The Atheist’s Nightmare

Atheist's Nightmare, Muslim Nightmare,

Daily Spirit & Word: 723: The Atheists’ Nightmare.

Is a Believer and Follower of Jesus, who knows the Truth and believes it enough to begin to share it.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

Last Wednesday evening we met an Atheist, he was one of the most intelligent and polite men I’ve met in a very long time. We have a little intelligence test, David went through all our trick questions and the Atheist got them ALL correct. There was no way we were going to fool this man. But it brought a smile to his face and warmed his heart. He loved debating.

On Sunday evening we attended a little session on putting on the Gospel Armour: You know the song, “Each Piece Put ON With Prayer”… i.e. we’re not to mechanically or ritualistically put the armour on. Ephesians 6:10-20.

We were reminded that our greatest BATTLE is not against flesh and blood: look what our battle is against: Whenever you open your mouth for Jesus there the battle rages. Once you decide in you heart “I’m going to share Jesus with this person, in this situation, right now” Then the missiles of the enemy begin to fly… but why? It’s because,  Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This DARK WORLD: the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world: These are the people empowered by SATAN: The battle is not against those people, but the SPIRIT and EVIL that’s empowering them. They don’t even know it, they are unaware of it, they are DARKENED in their understanding. Ephesians 4:18 and BLIND to their condition, 2 Corinthians 4:4.

AND: The Spiritual Forces of EVIL in the HEAVENLY REALMS:  i.e. Satan and all his demonic army.

We can have ‘nice’ debates with people, we could get into logical arguments, but in the end it’s the LIGHT of Jesus Christ they need, not to be won over by argument. I keep repeating this little phrase to myself when engaged in debate, “Win an argument and you loose a friend”… We’ve just taken time to build friendship with that man or woman (be it only for a few minutes), so why ruin that hard won friendship by winning an argument? Let him win, let her win, then move onto the Gospel. I’d much rather loose a debate and win a soul for Jesus Christ. WHY? Because they’ve been blinded by Satan. They’re darkened in their understanding (they just don’t KNOW they are in the darkness, they a also Blindly Unaware) so just give them some awesome, bright, shining light. Let them see again, we can SOFTEN any heart with Jesus POWER. And we can bring LIGHT of understanding to any soul.

Take them by the hand and lead them out of their dreadful darkness, guide them into the light, usher them into the presence of Jesus Christ. 

YBH: “Yes, but HOW?” There is POWER in Gospel Words.

How does an Ardent Atheist get faith? The same way anybody else gets faith: Faith comes by hearing God’s Word…

Romans 10:17 (NIV) “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.”

The message is heard through the WORD OF CHRIST. (THE WORD OF GOD).

AND: FAITH comes by hearing that message.

Sometimes it is almost physically observable when I see a person getting the LIGHT: When sharing the good news every week, we’ll observe the moment when the LIGHT goes on in a person’s soul. Suddenly they get it! I’ve been watching the physical reactions when we go through God’s LAW: A man suddenly puts his hand over his mouth. It’s like he’s got to stop trying to justify himself. A woman’s eyes well up with tears and she just goes silent for a few moments, then declares, “So we’re all sinners, we’re all doomed”… It’s such a wonderful moment when someone is brought into the light of understanding and knowing.

SEPARATED FROM THE LIFE OF GOD.

They are not just DARKENED and BLINDED, they are SEPARATED from the life of God.

Ephesians 4:18 (NIV) “They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.”

They are also SEPARATED because of the ignorance in them, due to the hardening of their hearts.

So what does a HARDENED HEART need? It needs to be SOFTENED…

  • We got some dried mushrooms the other day, to be able to use them, we had to soak them for hours in water. It’s amazing watching those mushrooms go from dried up crisps and return to the fattened shape and form again.

A hardened heart must be marinated in the WATER of The Word of God: It takes time to allow the WORD to penetrate a hard heart. Sometimes as long as five minutes 🙂

I’ve heard some people say “My husband’s heart must be like granite (Granite has unyielding firmness, it’s impervious to water)” Granite can’t be penetrated by water that’s why so many people choose granite for worktops in their kitchens. However, no human heart is so hard that it cannot be penetrated with the WORD of God. It goes past the outer surface and penetrates right to the core of the soul.

My friends, it’s not that they have hearts that are too tough or hard, but it’s US (Believers and Followers of Jesus) who don’t have enough faith in the POWER of God’s Word to do it’s WORK. Just believe in the power of God’s Word. Accept that when you are sharing Jesus, He’s already beginning to draw that soul from darkness into His marvellous light. We are never working alone, the POWER of Jesus is working right with you the moment you open your mouth to share the Good News with someone, Jesus is beginning to work on their hearts.

KNOW THE TRUTH (Jesus) AND THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

It’s not just the Darkened, Blinded and Separated sinner who needs to know the TRUTH, but we Christians also need to BELIEVE and TRUST the TRUTH (Jesus). He’s with you! Do you believe and trust in that? I mean really believe it and trust it. If you begin to accept this truth, then I’m certain you are going to see many more of your friends, family, neighbours and workmates come to faith in Jesus Christ. It’s an Atheist’s nightmare when an Believer not only KNOWS the TRUTH, but BELIEVES him enough to share it.

Why is it a NIGHTMARE for them?

Because an Ardent Honest Atheist believes he knows there is NO GOD… He’s looked at all the available evidence and can’t find God. It’s not surprising to someone who knows God though, because we know they can’t see or know God for the simple reason they a BLIND and a blinded person cannot see. They are DARKENED in their understanding, because of their HARD HEARTS, so they cannot understand either. They are separated from the LIFE of God, so they are DEAD in their transgressions and sins.

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV) “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

Oh my friends, if Christians can grasp this TRUTH, they’re going to see so many souls SAVED by Jesus. Those Dehydrated Souls Need The Living Water of God’s Word.

So don’t get alarmed when you encounter an Atheist, get the compassion of Jesus and lead them into the light, let Jesus open their blinded eyes and soften their hardened hearts with the gentle word of the Saviour of the World. Like my dried mushrooms, plunge them into the WORD of God. Soak them in it and watch their understanding be expanded, watch the LIFE of God beginning to take shape and form in their WORD enlightened and softened souls. Amen!

NOTE: I was given this message by the LORD today. I believe there are many Christians who need to know the power that is in them.
So many of our brothers and sisters in Christ need the assurance and confidence to share Jesus. This world’s powers, infected by the Evil forces in the Heavenly realms, don’t want you to be sharing Jesus today. They hate it of course, that’s why a man, training to be a Social Worker, was thrown out of University because of his Christian beliefs, it seems you can’t be a Christian in Public office today in the UK. You can’t share your faith with a Muslim colleague either, a Nurse lost her job because she gave a booklet to a Muslim colleague and invited her to church. Oh my friends, the BATTLE is most definitely on, but don’t be SILENCED or feel threatened. Jesus will give you the words you need when you are dragged before the Magistrates. He will be with you encouraging you and strengthening you in the BATTLE. The souls of those in the darkness are too precious to worry about the personal consequences of leading them into the light. That’s why Jesus said, “Take up your Cross Daily and follow me”… We are to die to self and live for Him.

The Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the King”

In verse 2: I believe that worship song is prophetic of our Nation today.

“There’s a great darkness over this land
A deep darkness on the people
But a light is shining
That the dark can’t understand
The Light of the world King Jesus
Do you know do you know
Do you know do you know”

All they need is JUST ONE, just one touch from the KING, then they’ll KNOW too.
They’ll be set free from the deep darkness, blindness, separation from the life of God.
Just ONE TOUCH FROM THE KING: The Lord Jesus Christ.
His POWER is in YOU!

Be fully blessed today,
Don.
Worship Song: “Just One Touch From the KING”.

 

I’m Going Home To Share The Good News

Jesus experienced rejection of his own family, friends, townsfolk, so don't give up or give in to the fear of rejection,

Good morning my friends, today I’m sharing the message I preached in church yesterday, but it’s even more impacting me than I thought, because there’s a principle that I’ve learned afresh, the importance of persevering in sharing the faith we’ve received no matter what kind of response it provokes in those who hear it. Don’t GIVE UP or GIVE IN when there’s a negative response.

Daily Spirit & Word: 722: Jesus Visits His Home Town.

The Incredible Unbelief in Jesus’ Home-Town of Nazareth.

“FEAR NOTHING”: Said Jesus. “Except: God…” We love all kinds of scary things: wild rides at the fair, scary rides a parks, pranks that make us frightened (the Bush-Man on Facebook), etc… but the one thing we should be afraid of we’re told, “we mustn’t tell people about that” because it’s not NICE to scare people. How is it OK to scare people with ghost, ghool, horror and thriller stories, but it’s NOT OK to scare them about God? My friends, “FEAR GOD”…Why? “Because the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom”.

Good morning my friends, we’re back with Mark’s Gospel again today, this time our focus is upon Jesus visit to His home town in Nazareth. However, instead of receiving a warm welcome, like those who return from war, he encounters unbelief and criticism, but that has tragic consequences for his townsfolk.

Mark 6:1-6 (NIV)
1 Jesus left there and went to his home town, accompanied by his disciples.
2  When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him, that he even does miracles!
3  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offence at him.
4  Jesus said to them, “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”
5  He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.
6  And he was amazed at their lack of faith. Then Jesus went round teaching from village to village.

NOTE: 1: Their Initial Amazement.

The Situation: Jesus has just been thronged by thousands, news was spreading fast about all the miracles he’s been performing around the towns and villages and on the edges of The Sea of Galilee. The Deliverance of a man with thousands of demons, the woman who’d been sick for 12 years, the bringing back to life a girl who had died.

But then almost like a Train Hitting the Buffers at Land’s End in Cornwall: It all comes to a CRASHING HALT: Where? In a foreign town? NO! In a Roman Official’s home? No! Amongst the foreigners? No! Where? In Jesus’ Home Town.

He was in town accompanied by his disciples. 

One of the things that should have convinced his home town of Jesus’ status should have been the great entourage that accompanied him now.

Jesus Return Home: It’s like a Great General Returning from a Campaign: But instead of a Triumphant Rally, Jesus doesn’t even get a little party.

  • What does Jesus do? On the Holy Day: Sabbath: Jesus goes, like a good Jew would, to the Synagogue.
  • What does Jesus do in the Synagogue? “He began to teach”
  • What’s the initial response? “Amazement”...

Amazement: Is the feeling that accompanies something extremely surprising. Another word could be ‘Astonishment’. (It’s surprise, stupefacation, admiration, wonder, wonderment). Modern words: Impressed.

Listen to their Questions: they asked;

  • “Where did this man get these things?”
  •  “What’s this wisdom that has been given him?
  •  “He even does miracles!”

Jesus teaching is backed-up by the Miracles and Signs and Wonders He performed: Initial response: Amazement.

How would you feel if Jesus was here right now, teaching you the Secrets of God’s Kingdom?

You’d probably AWESTRUCK right?

You’re mouth would fall open and you’d gaze in wonder and amazement.

A modern word for that is WOW or WOWzer! Jesus is AWESOME.

What would be your response?

However, before you answer that question, let’s look at how they responded.

NOTE: 2) The Unreasonable Unbelief of Jesus Townsfolk and Family Members.

They are initially amazed and awestruck, they knew about the Miracles, but what a SHOCKING and SADDENING result for Jesus.

Listen to the next set of Questions: They KNOW all about Jesus of Nazareth.

  • Isn’t this the carpenter?
  • Isn’t this Mary’s son?
  • Isn’t Jesus the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?”

That’s right, they KNOW Jesus background. They KNOW where he comes from? They KNOW his family? They KNOW his trade / employment.

  • He’s a Carpenter: The Son of a Carpenter… “How could a mere Carpenter get so much wisdom, and miracles making power?” … “We know He hasn’t attended any Rabbinical School”… They are offended / scandalised by a mere Carpenter having the audacity to teach them.
  • He’s a Son: Of a woman we know all about. He’s just an ordinary man…
  • He’s got brothers and sisters amongst us here. (Mary obviously didn’t stay a Virgin after Jesus’ birth, she had other sons and daughters. Only Jesus was Mary’s Divine child).

