RSS

Monthly Archives: February 2017

Conviction Brings Conversion

Conviction Brings Conversion

The convicting power of the Holy Spirit is a phenomenally powerful thing. As I have already stated, if one questions whether or not they have been convicted by the Holy Spirit they probably haven’t. Twice we see in our English translations of the bible the word “pierced”. The first time we see this word is in John 19:34 while Jesus was hanging on the cross the bible tells us, “But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” Roman soldiers were no weaklings. They were well trained, battle hardened, strong men. They knew how to properly use their weapons and bring about the full force of its impact. The second time we find this word “pierced” in our English translations is on the day of Pentecost just after Peter proclaimed the gospel through the fresh anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. After Peter finished preaching this gospel message Acts 2:37 says, “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”

What is interesting here is though the two words, “pierced”, are translated the same in English they are two different words in the Greek language that the New Testament was originally written in. The mighty soldier pierced the side of Jesus with the spear, and the Holy Spirit pierced the hearts of the hearers with conviction. Though the soldier was mighty the piercing of the heart from the conviction of the Holy Spirit was and is a much stronger type of piercing. In the same way, man is still very limited in his abilities, yet God is unlimited and all powerful. Again, the convicting power of the Holy Spirit is an extraordinarily powerful thing.

When Jesus walked upon this earth He taught with authority. We are still in awe of His teachings to this day; He taught like no other man. Jesus told His disciples that He was going to go away. This grieved their heart but Jesus said, “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” Then Jesus said in John 16:12, 13, I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”

Though Jesus was a phenomenally powerful teacher that taught with authority they could not bear, or fully comprehend, the teachings of Jesus apart from the Holy Spirit. The teachings of Jesus, and the whole of the Word of God, are spiritual and apart from the Holy Spirit unveiling these truths they are incomprehensible and even foolish to the natural man-the unsaved man. The Holy Spirit begins this process by convicting the world, the lost, of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Then, once the sinner is convicted of these truths and chooses to repent and submit to this conviction by submitting to the Lordship of Jesus the Holy Spirit converts this sinner, removes every blot of sin, resides in him, and begins teaching Him the truths of the things of God, even the deep things, which then produces righteousness.

Though the convicting power of the Holy Spirit is a phenomenally powerful thing, it can be rejected. When the Holy Spirit pierces a sinner’s heart the sinner is forced to make a choice. That choice can be no, but the rejection of the Holy Spirit’s conviction will result into eternal damnation if he doesn’t repent before his death. If the sinner submits to the Holy Spirits conviction and repents the result will be conversion; conversion from death to life, to separation from God to relationship with God, to ignorance of the things of God to having a personal teacher, the Holy Spirit, personally teaching all the truths of God.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 28, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Concluding the Victory

Concluding the Victory

I always find it odd that Christians do not want to read or study the book of Revelation because it frightens them. Do they not know that Revelation declares the final victory for Christ and His children? At the same time it declares the final doom for Satan and those who follow him. Revelation 12:11 declares, “And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.” Who is the “they” that overcame? The Christians. Who is the him they overcame? The dragon, Satan himself. What is the word of their testimony? The redemptive power of the blood of Christ. We must also understand that Jesus isn’t going to, someday, overcome Satan and the world, Jesus said in John 16:33 that He has already overcome the world and his children aren’t one day, in the sweet by and by, going to overcome, but they too, through Jesus, already overcame. I John 2:13 says, “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who has been from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one. I have written to you, children, because you know the Father.”

As we look at the final part of the Holy Spirit’s convicting power on the world Jesus concluded with the Spirit convicting the world of Judgment. Jesus said in John 16:11, “Concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” The ruler of this world is Satan, and as we see in this statement, he has been, past tense, judged. It’s a done deal. Satan’s judgment is sealed and he has been utterly defeated. I John 3:8 says, “The one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil,” and Colossians 2:15 says, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

Remember, this conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment is for the word, not the Christian. Though the Christian can be, and will be, convicted of sin and righteousness, the Christian cannot be judged. Why? Just as Satan’s judgment is sealed so is the Christians. The judgment for Satan is eternal damnation. Since Jesus took upon the penalty of death on the cross and bestowed upon us His righteousness, to those who receive Him, the judgment for the Christian is eternal paradise with God. The judgment for the world, those lost in their sins, will be sealed upon their death. If they die separated from God in their sin they will enter into eternal damnation along with Satan, however, if they repent, they are pardoned from their sins, by the redemptive power of the blood of Jesus and will be eternally saved. Jesus said in John 3:18, “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

