Following Jesus Will Cost You!

Beheading

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet, because you are not of the world, but I chose you out o the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.” (John 15:18-20)

Is this verse a warning given to those who will become followers of Christ? The answer to that question is a definite–yes! Confirmation that you are a follower of Jesus Christ is that you are despised for His Name.

 The God of the Bible is unique and separate from the plethora of false gods worshiped by the world.

Satan, who dominates the evil world system, is identified in scripture as the “prince of the air” and “god of this age” and it is he who instigates the hatred towards Jesus Christ, and His followers. The One True God, Yahweh or YHVH (tetragram) is the object of Lucifer’s abhorrence and detestation.

JEHOVAH is separate from all other false gods because His Name denotes the eternality, immutability, and uniqueness of His nature. He is also Judge and Lawgiver Who has hatred (Psalm 5:5), Enmity (Nahum 1:2), and Vengeance (Deut 7:9-10; 32:39-42) towards the sinner every day. These same attributes and identification of YHVH was applied by the Lord Jesus Christ to Himself in chapter eight of the gospel of John as confirmation of His deity. Therefore, hatred or rejection of One was in fact denunciation of Both.

“He who hates Me hates My Father also” (John 15:23)

Mere association with Jesus or the God of the Bible sparks anger and hostility towards (by the world) those who represent Him. Why is there such antagonism and resentment towards true believers or followers of Christ? Jesus tells us that because of His coming the world has no excuse for their sins and that He testifies that its deeds are evil. Christ followers who demonstrate intimacy, love, obedience and fruitfulness will invoke a similar response from the world. Men and women who reject Jesus Christ (as Savior) do so by choice, not out of ignorance.

Paul Washer writes in his book titled The Truth About Man, that “Man is not a victim, but a culprit. He cannot, because he will not. His corruption and enmity toward God are so great that he would rather suffer eternal perdition than acknowledge God to be God and submit to His Sovereignty. For this reason, moral inability may also be called willing hostility.” (Washer, pg. 55)

In his book, Washer uses the relationship between Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 37:4) as an illustration of moral inability. He writes, “Joseph’s brothers could not speak to him on friendly terms. It is not because they lacked the physical ability to speak, but because their hatred was so great toward him that they were unwilling to be friendly to him. In the same way, fallen man’s hostility toward God is so great he cannot bring himself to submit to God.” (Washer, pg. 56)

A similar example is revealed in the relationship or interaction between Jesus and Judas as recorded in the gospel of John. Judas having been selected by Christ to be His disciple was specifically chosen because God knew that he (Judas) would be the fulfillment of Biblical prophecy.  “…and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12) Judas loved the present world and would benefit monetarily by betraying or benefits, deliberately offering Jesus to him by the chief priest for thirty pieces of silver. Notwithstanding, Jesus offered to Judas (the same night) the opportunity to confess, plus, repent of his disloyalty and to become a recipient of His forgiveness. His final act of love towards Judas is demonstrated in the passing of ‘sop’ to Judas during the last supper. “It is he to whom I shall give a piece of bread when I have dipped it…”(John 13:26) According to Jewish tradition, the host (Jesus) would designate the first morsel of food to the special guest as a way of symbolizing friendship. Similar to Joseph’s brothers, Judas was unwilling to turn from his (satanically inspired) plot against Jesus which would eventually lead to both his physical and eternal death.

Disdain towards Jesus and Joseph can best be attributed to the depraved nature of the human heart. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder…” (Matt 15:18) Men in rebellion against God abhor being confronted about their iniquities or transgressions. Jesus, having completed or accomplished the work the Father called Him to do would soon return to His original position glory. The responsibility of reaching the world with the “Good News” was delegated to His followers in the manner known as the Great Commission. “…I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”

As servants of Christ, each believer will or should expect to experience similar circumstances to those endured by our Master during His earthly ministry. The ‘world’ (kosmos) refers to the created moral order in active rebellion against God and His followers. The Words of Christ, when spoken against the captives of this world system, bring opposition, hatred, suffering, and in some cases even death. Jesus clearly warns (verse above) all who believe in Him that they too will undergo persecution.

“For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for yo to follow in His steps.” (I Pet 2:21)

D.A. Carson summarizes this point well in his book titled The Gospel According To JohnHe warns, “Those who preach Jesus’ gospel and live in progressive conformity to His own life and teaching will attract the same antagonism that He did.” (Carson, pg. 525)

Do the Words of Christ coincide with the mindset or approach to ministry by today’s church leaders? Stay tuned for part two of this message.

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Test the Spirit

sentThe Holy Spirit inspired the Apostle John to warn believers about false doctrine and false teachers in chapter four of his first epistle. In these last days, scripture teaches that both will escalate to the point where counterfeit religions and doctrines of demons will become widely accepted by the masses. For this reason, believers are told to “test the spirits, whether they are of God.” The word “test” is a metallurgist terminology used to assess metals in order to determine their authenticity. The Berean’s mentioned in the book of Acts (17:11-12) are an example of individuals who examined the teachings or theology of others in order to approve or disprove whether it was from God.

