Things to do at HOME during COVID-19 Isolation.

COVID-19 & The things we can do.

In prayerful response to the COVID-19 concern, the church at Franklin & Juniper will cancel all services for the next 2 weeks.
We will continue to evaluate & update as the situation changes.

This decision is similar to how we cancel services during times of severe weather as well as how some make the personal choice to remain home when they are sick.

For some, if their condition prevents them from doing secular activities, it will prevent them from assembling with the saints.

This is not just a local situation, nor a national. It is an international situation.

Just because we’re practicing SOCIAL DISTANCING if we must go out for groceries (or take out) it doesn’t mean we’re no longer interacting with people in other ways. We may be in ISOLATION, but this is no time to be IDLE. There are several things we can do during the time we self-quarantine at HOME.

The first thing we can do is HEAL. This virus has a 14-day incubation period. Many may be asymptomatic, meaning they have the virus but have no symptoms. Let’s take time to HEAL our bodies.

We can HEED the warnings about limiting physical contact. We can HELP the helpless. There may be some who have compromised immune systems or other risk factors. Perhaps as some gather necessities, you could look out for their needs.

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” [Phil 2:4]

We can OPEN OUR BIBLES. Far too many have lived hectic & harried lives. While you may still be able to work from home, almost every non-essential activity has been canceled. What a great time to start that Bible Reading Program you resolved to do this year.  It only takes about 20 hours to read the New Testament. Everyone could read the entire NT during this time. (30 min in the morning & evening.

Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Chris)” [ Eph 3:4]

Another great thing we can do is we can now have MEALS with the family. This is a lost tradition in modern times. What a great way to return to this wonderful custom where we can connect & talk with our family. Resist the urge to graze all day long, eating our meals in front of electronics.

Married couples can find ways to improve their MARRIAGES. This goes beyond the physical and looks to the Spiritual.

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” [Eph 5:25]

Let’s remember the lonely and we can connect to the lonely through MESSAGING & calls. There are some among us who were lonely before this and are now more so.

Lastly, just because the building is closed there is no reason to shut down EVANGELISM. Crisis causes many to turn to God. We see this repeatedly in Scripture. Keep you EYES & EARS open to how your friends & family talk about the present distress. As Christians we are have the comfort of God’s word that removes all fear.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord…” [2Tim 1:7-8]

We must maintain our hope & excitement for the Lord. When unbelievers see our enthusiasm, they may want to know why. Be ready to answer. [1Peter 3:15]

Be aware of a real phenomenon called cabin fever as well as the tendency for tempers to flare during confinement. Remember to ESTEEM others better than self. [Phil 2:3]

Trust in God, although our OUTWARD man is perishing, our INWARD man can be renewed daily. [2Cor 4:16]

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”

–Spencer

4 Consequences if you don’t believe hell is REAL

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Hell is a serious subject, that is if you believe it’s a REAL place. If, however, you’re one of those who don’t believe hell is REAL, then everything in this article will be ignored.

I HOPE YOU DON’T IGNORE THIS TOPIC. If you do, there are serious consequences to YOU if you don’t believe that hell is a real place.

It matters what one believes as our beliefs drive our actions and attitudes.

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he:” [Prov 23:7a]

WHAT ARE THE FOUR CONSEQUENCES if you don’t believe that hell is REAL?

First, you will have little to no REGARD for the gravity of sin. You have a lowered view about sin and you underestimate the purity of God.

Sin is a direct disregard for God and His sovereignty. There is no sin in God, not one drop.

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent:” [Num 23:19a; cr Titus 1:2]

From the very beginning this lesson is taught. In the garden, when Adam & Eve took of the fruit of the KOGAE tree, they had to be separated from God.

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” [Isaiah 59:2]

Sin is that bad.

The next thing that begins to change in you is that you will lessen your EVANGELISM.

The magician Penn Jillette, an atheist, said it this way;

How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that? I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

When we fail to realize the reality of HELL, we fail to take it seriously and fail to warn others about it.

