God Loves You Dearly!

Many people hate to hear those words.  After all, how could God love us if we are sinful, undeserving, selfish, and have a horrible past?

Others who are equally sinful are totally ignorant of their sin.  They thank God they are not as bad as the robber, the molester, the murderer, the terrorist, the drug pusher, the alcoholic, the adulterer.  They’re happy to hear God loves them because they feel worthy.  But, to hear that God loves the really bad sinner is offensive to them.  So they rule their churches with the iron fist of hypocrisy bullying their pastors and ministers into compliance.  They’re modern day Pharisees, and one may wonder if they ever will be saved from their ignorance, their arrogance, or their sin.

But nothing we ever did has ever surprised God.

Every sin we ever committed is big.  We may feel justified.  Or we may get mad if others not judge us.  We may sue others into poverty demanding that they admit we are right, but God and all of heaven will unite against us on judgment day.

But, if that’s so, how can you say God loves us?

He created us knowing we would betray Him.  He knew we would betray an

  • infinitely loving,
  • righteous,
  • wise, and
  • powerful God,
  • the one and only Almighty God
  • who had given us such a precious gift of life,

a God who has given us every blessing we would ever have in life.

He knew that betraying such a loving God would be an infinitely heinous crime and there would be no way to pay for that crime other than to suffer infinite pain in hell for all eternity.

God could have decided never to create us

He could have decided that there is no point in creating a human race that would only betray Him and be worthy of hell forever.  Think of the situation that God has to face.  If He runs a universe where anyone can violate the greatest good of God and the universe for selfish reasons, then

He created us knowing He would either have to let us pay for our sins by going to hell to suffer infinite pain forever, or else He would have to come down in the form of Jesus Christ and pay for our sins to satisfy the demands of justice.

And that after all that, God knew that some would still rather perish into hell forever than to surrender to God’s love and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.  But, He created us anyway, and He sacrificed Himself for us anyway knowing that many would perish, but some would be saved.

What about you?

If you are still living in sin, God feels deeply hurt by your continual rejection.  Every time someone chooses to put God off until later, it’s a lie.  It’s a way of saying to God, “I will hurt you and betray you now, but I’ll surrender and be faithful to you sometime later when I feel like it.”

To be saved from sin and from eternal separation from God into the place where we deserve to go forever, we have to make that decision immediately and give up the sin.  To refuse is to board a fast train to hell.

This is the day of salvation.  Will you ask Jesus to forgive you? If so, will you ask Him for the grace to dethrone every other sin that has rules your life? Will you turn away from disobedience and betrayal to God?  And will you surrender you sin and your weapons of dishonor toward so great and loving a God?

If Jesus Christ had not paid the price for sin on the cross, how could we be saved from sin?  But you cannot perish without trampling on Jesus’ sacrifice and God’s grace. You must storm through all the roadblocks God has put in your way.  But most people Do exactly that.

What about you?

Dan and Eileen

Is Evangelism About Winning Souls, or Arguments?

Dan and Eileen
Dan and Eileen

Do you evangelize? How? When? In what situations?

When you evangelize, what do you hope to accomplish? What outcome do you want? What do you hope to see? What is the first thing you expect to see when your evangelizing starts to show signs of success?

Immediate Success in Evangelism

Isn’t it naive to expect to win a religious fight and have our opponent suddenly humble himself and declare, “You know, you’re right and I’m wrong”?

Yet we want instant gratification. We want to prove our point and end the argument. The problem is the other side wants the same thing.

One person says, “Believe you you’ll go to hell.” The other side mocks, “God says give me a Mercedes and you’ll go to heaven, so where’s my Mercedes?” God seems to say anything the preacher wants people to believe.

But the Bible says. So what. The Koran says otherwise. So do the writings of a dozen other religions.

So one person says, “Well, you can say and do what you want, but I know you’re wrong, and when you fall into hell for all eternity, don’t complain to God that I didn’t tell you. I’ve done my part.” And both go away feeling they put the other person in his or her place.

Is there anything better than this? If so, why do we keep falling back into this pattern?

Do you want to win or just avoid losing?

If you want to avoid losing, just stay out of the battle. No brainer. Right?

How many people lost battles they never get into? Have you ever lost a battle you walked away from? Walk away. You are under no moral obligation to engage in unnecessary and unproductive wars.

When you brush the sand off your feet, you don’t have to make a ceremony out of it. Don’t feel you need to take any parting shots. Don’t indulge your addiction to having the last word. You should be able to predict they will try to do the same. And the only way to shut that down is to stop valuing the last word. Let it mean nothing of value to you. Let them end up wondering why you did not strive to get the last word they were desperate to get. Let your last word be silence.

You don’t owe them anything. Nothing. Nada.

When the Bible says to make disciples, it does not say to make silk purses out of sow’s ears. It says to make disciples.

If that sounds like a great sound bite or parting argument, see if you can discipline yourself not to use it. You might have reason to feel really good that you have overcome that temptation.

You know they’re not seeking to become a disciple. Give your time to someone who is seeking to become a disciple.

The Bible talks about finding a person of peace. That’s not a person to quarrel with. Perhaps you see someone who needs healing and you pray for them and they’re healed. Or not.

If someone wants to learn more about God, that person is precious. You have someone to share the Gospel with. If you spend more time with them, the hard cases will be more likely to come back and be ready to listen later.

Don’t waste your time on the hard cases while you ignore those hungry to learn more about God.

That’s a great way to start winning and cut down on the losing.

Evangelism is about love, power, healing and giving people a reason to seek God.  Too often we squander all of this on compromise, bitterness, unforgiveness, and sin when we should be praying to bury and leave those things behind in the water of our baptism in repentance and prayer.

How do we make disciples? By Example

Jesus said to go, heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples, baptize them in water and in the Holy Spirit.

If we neglect prayer we will miss opportunities. So what? Isn’t life more important than being on some sort of religious treadmill or rat race?

Some feel that if we sin or turn to a life of sin we won’t lose our salvation, that we’ll only lose our rewards in heaven. When we lay down our crowns before Jesus, we won’t have so many crowns to lay down. Or if there are mansions, ours won’t be so nice. Or our place in heaven won’t be so super-nice.

But that doesn’t really matter as long as we get in. After all, we don’t want to be prideful or greedy. Right?

But what if those crowns we lay down at Jesus’ feet are our loved ones? Our children? Our parents? Our friends? What if we see our loved ones on judgment day and they’re not happy with us because we betrayed them into hell with our example of living in sin and hypocrisy?

Suppose we saved our own skin and betrayed our family and friends to an eternity with infinite pain for failing to embrace the salvation offered freely–a salvation bought and paid for by Jesus’ own blood?

What if we squandered Jesus’ suffering and blood so that it went for nought concerning those we claimed to love most?

What if we only saved our own skin?

Perhaps we would not wish for them to be lost while we were saved. Perhaps if we were truly saved we would wish we could be lost so they could be saved. Maybe we would wish we could trade places and go to hell so they could go to heaven. But we can’t. Or perhaps we are not as saved as we think we are. Saved from what? Hell or sin? Selfishness or the punishment for it?

Why do we care? Why don’t we care?

Where will we go with this?

We obviously need to minister in power. But to do that we need power. We need power to step out of our comfort zone. Or perhaps we need to get a little experience obeying Christ so that becomes our comfort zone. We need to trust Christ and do what He has called us to do in love and in power.

How do we Evangelise? – By Doing

Knowing this, we are responsible. We cannot afford to nod like a bobble-head.  We need to live what’s true.

If we need to fast or seek God, let’s do it. If we get interrupted, we need to let those at home know, and remind them and spend that time in prayer until we break through. We need to refuse to offer God any token prayers or any sacrifices that cost us nothing.

I believe token religion is what has gotten us into so much trouble these days. I also believe time is running out. If Christ were to return tomorrow and you knew it, what would you do differently today? Perhaps that is what we should be doing.

We need to minister in power–not argue–not try to win arguments. Not compensating for our lack of power due to our own cowardice and compromise. We need to surrender all to Jesus.

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