Welcome to this Mission

Good day in the Name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

May you find God on every page of this website. May you get fuel for the journey and clarity of purpose as you go through the videos, the music, the Word studies or the Newsletters and may it inspire you to do great exploits for the Most High.

This is my prayer for you:

“Now unto Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Jesus Christ to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20,21

Vision and Mission

Vision:

To Glorify, Worship, Love, Obey and honor the Triune God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) through teaching and living the truth in love.

Mission:

Helping the Body of Christ fulfil the Great Commission by specifically reaching and discipling different ethnic groups of various religious persuasions with the gospel in word and deed.

To view the Statement of faith and the Projects we are involved in go here:

Statement of Faith/Projects

Featured post

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 12). Private and corporate prayer

Private and corporate prayer

It is very clear in the gospel that we must know that the power of the conversion of sinners is not in us, but in God. Our sufficiency is not in us but in God and from God. Blessed are the meek for they shall be inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5). Blessed are the poor in spirit for to them belong the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:3). Prayer is the channel whereby we access the infinite resources and strength and salvation of God. We come to God and know we are bankrupt spiritually in and of ourselves and we bank on the infinite power of God to make us willing and able to do His will and display the nature of Christ.

Prayer is the power of evangelism. It is the means God has ordained by which God will save the lost and build his church with the ministry of the word. Jesus set for us the example, as did many other saints in the Bible (David, Moses, Paul, Ezra; Daniel) of humility before God. If Jesus Christ needed the early morning hours of the day to commune with God, how much more we who are sinful and so prone to temptation and sin? For us to know the will and mind of God and to know the strength of God as we minister His word we ought to spend a lot of time with him alone. Early will I seek you (Psalm 63:1) the psalmist prayed. Moses prayed: “satisfy us early with your love that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” (Psalm 90:14). An evangelist who neglects his time alone with God where he can commune with the Almighty will soon succumb to sin and temptation and become ineffective in ministry. How can we withstand the fiery darts of the evil one if we are not praying people?

How much time do you spend in the word of God daily in prayer and drawing strength from God? Here is a suggestion: Make an appointment with God every day where you will spend time alone with Him. Put your cellphone away and your tablet and computer and get away from things that will distract you, and get alone with God! Turn off the radio and television and hear from God! Listen to the authoritative, complete and sufficient revelation of God in Holy Scripture. Let your words be few when you pray. God is not impressed with a lot of words. In fact he commanded us not to use vain repetitions like the heathen do when we pray. God knows what we need before we pray (Matthew 6:6-8).

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God”
‭‭(Romans‬ ‭8:26-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We don’t know what to pray as we ought! If we are left to ourselves we will only pray for our own needs and wants. Our prayers will be self-centered and self-serving. Therefore, let the word of God guide you in prayer. Let the agenda of God be your agenda. Let God’s priorities be your priorities! Let the mind of God be your mind. You may ask: How do I pray according to the Spirit and the mind of God? The answer is simple! Let the word of God guide you! In the Bible we find the mind of Christ. Jesus Christ set us the example when he taught us to how pray in Matthew 6:9-11. He showed us the parameters of our prayer-life.

“Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew‬ ‭6:9-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If we look closely at this prayer we see the following:
God’s glory, the coming of God’s kingdom and the establishment of God’s will in all things on earth as it is in heaven should be our focus in prayer. Our needs, our forgiveness, our protection and our guidance should be of secondary importance. They are not unimportant, but they are of secondary importance. That God’s Name be hallowed and glorified, that God’s kingdom should come in politics, in our schools, in our courts, in our families, in our businesses and everywhere on earth, that God’s moral laws be obeyed and honored, that all may hear the good news of the gospel (Mark 16:15), that disciples be made of all ethnic groups on the face of the earth (Matthew 28:18-20), that laborers be sent out into God’s harvest fields (Matthew 9:35-38) etcetera, should dominate our prayers.

This simple acrostic should also guide you in prayer: ACTS

A – Adoration – Adoring and worshipping and praising God for His greatness and love and grace and justice and all His divine perfections should be present everyday while we pray. We see this principal so many times in the book of Psalms.

C – Confession – Ask God to make you aware of your sins and confess them with contrition towards God. Humble yourself before God and He will lift you up. If we say we have no sin the truth is not in us, but if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (1 John 1:8-9).

T – Thanksgiving – Thank God regularly (1 Thessalonians 5:16) for the forgiveness of sins by the blood of Jesus. Thank Him in all things because that is the will of God. Know that everything we have and are has been given to us by God: Resources, money, opportunities, daily necessities, salvation, the Holy Spirit, difficulties, sufferings etc. Count your blessings one by one. What I sometimes do is to name 10 things to be thankful for in a day.

S – Supplication – Focus on God’s priorities first as said before but then pray also for your own needs and problems and challenges and those in your church, for friends and family who are facing challenges.

Private prayer should include these things but especially in the work of evangelism we should also pray corporately together as a church and with Christian Ministries and Christians who know us well. I have been in many different churches and it has always been a great blessing to spend hours with other believers praying for the particular outreach or ministry or people in my fellowship. To pray corporately with other believers is not only an example in the Bible given to us to follow but commanded in the Bible:

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”‭‭(1 Timothy‬ ‭2:1-2, 8‬ ‭ESV‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“And they (the believers) devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.” (Acts‬ ‭2:42‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” (Romans‬ ‭12:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” ‭‭(James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.” (Ephesians‬ ‭6:18-20‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The great apostle Paul asked that the church pray for him that he might proclaim the mystery of the gospel. He knew that in his own ability, in his own wisdom, in his own strength, it would not have been possible for the kingdom of God to go forward. As I said before, without a vibrant prayer life, privately and corporately, our efforts in evangelism would be futile. Therefore, any person who endeavors to obey the word of God in proclaiming and distributing and sharing the word and gospel of God should be on their knees frequently, in private and with the local church and the ministry you are involved in. God has chosen to work through his church and to divorce your life from the prayer meeting at your church or your mission is to outrightly disobey God. Our evangelism and ministries for the Lord should be bathed in prayer and be bathed in the prayers of our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. The work of evangelism and preaching the word should never be divorced from private and corporate prayer. No soldier of God can withstand the onslaughts of the evil one without regular times of prayer and having a prayerful disposition! It is sheer lunacy and a sign of a proud heart to attempt to evangelize without living a prayer-life.

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

May God grant us the focus, the desire, and the vision to be people of prayer. God will work as we bow down before Him in repentance and as we seek the coming of His kingdom and the glorification of His Name in all things!

 

Biblical foundations for evangelism (Part 11). The need for holiness and purity.

The need for purity and holiness in the evangelist’s life

In this day and age it is essential for any Christian, but especially the Christian worker and evangelist to be holy and keep himself pure. We hear of so many pastors and leaders who fall into sexual sins and ruin their ministries. King David, Samson and Solomon are examples to us of men who were strong and wise who succumbed to temptation. If these men in the Bible fell into grievous sin, we must not think we are not susceptible to the same dangers! He that thinks he stands must take heed lest he falls (1 Corinthians 10:12).

In order to know God more intimately and be filled with the Holy Spirit continually and see God’s glory, we must remain pure. Jesus said: “blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). Although God can use and does use people who are clean or unclean to fulfill his purposes, if we want God to use us for honorable purposes we have to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. If we cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable we will be useful to God and be ready for every good work! God does His greatest works through those who live holy and pure lives!

“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” ‭‭(2 Timothy‬ ‭2:20-22‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We should ask: How do we cleanse ourselves? What does this cleansing involve? What must I do to cleanse myself thoroughly so that I can be a vessel of noble and honorable use? The Bible gives us the way to be cleansed: Firstly, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus!

If we walk in the light as God is in the light we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

No cleansing can take place unless the blood of Jesus washes us. But take note when the blood of Jesus becomes effective. It is when we walk in the light as God is in the light. This statement begs the question: what does it mean to walk in the light as God is in the light? The answer we find later in the same passage:

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” (1 John‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬

We are thoroughly cleansed from our sins when we confess our sins to God, our sins in the past (verse 10) and all the sins that we are aware of at present (verse 8). If we hide our sins from God and keep something in the dark we will not receive proper cleansing. James 5:16 says if we confess our sins to one another we will be healed. The best way to do a thorough job of confessing is to take an inventory of your life regularly and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of any thing in your life, past and present, that causes Him grief. If you do this God will bring sins to your mind that you can confess. Confessing of one’s sins means basically to agree with God about the things that are sinful and wrong in your life. To walk in truth with God it is essential to humble ourselves before God and confess our sins to God. With sins that we struggle it is advisable to have an accountability partner, some mature Christian or pastor and confess your sins to another. I know in my life how God has helped me to overcome sins as I brought sins into the light before a brother. This is not a legalistic rule that always must be followed but a help in a believers life if you find yourself in a rut and unable to overcome your defilement.

