Have you ever heard this one before?
"Please, bow your heads and close your eyes and repeat this prayer after me. “Heavenly Father, I know that I am a sinner. I believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for my sins. I do now receive him as my Lord and personal Savior. I promise to serve you to the best of my ability. Please save me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
"For all who prayed this prayer, CONGRATULATIONS! You are now a child of God!! (Congregational applause) Please pick up some literature after our service tell you what to do next."
It is called, "The Sinner’s Prayer". Is it enough to save a person's soul and get them into heaven? https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/368-sinners-prayer-is-it-biblical-the
Is it enough, to utter a scripted prayer, and expect a magical transformation of your life and a free pass to heaven?
It is a beginning, and the perhaps this simple prayer will get a person who is thinking about thier salvation to take that first step.
Once someone takes that first step, we, the disciples of Jesus, need to come along side our new brothers and sisters - or the potential new believers - and walk with them, be their friends in the Faith, to teach them and model The Way for them.
After, all, the Bible considers this a serious matter.
The Bible and Jesus say there is a commitment required to follow Jesus in His teachings and His commandments, for both the Beleiver and the Disciple Makers.
Perhaps neither Jesus nor His disciples ever used a "sinner's prayer" like we hear now-a-day, to induce people to follow Jesus. But, as my pastor says, "There are different kinds of 'nets' ".
Jesus nor His disciples minced their words on this important matter. They just gave it straight and then you either dropped what you were doing, (and what you had been), and followed Him - or not.
So, what are we to do?
Listen to what Pastor David Platt, former president of the SBC international mission board and currently the pastor-teacher at McLean Bible Church in Virginia has to say on this matter (link in next paragraph) - and read your Bible for further understanding. It might just help and save a few souls along the way.
QUOTE: "Making Disciples is the natural, or better, the supernatural overflow of being a disciple. Proclaiming the love of Christ is the overflow in sharing in the life of Christ.
"And, I am convinced that many people in the churches are simply missing the Life of Christ. And a lot of it has to do with what we have sold them as the Gospel. I.e., pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Jesus into your heart. Should it not concern us that there is no such superstitious prayer in the New Testament?" David Platt, sermon on The Sinner's Prayer: https://youtu.be/JPhEEzjU8xQ?t=5
Additionally, and more importantly, the Bible tells us, in Matthew 4:17 "From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Repentance, a necessary step for Salvation, refers to an emotional change, and to a change of choice and has reference to particulars for ones entire life. Repentance signifies nothing but regret even amounting to remorse. In a Christian sense, repentance is a reversal of moral purpose, a change of attitude and behavior to the teaching of model of Jesus.
Another example of the seriousness of this matter is found in Philippians 2:12 which says,
"So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling..."
Being saved is not just a simple prayer, repeated at the urging or insistence of someone else. It requires a serious commitment to follow Jesus and to accept a radical change in our life. And, once prayed, it is someone's responsibility to then disciple, walk with the person who is seeking salvation in discipleship.
So, when your pastor gives an invitation to "pray the sinner's prayer", let's link arms with him and offer to be the Disciple Maker and come along side of this new brother or sister in Christ.
After all, We are THE CHURCH, and we need to get to the Gospel Teaching of Jesus to make disciples in the likeness of Him.
Please, click on this invitation and accept the call. Let's talk about how we can make an eternal change in our lives and the lives of others, together.
Your Brother and Friend,
(If you care to browse a few more verses on this urgent matter, I have provided some examples)
Matthew 3:1 Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, (2) "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach and say, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Lu 5:32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
Ac 3:19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;
Ac 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."
Ac 17:30 "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,
Ac 20:21 solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ac 26:20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.
2Ti 2:25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,
Mt 10:38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
Mr 8:34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.
Mr 10:21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, "One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me."
Lu 9:23 And He was saying to them all, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.
Lu 9:24 "For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who will save it.
Lu 9:25 "For what is a man profited if he gains the whole world, and loses or forfeits himself?
Lu 14:27 "Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.
Ac 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."
Col 1:24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.
1Th 3:3 so that no one would be disturbed by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we have been destined for this.
2Ti 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Heb 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Heb 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Heb 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
1Pe 4:1 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.
Mt 11:29 "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.
Ro 2:7 to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life;
Ga 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.
1 John 1:5 ¶ "This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.
6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth;
7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.
9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
1 ¶ My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;
2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
3 ¶ By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.
4 The one who says, "I have come to know Him," and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him;
5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him:
6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."