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

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS MOVING IN AFGHANISTAN

Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM) has witnessed exponential growth in disciple-making through one of their leaders, “Jav.”

Massive Move of God In Afghanistan

GCM said, “We are always in awe of what God can do with just one ‘YES’. Jav was trained by the Iranian underground church and is leading the great move of the Holy Spirit in Afghanistan. Jav shared that he will baptize over 60 Afghan Muslims this week! He has discipled 5,000 people and communicates using one of the phones that were purchased with your donations. 5,000 new disciples a year is 416 disciples a month, 13 disciples a day, which means there is a brand new disciple every 2 hours for 365 days straight. That phone allows him to train, disciple, develop other leaders, and grow the kingdom of God. We will continue to keep you updated with information like this in the future. It is our privilege to share stories like this of how the Spirit is moving.” 

Joe Richardson whom I know is heavily involved with this ministry. Can I suggest you consider donating to GCM? You can check them out at http://www.globalcatalyticministries.com.

FROM CRUISE SHIP TO WAR SHIP

WE RECOMMEND YOU LISTEN TO THIS VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM KIM!

In these last years, so many people have left “the cruise ship” and joined “the warship”. They’ve found out that church is not just about having fellowship, but it’s about making disciples. And everyone who goes from just fellowship to discipleship, from cruise ship to warship, are seeing incredible fruit.

Kim is just one amongst many pastors, leaders, elders, and Christians who are stepping out of their comfort zone, and not just talking about, dreaming about, but OBEYING the Word of God. When they do, they see God doing amazing things but also face persecution because they are impacting Satan’s territory. Please watch this video, and join the warship with us!

Have you seen the Last Reformation free movies where they show more about this life? You can do that at the link here: https://thelastreformation.com/movies

MAKING AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST

Making disciples is the most important job of any church, and there’s no better tool available than the Bible. Also, the best church model for making disciples is the House or Home Church where one on one exploration of God’s Word is possible and accountability is maintained. The disciple’s job is to help their student:

  • Know Jesus Christ better
  • Connect with and grow in biblical community
  • Apply God’s Word in their daily lives

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.2 Corinthians 5:20

Having discovered from this one verse that we are ambassadors for Christ we then need to be held accountable for what we do with that truth this coming week. This is what discipleship is all about and can best be done in small groups.

Note what Paul says here about how we need to pray for the ambassadors for Christ.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:18-20

We are in the last days Jesus spoke about in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) the tribulation that Christians experience during this time Jesus said will be like “birth pains”, the tribulation will increase in intensity to become great tribulation hence we need to pray for all the Saints and particularly ourselves that we will be courageous and stay the course continuing to proclaim the gospel as Paul did even though in chains.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matthew 24:21-22

YOU’RE NOT LIVING IF YOU ARE NOT LIVING FOR THIS

Pastor and author David Platt warned young Christians this week that taking a “casual, comfortable, cultural” approach to their faith, neglecting God’s command to proactively share the Gospel, and instead pursuing material successes, will lead to a wasted life.

“Be finished and done with a form of Christianity that says, ‘Pray a prayer, go to church, live it up in the world, go to some conferences and coast your way to Heaven,’” the Virginia-based pastor said during the annual Passion conference in Atlanta this week. “That’s not Christianity, because it’s not following Christ.”

David Platt says 'very skewed' version of Bible 'being sold across our culture,' blasts 'superficial Christianity'
Evangelical Baptist pastor David Platt pleads with an audience of thousands of adults and teens for them to spread the Gospel to unreached people at the annual Passion 2022 Conference in Georgia.

Platt, the lead pastor of McLean Bible Church, told the 65,000 young adults gathered inside the Mercedes Benz Stadium that to follow Jesus means allowing the Gospel message and mission to “dictate everything you think, desire and do, dictate your plans, dreams, how you’re going to live, what degree you’re going to get and how you’re going to make and spend money for the spread of God’s great love in Jesus among the nations.”

“You will waste your life if you get caught up in this American dream,” he continued. “Don’t do it. Lift your eyes above the distractions. Look at the destiny of this world. The train of history is headed towards people of every nation, tribe, and tongue, enjoying and praising Jesus. Jump on that train.”

Platt spoke directly about the U.S., noting it is “quite possibly” the one place in the world with the greatest access to the Gospel, set apart from the many countries whose citizens “don’t have access to someone who can tell them about Jesus” and “don’t have followers of Jesus or churches proclaiming the Good News of God’s great love.”

