A surprising response to “The Great Commission”

This was shocking and should be of serious concern to everyone calling themselves Pastor, Elder, Preacher, etc. James 3:1

In today’s Barna Highlight, we’re sharing another bite-sized finding you can use to become a more informed leader.

Just because a word or phrase is common in church leadership, doesn’t mean it’s common among churchgoers.

For example, half of all U.S. churchgoers (51%) say they are unfamiliar with the term “the Great Commission.”

(Also note when you add up the unfamiliar with the unsure and can’t explain, a whopping 82% have never heard of or do not comprehend Christ’s command to ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS.)

This surprising finding comes from Translating the Great Commission, a report we created with Seed Company

One in Six Gen Z-ers “Identify” as LGBT

Let us be real this is SIN, that being said it is not smart or morally correct for “Christians” to take an in-your-face approach to condemn this sin. In the end, as the authors said: Reality eventually wins. This means that Christians have actual good news to offer a culture helplessly obsessed with but thoroughly confused about sex. Let us be there as Paul said in Ephesians: But speaking the truth in love [in all things—both our speech and our lives expressing His truth], let us grow up in all things into Him [following His example] who is the Head—Christ.

 

BreakPoint Daily

One in Six Gen Z-ers “Identify” as LGBT

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If the last two Presidential elections, the last midterm elections, and every exit poll ever conducted can teach us anything, it’s to not put too much faith in polling. Still, a new Gallup poll released last month deserves a serious look. In a remarkable jump from prior years, one in six adult members of Gen Z (that is, ages 18 to 24) self-identify as LGBT.

READ MORE > > 

 

Daily Devotional – Foundations

34 Bible verses about Reward, For God's People

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

Pretty much since I can remember I have had a hammer in my hand so relating to 1 Corinthians 3 Foundations for Living, was right up my alley as they say. 

Paul says v.10 he has skillfully laid the foundation upon which others can build. He is of course referring to the Gospel and his initial visits to the area sharing the Good News and planting churches which others have continued.

In v.11 he makes clear the ONLY foundation he laid and the ONLY one worth laying by anyone is that of Christ Jesus and Him crucified.

Then Paul makes a true builders comment in v.12 when he asks what are you building your foundations with? Are you using quality building materials or junk? 


 

BREAKDOWN: (KJV)

Every man’s work shall be made manifest: – It will become apparent to everyone, (even those you are currently fooling) what you have build you foundation (your beliefs, doctrine, theology) on. 

for the day shall declare it, – What day? Many hold this to be the “Great Day of Judgement” while others (myself included) believe it to be a day (Gill, Calvin) when just the doctrines and false teachings will be exposed. Whichever you ascribe to the message is clear you can not hide on that day.

because it shall be revealed by fire; – All your foundational work will be revealed. Your “Good News” (or lack thereof for pew only Christians) message will stand the test put forth by God. 

and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.-  Paul has spoken of doctrine and personal evangelism figuratively and continues here by using the example of trying by fire. We know that a foundation made of wood, straw or JUNK will not stand up to fire. Neither will a doctrine and personal evangelism based not on the genuine, uncompromised Word of God. The fire of the Holy Spirit will try a person’s soul and show the world the truth of their message.


 

APPLICATION:

What we say, what we share, the “Good News” of Christ should be obviously important to all. Our message (beliefs, doctrine, theology) must be based solely upon the uncompromising, unadulterated, Holy Word of God.

The message is simple, God will judge everyone not on works to get into heaven, for we know that is impossible. But he will judge us on what we do (or do not do) after our heavenly home is secure 2 Corinthians 5:10.

What is your foundation looking like today? 

 

 

Daily Devotional – Why not Today?

4 And in that day shall ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare his doings among the people, make mention that his name is exalted. Isaiah 12:4

ISAIAH 12 ( AMP and RVR 1960) 


CONTEXT: 

Being only 6 verses Chapter 12 is the smallest of Isaiah’s writings but nonetheless, important. It is a song or expression of Thanksgiving to God.  

It begins with thanking God for not destroying the nation of Israel in its entirety, even though their constant disobedience warranted it. Reminding the remnant that God is their strength and salvation, the spring from which they draw life.