The Holy Spirit will not only convict the sinner of his sins and his need for righteousness, but will also convict the sinner of the fact that he stands at enmity against a holy and righteous God because of his sins and is worthy of condemnation and eternal damnation. All who will be eternally damned to hell will first stand in front of the judgment seat of God. At that time, they will know God’s righteousness, and they will understand they are a sinner, and not a single person in hell will be there without knowing God was just for His judgment. When the Holy Spirit convicted me of my sin and of God’s righteousness I knew without a doubt that a was worthy of hell. Recognizing the grace and mercy of God I willingly, humbly, and excitedly accepted that grace, repented of my sin, and surrendered myself to the Lordship of Jesus. Apart from the Holy Spirits convicting power in my life, I would have never known, remained unrepentant, and continued to stand in condemnation. Praise God for the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and praise God for the victory we have in Christ. It’ baffles me that people would stay unrepentant when it’s clear that they are not only on a losing team, but have already lost, yet they have the opportunity, through Jesus, to repent and switch sides.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 27, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Convincing of Righteousness

Convincing of Righteousness

As we continue to look at how the Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, we will now look at how the Holy Spirit will convict the world, the sinner, of God’s righteousness. The Holy Spirit cannot convict the sinner of his own righteousness, for he has none. Romans 3:10 states, “There is none righteous, not even one.” Not only is there none who is righteous, there is none who seek for righteousness. Romans 3:11 says, “There is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God.” Apart from the Holy Spirit convicting the sinner of God’s righteousness he would be left abandoned to his own unrighteousness never to seek or long for God’s.

We should give God the highest praise that He has sent the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Apart from that conviction we would be hopeless. Jesus would be useless to us because apart from the Holy Spirit we cannot see, or know Jesus. Jesus said in John 16:10 that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of righteousness, “Because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me.” As stated earlier, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convicting us of Jesus Lordship. In the same way, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin by convincing us of Jesus righteousness, and allowing us to know we are utterly lost in hopeless unrighteousness on our own.

Jesus asked in Mark 10:18, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone.” The bible is clear that Jesus is God, and that He is righteous. He is perfectly righteous as is the Father and the Holy Spirit. God alone is righteous. Jesus proved His righteousness by going to be with the Father. Had Jesus not fulfilled all righteousness the Father would not have accepted Him. Yet, the Father did accept Him; therefore we clearly know that all righteousness has been fulfilled through Christ.

Jesus had nothing to prove by fulfilling all righteousness. He was perfectly righteous prior to taking upon the flesh and He remained so after He became flesh. Jesus fulfilled all righteousness, not for His own sake, but for ours; for we have none. II Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” Since the wages of sin is death Jesus took upon the penalty for our sake. Since Jesus was sinless, death had no hold or claim on Him, therefore, Jesus arose from the grave defeating death. When one repents from their sin and turns to Jesus not only is their sins wiped away but God replaces the sin of the flesh with Jesus righteousness. Just as the Father would not have accepted Jesus apart from Jesus fulfilling all righteousness neither will He accept us apart from Jesus righteousness placed upon us through the acceptance of Jesus sacrifice to sin.

For this reason the Holy Spirit convinces the sinner, through His convicting power, first, that he has no righteousness of His own, second, that Jesus is perfectly righteousness, and third, that Jesus paid the price for our sins, will blot out our sins, and give to us His righteousness if we simply repent of our sins and turn to Jesus. Wow, that was a long sentence; but it is an amazing work that God offers to those who will receive. Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit and the submission to the conviction, the sinner will remain in his sins, unrepentant, thinking that he is sufficient on his own when he clearly isn’t. Only God’s righteousness is sufficient, and only Jesus paid the price for sin where we can be redeemed and receive His righteousness. Truly, that is amazing grace!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 25, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Confirming the Son

Confirming the Son

After Jesus stated in John 16:8 that the Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment, He told us exactly why the Holy Spirit would do so. Jesus began this instruction in the next verse stating, “Concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me.” The Holy Spirit will convict the world of sin because they do not believe in Jesus and He will start by confirming to the sinner that Jesus is Lord.

The first act of the Holy Spirits conviction is confirming the fact that Jesus is Lord. Paul wrote in I Corinthians 12:3, “Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus is accursed”; and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.” Does this mean that a lost person cannot speak the words, “Jesus is Lord?” Of course not. A lost person can certainly speak the words that Jesus is Lord just as a saved person can speak the words Jesus is accursed. However, those words will not represent the true conviction of the individual’s heart, nor will it represent the direction of the individual’s life.