NOTE: 3) WHY They Refused To Believe or Trust in Jesus:

They were amazed at his wisdom, they knew about the miracles, but the FOCUS instead upon His (human) Personality. Who He IS…

What was their response to Jesus teaching and their questioning and reasoning? “They Took OFFENCE at Him”...

Instead of being so impressed and filled with JOY, as they most certainly should have been, they are simply OFFENDED.

OFFENCE: Is a feeling of anger caused by an offence: i.e. Jesus was only a Carpenter, a Son and a brother, so why is He here ‘preaching and teaching’? Their offence was anger cause by who they thought Jesus was.

The Reason For Their Offence Was, “What right has this Son and Carpenter to TEACH us?” … “Who does He think He is?”… It’s a feeling of being appalled, aggrieved, bruised, outraged, pained, scandalised, violated and wounded… (A litle girl in our gathering yesterday stated “they may have been jealous of Jesus”… Jealously is a powerful emotion).

We don’t even know what it was that Jesus was teaching them in the Synagogue in Nazareth that day: Have you ever wanted to be a “fly-on-the-wall”? I’d love to know what it was they were so Scandalised and Offended about, but we don’t.

The most important thing for Mark (and the Holy Spirit) is that we know that in Jesus Home Town: Amongst Family and Townsfolk: They were offended by His PERSON more than his actual teaching in their Synagogue.

  • Their UNBELIEF is UNREASONABLE: Because of the EVIDENCE. (i.e. His wisdom, His Miracles) (No right thinking person when given the evidence they had received would deny Jesus or refuse to Honour Him). It’s just totally unreasonable.
  • Their UNBELIEF is  INEXCUSABLE: on account of all the evidence. They should have responded with open heart and hands and voices, but they didn’t instead they lacked faith in Jesus because they remained offended.

NOTE: 4) THEIR UNBELIEF IS COSTLY.

However, their Unbelief and Offence: has a terrible consequence for them.

A)  They Get a REBUKE from Jesus For Their Unbelief.

Jesus STATEMENT: “Only in his home town, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honour.”

That’s not merely statement of fact: but of OPEN rebuke. i.e. Strangers welcomed and honoured Jesus. Complete Strangers showed Him respect. Complete Strangers listened and responded to His teaching, but His town’s folk and even some of Jesus’ own family: were offended and without faith. They remained in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

When there’s so much EVIDENCE: That kind of UNBELIEF is a Sin.

GRAVITY: It’s like saying, “I know that Newton Defined The Law of Gravity, but even though I can see an Apple falling from a tree, and every time I drop a cup it falls to the floor and smashed to pieces, I don’t believe in GRAVITY”… How foolish.

I remember an old Government Health and Safety Advert: About the Dangers we face a work:

“Sir Isaac Newton tells us why, an apple falls down from the sky,
and from this fact it’s very plane, all other objects do the same,
A brick, a boot, a bar, a cup, invariably it falls down; NOT up.
And every other working tool, is governed by the self-same rule.
So when you handle tools up there, let your watchword be; take care.”

The Evidence for who Jesus was, and backing up what He was saying and teaching was all around them: Yet even members of his own family and many in his home town remained in stubborn UNBELIEF…

You might be surprised by that, I am and So was our Lord Jesus Christ. Look at verse 6 of our reading today; “He was amazed at their lack of faith”… Their Unbelief is unreasonable, inexcusable, brings a rebuke, but note what happens next…

B) Jesus Wasn’t Able to Perform ANY Miracles.

Except heal only a few people. Surely healing a few people is miraculous, but what the text is telling us is that Jesus was hindered by their UNBELIEF and lack of faith.

C) thirdly, Jesus MOVES ON because of Their Unbelief:

What happened as a result of their Unbelief? “Jesus moves on from town to town teaching”… He moved away from His Home Town: Nazareth. He leaves behind his own family, neighbours who’d known him all his life, and goes to other towns in the area, to strangers rather than friends and family. What a dreadful shame.

My friends, there’s a STARK WARNING for us here today.

If we’ve been CONVINCED: that Jesus is who He claims to be “The Divine Son of God”, The King of the Jews, The King of a KINGDOM not of this Earth, The Expected One. If we believe that He could and did perform wonderful miracles. That He had amazing insightful and wise teachings, but refuse to put our FAITH in Him, then we’re just the same as His own family members and townsfolk of Nazareth.

Their UNBELIEF: Was both UNREASONABLE and INEXCUSABLE and thirdly, very COSTLY: If we’ve become convinced of Jesus, then we’re just the same; If we remain in STUBBORN UNBELIEF.

NOTE: 5) What’s A RIGHT RESPONSE TO JESUS?

Faith IS confirmed by our RESPONSE: How are we TRUSTING in Jesus today? (Not what we’ve done in the PAST).

It’s not so much about what we believe about Him. (As Nazareth did). But our HEART response to HIM.

It’s not about being impressed by Him. (As Nazareth was). But receiving HIM by FAITH.

Those people were impressed, but they REFUSED to Honour Him and Accept Him.

Remember what the Apostle John recorded in John Chapter One: ”

John 1:10-18 (NIV)
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognise him. (Even the one’s who knew him best, his home town, didn’t not receive him).
11  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. (or believe him or trust in him or honour him).
12  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—
13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
15  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ “
16  From the fulness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.
17  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
18  No-one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

Jesus was the ONE: The ONLY ONE, to ever make God Knowable: How? Because He was God.

“If you’ve seen me Philip, you’ve seen the Father”… John 14.

Today is the DAY Of SALVATION: 

Before Jesus moves on from you, to go to another soul and begin to work on them some miracles, to convince them with His teaching, will you OPEN your heart, mind, soul and life to Jesus today?

Will you RESPOND by Accepting or Rejecting Jesus?

Reason It Out: (It’s NOT a blind-leap-of-faith). Look at Jesus teachings. Look at the Miracles recorded. Listen to the Testimony of Believers today. Examine all the Evidence in History from the time of Jesus. All that EVIDENCE is still with us. Enough to CONVINCE the most sincere or sceptical seeker today.

LOOK AT CREATION: The Bible tells us that in itself us enough EVIDENCE in CREATION for the EXISTENCE of God.

Stubborn Unbelief will BE COSTLY: Not just in this life, but in the life to come after death.

Romans 1:20 (NIV) “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

CREATION ITSELF IS ENOUGH EVIDENCE.

Because if we CHOOSE NOT TO BELIEVE: On account of all the evidence we have been given. Jesus might just move on from trying by His Spirit to convince us… “He moved on from town to town teaching”

If we reject Him NOW: We will be rejected in ETERNITY.

Respond: Put you faith and trust in Jesus Christ today. Why? Because TODAY is the DAY Of SALVATION.

Don’t be like His own townsfolk and family; trust, believe and receive Jesus NOW.

For those who’ve never done that before or for those who’ve done it in the past but wandered away from Jesus.

I’m going to GIVE The A, B, C of Coming to faith in Jesus.

The Gospel: We want all our fellowship to know and be able to share the Good News.

  1. A) Accept: That you are a sinner, who needs God’s forgiveness. Without that forgiveness we’ll face God on Judgement day, carrying the weight of our own sins.
  2. B) Believe: Believe that Jesus Christ died upon the Cross for your sins. That He is the Son of God. That He is who He claimed to be GOD. That He died, but rose again and is alive now. You can know Him.
  3. C) Receive: ByREPENT & TRUST: We may accept we’re sinners, believe that Jesus died for those sins, but until we receive Him by Faith, we’re still just like those Townsfolk in Nazareth, Impressed, but still without TRUSTING FAITH. Receive Jesus by an act of faith. Repent and Trust in Him alone and God will grant you the gift of Eternal life, forgiveness of sins, cleansing from sin, New Life in Christ and Gifts of the Holy Spirit indwelling and renewal and power to life a good and holy and abundant life, useful and gifted for God’s service for evermore.

Repentance: Is a change of mind (Greek Word: Metanoia)  regarding our way of living: There must be an element of sorrow / regret for the way we’ve been living in rebellion towards God. Then when we’re broken and convicted it leads us to the decision / desire to want to live our lives in ways that a pleasing to God. True repentance therefore will lead to a change in the way that we live our lives.

Trust in Jesus: It like putting on a life-jacket when you jump from a sinking ship. or a Parachute from a Plane that falling from the sky. Without the life-saver or parachute, your demise is certain. Put ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST: AND YOU WILL BE SAVED. Without Jesus Christ we’re doomed to face a holy and righteous God, who’s justly angered by our sinful rebellion and will give us His justice on Judgement Day. Those who’ve not trusted in Jesus Christ (Put on the Lord Jesus to be clothed in His righteousness), will be thrown into the lake of fire with the devil and all demons.

BUT: God’s doesn’t want that, that’s why He sent his beloved Son to die upon the Cross, to take our punishment and save us from God’s wrath and judgement to come. That’s why it’s so important to have a right FEAR of God.

Finally: You may have similar responses from those who know you every well, when you give your life to Jesus and are transformed by Him. Your own family, townsfolk and friends might be initially surprised and then be offended by what’s happened to you, but when you begin to share the Good News with them, they may begin to say similar things to what they did about Jesus when He visited His home town.

(who does he / she think they are, they’re no different to me, they are just as sinful as I am, etc)… However, if it happened to Jesus, it can happen to us too. Don’t give up! Don’t stop following Jesus just because family, friends and neighbours don’t like it or won’t respond.

Remember how stubborn you were before you finally came to trust in Jesus Christ. I’ll bet that you didn’t trust in Him the first time you heard the Gospel. He had to draw you to Himself. He had to win your faith and trust in Himself. If it takes time with a stubborn person like yourself, then give those you love time to adjust to the claims of Jesus Christ. Coming to faith is often painful for people, because pride has to die first.

Don’t BE TEMPTED: (as much of our modern church has been) to water-down the hard parts of the Good News. Repentance is critical to true conversion. Without repentance from sin, we cannot be saved. A Satan-Blinded Sinner must see his / her sins for what they are; offensive to God, before they’ll see their need to let go of that way of living. Freely share God’s holy and righteous standards revealed in His Commandments, because you have an ally in the person with whom you are sharing, who’ll keep talking to them long after you’ve gone home to bed: it’s their own CONSCIENCE. Once you share the holy standards of God, the Conscience can be re-awakened and will begin to do it’s work. CONVICTION by God’s Holy Spirit will pull the sinner to his or her knees. It’s NOT all up to you, God wants them saved much more than you do.

Preach to them more than once, because their eternal souls are more valuable that your upset feelings or fear of further rejection. Our LOVE for them should compel us to give them as much GRACE as God has given to us.

So don’t give up, because God didn’t give up on you.

Don’t be put-off by an initial hostile response. Persevere, sometimes people will get angry when you share Jesus. I’ve had that many times, but after responding in gentle ways, their initial anger subsides and they begin to open us to receiving the Good News. Anger is just one of Satan’s ways of trying to scare you into stopping short, giving up and going home.

So don’t give-up on them, don’t give-in to fear, don’t water-down, don’t be afraid of rejection, because Jesus followed His own advice to the man delivered from demons (Mark 5) who went home and told everybody the good news. The Demon Possessed man had a good response when he shared, Jesus had a hostile response (Mark 6), but the PRINCIPLE still stands, GO BACK HOME and share the Good NEWS. Share about all the good things God has done for you and how he has had mercy upon you by forgiving your sins, giving you a new life and the gift of faith and eternal life. Some might reject it, but others may just be ready to respond and put their own faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

A NOTE TO MYSELF: Remember how important it is to read the chapters before and after the one you are peaching upon, sometimes there are linked themes, i.e. The Going HOME of Mark 5 and Mark 6…

Have and AWESOME and AMAZING week with Jesus,

Don.

 

When Street Evangelism Brings Joy

Street Evangelism can sometimes be tough, but it's always full of joy

Daily Spirit & Word: 719: It’s NOT Always EASY.

When Sharing The Good News: Isn’t Received Like Good News.

But we spread the SALT and shine the LIGHT anyway.