BREAKDOWN:

And in that day  – Repeated from v.1, specifically referring to the time when the remnant of Israel and the chosen of the Gentile have been gathered together. 

shall ye say, – better put maybe to sing out loud or louding proclaim 

Praise the Lord, – what we should all be readily be doing 

call upon his name, first thing each morning, that He alone will control and Glory in the day’s proceedings 

declare his doings among the people, – This is the Great Commision the duty of every true believer

make mention that his name is exalted. – Again a better or more accurate translation from the Hebrew would be ‘to cause His name to be remembered forever.’ 


 

APPLICATION:

Isaiah speaks of a future event in that day, I would argue that day is here. By that I mean Why not today being the day that we:

Praise the Lord

Call Upon His Name

Declare His doings to all the earth

Cause His name to be remembered forever

 

 

 

What Does the Bible Teach about Homosexuality?

Is Homosexual Orientation Sinful?

Kevin DeYoung

June is LGBTQ Pride Month, which can bring up many conversations about homosexuality on social media as well as in closer circles of family and friends.

Now is an important time to consider what the Bible says about this topic. Does the Bible condemn homosexual orientation as sin?

READ MORE

Other Crossway Articles on the subject of Homosexuality: 

What Does “Arsenokoitai” Mean?

Should I Attend My Homosexual Friend’s Wedding?

What Does the Bible Say about Being Born Gay?

How Should Christians Share the Gospel with Practicing Homosexuals?

What about Scholars Who Deny that the Bible Condemns Homosexual Practice?

 

 

Reformed Evangelism

As I noted yesterday in the post What is a Reformed Baptist? one of the greatest misconceptions about anyone in adhering to tenets of Reformed or Covenant Theology is that they do not care about evangelism. It stems from the aversion to the term Unconditional Election but holds no foundation in biblical or historical truth. 

Reformed Spirit: On Evangelism - David Martyn Lloyd-Jones

The following comes from A Puritans Mind, please note that while they chose the word Witnessing (sharing personal testimony) they really mean Evangelizing (Declaring the Good News (salvation) through Christ Alone).

Witnessing

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear,” (1 Peter 3:15).

For Christians with a solid biblical worldview, it is extremely important to them to know how to share their faith, and be ready to give an answer for the truth which lies in both their heart and mind. As a help to this, we ask the question, “How did the Puritans witness to a lost and dying world? How should we learn from their biblical models?” The Puritans were masters at declaring and publishing the Gospel as preachers, and as Christians. We can learn much from their practice.

Online Books and Articles on Witnessing and Evangelism here at A Puritan’s Mind: Note the ones with an * I have read and can recommend

Joseph Alleine’s, A Sure Guide to Heaven PDF.
*Thomas Brook’s, Young Men Exhorted to Come to Christ PDF.
*Thomas Boston’s, The Art of Man Fishing PDF
Ichabod Spencer’s, Pastor’s Sketches (Dealing with Anxious Souls) PDF
*Calvin’s Evangelism by Joel Beeke PDF


Other resources:

Telling People the Truth in Love: A Reformed Approach to Evangelism

Spurgeon’s Three R’s: A Useful Method for Evangelism

What Is Evangelism?

Calvinism and Evangelism

AJ-DeVisser-on-Evangelism

Through our Gospel

One of the most common arguments against Covenant or Reformed Theology is that it places all the emphasis on God and none on man’s actions. The most frequent example (usually in a sarcastic manner) is so y’all don’t need to evangelize because God deals with all that. My answer is let us READ THE BOOK!

Logos.com

a lo cual os llamó mediante nuestro evangelio, para alcanzar la gloria de nuestro Señor Jesucristo. (RVR 1960)

 

In v.13 Paul has written God chose you as the firstfruits[d] through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Note the following:

  • God did the choosing not man
  • the Holy Spirit sets apart and makes holy 
  • by our belief in hearing the truth 

 

In our main text we see the following clearly:

  • He (God) called us, again it is God doing the action not us
  • Through our Gospel, that is the evangelism of the Apostles and the preaching of the Word of God 
  • Why evangelize if God has all this under His control?
  • So that others can hear the Word and obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ 

 

Conclusion:

