What do I do Now?

After a person obeys the gospel, the most oft asked question is, “what do I do now?” However, this question is asked by both the new convert AND the members of the local congregation. The new convert, full of joy and gratitude, has a desire to serve and to do what is right. The older members want to help them, but where do you begin?

For the answer, let us turn to Acts 2, the place where the church of Christ began.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. That’s where we are with Margie, and all others who obeyed the gospel recently (a young man named Nick, was also baptized into Christ on the same day.) Nobody joins the church; the Lord adds to the church [47].

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Here’s where we find our answer to the question, “what do I do next?”

Continue in the apostles’ doctrine. The Apostles’ doctrine is Christ’s doctrine. Jesus said to the Apostles, that in addition to making disciples, as one who has all authority, teach them “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [Mat 28:19-20]. Paul said about his letters, “let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” [1Cor 14:37]

So, the first thing we need to do is to continue to learn through study of the Scriptures what Jesus expects from us. The most effective way to do this is for the new convert and the “old” members to get together and study the scriptures. We need to note that “continue” means to do them. It’s not enough to learn what Jesus wants, we must obey Him [John 14:15]. We can also learn when we gather to worship on the first day of the week.

And Fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The new Christians worshiped together. They had fellowship, which means that they were in partnership with one another. This partnership begins when we, “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” [1Cor 1:10]. The partnership also includes the collection of money for the work of the church. (As you continue to study, you’ll begin to understand the work God has given the church is to spread the Gospel, Teach the saints and practice limited benevolence). The Philippians gave money to spread the gospel, and were in fellowship in the gospel [Phil 1:3-7].

One of the parts of worship (there are 5 activities in sound worship) the disciples ‘broke bread’ which is to remember the death of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Supper” the first Christians met on the 1st day of the week, Sunday, where they would take unleavened bread and fruit of the vine to commemorate His death. The Apostle Paul wrote the early Christians how to properly observe this important part of our worship [1Cor 11:23-34].

 

They also prayed. Prayer is the privilege of the saints. Christians are called saint in the Scriptures [Rom 1:7; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:1]. In obeying the gospel through baptism, we have “put on Christ” [Gal 3:27] and have been given access through Him to the “throne of grace” [Heb 4:16]. Prayer is an incredible part of becoming a child of God. We know that God does not listen to sinners [John 9:31] but He hears us!

God is not our “genie in a bottle,” to gift us with everything we want like a spoiled child. Rather, He wants to help us in our time of need. It says in Hebrews 4:16; “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Temptation doesn’t stop when we become Christians, neither do troubles & pains, “but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” [1Cor 10:13]. So, all Christians need to pray.

Finally, let us note one more thing from Acts 2…

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. As you begin your journey as a new Christian, and every Christian, let us never forget from whom we received the gift of grace. We received it from God through Christ Jesus [Eph 2:8-10]. May we never forget, may it never grow old and may we never grow tired of praising God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift.

2Corinthians 9:15

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Watching the Son

…while they looked stedfastly toward heaven…

On August 21st millions of Americans will be gazing into heaven as North America experiences a Total Solar Eclipse that crosses the U.S. in a way that hasn’t occurred since 1918. Everyone in the contiguous United States will experience at least a partial eclipse, with totality being along a 70 mile wide path from Lincoln Beach, Oregon to Charleston, South Carolina. The window of opportunity to view the eclipse will be about two minutes and 40 seconds, a very narrow window indeed.

Looking directly at the sun, as we’ve all learned, can be extremely harmful to your eyes. You must never look directly into the sun without ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses.

There is a word of warning, without the ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses, you will permanently damage your eyes. Some may say, “I have some really dark sunglasses.” These simply won’t do. You must have the official ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses.

There are also fake solar eclipse glasses being sold as authentic ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses. The problem is so bad, that Amazon has issued warnings regarding the false claims of some vendors.  Attempting to view the eclipse through these non ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses will also cause you to lose your eyesight.

