– AN IMPORTANT 11 MINUTE MESSAGE BY STEVE LAWSON
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Another excellent post by a dear sister. ❤ From For the Love of His Truth: http://fortheloveofhistruth.com/2013/08/29/the-gospel-invitation-to-sinners/
This is the most important truth you will ever be told. Crucial because your eternal destiny depends upon what you do with it. ~AGM †
Sermon # 94
Title: Come To Jesus
Text: Revelation 22:17
Subject: The Gospel Invitation To Sinners
Date: Sunday Evening – December 11, 1988
Revelation 22:17 KJV And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.
It is my blessed privilege and honor to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to lost men and women, urging them to come to Christ and be saved. It is my happy employment to find arguments from the Word of God to persuade fallen, depraved sinners to be reconciled to God by faith in Jesus Christ. Tonight, I want to try, one more time, to persuade you who are lost to Come to Jesus. Come to Jesus Christ and live. How can I persuade you to come?
1. First, hear this: God has planned, purposed, and predestinated the salvation of a great multitude of sinners. God will save some men and women. That is certain (Rom. 8:29-30). He saves them by grace alone, without condition or qualification. If God has purposed to save some, perhaps I am one, perhaps you are one. It may be that he has kept you alive these many years so that he may be gracious to you tonight.
2. Second, the Lord Jesus Christ has fully met and satisfied every requirement of God for the salvation of his elect. There is nothing for you to do, nothing for me to do. Jesus Christ has done it all. All who are saved are saved upon the basis of and by the merits of Christ’s obedience to God as the sinner’s Substitute (Rom. 5:19).
– He has finished the work of righteousness (John 17:4).
– He has finished the work of redemption (John 19:30).
3. Third, God the Holy Spirit will effectually regenerate and call every elect sinner to life and faith in Christ (Psa. 65:4; John 6:63). Christ will save his sheep. Not one God’s elect will perish. The Son of God shall see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied. Christ’s blood was not shed in vain. God’s purpose will not be overturned. The grace of God cannot be frustrated.
4. Fourth, every sinner who comes to Christ in faith is saved. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (John 3:36). Faith in Christ is the proof of eternal election, effectual redemption, and saving grace. If you trust Christ, you have life. It really is as simple as that. :Your faith is the fruit and result of God predestination, Christ’s redemption, and the Spirit’s call.
5. Fifth, every sinner who hears the gospel is called, invited, and urged to come to Christ and live (Rev. 22:17). you are invited, you are called, you are urged to come to Christ. The blessings held forth to you in the Word of life are rich beyond expression. The invitations given to you in the gospel are as free as sunshine. Throughout the Scriptures every encouragement is given to sinners to “lay hold upon the hope that is set before you” in the gospel. Everything in the Book of God is designed of God to encourage sinners to come to Christ and live. There is not a word in the Bible to discourage any sinner from trusting Christ. And here, at the close of the Inspired Volume, invitations are heaped upon invitations from every quarter, urging you to enter the door of mercy before it is closed. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.”
My message to you tonight is a sermon in three words: Come to Jesus. I want you to come to Jesus. Everything I say, I will say to persuade you to come to Jesus. May the Spirit of God graciously compel you, as I preach, to come to Jesus.
If you will come to the Lord Jesus Christ by faith you shall have eternal life.
The gospel invitation come to you from three sources.
The invitation is free and universal.
The invitation is easily obeyed.
Obedience to this gospel invitation is richly rewarded.
The gospel invitation in this text comes to you from three sources.
I know that sinners are commanded to trust Christ. And I know that it is the responsibility of every sinner to do so. Yet, the Lord Jesus, by his Spirit, in the gospel, also gently woos and invites needy sinners to come to him, and tenderly urges them to do so (Matt. 11:28-30; 23:37). In our text the spirit of the passage is not so much that of an authoritative command as it is that of a tender, loving, urgent invitation. It is an invitation from three sources.
A. First, the Spirit says, “Come.”
It is the office work of God the Holy Spirit to reveal Christ to men and effectually bring sinners to him in repentance and faith, causing them to look to Christ and be saved (Zech. 12:10; John 16:7-13). He began to work in the world as soon as Christ was enthroned in heaven as King, and will continue it until he comes the second time.
1. The Holy Spirit began calling sinners to Christ on the day of Pentecost.
2. Through the preaching of the apostles he wrought his powerful operations of grace upon elect sinners.
Whenever the Word came in power, it came in the power, not of men, but of the Holy Spirit, who alone can conquer the hearts of men and bring them effectually to Christ (I Thess. 1:4-5). Only God the Holy Spirit can give life to the dead, faith to the faithless, and grace to the graceless. The success of the gospel is not determined by the ability and ingenuity of the preacher, but by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
3. The written Word of God is the Holy Spirit’s testimony to Christ, and throughout the Word he says, “Come!”
4. By the ministry of his servants, preaching the gospel of Christ, the Holy Spirit pleads with and beseeches sinners to come to Christ (II Cor. 5:18-21).
The gospel we preach is the ministration of the Spirit. It is the Word of life. We preach by the authority of God the Holy Spirit. And by our voice the Spirit of God urges you to come to Christ.
5. Sincere as these invitations are, they will be unheeded by you, unless the Spirit of God graciously arrests you, compels you, and forces you to come.
– You have no ability to come (John 6:44).
– You have no will to come (John 5:40).
– Only God the Holy Spirit can make you willing and give you the ability to come to Christ (Psa. 110:3).
The Spirit says, “Come.” Do you hear this voice? Has he smitten your heart and awakened your conscience? Today, if you will hear his voice, harden not your heart.
B. Secondly, the bride says come.
The bride is the church, the Lamb’s wife. Because she has experienced the blessedness of salvation, she is anxious for all around her to know its delight. Those who have experienced grace are anxious to see others experience grace.
In the Song of Solomon, the church cried, “Draw me, and we will run after thee” (1:4), as if to say, “Draw me and I will not be content to come alone. I will do everything in my power to bring others with me.” This is the work of the church in every age. She is the pillar and ground of the truth. She supports the truth, proclaims the truth, publishes the truth, and seeks to bring men and women into the knowledge of the truth.
- Sunday School
- Tracts, tapes, books
The church of God unites with the Spirit of God, and says, “Come.” “Come to Jesus. See what a wonderful Savior he is. See in me what Christ can do for you. You are far off; but Christ can bring you nigh. You are strangers, foreigners, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; but Christ can make you heirs of God. You are dead; but Christ can give you life. You are lost; but Christ can save you. You are sinful; but Christ can made you holy.” “Come, and see!”
