Author: Ron Graham
One, Two, Three
—With a couple of short stories
This lesson has the snappy title, “One, two, three.” That's because it talks about one giant problem, which only two can solve, when three immediate steps are taken.
1 One Giant Problem
There is one giant problem that is common to all mankind. "Behold the Lord's hand is not so short that it cannot save, nor is his ear so dull that it cannot hear. But your sins have made a separation between you and your God" (Isaiah 59:1-2). That shows us not only what the giant problem is, but also whose fault it is.
The result of this separation from God is that our souls are cut off from the light and life of God. When you are alienated from God's fellowship, you become "dead in your trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1)
2 Two Who Alone Can Solve It
"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in him should have eternal life" (John 3:16).
God made a plan to solve the problem, and he ordained the two persons who could solve the problem for any given sinner.
- The first is Jesus. He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through me" (John 14:6).
- The second is you, a sinner yet a believer. You could not solve the problem by yourself, but neither can Jesus solve the problem for you without your believing in him and following him.
3 Three Immediate Steps to Take
We have seen that we must believe in Jesus, knowing that only together with him can anyone solve the giant problem and be reconciled to God. Following through with that faith, there are three immediate steps to take. These steps are...
- Repentance from sin — "Repent and return [to God's way] so that your sins may be wiped away" (Acts 3:19).
- Confession of faith — "With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses [his belief] unto salvation" (Romans 10:9-10).
- Baptism into Christ — "Don't you know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ have been baptized into his death?" (Romans 6:3-4).
It is a sad thing to be cut off from God. It certainly makes God sad.
Many years ago, I was given a beautiful dog. She was a young blue heeler.
Because I had to go to work each day, she and I would be separated for a long time.
She was unhappy being alone. As she watched me going off to work, she would thump the tin shed with her tail making an awful din, and she would wail at the top of her voice.
When I finally came home, she was always waiting, and she would jump and bark with joy. Realizing her sorrow and longing, I gave her to my brother who gave her work and company.
If a dog can have such strong feelings about being separated, how infinitely more sad must God feel?
A man dreamed he saw footprints in the sand. In the beginning there were two sets of footprints side by side, but further on, one set alone. An angel said, “You became a sinner and Jesus walked with you no more.”
Yet farther along were two sets of footprints again. The angel said, “You believed and obeyed Jesus. He walked with you once more.”
Still farther on, again there was only one set of footprints for a time. “Why”, the man asked, “did the Lord leave me to walk alone again?” The angel said, “These footprints are not yours but the Lord’s.”
The man still didn’t understand. “Where are my footprints?” he asked. “In a time of trial,” said the angel, “the Lord lifted you up and carried you in his arms.”
If the man had not followed the Lord in faith, the Lord would not have walked with him, and would not have been there to carry him through the troubled time.