Bible “study”?

September 10, 2014 at 5:28 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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While there are some scriptures that are difficult to interpret, the number of verses that are difficult is not as high as most Christians make it. We can definitively understand the majority of the text found in scripture if we use the proper hermeneutic, the proper history, and (most of all) the proper context. If we do this, the majority of verses found in the Bible are understandable. And, why not? If they weren’t what kind of life could a Christian live? It makes no sense for God to give His people a revelation that they can’t understand!

Here are four of the main reasons why I believe many Christians don’t intepret scriptures correctly:
Continue Reading Bible “study”?…

Sermon Sunday – Jonathan Edwards – Christian Cautions

June 12, 2011 at 6:30 am | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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Christian Cautions

or

The Necessity of Self-Examination

by

 Jonathan Edwards
 (1703-1758)

Dated September 1733.

“Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” — Psalm 139:23, 24


INTRODUCTION

Subject: Persons should be much concerned to know whether they do not live in some way of sin.

This psalm is a meditation on the omniscience of God, or upon his perfect view and knowledge of everything, which the psalmist represents by that perfect knowledge which God had of all his actions, his downsitting and his uprising; and of his thoughts, so that he knew his thoughts afar off; and of his words, “There is not a word in my tongue,” says the psalmist, “but thou knowest it altogether.” Then he represents it by the impossibility of fleeing from the divine presence, or of hiding from him. So that if he should go into heaven, or hide himself in hell, or fly to the uttermost parts of the sea, yet he would not be hid from God. Or if he should endeavor to hide himself in darkness, yet that would not cover him. But the darkness and light are both alike to him. Then he represents it by the knowledge which God had of him while in his mother’s womb, Psa. 139:15, 16, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret; thine eyes did see my substance, yet being imperfect; and in thy book all my members were written.” Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – Jonathan Edwards – Christian Cautions…

Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield

April 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm | Posted in Sermon Sunday | Leave a comment
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The Duty of searching the Scriptures
by
George Whitefield
(1714-1770)

John 5:39 – “Search the Scriptures.”

When the Sadducees came to our blessed Lord, and put to him the question, “whose wife that woman should be in the next life, who had seven husbands in this,” he told them “they erred, not knowing the scriptures.” And if we would know whence all the errors, that have over-spread the church of Christ, first arose, we should find that, in a great measure, they flowed from the same fountain, ignorance of the word of God.

Our blessed Lord, though he was the eternal God, yet as man, he made the scriptures his constant rule and guide. And therefore, when he was asked by the lawyer, which was the great commandment of the law, he referred him to his Bible for an answer, “What readest thou?” And thus, when led by the Spirit to be tempted by the devil, he repelled all his assaults, with “it is written.”

A sufficient confutation this, of their opinion, who say, “the Spirit only, and not the Spirit by the Word, is to be our rule of action.” If so, our Savior, who had the Spirit without measure, needed not always have referred to the written word.

But how few copy after the example of Christ? How many are there who do not regard the word of God at all, but throw the sacred oracles aside, as an antiquated book, fit only for illiterate men? Continue Reading Sermon Sunday – George Whitefield…

The importance of family

March 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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As our nation and the world continue to struggle with societal woes, everyone rushes around searching for the answers. They run tests, perform studies, and survey people to find out what is going on. In all of this, they neglect the very thing that can help them fix all of the problems that we will ever face.

