2 Timothy 2:15 “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
If someone came up to you and asked you what do you believe in, could you answer them? If the questioning went further as to why you believe this way, would you have a response?
I was faced with this same dilemma as a young man. A couple disciples from a local cult stopped by and wanted me to read their material, when I responded with the statement that their belief was corrupted, I couldn’t explain to them why that was so. I realized at that moment I needed to have a better understanding of why I professed the faith that I did and have a reason for my position.
I wrote a blog a couple months ago I called ‘Proof’, it was an expose on a variety of reasons the Bible is not only verifiable but likewise accurate in accordance with Truth. The ability to take information and assimilate it into a reasonable argument is the crux of modern day apologetics. The ability to navigate through a reasonable argument within the veracity of God’s Word can be complex and daunting to say the least, fortunately you don’t have to be an expert in this field to share the Truth of God’s Word with others.
Romans 1:25 “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.”
Many have heard the truth and yet have rejected it. I have to ask myself, how can someone receive the Word and yet hold onto a lie?
This is what I have found…..
- No matter how hard I try to present a reasonable argument for accepting Jesus as Lord of your life, it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately breaks through the dissolution of darkness.
Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.”
It is the stubborn and hard hearted that refuses to accept a reality that is completely different than the one that is known. The deep longing for fulfillment in a weary soul is looking for something to fill it up. The soul searches the array of options the world offers for the flesh and yet each endeavor ends in a lack for wanting. The flesh consumes and consumes and craves all the more. Give a thirsty man a drink of water and he will eventually thirst again. Clothes wear out, hunger pains return, and the lust for the sensual experience is one that is never satisfied. Attempting to fill up in the flesh what the spirit yearns for is a frustrating spiral into selfish ambition.
2. The society that we dwell in is a world that has been ruled by Satan. Deception has been the rule and all who live within that reality have tried to find meaning within it. Whether your asking someone to accept the life that is in Christ in America, Africa, Asia, or any other part of the world, you find the same dilemma. The requirement to follow Christ is a complete repudiation of all the world’s ideologies.
John 12:25-26 “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor.”
It’s not easy leaving behind all you know and following Jesus, allowing His Spirit to guide your life is a life that requires complete abandonment to all you have ever known. If your community is one that has worshipped hedonism, the idea that money isn’t everything is a reality many can’t understand. If your community is dominated by false religion that is more of a support system than a fulfillment of God’s Truth, the isolation from all you have known can be a daunting proposition. I can tell you from what I have witnessed and experienced, the sacrifice is worth the gift you receive.
When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, what you leave is familiarity but what you gain is everlasting life. The Holy Spirit who fills your heart is worth more than all the riches the world possesses. The change in perspective is scary at first but the Lord quickly remedies that fear into a confidence that He will never leave you or forsake you.
3. The issue with pride is one that encompasses many aspects of life. If someone is highly educated they might think they are too smart to believe something in faith. When another is extremely rich, they might think they don’t need God when they have everything else in life. Whether the position is one of plenty or of poverty, there is no shortage of pride in people. It is this position of pride that prevents people from approaching the throne of God in humility. A contrite spirit is a critical attribute to have for the Lord to lift you up. The fear of the Lord is the summation of these attributes, when you grasp that, you are on the path of wisdom.
4. Sadly, those who have endured horrific abuse in their past or have lost people of significance can wrestle with blaming God for their ill fate. The thought that God could have stopped a tragedy is an idea that reverberates in the minds of many who hold onto the pain of their past. Many homeless suffer under these conditions of being victimized as children and have simply given up on life.
For healing to take place, we must recognize who our healer is. Attempt recovery by any other means and you simply repress a condition indefinitely and never truly experience the freedom that is in Christ alone.