My recent (predetermined) encounters, with a Jehovah Witness and two Islamic Saudi Arabian students, supports John’s admonition. Both religions deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (not God), and insist that He was but a mere man or prophet of Allah. The Bible describes Satan as the father of lies and is responsible for promoting error regarding the true identity of Jesus Christ our Lord. According to scripture Lucifer uses false prophets, religions, doctrines, and more to propagate satanic lies in order to blind the eyes of unbelievers from the truth of God’s Word. In this same chapter, John describes the work of the Holy Spirit as “spirit of truth” and the activities of Satan as “spirit of error.”

The elderly Jehovah Witness man demonstrated, during our two hour conversation, that he was influenced or controlled by “deceiving spirits.” This was clearly evident by his attempt to use chapter eight in the book of Proverbs to support the concept that Jesus Christ is a created being. “The Lord possessed me at the beginning of His way…From everlasting I was established…” According to the Watch Tower organization, verse twenty-three confirms that Jesus was created by Jehovah.

This is clearly not the case! A basic “testing” or exegesis of the chapter and verse will lead any unbiased reader to conclude that throughout the chapter Solomon is referring to wisdom.

“Does not wisdom call, And understanding lift up her voice?…At the entrance of the doors, she cries out…To you O men, I call And my voice is to the sons of men, O naïve ones, discern prudence; And, O fools, discern wisdom…I wisdom dwell with prudence…”

Chapter eight of the book of Proverbs credits wisdom for everything that God created in order to illustrate that wisdom was first, as God was eternally first. Sadly, Jehovah Witnesses begin with a premise that Jesus is not God; therefore, they attempt to find verses in the Bible that confirm or support their erroneous view of Christ. In this case, the “spirit of error” is easily refuted or exposed by simply testing, plus properly exegesis the text in order to extract the intended meaning of the passage.

The Saudi men have also fallen prey to doctrines of demons promoted by false teachers and prophets. Mainly, due to the fact that they have never heard the truth about Christ, because Bibles are forbidden in Saudi Arabia and the truth about Jesus Christ is distorted by clerics. These men were told that the Bible is corrupted and cannot be trusted. However, when asked who corrupted it, and when it was tainted, neither man was able to respond. According to the Koran, Muslims are instructed (by Allah) to believe the Bible.

 “O you who have believed, believe in Allah and his messenger and the book, which he has sent down on his messenger, and the book which he has sent down before.”(The Woman, 136)

Muslims are instructed or commanded by Allah to believe in the Bible and its prophets. It is evident (from the above mentioned passage) that at the time of the writing of the Quran, the Bible was referenced, plus believed by Mohammad. Therefore, I was able to apologetically present Biblical truths about: Deity of Christ; Incarnation; Atonement, Propitiation; Crucifixion; Conception; Sinlessness; Death; Burial; Resurrection; Attributes; Creator; Inerrancy of Scripture; and more during our three hour conversation. I was also able to use polemics to refute the teachings of Islam.

Christians must understand that Islam allows no other religions or faiths to exist peacefully beside them. Stay tuned: we are scheduled to meet again next week. The Apostle Paul writing to the church in Romans admonishes believers in the city to witness or share the gospel with those who had never heard it.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent…” (Roman 10:14-15)

The point of Paul’s rhetorical question is to emphasize the fact that a clear gospel presentation must proceed saving faith. Those who have fallen prey to “deceitful spirits” and “doctrines of demons” can still be saved from hell as well as error by hearing, plus believing the truths of scripture. Ron Carlson and Ed Decker write in their book titled Fast Facts On False Teaching, “In the light of Allah’s actual origin and his radical difference from the God of the Bible, we must conclude that Allah is not God. Nor is the name “Allah” a generic Mideast name for God, as many Christians think. Allah is the name of a false god who cannot save anyone from anything.

One-on-One with a Tanzanian Muslim (Part Three)

Hajj

Hajj

Scripture teaches that man is incapable of coming to God on his own because of moral depravity and enslavement to Satan. The world and all its fallen inhabitants are held tightly by sin and in the devils grip. The apostle John writes, “…and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” Paul Washer addresses this point in his book titled ‘The Truth about Man.’  He states, “It is the sure testimony of Scripture that there is only one true God. But in this passage, Satan is referred to as the “god of this world” in the sense that he is working with great power in this preset evil age, and fallen men have made him their “god” and live according to his will.” (Washer, pg. 71)

“…whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe…” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

The affinity (they have much in common) between Satan and Islam (lying, murder, stealing, etc) mentioned in previous articles reveals the compatibility of fallen man with the Devil. Paul’s response to these truths was similar to most—denial. Many people reject the idea or concept that all unredeemed men are ‘followers of the devil,” yet scripture indicates that all men are born into the world under his dominion.