But confession of sins is not enough. We must forsake our sins, thorough repentance is necessary.

Proverbs 28:13 states: “if we confess our sins and forsake them we will receive mercy.”

We have to repent Biblically in order to be an instrument of honorable use to our Master. Biblical repentance involves: conviction, contrition and conversion. God has to convict us of our sins. A change in mind must take place. Then we must have a broken and contrite heart over our sins. God must show us and we must feel how we have offended God by our sins. We must have godly sorrow over ours sins, not only in the beginning of our Christian walk but throughout our Christian walk (James 4:8-10; 2 Corinthians 7:10). God must work in such a way that you loathe your sins and hate your sins against God. We must come to realize that our sins caused the crucifixion of Christ. Our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. Our sins were responsible for His death.

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” (James‬ ‭4:8-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

And then Biblical repentance also involves conversion, a change of behavior. Unless we continually turn from our sins we haven’t really repented. God doesn’t only want to change our thinking (Romans 12:1,2) and feelings (Psalm 37:4), but our behavior. God wants us to live in ways that bring Him glory.

To be holy and clean are necessary to be effective for every good work in God’s kingdom. How will a surgeon in a hospital who is about to do an operation be effective if his instruments are defiled and dirty? He will cause great damage to the patient he is operating on. He wouldn’t dare to use dirty and defiled knives and instruments. So God wants to use clean and holy instruments to build his kingdom and church. If we are thoroughly cleansed we will be useful for every good work in God’s hands!

Back to our question: How then shall we be thoroughly cleansed? We said firstly by the blood (atonement) of Jesus Christ. But everyone is not automatically cleansed by the blood of Jesus. It is by faith that we are cleansed (Acts 15:9). Our hearts are cleansed as we confess our sins in truth, as we turn away from our sins (Biblical repentance) and as we believe that Jesus died and payed the highest price for our forgiveness and cleansing! But that is not all! It is believing in the word of God and in the promises of God that cleanses us! Jesus said:

“Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.” (John‬ ‭15:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

And:

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians‬ ‭5:25-27‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

And the psalmwriter teaches us:

“How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.

I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” (Psalms‬ ‭119:9, 11‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We are cleansed and purified as we meditate on the word of God day and night (Psalm 1:1-4), as we drink in the word of God, as we read it and internalize it and delight in it and apply it to our lives. The word of God washes us and directs us and shows us the character of God. The word helps us to gaze upon the beauty and glory of Christ who transforms us from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). As we meditate on the word of God day and night and delight in it, God will make us to bear fruit in our season (Psalm 1:1-4) and we will grow and be cleansed from our sins as we accompany the word with repentance and faith in Christ.

Let us therefore make use of this means of grace: read, study and meditate on the word of God and apply the word of God to your life! We will be blessed and purified not only if we are hearers of the word but doers as Jesus taught us! Let us therefore listen to the word of God as it is preached to be honorable instruments in the Masters hand!

 

The Secret to a life of blessing: Abiding in Christ

John 15:1-17

1)I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.
2)Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. 3)Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. 4)Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.
5)I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
6)If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.
7)If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
8)By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
9)As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
10)If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.
11)These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.
12)“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
13)Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
14)You are my friends if you do what I command you.
15) No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
16)You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
17) These things I command you, so that you will love one another.”
‭‭(John‬ ‭15:1-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Introduction

In the gospel of John we clearly see that Jesus Christ is not only portrayed as a righteous man or a prophet but as God in human form. We see that Jesus equated Himself with God by the seven “I AM” sayings, Jesus said: “I AM the Bread of Life”, “I AM the the Light of the world”, “I AM the resurrection and the Life”, “I AM the door”, “I AM the Good Shepherd”, “I AM the way, the truth and the life” and then lastly in this parable, “I AM the True Vine.” In the Book of Exodus when God spoke to Moses He identified Himself as “I AM.” That is one of God’s Names. Jesus used these “I AM” sayings deliberately showing Himself to be God, the same God as the God of the Old Testament, Jahwe, as the God who appeared to Moses in Arabia.

In the Old Testament the nation of Israel was many times compared to a Vine that God planted. We see this in Psalm 80, and in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The indictment against Israel was that although God planted them as a nation, they did not produce the good fruit that God wanted them to produce. Instead they produced bad fruit.

Jesus came here and said He is the true True Vine, the true Israel, and that if we are united with Him we will not be like Israel in the Old Testament, but we will be fruitful and bring glory to God. In this portion, Jesus makes it crystal clear that we cannot afford not to have union and communion with Him on a constant basis. Anyone who is not united to Him, and believes in Him as the Messiah and Savior of the world, will be cut of and thrown away and be judged. In this message I want to look at four things: firstly, what is the determining cause for people abiding in Christ. Secondly, why is it necessary to abide in Christ, thirdly, what is the meaning of abiding in Christ, or how do we abide in Christ? And then fourthly, what is God’s purpose for us in abiding in Christ.

What follows in this message is the secret to a life of blessing: abiding in Christ.

1) The determining and principal cause of abiding in Christ

In verse 16, Jesus said that we did not choose him, but He chose us and appointed us to go, and bear fruit, fruit that will abide. When Jesus said these words, he was speaking to his apostles. That was the immediate context. Jesus handpicked them, and appointed them for the work of ministry. The determining cause for them being apostles was the fact that Jesus Christ chose them. It doesn’t mean the disciples didn’t choose to follow Him. But their choice to follow Christ was secondary. The disciples were chosen and appointed by God and that is the determining factor why they could abide in Christ. In fact, God chose them unto salvation before time began, not only to be his apostles, but unto salvation (Ephesians 1:3-5).

This text can be applied to any, true believer, of Christ. The decisive and determining factor and cause why we can abide in Christ and why we can be united to Christ is because Christ chose us, elected us, to Himself. God the Father chose us before the foundation of the world unto salvation, (Ephesians 1:3-5) in Christ, and He chose us to be holy and fruitful before the foundation of the world. This text tells us that Jesus was also involved in this choosing of His people unto salvation and fruitfulness. This doesn’t mean we don’t choose Christ, and shouldn’t repent of our sins and that we shouldn’t choose to follow Christ, and believe in Him, and commit our lives to Him. These things are all necessary. What this text emphasizes is that God is the Author and Finisher or our faith and salvation. He is the determining cause in our salvation and growth in holiness. No one comes to the Son except the Father draws Him (John 6:44). No one knows the Father except the Son and no one knows the Son and except the Father and the one to whom the Son chooses to reveal Himself (Matthew 11:27-28).

2) The necessity of abiding in Christ (He prunes and takes away)

In this parable Jesus says that God is the Vinedresser or Farmer. He says He is the Vine and that we are the branches. In God’s economy, He is not the One that needs us. We are the ones that need Him for life and breath and everything! Just as a branch cannot exits without it being connected with a vine, so we cannot exist without our connection to Christ. God is our Creator, he is the reason everything exists. Without Him there will be no life. But more importantly, without Christ and His saving work on Golgotha there will be no spiritual births and no spiritual life possible. Jesus is the True Vine, not national Israel. We don’t have to become Jews or be circumcised to have union with God! We need to planted into the Vine that is Christ. We need to be engrafted into Christ! If we are not united to Christ then we have no hope to bear fruit.

In verse 2, it says that God is the one who inspects the Vine. In this parable a distinction is made between the branches that bear fruit and the branches that don’t bear fruit. Commentators say this distinction refers to those who are truly united to Christ and those who claim to be believers in God or Christ, but don’t bear spiritual fruit. In verse 2, God is portrayed as the One who inspects the Vine and the One who separates the true believers from the false ones.

He takes away the branches that don’t bear fruit. Verse 6 says: “If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.” These two texts tell of the fact that God is going to judge those people who don’t bear fruit of repentance, and that He is going to judge them severely. Like branches that don’t bear fruit are cut off, gathered and burned in the fire, so the unbelievers and false Christians will be removed from God’s world and be judged by Jesus Christ and thrown in the lake of fire and be in torment for eternity. Unbelievers are not exactly like fruitless branches! Worthless branches that are burned, only burns for a short time, and then they become ashes! Unbelievers and false Christians will not become ashes, and they will not cease to be! They will be thrown into the lake of fire one day (Revelation 20:11-15) and there they will be in torment, not for a while, but forever and ever (Revelation 14:11).

If people don’t abide in Christ, and if they don’t bear fruit, they will be judged. That it why it is essential to abide in Christ and be united to Christ! People may ask: is it possible to be a Christian and then after some time not bear fruit, and then be thrown away, judged by God, and be damned? This parable doesn’t say that a true believer who is united to Christ can lose his salvation. That will contradict John 10:28-30. If you know anything about vines you would know that sometimes there are branches attached to the vine that never produces fruit. In a way they are part of the vine but in a sense they don’t receive the sap from the stem that causes them to produce any fruit. In the same way, there are some people who come church, who read their Bibles, who identify themselves as Christians, but they have not received spiritual life from God. They have not been united to Christ, and they don’t commune with Christ, and therefore their lives don’t change, they remain fruitless. They are the ones who will be cut off from the Vine, from the church, and will wither and be thrown away!

