Friday, July 31, 2009
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Friendship Evangelism Is A GOOD Thing by Leon Brown
Leon explains the importance of friendship evangelism when done properly.
Preaching the Gospel to Yourself by Tim Challies
Tim on how to preach the gospel to yourself based on Jerry Bridges book "Respectable Sins".
Developing a Passion for God by R.C. Sproul
Biblical knowledge can puff up except when it is done with the right motive.
Possessing the Treasure
God is My Strength and Portion Forever by Mike Ratliff
Timely reminder from Mike Ratliff that it not about us but about God and His glory
Obama's Science Czar says babies may become human, eventually (another bloody hands alert) by Dan Phillips
Dan Phillips on John P. Holdren, Obama's new Science Czar
"FIGHTING MAD" or other articles of interest
Muslim principal fires Christian coach after Muslim student converts – off campus by Dan Phillips
Sign of the times?
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The Culture of Offendedness by Al Mohler
Between Two Worlds
Slow to Anger by Justin Taylor
Justin takes passages from Scripture to show God's mercy toward us because He is slow to anger.
Can We Talk? by Phil Johnson
Phil Johnson on the postmodernists' emphasis of conversation and dialogue over truth.
Monday, July 27, 2009
The Spirit Convicting
Not "Conviction of Sin"
But there is nothing whatever in the kind of conviction of sin mentioned above which has any tendency to change the heart or make it better. No matter how clear or how strong such convictions are, there is nothing in them which approximates to those that the Spirit produces in those whom He quickens. Such convictions may be accompanied by the most alarming apprehensions of danger, the imagination may be filled with the most frightful images of terror, and Hell may seem almost uncovered to their terrified view. Very often, under the sound of the faithful preaching of Eternal Punishment, some are aroused from their lethargy and feelings of the utmost terror are awakened in their souls, while there is no real spiritual conviction of the exceeding sinfulness of sin. On the other hand, there may be deep and permanent spiritual convictions where the passions and the imagination are very little excited.
Solemn is it to realize that there are now in Hell multitudes of men and women who on earth were visited with deep conviction of sin, whose awakened conscience made them conscious of their rebellion against their Maker, who were made to feel something of the reality of the everlasting burnings, and the justice of God meting out such punishment to those who spurn His authority and trample His laws beneath their feet. How solemn to realize that many of those who experienced such convictions were aroused to flee from the wrath to come, and became very zealous and diligent in seeking to escape the torments of Hell, and who under the instinct of self-preservation took up with "religion" as offering the desired means of escape. And how unspeakably solemn to realize that many of those poor souls fell victim to men who spoke "smooth things," assuring them that they were the objects of God’s love, and that nothing more was needed than to "receive Christ as your personal Savior." How unspeakably solemn, we say, that such souls look to Christ merely as a fire-escape, who never—from a supernatural work of the Spirit in their hearts—surrendered to Christ as Lord
Does the reader say, "Such statements as the above are most unsettling, and if dwelt upon would destroy my peace." We answer, O that it may please God to use these pages to disturb some who have long enjoyed a false peace. Better far, dear reader, to be upset, yea, searched and terrified now, than die in the false comfort produced by Satan, and weep and wail for all eternity. If you are unwilling to be tested and searched, that is clear proof that you lack an "honest heart." An "honest" heart desires to know the Truth. An "honest" heart hates pretense. An "honest" heart is fearful of being deceived. An "honest" heart welcomes the most searching diagnosis of its condition. An "honest" heart is humble and tractable, not proud, presumptuous, and self-confident. 0 how very few there are who really possess an "honest heart."
Characteristics of the Spirit’s True Conviction
The "honest" heart will say, "If it is possible for an unregenerate soul to experience the convictions of sin you have depicted above, if one who is dead in trespasses and sins may, nevertheless, have a vivid and frightful anticipation of the wrath to come, and engage in such sincere and earnest endeavors to escape from the same, then how am I to ascertain whether my convictions have been of a different kind from theirs?" A very pertinent and a most important question, dear friend. In answering the same, let us first point out that, soul terrors of Hell are not, in themselves, any proof of a supernatural work of God having been wrought in the heart: it is not horrifying alarms of the everlasting burnings felt in the heart which distinguishes the experience of quickened souls from that of the un-quickened; though such alarms are felt (in varying degrees) by both classes.
In His particular saving work of conviction, the Holy Spirit occupies the soul more with sin itself than with punishment. This is an exercise of the mind to which fallen men are exceedingly averse: they had rather meditate on almost anything than upon their own wickedness: neither argument, entreaty, nor warning will induce them to do so; nor will Satan suffer one of his captives—till a mightier One comes and frees him—to dwell upon sin, its nature, and vileness. No, he constantly employs all his subtle arts to keep his victim from such occupation, and his temptations and delusions are mixed with the natural darkness and vanity of men’s hearts so as to fortify them against convictions; so that he may keep "his goods in peace" (Luke 11:21).
