Pieces of EightMay 6, 2008
Mark 16:15-16 “And he said unto them, Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
This is as serious as it gets. A persons eternal destination hinges on whether they accept Jesus Christ, who paid for their sins, as Savior and Lord, or reject him and seek to enter in through a window. As such, all who are born of the Spirit should be actively seeking opportunities to present the gospel to those around us. Although we all occupy a diversity of positions and have different callings, it is urgent to reach the lost while they are still abiding in the valley of decision. The following is a list of eight elements that are critical as we seek to present the gospel of Jesus Christ. All of them are very basic, and were impressed upon me over a period of months, but their importance is such that they can never be over-emphasized. While they were given in the context of going into the streets to share the gospel, most of them apply to any situation where saints are in contact with people who are still outside the ark of safety.
( 1 ) We must go forth in the power of the Holy Ghost. This should be obvious and yet we live in an age where ten step programs are often chosen over allowing God to be God. If we go forth under the guidance of our own strength, we’re certain to make missteps, say the wrong things at the wrong time and ultimately run the risk of scattering instead of gathering. With souls hanging in the balance, we should be walking continuously in the Spirit and striving to be ever more sensitive to his leading. When we reach a place where we are trusting completely in his guidance and let go of our own carnal reasoning (which is based upon the worlds methods of analysis) we’ll be in the right place, will speak the right words at the right time, and those whose hearts the Lord has prepared will receive exactly what they need.
I Peter 4:11 “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
( 2 ) “There’s no such thing as a perfect opportunity.” This is an area where I struggle. Reliance upon what we perceive to be the “right moment” to share the gospel can lead to a host of missed divine appointments. While returning from Florida, we stayed overnight in Kimbal Tennessee when I had a disturbing dream. There was this guy in a whirlpool about to be sucked under and I found myself trying to share Jesus with him. He then went under and the words of “no perfect opportunity” came forth. This hits me more than words can express as we begin to fathom just how disasterous not walking in the Spirit can be for those on the outside who need to be reached. Trying to “figure out” what to say and when to say it instead of being atuned to the Holy Spirit can have everlasting consequences.
I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:”
( 3 ) The love of God for the lost. Regardless of how contrary a person may seem, it’s imperative to realize the immense love that God has for that person. (II Peter 3:9) Every person that we come into contact with, it’s imperative to remember that they are created in the image of God and that their sins were paid for when Jesus went to an old rugged cross. It’s imperative to understand that, regardless of how they respond to us, they are not the enemy. Rather, they are being held captive by the ones who kept not their first estate and are reserved in everlasting chains under darkness. The enemy can do nothing but play spoiler and he continuously works to keep the lost in darkness; lest they should they repent of their sins, ask Jesus to save them and receive everlasting life.
Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
I John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
( 4 ) “Don’t just put on a show.” Without a doubt, we should “never” do something for theatrical purposes. Nor should we minister just so that we can say to ourselves “we did such and such.” Anything that we do should be done in Jesus name out of a sincere love for him and a love for our neighbor. Sincerety toward the Lord Jesus Christ will result in our doing what the Lord has placed on our heart; even if nobody ever finds out or we never see the end of the matter.
Matthew 6:3-4 “But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.”
( 5 ) “Jesus is Real.” This falls ito the area of examining ourselves whether we be in the faith. We must be convinced beyond any doubt that the gospel is real and not just a theological concept. The Jesus that we share with others will be reflective of how we view him. If we “know” that he can save the vilest of sinners and heal the sick, this is the Jesus that we will share with the world. Anything less than complete confidence in this will become manifest at the most critical of moments. (such as when UN trucks stop in front of our houses at 4:00am and soldiers take us to the detention centers.) This next verse is a warning to all of us.
Hebrews 3:12 “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.”
( 6 ) We must be sincere and authentic. One night, while I was pondering a number of things this was dropped in my heart: “many people have been seriously damaged by the actions of professing christians.” We must “be real” as we share the gospel and our lives must match our profession. Disingenuousness will only cause more damage, but when we love our neighbor as ourselves, it will become evident to all around us. Once again, we must walk in the Spirit and allow him to work through us.
II Corinthians 6:3-10 (This post is already way too long, so here’s the reference.)
( 7 ) Our office is 24/7. One day, while driving to Elkhart, it was dropped into my heart that spreading the gospel in the streets is but a small component of my overall responsibility. Reaching the lost and proclaiming truth doesn’t have a “season” or “location.” It’s continuous and as such we “must” walk in the Spirit at all times. Downtime in the realm of contending for the faith can be disasterous.
II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffring and doctrine.”
( 8 ) Don’t use the results of others as a gauge for effectiveness. One night, Susan was telling me about how large the street ministry in Protland has grown. Later on I was thinking about this and how awesome it is when I was reminded not to compare what transpires here (Kalamazoo and Elkhart) with what’s transpiring elsewhere. Every venue is different and effectiveness is multi-faceted. Last week Pastor Greg was telling about a time when they were out. They came across a man who was intoxicated and contrary when one of the brothers stuck a tract in guys pocket. Three years later, the guy found the tract while going through some boxes and got saved. He then managed to get a hold of one of the brothers who had been out that night to tell what had happened. We must go forth as the Lord leads, planting and watering. Ultimately God gives the increase.
II Timothy 2:25-26 “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.”
Well, this is probably the longest post ever on this blog. These eight items are very basic, but needful as every day souls are in the balance and every night serves to remind us that “one less day now remains between now and the last day.” David Meyers May 2008 newsletter is out and can be found here. I wish to all a blessed day in Jesus.