Saturday, January 17, 2009

balance needed in the gospel

In sharing the gospel we must be careful of acting contrary to doctrine. Which happens when we try to follow the footsteps of those who draw big numbers, perhaps famous men like Billy Graham. We must not assume the ministry of the Spirit in convicting, drawing, or assuring. of course this also happens when we take something from the gospel, like the personal offense. It was Spurgeon who remarked that in order to evangelize we should not have to lie. Let our words, our coined phrases be examined in light of scripture. We must allow methodology to be driven by doctrine. Many of the reformed camp have given much effort to being careful not to do these things; to this carefulness i write. The problem is just as unbiblical, and anti-God glorifying, and that problem is what may be called an OVER-REACTION which is to the exclusion of the example of the church. Those theologically minded men and women that were used mightily in saving souls were those who upheld the doctrines of grace while being obedient to the means of grace.
The means often seem to puzzle our human logic, yet it's not of us to ask WHY? they are used but to ACCEPT that God in His sovereignty has so chosen to use them; thus by faith we obey despite our questions.
Spurgeon among others was noted as a man who modeled this balance well. Full of zeal for truth and full of zeal for the conversion of sinners.
Spurgeon preached to the edification of his church, yet he was cross-centered, knowing that many lost people attending needed to also hear the gospel, "for it is the power of God unto salvation". Not the word in general but the gospel specifically is the power of God unto salvation.
2 Timothy 2: 24And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,
With CARE we are to instruct *we are to HOPE for repentance.
2 COR 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
2 COR 5:20Therefore, 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.
We beg as if God had to, pleading, asking with all desperation.
Luke 14:23 "And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled.
With all that is in us we COMPEL men.
Eph 6:19 we must pray for open doors
Consider the example of pleading by Paul: 2 COR 6: 1And working together with Him, we also urge you not to receive the grace of God in vain-- 2for He says,"AT THE ACCEPTABLE TIME I LISTENED TO YOU, AND ON THE DAY OF SALVATION I HELPED YOU."Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"--
We must warn men with all our strength: COL 1:28, 29 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.
There is nothing worse then solemn truth given by a cold, calm, dignified and eloquent reformed Pharisee.
Consider the call of the gospel in Lk 23:27 ...that repentance and remission of sins should be preached. Peter did this, he gave the command to REPENT and gave the promise of sins forgiven (Acts 3:19). We likewise must not only preach truth but plead with men to OBEY the gospel.
If our hearts are not overwhelmed for the lost, and we feel no urgency when we are sharing the gospel, then i submit there is SIN to be repented of. Let none give any excuse for such coldness, not disposition, not calling, not upbringing, nothing but pride-filled SIN.
LK 19:41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it,
A correct understanding of sovereignty doesn't produce coldness! Jesus was sovereign yet He could weep for Jerusalem. Paul could weep for the non-elect. We proclaim truth whether men listen or not, but we should never rejoice in the rejection of the gospel.
To some extent we should be able to agree with Paul in Roms 9:1-3 - considering what Paul just wrote before this and what he will yet write concerning God's electing purposes and yet Paul can so long for the salvation of his people.
Jer 9:1Oh, that my head were waters, And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For the slain of the daughter of my people!
Likewise we should all be weeping prophets eating not only God's bold truth, but receiving His lamenting heart (Ez 2:8-10) Can you think of a prophet not known for his pleading with rebellious men to repent.
I can think of a convicting title from a Leonard Ravenhill sermon "have you no tears?"
With all the reference to Spurgeon consider this ending quote "If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. let none go unwarned or unprayed for." In all my love of truth i can say with confidence that it is much worse to be wrong in motive (cold and prideful) then to be wrong in mind (ignorant and pragmatic).
With broken hearts may we be blessed to bear fruit to the glory of God.



Amen brother, something I've learned when open-air preaching and in sermons is spending more time showing people who Jesus is, and pleading with them to come to Him.

In an over reaction to people peddling cheap grace, it's very easy to fall into the trap of convincing sinners they are drowning, whilst waving a rubber ring at them, without throwing it it.

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