It is by the exceeding greatness of His power that the Holy Spirit fixes the mind of a quickened and enlightened soul upon the due consideration of sin. Then it is that the subject of this experience cries, "my sin is ever before me" (Ps. 51:3), for God now reproves him and "sets his sins in order" before his eyes (Ps. 50:21). Now he is forced to behold them, no matter which way he turns himself. Feign would he cast them out of his thoughts, but he cannot: "the arrows" of God stick in his heart (Job 6:4), and he cannot get rid of them. He now realizes that his sins are more in number than the hairs of his head (Ps. 40:12). Now it is that "the grass withereth, the flower fadeth; because the Spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it" (Isa. 40:7).
The Spirit occupies the quickened and enlightened soul with the exceeding sinfulness of sin. He unmasks its evil character, and shows that all our self-pleasing and self-gratification are but a species of sinfulness—of enmity against Him—against His Person, His attributes, His government. The Spirit makes the convicted soul feel how grievously he has turned his back upon God (Jer. 32:33), lifted up his heel against Him and trampled His laws underfoot. The Spirit causes him to see and feel that he has forsaken the pure Fountain for the foul stream, preferred the filthy creature above the ineffable Creator, a base lust to the Lord of glory.
The Spirit convicts the quickened soul of the multitude of his sins. He realizes now that all his thoughts, desires and imaginations, are corrupt and perverse; conscience now accuses him of a thousand things which hitherto never occasioned him a pang. Under the Spirit’s illumination the soul discovers that his very righteousnesses are as "filthy rags," for the motive which prompted even his best performances were unacceptable to Him who "weigheth the spirits." He now sees that his very prayers are polluted, through lack of pure affections prompting them. In short, he sees that "from the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in him; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores" (Isa. 1:6).
The Spirit brings before the heart of the convicted one the character and claims of God Sin is now viewed in the light of the Divine countenance, and he is made to feel what an evil and bitter thing it is to sin against God. The pure light of God, shining in the conscience over against vile darkness, horrifies the soul. The convicted one both sees and feels that God is holy and that he is completely unholy; that God is good and he is vile; that there is a most awful disparity between Him and us. He is made to feelingly cry, "How can such a corrupt wretch like I ever stand before such a holy God, whose majesty I have so often slighted?" Now it is that the soul is made to realize how it has treated God with the basest ingratitude, abusing His goodness, perverting His mercies, scorning his best Friend. Reader, has this been your experience?
"Perhaps there are some here who are not the people of God, and yet they are very happy and prosperous. They have all that heart can wish, and as they hear me talk about God's children being chastened, they say, "I do not want to be one of them, if such is their portion." You would rather be what you are, would you? "Yes," say you. Hearken! We will suppose that we have before us a prince of the blood who will one day be a king. He has been doing something wrong, and his father has chastened him the rod. There stands the young prince with the tears running down his cheeks; and over yonder is a street arab, who has no father that he knows of—certainly none that ever chastened him for his good. He may do what he likes—use any sort of language—steal, lie, swear, if he likes, and no one will chasten him. He stands on his head, or makes wheels in the streets, or rolls in the dirt, but no father ever holds a rod over him. He sees this little prince crying, and he laughs at him, "You don't have the liberty I do. You are not allowed to stand on your head as I do. Your father wouldn't let you beg for coppers by the side of the omnibuses as I do. You don't sleep under an arch all night as I do. I would not be you to catch that thrashing! I would sooner be a street-boy than a prince!" Your little prince very soon wipes his eyes, and answers, "Go along with you. Why, I would rather be chastened every day and be a prince and heir to a kingdom, than I would be you with all your fine liberty!" He looks down upon the ragged urchin with the greatest conceivable pity, even though he himself is smarting from the rod. Now, sinners, that is just what we think of you and your freedom from heavenly discipline. When you are merriest and happiest, and fullest of your joy, we would not be you for the world; when you have been electrified by that splendid spectacle at the theater, or have enjoyed yourself so much in a licentious dance, or, perhaps, in something worse, we would not be as you are. Take us at our worst—when we are most sick, most desponding, most tried, most penitent before God, we would not exchange with you at your best. Would we change with you, for all your mirth and sinful hilarity? No, that we would not! Ask the old woman in the winter time, who has only a couple of sticks to make a fire with, and has nothing to live upon but what the tender mercy of the parish allows her, ask her if she would change with Dives in his purple and fine linen. Look at her. She puts on an old red cloak to shelter her poor limbs, which are as full of rheumatism as they can be; the cupboard is bare, her poor husband lies in the churchyard, and she has not a child to come and see her. Ah, there she is. You say, "She is a miserable object." Here is the young squire in his top-boots, coming home from the hunt. He is standing in front of her. He might say to her, with all his large possessions and broad acres, "You would change with me, mother, would you not?" She knows his character, and she knows that he has no love to God, and no union to Christ, and therefore she replies, "Change with you? no, that I would not, for a thousand worlds."