BUY YOUR GLASSES TODAY

There’s one more problem. If you wait until the eclipse begins, and you don’t already own a pair of these ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses, there will be no opportunity to buy them. At the time of this writing (1 week before the eclipse), the ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses are already sold out online. If they were available online, the ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses would never arrive on time. By the time the Total Solar Eclipse begins locally, the retail shops will also be sold out. IT WILL BE TOO LATE. Even if there are a few ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses, a 2 minute window is not enough tme to go and buy them. You must have your ISO 12312-2 certified eclipse viewing glasses now.

I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE ECLIPSE

You may be saying to yourself, “self, why is Spencer taking so much bulletin space to tell us about the eclipse and why isn’t he telling us something pertinent to our salvation?” I hope you realize by now, though I find the Total Solar Eclipse interesting, I’m using this phenomenon as an opportunity to warn everyone.

You see, one day the SON will return to earth from Heaven. This is a promise that the Apostles heard as the stood gazing into the sky when Jesus rose into heaven. “Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” [Acts 1:11]

If we have not already ‘purchased’ CERTIFIED access to the Kingdom of Heaven, when He returns, IT WILL BE TOO LATE!. [cr. Mat 13:44-46] This same Jesus, for whom we gaze into the sky, said it this way in Matthew 24:1-13…

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”

Jesus said, “no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6]. He then said in vs 15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Further on He said, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” [John 15:14] Then, before He went into heaven, He told us what to do to prepare BEFORE His return…

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:16

Many ways to be successful

There are all kinds of ways someone can be successful:
You can gain influence and power
You can make a lot of money
You can change peoples physical & emotional lives.
However, none of that means anything if you have to sacrifice what matters most to achieve it.
Time with family
Giving back to your community
Spending time with loved ones
Your health
God.
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Mark 8:36
Jesus said that. Nothing in this life can be considered a success if we’ve failed to follow Jesus. He knew that we would become preoccupied with striving for success, but He gave us this warning to keep our priorities straight.
It doesn’t surprise me that people will exchange their salvation for earthly treasure. What surprises me is how cheap they sell it.
Jesus warned about this as well as He continued teaching…
“Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” Mark 8:37-38
Let’s keep our priorities straight.

What do I do now?

The Franklin St church of Christ in Borger, Tx

IT IS WITH GREAT joy that we announce a new sister in Christ, Margie. Just as there is joy in the heart of the one who obeys the gospel, there is also much joy in heaven and we are also full of joy for her [Luke 15:7, 10].

After a person obeys the gospel, the most oft asked question is, “what do I do now?” However, this question is asked by both the new convert AND the members of the local congregation. The new convert, full of joy and gratitude, has a desire to serve and to do what is right. The older members want to help them, but where do you begin?

For the answer, let us turn to Acts 2, the place where the church of Christ began.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. That’s where we are with Margie, and all others who obeyed the gospel recently (a young man was also baptized into Christ on the same day.) Nobody joins the church; the Lord adds to the church [47].

42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Here’s where we find our answer to the question, “what do I do next?”

Continue in the apostles’ doctrine. The Apostles’ doctrine is Christ’s doctrine. Jesus said to the Apostles, that in addition to making disciples, as one who has all authority, teach them “to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you” [Mat 28:19-20]. Paul said about his letters, “let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” [1Cor 14:37]

So, the first thing we need to do is to continue to learn through study of the Scriptures what Jesus expects from us. The most effective way to do this is for the new convert and the “old” members to get together and study the scriptures. We need to note that “continue” means to do them. It’s not enough to learn what Jesus wants, we must obey Him [John 14:15]. We can also learn when we gather to worship on the first day of the week.

And Fellowship and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. The new Christians worshiped together. They had fellowship, which means that they were in partnership with one another. This partnership begins when we, “all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” [1Cor 1:10]. The partnership also includes the collection of money for the work of the church. (As you continue to study, you’ll begin to understand the work God has given the church is to spread the Gospel, Teach the saints and practice limited benevolence). The Philippians gave money to spread the gospel, and were in fellowship in the gospel [Phil 1:3-7].