Displaying the Radical Stratus map, showing the myriad places around the globe where the Gospel is not accessible, the pastor explained the importance of international missions work.

“This is why we don’t say, ‘Well, I don’t know why we talk about unreached people around the world when there are unreached people on my campus, there are unreached people in my neighborhood,’” Platt said. “You say, ‘How do you know?’ Because they’re on your campus. They’re in your neighborhood. They have access to the Gospel. You’re it.”

“We’re talking about people who don’t have anyone near them to tell them about Jesus,” he added.

In light of that information, Platt closed his message by urging the Passion conference attendees to use their platforms, access, careers, finances, etc., to share the Gospel with people who have never heard it.

“Based on this picture of God’s Word and this picture in the world, I want to plead with you tonight to refuse to settle for a casual, comfortable, cultural Christianity,” he said. “I want to plead with you to refuse to do what millions of Christians and leaders of churches are doing in our country — to turn a blind eye and a deaf ear to 3.2 billion people and thousands of people groups who have never heard the Gospel.”

Platt told the crowd their purpose, as believers, is to tell others about Jesus. “You are not living if you’re not living for this,” he said.

“As a result of His ultimate rescue, God’s glory shines in this broken world not only through strengths but also through scars, ” he concluded.

Live for this. If necessary, die for this — for people from all nations to hear and receive the Good News of God’s great love in Jesus.

MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE MANDATE – CHURCH PLANTING IS THE OUTCOME

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches? The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Planting churches flows naturally out of making disciples. The heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4.

And now, Lord, look upon their (the Worlds) threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

Missionaries have historically been the most vital source of a nation’s social development. These findings yield two important conclusions about the work of Protestant missionaries. Their message was good for the world and their focus was making disciples.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020, by Jackson Wu

BIBLE PROPHECY IS A POWERFUL WITNESSING TOOL

Robin Schumacher is an accomplished software executive and Christian apologist who has written many articles, authored and contributed to several Christian books, appeared on nationally syndicated radio programs, and presented at apologetic events. He holds a BS in Business, a Master’s in Christian apologetics, and a Ph.D. in New Testament. His testimony of how God used Bible prophecy to get Him into the kingdom of God confirmed my own belief in its importance in making new disciples of Christ.

Robin Schmacher’s testimony

God used the teaching of Bible prophecy to bring me to Himself. As an engineering student in college, I was blown away by the statistical impossibilities of the Old Testament predictions of Christ’s first coming happening by chance, with God opening my eyes to the fact that “No prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21).

My jaw dropped even further when I became educated to the fact that just 20 percent of the Old Testament prophets spoke about His first coming, but 80 percent speak to His second coming. Moreover, there are 1,500 passages in the Old Testament that refer to Christ’s second coming, and one out of every 25 verses in the New Testament refer to Jesus’ return.

The study of Bible prophecy and the second coming became a special area of joy and study for me, and I woke up every day praying, “Maranatha” (1 Cor. 16:22; “O Lord come”). Chances are, as a Christian, you do the same.

Scripture testifies to the fact that, as believers, we should be “looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus” (Titus 2:13) and “awaiting eagerly the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:7).

The Bible tells us we ought to join with John in saying, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20) because “our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Phil. 3:20) and “in the future, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8).

The intensity of this desire is made especially strong when we observe the upside-down world in which we now live.

Today our society vilifies law enforcement and celebrates lawbreakers, imprisons the innocent and releases criminals, murders babies in the womb and lets killers go free, feigns respect for women while letting biological males into their bathrooms, disrespects strong work ethics, and coddles the lazy, shirks responsibility and embraces victim mentalities, preaches justice while committing injustice through mob-driven tactics, prioritizes gender-neutral toy aisles over stopping rampant business theft, decries racism with its mouth while promoting it through its actions, steals from others in the name of “equity,” censors truth while promoting lies, and cancels anyone with an opposing view.

Our culture is summed up well by Paul’s simple statement, “whose glory is in their shame” (Phil. 3:19).

Given all this, how could any believer not pray every hour for Christ to come back?

BAD NEWS, GOOD NEWS STORY OF THE CHURCH

BAD NEWS

Neo-pagan Anglicanism is beautifully packaged in some of the most elegant liturgy, music, and tradition in Christianity. But it has become liturgy for the sake of liturgy, music for the sake of music, and tradition for the sake of tradition. As the apostle Paul wrote, they are “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power” (2 Timothy 3:5). And as Athanasius argued against Arius’s heresy, the Jesus whom they promote is not the Jesus of which the Bible speaks.

