Now is the Time

now-2

There has been a lot of after-the-fact election discussion and disputation from people of all different perspectives. What’s going on almost reminds me of the 1960’s and 1970’s except that now marijuana is legal in several states.

And while we may define the issues differently, we all seem to be in agreement that our country is in a state of moral and spiritual decline. Even the coach of the San Antonio Spurs has declared, “We are Rome.” He seems to be comparing the decline of the Roman Empire with what he sees happening in America.

What Christians need to remember is that Christianity spread during the decline of the Roman Empire. Christians today are quick to point to Romans 1:18-32 as descriptive of our day, but they seem to forget that those were the conditions during the days of the early church and those believers “turned the world upside down” (Acts 17:6).

The early church appears to have believed in the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16) and they saw the conditions of their day as ripe for the preaching of the Good News. Today, many conservative, Bible – believing Christians seem committed to defending the gospel (which is always important) and defining the gospel (an absolute necessity) but they don’t seem so eager to get out and proclaim the gospel. Now is the time for such proclamation.

The early church was also committed to prayer (Acts 1:14; Ephesians 6:18-20; Colossians 4: 2-4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). This kind of prayer fueled their evangelistic zeal and, no doubt, led to the fruit they experienced. Are conservative, Bible-teaching Christians committing themselves to pray like never before? Now is the time.

Back in the chaotic 60’s and 70’s many college students were saved because of the faithful prayers and gospel proclamation of believers. I know, because I was one of them. Chaos and confusion creates questions. The Bible gives authoritative and timeless answers. Let’s take the light of the gospel and point people to Jesus Christ.

Now is the time.

The 4th of July

Liberty BellThe 4th of July is special to me for many reasons.

When I was a young boy we lived in a neighborhood where firecrackers would be set off throughout the day, so I would go out an play “army man” with the firecrackers providing a “realistic” soundtrack.

When I was in college I majored in US History and still have a strong interest in the history of our country. Last fall, Roberta and I took a vacation to Boston and Philadelphia to take a “Revolutionary War” trip. That’s where we took the above picture. Philadelphia is also the city I was born in.

But the biggest thing about the 4th of July for me is the memory of July 4, 1976. 40 years ago today while our country was celebrating the 200th birthday of our nation, I was celebrating something far more significant.

40 years ago today I was baptized in a backyard swimming pool. My baptism was the outward expression of my inner commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ. My baptism in water symbolized the fact that by faith I was identifying with Christ in His death and resurrection.In fact, I had died to my old life and had been risen to a new life in Jesus Christ. I was celebrating the salvation God had given me in Jesus Christ.

So this 4th of July I am thanking the Lord for all that He has done for me. I am also praying that this year we will see many more coming to faith in Christ and getting baptized in His Name.

The Clincher

Empty Tomb

The picture above is of the sign on the door of the Garden Tomb in Jerusalem. This Sunday we will be remembering Jesus’ resurrection and the angel’s statement that “He is Risen!”

I am so thankful for this Sunday we have set aside because it seems to me that the resurrection of Christ gets overlooked too often. If you ask people today to tell you what the gospel is the best you might hope for is, “Jesus died for my sins.” That is true, but if He didn’t rise from the dead, then you are still in your sins (1 Corinthians 15:17).

But Jesus did rise from the dead! To me this is the clincher. Lot’s of people can claim to be religious leaders or teachers of religious truth. Lot’s of people can claim that they know the way to God. What sets Jesus apart is that He rose from the dead so He not only shows you the way to God but He is THE WAY to God (John 14:6).

Jesus made this claim, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if He dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” Then Jesus asked the most penetrating question, “Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Well, do you believe this? The tomb is empty. He has risen!

The Power of the Gospel

Tomorrow will mark the 42nd anniversary of the day I was born again. On March 1, 1974, when I was a college freshman, I was approached by 2 men I had never met before. They told me the gospel, which I had never heard before. And that day the Lord saved me – forgiving me of all my sin and giving me eternal life, new life, and abundant life.

My testimony, like all others, bears witness to the power of the gospel to open blind eyes and give life to the dead.

Yesterday I had the privilege of preaching from John 9 which records the account of Jesus giving sight to a man born blind (both physically and spiritually). I have always related to this account because I can see parallels between what the Lord did for this man and what He has done for me.

Here’a link to the message. I trust it will increase your confidence in the Power of the Gospel.

http://www.bfsatx.org/mediaPlayer/#sermonvideo/800

 

 

 

Life and Death

RWE

I have had an interesting 24 hours.

Yesterday I drove two hours to Camp Tejas, the site of Revive Winter Edition, a camp for Middle School and High School students. Above you can see a picture from the opening session. As you can imagine there was a lot of excitement and energy in the room and it was encouraging to see students singing praises to the Lord. I am anticipating the Lord working through this camp as the students are challenged to give their lives away in serving the Lord.

I am so thankful that this opportunity is available to minister to all these students.

Last night I drove back down from the mountain top (in a manner of speaking because, after all, we are in the middle of Texas) to officiate a funeral service this afternoon. The service was for a 41 year man who died unexpectedly and suddenly a week ago. It is good to be in a house of mourning because there is much that the living can take to heart (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

I am thankful for the opportunity I had to preach the gospel to the people at the service and I am praying that many of them will take the truth to heart.

I am struck by the contrast of these two events. On the one hand you have a youth camp expecting that these students have a long life ahead of them and on the other hand you have a life ending unexpectedly early. But what really stands out are the multitude of opportunities we have to proclaim the gospel. The harvest truly is plentiful.

But the workers are few. I am praying the Lord will raise up far more workers so that we can maximize the opportunities. I am asking the Lord to help us see that it really is all about winning souls for eternity.

The Need is Real

jws

You have probably seen them in your neighborhood and they may have even come to your door. They call themselves Jehovah’s Witnesses and they are committed to recruiting others to their belief.

They came to my door yesterday. Two nice men who were nicely dressed and who spoke with me in a very friendly manner. They carried Bibles and quoted Scripture to me. They read to me from Revelation 21:3-4 about a glorious kingdom and said they would like me to join them on their journey to this kingdom.

Amazingly I had just preached a sermon yesterday morning that exposed the main error in The JW theology. Jesus said, “Unless You believe that I Am you will die in your sins” (John 8:24). Jesus made a clear claim to deity – a claim the JWs deny. They claim Jesus a just a god – a created being.

I pointed this verse out to the men at my door but they would never respond directly to  the point of the verse. I warned them of the consequences. I told them that the path they are on will not lead to the destination they think it will. But they left convinced that they had the truth.

Here’s the reality. These cult members are committed to getting their message out to as many people as possible. Their efforts are bearing fruit as their movement continues to grow. They are nice people who show up wearing nice clothes and  friendly faces. They carry Bibles and they talk about family, faith, and a future kingdom. They will even tell you that Jesus is the Son of God. And people are joining them on their journey but it is a journey to judgment because they have denied the truth about who Jesus Christ really is and they are ultimately trusting in themselves and their good works.

When we say 210 needs to know – the need is real. It is more likely that the people living in the 210 have heard the message of the JWs or some other false religion than they have heard the true gospel. We need to turn that around by proclaiming that Jesus is God and that you can be saved by faith in Him and His death and resurrection on your behalf.