Paul made this a little clearer in Romans 10:9-10 when he wrote starting in verse 9, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Apart from the convicting power of the Holy Spirit confirming to the sinner that Jesus truly is Lord they would never truly confess such a statement, and if they do, it will be a lie. However, once the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation to the sinner that Jesus is Lord through His convicting power the sinner will then repent and confess Jesus as Lord. Paul then writes in verse 10, “For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” The only reason the sinner has confessed with his mouth that Jesus is Lord is because the Holy Spirit has brought about confirmation of this fact within his heart through His convicting power.

Once Jesus has been confirmed as Lord the sinner will naturally repent from His sins and willingly, and joyfully, submit to Jesus’ lordship. One who has never repented of their sins may have been convicted of the fact that Jesus is Lord, but they chose to reject the conviction and never allowed it to truly bring confirmation within their lives. Since Jesus isn’t confirmed as Lord, they have no heart or desire to repent of their sins and live for Him.

Only after one repents of their sins and turns to Jesus can he come into agreement with Paul when he gave his testimony stating, “For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.” (II Timothy 1:12). Oh, how sweet to have the confirming conviction that Jesus is Lord and know that you know. Do you know?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 24, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s Time To Share The Gospel

It’s Time To Share The Gospel

Today, rather than posting a written blog, like I usually do, I decided to share with you my video’s that I post every day on the gospel. My main purpose in making these video’s is to have a short, 5 minutes or less, video message of the gospel so they can be shared on social media where others can hear them. They are based off of these blogs that I have been sharing since the first of the year. Tomorrow, I will return to posting my daily written blogs, but will continue to post the video blogs on You Tube as well as my site under the tab, It’s Time to Share the Gospel. I encourage you to share them and pray that God will use them for His glory.

Here is my playlist of my video series, It’s Time to Share the Gospel

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Have You Been Convicted?

Have You Been Convicted?

As I have already written, the Holy Spirit does many things to benefit the believer. In fact, the Holy Spirit is the most powerful force the Christian will ever encounter within their life. The greatest teaching we find in scripture of how the Holy Spirit will benefit the believer is found within the teachings of Jesus Himself in John chapters 14-16. Jesus told His disciples that it was to their advantage that He goes away; if He did not go away the Holy Spirit could not come. (John 16:7). In other words, if Jesus didn’t ascend to be with the Father, the Father wouldn’t send the Holy Spirit to be with us. Jesus told us the importance of the Holy Spirit descending when He stated in John 16:12-13, “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth.”
However, we must understand that the first act of the Holy Spirit is to bring conviction to the unbeliever. Jesus taught us in John 16:8, “And He, when He comes, (the Holy Spirit), will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” Often we make the mistake of relating this conviction to Jesus disciples, but, Jesus specifically said that this conviction is for the world. Naturally the Holy Spirit will convict the saved of sin and righteousness, but the saved can no longer be convicted of judgment, for they have already been justified through the blood of Jesus, and there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
We can debate over a whole host of Christian doctrines’ but two truths or irrefutable. First, the world is lost. The world is lost and separated from God because they are in their sin and their sin has them trapped within their nature of wrath and they are therefore doomed to eternal damnation unless they repent. The second irrefutable fact is, Jesus paid the price to fully pardon them from their sins. However, how will they truly know they are lost and in need of salvation apart from the Holy Spirit convicting them of their sin, and how will they know that Jesus is the means unto salvation unless the Holy Spirit reveals these truths? Just as a believer cannot bear the truths of God apart from the Holy Spirit neither can a non believer.
So, when I ask the question, “Have You Been Convicted,” I am not asking whether or not you’ve stood in trial before an earthly judge; I’m asking whether or not the conviction of the Holy Spirit has pierced your heart of your sin, and of righteousness, and the fact that you will stand before an eternal, all sovereign, holy, and just God to be judged for your sin and unrighteousness one day. A sinner cannot be saved unless he is convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment and the sinner will not repent until he sees a need to do so. He will never realize the need for salvation until he is convicted of the fact that he is lost and stands in need of salvation.
Conviction of the Holy Spirit is a phenomenally powerful thing. If you question whether or not you’ve been convicted then you probably haven’t. If the Holy Spirit has pierced your heart with conviction, what did you do about it? Did you repent and turn to Jesus, or did you remain in your sin. The Holy Spirit demands an answer, and, you will surly give Him one. The answer will be, yes I will repent, or no I won’t.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 22, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Living Stones

Living Stones

Jesus asked the disciples in Matthew 16:13, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” They said in the next verse, “Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asked them in verse fifteen, “But who do you say that I am?” At this time Simon boldly answered in verse sixteen, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” In the next verse we see that Jesus was greatly pleased with Simon’s answer and said, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.” Jesus then renamed Simon Peter saying, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church.”

When Jesus renamed Simon He called him Peter which is Petros in Greek. Petros is a small stone or a rock. A brick can fall under the category of a petros. It is certainly not a foundational stone that someone would build a house on. Rather it would be the small stones, like bricks, that would rest upon the foundational stone.

After Jesus named Simon Petros, He said “upon this rock I will build my church.” The word that Jesus used for rock was a different word than the one He used for Simon Peter. Jesus used the Greek word petra as the rock that the church would be built upon. Petra is a large rock, a foundational stone that is much different than the small stone, petros, Simon was called. Clearly Peter is not the foundational stone that the church is built upon; Jesus is. Jesus is the one who gave His life so He could redeem the church. To say any other is the foundation of the church is not only biblically inaccurate, it is outright blasphemous.

Peter clearly understood what Jesus was talking about. Peter wrote in I Peter 2:4-5, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house.” Who is the living stone? Jesus is. He is the one that was rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God. We are the ones who come to Him also as living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house. This is the perfect portrait of the church.

The church is not a physical building, an address, or location. The church is a spiritual house. Jesus is the living stone that is the foundation. We are living stones being built up on that foundation. Just as bricks are laid atop of the foundation of the building we are laid atop of Jesus who is the foundation of the church. We are also laid atop of all of the other believers who came before us such as Peter. Peter was named Petros because he was the first to confess Jesus as the Christ. Upon our confession of Christ we are saved and therefore laid atop of the foundation of Christ as the church.

After Peter gave us this wonderful picture of the structure of God’s spiritual house he then gave us an understanding of its function. He said in I Peter 2:9, “you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Jesus didn’t save us to give us a get out of hell free card. He saved us out of darkness and into light so we would have a relationship with Him and so we would proclaim to the rest of the world, which remains in darkness, of His excellencies and His marvelous light so they too would be drawn to the light and have a relationship with Him and not stand in darkness separated from God doomed to eternal condemnation. Clearly, this is one of the main functions of the church; the whole church.

Paul wrote in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” If the gospel is truly the power of God for salvation, as the Word of God says that it is, and we refuse to share the gospel we are then guilty of condemning this world to hell. How will they repent of their sins if we don’t tell? How will they walk out of darkness and into the marvelous light if we don’t tell? How will they know their sins will eternally condemn them if we don’t tell? “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15).

The feet that carry the good news may become callused, bruised, and bloody; they may become dusty, dirty, and grimy; they may become tired, weary, and worn, but they are beautiful to God. Far, they are bringing the good news of Jesus to a lost world of whom He loves.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 21, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Who is Called to Such a Task?

Who is Called to Such a Task?

When Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation,” and said, “you shall be My witnesses,” in Acts 1:8, to whom was He referring? Who shall be His witnesses? Who is called to preach the gospel? Does the bible answer these questions? Yes! The Word of God answers these questions with absolute clarity.

Ephesians 4:11 gives us a list of some of the offices of the church. One of those offices is the evangelist. Although we see many forms of evangelists in church life today the biblical calling of an evangelist is one who evangelizes, or preaches the gospel. In Acts 8 we find Philip, who was one of the original deacons, preaching the gospel in a variety of places. After Acts 8 the bible only briefly mentions Philip again in Acts 21 when Paul and his team stay at Philips house on their way to Jerusalem. At this point Philip is called, Philip the evangelist. (Acts 21:8). Clearly the evangelist is one who is called to such a task as proclaiming the gospel. This is his life’s call and dedication. Is he the only one called to this task?

One of the other offices of the church mentioned in Ephesians 4:11 is the office of pastor. The pastor is clearly distinct and separate from that of the evangelist. The pastor wears many hats in his task of overseeing the church and shepherding the flock of Christ. However, the pastor is not an evangelist. They are clearly different in their calling and gifting. Still, Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of the church of Ephesus in II Timothy 4:5, “do the work of an evangelist.” Not all pastors are evangelistically gifted. Yet, every pastor is called to do the work of an evangelist. They are to preach the gospel from behind the pulpit and be out and about in the community on a regular basis sharing the gospel with the lost in their church field. Pastors should lead by example by being an active witness for Jesus in their daily lives. Though they are not evangelists, they are clearly called to do the work of an evangelist.

