”  (Coming forward was a practice that used in other forms from preachers that were before him.)  In this people was asked to simply come to the front of the place that he was holding his revival and was asked to repeat a prayer.  (The Sinners Prayer)  By doing so, they were announcing before God and others that they were going to change their life over to Christ.  With this little change he would be able to save hundreds in a night and then move on to the next city. 

     By the time Billy Graham and Bill Bright came along in the 1900’s the Sinners Prayer was well known.  And with the help of radio and television they removed the embarrassing part of “Coming Forward” that Billy Sunday had used, which left people just having to repeat the Sinners Prayer.  In 1952, Bill Bright writes a tract called, “The Four Spiritual Laws” which summarizes the Christian message of salvation contained in the Bible as four spiritual laws that govern our relationship with God, just like the physical laws that govern the universe.

 

The four spiritual laws are:

  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. (John 3:16, John 10:10)

  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God's love and plan for his life. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)

  3. Jesus Christ is God's only provision for man's sin. Through Him you can know and experience God's love and plan for your life. (Romans 5:8, I Corinthians 15:3-6, John 14:6)

  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know and experience God's love and plan for our lives. (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8,9, John 3:1~8, Revelation 3:20)

 

     With these new tools Billy Graham and Bill Bright would be able to reach millions on the air waves with this new way of salvation convincing them that they could be saved.  And because of the simplicity of the method millions would flock to this method of salvation.  This made them well known evangelist which opened many doors for them to preach too many others deceiving them with this new method of salvation.

     The only reason this form salvation is still in use today is because many pastors left the plan of salvation that was used by the early church to accept this new way of salvation in hopes to bring in people into their churches.  Society has molded us into this “get it now life style” and with the inventions like the microwave, drive-up widows and credit cards many have come to think that salvation can be found much the same way.  One example of this today can be found with a recent message from Joel Osteen.  At the end of his TV message he gives people the opportunity to make God their lord and savior by having them repeat a simple prayer. 

 

     “Just say Lord Jesus, I repent of my sins, come into my heart, I make you my lord and savior.  Friends if you said that simple pray we believe you got born again find a good Bible based church and keep God in first place. He is going to take you places.”  Joel Osteen 2-5-2012

     Now you might be thinking that I am saying that God can not change someone’s life in a moment, which would not be true, but rather the plan of salvation is so much more then just repeating a simple prayer?  Notice the following verses:

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  • Acts 1:4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.

  • Acts 1:5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

 

  • Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

 

     When you look at the verses above we find that Jesus Christ tells them not to depart from Jerusalem until they had received the promise.  The question must be asked, “Why didn’t Jesus have them repeat a simple prayer for them to receive this promise?”  Also, when we read further into the book of Acts the question was asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”  Notice that Peter doesn’t tell these people to just repeat a prayer but rather tells them to repent, be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ and then to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

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  • Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

  • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

     Some might say that Peter was only preaching to just a few people, but in the 41st verse it tells us that he was preaching unto at least three thousand souls.  In the crowd that day there must have been some that didn’t receive the message that Peter had preached but only those that received his words gladly, were baptized.

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  • Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

 

     How do I know that this plan of salvation works?  Look at the end of the chapter.

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  • Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

  • Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 

     Did you notice the last words of the chapter, “such as should be saved.”  This gives us our guarantee that this method of salvation works.  Is there a better witness then the Bible?  Just think about it for a moment, after hearing Peter preach three thousand went to the water and was baptized and was happy to stand in the line.  We have no idea how long that might have taken but think of the last time you stood in line for some new toy on Black Friday?  Isn’t salvation well worth the wait?  Why would some want to risk their life on some unproven plan of salvation? 

     Imagine for just a moment that your child was sick and the doctor had said to you that there is two ways of treatment for your child.  The first way has worked for thousands of years without one mishap.  Then the doctors say unto you that there is a new treatment for your child, but he has no evidence that it works and doesn’t know the side effects that your child will have.  Would you be willing to give this new treatment a try?  If you are like most sensible people, you would no doubt go with the one that has worked for thousands of years.  When it comes down to our children or even our own soul there is just something’s that we don’t take chances with. 

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  • Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

  • Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

 

     Remember that we only have one chance in this world to get it right.  There is coming a day that the scriptures says that we are going to be judged out of the books.  So, the question would be, “Why not follow the plan of salvation that is found within the book?”  As we have showed earlier that the only proven plan of salvation can be found in Acts 2:38. 

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  • Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 

     Is there a prayer that the sinner must pray?  Of coarse, but it is a prayer of repentance, and it so much more then just a few quick words.  It is more than signing the back of a tract and sending it in.  The word repent means: to turn away from.  You are asking God to forgive you of the sins that you have committed in this life and that you will no longer commit those sins again.  It is much like a child that says they are sorry for stealing something in a store.  But the next time they go into the store they are caught stealing.  Can you say that the child truly repented? 

     The next step of the plan of salvation is water baptism.  This is the part that so many preachers today have chosen not follow.  Peter didn’t give the people of Jerusalem a choice whether or not they wanted too be baptized but said that every one of them had to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. 

     Notice that water baptism is the second step and not the first.  Did you know when John the Baptist was baptizing people, he didn’t baptize everyone?  Why?  The answer is a simple one, because some of the people that came to be baptized didn’t follow the first step, Repentance.  They were not truly sorry, nor did they turn from the sins that they had committed. 

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  • Matthew 3:5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,

  • Matthew 3:6 And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.

  • Matthew 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

  • Matthew 3:8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

 
     The last part of the scripture is receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Look at the following verses.

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  • Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

  • Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

  • Acts 2:3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

  • Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

 
     This is the part that many people do not understand.  Even at the time that the early church received the Gift of the Holy Ghost it confounded the devout men of the city.

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  • Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

  • Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

  • Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

 
     Notice that when the Holy Ghost came upon the early church that the hundred and twenty that was in the upper room began to speak in another language.  Some might think that this is impossible but remember what the Bible says in Mark 10:27.

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  • Mark 10:27 And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.

 
     So, since all things are possible with God then changing the speech of someone today is still a reality.  But of course you would have to believe the scriptures for what they say.  Some might be thinking all I have to do is speak in another language and I will have the gift of the Holy Ghost but this is not true either.  Speaking in another language is just a sign that you have received the gift of the Holy Ghost.  I have heard many preachers describe it like in the following way: when you buy a brand new pair of shoes the tongue comes with it.  And though the Holy Ghost is so much more valuable then a pair of shoes the true of the matter is that when you receive the Holy Ghost your speech will change in that you will not speak in the same sinful way that you did before.
     The infilling of the Holy Ghost is a precious gift that many in this world are missing out of.  But what is the Holy Ghost?  It is not something that should be feared for the Holy Ghost is the spirit of God (which is Jesus Christ) dwelling within you.  Look at the following verses:

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  • Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

  • Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.

  • Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

 

     We are all looking for the day that God comes again to take us unto this new heaven and new earth, but those that are going to be quickened are only those that have the spirit of Christ dwelling within them.  And as we have shown above, the only way that we can receive this Spirit is by following the plan that Jesus Christ has all ready laid out for us. 
     So, in closing I will ask one last time, “Why take a chance with your soul with something that is not proven or even taught in the Bible?”