Archive for August, 2006

Let’s say thanks

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006 at 3:16 pm

Xerox has created a website that makes it easy for you send a thank you note to our troops. It is completely free and only takes a few clicks of your mouse. So why are you waiting? Click the link above and let the soldiers know you appreciate the sacrifices they are making.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Fireproof

Sunday, August 27th, 2006 at 9:31 pm

In a previous post, Did Jesus suffer in Hell?, I explained how Jesus did not suffer in Hell to pay for our sins, but rather he suffered God’s wrath while he was still on the cross. Here is another passage that shows Jesus could not have suffered in Hell:

He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Daniel 3:25

Jesus was in the midst of the fire with the three Hebrews and notice it says “they have no hurt.” Not only were they unharmed, but when they came out not even a single hair was singed nor was the smell of smoke on them or their clothes.

Jesus is fireproof – he couldn’t have suffered in Hell.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Don’t believe everything you hear

Friday, August 25th, 2006 at 10:13 am

Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee: Ecclesiastes 7:21

Posted in Popular Sayings
by Gordy

Cain’s wife and evolutionists

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006 at 11:55 am

Many evolutionists will poke fun at the Bible because they think it is gross that Cain had to marry a sister. However, belief in evolution requires you to believe something far worse. Consider the two possible scenarios for how the human race began:

  1. multiple humans had to evolve from multiple sets of sub-human parents at the exact same time in order for the first humans to have an unrelated mate.
  2. the first human evolved and had to mate with a sub-human.

Even the most ardent evolutionist would admit that scenario 1 is extremely unlikely since that would require that hundreds of humans evolved from hundreds of sets of sub-human parents at the exact same time in history. They are left with scenario 2 – the first human mated with a sub-human. Isn’t something sub-human considered a beast? For evolutionists, they believe they are offspring from a human and a beast. Isn’t that far worse than Cain marrying his sister?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Praying a prayer

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006 at 8:46 pm

If we say that praying a prayer doesn’t get you to Heaven, why do we always have people pray a prayer when we are witnessing to them?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

From The Sheep Seats

Friday, August 18th, 2006 at 10:11 am

Every year, we go to a camp meeting in Nancy, KY called Camp Canaan. This is always my favorite week in the year. I’ve created a podcast and uploaded all the messages to http://voicecrying.podomatic.com/ so you can listen to them too.

If you have iTunes or another podcatcher, you can subscribe to the podcast with it.

Posted in Sermons
by Gordy

Go

Monday, August 14th, 2006 at 9:44 pm

A woman came upon a terrible car accident. Multiple cars were involved. She stopped and exited her car and noticed there were several people with serious injuries. She became frantic and began to hyper-ventilate as she wondered what she should do. She prayed and asked God to help her. She then remembered the first-aid class she had taken recently. So she sat down, bent her legs, and placed her head between her knees. (paraphrase of a story told by Adrian Rogers).

Christians today are a lot like this woman. We see something terrible in the world and panic and pray to God or read the Bible so that we can get something that will help us. We are concerned about helping our own lives rather than helping the lives of others. We need to quit focusing so much on our own lives and change our focus to what others need.

What is the world’s biggest need? Before we get to that, let us look at an event in 1 Samuel 15. God commanded Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites including their wives, children, and cattle. However, Saul thought it would be good to spare the best of the sheep and cattle and use them to sacrifice to God. God was not pleased and sent Samuel to confront Saul.

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22

Even though Saul said he was going to use the cattle to sacrifice to God – an attempt to please God – God said he was not pleased. God had already told Saul what would please him and if Saul would have obeyed, God would have been pleased.

What command has God given us to obey?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19-20

If we would obey this command, we would be meeting the greatest need of the world. However, we don’t obey. We don’t go to the lost with the gospel. Rather, we tell the lost to come to church and secretly hope they will get the gospel there. Our disobedience to God’s command to go causes us to circumvent God’s purpose for the church services. We expect that if we invite the lost to church, the preacher will preach the gospel to them. Many preachers will tell you that they gear the Sunday morning service more as an evangelistic service to reach the lost. But this goes against God’s purpose. The preacher is not our hired gun to do our soul-winning for us. In Ephesians 4, we are told that God gave us pastors and teachers for the perfecting of the saints.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Ephesians 4:11-16

Church services are for the perfecting of the saints – not for the winning of the lost. Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Praise God if a lost person comes to church and gets saved. I was saved in a church after services. But God designed the church services for the saved – to perfect what is lacking in us so that we are not tossed to and fro by false doctrine and deceitful men. I have a whole lot that needs perfecting and if one out of three services per week is not used for that intended purpose, then Christians are not getting the spiritual nourishment they need. Try skipping one out of three meals every day and see if you don’t feel hungry and undernourished. And yet this is what we are doing to ourselves spiritually if we treat the preacher as a hired gun to do our soul-winning for us. In the building of Solomon’s Temple, God gave us an example of how it should be done.