“He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, “that He might destroy the works of the devil…” (I John 3:8)

We soon began discussing the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’ and their inability to provide an acceptable sacrifice or substitute for sin.  The faithful Muslim who diligently practices the five pillars of Islam will receive from Allah a gracious welcome of “Peace,” and enters into the garden in order to sit on a cushioned throne in the shade where he eats fruit in abundance. He is also able to drink from rivers which produce milk, honey, and alcohol. Throughout eternity he will have beautiful women to enjoy sexually and produce children who will serve him.  (There is no reward mentioned for women in the Quran)

Therefore, in order to enter Janna good works must outweigh the bad according to the Quran. “Surely good deeds drive away the evil deeds. This is a reminder to those who remember. And be patient, so surely Allah will not waste the wages of the doers of good.” (Sura 11:114-115) Evil is wiped away by successfully performing or adhering to these actions:

  1. Shahada (Confession of the Creed) A testimonial that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. It must be repeated daily in a certain tone of voice in order to be valid. It must be honored or practice until death, otherwise denial of it nullifies any possibility of Paradise or Janna.
  2. Salat (Prayer) Repeated prayers from the Quran must be said five times a day in Arabic at certain periods of time. Before sunrise, at noon, in mid-afternoon, at sunset, and in the evening. Friday prayer at the Mosque at noon is mandatory for adult males who must practice the ritual of purity. Prayer is viewed as an expression of submission to Allah and not a communication or relationship with Allah. The Du-aa (supplication) is when Muslims prayers are given the opportunity to be accepted by Allah. Even then there are limitations (Late night, after the crowing of a rooster, beginning of war, and during Ramadan) Islam Awareness, Dawah
  3. Zakat (Alms-giving) A certain percentage of income is given at the end of the year to help others. Muslims believe that helping others purifies their own wealth, increases its value, and reminds them that everything they have is a trust from Allah. Every adult Muslim man and woman who possesses wealth of a certain minimum amount must give to the mosque leader who then distributes resources to the poor.

 Sadaqah (Truth and Honesty) In addition to the required alms, Muslims are encouraged to give in charity at all times        according to their means.

   4. Sawm (Fasting) Muslims abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset during the month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Muslim calendar. Ramadan was the month during which Muhammad had his first encounter with the spirit in Cave Hira. The Quran is read and recited the entire month.

   5. Hajj (Pilgrimage) All Muslims, men and woman who are economically and physically able are to travel to Mecca at least once in their life time. The completion of this practice gives the Muslim both a satisfying feeling and a respected status in his or her community

Paul and I read the verse from chapter two of the book of Ephesians that states, “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.” (Eph 2:8-9) Mankind is incapable of please God, therefore, the Lord provided a sacrifice for mans iniquity. John MacArthur writes in the MacArthur study Bible, “God the Father using the principle of imputation, treated Christ as if He were a sinner though He was not, and had Him die as a substitute to pay the penalty for the sins of those who believe in Him…One the cross, He did not become a sinner, but remained as holy as ever. He was treated as if He were guilty of all the sins ever committed by all who would ever believe, though He committed none. The wrath of god was exhausted on Him and the just requirement of God’s law met for those for who He died…The righteousness that is credited to the believers account is the righteousness of Jesus Christ, God’ Son.”(MacArthur, pg. 1772)

After an hour and fifteen minutes of discussion, Paul concluded our conversation by stating, “I will continue to practice the Five Pillars in hope that I will be accepted by Allah.” We agreed to meet regularly in order to compare and contrast the two belief systems. The responsibility of the believer or evangelist is to preach the Word and pray that God will give the increase!

One-on-One with a Muslim from Tanzania, Part 1

Fisherman

In order for the end to come Jesus stated, that “… the gospel must be preached into the whole world for a witness to all the nations.” In these last days, the Lord has enabled the church to fulfill the Great Commission by bringing various people groups from around the world to North America. Believers have been given the opportunity to engage these ethnic groups in one-on-one apologetic conversations. My recent encounter with an Arabic speaking Muslim from Tanzania confirms this point to be true.

‘Paul’ (not his name) agreed to meet with me so that he might be given the opportunity to dispel myths pertaining to Jihad and to find common ground among the two faiths. However, at the onset of our conversation, ‘Paul’ admitted that he was not a scholar in regards to the teachings of Islam and might have difficulties answering my questions. Though he is fluent in Arabic and is able to read the Quran in its original language he felt inadequate in his ability to interpret the Qu’ran. The purpose of Imams and clerics is to teach Muslims to overcome their weaknesses and to live in the straight-way.

