Fear of God Devotional: Sins of the Church in Evangelism



What are common misunderstandings of evangelism?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that the idea that evangelism is a set group of four statements followed by a prayer is a harmful aspect of modern day evangelism.

Instead, we need to see evangelism as the entire Gospel of Christ, where a man sees his sin, he comes to repentance, and seeks forgiveness in Christ. That is the Gospel of Christ. It involves all 66 books of the Bible.

Another problem is that people act differently when they’re among unbelievers. What they say and do changes the moment when they’re not surrounded by Christians. Christians must faithfully and consistently live out the Gospel at all times. You cannot act one way while you’re at church and then in a completely different manner when you are at home or at the local grocery store. As a Christian, you take your worldview wherever you go.

2 Timothy 1:8 (NKJV) – “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God”

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What Confident and Humble Prayer Looks Like



John speaks of two categories of prayer: prayer for brethren and prayer for those who show every evidence that they are bound for Hell. Notice there are two categories of prayer in these verses, and he speaks of two goals of prayer: The first goal for prayer for sanctification – turning away from sin progressively, while the second is for salvation. John is calling for an outpouring of confident, humble, longsuffering prayer for one another when we see sin in one another. It is inevitable that we will see sin in one another. He is concerned that we have confidence in prayer, but it is not a confidence in our desires themselves. Our confidence is in His stated desires, not our own desires, and that when someone falls into sin, we prioritize prayer for them.

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Gospel Refreshers: Steve Lawson’s impromptu Gospel presentation.



The gospel is very simply Jesus Christ. Who among us is tired of hearing of the Lord Jesus Christ? He is the Son of God, the Son of Man; Sent into this world to be born of a virgin that He might be sinless and that He might be born under the law to keep the very law that you and I break day after day after day. The perfect sinless Son of God has perfectly met all the requirements of God's law and is ready to give His righteousness to us that we would have a perfect standing before God. That He went to a cross, there He was lifted up to die. There upon that cross the sins of everyone who would believe in Him were transferred to Him, and Him who knew no sin God made to be sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God. The great exchange of the cross: the worst about me laid upon Him, the best about Him now to be laid upon me. As He shed His blood upon that cross He reconciled sinful man to holy God. There is no other way for us to have a relationship with an infinitely holy God except through the blood of the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was by His sin bearing, substitutionary, vicarious death upon that cross. It was as if He took sinful man in one hand and holy God and the other hand and brought the two together through His death. By that death He satisfied the righteous anger of God and the appeased His wrath towards all who would believe in Him. There is now therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It was through that death that He redeemed sinners out of the slave market of of sin and redeemed us out of the tyranny of Satan's grip upon our lives. It was by that death that Jesus Christ has has provided now salvation – free for all who will call upon His name. He was taken down from that cross, He said it is finished, not I am finished, it is finished. He had completed the mission of salvation that He had come into this world to accomplish. He was buried in a rich man's tomb and on the third day by all the the power that was inherent within Him as the Son of God, He raised Himself from the dead. He came walking out of that tomb a risen living victorious Savior. He ascended back to Heaven is now seated at the right hand of God the Father, and whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. He is mighty to save under the uttermost all who call upon Him. 

To call upon the Lord Jesus christ is to look away from yourself to look away from religion, to look away from your church, to look away from your denomination, to look away from your baptism and your church membership and all of your good works, and to look exclusively to the Lord Jesus Christ. He says him who comes unto me I will in no wise cast out. He loves to save sinners, He is the friend of sinners. He came to seek and to save that which is lost. He came not for the righteous, He came for those who are unrighteous. He is a good physician, He has come not for those who are who are well but for those who are sick. Will you tell Him this moment what a sinner you are? Will you tell Him how sick you are by sin, that you're unable to save yourself? Would you call upon Him? Say “Lord Jesus save me! I am a wretched hell-bound sinner but Your grace is being offered to sinners like me.” 

