Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Saturday 01-19-13

The warm weather returned in Tempe this weekend, and we headed down to Mill Ave. There were a lot of people out and about in the nice weather. The music man was at our usual spot in front of the post office, and a couple of homeless guys were hanging out across from him, selling their roses made from palm fronds.

So, we set up a little ways away, and one of the homeless guys didn't really like us there, saying, "There's too many people on this corner." Later on, he told me that we were going to hell because we were violating Jesus' command. I asked what command was that, and he told me that Jesus said we were not to stand on the street corners like pharisees, looking for the praises of man, but to only preach to those who were like-minded. I asked him where it said that in the Bible, but he didn't know. That's because it's not there. He called his friend over, who he claimed had gone to seminary, but he would not get involved in the conversation. Later on, his friend said that he should leave us be, and eventually talked him into going to a different location.

A few people stopped by at different times to check out the illusion board, but wouldn't hang around for the Good Person Test (GPT). Since the ban on amplification was over, Tom did some Open Air near by and talked with a few people.

An older lady named Rita stopped and went through the questions and the GPT, but stated that she did not believe in hell or Christianity. She thought that there is one God, and all religions are worshipping the same one. I explained that all the religions are different and contradict one another, but she stuck to her universalist, spiritual beliefs. In the end, I had to just tell her that we are going to disagree on this. I offered her a tract, but of course, she wasn't interested, too bound up in her idolotrous beliefs.
Meanwhile, Marcus had been talking with her husband, and had the same result. Please pray for both of them, that God would convict them of their sins and draw them to Himself for their salvation.

We'll have a class this Saturday, so hopefully, we'll have more people equipped to carry out the Great Commission and become workers for the kingdom, as per the prayer of Luke 10:2.

Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Fear God?

Fear God - what does that mean? It was a little disturbing when I first heard the term and didn't really make sense. But it was explained that 'fear' wasn't really referring to actual fear, but rather a healthy respect, such as you might have for your parents. That made sense to me and was pretty much what I believed that it must mean, and this was backed up and even taught by pastors.

I really would expect more from trained and schooled men of God than the silly thoughts of a child or new believer. Fear really means FEAR, that's why the word is used! Why? Why should you fear the Lord? Well, let's look into that.
God is holy, He is righteous and He is just. There is not the slightest hint of any darkness within Him, He is unapproachable light, purity, and perfection, by His very nature. There is no wickedness or evil thought within Him. So, why should we fear? Because, as a perfect, righteous God who actually defines justice, He must hate all that is contrary to His nature.
If you love children, how could you not hate abortion? If you love the Jewish people, could you possibly not abhor the Holocaust? If you love justice, what are your thoughts towards thieves, murderers and rapists?

It only makes sense that God would hate all those things even more than we would. And here's where it gets scary. We are NOT good. The Bible says there are none found good, not even one. We are wicked and evil and He cannot even stand to look upon iniquity, which we drink down like water. If we were ever in His presence, we would be destroyed instantly by His purity. Who can stand before Him? He has a perfect and holy standard, and we cannot even begin to come close.

Once we understand that we are the embodiment of everything that He hates, we should most certainly fear Him. He created everything in the universe, our planet, the sun, stars ten times the size of our sun – everything! Beings more powerful than we can even imagine, tremble it the very mention of His name, yet we arrogantly use His name as a curse word to express disgust.
We should most certainly fear, being enemies of the Creator by our wicked works.

But He is also loving, and forgiving, and has provided a way for us. We should fear because we are unrighteous and unworthy, and can do nothing to earn our salvation. We surely deserve eternal hell, and are saved only by the grace and mercy of an all powerful and loving God, and by His grace alone.

This fear does not outweigh the love that He has for us in providing a sacrifice on our behalf, that we might repent and trust in Him alone for salvation. Do that today, for now is the time for salvation.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Do You Share?

According to Bill Bright, only 2% of Christians share their faith. One of the reasons for this is that they don't feel equipped.

Most people are afraid to share their faith anyway, with a few obnoxious atheists mocking Christianity as "un-scientific" and "crutch for weak minded people". I find it quite the opposite, with the theory of evolution being un-scientific (life coming from non-life and violations of various scientific laws) and more of a crutch for those who want to think that they will not be held accountable for their actions. But that doesn't even matter and is an entirely separate topic for anyone interested in such things.

We don't even need to go there. Instead, we can go directly to the conscience, (con means ;with', and science is 'knowledge'), and when someone sins against God, they do it 'with knowledge'. The conscience itself is an ally in witnessing.

There is a simple Biblical principle that has been largely forgotten in the modern Church in the last couple of hundred years. Rather than a man-made "sinners prayer" or some sort of "altar call", made famous by Charles Finney in the 1800's, we should go back to the Bible, the authority of God's Word and witness the way that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ did it.

Check out His example in speaking with the woman at the well (John 4:4-29). First, He spoke to her about natural things, getting a drink of water in this instance. Then he moved to the spiritual realm, telling her of the living water. Being convicted of her sins, she went back into town to tell others about Him.

When the rich young ruler came up and called Him good, he was right. But Jesus reproved the man, for he did not understand what 'good' truly meant. Only God is good. And when Jesus went through some of the Ten Commandments, the young ruler claimed that he had kept them (1 John 1:8). Then He asked the man to give up his riches and put God first in his life (the First Commandment) and the young ruler walked away. Jesus did not run after him, telling him of a wonderful plan for his life and how God loved him so much, He let him go (Luke 18:18-27).

The Bible tells us that the proclamation of the Gospel is always Law to the proud, Grace to the humble (Prov 3:34, 1 Pet 5:5, James 4:6), and Jesus did not deviate from this. I would challenge you to show me a passage where He did not follow it, keeping in mind that when He didn't go through the Law first, it was because the person was already humbled and knew of his need.

How would we know if someone is humble, knowing their need? It's simple, just ask them. "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?" Prov 20:6 tells you what they will say, "Most men, everyone will proclaim his own goodness...." yet the Bible tells us over and over again that there are none found good, not one (Psalm 53:3, Rom 3:23, Is 64:6).

Ask someone how they think one gets into heaven and you'll find the most common answer is by "being good." If that is true, then we earn our way into heaven, there was no need for Jesus Christ to die on the cross and the Gospel makes no sense. This would leave us with nothing but blind faith and no understanding. We wonder why "prosperity preaching" is so popular, and universalism is gaining ground in the modern churches, and terms like "carnal Christianity" abound. And then we wonder why atheists mock it.

What the Bible actually teaches is that there are none found good when we're held to God's moral standard, that every one of us deserves to spend eternity in hell for breaking His commandments, but that He actually created a plan of redemption for us. The fine had to be paid, and God came down in Jesus Christ, lived a perfect, sinless life, then laid down that life as a sacrifice to pay the penalty that we deserve, for the wages of sin is death. But death couldn't hold Him, and on the third day, He rose again, defeating death forever.

Now, all that we must do is put our faith and trust in Him, and when we do that, we will also repent of our sins, turning away from them, hating those sins that we once loved because we can see what it cost, and that God so graciously and lovingly paid that fine for us. We couldn't possibly continue to willfully live in a lifestyle of sin if we even begin to comprehend that (Heb 10:26-29).

If we will simply repent and trust in Him alone, we will be saved apart from works, yet we will do good works out of gratitude for the new life we have been given, released from condemnation and slavery to our own sinful nature.

To God be the glory, proclaim His name!