And Return With Joy

Matthew 5:13-16 (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
14  “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
16  In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Good morning my friends, I love to tell you that our Street Evangelism last night was easy, that we saw lots of people coming to Jesus, that everyone we talked with welcomed our message, but it wasn’t like that last night. No, it was tough with a capital ‘T’…

However, it was amazing, it’s like the LORD Jesus has been preparing us for last night from the beginning, because many of the people we chatted with were opposed to the Message of Jesus Christ. We didn’t get into arguments, but we did debate. It was done with humility, great humour and sometimes seriousness.

We Encountered:

  • A man who made up his own version of Christianity, but wouldn’t read the Bible for fear of going mad.
  • A man who said he didn’t believe Jesus ever existed.
  • A man who said he worshipped the Devil.
  • A woman who told us to go away because she was bi-polar and was likely to explode in violence.
  • An Atheist who knew more about the Bible than most Priests we’ve bumped into. He answered every question in David’s Logic Test, He knew every one of the Commandments in order, but definitely was an open minded Atheist who was ready to debate his position.
  • A man and a woman who didn’t want ‘real’ sinners to get into Heaven.
  • And many more…

To say, “last night’s street witnessing was challenging”, would be an understatement.

However, we came back praising the Lord, because we’d planted the life transforming Gospel into the hearts of almost every one of those wonderful souls, apart from the bi-polar lady who just didn’t want to talk at all, we finished off with a great response to the Good News with an amazing lady and her colleague from Patty King.

I read a book a while ago with the title, “God Doesn’t Believe In Atheists” and the strap-line; “You can lead an Atheist to water, but you can make him think”… It’s a play on the old adage, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink”… How to make an Atheist back-slide into belief… 🙂

Well, we most certainly can make anyone think: A horse who refuses to drink water can be a bit awkward for the man who needs to have his cart pulled. In order for a horse to be any use it needs to take on water, lots of it. So you’d put SALT into His Oats. Once a horse gets a mouthful of tasty, salty oats, just watch him lapping up that cool clear water.

That’s what we can do with an Atheist as well, put some LIVING SALT (Gospel Words) into his mind, to make him think, to let his God given Conscience go and do it’s work in bringing conviction of sin, leading to repentance and trust in the only Saviour of mankind. Then once he’s come to Jesus, he’ll be lapping up the life giving water of life from the Holy Spirit and drinking in deeply from the eternal fountain. He’ll discover satisfaction for his eternal soul.

Remember Jesus told us to be SALT and LIGHT… God loves Atheists, unbelievers, Satanists, bi-polar, Jesus rejecting people just as much as the Saint who bends the knee to the Saviour.

God doesn’t want a single soul to perish in Hell; LOVE, that’s our motivation for going out and engaging those challenging folks.

God, by His Holy Spirit and the Gospel of His One and ONLY Son, Jesus Christ, is PULLING people from the flames licking at their feet. His desire is that none perish in hell, but everyone to come to repentance. In order for them to come to the point of repentance though, they need to know HOW they’ve offended God and what it is that’s keeping them out of Heaven. Because, most people, even ardent Atheists, want to go to Heaven, if it exists. To show people HOW they’ve offended God to such a degree that they’ll be banished from Heaven forever, it takes patience, lots of it, kindness in great measure, gentleness, joy, love, persuasion, reasoning, more love, humility, respect and boldness. We’re not selling a message, we’re not salesmen with a neat set of pat answers. Each person is an individual, with their own personal experiences, questions, thoughts and reasons for not even thinking about Jesus or eternity. The vast majority are heading for hell in blissful ignorance of their fate. No wonder Jesus said, “The fields are ripe unto harvest, but the labourers are few”. It’s NOT easy, but it is such a JOY to be able to bring some light into their darkness. To give a little HOPE in the midst of hopelessness.

Finishing With An Encouraging Encounter:

The face of the lady from Patty King who heard the Good News last night was a picture, because when I asked, “Does that make sense?” She said, “Yes it does?” She’d been arguing that God would just forgive people anyway, but she didn’t want “horrible people” like; murderers, rapists, child-molesters, etc, to go to Heaven. Her problem was that she thought she was good and really bad people were much worse than her. She was measuring her goodness with what she perceived as their badness, thinking she’d be acceptable to God.

Well after some banter and joking and shedding some light on the true condition of their souls, they still thought their sin wasn’t as bad as others.

I said, “Think about it like this, telling lies is a sin right?” She nodded, “A single lie will keep us out of heaven, because it contaminates us” She didn’t think lying was such a bad sin as to keep a person out of heaven. So I explained, “You work in Patty King, imagine taking a delivery of chicken and one of the batch is smelling rotten, would you put that in the fridge beside the good pieces of chicken?” She said, “No, I’d throw it out”… I explained “that’s what God will do with any soul coming to Him, desiring to get into Heaven, if they’ve been contaminated with any sin; lying, stealing, lust (adultery) hatred (murder), etc”..  “He cannot let them in, because they’d contaminate His holy heaven”… Once she got it, she was open to hearing what God has done so that none should perish in Hell. So when I asked that question, “Dos that make sense?” The nod of her head was a wonderful picture. She said, “Yes it does”.

Tomorrow: We’ll be thinking about; Getting Ready For Pentecost. The Coming of The Holy Spirit.

Today: Always be prepared to give a reason for the HOPE that is in you.

Be filled with God’s LOVE for everyone, do good and share the Good News.

Remember to stay close to Jesus (John 15) and Be filled afresh with God The Holy Spirit, and Praise your Heavenly Father in worship and song.

Don.

 

The Power of Jesus to Heal

Just ONE Touch from the King changes everything

Daily Spirit & Word: 717: The Power Of Jesus Word.

There is POWER in Jesus to Heal

We’ve been following through Mark’s Gospel and we’re now on Chapter 5. The last teaching was about Jesus Power and Authority over Satan and The Demonic, today we observe Jesus healing and raising a little girl from the dead.

The Two Twelves: The Two 12s…
The Woman who has been bleeding for 12 years.
The Little Girl was 12 years old when she died.

Mark 5:21-43 (NIV)
21 When Jesus had again crossed over by boat to the other side of the lake, a large crowd gathered round him while he was by the lake.
22 Then one of the synagogue rulers, named Jairus, came there. Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”
24 So Jesus went with him. A large crowd followed and pressed around him. 25 And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26 She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse. 27 When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, 28 because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.” 29 Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.
30 At once Jesus realised that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?”
31 “You see the people crowding against you,” his disciples answered, “and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’ “
32 But Jesus kept looking around to see who had done it.
33 Then the woman, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell at his feet and, trembling with fear, told him the whole truth.
34 He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

Jairus Get’s Bad News:
35 While Jesus was still speaking, some men came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue ruler. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher any more?”
36 Ignoring what they said, Jesus told the synagogue ruler, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
37 He did not let anyone follow him except Peter, James and John the brother of James.
38 When they came to the home of the synagogue ruler, Jesus saw a commotion, with people crying and wailing loudly.
39 He went in and said to them, “Why all this commotion and wailing? The child is not dead but asleep.”
40 But they laughed at him. After he put them all out, he took the child’s father and mother and the disciples who were with him, and went in where the child was.
41 He took her by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum!” (which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up!”).
42 Immediately the girl stood up and walked around (she was twelve years old). At this they were completely astonished.
43 He gave strict orders not to let anyone know about this, and told them to give her something to eat.

12 Years Bleeding: “Just One Touch and I will be healed”.

My friends, that’s real FAITH.

Immediately” Jesus realised POWER had gone out from Him.
That touch of faith brought the POWER of HEAVEN.
My friends, when we approach God with FAITH: The Power of Heaven is OPEN…
FAITH: is believing without doubting. It’s a GIFT from God, so that no one can boast. All faith is a Gift from God.

But remember, our FAITH in what God can and will do will grow the more that we know that we can TRUST Him.
It’s a kind of faith that believes without doubting. Do you have that kind of faith?

Let me illustrate: You already have that kind of faith.

A Chair: How do you know that the SEAT you’re sitting on can hold your weight?

When you came in here today, you didn’t stop to check the chair out, to see if it was wobbly or anything, you just sat right down on it.
If you were a stranger walking into this building today, how would you know you could sit down and the chairs would support your weight?
That’s right, you can see other people sitting down. Lots of them, and they are not falling to the floor with everyone laughing at them.

Also Past Experience of sitting in chairs, they’re pretty dependable aren’t they.

In the same way that you can see others have trusted their chairs and not fallen to the floor, you can also see that in this place, some of the people have put their faith in Jesus Christ. No matter what happens in their lives, they don’t fall down, their faith remains, they keep trusting in Jesus, but why? Why do they keep trusting in Jesus, even when life get tough? It’s because they know Jesus, long years of reaching out and touching the Saviour in faith, have given them the assurance that He’s in complete control and knows what He’s doing.

So if you can see that others have had FAITH in their seats, can you see how impressive it is that others have that same kind of FAITH in Jesus. They have sat in those seats many times, so when they walk in to church they don’t even think about it.

My friends, this Woman who’d been bleeding for 12 Long Years: Must have heard about Jesus’ Miracles and as He passed by in the Crowd that day, she thought to herself, as the Scriptures tell us, “If I just touch the hem of His garments, I will be healed”…

What amazing reasoning: “If this Jesus can heal people of all kinds of diseases and deliver them from Demons, then a little issue of bleeding for 12 years will be nothing for this Miracle worker, all I need to do is reach out and touch Him”.

More about that reaching out to Jesus in a minute, but look what happened next;

NEXT: Jesus Brings LIFE back into a 12 year old dead girl.

The Girls Father: first a word about Jairus.
What encouragement Jesus gave Jairus.
He was a Synagogue Ruler… The Synagogue was a place of worship for Jews. Jairus was a very important man in society.
Mark 5:22-23 “Seeing Jesus, he fell at his feet 23 and pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.””

“Jairus FELL AT HIS FEET”: Here was a Ruler falling at Jesus feet and begging Him… My friends, if you want Jesus to do something for you, something you are desperate for the King of Kings to do for you, have you gotten to the point of falling to your knees and pleading with Jesus? Sometimes, we don’t get answers to our prayers UNTIL we’ve gotten to our knees in prayer before God.
It’s not the act of kneeling, it the act of recognition of who Jesus is. Jairus knew only that Jesus was a Miracle worker and teacher. We know that Jesus was God on Earth, that He died because of His love for us, so that we could be forgiven and cleansed of all sin. When we kneel before Jesus today, we’re kneeling before God.

KNEELING: can be just a habit: many people kneel in prayer because that’s what they’ve been taught to do.

But there’s another kind of KNEELING: It’s A Humbling yourself before God. It’s recognising that you don’t deserve anything from Him and yet still coming to Him. Pleading for His grace, mercy, kindness… He loves our FAITH… He loves our TRUST… What’s stopping us KNEELING before Jesus?

PEOPLE KNEEL BEFORE THE QUEEN:
When the New Years Honours come around, people kneel before the Queen to be Knighted. They bow the knee in recognition of her Majesty and Authority. She wears a Crown to symbolise her Majestic Authority over her subjects. When she knights someone she says, “Arise Sir Knight”…
Jesus is the KING of Kings and Queens.
Our Queen has famously said, “I bow the knee to only one other KING and that’s KING Jesus Christ”… The Queen bows to Jesus. Jairus, the Ruler of the Synagogue was in good company… But have we actually BOWED before Jesus?

JUST ONE TOUCH OF THE KING:

The Queen Touches with her sword and says “Arise”… But the KING, our LORD Jesus touches and we cannot help but rise to new heights.

Imagine what frustration Jairus must have felt, when his little girl was at home dying, Jesus stopping along the way to ask, “Who touched Me?”… He would have been thinking to himself, “Oh please Master, come as quick as you can or it will be too late”…
What did Jairus ask Jesus to do for him? “PUT YOUR HANDS ON HER”
Jairus knew there was POWER in the touch of Jesus The Miracle Maker. “Put your hand on her so that she will be healed and live”
Just ONE TOUCH of the KING… Changes everything… (I love that song, because it speaks of a TRUTH about my King Jesus).

  • If it’s us reaching out to Jesus in FAITH: Like the Woman bleeding for 12 years. Changed her life forever. POWER of Heaven Opens: By Faith.
    If it’s up Jesus reaching out to us in His MERCY: Like the little girl’s father, Changed her life forever and her family’s life forever. POWER of Heaven Opens: By Faith.