The third consequence is we begin to believe that the lost are simply ANNIHILATED from existence. While this may be palatable to our senses, this too is a mistake.

If we believe in annihilation of the lost, we belittle the justice of God. He has said,

Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” [Romans 12:19]

Where is the justice for the rape, murder and every manner of wickedness that man has done to other men?

We have no problem with the idea of Hell for the Hitlers, the rapists and the pedophiles, but we have a problem when it comes to those who sin against God. (I refer you back to the first point.)

Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” [Jude 7; cf Heb 2:1-3]

Which brings us to the final point. We start to rationalize by saying, “a LOVING God would never send anyone to hell.”

This last point encompasses the previous three. Many denominational preachers have said that they won’t speak about sin or hell as it’s too negative. One said, “”No, I really don’t, because it’s a different approach.” This is a direct contradiction of how Paul preached;

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” [Acts 20:27; cr v20]

We ought not project what we want onto our Creator; “”For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” [Is 58:8]

HELL IS REAL. As these scriptures describe.

Lake of fire (Rev. 20:10)

Furnace of fire (Matt. 13:42)

Flaming fire (2Thess. 1:7-9)

Baptism of fire (Matt. 3:11-12)

Unquenchable fire (Mark 9:43)

Brimstone (Rev. 21:8)

Wailing & Gnashing (Matt. 8:12; 13:50)

Prepared for Devil (Matt. 25:41)

Outer darkness (Matt. 25:30)

Torment (Rev. 14:10-11)

Friends, Hell is real and we don’t want anyone, even our worst enemy to go there.

—Spencer

3 Reasons Why to Share the Gospel

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“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

[Mark 16:15]

Last week we looked at 3 WAYS to share the gospel.

They are:

PRIVATELY

PERSONALLY

PUBLICLY

This week we look at 3 reasons WHY we need to evangelize to the lost. These are reasons beyond the fact that it’s commanded by God. That is enough to settle the matter. That being said, we take time to examine the importance of evangelism.

3 Reasons why

The first reason is the fact that people are in a LOST condition, being separated from God. Paul asked the Romans,

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” [Romans 10:14]

We need to SEEK the FAITHLESS. People don’t like it when we state that someone is or may be lost, but this is a bible word given us by Christ Himself.

for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” [Luke 19:10]

Remember, someone told you about the gospel. I bet you can remember who it was and what you felt when your eyes were opened to the truth.

The second reason we need to preach is that some who had obeyed the gospel have LET GO of the faith and are fallen from Grace. [Gal 5:4]. The reasons for backsliding are varied, but all could be described as NEGLECT of their salvation.

“…how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…” [Hebrews 2:1-3]

In these instances, we must go out to STAND up the LAX. The Hebrew writer encourages this very activity.

And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” [Heb 10:24-25]

The third reason is to STRENGTHEN the LOYAL. This world is tough and unfair. The faithful need encouragement to keep on sharing the gospel despite the fact that the gospel will fall on deaf ears in the majority of cases [cr. Mat 7:13-14; Luke 13:23-24].

Those of us who actively share the gospel are constantly beat down by the LOST world. This mostly by denominational BELIEVERS. You would be amazed and surprised to hear what those, who claim they love Jesus, are willing to say and do.It should be no surprise, the bible says, “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” [1 John 3:13; cr. Jno. 15:18]

It’s for this reason we need to STRENGTHEN the LOYAL. Paul, while in bondage in a Roman prison, wrote about how the faithful were encouraged by the preaching of the gospel.

And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” [Philippians 1:14]

Our Lord said, “The harvest truly is great, but the labourers are few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.” [Luke 10:2]

Now that’s a good prayer.

—Spencer

3 Ways to Share the Gospel

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“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”

[Mark 16:15]

There should be no doubt in any Christians mind about the necessity of sharing the Gospel, nor the command.

The question is HOW?

Brent Hunter wrote a very good resource answering in detail some of the HOW to reach the Lost. This article looks to answer how with the 3 basic styles.

They are:

PRIVATELY

PERSONALLY

PUBLICLY

 

Let’s look at the 3 Styles of Evangelism.

