Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Living to the Glory of Christ

God’s Common Grace

This will be a short post.  I was blessed today by two men approaching me at work over issues to pray about.  I was blessed to hear from another guy about an act of kindness by his family toward him and his family.  All of these were unsaved people.  It showed me the goodness of God.  It showed me the mercy of God.  It showed me the common grace that God gives to people.

While I don’t deny that people abide under the wrath of God apart from Christ (Psalm 7:11; Romans 1:18), God’s love for the lost is still manifested.  It was seen at the cross (John 3:16; 1 John 4:9).  It is seen in the fact that God lets people live despite their sins.  God could kill sinners at any time if He wanted to and He would be just to do so for they have broken His law and rebel against Him (Genesis 38:7) yet He is good and loving toward this wicked world.  God would have every right to end it all now yet He is patient (2 Peter 3:9).

I rejoice that God is good even to the lost.  At times, despite their sins and blindness (2 Corinthians 4:4), the light of truth shines in a little and they see how good God is.  They understand, even if just for a moment, that their lives, their blessings, their laughter, their joy – all this comes from God alone.

May we preach the gospel to the lost so that they can fully know the truth of God and know His love in a saving sense (John 10:10; 1 John 4:10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/08/2014 at 10:21 PM

A Life of Evangelism Instead of a Program Called Evangelism

I was blessed by an article I read recently by Mack Stiles on evangelism over at Crossway Publishers blog.  One of the points Stiles makes is that evangelism should be taught as a lifestyle and not a program.  His point is that evangelism programs do not work.

I agree.

Evangelism can be trained and modeled but in reality, evangelism works best with our lives.  When people see (through biblical teaching) the glory of the cross, the goodness of God that led them to repentance (Romans 2:4), the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14), the work of the Spirit, the necessity of obedience to Christ as Lord (Luke 6:46-49), etc. – they see that evangelism is something we do as we walk.  As we go, we make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20).  This looks different for every person but each disciple is called to make disciples.

When we try to take evangelism and stuff it into a program, I have watched those programs simply burn out.  Prayer meetings are the same.  We can use guilt to try to keep people coming to our programs but they typically die out in time.  I remember once trying to start a house church Bible study on evangelism where I would teach on biblical evangelism but the problem was that it was easy to talk about evangelism in the comfort of our living room but harder to get people motivated to go outside of the walls to their world and take the gospel to their lost friends.  I taught and taught on evangelism but to no avail as no one was active in sharing their faith.

The better idea is to preach the glory of Christ.  When people see the beauty of the gospel, the glory of the King, His sovereignty over the nations, they will take the gospel not out of obedience to our cause or to our class but for the glory of God.  The reason that we long for God to be preached is because we see that He is worthy to be worshiped (John 4:23-24).

Better than to teach people the wonder of the gospel than to focus on programs aimed at trying to get them out of their comfort zones into the world.  In time, as they see the power of God, they will go.  As people love Christ, they will evangelize as they go into the world.  This is simply the natural overflow of our worship and adoration of our great King.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/08/2014 at 12:03 PM

Do You Grow Weary With the Arminian-Calvinism Debate?

I had someone write and ask me this and my answer is: yes.  Arminianism and Calvinism doesn’t consume me though I do read a good bit of theology books.  I typically can be always found reading a theology book and it usually will revolve around the Arminian vs. Calvinism debate but only as a side note.  I enjoy reading theology books that focus on a subject such as God (theology proper) or salvation (soteriology).  My reading doesn’t typically focus on just the Arminian vs. Calvinist debate.

My theology reading actually is diverse.  I do enjoy reading some Calvinist theologians and writers.  For instance, I enjoy reading John MacArthur and John Piper though I don’t agree with them on every issue.  I enjoy reading dead Calvinists too such as Robert Murray M’Cheyne or Charles Spurgeon and even enjoy reading Calvin here and there.  I have been reading John Gill as of late.

