Plan “A”

While walking through a grocery store the other day, and noticing all the people walking around, literally, in their own little worlds, I pondered how I could ever get them to pay attention to the gospel.

I could stop in  my tracks and start hollering “The end is near! Repent!” or go into a diatribe about how they were going to go to hell. But, I know that doesn’t work in this day and age, and I hate formulas. But, what I wanted to come up with was something that would make people stop and think. And yet, like Paul, I don’t want to rely on being witty, or using powerful logical arguments. Most people KNOW there is a God. They would very much rather just pretend He doesn’t exist or that if He does, He’s a nice old guy who really isn’t upset with them.

In a way, they would be right; God isn’t upset, He’s angry!

“Now, why is that?” someone might ask. “None of us asked to be born or wanted to have to make choices. Why does God want to make us do anything? Can’t He just let us live our lives the way we want to?” I’ve asked these same questions, along with “Why does it have to be so complicated? Why are there so many different churches?”

Here’s the conclusion of the whole matter. God is angry because He sent His ONLY SON to earth, on a mission to become like us so that:

– 1. He could understand our weaknesses and

– 2. help us to understand the predicament we are in because of somebody’s mistake (Adam blew it for all of us) and

– 3. in order to give us an escape from our fate and this present world.

But, most people thumb their noses at God, Who gave up His Son in order that we might live. Jesus Christ, God’s Son, the Creator of all things seen and unseen, gave up His position and power to save a bunch of ungrateful, arrogant and stupid people.

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans 5:6 ESV)

God says He is “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” (1 Peter 3:9). God has made His sacrifice, went out of His way, sending His most precious person, truly a part of Himself, to our world, in order to save us from sin and death. Jesus made it possible and yet….. most of us use His name to curse others and things with, rather than show Him our gratefulness and admiration for doing His part to save us from the second death (Revelation 21:8). Our part is rather simple, yet fraught with peril:

We must believe that Christ is the Son of God, that He is the ONLY WAY back to God (John 14:6).

We must believe that He died for all of us, to pay the debt that we all owe, because of Adam and our own broken tendency to love ourselves above all others (Philippians 2:6-11, Colossians 2:13-14).

We must believe that He, Christ Jesus, really did rise from the dead, of His own accord and power and will never die again (Acts 3:15, 4:10).

We must repent ( be sorry for and abandon our way of doing things) and desire to do things God’s way (Matthew 4:17, Luke 13:3).

We must be baptised (Greek for “immersed, or dipped”) for the forgiveness, washing away, remission of our sins in order to be united with Christ and to “put Him on” (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16, Acts 2:38, Acts 22:16, Romans 6:3-5 and 13:14, Galatians 3:27, Colossians 2:11-12)

We must live a life that shows we love God first and foremost and our neighbor as much as we love ourselves (Matthew 22:38-39, Galatians 5;14).

That’s the plan and it is not a hard one to follow, because God asks only that you believe that He exists and keep believing what He asks us to believe (what I’ve listed above).

Here’s the peril:

And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6 ESV)

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” (Hebrews 3:12-14 ESV)

Current events reveal the apostasy of the church in America and the world.

When people like Ray Boltz, a famous “Christian” singer come out after all these years and says “I’ve known I was gay all along” and admit they have hidden this sin from believers for decades, then we have an example of the forgoing doom. Some, even within the church, will say “But, we must accept him as a brother since we all sin.”  True, we are none of us perfect, but I counter that the churches are always right when they remove a pastor, minister or elder from their position because of revealed sin in their lives.  (1 Corintians 5:13) We are to be exhorting each other to live holy lives, not excusing sin or pretending that one sin in particuilar is worse than any other.

Obviously Mr. Boltz “came out” because he has tested the waters of the “church” and decided that the church is lukewarm enough to accept him “just the way he is”. Well, if that is the case, then the church must apologize and ask the forgiveness of Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and any number of other disgraced preachers or religious men. No, emphatically NO! The problem is that much of today’s church is not Christian!

We are to approach every sinner outside of Christ as someone God loves and wants to rescue from death. But, once a person takes on the name “Christian” they are subject to the rule of scripture and be judged and admonished by the church. I have a real problem with religious people who want to battle with gays toe-to-toe, boycotting the manufacturers who advertise to them or ask for their business by supporting gay friendly causes. HELLO!!!! Paul says we are not fighting against flesh and blood (Ephesians 6:12) and we are not the appointed judges of the world (1 Corinthians 5:12) YET (1 Corinthians 6:12). On this same basis, Christians should also not buy anything from known adulterers, liars, cheats, drunkards, porn addicts, selfish people, troublemakers of any kind and so on.