PRIVATELY: The first style could be classified as the COLD style. It is evangelism by STEALTH. The primary way this is done is through the leaving behind of TRACTS in public places. Most often left behind with your TIP at a restaurant (hopefully sizeable so the server will actually read it).

You may desire this method because you’ve yet to gain the ability to defend the faith. Maybe you are trying to avoid saying the wrong thing. Perhaps you lacked OPPORTUNITY to have a warmer conversation, so you leave behind some material the person could review later.

The Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8 may be an example of a cold contact. He was reading spiritual information about the Christ. Had someone pointed him to that passage?

The next style is what I call the PERSONAL style. This method is WARM in that there’s familiarity between you and the other person. It is evangelism that is more SYMPATHETIC as you know more about the person and their life.

They’re familiar with you as well, and your quality of life demonstrates Christ living in you. [1Pet 3:2; Php 2:15; 1Pet 2:12] You can share the gospel by turning the normal casual conversations into discussions about life, godliness and Christ.

The difficulty with this style is the chance that your Family, Friends or Fellow workers who hold onto their false belief system and might harbor ill will toward you. Do it anyway. You love them, right?

The story of Philip with the Eunuch turns WARM as Philip asks him if he knows what he is reading. The Eunuch then invites Philip to sit with him to discuss the scriptures. Philip then preaches Jesus. [Acts 8:35]

The THIRD style is the PUBLIC method. It’s called public because the evangelism occurs in the public square or the marketplace. Perhaps posting on SOCIAL media platforms, reading your bible at Coffee Shops or conversations with Strangers.

This method could also be called HOT, as it draws out folks who hold error so dear. This method is effective in reaching a lot of people. The difficulty is in remaining calm as others try to mock you or draw you into a debate.

MANY WILL REJECT IT. We noted this in the last bulletin. They may RESIST it, try to ESCAPE from it, many will SCOFF at it, others will only PARTIALLY obey. A few will OBEY fully the gospel, but then some of those will NEGLECT it. Don’t be like those who DELAY in obeying the gospel when it’s too late.Paul took this approach on Mars Hill in Acts 17. At the end of his presentation of the Gospel it says, “some mocked.” I don’t know why they mocked; some just do that. Do what Paul did, and have another presentation. You see, it also says, “we will hear you again on this matter.” Then some men joined him and believed.

Next week we’ll see, “3 reasons Why must we share the gospel.”

—Spencer

6 ways how not to RESPOND to the Gospel & 1 right way.

If you’ve done any evangelism at all, and many of you have, you’ll immediately recognize these most common ways folks RESPOND to the Gospel message, especially to the command to be baptized.

However, we need not rely on anecdotal evidence, we can see these same responses in the scriptures.

Following are a list of ways how not to RESPOND to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and ONE way to RESPOND, can you recognize the one?

How do folks RESPOND to the Gospel?

The preachers of the Gospel went far and wide to every type of person. They preached to the elite class and the lower class. They preached when it was in season and when it was out of season. They preached from a mountain top and from a prison. They heard every way one could RESPOND.

RESISTANCE: When Stephen preached the Gospel to the Jewish leaders, he recognized this first one, RESISTANCE.

Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.” [Acts 7:51]

ESCAPISM or Ignore it. When Jesus was

Will Not Endure Sound Doctrine

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;”

[2Timothy 4:3]

asked how to inherit eternal life, He told the young ruler what must be done. He didn’t like it, so he turned and walked away. Also, those in John 6 who didn’t like the hard sayings of Jesus. When the sayings of Jesus are too hard for some, they choose rather to ignore it. They escape to other teachers [2Tim 4:3].

“And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” [Mark 10:22]

SCOFF at it. Along with RESISTING & IGNORING the Gospel, some go further and mock it. They my also go a step further and SCOFF at the messenger.