In America, the problems continue to grow as the government no longer cares to listen to the people it governs. Instead, it sits in its ivory tower with ears plugged and tells the country exactly what is best for it without having a shred of evidence that this is so. Meanwhile, the things that America so desperately needs continue to dwindle away to nothing. Those things that have made this nation what it is disappear at a growing rate, being eroded by the newest fad or the most recent study. One of the main things that is becoming endangered is the biblical family. Continue Reading The importance of family…

The purpose of the church

November 16, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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I have been thinking about this for awhile, but it becomes more apparent the more I study the scriptures. I’ve studied Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, 1 John, and now I’m doing a study on the spiritual gifts. In every study, I’ve seen a picture of the church, and when I compare the picture I see in the scriptures with the one that I see in America, they don’t match. It seems like the church in America (and other countries) no longer understands its purpose. No one seems to know what the church is about and this leads to a lot of busyness with nothing substantial to show for it. There are numerous churches who have many ministries and events but to what end? Certain churches are growing and the numbers are increasing but is this a proper gauge? When did it become all about the quantity of “Christians” in the church instead of the quality of the Christians as shown by the way they live their lives?
 
So, what is the purpose of the church? Well, first, you have to understand what the word church means. The word church is found only in the New Testament. It is the Greek word ekklesia and it means: church, congregation, assembly; a group of people gathered together. It can refer to the OT assembly of believers, a riotous mob, but usually to a Christian assembly, a church: as a totality or in a specific locale. In the NT a church is never a building or meeting place. So what does this mean? It means that the church is not the building you meet in whether it’s an actual church building or someone’s house. Instead, a church is the group of believers that meet in that building. Nowadays, it seems like people are more concerned about the state of the building than the state of the people meeting there. It is important to understand that it’s not just anyone who meets, it is the believers who meet. Those who are not believers are not part of the church.
 
Now that we have a simple understand of what the church is, what is its purpose? There are a few things that the church was designed for. The main purpose of the church is to glorify God. Many people would say that it is seeking the lost, but I disagree. As believing individuals, our main purpose in life is to glorify God. Why would that change when we gather together? If we do not glorify God, then it really doesn’t matter what we’re doing does it? There are other important purposes for the churches existence as well. A few of these can be found in Ephesians 4:11-13.
 
and He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists,
and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service,
to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the
knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs
to the fullness of Christ.
There are some interesting things to note here. First, there are specific reasons why God gave the spiritual gifts and none of them have to do with someone becoming rich and famous. It’s not the point of this blog to go into whether or not some of these gifts still exist or not (I believe they do) so I’ll leave that for another time. Second, the church is for the equipping of the saints. It is not for sinners. That may sound harsh or unorthodox now, but it’s the truth. The church and its purposes completely revolve around born-again believers. But, today this is not what we see. So many churches have gone to “church growth methods” like the ones at Willow Creek or Saddleback in order to get numbers. In doing so, they’ve gone out to the non-Christians to ask them why they don’t come to church and then tailored their “churches” to suit those who are lost. It seems to be a very weak and very dangerous substitute for evangelism. Instead of going out into all the world to preach the gospel, many try to lure them in with wordly entertainments preach the precepts of men as the doctrine of God.
 
The fact that the church is for believers becomes even more specific though. There are many churches who are filled with believers, but they are still not fitting the purpose that God intended. Why? Because the saints are being entertained instead of being equipped. The churchgoers come to service on Sunday and hear a sermon series on the summer blockbuster movies or popular music icons (like U2) instead of hearing the unadulterated Word of God. They don’t hear the truth or how they can apply it to their lives so that they can grow in holiness. They don’t get the scriptures they need to defend the faith and fight the good fight. The sad thing about all of this is that it is now commonplace. If things don’t go this way, it is an anomaly.
 
The purpose gets still more specific though. The saints are to be equipped for the work of service. What service? Simple. Going out to preach the gospel to all creation, baptize them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; and teach them to observe all the things that Christ commanded us. The equipping of the saints also facilitates the building up of the body of Christ so that we are unified in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God. This too has not happened. There are numerous denominations and each one of them is going to heaven while the rest are going to hell. We are obviously not unified in our faith. Thousands of Christian brothers and sisters are spurned and treated unbiblically because they don’t fit in the right clique. They are not able to exercise their gifts to glorify God because they aren’t related to someone in charge or because they don’t have the right kind of clothes, the right salary, or the right kind of car. Not only are we not unified in our faith, we’re not unified in our knowledge of the Son of God! There are many people who claim to be Christians who have a false view of Jesus or the gospel. They don’t believe that God is in control, that Jesus is the only way to heaven, or that the Trinity exists. Some don’t even believe that Jesus is God! And these are supposed to be BELIEVERS! Many churches have tossed aside what scripture says in order to embrace a man-made system that provides them the money, power, and prestige they want while neglecting the needs of the church and the lost!
 
