Posted in evangelism, share the love of jesus, witnessing, wrath

Don’t share the love of Christ … Evangelism part 2/3

I’m thinking a lot about evangelism. I feel the times are getting closer and closer to the end. Whether you are a student of eschatology or not (eschatology = last things) the fact is that today we are one day closer to the end than yesterday. Urgency is a must, because today anyone could die. If they are without the Lord, they will go to hell. We must be about the Father’s business, and urgently, with purpose and intent.

And correctly.

More on that in a minute.

Stoning of St.Stephen – Paolo Uccello, c.1435

We have many reasons to evangelize. It is an order from Jesus to go about making disciples. (Matthew 28:16-20). The lost world is becoming ever more corrupt and depraved. Or another way to look at it is, human-kind has always been corrupt and depraved, but they used to be able to hide it better. Now, they can’t. It is rising in hearts of men and therefore they need the Light more each day. (Genesis 6:1-5, Matthew 24:37).

And yet into this cauldron of depravity and evil, many Christians take the approach to evangelism by saying “Jesus loves you.” Then they go home and say “I shared the love of Christ today.”

And you know what the lost think in response to the old chestnut approach “Jesus loves you”? “Big deal. I already knew that.” So they look smilingly at the evangelizer and the evangelizer looks smilingly back and all is kumbayah.

The lost believe they are good. They believe that because they are pretty good people, of course Jesus already loves them. They’re comfortable with hearing that. As a matter of fact, a Christian has just confirmed what they already knew all along, “Phew, I’m all set,” they think. So the Christian’s evangelism efforts get a polite response and no conviction.

I say, don’t share the love of Jesus.

I plead, let’s get that worn out phrase out of our pantheon of trite phrases.

Rev. Matt Slick continues by explaining how to present the Gospel:

 “The Last Angel” Artist: Nicholas Roerich, 1912

“How do you tell people that they need Jesus? Do you tell them that Jesus loves them and that He wants to make their lives better? Do you tell people that Jesus can forgive them of their sins? Do you tell them that Jesus has a wonderful plan for their lives and that they should believe in Him and ask Jesus into their hearts? If so, you may be doing a harm to their spiritual health. That’s right, harm.”

Because in order to share the Good News, we have to share the bad news first. Sin. Judgment. Wrath. We have to tell people they are separated from God due to their sin. Speak clearly of where their default destiny lies, after death. That there is nothing they can do to earn holiness or please God. Law first.

John the Baptist and Jesus both opened their ministries with the message “Repent and believe, the kingdom of God is at hand.” Peter opened with sin, judgment and wrath in his sermon at Pentecost. (Acts 2:14-41). Paul told the Athenians at the Areopagus that they were worshiping wrong, and used their error as a starting point to tell them the main point: and that they needed to repent because the day of judgment is coming (Acts 17:30-31).

Not that we go in with guns blazing. We are mindful of our audience and tailor the message to them. Paul used the Jewish scriptures to teach the Jews of Jesus and to the Pagans he used creation as a starting point. But we get to the point quickly: sin, wrath, judgment, then the Good News, Jesus crucified, died, resurrected. But far from today’s comfy evangelizing schema, it is necessary to tell the bad news so they know why they have no hope in themselves, to show Jesus is the hope and the Good News.

The point here is to relate the holiness of God. And the best way to do that it to tell them they are unholy.

 “High”, Artist: Morris Louis, 1959

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)

You will receive a variety of reactions, most of them negative. You might be rejected, spit at, mocked, arrested, ignored, or beheaded. In today’s western Christianity, people tend to think that a person has evangelized wrong if they receive reactions like that. However you’re doing it wrong if you don’t receive mainly negative reactions. No one likes to be told they are a sinner. No one. Speaking of absolute truth (Jesus as the only way) engenders harsh condemnation in this post-modern world. And speaking of wrath and judgment garners condemnation from fellow ‘Christians’ more often than not, never mind lost people.

If you’re “sharing the love of Jesus” you are sinning, because you are making it comfortable for yourself.

Never underestimate the power of the full Gospel. Occasionally someone has been prepared by the Holy Spirit to hear the message God had sent us to tell. It is the Spirit who prepares hearts and convicts of sin! We share the full message and the Spirit applies it to the heart and mind. The full message is both, wrath and hope. See Got Questions on the subject:

Question: “What is the biblical method of evangelism?”
Answer: When trying to decide how to share Christ with someone, the starting point should be the same as that of John the Baptist and Jesus Himself. Matthew 3:2 tells us that John began his ministry with the words “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Repentance refers to a “change of mind,” which implies sorrow for past offences (2 Corinthians 7:10), a deep sense of the evil of sin as committed against God (Psalm 51:4), and a conscious decision to turn from sin to God. The first words Jesus spoke when He began His public ministry were identical to John’s (Matthew 4:17).