C. Thirdly, “And let him that heareth say, come.”
You who have heard and believe the gospel, everyone of you, are to be actively engaged in the furtherance of the gospel. Use every means at your disposal and every opportunity given to induce sinners to come to Christ. Each of you is to be a preacher in your own circle, repeating there what you hear here (John 1:35-49).
II. This gracious invitation is free and universal.
It is an unconditional offer of grace to all who will but come to Christ.
A. If you are thirsty, you are welcome to come.
The invitation is to you, “And let him that is athirst come.” Every mourning, broken, heavy hearted sinner in the universe is bidden to come.
Perhaps you think, “I am not thirsty enough. I would come, but I do not really pant and thirst for Christ as I should, as the hart panteth after the waterbrooks. “If I had greater thirst, then I could come to Christ.” Let me ask you a question: Are you willing to come to Christ?
B. If you are willing to come, you are welcome to come.
“And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Are you inclined to come to Christ? Do you desire to come to Christ? Will you come to Christ? If you will come, you can come and may come. That is the rub – Will you come to Christ.
1. Will you be saved by grace alone?
2. Will you be saved by the righteousness of another?
3. Will you be saved by the blood of Jesus?
C. If you are willing to come, the invitation is free and unconditional.
- “Let him take,” by personal faith.
- “The water of life,” Christ Jesus.
- “Freely,” without cost, condition, or cause.
III. The invitation is easily obeyed.
Here is what you must do – “Come.” And the coming is not a physical act involving the body. It is a spiritual act of the heart and mind. Right where you sit, without moving a muscle, come to Jesus Christ now. To come to Christ is to trust him.
- Come like the leper – In submission
- Come like the woman with an issue of blood – In desperation.
- Come like Bartemaues – In earnest.
- Come like the Gadarene – naked and vile.
- Come like the publican – A sinner.
- Come like the thief – For remembrance.
- Come like the adulterous woman – With all your accusers.
IV. Obedience to this gospel invitation is richly rewarded.
Hear me now, and hear me well, if you do come to Christ, you shall be saved. Come anyway you can, but come to Christ in faith and eternal life is yours.
A. The blessings of grace in Christ are called the “Water of Life.”
The source from which this water of life flows is the Lord Jesus Christ himself (Rev. 22:1). As the waters gushed out of the smitten Rock in the wilderness to supply life to Israel, so our Lord Jesus Christ, smitten by the rod of God’s law, pours out the waters of salvation upon perishing sinners (I Cor. 10:4). Christ is the Fountain of Living Waters, who gives life and grace to thirsty sinners (Rev. 21:6; John 4:10-14; 7:37-38).
1. Pardon is found in the Fountain of Living Waters (Zech. 13:1; Isa. 1:18; I John 1:7).
2. Holiness is found in this Fountain (Ezek. 36:25-27).
3. Eternal glory and everlasting life is found in this Fountain of Living Waters (Psa. 36:8-9).
B. This Fountain of Waters, Jesus Christ, is a fountain opened to sinners.
Not a sealed Fountain – An opened Fountain!
Not a secret Fountain- An opened Fountain!
– Opened in the covenant.
– Opened at the cross.
– Opened by the gospel.
C. None who drink of this fountain shall be disappointed (John 7:37-39; 4:14).
Let me try to persuade you to come to the Fountain (II Cor. 5).
1. The terror of the Lord (v. 11).
2. The love of Christ (v. 14).
3. Perfect reconciliation (v. 17).
4. Finished redemption (v. 21).
Reblogged from Preacher21’s wonderful blog. 🙂
Jon J. Cardwell
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but undergrace? God forbid.” —Romans 6:15
Since Christ has fulfilled the law whereas no other man can keep it or observe it perfectly, and since we have been freed from the bondage of the law, does that mean that those who are in Christ by God’s grace are not under any obligation to holiness because we have been freed from the law and are now under grace?
The apostle’s answer: “God forbid.” No way! Absolutely not!
There are many Christians that have drawn this very same conclusion, and thereby, live a life of licentiousness (and certainly there are many professing “Christians” who walk in sinful superficiality, living as they please because their hearts are still dead to God, but the true believer is not immune from this attitude because the flesh lusts against the Spirit, according to Galatians 5:17). The difference between the bondage under sin and the pardon of sin is so incredibly vast in measure, and so overwhelming, that if a soul’s conversion is not tempered in the Word of God by the illuminating guidance of the Holy Spirit, licentiousness may be the outcome. Another may be legalism, but that will be covered a bit later.
Young Women and Discretion
by Walter E. Isenhour
“The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness . . . that they may teach the young women to be sober . . . to be discreet, chaste . . . that the word of God be not blasphemed” —Titus 2:3-5.
In the fifth verse of the second chapter of Titus the aged women are to teach young women “to be discreet.” What does it mean to be discreet? It means to be prudent, judicious, cautious; wise in conduct and management, especially as to matters of propriety and self-control.
A young woman who measures up to these qualities in mind, heart, soul, spirit, and life certainly rises above the degrading principles of sin and wickedness. Her life is one of nobility, beauty, usefulness, and sublimity. She sets examples before her husband, children, and neighbors that areworthy of emulation. They know her life is hid with Christ in God. She possesses the Spirit of our Lord, and this enables her to discern between the evil and the good, and to avoid evil, error, and anything and all things that would mislead her. She likewise shields her husband and children from evils and errors, sins and wickedness, that they are environed with. At least she warns and cautions them against such, and shows them the higher, better, holier, and more beautiful and worthwhile things in life.
The discreet woman is possessed with the spirit and ability to adopt “means to an end,” and of course this means that which brings her and the family to a good end. She avoids the means that would injure her life, character, soul, and influence, and that would likewise injure her family and those about her. She must realize that what she takes into her life will have its effect, through the years—and will bring her to a good end, only as the means are good. She knows that the good will work out right, while the bad will work out wrong. She realizes that the good is a means to a good end, but the bad is a means to a bad end. Therefore she takes into her very soul the good and rejects the bad. She is discreet. Those who know her realize that she is a woman of great and commendable discretion.
Her discretion includes prudence. She is careful about her conduct, her influence, her aims, plans, and purposes. She guards her tongue, her temper, and her dress. She is decent in dress, upright in manners, and is careful to lead others right. She uses economy at home, seeing that nothing is wasted, and lives within her income. Extravagance is far from her. She is not stingy by any means, as there is a vast difference in stinginess and economy. Rather, she is blessedly liberal, yet she is cautious to see that money is not foolishly and uselessly expended; that food and clothing are not wasted, and that anything usable is not cast into the rubbish heap and carried away as rubbish.
