Archive for the ‘witnessing’ Category

Taking Your Stand (Jude 1, Isaiah 30)

May 29, 2014

“… I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Jude 3

Question, “have you found it necessary to stand up for your faith?”  The answer for me is a “Resounding yes!”  Our’s has become a society that is ever learning but unable to come to the knowledge of the truth.  For many years there was a great divide between the understanding of those who attended church versus those who did not.

However, the divide is no longer there in many churches today.  It seems as if many pastors and teachers have chosen to move to the secular viewpoints of life.  Today, we have churches and pastors who spend their time seeking to tear down what the Bible clearly teaches.  I often want to say, “Just turn in your Bible.”

It was the same way in the life and times of Jude (Half-brother of Jesus).  There were false teachers in his day as in ours.  Jude writes a compelling letter charging the church to “Content for the faith.”

Think it through:

Who are we to contend with, Vs: 4, 16?  We are to contend with false teachers who are leading people astray.

Why do we contend, Vs: 5?  People who do not believe will be destroyed forever in the lake of fire.

We see examples of this already taking place in history:  Israel in the wilderness, Angels who were cast out of heaven, Sodom and Gomorrah to name a few.

How do we contend, Vs: 17-23?

1.  We build up our faith (We study and grow in our walk with Christ)

2.  We pray in the Spirit (God must lead)

3.  Love must increase (We must grow in the love of God)

4.  We are looking for Christ return (He in mercy will some day return)

5.  Reach out to the Lost (Mercy, aggressive, and grace filled)

Our response:

We ask ourselves, “Can we do this?”  Our answer should be, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,”

Each day God gives us opportunities to share the Word of God.  I pray that each of us take those opportunities with the most serious of responsibility.  Unless we stand up there will be no one to take the stand for the gospel.

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Possible Or Impossible?

June 5, 2012

“Woe to you lawyers!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge.  You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”  Luke 11:52

Yesterday, as I was studying, John came into my office with something that could be deemed as both possible and impossible.  Here was the scene.  John came into the office carrying what seemed to be a Lego box, later I was to discover that the box had a drawer that opened.  John simply said, “Dad open the drawer.”  After a few unsuccessful tries I deemed the challenge impossible.  But my viewpoint changed as John showed me the secret compartment that unlocked the box.  The fact is, this drawer could only be opened by the one who designed it.

As we open our bibles to Luke 11:45-12:12 we find the designer and purchaser of eternal life speaking.  Jesus is pronouncing woes on those religious leaders who are placing burdens on people that were hindering the gospel.  Because of their teaching it seemed impossible for anyone to have eternal life.  However Jesus leads us away from the impossible (12:5) and He leads us to the possible, “Do not fear those who kill the body,and after they have nothing more they can do.  But I will tell warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

The word fear speaks of reverence and a healthy standing in awe of someone.  Heaven is impossible for those who fail to reverence and love Jesus.  But heaven is possible for those who turn to the Redeemer.  This day, I stand in awe of the one who died in my place.  He took my punishment so I could have His reward.  I fear him with the saints of old.

I stand, I stand in awe of you.  Holy God, in whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of you.

This very day there are multitudes who are living impossible lives.  They know not Christ and they know not their need of Christ.  They are headed to Hell and they are unaware.  This very day I challenge you to live out your love for Christ in front of them.  I challenge you to share the gospel with the multitudes.  This day the impossible can become possible because of Jesus!

The Death Of A Gospel Preacher

February 23, 2012

“Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him.  And the witnesses laid their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul,” Acts 7:58

A few weeks ago the headlines read, “Two missionaries in Mexico murdered.”  The storyline focused on the consistent crime in Mexico driven mostly because of the drug cartel.  As I read this article, I could not help but be discouraged because the true tragedy was barely mentioned.  The true tragedy was the death of two individuals who were bearing forth the light of the Gospel in a dark place.

The problem in Mexico is not drugs. The problem in Mexico is the same problem as is in every other city in the world.  What is this problem?  The answer is sin.  All of humanity is corrupted by our sin nature.  This nature drives us to live a life for self that only seeks to fulfill the desires of the flesh.  The drug problem in Mexico is simply a symptom of our sin nature.

As we know, the answer to Mexico’s problem and our problem is Jesus Christ.  This is exactly the message Stephen is proclaiming in Acts 7:44-60.  However this is a message that the world does not want to hear.  This mornings scripture reading highlights this fact.

Notice with me the progression of the text: First, Stephen calls out the people, Vs: 51-53.  As we read this text we discover how the man of God calls out this people.  He points out their rejection of scripture, their rejection of the Spirit, and their rejection of the Savior.  Second: Stephen finds confidence before the people, Vs:54-56.  In these amazing verses we gain a glimpse of Christ standing in heaven.  Here we see Jesus as our advocate and our judge.  We see Jesus preparing to receive Stephen into heaven.  Oh the confidence we have in knowing that Jesus is for us and if He is for us, who can be against us?  Third: Stephen is confronted by the people, Vs: 57-60. To our shock Stephen is stoned to death.  But as he is being stoned he gives an amazing witness to the life of a gospel preacher, “Lord do not hold this sin against them.”