One of the parts of worship (there are 5 activities in sound worship) the disciples ‘broke bread’ which is to remember the death of our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. Commonly referred to as “The Lord’s Supper” the first Christians met on the 1st day of the week, Sunday, where they would take unleavened bread and fruit of the vine to commemorate His death. The Apostle Paul wrote the early Christians how to properly observe this important part of our worship [1Cor 11:23-34].

They also prayed. Prayer is the privilege of the saints. Christians are called saint in the Scriptures [Rom 1:7; Eph 1:1; Phil 1:1; Col 1:1]. In obeying the gospel through baptism, we have “put on Christ” [Gal 3:27] and have been given access through Him to the “throne of grace” [Heb 4:16]. Prayer is an incredible part of becoming a child of God. We know that God does not listen to sinners [John 9:31] but He hears us!

God is not our “genie in a bottle,” to gift us with everything we want like a spoiled child. Rather, He wants to help us in our time of need. It says in Hebrews 4:16; “that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Temptation doesn’t stop when we become Christians, neither do troubles & pains, “but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” [1Cor 10:13]. So, all Christians need to pray.

Finally, let us note one more thing from Acts 2…

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. As you begin your journey as a new Christian, and every Christian, let us never forget from whom we received the gift of grace. We received it from God through Christ Jesus [Eph 2:8-10]. May we never forget, may it never grow old and may we never grow tired of praising God for His indescribable gift.

Thanks be unto God for his indescribable gift.

2 Corinthians 9:15

Death Meme explains little

 

Somethings missing

 

You’ve likely seen this pic before, the explanation of death. On the surface, it’s an exceptional description. That is, if you’re a Christian. As Christians, we are so much more aware of the other side than a dog. The Word of God tells us so…

There’s a home awaiting us;

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [John 14:2]

We’ll be with God;

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. [John 14:3]

It will last forever;

Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. [Jude 1:21]

The word also tells us what is on the other side IF YOU’RE NOT A CHRISTIAN

There’s a home awaiting you;

Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [Mat 25:42]

You’ll be withOUT God;

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; [2 Thessalonians 1:8-9]

It will last forever;

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. [Revelation 20:15]

So you see, If you’re IN CHRIST then this little story paints a wonderful picture, but if not, this story gives you a false sense of hope.

The last line is most troubling, for it teaches an idea of “salvation by faith only”. It says, “I know my Master is there, and that’s enough.” No friend, it’s not enough to just know that God is in Heaven. Hear the words of Scripture on this matter…

You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe–and tremble! But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? [James 2:19-20]

The text goes on to reveal the only passage in the entirety of scripture that say, “by faith only”. As you read James 2:24, take careful note of the word preceding that oft used phrase…

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. [James 2:24]

So you see then, as Christians, we are looking forward to being with our Master just as the story depicts, but it’s not a blind faith.

Many folks claim to be a Christian, but this claim is often based on dumb little facebook pics such as this one. Truly a blind faith, a faith based only on desire and not according to knowledge.

HOW TO BECOME A CHRISTIAN

To become a child of God, and avoid the eternal flame, one must obey the Gospel [2Thess 1:8]. So here’s a pic worthy of our attention. [Click here for more] [click here]

obey the gospel

Shocking truth what Bible says about Salvation by Faith alone

THE GREATEST CONFUSION in Christendom is the question, “What saves us?” Though we differ in other areas, knowing this one point is of utmost importance. If we get this one wrong, all the rest is just pointless.

To answer this question, an appeal to Scripture should be made. Since it is the word that shall judge us, let us search the scriptures to learn what is so. [Acts 17:11]

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.” [Joh 12:48]

The groups in Borger Texas, that teach a salvation by faith alone are: First Baptist church, Grace Fellowship, Faith covenant, First united Methodist, Keeler Baptist, Calvary Baptist, Gateway Baptist, Southside Baptist, Cornerstone church, Wesley United Methodist, Fairlanes Baptist, First Presbyterian, Fellowship Baptist, St. Andrews united Methodist, Borger Word of Life, Good Shepherd Lutheran, perhaps others.

