Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Obedience to God

Evangelism and Returning From Missions Trips

I have previously written on missions trips and my thoughts on them.  My mixed feelings on them are that they can be both a blessing and a curse.  The gospel that is preached by missions groups is often the American gospel of “God wants to bless you, make you happy, He loves you endlessly.  So pray this prayer and you are in forever!”  The poor gospel that is often preached in the evangelical churches is carried over in missions trips and so missionaries spend their time when mission groups depart having to clean up the mess (and not just the physical mess).  The spiritual mess is worse.  It leaves behind people thinking that the way to God is through praying a “sinner’s prayer” that has no biblical basis and they think that God wants to bless their socks off.  Like those in Matthew 13:20-21, they turn away from Christ as soon as disappointments come.

The problem with the American gospel goes deeper than just missions groups.  In many ways, to challenge the traditions such as the “sinner’s prayer” is often viewed with skepticism or heresy.  Evangelists who do not give “altar calls” or pray “the prayer” with people are not true evangelists in the minds of those who hold to these traditions.  When you challenge people over the biblical nature of “altar calls” or the “sinner’s prayer,” people will often ignore the Scriptures and leave the church.  I had one lady respond to me once by saying, “I’ll go find a preacher who agrees with me and have him correct you.”  She never returned of course.

The reality is that salvation is the work of God.  When I use to believe in the “sinner’s prayer” I was shocked to read the works of John Wesley and see that he never used the “sinner’s prayer” nor altar calls.  Wesley preached hard on justification by faith alone and he preached hard on repentance but Wesley understood correctly that salvation was the work of God.  He knew that being born again was the work of the Spirit (John 3:3).  He pointed to the depravity of man as proof that we needed the divine aid of the Spirit of God to be saved (Acts 16:14-15).  Jesus taught in John 16:8-11 that the Spirit would do such a work.  Wesley taught that we cannot earn God’s salvation by our works (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:10-18).  We are too sinful.  Too wicked in our hearts.  We have too many idols.  Salvation must be the work of the Holy Spirit.  Jesus died to secure our salvation but the Spirit of God must aid us to be saved.  Wesley avoided Calvinism by teaching prevenient grace.  By the way, Calvinists also taught the same for many years but today they shun such words.  Wesley taught (as did Arminius) that the Spirit frees the sinful will so that humans may believe the gospel.  The Spirit does not force (or drag as R.C. Sproul contends from John 6:44) but He makes us willing.  He does not make us believe nor does He make it so that we have no choice but to believe but He frees the sinful will to believe.  The key difference between say the preaching of John Wesley and his friend George Whitefield on this point would be whether God places conditions upon election.  Wesley argued yes while Whitefield argued no.

However, I digress.  Often missions groups come back home fired up.  Like teenagers from a youth camp, they come back “hungry for God” and have a zeal to “read the Word and make disciples.”  Yet in just a few days, they often can be found right back to their nominal lives.  This happens because of two reasons.  First, while on a missions trip, people are often focused on God and His kingdom.  While “serving” on missions trips, people often recognize their need to pray, to read their Bible, and their conversations center around the Lord Jesus.  When they come back home, they often get comfortable again and go back to their prayerlessness, their struggle to read their Bible, and their lack of evangelism and gospel conversations.  Secondly, missions trips often produce “positive peer pressure” where people around each other encourage each other on toward good deeds (Hebrews 10:24).  Missions trips often draw closer together as they pray, spend time talking about the needs and what they see.  This positive peer pressure leads them to pray, to witness, to be bold, to talk much about Christ and His kingdom, to believe in the power of God.  Yet when they come home, those conversations end as they go back to work, back to school, back to their worlds where few talk about Christ and His glory.  This leads toward apathy.

