RSS

Tag Archives: the Bible

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 11)

“Count your blessings — Name them one by one . . . “ūüé∂ I sang this song as a young Christian. In thinking about my unsaved friend “Mike,” I’m counting the blessings I have in Christ. My heart goes out to him — for he doesn’t have these blessings because he doesn’t have the Lord.

We’ve looked at ten blessings so far, but there is an eleventh that I must touch on. And I long for my friend to have this blessing. But we must be true to the Bible and state that, when it comes to my lost friends . . .

11. THEY DON’T HAVE A PERMANENT JOY !

JOY is quite different from the kind of temporary happiness our world offers. Happiness, as someone has said, depends on happenings. Joy for the believer is solid and lasting and eternal, for it comes from the everlasting God! Dr. Willard S. Krabill has said that “The mentally and emotionally healthy are those that have learned when to say Yes, when to say No, and when to say Whoopee!”

Jesus promises A COMPLETE JOY in John 15:11 when He says, “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.”¬† He challenges His followers in John 16 by saying, “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be COMPLETE.” (v. 24). He promises that the disciples’ grief will turn to JOY in John 16:20 and that no one can take away their JOY (v. 22).

Spiritual leaders like C.S. Lewis and John Piper focused much of their ministry on the concept of pursuing JOY in the Lord.

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? First I need to show that JOY in Jesus that my friend does not yet have. Second, I need to pray that he would sense a lack of true, biblical JOY in his life. (to be continued)

 

 

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 10)

God’s Word is filled with blessings that belong only to the saved. My friend Mike is lost and, therefore, doesn’t enjoy any of these benefits. Do I? Am I aware of all that I have “in Christ”?

In thinking about the many blessings which our unsaved friends don’t have, we recently looked at the truth that they don’t have a biblical view of the family. It may be that my friend Mike practices some positive principles that the Bible gives without knowing it.

Let’s think about another blessing which our lost friends don’t have and it is this:

10. THEY DON’T HAVE A DEFENDABLE WORLDVIEW !

Not to get too philosophical, but any worldview other than that given by God in His Word is susceptible to attack and eventual overthrow. Wow! What a dogmatic statement! But seriously, if biblical Christianity isn’t true and the Bible isn’t God’s Word, why should we bother following Christ? But there are clear evidences of the Bible’s truthfulness; Christ’s life, death, burial, and resurrection; and the fact that the God of the Bible is real and holy and angry at sin.

The Bible gives many examples of believers defending the truth of the gospel (see Acts 17 as a great illustration of a philosophically-informed Apostle Paul presenting the truth about Jesus). In fact, Jesus followers are commanded to be ready to give reasons for their faith in their Savior (I Pe. 3:15).

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? First of all, I need to understand his present worldview. Then do whatever I can to challenge it in light of the gospel. And, second, I need to pray for God the Holy Spirit to open my friend’s eyes to how he ought to view life and eternity and . . . Jesus. (to be continued)

 

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 9)

In these posts we are discussing what my unsaved friend “Mike” doesn’t have because he doesn’t yet have Christ. But I have the Lord (because I’ve believed the gospel) — so what do I have?

We’ve considered a number of blessings which our unsaved friends don’t have. The last we looked at was that they don’t have a healthy perspective on getting old! Let’s look at another blessing which we believers should cherish — and which our unsaved friends don’t yet have. And it is that —

9. THEY DON’T HAVE A BIBLICAL VIEW OF THE FAMILY!

Our culture seems to be doing all that it can to redefine the family, to overturn what God’s Word says about the duties of the father, the mother, and the children. My friend Mike, who at this point doesn’t have the Bible as his final authority, can very easily become deceived by the world’s definitions and perspectives on this most basic unit of human relationships.

In the month of May I get to speak at a family retreat at Camp Elim in Colorado. I’m choosing for my theme “Family Values According to God’s Word.” We’ll look at what the Bible says about marriage, about the husband/wife relationship, about the father’s leadership, the mother’s co-partnership and support role, and the children’s requirements which the Scriptures lay out. I’ll do my homework in properly interpreting the passages I use, but I’m excited to draw our attention to the wealth of truth the Bible provides on this most critical issue.

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? As I think about one of my friends, my prayer is that he would see that God’s way (in marriage and the family) is the best way. And I pray that my marriage and family would be a godly example to him. (to be continued)

 

 
 

Tags: , , ,

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 8)

My friend “Mike” is helping me become more aware of what I have as a believer and what he doesn’t yet have. I’m certainly not gloating, but he inspires me to take stock of what I have in Christ. And what I long for him to have!

In our previous posts, we’ve seen that (according to Scripture) my unsaved friends¬† — (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe; (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven; (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life, (4) don’t have somewhere (beyond this world) to go with their guilt, (5) don’t have a community (being built by Jesus) where they can be trained to do God’s work, (6) don’t have a longing to know God through studying His Word, and (7) don’t have the Spirit of God to help them understand and apply God’s Word.

Let’s think about an eighth benefit of the believer as we recognize a truth about our unbelieving friends. And it is that —

8. THEY DON’T HAVE A HEALTHY PERSPECTIVE ON GETTING OLD!

If this is the only life one gets, then getting older has got to bring some sadness to the one outside of Christ! Sure, there are joys in seeing one’s children grow up, but if in the final analysis one only gets old and dies, that is about as depressing as life can get!

I’ve recently been going through Psalm 16 with my friend Frank and there we read: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;‚Ä® surely I have a delightful inheritance.‚Ä®” That’s what growing older for a believer involves — “boundary lines” in “pleasant places.” And for the Christian there is a “delightful inheritance”!

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? I can pray that he would see his days and months and years as a gift from God and that he would turn to the Lord for salvation! Eternity — not nothingness — awaits. And we can use our time here for honoring Him! (to be continued)

 

 
 

Tags: , ,

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 7)

My friend “Mike” (not his real name) is unsaved, but he’s helping me become more aware of what I have as a believer and what he doesn’t yet have. This list is not given in any sense of gloating, for I grieve for what my friend doesn’t have.

In our previous posts, we’ve seen that (according to Scripture) my unsaved friends¬† — (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe; (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven; (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life, (4) don’t have somewhere (beyond this world) to go with their guilt, (5) don’t have a community (being built by Jesus) where they can be trained to do God’s work, and (6) don’t have a longing to know God through studying His Word!

Let’s consider a seventh benefit of the believer as we recognize a truth about our unbelieving friends. And it is that —

7. THEY DON’T HAVE THE SPIRIT OF GOD TO HELP THEM UNDERSTAND AND APPLY GOD’S WORD!

The Bible is clear about the Trinity — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Third Member of the Godhead is personal and divine and we can have a relationship with Him. I’m working on a book specifically challenging believers to grow in their connection with the Holy Spirit and to do so by recognizing His ministries in their lives. One primary ministry is that of helping us understand and apply the Word of God to our daily lives (see John 16:13; I Corinthians 2:14-15).

The person who has not yet trusted Christ does not have the Spirit of God. He or she may read the Bible, but they are not yet open to the One whose primary tool in teaching us spiritual truth is the Word of God!

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? I can pray that he would trust Christ and be brought by the Spirit of God into God’s family. Then he can begin to understand — and warmly embrace — the truths of God’s Word. (to be continued)

‚ÄúIf you‚Äôre not confident in the authority of the Scriptures, you will be a slave to what sounds right.‚ÄĚ
Matt Chandler

 

 
 

Tags: , , , ,

Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 6)

My friend “Mike” (not his real name) is unsaved. That’s biblical language for his condition before God. In trying to reach my friend, I’m becoming more aware of what I have as a believer and what my friend Mike doesn’t yet have.

In our previous posts, we’ve seen that (according to Scripture) my unsaved friends¬† — (1) don’t have an authoritative source for what they believe; (2) don’t have the assurance that their sins are forgiven; (3) don’t have a life-long, satisfying mission in life, (4) don’t have somewhere (beyond this world) to go with their guilt!, and (5) don’t have a community (being built by Jesus) where they can be trained to do God’s work.

