RSS

Tag Archives: Sharing the gospel

Warren Wiersbe: The Power of God’s Name

OT Words for today Wiersbe

“From the rising of the sun, even to its going down, My name shall be great among the Gentiles; in every place incense shall be offered to My name, and a pure offering; for My name shall be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.” – Malachi 1:11

The first step down for any church is taken when it surrenders its high view of God, wrote A.W. Tozer in his excellent book The Knowledge of the Holy. For “church” you may substitute “Christian” or “Sunday school teacher” or “missionary.” The prophet Malachi ministered to the Jewish exiles who had returned to their land from Babylon to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple. Unfortunately, the level of their spiritual life was not very high. They could have glorified the name of the Lord before the Gentiles, but instead they chose to argue with the Lord. Believers today have three responsibilities when it comes to the names of God.

(1) We must know God’s name. In Bible times, names were indications of character and ability, and the names of God tell us who he is and what he can do. Jehovah means “I Am Who I Am” (Exodus 3:13-14). He is the self-existent, eternal God who always was, always is, and always will be. Jehovah-Sabaoth is “the LORD of hosts, the LORD of the armies of heaven” (1 Samuel 1:3,11), while Jehovah-Rapha is “the LORD who heals” (Exodus 15:22-27). For the battles in life, we must know Jehovah-Nissi, “the LORD our banner” (Exodus 17:8-15), who can give us victory. Jehovah-Shalom is “the LORD our peace” (Judges 6:24), and Jehovah Ra-ah is “the LORD our shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). I could go on, but I suggest you pursue this study yourself with the help of a good study Bible. To know God’s names is to know him better and be able to call on him for the help we need. “Those who know Your name will put their trust in You; for You, LORD have not forsaken those who seek You” (Psalm 9:10).

(2) We must honor God’s name. The priests in the temple were not honoring God’s name but were despising it by performing their ministries carelessly and offering the Lord sacrifices unacceptable to him (Malachi 1:6-10). Malachi used the word “contemptible” to describe their work (1:7,12; 2:9). God demands that we give him our best and serve him in a way that honors his name (1 Chronicles 21:24). The Lord would rather that someone close the temple doors than allow such cheap sacrifices to be offered on his altar (Mal. 1:10; Lev. 22:20). The priests were not rejoicing in their ministry but were weary of the whole thing (Mal. 1:13). “Serve the LORD with gladness; come before His presence with singing” (Ps. 100:2). We must give glory to his name (Mal. 2:2) and fear his name (1:14; 4:2). There was a godly remnant that did fear the Lord and honor his name (3:16-19), and they were the hope of the nation.

(3) We must spread his name abroad. The Lord wanted his name to be “magnified beyond the border of Israel” (1:5). The prophet saw a day when Jews and Gentiles would be one people of faith in Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:11-22). When he died on the cross, Jesus tore the veil of the temple, opening the way to God for all people and breaking down the wall that separated Jews and Gentiles (Eph. 2:14) so that we are “all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28). The name of Jesus Christ and his gospel must be shared with the world, for there are no borders that must confine us. “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). Are we doing our part?

*SOURCE: Adapted from Warren Wiersbe. Old Testament Words For Today. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2013, Chapter 95.

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , ,

The Gospel Made Simple: “The Story”

Series: Gospel Presentations #5 

“THE STORY”

The Story

The Story: How it all began and how it will never end…

The following pages are the summary of a true story. It is like many good stories you’ve heard or read, but the more you read, the more you’ll realize this is not just another story–it is the story. It defines us all. It makes us think abut who we are and who we can become. And so…

(1) HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN? CREATION

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

“Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.” Psalm 90:2

God: The story begins with God, who has always been. He has always existed, and He has always existed exactly as He is now. If it seems confusing, it’s because He’s beyond what anyone can fully comprehend.