How can we prevent this?  What makes consistent disciples?  I would argue that first and foremost is the gospel itself.  When people reduce the gospel to “steps to peace with God” or the “sinner’s prayer,” they reduce the power of the gospel.  The gospel is not a plan or a pattern.  The gospel is a person.  The gospel focuses us upon the Lord Jesus (Romans 1:16-17).  The gospel is all about Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-3).  The gospel focuses on what Jesus has done for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.  The reality of the cross should be our focus (Galatians 6:14).  The cross empties us of self (Colossians 3:1-3).  Christ must be the focus in our gospel (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; 2 Corinthians 4:5).  When we love Jesus for what He has done in saving us, this takes us beyond altar calls, “sinner’s prayers,” and takes us toward true discipleship (John 14:15; cf. Matthew 28:20).

Secondly, being a disciple of Jesus does involve disciplines.  Jesus said that those who abide in His teachings are His true disciples (John 8:31-32).  Jesus taught us that only those who do the will of His Father are saved (Mathew 7:21-27).  As a disciple, I pray because Jesus told me to pray (Matthew 6:5).  I spend time in the Word because Jesus told me to abide in His teachings.  I worship and adore Jesus because I realize that I only have life in Him (John 15:1-11).  Legalism believe that what I do earns God’s favor.  Discipline is not legalism.  I am not trying to earn God’s favor as I have that in Christ (Romans 5:1) but I am disciplined because I want to glorify my King (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

Thirdly, it is the recognition that salvation is based on Jesus Christ and not my feelings.  Feelings come and go but this does not change my salvation.  My salvation is not based on how I feel.  It is based on the finished work of Christ (John 19:30).  In no way is salvation based on what I feel.  The Bible, in fact, says that we are to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7).  This does not mean that we don’t have experiences or any feelings but rather that our hope is not based on these things.  What we feel often doesn’t match up to what is true.  This is why salvation must be in Christ alone and not what we do.  The Bible continually points to the reality of 1 John 5:13.  Our salvation is based on Jesus and not how I feel.  This leads to the ability to always being ready to share the gospel for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15-16).  Paul the Apostle said our focus must be on that which is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

Lastly, I would challenge people coming back from missions trips to do something with their fire by going out into our own neighborhoods with the gospel.  You don’t have to go 1000 miles to find lost people.  They are all around us.  Just as the people in Mexico need the gospel.  So the person living next door needs the gospel.  I am amazed that we will board a plane and go across the sea to preach the gospel to the lost but we will not even lift our voices in our own towns here to spread the gospel.  Not everyone is an open air preacher but we all can have gospel conversations that point people toward Christ.  Why do we get bold in other nations but are cowards here?  If Proverbs 28:1 is true in Africa on our missions trips, why is it not true here?  If Acts 1:8 is true when missions teams head to the coal mines of West Virginia then it is true in the streets of our towns. Don’t stop making disciples.  Develop a culture of evangelism where it is just natural to share the gospel with the lost.  I believe that disciples should try to use every conversation we have to point toward the gospel.  This doesn’t happen though programs on evangelism but through the culture of evangelism.  As a disciple, I am always looking for ways to tell others about Christ and His kingdom.  Some conversations are better than others and I have failed at times but God is faithful to His promises and my heart is to just sow His Word wherever I can and as often as I can (Matthew 13:3).  This is not based on a program or even one method but upon the realization that God has sent us all (who are true disciples) on a mission (Mark 16:15).

I hope these series of posts on missions trips and evangelism was helpful.  My heart is burdened to see the Church spreading the gospel but not out of legalistic means but simply based on a culture of evangelism where the love of Christ compels us to go (2 Corinthians 5:14 NKJV).  Our evangelism should be the overflow of devotion to Christ.  We long to simply obey God because He is good toward us (Romans 2:4) and we want to make Him known among the nations (Acts 5:28-32).

I pray that many will hear His call and go (Isaiah 6:8).

Never Confuse Knowing Theology With Knowing Christ

Jesus rebuked the Pharisees by pointing out that they studied the Scriptures but missed Him.  John 5:39 reads, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me.”

These were men who studied the Scriptures.  They were regarded as experts in the Law of God.  Yet Jesus said that they missed God in the process.  He didn’t rebuke them for studying the Scriptures but for missing Him while doing so.

I pray that is not me.  I met a man a while back who has a deep knowledge of the Word.  He has studied at some of the finest universities in the United States and his goal in life is to teach theology and Greek at a seminary level (which he is now doing).  Yet as I talked with this man, I realized that his whole view of the Christian life was one of theology.  He looked at things through the lenses of his theology.  When I spoke with him about witnessing, he begin to talk about the various methods of evangelism and which he felt was more sound.  When I asked him about his prayer life, he looked offended and told me that prayer was between him and God and it was none of my business how much time he spent in prayer.  After all, he reasoned with me, time proves nothing.  Of course I agreed but merely wanted to know how his prayer life was.

What saddened me about this encounter was the fact that this man knew theology.  He knew much about God.  Yet in my speaking with him, I never detected a deep love for God.  He could tell me facts about the Bible and could explain to me aspects of theology but he didn’t seem to have any passion for the gospel itself.  I challenged him to come witnessing with us sometime and he just stared at me with a blank look.  I told him that we could use his intellect when we go evangelizing on college campuses but he said that he would be very busy with his theological studies and teaching.

I love theology.  I have enjoyed reading theology books for many years.  I am not on the level as this man above.  I would never say that I am an expert on theology nor do I feel qualified to teach on a seminary campus but I do love theology but I love theology because of where it leads me: to Jesus.  I want to know Jesus more and more.  I want to love Him more and more.  I have so far to go.

Paul the Apostle was a major theologian both before his conversion to Christ and afterwards.  One cannot read the book of Romans and not see that Paul was a theologian.  Yet in Philippians 3:2-11 he wrote this:

2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.

Paul showed that in his former way of life, he was very religious indeed.  He studied under Gamaliel who was one of the leading theologians of his day (Acts 22:3).  Paul writes in Philippians 3:6 that he was blameless under the law.  Yet he considered all that loss to knowing Christ.  Paul was willing to trade his theology for knowing Christ.  And yet he was still a great theologian as his New Testament letters prove!  Paul went from loving theology to loving God.  He learned that Christ is not found in a book.  He is found in reality.

I pray that my own theological studies drive me toward Jesus, toward holiness, toward worship, toward prayer, toward evangelism.  I don’t want to have a head knowledge relationship with Christ but a true relationship with Him.  I don’t want my love for Jesus to be based just on what I know.  I want to show my love for Jesus in what I do (John 14:15).  It is easy to confuse theological knowledge with a relationship with Jesus but I want to demonstrate my love for Jesus not just in my studies but in my actual obedience to the gospel (1 John 2:3-6).

My fear is that we are educated beyond our level of obedience.  We know much about God but do little for His kingdom.  We can preach a fine sermon on prayer but do we pray?  I think of the Jews Paul rebuked in Romans 2:17-24 by pointing out their hypocrisy.  Is that me?  Do I know many facts about the gospel but don’t really love Christ from the heart?  Do I study the Word of God but fail to obey His Word in the process?  Do I study God but fail to stand in awe of Him in worship and prayer?  Can I debate a theological position but never share my faith with the lost?  How easy it is to sit in a room and open the Greek New Testament and do word studies but never leave that room to go into the world with the light of the gospel (Matthew 5:13-16).

The balance is to study theology but to obey.  Obedience to the Word that the Holy Spirit teaches us is the best way, the disciple’s way.  Jesus, no doubt, was the greatest theologian ever to live since He was God incarnate (John 1:14).  Yet the Word of God in flesh (John 1:1) spent time with normal men and He taught them using normal means.  Jesus could have taught His disciples the attributes of God (and we should study that) but instead He often taught them about practical obedience to Himself (Matthew 7:24-27).  Obviously, all of Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and Jesus gave us theology in the New Testament letters but Jesus Himself focused on helping His own disciples obey the gospel more than upon theologically explaining it.

I pray that I have that balance.  Let me teach theology but let me also teach people how to obey the gospel by the grace of God that He has given us in His Son (Titus 2:11-14).  We are saved to obey (Ephesians 2:8-10).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/22/2013 at 10:40 AM

True Christians As The Majority

Many in the American Church are lamenting the fact that our nation is corrupt.  We are now a nation where abortion is rampant, where homosexuality is being encouraged and defended, where divorce is now up to 50% of all marriages, and where whatever sin you prefer, who are we to suggest that you are in sin?  The only absolutes I see in our culture is that one cannot be absolutely against what culture deems correct.  Whatever the culture likes, we are not to question.  The Christian idea that God hates sin or that He will judge sinners or that His wrath is against sin is not to be heard.  The only God of secular culture today is a tolerant god who judges none and allows sinning for all while loving all the same.

This thought got me to thinking though that the true Christian, the faithful disciple of Jesus who hates sin and loves righteousness (1 John 3:4-10) and who pursues holiness (Hebrews 12:14), has been a minority since the dawn of time.  The entire story of the Bible presents many who did love God and who feared Him and obeyed Him but the vast majority of people in the Bible did not love God nor pursue His will.  Even the nation of Israel shows a people who did not follow the Lord God but disobeyed Him as we see in Romans 9:30-33; 10:19-20; 11:7-10.  Paul the Apostle even wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:5, “Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.”  

The fact is that true disciples of Jesus have always been a minority.  One could argue that at times a culture reflected more biblical worldview than at other times (this could be true of many Western nations such as Great Britain, France, Spain, Germany, Australia, South Africa, the United States, Canada) but true Christianity has always been a minority.  Those who preached repentance and holiness have always been a minority.  Those who preached turning away from sin (1 John 2:1-2) have always been a minority.  Those who lived faithful lives to Christ have always been few.  Those who labored in prayer and in the Word have been few.

Jesus tells us about how few those would be who faithful follow Christ as Lord in Luke 13:22-30.  Here we read:

22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Notice that Jesus says that we are to strive to enter through the narrow door (v. 24).  The road of faithfulness to Christ contains few.

The fact is that people will always hate the truth of God (Romans 3:10-18).  The fact is that the faithful disciple of Jesus must make our aim to please God and not to “convert” culture.  Jesus alone saves sinners (John 14:6) and He alone will be exalted as we preach His saving gospel to the lost (Romans 10:14-17).  Our aim must be to glorify Jesus in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17) through His grace (Titus 2:12).  Our aim must be holiness in the midst of a wicked world (1 Peter 1:15-16; 2:9-12).  In Revelation 17:14 we find those who are with Jesus and John writes that they are “called and chosen and faithful.”  I pray that I am those thing by God’s grace.  I want to faithful to Jesus always (2 Timothy 3:12).

As we look around and see our culture becoming wicked, let us bear in mind that people have always chosen to rebel against God (Romans 1:18-32).  Yet our goal should not change: we want to exalt Jesus.  We have His promises that the world would hate us (John 15:18-25).  We have the promise of 2 Peter 3.  We will one day be the majority (Revelation 21:7-8; 22:14-15) but this will come in God’s timing and by His power.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

08/15/2013 at 4:41 PM

Obeying the Gospel

Have you ever noticed a little word tucked away in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8:

7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Notice that Paul the Apostle uses the word “obey” in verse 8 for those whom God will pour out His wrath upon.  It is not enough to hear the gospel to be saved.  It is not enough to even have believed the gospel at one time to be saved.  Rather Paul says that God will pout out His wrath on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  Obedience is necessary for salvation.  Those whom God saves through Christ must obey Him as Lord.  While we don’t “obey” to be saved, we do “obey” because we are saved.  The reason that we are baptized in water is because we are obeying the Lord Jesus who commanded that we be baptized (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38).  Baptism flows from our believing the gospel and proving our trust in Him as Savior and Lord of all.

Ironically, such preaching about the requirement of obeying Jesus as Lord is rare today.  People want a cheap gospel that presents Jesus as Savior but not Lord.  They want to divide the Person of Christ.  They read passages about obedience to Jesus as Lord and see this as “works-righteousness” despite them coming from the very lips of our Lord.  For example, Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49:

46 “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Jesus said in Luke 8:21:

But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

He said in Luke 11:28:

But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”

Jesus said in John 14:15 about how we prove our love for Him:

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

He said in Matthew 7:21-23 that only those who obey the Father are saved:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

Jesus tells us in John 8:31-32 how we prove we are His disciples:

31 So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

James the Apostle tells us how we are to abide in His teaching in James 1:21-25:

21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. 24 For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

And John the Beloved tells us in 1 John 5:1-4 about our loving obedience to Jesus as Lord:

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. 2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 4 For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.

Obedience and salvation go hand in hand.  We are saved to obey Jesus as Lord.  We submit to His authority in our lives and we adore Him for taking away our sins.  He alone is our salvation and our obedience to Him is natural since He has set us free by His grace.  1 John 2:3-6 makes it clear that our obedience proves we are saved by His grace:

3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Praise God for His grace and praise God for His power that works in us to help us to obey.  As Charles Wesley wrote, “My God assists me to obey.”  He truly does assist us to obey Him as Lord and what a joy it is to serve the King of kings.

What the Jehovah’s Witnesses Get Right (But Much Wrong)

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are a cult.  I want to begin there.  I don’t want there to be any confusion as to whether or not I believe that JW’s need the gospel.  I do.  I believe JW’s are caught in a works-righteousness system where they never earn God’s forgiveness nor His approval.  Their entire hope is based on their desire to live forever on planet earth.  Ironically, the JW’s, who say that Christ returned invisible in 1914 to Brooklyn, New York at the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society headquarters, believe that only 144,000 will be in heaven with Jehovah.  The rest of the faithful JW’s will be on earth which will be transformed into paradise.  Since 1935, all JW’s now believe that their hope is to be on earth after Jehovah destroys all unbelievers at the battle of Armageddon and establishes His eternal kingdom on earth.  Their hope is in their works and in being a member of God’s organization and not in Christ.  Christ is added on to this.

The Bible is clear that Jesus alone is our salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).  Christ alone is our Mediator before God (1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 7:25; 1 John 2:1-2).  The Bible makes it clear that our forgiveness comes through the blood of Jesus Christ (Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:22, 27-28; 1 John 1:7).  Forgiveness of our sins is not found in our works but in Christ alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our justification is based not upon being in the Lord’s organization or in a church but in Christ (Romans 4:4-5, 24-5:1).

So I believe that JW’s are lost.  They need the gospel.  They are not saved and if they don’t repent, they will not be in heaven nor on earth.  They will be cast into hell (Matthew 7:21-23).  My prayer for them is Romans 10:1-4.

But I do admire the JW’s in a couple of ways.  First, JW’s are known for helping their own.  I wish the Church of Jesus Christ would do a better job of this.  I was reading just today from Galatians 6:11 and I pondered that verse.  We need to do good to all people but especially to those who believe the gospel.  The Church often leaves some of her people hurting and alone.  This should not be.  We need each other.  We need a hug.  We need a hand to hold.  We need love.  We need compassion.  We need discipline.  We need rebuking.  We need a godly word.  We need each other (Hebrews 3:12-13).

Secondly, I admire the JW’s zeal to take their message out.  I believe they are not going out because they earnestly love Jehovah but they are going out because they hope to put in more hours for their organization and for the approval of Jehovah.  I don’t want to share my faith that way.  The fact is that I am loved by God because of Christ (Romans 5:8-9) and not because of my works.  Isaiah 64:6 establishes what my works look like before a holy God.  The fact is that I cannot earn God’s approval apart from faith in Christ.  I am under God’s just wrath because of my sins (Ephesians 5:6).  Romans 1:18-32 establishes why God’s wrath is coming and it is because of our own sins.  This includes JW’s as well of course.  Apart from being in Christ, we are all under the just wrath of God.  Christ alone is able to turn aside the wrath of God (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Christ alone is able to satisfy the just wrath of God and He alone (Hebrews 9:14).

