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December 29, 2007

Heresies in the Christian church come never from the city missionary, never from the faithful pastor, never from the intense evangelist; but always from gentlemen at ease who take no actual part in our holy war.

–C.H. Spurgeon

My Comment: The heretics of today who undermine the authority of Scripture drift from conference to conference to book signing to yet another conference. They fly first class or in their own jets, they have huge advances from their publishers and they live very, very comfortable lives. It isn’t difficult being a false teacher. Satan always makes sure that there is plenty of money and that there are plenty of followers to reward such men and women. But their final reward is what matters, and I tremble to think about it. How much better to soldier on here, to take the incoming missiles and the affliction and yet to do it with our Savior by our side. We have all eternity to rest.

“The superficial results of many a ministry, and the deadness of others are to be found in the lack of praying.  No ministry can succeed without much praying, and this praying must be fundamental, ever-abiding, ever-increasing.  The text–the sermon–should be the result of prayer.  The study should be bathed in prayer, all its duties impregnated with prayer, its whole spirit the spirit of prayer.

“I am sorry that I have prayed so little” was the deathbed regret of one of God’s chosen ones.  That is a sad and remorseful regret for a preacher.  “I want a life of greater, deeper, and truer prayer,” said the late Archbishop Tait.  So may we all say, and this may we all secure.

God’s true preachers can be distinguished by one great feature:  they are men of prayer.  Often differing in many things, they have always had a common center. They may have started at different points,  and traveled by different roads, but they converge to one point: they are one in prayer.  To them, God is the center of attraction, and prayer is the path which led to God.  These men do not pray occasionally–not a little or at odd times.  But they so pray that their prayers enter into and shape their very characters.  They pray so as to affect their own lives, the lives of others, and to make the history of the Church influence the current of the times. They spend much time in prayer, not because they watch the shadow on the dial, or the hands on the clock, but because it is to them so momentous and engaging a business that they can scarcely quit.”

–E.M. Bounds, (1835-1913), Power Through Prayer

“If I had my way, I would declare a moratorium on public preaching of ‘the plan of salvation’ in America for one to two years. Then I would call on everyone who has use of the airways and the pulpits to preach the holiness of God, the righteousness of God and the law of God, until sinners would cry out, ‘What must we do to be saved?’ Then I would take them off in a corner and whisper the gospel to them. Such drastic action is needed because we have gospel-hardened a generation of sinners by telling them how to be saved before they have any understanding why they need to be saved.”-Paris Reidhead, Getting Evangelicals Saved

10 Reasons Not To Ask Jesus Into Your Heart

December 23, 2007

by Todd Friel

The music weeps, the preacher pleads, “Give your heart to Jesus. You have a God shaped hole in your heart and only Jesus can fill it.” Dozens, hundreds or thousands of people who want to get their spiritual life on track make their way to the altar. They ask Jesus into their heart.

Cut to three months later. Nobody has seen our new convert in church. The follow up committee calls him and encourages him to attend a Bible study, but to no avail. We label him a backslider and get ready for the next outreach event.

Our beloved child lies in her snuggly warm bed and says, “Yes, Daddy. I want to ask Jesus into my heart.” You lead her in “the prayer” and hope that it sticks. You spend the next ten years questioning if she really, really meant it. Puberty hits and the answer reveals itself. She backslides. We spend the next ten years praying that she will come to her senses.

Telling someone to ask Jesus into their hearts has a very typical result, backsliding. the Bible says that a person who is soundly saved puts his hand to the plow and does not look back because he is fit for service. In other words, a true convert cannot backslide. If a person backslides, he never slid forward in the first place. “If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation.” (II Cor.5) No backsliding there.

Brace yourself for this one: with very few if any exceptions, anyone who asked Jesus into their hearts to be saved…is not. If you asked Jesus into your heart because you were told that is what you have to do to become a Christian, you were mis-informed.

If you have ever told someone to ask Jesus into their heart (like I have), you produced a false convert. Here is why.

1. It is not in the Bible. There is not a single verse that even hints we should say a prayer inviting Jesus into our hearts. Some use Rev. 3:20. To tell us that Jesus is standing at the door of our hearts begging to come in.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.” There are two reasons that interpretation is wrong.

The context tells us that the door Jesus is knocking on is the door of the church, not the human heart. Jesus is not knocking to enter someone’s heart but to have fellowship with His church.

Even if the context didn’t tell us this, we would be forcing a meaning into the text (eisegesis). How do we know it is our heart he is knocking at? Why not our car door? How do we know he isn’t knocking on our foot? To suggest that he is knocking on the door of our heart is superimposing a meaning on the text that simply does not exist.

The Bible does not instruct us to ask Jesus into our heart. This alone should resolve the issue, nevertheless, here are nine more reasons.

