Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why reach out to lost people during the holidays, or on any other day?

Here’s why…

* People are hurting, broken, guilty, lonely, empty and afraid to die.

* People are living in the last days and need to decide. Just look around you to see what is happening and how things have accelerated. And no matter your eschatology one thing is for sure… you and I are living in our last days. Life here is so brief. It’s like a vapor (Ps. 39:11, 62:9, Jam. 4:14)—gone so quickly.  

* People cannot gain and enjoy righteous fellowship with God by money (the God who hates destructive sin can't be paid off), by good works, by suckin'-up or by any other efforts. 

Many people believe that they will have a chance to talk fast and get right with God postmortem (after they die and face the Judge), but it ain’t gunna happen. They Bible makes this clear—gotta make your reservations in advance through Jesus Christ. Remember Lazarus and the right man?  

* People cannot even reach out to God for forgiveness by their own efforts. We all need to respond as the Holy Spirit woos and draws us to Jesus.

* People have value - they matter. Christ reached out and He still deeply loves lost people, wanting each of them to repent, believe and be saved.

* People can have all their needs met by faith in God. True fulfillment, inner peace, eternal purpose, and real satisfaction can only come to a person once they have been forgiven by Jesus.

“When Jesus came by, he looked up at Zacchaeus and called him by name. "Zacchaeus!" he said. “Quick, come down! For I must be a guest in your home today. Zacchaeus quickly climbed down and took Jesus to his house in great excitement and joy.” Luke 19:5-6

The Lord ain’t so much into where a person is coming from as in where that person is headed. He ain’t so much into how much sin a sinner has committed per se, but is very much concerned that all have sinned and all need to turn to Him away from it today. Of course Jesus will accept those who humble themselves in repentance and He will show them his unconditional love as they come to the cross willing to be changed.

* People have great potential - there's potential there for all who are made righteous, that they each will grow spiritually, become fruitful and will be used of God for world-changing exploits—yes, to accomplish great things for the glory of the Lord. Christ catches His fish so to speak and then He cleans them.

That which I used to loath (talk of truth and the things of God), I now love and that which is used to love (sinning) I now loath. Religious folk try to change sinners from the outside in (remember the Pharisees?), but Jesus can change any of us from the inside out.  

“Meanwhile, Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "I will give half my wealth to the poor, Lord, and if I have overcharged people on their taxes, I will give them back four times as much!" Luke 19:8

Witnessing to lost people domestically or overseas.. for the purpose of winning them to faith in Christ (..meaning to the Jesus in the Bible) is the heartbeat of God. It’s the mission of every believer. And newborn baby Christians are the lifeblood of the local church.

Some believers who say they aren’t called to evangelize or discipleship in Christ need to re-read their Bibles. Some with an honest heart might even say they don’t like evangelism, but what they don’t like is some off-base, strange, or religious “caricature of evangelism” that ain’t the soul-winning that Jesus did cuz all true believers really love evangelism the way Jesus won people.

I love how Zacchaeus humbly turned and received Christ. He repented. Repent means to be sorry for what you’ve done and then stop doing it. Too many people confuse feeling remorseful with this, but they are not repentant. I love how Christ dealt with Zac. 

And it all happened so simply rather than religiously. Zacchaeus repented, trusted Jesus and was transformed from greedy to generous, from selfish to selfless, from a person with a thieving heart to one with a heart of thanksgiving. God made him content and changed him from a person of full loneliness to one of true excitement and joy, from one of rejection to one of good acceptance in the Beloved.

“Jesus responded, ‘Salvation has come to this home today, for this man has shown himself to be a son of Abraham. And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.’" Luke 19:9-10

That can happen for you today. It can happen right now! Do you need get right with God? Don’t put it off. Come to Christ just as you are.. before anyone or anything can distract you from this. Nothing, no nothing at all is more important!

I wish there was some wonderful place called the land of beginning again. Where all our mistakes and all our heartaches and all our sickening sin could be dropped on the floor like an old shabby coat and never be put on again. ~ Anon.

Simple talk to Him in your own words. Ask and allow God to forgive you and then make you loving like Christ—one who is strong spiritually and seeks to rescue the lost. He is completely sovereign not kinda sovereign, and He desires to use you in His exciting plan.  

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.'" John 14:6

"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

You simply receive Jesus by humble turning and sincere invitation.

Jesus said (in Revelation 3:20), "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him."

It's about turning to God from a self directed lifestyle (repentance) and appropriating His forgiveness for your sins.  It involves trusting Him to transform you and then maturing you into what He wants you to be. Many intellectually acknowledge the facts of Christ's deity (Jesus being God), and about His crucifixion, bodily resurrection and ascension, but agreeing with the Bible alone is insufficient for obtaining salvation.  Having had emotional or supernatural experiences are also inadequate.  By an act of your will, you receive Jesus with His full-orbed redemption by faith and that solely is enough!

Kurt, what specifically are you asking me to do? This...
1. Recognize that you are a sinner (admit your need) 
2. Repent of your sin (be willing to turn) 
3. Realize that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave. 
4. Receive Jesus as Lord into your life to empower and control you by the Holy Spirit (through prayer). Stay with Him in fellowship with a Bible teaching church. 
5. Resolve to do it publicly. Everyone, who Jesus called, He called openly and publicly 
6. Respond to Christ now! Why NOW? Because God says now, Today is the day of salvation, now is the acceptable time. The Devil will say “tomorrow,” but Jesus says now.

Biblical “Salvation” begins with:
1. Repentance – a change of mind, we have a new mind about God.
2. Conversion – a change of life, we have a new life from God. 
3. Regeneration – a change of nature, we receive a new heart from God. 
4. Justification – a change of state, we have a new standing before God. 
5. Adoption – a change of family, we get a new relationship toward God. 
6. Sanctification – a change of service, we have a new condition with God.
"As many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His Name." John 1:12

"For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Romans 10:13   

Check it out in context. Prayerfully read: Luke 19:1-10 facebook.com/shareJesus
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