Yet JW’s spend hours upon hours knocking on doors trying to get people to read their magazines.  They spend hours in training to “witness” for Jehovah.  The true and living Church should learn from this (in a way) and help our people learn to share their faith.  Obviously our motivation would not be legalism or works-righteousness but would be the glory of God.  Our passion should be the glory of the King.  Not ours.  It is not about our church or getting people to approve us but our passion for evangelism should be based on the finished work of Christ and His glory.  All should be done to the glory of God (Colossians 3:17) especially evangelism.  We want people to worship Christ and bless His name.  I am not interested in creating Arminians or Baptists or Pentecostals.  I am hungry to see people worshipping Jesus Christ and blessing His holy name (John 4:23-24).  I do admire that the JW’s go out in groups and share their faith albeit a corrupt faith.  I pray that the Church would learn from the Lord Jesus who sent His disciples out two by two (Luke 10:1).  Group evangelism or even two by two is a great way to share your faith.  It gives you confidence and the other saint is able to help you to pray, to witness, to defend, and even to rescue you from people if necessary (and by rescue I mean not so much violence but people who trap you in conversations).

In closing, I do not admire JW’s for their works-righteousness.  They have an eye on self and on pleasing their god.  I believe this is not the true saint of God’s motivation at all.  I share my faith, read my Bible, pray, worship, and adore Jesus because of what He has done in already saving me.  I am not saved by my works at all (Titus 3:5-7) but because of His grace, I am motivated to serve Him (Titus 2:11-14).  Sound theology should lead to obedience to Christ as Lord.  The JW’s are a false system.  Their motivation is based on serving the Watchtower and earning God’s approval enough to escape His wrath. In the end, they will not unless they repent.  Repentance brings forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19-20; 17:30-31; 26:20).  When we see the cross of Christ, we true saints are motivated toward His forgiveness (Romans 2:4).  I pray that the true saints of God would be so in love with Jesus that we would burn with a zeal to honor Him as Lord but we would not get caught up in pleasing Him out of the flesh.  Unlike the JW’s, we know the God loves us in Christ (John 3:16) and that we are forgiven in Christ.

May God save the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/31/2013 at 10:08 AM

Dealing With Discouragement In Evangelism

Don’t give up!  That is the simple message I want to convey to you who preach the gospel to the lost.  It can become discouraging as people pass us by, as others who proclaim themselves Christians mock us for sharing the gospel, or as we have to deal with mockers of the gospel.  We can spend hours passing out tracts, debating with those who question the gospel, preaching in the open air, and see little to no results.  But always remember this: the purpose of our evangelism is to glorify God.  We are not sharing the gospel with people because we want to count hands raised or people who have prayed some prayer but our purpose and our passion should be to faithfully reveal the truth of God.  Our passion and delight is to exalt the One who saved us by His grace (Romans 11:6).

It is easy to give up.  You are the only one it seems who is sharing your faith.  You long to see people saved.  And yet nothing is happening.  But persevere my dear brother or sister.  Remember the Lord Jesus who was betrayed by His own friend Judas and who was forsaken by His own chosen disciples the night He was arrested (Mark 15:50).  When the Holy Spirit fell on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), there were about 120 gathered in the upper room obeying the Lord Jesus’ command to wait (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5) for the Promise of the Father.  Thousands had followed Him at one time but now 120 were awaiting His promise.  He was by no means a failure for He obeyed the will of the Father perfectly (Hebrews 5:8-9).  This was the work of Jesus: to obey the Father and to do His will (John 4:34; 6:38; 17:4; 19:30).

This should be our focus as well, to do the will of the Father.  Jesus commanded us to go (Matthew 28:19).  We are simply seeking to obey Jesus as our Lord.  We are not sharing the gospel because we are seeking to earn God’s favor or trying to earn His salvation.  We know we are justified before God because of Christ (Romans 5:1; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).  We are preaching the gospel to the lost because we simply want to obey Jesus as our Lord (John 14:15).  In light of the cross, we obey Him as Lord (1 John 2:3-6).

So don’t give up.  Keep your faith and eyes on Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-2).  Learn from Him and learn how He obeyed the Father, went to the cross, for the glory of God (Philippians 2:5-11).  Keep going!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/31/2013 at 11:52 AM

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