Creation: In the beginning, God spoke and everything came into existence. By His command, the entire universe was created and filled with a dramatic display of galaxies, stars, and planets–including Earth, on which was a perfect garden of paradise called Eden. Of all the beauty He created, the masterpiece was a man and a woman. God made Adam and Eve in His image to reflect Him. They were created with the grand purpose of worshipping Him by loving Him, serving Him, and enjoying relationship with Him.

Harmony: By God’s design, all of creation was in harmony and was exactly the way it was supposed to be. During this time there was no pain, suffering, sickness or death. There was complete love, acceptance, and intimacy between God and man, between Adam and Eve, and throughout creation. But something tragic happened…

(2) WHAT WENT WRONG? THE FALL

Disobedience: Adam and Eve were far from being equal to God, yet He lovingly placed them in charge of all He had created in Eden. He gave them the freedom to make decisions and govern the earth with one rule: not to eat from a specific tree. One day, God’s enemy, a fallen angel named Satan, wanted to overthrow God so he  took the form of a serpent and lied to Adam and Eve. He deceived them into thinking God was not good and did not have their best interest in mind. As a result, they knowingly disobeyed God. In rebellion, Adam and Eve ate the fruit, deciding that they, not God, would determine right and wrong.

“None is righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:10

Consequence: The consequences of their actions were devastating! Like a virus, sin entered into all of creation and into the hearts of Adam and Eve. Sin, suffering, and pain were passed down from generation to generation; all of creation was distorted from its original design. We have all read or heard the stories of war, poverty, diseases, grred, and scandals that plague our world today. Those are all a result of sin.

“The entire world is guilty before God.” Romans 3:19

Need: When we think about the perfection and love that existed at the beginning of creation, we realize “we are far more flawed and far more sinful that we can dare imagine” [1]. Just think of the grudges we’ve held, the lies we’ve told, the thoughts we’d never dare say aloud. An honest glance into our own hearts reveals the truth: We are all guilty. Everyone has sinned, and the ultimate consequence, even worse than physical death, is eternal separation from a loving God, in terrible misery and unhappiness. Because of all this, we need to consider the questions: Can anything be done? Is there hope?

(3) CAN ANYTHING BE DONE? THE RESCUE

Promise Made: God removed Adam and Eve from Eden as a result of their sin but left them with a promise of rescue and hope. He promised them one of their descendants would someday rescue mankind from sin. Over the next centuries, God prepared the way for this person who would become the Savior of the world. Exact details of His birth, life, and death were recorded in the Bible many centuries before His coming. In fact, the whole Bible ultimately points to this one person as the focal point of all human history. His purpose in coming was “to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10)

So who was He?

Promise Kept: The promised Savior, simply, was God. God became human in the person of Jesus Christ almost 2,000 years ago, fulfilling all the predictions in the Old Testament. Jesus’ birth was miraculous since His mother was a virgin. His life was unique: He perfectly enjoyed and obeyed God without sin. This ultimately led to His agonizing death on a cross as He willingly, obediently, and sufficiently died to pay for the sins of mankind, according to God’s plan. In the greatest display of mercy and grace the world has ever known, Jesus’ life and death became a substitute for all who would trust in Him. The perfectly innocent died to rescue the hopelessly guilty from sin and Satan.

But the grave couldn’t hold Jesus. Three days later, jesus emerged from His tomb, fulfilling His earthly mission to defeat sin by dying on the cross and to defeat death by rising from the dead–just as God promised. Forty days later he returned to Heaven where He reigns as the rightful King.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God.” – 1 Peter 3:18

“Jesus gave His life for our sins, just as God the Father planned, in order to rescue us from this evil world in which we live.” – Galatians 1:4

But the story doesn’t end there…

(4) WHAT WILL THE FUTURE HOLD? THE RESTORATION

All Things New: For all those  who trust in Jesus alone, God has also promised He will make all things new. The new heaven and new earth will be completely free of sin and selfishness–a place of perfect friendship with God, others, and all creation. No more shattering earthquakes, devastating tsunamis or violent storms will plague the earth. No more pain, broken hearts, sickness or death to trouble us. Everything will be restored to the way it was meant to be. The new earth will once again be the perfect home God intended for His creation. God’s original purpose will flourish, as those who trust in His rescue will enter into the grand purpose of worshipping Him by loving Him, serving Him, and enjoying relationship with Him forever.

Forever With God: The most wonderful part of this new world is that we will be with God forever, experiencing complete joy. We will be restored to a perfect relationship with the One who created, loved, and died for us. C.S. Lewis, scholar and children’s author compared the first step into this new world as “Chapter One of the great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before” [2].

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth…God Himself will be with them as their God. he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” – Revelation 21:1, 3-4

What’s Your Part in the Story?

God is writing an amazing story from creation to restoration. He created you to be a part of that story to worship Him, serve Him, and enjoy relationship with Him. By joining God in His story, you will find forgiveness, purpose, and satisfaction as you come to know the Author of life.

Rescue by Faith Alone: Faith is simple trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you. It means instead of believing you can rescue yourself from the consequences of sin, you can transfer your trust to the rescue He purchased for you by His death. Your allegiance is now to Jesus, the King. Those who place their trust in anything other than Jesus will find themselves forever separated from the loving God who gave His one and only Son to set us free from the bondage of sin. This painful separation is called Hell.

“For by grace you been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing: it is the goft of God, not as a result of works, so that no one can boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9

RECAP

The Creation: In the beginning, God created everything to be perfect.

The Fall: Man rebelled against a loving God & believed Satan’s lie. Sin entered into the world & into every human heart. Everything is now distorted & broken. Everyone is guilty before God.

The Rescue: Jesus, who is God, came to rescue people by His death & resurrection. By faith alone in Him, all who are separated from God can have their sins forgiven & enjoy eternal life with Him.

The Restoration: God will restore everything to the way that it was supposed to be, and those who trust in Jesus will get to enjoy eternity with God in the new heaven and new earth.

Response:

  • God is inviting you to be a part of the story He is writing throughout the ages to come. He is offering salvation to you today, which is your invitation to the rescue God offers. You can embrace the rescue of God by simply:

  • Admitting you need God

  • Asking Him to forgive you and help you turn from sin

  • Trusting in Jesus Christ alone to rescue you Following Jesus Christ, the King of your life, in faith from this day forward

“Truly, truly, I say to you whoever believes has eternal life.” – John 6:47

The moment you trust Jesus Christ: you become a child of God and His Spirit begins to live inside of you. You have become part of His story. The more you grow in your relationship with God, the more of His story you will begin to see & understand in your life. All of your sin, past and future, is forgiven, and you now find total acceptance before Him. When you begin this relationship, Jesus promises to be with you through all the ups and downs and in the joys and difficulties of this life. He loves you with an everlasting, unchanging love. And not only has He promised eternal life, but He came so that you could experience purpose, fulfillment, and freedom in this life.

Where Do I Go from Here?

Read the Bible: The Bible is the story of God’s love and faithfulness to His people. It provides encouragement, instruction, warning, and correction that will help you make sense of your life. As you read it, ask God to show you something you can apply to your life. If you’re not sure where to begin, start with the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament.

Talk with God: Talking with God is another way you will get to know Him. He is always ready to listen and spend time with you, so you can always speak with Him. He invites you to share all your burdens and joys with Him; this is prayer.

Find Community: Getting connected with others who have trusted in the rescue of God is essential. A “church” is a community of Christians gathering regularly to worship God as His family. Each member of the family plays a vital role: Similar to the human body, each part helps the whole body function properly. The church is the Body of Christ.

Tell your Story: Share this news with everyone! let them hear the amazing story of God’s love and rscue and how it’s changed your life.

*You can view the Video or read “The Story” at ViewTheStory.com. or at spreadtruth.com

[1] dr. Tim Keller, “The Centrality of the Gospel.” Redeemer Presbyterian, NYC

[2] C.S. Lewis. The Last Battle (New York: MacMillan, 1977, pp. 183-84.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: