Monday, April 6, 2020

A BIBLICAL ALTERNATIVE TO THE SINNERS' PRAYER



For years I sat in churches hearing preachers, evangelists, and believers tell people that if they want to receive Jesus into their lives, they need to say a "sinners prayer" and "ask Jesus into their hearts", and in doing so, the are assured of eternal life. Many times "repentance" . is either a secondary issue or no issue at all, when in the preaching of Jesus, it was the primary issue with without no one could be saved ("unless you repent you will all likewise perish"; Luke 13:3). I don't know where this notion originated from, but it is un-Biblical at best, and at worst, reassuring people that doing so, that they are born-again-saved-eternally secure if they simply say a "sinners prayer" and "ask Jesus into their hearts".

Paul Washer, exposes this dangerous teaching better than I have ever heard in his seven-and-one-half minute video. Please watch it and tell others to do the same:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9hd3pV2VxU 

Thursday, April 2, 2020



                  
              
GETTING THROUGH TO PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL MESSAGE
(Part 2)
  
Imagine, a spectacularly beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. You want to share your excitement about it with someone, so you turn to the person next to you and say, Isn't that beautiful to behold?” The person doesn't seem to be as excited about it. In order to elicit a like reaction from the person that doesn't seem to be 'getting it', you begin to share specifics about what you saw and why it excites you so, but to no avail. Then you find out that the person is blind.

Only if we recognize that the unbelieving are spiritually blind, can you not get frustrated. The gospel is not a rational message that can be understood by just anyone, but it is a spiritual message, that requires God's involvement as we share the message with people. "We are co-workers with Christ" (1 Cor. 3:9)


"The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. "(col. 2:14)


So how can we get the message though to people so they can understand, receive, and and believe unto salvation? We can't, that is, not on our own. Remember first that we are coworkers with Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9)


Let's look at two examples from Scripture. First, Luke chapter 24:


36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”


40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.
The Scriptures Opened


44 Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He (Jesus) opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.


46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.

In Acts 16:13 we read, ”On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

We preach the message and the Lord gives the hearer the ability to understand and believe unto salvation. "We are co-workers with Christ" (1 Cor. 3:9)

But how about those who still don't get it? I personally didn't 'get it' the first time I heard the gospel message. Those who shared the message with me were frustrated that I wasn't getting it, but five years later I did and I believed.

Until next post, "Occupy until He comes"



Saturday, June 24, 2017




               GETTING THROUGH TO PEOPLE WITH THE GOSPEL MESSAGE

Imagine, a spectacularly beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky. You want to share your excitement about it with someone, so you turn to the person next to you and say, Isn't that beautiful to behold?” The person doesn't seem to be as excited about it. In order to elicit a like reaction from the person that doesn't seem to be 'getting it', you begin to share specifics about what you saw and why it excites you so, but to no avail. Then you find out that the person is blind.


When we share the gospel with someone who is spiritually blind (2 Cor. 4:4), we should not get frustrated when they can't understand what is so understandable to us. Just as no amount of convincing, persuasion, and salesmanship could have helped the blind person see the rainbow,


no amount of the same will help a spiritually blind person perceive and believe the gospel message unto salvation. Who then can be saved?


In the process of bringing people to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not do this alone, rather,

we are coworkers with Christ. (1 Cor. 3:9).

“When his disciples went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord kept working with them and confirming the message by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16:20)

Lets, look at two examples:

On the Sabbath, we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there.One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us. (Acts 16:13-15)


WE PROCLAIM THE GOSPEL THE LORD REMOVES THEIR SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS AND ENABLES THEM TO UNDERSTAND IT AND BELIEVE UNTO SALVATION.


For we are laborers together with God (1 Cor. 3:9)


To His disciples who did not yet believe:


He (Jesus) said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. ”Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” *(ACTS 24:44-45)


What about those who don't respond to the gospel? I didn't respond the first time I heard it, did you?


"One sows, another reaps" (John 4:37)


Be content to sow-Be content to reap for:

"Already he who reaps is receiving wages and is gathering fruit for life eternal;
so that he who sows and he who reaps may REJOICE together." (John 4:36-NAS)

Reservations for the Big Party have been made for YOU! Revelation 19:6-9)

Meanwhile...Occupy until He comes...













Tuesday, December 27, 2016

AMBASSADOR'S FOR CHRIST



                             
"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God." New International Version


"Therefore, we are the Messiah's representatives, as though God were pleading through us.
 We plead on the Messiah's behalf: "Be reconciled to God!"  International Standard Version
                                                      (2 Cor. 5:20)

   
I once was at a luncheon in which one of the guests was the ambassador from Hungary. What caught my attention most about this ambassador was his behavior. He was very self-controlled, careful about the words he chose and the way that he behaved, loved his country passionately, and above all gave his all to represent the ruler and the nation that he represented in the most honorable way possible. His took his job most seriously lest he misrepresent them in any way.