But then there are those on the Vine who do bear fruit. God says in this parable, if people do bear fruit, God will prune them so that they may bear more fruit. Again, no one can bear spiritual fruit unless he is connected to the Vine, who is Christ. Without Christ, as verse 5 says we can do nothing! No spiritual good can come from our lives unless we are in Christ, and unless we are united to Christ. In our flesh dwells no good thing (Romans 7). But also, God is the one who looks after our spiritual lives. He is the only One who connected us to Christ and who engrafted us into the Vine. He is the only reason why we can bear fruit. But He is also the only reason why we can bear fruit week in and week out, year in and year out. He is the one who sustains our spiritual growth by virtue of Christ. Like a farmer prunes a vine and cuts of parts of the branches every season, so the Father cuts off worthless things in our lives. He disciplines us. He corrects us. He rebukes us. He trains us. We suffer for Christ’s sake all for this purpose: so that we may bear more fruit! God is the active agent that causes us to grow and bear more fruit. And he looks after our spiritual growth only in Christ and by virtue of the fact that we are one with Him. Without Christ we can do nothing (verse 5). Therefore abide in Christ!

3) The meaning of abiding in Christ (how to abide in Christ)

By faith in Christ (John 3:16, 14:1)

The Bible makes it very clear that no person receives the gift of the Spirit and eternal life without putting their faith in Christ Jesus. Everyone who believes in Christ and what he has done for us on the cross receives eternal life, the gift of the Spirit (John 3:16; 3:36). It is when we come to Christ and drink from Him, and repent of our sins, and believe that Jesus paid our debt on the cross, and bore the wrath of God on our behalf, that we are saved and united to Christ. That is where abiding in Christ starts.

By receiving and believing the word (verse 3)

It is like verse 3 says: “you are clean by the word that I have spoken to you.” It is when we receive the word of Christ, when we receive the gospel being preached, when we accept it and believe in the promises of God that we are cleansed from our sins. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from our sins when we confess our sins and believe and accept the word of God! We are born again not by corruptible seed but by incorruptible seed by the living and abiding word of God, …. And that word is the gospel that was preached unto you (1 Peter 1:23-25).

Walking in the light (John 3:20-22; 1 John 1:7-9)

As the apostle John said in his letter: “This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us” ( John‬ ‭1:5-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If we want to maintain fellowship with God we have to walk in the light and that means bringing our sins to Him. Christians are not perfect. We sin, we make mistakes, we offend people, and when we do that we ought to confess our sins to God and to each other when necessary. In this way, we keep abiding in Christ and remain in fellowship with Him. It is in the communion of the saints that we grow, and are forgiven, and cleansed of all our unrighteousness.

By prayer (confession of sins and asking for forgiveness) (1 John 1:5-10; Matthew 6:9-11) Thanksgiving

Jesus taught us to pray daily: Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sinned against us (Matthew 6:9-11). There is no way we can abide in Christ without following the pattern of our Lord. He had the habit of spending much time with the Father in the morning. He prayed for hours alone. He urged his disciples to pray often and so did the apostles. Pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16; Ephesians 6:18). Be constant in prayer (Romans 12:10-12). It is unthinkable to abide in Christ without spending time alone with God, praising and thanking Him and making your requests known to God (Phillipians 4:4-7). That is why Jesus also said: “If you abide in Me and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be granted to you” (John 15:7).

By abiding in the Word (verse 3;7)

And when we pray and spend time with God we spend time in his word. To abide in Christ means to abide in his word (verse 7). As we meditate on his word and delight in his word (Psalm 1:1-4) we are abiding in Christ.
Dear friend, do you spend enough time with God, in His word, reading it, studying it, meditating on it and believing in it? Without this daily habit we cannot think that we will commune with God and abide in him.

By abiding in his love (verse 9; 12,13)

Now when Jesus commanded his followers to abide in Him, he qualified it by saying: abide in my love. He said: “As the Father loved me, so I have loved you, abide in my love.” Jesus gave us a new commandment, not only to love our neighbors, but to love one another as He loved us! No greater love is there in this world, than the love that Christ had and has for his church. He sacrificed Himself for his people and so redeemed them from their sins. We cannot save anyone from their sins, but in the way that Jesus gave Himself for His people he showed us how we also should lay down our lives for each other in the church (1 John 3:16). This is the way to abide in Christ and to abide in His love: to love each other in the way Christ loved us: to live a life of sacrifice.

By keeping His commandments (verse 10) as Jesus did: Jesus is our pattern and example

And then Jesus qualifies again what this means: to abide in His love. To abide in His love is to keep his commandments. If we want abide in Christ we have to obey his commandments. In other words, we have to love His commandments and the character of God revealed in His commandments. You may ask: which commandments? To summarize: the great Commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and all your strength and your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-40). And to know what this means in more detail: Go to the Ten Commandments: You shall have no other gods before me, you shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain, you shall not murder, you shall not steal etc.

In our own strength it is not possible to keep and obey the ten commandments and the great commandment. Even if we are born from the Spirit we cannot obey the commandments of God perfectly. But by the help of the Spirit we can keep them, delight in them, and obey them significantly, though not perfectly.

By loving each other as Christ loved us (verse 12,13)

How did Jesus love His disciples:

 He came to identify with their weaknesses (He became a man)
 He learned their language (mother tongue)
 He prayed for them constantly
 He lived with them and had fellowship with them
 He taught them the word of God
 He ministered to their needs (fed them, cared for them)
 He sacrificed himself for their salvation
 He always had their best interests in mind
 He rebuked them and corrected them
 He healed them
 Jesus exhibited the fruit of the Holy Spirit to his disciples (kindness, goodness, peace, joy, love, self-control, patience and faithfulness, humility)

To abide in Christ we ought to follow Christ’s example and care for each other, pray for each other, live with each other, have fellowship with each other, have each other’s best interests in mind, teach each other the word of God, heal each other, sacrifice for each other and correct each other. We cannot save each other, but we can point each other constantly to the One who can!

4) The purpose of abiding in Christ

That God be glorified by the fruit of the Holy Spirit in us (that the world may be filled with the exhibition of God’s character) (verse 8)

God is glorified in the world and in us when we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit. In Galatians 5:22,23 we see what the fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness, humility and self-control. When we are patient to people and each other, when we exhibit the joy of the Spirit, when we practice self-control in keeping our temper and in our sexual behavior, when we are faithful in keeping our word and our promises and doing our work and being on time for work, and when we are generous and show kindness in the way we speak, and when we have a humble opinion of ourselves and exhibit that we esteem others higher than ourselves, and so on, we glorify God, because we exhibit the nature of God. These are the blessings that God works in our lives and are like fruit that bring spiritual nourishment and light to the world.

We shouldn’t think that these segments of the fruit are distributed only to some members and that some receive the love and others the peace and some the humility and some the kindness. No, the fruit come as one package. Christ produces all these segments of the fruit in every one of His children. Love, joy, peace and patience are produced in all his children. Goodness and kindness and faithfulness should be exhibited by all his disciples. And God will keep on pruning us until he sees all these segments of the fruit in all his children!

Love: the ability to care for another person and to seek the benefit of others. Love rejoices in the truth. Love bears and endures all things. Love does not rejoice in iniquity. Love is long-suffering. Love is kind. Love does not keep a record of wrong. Love is forgiving. Love is not just a decision to lay down your life for other people. Love is a disposition of the heart. It is the ability to have empathy with another. It is the ability to listen and care for others and seek their benefit, not just temporal benefits, but eternal benefit. Therefore love shares the gospel of salvation with others, because it is only through faith in Christ that people can be saved. Love causes us to pray for others to be saved, persistently, because it is only through union with Christ that any person can receive the Holy Spirit. To love God and others are gifts wrought in a person by the Holy Spirit. No one can truly love another except through union with Christ and the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). We love because we have first been loved by Christ (1 John 4:19).

Joy: knowing you have eternal life and it will last. Knowing your sins have been dealt with in Christ. Spiritual and godly happiness.

Peace: peace of mind, a clear conscience towards God and man. The peace that surpasses all understanding comes from God (Phillipians 4:7). We have received Jesus’ peace not the peace of the world (John 14:27).

Patience/long-suffering: the ability to endure suffering for Christ’s sake. This is produced by the Holy Spirit and by going through tribulation (Romans 5:3,4). Through trials and tribulations that are orchestrated by God in our lives this grace is produced.

Kindness: the ability to diffuse a conflict situation. This disposition of character can only be wrought by the Holy Spirit. Not being rude and obnoxious even when you are undergoing a stressful situation or are frustrated because of a series of events. To exhibit kindness at all times is a grace wrought in a person who has been transformed by the Holy Spirit. It is a blessing.

Goodness: seeking other people’s benefit in material goods or otherwise. No one is good except God. Therefore we cannot be good or exhibit goodness unless God dwells in us. Through the Holy Spirit we can seek other people’s benefit and be generous and unselfish.

Faithfulness: keeping your promises and word. The desire to be faithful comes from God. Being faithful in work responsibilities and in the little things God demands from us is not possible unless we are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit. It is only when our behavior and minds and wills are under the control of the Holy Spirit that we can be faithful to God and faithful in our work, church and family responsibilities.

Humility: seeing yourself as you really are. God must show you this. When God shows us our sins and when he works in us and convicts us of our sins, it produces humility. To see ourselves as we are, and to know and realize that all that we have, and are are gifts and blessings and graces are coming from God, must of necessity produce humility.

Self-control: saying no to temptation, the ability and strength and inclination to be self-disciplined is a blessing produced by God. The Holy Spirit restrains us to say yes to evil and sin. To deny ourselves everyday and say no to sin, day in and day out, year in and year out, can only be produced by the Holy Spirit’s restraining hand.
That we go and bear fruit, fruit that will abide (verse 16)

And what is remarkable about this fruit is that God doesn’t only want this fruit to be there for a season, or a few years, or a decade or two. Christians increase in bearing fruit, but God prunes his people so that the fruit of the Spirit, may last, and abide forever. God’s purpose is that we be conformed the the image of Christ and therefore He will keep on pruning us until we bear the image of the Man of heaven. That was the goal of the ministry of Paul the apostle:

“Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians‬ ‭1:28‬ ‭ESV‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

These blessings that God works in us are permanent blessings. They must increase year by year, and they are all locked up in the Person of Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). When we abide in Christ, when the branch receives sap from the Vine, it will bear much fruit! And that fruit will abide, because God is the One who produces it. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

That we prove to be His disciples by bearing fruit (verse 8)

When we bear the fruit of the Holy Spirit, day in and day out, year in and year out, we prove that we are Christ’s disciples. And God wants the world to know that he has disciples, in fact, in every corner of the globe. He wants His disciples to make more disciples of all ethnic groups in every generation! This is the task He has given his disciples and this is His purpose in creation and salvation: a global family that belong to Him, exhibiting His nature, glorifying Him!

That Christ’s joy be in us and that our joy may be full (verse 11)
One of the greatest blessings in the Christian life is to have the joy of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said all these things to His disciples that His joy may be in them. This joy comes from a clear conscience and knowing that God does not count our sins against us. If we know that God has forgiven all our sins through Christ, and we know that we are in the right relationship with God, and that God is not angry with us anymore, but that He has adopted us into His family, and given us His Spirit, unspeakable joy should be the natural result. Joy inexpressible is the logical consequence. If the infinite God loves you infinitely, and has averted his infinite wrath towards you through the atonement of the infinite valuable Son, Jesus Christ, is there not reason to have fullness of joy? The joy of the Lord is not something that is dependent on circumstances, but is dependent on the fact of our redemption and our right standing in the sight of God.

Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow Me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish and no one will pluck them out of my hand. My Father is greater than I and no one will be able to pluck them out of His hand. The Father and I are One” (John 10:27-30). This must be one of the most wonderful promises in the Bible. God assures his disciples that no one will be able to make them lose their salvation. This, I believe, is the greatest reason for fullness of joy! God is faithful to keep us saved, and supply us with new mercies and new grace every day in the Holy Spirit! The good work that He started He will finish (Phillipians 1:5).

That we be called his friends, not servants (verse 15)

Another purpose and blessing of abiding in Christ is the fact that God calls us his friends. As Jesus said to His disciples, he calls us no longer servants, because servants don’t know what their masters are doing, but Christ calls his disciples friends. He does that, because he has made known to His children, the mystery of His will in salvation and in the Bible. He has made known to us His secrets (Jeremiah 33:3). We don’t know all God’s secrets, we don’t know the hidden will of God, but God has made known unto us, he has revealed unto us, the way of salvation and the way of righteousness. He has made known unto us the things that are necessary to know for life and godliness. He has made known unto us his covenants and his promises and his word. And therefore God calls his disciples, friends! What a blessing! He has not done this to all mankind, but to His elect ones only.

That we may receive what we ask (consecrated relationship) (verse 7,16) according to His will (1 John 5:14)

One of the principal blessings of the Christian life is to have communion with God and that God answers our prayers when we pray. The answers to our prayers does not always come in the timeframe we want, or in the way we want, but if we ask things according to His will, God will answer,
and our joy will be full (John 16:33). The blessing of abiding in Christ is to have fellowship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This communion is not uninterrupted, because we still sin and need to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, but it is nevertheless wonderful to have communion with God from day to day and to have a meaningful and consecrated relationship with God.

Everything we ask for, according to God’s will, we will receive, and when we abide in Christ and his words abide in us (1 John 5:14-16; John 15:7).

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 10) The baptism and power of the Holy Spirit

10 The baptism, power and anointing of the Holy Spirit

Some people think that the baptism of the Holy Spirit must include speaking in unknown languages. They appeal to the book of Acts chapter two when the Holy Spirit was poured out as a powerful reality upon the church. We do believe that we live now, since Pentecost, in the administration of the Spirit, where the Holy Spirit lives in his fullness, in every true believer of God. In Old Testament times the Holy Spirit did indwell believers, but not all were in-dwelt in the same way as now, and equipped for the work of ministry. Jesus Himself promised to send the Holy Spirit after He went to heaven while He was on earth. Before Christ was incarnated, crucified and ascended into heaven about 2000 years ago, the Holy Spirit was not an abiding, powerful reality in every believer’s life although believers in the Old Testament were saved through faith in the promised Messiah and did experience the work and indwelling of the Holy Spirit to some degree (Psalm 51). But since Jesus went to heaven we live now in the administration of the abiding fullness of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said:

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John‬ ‭7:37-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Every believer in Christ in the Old and New Testament and today has been and is born again by the Spirit of God. Although the Holy Spirit gave the first disciples coherent languages at Pentecost we must not think the baptism of the Holy Spirit always includes the speaking of foreign languages. When a person believes in Jesus Christ unto salvation it shows that he/she is born again (1 John 5:1; John 1:12,13). Being regenerated by the Holy Spirit and receiving the Holy Spirit are not the same experience. Being born of the Spirit is the initial experience when a person becomes alive spiritually and experience the heinousness of his sins and realizes he stands condemned and guilty before God. He experiences the pains of spiritual birth and starts crying out for forgiveness and salvation. The seed of regeneration is implanted in a person by God, but it is only after a person repents of his sins, acknowledges his own sins, and believes in Christ that he receives the gift or the Holy Spirit or are baptized by the Spirit (Galatians 3:14). Every believer in Christ has been baptized in the Holy Spirit. Paul makes this very clear in the first book of Corinthians.

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.” (Corinthians‬ ‭12:12-13‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Some Christian groups in the world want to make us believe that if you don’t speak in unknown languages you haven’t been baptized by the Holy Spirit. This teaching is not according to sound doctrine. Paul says here that all Christians were make to drink of the same Spirit, meaning being baptized in the Holy Spirit. We are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit by the Scriptures (Ephesians 5:18) and to pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:15-20). Christians can walk in the power of the Spirit. Jesus promised the disciples before Pentecost that they will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them and that they would be witnesses of Christ (Acts 1:8). This promise of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit in Christ is true for all believers throughout all ages, since Pentecost. In fact, Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians that their eyes would be enlightened to see the hope of their calling, the riches of their inheritance in the saints and the immeasurable power of God who is at work in every believer. That is the same power that God worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead (Ephesians 1:15-22). God has not given believers a spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:9).

Because the Holy Spirit can be quenched (1 Thessalonians 5:19) and grieved (Ephesians 4:30) when we as believers sin, we ought to confess (1 John 1:9) and repent (Proverbs 28:13) of our sins regularly to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. God’s will for the believer is that we always walk in step with the Spirit and not according to the flesh and sinful desires. God’s will is that the believer mortify the deeds of the body on a daily basis (Romans 8:13, Matthew 16:24,25).

When a person is born again and baptized by the Spirit of God he receives the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20). All believers in Christ are anointed by the Holy Spirit and all must be filled continually with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). In the Old Testament the kings, priests and prophets were anointed for specific tasks they had to administer. They were equipped by the Spirit of God for their offices, although many were rebellious and didn’t worship the true God, especially the kings. In the New Testament we see that all believers are called to be prophets, priests and kings (Revelation 1:5; 1 Peter 2:9). In other words, all believers are anointed to represent God on earth as His kings, to rule over sin, Satan and the curruption of the world. We are anointed to be priests representing Christ by praying for the church and the lost and the unreached and we are commissioned to share and preach and proclaim the gospel as prophets (Ephesians 6:15; 1 Peter 2:9 Mark 16:15). All Christians are called to proclaim the gospel and to be God’s witnesses because we have received the Spirit of Christ, and the testimony of Christ.

The anointing we as believes were given, means God has equipped us with His Spirit to speak forth his word. This anointing was not given to all believers in the Old Testament. Old Testament believers were not all equipped for the work of the ministry.

“So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven, but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew‬ ‭10:32-33‬ ‭ESV)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬
Paul the apostle said:

“I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ because it is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16,17).

The presence, power, anointing and baptism of the Holy Spirit equips the believer to be an evangelist: to be successful and to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgement (John 16:8). When we obey God in evangelism and witnessing, the Holy Spirit will do the work of convicting sinners. The power is in the word (1 Peter 1:23-25) and the gospel of God, not in us. We are mere jars of clay that easily break. The power is in God. Without the Spirit’s baptism, power and anointing all our efforts in evangelizing believers and unbelievers will be useless and futile. We have to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit first of all, lead by the Holy Spirit, equipped by the Holy Spirit and moved by the Holy Spirit in this great work set before us.

 

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 9) Knowing God savingly

When we look at the people God has used in the Old and New Testament we see they were people who knew God personally and were called by God for the work of evangelism. In the Old Testament Moses were called to lead the people out of Egypt and he later wrote the first five books of the Bible. So we see David a man called by God who was anointed to be king of Israel who wrote many of the Psalms which contained the gospel. And so we can go on through the Old Testament. The prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah were called by God to be prophets unto God (Jeremiah 1:1-10; Isaiah 6:1-8). They were called to bring the word of God to the people of God. They preached the word of God, using the law to bring conviction of sin, but they also preached the gospel, giving promises and hope for those who repent.

In the New Testament we see a similar pattern of people being called by God and commissioned to be his spokespersons. John the Baptist was set aside from the womb to be a prophet of God who would proclaim the word of God. The twelve apostles were called by God to learn from Jesus and then sent out to preach the gospel of the kingdom to every village in Israel. And so God called Paul to be an apostle to share the word of God and to preach the gospel. The apostles knew Jesus intimately because they lived and talked with him for about three years. Paul says that he counted everything as rubbish in comparison to know Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior (Phillipians 3:7-9). The greatest thing for Paul was not to preach the gospel but to know Jesus Christ intimately.

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians‬ ‭3:7-8‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

When Jesus started His ministry he said the following:

““Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matthew‬ ‭7:21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

To know God and to be known by God is more important that sharing the gospel. In heaven one day the work of evangelism will be over. There will be no more need to evangelize and share the gospel. What is of utmost importance is not preaching the word of God, but knowing Jesus Christ savingly and personally. If a person is not genuinely converted he shouldn’t be involved in the work of evangelism.

John the apostle made this point also very clear in his gospel.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John‬ ‭17:3‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

And the apostle Peter emphasized this point of increasing in the experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ!

“For if these qualities (faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly love, love) are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”(2 Peter‬ ‭3:18‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The gospels and the New Testament make it very clear that knowing Jesus Christ for who He is, is essential in a person’s life. It is the goal of the gospel. We preach the gospel not only because people are in danger of eternal hell and under the wrath of God, but because people are not reconciled to God and cut off from the true knowledge of God. We preach the gospel because people don’t know God savingly and intimately. When we have that personal sweet relationship with God through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit the love of God compels us to make Him known so that others may enjoy that sweet communion with God as well. We want other people to know the blessedness and joy of knowing their sins are forgiven as well.

Knowing God savingly and personally should be the driving force of doing great exploits for God. God drew us into the fellowship of the Trinity (John 6:44) and so now that we are satisfied in Him we want other people to be satisfied with His presence as well. Jesus said: “he who comes to Me shall never hunger and He who believes in Me shall never thirst” (John 6:35). We are called by God not ultimately to preach the word and call other to repentance but to know God and make Him known. This is the foundation of our evangelizing. Knowing God is not a means to do something greater. Knowing God is the foundation of and the glorious end of our existence. God made us so that we might have eternal fellowship with God. Evangelizing people, working for God, shouldn’t be a greater thing than spending time alone with God and enjoying his presence! Having sweet fellowship with God, knowing Him better, should be the controlling force and blazing centre of your existence. Without knowing God as your personal Savior and Lord no one should attempt to evangelize and preach the gospel.
“Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days.” (Psalms‬ ‭90:14‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 8) The love of God

The love of God

The love of God is not just a fluffy, warm feeling. It is revealed in a Person, the Godman – Christ Jesus. According to the theologian Wayne Grudem, the love of God means that God eternally gives of himself to others and continues to give Himself to those who believe.
The love of God is one of the great themes of Scripture: Here are a few Scripture verses to show us that the love of God is CENTRAL to God’s redemptive plan revealed in the Bible: this is however not an exhaustive list:
Psalm 36:7 “How precious is your lovingkindness O God, therefore, the children of men put their trust in the shadow of Your wings.”
Psalm 103:11,17 “For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him” (ESV)
“But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children” (Psalm 103:11, 17 ESV).
Jeremiah 31:3 states: “The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”
John 3:16 declares: “For God SO loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but everlasting life.”
John 13:1 reveals: “when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.”
Ephesians 2:4,5 states about the believers: “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”. (Ephesians 2:4-5 NKJV)
1 John 3:16 states: “By this we know love because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren”.
1 John 4:10 reveals: “Herein is the love of God, not that we loved Him, but that He loved us and gave His only begotten Son to be a propitiation (removing the wrath of God) for our sins.”
Romans 5:9 declares: “God demonstrated His love to us that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
And Romans 5:5 states about the believers: “God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”
The love of God has been revealed in the life, death, resurrection, ascension and intercession of Jesus Christ at God’s right hand of omnipotent power. And God continues to pour out His love into the hearts of believers through the Indwelling of the Holy Spirit throughout the centuries until today.
This is the love of God that has been hidden throughout the ages but has NOW been revealed to us in Christ Jesus. No greater love has there ever been in the world, is there in the world at this moment, and no greater love will there ever be.
This love dominated the life of Paul the apostle while he lived on earth. He said that the love of God constrained him or compelled him to preach the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:14). Paul the apostle knew that God saved him from his sins and that it was the love of God which gave Jesus Christ to this world. This same love was working in Paul (John 17:26) and compelled him to preach the gospel. This same love of God should also be the driving force and move us to share the only gospel who can save people from their sins. When we are filled with the love of God we are filled with the fullness of God and we will be able to lay down our lives for those God called us to serve.
Paul prayed the following to the church in Ephesus:
“I pray that….that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” ‭‭(Ephesians‬ ‭3:17-19‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
Only if we are born again by the Spirit of God can we be filled with the Spirit of God and the love God. God gave Jesus Christ to this world so that those who would believe may be filled with His love so that they may also lay down their lives for the world in order that many may become the children of God. God has a general love for all the people of the world but a specific love for his elect.

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism: (Part 7) The gospel of God

7. The gospel of God

While Jesus Christ was on this earth He began His public ministry with the words: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark‬ ‭1:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬). When Paul wrote his letter to the Christians in Rome he said the following: ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”” (Romans‬ ‭1:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The word gospel means “good news” and in the context of the Bible it means “the good news of God to the world.” Like we said in the previous section, you will not see the good news of God as good at all unless you know of the plight of your soul before God. We have established our plight before God in the previous section, so now we will look at the good news itself. The first four books of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are called the four gospels.
They are orderly accounts of the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and what He did and said while he lived on this earth. We can say that they give us different angles or portraits of the truth of Jesus Christ. Just as four different painters who draw the same landscape or mountain would capture different truths about the particular mountain or landscape so each writer of the four gospels captured different truths and put different emphases on the Person and work of Jesus Christ. All four gospels reveal truth about Jesus Christ, His Person and His work on earth.

In the letters of Paul in the New Testament we get a clearer focus on the meaning of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Some Biblical scholars differentiate between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of salvation in the New Testament and in the letters of Paul.
The gospel of the kingdom they say deals with the rule and authority of Jesus Christ and the gospel of salvation deals with how God saves people from their sins. I will not differentiate between these two gospels, but treat them as one, because both of these themes in the Bible come together in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.

The Bible makes it clear that it is the gospel that is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). It is through the word of God, the gospel being preached, (1 Corinthians 1:18) which is the word of truth, that people are saved from their sins and are born again by the Holy Spirit. People cannot be saved from the wrath of God and from their sins by mere education or doing good works or being baptized or by just confessing their sins to God. There needs to be a power encounter with God in the Holy Spirit whereby people hear the truth of the gospel and believe the truth of the gospel. I will elaborate on this truth later. Peter the apostle said:

“since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter‬ ‭1:23-25‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.‬‬‬‬

Here is a Biblical definition of the gospel of God:

1)God sent His only begotten Son Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, into this world, to Israel as prophesied in the Scriptures, in history about 2000 years ago. 2) He was miraculously conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary his earthly mother. 3) Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, in human form. He was also truly a human being who got sick and tired and hungry as all humans do. He had a real human nature. 4) He lived a blameless, sinless life, fulfilled the righteousness of the law on behalf of his people and exhibited the righteousness and nature of God in a perfect way. 5) He died a substitutionary death on behalf of His people, satisfied the justice of God (the just requirement of the law), absorbed and set aside the wrath of God on behalf His people. 6) After three days He physically rose from the dead and thereby conquered the power of death, Satan, sin and sinful human nature. God vindicated Jesus Christ by raising Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and declared Him to be the Son of God. 7) After 40 days after His death Jesus ascended to heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father while all authority in heaven and earth has been given unto Him. 8) Everyone who repents of their sins and believes in the Person of Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death (finished work), receiving Him as Lord and Savior and Righteousness, will be reconciled to God, 9) will be given the Holy Spirit as an everlasting gift, will receive eternal life, justification, forgiveness of sins, an inheritance in heaven and will be adopted as God’s son or daughter.

Let’s unpack this definition one point at a time:

1) God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, who is God Himself, into this world, to Israel as prophesied in the Scriptures, in history 2000 years ago.

We see this truth very clearly in the gospel of John. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God sent into this world. Jesus Christ never had a beginning. He is Everlasting. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us..(John 1:1-3;14). The letter of Hebrews makes it very clear that Jesus Christ is God, the exact representation (replica) of the Father and the radiance of His glory (Hebrews 1:3). Christians believe in the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit eternally existing in three Persons, equal in essence and nature but having different roles. The fact that Jesus is called the Son of God doesn’t mean that there was physical sex with Mary his early mother and God. That concept would be blasphemous. God is Spirit and cannot have sex with humans. He is holy. Jesus Christ is called the only Begotten Son of God the Father meaning He has a special relationship with the Father that born again children didn’t have and cannot have as He is God. God sent Him into this world in history to Israel. The fact that Jesus would come to the world and what he would do, were prophesied in the Scriptures given by God to His people over many centuries. The people of God expected the Messiah to come. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 prophesies in his life, death and resurrection. We call Jesus becoming a human the incarnation of God. It is important to realize that Jesus was the Only Begotten of the Father, there were not many incarnations of God in history (Hebrews 9:22-28), there was only one. He came in the fullness of time.

2) He was miraculously conceived of the Holy Spirit in Mary his early mother

The Bible makes it clear that the birth of Jesus Christ was a miracle (Matthew 1:18-25). It cannot be repeated by a human being or through experimentation. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:40-60?). Jesus was called Emmanuel, which means God with us, to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. He was born of God, without sexual union. Mary was a virgin.

“In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary…..And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?” And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God.” (Luke‬ ‭1:26-27, 30-35‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

3) Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, in human form. He was also truly a human being who got sick and tired and hungry as all humans do. He had a real human nature.

Some people in history have tried to show that Jesus was not really a human but was like a spirit in the form of a human. The Bible makes it very clear however that Jesus was really a human. He slept and ate and got tired and cried and worked with his hands as a carpenter before His public ministry. The book of Hebrews goes so far as to say that He was temped in all respects as we are temped yet being without sin (Hebrews 4:14-16).

4) He lived a blameless, sinless life, fulfilled the righteousness of the law on behalf of his people, exhibited the righteousness and nature of God in a perfect way.

A few times in the Scriptures the Bible makes it clear that Jesus Christ never sinned. He never sinned in thought, word, action, attitude or in his disposition. He lived a perfect life and so obtained a perfect righteousness. That is one of the reasons God came to earth, to live the life we could never live and to become a perfect Savior for us. If Jesus had sinned once in His life, if He ever made one mistake He wouldn’t be able to save us from our sins, because then He would also need a Savior to save him from his sins. We know that the punishment of sin is death (Romans 6:23). If Jesus had ever sinned once then He had to die for his own sins.

“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter‬ ‭2:21-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.

“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:21‬ ‭ESV).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews‬ ‭4:15‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Jesus came to obey all the laws of the Old Testament in a perfect way.
He came to satisfy the just requirements of the law so that He can justify us. Jesus did not only die in our place as a substitute but he also lived a perfect life as our substitute so that by faith in Him we can stand perfect before God. Jesus Christ came to live a perfect life on our behalf so that through Him be can be accepted by God. In union with Christ, God doesn’t look at us through the things we have done, but through the merits and achievements of Christ. The whole of Jesus’ life was a life of perfection. Jesus Christ exhibited the perfect divine nature of God in all that He did. Not only did the hundreds of miracles of Jesus exhibit the compassion and love of God in a perfect way but also God’s holiness and His hatred for sin and for sinful hypocrites. We see the full panorama of God’s perfections shine through and on display through the life in Christ Jesus. And God accounts Christ’s righteousness to us when we trust in Him. The righteousness of Christ accounted to the believer becomes the ground of our justification before God. Without that righteousness accounted to us by faith no one will see God!

“For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans‬ ‭8:3-4‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

5) He died a substitutionary death on behalf of His people, satisfied the justice of God (the just requirement of the law), absorbed and set aside the wrath of God on behalf His people.

Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) He did not die for His own sins, because He was sinless. He died for the sins of His people. He laid down His life for His sheep (John 10:15). He gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He was the Lamb of God who took away the sins of the world (John 1:29). He came to reconcile the world unto Himself (2 Corinthians 5:17-19). He did not only die for His people among the Jews but for the whole world. The world in these passages means that God has a people across the world, in every nation, and tribe and language group and ethnicity (See Revelation 5:9; 7:9). Jesus didn’t pay for every sin of every man that has ever lived. If that be the case then every person would go to heaven, because then the sin of unbelief, of not believing in Jesus, would also be forgiven. But the Bible makes it clear that He bore the sins of His people on the cross. He did not only make salvation and forgiveness of sins possible, He actually paid for the sins of His elect across the world. He actually purchased eternal salvation for His people. With His own blood being spilled He purchased faith and repentance as well for those who he would draw to Himself.

The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. That is why Jesus had to die. The punishment of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The soul that sins must die (Ezekiel 18:20). Because Jesus never sinned and because he was God his death could atone for the sins of believers. The punishment we deserve is infinite and unlimited. But Jesus Christ was God and only He could absorb and set aside the anger of God because He was and is the infinite worthy and valuable God. No one else could atone for our sins, because no One else was able to absorb the unlimited wrath of God. No one else could because all have sinned and have fallen under God’s judgement. We were all separated from the glory of God. Jesus satisfied the justice of God, because He was God who obeyed the law perfectly and obtained a perfect experiential obedience to the law. He died as a substitute and fulfilled all the animal sacrifices given as requirements in the old covenant on that cross. He set us free from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us (Galatians 3:13). He was the propitiation for the sins of his people (1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Jesus Christ came to save us from God, (His wrath against sin) by God (the Holy Spirit) for God (His glory) and in God (the Holy Spirit).

When Jesus cried out the words: “it is finished” it meant Jesus did everything necessary to reconcile us to God. Jesus was abandoned by His Father on the cross so that we can be accepted. He was rejected so that we can be adopted into His family. He was cursed on our behalf so that we can be eternally blessed in the Holy Spirit!

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.” (Romans‬ ‭3:23-26‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

6) After three days He physically rose from the dead and thereby conquered the power of death, Satan, sin and sinful human nature. God vindicated Jesus Christ by raising Him from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and declared Him to be the Son of God.

The Bible makes it very clear that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit and the glory of the Father (Ephesians 1:18-20; Romans 8:9-11; Romans 6:4). The fact that God raised Jesus from the dead in a glorified body proved that God accepted His sacrifice and that He was the only Begotten Son of God (Romans 1:4). Because Jesus never sinned death could not hold Him in the grave. He didn’t die for his own sin, but for the sin of His people, His elect people. All the gospels make it clear that there were eyewitnesses who saw Jesus in a glorified body (See John 21:1-10; Matthew 28:1-11; Luke 24:1-10; Mark 16:1-10). Paul the apostle said that if we don’t believe that Jesus Christ rose physically from the dead in a spiritual, incorruptible body, our faith is worthless and that we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:11-21). Sin came into the world through Adam, the first representative of mankind. Through the last or second Adam, Jesus Christ, the second representation of humanity comes eternal life, forgiveness of sins and victory over death and sin (See Romans 5:12-21). Jesus conquered Satan on the cross because He never gave into sin when tempted. He broke the power of sins, because He was God who never sinned, and He broke the power of death, because He died a substitutionary death and because he absorbed and set aside the coming wrath of God against sin for those who believe.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery” (Hebrews‬ ‭2:14-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him” (Colossians‬ ‭2:13-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In Adam we all died but through Jesus Christ we will all be made alive (1 Corinthians 5:22). Adam catapulted the human race into misery, death and the slavery of sins, but through Jesus Christ believers will have eternal life, hope and joy.

7) After 40 days after His death Jesus ascended to heaven and was seated at the right hand of the Father while all authority in heaven and earth has been given unto Him

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given unto Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). Jesus ascended into heaven on a cloud (Acts 1:11). He is seated at the right hand of the Father and all principalities and power and angels and every name that can be named in this world and in the next is submitted unto His authority (See Ephesians 1:20-22; Phillipians 2:5-11). All judgment has been given unto Jesus Christ (John 5:22). He will judge the living and the dead from all ages to come (Revelation 20:10-15). He is now the King of kings and the Lord of lords. Nothing and no one has more power than Him. Every knee will one day bow and declare that He is Lord and King even if they now refuse to do so. Because of His work of salvation He has this position in the universe. It is not a question of accepting Him as Lord but of submitting to Him as the Lord of your life. He is Lord and King over all peoples and Angels and Demons. It is a case of submitting and subjecting under his supreme authority, willingly or unwillingly.

8) Everyone who repents of their sins and believes in the Person of Jesus Christ and His substitutionary death (finished work), receiving Him as Lord and Savior and Righteousness, will be reconciled to God.

Although God has reconciled His people to Himself, the recipients of His grace don’t receive it automatically. We are commanded to repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ in order to receive His salvation. Salvation is a free gift to be received by faith (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:4-6; Romans 3:24-26; Romans 6:23). Everyone who receives Christ, who believe in His Name, God has given the right to become children of God (John 1:12). But we receive this gift by biblical repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot have saving faith without biblical repentance. You cannot believe savingly without turning to Jesus Christ. If your eyes are fixed on the things of this world and the pleasures of sins and self-righteousness you wouldn’t be able to see the glory of Christ. Biblical repentance involves, a change of heart (contrition) a change of mind (conviction), admission of your guilt (confession) and a change of behavior (conversion). Unless the Holy Spirit makes you aware of your sins, unless the Holy Spirit makes you alive (Ephesians 2:1-5) and unless you subsequently confess your sins to God and be broken over it (Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:17) you wouldn’t be able to see the preciousness and worth of God. Biblical repentance (2 Timothy 2:20) and genuine faith in Christ are gifts given by God through Jesus Christ and were purchased by the blood of Christ. If we repent in a biblical way and believe in Christ, it will be the work of God although we are not passive in this process. We are involved in repentance and faith in Jesus. It is not our repentance and faith that saves us from the wrath of God and our sins, but it is Christ who saves us. We should never make faith meritorious. Repentance and faith are just the channels that connect us to the supreme Treasure, Lord and Savior who is Jesus Christ. It is Christ alone who saves in the Holy Spirit (Acts 4:12; 1 John 5:12).

We have to receive Christ as our Lord and Savior and Righteousness to be saved from our sins (John 1:12). We cannot think we only want Jesus to save us from our sins but not want Him to be our Ruler and King. If we don’t submit to Him as Ruler of our lives, then we have a Christ of our own imagination. We have to receive Christ for who He is, Lord, Savior and our Treasure of righteousness.

The gospel of God is not good news unless it actually reconciles us to God. In His book, “God is the gospel” John Piper makes it clear that all the benefits of the gospel: forgiveness of sins, deliverance from sins, escape from hell, an inheritance in heaven, peace of mind etc. wouldn’t be good unless they bring us into fellowship with God in the Holy Spirit (1 John 1:4-7; 1 Peter 3:18). This is a very important aspect of the gospel. Many people want all the benefits of the gospel but they don’t want God! They don’t love the beauty and glory and being of Christ. They don’t love and esteem the holiness of God. They don’t want to be inconvenienced and suffer for the gospel. They only want the blessings of God but not the being of a holy God in their lives. If God does not reconcile us to Himself and if we don’t receive the Holy Spirit as an abiding reality in us, making His home within us, then Jesus who died and suffered on the cross would have been senseless and useless.

9) Will receive the Holy Spirit as an everlasting gift, will receive eternal life, justification, forgiveness of sins, an inheritance in heaven and will be adopted as God’s son or daughter.

With receiving Christ in your life, you receive all the spiritual blessings in heavenly places which includes: the fullness of the Holy Spirit, justification, forgiveness of sins, deliverance from your sins and the power of Satan, an inheritance in heaven and many more to come in the new heavens and the new earth. By faith in Jesus Christ we are declared righteous in God’s sight and are therefore justified in God’s courtroom. If God did not spare His only begotten Son but gave Him for us all will He not give us all things beneficial, which also includes suffering and tribulation that would make us conformed to Christ’s image? (Romans 8:32-37). With the Holy Spirit within us the love of God is poured out into our hearts (Romans 5:5). No eye has seen and no ear has heard what God has prepared for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (1 Corinthians 2:9). With receiving Christ as your brother and Savior and Lord and the Holy Spirit you are adopted as God’s child (Romans 8:16; Galatians 4:3-9). Having Christ and the Holy Spirit in your life you become part of the family of God.

“For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him” (Romans‬ ‭8:15-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬.

This gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes!

 

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 6)

The law and judgement of God

The best way to know our own lostness and depravity before God is to look deeply into the law of God and especially the Ten Commandments. By the law of God I mean the first 5 books of the Bible (The Torah), Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. The law of God can be divided into the ceremonial law, the moral law and the civic law. The ceremonial law in the Torah had to do with the construction of the Tabernacle, the Temple service, the animal sacrifices and dietary laws that God instituted for the nation of Israel. These ceremonial laws were only temporary and was a shadow of the things to come in Jesus Christ. All the animal sacrifices in the Old Testament pointed to Jesus Christ and His sacrifice that would take away the sins of the world (John 1:29). With the coming of Jesus Christ into the world who was the substance of the things to come (Collosians 2:14-16) God fulfilled the ceremonial laws of old Israel (Matthew 5:17-18) and abrogated them. That is why the curtain in the temple was torn in two when Jesus died at the cross (Matthew 27:51).

The civic law that God instituted was meant and instituted by God for the nation of Israel and when the nation of Israel was judged in 67AD this lost its function because the Everlasting King and eternal Judge came into the world. The civic law with its many commandments had benefit for the Israelites and children of God can still make use of them and obtain principles that would benefit societies and cultures today. But as binding on the people of God today they should not always be applied in every circumstance. E.x. We as children of God don’t have to rest after every six years from all work and every 49 years. We don’t have to celebrate the yearly feasts the Israelites used to celebrate. But we should honor the principle for work and rest and celebrate the salvivic events in history wrought by God (the birth of Christ, the death of Christ, the resurrection, the Ascension of Christ and the day of Pentecost). We are not forbidden to wear clothes of different material (Deuteronomy 22:9) but we are to obey the principle of separating from worldliness and not mixing idolatry with godliness and so on. In other words, the moral law embedded in the civic law guide us as Christians even today. What is of concern for us at this stage especially in evangelism is the moral law of God, given to us especially in the Ten Commandments and its out-workings in the Torah (Leviticus 18:1-23). The law of God shows us the nature of sin. It shows us the sinfulness of sin. The law of God (Ten Commandments) is good and holy and right (Romans 7:7) and is also the expression of God’s character. In the Ten Commandments we see what God loves and what God hates. We see in them what God condemns and what God commands. We see what behavior He blesses and what behavior He curses (Deuteronomy 27,28). Although the Ten Commandments are given in the negative (“you shall not murder”) it doesn’t mean the positive is not required (“protect innocent life and those who are vulnerable”) or (“you shall have no gods before Me”) ; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind” etc.

What is especially important for us in the law of God and the Ten Commandments is that it shows us how we have offended God. Each of the Ten Commandments stands for a family of sins. For example “you shall not murder” prohibits taking an innocent life, abortion, euthanasia, hatred towards a person, envy, jealousy, unrighteous anger etc. “You shall not commit adultery” prohibits “sexual lust, fornication, incest, pedophilia, bestiality, homosexuality etc. Each commandment deals with a family of sins. If we look deeply into the law of God we would see how many times we have offended God’s majesty and infinite worth and realize we should get justice from God. In the Ten Commandments and in the Torah we see that God never clears the guilty (Exodus 34:4-6; 20:4-9) and that because of our sins we deserve an Infinite punishment. We deserve infinite punishment, everlasting hell, because we have sinned against an Infinite holy God. If God was not as valuable and worthy and glorious as He was then our sentence would not be unlimited and deserving of eternal hell. Since God is infinite and almighty and the Creator and Sustainer of everything we deserve such an infinite and severe sentence.

We see that sin is serious in the narrative of Adam and Eve. God said they would surely die when they ate of the tree in the middle of the garden and they did die when they ate (Genesis 2:10-3:15). They spiritually died when they sinned and their sin affected the human race ever since. Adam was the Federal head, the representation of mankind in the beginning when God made the heavens and earth and because of his sin we all became sinners (Romans 5:12-21). In Adam we all died (1 Corinthians 5:22). Adam also eventually physically died and all humans will die physically as a result of sin.

We also see in the Torah the veracity of sin and the judgment of God on sin. We see this most clearly in the narrative of Noah in Genesis 6. Because the thoughts of mankind was only evil continually (Genesis 6:5) God decided to destroy mankind except Noah, his family and selected animals and life-forms. God judged mankind for their sins with death. God never can just wipe our sins under a rug and forgive. Because God is just there must be punishment for sin. There must be divine payment for every sin. That is so because when we sin we reject God’s authority over us, we despise His rightfully ownership over us, and we insult His worthiness and value. Every time we sin we say, in fact, “God we choose sin instead of you. We rather have sin than you. We rather be satisfied with sin than with you.” And because God is infinitely valuable and worthy and just and holy we deserve an infinite worthy sentence. The sentence against each of our sins is death: spiritual death and physical death. Death came into the world by one man, Adam, everlasting life came into the world through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:12-22). The soul that sins must die (Ezekiel 18:20). The penalty and wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23). The day that you eat of that tree you shall surely die (Genesis. 2:17).

Because we were made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) we have moral motions. We are moral beings. That means we can differentiate between evil and good, between right and wrong. We are like God in that respect. But because we are born in sin and because we have all violated God’s standards for us, encapsulated in the Ten Commandments, we deserve justice from God. We are all guilty before God. The world will face judgment before God. We will give an account before God of how we have lived (Romans 2:14-16).

“Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation‬ ‭20:11-15‬ ‭ESV‬‬)‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Old Testament is an account of how God judged individuals and the nations for their sins. God used the Philistines, the Syrians, the Assyrian Empire and the Babylonian Empires to judge His people. And God has done that throughout history. Even if people never heard the law of God or the Ten Commandments they will face judgment because God has written His laws on our hearts and He has revealed His eternal power and His divinity in the things that He has made, in nature and creation (See Romans 1:18-24). We are all without excuse before God because we have rejected and rebelled against the light of nature and of God in our conscience. Our guilt is real because it is moral. By nature we reject God’s love and God’s goodness because we love evil. We cannot save ourselves from our sins. We cannot do what we ought to do: obey God’s laws. But we do what we want to do: sin. And because we do what we want to do, sin, we are accountable to God and guilty before God for every sin we commit.

As evangelists we can only be successful and do what God wants us to do if we first declare the law of God and the demands of the law and show our hearers how they fall short of God’s standards and His glory before we give them the good news of the gospel. We have to give our hearers the bad news first before they will ever receive the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If people are not aware of how they offended God and how they broke His holy laws and how they grieved His Holy Spirit and what punishment and judgment they deserve why should they care of the good news of salvation? If we don’t tell people how sick they really are why would they want spiritual healing, salvation?

We see in the Old Testament how the prophets always declared the sins of the people and the judgements of God before they gave them the hope of the gospel and the hope of forgiveness if they would repent of their sins. Evangelists that reject this order will breed a bunch of false converts that only want Jesus for their own ends or for the gifts of love, peace and joy and forgiveness that He may give them.
If we don’t see our own danger before we see the remedy we won’t come to God for the right reasons. Ray Comfort the evangelist has shown us clearly why it is so important to use the law of God in evangelism to convict the sinner of his sins and show him the nature of sin. We must tell people to flee from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). This was also the way great preachers have done in past centuries:

The purpose of the law is firstly to strip us of our pride and own righteousness.
Charles Spurgeon said: “they will never accept grace until they tremble before a just and holy law.”
And Martin Luther said: “the first duty of the gospel preacher is to declare God’s law and show the nature of sin.”
Romans 7:7 states: “I had not known sin, but by the law..”
Paul the apostle made it clear how to use the law of God lawfully, that is, to convict the sinners of his sin:
But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully, knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for fornicators, for sodomites, for kidnappers, for liars, for perjurers, and if there is any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God which was committed to my trust.”(‭I Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭8-11‬ NKJV). ‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬
We use the law of God lawfully if we use it like Jesus Christ did when he encountered the rich young ruler. Jesus used the law of God to convict the rich young ruler of his sins. When the self-righteous young ruler justified himself, Jesus pointed to His riches as His idol.

“A man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” (Mark‬ ‭10:17-21‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We will be wise if we also use the law of God to show people their sins. And after we showed them their sins give them the remedy, the cure. In our gospel presentations we must first diagnose the sick with spiritual cancer before we can prescribe them with the cure of spiritual cancer: the gospel! For self-righteous people we should use the law. For the contrite of heart, the broken and desperate for salvation we give the gospel.

Biblical Foundations for Evangelism (Part 5)

The depravity and lostness of humanity

The great Reformers, John Calvin, Martin Luther and others have rediscovered the plight of man before God as they studied the Scriptures in the original languages in the sixteenth century. For many centuries the church of God was in the dark about their true condition before God. How depraved and lost are human beings without God? Are they partly depraved, and partially lost. Do they need some assistance to be better individuals? Do they only need assistance from God to be accepted by Him? Or are they totally depraved, totally lost?

The Bible makes it clear in Romans 3:11-19 that humanity are unable to help themselves, unable to save themselves. We are in fact dead in our sins and trespasses (Ephesians 2:1-2). We don’t need divine assistance only, we need to be born from above, born of the Holy Spirit. We need a new birth (John 3:3-5). We are radically evil and sinful. We are not as evil as we could be, not all of us! We are totally depraved, meaning there is no way we will turn to God unless the Holy Spirit makes us alive to spiritual realities. Listen to how Paul the apostle puts it:

“as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.” “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.” “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.” “Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.” “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”” (Romans‬ ‭3:10-18‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The Scriptures here explain the condition of man without God. This passage makes it clear that we don’t need improvement and self-actualization. We don’t need to revamp the self. We need a complete change of our natures to come to God. We need spiritual regeneration. We need to be born again, we need the Holy Spirit to make us alive unto God if we have any chance to come to God and be saved. The Father must draw us in order for us to come to Christ (John 6:44). We are not by nature looking and seeking after God. Rather, it is God who was and is seeking after us. Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He takes the initiative in salvation. It is God who awakens us to our sinful condition. It is God who convicts us of sin, righteousness and judgment (John 16:8). It is God who shows us our depravity before God. If left to ourselves we will never seek after God. We are born in sin (Psalm 51:6). We go estranged from the womb (Psalm 58:3). We are all born in Adam with a sinful nature (Romans 5:11-19). We are born evil and rebellious. Again, I said we are not as evil as we could be, but we are morally and totally depraved, God-hating and unable to choose God and receive His salvation unless God takes the initiate and shows us our sins and how heinous our sins are in front of his holy and just presence.

Many times we compare ourselves to other sinners, like serial killers and prostitutes and thieves and murderers and rapists and say to ourselves we are not as evil as they are. My friend without God’s restraining hand we will become the worst creatures of hell! Without God’s restraining hand nothing will stop us from becoming as evil as Hitler or Stalin if we are given the opportunity. Many times we are not as evil as we could be because we lack the opportunity to sin in such ways. But we should not think that serial killers and rapists are more evil than the self-righteous and the religious. Was it not the Pharisees and the Scribes in Jesus’ day that were excluded from the kingdom of God and tax-collectors and prostitutes that entered the kingdom of God? You see if we start relying on our own goodness and righteousness then we are in a worse danger than when we live in spectacular sins. If we live as if we don’t need God and become self-sufficient then we shut ourselves out from God’s grace and mercy. This self-righteousness is what made the Pharisees in Jesus’ day so contemptible in God’s sight. As Charles Spurgeon said:

“The black devil of licentiousness has slain her thousands, but the white devil of self-righteousness has slain her tens of thousands.”

Paul the apostle said of the Jewish leaders:

“Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (Romans‬ ‭10:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Self-reliance is what is taking many people in our societies to hell. You are not safe at all if you think you do not need Christ desperately from day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute, and second to second. The prophet Jeremiah warned us with these words:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”” (Jeremiah‬ ‭17:9-10‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

As John Calvin the theologian said: “the heart of man is an idol factory.” Left with an unregenerate heart no human can image what we are capable of. And relying on our own abilities and living independently before God may be the worst kind of evil. It is a heinous crime against God’s majesty to inwardly say to Him: “I don’t need you.” What surprise God-haters and God-ignorers and God-deniers will face when they stand before God one day face to face and hear the words: “depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23).

Jesus Christ described the heart of man in this way:

Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”” (Mark‬ ‭7:18-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬).‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We are eternally lost, eternally damned, eternally wicked and totally depraved left to ourselves and our own devices. We are without hope and salvation without God shining into our hearts the truth of the gospel. If we want to know the extent of our depravity before God all we have to look is at the law of God and the Ten Commandments. In the law of God we see our guilt to the fullest extent. In God’s moral law we see how many times we have fallen short of the perfection and glory of God.

 

 

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