Just ONE TOUCH of the KING: Changes EVERYTHING.

BUT THEY LAUGHED AT HIM:

Notice the CROWD that didn’t believe.

  • Like they laughed at Noah, when He built the ARK of God.
  • Like Sara laughed when the LORD said she would have a baby when she was nearly 100 years old.

My friends, if someone came to you and said, “I’m building an Ark because God is sending a flood to destroy the Earth” you’d probably laugh too.
If someone came to your funeral and said, “Put the boy down, I’m going to bring him back to life” You’d probably laugh too.
If someone came into a hospital today, when the doctors has said, “He’s DEAD” and he said, “He Going to LIVE” those Doctors would probably laugh too.
The CROWD Laughed at Jesus. It’s a laugh of incredulity. It’s a laugh of unbelief. They reason, “We know she’s dead”…

What did Jesus do when they laughed at Him?

That’s right, He put them out of the room. (Mark 5:40).

My friends, it’s a DANGEROUS thing to Laugh at God.
Laughing is Doubting when there’s EVIDENCE that it’s possible.
That kind of laughter is an insult to God.
Jesus put them out of the room.

  • God put Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, when they doubted God and believed the Devil.
  • God put Abraham’s wife Sara out for a while, when she laughed, when told in her old age she’d have a baby.
  • God put Zechariah, John the Baptist’s Dad out for a while when he laughed, when in their old age he and Sarah would have a baby; He was struck dumb until he wrote what the Angel told him, “His name shall be John”.

Unbelief (Stubborn Doubt) means exclusion from the things of God.
“He put them all out”… For laughing. For their unbelief.
My friends, if you are LAUGHING at the possibilities of what God can do today, be aware that it’s going to be very costly indeed. You might just miss the best Miracles you’ll ever witness in your life; only the parents and Jesus’ disciples; Peter, James and John, observed Jesus touching the little girl and her coming back to life.

Remember what Jesus said to Thomas: “Stop DOUBTING and BELIEVE”…. “It’s ME”….
Jesus response to Thomas’ faith once he’d seen Him: John 20:29 (NIV) “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.””

Jairus trusted Jesus, instead of laughing, Jairus was full of hope and expectation and faith, he was with Jesus and His disciples in the room when Jesus touched the little girl and LIFE came back into her dead body. That touch of Jesus would change Jairus’ life forever.

After giving the girl back her life Jesus said, “Give her something to eat”…

He didn’t just give back her life, Jesus took care of her hunger too. That’s how much Jesus cares for that little girl my friends.

Do you know, that’s how much Jesus cares for you too. When you get the NEW LIFE Jesus wants to feed you with Manna from Heaven, The Word of God.

Conclusion:

  • With Just a WORD the 12 year old girl received life.
    With Just a WORD from God, the Universe was formed.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, Demons flew out of a man.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, The Storm was stilled.
    With Just a WORD from Jesus, The Crippled man’s hand was restored.
    With Just a WORD from God: Mankind came into this world.
    With Jesus WORD Lazarus came out of the grave.

There is POWER in the WORD of God.

  • With Just a TOUCH: Moses parted the Red Sea.
    With Just a TOUCH: Water poured from a Rock.
    With Just a TOUCH: Jesus opened a Blind Man’s Eyes.
    With Just a TOUCH: Jesus opened a DEAF Man’s Ears.

There is POWER in the TOUCH of the SAVIOUR.

My friends, Do you believe? Do you have faith? Do you TRUST Jesus can do all that He promised He can do?
He will come into your life: If you turn in faith and trust in His death upon the Cross for your sins. When you repent and put your FAITH in Him, He’ll do it. Do you believe that Jesus will come into your life? To give you NEW LIFE… Once you get NEW LIFE, you’ll also get a NEW HUNGER (New Desires) for the WORD of God. NEW DESIRES to live God’s way: His righteous life.

Just like you’ve seen others sitting in these chairs and believe they can hold your weight. You have FAITH in your seat.
So you can believe that Jesus will DO ALL He’s Promised: He’ll come into your LIFE today; Give you NEW LIFE, NEW HUNGER, NEW JOY… He may also give you FAITH to believe that He can do anything…

He’ll not only give you NEW LIFE, but a NEW HUNGER too.
How’s your hunger for God’s Word? It’s an indication of your place in God’s Family.
“Like babes in Christ, crave the pure milk of the word of God”…

DILLY & DALLY:
DELAY: When I was 12 Years Old. My mother ran a bath for me. She shouted out to me, “Donald, your bath is ready, the water is warm, come and get your bath before the water gets cold”… I dillied and dallied and by the time I got into that bath, the water was cold.
DON’T Dilly and Don’t Dally, the WATER of FAITH is warm today. Jump in and take the plunge and trust in Jesus.
DON’T Be Like the CROWD who LAUGHED: Jesus coming into your life right now might seem impossible, more than you can possibly dream, but Jesus is real, His promise is real, He’ll come if you just; Believe, Turn from Sin, Accept His Sacrifice of Himself upon the Cross for your sins and Receive Him by Faith… YES! You can do it today!…

What if you’ve done that already? You’ve TRUSTED Jesus.
Have you seen the new James Bond Movie? “Spectre”… James Bond is a Special Secret Agent Number 007.. He’s been selected and trained to infiltrate the enemy, wherever the enemy may be found. My friends, God has chosen you to be His Agents (Ambassadors) in this world. You are like His secret special agents; your number is 777… 🙂

You might still be laughing like the CROWD: What about the Plans God has for you? Have you laughed inside yourself, thinking I couldn’t do that, I don’t have the strength, the power or the personality… What’s God been calling you to do for Him, but you’ve laughed or doubted? Sara (Abraham’s wife got the shock of her life when she listened in on the conversation) an old lady having a baby; impossible. My friends, God might be calling you to do something for Him that at this moment in time might seem beyond your capacity, your ability, your power, but believe Him, recognise His POWER to do all things, even with you. He’s done it before and He can do it again through your life. Is Jesus calling you to use your GIFTS in His Service, in the Service of the Kingdom? Remember the weaklings in the Bible that God chose for great things; Moses, Gideon, Jeremiah, they all thought they were not upto the task or calling, but God transformed them all.

So my friends, I’m going to ASK YOU: Will you TRUST Jesus Christ: The POWER of His Word, The POWER of His Touch?
Believe me and everyone else here today, who’ll tell you, “It’s TRUE: Jesus Christ has done it for me and He’ll do it for you too”.
Take the plunge, jump in whilst the water is warm and the time is right.
Reach out in Faith and FEEL the POWER of God coming into your life again today.

Don.

NOTE: When delivering this sermon at an All Age Service yesterday, I split it into two: The Woman with the Issue and then the 12 Year old dead girl.

I used another illustration to show the little bit of faith we might have and it’s power.
A glass of water held over someone’s head, up-side-down… The water didn’t come out because a flimsy piece of paper stopped it. The paper is thin, sometimes our faith appears weak, but it has a might force behind it.
When we use our faith, exercise the little faith that we have, Heaven’s Power is Available. Amen!

You ARE The Church

OIKOS is the people you know

Daily Spirit & Word: 716: An Eye Opener Day Off.

“Go AND Tell”

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

Yesterday, on my day off, I attended an Seminar on Equipping Church Members for their Mission.

Eye Opener No 1: Christians Really ARE the Church.

What struck me was what I already knew, but hadn’t fully grasped.

Let me explain: I’ve known ever since I became a Christian and sincerely began following the Lord Jesus that a Church is NOT a building, but the people of Jesus. You know that too right? Every single Christian is a part of the body of Christ and Jesus is the Head. Now I knew that, but here’s what got me yesterday, I’ve been teaching people they are the church, but still treating our buildings as a ‘Church’ to bring people to. I’ve been telling our folks to invite people to church in order for them to be saved, not realising that I’d inadvertently become the CORK in the Neck of the Bottle of God’s Wine of the Kingdom. I was giving my Congregation an excuse not to share the good news with folks without even realising it. It was like I was saying to them, “OK, you don’t like evangelism or talking about Jesus, so why don’t you bring your friends to church so I can talk to them for you”… Sounds great right, but it’s NOT what Jesus wants or expects.

My friends, we were NEVER called to bring people into a Church building so that the Minister or Pastor or Evangelist could save them for us. Our mission from Jesus was always, always, always to bring people to Him, then they will be a part of the church and want to come to worship with you, i.e. once they are part the people belonging to Jesus Christ, then you’ll have to fight to keep them from coming to worship. Because they’ll have received the Holy Spirit and He’s not going to leave a Christian out in the wilderness for very long. The Holy Spirit will drive them into fellowship, worship, Bible study and prayer and move them to share their faith in Christ with others.

So for years, hundreds of years, the Church has been getting it all wrong. We’ve been inviting people to church, they come and then they become members of the church family, they go through all the hoops; baptism, communion, confirmation etc… but do they actually come to Jesus Christ and get incorporated into His body? Well my friends, a harsh reality-check is in order. You see, the more people we interview on the streets of West Norwood in London as we go out weekly sharing the Gospel, when we meet people who attend church regularly, the ones who say they are “Committed Christians”, guess what they don’t know? They don’t know what it means to be a follower of Jesus or how to get SAVED by Him. I can tell you I’m still shocked by how many of these GOOD Church attending folks don’t KNOW Jesus or the Gospel. Now I’m not judging them, but it’s only through one-to-one talking about the Gospel with people who SAY that they are committed Christians we’ve come to realise that most of them just don’t know what it means to be saved. At best they’ll say “I hope to get to heaven if I’m good enough”… Even folks who attend Pentecostal, Evangelical and Charismatic churches, these are the ones that you’d expect would know, right? But they just don’t.

What’s Been Happening?

My friends, we’ve been inviting people to come to church, they’ve come, but instead of actually coming to Jesus Christ, they’ve become members of our church club, they’ve emulated the sheep, copies what the real sheep of Jesus do, but they haven’t come to Jesus Christ and been born again of His Spirit. Some have wonderful worship experiences, sense the Holy Spirit, feel the Spirit, but don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord or Saviour for themselves. They have no assurance of their own salvation. They know all about Jesus, they know the language of Zion, i.e. all the terminology of the church, but they’ve yet to fully entrust their lives to Him.

Eye Opener Number 2: You Are ALREADY bringing them to Church.

We’ve been telling people to invite people to come to the church building, and many have faithfully done so.

But Jesus didn’t tell us to do that, He told the Church to go to the people, share the Gospel (Good News), get them saved, then begin to Disciple them into the Christian way of life. We’re doing it the wrong way around for hundreds of years. Thankfully many have been ‘saved’ in the process, but just think of the potential if we were to do it the way Jesus wants us to?

Here’s what got me; EVERY CHRISTIAN is already taking people to Church. How? Because they, themselves, are the church. Whenever you meet another person who doesn’t yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour, you’ve just taken the church to them.  When they are with you, in your presence, (if you are a Christian) then they are in church. That’s AWESOME! Think for a moment about that, how many non-Christians are in your presence every single day? At the bus stop, in the shopping queue, in the Cafe, in the restaurant, at school, college, work? Well my friends, they’ve just been to Church when they’ve been with you in those places: You are Church.

Eye Opener Number 3: Overcoming Fear of NOT Being A Credible Witness:

Because we ARE the Church, we’d better make sure that we’re being a credible witness always. Now that’s really hard, but because our NON-Christian friends are in Church when they are with us, the Church is a Holy Place right? You are holy because you are the Temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you. So we’d better up our game, smarten up our witness, live like Jesus lived. In the New Testament, God’s Word tells followers of Jesus Christ, “Be HOLY for I AM Holy”…

Reality Check: One of the Number 1 Excuses for not inviting people to Jesus or to come to church with you: “They’ll see my weaknesses and know I’m not living as I should”… I was really surprised by this one, but it makes sense. We’re not inviting people to Jesus or to Church because we’re not living the Christian life we’re supposed to be living. You don’t want them to know what a genuine Christian is supposed to look like. You’ll be exposed as a fraud or a failure or an hypocrite or a weakling Christian. That’s understandable right? But …

But your non-Christian friends are WATCHING your life anyway, they’re looking to see if what you say you believe, you actually put into practice in this world. How’s your Christian living? Reality Check again: My friends, if they know you profess to be a ‘Christian’ and your not following as you should, they already KNOW that.