If you would call upon His name this very moment I promise you by the authority of word of God that He will save you. He will save you today. He will wash your sins away. You will be clean and pure from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet. He says “Come let us reason together, though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson they shall be white as wool.” If you will call upon Him He will give you His righteousness. It is a free gift and there is nothing you can do to earn it, there's nothing that you can do to merit it. He will clothe you with the perfect garments of His righteousness, and as God looks upon you there will be a covering for your sin. He will see only the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ covering the entirety of who you are your sin sick soul. You'll find acceptance with God and one day when you die He will take you into the very presence of the Father and present you faultless before the throne of God. He says “I am the way and the truth and the life no one comes to the Father but through Me.” Peter said there is salvation in no other name for there is no other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved. Paul says there is one God and one mediator between God and man – the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom for all, the testimony born at the proper time. If you turn away from this free offer of the gospel there is no hope for your soul. You'll be trampling underfoot the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. I want to say to you Hell cannot be hot enough for you to hear this message, to hear this truth and to refuse the Lord Jesus Christ who suffered in bled and died upon Calvary's cross to save sinners. If you refuse the gospel your blood is on your own hands and you will suffer in Hell forever under the torment of the wrath of God. You will be among the torment, the damned, and you will never find relief for your soul. But today the gates of Paradise are swung open to you and you may come in and you may enter in. Jesus says: “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of Me for you will find rest for your souls, for My burden is easy and My yoke is light.” How hard it is for you to continue to live a life of sin, how glorious it would be to come into the yoke of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to receive His salvation. This is a decisive moment in your life you may never have an opportunity like this again, where the gospel is so clearly being presented to you. And so I beg you, I urge you; If you are not saved, if you are not committed to this moment, commit your life to Jesus Christ. He will receive you, He will save you, He will wash you, and one day He will take you to Heaven where you will spend all eternity with Him. This is the greatest offer that has ever been made to anyone on this earth. This is the glorious good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, so I would urge you this moment; If you have never believed upon Jesus Christ in your heart of hearts to say: “Lord Jesus I'm a sinner and you are a Savior, I am a great sinner, You are a great Savior, and I now this moment as an act of my will I commit all that I am to You.” If you've never done that I would urge you to do so this very moment.

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George Whitefield on Evangelism

Over the course of our evangelism conference last weekend, I came across this quote from George Whitefield:

“God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.”

If you'd like to read more about Whitefield, I recommend The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Glory of the Holy Spirit in the Work of Evangelism



How can we avoid misguided evangelism?

Don Hart explains in this video that there is a lot of well-intentioned evangelism that is misguided. For instance, there are those who believe that salvation is dependent on the sovereignty of man instead of the sovereignty of God. There are those that believe we are responsible for anyone who goes to hell that we didn’t evangelize to or when we tried to, we didn’t do it effectively. Charles Finney once said that if you gave him 15 minutes with any man, he allegedly could make sure that they were saved. The remedy for correcting misguided evangelism is a knowledge of the Scriptures and an understanding of sound doctrine.

The fact is, God saves, not us. It is his irresistible grace, it is a gift of faith, it is being drawn to Jesus Christ. It is a heart of stone turned to a heart of flesh. That is the effective work of evangelism. Salvation is not something that an incredibly persuasive person can take credit for or that a saved person can boast in. It is the work of the Holy Spirit and God gets all the glory, not man.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NKJV) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is There a Regulative Principle of Worship



In what situations does the regulative principle apply?

In this video, Sam Waldron answers the question, “Is there a regulative principle of worship?” He explains that he believes it means that God regulates worship in a way that is different from the rest of life.

Some individuals assert that the regulative principle applies to all of life in the same way. If that is true, then it applies to nothing. Instead, he explains that since the church has a distinct relationship to God as a “holy church,” it is to be set apart to God in a way that the rest of human life and other institutions are not.

God takes an interest in regulating the church that is different from the kind of regulation that He exercises over the rest of human life. The distinct identity of the church that is emphasized in 1 Timothy demonstrates why Paul explains how individuals should conduct themselves in the church. There is a special conduct required in the church because it is God’s holy church and it is related to Him in a way that the rest of human life is not.

Colossians 1:18 (NKJV) – “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.”

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George Whitefield on Evangelism

Over the course of our evangelism conference last weekend, I came across this quote from George Whitefield:

“God forbid that I should travel with anybody a quarter of an hour without speaking of Christ to them.”

If you'd like to read more about Whitefield, I recommend The Evangelistic Zeal of George Whitefield.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Law For Believers



How does a Christian view the law of God differently after being saved?

Jason Dohm explains in this video that for believers, the law does not condemn them. God has changed roles. For the unbeliever, who call “good” the things that God declares are evil, God is a righteous, holy, all-powerful judge who condemns them. He uses his law to bring condemnation.

For the Christian, God is now Father. You have been adopted into His family. Just as children desire to please their father, believers want to learn how to please God. His law is to teach you what pleases Him. God, through His Word and Law, communicates the things He loves and the things He hates. The law puts in writing what God calls as good.

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) – “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

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What Confident and Humble Prayer Looks Like



John speaks of two categories of prayer: prayer for brethren and prayer for those who show every evidence that they are bound for Hell. Notice there are two categories of prayer in these verses, and he speaks of two goals of prayer: The first goal for prayer for sanctification – turning away from sin progressively, while the second is for salvation. John is calling for an outpouring of confident, humble, longsuffering prayer for one another when we see sin in one another. It is inevitable that we will see sin in one another. He is concerned that we have confidence in prayer, but it is not a confidence in our desires themselves. Our confidence is in His stated desires, not our own desires, and that when someone falls into sin, we prioritize prayer for them.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Hardest Things About Family Worship



What is possibly the most difficult part about family worship?