My point here is not to glorify my reading but to just point out that I don’t make the Arminian vs. Calvinist issue a big deal for me.  Those who know me best will know that I often joke about being Arminian (such as yelling, “That is an Arminian song” after we sang “Jesus Loves the Little Children” at church).  I joke with my sister (who is Presbyterian) often about Calvinism.  I truly do enjoy my Calvinist brothers and sisters and believe them to be genuine followers of the Lamb.  I am not “anti-Calvinist” as some would believe a good Arminian must be.

In the end, salvation is the work of God by His grace (John 1:12-13; Ephesians 2:8-9).  God doesn’t save poor Arminians or poor Calvinists.  He saves sinners (1 Timothy 1:15-16).  Jesus said He came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10).  Jesus didn’t die for Arminians or Calvinists but for sinners (Isaiah 53:4-6).  That qualifies me (Romans 3:23).  It will be redeemed sinners who will be in heaven (Revelation 5:9-10) who have been saved by the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  For that, I rejoice!

The one thing we all must do as disciples of Jesus is to look to Jesus alone to save us (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Not to our Arminianism or Calvinism but to Jesus alone.  He said He was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him (John 14:6).  Friend, if you and I are to be found in glory it will be because of Christ and not because of Arminius or Calvin or Spurgeon or Wesley.  We are baptized only into Christ and not in a human being (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).  May we all make much about Him and His glory (2 Corinthians 4:5).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/11/2014 at 5:22 PM

When I Look At The Wicked (Psalm 10)

I am surrounded by unbelievers.  At my work, I am the only Christian that I know of.  I hope I am wrong (Romans 11:4).  The men that I work with are greedy, lustful, vile, cursing, blasphemous, and full of hatred.  They can be nice at times and I enjoy working with them but they are not disciples of Jesus at all.  While they would not claim to hate God with their mouths, they hate Him with their lives. They are what Stephen Charnock described as “practical atheists” who live their lives without every thinking about God though they know that they will face Him when they die (Hebrews 9:27).

In our society, it seems the sinful and wicked are living it up.  It is easy to look around and see the blasphemous walking around, living their lives to the fullest, and never considering God.  Their lives are full of sin, of their own desires, of seeking pleasure.  They do everything with an eye on themselves.  Even when disaster strikes and they seek to do just a little good toward other humans, their efforts are tainted by their own pride and self-glorification.  They do want to honor God nor give thought to Him just as Romans 1:21 reads.

And yet the wicked seem to live comfortable lives while the righteous struggle.  In fact, I have personally known people who claimed Christ and have abandoned faith in Him because it seemed their life with Christ was without joy and full of misery.  They saw the wicked prospering and that the wicked were having fun in this life and they wanted that.  They abandoned faith in Christ for the sins of this world.  They know 2 Peter 2:20-22 but they would rather have a little fun, enjoy the sinful pleasures of this life than to focus on eternity.  Like Demas in 2 Timothy 4:10, they love this present world.

Psalm 10 speaks to us who are seeking righteousness.  Psalm 10 is perfect for our day because how often have I also looked at the wicked and it seemed they were living carefree, fun, amazing, joyful lives that was full of sin.  I read 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and the wicked I see are fulfilling this but yet their lives are not marked by any suffering, no judgment, and they seemed to not have a care in this world.  Like Psalm 10:4, they seem to have no thought about God at all.  God is the last thing on their minds (or so it seems).

When the righteous focus in on the wicked, we do just what the psalmist does in Psalm 10:1-11 and we see the carefree lives of the wicked and we are discouraged.  How can the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer?  How can this vile person who curses the name of the Lord live such a joyful life?  The wicked around us live their lives just as Psalm 10:11 states.  They think God will not see nor judge them and if there is a God, He will love them and let them into His eternal bliss simply because they are human and He knows this.

