31 August 2012

What is Missing?

From Leon Brown

Every year, Christians are trained around the nation in order to learn how to share the gospel. You are familiar with the programs because they are many. Some programs are professed to be better than others. Are they really? The final determination is up to you!

But throughout these training sessions, I've noticed something is missing. Or to be more specific, I should say, the first step is missing.

It's extremely easy to gather 100 people into a room and tell them a certain formula to share the gospel. I've done it, and you've probably done it. Initially, it seems to help people. They are thankful that they are learning to share the gospel, and rightfully so. But once the training session is complete and they're on their own, sometimes the enthusiasm to share the gospel tappers off.


I believe it's because something is missing.

You know, just the other day I watched my interview with Dr. J.I. Packer. At one point, I asked him about evangelism. He told me that his African friends would think we are quite strange for talking about evangelism because they do it so frequently and so naturally. As I began to think about this, I wondered, "Why do they do it so frequently and so naturally?"

Many answers came to mind and this is one of them: Joy!

These African brothers have joy in the Lord. And as this joy builds inside of them, they cannot help but share the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's kind of like a pot that boils over because it has too much water in it. Initially, the waters are calm, but as the pot heats up, the water come out the top.

The same thing can be said about sharing the gospel. Once the pot gets burning (the pot is you), the gospel will come out. It may not come out perfectly or even the way you'd want it to, but it comes out. (Remember, God works in spite of us often, so don't be discouraged if the gospel does not come out exactly 'like you planned.')

Moreover, sharing the gospel becomes natural. There are too many instances when non-believers will make this comment once they've heard the gospel or watched a video on YouTube: "Oh, I've heard that before."

Question: "Heard what before?"

They are not talking about the gospel insomuch as they are talking about the "formula" that was used to share the gospel. You're familiar with them. There is no need to name names. There are a bunch of them out there.

So, back to my original question. What's missing?

Instead of teaching someone how to share the gospel as a first step, as best as it is possible (and this is hard with a large group), let' see if they have joy in the Lord. I think it's too much to assume that they have joy just because they're there. Many people simply want an easy way out, and this includes Christians. People want a 1-2-3 step program. Whereas, evangelism, as I've had to learn, is so much more than that.

So, as we continue to train individuals in the body of Christ, as far as we are able, let the first step, or one of the first steps, be in talking to the trainee about joy...because if they have joy, chances are they've already been sharing the gospel, but they're coming to you to be refined, not initiated. Then, once the trainee leaves, he or she will continue to share the gospel (naturally, I might add) regardless of whether he/she thinks their local assembly is sharing Christ. Why?

Because they have joy! And joy about a particular subject is hard to keep to yourself! Thank God there is joy in Christ!

25 August 2012

Preach the Gospel!

Jesus said, “Preach the gospel to every creature.” But men are getting tired of the divine plan; they are going to be saved by the priest, going to be saved by the music, going to be saved by theatricals, and nobody knows what! Well, they may try these things as long as ever they like; but nothing can ever come of the whole thing but utter disappointment and confusion, God dishonored, the gospel travestied, hypocrites manufactured by thousands, and the church dragged down to the level of the world.

Stand to your guns, brethren, and go on preaching and teaching nothing but the Word of God, for it pleases God still, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe; and this text still stands true, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

- C. H. Spurgeon
1834 – 1892

11 August 2012

Here I stand - By Chris Hohnholz

From Defending / Contending

I want to make something clear. I am a born again follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This means I believe I was born a sinner and that my actions put me at war with God. Because of that, God will judge me for my sins and condemn me to Hell. Yet, in His mercy, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live the perfect life I could not live and to die the death I deserve. Jesus rose from the grave three days later, giving me a promise of eternal life. By turning from my sin and trusting in Jesus, He takes on my sins and I receive His perfect righteousness. I have been granted eternal life and will one day be with Him forever in Heaven.

As a Christian, I believe that the Bible is the inspired and inerrant word of God. That means it is the direct revelation of God to man. This means I believe everything it says. Everything. When it says something is a sin, it’s a sin. What culture says about it today is irrelevant. No matter how we try re-work or re-word what God has already said, His truth remains. I will not bend, I will not yield, I will stand. I will proclaim God’s word, all of it. I may be called arrogant. I may be called ignorant. I may even be called a hateful bigot. But no matter what the world thinks of me, I care more of how I am viewed by my Savior than by anyone else. Jesus paid my fine with His life’s blood. I owe Him nothing less than my total love and obedience.

Because I trust in Christ for my salvation, and because I believe God’s word is true, I will proclaim to the world that it is in sin against God. I will proclaim that through Christ and Christ alone is their salvation. I will do this because I love people far too much to leave them in the delusion that they are “OK” with God. I love them enough to warn them of the judgment that is coming. I love them enough to risk being hated by them, and even have them turn against me. If I am willing to risk my life to save a drowning man, or a child trapped in a fire, how much more must I be willing to risk my standing in people’s minds to try and rescue them from the fires of Hell. It matters not if a blind man does not believe in the cliff he is walking toward. Thus, I cannot and will not stop my warnings because people do not believe as I do. I love them too much to stop.

I make this declaration today because I believe the world is beginning to openly war against Jesus Christ and those who follow Him. I make this stand today to make it known I will stand for Him no matter how tough the opposition may be, and no matter what it may cost me personally. I declare this to let you all know that I believe the greatest love I can possibly show is to point to the way of salvation, not to allow people to remain comfortable in their sins.

In the words of the Reformation preacher Martin Luther, “Here I stand. I can do no more.”

04 August 2012

What Do You Do When You Ask Jesus Into Your Heart But He Doesn’t Stick Around?

From Defending / Contending

I have heard this story before. A young boy or girl attends VBS and at the end of the week, they raised their hand and said the prayer. Or maybe, when they were older they came forward at the altar call at church or at the local evangelist crusade. No matter the venue, they were told to “ask Jesus into their heart,” and assured that once He came in, life would get better. They were assured they were a Christian now, and were told to never question it, no matter what. The initial spiritual high carried them for a time. They read their Bibles, went to church, talked about how great it was to be a Christian. But in time, the buzz wore off. The feeling just wasn’t there anymore. Other things, people or events just seemed more interesting. Or they began to be ostracized by their peers, so the compromises began. Before long, life was like it was before, or maybe worse because they began to look for other things to fill the void. But no matter how bad it might be, they were still a Christian…weren’t they?

When it comes to the modern day evangelism of “asking Jesus into your heart” there is a very big problem in that it rarely, if ever, addresses the issue that a person is a wretched, vile sinner. A spiritual criminal deserving of God’s righteous judgment. It avoids examining the life of the person under God’s law. It fails to show that when we lie, steal, lust, hate, blaspheme God, or any other sin, we are committing crimes against our Lord. It fails to reveal that on the day that we stand before God, every sin, every thought, word and deed is called into account. And because God is a good and just Judge, He will condemn us to Hell for eternity. It does not explain that the punishment is infinite because we have sinned against an infinite God.

When the church tells a person to, “just ask Jesus into your heart” there is very little weighing of the issue.

Very little understanding of the severity of their sins.

Read the rest of article HERE