A Side by side comparison Of Salvation by faith Alone & Water Baptism

Scripture Faith Only crowd Franklin St. church of Christ
Hearing Romans 10:17 Y Y
Faith Galatians 3:24 Y Y
Grace Ephesians 2:8 Y Y
Believe Acts 16:31 Y Y
Hope Romans 8:24 Y Y
God 1Timothy 2:3 Y Y
Jesus Matthew 1:21 Y Y
Holy Spirit Titus 3:5 Y Y
Gospel Romans 1:16 Y Y
Blood of Christ Romans 5:9 Y Y
Confession 1John 4:2 N Y
Repentance Acts 11:18 N Y
Obedience 2Thess 1:8 N Y
Baptism Mt 28:19; Mrk 16:16; Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16 N Y
Works James 2:24 N Y
Continuing Faith 2Timothy 3:14-17 N Y

Here is the question that must be answered by those professing a salvation by faith only…

Why are you ignoring the rest of the scriptures?

Can you find your church in the Bible?

Since we’ve listed most of the churches in Borger, let’s take a moment and learn what Jesus named His church. He said, “I will build MY church.” (emphasis mine) [Matthew 16:18]. In architecture, the builder gets to do the naming.

JESUS IS;

BUILDER Matthew 16:18
FOUNDATION 1 Corinthians 3:10b-11
CORNERSTONE Matthew 21:42; Acts 4:11; Ephesians 2:20
PURCHASER Acts 20:28

Since Jesus is the BUILDER, FOUNDATION, CORNERSTONE, & PURCHASER, which of the below names harmonizes all of these scriptures?

Names of the church in the New Testament Churches by name in the Scriptures:

My (Jesus) church Matthew 16:18
Church of the Lord, church of God Acts 20:28; 1Corinthians 1:2
The body, The church Colossians 1:18; Eph 1:22-23; 5:23; 1Thess 1:1
Household of God, church of the living God Ephesians 2:19; 1Timothy 3:15
Church of the Firstborn Hebrews 12:23
God’s field, God’s building 1Corinthians 3:9
The Flock 1Peter 5:3; Acts 20:28
Church of Christ Romans 16:16

It seems to me that the most harmonious name of the organization that Jesus purchased, built and DIED FOR is the church of Christ.

We are living stones: The Bible goes on to teach that Christians are the living stones of the church. [1Co 3:9-11; 1Peter 2:5; Colossians 2:7; Eph 2:20-22; 1Cor 6:19]

If you would like to learn more, click here.

Salvation by Faith ALONE?

If we’re saved by faith alone, as so many denominational pastors teach, then how do you explain all of these verses?

Christ’s words (John 6:63). “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”
The Holy Spirit (John 16:8; Titus 3:5). …renewing of the Holy Spirit
Faith (Romans 10:10). For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Repentance (Luke 13:3; 2 Peter 3:9). “...except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Baptism (Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21; Titus 3:5). “…baptism does also now save us.”
God (John 3:16; Titus 2:11). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,”
Christ’s works (John 20:30–31).”And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”
Calling on His name (Acts 2:21). “And it shall come to pass That whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved.’ (cr. Acts 22:16)
Christ’s name (Acts 4:12). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
Christ’s resurrection (Romans 4:25). “who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.”
Christ’s death (Romans 5:6). “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”
Hope (Romans 8:24). “For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?”
Confession of faith (Romans 10:10). “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Hearing (Romans 10:15–17). “And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed our report?” So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
Preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18). “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”
Fire (1 Corinthians 3:15). “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”
The gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1–2). “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you–unless you believed in vain.”
Love (Galatians 5:6). “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.”
Grace (Ephesians 2:8). “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,”
Ourselves (Philippians 2:12). “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;”
The love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10). “and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
Christ (1 Timothy 1:15). “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”
Heeding and continuing in the doctrine (1 Timothy 4:16). “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”
God’s mercy (Titus 3:5). “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,”
Obedience (Hebrews 5:9). “And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” (cr. 2Thess 1:8)
Christ’s blood (Hebrews 9:14). “how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”
Works of faith (James 2:24). “You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

The question is not, “which one saves”, rather, “why have they ignored so many verses?