In response, I emphasized that the Bible teaches that the role of the Holy Spirit is to reveal scriptural truths and to allow believers to live accordingly. Therefore, all Christians are able to read, as well as understand the Bible without the assistance of a church leader (pastor or teacher). Our conversation turned to the topic of the Qu’ran’s revelation of Allah. According to its teachings

“And they deceived and Allah deceived And Allah is the best deceiver.” (Surah 3:54)

‘Paul’s’ interpretation of this verse was in complete contradiction to the text as well as other verses that confirm this point. He stated, “The meaning is that Allah knows if a Muslim is lying…”

I interjected that multiple verses in the Qu’ran imply that Allah not only deceives but encourages his followers to emulate his example.

“Do you desire to guide those whom Allah has led astray? And whomever Allah leads astray, so you will not find for him a way.” (Sura 3:88)

“Allah will not hold you responsible for the mere utterance in your oath, but he will hold you responsible in regard to an oath taken seriously.” (Sura 4:89)

I also pointed out that all prophets of Islam do not lie. Case in point,  (according to the Qu’ran) Jesus is only a prophet and not God,  and (according to Scripture) He stated that Satan is the father of lies.

“Your father the devil…because there is no truth in him…Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature for he is a liar and the father of lies…” (John 8:44)

He along with other Muslims attempt to ascertain common ground by ignoring these truths and searching for less controversial passages that mask the teachings of Islam.

Nevertheless, the evangelist must be dogmatic about the fact the Quran contradicts the Bible.

They are complete opposites. Our discussion regarding the practice and teachings of Jihad lead to the opportunity for me to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I will address this part of our encounter in the next part of this series discussing my evangelism appointment with a Muslim from Tanzania.

Through Much Tribulation

e4l5Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in chapter twenty-one of Luke’s gospel presents many warnings regarding the state of the world prior to His return to the earth. Not only are wars, plagues, famines, terrors, and false prophets spoken of, but He informs us that the religious persecution of Christians will be common. He states, “But before all these things they will lay their hands on you and will persecute you delivering you to the synagogues and prisons bringing you before kings and governors for My name’s sake.” (Luke 21:12) Notice that He refers to believers being delivered to “synagogues” or taken captive by the devout or pious leaders in order to stand trial for their faith in Christ.

Soul Liberty is defined in a book written by Henry C. Fish titled “The Price of Soul-Liberty and Who Paid It” as the liberty to think and act in religious matters without human dictation or control. God has given men freedoms and liberties to choose and live according to his/her dictates. Scripture is the guideline given to believers to assist in discerning good and evil in relation to decision making pertaining to the will of God.  True believers will not or at least are hesitant to violate not only their conscience, but more importantly the Word of God while making assessments. Biblical convictions will most certainly cause conflicts in the world, but surprisingly, Jesus warns us struggles will also occur within the church. This is clearly demonstrated by the skirmish in the fourth century over Sacramental Efficacy. The Baptist opposed the idea of “clinic or sick-room baptism” as well as baptizing unconscious children in order that they might be saved. In response to this (unbiblical) soteriological view, the Baptist protested and were denounced by the Roman Empire.

According to Fish, they were persecuted by religious leaders as a result of holding their views. “In the following year, the council of Carthage, of which Augustine was the President, thus decreed: “We will that whosoever denies that little children, by baptism, are freed from perdition and eternally saved, that they be accursed…Thus early did Baptists begin to pay the price of Soul Liberty…And ever suffering for their faith, is it strange that they should have been first and foremost in denouncing religious tyranny, and proclaiming the sanctity of conscience?” True believers can expect similar responses from world governments and religious leaders comprising the twenty-first century false church. Especially, in relation to topics pertaining to marriage; false religions; homosexuality; the deity of Christ; the inerrancy of Scripture; biblical roles; government policies;  and soteriology.

A quick assessment of viewpoints, laws, and regulations recently implemented regarding those who oppose such hot topics as same sex ‘marriage’, public schools, abortion, homosexuality, Islam, and governmental policies  proves the truth of Jesus’ aforementioned predictions.  As a result of this increasingly more hostile environment, Believers have and will spend more time before judges and courts answering for our faith and convictions.  One example of secular opposition is the recent discovery of the illegal activities within the Internal Revenue Service.  Reports have been uncovered that expose the practice of opposing or denying certain non-profit organization’s request for 501c 4 status in order to block political influence.   Nevertheless, we see similar antagonism developing amongst religious leaders towards the concept of the God of the Bible being exclusive. Jesus states, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teachings of Christ does not have God…” (2 John 9)  Many multi-faith or ecumenical leaders are attempting to unify world religious by laying aside doctrine in order to come together for the sake of a humanitarian effort.

