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.

6 things you can do for YOU today

Last week, I detailed 5 things that you can do for the church. In other words, what you can do for each other. As I pondered that article, I came to the realization that in order to help others, sometimes you need to prepare yourself.

Regardless of our situations, whether we need support or not, we can still provide help and encouragement to one another, but sometimes we need to help ourselves.

When I studied to become a Firefighter / EMT, so many years ago, I learned that in order to be of service to others, I needed to prepare myself. We spent much time in training for scenarios, practicing what we might do during an emergency. This article looks at 6 things you can be doing for yourself in preparation for the “emergencies” of life.

The inspiration for this list is Eph 6:10-18, where Paul gives instructions to the Christian about how to be strong in the Lord and how to stand against the wiles of the devil. This is the passage where Paul tells us to put on the “Whole Armor of God.” Let’s examine these things that we can do for ourselves today…..

  • Put on Truth – We need to spend more time in the Word of God, which is truth. [John 17:17] We accomplish this by diligently studying God’s word. In it we find the truth on life and godliness, the truth on relationships, work, joy and best of all, how to be saved. 

2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

  • Breastplate of Righteousness – We can be good. Our parents had the same warning for us whenever we went out, “be good.” Being good as a Christian is more than just being nice, it’s doing God’s will. Paul wrote that we were created for “good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” [Eph 2:10] We can change our attitudes, help our sorrows if we get busy. Idle hands is the devils playground? [2Th 3:11; 1Th 4:11; 1Ti 5:13]  

1Jo 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

  • Preparation of the Gospel – Remind yourself that you are a child of God, saved by Jesus the Christ and you are not your own. [1Cor 6:19] Let the peace of God, [Rom 5:1] comfort you. If we remember the “Rock” upon which our faith is built, [Mt 16:18], the confession that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God, then the peace which surpasses understanding shall keep our hearts. 

Php 4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  • Shield of faith – “Faith is the substance of things hoped for,” [Hebrews 11:1] and without faith it’s impossible to please Him vs6. In another passage, the disciples asked to have their faith increased, [Luke 17:5]. We can and should increase our faith. Faith is being fully convinced. Polls show that Americans are not fully convinced about God, Jesus, heaven or hell. Let’s increase our faith by looking at creation which “declares His handiwork.” [Ps 19:1] Let’s examine the evidence, both inside the scriptures and without. He’s given us plenty of evidence to know that He exists. [Rom 1:19-20] 

Joh 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

  • Helmet of Salvation –This is a reminder to us that we need to be saved and are saved by obeying the gospel [2Thess 1:8], through the putting on of Christ through Baptism. [Ga 3:27] As Christians, one of the best things we can do for ourselves is to repent. Unless we repent, we cannot expect salvation. [Luke 13:3] As we live a penitent life, we can lift our heads in confidence knowing that Jesus blood cleanses us from all unrighteousness. [1John 1:9] 

Ac 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

  • Pray – You can pray for yourself. Not just in the wishing form that is normally associated with the praying for ourselves, rather, let us pray asking God for things that make us better equipped to handle life’s troubles. Below are just a few things we should be asking God to supply……

Jas 1:5  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally,

Ac 4:29 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,

Life is hard at best and downright sorrowful at worst. I have no idea how folks make it through life without God. He has provided a prescription for Christians to follow, a cure that heals the pain of this life and rescues us from death, providing eternal life. Would you try it, His prescription, after all He is the Great Physician. [Mr 2:17]

Spencer Blackwelder, Evangelist in Borger, TX