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Showing posts from May, 2007

Gospel Defined #1

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Scriptural Command #6

“Then Jesus came to them and said, "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.” Matthew 28:18-20

Scriptural Command #5

“I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:17, 18

This is the great commission given by the Lord Jesus to Saul of Tarsus making him an apostle, a “sent one”, the instant Saul became a believer. The one to whom all authority in Heaven and Earth has been given, is giving instructions on evangelism to one of the greatest followers. Let’s look at these instructions.

1) Open their eyes
2) Turn them from darkness to light
3) Turn them from the power of Satan to God

Two things are the result of step three.

1) So that they may receive forgiveness of sins
2) And a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.

When the Gospel is Ineffective

Here is a quotation from The Soul Winner’s Secret by Colonel S.L. Beenglee of the Salvation Army 1918.

“That a man by personal magnetism, grace of manners, power or persuasiveness of speech, and a certain skill in playing upon the emotions and self-interest of the people, create an excitement that fairly simulates a revival; and yet have divided heart, I admit; but that he can bring men to a thorough repentance and renunciation of sin, a hearty embrace of the cross, an affectionate surrender to Jesus as a personal savior and Master who requires deep humility and meekness and tender love as the marks of His disciples is hard to be proved.”

Perhaps it is because we have trained eloquent evangelists that we have so many people apparently responding to the gospel who are not converted. The evangelists are trained but not Holy Spirit filled and the converts are not born again of the Holy Spirit. Even accepting that some of these people have passed from death into life through these glib evan…

Scriptural Command #4

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Matthew 9:36-38

This is a set of orders to the Apostles to ensure more harvesters. If it is still true that the harvest is plentiful and the laborers are few then this prayer is still necessary.

If it is still true, it is saying that there are more non-Christians ready to become Christians than there are Christians who are ready to help them believe and repent.

To be more blunt, there are more people who want into the Kingdom than there are Christians who want them in.

Scriptural Command #3

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8

Here we have Jesus’ clear operational order:

1) The Disciples to be His witnesses
2) Beginning in Jerusalem
3) Via contiguous countries
4) To the ends of the earth
5) With power from the Holy Spirit

Scriptural Command #2

He told them, "This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and 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.” Luke 24:46-49

Who: Christ

His doing: Suffer and rise from the dead

Disciples: Preach

What Authority: In His Name

What: Repentance and forgiveness of sins

To: All nations

Starting: In Jerusalem

How: Power from on High

Scriptural Command - #1

“Then Jesus came to them and said, "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.” Matthew 28:18-20

Satan's Lies, 10 -14

10.Nobody’s perfect or I am only human: These are two expressions that say sin is inevitable. They are simply excuses.

11.I’m going to do it again so why confess: If I say, “Lord, just forgive me for everything,” I will not be forgiven if I don’t have any intention of quitting it. There are some people who quit confessing because they don’t intend to quit sinning. “I will do it again, so why confess?” In other words, there is no renouncing. There is no intention to quit. “Of course I’m going to do it again.” But if you renounce it, it is amazing how things disappear out of your life.

12.I’m too proud to make restitution: “The LORD said to Moses: "If anyone sins and is unfaithful to the LORD by deceiving his neighbor about something entrusted to him or left in his care or stolen, or if he cheats him, or if he finds lost property and lies about it, or if he swears falsely, or if he commits any such sin that people may do- when he thus sins and becomes guilty, he must return what he h…

Satan's Lies, Cont.

5.Put it off: The next thing is to procrastinate, or put it off. We mentioned this already. Let us suppose my joy level is high, but then I have a collision with my wife at 8 o’clock in the morning. As soon as it is over I know that I was in the wrong. I know it, but I think, “This is not the right time to admit it, so I will confess it tonight when I go to bed.” No sense letting her know I was wrong now. If I confess it to God now, I will probably have to confess it to her now, so I will just wait and confess it tonight when I go to bed.” So what happens to my day? It is an awful day! Not only do I stay under discipline of the Lord for that sin, I collect up a few more sins during the day because I am in no condition to withstand any temptation that comes my way. Nobody else at work can do anything right because I am not walking in the light.

