Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sharing the Gospel

Life is short, yet we often live as though there will always be a tomorrow. There is nothing we can do to avoid death. It is inevitable. How many times in the last several years have you shared the gospel with a friend or family member? It would be much easier to never share the Truth with others, but that would be the most selfish thing we could ever do. It would be as selfish as having a friend that is dying of cancer and having the cure to heal them, but refusing to tell them the cure and keeping it to yourself. People are perishing all around us. They are living a life that is void of true peace, hope, security, or purpose. Many times we withhold sharing the gospel with others because we don’t want to make someone mad, uncomfortable, or we’re worried we’re not capable of speaking about the subject well. Other times we don’t want to be seen as a “religious fanatic”. We put off the opportunity and plan to do it another day. Sadly, days become weeks and weeks become years and we still find ourselves hiding the gospel from those we love most. Often we don’t see this as disobedience, but that is what it is. When God speaks to our heart to witness to someone and we don’t do it we are sinning.
Sometimes we simply say we’re just not called to share the gospel.
“Not called!” did you say? “Not heard the call,” I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. William Booth

The other day my 8 year old daughter and I was sitting on our porch swing and she asked me if “good people” can still go to heaven without knowing Jesus. She has always had a burden for all our unsaved family members. I told her that no one is good enough to get to heaven and that Jesus is the only way. She then told me she was going to write her Great Grandparents a letter and tell them the gospel. If only we could all have a strong burden for those who are perishing from this life to destruction. We can teach a Sunday school class, mentor a child, and serve in other numerous ways but never share the gospel when God leads us to. God not only calls us to serve, but to share the Gospel.
Romans 10:14-15
14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

Start praying today asking God to put people in your path to share the Gospel with. Never underestimate the power of prayer. Pray for your unsaved family and friends and watch how quickly God will answer. Stop making excuses for not sharing the gospel. I am a very shy person and am not good at words, but that isn’t a good enough excuse. God’s word says that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.

Philippians 4:13
13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

1 Corinthians 1:27-29
But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29so that no one may boast before him.

Share the gospel out of love, not out of obligation. Once we truly experience God’s amazing grace we can’t help but share it.

It is only by God’s GRACE that I can say I’m saved. If it was up to me to make it to heaven I would never get there, but when God see’s me He doesn’t see my sins anymore. He see’s Jesus. Jesus’ blood covers over all my sin. Jesus Himself is my righteousness.
Many people have false beliefs about God and how to get to heaven. Some of the most common ones are:

1. If I’m a good person I will get to heaven.
The truth is no one is “good” enough to get to heaven.
And even if we think we’re good, how good is good enough? The fact is, if being good is the criteria for making it into heaven, nobody can know before they die how much good is good enough to make it. The following Bible verses make it clear that salvation is not earned by doing good works, but is a free gift of God.

Isaiah 64:6
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.

Proverbs 14:12
There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death.

To break the law and stand before a judge you need to break only one law to be found guilty, suffer the penalty and be labeled a convict. It is the same with God's laws. Just because we don't regularly commit the worst sins, we are not innocent.

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We don't need to go too far down the list of the Ten Commandments to learn we have sinned. Our sin separates us from a perfect and Holy God.

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

John 5:22-24
For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son, so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Ecclesiastes 7:20
There is not a righteous man on earth
who does what is right and never sins.

If I was saved as a child, then I am saved now.
Satan wants us to feel like we can get saved as a child and live the rest of our lives in sin and apart from God. God’s word says if we live according to our flesh we will die, but if we live according to the Spirit we will live. As a true follower of Christ we will live each day of our life through the spirit. When a christian sins they will be quick to repent and turn from their sins and be grieved by sin in their life. A christian strives to live a holy life that is pleasing to the Lord.

3. If I believe there is a God, then I will go to heaven.

A lot of people think they are saved and going to heaven just because they believe in God. The Bible says even the demons believe there is a God and tremble. Just believing is not good enough.
James 2:19
You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder.

Romans 1:20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

4. I don’t believe that heaven or hell even exists. I don’t even believe there is a God.

Some people believe that upon physical death, their soul simply ceases to exist. God’s word says the one who says there is no God is a fool. That is God’s word, not mine. God gives us all a free will. We each get to make the choice to believe in God or deny Him. There are consequences for our choice.

Psalm 14:1
The fool says in his heart, "There is no God."

5. God isn’t a loving God because he allows so much evil in the world.
God didn’t invent evil. When God made the world it was perfect, sinless, and good. It wasn’t until man (Adam and Eve) disobeyed God that evil came into the world. Sin separates us from God and the penalty for sin is death. (hell) God sent His only son to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus paid the penalty that we deserved so that we can escape God’s judgment and spend eternity in heaven. Now that’s what I call love.

6. I’m not ready to give my heart to the Lord and will do it when I’m closer to dying.
No one knows when they are going to die. In most instances we die without a warning and death takes us by surprise. Wouldn’t you rather live your life without any fear of sudden death? Wouldn’t you rather live a life that is filled with true peace, happiness, joy, and God’s presence? Satan would like you to think you will always get a second chance and that you have plenty of time to come to repentance.

Hebrews 3:15
"Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts
as you did in the rebellion."

For most of my life I believed in Jesus and knew a lot about Him, but I didn’t actually have a relationship with Him. I still wanted to live life the way I wanted. I wasn’t saved. I always thought christians were people who lived by a strict list of rules who liked to judge others. I thought all christians were “holier than thou” and “hypocrites”. I thought if that’s what a christian was then I didn’t want to be one. Over several years of living life my way I noticed that I always had a void in my heart. I always felt something was missing. I thought going to college, getting married, or having children would one day fill the void, but it didn’t. I thought I was happy, but I never was truly happy. Somehow I always felt “something” was missing. It wasn’t until I finally understood who Jesus REALLY was that I found what I was looking for. I found through the reading and studying of scripture that God isn’t angry with me, He loves me and wants the best for me. He didn’t want me to become a christian so he could make my life miserable. He wants me to follow Him so he can set me free! He wants to give me what I don’t deserve- eternal life, forgiveness of sins, peace, joy, grace, love, and confidence of who I am in Christ. All I had to do was repent and turn from my sins, and trust Jesus as my Savior. I also learned that being a christian isn’t about a bunch of rules. I changed the way I live because I now LOVE Jesus, not because I’m trying to earn His approval or because I’m trying to earn my way to Heaven. The way I acted on the outside changed because Jesus has changed me on the inside. His Holy Spirit leads me through life and gives me comfort and peace that this world could never offer me. Religion (just following a bunch of rules) is mans way of trying to get to God, Christianity is God's way of reaching man.
God not only wants us to have eternal life, but He wants us to have life abundantly now. He wants to set us free from all our bondage, our sins, our fear of dying, our discontentment, our emptiness. He wants us to be able to live life now with perfect joy and peace that doesn’t change based on our circumstances, but rests only on God’s promises and love.

The Gospel message has been preached for 2000 years all over the world. This is the message people lived for and died for. This is the message that has been banned by many government officials and promoted. This is the message that stopped people in the midst of suicide and divorce. This is the message that put families together and tore them apart. This is the message that converted people from all sorts of backgrounds: rich, poor, fools, wise, slaves, kings, queens, prostitutes, alcoholics, drug addicts, religious fanatics, atheists, but mostly common people.
It amazes me how people have died for the sake of the Gospel, but we find it difficult to share it with a loved one or a close friend. Choose today to obey the Lord and snatch others from the fire by sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jude 1:22-23
22Be merciful to those who doubt; 23snatch others from the fire and save them; to others show mercy, mixed with fear—hating even the clothing stained by corrupted flesh.

Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?
Leonard Ravenhill

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