Are you sure Jesus loves you?

Jesus-Loves-You-

“Jesus loves you…”

“You need to have a relationship with Jesus…”

“Just trust God and everything will be fine…”

“Jesus friend of sinners…”

We’ve all heard these types of sayings and many more; maybe we’ve even said them.  They are all over Christian radio stations, especially from stations like K-Love.  It’s all about the love of Jesus and His “need” and His “desire” for them to seek a relationship with Him.  I want to plainly say I’m all about the love of Jesus, for He “IS” love (1 John 4:8), and we would not know love without Him (1 John 3:16).

I don’t want there to be any misunderstandings about my statements.  The greatest act of love ever committed was by Jesus Christ and any other is underwhelming by comparison.  He is the only place a repentant sinner can turn for grace and mercy.  But those that don’t understand that act and just how remarkable it was will never embrace what it fully means.

When evangelism techniques only discuss Jesus as standing at the door waiting for someone to decide to love Him it falls miserably short of what the Scripture teaches us.  There is methodology behind drawing a sinner to the Lord, but it begins with God’s Holiness and man’s sinfulness if the gospel is to be proclaimed accurately.

Let’s see what the Bible says about the sinner in the eyes of a “Holy God”.

Psalm 7:11-12 God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.  If he does not turn back, He will sharpen His sword; He bends His bow and makes it ready.

This is an incredibly clear understanding of the status of man in the eyes of God.  Let’s dig into God’s warning for the unsaved and see how very different this is from some of those common statements from above.

God is just – Only God is capable of judging with perfect righteousness.  He knows all that is in man’s heart and despite His patience with all of man-kind there is coming a day when we all must give account of our lives (Hebrews 4:13) and justice will be served according to our deeds (Romans 2:6).

God is angry with the wicked – If any of your thoughts, words or deeds have ever fallen short of God’s perfect standard and Christ is not your Lord and Savior you are wicked and God is angry with you.  He does not “love” you in the way He loves those that turn to Him in faith.  God is patient and provides good things even to those at enmity with Him, for He provides all that we have.

The word angry – zâ‛am – to foam at the mouth, that is, to be enraged: – abhor, abominable, (be) angry, defy, (have) indignation.

Not exactly the message of most modern day evangelists, and preachers.

When we open the Bible and we read God’s Word we see a very common theme.  “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 4:17.  This is how Jesus began His public ministry after He came out of the wilderness; He never sought to coddle the sinner in his sin, but to first draw him into seeing that he is in jeopardy because of his sin.

Repent – metanoeō – From G3326 and G3539; to think differently or afterwards, that is, reconsider (morally to feel compunction): – repent.

Repentance means to have a change of heart, which leads to a change of mind and a change of direction.  Paul calls this a “new creation”.  Jesus says you must be “born again” and Ezekiel says your “heart of stone will be replaced by a heart of flesh”.  These are Biblical truths that cannot be left out in our efforts to reach the lost.

Understanding that there is a newness of life and rejection of the life that once was enjoyed is now detestable.

1 John 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

Those that first repent will see their sin as a violation of God’s Holiness leading to a radically different life, broken over their rebellion against the One True God that gave them life.

When you share this Good News it’s important to represent God in all His Glory, including and especially His hatred of the ungodly, otherwise you bring a message of cheap grace.  Without repentance there will not be life change and that is the point at which we can share what true love is really all about.

Preach the Word today brothers and sisters…

 

Kevin

A moth to a flame

campfire

What is it that draws a moth to a flame?  We know they are going to die but the moth doesn’t have that knowledge.  They are ignorant of the saving truth of their demise.  If you could tell them “don’t do it” would they pay attention to you?  Would they know you cared enough to save them from destruction?

Psalm 14:1 The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none who does good.

Sunday night I was able to spend some time doing something I really enjoy; that is sitting around a campfire.  It’s something I’ve loved since I was a kid.  There is something fascinating about adding big chunks of hickory or split oak to a fire and seeing it come to life.  I also love seeing the deep dark colors of the coals and how they give off that warming heat on a cool evening such as we had that night.