From what I see in scripture, this is not how it’s supposed to be. The church is supposed to be like this. You are saved and you become part of a local church. The pastor-teacher teaches you the truth and shows you how to apply it to your life so that you can glorify God and grow in holiness. You are taught about the spiritual gift(s) that you have from scripture (not man made doctrine!).You then begin to use these gifts to glorify God. The church also makes it possible for you to learn how to evangelize and tell others about Jesus. You do this either by becoming an evangelist (if that’s your gift!) and traveling the world preaching the truth or by taking the opportunities presented to you daily as you go about your life. When someone responds to the gospel in repentence and faith, they become part of the church and the cycle continues. There is nothing about entertaining the lost at church. There is nothing about catering to those who hate God, but this is what is happening.
 
Part of the reason our country (and world) is in the condition it is in is because the church has left its purpose in order to pursue worldly things. Many “pastors” today seem to hope that the one or two lines they sneak in about Jesus in the middle of their sermon series on the Spice Girls will somehow be absorbed by osmosis. They seem to think (erroneously) that it’s enough. It’s not enough. Until the church gets back to fulfilling its God-given purpose and loses all of the other things that it has taken up in hopes of inflating its membership, it will never accomplish what it is supposed to…

Boys or men?

October 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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It seems that the definition of what it means to be a man has changed over the last 50 years. When I was growing up, a man was someone who worked hard to support his family, taught his children right and wrong, and disciplined them when they were misbehaving. Men were those who acted with honor, integrity, and dignity. They were protectors and role models and people looked up to them. They knew about sacrifice and were willing to do without so that family, friends, and even complete strangers could be helped. They married one woman for life and, barring death, stayed with her through everything; not just for the sake of the kids, but because he loved her. While this definition of a man still fits some, it seems to be a dying breed.

In America it is common now to see single mothers trying to eke out an existence on their own, working to support their kids and hardly having the time to spend with them to nurture and guide them. While there are the strange cases where the mothers don’t want a man around to help them (which I really can’t figure out…), a large percentage of them are due to the “man” leaving the woman and children to fend for themselves. Marriages are getting to be less common then they were and divorce is rampant (many due to “irreconcilable differences”). Now, “men” go around in fancy cars, designer clothes, and spend a lot of money in an effort to “get the girl” for a few weeks or months and when the newness wears off, they’re out. Some don’t even wait that long. They act like bigger versions of their high school selves with all the drama and tension.

When did men forget what it means to be a man?

Before someone gets mad at me, I’m not saying that all men that have nice cars, designer clothes, or spend a lot of money are boys in bigger bodies. Seriously though, when did men forget what it means to be a man? When did it become “cool” to leave the woman you professed to love yesterday for the new woman you met this morning? When did it become fashionable to leave the kids that need you so that you can go “do your own thing”? When did your word become so meaningless to you that you are willing to break your vows or walk out of a marriage? I just don’t get it. Look, I know that there have always been men that have been adulterers (the Bible shows me that). And I know that there have always been men that have requested divorces from their wives (the Bible tells me that too). I don’t recall there being much talk about what is currently going on though (and it’s not just America). The stories that I hear about many of the “men” in America are appalling. It’s like they’ve never grown up or learned to take responsibility for their actions. It’s like they are still back in high school playing all the little games that the kids play. And then there are the “men” who just don’t care. Where did this all start?

I actually think that I know when and where this all started, at least in America. This all started back in the early sixties when they began removing God from our public lives. When God and the Ten Commandments were removed from the schools, a number of troubling things started happening. Teen pregnacies rose by hundreds of percentage points. Sexually transmitted diseases rose too. Promiscuity and vulgarity weren’t far behind. I wonder how many people know that back in the early days of movies there were actually laws that prohibited the blasphemy of God’s name? They also prohibited profanity and other shameful things that have become commonplace in the “entertainment” industry. Because we removed God, He removed His hand and we’re reaping the results of that. Our kids are growing up in an increasingly immoral society. They are taught (and even raised) by immoral people who came from the same system. Back when it began, there were still reminants of the decency that comes from a fear of God. Now, those things are all but gone. Sins like homosexuality, pornography, fornication, and adultery are not only condoned, they’re celebrated (If that doesn’t sound like Romans 1 then I don’t know what does)! Greed and covetousness rule the political, industrial, and individual lives of many Americans. Murder is nothing to us anymore and to see that someone died is just another “normal” day.

The fact that our nation has thrown out its morals is the reason that we no longer see men being men. Now our many of the “men” in this nation are monsters, animals (which is what they’ve been taught through the evolutionary indoctrination they get from public school – so much for public schools being religion free…), or effeminate. They have become nothing like the men who used to be here. And the saddest part of all of this is the fact that more often than not, these same “men” are in the church! Some of them are actually leading “churches”. The church is full of men who let their sexual desires run rampant with no concern for themselves, the women, or God. It is full of boys in mens’ bodies who think they know what it means to be a man and are really nothing but a shadow of what they could (and should) be. It is filling up with “men” who love other “men”, “men” who have denied the way that God has defined them and chosen to let their depraved minds lead them down a path of sin. Marriages are torn apart by “men” who spend more time looking at pornography than they do with their wives trying to build their marriage up. Is it any wonder that our country is like it is when the “men” of the church are playing the roles they should be? I think that it’s somewhat amusing that there are many inside and outside the church who talk about what it means to be a man and each of them have their own definition. Oftentimes, these definitions contradict one another, but who cares right? I mean, as long as my definition of a man fits me and appeals to me, what else is there? What these “men” don’t realize is that it’s not their definition of what a man is that counts. The atheists, evolutionists, and secular humanists can talk all they want about how man is just a glorified monkey, but that definition isn’t true. Other’s talk about how a “man” is the one with the biggest house, the newest car, and the most money/toys; but that’s not the true definition of a man either. See, in our post-modern world, we’ve been taught that we can define everything however we see fit. If we don’t like something, we can redefine it. We see this is everything from public schools to the presidency. But that’s not how things work.

If something already has a definition, then that is how it is defined, whether I like it or not. A square is defined as a geometric shape with four sides that are all the same length. If I see a shape that has five sides then it’s not a square. If I see another that has four sides of differing lengths then that’s not a square either. The only things that are truly squares are those things that fit the definition of a square, regardless of how hard or how many times we try to redefine what a square is. The same is true for men. While we can try as hard as we want to define what a man is so that it suits us, if it doesn’t fit the true definition of a man, it’s not one. The true definition of a man is found nowhere else but in scripture. The Bible tells us exactly what a man is and what it’s not. If the “men” in our country don’t fit that definition then they aren’t men. Period. They can talk all they want, they can whine about it and how it’s not fair, but that doesn’t change the definition of a man. God has defined what man is and that’s that.

So what is a man? Here are some scriptures that will help make the definition of a man clear:

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-7)

-Man is made in the image of God. This means that we are like Him in many ways. It also means that while we are in His image, we are not exactly like Him. Unlike what many of the prosperity preachers seem to think, we are not “little gods” or “god’s with a little ‘g'”. We cannot create anything from nothing. We can’t “speak things into existence” or command wind and waves like God can. We can be relational. We can communicate and even create.

“Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man.” (Gen. 9:6)

-Here we see that God values the life of man. If God values the lives of men (and women and children), then a true man will too. They will protect the innocent and the defenseless.