Evey Opener Number 4: Who Actually Brings People To Jesus?

You may not be aware of this, but 95% of people come to a genuine faith in Jesus because of; weak Christians who are not following as they should, because of dumb Christians who don’t know as much about the Bible as they should or want to, because of people who are not ministers or evangelists or gifted in evangelism. 95% of you came to Jesus that way. It wasn’t the Pastor who led them or you to Jesus, it was the average failing follower of Jesus just like you who did.

  • Most people don’t respond to the Gospel the first them they hear it.
  • Most people don’t come to church the first time they’re invited, get over it.
  • Most people are just as stubborn and foolish as you were at first.
  • Most people don’t want to be ‘religious’, they’ve not got time for that. Neither have you.

We all want to win thousands of people to Jesus don’t we?

Well if we’re going to do it, then we’d better be sure that when we’ve taken them to Church (i.e. when we’re with them in the world), that we’re living the Christian life as best we can. However, we need to realise that God is much bigger than even our weakest attempts at following Him. He’ll use you because He’s IN YOU.

My friends, YOU are the church of Jesus Christ wherever you are. No matter where you are, then you are on Mission. Because Jesus said, “You are the Light of the world”… “You are the Salt of the Earth”… Let’s be the salt and light He wants us to be when we’re with the people Jesus brings across the pathway of our lives. He is going to use you to bring people to Himself anyway, but let’s enhance the prospect of many more actually coming to Him.

“Church isn’t a place that people can go to, it is a PEOPLE they already KNOW”

Conclusion:

“It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life and I’m feeling good”…

Church is not a place that people could go to, it’s a PEOPLE that non-Christians already KNOW.

They know you, that you are a Christian, they love you still, even with all your weaknesses and failures, Jesus loves them too.

Now think of all your; friends, family, neighbours, workmates, fellow travellers you see every day, the ones who KNOW that you are or profess to be a Christian. These people are ones who KNOW that you LOVE Jesus: These are the people that God has brought into your life to lead them to Jesus. Now, even though we’re weak, foolish and don’t follow as we should, He’s going to be using you to lead them to Himself.

Remember what Jesus said to the man who was possessed by a Legion of Demons? Mark 5:19 “Go back to your family and tell them what God has done for you, how He has had mercy upon you”

The original Greek didn’t say “FAMILY” it’s a strange word: OIKOS: It lieterally means all the people who know you very well indeed. It’s those in your circle of life who know you best. The ones who’ll say, “I know that ________________ (insert your name) is a Christian”… These are the people who are your very own OIKOS.

My friends, you can do that too with all those people you know. Just like the man delivered from demons. Go back to your own OIKOS, the people who know you well. You can tell them all that Jesus has done for you (Your Testimony)… You can tell them HOW God has had mercy upon you, by forgiving you for all your sins and setting you free. You can share how you know you don’t follow Jesus as you know you should, but that you still love Him anyway, because of all the mercy, grace and faith you receive from Him.

Mark 5:18-20 (NIV) The Demon Possessed Man: Had been set free by Jesus.
18  As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him.
19  Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.”
20  So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.

My friends, go back to your OIKOS and share with them what Jesus has done for you. You will be His witnesses today… Salt and Light.

But before you Go and Tell your OIKOS and invite them to come to Jesus. It’s very important that you PRAY for them first. Bring them to Jesus in prayer first. Let Him open up their hard hearts. Let the Holy Spirit go to work on their minds… Let God take captive their thought-life and set them on the road to Salvation. Believe that Jesus loves them even more than you do, then you go to them and share Jesus.

In the lead-up to Pentecost we, along with everyone in the Church of England, have been called to a week of prayer for the evangelisation of the Nation. During that week we’re going to see how it’s possible to be WEAK Christians and still lead our own OIKOS to Jesus Christ.

Have an awesome weekend with Jesus my friends, I’m really looking forward to gathering with my OIKOS again.

Don.

 

The Fragrance of Life or The Stench of Death

The World hated Jesus, don't be surprised when it hates you too

Daily Spirit & Word: 708: Smell: Life or Death

Dear Christian Don’t Be Surprised.

“If the World Hated Jesus, that it hates you too.”

When you are not surprised or shocked, then you’ll be able to LOVE them and LEAD them to Jesus.

Good morning my friends. On Good Friday (This Friday) we’re going on a Walk of Witness through the streets of London. We’re walking like in Triumphal Procession, because of what Christ Jesus did for us upon the Cross. But don’t be Surprised or Shocked that the World doesn’t like it one little bit, because;

to ONE: We are the Smell of Death.
to Another: We are the FRAGRANCE of LIFE…

2 Corinthians 2:14-17 (NIV) “But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15 For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task? 17 Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.”

To those who don’t yet know Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, Master and Friend, then my dear friends, don’t be shocked or surprised that to them, we who do love the Lord are like a bad smell of death under their noses.

Dead Mother’s Day Flowers: Yesterday my wife finally began throwing out some of her Mother’s Day flowers, she just loves to get lots of flowers on Mother’s Day, but the water in one of the containers was reeking really bad. As I took them up to the compost heap, I got some of the liquid on my hands, then inadvertently rubbed my nose, it stank. No I mean it really, really was STINKING. I had to run into the house quickly and wash my face off… Yuckkkkyyyyyy….

To the people of this world who’ve yet to submit their lives over to the Lordship of Jesus Christ, we Christians are just like that bad smell under my nose. Yesterday, I wanted to get away from that smell as quickly as I could, but I couldn’t because it was right under my nose, right under it… And it’s because followers of Jesus are like a bright shining light, which reminds the world of God’s righteousness, of their sin, of their need to get right with God, that we are that bad smell of death.

I don’t know if you’ve ever smelt a dead animal or person before, but it’s a horrible stink. It’s the kind of smell you’ll never forget and it stays with you for a long time. Even after you’ve had a bath, you’re imagination thinks you can still smell it on you. “The smell of death” what a horrible thing for the Bible to say… The Lord told me the other day, “Donald, you stink”… I said “What do you mean Lord”… then I Googled, stinking people in the Bible… Google is amazing… But so is God’s Word: It’s the TOP ranking Google search every single day. People want to know what the Bible says about stuff. I don’t know if Google will admit that???? But when I searched “Stinking People In The Bible” Google came up with some astonishing things.

When I did that search I came across a sermon by John McArthur about Lazarus: A man in the Bible who’d died and was dead four days, at the end of those four long days, Lazarus body had begun to decay and was stinking…

So my friends, do not be surprised if this world hates you as much as it hated the Lord Jesus Christ.

One of the reasons it hates you is because you do not belong to this world.

You are an alien and a stranger in this world, you’re just passing through. Just like those poor Syrian refugees who’re passing through Greece and Macedonia to get to Germany and the rich countries of the North. You are passing through to get to your own rich Homeland, Heaven. So you don’t belong to this world and it hates you because you are not one of it’s citizens. But you are an Ambassador of Heaven: An Ambassador has Diplomatic Immunity in this world. Praise be to God.

Jesus warned us that this world will hate us:

John 15:18-21 (NIV)
18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
20 Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.
21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me.

The reasons why the World Hates Christians are too numerous to mention, but it’s mainly because they’re not ONE with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S GOOD NEWS TOO:
Because, we are also, “THE AROMA OF CHRIST”

Yet to those who are being saved, we are the wonderful aroma of Christ.

Do you like wonderful aromas?

  • Like cooking bread in the morning.
  • Like freshly brewed coffee.
  • Like the smell of cakes baking in the oven, WONDERFUL all over the house.
  • Like the smell of onions on a cold day.
  • Like the smell of roses on a warm Summer’s day,
  • Like the fragrance roasting lamb… (Join with us tomorrow night as we celebrate the Lord’s Last Supper with Roasted Lamb)…
  • Like a bacon sandwich with crispy grilled bacon.

We are the aroma of Christ to those who are on their way to Salvation.

But just a little word of warning, we shouldn’t be surprised when the WORLD hates us, but loves those who tell them they are OK.

CAUTION: THE WORLD LOVES FALSE PROPHETS…

“If you belong to the world, it will love you as it’s own” John 15:19.

It loves pretend ministers who’ll assure them “everything is OK between you and God” when they are really far away from God, cut off because of their sinful condition.
It loves pretend ministers who’ll give false hope, false assurance and a false Gospel. “Just believe in Jesus” Satan loves false converts because He knows they are headed for Hell to be with Him forever. You see my friends, it’s possible to believe in Jesus and not be SAVED.

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7%3A21-23&version=NIV

Matthew 7:21-23 (NIV)
21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’
23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

I witnessed this, a false prophet, with my own eyes the other day. Deep in my heart I grieved for those to whom false assurance was delivered. Thankfully, I’d shared about the need for; repentance, faith and trust in Jesus beforehand. The TRUTH is always stronger than fiction or false hope. Yet I also noted the nodding heads of people in the crowd who’d been won over by the false messages of “Being OK with God already”… The people of this world, those who belong to the world, LOVE messages that will massage their false hope and foolish thinking that God accepts all people, no matter what they’re like. He will not, because one reading of Jesus words in the Bible will correct that false assumption, i.e. “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven” Matthew 7:21.

“Peace, Peace, when there is NO PEACE” Jeremiah 6:13-14. The eternal cry of the FALSE Prophet and FALSE Convert… They imagine they are at peace with God, when in reality their sins have cut them off from the Living God. Nobody can enter into Heaven covered in sin, sin contaminates and has the stench of death upon it, “The soul who sins will die” Ezekiel 18:20….. Not speaking of mortal death, but eternal death and confinement in Hell. It’s no wonder that Christians have the fragrance of death to those who refuse to repent and trust the Saviour. If a person’s name is not written in the Lambs book of life, they will be cast into the lake of fire with Satan and all his demons. Revelation 21:27 (NIV) “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

How do we know if we are SAVED? Mark 1:15. Have you; forsaken sin, repented of sin, turned and trusted in Jesus Christ for forgiveness of sin and Salvation from Sin? He died upon the Cross to make your forgiveness possible, but it’s not automatic, we’re not forgiven just because we believe He died for sins of the world. Even Satan believes that, but we are forgiven when we repent of those sins and trust (take) Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Then we can be born of God’s Spirit… When you receive Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit comes in and takes up residence in your life, giving you new life, new hope and new beginning with God. You’ll KNOW if you’ve been born of the Spirit of God. He really does give you a PEACE that the World cannot understand or accept. John 1:12-13, John 15, John 17.

We live in a world that hates righteousness, it hates God’s standards of goodness and morality, and it hates those people whom the Lord has chosen out of this world to a better life, a life that says, “NO! to the world’s ways of living” Ephesians 5:8. Those who respond to His call to go forth and proclaim the Good News are either; the smell of death or the fragrance of life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-17.

You are the fragrance of LIFE to those whom the Lord is saving.

He’s calling people to faith and trust in Jesus Christ, those people who are going to be saved will smell a sweet fragrance when you proclaim the Good News. You are like their FAVOURITE Scent.

So no matter who you are dear Christian, you STINK, either in a nice way or a bad way, but you STINK all the same.
Be a really good stinky sheep of the Good Shepherd today, and determine in your heart that you’ll be obedient to His Command and share the light, share the Good News that can bring life to the dead. The people of this world are those whom Isaiah talked about, “The People walking in Darkness …” Isaiah 9:2.  They’ll see a GREAT LIGHT when you proclaim the Gospel. Faith comes by hearing the Good News about Jesus. Romans 10:17.

Yes this world will hate you, but there are a few who’ll be SAVED, by the words that can bring life to the dead. You smell of death, not your own stench, but it’s the DEATH that they’ll experience if they were to die in their sins, that’s what the world smells my friends their own stench of death upon their flesh. “He Stinketh Lord” John 11:39 KJV.  No wonder it hated Christ and if it hated Christ, then be sure of this, the world will hate you too, if you belong to Christ. John 15:18-21.