Yet for the righteous, we continue in Psalm 10 down to verses 12-18 and here we finally see the end of the wicked.  The judgment of God will come.  The wicked will perish.  Obviously, I don’t want them to perish in their sins.  I want the wicked to repent as does the Lord (Ezekiel 18:30-32; 2 Peter 3:9).  God has sent His one and only Son to die for our sins and all can repent or perish (Acts 17:30-31).  The wicked needs to see the goodness of God in letting them live in spite of their sins (Romans 2:4).  The will of God is for the wicked to repent and embrace the Lord Jesus as their only hope for salvation from their sins (1 Timothy 2:4-6).  Psalm 10:12-18 shows that the Lord will vindicate His children.  God will show Himself strong in the end.  The wicked are allowed to continue in their sins for now but a time will come when they will either die or the world will end but either way, they will not find joy forever.  The wicked will suffer God’s righteous judgment (Psalm 10:16-18).

I rejoice that I am washed in the blood of Jesus.  The blood alone is my answer for my sins (Ephesians 1:7).  Jesus bore my sins on the cross and He is my Lord and Savior.  I want the wicked to know this.  I want the wicked to repent and turn from their sins (Luke 13:5).  The wicked falsely believe that they have joy.  Acts 3:19-20 promises us true joy when we repent.  The joy for the disciple of Christ comes from the Holy Spirit who lives in us (Galatians 5:22-23) and this joy is not based on circumstances or upon how people treat us.  Our joy, the joy of knowing Christ, the joy of having Him abide in us, the joy of knowing that we will see Him face to face and stand in awe of His glory when we die – this joy is not based on this world.  This joy cannot be taken from us by what happens to us.  Our joy is found in Jesus and we delight in knowing, loving, worshiping, and serving Him.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/21/2013 at 10:10 AM

Guilt Evangelism vs. Gospel Evangelism

Over the years I have often fallen prey to guilt evangelism.  I would hear a sermon on the lost and my heart would break and then I would get up, grit my teeth, and go tell someone about Jesus.  I would witness to a few folks and then my love for the lost would grow cold again.  I would read a book on hell and the horrors there and would again want to witness to people to keep them from going to that awful place.  But yet again my love for the lost would grow cold.

The problem with me was that I was motivated to share my faith by guilt and not by love.  I would have told you that I loved the lost and had compassion on them to want them to be saved but in reality, I was just feeling a bit guilty for not doing what I knew God wanted me to do and that was share my faith.   I viewed evangelism as a chore to be done and not as an act of love and mercy enabled by the gospel.

True gospel centered evangelism is not focused on sharing my faith out of guilt.  After all, I am not saved because I share my faith but because of the work of Christ.  When Jesus uttered, “It is finished” (John 19:30), what part was not finished?  He completed the work of salvation that God required and now He commands me to repent and believe the gospel (John 6:29).  God has reconciled me to Himself in His Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  This salvation is based all upon Jesus Christ and His shed blood and not my own works (Ephesians 2:1-10).  While true faith works (James 2:14-26), saving faith focuses all on Jesus and the grace of God motivates me toward service (Titus 2:11-14).  True faith does obey (Matthew 7:21-27) but true faith rests in Jesus and His righteousness and not my own (Philippians 3:7-11).

Guilt evangelism and gospel evangelism are quite easy to differentiate.  Notice the contrasts:

  • Guilt evangelism focuses on numbers; Gospel evangelism focuses on the glory of God.
  • Guilt evangelism focuses on my efforts; Gospel evangelism focuses on the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • Guilt evangelism appeases my flesh and soothes my guilty conscience; Gospel evangelism recognizes that Jesus has saved me by His grace and He uses me by His grace for His glory.
  • Guilt evangelism makes me shed tears for the people; Gospel evangelism makes me shed tears for the blasphemy of God’s holy name and character.
  • Guilt evangelism leads me to sow a few seeds here and there; Gospel evangelism seeks to sow seeds in every place I go for the glory of God.
  • Guilt evangelism is focused on methods; Gospel evangelism is focused on the message of Christ.
  • Guilt evangelism leads me to pray just a bit for the lost; Gospel evangelism leads me to pray for the salvation of souls for the glory of the King.
  • Guilt evangelism places the emphasis on me, myself, and I; Gospel evangelism focuses on God alone.
  • Guilt evangelism is satisfied by witnessing to a few people; Gospel evangelism is concerned that the Lamb may receive the reward of His suffering.
  • Guilt evangelism rests in the ability of flesh; Gospel evangelism rests in the sovereignty of God.