As I was sitting and enjoying a discussion with my brother Roy, I saw a moth dive bomb right into the fire.  This poor guy had no idea what hit him.  In a couple seconds he burst into flames and poof he was gone.  It was quite incredible to see it happen and really caused me to think about the fool.

What is a fool?

The Hebrew word used here is – nâbâl pronounced – naw-bawl’

From H5034; stupid; wicked (especially impious): – fool (-ish, -ish man, -ish woman), vile person.

Joseph A. Alexander provides us some great insight into the fool.

Sin is constantly held up to view in Scripture as the height of folly, and the sinner as the fool by way of eminence,  See Gen xxxiv, 7, Josh. vii, 15, Ps. xxxxix, 9 (8).   The term is here collective and applied to the whole race, as appears from the plurals which follow, and the negative statement in the last clause.  The preterits include the present, but suggest the additional idea, that the truth here asserted is the result of all previous experience and observations.—In his heart, to himself, if not to others, as above in Ps. x. 11. 

That the error is one of affections, and not merely of the understanding, is supposed by some to be implied in the use of the word heart, which is often used, however, to denote the mind or soul in general.  “No” is properly a noun, and means nonentity or non-existence: “nothing of God,” or “no such thing as God.”  It cannot be explained as a wish “No God!” i.e. Oh that there were no God. 

Alexander goes on to say: that the addition of the word act or deed shows that the atheism described is not merely theoretical but practical.

As a moth is drawn to a flame so is the sinful human heart drawn to the denial of God.  Even though we know He has plainly revealed Himself to all of mankind.  Romans 1:19-23

The only difference between the moth and the human that dies is eternity.  Indeed the moth I saw last night is gone and is now dust.  Man has a soul that will continue on forever in one of two places.  For the believer it will be eternal glory serving the God they love.  For the fool it will be the torment of hell.  Where the fire is not quenched (Mark 9:44).

Believer can you feel the urgency to preach the gospel to those that need to hear the message of the cross?  Most will reject it but some will be saved through this foolish message.  Today go out and be an ambassador for Christ and call those to repent, turn from their sin and live!

 

Kevin

A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 8 – Conclusion

I cannot properly express the privilege it has been to present the work of Joseph Alleine on this blog.  This is not a book that you would most likely put on your must read list.  I want to encourage all to present this book to the leadership of your church and challenge them to preach this from the pulpit or at least talk about it.  Encourage everyone you know to read it including your leadership.  I believe God will use this to reveal many deceptions among those that think they are right with God, but are not.

In an age where most churches feel the need to be relevant and courageous, biblical teaching on conversion and repentance is no longer en vogue, the greatest mission field today is sitting within the walls of “churches”.  The greatest challenge in evangelism today comes from those that profess Christ.  The preaching is watered down, so not to offend, and the gospel is compromised to keep the unregenerate in the seats.  This should not be the case.  I urge you friends to challenge them; it just might have them understand their desperate situation.

Conclusion

Do you remember the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when they make it into the room where the chalice of Christ is located?  They must choose which cup and drink from the water to give them eternal life?  What an interesting representation of our lives.  We must choose wisely and live or choose foolishly and perish.  The cross stands before us today to look to it and be saved or stay in our sin and die.

Grail

In the conclusion of A Sure Guide to Heaven, Joseph Alleine makes his final appeal to turn to Christ and live.

And now, beloved, let me know your mind.  What do you intend to do?  Will you go on and die, or will you turn and lay hold on eternal life?  How long will you linger in Sodom?  How long will you halt between two opinions?  Have you not yet resolved whether Christ or Barabbas, whether bliss or torment, whether this vain and wretched world, or the paradise of God, be the better choice?

How long will you rest in idle wishes and fruitless purposes?  When will you come to a fixed, firm, and full resolve?  Do you not see how Satan cheats you by tempting you to delay?  How long has he drawn you on in the way of perdition!