The discreet woman is likewise judicious. She is governed by sound judgment. She is wise. The devil can’t lead her into the snares, traps, and pitfalls that he leads the sinful, wicked world into. She prays for wisdom, for sound judgment, and God gives it unto her. She helps her husband with his problems, and helps him in his decisions, plans, aims, and purposes. She uses her good judgment in the home, in the church, in the community; and when she passes on anything, it is usually right. The enemy can’t “pull the wool over her eyes” as he does the woman who only lives in sin and serves the world and the flesh. To God be the praise and the glory. What a blessed thing for a wife and mother to be sound in her judgment—and when she passes on anything, for it to be in reason and within the will of God! If sometimes she errs, it is an exception, and is of the head and not the heart. God overrules in all such and brings good out of it (Rom. 8:28).
The discreet woman is cautious as to how she lives, with whom she keeps company, where she goes, what she says, and what she does along life’s journey. She helps her husband and children to be cautious. We might say, too, that the unmarried woman is discreet—and every one should be—who uses much caution as she journeys through the years. She is cautious as to her company, as to her courtship and companionship, as to her character and virtue, her conduct, and influence. She is cautious about everything that pertains to noble and beautiful womanhood. She regards her character far above riches, and the trifling evils, pleasures, amusements, and destructive sins of the world. To her, clean, pure, upright womanhood is a “pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:46). She would not sell her virtue, character, and pure womanhood for all the gold and silver, rubies, diamonds, jewels, and pearls in the world. She is not for sale at any price. That’s womanhood at its best. That is what makes a woman a real lady in the sight of both God and man. Men respect her, admire, love, and appreciate her, out of hearts that are godly, which likewise make them Christian gentlemen.
The discreet woman conducts herself wisely. Life to her is real and earnest. It is noble and sublime. Her deportment is such that men take knowledge of her—that she has “been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13). She possesses great self-control. She cannot be led astray, like silly women who are worldly and ungodly. She anchors her life to God, to Christ, the mighty “Rock of Ages.”
To be a discreet woman is a wonderful height to reach in life. It is more to be desired than education, fame, honor, and earthly glory. The woman of great discretion certainly out-rises, outshines, and far outdistances the ungodly movie star, actress, popular worldly flapper, or anyone else that lives for the devil.
Dedicated to all my Facebook lady friends and Sisters,
Some things we can glean from about women usurping authority over men to the discerning godly woman , this will make sense :
Usurping Women , and modern day Divas, have been the originators of many false Charismatic movements !
Miriam usurped her place by claiming to be equal with Moses!
Notice that Miriam usurped her place by claiming to be equal with Moses! Yes Aaron was also involved, but he was following the lead of Miriam who was made a leper. Aaron was not made a leper, proving she was the instigator! (Aaron was easily swayed by the people when the people made the golden calf, “the people made me do it”)
Numbers 12:1 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married (for he had married a Cushite woman); 2 and they said, “Has the Lord indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken through us as well?” And the Lord heard it. 3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.) 4 And suddenly the Lord said to Moses and Aaron and to Miriam, “You three come out to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them came out. 5 Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward, 6 He said, “Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the Lord, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.
7 “Not so, with My servant Moses, He is faithful in all My household; 8 With him I speak mouth to mouth, Even openly, and not in dark sayings, And he beholds the form of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid To speak against My servant, against Moses?”
9 So the anger of the Lord burned against them and He departed. 10 But when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, as white as snow. As Aaron turned toward Miriam, behold, she was leprous. 11 Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my lord, I beg you, do not account this sin to us, in which we have acted foolishly and in which we have sinned. 12 “Oh, do not let her be like one dead, whose flesh is half eaten away when he comes from his mother’s womb!” 13 And Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “O God, heal her, I pray!” 14 But the Lord said to Moses, “If her father had but spit in her face, would she not bear her shame for seven days? Let her be shut up for seven days outside the camp, and afterward she may be received again.” 15 So Miriam was shut up outside the camp for seven days, and the people did not move on until Miriam was received again.
Hippolytus wrote of the Montanists, “They have been deceived by two females, Priscilla and Maximilla by name, whom they hold to be prophetesses, asserting that into them the Paraclete spirit entered…. They magnify these females above the Apostles and every gift of Grace, so that some of them go so far as to say that in them there is something more than Christ….
Another group that practiced a form of tongues was the Shakers, an American sect with Quaker roots that flourished in the mid-1700s. Mother Ann Lee, founder of the sect, regarded herself as the female equivalent of Jesus Christ.
Ellen White founded the Seventh-day Adventist church and members must vow to believe that she was a prophet! From the 27 Fundamental beliefs, #17 “The gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White.
Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany (Boston: First Church of Christ, Scientist, 1941), 115.) Although the errors of Christian Science regarding God, Christ, and the Scriptures are well documented in numerous books, Mrs. Eddy was convinced she was used by God to reveal his truth for her day. (Charismatic Chaos, John F. MacArthur, 1991, p. 80)
Mrs. Cardale and her sister Emily ~ 1831 ~ She was a member of Edward Irving’s congregation in England and on April 30, 1831 she began to speak in other tongues and prophesy. Irving was impressed and did not exercise any restraint towards this member’s activity. Soon Mrs. Cardale’s sister Emily also began to speak in tongues and prophesy, and others followed them.
Agnes Ozman beginning of modern Pentecostalism ~ 1901 ~ The modern Pentecostal movement began on January 1, 1901, in Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas, operated by Charles Parham, a minister with a background in the Holiness movement. The students began to seek the baptism of the Spirit with tongues, and Agnes Ozman was the first student to experience speaking in tongues. She claimed she spoke in several languages immediately. She is the first woman in North America to speak in tongues!
Woodworth-Etter, Maria ~ (1844-1924) ~ She was one of the more mystical of all the neo-Montanist women. She was a traveling evangelist, one of the first women to take this role in America and was initially part of the holiness-healing movement. In the 1880′s she was known to go into trances and stand stock-still for hours and sometimes days. During these trance times people would come into her meetings and be miraculously healed or converted. In 1890 she reports people receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit as evidenced with the speaking in other tongues and people seeing heavenly visions. “The Holy Ghost was present in great power, with gifts, signs, and visions, following the laying-on-of-hands. There were visible signs of light and glory on the pulpit, and through the congregation seen by the natural eye by some” (Signs & Wonders, Harrison House, pg. 150-151)
Foursquare Gospel Church [Aimee Semple McPherson] ~ 1920′s – 1930′s ~ Nationally known healing evangelist in the 1920′s – 1930′s. Founded and headed the Foursquare Gospel Church, led a controversial life and died of a drug overdose in 1944.