It’s my hope and prayer that we’ll all see many people coming out of the darkness into His wonderful light. It’s always a great joy when a sinner repents and trust the Saviour and we see a transformed life. However, don’t be surprised or shocked if the world hates it when you proclaim Jesus Christ as the only way to be saved in the world today. It hates that message with a vengeance. Yet Jesus declared boldly, “I AM the way, and the Truth and the Life, no man can come to the Father but by me”… John 14.

So my friends, don’t be surprised or shocked that the world hates you, it’s because they don’t know the Father or the Son whom He sent upon His rescue mission. Love them into God’s Kingdom. Amen!

May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you, and I hope and pray that you have an awesome stinky day 🙂
Don.

P.S. I’ve not posted for a few days, because I needed to rest my hands. On Monday morning I couldn’t grip anything, my hand was in agony. On Tuesday (Yesterday) morning it swelled up and was hot. Today, Wednesday, it’s almost back to normal and I can type again. I thank that Lord for His healing. I thank my brother Matthew, a member of my fellowship whom I asked to pray for healing. From that moment on it started to get better. Praise the Lord! If you have anything wrong with your body today, go to a brother or sister in Christ and get them to pray over you in the Name of Jesus Christ. Believe that the LORD Jesus Christ hears you when you pray in faith.

P.P.S If you are FREE tonight: Come and learn to share the Good News the way that Jesus did. We’re meeting at St Luke’s Church @5.00pm for training and then going out onto the streets of London to share the Good News of the Gospel with folks. It’s always awesome when we see how Jesus is with us as we go.

Don’t Be Surprised:

1 John 3:11-15 (NIV)
11
 This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.
12  Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.
13  Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
14  We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.
15  Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.

 

What is the Second Death?

The Lake of Fire and The Second Death

Daily Spirit & Word: 699: The Fear Of Death.

The Second Death = The Lake of Fire.

A few days ago I wrote about the second of seven letters to churches in Revelation, the one to Smyrna, present day Izmir in Turkey. At the end of that short letter was the theme “The Second Death” which I didn’t touch upon. The Second Death is the major theme of the whole book of Revelation.

Remember that Jesus has nothing bad to say about that Church in Smyrna, can you imagine Jesus having nothing bad to say about you? Anyway, there is an encouragement to overcome, and if you overcome there is no fear of the ‘Second Death’.

One thing I know for sure is this, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die”… Until death is looming, nobody really gives it a second thought.

Here’s a nice song from Alison Krauss listen as you read.

Questions: What is the “Second Death”? and what does it mean to “Overcome”? “How can I be sure that I will not taste the second death?”

Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
9  I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

What is the Second Death?

Well the first death is what we all go through. It’s a fact that 10 out of 10 people die. Unless of course Jesus returns before you die. We’re all going to die. Many / most people are quietly getting along with their lives today, not giving their first death a second thought. Most people burry their heads in the sand like the proverbial Ostrich, pretending there is no danger…

“Bury Your Head In The Sand:”

This comes from the supposed habit of ostriches hiding when faced with attack by predators. The story was first recorded by the Roman writer Pliny the Elder, who suggested that ostriches hide their heads in bushes. Ostriches don’t hide, either in bushes or sand, although they do sometimes lie on the ground to make themselves inconspicuous. The ‘burying their head in the sand’ myth is likely to have originated from people observing them lowering their heads when feeding.

The notion is that the supposedly dumb ostrich believes that if it can’t see its attacker then the attacker can’t see it.

I’ve observed that in two year old toddlers, who think that when they hide their face or eyes you can’t see them. My grandson Karamoko loves the game of hiding things and me pretending I don’t know where it is.

People are a bit like that Ostrich though, they pretend to themselves that they are never going to die.

I’ve heard a lot of Pop Songs with that theme in them… “I’m going to live forever…” Most young soldiers don’t believe they are going to die. The Royal Marines believe they are the “Crem-de-la-Crem” of fighting forces, that’s drummed into young recruits, it helps them to believe they are invincible and will not die.

So if people are not scared by the prospect of the first death, why would they ever be afraid of the second death?

Jesus warned people about the Second Death.

Matthew 10:28 (NIV) “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Your soul is eternal, it cannot be killed, it will never die. It’s part of you that lingers from God’s Original Creation: Adam and Eve were made to live forever, God didn’t intend for them to die, ever, but because they sinned against God’s Command, Death came into Creation and Adam and Eve eventually died physically, but their soul lives on to this day. Every human being since Adam and Eve have been infected with the same disease called sin, and it’s because of sin that human beings die. However, that first death is not the end, there is a kind of second death, the death of the soul in Hell. It doesn’t mean that even there we cease to exist, but we are as good a dead eternally in a place that’s been reserved only for Satan and His army of Demons, fallen angels. No human being was ever intended by God to go to Hell forever, in fact that’s why God sent His Son Jesus into this world, to save mankind, so that no one would ever end up in Hell. The only people who will taste the second death in hell are those who die in their sins, those who’s sins have not been washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.

You see my friends, it’s Sin that brings the first death and sin that brings the second death. If we die still contaminated with sin in our life, then God cannot allow us to contaminate His Holy Heaven.

Rotten Chicken:

I love the illustration of this: You buy some bits of chicken from the Supermarket, six pieces of Chicken breast are ok, but one bit of chicken smells a bit off. You ask your wife to have a sniff and she confrims, “It smells off”… Would you then put that piece of chicken in the fridge with the good pieces of chicken? Of course not! Why? Because it would “CONTAMINATE” the other good bits of chicken. My friends, it just makes sense that God will not allow a contaminated sinner to enter His Holy Heaven, because we’d contaminate Heaven.

Jesus The Just Judge:

Jesus will not allow a sinner into Heaven because He is also a Just Judge.

Most people think that the Second Death is nothing to worry about. They believe they’ll go to Heaven because God is loving and kind and will forgive them in the end. But what does Jesus say? “be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” BE AFRAID… It’s healthy to have such a fear of Jesus / God that we’re ready to repent of our sins. Because one day, Judgement is coming. Be sure of that my friends.  Hebrews 9:27 (NIV) “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement,…”

Jesus is the just judge and He’s not going to allow any sinful person into Heaven. How do we know this?

The Second Death:

It is a scary prospect. Having a healthy fear of death and the second death is good for your eternal soul.

Check to BE SURE: “Are YOU in The Faith”?

My friends, when was the last time you checked to BE SURE, BE CERTAIN, to KNOW that you are in the FAITH of Christ?

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (NIV) Examine Yourself.
5  Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realise that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6  And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Recently I had an appointment with the Doctor, it was a routine exam for men over 50. A kind of MOT to examine me to make sure I was fit or not. It’s good for Christians who believe they are saved to check now and again to be SURE and CERTAIN that they are walking with Christ today as they did when they first trusted Him as Lord.

Paul says, “Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith”… Notice he says it twice: “Examine yourself” then “Test yourselves”… That tells me we can be deceived. We can fool ourselves. Just like those who act like the proverbial ostrich who pretend they are not going to die, some people so love ‘religion’ they’ll fool themselves into believing they are Christians when they are not. They are what the Bible calls “FALSE CONVERTS”… or “Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing”… They look and act like sheep, like God’s flock, but they are not converted, they are not born again, they are not one with Christ, they don’t have Christ as Lord or as the Good Shepherd of their lives. FALSE CONVERTS sometimes don’t know they are false, that’s why Paul encouraged the Corinthians to check to see if they are in the faith. Are you sure you are in the faith of Jesus Christ?

Here’s HOW to be sure you’ll not taste the SECOND DEATH.

Here’s HOW to be CERTAIN you’ll pass from death to life.

Here’s HOW to be sure and certain you are IN the Faith of Jesus Christ.

A) Acknowledge you have sinned and broken God’s Commandments. This is crucial to beginning a walk of faith with Jesus. Acknowledging that you are a sinner. That you know everyone who has sinned will be condemned to Hell because they’ve broken God’s Commandments and have become contaminated with sin. That God will never allow a contaminated sinner into his holy heaven.

How have we sinned? We’ve broken God’s Commandments.

The Ten Commandments: Exodus 20:2-17.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall not make idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
  5. Honour your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

1 Corinthians 6:8-11 (NIV)
8  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
9  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Acknowledging that you have sinned is the first step to Salvation.

Romans 3:22-24 (NIV)
22  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.

B) Repent: Turn away from sin. Sin is rebellion against God. It’s living life your own way (DIY)… Frank Sinatra “I did it my way”… Notice his second name “SINatra”… It’s sinful to live your life as if God doesn’t exist. When you live your life as if God’s not real or as if He’ll just wink at your sin and let you into heaven is only fooling yourself. Every sinner will be punished forever in Hell. But God doesn’t want that, He wants you to turn and be forgiven for every sin.  2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”

Unless you repent you will perish in Hell.

Luke 13:3 (NIV) “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”
Luke 13:5 (NIV) “I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

Jesus said it twice… Repent or Perish in Hell.

The real idea behind REPENTANCE: is to have a strong desire to begin to live God’s way instead of your own way. To live a righteous and holy life from now on. It’s to have a desire to be ‘good’. We don’t have the power yet to be good, but it wanting to live like Jesus that God is looking for. Do you have that desire today?

C) Confess: Confess your sins to Jesus. Don’t just admit you’ve sinned, tell Jesus how you’ve sinned. How you’ve broken His commandments: The lies you’ve told, the things you’ve stolen, the lusts you’ve had, the things you’ve been coveting, how you’ve been disobedient to your parents, how you’ve not put God first in your life. Confess those sins to Jesus.

D) Receive Jesus Christ As Your Lord:

As soon as you believe in Jesus, Admit you’ve sinned, Repent of your sins and Confess your sins to Jesus, then you are ready to RECEIVE Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. He’ll come into your life and make you into a new person. You’ll become a saint: Sanctified and set apart by God the Holy Spirit. You’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit and that will enable you to live the full and abundant life that Jesus promised to all who received Him as Lord. John 10:10.

Now receive Jesus by faith: “Lord Jesus Christ, I come to you, I believe that you died upon the cross for all my sins. I acknowledge that I have sinned by breaking your Commandments, I know that if I don’t receive your forgiveness I’m doomed to spend eternity in Hell. I know it would be the just punishment and penalty for all my sins. I repent of all my sin, I turn away from living my life for myself and want to live from this day forward for You. I believe that when you died upon that Cross You died in my place taking my punishment and paid the price for my sins. Today I receive you as my Lord and Saviour. Please come into my life as Lord and send the Holy Spirit to give me the New Birth. Help me to live every day from now on for You Lord Jesus. Amen!

The Second Death:

The Second Death is the Lake of Fire: Reserved for Satan and all who die in their sins.

Revelation 20:14-15 (NIV)
14  Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.
15  If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

My friends, the Second Death holds no fear for those who have tested themselves to ensure they are in the faith of Jesus Christ, they have crossed over already from Death to Life Eternal.

John 3:36 (NIV) “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

The Real Danger:

The DANGER is that there are some who say “I believe in Jesus” as if that is enough to ensure Heaven. It’s NOT, because even the Devil believes in Jesus. Simple “Belief” is not the same as SAVING FAITH. You need to also; Repent and Receive Jesus as Lord of your life. You’ll know if you’ve done that if you’ve received the Holy Spirit and the fruit of the Spirit is growing in your life today. i.e. You have more peace today than you did when you first believed in Jesus. More; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. These are the fruits of a holy life with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 (NIV) “As God’s fellow-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2  For he says, “In the time of my favour I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation.” “Repent or Perish”…

If You’ve Failed The Test:

“What happens if I fail the test, if I’m not in the faith of Jesus Christ?”

If you say you “Believe in Jesus” but your life has not changed, there are no obvious fruits of repentance, then you’ve probably failed the TEST of 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 (above). Keep believing in Jesus, but also; confess your sins, turn from sin in repentance and receive Jesus Christ as Lord. Because once your receive Him you will be Born Again:  John 1:12-13 (NIV) “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

Once you are Born Again you will begin to produce the fruit of repentance, the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the power of the Holy Spirit will be evident in you as you live for Jesus.

  • Once you KNOW Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour.
  • Once you KNOW you’ve been born of the Spirit.