In this I am reminded of the heart of a gospel preacher.  He is or she desires the salvation of all men.  Their amount of sacrifice is of zero consequences because the gospel is what is important.

This morning, I remind you that as a child of God you have been called to be a preacher (Proclaimer) of the gospel.  Our Lord gave you this charge in Matthew 28:18-20.  Certainly I am not speaking of the office of a pastor.  I am speaking of the obligation of every person who is a born again believer.

When Stephen died, the gospel went forth, Acts 8:1-14. When the missionaries died in Mexico the gospel will still go forth.  The only question is, “will you be apart of this?”  Oh that we would be willing to take this gospel to the world.

For further study consider Acts 8 and consider reading “Christian History Made Easy” by Timothy Paul Jones.

Getting Arrested

February 17, 2012

“And they put them into custody until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who heard the word believed and the number of the men came to about five thousand.”  Acts 4:3-4

This morning, I found myself thinking deeply about “Getting arrested.”  Now, do not make assumptions here.  I am not involved in anything where I need to be arrested nor am I wanting to be.  But consider this fact, “This very day many of our brothers and sisters in Christ are living with the reality that they could be arrested for their faith.”

Here in America we are still able to worship in freedom.  But in much of the world, those who  know Christ daily place their lives on the line.  As I thought about this, something amazing stood out, “The church persecuted grows and the church peaceful slows.”   Many churches in America are slowing in their gospel growth.  However the church around the world is growing as they sow the gospel.

Consider the early church.  Acts 4 relates the story of how the leaders in the church were arrested for the Gospel.  However the gospel was going forth in great strength.  What was the difference?  The difference was in what the people were doing that caused them to be arrested.

Here is a simple outline of our verses for today, “Acts 4:1-27.”  They were teaching the word, Vs: 1-5.  Only the word of God has the power to confront people with their sin and their state of condemnation under the wrath of God.  Only the word of God has the power to cleanse sinners and only the word has the power to create a new heart within a sinner.

They were testifying to the power of the word, Vs: 5-12.  Brethren we must be giving witness to what God is doing in our midst.  Without our testimony the light of the gospel grows dark in our world.

They were being threatened for their stand, Vs: 13-22.  The threats did not stop the church.  This helped the church to know they were fighting the good fight of faith.

They were praying for God’s sovereign will to be accomplished, Vs: 23-27.  Here were a group of people who were more concerned for God’s will than they were their own will.  They knew God was in charge of all things and they knew God was for all they were attempting to do.

These simple things positioned the church to grow.  Yes, it did get them arrested, but it arrested the people with the truth and they turned from their sins to a Holy God.

Based on these characteristics, “Would there be enough evidence to get you and I arrested for the gospel?”  Be assured our goal is not to get arrested.  Our goal is to get the gospel to the world.  Oh how I pray you and I will be faithful even if means that we will be arrested.

3 Chances, 3 Cave-ins

February 9, 2012

But he denied it before them all, saying,”I do not know what you mean.” Matthew 26:70

I cannot believe you just stood there and said nothing.”  These were the comments of a teenage boy to his friend who just blew his change to ask out the girl of his dreams.  Certainly all of us have had those chances in life that we just caved in.

This morning’s scripture reading, Matthew 26:57-75, includes the well-documented (Included in all four gospels) story of Peter’s three cave-ins.  This scene takes place during the events of Jesus trial before the High-Priest.  One can feel the tension in the room as the religious leaders vicious attacks come wave after wave upon Jesus (Vs:59-63).  I am amazed at Jesus calmness and commitment in the face of false testimony and fervent testing.  One can rejoice as Jesus voice rings out, “You have said so…” Jesus was and is the Christ.  Even when the verdict is given, “He deserves death,” Jesus stays focused on the goal of our redemption.

In the midst of all of this Matthew offers this footnote about Peter’s whereabouts, “He was following him at a distance.”  More about this in a moment.

In this text we see Peter in the courtyard out side of where the trail was taking place.  Three times Peter is given a change to stand up for Jesus and three times he caves in.  Personally I see the same thing over and over again in the lives of believers today, including myself.

Three times Peter is giving a change to stand up for Jesus.  Here they are for your review.  First, Peter is given a change in a conversation, Vs: 69-70.  How often do we have the opportunity to share Christ in random places with the simplest of conversations?  Second, Peter is given a change in a crowd, Vs: 71-72.  Here Peter is challenged by bystanders who call out for his response. Again he caves in.  How often do we find ourselves in the midst of crowds with a great opportunity for the gospel?  Third, Peter is given a change in the midst of confrontation, Vs: 73-75.  Here Peter is forcefully confronted and he once again caves in.  How often has the Lord afforded you opportunities in tense situations to share you faith?