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD. 2 And the house which king Solomon built for the LORD, the length thereof was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof twenty cubits, and the height thereof thirty cubits. 3 And the porch before the temple of the house, twenty cubits was the length thereof, according to the breadth of the house; and ten cubits was the breadth thereof before the house. 4 And for the house he made windows of narrow lights. 5 And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about, against the walls of the house round about, both of the temple and of the oracle: and he made chambers round about: 6 The nethermost chamber was five cubits broad, and the middle was six cubits broad, and the third was seven cubits broad: for without in the wall of the house he made narrowed rests round about, that the beams should not be fastened in the walls of the house. 7 And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building. 1 Kings 6:1-7

Notice in verse 7, the stones were made ready before being brought to the temple. The stones were cut and shaped outside and then when they were ready were brought inside. There was no work done on the stones to convert them inside the temple. Once inside, the stones were just put into the proper place of service. Now compare what Peter said about the Christian.

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

A saved person is likened to a stone used to build a spiritual house. Just like in the building of Solomon’s temple, all the work in making the stones ready – of converting the stones – should be done outside and then brought inside where God can place it in its proper place of service. God wants us to go and preach the gospel to the lost outside the church and then when they are converted they are brought inside.

How should we make ready the stones? First, let us look at the parable of the sower in Mark 4.

And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land. 2 And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine, 3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6 But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. Mark 4:1-8

Jesus then went on to explain the parable.

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14 The sower soweth the word. 15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended. 18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. Mark 4:13-20

Jesus said in verse 13 that understanding this parable is key to understanding all the other parables. It is very important that we understand this parable. In it, we see 4 types of hearers when the word is preached: way side, thorny ground, stony ground, and good ground. The way side hearer is an unintended recipient or unprepared ground. Many times when the gospel is preached, there are others who might be within ear shot and hear the gospel without it being directed towards them. These people quickly have the seed taken away by the devil. These people may dismiss it as religious nonsense or as something they don’t need at the moment because their hearts have not been prepared to receive it.

The thorny ground hearer is someone who cares more about riches, fame, power, or some other worldy thing. These people do not respond to the gospel because their riches get in the way or their lusts get in the way.

The good ground hearer is obviously someone who responds to the gospel in repentance and faith. This hearer is someone whose heart has been prepared and the seed produces fruit.

Finally, the stony ground hearer is sometimes said to refer to someone who responds to the gospel and is saved but never produces fruit. That is not correct. First, the stony ground hearer is someone who has an emotional response to the gospel – he receives the word immediately with gladness. In Acts 2, we see another group of people who gladly received the word and these people were saved, but there is a distinct difference between this group and the stony ground hearer. Those in Acts 2 first had their hearts pricked – they were convicted. The stony ground hearer has no conviction. Secondly, the stony ground hearer endures for a time. That means this hearer is in our churches today. I’m not sure how long a time is – it could be one week, one month, a year, twenty years – I don’t know. But it says they endure for a time. We know that true converts don’t just endure for a time, but continue.

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. 1 John 2:19

For whatever reason, these stony ground hearers play the part of a Christian without being converted, but after a time – when the heat comes, when persecution arises, they fall away.

During our Vacation Bible School and at the Warren County Fair, I had opportunities to talk to many about salvation and I believe many of them had been stony ground hearers – their hearts were not properly prepared to receive the seed. As I would talk to them, I would show them from the scriptures how they had broken God’s laws and would be guilty and condemned if God would judge them at that moment. It was obvious by the looks on their faces they had never heard that before and it greatly concerned them. I then showed them how Jesus took the punishment for their sins when he died upon the cross. Then I would tell them the only way to escape Hell – the only way to Heaven – was to confess and forsake their sins and trust that Jesus Christ paid for their sins – to which all of them replied that they’ve already asked Jesus into their hearts. Somewhere along the line, either a phony TV preacher or someone else had told them that if they want to go to Heaven, all they have to do is “pray this prayer to ask Jesus into your heart.” It was obvious to me that none of them had heard anything of sin and the judgment to come. The message they were given and their response to it was purely emotional. Who in their right mind doesn’t want to go to Heaven? If you tell a kid all you have to do to go to Heaven is “pray this prayer,” what kid wouldn’t do that? Since I can’t really tell who is and isn’t saved (see Jesus’ instructions on separating the wheat from the tares), I usually would tell them that if they are saved, they need to be reading the Bible everyday to be able to grow. I then was leaving it in the hands of the Holy Spirit to tell them if they were really saved or not. If anything, they at least got a good plowing by hearing about their guilt and pending judgment and condemnation. Don’t ever tell people they are saved or are not saved. You cannot know. Someone who responds favorably to your presentation may be a stony ground hearer and you may be laying a stumblingblock if you tell him he is saved. It is not our responsibility to tell people they are saved – we are to tell people how to be saved. They are responsible for making their calling and election sure. They are responsible for examining themselves to see if they are in the faith. The most we can say about another’s salvation is to say that if he has repented and trusted Christ, then he is saved. Let him figure out if he has done that.

So now we see that there are four types of hearers. In this parable, is Jesus trying to teach us that we should sow the seed everywhere and just expect to see all four types of hearers? I don’t think so. I think he gave us this parable because he knew we wouldn’t make very good farmers. He is teaching us that if we want the preaching of the gospel to be fruitful, we should prepare the ground first before sowing the seed. Because of our laziness, our fields are grown over with thorns.

I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; 31 And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Proverbs 24:30-31

We are told to break up our fallow ground – our unprepared, hardened ground, and sow not among the thorns.

For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Jeremiah 4:3

So how do we break up the fallow ground of lost, stony hearts? What can we do to prepare them so when the gospel is preached, they will be good ground hearers? What would make a person want or need a saviour? Obviously, if a person sees he needs saving, he will want a saviour. How do we get a person to see he needs saving? If he sees he is a guilty sinner and condemned, he will see his need for saving.

First, we need to show a person he is a sinner. A sinner is someone who sins. This is the Bible definition of sin:

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 1 John 3:4

A sinner is a transgressor of the law. To show a person he is a sinner, we must show him that he has transgressed God’s law. The law is key in converting a sinner.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. Psalm 19:7

What converts the soul? Psalm 19:7 says the law does. How does the law convert the soul? First, it brings the knowledge of sin.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Romans 3:20

Paul said he did not know what sin was until he knew the law.

What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. Romans 7:7

The law also stops the mouth – it stops the lost person from being self-righteous and from justifying himself.

Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Romans 3:19

The law is like a mirror so we can see our sinfulness and our need for cleansing. When I wake up in the morning, I go to the mirror and see what needs to be washed. I don’t use the mirror to wash up – I just use the mirror to show me what needs washing. The law does not help us; it just leaves us helpless. The law was added that the offence might abound – that it would be easier for us to see we are sinners (Romans 5:20).

Finally, the way the law converts the soul is by driving us to Christ.

Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed. 24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Galatians 3:21-25

The law prepares the ground because it brings the knowledge of sin, it stops the mouth of self-righteousness and self-justification, and then it drives us to Christ.

When we use the law, though, we need to make it specific. Suppose you were driving down the road going the speed limit and a police officer pulled you over and gave you a speeding ticket. When you protest that you were not speeding and he says “Well, everyone speeds so here’s your punishment,” how would you feel? You would be angry and think he is unreasonable. How do you think a lost sinner feels when you tell him he is condemned to Hell because the Bible says that everyone has sinned? Isn’t that an unreasonable approach? If we use the law as God intended it to be used – not as a means of righteousness, but as a tool to drive the lost to Christ, condemnation becomes reasonable and even just. We need to make the sinner’s guilt and condemnation personal.