The curse of growing up in America is that many believe the lie that this country was founded by God and that we enjoy God’s favor just as did Israel of old (when she behaved!). This in turn leads many people to think “I’m a Christian because I believe in God and I love my country. God bless America!”. I’ve met quite a few people who have actually said “I’ve been a Christian all my life; for as long as I can remember.” They have no recollection of when this conversion occured! This is precisley where the Roman church and, to a large extent, the Reformed churches get their memberships: from people registered with the church on account of a “no account” baptism. Of no account because baptism alone saves no one. It is the ordinance practised by repentant believers who know the difference between right and wrong.

Why does the church today have no real impact? Because it is made up of hypocrites. Instead of loving those who are without the knowledge of God and working to bring them to God, the “church” works overtime to war with anyone they feel are outside of the “all American” moral values they claim to possess. In reality many are just assuaging their own sin and guilt by finding more of it in someone else. The old negro spiritual song that says “Everybody talkin’ ’bout heaven ain’t going there” could not be more true than it is today.

People become dismayed that someone like Charles Barkley would lump conservatives, Republicans and “fake Christians” together, but isn’t that precisely what American “Christians” have done? It’s the Crusaders against the “enemies of God” all over again and it besmirches the name of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Have you ever looked at the Way of the Master ministry? They have an interesting way of witnessing — first giving the law, then the good news.

  2. Jen,

    I have checked that out, but I happen to disagree with the approach. I do not believe people respond honestly when they are harangued. Lydia, Cornelius, and others who were converted were already seeking God. They only had to hear the good news to believe it. I don’t buy the idea of presenting the gospel as a ticket out of hell. I think it more scriptural to present people with the idea that the gospel is a rescue plan, not simply an ultimatum.

  3. In what way did you check it out? Written word, or radio program? They state clearly on the radio program that this is not about a ticket out of hell.

    And I’ve never heard anyone harangued on the program. I’ve heard many, many people positively respond to them. Many people state that they never knew they were sinners in need of repentance until they talked to these guys on the radio.

    Not arguing with you, my friend. But I’ve heard these people in action and they have a true heart for rescuing the perishing with the full truth of the gospel.

  4. I’ve seen their videos and I was initally impressed, but after trying to implement these methods as well as some other contrived and scripted methods, I have come to this conclusion: It is God’s Spirit that draws people to the truth, not man’s rehearsed and scripted formulas.

    Every personal encounter is different and I don’t believe there is any set formula we should use. I thoroughly believe we are simply to look for opportunities and God will put the right words (including scripture) into our mouths. What the Spirit leads us to say may not always make sense to us from our perspective. But, only God knows each person’s heart and where they are at that time. If God wants them to hear the Law, which brings death, then He will put that in our mouths. But, that is definitely NOT what every person needs to hear in order to believe the gospel. The Ethiopian eunuch didn’t hear about the Law; he heard about the good news that Jesus was the suffering Servant. The jailor in Acts wasn’t told how bad he was, he was told how he could be saved.

    I could go on, but simply put: I don’t want to do any witnessing in my own power using my own (or any man’s) wisdom. I am a vessel that God will work through according to His wisdom and timing.

  5. “It is God’s Spirit that draws people to the truth, not man’s rehearsed and scripted formulas.”

    Amen to that! I agree. And so do the guys at WOTM — I’ve understood that they are just giving a springboard of conversation. I’ve heard a few times where they don’t bring in the law.

    The Bible doesn’t say all that Phillip said to the eunich — only that he began with that passage and preached Jesus to him. I would tend to think that he might have shared the law with him at some point in the conversation, but I guess we don’t know.

    I certainly don’t think that every encounter should be scripted, and I’m no apologist for the WOTM guys. 🙂 I just have recently come to appreciate their hearts for the lost and their way of starting conversations. One thing I’ve seen a lot is the fact that when they ask people if they are a good person, most will say ‘yes’. But then when shown the law, they rethink and see their need for a Saviour in a way they never have before.

    I think that’s why they often ask that initial question: to see if that person does need to hear the law. Some people respond that they are not a good person, and it’s those instances where the conversation takes a different course.

    Again, I hope you don’t think I’m arguing. I wouldn’t do that with you, brother. 🙂

  6. Bless your heart Jen! I don’t think I could never get upset with you.

    I appreciated these guys heart for getting people to face the truth of their sinfulness when I first ran across them. I guess it just doesn’t work for me; I don’t feel enthused about it. It doesn’t help their case that I disagree with a lot of their theology (especially the pre-Tribulation Rapture bent). I’ve also become less than enthused with Ray Comfort lately. I think he is compromising his beliefs in order to accomodate people like Joyce Meyer and other “Word of Faith” false prophets (or should I say false profits?). It make me think twice about his discernment.

  7. I hadn’t heard anything specifically about Meyer, but I had heard about him speaking at some WOF conferences. And that does concern me. I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt because I had hoped he’d share the gospel there, but I don’t recall how that turned out. I guess I didn’t check into it too deeply.

    Mostly I listen to their radio program, which is mostly Todd Friel. Can’t say I agree with everything I hear, but then I don’t know of any ministry I agree with 100%.

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