Biblical evangelism – The good news and the bad news

The word “gospel” means “good news.” While many well-meaning Christians begin their evangelistic efforts with the good news of God’s love for mankind, that message is lost on unbelievers who must first come to grips with the extent of the bad news. First, man is separated from a holy, righteous God by sin. Second, God hates sin and is “angry with the wicked every day” (Psalm 7:11). Third, death and judgment are inevitable (Hebrews 9:27). Fourth, man is wholly incapable of doing anything about the situation. Until the full extent of this bad news is presented, the good news cannot be effectively communicated.

Read more here, it’s good.

I’ll close with something profound Jerry Bridges said in his book Fearing God. He wrote,

Some years ago, I prayed that God would show me more of His love. He answered that prayer by showing me more of my sin- not just specific sins I’d committed, but the sinfulness of my heart. Then I began to appreciate more His love to me.”

People, preach the full Gospel, bad news first. Yes, tell of the love of Jesus,

“So long as the Christian makes it clear to unbelievers that they have sinned against God and will stand before Him to give an account…”

“So long as the Christian explains to unbelievers the just punishment and consequences for sin (and yes, we must talk about Hell as a place of torment, not merely eternal separation from God)…”

“So long as the Christian doesn’t merely name the name of Jesus, but assures unbelievers of which Jesus he is talking about (not the Jesus of Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Islam, Oprah-ism, or any other kind of “ism”)…” (source)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)


The End Time: Evangelism Part 1 
The End Time: Evangelism Part 3

Further reading:

Biblical Evangelism

Making Disciples

Watch On-the-Street-Witnessing

Personal Evangelism 101

Posted in bible jesus, repentance, salvation, witnessing

KISS: Keep It Simple, Sailor. The Gospel isn’t complicated

I invite you to listen to this very convicting and wonderful sermon on How to Recognize True Repentance by Pastor Don Green. It was delivered last month at the Truth Matters conference. You can listen to the sermon or read a transcript, but listening to it is the best way for you to have the impact. I was deeply moved by it, and was uplifted as always by the true words of Jesus in the Gospels the pastor shared throughout the sermon.

Fall surely is a great time of year. The air is freshened, the colors are out, and the seasons are changing. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8)

Adam Clarke’s commentary of those verses says, “Every thing has its time and season. God by his providence governs the world, and has determined particular things and operations to particular times. In those times such things may be done with propriety and success. However if we neglect the appointed seasons we sin against this providence and become the authors of our own distresses. God has given to man that portion of duration called time; the space in which all the operations of nature, of animals, and intellectual beings, are carried on. But while nature is steady in its course, and animals faithful to their instincts, man devotes it to a great variety of purposes, very frequently to that for which God never made time, space, or opportunity.”

God is our first season and our last season, and He is the season at all times. Make sure your relationship with Jesus is not a seasonal activity, one that comes and goes, but is everlasting and sure. All else comes and goes, His love is eternal. Stay within it in prayerful attitude, grateful for blessings for all the things He sends to us in their own due season.


The Lord is sovereign. He wields all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18) and that means our Lord has been given all authority to judge. He specifically said so in John 5:22. Repentance is the simple truth of the Gospel. It isn’t fixing social ills. It isn’t reaching out to have conversations with other religions. It isn’t simply “accepting Christ” as if WE have to find HIM acceptable…. It is personal awareness for your own sins, mourning over those sins, and appealing to Jesus for forgiveness of those sins, and finally, turning from those sins by making Jesus Lord and submitting to His will in us. It is repentance.

When I was living aboard the sailboat with my husband, there is a common adage all sailors know. It’s KISS, “Keep It Simple, Sailor”. When you’re out in the middle of the ocean you depend on each other and the systems aboard your boat to stay alive and make port safely. Everything is stripped away, and it’s just you, the boat, and the wind. KISS meant that the more complicated you make the systems aboard your boat, the more likely it is that they will fail, putting you at risk of death.

The Gospel is simple. Christianity, especially American Christianity, has made it complicated. We have been told that somehow we are failing if we are at odds with Catholics, or Mormons, or Muslims. Repentance isn’t to exhibit a display of hatred of other people’s sins. While it is OK to be upset at homosexuality or gay marriage or abortion, it should not be at the expense of mourning over and hatred of our own sins. We have been told that we must be peaceful and unite in our common love of love. Not so. Jesus is singular. He isn’t to be melded with other religions, He isn’t to be ignored, and He isn’t one of many paths. He is THE way, THE truth, and THE life. “Repent, and ye shall be saved. Refuse to repent, and ye shall perish.” (Luke 13:5) Jesus only, sin, and repentance. Keep it Simple, Sailor. We repent, and then we call others to repentance. That’s it.

Remember to KISS, Keep it Simple, Sailor! It is all about Jesus, our sin and His forgiveness.When was the last time you actually cried over your own sin? When was the last time you were broken and ashamed before God at the creature you used to be, and cried in joy at the grace He has afforded you to become a new creation? Think about it. If it has been too long, a good dose of prayerful repentance does the spiritual body good. “II Corinthians 7:10, NIV. “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.”

Posted in rapture, staying strong, witnessing

Stay on the right track!

Watch this, the first three minutes, and then I’ll explain something.

I know, last week’s news was pretty dark, right? It really was. The blog was full of terrible things happening in the world. I pondered last week’s news all this week. I am gaining a new understanding each day, thanks to the Holy Spirit. Jesus said of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble- “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it” (KJV). (Jeremiah 30:7). And again in Matthew 24:21, “He said “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” How can we comprehend a time that will have unequaled suffering? A time that has never been so bad on earth and never will be again? Students of history may be familiar with the Dark Ages, as Wikipedia says, ‘a period of supposed intellectual darkness that occurred in Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire from the 5th to 15th centuries AD.’ It was a time of wars, rumors of wars, nations rising against nations, barbarians sweeping down from the Mongolian steppes or the German Alps and razing whole cities and populations. It was a time of bubonic plagues where the dead were stacked in the streets. A time of sudden fires and early death and child mortality and torture and Inquisition and witchcraft and sickness and gloom. The Tribulation will not be equal to that. It will be worse.

Jesus spent a great deal of time not only in Chapter 24 of Matthew explaining in detail about these things, but in most of the bible. All of the Old Testament gears up to the time of this Tribulation. How? The Church Age is a time when the Age of Law was paused for 7 years. The Tribulation is actually a resumption of the Old Testament, God finishing His business with the Israelites for the last 7 years. We HAVE to know about it. We HAVE to understand what is coming. Why?

I believe it is important first and foremost to have a solid understanding of the end times and upcoming Tribulation because they are in the bible. Period. Everything in the bible is profitable for knowledge and education and reproof (2 Tim 3:16).

I believe it is important to know these things to even greater detail because we are that generation who will see the end of the Church Age and be raptured. We will experience an unequaled event that all of human history since the beginning has been aiming toward. We are that generation who will personally experience, alive, the result of Jesus’ ministry on earth and on the cross: redeeming humanity with His own blood. We are the generation who will be going about our daily business, like every other generation that ever lived since Adam and Eve, but who will experience the interruption of time as Jesus Himself breaks through the veil and calls us up, snatching us up from the earth in a powerful event that defies all science, reason, and comprehension. Of course we should know about that moment, being the glorious recipients of it, and therefore can experience a great anticipation, joy, and hope that we can share with others in this dark time.

But should our knowledge of end time events stop there? No…

The Tribulation is God’s judgment for sin. We are sinners. It is only through the grace of Jesus that we will not be experiencing that 7-year period of darkness and horror that we want to shy away from and not know about. But we must have clear eyes and stare steadily into the train wreck that is coming, knowing we will be saved from that wrath (1 Thess 5:9) but understanding thoroughly that if we were not saved we would be experiencing it ourselves, and justifiably so! Who are we to say, ‘thanks Jesus, now I turn from the bible’s descriptions of what will happen to everyone else because it upsets me too much to see it beginning to be played out on earth’?!

Finally, the scene from the movie Fireproof comes to mind. That is the clip, above. That was the latest movie from the Christian folks from Albany GA in which Kirk Cameron starred as a firefighter whose marriage was falling apart. There was a scene where two cars had crashed and one was crumpled and stuck on the train tracks. Two women were in the car. They were trapped in the vehicle. At first, one firefighter was talking to the woman, asking her if she was OK, telling her the method he was going to use that would free her. Then two other firefighters arrived on scene. A bunch of bystanders started milling round, in the background, not saying or doing anything, just watching. A few walked away, likely not wanting to see the physical results of what may happen next. The three firefighters then heard a train whistle. They could not see the train but they heard it. They began to hurry, hurry to get the car off the tracks, knowing there was no time now to get the women out of the car. As the train rounded the bend, some bystanders came to help, and they grunted and sweated to get the car off the tracks. More joined, still more. At the last second they got the car off the tracks just as the train came by, saving the women from sure crushing- just as surely as people will be crushed by 100lb hailstones (Rev 16:21) or houses falling on them (Rev 11:13) in the Tribulation.

These days are like that scene. People all around us are trapped in their sins, in bondage and chained to the tracks. Many Christians are simply bystanders, looking on but doing nothing to really help the ones in the path of destruction. Some walk away. But at first one helped then another and another. They risked themselves to help. Don’t leave the job of salvation to just the fire chief (pastor) but it is all our duty to help those in the path of the wreck. Don’t peer at people in a crushed car (the enslaved unsaved) and say “Ew, that’s gonna be a mess” and walk away, covering your eyes even though you hear the train whistle. People all over the world are trapped in their sins just as the women were tapped in the car in the movie. Are the bible verses about the Tribulation and the news of today that match upcoming Tribulation events not worth reading because the grisly aftermath is easier to visualize now that the train is almost upon us? Let it not be so!

It takes all of us Christians to do the job: obeying the Spirit, being strong, and actually DOING something to help all the time everywhere, even though our eyes may be looking upon something unsavory or terrible while we do it. But we will not be helping if we never look at the train and know it’s coming, nor if we refuse to stalwartly look at the coming indicators of the aftermath, by contrast knowing their fate!

The directions are simple: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Colossians 4:2. The more grateful you are, the more joy you have in what you have, and joy in what is to come.