I pray that you and I are motivated by the gospel and not by our flesh to share our faith.  From the overflow of worship of our King comes the desire to see others saved and worshiping the King (Psalm 51:10-17).  The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses for Jesus (Acts 1:8).  This power comes from the Holy Spirit and not from our flesh.  The Holy Spirit enables us to be witnesses for the glory of Jesus so that the world can see our King.  Both the fear of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:11) and the love of the Lord motivates us to be His witnesses (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).  I pray that we all would be faithful witnesses for Christ our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:20; 1 Peter 3:15-16).

Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Romans 15:20-21; Revelation 22:17

The Gospel Is Not About You

We live in such a narcissistic society.  We are told that our happiness is vital.  We needs our vital.  Our desires our vital.  We are told that we are all heroes, we are all good, we are all champions.  This thinking has been in the Church for many years but sadly it is reaching new heights these days.  The Church in the West seems to be championing this idea that we are special, that God needs us in His service, that He is lonely and wants fellowship with us.  We are told how special we are to God.  The “sermons” I hear these days coming from the seeker churches is more and more focusing in on the “goodness of Man” instead of the glory of God.

The bottom line is that the gospel is not about us.  God didn’t send His Son to die on the cross merely because of us, that He wanted to redeem us.  He sent His Son for His glory!  He sent His Son to redeem us from His just wrath against our sins (Romans 3:22-27; 5:8-9).  The entire gospel story is all about God!  It is focused on the glory of God and the goodness of God and the holiness of God.  It is not an emphasis upon us.  The gospel places the emphasis on the glory of God.

We should focus on this.  The gospel is not about your loneliness.  The gospel is not about your depression.  The gospel is not about your lack of self-esteem or your lack of finding love.  The gospel is not about you.  The only part we contribute to the gospel is our sin (Isaiah 53:4-6).  We are lost, depraved, wicked sinners who deserve the wrath of God.  That is our part.  The gospel begins with God and ends with God.  The gospel is not about us.

What should we then preach?  What we need is a good dose of preaching that we are sinners.  We know this inside our hearts (Romans 2:15).  We know that we have violated the Law of God (1 John 3:4) but we want to hear how good we are.  We want to hear how loved we are.  We want to hear that Jesus loved us so much that if we were the only person on earth, He would have died for us.  We want to hear that God longs for us and that He wants us so bad that He died for us.  There are some truths in there but the main reason Christ died was to glorify God (John 17:1-3).  Jesus gave His life for our sins, no doubt, but He did this all for the glory of God!  God was glorifying His name through His Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).

So what is the main emphasis of the gospel?  The glory of God given in His Son in saving sinners for His glory.  God didn’t have to save anyone.  We all acknowledge this.  We all acknowledge that God would have been just to destroy Adam and Eve the moment they fell into sin (Genesis 3:1-7).  But God gave grace (Genesis 3:21).  God even promised the Messiah in Genesis 3:15 Who would come and destroy the works of Satan (Hebrews 2:9, 14-15).  But He did all this for His glory!  He did this because He foreknew in His omniscience that this all would glorify His name.  God is all about Himself (Romans 11:33-36).

And we should be as well.  Our ambition should be the glory of God in all things (1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; 1 Peter 4:11.  Even in eternity the glory of God will be the focus (Revelation 4:11).  The focal point of heaven is not streets of gold or angels or us but the glory of God (Revelation 21:23).

May our passion be for the glory of the King!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/25/2012 at 11:58 AM

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