I truly believe Peter thought he was ready for every change to stand up for Jesus, but in this moment he was not ready.  Certainly others thought he was ready but he was not.  In this moment he loved his life more than he loved the lord.

Who am I to say that I would be any different.  One thing is for sure, if we follow the Lord from a distance we will cave in throughout our lives.  This morning we must strength ourselves in our resolve to love the Lord and to walk closely with our Lord.  We must seek to love him unconditionally.

As we seek to do this, we will fail from time to time.  But even then our great God shows us mercy in our weaknesses.  This day, I am praying that you and I both will not cave in when we are given the change to stand up and speak out for Jesus.

For further reading, John 21 and Romans 10 

On That Day

May 10, 2010

This morning I had a few minutes to read the headlines before spending time on the phone with my accountability partner.  As I scanned the headlines I was captured by one of the headlines from the oil spill in the gulf.  The headlines read, “Abruptly, I don’t know what to do.”  The story was about one of many fisherman who have become unemployed because of the old spill.  One father asked a gut-wrenching question, “How can I go home and say to my daughter,’we cannot eat today because daddy didn’t get to work.”

As I read those words, my mind went directly to my devotions which covered Isaiah 10-20.  The prophet of God is writing about the judgment that is to come, not only against Israel but against many other nations.  Each time there would be the statement, “On that day,” followed by God’s words of encouragement that He would one day restore.

Have you ever wondered why we have, “on that days?”  In our bible reading we discover for Israel that she had, “forgotten the God of her salvation, and had not been mindful of the Rock of her stronghold…” Isaiah 17:10.  God was judging Israel for her sin and was removing the false Idol’s so that Israel would repend and seek God’s face, so that on that day the Lord would restore her to favor.

I believe the Lord is doing the same thing in America today.  We are facing “On that day,” tribulations unlike we have ever faced before.  I feel a great burden as a child of God to do something about all we are facing.  This burned says, “We must do something to help this man feed his family.”

However there is something much deeper.  We must get the gospel to this family.  We can feed and we can cloth the hungry, and we should, but without the gospel the families of this nation will still rebel and live lives of unrighteousness that will cause us to continue in this path of walking in rebellion against God.

Ultimately this family will face judgment, “On that day,” as they stand before God.  It is my prayer today that you and I awaken to our responsibility to sow the gospel in our nation.  It is my prayer that you and I passionately plead for revival among the Family of God.  Unless we have a move of the Lord, our nation will continue to see more and more, “On that day.”

I leave you with God’s promise to Israel, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and heal their land.”  II Chronicles 7:14.

Speaking Up!

April 23, 2010

We live in an era when it seems that everyone has an opinion about everything regardless whether they have any factual knowledge of what they are offering their opinion about.  For example, “My youngest son has such a desire to be engaged with his daddy’s conversation’s with other adults that he sits and listens for an opportunity to jump in.” Last evening I was sitting with my best friend and John at the table eating popcorn and watching the evening news.  Suddenly John speaks up about our president and says, “What does he know about what our country needs.”  Certainly he could be right, but what knowledge does an eight year old have about such matters?

As I was reading through Psalm 101-110 this morning I found my mind being informed about the subject of mercy.  Time and time again I grew in my understanding of the wealth of God’s mercy.  For example, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to ager, and abounding in mercy,” 103:9.  By the time I finished chapters 103 I was in tears and I was praising God for His mercy.  So great is His mercy that we discover those who come to Christ have their sins removed and even the memory of those sins is removed from God’s presence.  Check out Psalm 103:12.

As I continued to work my way through these chapters, mercy and more mercy came ringing through. I was really taking this all in until I came to Psalm 107:1-2, “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!  For His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”  At this moment God’s word cut like a knife.  Here I am being exposes to truth and I am rejoicing in this truth. But there is to be more, I am to share this truth.

The fact is I am to speak up about this truth.  I actually wrote the words, “SPEAK UP,” in the margin of my bible.  God reminded me of my neighbors who hear so many things in their daily lives but do they ever hear the truth of the mercy of God?  I wonder, do they ever get to see the mercy of God being lived out in front of them?

I realized how much I have experienced the mercy of God and I realized how little I extend the mercy of God.  It was my prayer this morning, “God help me to live out the truth of your mercy with everyone I encounter on a daily basis.  Thank you Father for reminding me to speak up.”

I want to encourage you to speak up with your life and with your lips.  Oh how we need to say so to our world today!

I leave you with the precious word of the Lord, “Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness. And for His wonderful works to the children of men!  Let them exalt Him also in the assembly of the people, And praise Him in the company of the elders,” Psalm 107:31-32.