Let’s consider a sixth benefit of the believer as we recognize a truth about our unbelieving friends. And it is that —

6. THEY DON’T HAVE A LONGING TO KNOW GOD THROUGH STUDYING HIS WORD!

I heard the story of a professor who was being questioned by the police about a student who was guilty of a serious crime. The professor said, “Oh, yes. He was in my class. But he was never my student.” Some Christians are just “in the class” and haven’t yet realized they are now life-long students of the Word of God!

The believer in Christ has an incredible resource for life in the Word of God, the Bible. He or she can read and study and meditate on the 66 books in the Bible — and be changed in the process!

How do I pray for my unsaved friend? I can pray that he would actually join me in studying the Bible together. Just the other day I invited another friend to do a Bible study with me of John’s gospel. And he’s “checking his schedule”! Please pray for him. (to be continued)

 

 
 

Tags: , , ,

IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have a HOPE! (Part 8 Final)

I don’t agree with Karl Barth on much, but his question — “Is it true? Is the Christian faith true?” is essential to biblical Christianity. We’ve seen that certain conclusions follow IF Christianity is true. For example, we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. Second, we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. Third, if the gospel is true, we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. Fourth, we agreed that we desperately need the people of God, the church. Our fifth conclusion was that we can honestly face the suffering in the world without becoming cynical or callous. We have a theodicy which helps us understand evil and suffering.

Let’s look at a sixth — and final — conclusion and it is this —

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We can be biblically hopeful about the future because our God is sovereign. Someone has posted the following on Facebook —

I think that’s a terrific way of thinking about the Christian life! Despite life’s challenges, the follower of Jesus is, in a sense, neither a pessimist nor an optimist. He or she is a realist who is eternally grateful that his cup “runneth over”!
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%We have an eternal hope that God will wrap up history, exercise righteous judgment, reward the godly, forever separate the ungodly from His kingdom, and will usher us into an eternity of worshiping and serving our blessed Savior! There is no greater hope, is there?

What might be some characteristics of one who is biblically hopeful? Several occur to me: (1) We will not overestimate man’s abilities to solve his own problems. We will care about our world and cooperate to alleviate man’s suffering, but will recognize that only the Lord can meet a person’s deepest needs;
(2) We will cling tightly to the truths of Scripture and allow its worldview to be our worldview. This means identifying and rejecting the “wisdom of the world” and being determined to stand with God’s people, even when they are suffering;
(3) We will affirm with the Apostle Paul that “our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” (2 Cor. 4:17) What’s the “them” in that text? Logically, the “them” refers to our troubles, our outwardly “wasting away” (v. 16)

Today’s Challenge: Do a bit of a word study of the term “hope” in the Scriptures. What are several truths you can share with those who read this blog?


 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 26, 2021 in gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have JOY! (Part 7)

I don’t agree with Karl Barth on much, but his question — “Is it true? Is the Christian faith true?” is essential to biblical Christianity. We’ve seen that certain conclusions follow IF Christianity is true, for example, we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. Second, we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. Third, if the gospel is true, we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. Fourth, we agreed that we desperately need the people of God, the church. Our fifth conclusion was that we can honestly face the suffering in the world without becoming cynical or callous. We have a theodicy which helps us understand evil and suffering.

Let’s look at a sixth conclusion and it is this —

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We can be supernaturally joyful despite the challenges of this fallen universe. I love the statement by the preacher who said that Christians owe it to the world to be supernaturally JOYFUL! Yes, we do! And we owe it to the Lord of joy! The epistle of Philippians emphasizes the issue of JOY in spite of suffering.

2 Corinthians 4:17 says, “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Your present troubles may not see “light” and “momentary,” but they are compared to what our Savior suffered on our behalf. We are to be “looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The follower of Jesus recognizes the tragedy of sin, the effects of the cosmic fall, the sadness of unbelief, but he or she must keep in mind what the Apostle Paul says in Romans 14 — “for the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” (Romans 14:17)

Today’s Challenge: Would you describe yourself as full of joy in the Holy Spirit? If not, why not? What are some joy-killers that can drag down the believer and keep him or her from saying “Whoopee!”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 24, 2021 in gospel

 

Tags: , , , ,

IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have a THEODICY! (Part 6)

This profound question raised by Karl Barth is fundamental to biblical Christianity. Certain conclusions follow IF Christianity is true, such as we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. We’ve also seen that we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. If the gospel is true, we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. We looked at a fourth conclusion which was we desperately need the people of God, the church.