For the Sick and Afflicted
A Sermon(No. 1274)
EVEN WHEN ADDRESSING our fellow-men there should be a fitness about our speech; therefore Solomon represents the preacher as seeking out acceptable words, or words meet for the occasion. When we approach those who are high in authority this necessity becomes conspicuous, and therefore men who are petitioners in the courts of princes are very careful to order their language aright. Much more, then, when we speak before the Lord ought we to consider, as the text does, the meetness of our words. Some language must never be uttered in the divine presence, and even that which is allowed must be well weighed, and set forth with solemn humbleness. Hence Elihu does well to suggest in the text language that is "meet to be said unto God." May our lips ever be kept as by a watchful sentinel, lest they suffer anything to pass through them dishonorable to the Most High. In the divine presence—and we are always there—it is incumbent upon us to set a double watch over every word that comes from our mouth.Remember that thought is speech before God. Thought is not speech to man, for men cannot read one another's thoughts until they are set forth by words or other outward signs, but God who reads the heart regards that as being speech which was never spoken, and he hears us say in our souls many things which were never uttered by our tongues. Beloved, there are thoughts which are not meet to be thought before the Lord; and it is well for us, especially those of us who are afflicted, to be very watchful over those thoughts, lest the Lord hear us say in our hearts things which will grieve his Spirit, and provoke him to jealousy. O saints of God, since you never think except in the immediate presence of your heavenly Father, make a conscience of your every thought, lest you sin in the secret chambers of your being, and charge God foolishly. Elihu tells us what it would be proper for us to think and say, "It is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend more: that which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more."We will use the text mainly at this time in reference to those who are being chastened; and afterwards we shall see if there is not teaching in it, even to those who, at present, are not smarting under the rod. Thirdly, we shall find a word in our text to those who are not the children of God, and, therefore, know nothing of the smarting rod of fatherly correction. Perhaps to them, also, God may speak through this text. O that his Holy Spirit may deign to do so.
(Please click here to continue reading, "For the Sick and Afflicted")
Friday, July 24, 2009
Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,—II TIMOTHY 1:8-9.
ALTHOUGH God shows His glory and majesty in the gospel, yet the unthankfulness of men is such, that we have need to be exhorted, not to be ashamed of this gospel. And why so? Because God requires all creatures to do Him homage: yet the greater part rebel against Him; despise, yea, and are at defiance with the doctrine whereby He would be known and worshipped. Although men are so wicked as to lift up themselves against their Maker, let us, notwithstanding, remember that which is taught us in this place; to wit, that we be not ashamed of the gospel; for it is the witness of God.
The mind of Timothy might have been shaken; therefore, St. Paul saith to him, though the world despise me, though they mock and hate me, yet must thou not be moved by these things; for I am the prisoner of Jesus Christ. Let the world speak evil of me; it is not for my offences: God alloweth my cause; for indeed it is His. I suffer not for mine own evil doings, having His truth always on my side. Therefore, the cause of my persecution is, because I have maintained the Word of God, and continue to maintain it. Thou shouldest not be guided by the world’s judgment, for men are carried away with evil affections. Let it be sufficient for thee then, that I am as it were a pledge for the Son of God; that He magnifieth my person; that if it be reproachful to the world, it ceases not to be honored before God, and His holy angels.
Let us not deceive Jesus Christ in the testimony we owe Him, by stopping our mouths, when it is needful to maintain His honor, and the authority of His gospel. Yea, and when we see our brethren afflicted for the cause of God, let us join with them, and assist them in their affliction. Let us not be shaken by the tempests that arise, but let us always remain constant in our purpose; and stand as witnesses for the Son of God, seeing He is so gracious as to use us in such a good cause. Let us mark well, whether men suffer for their sins, or for the truth of God. When we see one oppressed, we must not despise him, lest we do injury to God: we must ascertain for what cause men suffer. If they have walked in a good conscience, and are blamed, if they are tormented because they serve God, this is enough to remove whatever the wicked world can say against them. Therefore St. Paul adds, "Be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel."
There is no man but what would willingly escape affliction; this is according to human nature; and although we confess, without dissembling, that it is a singular grace which God bestows, when He enables men to bear affliction, and maintain His cause, yet there is not one of us, but what would willingly draw his neck out of persecution. For we look not at the lesson given by St. Paul, which saith, the gospel bringeth troubles. Jesus Christ was crucified in His own person, and His doctrine is joined with many miseries. He could, if it pleased Him, cause His doctrine to be received without any gainsaying. But the Scripture must be fulfilled: "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies" (Psalm 110).
We must not be ashamed of our brethren; when we hear evil reports of them, and see them cast off by the world, let us always be with them, and endeavor to strengthen them; for the gospel cannot be without affliction; as I have already said. It pleaseth God, that men should be so divided. But He calleth all to the unity of faith; and the doctrine of the gospel is the message of atonement; but yet the faithful are drawn by the virtue of His Holy Spirit (as we shall notice more particularly hereafter) ; but the unbelievers remain in their hardness: thus the fire kindleth; as when thunder engendereth in the air, there must needs be trouble; so it is when the gospel is preached.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Meet the Real Walter Cronkite by Joseph Farah
Cronkite advocated a New World Order/One World Government. Watch Cronkite's acceptance speech on YouTube. Link is included in the article.
