Tag Archives: Dayspring Bible camp

“Unlike Jesus” – A Theology Matters Retreat for Dayspring Camp – Part 4

From August 3-5 I get to lead a group of young people through the topic of being a friend of sinners, like Jesus was (Mt. 11). In our six-part study, we have already seen that we need a theology of lostness (we come into this world as enemies of God and under His wrath), we need a theology of friendship (we need to learn to listen to our unsaved friends without resorting to conditional friendships), and we need a theology of worldliness (being a “friend of sinners” [which is required] is not the same as being a “friend of the world” [which is forbidden]).

Let’s notice a fourth aspect of being a friend of sinners and it is that we need —

Session #4- A Theology of EVANGELISM!

“Evangelism” — a word that strikes fear in the hearts of Christians!  But “evangelism” simply means sharing the Good News about Jesus.  And when that is done in the context of a serious friendship, it is a whole lot different than much of the “witnessing” we Christians panic over.  What if your unsaved friends asked you about your Christian faith, about why you are kinder and more considerate, about your calmness in the midst of trial?  Wouldn’t it be easier to share Jesus with them if you were responding to questions?

A theology of evangelism flows out of a conviction that the Great Commission (“19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”) in Matthew 28 is not an option for the believer.  It is his or her marching orders!  And we make disciples as we share the gospel with others, some of whom will repent and believe, and then begin that discipleship journey!  Evangelism means I am looking for opportunities to speak of Jesus’ saving me, rescuing me from my sin, giving me forgiveness and freedom and eternal life and . . .

There are some simple ways to share one’s faith that may be useful.  For example, if someone (hopefully a friend) says to you, “I see that you are very religious,” you might say, “Well, I spell ‘religion’ D-O.”  “D-O?,” your friends asks.  “Yes,” you say, “religion is about what you DO.  The problem is you never know if you’ve done enough to earn God’s favor.  I’m really into Christianity which is spelled D-O-N-E.”  “D-O-N-E?”, your friend asks.  “Yes, Jesus did for me what I cannot do for myself . . .”

Another simple approach might help if you are talking with someone who says they already are a Christian.  You might ask, “Would you say you are a cultural Christian or a biblical Christian?”  “What’s the difference?”, they might ask.  You would explain that a cultural Christian is someone who attends church once in a while, is a good neighbor, and doesn’t beat their dog.  “Then what’s a biblical Christian?”, they might ask.  “Ahhh, you say.  A biblical Christian . . .” (I’d recommend putting John chapter three in your own words at this point).

I have found the following books helpful in developing my ability to share my faith with others:  Greg Koukl’s Tactics: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions, Rebecca Pippert’s Out of the Saltshaker and Into the World: Evangelism as a Way of Life, and Paul Little’s How to Give Away Your Faith.  (to be continued)


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Posted by on August 1, 2018 in evangelism


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“Continuing the Race”: A Message for the Supporters of Dayspring Bible Camp Part 3

Dayspring Bible Camp in Ironton, Mo (here‘s their website), has invited me to do a “Theology Matters” conference with a group of their young people on August 3-5.  We will be studying the topic “Unlike Jesus,” a challenge to be a friend of sinners like the Lord Jesus was.

I also get to address the supporters of the camp and they have chosen the topic “Continue the Race.”  So, in these posts, we are thinking about the passages of Scripture that use the running metaphor.  We have seen from Philippians 3:14 that God calls us into the race.  From I Timothy 4:7-8 we have been challenged to train for the race.

Let’s notice this morning a third aspect of our running the race and it is from I Corinthians 9:25 that says, “25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”  The principle here is simple:

III. Training for This Race Requires Strict Self-Control! (I Cor. 9:25)

Running this race is not a walk in the park!  It demands “strict training.”  The expression “competes in the games” is from the Greek verb ἀγωνιζόμενος which means “to be a combatant in the public games; to contend, fight, strive earnestly.”  We get our word agonize from this Greek verb.  Paul speaks of Ephphras who always labors on your behalf in his prayers (Col. 4:12). He challenges Timothy to “fight the good fight of the faith” in I Timothy 6:12. And Paul testifies that he has fought the good faith, has completed the race, has kept the faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

There is still much work to do, even in our “retirement”!  This person goes into “strict training,” an expression which means to pursue self-control over all things.  That expression “strict training” is used only here and in 1 Cor. 9:25 where we read that a couple which is not practicing self-control should marry, rather than burn with sexual passion!

How would you rate your self-control?  To “continue the race” requires the agonizing labor of controlling ourselves! (to be continued)


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Posted by on July 23, 2018 in self-control


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