SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD IN EVANGELISM

What is God calling Christians to do? We are simply to be found faithful in the task of delivering the Gospel message. We are to bring the gospel into our workplaces, friendships, and families, to whomever and wherever. All that is required is to look to where God has placed us and simply to be found faithful to the task of proclaiming the good news to those who are dead in their sins. It requires that we not be ashamed of the good news of the gospel, which includes not being ashamed of the bad news of God’s judgment against sin.

Whatever the result of that proclamation of the gospel may be, whether a hardening or a softening of the heart, God effectually uses this message for His purposes.

Not every instance of proclaiming a message of repentance is designed by God to bring the people who hear it to repentance and faith. In fact, Scripture often demonstrates the opposite is true—that the proclamation serves to condemn the recipients rather than restore them. A great example of this is found in the commissioning of the prophet Isaiah:

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said,

Go and tell these people: Keep on listening, but do not perceive; keep on looking, but do not understand. Render the hearts of these people insensitive, their ears dull, and their eyes dim, otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and return and be healed.” Then I said, “Lord, how long?” and He answered, “Until cities are devastated and without inhabitants, houses are without people and the land is utterly desolate, the Lord has removed men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land. Yet there will be a tenth portion in it, and it will again be subject to burning, like a terebinth or an oak whose stump remains when it is felled. The holy seed is its stump Isaiah 6:8-13

As Brevard Childs ( Isaiah. Westminster John Knox Press, (2001): p56). puts it, “Isaiah, the prophet is to be the executor of death, the guarantor of complete hardening. His very proclamation is to ensure that Israel will not turn and repent.” How would you like to be called by God to deliver that message?

Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.Revelation 20:14

If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish in the Lake of Fire, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

We may not necessarily like the implications of God using our proclamation of judgment and salvation to effectively harden an individual’s heart. We may not believe the implications of this are even fair—but we ought to remember in the midst of everything that we don’t want fair because our idea of what’s fair doesn’t square with God’s.

What’s fair is God condemning every man, woman, and child to eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire. What’s fair is that the only blameless One to have ever existed would not be put to the cross to pay for the sins of others. What you and I desire is mercy and grace, because mercy is not giving people what they deserve, which is condemnation, and grace is giving people what they don’t deserve, which is no condemnation. The gospel is a scandal to the world because it sees the murderer, rapist, racist, and the like, on equal footing with the sweet old lady who doesn’t confess Christ—and offers them all the same grace of God in Christ. What that very simply means is that the gospel is not barred from anyone on the basis of their own doing or choosing, but rather, on the sovereign choice of God Himself. If those who struggle with evangelizing were to focus on the sovereignty of God in evangelism, it would free many a burdened soul up to take joy in the work that God has given them, realizing that whether the person they share the gospel with rejects or receives it, God is glorified in accomplishing His work through the preached word.

This post was extracted from an article by Grayson Gilbert, A Lesson from Isaiah on the Sovereignty of God in Evangelism  July 23, 2020, http://www.patheos.com

GOD THE SON’S ROLE IN OUR SALVATION

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the disciples were always concerned with where they’d be ruling in the coming Kingdom, but Jesus told them that they had it all wrong. Here is the Living God, Jesus Christ; the omnipotent God, telling them that: 

“even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

They thought like most of the world thinks; the greatest person is the one with the most servants, but Jesus flips that on its head, saying that:

“whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.” Mark 10:44

The Apostle Peter could not be clearer about how Jesus Christ brings salvation to the sinner. Peter says, 

“that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold.” 1 Peter 1:18

All the wealth in the universe would not be sufficient to redeem even one sinner. It took the shed blood of Jesus to redeem us. There was absolutely no other way.

“the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:19

And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:6-7

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.Hebrews 9:27-28.

Salvation was achieved by Jesus shedding His blood at His first coming to earth but at His second coming Jesus completes the task by resurrecting the dead Saints and the rapture of those that are alive with glorious new bodies.

“But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it, we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.Philippians 3:20-21

DR CATCHPOOLE ON THE AGE OF THE EARTH

Dr Catchpoole has a B.Ag.Sc. (Hons) from the University of Adelaide, and was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of New England (NSW).

“When did I realise that the earth could be no older than about 6,000 years.? The exact moment that turned my thinking around was when a simple image was put up, of Eden with layers of fossil bones in the earth beneath Adam and Eve. This showed the stark implications for Christianity if e.g. dinosaur fossils were millions of years old. That would mean there was not only death before the Fall; many fossils also show evidence of suffering, bloodshed and violence, and diseases like bone cancer. Yet after Adam and Eve were created, God called everything He had made “very good” (Genesis 1:31). I realised that it made no sense for God to have looked at tumorous dinosaur bones on Day 6, then call this very good, knowing that cancer would cause such enormous future human misery.

The Eden-on-bones scenario also raised a fundamental doctrinal issue. If we put the shedding of blood before sin, then why did God in Jesus shed blood because of sin? (Genesis 3:21, Hebrews 9:22, 10:4–10) I could see that my compromising of God’s Word by believing the secular millions of years completely destroyed the whole basis for the Atonement (1 Corinthians 15:21–22)1.

Evolutionary geneticists have themselves realised that mutations accumulate so quickly (about 60–100 per person per generation), that the human species should have become extinct at least ten times over. Evolutionary geneticist Alexey Kondrashov asks, “Why have we not died 100 times over?*

That presumes we’ve been here for the 100,000+ years of the evolutionary timeline. It’s not a problem in the Bible’s 6,000-year timeline, with only about 200 generations since Adam. We’re still going downhill fast (Romans 8:19–22), but it’s understandable we haven’t gone extinct—there simply hasn’t been enough time.

The importance of the age of the earth in presenting the gospel message is demonstrated by the following testimony of an aboriginal man.

I’ve been locked up in every jail in Queensland, so I’ve had the Gospel preached to me more times than I can count. But I ain’t never heard the Gospel like this. Just think … we [Aboriginal people] haven’t been here 60,000 years like they tell us; we come from Noah just 4,500 years ago, and Adam 6,000 years ago—along with everyone else alive today— that’s powerful! So Christ died for everyone—whitefella and blackfella!

*Kondrashov, A., Contamination of the genome by very slightly deleterious mutations: why have we not died 100 times over? J. Theoretical Biology 175:583–594, 1995.

Extract from article in the latest Creation magazine from CMI (www.creation.com) Creation magazine interviews former CMI speaker/scientist Dr David Catchpoole

SUPPORT A.C.L AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

As I have reported previously God has raised up this young man for His purposes in Australia at this time.

Martin Isles gives us a considered report on the results of the recent Australian election and the efforts of A.C.L volunteers that I believe demonstrates God’s hand was “on” their efforts. He also reminds us from Daniel 4:17 who ultimately rules the kingdoms of men “to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.”

Even more important is what A.C.L is planning to do in the near future: distribution of at least two million Gospels of John. Make sure you get involved and support this effort.

Australia’s greatest need is not a change of government. Australia’s greatest need is a change of Lord. Australia needs the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

TAKING THE GOSPEL INTO THE HOME

POWERFUL MESSAGE FROM TORBEN SONDERGAAD:

“It’s difficult to put words to how excited I am about this video! One of the reasons I’m excited is because we have seen healing before, we’ve seen the power of God before, we’ve seen people set free, baptized in water, and filled with the Holy Spirit before, but HERE you see these things, but not ONLY that! Here, we give you some tools, and we show you what it is God is about to do. I spoke a few weeks ago that a SHIFT was coming to the church, and a SHIFT was coming to The Last Reformation, and we did a video about it two weeks ago.

We have now started to see what this SHIFT looks like, and it is so powerful! It is so beautiful, and I can just say I truly love it! This video will give you all a taste of how it is. In this video I tell about what we’ve been doing with a group of people this last week, and you not only hear it but you also see it, and then I share the vision with you out there and give you tools so you can go out and do the same! This is the second video of several I will do where we talk about this SHIFT, as we will follow up on it in a few weeks again. But I encourage you to see the whole video here, even though it’s a little longer, and share it with other people! Note the importance of effective baptism that releases the power of the Holy Spirit.

JESUS FINAL GOSPEL PRESENTATION

Jesus speaks at various points while on the cross. There are actually seven statements that Jesus made on the cross. Why does Mark focus on only one of those statements?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalms 22:1

And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Mark 15:34

This is the first line of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rest of the psalm describes prophetically exactly what is happening to Jesus as He spoke these words. In effect, Jesus gives us His personal testimony of His work on the cross, while He is on the cross. If this is the case it was not only a cry because God was far from Him in Jesus’ most desperate hour but it was the first point of a final Gospel presentation.

Anyone who knew the first line of this psalm would know that it pointed to Jesus, in fact, the psalm vividly describes His life on earth. Let’s look at the main points of the psalm and the gospel accounts of His crucifixion.