Then (And ONLY then) the Second Death is nothing at all to worry about, because you are ONE of those who have already overcome. Praise the Lord! Your salvation is not dependent upon your own goodness, but the goodness of Jesus Christ living in you. John 15. If you receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour after repenting and believing in Him, then your name will be written in the Lamb’s book of life.

What’s sobering for me on this Monday morning is this: If anyone’s name is NOT in the Lamb’s book of life, then they will be thrown into the lake of fire and experience the second death with Satan and all His Demons forever. That’s a horrific thought, God doesn’t want anyone to perish and no one in their right minds would want anyone to spend eternity in the Lake of fire. Let’s snatch as many as we can from the flames licking at their feet. Who do you know who isn’t SAVED yet? Share the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus with them soon.

Today is the DAY of Salvation.

Have an AWESOME week with Jesus.

Don’t FEAR the Second Death if you are IN Jesus.

Be sure and certain your own name is written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Trust in Jesus Christ today.

Don.

 

A Postcard From Heaven

Jesus is communicating at a heart to heart level

Daily Spirit & Word: 696: A Postcard From Heaven.

Jesus Knows What You Are Going Through.

Revelation: Letters to the Seven Churches; Smyrna.

Good morning my friends. With three couples we had another session of Marriage Preparation last night in Church, we were chatting mainly about communication, levels of communication. How there are five levels of conversation ranging from Hello: Which says very little at all, then sharing facts (it’s raining), then sharing of Views (I know it’s going to be sunny later), then sharing of Thoughts (I think I like the rain), then sharing of Feelings (when the rain splashes on my face it makes me feel awesome), then sharing of the Heart (How does the rain make you feel?). As we chatted it soon became obvious that there was a need to be sharing and communicating at a heart level more in all our relationships. When we share at a heart-to-heart level we don’t need to say very much at all.

In our second letter from Jesus to the Churches, you’ll observe that He doesn’t say very much at all to the church in Smyrna, it’s like a Postcard to the Persecuted Church, but we must bear in mind our LORD Jesus is communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level: He’s skipped over saying “Hello” and “I know this” and “I think this” and “I feel this” to “This is what it is”…

Revelation 2:8-11 (NIV)
8 “To the angel of the church in Smyrna write: These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.
9  I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.
10  Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
11  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death.

Such a short letter to a church that’s undergoing severe persecution, but within such a few words so much is communicated. It’s like a well crafted line on a Valentines Card to a LOVED ONE: “Roses are red, violets are blue, storms may blast, but I’ll always love you”…

Jesus is encouraging those poor, poverty stricken, faithful under trial, persecuted and suffering believers. He wants them to know that He KNOWS. He sees everything that happens under the sun. He even sees into the Heavenly realms and knows all about Satan’s tactics to bring those brothers and sisters down.

Keep in mind as you go through the book of Revelation the whole counsel of Scripture. Within the pages of the Bible believers are warned by God, by Jesus and by the Holy Spirit that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual forces of evil in the Heavenly realms. We might just think we’re going through trouble, because trouble is natural, earthly, but most trouble is stirred up by Satan to “Afflict” the saints on earth.

  • Remember how Satan came to Adam and Eve? They were in the Garden of Eden (Paradise) with everything they could ever need.
  • Remember how Satan came to Jesus in the Wilderness? He was in a Desert Place with nothing.

Satan will come and tempt you, when you are in plenty or in want in your life. There is no place on this earth, no circumstance that he will not use to try to get at you. Once you are a follower of Jesus, then Satan takes note of it and begins to attack you, trying to tempt you, trying to stop you following Jesus Christ. No one is exempt. If Satan can come and try and tempt Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who Created the Universe, then my friends, he is going to come and try and tempt you too. He hates the fact that you’ve been saved and are following Jesus.

Verse 10: “Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer” is a real encouragement to me today.

There’s NO NEED to BE AFRAID. Because you’ve got Jesus watching, you’ve got the Holy Spirit empowering, as Jesus did in the wilderness and overcame, you’ve got a Heavenly Father who loves you and cares for you and is watching out for you. He has promised that NOTHING in all Creation will be able to snatch you out of His all powerful hands. Submit yourselves to Him who is able to keep you from falling. Amen!

Verse 10: “I will give you the crown of life”… My friends, the gift of Eternal Life is waiting. Keep going!

NOTE: In the letter to Ephesians Revelation 2:1-7 yesterday, the promise at the end was: “I will give the right to eat from the tree of live, which is in the Paradise of God”… Today it’s “I will give you the crown of life”… Awesome promises from our Blessed Lord Jesus.

Like a Postcard To A Persecuted Church.

Like a Valentines Card Communicates His Heart.

You might be tempted to think: “They were going through all that trouble and hardship and that’s all that Jesus has to say to them, surely He could have encouraged them just a little bit more?” My friends, when you are communicating at a Heart-to-Heart level as Jesus does, you don’t need to say very much at all. Just as a Postcard reveals beautiful place and that everything’s going well. Just like a Valentines Card communicates the heart of LOVE: My friends, Just ONE WORD from the LORD will be enough to sustain you and keep you. Seek the LORD whilst He may be found.

Be blessed in Jesus today, be full of the Holy Spirit and you will be able to stand your ground against the enemy. Put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:10-20).

BTW: Please, remember the levels of communication and try to get further than levels 1,2 and 3 to 4 and 5. Commune with one another at a Heart-to-Heart level.

LOVE: In Jesus,

Don.

NOTES: On Smyrna.

From The Commentary by J. Vernon McGee.

Smyrna is the martyr church, the church that suffered martyrdom for Christ. The word Smyrna means “myrrh” and carries the meaning of suffering.

The city of Smyrna is still in existence in our day. It has a Turkish name, Izmir, which may lead you astray, but it is the same city. It has been continuously inhabited from the time it was founded. I have been there; in fact, we stay in Izmir when we visit the sites of the early churches in that area. It is a commercial city. There are those who have told us that Izmir will soon be larger than Istanbul. It will certainly be a larger commercial center. There is a tremendous population there. The modern city covers so much of the ruins of ancient Smyrna that you are apt to miss the beauty which was there.

I have taken some pictures of it and use them as slides in an illustrated message. I try to point out the beauty of that harbor. It is very large and one of the most beautiful harbors that I have seen. In fact, Smyrna was one of the loveliest cities of Asia. It was called a flower, an ornament, and it has been called the crown of all Asia. The acropolis is located on Mount Pagos. In fact, the early city that goes back to about 2000 B.C., a Hittite city at that time, was built around the slope of Mount Pagos. Later Alexander the Great had a great deal to do with building it into the beautiful city that it became. There were wide boulevards along the slopes of Mount Pagos. Smyrna was called the crown city because the acropolis was encircled with flowers, a hedge, and myrtle trees. The city was adorned with noble buildings and beautiful temples — a temple of Zeus, a temple of Cybele (Diana), a temple of Aphrodite, a temple of Apollo, and a temple of Asclepius. Smyrna had a theater and an odeum, that is, a music center — it was the home of music. Also it had a stadium, and it was at that stadium that Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and student of the apostle John, was martyred, burned alive in A.D. 155.

In Christian literature, Smyrna means “suffering.” The Lord Jesus, in His letter addressed to the church there, said that He knew their sufferings and their poverty. He had no word of condemnation for them or for the church at Philadelphia. They were the churches that heard no word of condemnation from Him, and it is interesting that these two cities, Smyrna and Philadelphia, are the only two which have had a continuous existence. Their lampstand has really been moved, but there are a few Christians in Izmir. Although they are under cover, they have made indirect contact with us when we have been there. They do not come out in the open because Christians are persecuted even today in modern Turkey.

Thru The Bible with J. Vernon McGee.

 

How’s Your First Love

Revelation Letter to Ephesus forsaken first love

Daily Spirit & Word: 695: Letters to the Churches.

How’s Your First Love?

Good morning my friends, after Sunday comes Monday. Do you sometimes get those Monday Morning Blues? You know the feeling, the weekend has been great, but it is over and it’s back to work as usual. Sometimes life can become repetitive and mundane. We’ve got the endless rounds of politics, elections, and horrible slandering of politicians in the News. European exit or stay campaigning. Who to believe?  Perhaps we’re hungering for something new, something bright, something cheery, some really great NEWS to burst forth into our lives, news that will make the whole world so happy that they’ll just stop in their tracks and get along with one another and seek the common good of everyone. Imagine a world like that, a world without war and rumours of war. A world without disasters or disease or even death. Imagine a world where people really did love and care for each other. Wouldn’t that be outstanding? What would it take for the world to become more like the way the LORD Created it to be?

Of course we do see glimmers of it, real kindness and care from people who don’t hog the limelight. Generous people who give so much of their time and talents to a world that doesn’t even care or notice. Even in the face of blatant ingratitude, there are people who don’t even seem to count the cost to themselves and just keep on giving and giving. My wife’s a bit like that, I’m just so blessed to have a wonderful woman who really knows how to LOVE and not count the cost. Perhaps one day, like the man who was recognised many years after the war for his efforts to get hundreds of Jewish children over to the UK from Europe, away from the threats of Nazi death camps. That story made so many people cry with his selfless dedication and the risks that he took to SAVE those children. I think what moved us all was the children and grandchildren of the ones he’d saved, because without him none of them would be around today. Yes my friends there are glimmers of real HOPE in the world today.

As we reflect upon Jesus’ Letters to the Churches in early first century of Christianity, can you imagine what it must have been like for them receiving a letter from Jesus Christ?

I’m also wondering what Jesus would say to me. What would he say to you? What would He say to your Church or your leadership? Let’s take a little sneaky-peak into what Jesus wanted to say to those first Christians living in Asia all those years ago.

Revelation 2:1-7 (NIV) Jesus Message to the Christians in Ephesus. 
1 “To the angel of the church in Ephesus write: These are the words of him who holds the seven stars in his right hand and walks among the seven golden lampstands:
2  I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false.
3  You have persevered and have endured hardships for my name, and have not grown weary.
4  Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love.
5  Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.
6  But you have this in your favour: You hate the practices of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.
7  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Do you remember what the Seven Stars and Seven Lampstands represented? (See the end of Chapter 1 of Revelation).

My friends, Jesus is walking amongst those churches, their leaders and every Christian. He’s not stopped walking amongst us also. Nothing is hidden from His sight. Nothing in all Creation. He knows everything.

Jesus reveals to John that He KNOWS all about those brothers and sisters in Ephesus.

He KNOWS their;

  • Deeds,
  • Hard work,
  • Perseverance,
  • Intolerance of wickedness,
  • Testing the Apostles, to see who’s true or false (We hate it if someone calls someone a ‘false prophet or false convert’ today don’t we, but right judgement of people is obviously a very high priority for our Heavenly Enthroned Risen and Alive Lord Jesus Christ.).
  • Perseverance is mentioned again (Verse 3)
  • Enduring hardships because of Jesus Name (The Christians in Ephesus were persecuted terribly in the first century). But they didn’t grow weary because of it.

Jesus really does KNOW these brothers and sisters in Ephesus. They have a great deal to commend and encourage. However, Jesus goes onto remind them of something critical to their walk with Him: They had forsaken their first LOVE! i.e. their DEVOTION to HIM as LORD. How had they done that? Jesus doesn’t go into the details, isn’t that so like Jesus, He knows but he’s not telling anybody how they’ve fallen, but the fact that He knows they have would have hit them so powerfully, because it’s obvious from everything else that Jesus says that once the really did love Him with all their hearts.

Imagine getting a letter from Jesus today and He said that about you?

You are very religious, you do great works, you even persevere under great trials, but you have FORSAKEN Me… oH WOWzer! How convicting, how terrible… Could it really be true that we can be all those things and yet not be walking with Jesus?

Notice: Jesus’ Compassionate Way:

Have you stopped to consider the gentle and compassionate way that Jesus reveals their spiritual condition and the danger they are in unless they turn once again to Him in true repentance?

He first Commends them with a deep knowledge of their TRIUMPHS, then rebukes them for their FAILINGS, then Encourages them once again for their practical righteousness. Now all they need to do is TURN back to Him and He’s promising them amazing rewards; access to the Tree of Life.

“I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”.

It’s like Jesus is counselling a young married couple who’ve gone through a real testing time in their relationship. I’ve known many a marriage be tested to the point of breaking because of financial difficulties, unfaithfulness or communication breakdown. It makes one or both of the parties believe that they’d be much better apart, their once burning love for each other has dimmed to a smouldering-wick. Or like a B&Q long-life light bulb, that’s meant to last a life-time, but only last a few months, before it begins to turn on very slowly and then you’ll notice just a little orange glow instead of bright white-hot light. So many marriages are like that because of the way we live our lives at break-neck speed. But so is our walk with Jesus, it suffers because we’re trapped in a lifestyle that demands so much of our time and attention, devotion to Jesus suffers as a result: “I have this against you, you have forsaken your first love”

Just as a married couple can be shown how to re-kindle their passionate love for one another, by getting them in touch with the feeling they once felt for on another at the beginning of their relationship. So Lord Jesus is calling the Ephesian Christians to come back to their FIRST LOVE. He’s encouraging them to REMEMBER. “Remember the height from which you have fallen.” The Christians is Ephesus were once so on fire with Love for Jesus they were ready to give their lives in His service.

What happens when we forsake Jesus?

Our passion for close communion with Him slowly dies.

  • I feel Jesus is asking me today “Donald, do you really love me like you did when you first came to trust me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying, “My love for you has not diminished, but where’s your passionate love for Me?”
  • It’s like Jesus is saying to me; “I know ALL that you are doing for Me and I think that’s just great, but where am I in all of it?”

You see my friends, we serve a RISEN Saviour, He’s in the world today, I know that He is LIVING whatever men may say, He’s right beside me, He’s inside me, He’s closer than a brother, He’s kinder than the Auntie who loved you no matter what you did. Jesus wants you back. He wants you to LOVE Him more than anything else in this world.

Prayer: “I want to thank you Lord Jesus for the gentle way you remind me to stay close to You as a first order priority in all that I do. Everything else is dross compared to knowing You Jesus. Amen!” “O Lord Jesus, I’m also praying for all my brothers ans sisters in Your Kingdom Family, that they too will have their FIRST LOVE rekindled, so they’ll want to be close to You always. Amen!”

Sometimes, we Forsake Jesus, because other loves creep into our lives, then slowly but surely we find that we’re not as passionate or on fire about Jesus or His desires or His likes or His wishes.

He’s calling YOU back to Himself. Keep going with the great things you are doing for Jesus, but LOVE Him first, the REWARDS will far exceed any sacrifice you have to make when you forsake this world and the pleasures it offers.

How’s your first love?

Have an awesome week with Jesus.

Don.

 

The Joy Of Sharing The Good News

Be active in sharing your faith

Daily Spirit & Word: 693: The JOY of Sharing Good News.

What happens when a young woman comes out to learn how to share the Gospel?

“BE ACTIVE IN SHARING YOUR FAITH”

Good morning my friends, it’s been such an amazing experience over the last few days, being a Grandfather to NINE and there’s still another one on the way as Laura (Joe’s wife) is pregnant with her No 4 as well. What’s also been wonderful is how many people “like” baby pictures and especially new babies.  My Facebook pages has been going loopy 🙂 Praise the Lord for that obvious joy.

However, when someone becomes a Brand Newborn Babe in Christ, do we LIKE it just as much? We should be even more OVERJOYED, because that baby won’t just last for a few years here on Earth, but for all eternity in God’s Kingdom Family. A Christian is destined to LIVE forever, now that should make all of us stand up and shout for JOY to the Lord. Also, do you get EXCITED at the prospect of sharing your faith in Jesus with other folks? You should, because when you do God’s promises are mindblowingly awesome!  😛

STREET EVANGELISM:

Last night a small group of us, five in all, went out on a freezing cold February night to share the Good News of Jesus with folks on the streets of West Norwood in London.

I was teamed up with Gemma, a West African woman who’s just finished University. She’d come to me on Sunday at the end of worship and said, “When you were preaching about going and sharing the Good News, and you said “Sharing is Caring” I was on fire, I have so wanted to learn how to share the Gospel with my friends and colleagues”… I said, “Gemma, why don’t you come out with us on Wednesday and learn how to do it like Jesus did?”… She said she’d been frustrated in her attempts at winning folks for Jesus in the past, but wanted to learn. Well, last night Gemma turned up and came out with me. It was not long before Gemma was giving out tracts (£1,000,000 pound notes), sharing how own faith in Jesus and even praying for people on the streets.

But Gemma didn’t come to learn to give out tracts, but to engage people with the Good News of Jesus, it was not long before she experienced that, because two minutes out on our walk we met a man called Aaron. Aaron’s father was a Preacher and Leader in his church, his father had run Alpha Courses and Aaron had attended St Luke’s Primary School, a “Christian” school. However, it was soon obvious that Aaron had not come to fully understand the Gospel. I checked to see what Aaron actually believed, but it was the way that we got chatting that Gemma later said she loved. I said to Aaron, “You look like a good man, did you get your £1,000,000?” He responded with, “Why do you call me good?”   Immediately, I remembered Jesus asking a man that very question, “Why do you call me good, there’s none good but God alone”… (That account is recorded in two of our Gospels: Mark 10:17-27 and Matthew 19 16-22. See below)

Aaron had a wonderful privileged upbringing, but he’d rejected the Christian faith and it’s claims, because he had not EXPERIENCED anything and didn’t know if God was real. He had also reached the conclusion that he never could discover God. I don’t know about you, but when I hear a young man, an honest young man, express his doubts so openly like that, it makes me very sad and a bit angry too. Why don’t we preach the Gospel more clearly in our churches? Why are we so busy in church being religious, having fun, being culturally relevant when there are sincere young men like Aaron headed for hell?

What also became obvious to me was, that the LORD was not finished with Aaron yet. Just a few days before he bumped into Gemma and I, he’d had a similar meeting with another Evangelist from our Church. How many times have you had someone come up to you and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with you? I can count them on one hand, but Aaron had two people come and share about Jesus with him.

After reasoning with Aaron for a while about life after death, God’s reality, etc… I asked Gemma to share her own experience of how she knew that God was real, alive and knowable. As she was telling Aaron, I was watching him, and I knew what his response would be even before he opened up his mouth, “That’s nice for you, but I’ve not had that experience yet”… “I’m happy for you both, because you seem to have found God, but He’s not real to me”… It really is so sad when someone so young believes so strongly that God cannot be known.

Matthew 19:16-25 (NIV) The Rich Young Ruler.
16 Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17  “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.”
18  “Which ones?” the man enquired. Jesus replied, ” ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony,
19  honour your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbour as yourself.’ ”
20  “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21  Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22  When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23  Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.
24  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
25  When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”

Notes: The Disciples had come to realise that EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE SAVED verse 25. How did they arrive at that conclusion? They’d witnessed Jesus, time and time again brining up the LAW of God, the Ten Commandments, with folks as He chatted with them. They NEW that nobody had kept the whole LAW and were ready to be judged by God, that is why they said to Jesus, “Who then can be saved?”… Jesus answer was, “with man it is IMPOSSIBLE” i.e. no one, none, can SAVE themselves, because we’ve all become guilty of breaking God’s Commandments, (Romans 3:23) but with God all things are possible, i.e. God alone can SAVE mankind, as explained in that section of God’s letter to the young Roman Church:

Romans 3:21-28 (NIV) We’re Justified by FAITH through God’s GRACE: Not by living according to God’s LAW revealed in His Commandments. 
21  But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.
22  This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference,
23  for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24  and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
25  God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished
26  —he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27  Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith.
28  For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.
However, those Commandments reveal our NEED of Salvation, as Jesus’ Disciples discovered above.

Mark’s Account of the Rich Young Ruller:

Mark 10:17-27 (NIV)
17  As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
18  “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No-one is good—except God alone.
19  You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, do not defraud, honour your father and mother.’ “
20  “Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21  Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22  At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23  Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24  The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
25  It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26  The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27  Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

NOTES: Notice first, Jesus corrected the man’s understanding of ‘GOOD’, there’s none good, but God alone.
Notice second, Jesus revealed God’s Standard of Goodness and the entry requirement for the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven: Perfection. Unless a man or woman is perfect, i.e. they’ve kept God’s LAW revealed in His Commandments perfectly all their life, they cannot enter into His Kingdom. The Rich Young Ruler thought he’d kept the Commandments, but it was obvious he was not listening to Jesus, “There’s NONE GOOD but God alone”… i.e. If we take an honest look at God’s Commandments, we’ll conclude that we’ve broken most of them in our lifetime and are guilty Law Breakers in God’s sight.
Well, I’d love to share with you that Aaron was won over by our discussions, but at least he thanked us for stopping to chat with him. I asked if he had a Bible at home. He said, “My dad’s got at least four Bibles open on his desk every day”. I said, why don’t you go home, ask your dad for one of them and read it. Say to God, “I don’t know if you are real, but I’m ready to discover if You are, please speak to me through Your Word”… I do hope we bump into Aaron again. Please pray for this honest young man Aaron, who wanted to discover “Why do you call me good?”.

First Night Of Evangelism:

Gemma’s first night was a brilliant lesson in sharing the Good News of Jesus with folks the way that Jesus did. It was also an eye-opening experience of listening to the Lord as you go, because we also prayed for folks and chatted about God’s Kingdom, Heaven, Hell, Faith, Hope, Healing… We received “Words of Knowledge” you should see people’s faces when you speak God’s Word and their own situation in life lines up with what God is saying to them.  The rest of the team came back and shared their experiences too. My friends, can I encourage you, if you don’t do it already, to keep sharing your faith in Jesus and lead others to the Saviour, because as Jesus own disciples discovered, everybody NEEDS to be SAVED, without Jesus they will die in their sins and end up in Hell, because God has declared He will give them His justice on the day of Judgement.

Here’s the TRUTH:

Here is WHO will NOT Enter God’s Kingdom: Anyone who’s broken God’s Commandments. We ALL NEED SALVATION.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (NIV)
9  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11  And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

Every single person needs to be: Washed, Sanctified and Justified through faith in Jesus Christ.

Also, like Gemma, Sherrie, Ben, Matthew and me last night, you’ll discover Kingdom Knowledge and you’ll experience more of what God’s got in store for you. Note below, the importance of not only loving the Saints as Philemon obviously did, but what will happen to him if he listens to Paul’s instruction when he shares his faith in Jesus.

Philemon 1:4-7 (NIV)
4  I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers,
5  because I hear about your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints.
6  I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ.
7  Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.

It’s obvious we should love the saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ, but it’s not so obvious the NEED for Christians to be actively sharing our faith in Jesus or the reasons why. When you share Jesus, your own understanding of all the good things you have in Jesus will grow, the more you share, the more you’re going to understand. How awesome is that? Philemon also highlights one of the major problems in our modern churches today, we’re really good at LOVING THE SAINTS but forgetting the importance of being active in sharing our faith. There’s so much good going on we’re missing the point of Jesus Commission and Call. It’s not to have a great time being ‘church’, but to win others for His Kingdom before He comes back again. We’re also great a doing ‘good’ in the community, hoping that people will be so impressed with our ‘goodness’ that they’ll want to discover more about Jesus. It doens’t work my friends, the church is getting exhausted serving the world, but the world is heading straight for hell, because we’re too busy doing ‘good’ to share the Good News of Jesus with them.

It is much harder to be ACTIVELY SHARING YOUR FAITH in Jesus with folks, than it is to be LOVING, gentle and kind. Yes we should be doing good and being loving, kind, generous, helpful and faithful, but it’s going to have far greater dividends in Eternity when you take steps of courage and determine in your heart that you are going to make the most of every opportunity to go out of your way to share the Good News of Jesus Christ, that’s what really counts for Jesus’ Kingdom and Eternity.

I could also write about the many other conversations we had last night; the second person we chatted with was also called Aaron, then a young woman who attended church all her life, but hadn’t received Jesus as Lord. A woman who used to come to church, who needed prayer. It’s just too much to write them all or share them all now… Praise the LORD! Pray for the people and don’t forget to BE ACTIVE IN SHARING YOUR FAITH.

Have a fantastic Thursday.

Don.