Let’s look at a fifth conclusion and it is this —

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We can honestly face the suffering in the world without becoming cynical or callous. Biblical Christianity affirms the reality of suffering. But it also affirms the truth of the goodness of God. Putting those two truths together — which many worldviews deny — is called a theodicy (a defense of God’s justice in the face of evil’s reality).

The “thorns” in our world come in many different varieties. There are self-inflicted thorns; pains produced by others; brokenness inherent in our fallen world. Some thorns are given directly by God (one thinks of 2 Corinthians 12 and Paul’s “thorn in the flesh”); others sovereignly allowed by Him.

Biblical Christianity provides the best theodicy for it acknowledges that this world is fallen (it is not what God intended it to be), mankind is in rebellion against God, and a Savior has been provided for those who turn to Him in faith. He solves the problem of personal evil and suffering and one day will deal with the issue of cosmic brokenness.

In his very helpful book Why a Suffering World Makes Sense, Chris Tiegreen makes the following points:
(1)¬† He writes: “I will never understand those who believe that spiritual problems can be solved with social programs, that peace can be achieved by treaties, that prejudices can be eliminated by discussion, that rebellious youth can be corrected with heavy doses of esteem and understanding, that scars can be healed through therapy, that wrongs can be righted by litigation, and that diseases can be eliminated by research. Evil is woven into the fabric of humanity, and it’s obvious.”
(2) Philosophically, “I both know that philosophers and theologians have found the existence of evil plus the existence of God more than a little troubling. They have also found the existence of evil plus the theoretical nonexistence of God utterly depressing.”
(3) “The Bible teaches that God is sovereign and that he is love, in spite of clear evidence of rampant evil and excruciating suffering in this world.”

Today’s Challenge: There so much that is helpful in Tiegreen’s book that I’ll do the following: For any of you who reads his book, I will send you one of mine free. You can choose from DocTALK, DocWALK, When Temptation Strikes, Unlike Jesus: Let’s Stop Unfriending the World, and even The Other Side of the Good News! Deal?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 22, 2021 in gospel

 

Tags: , , , , ,

IF THE GOSPEL REALLY IS TRUE . . . We Have a FAMILY! (Part 5)

When he stepped into the pulpit for the first time, Karl Barth raised a profound question, didn’t he? But what conclusions should we reach IF the gospel indeed is true? We’ve seen in our study that if the gospel is TRUE, then we have a message for the world which is both good news and bad news. We are Christ’s aroma (2 Corinthians 2) — and some will think we are a fragrance and some an odor! We’ve also seen that we have every reason to challenge other worldviews and religions as to their response to the gospel. Thirdly, we drew the conclusion that if the gospel is true, then we have a complete justification to make the Bible our absolute guidebook for life. Let’s notice a fourth conclusion —

IF THE GOSPEL IS TRUE, THEN . . .

We desperately need the people of God, the church. For many the church is the great Evangelical option. “I’ll go if I have time.” “I’ll give if I can spare some loose change.” “I’ll serve if I must.” Because the good news of the gospel is true, God is creating a forgiven family — and each of us are members!

Not a one of us is perfect — but we’re growing. And we are to meet together to focus on Him and to practice the four priorities which marked the early church. We read in Acts 2 —

If we wish to be like the early Christians and to be blessed by God, we will devote ourselves to: doctrine, fellowship, worship, and prayer! Because we need somewhere to go on Sunday?! NO! Because Christ is building His Body, the Church, and we are members of it!

Today’s Challenge: Philip Yancey’s little book Church: Why Bother? raises some key questions. Why do you “bother” with church?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on June 20, 2021 in gospel

 

Tags: , , ,