“And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked:” [Acts 17:32]

PARTIAL OBEDIENCE: Partial obedience to God is no obedience at all. Unfortunately, far too many stop at faith alone, and fail to consider the whole counsel of God [Acts 20:7]. Jesus’ criticism of the Scribes & Pharisees was with their partial obedience to the Law.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” [Matthew 23:23]

OBEDIENCE: This one thing is Resisted, Ignored, Scoffed at etc. The scriptures are so clear, OBEY THE GOSPEL.

“And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” [Hebrews 5:9]

NEGLECT it. Here’s a sad truth. Some Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess & are Baptized, but then fall from grace through NEGLECT. Failing to be diligent unto the end. We NEGLECT reading, worship, communion, working, or serving.

“How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation;” [Hebrews 2:3]

DELAY: Delay is to Disobey. How sad it is when folks hear the truth but delay obedience until some more convenient time. This is putting trust in a future that has no promise [James 4:14].

“… Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.”

[Acts 24:25]

How do you RESPOND to the Gospel?               —Spencer

HONK if you Love Jesus

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While stopping at a light, a fellow got behind a car with a “HONK IF YOU LOVE JESUS” bumper sticker. So, he did.

The lady started waving her arms and using certain hand gestures then leaned out the window shouting, “THE LIGHTS RED YOU IDIOT!”

On social media you’ll find posts like…

“If you Love Jesus, share this post. If you love Satan, keep on scrolling.”

You don’t want anyone to think you love Satan over Jesus, right?

This appears to be what Loving Jesus has become, acknowledge that you love him by HONKING, LIKING & SHARING a meme [a meme is a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users.].

INDISTINGUISHABLE FAITH:

We are living in a time when the believing world thinks all other believers are saved. This despite the variations in TEACHING, DOCTRINE, DEFINITION of SIN, & HOW TO BE SAVED. Clearly these differences are a direct violation of 1Corinthians 1:10.

“Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the SAME thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the SAME mind and in the SAME judgment.”

What does ‘ecumenical’ mean?

Promoting or relating to unity among the world’s Christian Churches, regardless of doctrine, teaching or organization.

The believing world is ecumenical. They have unity with Islam, Judaism, Buddhism & every other belief system. How? Simple, they are unified in the worldly definition of LOVE & TOLERANCE.

If you LOVE, and TOLERATE others who have love, regardless of what is being taught, then there’s unity. I’m not making this up. This is my experience whenever I suggest to someone that OBEDIENCE TO THE FAITH is a requirement of salvation. “That’s not loving,” they’ll say.

“Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name,” [Romans 1:5]

The love they believe is defined by the world. Definitions from the world are ever changing. LOVE, IN THE WORLD’S MIND, CAN INCLUDE SIN. It can include direct disobedience to the scriptures. The love of the world can include ignoring Christ altogether.

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15]

They might even quote scripture (without understanding):

  • God is Love. 1John 4:8, 16
  • John 3:16 says, “God loved the world.”
  • “All you need is love.” (this is a quote from the Beatles, not God)

There can be no denying that God is Love, and that He requires Love from us. What needs to be clarified is what is the definition of that Love.

GOD IS LOVE:

Since God is love, He knows best how to define it, and He has. All we need do is search the scriptures to learn God’s definition of Love.

  • Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
  • 1John 3:16 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.
  • Eph 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.
  • John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
  • John 14:15 “If you love Me, keep My commandments.
  • John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.
  • John 15:10 “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.
  • 1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
  • 2John 1:6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

And lastly, one of the most concise passages on love is 1Corinthians 13;

“Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not its own, is not provoked, taketh not account of evil; rejoiceth not in unrighteousness, but rejoiceth with the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Love never faileth:” [1Cor 13:4-8a]

Love in the Bible is so much more than a feeling, sharing a post or honking a horn. It’s about a sacrificial devotion to our creator which includes our obedience to His revealed will. DO YOU LOVE JESUS? Share His Gospel.

—Spencer

HOGS & CHRISTIANS

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An Evangelist once visited a farmer to talk to him about Christ. “I wouldn’t come to church up there,” the farmer said. “I know old So and So (insert a name) church goer who claims to be a Christian and So and So (insert another name) church goer who claims to be a Christian, and they don’t live any differently from me. I’m as good as they are.” Everywhere the farmer went, he told about the hypocrites in that Church.

