3 Dot Theology: Sovereignty, Urgency and Responsibility
When we don’t understand something, it’s human tendency to try to connect the dots. But there are three dots, three theological truths that we shouldn’t try to connect if we want to be effective at sharing the good news of Jesus. Join Greg Stier as he unpacks the “3 Dot Theology” in today’s episode of Gospelize.
Have you ever known a teen who couldn’t quite connect the dots between curiosity and danger? They try stuff and get in trouble. But they don’t really mean too. They’re not bad teens. They’re a strange combination of curious and courageous, of danger and dumb.
That pretty much summed up me as a teenager.
I just couldn’t connect the dots between danger and dumb!
I still can’t connect the dots on some stuff…especially the three truths I’m going to share with you today
There are three dots, three theological truths, that hover out there when it comes to sharing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ. These three dots are crucial for you to understand and embrace if you are going to be effective at sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with your friends. The first dot is this:
Dot #1: Sovereignty: It’s God’s job to save.
Jonah 2:9 makes it clear that, “Salvation comes from the Lord.” In other words, it takes an act of God to save us. We are so sinful, so utterly depraved, that, in and of ourselves we would never choose God. Isaiah 64:6 makes it clear that, to God, our “righteous deeds are like filthy rags.” In the literal Hebrew the term “filthy rags” refers to a pile of used menstrual rags. That’s gross. And that’s how God views the best that we have to offer him in and of ourselves…gross. That’s why salvation has to come from the Lord. It’s like there is a light switch in our souls that is turned off and God, through His Holy Spirit has to reach through our chest, into our hearts and flip the switch on. In this moment of salvation he says, “Let there be light” and there is light and we are saved.
This is why we pray to God to save the lost souls of those we know and love. We beg God to flip the switch in their hearts and enable them to believe in Jesus. Because it’s God’s responsibility to save! So, I have to ask you the question…are you begging God to save the lost souls of your friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates and online friends. Are you begging God to flip the light switch in their souls?
I think that we have forgotten the importance of prayer to save lost souls. We have to pray like salvation all depends on God, because it does! This means that we get serious about our prayer lives and that we start praying like we believe God is the one who saves! Have you ever met someone who prays like this? I have….Bob and the Sperm prayer. Bob prayed like God was standing right there. Bob prayed liked he believed God had power to do something about the situation.
I want you to know that, no matter how lost you think that friend or family member is God can save him or her. God can whisper “Let there be light” and there will be light…I can’t help but think of Stephan. He was a Wiccan. He didn’t believe in Jesus, he believed in the Lord and the Lady. I met Stephan because he agreed to be a part of a reality series called GOSPEL Journey that we did in the mountains of my home state Colorado a few years ago. We had several teenagers and twenty somethings who came from all sorts of spiritual backgrounds. There was Andy who was an atheist, Ashley, the former Jehovah’s Witness turned agnostic and many more. But Stephan stood out because he was so passionate about being a Wiccan. During this reality series I unpacked the GOSPEL message and Stephan had no problem pushing back and declaring what he believed. So we continued to share the gospel message, to love him and to pray for him. All the camera crew and producers were praying for him to believe in Jesus. And, I’ll never forget the last episode, I talked about how God loved us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us so that we could be His Sons and daughters. The idea of a Father that loved unconditionally triggered something in Stephan’s soul and he broke. He began to weep as he declared his faith and trust in Jesus. Was that a result of my persuasive abilities in articulating the gospel in a powerful way? No! It was a result of the Spirit of God whispering “Let there be light” in Stephan’s soul. It was a result of countless prayers offered up that week on his behalf. Think of that one friend or co-worker or classmate or family member who needs Jesus and covenant to pray for them relentlessly until they believe.
Dot #1 is Sovereignty: It is God’s job to save…
Dot #2 is Urgency: It’s your job to share.
Romans 10:14 makes it clear that we are responsible to share the gospel with those around us. Paul writes, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?”