Within the early church in Jerusalem a problem arose among the Hellenistic Jews. Their widows were being neglected in their daily service of bread. The twelve then told the people to select seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit, and wisdom. (Acts 6:3). These seven men were chosen and appointed as the first deacons. Although there is no specific call for deacons to evangelize in the bible we immediately see two of the seven deacons sharing the gospel with the lost, Philip who was already mentioned and Stephen. Acts 6:8-10 says, “And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people. But some men from what was called the Synagogue of the Freedmen, including both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, rose up and argued with Stephen. But they were unable to cope with the wisdom and the Spirit with which he was speaking.” Not only does the bible record the extraordinary way that God used Stephen, it also allows us to know that Stephen was the first martyr as a witness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Clearly these deacons accepted the call to be witness and share the gospel with the lost world, even if it meant their martyrdom.

Who then is called to this task of evangelizing the lost? Every believer! I Peter 3:15 “says, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” Every believer should stand in readiness to evangelize the lost and make a defense of their faith. Every believer should take this task up with urgency and anticipation, and with joy and eagerness that they have the privilege of being used as a tool of the gospel to have an impact upon someone’s eternity. We are called, therefore we should be compelled.

When Jesus said “preach the gospel,” and “you shall be my witnesses,” He was speaking to the whole church. Every church should unify together for the sake of reaching their communities with the gospel. Every church should actively reach out to their surrounding areas, even those who are around them but may be culturally different, and share the gospel. Every church should actively participate and support missions that reach near and far. This is clearly the biblical mandate of Acts 1:8.

Let us be clear though as to what, or who, the church is. It is the assembly of believers. In other words, every individual member makes up the body of the church. Therefore, every individual member of the body is clearly called to actively participate in both evangelism and missions.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 20, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

The Biblical Mandate for Missions and Evangelism

The Biblical Mandate for Missions and Evangelism

Jesus said to the disciples just before His ascension in Acts 1:8, “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” As we study the book of Acts we clearly see the progression of the gospel starting in Jerusalem, going to Judea and Samaria, and then to the remotest parts of the earth. We can clearly see Acts 1:8 as the outline and the purpose statement of the books of Acts.

  • The gospel proclaimed in Jerusalem: Acts 2-8:3
  • The gospel proclaimed in Judea & Samaria: Acts 8:4-12:25
  • The gospel proclaimed to the ends of the earth through Paul’s three missionary journeys: Acts 13-28

In Acts 13:1 we see the church of Antioch praying and fasting leading to the Holy Spirit saying in verse 2, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” The church then fasted and prayed again, laid hands on them and set them out to carry the gospel to the remotest parts of the earth.

Acts 14:21-23 says, “After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” This text of scripture shows us the clear twofold purpose of the work that the Holy Spirit set out for these men on their missionary journeys to do. The first purpose was to share the gospel and the second was to start churches.

In every city Paul and his team of missionaries were faithful to preach the gospel. They would preach the gospel in Synagogues, along the riverside, by the gates of cities, houses, and prestigious lecture halls. Even while in the presence of governors and kings who held his life in their hands, Paul was faithful to preach the gospel.

In every city Paul and his team entered there were many who rejected the gospel and often persecuted Paul. Yet, at the same time there were many who accepted the gospel with gladness. When the gentiles heard that God’s grace was available to them through the preaching of the gospel, they were especially responsive. Acts, 13:48-49 says, “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region.” I wonder how many who live today in our own communities would respond to the gospel when they hear that they are not too far removed from the grace of God. But how will they hear unless we tell them? Most of the time they will not come to us because they feel unworthy, however, if we go to them they may very well respond.

Paul was on a journey traveling from city to city preaching the gospel. He seldom stayed in any a city for very long, sometimes as little as two weeks. For this reason he knew churches need to be started in these cities as a continuing base of ministry. Paul trained elders for these churches who would then take leadership positions to establish order, to protection from false teachers, to educate, and to give direction. I Timothy 5:7 says, “The elders who rule well are to be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.”