As a result of this tragic accommodation to culture, Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America, eschews the flaccid slogans of the hierarchy from Canterbury and New York City about “communion across difference,” “mutual flourishing,” and “walking together” because there can be no truce with heretics and schismatics who advance a counterfeit gospel (Romans 16:17–18).

Speaking with a prophetic mantle, Beach observes that “liberal innovations in theology and sexual ethics” are hidden within an orthodox façade, comparable, I would say, to the Trojan horse.”

GOOD NEWS

Eliud Wabukala introduces Bible-based Anticorruption Guide

Fruitful death

The Gospel of John probably best describes the future of orthodox Anglicanism.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it dies, it bringeth forth much fruit” John 12:24, KJV

“The ‘Anglican experiment is not ending in failure,” says Eliud Wabukala from Kenya and Mouneer Anis from Egypt, “but is on the verge of a new and truly global future in which the original vision of the Reformers can be realized as never before.” When Archbishop of Canterbury Lord George Carey said in 1990, “You don’t have to be English to be Anglican,” he probably could not have foreseen that today, “Anglicans in the Global South represent more than 80 percent of the members of the Anglican Communion,” according to Anis.

From Wabukala’s address to the faithful of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans “At the heart of our gathering will be the Lord Jesus’ Great Commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19) and as we commit ourselves wholeheartedly to that purpose, we can trust in the promise that comes with the command, the promise of His presence ‘to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).

Much of the information in this article has been extracted from the book The Future of Orthodox Anglicanism by Gerald R. McDermott 

GATHERING FRUIT FOR ETERNAL LIFE

The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.Matthews 9:37

Already the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that sower and reaper may rejoice together. For here the saying holds true, One sows and another reaps.’ I sent you to reap that for which you did not labour. Others have laboured, and you have entered into their labour.” John 4:36-38

Jesus made it abundantly clear that all of us are called to make disciples not just the clergy.

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Are you gathering fruit for eternal life? Do you even think about rewards in heaven and on the new earth? And yet Jesus taught that being an obedient disciple of Christ brings its reward, even great rewards. You need to be living eternal now not just for eternal rewards but for peace and joy in this life that can only be realised when you are in a right relationship with God, with the Holy Spirit dwelling in your spirit.

Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.Luke 6:22-23

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.Romans 15:13

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.Romans 14:17

Don’t you want to abound in the hope that Paul had, as expressed in the above and following two Scriptures. I do!

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.Romans 8:18-21

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38

What role will you have in the Kingdom of God during Jesus Millennial reign on earth? What you do on earth in this life will determine that role.

CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS

The effects of the pandemic, the growing cultural disdain for “organized religion,” and the socio-politico turn to secularism have reduced church rolls. A Gallup report going all the way back to 1937 shows formal church membership has dropped from a high of 70% to 39% in 2020.

“Continued decline in future decades seems inevitable,” predicted Gallup Senior Editor Jeffrey M. Jones.

Is it over for American churches? Are we living in the era of end-times apostasy signaling an inevitable, irreversible slow fade of church life as we know it?

Movements come and go, say some historical observers, and it just may be that the church’s journey in finite time from the launch at Pentecost has sputtered out. Institutional atrophy seems inevitable.

Sadly, the institutional quest causes a church to become introverted, focusing more on its institutional survival than on incarnational mission. The focus on survival and reconstruction on the ruins of a collapsed institution means a church’s own survival becomes more important than the Lord who created it, the truth He gave it, the call to which He summoned it, and the people to whom He sent it.

The biblical view is the kairological outlook: God so often uses catastrophes for His purposes and no doubt this will be a new day for the Church of Jesus Christ. The church Jesus intended as described in the Book of Acts.

The focus must not be on trying to breathe life into dying institutions. In the biblical scheme, death leads to resurrection. Rather than seeing this period with the desperation of hopeless people watching the creep of finite time bringing death to antiquated hulks, the better focus should be that of the infusion of new life. Rather than pre-occupation with sustaining structure, the energy should be spent on building ministry, making disciples of Jesus. Instead of mourning the death that is inevitable in chronos-time, it is better to rejoice at the new kairological day that is rising before us.

adapted from an article in Christian Post: A New Day for the Church Part 1 by Wallace B Henley