Monday, September 22, 2014

There's no need to exaggerate, tweak, or embellish the Message.

Wanna talk about accuracy. It's so important. Playin' fast and loose with the truth ain't for us. 

As we share the Gospel of Christ with unbelievers, the greatest Story ever of His Cross and the empty tomb, let's not make the mistake of only sharing the positive things with people as some believers do. I've told you before how there's a need for all to repent. There is a horrible place called Hell and there is future judgement. We believers will also be giving account of how we spent our lives. I've told you before how God is loving, as well as just and holy.  
Let's tell em the truth without exaggeration or embellishment. Let's consistently say it straight and not make our old life sound more exciting, thrilling, or better than our new life in Jesus Christ. It wasn't. 

Let's not tell of all that we have given up for Christ, because what we actually gave up was just trash, and destruction, and misery, wild sinful bashes that were fun for a short time.. and loneliness at times, and friends on the road to perdition, and inner emptiness, and guilt because we've all blown it at times and are guilty, and fear of death, and hopelessness because Christ is the only real Hope for humanity, and traffic tickets, and for some.. warrants, and hangovers, and dead religion, and paranoia.

Hey, let's instead share the truth in love.. about the blessings and abundant life and answered prayer and great companionship of Jesus. Let's share about what Christ gave up for us—He gave it all, and died in our place. 

How can people appreciate the good news if they never heard the bad news as well?

We've all seen and we've all broken God's laws we all need to repent and put our trust in Jesus.

But Kurt, if I become a Christian will I need to move out and not live with my girlfriend anymore? A. Yes, sex outside of marriage is sin (Do some word searches on "fornication" "uncleanness" and "adultery" in the Bible). You'll need to deny yourself, not live for pleasure, die to doing things your own way, let Jesus be Lord of all. You'll need to be pure and move out ..and stop sleepin' with people.. anywhere. I say, Holy in Him is much happy in Him. 

But Kurt, if I become a Christian will I need to quit doing drugs, quit getting wasted-drunk at parties, quit cheating on my taxes, quit cussing, and stealing money from my dealer? A. Do some more words studies (Pharmakia Gk)

But Kurt, if I become a Christian will be healed of this disease and never get sick again? 
A. Well, God is indeed the Healer and we should look to Him instead of to so called healing evangelists. Might not happen physically before you see Christ's face, but we all should look to Him before we look to doctors, to clinics, to Obamacare etc. God can indeed deliver any from bad habits, from sicknesses, and even restore people, but we are living in a sin-cursed fallen world here.. and as lost people continue to get sick (we see it weekly, and now the Ebola medicines are running out), so do Christians catch sicknesses. Lost people still die of cancer and so do Christians. God in His wisdom decides who He will physically heal. We just don't know why He heals some believers here, and then all others will catch permanent healing (as He brings em home to heaven). Don't blame! He didn't sin. But we know He has a good plan for us all. When we run into something we don't know or understand, we just fall back on what we do know and understand. He loves you!   

You and I need to tell em it straight instead of PMA (positive mental attitude) feel good stuff only. 

With all due respect, John, you need to admit it and quit it. Yup, you'll need to become an honest worker, and quit the drugs n gang banging, quit all the carousing and thievin'.. yes, quit getting blasted and loaded at the same time or at different times. But let me also say that the things that you'll gain in the will be so great that you won't even miss the old things or old life you gave up. In fact having the Lord in your life and all that you'll gain in Christ will be so wonderful that it all will even be worth dying for ..if necessary.

Believer, I say have a good conscience with no deceptive exploitation mixed in.. or greed, or manipulation in there. Have zero dubious or even partly shady practices. Remember, a compromise of integrity will tweak things all wrong and will not be effective. Don't give out false promises, but keep your promises. God does that and His Book is full of good promises for us all to claim. We don't need to use "compete for a toy" kind of contests to win sinners into our churches, or use worldly movies, or use trivialized pursuits to evangelize the irreligious. Nope! We don't use sensual teases or appeals towards their flesh to assist them in getting spiritual. That'd be wrong!  

Cults have used, and still use such perverse weirdness to hook people in and cut them off from family. For longer than I can think, they have urged their devotees to proselytize through flirty sorta fishing. Just read history, some religious systems have even used temple prostitutes to catch em. It's not for us—we're to be nothing like them.  

Preachers, teachers, believers, disciples ..yes, all fishers of people.. are to be word-smiths of sorts (not Bible text smiths), yes, word-artisans if ya will. A Christian witness is to pray about what he or she will say in different situations. They are to use their testimony even, and shape a honest message by the language, tone, timing and methods they employ.

We want to represent the God well. Jesus did this for the Father. He was flawless in this and we would do well to follow Him in witnessing. Christ used Scripture and stories hearers could relate to. He never witnessed to any two people exactly the same way and we shouldn't either. The Holy Spirit knows what each one needs most.

In Colossians 4:4 the Apostle Paul requested prayer from believers so that he could communicate ..for their sake, not his sake.. the Gospel effectively. He said…

"Pray diligently. Stay alert, with your eyes wide open in gratitude. Don't forget to pray for us, that God will open doors for telling the mystery of Christ, even while I'm locked up in this jail. Pray that every time I open my mouth I'll be able to make Christ plain as day to them." (MSG)

I personally like to look at his words in several different translations and modern paraphrases to get the gist better. I like the NKJV best "..I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak", but the NASB and NIV versions use the word clear or clearly here. Check out how F. F. Bruce translates it. He says: "that I may publish it openly in the words which I ought to speak."

The Apostle Paul totally got it. He never wanted to muffle, to garble, to fog, or to fumble the Gospel Message. He wanted to explain it real well; to word it crystal clearly for em and show how God wants His principles practically applied in their era. He wants that for our era too.

The word Paul used, "phanerow," has the idea.. "to make visible." It comes from "phainw" which means "to manifest" or "to light up." The job of any fisher of people is to intercede and give It out plainly, simply, and with fitting illustrations or some humor if the Spirit guides. We want to open a window and shed some light on the old Story, just to make it understandable to the people of our day, rather than to obscure it. Don't know 'bout your country, but there's so much biblical illiteracy in the USA now—so many don't have a clue as to who Adam, Eve, Abraham, Noah, Moses or David were.

Of course the Bible is already very relevant for the modern folk, but we can help show em how relevant it truly is.

Never forget. It's imperative to share the Gospel both honestly and clearly. We share the bad news (for all have sinned. And the wages of sin is death..) and the Good News. Our holy God loves and gladly saves people, but He also judges sin. Our sins will either be judged in one of two places: on the Cross at Calvary (a couple thousand years ago if we believe), or if we put off or reject Christ.. at the Great White Throne Judgement in the near future. 

Why give em the neg and the poss? Well, cuz we only need to think about what is at stake and important repentance and faith in Christ are. Only in the Gospel is there the "power of God to salvation" (Rom 1:16). No wonder Paul mentions "anathema" for those who misstate the Message. 

Mr. G. Campbell Morgan said, "Organized Christianity which fails to make a disturbance is dead."

"It is now possible to live a 'Christian life' without doing the things that Jesus commanded us to do.  We have hired people to go into all the world [to live it, to serve, and to tell], to visit those in prison, to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for widows and orphans.  The average Christian doesn't have to do it." —Cal Thomas

Sure, God still uses people today, but He can use us to reach more people better with a clearer Message than with a foggy or half message. Who needs confusion? None. We all need Jesus! A clear, from-the-heart-dialogue and presentation of the Gospel is not only more powerful, it also gets people off to a well-grounded start in relating to Christ, as well as in layin' a solid biblical foundation for their walk with Him.
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