Kathryn Kuhlman ~ Kathryn Kuhlman was ordained a Baptist minister, but did not associate her ministry with any denomination She was heavily influenced by the Azusa street revival, and by the Roman Catholic church. She was well known for the manifestations that occurred at her meetings, including “laughter”. She is said to be responsible for the introduction of the manifestation of “Slain in the Spirit”. There were some differences to the current movement, though, in that she insisted that her meetings be orderly. Manifestations interrupting the service were not permitted. She was highly regarded in many Christian circles, and strongly influenced Benny Hinn and John Arnott.
Pensacola/Brownsville blessing ~ 1995-2000 ~ The testimonies of the two young girls at Pensacola mark a major shift in that revival.
Titus 2:3-5 KJV The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; (4) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (5) To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
1 Corinthians 14:33-35 KJV (33) For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (34) Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. (35) And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
1 Timothy 2:9-12 KJV In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (10) But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (11) Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. (12) But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
apologetics, Biblical Authority, christianity, Doctrine, Evangelism, God's Word, Haughty, Hell, Jesus Christ, Knowledge, Last Days, Preaching, Scripture, Solid Scripture, Testimony, theology, Word of God
This is an awesome DVD….And so I am sharing both a clip and how to get your Great Commission filling hands on a copy. ♥ Here is a bit of a blurb about it. I cannot recommend it strongly enough. And I rarely recommend any “product”. This one, I want Christians to know about. ~AGM†
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God’.” – Psalm 14:1
Not since the late Dr. Greg Bahnsen debated Dr. Gordon Stein in The Great Debate: Does God Exist? have we really seen presuppositional apologetics in action. And few have taken it into culture to show that there are only two positions, Christ…or absurdity.
But wait no more… Apologist Sye Ten Bruggencate takes this apologetic to the streets and Universities exposing the logical inconsistencies of the unbeliever (and dare we say some ‘Christians’) by showing that we don’t need ‘evidence’ to prove that God exists. For as Romans 1:18-21 declares:
“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.”
Primarily designed for small group and Sunday School classes, How to Answer the Fool is a useful tool for individual study as an eye-opening, cinematic message, deliberately and strategically teaching you how to defend the Faith. Answering the call of Scripture to ‘be ready in season and out of season’ in order that we may ‘…always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in [us].’
“Within a minute or two you’ll see highly intelligent college students stunned at their inability to answer questions about knowledge and ethics. This six-part video series is a game-changer, not only for the unbelieving world but also for Christian apologists who compromise the gospel by arguing for the possibility that God exists and not the certainty of God’s existence.” – Gary DeMar
Complete Set includes:
• DVD with 6 cinematic lessons
• Study guide
Order now at http://www.AmericanVision.com/fool
Reblogged from Desiring Virtue/Gospel Coalition
This is a very thoughtful and pointed article from Thabiti Anyabwile on the arguments for and against gay marriage. One of the key aspect, Thabiti explains, of our view of homosexuality must continue to be one of disgust.
(Warning: For the sake of the subject, some obscene descriptions follow below. If sensitive in conscience, or this is a sin one formerly indulged in, PLEASE skip this post. You are no doubt already disgusted and know exactly why. Do not refeed your mind or plant what need not be there out of curiosity!) But this subject must be framed correctly for those who have begun to acquiesce to the agenda.And you know if you have…..
THABITI ANYABWILE|7:17 AM CT
The Importance of Your Gag Reflex When Discussing Homosexuality and “Gay Marriage”
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed our stay in New Zealand. In fact, the two weeks have been too brief. We didn’t have opportunity to visit the South Island with its breathtaking peaks and scenes. We couldn’t even see the entire North Island. But what we saw–Rangatoto, the glow worm caves, Hobbiton, and the Lord’s churches–all blessed us tremendously. So with some sadness, we leave Middle Earth for the land down under.
As we travel, another event compounds our sadness. Today New Zealand legalizes so-called “gay marriage.” Network news stations on airport televisions feature celebrations at various government buildings. Topless men wave rainbow flags. Two men deep kissing. Groups of same-sex couples cheer. Interviewees speak of their elation and their desire to have others recognize their “love.” It’s a scene reminiscent of others in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.
Landing in Australia, I learned that Katy Perry has “blasted” Australian politician Tony Abbot for calling “gay marriage” the “fashion of the moment,” while Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd promises that if re-elected he will introduce a “gay marriage” bill in his first 100 days. It seems this issue cannot be easily escaped.
As I’ve listened to comments on both sides of the issue, my mind wanders back about ten years ago. That’s when I think the tide changed in public sentiment and the ages-long tradition of heterosexual marriage “lost” the battle.
How Elites in Private Board Rooms Changed the Conversation
Ten years ago a number of states passed various forms of legislation to protect traditional marriage. President Clinton “betrayed” the pro-homosexuality cause by signing “Don’t ask/Don’t tell” military policies and the Defense of Marriage Act into law. These seemed at the time to be setbacks for the gay lobby. The country seemed poised to hold the line on the sexual morality most Americans held.
But there were signs of coming change. I felt the winds of change blowing in a private by-invitation-only meeting of marriage and family scholars at a prominent Washington, D.C. think tank. I’d been invited by a well-known, well-respected member of the think tank. He’d worked as an advisor to the President and as senior congressional staff in both Democratic and Republican administrations. A conservative Republican himself, he had a reputation for being fair and honest with research. Of the persons invited that day, he and I would be the only known social conservatives. He’d phoned me personally to ask if I would join the group. We had worked together before, and I think he was surprised to have found another conservative working in liberal and progressive policy groups. I agreed to attend, signed the privacy agreement and dutifully began reading the preparation materials.
It wasn’t exactly a smoke-filled room. I don’t think liberals and progressives like smoke or dark woods. The room’s only window opened onto a courtyard, though the fifteen or so attendees sat facing one another across a large wooden coffee table, exchanging views on presented papers and the social science on marriage. Turns out there were three conservatives among us, a number of people who presented themselves as impartial social scientists, a French Canadian whose work focused on the importance of traditional conjugal union in defining marriage, and a number of people who declared their pro-gay sentiments, if not an openly gay lifestyle.
We covered the very solid and long-standing research consensus on family structure. “Everyone does well or at least better when children are raised in married two-parent households.” Then the “thinking” in the tank turned political and strategic. The question of “gay marriage” surfaced. The room grew tense. Not because participants argued or tempers flared, but because everyone wanted to remain polite. People had opinions, but with the exception of one known conservative, most didn’t know where the others stood. Folks assummed, because I’m African American, that I would be supportive of a basically liberal viewpoint. Horror and surprise flashed over some faces when I made it clear that homosexual behavior was in no way comparable to the Civil Rights struggle, an analogy that was beginning to gain currency at the time.
Then it happened. The wind changed directions. If the wind could take steps, here they were:
Seize upon politeness. Turns out that being civil about indecency actually hurts the traditional cause. One of the attendees, a well-known openly-gay journalist, began to distance himself from other prominent gay activists. He rejected their militancy. He faulted their arguments as too frontal, too caustic, too beside the point. He “championed” traditional marriage and wanted it for gay couples for all the same beneficial reasons. He spoke of the research on family structure in friendly ways. He took the polite high ground and all the polite folks in the room were left with nothing but nodding.
Minimize conjugality. With most of the room nodding, he then began to divorce (no pun intended) marriage from its conjugal nature. All of a sudden, marriage was not about sex and procreation. “After all,” we were told, “there are heterosexual married couples who either cannot have or opt not to have children. So sex and procreation cannot be essential to marriage.”
Remove the “yuck factor.” Our advocate friend was keenly aware that any conversation about “what goes on in bedrooms” was death to his cause. So, he privatized those realities and their implications for what we view as “normal” or “acceptable,” and focused on other things (rights, etc.). He pointed out that most people have a visceral reaction, a gag reflex, when they think about sex between two men or two women. That deep-in-the-stomach gagging was symptomatic of an even deeper moral opposition to sodomy and other homosexual practices. He told us that this gag reflex should not and could not be allowed to affect the debate. The discussion needed to shift to other aspects of relationships. One of the great Houdini achievements of the gay rights campaign has been to take an issue all about sexual behavior and turn it into a discussion about everything but sexual behavior.
Emphasize love and commitment. Then the winds picked up. If marriage wasn’t about the conjugal relationship, what was it about? “Love and commitment” we were told. “What’s wrong with two people finding love?” Of course, this is a particularly manipulative question. The debate was never about “love.” And who can argue against “love”? But that’s the turn the discussion took in that room and would soon take in the broader public conversations. Gay marriage would be a celebration and affirmation of love and commitment, “the highest ideals in marriage” now that conjugal relationships were unimportant.
Call for “rights” and “equality.” If marriage was merely about love, and such love ought to be protected via government-recognized rights, then “gay marriage” should receive those same protections and rights.
What I’ve just described took place in about ten minutes, replete with objections answered and raised. Our homosexual interlocutor proved himself kind, winsome, insightful and reasonable. Most everyone, myself included, listened with a sense of appreciation.
Looking Back, What I Wish I’d Said
After noting my own appreciation, I attempted to offer a response in a room now deeply moved by his comments. It was a losing effort, nowhere near as smooth and multi-layered as his comments. I knew I was scrambling, just as the wider society has been scrambling for the last ten years. Though no one seemed to like my mail as much as his, I still think my basic approach is the needed approach because the “nice guys” are definitely going to finish last unless we change strategies.
Here’s what I tried to do, followed by what I did wrong:
Reject the unbiblical definition of love. I said, though it was very unpopular, homosexual marriage could not properly be called “love.” You could choke on the room’s tension. “How could I say such a thing?” I pointed out that the Bible teaches plainly that “love does not rejoice in wrongdoing” (1 Cor. 13). That the Bible also teaches that homosexual behavior was wrongdoing or sin. Consequently, though strong emotions and affections are involved, we cannot properly call it “love.” Love does no harm, and homosexuality clearly harms everyone involved. Despite the stares, I continued.
Reject the “rights” argument. It seems this ship has sailed. But a decade ago it was still in port, scraping off before the maiden voyage into public opinion. It was at this point in the conversation that I realized two things: (1) I’d been invited in part to address this particular aspect of the issue, and (2) most of the room gave me a fair amount of moral authority on the question. So I spoke as forcefully as I could about the wide difference between the sexual behavior we were now discussing and immutable skin color given by God. “Gay” was not the new “Black.” Moreover, I argued, there were all kinds of other intimate relationships (some of them sexual) that did not receive civil protections and benefits from government. Grandparents raising children, heterosexuals living together outside of marriage, etc. Sexual intimacy and affection were insufficient basis for extending government sanction and protection. And what of other sexual arrangements that claim as strong an orientation (say, pedophilia) or as strong a consensual commitment (say, polygamy) that we do not grant rights to? I tried to make the case that we were standing atop the slippery slope wearing oil-slicked Florsheims.
But I wasn’t heard. Or, rather, I was heard as a paranoid alarmist. So-called “gay marriage” would not ruin marriage. Heterosexuals had already done that. Why shouldn’t homosexuals have their opportunity to ruin it, too?
Here’s what I failed to do then and I’m convinced is necessary now:
Return the discussion to sexual behavior in all its yuckiest gag-inducing truth. Now to do this, we’re simply going to have accept the fact that we aren’t going to be liked. We’re going to be branded “mean” and “bigoted.” We should not in fact be mean and bigoted. We should speak the truth in love. But the consequence will be a nasty brand from the culture. I should say branded again because we’ve already been given those labels simply for being Christians. So, we don’t have much to lose and we just might re-gain some footing in this debate.
What do I mean by returning the yuck factor?
Consider how many times you’ve read the word “gay” or “homosexual” in this postwithout thinking about the actual behaviors those terms represent. “Gay” and “homosexual” are polite terms for an ugly practice. They are euphemisms. In all the politeness, we’ve actually stopped talking about the things that lie at the heart of the issue–sexual promiscuity of an abominable sort. I say “abominable” because that’s how God describes it in His word. I think we should describe sin (and righteousness) the way God does. And I think it would be a good thing if more people were gagging on the reality of the sexual behavior that is now becoming public law, protected, and even promoted in public schools.
So what are we talking about? (Warning: Obscene descriptions follow. If sensitive in conscience, or freed from this sin, skip the block quotes below and go to the conclusion)
We are talking about one man inserting the male organ used to create life into the part of another man used to excrete waste. We are talking about one man taking the penis of another man into his mouth, or engaging in penis-to-penis grinding.
We are talking about a woman using her mouth to stimilute the nipples, vulva, clitoris or vagina of another woman, or using her hand or other “toys” to simulate sexual intercourse.
We are talking about anilingus and other things I still cannot name or describe.