The rejection of Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people. Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:” (Psalm 22:6–7)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,” (Mark 15:29)

““He relies on the Lord; let him save him; let the Lord rescue Him since he takes pleasure in Him.”” (Psalm 22:8)

He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now—if He takes pleasure in Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”” (Matthew 27:43)

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ

It was you who brought me out of the womb, making me secure at my mother’s breast. I was given over to you at birth; you have been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 22:9–10)

The persecution of Jesus on the cross

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring.(Psalm 22:11–13)

Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.” (Mark 15:32)

Jesus is pointing to this psalm which predicts the very events that are happening to Him while they watch. In a very surreal sense, the people below are watching prophecy unfold. The fact that prophecy is unfolding that shows the Messiah must suffer to save people for eternity should make them come to Him.

Jesus must suffer

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:14–16)

They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:18)

So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.” (John 19:24)

Jesus was mocked and insulted while on the cross

I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.(Psalm 22:17)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!”” (Mark 15:29–30)

Jesus proclaims the Gospel to people around Him. He is sharing about their need for God.

People need God

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will praise you in the assembly. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, revere him! For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.” (Psalm 22:22–24)

Jesus even predicts from the cross by referencing this psalm that the Jews will reject Jesus and the world will accept Him:

Some will reject the Messiah

I will give praise in the great assembly because of you; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear you. The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him. May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you,” (Psalm 22:25–27)

Other people than the Jews will share Jesus

Jesus predicts the beginning of the church from this psalm:

Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.” (Psalms 22:30-32)

The death of Jesus is only the beginning. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with Jesus dying on the cross.

The final Gospel presentation of Jesus Christ reminds us that God’s story is not over. Just like every great story has a great ending. Every great story has “a first” line. They also have a great last line.

“The End” does not end at the cross. Instead, the cross means that there is a “To be continued. Jesus will return.” The many prophecies of His Second Coming testify to the fact that we are in the time Jesus prophesied would precede His return to rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years.

Adapted from the article “The Final Gospel Presentation of Jesus Christ”  April 29, 2019, by Jim Erwin http://www.patheos.com

BEING SAVED AND BEING A CHRISTIAN

Who will live with God on the new earth and heaven that He creates for His children? This is a valid question and we know it is not only Christians. Some will be taken back, as I was when I first read this statement. However, I quickly realised that Abraham, Moses, Job, David would not strictly come into the category Christian.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

Think about the one thief upon the cross that simply asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, What was Jesus’ response?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

I think therefore that the thief put his heartfelt trust in Jesus as the Messiah of God and that was enough to get him saved.

Roger Olson in his excellent article “Answer to the Question: What must a person know/believe to be saved or to be a Christian” raises the story of Paul and Silas and the time God opened up the prison doors for them. Paul stopped the jailor from killing himself as he thought the prisoners had escaped. The jailor knew there was something different about these men who had been praising God in their chains and were now free of those chains. He asked them this question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe on (trust) the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

Roger makes the point that from this statement, for the jailer and his family to be saved they had to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and they must put their trust/faith in Him. This is the simple rule of faith for salvation.

To be a Christian there is more and Roger points out that Paul and Silas then went on to say:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.Acts 16:32

Roger’s interpretation and I have to agree with him, is that the jailer, like the thief on the cross, was saved the moment he believed on (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord. However, to be a Christian there is more, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission; repent, be baptised, and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables believers to comprehend the Word of the Lord. He sanctifies us over time and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He will guide our every step if we allow Him. Therefore, He enables us to live the Christian life.

SAVED

God knows the condition of our heart and it is a heart issue that gets us saved. This Scripture from Exodus reinforces the issue of having a heart/spirit for God.

“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.Exodus 35:21-22

CHRISTIAN

To live the Christian life you must have the Holy Spirit which is given once you repent of your sins (prepared to die to your old life) be baptised (signifying death to the old life and arising as alive in Christ) at which time God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler, to be your counsellor, your teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live a Christian life.

ETERNITY

For me, this understanding gives me comfort in knowing that there will be many people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ who will be saved because they had a heart after God. Moreover, I am sure you like me have heard of many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims and they have come to saving faith in Him. Jesus answered their heart cries. We can trust God to ensure that all those that should be in His Kingdom will be there.

THE GREATEST CURE OF ALL

God has used Nick Vujicic to bring the Gospel message to millions. Listen to this powerful message from Nick, you will be inspired and encouraged. Share this video with others, it will probably be the most important thing you can do today.

