Thursday, July 30, 2015

Do you doubt your high value and worth?

Do you doubt that there is a good plan that even includes you where you are?.. and that you are loved far more than words in your own language can even describe? Choose to turn from worldly unbelief and head-out in the right direction. It’s not too late to get the doubt ..out. Don't run from who you really are.. from who you were actually born to be. Be and bring your friends with they can be set free!

“Progress means getting nearer to the place you want to be. If you’ve taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer.. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road.. Sure! You will certainly carry out God’s purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John." C.S. Lewis

Ever been so discouraged inside that you wanted to bail out (..the following are some words I today GMO responded with to a believing dude in the North that I recently met, but perhaps these words will edify you as well)? When reading through the four Gospel accounts.. it would appear that some of Christ's disciples got that way. They even tried to bail out; to go back to their fishing for mere fish for food and perhaps career seaside sales ..instead of goin' fishing with selfless prayers, the truth of the Scriptures, and some good bait if ya will catch lost people who might not have even given it a thought that they we're actually hell-bound in the worst direction ever. Somethin' serious needed to be done; to be said.. just like it is today. So many around us not even knowing what all those laws of God they broke by commition and omition--knowingly or unknowingly.. will even mean for em personally. 

This was back in the day after the death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for our willful independence--sins. The disciples were feelin' O so SO down after losing their good friend.. who was and is still alive. 

But it wasn't for long.. their fishing trip.. cuz God had a much better plan for each of them. 

And God has a good plan for each of us too. Better things are ahead. He loves you! 

Q: "So, what is fishing for souls in a Christian sense.. I mean friendship evangelism?"
A: Friendship evangelism in the Christian sense a method of bringin' people to faith in Christ, yes sharing His Gospel has several meanings and connotations to different people. Some people believe that friendship evangelism requires Christians to become close close friends with unbelievers who love to keep sinning, or to establishing a relationship before attempting to address their need for a Savior. It can happen the first day you meet. Some see friendship evangelism as living a solid, spiritually well, righteous life—as a living testimony for Christ—before the eyes and away from the eyes of others so that they will soon desire that same kind of life and even ask how to earn or achieve it. Can't be earned. This eternal life is free. But some think.. at that point, the Gospel is shared. Still others believe that living a righteous life in this corrupt world is evangelism enough and that no further efforts are even necessary. The theory is that unbelievers will be so convicted of their sin and need for that kind of life that they will seek God on their own. Can we help them seek? What does the Bible say about friendship evangelism?

Each of the three above-named methods of friendship evangelism might falls far short of the biblical method of loving evangelism. The first method, becoming friends with unbelievers in order to gain enough credibility so they will listen to the Gospel, fails to recognize several important biblical truths. We can build that bridge of credibility, but so many who do never get the gospel across that bridge and their friend.. sadly dies. For one thing, believers are not to be unequally yoked with unbelievers as close close friends or boyfriend girlfriend in many cases (2 Corinthians 6: 14–17). We indeed can be friends with sinners. Someone befriended us as sinners ..right? The essence of friendship is mutual respect and affection... based on agreement on basic life principles. But can a believer really have such a close relationship with an unbeliever? In light of James 4:4 and Ephesians 5:11, such a relationship is not biblical. The unsaved person is part of the world, unregenerate.. this world-system which hates God, Bible truth, and the people of God. So how can such a person in the Kingdom of God and of light have affection and respect for believers loving their sin, who are part of the other inferior kingdom of darkness? We can show them respect cuz they were made in God's image and have great value to Him. Are we to be friendly towards unbelievers? Absolutely! Jesus was called the friend of sinners. Are we to have intimate close close relationships with unbelievers? Biblically speaking, no. Why be pulled downwards spiritually by sinners serving another god, or by the carnal and worldly Christians for that matter? It's not worth it--we love Jesus more than any of them. 

Furthermore, neither Jesus nor the disciples practiced this type of friendship evangelism really. Jesus stayed biblical in love. He didn’t limit His Gospel presentations to His friends and relations but He preached to complete strangers the Message of repentance and faith.. yes, the Message 'bout the bad news and the Good News regarding sin, it's consequences, and God's salvation through Him alone. He sent His disciples out two by two, and they “preached that people should repent” (Mark 6: 12). If people refused to listen to them, Jesus instructed them to “shake the dust” off their feet and move on to the next town. He never encouraged them to settle down for a few months and develop close close friendships with those who rejected His Message. Nor did He tell them to avoid quoting Scriptures so that their hearers wouldn’t be offended or turned off to the Gospel. He knew that the “Message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing” (1 Corinthians 1:18) and that most people will reject that great Message, no matter how friendly the manner in which it is presented. Christ was rejected by the world, and He told us to expect the same reaction (John 15:18–20). Many preachers (false teachers even visiting some Christian churches) today won't tell you that Christians will suffer. They falsely say we'll all get rich by faith if we give to their ministry even by going into debt with their credit cards. 