When we go through the law of God with a lost sinner, we can show him that by telling lies, he is breaking the Ninth Commandment and is a liar. We can show him by taking anything that does not belong to him – regardless of value – he is breaking the Eighth Commandment which makes him a thief. We can show him by looking with lust he is breaking the Seventh Commandment which makes him an adulterer. We can show him by hating another he is breaking the Sixth Commandment which makes him a murderer. We can show him by using God’s name as a cuss word he is breaking the Third Commandment which makes him a blasphemer. Once a person sees he is a liar, a thief, an adulterer, a murderer, and a blasphemer, we can show him where murderers and liars will be punished.

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. Revelation 21:8

We can show him that thieves and adulterers will not be going to Heaven.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Some, when faced with the reality of condemnation in Hell, will think that maybe God will let them off. That’s when they need to be told that God is a holy and a just judge.

And he shall judge the world in righteousness, he shall minister judgment to the people in uprightness. Psalm 9:8

God said “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” He is not going to let people get away with breaking his laws. Justice must be and will be served. Some may argue that God is love and will forgive them. I looked up all the passages that tell us how God shows us his love and they all had a common theme. Here is a partial list:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 1 John 3:16

Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

Do you notice the common theme? God does not show his love through forgiving us. He already showed his love by giving his Son to die for our sins.

Faced with condemnation and knowing God doesn’t just freely give out forgiveness, the lost sinner may offer some other excuses. He may ask, “What if I say I am sorry?” Well, he should be sorry, but saying you are sorry won’t satisfy justice. What if he says he won’t do it again? He better not do it again because he would have to face another charge against him. Still justice must be served for the first offence. What if he says he has done a lot of good things since then? Would a murderer go free if he told a human judge he’s done a lot of good things since then? No. It won’t work with God either. What if he says it was a long time ago – he was just a young child when he did it? Time does not erase sin. Justice must still be served. What if everyone else is doing it too? Imagine a courtroom where there are 100 cases waiting to come before the judge and each one is for the same offence. Does the judge look at all 100 and and let them all go because everyone else did it too? No, each case is looked at individually and justice is served in each case.

The most popular excuse is “I’m a pretty good person – I’m not as bad as others.” While that may be true, God does not compare us to other people when he judges us. A human judge will not let a man go who has only murdered one person because there are others who have murdered and raped multiple people. God’s standard is his perfect law. If we are guilty of breaking his law, justice must be served. A lost person needs to see that no excuses will help.

So now we see that the ground is prepared. The stony-hearted man has been made to see his sin, his guilt before God, and his condemnation according to the law. Before we go on to see the results of first preparing the ground, let us look at a few ways that will not break up the fallow ground and will not produce fruit.

Some will try to win people to Christ by saying things like “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” Try telling that to the apostles and others in the early church as they were beaten, imprisoned, stoned, mocked, and martyred. Try telling that to Christians today in places like China, Sudan, and the Middle East. Try telling that to the countless number that were burned at the stake. Some wonderful plan that is! Others will promise a little less with a plea like “Want a better life” or “Want a better marriage” or “Want your kids to be well-behaved?” But these make Hell unreasonable. Why would God send a person to Hell just because they didn’t want a better marriage or a better job or better kids? Jesus did not die on the cross to give us a better marriage, better kids, or a better life. This is why he came:

Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division: 52 For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three. 53 The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. Luke 12:51-53

The only thing that makes Hell reasonable is for a person to see he has violated the laws of a holy and just God. Nothing else should be used in an attempt to bring a person to Christ.

Let us look at two examples of how Jesus witnessed to people. The first is the rich, young ruler.

And when he was gone forth into the way, there came one running, and kneeled to him, and asked him, Good Master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? 18 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. 19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22 And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions. Mark 10:17-22

Notice what Jesus did not do. He did not just tell the man that soon he would be going to die on the cross and if the man believed that and said a prayer, he would be saved. Jesus first gave him six of the commandments – all the ones that deal with a person’s relationship towards others. After that, Jesus used the essence of the remaining four – the ones that deal with a person’s relationship towards God. This young man had made his possessions his god. His riches meant more to him than God. Because he could not give up his false god, he went away sorrowful – but the ground was plowed.

The next example is the woman that Jesus met at the well.

Now Jacob’s well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour. 7 There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water: Jesus saith unto her, Give me to drink. 8 (For his disciples were gone away unto the city to buy meat.) 9 Then saith the woman of Samaria unto him, How is it that thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. 11 The woman saith unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? 12 Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? 13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: 14 But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. 15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. 17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. 19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. 25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. 26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. John 4:6-26

With this woman, Jesus only had to use the teaching of one commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery. The woman admitted to breaking it. After her guilt was established, then Jesus gave her the good news of who he is.