In an article titled, Is Pope Francis Laying The Ground Work For A One World Religion the author writes, “Does Pope Francis intend to help the global elite achieve their goal of uniting all of the religions of the world under a single banner? Will he be instrumental in establishing a single global religion for the glorious “new age” that the global elite believe is coming? After he was elected, the cover of Time Magazine declared Pope Francis to be the “New World Pope“, and since his election Pope Francis has made it abundantly clear that he is going to make ecumenical outreach a top priority. He has spoken of his “determination to continue on the path of ecumenical dialogue“, and he has already held a number of very high profile ecumenical meetings. Not only has he worked hard to reach out to leaders from various Christian traditions, he has also made it a point to try to acknowledge the mutual bonds that he feels with all other religions. For example, in one recent address he made it a point to say that he believes that Muslims worship and pray to the “one God” that he also worships.

This “all roads lead to the same God” philosophy is a hallmark of the one world religion that the global elite have been slowly building toward for decades. The global elite know that even with a one world economy and a one world government, humanity will never be truly united until there is a single global religion. Unfortunately, this one world religion that they are seeking to establish is diametrically opposed to the Christianity that we find in the Bible. By throwing out Biblical truth for the sake of “friendship between men and women of different religious traditions“, is Pope Francis fundamentally betraying the faith that he claims to represent?

Christian persecutions

The biggest similarity between Islam and Catholicism is that both religions have a long history of persecuting and murdering Christians. Foxe’s Book of Martyrs written by John Foxe records not only the labeling of Christians as apostates but numerous murders occurring because of believer’s opposition to idols and satanic rituals practices by the papacy. Again, we are warned by Christ about the practices of religious leaders, “They will make you outcast from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God…” (John 15:2) So, how should believers respond? “It will lead to an opportunity for your testimony…for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.” (Luke 21:13, 15)

Jesus’ solution to this problem is to witness, testify, or preach the gospel to our persecutors!

Only through hearing the “Good News” can men be saved. Therefore, Christians must not only be ready to preach the gospel but be ready to suffer for their faith. We are reminded in the book of Acts that through much tribulation, suffering, persecution, distress, rejection, we are to enter the kingdom of God. “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” (Acts 14:22b)

House-2-House

houses in Prague

© Peter Szucs | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Let me begin by first putting to rest the myth that door- to-door evangelism doesn’t work! If that were true then God would not have given us the command to “Go” into the entire world and preach the gospel (Matthew 10:7; 28:18-20; Mark 16:15; Luke 9:2, 60; Acts 5:20; 2 Tim 4:2). Our responsibility is to obey our Lord’s instructions leaving the end results up to the Lord. If the objective is to see immediate mass numbers of conversions, baptisms, and increased church attendance, then I would agree that it is not effective.  In reality, most bible- based outreaches do not produce results like the one we read about  at Pentecost in chapter two of the book of Acts. However, an unbiased evaluation of scripture will lead any objective reader to conclude that preaching or teaching the gospel to lost people is the message emphasized or communicated in the Bible.

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15)

These rhetorical questions asked by the apostle Paul stress the importance of believers communicating the gospel to lost people wherever a witness is needed. A clear presentation of the gospel must occur in order for unbelievers to believe in the One True God. Darrell W. Robinson writes in his book titled Total Church Life

“Each church has adequate personnel to evangelize its community. The personnel are those in the pews every Sunday. You in Acts 1:8 is plural. Jesus is speaking to the entire membership of the church. His call to every Christian is to witness. There is no choice. We have no option. Every Christian is to witness for Jesus. The only choice is to obey or disobey. A Christian may be a disobedient witness or an obedient witness. His witness may be negative or positive, but he is a witness.”

How does the church accomplish this task in a time or epoch when scripture describes men and women rejecting the truth in the last days? Believers must continue to obey the command or instructions given to them by our Commander and Chief, Jesus Christ. That is “Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.” (Luke 14:23) Jesus began His ministry by commissioning and assembling men to “Go” where the lost people were! “Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them two by two ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come” (Luke 10:1) and to reach them with His gospel. “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). After His ascension into heaven, His apostles, empowered by and filled with the Holy Spirit, carried the “Good News” to the surrounding cities as well as to the world.

“Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men, from every nation under heaven…Now when they heard this they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren what shall we do?” (Acts 2:5, 36)

  • “And every day in the temple and from house to house they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:42)

  • • “And Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them.” (Acts 8:5)

  • • “…And were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.” (Act 8:25)

  • • “Arise and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza…And Philip opened his mouth and beginning from this Scripture he reached Jesus to him.” (Acts 8:35)

  • • “But Philip found himself at Azotus; and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities, until he came to Caesarea.” (Acts 8:40)

  • • “…Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying He is the Son of God.” (Acts 9:19-20)

  • • “…And it became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.” (Acts 9:42)

  • • “And they said, “Cornelius a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well-spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear a message from you…and he shall speak words to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household…” (Acts 10:22; 11:14)

  • • “…So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose…to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone…But thee were some of them men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch and began speaking to the Greeks also preaching the Lord Jesus…” (Acts 11:19-20

  • • …Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul…And when they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews…And when they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos…Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happended, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord” (Acts 13:2, 4-5, 12)

  • • “…But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch…And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to our fathers…And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region…” (Acts 13:32, 48)

  • • “…And it came about that in Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a great multitude believed both of Jews and of Greeks.” (Acts 14:1)

  • • “…they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra, and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel.” (Acts 14:6-7)

  • • “…And the next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. And after they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch…” (Acts 14:20-21)

  • • “…And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia…” (Acts 14:25)

  • • “And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them…to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia…” (Acts 16:10, 12)

  • • “…they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And according to Pauls custom, he went to them and reasoned with them from the Scriptures…” (Acts 17:2)

  • • “…And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea…for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily…”(Acts 17:10-11)

  • • “…Now those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens;…So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.” (Acts 17:15,17)

  • • “…After these things he left Athens and went to Corinth…And he was reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath and trying to persuade Jews and Greeks…” (Acts 18:1,4)

  • • “…And they came to Ephesus and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jew…So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing…” (Acts 18:19, 19:20)

  • • “…how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable and teaching you publicly and from house to house.” (Acts 20:20)

  • • “…Brethren and fathers, hear my defense…And they listened to him up to this statement…” (Acts 22:1,22)

  • • “…And Paul looking intently at the Council…And as he said this there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and Sadducees…” (Acts 23:1, 7)

  • • “…And Agrippa said to Paul, You are permitted to speak for yourself. Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense…but I utter words of sober truth…” (Acts 26:1, 25)

  • • “…and thus we came to Rome…And he stayed two full years…preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness, unhindered.” (Acts 28:14, 30-31)

The cities mentioned throughout the book of Acts are a reflection of God’s purposeful objective of reaching all people groups, nations, and tongues. Those who heard and believed the gospel were not only saved but added to new church plants in Jerusalem, Philippi, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Thessalonica, etc. The disciples of Christ were adamant about the gospel reaching the world and were willing to endure hardships (stoning, imprisonment, beatings, death, being shipwrecked, persecutions, ostracism, prosecutions, and more) so that the name of Jesus Christ might be heard. Not only must there be a willingness to preach the “Good News” to strangers but the message must be truthful and direct.

The goal is not to add notches to an evangelism belt or members to the church roll but to allow the Holy Spirit convict men of sin, righteousness and judgment. This is simply done through a presentation of the gospel. No tricks, gimmicks, entertainment, or strategic moves are necessary for men to be saved. Robinson states, “The Holy Spirit equips the witness to share Jesus Christ with others. Apart from Holy Spirit power, the presentation of the gospel is accompanied by a dreadfulness that kills. It is the Spirit who “makes alive.” The flow of Holy Spirit power through the life of a church and an individual is directly proportional to obedience in witness. Where witnessing is minimized, there is little evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit.”

“…but we have renounced the things hidden because of shame, not walking in craftiness or adulteration the word of God, but by the manifestation of truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God… And even if our gospel is veiled it is veiled to those who are perishing…” (2 Corinthians 4:2-3)

The idea conveyed by the apostle Paul is the common business practice of dishonestly diluting wine with water. Paul was falsely accused by false teachers of perverting the teachings of Jesus and the Old Testament. Similar warnings must be issued against modern day evangelists about reducing the potency of God’s Word by adding block parties, rock music, food or clothing, and other enticements to lure people to faith in Jesus Christ. Not one of the above mentioned scriptures suggest the use of any ploys to appeal to the lost. The Lord makes it abundantly clear to the evangelist in chapter ten of the book of Romans “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Roman 10:17)

How to begin a door2door conversation? (Example)Brick Archway Number 51

Evangelist-My name is ________, and I am a member of ________ church. We are in our community today inquiring about where people will spend eternity at the moment of death. Considering all the death, murders, and killings reported in our newspapers and television broadcasts, death is not only common but often it is unexpected. (Boston Bombing)
Do you know where you will go if you were to die today, tomorrow, next week, etc.? If you have a moment I would like to explain to you from scripture important information about God and eternity. May I come in?
Begin by praying for the individuals involved (Believer and Unbeliever) and spend some time learning about their spiritual background, use the first five verses in chapter thirteen of Luke to initiate an eternal conversation.

The Heart of the Matter

The apostle Paul writes a second letter to a church located in Thessalonica as a forewarning to believers about a futuristic leader who will one day deceive the masses by leading them away from the truth of God’s Word. He is described as the “lawless one.”