2. Asking Jesus into your heart is a saying that makes no sense. What does it mean to ask Jesus into your heart? If I say the right incantation will He somehow enter my heart? Is it literal? Does He reside in the upper or lower ventricle? Is this a metaphysical experience? Is it figurative? If it is, what exactly does it mean? While I am certain that most adults cannot articulate its meaning, I am certain that no child can explain it. Pastor Dennis Rokser reminds us that little children think literally and can easily be confused (or frightened) at the prospect of asking Jesus into their heart.

3. In order to be saved, a man must repent (Acts 2:38). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of repentance.

4. In order to be saved, a man must trust in Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31). Asking Jesus into your heart leaves out the requirement of faith.

5. The person who wrongly believes they are saved will have a false sense of security. Millions of people who sincerely, but wrongly, asked Jesus into their hearts think they are saved but struggle to feel secure. They live in doubt and fear because they do not have the Holy Spirit giving them assurance of salvation.

6. The person who asks Jesus into his heart will likely end up inoculated, bitter and backslidden. Because he did not get saved by reciting a formulaic prayer, he will grow disillusioned with Jesus, the Bible, church and fellow believers. His latter end will be worse than the first.

7. It presents God as a beggar just hoping you will let Him into your busy life. This presentation of God robs Him of His sovereignty.

8. The cause of Christ is ridiculed. Visit an atheist web-site and read the pagans who scoff, “How dare those Christians tell us how to live when they get divorced more than we do? Who are they to say homosexuals shouldn’t adopt kids when tens of thousands of orphans don’t get adopted by Christians?” Born again believers adopt kids and don’t get divorced.
People who ask Jesus into their hearts do. Jesus gets mocked when false converts give Him a bad name.

9. The cause of evangelism is hindered. While it is certainly easier to get church members by telling them to ask Jesus into their hearts, try pleading with someone to make today the day of their salvation. Get ready for a painful response. “Why should I become a Christian when I have seen so called Christians act worse than a pagan?” People who ask Jesus into their hearts give pagans an excuse for not repenting.

10. Here is the scary one. People who ask Jesus into their hearts are not saved and they will perish on the Day of Judgment. How tragic that millions of people think they are right with God when they are not. How many people who will cry out, “Lord, Lord” on judgment day will be “Christians” who asked Jesus into their hearts?

So, what must one do to be saved? Repent and trust. (Heb.6:1) The Bible makes it clear that all men must repent and place their trust in Jesus Christ. Every man does have a “God shaped hole in their hearts,” but that hole is not contentment, fulfillment and peace. Every man’s heart problem is righteousness. Instead of preaching that Jesus fulfills, we must preach that God judges and Jesus satisfies God’s judgment…if a man will repent and place his trust in Him.

If you are reading this and you asked Jesus into your heart, chances are good you had a spiritual buzz for a while, but now you struggle to read your Bible, tithe, attend church and pray. Perhaps you were told you would have contentment, purpose and a better life if you just ask Jesus into your heart. I am sorry, that was a lie.

December 22, 2007

“If a man’s house were on fire, and another should see it and not tell him of it, for fear of waking him–would not this be cruelty? When we see others sleeping in their sin, and the fire of God’s wrath ready to burn them up–and we are silent–is not this cruelty?”

Glory to the newborn King

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
What will happen when you die?
Will you go to Heaven or Hell?
Jesus knows! “Emmanuel.”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
He’s the One who’ll judge us all
Let’s see who will stand or fall…
Have you ever told a lie?
Wished that someone else would die?
Entertained a lusty thought?
Stolen when you should have bought?
Help! We’ve broken God’s Ten Laws!
Who will come to save us all?

That’s why Jesus Christ was sent
To be saved you must repent
Died on the cross for all your sin
Repent and put your trust in Him
Mild He laid His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

At War With the Law

December 21, 2007

Look at how Charles Spurgeon used God’s Law to make sinners see that they needed the Savior. “Soul! You will find it a hard thing to go at war with the Law. When the Law came in peace, Sinai was altogether on a smoke, and even Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake. What will you do when the Law comes in terror? When the trumpet of the archangel shall tear you from your grave. When the eyes of God shall burn their way into your guilty soul. When the great books shall be opened and all your sin and shame shall be punished. Can you stand against an angry Law in that day?” Compare that to today’s sermons where words are carefully chosen so that the sinner won’t be alarmed or feel any guilt. Yet, that’s what they must feel, or they will never come to the foot of the cross. There goes another minute. Gone forever. Go share your faith while you still have time.

Open Air Preaching

December 20, 2007

The [street] preachers needed to have faces set like flints, and so indeed they had. John Furz says, “As soon as I began to preach, a man came forward and presented a gun at my face; swearing that he would blow my brains out if I spoke another word. However, I continued speaking and he continued swearing, sometimes putting the muzzle of the gun to my mouth, sometimes against my ear. While we were singing the last hymn, he got behind me, fired the gun, and burned off part of my hair.”