He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with manna which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that He might make you understand that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by everything that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. (Deut. 8:3)

-Regardless of what some “scientists” and other mockers of God say, every person on the planet owes their very life to God. A true man knows this and respects God.

 Every man is to give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you. (Deut 16:17)

-A true man is generous. He gives as much as he is able to help those in need because he wants to. He doesn’t have to be forced to give or guilted into giving. He doesn’t hoard the things that he has because he knows that God has given them to him and can just as easily take them away (Job 1:21).

Blessed is the man that does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scoffers, but his delight is in the law of the Lord and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1)

-A true man will not give an ear to the wicked. He will keep himself from their schemes and the calamity that comes with them. He will not live his life in a way that will keep sinful man from coming to repentance. While he will be truthful and call things as they are, he will not mock or scoff like so many boys do. A true man meditates on the Law of God and keeps it in front of him day and night that he may not sin against the Lord.

What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty! (Psalm 8:4-5)

-A true man recognizes his place and does not see himself any higher than he should. While confident, a true man is humble enough to see his shortcomings and admit them.

A man will not be established in wickedness, but the root of the righteous will not be moved. (Proverbs 12:3)

-A real man does not depend on wicked deeds or schemes to build his life. Instead, he does those things that are right in God’s eyes, knowing that it is these things that will keep him strong in the toughest trials and worst storms.

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. (Proverbs 13:22)

-A true man thinks of his wife, children, and family before himself. He endeavors to leave his children better off than he was. He doesn’t do this just with material things because he knows that those things are fleeting. He leads his family in the way of the Lord, teaching them the things of God so that they spend their lives glorifying Him.

A good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. (Matt. 12:35)

-A true man knows that his heart is the source of evil things like murder, adultery, theft, fornication and other sins (Mark 7:21). He understand that his heart must be changed by God so that it will bring forth the good treasure that he and those around him need.

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith;  as it is written, “The just man shall live by faith”. (Rom. 1:17) 

-A true man does not live by his intelligence alone. He knows that this is foolishness because his heart and mind can deceive him. Becasue of this, he lives by faith, not in himself, but in the truth as revealed to Him in the scriptures of the Bible. This faith is not blind, but is the 20/20 vision that he needs to see through the veil of lies the world weaves.

Blessed is the man who’s sin the Lord will not take into account. (Rom. 4:8)

-A true man knows that he is forgiven. He knows that no work that he has done has merited him the free gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8-9). He understands, through the cross, the manifold grace and mercy of God that has been directed toward a sinner like him.

When I was child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; but when I became a man, I did away with childish things. (1 Cor. 13:11)

-A true man knows that maturity is one of his hallmarks. He doesn’t think like a child. He thinks like a mature adult. He doesn’t use the reason that he used to because he’s grown up and gained knowledge and wisdom. He has respect for God and for others and because of this, he does away with childish speech, thinking, and reasoning.

Do not be deceived,  God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. (Gal. 6:7)

-A true man is not deceived. He is honest about himself and others. He knows that his actions have effects not only in his life, but in the lives of those that he loves. He knows that his actions can hurt others and therefore strives to live like God calls him to live so that he blesses those around him.

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. (James 1:12)

-A true man understands that although he strives to live holy before God, trials come to test him and glorify God. He understands that others actions and choices can affect his life and takes everything that happens to him in light of the scriptures so that he can walk in righteousness.

While these scriptures are no exhaustive, they are an indication that the definition of a man does not come from anatomy alone. According to God’s definition, the definition of a man has nothing to do with the money that he makes or any other material thing. Instead, a man by God’s definition is so much more. The definition that the scriptures give for a man is not something that will be easy to live up to. It is something that will cause a man to choose difficult things and make him look at himself in the purest light. But a true man will make those choices becasue he loves God, loves his family, and loves the lost.