What about the method of “evangelizing” through our living testimony? There is no doubt that we are to live righteous lives before the watching unholy world, and there certainly is power in the testimony of a life transformed by Christ. Holy is happy and prayerfully in Christ.. will be powerful in good influence for God's glory. A classic example of this stuff is Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:1–42). Jesus was able to tell her everything about her life, including the sin she was living in now. Jesus, in His infallible way, gave her the Gospel, and, of course, she believed in Him. John 4:39 picks up the story: “Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, ‘He told me everything I ever did.’ So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. And because of his words many more became believers” (John 4:39–41).

Everyone in that town knew this woman and the sordid life she lived. What caused them to believe in Christ was not only her words about Jesus, but her transformed life. She was a living testimony to the power of the Gospel of Christ. So blessed and impactful was the change in her life that they knew something miraculous had happened, and they asked Jesus to remain with them, which He did for two days, preaching the same Gospel of repentance and faith. He also offered them the living water of eternal life through Him. “And many more believed because of his word” (John 4: 41). In this instance, both the preaching of the Word of God and the testimony of a life changed by that Word bore the fruit of repentance. I love it. 

But was the woman’s changed life alone sufficient to bring others to the Savior? No, but it was the impetus for them to seek more information. Can we today expect that our lives will ..minus getting the truth of God's Gospel Message across sufficient testimony to convince unbelievers of their need for Christ? The problem that arises in this third type of friendship evangelism is that too often the lives of Christians are not a good witness of the Lord and Savior that we profess to know and serve. We are forgiven, saved sinners and still blow it. Hopefully not as much as we used to blow it in the world. But too often those in this world sees in us more of a reflection of them than as a reflection of our holy perfect Savor who is Jesus Christ. To rely exclusively on the “living testimony” of redeemed sinners who, while saved by grace, still battle the bad influence of the world (and of course not all influences here are negative) to some extent and of their old fleshly nature on a daily basis—without the testimony of the truth of Scripture—is to handcuff ourselves in a way that the Bible never bids us to do. Not even the most well-lived life can compare with the power of the Word of God. Never forget that.. there is no spiritual rebirth or spiritual growth apart from the Word of God for any of us. The Bible says, “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4: 12). “Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29). 

I indeed what to be consistent in walking with Jesus. I want to think and act friendly towards sinners, but I also want to limit my time with the carnal or worldly Christians and with lost people. I want to spend time with them.. as long as I am influencing them in the right direction closer to Christ. And gracefully, tactfully get away or bail from those who start to influence me in a destructive direction. Lord, help all of us to avoid getting re-ensnared in the bondage of sin cuz what kind of witness would that be for You? Don't want to be a bad witness in a way that others can learn from me.. what never to do or become. In Jesus Name, please keep and use us. Amen. 

Clearly, the biblical method of evangelism is the faithful proclamation of the truth of Scripture in conjunction with the living testimony of those who have been changed by that truth. When Jesus went about teaching the Gospel Message of salvation, He taught love and forgiveness, being kind and compassionate. But He went to sinners where they were hangin' out.. in order to help them with the truth.. to convict them of their sins that destroy. A case in point is the very Samaritan woman we’ve been talking about here. Remember... the very first word Jesus said when He began His ministry was “Repent!” It's still a good Bible term that we simply need to define.. turn away from all wrong doin's to Jesus Christ. 

The Bible says, “From that time on Jesus began to preach, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near’” (Matthew 4: 17). How can any appriciate the Good News when they have never first heard the bad news. All have sinned.. and the wages of sin is death. We are commissioned to bring that same Message to the world for their benefit, speaking the truth in love from a heart that has been changed by the Savior. Go for it. Go for Him today. 

I do pray that you draw closer and closer to your top BFF.. your very best Friend for time and eternity--Jesus--and have a really great day in fellowship with him. Ye, so much so that there is a blessing-overflow of sorts.
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