Delight in the Lord's Day by Tim Challies
Tim reminds us of the importance of the Lord's Day and gives us practical ways in which we can delight in it.
Sanctification in an Era of Confusion by Jason Robertson
Excerpts from John D. Hannah's article "John Owen and the Normal Christian Life".
The Greater Sin by Bob Gonzales
Are there degrees of sin? Good article, but I don't necessarily agree with Bob Gonzales' view of the unpardonable sin. Interesting view though.
DeYoung, Restless, and Reformed
Questions for Your Missions Budget by Kevin DeYoung
What to look for when supporting your local and overseas missionaries.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Newhall, Saturday morning July 19, 2009
Open air preached James 1:1-12 and Rom. 1: 18-20; Conversation with Carlos
I was originally going to preach on the passage that I was studying for which was Rom. 1: 18-20, but I decided to change it to James 1: 1-12 after Ricardo asked the men we were witnessing to, "What question would you like to ask us?" Their response was something like, "How can God help us to deal with the fact that we are having a hard time finding work?" I knew that I had to change the original sermon that I had prepared for since the passage in Romans did not deal with the issue they wanted answered.
The problem was that I didn't study the James passage, so I read James chapter one a few times, and just trusted the Holy Spirit to help me deliver the message to these men. I started with a brief introduction of the book of James, some information about the author, and some historical background. I also emphasized the fact that James in this first chapter was writing to Christians and telling Christians that the way to deal with the trials that they are currently facing in their lives is by faith. A faith which they have received from God. Moreover, I explained to the men that they shouldn't rely on the things of this world because they will soon pass away like the illustration of the rich man that James describes in the first chapter. The only thing that man can hope for and have faith in is God.
I asked the men if they had the same type of faith that James describes in the first chapter. I then told the men that the only way that they can have this same faith that James describes and endure the trials that they are facing is if they have repented of their sins and put their trust in faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. It was at that point that I explained the Gospel to them.
One of the men named Carlos was very interested in what we had to say. He told us that he was addicted to drugs, and that he knew that what we were telling them was true because he intentionally avoided us when we were there on previous occasions so he wouldn't have to hear the preaching. (In fact, Ricardo would tell me later after our encounter with Carlos that Carlos was giving them a hard time the previous weeks because he was playing dice with the other men while the message was being preached, so Ricardo was surprised by his reaction.)
Carlos told us that he wanted to repent and believe, but he couldn't because of his drug addiction. We told him that he couldn't be saved by his own power, his own strength, or his own will, but he needed to simply come in humility to God and ask the Holy Spirit to save him. Ricardo explained Isaiah 66: 1-2 to Carlos. It was a very encouraging encounter with Carlos. Ricardo told me this past Saturday that they spoke to Carlos again ( I wasn't able to go), and Carlos told them that he would be attending church the following Sunday. Please pray for Carlos.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The Spirit Enlightening
Darkness by Nature
By nature fallen man is in a state of darkness with respect unto God. Be he ever so wise, learned, and skillful in natural things, unto spiritual things he is blind. Not until we are renewed in the spirit of our minds by the Holy Spirit can we see things in God’s light. But this is something which the world cannot endure to hear of, and when it be insisted upon, they will hotly deny the same. So did the Pharisees of Christ’s day angrily ask, with pride and scorn, "Are we blind also?" (John 9:40), to which our Lord replied by affirming that their presumption of spiritual light and knowledge only aggravated their sin and condemnation (v. 41); unhesitatingly, He told the blind leaders of religion, that, notwithstanding all their boasting, they had never heard the Father’s voice "at any time" (John 5:37).
There is a twofold spiritual darkness, outward and inward. The former, is the case with those who are without the Gospel until God sends the external means of grace to them: "The people which sat in darkness saw a great light" (Matthew 4:16). The latter, is the case with all, until God the Spirit performs a miracle of grace within the soul and quickens the dead into newness of life: "And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not" (John 1:5). No matter how well we are acquainted with the letter of Scripture, no matter how sound and faithful is the preaching we sit under and the books we read, until the soul be Divinely quickened it has no spiritual discernment or experimental perception of Divine things. Until a man be born again, he cannot "see" the kingdom of God (John 3:3).
Inward Darkness: Active Opposition to God
This inward darkness which fills the soul of the natural man is something far more dreadful than a mere intellectual ignorance of spiritual things. Ignorance is a negative thing, but this spiritual "darkness" is a positive thing—an energetic principle which is opposed to God. The "darkness" which rests upon the human soul gives the heart a bias toward evil, prejudicing it against holiness, fettering the will so that it never moves God-wards. Hence we read of "the power of darkness" (Col. 1:13): so great is its power that all under it love darkness "rather than light" (John 3:19). Why is it that men have little difficulty in learning a business and are quick to discover how to make money and gratify their lusts, but are stupid and unteachable in the things of God? Why is it that men are so prone and ready to believe religious lies, and so averse to the Truth? None but the Spirit can deliver from this terrible darkness. Unless the Sun of righteousness arises upon us (Mal. 4:2), we are shut up in "the blackness of darkness forever" (Jude 13).
Because of the darkness which rests upon and reigns within his entire soul, the natural man can neither know, admire, love, adore, or serve the true God in a spiritual way. How can God appear infinitely lovely to one whose every bias of his heart prompts unto hatred of the Divine perfections? How can a corrupt soul be charmed with a Character which is the absolute opposite of its own? What fellowship can there be between darkness and Light; what concord can there be between sin and Holiness; what agreement between a carnal mind and Him against whom it is enmity? False notions of God may charm even an unregenerate heart, but none save a Divinely-quickened soul can spiritually know and love God. The true God can never appear as an infinitely amiable and lovely Being to one who is dead in trespasses and sins and completely under the dominion of the Devil.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Guidelines to Open Air Preaching by Kevin Williams
Some helpful tips from Kevin Williams for those that are interested in open air preaching.
Institute for Nouthetic Studies
Church History by Jay Adams
Are Christians ignorant about church history?
Corinthian Enthusiasm by Derek Thomas
Dr. Thomas deals with the importance of teaching and using commentaries in understanding Scripture.
Misunderstanding by James White
James White comments on William Lane Craig's teaching on Calvinism.
To Cut Off the Sinner from All Hope in Himself by John Hendryx
The unregenerate must relinquish all means of self reliance in order to come to Christ.
"Brethren, I see this same man, in after life, attacked by his old sins. There is a certain "Cut-throat Lane" on the way to heaven; I have been down it myself, and I am afraid I may have to go down it yet again. It is a place where the hedges meet, and it is very dark, and it is withal very miry and muddy; and when a man is slipping about, and can hardly see his own hand, there are certain villains that come pouncing upon him, not with the highwayman's cry, "Your money or your life," but they seek to seize his treasure, and his life, and all that he has. At such a moment as that, it sometimes happens that the man puts his hand to his side to draw his sword, but he finds that it is gone! He determines to fight as best he can; but what can he do against such terrible odds when he is alone and unarmed? But oh, what a blessed thing it is for him just then to hear, as Bunyan says, the sound of a horse's hoof, and to know that there is a patrol going down the King's highway! And he can not only hear the ring of his horse's hoofs, but he can hear the King's own voice, crying out from the throne itself, "Deliver him! deliver him! deliver him from going down to the pit." That voice you shall always hear, if you are a child of God, when you get into a fix, when you are brought into peril and trouble. God has given commandment to save you, and you shall be saved,—saved from yourself, and from all the attacks of your old sins; saved from the devil; saved from ill-company; for God has said it, "Deliver him from going down to the pit." That deliverance of God is an eternal one; nor shall the infernal lion ever be able to rend one sheep or lamb that the Great Shepherd deigns to keep."
"Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom."— Job 33:24.
Let it never be forgotten that, in all that God does, he acts from good reasons. You observe that the text, speaking of the sick man, represents God as saying, "Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom." If I understand the passage as relating solely to a sick man, and take the words just on the natural common level where some place them, I would still say that the Lord here gives a reason why he suspends the operations of pain and disease, and raises up the sufferer: "I have found a ransom." There is always a reason for every act of grace which God performs for man. He acts sovereignly, and therefore he is not bound to give any reason for his actions; but he always acts wisely, and therefore he has a reason for so acting. Writing to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul says that God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." It is not an arbitrary will, but a will arising out of the wisdom and holiness of his character. So God has a reason for raising men up from their sickness, but that reason is found, not in them, but in himself. The sick man does not give God a reason for restoring him, but God finds it himself: "I have found a ransom." Possibly, the man does not even know the reason for his restoration; he may be so blind of heart that he does not care to think whether there is any reason for it or not; but God finds a reason for his mercy, and finds it entirely in himself. He is gracious to whom he will be gracious, and he has compassion on whom he will have compassion. So let each one of us think, "If I have been raised from sickness, if my life, which was almost gone, has been spared, I may not know why God has done it, but certainly he has done it in infinite wisdom and compassion: and it is only right for me to feel that a life which has been so remarkably prolonged ought to be entirely dedicated unto him who has prolonged it.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Are You Fighting?
“Fight the good fight of faith”—1 Timothy 6:12
It is a curious fact that there is no subject about which most people feel such deep interest as “fighting.” Young men and maidens, old men and little children, high and low, rich and poor, learned and unlearned, all feel a deep interest in wars, battles, and fighting.
“True Christianity”—mind that word “true.” Let there be no mistake about my meaning. There is a vast quantity of religion current in the world which is not true, genuine Christianity. It passes muster; it satisfies sleepy consciences; but it is not good money. It is not the real thing which was called Christianity eighteen hundred years ago. There are thousands of men and women who go to churches and chapels every Sunday, and call themselves Christians. Their names are in the baptismal register. They are reckoned Christians while they live. They are married with a Christian marriage-service. They are buried as Christians when they die. But you never see any “fight” about their religion! Of spiritual strife, and exertion, and conflict, and self-denial, and watching, and warring they know literally nothing at all. Such Christianity may satisfy man, and those who say anything against it may be thought very hard and uncharitable; but it certainly is not the Christianity of the Bible. It is not the religion which the Lord Jesus founded, and His Apostles preached. True Christianity is “a fight.”
He must fight the flesh. Even after conversion he carries within him a nature prone to evil, and a heart weak and unstable as water. To keep that heart from going astray, there is need of a daily struggle and a daily wrestling in prayer. “I keep under my body,” cries St. Paul, “and bring it into subjection.” “I see a law in my members warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity.” “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death? .… They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” “Mortify your members which axe upon the earth” (1 Cor. ix. 27; Rom. vii. 23, 24; Gal. v. 24; Coloss. iii. 5).
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Principle v. Preference by Lance Quinn
Lance explains the Elders task in applying principle v. preference and balancing unity when making decisions for the local church.
Slice of Laodicea
Bible Increasingly Irrelevant in the U.K. by Ingrid Schlueter
The sad consequences when our cousins across the Atlantic reject God's Law. Is America next?
Dr. Mohler's Blog
The Orthodox are Finished by Al Mohler
The Episcopal Church will begin ordaining homosexuals or the continual demise of the main line denominations.
The Lawman Chronicles
Consider the Lillies in the Field by Tony Miano
Tony and the gang evangelizing at the North Hollywood train station.
'Getting the Bird' by Erik Raymond
Erik sees a dead bird and explains Leviticus chapter 1.
MORMONS & OTHER GROUPS
By Jonathan Khan
(edited and resource recommendations by Tony Zabala)
THEM: I’m trying to be.
YOU: Do you think you’ve kept the 10 Commandments?
THEM: I’m doing my best.
YOU: Let’s go thru a few of them. Have you ever told a lie? What does that make you? (then ask if they’ve ever stolen, blasphemed, or lusted which is the same as committing adultery in your heart. You can even take them thru some of the other commandments as well. Hatred is the same as murder.)
YOU: So, by your own admission, you’re a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart. If God were to judge you by the 10 Commandments, would you be guilty or innocent?
THEM: Guilty. (Some Mormons will insist that they’ve been forgiven because Jesus is their Lord and Savior. If that’s the case, just simply say “IF” God were to judge us by the Commandments we’d all be guilty.)
YOU: So, if you’re guilty, and if there’s a heaven and a hell, where do you think you’d be going? (If the JW doesn’t say hell, just simply say “IF” there’s a heaven and a hell and we’ve broken the law we should all be headed for hell. If they still object, just ask them if they should be rewarded or punished for breaking God’s laws.)
YOU: Do you know what God did so you wouldn’t have to go to hell (or be punished)? God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ (they may try to interrupt you at this point, but simply say, “Just give me two minutes.”) God came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. He died on the cross to pay the penalty for your crimes -- He took the punishment for our sins and rose bodily from the grave and conquered death. And Jesus said if you repent, that is, turn from your sin and place your faith in Him -- what He did -- not what you can do, but in what He did for you, He’ll instantly forgive all your sins and grant you the gift of eternal life. No amount of good works you do will erase the crimes from your record. No amount of good deeds will wipe your slate clean. And, if you don’t believe God paid the penalty for your crimes, do you know who will be punished for your sins?
THEM: We will be.
YOU: That’s right. You don’t want what’s fair or right or what you deserve -- you want mercy, grace and forgiveness. It’s as simple as this: we broke the law -- Jesus paid our fine. If you repent and put your trust in Him, you’ll instantly pass from death to life, and that’s why Jesus could say to the thief on the cross, “Today you’ll be with Me in paradise.”
Mormons and JW’s will then say they don’t believe Jesus is God.
YOU: Who in the Bible, more than anyone else, would know who Jesus Christ is? Jesus Christ, right?
YOU: So, if Jesus claims to be God, that settles the issue on who He is. Go to Revelation 22.
Have them read out loud verses 7, 12, 13, 20. Sometimes, before the cultist gets to verse 20, they will admit that the person in verse 13, who is claiming to be Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last, is Jesus Christ. (Go to Isaiah 44:6 if they don’t see this.)
YOU: So Jesus Christ is claiming to be God . (To the Mormon say: He’s not the brother of the devil. To the JW say: He’s not Michael the Arch Angel.)
The cultist will immediately start searching thru their Bible to find Scriptures to prove that Jesus is not God.
YOU: Wait a second. Do you realize what you’re doing? Jesus Christ is claiming to be God, and you don’t believe Him! You’re calling Him a liar! That’s blasphemy! You need to repent of that sin and place your trust in the real Jesus Christ! If you want to know what the Bible teaches about Jesus, I’ll be more than glad to share that with you, but I will not allow you to blaspheme my Savior nor pervert my Father’s Word!
THEM: (sometimes) Why are you doing this to us? Why are you attacking us?
YOU: Go to Galatians 1:8, 9. (Have them read out loud.) God says that if an angel or man preach any other Gospel, let them be accursed. The Bible says you’re accursed and on your way to hell. I don’t want you to go there, and if I don’t warn you, I’m not loving you!