What’s interesting is that Romans 10:14 is tucked right in the middle of a broader context of God’s sovereignty in salvation. Romans 9-11 is all about the fact that it is God’s responsibility to save but smack dab in the middle of this teaching about God’s sovereignty the apostle Paul writes, “How will they hear without someone preaching to them?” Paul is making it clear that, sure God is large and in charge when it comes to salvation, but that he chooses to use us as the vehicles of his redemption.
And, yes, there is a sense of urgency to this. In Ezekiel 33:7-9 God told Ezekiel these words, “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to the wicked, ‘You wicked person, you will surely die,’ and you do not speak out to dissuade them from their ways, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person to turn from their ways and they do not do so, they will die for their sin, though you yourself will be saved.”
God is telling Ezekiel, “It’s your job to blow the trumpet of truth and warn the people of God! If you don’t, sure, they will die for their own sins, but their blood is on your hands.” There is a sense of duty and of urgency here and that same sense is forwarded to us when it comes to the Gospel.
In Acts 20:26,27 Paul tells the Ephesian believers, “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.”
It’s our duty to be used by God to save those around us from the hell they are living through and the hell they are headed to. How do people make it in this life without Jesus Christ?
Snap…Snap…Snap… Jude 23….flames, torment, hopelessness. We have a responsibility to share Jesus with those God brings us into contact with on a daily basis.
Spurgeon quote, ““If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.”
Describe hell (eternal, eternal torment, eternal darkness, eternal hopelessness)…Penn Jillette Video “How much do you have to hate somebody not to try to reach them with the gospel?”
Do you know what William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, said his last training would be for all of his officers in the Salvation Army? He would dangle them over hell for 24 hours!
Think of one person…Tell story of Pat
Dot #1 is Sovereignty: It’s God’s job to save. Dot #2 is Urgency: It’s our job to share. And…
Dot #3 is Responsibility: It’s their job to believe.
Romans 1:19-20 reminds us that “what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”
Roofing a Jiffy Lube… I told them that late at night when they were recovering from their hard night of drinking that, if they listened closely, they could hear the ever distant footsteps of the Lord coming closer and closer. Boom. Boom. Boom. They told me to shut up because I was freaking them out.
Nobody is going to be able to rightfully say to God, “I would have believed if my friend would have told me. It’s their fault that I’m in hell.” The Bible makes it clear that It’s their responsibility to believe.
So here are the three dots (review)…Now you may be thinking to yourself… these three dots do not connect! If it’s God’s responsibility to save then how could it be my responsibility to share, how could it be their responsibility to believe. You may be thinking these dots do not connect! And you’d be exactly right. They don’t connect…in our puny minds. But they connect in the mind of God.
As Americans we have a passion to solve every mystery. We want to put everything in a nice, neat little box. We have a desire to relieve the tension that arises when it comes to God’s sovereignty and our responsibility. So we develop our five point outlines that fight for the sovereignty of God or our five point outlines that argue for the responsibility of men, but, at best, these arguments fall grossly short. They do not solve the problem…and nowhere in Scripture does God solve the problem for us. We are to live in the tension. We are called to take care of our dot and let God take care of his.
If you tuned in today and don’t know Jesus as your Savior. It’s your job to believe! (Share the gospel!)
If you came here today and you are a believer it’s your responsibility to share! Think of that one friend you know who doesn’t know Jesus. Think of all your friends. Are you willing to tell them before it’s too late. Because if you don’t and if they die they will go to hell and their blood will be on your hands. If you had the cure to cancer and they had cancer you wouldn’t hesitate to tell them the cure. They have something worse than cancer and they are headed somewhere worse than death!
How does this tie into God’s responsibility to save? It goes hand in hand with it! We pray like it all depends on God and we share our faith like it all depends on us! We beg God to save our friends and then we work our hardest to be used by God to answer that prayer!
Don’t connect the dots…embrace yours and trust that God will take care of his.
Let me pray for you…
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