That sense of moral outrage you’re now likely feeling–either at the descriptions above or at me for writing them–that gut-wrenching, jaw-clenching, hand-over-your-mouth, “I feel dirty” moral outrage is the gag reflex. It’s what you quietly felt when you read “two men deep kissing” in the second paragraph. Your moral sensibilities have been provoked–and rightly so. That reflex triggered by an accurate description of homosexual behavior will be the beginning of the recovery of moral sense and sensibility when it comes to the so-called “gay marriage” debate.
I wish I had done a very simple thing in response to the journalist’s comments. I wish I had asked a question. In retrospect, after an appropriate moment to acknowledge the display of brilliance we’d just been treated to, I should have politely raised my hands and asked, “Do you mean to say we should all accept as normal and good one man inserting the part of his body intended to create life into the part of another man’s body meant to excrete waste?” And following the gag reflex, I should have then asked, “And do you mean to suggest that a man inserting his penis in another man’s anus is as “good” and “loving” as a husband and wife uniting with each other as God and nature designed it?”
The beauty of 20/20 hindsight is that it can be turned into foresight. The next time I’m in a conversation about these matters I hope to move it first principles and illicit that visceral response by asking such a question.
What we’re really talking about when we talk about “homosexuality” is not just sex gone wrong but wrong sexual behavior. Deep down we all–Christian and non-Christian, heterosexual and homosexual–know it’s wrong. The knowledge of that moral wrong repulses us because we’re moral beings, made that way by our Creator. In a Romans 1 “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” world, it becomes the Christian’s responsibility to help people acknowledge what they really know but are really suppressing. Our apologetic task is to bring to the surface what has been written on the conscience and cannot be not known. We need to do this with as much kindness, insight, warmth and fairness as the gay journalist in the private boardroom ten years ago. And we need to do this soon.
The pro-gay campaign has successfully duped many in the country and around the world into suppressing their conscience, turning the other way with the help of polite terms and phrases. And because we want to be “nice” and “liked” (who doesn’t?), we have ignored these things or willingly accepted the terms of the discussion presented by the other side. We’ve stopped gagging–at great cost.
I don’t know if the tide will wash out on so-called “gay marriage.” But if it does I suspect it’ll happen because our moral conscience is aroused by sober consideration of the behavior we’re now viewing on prime time television, celebrating on court house steps, and teaching in public schools. Time for us to wake up and shift the discussion back to what this has been about all along. The good news is our conscience will side with what we already know to be right–even the conscience of those who oppose the truth will testify against them.
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Exodus 20:16 “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.”
Would anyone agree that telling lies is a good thing? Nobody wants to be called a “liar”. Those are fighting words for most people. I would assert even atheists think telling the truth, for the most part, is a good thing. Although why they think this I don’t know because without God’s command there is no basis for truth telling.
God’s Word tells us repeatedly to tell the truth, and in fact it’s such a serious matter that it’s one of the seven things that are an abomination to God.
Proverbs 6:16-17 These six thing the LORD hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue…
Ephesians 4:29-31 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth… Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.
Paul tells us that it is contrary to sound doctrine (1 Timothy 1:10). There is no doubt God hates lying.
Does anyone disagree?
I’m here to tell you today that we need to reform in this area of truth telling. I know most of you are probably thinking, “I don’t lie”, at least not on purpose. I think there is a very insidious way in which Satan deceives us into lying and allows us to wrap ourselves in our own righteous. It’s called exaggeration. It’s a subtle but evil form of speaking to your neighbor.
Here’s an example from my own life.
I return from a hard week of work and say, “Oh I’m so tired I put in 40 hours of work in 3 days”. In reality I did work hard and I am tired but the exaggeration comes in the form of the “stretch” of how many hours I actually worked. I might have been awake and actually doing something for 40 hours over the course of those 3 days but I wasn’t working the entire time.
In the business I work we get up early. I may actually have worked 38 hours but there is always the pull to exaggerate, even slightly, to the amount of time or the amount of effort that was exerted.
I want to seriously ask myself this question, why would I do that? If I’m telling someone about my long work days do they really care whether it was 40 hours or 38 hours; of course not, but in my mind that sounds more dramatic. I have the tendency to think of myself a higher opinion. “Boy I really did something this weekend!” “Aren’t I special?”
I’m a legend in my own mind…
Don’t we all do this? Tell the truth… You know you do this and so do I.
I have a good friend that is an extraordinarily hard working guy. I don’t distrust him when it comes to his work ethic or his ability to tell me the truth. Yet he’s an exaggerator. He has some liberty with the amount of emails sent in a day or the time he arises each morning and goes to bed each night to accomplish his tasks. Again, I don’t distrust his work ethic but why the embellishment?
I know he’s busy, I know he works hard. But did he really send out 100 emails today or was it more like 60? I’m easily impressed so whether it was 40, 60 or 800 in a day I’m going to think he’s pretty special at his job. He has my respect without the exaggeration.
God thought this was important enough to include this in the top 10 of Christianity (Exodus 20:1-17). This word “false” holds a very deep meaning.
From H8266; an untruth; by implication a sham (often adverbially): – without a cause, deceit (-ful), false (-hood, -ly), feignedly, liar, + lie, lying, vain (thing), wrongfully.
Notice how it says adverbially. I really like this because it shows us how we use “verbal exclamations” to spin our lies in the form of exaggerations and all along it’s meant to deceive. And then it goes on to tell us “without a cause”, there’s no reason for it. Please let that sink in for a moment. You have no reason to stretch that truth. It does not profit you. Ultimately it harms your credibility.
This article is meant to reform the minds and hearts of Bible believing Christians. I don’t expect it will have any effect on the unregenerate but if God wills it might show someone their sin. If you are a chronic liar you need to repent and turn from this abominable sin. If you are just an exaggerator you need to repent and turn from this abominable sin.
Although I’d like to develop some other thoughts, that might have to be another day, but some common expressions Believers should not utilize are verbal exclamations such “I swear to God” or “I swear”, see Matthew 5:33-36. You should never have to “convince” someone you are a truth teller.
We should also eliminate words like “honestly”, or “to be honest with you”… This would indicate at other times you are dishonest. As we begin to consider the meaning of our words and how important the words we use, we can become better communicators and better ambassadors for Christ.
Ephesians 4:14-15 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head Christ…
This is the ultimate goal, to no longer be children, we need to put aside the elementary principles of Christianity and “grow up”; for the glory of the One that deserves obedience and truth telling.
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Questioning the unquestionable…
Is “Asking Jesus into our Hearts” Biblical?