Sometimes the cultist will leave. But you’ve done your part. You’ve taken them thru the Law and given them the Gospel. God’s Word will not return void. Pray the Lord would open their spiritual eyes that they may see the true Jesus, repent and put their trust in the Savior! Stay humble and be compassionate. Remember, we were once enemies of the Cross!
If the cultists haven’t left by now, lead them to Ephesians 2:8, 9. Have them read it out loud.
YOU: So the Bible says that Salvation is a gift. Can you work for a gift? (Sometimes they will actually say “Yes”. If so, simply say: It’s your birthday and I give you a gift, but you owe me 5 bucks for it. Is it still a gift? Then say: If someone tells you that you have to be baptized to receive the gift, is it still a gift? If you have to do anything to receive the gift, is it still a gift?)
They may take you to James 2:26 which states that faith without works is dead.
YOU: Your works don’t save you. James is simply saying your works only give evidence that your faith is alive. Without works your faith is dead. And if you’re trying to get into heaven by your good works, Isaiah 64:6 says your good works are filthy rags!
Cultists have a perverted definition of the Trinity.
YOU: This is the definition of the Trinity: The Bible says there’s only one God, Isaiah 43:10. That one God eternally exists in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I don’t know how God can be what He is, but it’s what the Bible teaches. God is perfect -- I’m imperfect. God’s mind is infinite -- my mind is finite. If I could understand everything about God, I’d be God.
TO THE JEW: The Jews are God’s chosen people! Have you kept the Law of Moses -- the 10 Commandments? Take him thru the Law and give him the Gospel. Show him Zechariah 12:10. If he’s stubborn, leave him with this warning: Jesus said if you believe not that He is God, you will die in your sins, John 8:24. You better hope you’re right!
TO THE MUSLIM: Have you kept the Law of Moses -- the 10 Commandments? Take him thru the Law and give him the Gospel. He will deny that Jesus is God.
YOU: Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?
MUSLIM: He is a prophet of God.
YOU: And a prophet of God always tells the truth, right?
YOU: Well, according to the Bible, Jesus claimed to be God.
MUSLIM: Well, we don’t believe the Bible is God’s word.
YOU: Jesus said the Bible is God’s truth, John 17:17. If He’s lying, then He’s not a prophet of God. (Additional info: The Koran affirms the truth of Scripture, Sura 5:48. And it says that, if Muhammad had any questions regarding the Scriptures, he’s to ask those who were reading the Book before him (Christians), Sura 10:94.) (Additional info if people say that Islam is a peaceful religion: The Koran says to fight those who don’t believe in Allah, Sura 9:29 -- Jesus said to love your enemies, Matthew 5:44.)
MUSLIM: Have you ever read the Koran?
YOU: I don’t need to. Jesus said that Satan is the father of lies, John 8:44. If any religion denies that Jesus Christ is God, it’s Satanically inspired. And if anyone teaches that Jesus is not God, he is an agent of Satan.
The Muslim may now want to rearrange your face, but kindly remind him: You believe that Christ is a prophet, right? A prophet always tells the truth. If I were to get you a Bible, would you read it? If he says yes, get him one and tell him to start with the Book of John. If he is hostile, leave him with the same warning as you would a Jew: Jesus said if you believe not that He is God, you will die in your sins, John 8:24. You better hope you’re right.
TO A ROMAN CATHOLIC: Have you kept the 10 Commandments? Take him thru the Law and give him the Gospel. Show them that salvation is a gift, Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5.
TO A PRIEST: (after you take him thru the Law and the Gospel, if he lets you): Are we saved by grace alone thru faith in Christ alone? If he says yes, then ask him what’s the purpose of purgatory? Do your works play a part in salvation? Show him Ephesians 2: 8, 9. He may come back with Philippians 2:12. Tell him Paul is simply saying in that verse it is the believer’s responsibility to actively pursue obedience in the process of sanctification. Look at the context -- it has nothing to do with justification, Titus 3:5.
Ask: Are you saved by what you can do? Or are you saved by what Christ did? It can’t be a combination, Romans 11:6. What about the thief on the cross? He placed his trust in Christ and he was saved! He never got baptized, took Communion, did the rosary, recited “Hail Marys” or went to a confessional!
YOU: Can you lose your salvation?
YOU: If you can lose your salvation, then you have to work to keep it. It is no longer a gift. Have you been born again? (the last priest I asked said no.) Jesus said that, unless you’re born again, you will not see the Kingdom of God, John 3:3. (The priest got a little miffed after this, then scrammed.)
TO A BUDDHIST OR ATHEIST: Do you think you’re a good person?
YOU: Do you think you’ve kept the 10 Commandments?
THEM: I don’t believe in them.
YOU: (kindly) I didn’t ask if you believed in them. I asked if you’ve kept them. (Hopefully, you can now proceed with the Law and the Gospel. You can also leave out the question about the Commandments and just start with: Have you ever told a lie? Take them thru the Law initially without mentioning they are the 10 Commandments.)
YOU: Do you think you’re a good person?
BUDDHIST OR ATHEIST: Yes.
YOU: Have you ever told a lie?…
ATHEIST: I believe in science.
YOU: So what you’re saying is, you tend to be more rational and logical?
YOU: When you see a painting, it’s only logical to conclude there was a painter, right? And when you see a building, it’s only logical to conclude there was a builder, right? And when you see a red rose, isn’t it only logical to conclude there was a designer? Your cell phone… did someone make it?
YOU: How do you know? You can see it, right? Well, can’t you see flowers, animals and humans? They’re much more intricate and complex than your cell phone. Would you consider yourself to be a good person?…
TO AN EVOLUTIONIST: Who evolved first? A man or a woman? (If they think this thru, they’ll be stumped.) Isn’t it incredibly amazing that a man and a woman, each with different parts, each with different functions, both evolved at the same rate so they could procreate and perpetuate the species?! That’s just incredibly amazing! Would you consider yourself to be a good person?…
IF SOMEONE SAYS THERE’S EVIDENCE FOR EVOLUTION: If there were scientific evidence for evolution, it wouldn’t be called a theory. Would you consider yourself to be a good person?…
ANSWERS TO COMMON OBJECTIONS
1. “Religion is the cause of most wars.” Answer: Jesus said to love your enemies. If anyone goes around killing in the name of Christ, that’s hypocrisy, and Jesus said hypocrites will not enter the Kingdom of God. What about you? Have you ever killed anyone? The Bible says that hatred is the same as murder. (The Roman Catholics were responsible for the crusades and inquisitions -- not Christians!)
2. “How do we know the Bible hasn’t been mistranslated ?” Answer: If God couldn’t preserve His Word, He wouldn’t be God. Besides, Jesus said the Bible is God’s truth and He never lied, John 17:17 What about you? Have you ever lied?
3. “If God is so loving, why do babies die? Why is there so much suffering in the world?” Answer: The reason why there’s so much suffering in the world is because of sin. The reason why there’s so much pain in the world is because of evil. If God were to wipe out all the evil on this planet, you and I and the rest of humanity would instantly go up in a puff of smoke! What about you? Do you think you’re a good person?
4. “What about those who’ve never heard the Gospel?” Answer: Those who’ve never heard the Gospel will get justice. If they’ve ever lied, stolen, lusted or broken any of the other Commandments, they will be punished, not because of their ignorance, but because they’ve broken God’s laws and violated their conscience which God gave them.
The question you should be asking is: How can such a holy, righteous, perfect God let any of us live when we offend Him everyday by what we say, do and think! What about you? Do you think you’ve kept the 10 Commandments?
5. “How do I know I can trust you or your interpretation of Scripture?” Answer: You shouldn’t. In fact, I encourage you not to. Instead, go read it in the Bible and see for yourself. (It’s not your job to convince someone of the truth -- that’s the Holy Spirit’s job.)
PHRASES NOT TO USE WHEN WITNESSING! (using these phrases will create false converts)
"You need to make a decision to be a Christian." You cannot make a decision to become a Christian. You can decide the Bible is right! You can decide that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins. You can decide it's true that He rose from the grave and He's going to come again to judge the world in righteousness and that He offers you salvation if you repent and trust! You can decide that's right! But that's as far as your decision can go. Then, when you humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, He will decide to save you!
"You need to accept Jesus." Jesus doesn’t need our acceptance. We need His!
"You need to make Jesus your Lord and Savior." You can’t -- He is! You’re just living in rebellion to Him. You must surrender to Him -- repent and put your trust in Him!
"Invite Christ into your life." Repent and place your faith in Christ -- He will invite you into His Kingdom!
"Ask Jesus into your heart." You need to repent and trust Jesus with all your heart!
Recommended Resources for Further Study (Books, DVDS, Web Sites):
Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin
Marks of a Cult: A Biblical Analysis produced by Nicene Council (DVD)
Always Ready: Directions for Defending the Faith by Greg Bahnsen
The Case for Atheism, There Isn't One by Todd Friel (DVD)
The Great Debate: Does God Exist? (Video debate between Greg Bahnsen & Gordon Stein)
How to Answer a Jehovah's Witness, Robert Morey
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Jehovah's Witness by Ron Rhodes
Questions for Jehovah's Witnesses by William & Joan Cetnar
Witnesses to Jehovah (DVD)
God Makers I & II (DVD)
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Mormons by Ron Rhodes
Letters to a Mormon Elder by James White
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Muslims by Ron Rhodes
Reasoning from the Scriptures with Roman Catholics by Ron Rhodes
Catholicism: Crisis of Faith (DVD)
Seventh Day Adventism
Seventh Day Adventism: The Spirit Behind the Church (DVD)
Apologetic Web Sites:
Alpha and Omega Ministries (James White)
Ankerberg Theological Research Institute (John Ankerberg)
Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry (CARM) (Still recommending, but watch out for Matt Slick's view on universalism)
Walter Martin's Religious InfoNet (Walter Martin the original "Bible Answer Man")