This is quite a good model for ambassadors for Christ. Doesn't this describe the way that Jesus conducted himself in his earthly ministry as he represented God the Father ("The Father and I are one" John 10:30), and the Holy Spirit ("Now the Lord is the Spirit" 2 Cor. 3:17).

There are those Christians who act as if they were "baptized in lemon juice" (as the saying goes), and on the other extreme those who act goofy and brainless in the name of being controlled by the Spirit". Jesus did neither, yet many believers model their conduct after other believers rather than Jesus Christ himself, and others who walk as Jesus walked. Romans 5:1 tells us to"Imitate God". 

"And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma." (Eph. 5:2)

Someone close to me told me that there is a man who works in her department who is a Pastor and who is "a bad person".  Another I know likewise shuns going to a church because of the behavior of Christians exposed to in the past. Poor ambassadorship does damage-it turns people away from the one whom we are ambassadors. 

Does your ambassadorship need a overhaul?

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

CO-WORKERS WITH CHRIST IN THE GREAT COMMISSION




“we are labourers together with God…” (1 Cor 3.9)

When actively engaged in the work of evangelism, let us be conscious that the mission and work is God’s in which He has invited us to labor with HIM. Apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5). He does what we cannot do, and we do what he cannot do, ie., we present the gospel message to people while He by his Spirit enables people to believe the message and in Him.

When Jesus proclaimed what we refer to as the Great Commission as recorded in Mathew 28:18-20, 
He said that He would be with us.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Let’s look at two examples that are recorded in the book of Acts.

 “On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.” (Acts 16:13-14)

 “ While Peter was still saying these things, ithe Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word… 48 And he commanded them qto be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.” (Acts 10:44 & 48 -NKJV)


Let’s be conscious and aware that God looks over his word to perform it (Jer. 1:12), and let’s be confident that when we present the gospel, He is there in our midst (Matt. 18:20) at that moment working together with us.

Let’s act on this and see the fruit of it.



Until next post..."occupy until He comes".

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Boldness To Share The Gospel





GOT BOLDNESS? 
Let’s see how the apostles knew their need for it and how they received it.

Acts 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: … It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed….12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. 14 But since they could see the man who had been healed standing there with them, there was nothing they could say. (Acts 4:8-14)
18Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
(Notice that Peter “filled with the Holy Spirit” spoke with boldness.)
Let’s continue on.
21After further threats they let them go….
23On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them.
(Even after all God had done through them, they still felt the need to ask the Lord for boldness to continue.)
24When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God…29Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”
31After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

(Notice that all were “filled with the Holy Spirit” spoke with boldness.)
Need boldness to share the gospel? Be filled with the Spirit. (Eph. 5:18)



Until next post..."occupy until He comes".





Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Miraculous in Evangelism


In this posting we continue our series on the topic of how the believers of early church preached the gospel message, noting that they had no one particular ‘method’ or “approach”. In evangelism, “one-size-fits-all” does not fit.

Let’s look at a day in the life of the Apostle Peter as recorded in Acts 9:32-43.

 “As Peter traveled about the country, he went to visit the Lord’s people who lived in Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, who was paralyzed and had been bedridden for eight years. “Aeneas,” Peter said to him, “Jesus Christ heals you. Get up and roll up your mat.” Immediately Aeneas got up. All those who lived in Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord. (Acts 9:32-35 NIV)

Here we see that ALL who lived in Lydda and Sharon turned to the Lord because of one miracle of healing; that of a man who had been paralyzed for eight years.

Let’s read on:
 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. 38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!” (Acts 9:36-38)

The miracle of healing (in verse 34) not only resulted in new believers (disciples), but new believers who had faith in God for the impossible. When Tabitha died, the people did not call for the undertaker; knowing of this miracle of the healing of the paralyzed man, they did not hesitate to call on Peter. Let’s read further:

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called for the believers, especially the widows, and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord. Peter stayed in Joppa for some time with a tanner named Simon. (Acts 9:39-43)

Let’s look at how Peter approached this situation
1.    He sent everyone out of the room.
2.    Next he got down on his knees (sign of submission to the Lord)
3.    He prayed (presumably for instructions from the Lord)
4.    He acted as he commanded the dead Tabitha to get up.
5.    He presented Tabitha alive to the believers.
and the result was:
1.    Tabitha rose from the dead.
2.    This incident became know all over Joppa (What a brilliant marketing plan! [Lol])
3.    Many people believed in the Lord
The method or approach of evangelism that the Lord had for Peter in approaching the people of Lydda, Sharon, and Joppa on that day was the effecting of miracles and supernatural healing.

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given…. and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles" (1 Corinthians 12:4-8)


Until the next posting, "occupy until He comes."