We have all heard it taught. It is taught to children in Sunday schools, private Christian schools, and in Christian homes across the land. It is taught as being the Gospel message, the plan of salvation, and in modern times it is even presented to adults as such. What I am talking about is the message “You need to ask Jesus into your heart”. With so many preaching this message as the gospel, would it not be wise to verify that it’s truly biblical? I have found that very, very few in our modern Christian culture have ever dug into the Scriptures to verify this message. So that is what this will article will try to do. But many who read this will take offense that an article like this has even been written. “Why is someone questioning the gospel message?” they will ask, “My Church has taught this message for years. Surely this author is trying to spread doubt and false doctrine!! It isn’t even worth reading such negative and questionable articles!” But please read what Paul warned us Galatians:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8)
This is a HUGE warning not only to beware of false Gospels, but also to be very diligent in biblically verifying the message we present to others. So won’t you please stay and read this article? This is not a topic to be dismissed casually or taken lightly!
There are two groups of people who hold to the “Ask Jesus into your heart” message (which from here forward I will refer to as the “Heart” message for the sake of brevity) as being the Gospel message. The first group of people consists of those that believe it truly is the Biblical message. The second group of people are those that acknowledge that the message isn’t taught anywhere in the Bible, but feel it is a good, modern way of delivering the more wordy and theological message that is found in Scripture. By now, many of you will have concluded that I the author hold the view that the “heart” message is not found in Scripture, and you’re right! The reason I am of that opinion is because… well… it isn’t found in Scripture! But I understand that there are those who might question this, so the first thing we need to do is take a good look at the three proof-texts that are usually used when defending this message. The first passage we usually hear in support of the “heart” message is found in Revelation 3:14-22…
“And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. 15 “ ‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see. 19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’”
The underlined portion is this passage is often quoted when delivering the “heart” message. But please note the context of this passage. This is a letter from the Lord Jesus to one of His churches. He is writing to His people… to Christians!! He is disgusted with their lukewarm state and, because He loves them, is warning them that discipline is coming if they do not repent. He is telling them, “Wake up! I am knocking on the door right now… don’t bring discipline down on your own heads!” The phrase, “I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me” is a promise of fellowship, friendship and intimacy if they as a local church obey the call to repentance. Do you notice anything missing here? There is absolutely no mention whatsoever of the heart, nor of salvation! In fact, this was written to church, a group of believers, so the subject of salvation isn’t even being addressed! When verse 20 is quoted as part of an altar call or as part of a “gospel” message, please understand that it is being pulled out of context and twisted to be used where it has no business being used. I know this is a harsh criticism, but please look at the text for yourself. It is simply the truth.
The other two texts often used when one defends the “heart” message are both found in Ephesians. The first being 2:22 and the other being 3:17. Since these are so close together, I will address them together. Please look carefully below at verse 2:22 in context…
“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.”
In context, it is obvious this verse is a teaching regarding the church as a whole, not the individual. The church is the collective group made up of those who are truly redeemed. It is made up of all true believers throughout the Earth. This verse clearly states that we (the corporate group of believers) are being built into a dwelling place for the Spirit of God. This passage in no way teaches us as individuals to ask for the indwelling of His Spirit as a means of salvation. In fact, this passage doesn’t pertain to salvation at all. So am I saying that the Spirit of Christ doesn’t live in the individual? Not at all! As we will see in the third and final commonly used proof-text, the Spirit of God does indeed live in the individual believer. Let’s examine this incredible & beautiful promise in context. It is found in Ephesians 3:14-19…
“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, 16 that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”
The Spirit of Christ does indeed indwell the believer! But what is the context here? This passage is describing the prayers that Paul makes for the believers in Ephesus. The Spirit of God indwelling the believer is one of the many blessings that come with salvation and, according to Paul, to an even greater degree for those who are “strengthened with power through his Spirit.”
But this incredible truth can in no way can be defined as the gospel message! Please pause for a moment and consider the logic behind this common misuse. The indwelling of Christ is a promise, it is something promised to happen when someone becomes a true believer, right? Another promise given is that of everlasting life. Would it then be appropriate to tell an inquisitive friend, ‘Just close your eyes and say these words, “Jesus, please make me live forever. Amen’”? Of course this promise could not be preached as the gospel! Yet another blessed promise is that when a believer leaves this earthly life, he will be present with the Lord in Heaven. So, should we then tell schoolchildren to bow their head, close their eyes and repeat this prayer, “God, someday I want to go to heaven. Amen”?? Again, no! When we take other promises regarding salvation and briefly envision them as the gospel message, they seem ridiculous. I submit to you that presenting the promise of Christ’s spirit abiding in our hearts as the gospel message is just as ridiculous (maybe even more so). Telling someone to “ask Jesus into your heart” is preaching an effect as a cause. It is putting the cart before the horse. Like all effective false teachings, it has an element of truth to it, but nowhere in Scripture is the “heart” message taught as the gospel or preached as the gospel.
It is my opinion that no further examination of biblical texts should be needed to convince you the reader that presenting the “heart” message as the gospel is unbiblical at best, and is a violent twisting of Scripture at worst. But for the sake of those who are profoundly set in their tradition, we will look just a little further. We will look at the most damaging evidence imaginable; we’ll compare the “heart” message with the true biblical gospel. When the light of Scripture shines upon this teaching it will then be obvious to all what the “heart” message is…and what it isn’t.
To look at this subject in a brief but thorough manner, we will first look at a brief summary of the gospel as taught by Jesus and Paul. Let’s start by examining Jesus’ statement regarding this crucial teaching:
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” Mark 1:14-15
We see here that when Jesus preached the gospel, He commanded a response from those that heard it. He told them to, “Repent and believe.” And exactly what is the gospel message that He preached? We will let Paul give us his answer…
Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 1 Corinthians 15:1-5
At this time I would ask you to read one more passage of Scripture in order to have perfect clarity of the Gospel message, that being Romans 3:9-25
“For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” 13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” 14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” 15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known.” 18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
So we see that according to the teachings of the Apostle Paul, and those of our Lord Himself, the gospel message is essentially this: All men have sinned and broken God’s laws. We have all lied, hated, and lusted. Every one of us has indulged in gossip, wicked fantasies and idolatry. Because of our guilt, obeying the laws of God now will in no way absolve us of our existing guilt. Because God is a just judge, a punishment must be handed down. Because of this situation, we are all guilty and hopelessly headed for eternal torment, but God stepped in and sent His only Son to be tortured and killed on the Cross, paying our punishment. Repenting of our sins (repenting is a change of mind regarding sin, a turning from our own passions) and clinging to Christ alone, trusting His work alone makes us right with God, we are then made in right-standing with in the courts of the almighty. Upon Him is our sin laid and we inherit the righteousness of Christ. We are saved through faith in Christ alone (not our own efforts… that is why it is called “good news”!!) Christ proved to all His true identity and that His sacrifice was acceptable by rising from the dead. That is the gospel! It is the good news that helpless and wicked men have a savior who has done the unimaginable in order to save His people!