Joel Beeke explains in this video that one of the hardest things about family worship is the part where the father applies and practically teaches their family after they’ve read the Scripture. It is difficult and challenging to pray for your family but the hardest part may be bringing the Scripture to bear on every single facet of life as you read through Scripture

Fathers ought to strive to be teaching their children, day by day, from the Word of God. By the time their children leave the home, there ideally should be no significant area of life that fathers haven’t talked about with their children in detail based on the Word of God. That should be every father’s goal.

Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) – “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”

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Biblical Practices for Church and Family Explained Here

Defining the ways that church and family intersect is the focus of, The Declaration for the Complementary Roles of Church and Family.”  When churches and families get this wrong… much goes wrong. The problem always stems from misunderstanding the doctrine and function of the family as well as the doctrine and function of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Here is how the “Declaration” begins,

This declaration arises out of an era of spiritual warfare where the church is embracing cultural norms and compromising on critical elements of church life, resulting in widespread collapse of biblical family life. A lack of understanding and unfaithfulness to God’s Word in local churches and in the homes of professing Christian families has contributed to this decline of biblical Christianity and has endangered the condition of biblical family life in our churches. Unfaithful (1 Tim. 4:1) or incompetent (2 Peter 3:16) handling of God’s Word in the church leads to unbiblical practices. These unbiblical practices and traditions of men contribute to the destruction of church and family life, which brings further harm to our children, and ultimately causes the collapse of a godly society. These traditions of men minimize and even replace God’s authoritative revelation (Col. 2:8). This has rendered the church of Jesus Christ more vulnerable to false teachings derived from Feminism, Secular Humanism, Secular Psychology, Darwinism, Marxism, and other unbiblical ideologies. These vain deceits are common in our society and have infiltrated many churches that have embraced worldly paradigms for church and family life. Rather than being defined by the unifying elements of biblical order for worship and discipleship, local churches are often conformed to contemporary, secular and pragmatic philosophies which segregate, divide and overthrow the biblical order (Phil. 1:27-28). Rather than the Word of God being our “wisdom and…understanding in the sight of the nations” (Deut. 4:6), we have adopted the ways of the unregenerate and have conformed to the conventions of contemporary culture. One of the bitter fruits of this compromise is weak, fragmented churches and families.

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Fear of God Devotional: God’s Blessings Upon His Church



What happens to a church that is devoted to the Word of God?

Kevin Swanson explains in this video that embracing the world is failing our churches and families. If the church compromises and mirrors the way the world does things, the church, families, and society will be corrupted. The Word of God must be brought to bear in all areas of life. Faithfulness to God’s Word benefits and strengths the church, families, and society. Yet, the often church decides that God’s Word is not sufficient.

If you walk in God’s ways, He will bless you. Even though there are detractors to living according to Scripture, we are still called to be faithful to the commands of God. If a church is governed by the Word of God, families and future families will be blessed. For instance, sons will have a vision to disciple their children for God just as they saw their father and other men within the church do.

2 Corinthians 5:9-10 (NKJV) – “Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

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Listen Live – The Aggressive Power of the Christian Church



Listen live to the “Aggressive Power of the Christian Church” evangelism conference!

The conference starts tonight at 6:30 EST. You can find more details, as well as a schedule here:
http://ift.tt/2n7oWZC

Live video here (poor quality, low bandwidth):
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Yeb5PShXri5C3NO7ViaHw/live

Live audio here:
http://ift.tt/2mS7ohY

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Fear of God Devotional: Is All of Life Worship?



Is all of life worship?

Sam Waldron explains in this video that there is a saying that “All of life is worship,” but that statement is not entirely accurate. All of life is not worship in the same sense that the church gathers for corporate worship. For instance, God never told Moses what furniture to put in his own tent or how to arrange that. While there were certain moral principles, God never told him how to set up his tent.

But, there was another tent. We have chapter after chapter in the Old Testament that tells us exactly how God wanted His tent ordered. There is a difference between our tent and the regulative principle of worship and how God regulates the worship that takes place in His tent.

John 14:21 (NKJV) – “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.”

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Gospel Refreshers: David Platt – God Hates & Loves Sinners



I wrote this little orange book and it has gotten some publicity in a few different places, and one place in particular locally for us was in the Birmingham news. So this guy from the Birmingham news decides to pick a couple of quotes and have a good time with them… and so one quote he used – he said “While it's a common pulpit truism that God hates sin but loves the sinner, Platt argues that God hates sinners.” and then the article just kind of moves on. That's a quote from the book and so people started emailing, calling churchmen. Because people started coming to them saying: “Your pastor preaches hatred.” Pastor, do you believe God hates sinners? Did you say that? It's one of those places where we can find ourselves in a bit of trouble for quoting the Bible. Does God hate sinners? 

Let me read to you, you don't have to turn there, Psalm chapter 5 verse 5: “The boastful shall not stand before your eyes Lord, You hate all evildoers, You destroy those who speak lies. The Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.” Maybe I should have said abhors? Maybe that's a better word? No God doesn't hate sinners He abhors them, and destroys them. Could you quote me on that? You look at it and 14 times in the first 50 songs alone we see God's hatred for the sinner, His wrath on the liar and so on and so on. It's not just Old Testament, in the New Testament one of the chapters contains the most famous verses about God's love in John 3:16. We find one of the most neglected verses about God's wrath in John 3:36. So does God hate the sin and love the sinner? Sure in a sense but does God hate the sinner as well? Yes and this is so key to understanding the cross. 

We have this tendency to think of sin as if it is something that is outside of us, and then when Jesus went to the cross he was enduring the penalty for all this stuff that we have done all these things such as lying and cheating or lusting or whatever it is, all these things are outside of us brothers and sisters our sin was not outside of us it is a part of us. It is the core of who we are in this world. We are sinners with a deep sinful nature and all holy God who is dead set against sin is also dead set against sinners. His Holy hatred and holy wrath due sin is not just do something outside of us, it is due us. This is the beauty of the cross because when Jesus went to the cross He did not just takes sin like it's something outside of us upon Himself, He stood where we belong, He stood in our place and he took the full force of the holy righteous wrath and hatred of God due sin and sinners alike upon Himself in our place instead of us. So let us not be quick to lean on trite and comfortable clichés in our culture that robbed the cross of its meaning. Jesus stood in the place sinners. 

This is the deal, we are sinners we like sheep have gone astray there are obviously many preachers who say that we should believe in ourselves and trust ourselves and confident have confidence in ourselves and they are lying. The last thing we need to do is believe in ourselves our trust in ourselves and have confidence in ourselves we are dumb sheep. The smartest, most intelligent, richest, wealthiest, most talented person is nothing more than a dumb sheep who is prone to wander. We are sinners and God infinitely holy and possesses holy hatred of sin and sinners alike, and he loves sinners. 

So how is this possible? How can God show wrath towards sinners and love towards sinners at the same time? How can God express the fullness of his attributes how can He satisfy Himself and save sinners at the exact same time? That is the question of the Bible, and the answer is the cross. Does God hate sinners? Look at Isaiah 53 verses 4 through six. All of these things pierced, crushed, punishment, wounds all of these things are evidence of the wrath of God upon sinners. Look at the cross: absolutely God hates sin and sinners. Does God loves sinners? Look at the cross because the Lord's will force tends to crush his son for the salvation of His people. He absolutely hate sin and sinners, and he absolutely loves sinners. And then the cross: we see the full expression of His holy wrath and His Holy love coming together in one glorious moment for our salvation, and that is a scandal. Because now and you read throughout the rest of Isaiah 53 and you see that all who trust in Christ my righteous servant (verse 11) says will justify many. You trust in Christ and your sins are removed. Isaiah 43:25 says He will remember them no more. That's good news. And it's not that God has amnesia. He is omniscient, He knows everything, but by the grace of God expressed in the cross of Christ, the God who knows everything has chosen for the sake of His name, (Isaiah 48:9-11), for the sake of His name has chosen not to hold any one of your sins against you. 

There’s a story about a wealthy Englishman who bought the Royals Royce. Royals Royce was billed as the car that would never ever ever break down and so he bought one at a hefty price and he was driving one day actually in France the car broke down. And so he called Royals Royce and said: “Well the car you said would never break down has broken down.” And what they did, immediately, is that put a mechanic on a plane flew him to France, fixed the car as fast as they could, and the mechanic flew back. And the guy drove on the guy expected to receive a bill, it's not often that someone will send a mechanic to you fix your car and fly him back, and so he's a wealthy man he could pay his bill… But the bill wasn't coming and so he called Royals Royce and he said “Listen I'd like to get this behind and just pay my bill.” And the people at Royals Royce told that man “We're sorry sir but we have absolutely no record of anything ever having gone wrong with your car.” Yes! To think that the holy God of the universe has looked upon your life and my life based on the Suffering Servant and He pronounces: “I have absolutely no record of anything ever having gone wrong in your life.” That is a scandal scandalous mercy. 

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