  • Evangelism is commanded of all True Believers (Matthew 28:18-20)
  • All True Believers are ready and able to share the Good News of Christ in them (1 Peter 3:15)
  • It is through the sharing of the Gospel (Evangelizing) that others may be saved by God (Our main text, Romans 10:14-17, and more)

 

 

Today in Church (U.S.) History

Stanley Tam Gave God the Business

 

Image result for Stanley Tam
Double Click Picture

When Stanley Tam became a Christian, he meant it. A young man, struggling to make a go of business in the depression, he allowed God to guide his actions. Slowly, he reaped success. Although it was difficult for him, he began to witness about Jesus to his contacts. He even followed God’s leading and had his lawyer draw up legal papers making the Lord his business partner.

That is how the matter stood until January, 1955. In January the Tams visited Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Colombia, observing the work of missionaries sharing their testimony with missionaries and Latin Americans.

While in Medellin, Colombia he spoke to a small crowd. The Holy Spirit’s presence was strong. Although the appeal had not been emotional, many people came forward to pray. But Tam found he could not sit down. “For I came once again into a milestone encounter with God.”

God asked him, “What is the most important thing in all the world to you?” Tam looked down at the altar.

“To see people seek Your face, Lord, as a result of the Holy Spirit’s blessing upon my testimony,” he replied.

“Stanley,” God said, “if a soul is the greatest value in all the world, then what investment can you make that will pay you the greatest dividends a hundred years from now?” Tam was already giving 60% of his income and much of his time. What was God asking him to do? He realized God was asking him to become his employee. “An employee, Lord? Isn’t that what I am now?” he asked.

We’re partners now, Stanley. I want you to turn your entire business am to me.” Stanley was stunned. “I can’t go back to Ohio and turn my business over to you,” he told the Lord. “Isn’t sixty percent enough? Many Christians don’t so much as give you ten percent.”

The Lord reminded him of a verse from the book of Matthew in the Bible. “The Kingdom Today of Heaven is like unto a merchant seeking goodly pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” That decided Tam. On this day, January 15, 1955, he told God that he would turn the entire business over to him. Stanley Tam would no longer even be a stockholder in the company.

As Tam noted, when a man seeks to involve God in the center of his life, he can expect divine encounters. Often they will run counter to our personal interests.


The Deficient Great Commission

You probably know or have heard of what the great commission is. But there is more to the great commission than what many think.

the great commission

by  

As I was reading the book I could tell the author was driven by the prospect of making disciples. Every other word was “mission” “culture” “multiplication” “evangelism” “outreach” and so forth. Governing the author’s intention was his understanding of the great commission which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. This is a good start.

“We exist to make disciples of Jesus,” a church’s mission statement might say. You’ve probably seen that on a website or a church sign before. There are some in the vangelical world — especially those in the non-denominational church-planting networks — that place a heavy emphasis on making disciples. They want to see lost people come to Christ. And this should be commended. Too many churches have become an insular Christian bubble that never see anyone come to Christ. Worse, they don’t seem to care about outreach at all. Yes, those who are reaching those far from the God of the Bible and encouraging others to jump suit should be emulated.

But is the great commission only to make disciples?

Continued at Source: The Deficient Great Commission

How Important is Methodology to Evangelism?

Mike Riccardi | 

Advocates of contextualization often cite the illustration of holding one’s doctrine and theology in a closed hand (symbolizing non-negotiability), and one’s methodology in an open hand (symbolizing fluidity). As an example, one proponent said,

What I am arguing for is a two-handed approach to Christian ministry. In our firmly closed hand we must hold the timeless truths of Christianity, such as the solas of the Reformation. In our graciously open hand we must hold timely ministry methods and styles that adapt as the cultures and subcultures we are ministering to change.

It would be foolish to suggest that every method for our ministry must never change. However, our methodology should not be as unmoored from our theology as the above illustration suggests. Our presentation of the message does indeed matter if it communicates or implies something about the message that is untrue. As Will Metzger says, “Our message will mold our evangelistic methods and regulate our spiritual experience. We must not use an incongruous medium to present the God of Truth.”[1]

The methods commonly prescribed under the rubric of cultural contextualization do imply something untrue about our message. When we believe that we should change our presentation of the message based on the characteristics of our audience, we are demonstrating that we believe something about the message itself—and something about the work of the Triune God in salvation—that is out of accord with biblical principles. To be specific, it betrays a lack of faith in the sufficiency of the gospel alone to save sinners (cf. Rom 1:16–17).