“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming that is the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan…” (2 Thess 2:8)

However, before his arrival the world will be characterized by a blasphemous spirit (among the people) or attitude that blatantly opposes God, His Christ, His Word, and His people. His success in the near future is attributed to the fact that

“… they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved…For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth but took pleasure in wickedness.” (2:10-12)

Charles Spurgeon addresses man’s relationship with God’s truth (in his day) in a book titled “An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to ministers and students,”

“Beloved, I notice that God imports His messages to those who have a complete subordination to Him. I will tell you what has often crossed my mind when I have talked with certain brethren, or have read their lucubration’s; I have wondered which was the Master, and which was the servant, the man or God. I have been sorry for the errors of these brethren, but I have been far more distressed by the spirit shown in those errors. It is evident that they have renounced that holy reverence for Scripture which indicated by such an expression as this, “that trembleth at My Word.” They rather trifle than tremble. The Word is not their teacher, but they are its critics. With many, the Word of the Lord is no longer enthroned in the place of honor, but it is treated as a football, to be kicked about as they please; and the apostles, especially are treated as if Paul, and James, and John, were Tom, and Harry, with whom modern wise men are on terms of something more than equality. They pass the Books of Scripture under their rod, and judge the Spirit of God Himself. The Lord cannot work by a creature that is in revolt against Him. We must manifest the spirit of reverence, or we shall not be as little children, nor enter the Kingdom of Heaven.”

My recent experience at an ecumenical or inter-faith meeting confirms that we are also living in these days. The group of people assembled during this particular evening was comprised of Hindus, Buddhist, Muslims, Universal Unitarians, United Church of Christ leaders, and Agnostics. I intentionally left out the mentioning of Christians because the views or statements made by those claiming to be followers of Christ, usually contradict the teachings of Scripture. The Bible categorically labels any person who rejects the teachings of Christ as an individual who has not nor knows God. “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teachings of Christ does not have God…”

Why do I attend?
You may be wondering why I attend? I was selected or invited (by a Muslim) to the group for the sole purpose of presenting or bringing to the table an evangelical theological perspective. This organization meets regularly in order to discuss or comment on topics (from their religious perspectives) pertaining to everyday living. The most recent gathering dealt with the theme or subject of the recent killings, plus injuring of innocent people in Boston, Massachusetts. Emphasis was not concentrated on who, what, where, and why someone would do this, but on how each of the above mentioned belief systems would respond if placed in a similar situation. In other words, what form of compassion or humanitarianism would they practice or implement in time of tragedy?

In a group where absolute truth is irrelevant, it stands to reason why the subject of Jihad is overlooked and replaced with a less weighty topic. The goal of most ecumenical groups is to unify over commonalities and avoid doctrines that divide or cause disunity. The subject of sin and the depravity of man’s heart is not only avoided but denied. (That has been my experience in each of the meetings I have attended) My purpose for attending these meetings is to discuss absolutes and not to ignore or deny facts. It is a fact that the Quran teaches death to the non-Muslim. Plus, it is also commonly known among all faiths that the Bible describes the heart of all men as being desperately wicked. According to the Bible, “there is none who does good.” (Rom 3:12) So, it stands to reason that someone would address the obvious, because man is capable of doing good deeds, because at the core of his inner being is only evil.

Walter A. Elwell writes in a book titled Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, “The Bible teaches this concept of total depravity in many places. The Lord recognized good people (Matt 22:10), yet he labeled his own disciples as evil men (7:11). The mind is affected (Rom 1:28), the conscience is unclean (Heb 9:14), the heart is deceitful (Jer 17:9), and by nature mankind is subject to wrath (Eph 2:3).” In an attempt to emphasize this point those in my small group were immediately at odds with this point. In logic, the starting point of an argument is called a proposition. When we use propositions, we are either asserting the truth of the statement or denying the truth of the statement. Those individuals involved in the bombing of blameless marathon runners and spectators displayed by their actions that God’s Word is true in regards to the condition of the human heart. (To ignore these points would be considered illogical). Note that this is a technical meaning of “deny,” not the everyday meaning. To deny in this context means to gather evidence to show that the proposition cannot be true, not just that it is wrong. Further evidence to support my propositional statement is located or revealed in the human heart. The apostle Paul writes, “For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, no having the Law are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience being witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…” (Rom 2:14-15) God has placed in every human being a conscience that gives them knowledge of right and wrong. So when an individual sins (murder, lie, steal, lust, etc.) he/she does so with knowledge. (Con-with, Science-knowledge). To begin a discussion on the compassionate nature of human beings is completely irrational, because out of the human heart comes only iniquity. Jesus Christ our Lord states,

“For out of the heart comes evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders, etc.” (Matthew 15:19) It is amazing that humanity is capable of any good! Consider the fact that God sent His only begotten Son, the long awaited Messiah, to the nation of Israel, and their response to His innocence, sinlessness, miracles, compassion, redemption, propitiation, atonement, justification, and sacrificial death on the cross was to crucify Him. (Matthew 27:22)

Let’s examine the nature or condition of man by examining a little known fact about the most recognized saintly women on the planet, Mother Teresa and her organization Missionary of Charity. An anonymous author writes in an article titled Hitting Bedrock, “…Says Susan Shields, former Missionary of Charity: As a Missionary of Charity, I was assigned to record donations and write the thank-you letters. The money arrived at a frantic rate. The mail carrier often delivered the letters in sacks. We wrote receipts for checks of $50,000 and more on a regular basis. Sometimes a donor would call up and ask if we had received his check, expecting us to remember it readily because it was so large. How could we say that we could not recall it because we had received so many that were even larger?

Shields doesn’t suggest how much that might add up to, but Hitchens has it that there were at least $50 million in the New York bank account of the Missionaries of Charity, and figures that, this being but a part of the organization’s wealth, there must be several times more all told. So let’s place the MoC’s wealth in the 9-10 figure range. Now, it would not be correct to say that all this money belonged to Teresa. I take it that she herself owned next to nothing. I’m just saying that she controlled this money. It didn’t belong to her personally, but, if she’d really wanted, she could have used it, on behalf of her organization, to buy all sorts of medicines, pay all sorts of trained medical personnel, and maybe even keep her facilities stocked with clean new needles on a regular basis.
You may be able to guess what’s coming up next. Fact: Mother Teresa used only a tiny fraction of that money to improve the lives of the sick and the poor. Shields continues: We received touching letters from people, sometimes apparently poor themselves, who were making sacrifices to send us a little money for the starving people in Africa, the flood victims in Bangladesh, or the poor children in India. Most of the money sat in our bank accounts. The donations rolled in and were deposited in the bank, but they had no effect on our ascetic lives and very little effect on the lives of the poor we were trying to help. Well, who cares about the lives of the nuns: they got what they signed up for, right? That bit about the poor, though, that’s a little worrisome.

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0


Here are some examples of how the MoC failed to spend its money. Shields gives one: in Haiti, “the sisters reused needles until they became blunt”. Out of the MoC’s bloated bank accounts, no money could be spared for new needles. Likewise, in an article in the British Medical Journal (a review of Hitchens’ book), Mary Loudon reports visiting the MoC’s facilities and seeing “syringes run under cold water and reused, aspirin given to those with terminal cancer, and cold baths given to everyone”. No money for oncological care beyond aspirin, no money for hot water, and, again, no money for new syringes, or even proper sterilization for old ones.

And in an article in the Lancet (9/17/94, Issue 8925), Robin Fox reports having visited the Home for the Dying in Kolkata, and describes the medical care there as “haphazard”: no trained medical personnel are present unless some happen to drop by to volunteer their time, and the sisters themselves are not given any proper training in medical care. “How about simple algorithms that might help the sisters and volunteers distinguish the curable from the incurable? Again no.” Out of the millions or billions, not enough for the salary of a single Kolkata doctor, or any other way of ensuring minimally consistent medical care.”

Therefore, when God says, “There is none who does good” He bases this scripture verse not on ones actions but His knowledge of the human heart. This article as well as the incident in Boston only stresses the importance of being born again. The Lord promised that He would place into those who believe in His Son a new heart that would give regenerated human beings the ability to demonstrate genuine compassion that will allow them to demonstrate good works. “For by grace you have been saved through faith and that not of yourselves it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. For, we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:8) Salvation is the catalyst to good works and evidence of being born again is that a believer serves others. His or her sanctification has been designated with kindhearted actions before time began. Therefore, the logical starting point of our conversation would not be to ignore the truth of God’s Word but to address the topic of sin and it’s resolve through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Webinar Training

ImageThe internet has made it possible for Evangelize4Life to work directly with your congregation and church without the expense of travel, lodging and other miscellaneous costs.  We would love to be able to partner with your people in order to train and equip you and your people for the work of evangelism.  Contact us today to discuss what we can offer you.  

Evangelize4Life@aol.com

419-492-4646  Office

Webinar Training

ImageThe internet has made it possible for Evangelize4Life to work directly with your congregation and church without the expense of travel, lodging and other miscellaneous costs.  We would love to be able to partner with your people in order to train and equip you and your people for the work of evangelism.  Contact us today to discuss what we can offer you.  

Evangelize4Life@aol.com

419-492-4646  Office

“Compel them to…

“Compel them to come in.”—Luke 14:23.

“Children of God, ye who have believed, I shall have little or nothing to say to you this morning; I am going straight to my business—I am going after those that will not come—those that are in the byways and hedges, and God going with me, it is my duty now to fulfill this command, Compel them to come in.”
–Spurgeon

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers”. Wikipedia