Nick is right, the greatest cure of all is Jesus Christ. Connect with Nick Vujicic. He wants to help you with your next steps in your journey with Jesus! He shares here, a message of encouragement especially to those who are still asking the biggest spiritual questions and wondering, “Who are we? Why are we here?” Being born without arms and legs has definitely forced Nick to consider the bigger questions of life. And maybe you’ve seen him on YouTube. Nick just wants the world to know that God is real and hope is real.

In this video Nick poses important questions: ” Maybe right now your crisis has to do with your family, relationships, maybe your job. And as a society facing uncertain times, we kind of get stopped in our tracks. We put our confidence in what we normally accept as normal–that we have a job, that we go to school, that we have people in our life. What happens when we put confidence in things or people and they’re taken away? Where do we get our strength from, and where do we find our hope? Jesus is the greatest cure of all.

THE UNSTOPPABLE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

In the Book of Acts the Gospel bearers face threats, persecution, imprisonment, internal conflict, theological controversy, litigation, storms and shipwreck, but none of these impede the Gospel’s progress. The Gospel is the powerful instrument the Holy Spirit uses to produce believers – in Jerusalem, Samaria, Cyprus, Lystra, Derbe (city of Galatia) and throughout Europe. In rural areas (Acts 14) and philosophical centres (Acts17), the Gospel is equally at home, with the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of the Gospel.

All three persons of God are involved in redeeming mankind: God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit

Luke gives us statistical summaries to show the growth of the church (Acts 2:41; 4:4) and comments throughout on the health of the Word. In Chapter 6, when dissension breaks out in the church, Luke tells us ‘the word of God continued to increase and spread’ (v.7). In Chapter 12 when Herod has James killed, the word’s health is contrasted with Herod’s wormy death (v.24). In Chapter 19 when people burnt their magic scrolls to ash, the Word, he says, ‘continued to increase and prevail mightily’ (v.20).

If the title of the book of Acts were to be changed, I would suggest a title which included ’the unstop-ability of God’s Gospel’. What a refreshing encouragement to read this Holy Spirit-inspired book and be reminded that God’s purpose prevails.

“The purpose of God is to glorify himself by saving a people of his own, through hearing and believing the Gospel of his Son, as it is carried to the world by his Holy Spirit-empowered people”.

This abbreviated and slightly modified inspiring article by David Cook is from AP – Reformed Thought for Christian Living

UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH -THERE IS A HELL

Jesus is the only way to heaven, hell is a real destination for those that don’t trust in Him,. How many people do you interact with every month that are on the road to eternal separation from God in Hell? 

The existence of Hell is a painful, uncomfortable, but honest truth. So, here’s the million dollar question: what are we doing about it? What are we willing to do about it?

Who in your family and what friends will not join you in the first resurrection? It takes place when Jesus returns to rapture, first those dead in Christ, and then those Saints still living. At this time, we receive bodies capable of living eternally.

Remember unbelievers souls remain in Hades for a thousand years before they are raised for judgement at the White Throne Judgement. Following which they are cast into the Lake of Fire which is the second death.

Death and Hades delivered up the dead that were in them. And they were judged each one according to his works.Revelation 20:13

Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. Revelation 20:14

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

Jesus is the only way to God, Jesus is God, if you believe in Jesus you shall not perish. But if you don’t place your trust in Jesus, then you will perish. Jesus talks about this eternal perishing as second death in the Lake of Fire.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 6:23.

“The truly righteous man attains life, but He who pursues evil goes to his death.” Proverbs 11:19

Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.James 1:14

Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.Matthew 10:28

That’s why the resurrection of Jesus is so central. He performed miracle after miracle, proving he was divine, including the ultimate miracle, when he rose from the dead, validating every exclusive claim he made about himself. So, when other religions honour Jesus as a prophet or a good teacher, but not the Son of God, they are not placing their trust in Jesus for forgiveness and salvation, and Jesus himself said he’s the only way to heaven.

Sadly, because the Bible is no longer believed to be the inerrant word of God, largely due to the acceptance of evolution by Bible Colleges and some denominations such as the Catholics and Anglicans, the creation story in Genesis is no longer believed as true history. Once the foundational book of the Bible was toppled other truths such as Jesus is the only way to God went as well, certainly with the Catholics.

Can I suggest you connect with http://www.creation.com to get equipped to witness to your family and friends, to defend your faith, and deliver the gospel message in a compelling way to those that have swallowed the lie of evolution and billions of years and therefore jettisoned God’s Word.