If the gospel message is truly and faithfully proclaimed, we need not be concerned about adapting the packaging in which we present it to our various listeners. That is because the message faithfully proclaimed is sufficient in and of itself to accomplish what God desires. As God says in Isaiah 55:10–11, the word which goes forth from His mouth “will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Men and women are born again not through clever gimmickry or cultural savvy, but solely “through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Pet 1:23).


Faith comes not from so-called missional living;
it comes “from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom 10:17)


When we think we need to adapt our methods to our audience, we implicitly deny the sufficiency of the gospel to do what God intends it to do. It is as if we believe the Holy Spirit needs our help “getting in the door,” so to speak, and so we have to help the message with our relevant methods.[2] But this is just not the case. The Word of God properly preached is sufficient.

Our methodology must be consistent with the character of the message. Rather than understanding doctrine as being in one closed hand while methodology is in another open hand, the methods are more like an instrument in the hand of doctrine. Our methodology flows directly out of and is intensely shaped by our theology.

And the methodology we have been commissioned with is preaching. Proclaiming. Heralding. Authoritatively declaring the truth. When someone asks, “Yes, but how do we preach the gospel?” they are confusing the issue. Preaching itself is the methodology. It is the “how.” Whenever one seeks to add a medium to a medium, the result is confusion.

In a marvelous chapter on the foolishness of preaching,[3] Duane Litfin examines the relationship between theology and methodology by contrasting the ancient kērux, or herald—that is, what New Testament preachers are called to be—with the orator that Paul labored so diligently to distance himself from (1Cor 1:17–2:5). While the whole chapter is worth your time, here are a few notable quotes:

  • “The herald could not maneuver rhetorically to achieve some particular effect. It was his fate to deliver his message and then watch the chips fall where they may” (119).
  • “Unlike the orator, the herald was not results-driven; he was obedience-driven. He was a man under assignment, methodologically obligated, so to speak, restricted to the task of announcing” (119).
  • “By the standards of the world, the gospel of ‘Christ crucified’ is indeed a supremely foolish message. But it is important to see that this content is not the only thing that lacks standing in the eyes of the world. When an audience wants and expects to hear the persuasive argumentation and formal eloquence of the orator [or, we could say, the cultural relevance of a contextualizer]—in fact, demands them if they are expected to be impressed—the simple heralding of a declarative message will be greeted by derision. Along with the content, this form too will appear paltry and foolish by comparison, so much so that it will insult them. It will offend the worldling’s pride and seem demeaning to him that he should be expected simply to accept the message as announced, on the mere say-so of its source” (125).

Litfin demonstrates that it is the orator who was audience and results-driven, like many of evangelicalism’s consumerist, celebrity pulpits. The herald, on the other hand, was obedience-driven and methodologically obligated by his theology.

In a day where we suppose that we can hold our theology in a closed hand but our methodology in an open hand, Litfin demonstrates that Paul avoided such an understanding lest his congregation’s faith rest on the cleverness, wisdom, and ingenuity of men, rather than the power of God (1 Cor 2:5). By contrast, the apostle Paul’s methodology was clearly and carefully determined by his theology. And so must ours be.


[1] Metzger, Tell the Truth (1984), 36.

[2] For example, consider this assertion from Ed Stetzer: “Many…are convinced that if you just ‘preach the Gospel’ and perhaps ‘love people’ that your church will reach people. They are wrong, and their ideas hurt the mission of the church. Communities across North America are filled with churches led by loving gospel preachers—most of whom, if statistics are true, are not reaching people” (Stetzer, Breaking the Missional Code, 14).

[3] Duane Litfin, “Swallowing Our Pride: An Essay on the Foolishness of Preaching,” in Preach the Word: Essays on Expository Preaching: In Honor of R. Kent. Hughes, eds. Leland Ryken and Todd Wilson (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007), 116–26. Other relevant selections from that chapter may be found here.