A few weeks go by and the Christian went to see the farmer again. “I want to buy a hog,” said the Christian. The farmer showed all his best hogs to him. “I believe I will take that one,” the Christian said. “BUT you don’t want that one. He’s the worst runt in the litter.” “I sure do,” said the Christian. So, they loaded the runt in the truck. The farmer then asks, “What are you going to do with this runt hog?”

The Christian replied, “I plan to take this pig here from your farm and ride all over this area telling folks that this is the kind of hogs you raise?”

“THAT’S NOT FAIR!” the farmer exclaimed. “I have some nice hogs and you want to show people that runt?”…to which the Christian replied, “If it’s fair for the church, it’s fair for your operation!”

It’s a real problem. We face this situation, not with hog farmers, but with our friends, family & co-workers. We fear inviting because they may call us hypocrites. They’d be right because we’re flawed, we’re often broken, but that’s why we’ve come to the Lord. They’d also be wrong because what they don’t see is our desire to repent and grow into the mature Christian that our Lord & Savior wants us to become.

Unfairly, our flaws become obstacles to many. They don’t see that we’re learning and changing. “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?” [Romans 2:21; cf. 2Sam 12:14]

There will be occasions when a member of the Lord’s Body sins and should be rebuked or withdrawn from [cf. 1Corinthians 5:5], but their sinful behavior is not representative of the congregation as a whole, and it’s certainly not representative of the doctrine of Christ! As the farmer said, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!”

Fortunately, the Lord will not judge us as a church, we will face him as individuals [2Corinthians 5:10]. He addressed this issue in the church at Sardis; “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy” [Revelation 3:4]. Read the letters to the church at Corinth. If we measure every person in the congregation by the actions of a few, then no one can be saved.

Since others will judge the church as a whole based on the actions of a few, it’s vital that we all strive to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul rebuked those in the church at Rome; “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you” [Romans 2:24].

Don’t let folks get away with judging the Lord’s body for the actions of a few. Rather, let them see our Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith, Meekness, & Temperance. Each of which are present in this beautiful congregation. A congregation that exists to serve the Lord as He commands. A congregation that seeks to remain pure from the influence of the world. A congregation that fights the compromises of denominational division. A congregation that desires to keep the commands of Christ out of the great LOVE that He showed them and that we have for Him.

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” [1Peter 2:12].

“WHAT ABOUT HIM?” That’s what a child says when they’ve been caught in their bad behavior. Moms & Dads never accept this as an excuse for bad behavior. Neither does the Lord and neither should we.

A sound congregation of the Lord will have decent, but flawed, folks striving to serve the Lord. It will also have some not striving so much. A sound congregation will have mature Christians and some that are young in the faith. It will have a mix of individuals (cf. 1Cor 12:12-26].

Don’t make a decision about the Lord’s body based on those who are working on their flaws. Decide based on the truth of God’s word and your own need for repair. Besides, you would never refuse a gym because of all the overweight people, would you?

APATHEISM IS THE WORST

As you might can tell, the word ‘APATHEISM’ is a blending of the words ‘apathy’ & ‘theism / atheism’ meaning that one is unconcerned as to whether a deity exists or not. An APATHEIST doesn’t care if God exists and furthermore, has no interest in discussing it because the answer wouldn’t change anything about their lives and or behaviors.

Do you see why I say that it’s the worst? At least with the antagonists toward faith, there’s dialogue. The APATHEIST has zero interest whatsoever with talking about it. For them, any discussion about it is meaningless.

There’s more to this APATHEISM picture. It’s one thing to have zero interest in the existence of God, but this same APATHEISM shows up among believers of God regarding the issues that have created denominations. For many, the discussion about…

  • The one Body– Mat 16:18;
  • The one Holy Spirit – John 16:13; Eph 3:3-4
  • The one Hope – Eph 1:18
  • The one Calling– 2Thess 2:14
  • The one Lord – 1Cor 1:13;
  • The one Faith – Jude 1:3:
  • The one Baptism – Mark 16:16
  • The ONE GOD – Mal 2:10;

…are meaningless [Ephesians 4:4-6]. They’ll say something like, “we’re all in different ships heading to the same harbor.” After this they are saying by their APATHEISM, “the discussion is over, the theology is settled, the debate is over, the time for talking has passed. The experts have reached a consensus. Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. If you disagree, then you’re not welcome. It’s legalism, it’s pharisaical, it’s old fashioned, it’s outdated. You’re lost for believing such things, and I will only help you out of your lost state if you just listen, don’t ask any questions and totally agree with me and especially if you don’t ask me to show you any scriptures.”

You may think what is written above is mocking. I assure you it is not. Each of these statements have been outright stated or implied to me on a near daily basis. I once scheduled a study with 2 young men in white shirts from a particular denomination, for which they arrived late. They wanted to speak first. After they were done, I said, “I have a couple of questions for you.” After the first question (which they refused to answer) they had to leave or they would be late for their next appointment. The time for talking had passed.

Another time a fellow said, “I don’t want you to tell me that my beliefs are wrong.” Another once screamed at a colleague of mine, “YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE BAPTIZED TO BE SAVED!!!” On another occasion when I kindly asked a person if they wanted to see the only time “faith only” was used in the Bible they said, “nope.” By the way, it’s in James chapter 2 and it says, “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.”

I find it amazing when folks approach me to tell me about their faith as if time had no meaning, but are suddenly out of time when I ask them a few questions. The debate is over, you’re a legalist.

Folks, eternity is much too long a time to spend it in regret of having not learned the truth about salvation & faithfulness. When Paul said, “But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant” he wasn’t authorizing that as a position of safety [1Cor 14:38]. Ignorance may be bliss in this life, but in the next one it’s misery. “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:” [Acts 17:30]

PS: There is an authorized time when the time for talking has passed and it’s found in Mat 7:6; 15:14. When is the right time to be apatheistic? When you discover you’re talking with an APATHEIST. I’m never apathetic toward the lost who are willing to engage in discussion. It’s only when they tell me, “the debate is over, the time for talking has passed, Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful, divisive & judgmental. The theology is settled, the discussion is over…”

–Spencer

I don’t know

One of the biggest obstacles to personal evangelism is this question, “What if they ask a question that I don’t know the answer?” The feeling of terror, the strong impulse to say something so as not to appear stupid. What do you do?

Before we proceed, we need to be reminded that none of us are expert at every question that may arise, but take heart, God is, and He has given us everything we need for faith, doctrine, and instruction for how we ought to act. [cf. John 20:30-31; 2Tim 3:16-17]. The following are some suggestions on how to handle a question for which you don’t know the answer.

FIRST; Never let what you don’t know stop you from telling what is certain. If we did that, there’d be no personal evangelism whatsoever. Our efforts will become more productive as we mature, but we’ll never mature if we don’t put what we know into practice.

One way to look at a hard question is as an opportunity to learn and to grow. You may not be able to answer it this time, but you’ll be ready the next. [Heb 5:12].

SECOND: When asked a question for which you don’t know, resist the temptation to make one up. That’s much more dangerous for it may pass along error. Silence is a much better answer than giving a bad one. Look at Job’s friends, they were in a much better position when they said nothing at all. If you are asked and you don’t know just say, “I don’t know.” What’s better, not giving any answer or giving a bad one and needing to go back to the person for correction? Here are 3 things you can say instead of making up a wrong answer:

  • Compliment them: Say, “That’s a great question, I don’t know.” This will make the person feel like you’re really listening and respect them. Admitting that you’re human demonstrates humility, a most valuable attitude as we go about teaching others.
  • Ask for more information: By asking them to clarify the question you may discover that you do know the answer, or it will give you clarity as some people ask a question seeking direction for a different underlying issue.
  • Ask if you & they could look up the answer together: By doing this, you show them how much you value the truth and that you’re willing to learn. This also affords you an opportunity for another study. Here’s a tip from my experience, SET A DATE & TIME for when you will come back together to discuss the answer. Otherwise, you may never have the chance again.
Here’s how this might sound;

“That’s a great question, you may be the first person to ever ask me that question. I have no idea what the answer might be, but you’ve piqued my curiosity. I don’t know the answer, but I know who does, God and He’s written so many answers to our questions in the bible [2Pet 1:1-4]. Why don’t we write this question down and study it? Then we can meet again, same time next week over coffee, to see what we can learn?”

Following are some helpful ideas about this situation;

Not knowing the answer is not a problem, it’s awareness and an opportunity. None of us knows everything and people dig deep to try to stump us. See it as an opportunity for more personal study and a way to set up a regular home bible study with this person. Here are 2 more considerations:

  • This may be a topic you’ve never considered and now see why others are struggling with coming to the knowledge of the truth.
  • Hard questions sometimes show us how folks are thinking about things that other underlying issues, ie Authority, how God communicates, defining words biblically etc.

The ramifications of faking an answer can be devastating. You may be wrong and teach a lie. Your friend may see through it and not trust you for any spiritual advice. Lastly, they may see it as an attempt at hiding something which never helps at developing trust.

May all our connections lead to more finding & obeying the truth, just like God wants [2Pet 3:9].

Spencer

WHY MEMORIZE BIBLE VERSES? Part 1

 

Years ago, a young Christian was facing a choice. He could either take the lengthy final examination for his theology class or quote Hebrews. Not quote a few verses of Hebrews, no sir, he needed to quote the ENTIRE BOOK of HEBREWS. [13 chapters & 303 verses].

He chose the latter and quoted the entire book from memory. An astounding mental feat to be sure, but is memorization even necessary? We have smart phones apps and google that can return to us any inquiry of the bible we want. That is, if you know what you’re looking for.

Therein lies the rub, to get any benefit out of God’s word, you need to know what’s in it. Here are 8 reasons why we should commit to a bible memorization plan.

1: DEFENSE FROM SIN. An integral part of our defense against sin is the Armor of God [Eph 6:10-20]. The Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, the active piece that serves for both defense & offense. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” [Psalm 119:11]

2: HELP IN TIME OF NEED. God gave His children the avenue of prayer to give us help in our time of need [Heb 4:16], but how would you know that without study? Additionally, when a sudden problem arises, we most frequently utter some form of profanity. Wouldn’t it be better to immediately draw into our conscious mind a piece of God’s word to counter the negatives we all face in everyday life? Memorizing Bible passages can give us an inventory of alternative utterances to the worldly expressions. Oh, and stop pretending that a euphemism is a cleaner alternative to the real cuss word, we know what you’re saying. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” [Phil 4:8]

3: AS A BIBLE STUDY AID. As you begin to read & study your Bible you may find it difficult to understand. However, a person that commits to memorization will find that the Bible will become clearer as you connect the stories, especially the connections between the Old & New Testaments. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” [Romans 15:4].

Since the Word of God shall also be present at the judgement, a thorough understanding of it would be helpful. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” [John 12:48]

4: FEAR of EVANGELISM. Let’s admit it, we’ve all experienced fear whenever an opportunity arose to share the Gospel. Bible memorization can alleviate that fear. Inherent in the verse; “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” [1Peter 3:15] is the idea of memorization. We know what is right, but could we prove it to them? Memorization is a great way to build your confidence in directing another through the scriptures as you show them the plan of God’s Salvation.

One fellow said to me, “I have John 3:16 and that’s all I need.” The extent of his bible memory plan was one verse! Others have committed to memorize “Jesus Wept” but have no idea where to find it. [John 11:35] Another person half quoted 1Peter 3:21 in an attempt to disqualify baptism. Because he didn’t know what it really said nor where it was located, he had a false belief that will leave him lost. “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

Next week we’ll look at 4 more good reasons to commit to a Bible Memorization Plan.

Click Here for a good place to start memorizing Bible Verses.