How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Hebrews 2:3

SHALL WE ADD TO OR TAKE AWAY FROM GOD’S WORD?

Deut 4:2 “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

Deut 12:32 “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it.

Proverbs 30:6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.

Revelation 22:18-19 For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Galatians 1:8-9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

 

Evangelism Depression

“It must be really depressing to be an evangelist, for very few people really care about the word of God.” Daniel S.

My good friend, a new convert, spoke those words to me after spending the first year after his conversion trying to spread the good news. Yes, it is depressing. Paul was depressed after sending his letter to the Corinthian church.

2Co 2:4 For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

He was filled with anguish because he was concerned for the church at Corinth. Would they repent, would they leave, would they take others with them in their disobedience. I can only imagine. But Paul did send the letter, and something great happened.

2Co 7:7 And not by his coming only, but by the consolation wherewith he was comforted in you, when he told us your earnest desire, your mourning, your fervent mind toward me; so that I rejoiced the more. 8 For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. 9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.

You see, any of us who spread the message of the Gospel or seek to help a brother or sister in sin, whether we be paid laborers in the Gospel or Christians desiring to do the right thing, are often full of sorrow for those who reject God’s word. We often take it personally, but we need to remember, they haven’t rejected me, they’ve rejected God. 1Sam 8:7

That is why an evangelist, anyone really, needs to have their joy contained in another place other than people. For if we seek to just make other folks happy, then we’ve failed. Ga 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

Mt 6:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

My invitation to all of you who desire to be a part of an evangelistic church, be warned. It’s sad, difficult and full of pain. But then, someone responds to the Gospel. Our children, our friends or people we meet. We rejoice, not because of what we have done, no, we rejoice with the angels in heaven for one sinner that repents.

Lu 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

IGNORANCE, INTENT AND EMAILS

(this article may reference current events but is in no way a commentary on political views by the author as it relates to these events)

Confidential emails have been in the news of late. The jist of which is that a certain, high level, government employee, mishandled classified communication within the government. The FBI investigated and found unsecured & unguarded servers (the device where electronic mail would be stored and sent), “extremely careless” handling of email by this employee and her staff, and poor judgement on the part of this high level employee in the handling of Top Secret communication. The FBI then said, “We did not find…clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information.”

It’s on this last point that this article shall address as it relates sin, salvation and getting into heaven.

Under human laws, intent plays a major role. For example, if a person was negligent in their behavior, they may or may not be prosecuted. In recent cases of accidental harm to a person involving a vehicle, intent becomes the deciding factor. God spoke about these situations and gave instructions under the Law of Moses for unintentional harm. “as when a man goes to the woods with his neighbor to cut timber, and his hand swings a stroke with the ax to cut down the tree, and the head slips from the handle and strikes his neighbor so that he dies-he shall flee to one of these cities and live; [Deuteronomy 19:5] and in some cases were required to pay restitution.

Intent may be a factor, but ignorance of the law is another matter. Under our law system, Ignorantia juris non excusat (Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses not”) is a legal principle holding that a person who is unaware of a law may not escape liability for violating that law merely because he or she was unaware of its content. There are plenty of examples where a person is fined or punished having been unaware that they were committing a crime. If you doubt this, the next time you’re pulled over for speeding just tell the officer you didn’t know the speed limit.

For humanity, God leaves everyone without excuse whether they’ve read the Bible or not.

Look at Roman 1:18-21; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” [emphasis mine]

You see, God has made every effort to show himself to every person and it’s their willful disregard for Him that will earns His wrath.

In another place, regarding ignorance, Paul said, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” [Acts 17:30-31]

Peter also taught that we are not to remain in our ignorance but to obey; “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” [1Peter 1:13-16]

Here’s the point of what I am saying, when we face the judgement of God, saying “I didn’t know” or “I didn’t intend to sin” will not open the gates of heaven unto us. The only way that we can survive the judgement and to receive an entry into heaven is through the saving blood of Jesus the Christ.

How can one be saved?

Now that you’ve heard about God’s wrath and salvation through Jesus, Repent and be converted from your ignorance. “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,” [Acts 3:17-19]

After your repentance, their remains the blotting (washing) away of your sins. “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16] “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” [Acts 2:38]

If you do this, you will be saved, but this doesn’t give you liberty to keep on sinning. Therefore, the Christian must remain faithful. “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” [Romans 6:1-4] And if we sin, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” [1John 2:1]

Though human courts overlook ignorance, God won’t. Why delay?

What if we could end sin?

SUPPOSE THAT we could convince everyone in the world to quit sinning.  What would we have accomplished?

It would appear at first glance that we would have made the world a much better place, but have we really done anything?

Let’s say we could convince all the world to quit drunkenness, yet they still don’t have Christ, we have done very little. Though repentance is a part of the gospel plan of salvation [Luke 13:3], it alone will not save you. Just as faith alone will never save you.

Pick a sin, whatever bothers you most, that you would end instantly. If folks repented of these sin on their own initiative, or through sound reasoning on your part, but they have not Christ you have done nothing.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” [1Corinthians 15:22]. We are made alive when we are “in Christ”, and according to the scriptures we get into Christ through obeying the gospel.

Galatians 3:27, “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” This is the only way a person can get into Christ. The preposition into indicates a change of relationship. You can search from the front to the back of your Bible, and you will find no other way to get into Christ except by being baptized into Christ. Also Romans 6:3 says the same thing, “Or do you not know, that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” So the only way we can get into Christ is to be baptized into Christ. Either a person has been baptized into Christ, or he is still outside of Christ. We are either in or we are out. Have you been baptized into Christ in order to be saved and have your sins forgiven?  If you haven’t been, then no amount of good works can save you. [Ephesians 2:8-9].

SEEK YE FIRST…

Nowhere in this article am I saying that a person can continue in sin. Paul, in his letter to the Romans said such, [Romans 6:1-3]. It is sin that has separated us from God. “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that he will not hear” [Isaiah 59:2]. What I am saying is that we need to approach evangelism from the top down.

All too often we find ourselves in discussions with the world about some particular sin. The discussion usually degrades into a debate, then into an argument until finally they will say, “We just have to agree to disagree.” If, on the other hand, you do convince them that a particular thing is wrong and they change, all you’ve really done is made them a better person, or a better Baptist or a better Lutheran, but you have NOT made them a Christian. If they repent of all of their sins, they still fall short of being “IN CHRIST” just as all who believe that “FAITH ONLY” is all that is necessary unto salvation.

TOP DOWN EVANGELISM

I’ve come to the realization that when a person is truly convicted in their heart that Jesus is the Christ, just as they were at Pentecost [Acts 2:37], then they will do whatever it takes to become a Christian. Until then, it’s nearly impossible to get a person to repent of anything, much less the popular sins of our culture.

It’s for this reason that I have in mind to divert every topic of conversation, with those outside of Christ, to the topic of the Authority of Christ and His plan of salvation. This is what Philip did with the Ethiopian Eunuch on the road. “Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8:35, 36]. This is why the Eunuch asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me from being baptized?”

When Jesus was asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”, Jesus said to them, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” [Matthew 22:36, 37]. This is a true statement, for our Lord said it. Before we can truly obey any command of God, we must first embrace and obey this one. If we can convince the whole world about this command, THEN we have truly done something.