5. There is a group of people who have committed so many egregious errors in their past, they just simply think they are unforgivable. The realization that God’s abiding grace is infinitely bigger than any mistake we can make is hard to grasp from a human point of view. The psychological damage that occurs with brutal crimes takes time to recover from. I don’t think it is necessarily the crime but the progressive slide into the level of darkness necessary to act out in such a way that requires such healing. Guilt is likewise an overarching hurdle as well as the habits that have formed when reacting to certain temptation. Moving on from our past is a progression into the light of God’s hope. Reconciliation is initiated in the life of a believer but it is done in accordance with God’s timing and method. Setting your eyes on that which is above is enough, He will lead you through the process when it is time.
Romans 8:6-8 “For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”
6. The fear of the unknown, the fear of change, the fear of not being in control. There is so many ways to have anxiety and fear that the options are limitless. There is a point in time when you have to ask yourself….why am I fearful? What is going to change if I don’t have fear? Do you know what the answer usually is?—–Absolutely Nothing! Fear does nothing more than cause harm to the one who wears it. Jesus spoke often on this and the Bible is rife with exhortation to FEAR NOT. You cannot add one extra day to your life by being fearful but you can limit it, harm relationships, and physically damage your body by embracing it. Fear reveals a lack of trust, a trust in God who is more than able to accomplish all that He has began in you.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
How do we navigate through so many obstacles that we might present the purity of God’s Word to those who so desperately need it?
Regardless of what has caused the separation, the approach isn’t much different. When we follow the patterns that Jesus modeled in sharing the gospel, it cuts through the haze of indifference.
The moral law is the foundational premise for sharing the gospel. Beginning with God’s love or God’s grace is a quick slide into God’s blessing and the entire prosperity gospel movement has been firmly established along that line already. It might be a good way to get someone into church by promising the blessings of God but once the reality of life sets in and the lack of repentance keeps the hopeless in the state they have always been, the damage is worse than if we had never invited them in the first place.
Matthew 5:17-20 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
~When Jesus was teaching His ‘Sermon on the Mount’, He included the measure by which He came. He didn’t come to abolish the moral law but to fulfill it’s requirement of death. He was very adamant to point out that not one part of the moral law has been invalidated. Matter of fact, He even admonished His listeners that by teaching the law, it was a sign of greatness in His Kingdom. This short segment was then concluded by illustrating the point that there is simply no way to be justified by the law. The moral law is a fixed point of God’s standard that requires perfection and perfection is not a standard man can attain to. This standard points directly to the grace that Jesus was purchasing for us on the cross. It is by this standard that people understand their position before a Just and Holy God and it is the standard by which sin becomes very evident. The only recourse is repentance and trust for the one convicted by God’s standard of judgement. It is this standard by which all of mankind will be held one day before God’s throne. Whether someone is a Mormon, Jehovah’s Witness, or a Jew, the message remains the same…..the Lord made it simple for us to relate His message.~
Galatians 3:24 “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
7. If you want to lead someone to Christ, allow the moral law to be the guide. Most people think they are pretty good, show them God’s standard of goodness which is the Moral law and it levels them down to dust. If someone says they are not good, ask them why, they usually reveal some aspect of their life that is a result of offending God’s law, regardless of how someone responds, it all leads to God’s love as expressed on the Cross—-with Jesus being glorified.
Romans 10:1-4 “Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for the Israelites is for their salvation. For I testify about them that they are zealous for God, but not on the basis of knowledge. Because they were ignorant of God’s righteousness and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law, to bring righteousness to everyone who believes.”
I can’t stress the importance of this more, I have seen so many people just start weeping when I expressed the gospel in this manner. The Lord is exalted and they don’t feel judged but they feel loved. I’ve walked away from many people who were radically opposed to religion and they’ve thanked me for not judging them.
Finally…..please remember that we are not working toward someone saying a sinners prayer or getting them into church—-we are striving to show them Jesus as He revealed Himself to the world. The changed heart is what matters to God, not the mantra of prayer or attendance in a pew. The prayer will come when the heart is changed, the desire to be among fellow believers will occur when the joy of the Lord is their strength.
You are Christs ambassador!—That is a HUGE calling, don’t ever take it lightly and when the Lord allows you to partake of being His witness, it is the greatest honor we can hold.