I promised the Lord in the morning that when I confessed my sin that night, I would not justify myself, I would not say I was right, I would not…

Satan's Lies

Here are 14 ways to stay miserable. They are biblical only in a negative sense. You can find occurrences of these in the Scripture:

SATAN’S LIES


1. Justify—really right
2. Excuse—really wrong, but
3. Hide—cover up
4. Pass the buck
5. Put it off
6. Vague terms
7. Mistakes—errors in judgment
8. Too many to confess
9. I can’t remember them all.
10. Nobody’s perfect.
11. I’m going to do it again, so why confess?
12. I’m too proud to make restitution (Leviticus 6: 1-7).
13. Bitterness (Eph. 4:31-32; Heb. 12:15; James 3:14-16).
14. Introspection

1. Justify – really right: I am not forgiven, I have no joy, the hand of the Lord stays heavy upon me and my moisture is turned into drought of summer, all because I am saying that what I have done is right.

2. Excuse – really wrong, but… This second thing I do is I excuse it. An excuse is opposite of justifying. Justifying says it was right; an excuse says it was really wrong, but If I confessed that which I had done was really wrong, period, I would be forgiven. B…

Pray for Workers

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” (Matthew 9:36-38 NIV)

A few words stand out to me:

· crowds
· compassion
· harassed and helpless
· harvest--plentiful
· workers--few
· therefore ask the Lord

There are others of us who have seen the crowds, but not with compassion, with anger. Some of us have seen the crowds with compassion, but we haven’t seen the harvest. We have seen the few workers and therefore despair.

crowds
anger

or

crowds
compassion

or

crowds
no emotion
harassed helpless
workers few
therefore despair

Let us ask the Lord for the workers. He will send them.

(An excerpt from On Being a Christian by Jim Wilson)

Mind of Christ

We know more about the thoughts of God than we do about the thoughts of man. How can that be? There are at least two ways:
1. He has revealed his thoughts to us in the Scriptures.
2. He has given us His Spirit to understand the spiritual words.

None of the rulers of this world understood God’s wisdom. If they had, they would not have nailed the Lord of glory to the cross. It is written, “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has known what God has prepared for those who love him.” But God has shown it to us through his Spirit. The Spirit understands all things. He understands even the deep things of God. Who can know the thoughts of another person? Only a person’s own spirit can know them. In the same way, only the Spirit of God knows God’s thoughts. We have not received the spirit of the world. We have received the Spirit who is from God. The Spirit helps us understand what God has freely given us. That is what we speak about. We don’t use words taught to us by peo…

Assurance of Salvation #9: Jesus Said So

“I tell you the truth; whoever hears my word and believe him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

Notice the present tense:

Hears my word

Believes in Him who sent me

Has eternal life

Notice the future tense:

Will not be condemned

Notice the past tense:

He has crossed over from death to life.

Assurance of Salvation #8: Loving Christians

“We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.” 1 John 3:14

Christians love Non-Christians.

Non-Christians love non-Christians.

It takes a Christian to love a Christian.

Do you love Christians?

It is a means of knowing that you have passed from death to life.

Not only you do know that you are saved, everyone else also knows that you are saved.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34, 35

Assurance of Salvation #7: Discipline

“And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-11

Notice that God…

Assurance of Salvation: Obedience

“No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.” 1 John 3:6

“No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.” 1 John 3:9, 10

“We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.” 1 John 5:18

We know we are saved because we are no longer living in sin. If it looks like we are living in sin then there is no reason for others to know that we are Christians and we should come to the same conclusion.

“We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.” 1 John 2:3

Obedience is not the means of salvation; it is an evidence of our salvation.

Are you obedient?

Assurance of Salvation: Confessing Jesus is Lord

“Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 12:3

This confession is not a matter of the mouth only. People say it in liturgies all of the time who do not have the other evidence of the Holy Spirit.

“That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9, 10

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

Ignoring the Great Commission

“We are forlorn like children, and experienced like old men, we are crude and sorrowful and superficial—I believe we are lost.” –Paul Baumer in All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

“Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:9, 10

The lostness of the lost! Unlike the soldier quoted above one of the major characteristics of the lost is they do not know they are lost. One of the major characteristics of the saved is they do not know the lost are lost. If they do know the lost are lost they do not care. If they do care, they do not know how to help them. If they do know, they are afraid to help them.

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, there…

Assurance of Salvation: Change of Character

“The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

If you are in this list as your normal state “you will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:22-25

If this describes you, you are saved. Jesus saves out of the first list into the second list.

If you find yourself in both lists it’s for one of the following reasons.

1. You think natural personality traits are the frui…