After this, my brethren, we ought never to speak of petty interruptions or annoyances. The proximity of a blunderbuss in the hands of a son of Belial is not very conducive to collected thought and clear utterance.

December 16, 2007

God is faithful.

December 13, 2007

People that make a difference in the world are not people that have mastered a lot of things; they are people that have been mastered by a very few things that are very very great.

December 12, 2007

You can sing your heart out and never give, and miss the fullness of worship.

- Dave Ramsey

The Spade That Turns the Soil

December 11, 2007

The key to reaching the lost is the evangelistic use of the Law of God. It is the key that unlocks the door of the Savior. It is the spade that turns the soils and prepares it for the seed of the Gospel. Look at the description of the function of the Law in Pilgrim’s Progress: “It was he [the Law] who did bind my heavy burden upon me.” Faithful agrees: “Aye. Had it not been for him, we had both of us stayed in the City of Destruction.” “Then he did us a favor,” answered Christian. [Faithful then shows how the Law alarms us:] “Aye. Albeit, he did it none too gently.” Then Christian says, “Well, at least he played the part of a schoolmaster and showed us our need. It was he who drove us to the cross.” There goes another minute. Gone forever. Go share your faith while you still have time.

How to botch an alter call

December 1, 2007

(A few keys for those who don’t want people saved in their altar calls)

  1. Present an unbalanced message. Only let them see the heart-warming part of God’s character. Preach God’s love but leave out His holiness and justice. That way they’ll think He’ll let them into heaven no matter what.
  2. Don’t mention repentance until they’re repeating a “sinner’s prayer.” Just get them to say, “I repent of all my sins” while they’re echoing you. They won’t know what they’re saying and they won’t count the cost.
  3. Above all else, be dignified. Don’t get heart to heart with the people. They would get something out of what you said.
  4. Skim over the gospel and push the prayer. Pretend the lost naturally understand what Christ has done for them.
  5. Preach Jesus as a life enhancer not a life rescuer. Tell them how Jesus can improve their life but don’t show them Jesus as the only One who can save them from Hell. People will think if they reject Him they’re only losing out on a spiritual high.
  6. Try to please the people instead of convert them. Tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear.
  7. Compromise the message to speed up the process. The Christians who have heard it a hundred times before will be pleased with that. The quicker they get out the quicker they can get to the restaurant.
  8. Give them the impression that God is so good He won’t send anyone to hell. Don’t present the whole counsel of God or they might realize He is so good that He’ll see to it that justice is served and that all unrepentant sinners will be punished in the fire that is not quenched.
  9. Speak to sinners as though they were saints. They’ll think they’re God’s children instead of the enemies of God they’ve made themselves into because of their sin. You’ll give them false assurance and mislead them.
  10. Don’t mention sin or man’s guilt. Resist the urge to explain what Christ came to deliver us from. Don’t show them their need for the Savior. Otherwise it may all make sense.
  11. Don’t look to the Bible for the substance of your altar call. Only mimic other preachers with large congregations.
  12. Tell the lost not to feel bad about their sins. That way you will work against the Holy Spirit who’s convicting them
  13. Whatever you do, never mention Judgment Day. Your audience might take spiritual matters seriously.
  14. Tell them Jesus is the only way to heaven but don’t explain why. They may think it’s nothing more than fear tactics and leave offended instead of enlightened.
  15. Confuse the call. This is a great way to botch up an altar call. Don’t let people know you’re asking them to commit their life to Christ. Be vague and general in what you’re saying. Neglect to mention following Christ in your evangelistic altar calls and say things like, “If you don’t feel you’re as close to God as possible raise your hand,” “If you feel lonely come to the front for prayer,” “If you want more of God this is your time,” and, “If you have struggles and need the answer come down.” Just get them to raise a hand. That way no one will be able to count the cost and you’ll even get saints to respond to salvation altar calls, making the results look more successful.
  16. Only give them half the story. Tell them Jesus died to forgive everyone but overlook the fact that they must personally receive Him to partake of that forgiveness.
  17. Present the truth as though it isn’t. Be so funny when you share Christ that you belittle the seriousness of the matter.
  18. Preach forgiveness without repentance. That way no one will know how to be forgiven.
  19. Be unbiblical. Present repentance and faith as an offer instead of how God does as a command (Acts 17:30).
  20. Let them think next Sunday is the day of salvation. Don’t make them feel it’s urgent to respond today.
  21. Never warn of hell. Dangle heaven in front of their nose but rarely mention hell, certainly not as much as Jesus did.
  22. Only do altar calls inside the church. Never take the gospel where sinners congregate. The lost might get saved.
  23. Use churchy terms. Use words like, “saved,” “repent,” and “born again,” without any explanation. That way your hearers won’t comprehend what you’re saying. If they can’t understand it, it’s probable they won’t be changed by it.
  24. Give false assurance of salvation to unsaved Christians. Assure church folk that they are saved even if they bear no fruit. So that you don’t offend the unsaved pew warmers never quote 2 Corinthians 13:5: “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith.” You could lose some financial supporters and have to depend on God.
  25. Never mention the wrath of God. If you mention it, people might be awakened to flee to Jesus who “saves us from the wrath to come.” ( 1 Thess. 1:10)
  26. Study how the apostles preached and witnessed and do the opposite. Don’t explain Jesus’ suffering death on the cross. Otherwise they may think of running to Him for forgiveness. Don’t speak of His burial or resurrection or they might realize He is God. Refrain from commenting about the hundreds of eyewitnesses who saw Jesus after He rose from the dead. That way they can go on thinking He’s a fairy tale. Overlook talk of the messianic prophecies Jesus fulfilled or they might realize that the Bible is true. If they see it’s the truth they may see that following Christ is the logical decision. And whatever you do, avoid what the apostles did when it came time to call people to obey the gospel. Don’t tell them to trust Christ and live for Him. That is too accurate. If they know how to get saved your altar call will be a success.
  27. Put more emphasis on the “sinner’s prayer” then on repentance and faith. Satan will smile over your departure from Biblical instruction. We are never taught to use a ‘sinner’s prayer’ throughout the entire Bible. If you decide to use it and put more emphasis on the technique than on what we’re commanded to preach: faith and repentance you’ll certainly botch things up. A ‘sinner’s prayer’ doesn’t equal salvation, only faith in Christ and repentance toward God do.
  28. Let Christians think you’re the only one who can do it right. Always leave the impression that they should only invite friends to church and never actually witness themselves. It will keep you in business and the lost unsaved.
  29. Don’t let the lost know they are. Disregard subjects like Judgment Day, God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness and justice. That way the lost can continue to think they’re “good enough” to get into heaven.
  30. Rely upon psychological techniques to manipulate people into responding to the altar call. Don’t rely upon the Holy Spirit or they may actually get saved.
  31. Make sure you’re the main attraction. Remember the goal in botching up an altar call is for people to leave and say, “What a wonderful preacher,” instead of, “What a wonderful Savior.” Draw all possible attention to how great a speaker and person you are. Otherwise people might see Christ in your preaching and get saved.
  32. Don’t focus upon Jesus. Finally, the best way to botch up an altar call is not to preach the gospel. Just get people to lift up a hand and pray a prayer with you. Resist the urge to speak of the only One who could save them.

Sometimes the best way to get a point across is to put it in a different light. You now know a few ways to botch up an altar call. Please do not employ them. Do the opposite. You may already do some of them. Don’t let pride keep you from changing and doing things in a Biblical fashion. The bottom line is how true we are to Christ and His word. Effectively reaching the lost is our purpose. Let nothing hold you back from that agenda. May God bless you as you seek to win people to Christ in Bible clubs, churches, conferences, on the street witnessing encounters, at your school, and at your workplace.

Adapted from Becoming an Emissary for God by Allen Atzbi

A letter from an Athiest

You are really convinced that you’ve got all the answers.  You’ve really got yourself tricked into believing that you’re 100% right. Well, let me tell you just one thing. Do you consider yourself to be compassionate of other humans? If you’re right, as you say you are, and believe that, then how can you sleep at night? When you speak with me you are speaking with someone who you believe is walking directly into eternal damnation into an endless onslaught of horrendous pain which your ‘loving’ god created, yet you stand by and do nothing.

If you believe one bit that thousands every day were falling into an eternal and unreacheable fate, you should be running the streets mad with rage at their blindness.  That’s equivalent to standing on a street corner and watching every person that passes you walk blindly directly into the path of a bus and die, yet you stand idly by and do nothing. You’re just twiddling your thumbs, happy in the knowledge that one day that ‘walk’ signal will shine your way across the road.

Think about it. Imagine the horrors Hell must have in store if the bible is true. You’re just going to allow that to happen and not care about saving anyone but yourself? If you’re right then you’re an uncaring, unemotional and purely selfish (expletive) that has no right to talk about subjects such as love and caring.

Songs of the Lukewarm church

  1. Blest Be The Tie That Doesn’t Cramp My Style
  2. Pillow of Ages, Fluffed for Me
  3. I Surrender Some
  4. I’m Fairly Certain That My Redeemer Lives
  5. Sit Up, Sit Up For Jesus
  6. Take My Life and Let Me Be
  7. What An Acquaintance We Have In Jesus
  8. Where He Leads Me, I Will Consider Following
  9. He’s Quite a Bit To Me
  10. Oh, How I Like Jesus
  11. Fill My Spoon, Lord
  12. It Is My Secret What God Can Do