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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 19)

If your lost friend were to ask you, “What’s the best part about being a follower of Jesus?”, what would you say? Of course, salvation would be the first answer most of us would give. But what might be the second or third matter you would state? What are some of the other blessings you enjoy which your unsaved friend doesn’t have? Yet.

We’ve already seen a number of benefits of being a Christian, but one that perhaps doesn’t occur to a lot of us is that of being able to take risks for the kingdom of God. For that reason, I don’t believe my unsaved friends —

19. THEY DON’T HAVE A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE ON RISK!

Life is risky, isn’t it? We’re not to live foolishly, but the very idea of living a totally risk-free life is impossible. At any moment in our lives we might become the victim of a crime, be overcome by an unexpected disease or disability, or be treated unkindly by our godless culture. These outside forces often pose great and unavoidable risks to us.

But can we put ourselves at risk? Should we? In his book Risk Is Right, Pastor John Piper makes the very critical point that it is better to lose your life than to waste it! What are the risks that a believer is free to make? Here are a few that occur to me: Sharing the gospel with the possibility of being rejected by one’s friends. Serving the Lord in far-flung places in the world where people eat what people were never intended to eat! Standing for truth when such a stance will lose one a promotion or even get one sued! Being faithful in one’s marriage even when one’s spouse has bailed out of their marriage vows. These are worthwhile risks that the unbeliever knows nothing about.

People in the Bible were constantly at risk. The Psalmist David frequently cries out to the Lord to save him from those who want him dead. The early Christians laid down their lives for the gospel — and thought such was a privilege! In Scripture we read of “men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”(Acts15:26). The Apostle Paul refers to Priscilla and Aquila, “my co-workers in Christ Jesus [who] risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them.” (Rom. 16:3-4). In Philippians 2 Paul speaks about his fellow laborer Epaphroditus who “longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill . . . and almost died. But God had mercy on him . . . 28 Therefore I am all the more eager to send him, so that when you see him again you may be glad and I may have less anxiety. 29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him, 30 because he almost died for the work of Christ. He risked his life to make up for the help you yourselves could not give me.”

We may pray like the Psalmist in Psalm 16, “Keep me safe, my God,
 for in you I take refuge” (v. 1). It’s not wrong to ask God to keep us safe, but not risk-free! We believers are blessed with knowing that this life is not the only one that is, that we might well lose our lives for the gospel, and that such a sacrifice will be well worth it. The unbeliever does not have this “blessing.”

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? Well, where might you or I be a bit risky in our witness for Christ? I need to show by my choices that my highest priority in life is not the preservation of my physical existence, but the honoring and serving of my Savior. So praying for oneself for courage might be a good start. (to be continued)

 

 

 
 

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Bless-ed! 52 Blessings Your Lost Friend Doesn’t Have . . . And What You Can Do About It! (Part 18)

In his book God Is the Gospel Pastor John Piper makes the basic point that “When you trusted Christ, you got God!” Absolutely. But what else did we “get” when we believed the gospel?

My friend Mike is as lost as lost can be (as I was before Jesus saved me). And he has got me to thinking about all that I have as a believer. So I’m making a list . . .

Our culture, it seems, is health-obsessed. Vitamins, exercise machines, weight loss programs, skinny photo-shopped models, plastic surgery, diets and diet pills, and multiple over-the-counter and prescription drugs all scream at us: “HEALTH! You must be healthy! Here’s a pill for this problem! Join this weight-loss plan right now! You don’t have to suffer with the heartbreak of psoriasis!”

Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m grateful for advances in medicine, programs that help me live longer, and practical steps I can take to be healthier. I just wonder if we’re too addicted to better health than we right now experience. For that reason, I think my lost friends —

18. THEY DON’T HAVE A PROPER VIEW OF HEALTH!

Of course we should make healthy choices in what we eat, how much we exercise, how we treat the one body God has given us for this life. But, for some, perfect health has become their god.

What, then, would be a biblical view of health? Several principles occur to me: (1) We should acknowledge our bodies as given to us by God (Gen. 3); (2)  we should agree that our bodies are not our own (I Cor. 3 and 6); (3) we should take care of the physical part of who we are (Eph. 5:28-29); (4) we should honor God even in our “disabilities” (“Who gave human beings their mouths? Who makes them deaf or mute? Who gives them sight or makes them blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Ex. 4:11); (5) we should seek healing if such is God’s will (James 5:14); (6) we should honor the Lord even in our infirmities (2 Cor. 12).

For my unsaved friends, we need to praise God before them whether we are healthy or sick, acknowledging our total dependence on Him for “life and breath and everything else” (Acts 17:25).

So, how do I pray for my unsaved friend? I show by my response to both good health and sickness that the Lord is in charge of my life. And I pray for my friend that he would trust Christ with his body and soul. (to be continued)

 

 

 
 

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