If our nation is to become a place that we desire our children to grow up in, then it will need men to act like men. The church needs the same thing. It is time for the “men” in church to grow up and stop playing. It is time for them to act like men as defined in scripture so that their children will grow up to do the same.

If you think that this is ust about men, you’re wrong. This is about women too. Women need to be women. They don’t need to try and fill the roles that men do. They have their own roles to fill and can find many graces and blessings in doing so. It won’t be until men are men and women are women (inside and outside the church) that things will truly change.

Play the man (or woman)!

Joe Wilson and the church

October 5, 2009 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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A few weeks ago, Republican Senator Joe Wilson made the news when he shouted “You Lie!” during a speech given by the President to Congress. The news media was all over this and, because they are pretty much a liberal bunch that blindly follows the current administration, made a lot of noise about what Senator Wilson did. To them, it was an “outrage” that anyone would do that to the President of the United States. Of course they forgot how the Democrats treated George W. Bush while he was in office, calling him a “liar” and other derogatory terms without respect for his office or remorse after they did it. I can’t say that I’m surprised that this is how they looked at it, but that’s not what I want to talk about. Continue Reading Joe Wilson and the church…

What have you done?

March 25, 2008 at 10:47 am | Posted in Christianity | Leave a comment
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( Note: I had this done yesterday but I got so busy that I didn’t get it up until now. I apologize for it being late….) 

I need you to imagine with me for a moment. Let’s say you had 5 minutes with about 100 or so people. These were people that didn’t believe in Jesus and, after these 5 minutes were up, you wouldn’t see them again. How would you look at them? What would you tell them? What one thing in your vast array of knowledge would you pass on to them?

With the Easter holiday just past, most people may answer something about telling these people about Jesus. Ok…but, what would you tell them? Many would say that it’s not possible to tell someone the gospel in 5 minutes. Many would say that you need to form a friendship with these people and get to know them. Many would say that you can’t be confrontational about it and just have to wait it out and see what they seem to be ready for. I disagree. As a matter of fact, I’ve given the gospel to people in 5 minutes. To complete strangers. That I have never seen again.

Ok. Now, let me change the scenario a little bit. Let’s say that you had these same 100 people for two hours. What would you tell them then? Would you still try to tell them about the gospel? How would you do it? How would you work it into a conversation? What would you do to make sure that these people had the only thing that could truly save them? How much time in those two hours would you spend telling them about the gospel? What gospel would you preach?

The fact that we don’t seem to be spending enough time telling people about Jesus bugs me, but it’s this last question that I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple days thinking about. What gospel do you preach? If I were to ask that to any number of Christians, I could tell you without a doubt that the number one answer I would get would be “the gospel of Jesus Christ”. But are you really preaching the same gospel? Most of the messages that I’ve read or heard lately sound very little like the gospel. I hear about how God wants us healthy, wealthy, and wise. I hear about how God has a perfect plan for your life. I hear about how if I “pray a simple prayer” that I can have Jesus as my Lord and Savior. He’ll be the answer to all of my problems and my life will get better, all from a “simple prayer”. Is this the gospel? Is this what you would be telling people if you shared the truth of Jesus with them?

It goes deeper than this for me though. Let’s say that you do tell people this. Let’s say that you tell them that God has a perfect plan for their life. Let’s say that your “gospel” is that God wants us all to be healthy, wealthy, and wise. Or let’s say that you tell people that if they just “pray this little prayer” Jesus will answer all of their problems. They can have Jesus in their life and all of their sins will be washed away. Here’s my number one question for those of you that do this: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO SOMEONE WHO IS LOST???

It’s hard to do, but imagine that you didn’t know anything about Jesus Christ. Even worse, imagine that you had heard it all before numerous times through the years and have yet to experience what everyone else seems to find. What would those words mean to you? If someone were to tell you that you “need Jesus in your life”, what would it really mean to you? If they were to tell you that He can free you from your sins, would that matter? Would it make sense? What would you do with it once you heard it? How confident would you be that the little prayer that you prayed would actually work? More than that, what would keep you from just praying that little prayer (again) and then going on living your life how you want?