The churches had a twofold purpose. First they needed to disciple the new believers. Secondly, although many in these cities responded to the gospel there were many more that did not hear and needed to be evangelized. The good news is that there were now churches established in these cities as an evangelistic lighthouse of the gospel; not only to their generation but to the ones to come.

God’s order has not changed. He still fully expects His churches to send, pray for, and support missionaries just as the church at Antioch did. Something interesting to notice about Paul’s missionary journeys is that he only went to larger cities of major commerce and trade that was easily accessible to the rest of the world. These were the perfect locations for churches to grow and multiply by sending missionaries out into the rest of the world.

God also still fully expects His churches to be a lighthouse of the gospel to their own communities and to disciple those who come to the faith where they too will become effective workers for the kingdom. If we are not faithful to this task the world will then be condemned to hell separated from the grace of God for eternity and we will be responsible because we refused to do what God fully expects of us. Remember though, Europe was the first continent to be considered a Christian continent in great part to Paul and his team of missionaries being faithful to the Holy Spirit and the calling He set them apart to do. What would God do through us today if we are simply faithful?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

The Gospel Must be Communicated

The Gospel Must be Communicated

Have you ever heard someone say “I allow my life to be my witness?” Clearly the bible teaches we should do good works. Titus 3:8 says, “This is a trustworthy statement; and concerning these things I want you to speak confidently, so that those who have believed God will be careful to engage in good deeds. These things are good and profitable for men.” Jesus Himself said, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16). Godly living and good works should go hand in hand. However, good works alone is an insufficient witness.

Clearly we want the unreached world to see our good works so our Father who is in heaven will be glorified. However, good works alone can be dangerously misleading. The bible clearly states that we are not saved by our good works and that we are only saved by placing our faith in the works of Christ. (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Titus 3:5 says, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit”

If we fail to communicate the gospel, which is the works of Christ that lead to salvation, we can lead the lost world into believing that their good life and good works are sufficient to save them. They will think they simply have to be a good person and perform good works to get to heaven. Paul said of those who teach this perverted form of the gospel, which is really no gospel at all, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8, 9). This is usually not the intention of the one who desires his life to be a witness. However, this is the danger of living a good life and doing good works without communicating the gospel.

True biblical evangelism consists of communication. Jesus said in Mark 16:15, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” One cannot preach without communication. The word preach means to proclaim. We are commanded to proclaim the gospel to all creation. We are called to be witnesses of Jesus and his teachings to the whole world starting where we are at. (Acts 1:8).

In the Word of God we find two distinct calls to preach. Paul tells Timothy, who is the pastor of Ephesus, in II Timothy 4:2, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” This type of preaching is pastoral preaching. It is preaching directed to the church with instruction that leads to godly living.

The other type of preaching is what Jesus commanded in Mark 16:15-preach the gospel. It is evangelistic preaching, or proclaiming. It is preaching directed to the lost with instruction of how to be saved. The Greek word used here is euaggelizesthai. It means, to evangelize. To evangelize is to share, preach, proclaim the gospel. Euaggelizesthai is a verb. It is a word that demands action. This word is used fifty two times in the New Testament.

Preaching is God’s choice of the communication of His gospel message. I Corinthians 1:21 says, “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.” Whether we are proclaiming to the masses or sharing with individuals we must communicate, preach, proclaim the clear message of the gospel. Every Christian is called to this task.

In the Word of God we find two ways that the gospel can, and should be, communicated. Clearly the first way is verbal. Acts 14:1 says of Paul and Barnabus, “In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.” The spoken word is the most prominent form of communicating the gospel in the New Testament. However, it is not the only form of communicating the gospel.

John said in I John 5:8, “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.” Luke also stated his purpose in writing the book of Luke in Luke 1:3, 4 where he wrote, “it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.” A quick read through the book of Romans will show you that it is the greatest gospel tract ever written. Writing isn’t preaching, but it is a wonderful form of communication that God has given to us to share His gospel message.

Whether we choose to preach, proclaim, share the gospel through the spoken word or the written word we must clearly communicate it. We are called and should be compelled to proclaim the gospel with the lost with every available opportunity we have. Apart from the proclamation of the gospel the lost world stands condemned to an eternal hell. When we proclaim the gospel they may chose to reject. Regardless of their decision, we have given them an opportunity to make a decision by communicating the gospel. If we however reject the call to proclaim, we not only stand in rebellion against God, we also have to ask, how then will they ever have the opportunity to make the choice?

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on February 18, 2017 in Bible Study, Devotional, Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,