Michael Pearl: Ephesians 2:4–9. "But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith He loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
"For by grace are ye saved through faith."
I use a preponderance of scriptures because I want my hearer to know that this is not a sermon I make up. This is the Bible. This is what the New Testament is all about. It's about grace.
I understand that you can go to James and two or three other places, and you can pull out four or five passages, and strain them, and come up with a need to work in order to get to heaven, a need to add works to your faith in order to be saved.
But the certain result of that is you will not know you're saved, your kids will not get saved under that doctrine, and you'll end up with worldliness and godlessness in your church, because the Spirit of God will not be there. Only one gospel works. Only one gospel saves.
Now the proof of your gospel is this: Take your gospel of works—faith and works—take it out on the street. Take it to a prison, and preach it to the guys in the prison. You'll preach there ten years and never get a convert.
Now you might get a Seventh Day Adventist to come and join up with you, or you might get some backslidden Baptist who comes along and converts to your viewpoint. You might create a little church of eight or ten people, all of them pharisaical, all of them with your works-and-faith doctrine, preaching that week to week. But none of them will know they're saved.
You will not be able to take one of those sinners like I described—that queer, or some lesbian, or murderer, or child molester—and see them get born again in a 20-minute conversation and their life change forever. It's funny to even think about taking the gospel out on the street and preaching faith and works and getting a convert.
I have seen literally thousands of people saved off the street and out of the world, out of the community like that. Thousands of them.
When I was younger, for a decade, two decades there, I would go out and preach in the court square, side of the road, buses going by, and see eight or ten people get saved.
You say, "How do you know?"
Because they would join us, many of them would, and we would see them. Some of them you've met. These are people that life's changed in a matter of 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes on the side of the road, believing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It's comical to think about an Amish going out and trying to get a convert in 30 minutes on the side of the road. Can you imagine the message he'd give him? He'd have to take a box with a hat in it, and change of clothes, and a long thing about humility and having a right spirit, and you have to become a farmer, and get up early in the morning. How long would it take him to get to know he wasn't saved? I mean, that's where he'd be going.