Do you see now what the “heart” message is missing? It preaches no law of God, so sin & guilt are not exposed. Nor does it preach the consequences of sin. Without the knowledge of the law and guilt, how can a person even know what they need to be saved from? But that is not the only shortcoming of the “heart” message. It doesn’t issue the call to repent, to change one’s mind concerning sin. It does not teach the truth that without a turning from sin and embracing Christ as master and Lord there can be no salvation. And, ironically, the “heart” message fails to proclaim the heart of the biblical gospel, that being Christ died on the Cross bearing our sin while giving the believer His righteousness. It could be argued that these things can all be preached beforehand, and the “heart” message is simply used as the closing call, or call to act and respond on what has been shared.
While this is true, it is an obvious and blatant deviation from what our Lord used as a closing call when he commanded men to, “Repent and believe in the gospel.” And, sadly, the simple fact is that the vast majority of the time when the “heart” message is presented, it is not accompanied by sound and biblical teaching. When the content of the “heart” message compared to the content of the biblical gospel, it is plain to see they are completely different messages. Many will claim that a child is incapable of grasping the more complicated biblical message, so use of the “heart” message is excusable in the case of children. But where are we the messengers taught that the intended audience dictates the message content? This isn’t a biblical concept, to be sure! Explaining the true gospel using simple terms so that a child can understand is no sin, but changing the message content to fit an audience is strictly prohibited. Children throughout the ages have been able to understand the biblical gospel, and I submit to you that the apparent inability of modern children has more to do with lack of effort on the part of parents and teachers than on the child’s ability to understand. If you take the time to read through Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-39), or through Paul’s sermon in Athens (Acts 17:22-31) you will see a few common themes. While the messages are presented in different terms and styles, the content remains the same. In one way or another they heighten the listener’s awareness to their guilt before God, and call on them to repent and believe in Christ’s atoning work on the Cross to be put in right-standing with God. With it being evident that the “heart” message contains none of these elements, can it truly be said to be representative of the biblical gospel message? I think not.
Now that we have taken a look at the legitimacy of the “ask Jesus into your heart message”, let me now take a few moments to address two possible reactions to this article. One common reaction to an article like this is anger, and I understand that. It is often very difficult (and unpleasant) to be confronted with the fact that a precious belief or hope is wrong. Often this anger will influence the one being confronted into adopting a compromised viewpoint. “Okay,” many folks reason, “it isn’t a biblical message, but it works! It is a good summary of the Gospel and it is how I got saved!” Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with a local youth pastor who held this compromised position. He defended teaching children the “heart” message” and his defense was along these lines: “I know it isn’t biblical, but that’s how I got saved. God straightened me out in seminary.” The problem with this position of compromise is that God left us no room to hold it without being charged with the crime of rebellion. Let us look again at the Apostle Paul’s warning regarding messages other than the biblical gospel:
But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8)
As you can see, the Apostle left no room for a semi-submissive, compromising stance. The youth pastor I was talking with had somehow reached the conclusion that his pilgrimage out of false doctrine somehow gave him license to preach it himself. But Paul couldn’t be clearer, the gospel is the “power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) and cannot be amended, changed or be subjected to tampering. Carefully take note of the consequences in this warning … “let him be accursed”!
There are very few warnings this severe in the New Testament, and it would be wise to take a great pause so as to carefully and prayerfully reconsider before casually ignoring it simply because you feel tradition and culture demands it. In addition to anger, another common reaction to this message is doubt, fear or panic. “Oh no!” some may ask, “Am I not saved?!??” Let me very clear here (so please read carefully before sending me angry emails): There are many soundly-saved Christians who said this prayer when they were put in right-standing with our Lord. As discussed above, the true gospel is that forgiveness is available for those who come in belief and repentance while clinging to Christ to save them. Many, many times people have been convicted and broken over their sin, realized what Christ did on the Cross and clung to Him alone while repeating the “heart” prayer after some well-meaning but misguided preacher. God knows the intents and thoughts of a man, and just as there is no magic-formula prayer to obtain genuine salvation, there is also no magic-formula prayer that will repel genuine salvation. Many folks have come to our Lord through the fog of false teachings, only to see truth more clearly at a later date (is He clearing your vision today, dear reader?) However, if you are in doubt of your salvation, you should take it seriously. Many will tell you to never question or examine your salvation, but I am not one of them. The Apostle Paul made it clear we are to examine ourselves:
Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test! 2 Corinthians 13:5
Even here we see Christ resides in the believer, and because He does, there are tell-tale signs in the life of those His Spirit inhabits. John, the “disciple of love” wrote the entire book of 1st John about examining these signs so that we might “know if we know Him”. I would strongly encourage you to read 1st John (it’s very short) and prayerfully examine your faith. Do you have a life trademarked by sin, or marked with signs of following hard after God? Do you seek the company of other Christians, or avoid them? These are just a few of the questions John will bring up as you read. Just remember as you consider these things that your trust and faith concerning salvation must be in what Christ has done, not what you have done (or are doing). The inward state determines the outward actions, not the other way around.
Folks, the content of the gospel message we believe and preach is an incredibly important . It’s more important than politics, health care, taxes and even more important than our finances. This is the gospel we are talking about…the power of God unto salvation. This is the message that brings spiritually dead men back to life and the message for which our Lord Jesus was tortured and killed so that He might bring it to His people. I hope that you the reader now have a full understanding as to what the true gospel message is (repentance and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name) as well as the warnings and dangers of tampering with the message. Please take some time to read through all pertinent biblical passages regarding the gospel message as well as prayerfully considering what your stance will be going forward. It is incredibly important that you do.
Abomination, apostasy, Biblical Authority, Death, Disobedience, Doctrine, False Gospel, false-prophets, God's Word, Haughty, Hell, Heresy, Jesus Christ, Knowledge, Last Days, Lies, Persecution, Preaching, Sin, Solid Scripture, Truth, Word of God
Reblogged from The Master’s Slave:
Not quite sure what to say about this video. Regardless of your political views, this is disturbing, blasphemous, and incredibly sad. It actually reminds me a LOT of the kind of activities seen not so long ago when a charismatic leader in Europe first took the stage and the Disciple’s Prayer of Matthew 6 was changed to become a prayer to him. Of course, if I compared it to that I would be a fanatic…right?
You gotta watch this one to believe it: