Sunday, May 17, 2009

A new springboard for budding preachers


This past Saturday night the Sovereign Joy Evanglism Team went to the Southlake Town Square to preach the gospel. It was a great night for most of us.

Shortly after we arrived, an ambulance and fire truck pulled up on the scene and the crowd of individuals that were casually strolling down the sidewalk, with ice creams in hand, immediately scurried to see what the action was about.

That’s when our wonderful evangelism leader,
Dennis Cain, jumped up on the soapbox and used a new movie, that will be released the end of this month, as a springboard for the gospel. Below is a basic account of what Dennis said last night. I thought it was so good that I wanted to provide it for you to use when you hit the streets.

I stood in the front of the crowd and was glued to every word that Dennis said...I think others were as well.
Here's what Dennis said in a nutshell...

“A new movie will be released soon called “
Drag Me To Hell.” The story is of a women who was cursed to be tormented for three days by a demon and then would be dragged to Hell for eternity. The tag line to the movie is “Even nice people go to Hell.”

Well, it's true. Nice people do go to Hell. 150,000 people die every day. You would consider most of these people to be nice and good. Some of the nicest people you've ever met will end up in Hell when they die.

What about you? Do you think you are a good person...good enough to get into Heaven when you die? The Bible says to examine yourself. This exam is a 10 question test known as the Ten Commandments.

How many lies have you told in your life? A person is called a liar who has told as many lies as you have. Have you ever taken anything that does not belong to you? A person that steals is called a thief. Have you ever taken God's name is vain? That is called blasphemy and God will not hold anyone blameless who misuses His name. If you ever had an improper sexual thought toward someone then Jesus says you are an adulterer at heart.

These are just four of the Ten Commandments. How did you do? God does not grade on a “good deeds” curve. Your “good” deeds do not give you any credit towards God favoritism. The test is pass/fail and you must score a perfect hundred to pass His test.

If you honestly examine yourself you know you are guilty of breaking God's laws. And if you are guilty, God, being just, cannot you let you into Heaven. He cannot allow liars, adulterers, thieves, and blasphemers in to Heaven and remain holy and just.

If a person wronged you and a judge let the person who wronged you off free without any penalty, you will cry foul and state that the judge was crooked. God's standard of justice is much more strict and he will see that justice is done for those who break His laws.

The Bible says that all liars will have their part in the Lake of Fire. Think of is like this. If you lie to a child, nothing can happen. If you lie to your spouse, they can get angry. If you lie to your boss, you can be fired. Lying to the Government is called treason and you can go to jail. You can be telling the same lie to each person. So it is not the size of the lie that gets you into trouble, it is the person you lie to that determines the punishment. When a person lies, God sees it as an infinite offense since He is infinite, without beginning or end.

God must send law breakers to Hell. But unlike the tag line in the “Drag me to Hell movie, there will be no dragging. The law breakers will be cast into Hell. This casting will be like you tossing a wadded piece of paper into a waste basket. And it will not be a demon that does the casting into Hell but God Himself.

But you protest “God is Love”. That is true, God IS Love. He is 100% Love, but He is also 100% just, 100% pure, and 100% righteous. The Bible does not ever say God is love, love, love or kind, kind, kind. But the Bible says He is Holy, Holy, Holy and it is His Holiness, His perfection that is the reason you are in big trouble.

So, how do you balance God's 100% Love and 100% justice? 2000 years ago the Son of God came to Earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is fully God and fully man. He lived a sinless life; He willingly went to the cross. He willingly had sin placed upon Him. God's fierce wrath toward sin crushed Jesus on the cross.

Jesus died and was buried. Three days later he rose from the grave and was seen alive by over 500 people. He ascended into Heaven and will one day return to earth. You broke God's laws but Jesus paid your fine, your debt to God, for you in His own life's blood.

Please humble yourself before God. This means you repent of your multitude of sins. Forsake your sins, turn from your sins and yourself and turn toward God. Then trust in the person of Christ and receive His righteousness in exchange for your sin. If you repent, then you have been born again.

It will be the hardest thing you ever do in this life; to humble yourself before God. If you think you are a good person, then God will not save you. God resists the proud but give grace to the humble. This is why people, who think they are “good”, will go to Hell when they die. They have not humbled themselves to the point to realize they are not good at all but wicked and sinful in His sight. They compare themselves to each other and not to God who is the standard.

We are Christ’s ambassadors, as if God was pleading through us. We implore you on the behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. God made Christ, who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might have the righteousness of God, in Christ.”

***Visit Dennis Cain's website where you can access past Way of the Master Radio archives (just scroll down and on the right look for "Way of the Master Radio Podcasts"). Thank you Dennis for making this available to us!***

22 comments:

Whateverman said...

Trish wrote (quoting Dennis Cain) We are Christ’s ambassadors, as if God was pleading through us

An ultimately powerful deity doesn't need you (or me) in order to enact change.

Being an ambassador for Christ is a convenient fiction meant to sooth the conscience of the evangelist. For if he/she accepted the fact that evangelism is a sin (hubris/pride), it'd turn their world upside down.

profweather said...

Actually, I think he took "ambassadors for Christ" from the Bible. The verse he was referring to is 2nd Corinthians 5:20 which states "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

You are correct that God does not need us to do His work. But He grants us the grace us to be a part of His work. And by that same grace we obey Jesus to go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.

Fish with Trish said...

Whateverman, You say "An ultimately powerful deity doesn't need you (or me) in order to enact change." Is that an absolute statement? And where do you get this information from?

Heath The Blogless said...

Hi Whateverman

I agree with you totally "An ultimately powerful deity doesn't need you (or me) in order to enact change."

It is a great privilege and wonder that he would use someone so unworthy to proclaim his gospel to the world.

Whateverman said...

Trish asked me Whateverman, You say "An ultimately powerful deity doesn't need you (or me) in order to enact change." Is that an absolute statement?

I'm a fallible human being. Even if *I* say something is absolute, I'm limited by my perceptions and understanding - both of which are subjective by definition. So no, you can't catch me in such an obvious Presuppositionalist trap. And the direct answer to your question is "no"; mt statement wasn't absolute.

But, please also see my answer to your next question (re. they're related).

Trish further asked: And where do you get this information from?

You, Ray Comfort, and every Christian that claims God Is Omnipotent.

An omnipotent God doesn't need you to achieve anything, does he, Trish?

Heath The Blogless said...

Whateverman

It is a challenge for many to keep there pride in check when evangelizing, Pride shows our natural bent for self praise and glorification. But evangelism is not a sin, but our attitude towards it may be. Just as sex is not a sin when done in a right way, in a marriage between a man and a woman. But something good and given by God can be used wrongly.
The way that God helps us with pride in evangelism is the fact that we are the ones who give the message but God his the one that convicts people and the one that saves them. So He should get all the glory.

lou said...

For Whateverman, You are right if you preach in order to achive a higher placement in Gods plan, but if you go because of a desperate heart for the lost, sacrifice your time in being with family as the urge you to go, and get on your knees for the ones that do not see, then there can be no pride invovled. Together men teach, broken men preach.

Quasar said...

Forgive me if this seems like I'm worrying about less important things... but what were the firetruck and ambulance needed for? I hope it wasn't serious.

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

Hey, man! Good seeing you're still out there, it's been a while.

You are right to say God doesn't "need" us to do the work of evangelism, but He made us for the purpose, and called us to it. Profweather quoted the source used in Trish's account of the witnessing encounter.

There are many others. My fave is the "Great Commission," at the end of Matthew's Gospel:

"All authority on earth and in heaven has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations..." Jesus tells us to make disciples of all people groups, teaching them to obey all His commands, baptizing them in the Triune Name of God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit).

Then He promises to be with us always, even to the end of the ages.

It's really at the heart of what we're about, even if we don't all street preach. By "we" I mean "Christians."

The position you describe is called "Hyper Calvinism," and though I'm a Calvinist I'm not "hyper" in this sense. That is to say, it's an unorthodox position that says "since God is in control, and has all power etc., then we don't need to pray or evangelize or do anything: He doesn't need us."

It is TRUE to say He doesn't NEED us, we need HIM! However, it is because the Almighty's Son told us to do this thing (which the Apostle Paul calls "the foolishness of preaching"), though God can and has often used miracles apart from any earthly agency, He normally works through the means which He ordained.

In other words: He saves people normally through the foolishness/mystery of preaching. He blesses the method because it's the one He told us to use.

Hope that helps.

--JMH

ExPatMatt said...

"it is the person you lie to that determines the punishment."I disagree.

I think it is the potential impact of the lie that matters.

If I lie to the government, it could be a national security risk that could cost the lives of thousands of people.

If I lie to a child, they won't know that there actually isn't a Tooth Fairy. No real damage done.

If I lie to God.....erm, about what exactly? And what is the damage? It's not like He can actually be deceived by me, so what harm would it do?

And it's not even lying to God, is it? It's lying in the sight of God, to somebody else!

I certainly wouldn't want someone else taking the punishment for something I did; vicarious atonement is such cowardice.

The whole thing makes very little sense at all really.


Regards,

Reynold said...

It's obvious as to why people are called to preach: There's no "god" or "angels" etc. to spread the word him/her/themselves.

Same with every other cult on the face of the planet.

Your "god" most definately does need people to do the work, because otherwise, it just wouldn't get done, period.

bassicallymike said...

Whateverman.....you've created a false dilemma. Your first statement, , "An ultimately powerful deity doesn't need you (or me) in order to enact change."in essence is true!

However your second statement, "Being an ambassador for Christ is a convenient fiction meant to sooth the conscience of the evangelist." ,is based on what besides opinion? Just because you make one true statement does grant you freedom to draw the next true conclusion without justification. Please share how you arrived at your second conclusion?

Angel said...

What an awesome sermon! I love his jump-off point. My oldest daughter and I just discussed this film last night. It amazes me anyone would even make such a movie. *shudder*

Fish with Trish said...

1611, why is your blog for invited readers only?

Whateverman said...

First off, Hi 'Hussey :) Sorry I never responded to your thoughtful replies in the previous thread. I mean that. I got behind in several threads and decided I had to jump ship and do a soft reboot (heh). If you can point me to where they are, I will make an attempt to do so now - I've lost my place since then

Now then:

BasicallyMike wrote to me However your second statement, "Being an ambassador for Christ is a convenient fiction meant to sooth the conscience of the evangelist." ,is based on what besides opinion?

Well, I'd suggest that my opinion is based on my experiences; I feel it has some basis in fact. however, for the purposes of this discussion, yes - you're absolutely right. I wrote my opinion.

Just because you make one true statement does grant you freedom to draw the next true conclusion without justification. Please share how you arrived at your second conclusion?

Without justification? Fair enough.

My conclusion is based on the fact that very few Evangelists are interested in listening to and considering the beliefs of other people. At the very least, they have a handle on The Truth, and they're going to do whatever it takes to get you to accepting it (re. to accept Jesus Christ as my savior, and repent of my sins).

Rather than tell you they evangelize because that's what their personal faith involves (which is true), they eagerly proclaim that they're doing God's work (patently false).

The latter might be true only if God spoke to them personally and said "You go Evangelize my word". For those who claim this has happened, I counter with the fact that God has told me "They're full of themselves, and aren't interested in The Truth".

See? We both claim to know what God wants - and for each of us to say "You're wrong and I'm right" is nothing but hubris; the unwillingness to consider that you (or I) might not understand things correctly.

So, I choose to not spread God's word, as it has been communicated to me via my common sense. And when I'm confronted by people who profess to know EXACTLY what an omniscient omnipotent omnipresent deity wants them to do (and it something as droll as standing on a street corner provoking people), I will point out the hubris for what it is.

That probably doesn't adequately justify my statement, but it's all I've got. personal opinion based on experience and reason. In my defense, Active Christian Evangelism (re. on the street corner) really appears no different than someone who claims to know which presidential candidate this country should elect.

bassicallymike said...

Thanks for the response Whateverman!
You said…” The latter might be true only if God spoke to them personally and said "You go Evangelize my word". For those who claim this has happened, I counter with the fact that God has told me "They're full of themselves, and aren't interested in The Truth".God has chosen to reveal to man all we need to know about Himself through the Bible. Personal revelation via any sense that contradicts the Bible can and should be dismissed.

Are there evangelist out there that are full of themselves? I’m afraid so! Are they in the majority? That has not been my experience! Of course, I am not automatically antagonized by the evangelist’s message of personal sin, death, hell, final judgment and the need for repentance and faith either. According to the Bible, the believer has been told, “Go make disciples”, as many have previously stated. Again, personal revelation that contradicts this Biblical mandate should be dismissed.

bassicallymike said...

Sorry,
Whateverman also said…”So, I choose to not spread God's word, as it has been communicated to me via my common sense. And when I'm confronted by people who profess to know EXACTLY what an omniscient omnipotent omnipresent deity wants them to do (and it something as droll as standing on a street corner provoking people), I will point out the hubris for what it is."You left out immutable BTW!

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ Whatev':

Hello, again!

You wrote:

"The latter might be true (that God sanctions personal evangelism) only if God spoke to them personally and said "You go Evangelize my word".

This is in Mark 16:15, Jesus said, "Go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation."

Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus says, "Go therefore (since I have been given all authority) and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them...teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you..."

There are myriad other Scriptures throughout the Bible in which God tells His people to essentially spread the news, so to speak, which makes perfect sense if you think it through.

How so? Well, because we've been created in His image in the first place, we've been created to show that image accurately, we've been created to bring His holy name unto all the world. God being God, He wants and deserves our attention (not that He needs it, but it's what we've been created for: His glory).

More than that, He gave His only begotten Son to have a relationship with us. That may sound trite or played out, but in actual fact is the most mind-blowing thought: God actually created me for this purpose: to lavish His grace and love upon me in the most intimate relationship with the most holy being of all.

Do we deserve it? No. But that's the Good News. As to the idea of the Bible being God's Word: God made us in order for us to know Him. He has revealed mysterious and tremendous things to us to that end, and has acted in history to affect that end.

Again: a humbling thought, and all of it is worthy to be spread.

I hope you know that this Good News is meant to be declared and preached and shared every which way. With eternity at stake for each of us, it's the most loving thing anyone could do.

At least, that's what the atheist Penn of Penn & Teller said of evangelism. (Check it out on YouTube)

Brazen Hussey's said...

@ ExPatMatt:

I think it is the potential impact of the lie that matters.

...

If I lie to God.....erm, about what exactly? And what is the damage? It's not like He can actually be deceived by me, so what harm would it do?
No harm done to the impassible God, for sure. There's plenty in the Scripture to that effect, as well: God is not harmed nor can be by His creation. Only the reverse can be true. The "harm" when we lie is to the Imago Dei, the Image of God or the reputation of God. We were created with the purpose to reflect His glory accurately. When we don't, i.e.: when we sin or break His law, then there's covenantal punishment. God is the law-giver and judge, and we're all in the docket.

So, in sum: the damage is to His name and image, or reputation if you will. We profane His name and besmirch His image in which we have all been created. In stead of saying "thank you for our life and the myriad blessings of beauty we enjoy," we speak lies to one another and break His law as if it were a joke. All the damage, in reality, is to our souls, for we will bear the burden of punishment. Which brings me to:

I certainly wouldn't want someone else taking the punishment for something I did; vicarious atonement is such cowardice.Again, here we have an instance where the grace of God is besmirched and not thanked and received with gracefulness. The vicarious atonement IS truly brutal to behold, but I think it's the very heart of the matter:

God didn't withhold the most brutal suffering from His Only Begotten Son for the likes of me and you. Some would scoff at the thought, I think all would shudder at the thought...but it would be such an amazing thing if only all would gladly accept the free gift and know: it was your sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished.

Jesus, who for you died, did not turn back until the last stroke of your punishment was fully satisfied. Would you turn away at your only hope and remedy?

ExPatMatt said...

Brazen,

Thanks for your responses. So besmirching God's image is a Hell-worthy offense? Is He body-conscious or something?

It seems a bit, well, petty for the omnipotent creator of all things to spit His galactic dummy out just because His minuscule play-things aren't behaving the way He wanted them to (although, He already knew that they wouldn't).

And then we come to the really immoral part of Christian mythology. How a barbaric act of human sacrifice is elevated from being an horrific evil to divinely good just because it was really, really bad and the guy getting killed was really, really important (and innocent).

God made the rules; couldn't He just, you know, forgive us?

Why go through this song and dance of satisfying His cosmic blood-lust in an attempt to forgive mankind for a sinful nature that they only have because two of them disobeyed Him thousands of years ago despite the fact that He set the rules for the whole game from start to finish. (The Cross only saves a tiny percentage of people anyway when you really think about it, so it wasn't even that effective).

It's so convoluted and ridiculous and, yes, immoral.

If you came up to me and said that if I would submit to being tortured and crucified then world poverty would end; I'd do it. If you told me that I'd only be dead for 3 days and when I woke up I'd be GOD - I'd be picking out my cross at Home Depot before you could say 'passion'!

What Jesus supposedly did was not sacrifice, it was gratuitous, it was showing off.


/rant

Cheers,

Reynold said...

God didn't withhold the most brutal suffering from His Only Begotten Son for the likes of me and you. 
Actually, he did. He was only "dead", allegedly, for 3 days. How much suffering can one go through even if one is in hell for 3 days? How long is a human in hell when they're paying for their sins?

ExPatMatt said...

Reynold,

I think they realize this but are too afraid to acknowledge it. Better to just keep repeating the story over and over again, as if that explains anything and pretend there is no discrepancy.

[I wonder if Christians will find us telling them what they think as annoying as we do when they tell us what atheists think...]