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.
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 context 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?
There are many reasons why people reject Truth when they hear it, their reasons might not be reasonable but they have convinced themselves of the lies.
Of all the reasons for rejecting the Lord, most center around humanism. The desire to elevate the human will over God’s will. The elements of rebellion can be found in practices that can be deceptive…
Proverbs 16:5 “Everyone who is arrogant in heart is an abomination to the Lord; be assured, he will not go unpunished.”
The desire to elevate pleasure over sacrifice can seem like a difficult obstacle to overcome. Who would choose the difficulty of forsaking everything over pleasing the flesh?
Those who are stubborn and hard hearted refuse to accept a reality that is completely different than the one they know. The deep longing for fulfillment can weary a soul who strives to find something to fill it up. The soul searches an array of options the world offers 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 an endless spiral of selfish ambition and vain conceit.
No matter how reasonable an argument for accepting Jesus as Lord, it is the Holy Spirit who ultimately breaks through the dissolution of darkness and drive to please oneself.
Psalm 42:7 “Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.”
We live in a world that has been ruled by Satan since the fall of Adam. Deception is where it began and all who live within this reality have tried to find meaning out of it. Whether you present Christ to people in America, Africa, Asia, or any other part of the world, you’ll find the same dilemma exists–who will they believe? The requirement to follow Christ is a complete repudiation of all the world’s ideologies and yet many hold onto them for fear.
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 for someone to leave behind all they know and follow Jesus, allowing His Spirit to guide their life is a commitment that requires complete abandonment to all they’ve ever known. If the community is one that has worshipped hedonism, the idea that money isn’t everything is a reality many can’t understand. If the community is dominated by false religion then the support system often usurps a desire to know God’s Truth. The isolation that follows from leaving a familiar culture can be a daunting proposition. I can tell you from what I have seen and experienced—the sacrifice is worth the cost.
When you accept Christ as your Lord and Savior, you leave that which is familiar but what you gain is everlasting life. The Holy Spirit who fills the heart is worth more than all the riches the world possesses. The change in position can be scary at first but the Lord quickly remedies that fear into a confidence that He will never leave you or forsake you.
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
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.
Proverbs 19:3 “When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord.”
Sadly, there are many who have endured horrific abuse in their past or have lost people of significance and now blame 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. Others through their foolishness have lead themselves into ruin, only to blame God for their ill fate.
For healing to take place, people must understand that God is the ultimate healer. For those who attempt recovery by any other means, they strive to heal themselves and along the way repress their condition indefinitely, never truly experiencing the freedom that is in Christ alone.
Romans 8:1-2 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”
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.
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.’
There are many fears in life, 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 the opportunities seem endless. 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.
How do we navigate through so many obstacles?
Regardless of what has caused the separation, the approach isn’t much different. When we follow the patterns that Jesus modeled in revealing God’s Truth, we witness the narrow path to freedom.
Ultimately, we are all called to obedience. Repentance is the obedient expression of a contrite heart. Humility is the obedience of turning from pride. Faith is the obedience of belief. We aren’t called to earn God’s salvation, that has been accomplished through the cross. We have been given an opportunity to respond to His grace and that is were obedience begins.
~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. There is simply no way for someone 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 where people understand their sin and by understanding sin they recognize the need for grace. The only recourse is repentance. It is this standard by which all of mankind will be held one day before God’s throne.
Galatians 3:24 “Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”
If you want to be a witness for Christ, know the Word of God and allow the moral law to be the guide. Most people think they are pretty good until God’s standard of goodness takes pride and reduced it to dust. If someone says they aren’t a good person, ask them why and they will usually reveal some aspect of their life that has offended God’s law.
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.”
Remember the focus isn’t toward someone saying a sinners prayer or getting them into church—-the hope is to show the lost who Jesus is. A changed heart is what matters to God, not the mantra of prayer or attendance in a pew. The prayer of repentance will come when the heart is changed, the desire to be among fellow believers will occur when God’s love fills their hearts.
You are Christs ambassadors!—That is a great calling, don’t ever take it lightly and when the Lord allows you to partake of being His witness to the lost consider it the greatest honor you can hold.