When we witness, we need to make sure the ground is prepared before we sow the seed. If we use the law to establish guilt, then the heart will be softened, the ground will be good, and the seed will bring forth fruit. We will get the right results. The intended purpose of preaching the gospel is repentance and faith (Acts 20:21). When we use the law, people will see God’s holiness – his goodness.

Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Romans 2:4

Seeing God’s goodness, his holiness, will bring about godly sorrow.

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10

There will also be a sense of urgency as the lost sinner realizes he could die at any moment and be cast into Hell. It has been said that most of the lifeboats that left the Titantic as it was sinking left half-empty because the passengers on board did not think they were in any danger. If we use the law and show the sinner the danger he is in, it will cause him to move quickly – he will give his own invitation like the people in Acts 2 – “What must we do?” and the jailer in Acts 16 – “What must I do to be saved?” These people didn’t need twenty verses of “Just As I Am” to prod them to get saved. These people saw the urgency and didn’t want to wait for someone else to push them into the next step.

Using the law to prepare the ground and then sowing the seed on that good ground will produce repentance and faith. And faith is not just believing in Jesus. It is trusting that when Jesus died on the cross, his suffering satisfied the justice of God.

He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Isaiah 53:11

In conclusion, we don’t need to learn about other religions. We don’t need to be a theologian. We don’t need to know a bunch of apologetics. Those things can help us win arguments, but they are not needed to win souls. God has given us his law which is to be used to bring the knowledge of sin, to stop the self-justifying mouth, and to drive the sinner to Christ. And then planting the seed of gospel – the death of Jesus Christ as payment for our sins, the burial, and the resurrection – will produce the fruit that we so desperately want to see. We need to be a witness – not just a testimony. Being a witness means we open our mouth and tell others the truth. Why are you waiting? If you were given $1000 for each person to whom you witnessed, would you witness more? That means if you witness to ten people, you would get $10,000. If you would witness more, doesn’t that say you love money more than you love God?

God has given us a command. We don’t need to look for other ways to please him. He has given us what will please him. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Obey! Go!

Posted in Sermons, Witnessing
by Gordy

Teetotaler

Tuesday, August 8th, 2006 at 8:43 pm

Many in Christianity debate whether it is OK to drink alcoholic beverages. Most would agree that scriptures are clear that drunkeness is wrong. However, some say that it is permissible to drink a little bit every now and then. Is it OK or isn’t it? Consider this passage:

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. Acts 2:1-13

Because the disciples were speaking in other tongues, those listening were amazed. But notice verse 13 tells us there were some who mocked the disciples. Notice what the mockers said: these men are full of new wine. In other words, the disciples had a reputation of only drinking new wine – unfermented wine – non-alcoholic wine. The mockers were saying the disciples were acting like drunk men, but how could they act like drunks if they only drink new wine? The early disciples were teetotalers.

Do you have a reputation like the early disciples?

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Thorns

Sunday, August 6th, 2006 at 3:24 pm

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; Genesis 3:17-18

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5

Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Galatians 3:13

Thorns were part of the original curse when Adam sinned. The Lord Jesus Christ became a curse for us, and was crowned with thorns representing that original curse.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy

Rebuke

Thursday, August 3rd, 2006 at 2:45 pm

Certainly, there are times when we should rebuke others:

Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear. 1 Timothy 5:20

Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2

These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. Titus 2:15

The question remains, though, of when we should rebuke. A commenter on this site recently posted this:

In the case of Luke 9:46-50, you should never rebuke someone who does something in Jesus’ name (especially if you have no information about their background and beliefs). You’re running the risk rebuking the work of the Holy Spirit. That’s foolish.

On the surface, that sounds pretty good, but is it scripturally sound for all cases of something done in Jesus’ name? Consider this:

But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Galatians 2:11-14

As a preacher and teacher, Peter’s actions could be understood as being done in Jesus’ name, but his actions were contrary to the truth of the gospel. Paul rightly rebuked him even though Peter’s actions were done in Jesus’ name. Luke 9:46-50 does not deal with doctrinal error or sin, so that passage cannot be used to justify never rebuking someone who does something in Jesus’ name.

It is always right to rebuke error and sin.

Posted in Quick Thoughts
by Gordy