This is the product of the modern, man-centered gospel. We have a large number of people who have been told this “gospel” and instead of being changed by the truth of the Word; they are just inoculated to the fear of the Lord and the judgment to come. The church is at least partly to blame for the condition of many of the “backsliders” we see in the world. We have not given them the true gospel. Instead, we’ve given them some kind of placebo that has no real power to help them but makes them feel better anyway. We spend our time entertaining people with games and events, and never give them what they really need. The “purpose” of the event is just a façade to help us justify the money, time, and effort spent on doing things our way and hoping God blesses them.

You may be reading this and wondering what I would tell them. Well, I’ll tell you that but let me explain a few things first. Paul says that anyone that preaches another gospel is to be accursed…that should be enough to get our attention. If we’re not preaching the truth, then we are pushing people away from God instead of leading them to Him. Second, many people will say that Jesus is the answer to all your problems. That’s not true and I’ll tell you why. All of our problems are not problems. They are the symptoms of the problem. All of the teen pregnancies are not the problem. They are a symptom. All of the killings going on in schools and elsewhere are symptoms of the problem. All of the sexual immorality (homosexuality, adultery, lust, etc.) is just a symptom of the problem. Man has one problem and that problem is sin. It is sin that has brought about all of these other things and, tragically, the church spends 95% of its time focusing on treating the symptoms instead of treating the problem! We try to help people through divorce, and we should, but do we treat the problem? We try to help people fight lust and pornography, but do we treat the problem? Man’s problem has been sin from the beginning and will be sin until Jesus returns to put an end to all of this. We need to take the time to treat the symptoms, but we need most of our focus to be on the problem.

So how would I treat the problem? Well, it’s simple really. In Romans 7:7, Paul says that he wouldn’t have known sin but by the law. In Galatians 3:24, he says that the law is our tutor/schoolmaster to lead us to Christ. God’s standard hasn’t changed from the beginning. In the beginning, His standard was the law and it still is. It is this standard that He will use to justly judge the whole of humanity. That means that we can use this same standard to help people see where they stand in the eyes of God. If they’ve ever lied, they have sinned and fallen below God’s standard. If they’ve ever stolen anything (regardless of size, value, or time since the theft), they have missed God’s standard. If they’ve taken God’s name in vain, they will be found guilty. If they’ve even looked at someone with lust, they have committed adultery in the eyes of the Lord (Matt. 5:28) and have broken the law. This is what the law was meant to be used for. Is it hard? Sure. No one wants to hear that they are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. But it is the truth from God’s point of view. The Bible says that sin is lawlessness, and this is man’s problem. We want to look at things from our point of view and, when we do, we see that we’re not so bad. But in comparison with a holy, just, righteous, God; we are not at all good. By using God’s standard to show people what sin is and how they are guilty before God, they can understand how desperately they need something (or Someone) to take them out from under God’s wrath. This is what the gospel is. It is not the “prosperity gospel”. It is not the “make you comfortable where you are and hopefully you’ll get closer to God” gospel. The gospel is simple when you understand the law. When someone sees that they have sinned against God and, because of that, are destined to find themselves in hell for eternity, the truth of the gospel makes sense. They see why they need a Savior. They understand why Jesus died on the cross. And they know what they have to do, without having someone lead them in a little prayer. The cross and the sacrifice of Jesus make sense to them and because they see and understand (Matthew 13:23) and the cross becomes precious to them. The first message Jesus preached in Matthew is “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. If you are reading this and never really understood the gospel; if you never realized that you need Jesus to save you because of what you’ve done; then you can know that right now. If you will repent (turn and walk away from your sins) and put your complete trust in Jesus to save you, God will give you a new heart with new desires. It won’t be an easy road at times, but that’s not something Jesus promised anyway…


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