Well, do not put me off with a dilatory answer; tell me not later.  I must have your immediate consent.  If you are not now resolved, while the Lord is treating with you and inviting you, much less likely are you to be later, when these impressions are worn off, and you are hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  Page 141

Remember, you are now upon your good behaviour [sic] for everlasting; if you do not make a wise choice now, you are undone for ever [sic].  What your present choice is, such must be your eternal condition. Page 142

Hear, O ye drunkards, how long will you be drunk?  Put away your wine.  Though you have rolled in filthiness of your sin, give yourselves unto Christ, to live soberly, righteously, and godly; embrace His righteousness; accept His government; and though you have been vile, He will wash you (Rev i 5). Page 146

And now bear witness that mercy has been offered you. ‘I call heaven and earth to record against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that you may live’ (Deut xxx 19).  I can only entreat you and warn you.  I cannot otherwise compel you to be happy; if I could, I would.  What answer will you send me with to my Master?

If you are not the despisers of grace, and would not shut the doors of mercy against yourselves, repent and be converted. Page 147

Alleine leaves us with the answer.  Repent and be converted.

How simple… how easy…

But why is this impossible for the hardened human heart? The call is clear.  Man is responsible for his failure to receive Christ.  If you don’t turn and live you will die in your sins and trespasses.  Today I appeal to your conscience, turn and live.

If you are a Believer, preach the word!

Kevin

A Sure Guide to Heaven – Part 7 – The motives to conversion

breaking-free

This is my last full length article on A Sure Guide to Heaven.  I will wrap up next week with the conclusion.  This is a fascinating work and one that will benefit all that put the energy into reading it.

What motivates you?

A motive as defined by Merriam-Webster is something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act.

Are you motivated by money, prestige, and respect, what gets you excited, what really trips your trigger?  Are you motivated by the things of the world, or are you motivated to rid yourself of your bondage to sin?  Are you motivated to win souls to Jesus Christ?

The things that motivate you define who you are.

Believer how do you see people?  They are either a redeemed child of the King or someone headed to hell for eternal punishment.  Do we have compassion for them?  Do we desire for them to know the glories of being a follower of Jesus Christ?  I hope you are stirred to speak and share the good news, it might be the only chance they have.

The motives to conversion

Men and brethren, heaven and earth call upon you; yea, hell itself preaches the doctrine of repentance unto you.  The ministers of the churches labour for you.  The angels of heaven wait for you, for your repenting and turning unto God.  O sinner, why should devils laugh at your destruction, and deride your misery, and sport themselves with your folly?  This will be your case, except you turn. Page 130

O rock! O adamant! What, not moved yet?  Not yet resolved to turn forthwith and to close with mercy?  I will try yet once again.  If one were sent to you from the dead, would you be persuaded?  Why, hear the voice from the dead, from the damned, crying to you that you should repent: ‘I pray thee that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house; for I have five brethren; that he may testify to them, lest they also come into this place of torment; if one went to them from the dead, they will repent’ (Lk xvi 27-28).  Hear, O man; your predecessors in impenitence preach to you from the infernal flames, that you should repent.

O lay your ear to the door of hell.  Do you hear the curses and blasphemies, the weepings and wailings, how they lament their follies and curse their day?  How do they roar and gnash their teeth! How deep their groans! How inconceivable their miseries!

And of their moans and miseries this is the piercing, killing emphasis and burden, ‘For ever! For ever!’ Page 132

1: The God that made you most graciously invites you

His most sweet and merciful nature invites you.  O the kindness of God, His boundless compassion, His tender mercies!  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are His ways above our ways, and His thoughts above our thoughts. ‘He is full of compassion, and gracious, long-suffering, and plenteous in mercy’ (Ps lxxxvi 15).

Sinners do not fail in that they have too high thoughts of God’s mercies, but in that they overlook His justice, or they promise themselves mercy out of God’s way.

Are you willing to come in? Page 133

O melting, gracious words: the voice of God, and not of a man!  This is not the manner of men, for the offended sovereign to sue to the offending, traitorous rebel.  O how does mercy follow you, and plead with you!  Is not our heart broken yet?  O that today you would hear His voice! Page 134

2: The doors of heaven are thrown open to you

Let me say to you, as Paul to Agrippa, ‘Believest thou the prophets?’

O ye sons of folly, will you embrace the dunghill and refuse the kingdom? Page 135

3: God will give you unspeakable privileges in this life

He will give you grace and glory, and withhold no good thing from you.  He will take you for His sons and daughters, and make you heirs of His promises, and establish His everlasting covenant with you  He will justify you from all that law, conscience and Satan can charge upon you.  He will give you free access into His presence, and accept your person, and receive your prayers. Page 137

4: The terms of mercy are brought as low as possible to you

God has stooped as low to sinner as with honour He can.  He will not be the author of sin, nor stain the glory of His holiness; and how could He come lower than He has, unless He should do this?

He declares Himself to have received a ransom, and that He expects nothing but that you should accept His son, and He shall be righteousness and redemption to you.  If you come in His Christ, and set your heart to please Him, making this your chief concern, He will graciously accept you. Page 138

O sinner, return and live; why should you die when life is to be had for the taking, when mercy entreats you to be saved? Page 139

5: God offers all needed grace to enable you

God commands you to know Him, and to fear Him.  Do you say, ‘Yes but my mind is blinded, and my heart is hardened from His fear?’  I answer that God offers to enlighten your mind, and to teach you His fear.

God invites you to be made clean, and entreats you to yield to Him.  O accept His offers, and let Him do for you, and in you, what you cannot do for yourselves. Page 140

My dear friends I hope that today you consider the powerful words of this book.  If you know Christ, share the gospel with all you can.  If you don’t know Christ, see yourself as a miserable wretch and know He is your only hope.  Turn and live.

Kevin

Peace with God?

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In 2012 1.5 million people made professions for Christ according to a recent news bulletin I heard recently on WDLM.  This is according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and it was stated that their new website peace with God.net has convinced this many people to pray a prayer of salvation.

This is a staggering number of people that have been saved.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it’s true.

What I mean is I’m sure the statistics are true, that 1.5 million people actually made this profession but the bottom line is will these 1.5 million people now spend eternity in heaven?  This is what I really wonder.

Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

I don’t want to be misunderstood.  If this is true it’s incredible, amazing, and God glorifying news but Jesus teaches us it’s just not that easy.

How many of these will count the cost?  Luke 14:28

How many of these will deny themselves and pick up their cross daily? Luke 9:23

How many of these understood their sin was an offense to God and He poured out His wrath on the Son to pay their penalty?  Matthew 26:42

How many of these understood they need to repent of their sin or that wrath will be poured out on them?  Matthew 4:17

How many of these understood they will suffer persecution for Christ’s sake and they will rejoice in that?  Matthew 5:11-12

How many of these understood they might be separated from their families because of Christ?  Matthew 10:34-39

How many of these understood they WILL lose their life as they know it?  Matthew 10:39

How many of these understand they will be called Satan?  Matthew 10:25

How many of these understand they must be willing to forsake all they have?  Luke 14:33

How many of these understand they must be willing to give away all their worldly possessions?  Luke 18:22

And I just started to talk about what it means to be a true follower of Jesus Christ.  If they desire Christ to make their life easier, or to scratch some itch they have, they’ve come to the wrong place.  I hope I’m wrong about all these people, but experience and more importantly God’s Word tells me I’m not.  Following Christ will cost you everything and those that are truly redeemed willingly and joyfully do so.

Believer I urge you to pray for those today that think they’ve come to know Christ.  I urge you to pray that the Billy Graham Association declares to them the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).  God requires His church is pure.  God requires His church is without spot or wrinkle.  God requires that His church is washed through the sanctifying word of truth.  Ephesians 5:25-27

Kevin

I encourage you to watch this short video by Brother Paul Washer as he shares with us the truth of God’s redeeming work.