Dr. John MacArthur – Personal Evangelism 101: Offer God’s Mercy

Too many modern evangelistic methods offer the wrong thing. The point of the gospel is not to bring contentment, purpose, or a sense of completeness to your life. It’s not about unlocking God’s plan for your happiness or fulfillment. Those are often by-products of saving faith, but none of them is the primary focus of the gospel. Christ didn’t die for the sake of our emotional stability.

He died to rescue sinners from eternal separation from Him—to be our substitute and pay a debt we could not pay. The offer of the gospel is that atonement is available through the mercy and grace of God, and that He has made a way for us to enjoy eternity with Him.

That was the offer Christ made to the Samaritan woman at the well in the fourth chapter of John’s gospel. In verse 10 He exposed her spiritual need, encouraging her to ask Him for the “living water” only He could provide. Her incredulous response indicates she didn’t fully understand what He was saying.

She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” (John 4:11-12)

There is a scornful sarcasm in her words. She’s mocking the idea that Jesus could get anything at all from the well without a bucket, or that what He could supply would be any better than what came from the well their ancestor Jacob had dug.

But Christ is not dissuaded by her scorn.

Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” (John 4:13-14)

It’s here that the analogy of water comes to its point. Christ isn’t concerned with satisfying her temporary thirst. He’s got far greater things in mind. He’s talking about an endless supply of riches and blessing—eternal satisfaction that she can’t imagine. It’s a permanent, consistent, everlasting blessing, and all she needs to do is ask.

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James M. Hamilton Jr. – How Does Hell Glorify God?

To get at the way that hell glorifies God, we need to see hell in light of the Bible’s big story, its point of view, and its characterization of God and man.

THE BIBLE’S BIG STORY

The Bible’s plot, like all plots, has a beginning, middle, and end.

Beginning

God creates a perfect place and puts an innocent man and woman in it. God sets the terms and clearly states the consequence of transgressing his terms. An enemy lies to the innocent woman. She believes the lie, breaks God’s terms, and the man sins with her. God curses the enemy and initiates the consequences of transgression, cursing the land also. In the curse on the enemy, God states that the seed of the woman would strike the enemy’s head, while the enemy would strike the seed’s heel. The man and woman are then banished from the perfect place.

Middle

Humanity has been divided into two groups: the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, the righteous and the wicked. The seed of the woman are initially a subset of the nation of Israel, a line of descent that God has chosen to bless. They experience a re-do of the plot’s beginning. God puts them in a land of promise and sets the terms. They transgress the terms and are banished from that land, but God continues to promise that the enemy will be defeated even though it will be through a painful purging of the seed of the woman.

Then Jesus comes as the promised seed of the woman. He crushes the enemy’s head, with the enemy striking his heel—he dies on the cross. Because he is innocent and has resisted all temptation, death cannot hold him. He triumphantly overcomes death, satisfying God’s wrath against sin and opening the way of salvation for all who will trust him.

End

Creation will be like a woman in childbirth suffering labor pains, with the wicked viciously attacking the righteous, who trust God and testify to God’s truth until they are killed. This will continue until Jesus comes again. When Jesus comes again, he will judge the wicked and consign them to everlasting punishment, and he will take those who believed the word of God and the testimony of Jesus into a new, better, perfect place.

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Stephen Altrogge – How To Pray For The Man Who Kills Babies

Kermit Gosnell is currently on trial for the twenty-plus years of atrocities that took place in his abortion clinic. The details of what actually happened in that clinic are enough to make you vomit, scream, and want to punch a wall. The more I read about the case the more it becomes clear that Kermit Gosnell was an evil man who did tremendously evil things. Horrific, holocaust-like things. Demonic things.

How should we Christians respond to this kind of evil? After all, Jesus commanded us to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who mistreat us. So how do we respond to a man who has killed babies, hurt women, and committed other untold wicked deeds? We respond in two ways.

PRAY FOR JUSTICE

There is such a thing as godly rage. In Romans 13:3-4 it says:

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

God appoints rulers, judges, presidents, kings, and supreme courts to act as servants on his behalf. They are appointed by God to execute God’s wrath upon those who do evil. God has placed a divine sword in the hands of the men and women who rule our country, and they are to use that sword on behalf of the Lord.

Therefore, it is appropriate to pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive divine justice. It is right to pray that government would convict him of his crimes and appropriately sentence him for his crimes. If that means the death penalty, so be it. We should pray that Kermit Gosnell would receive justice for the wickedness he has done. It is right to pray that the government would fulfill its God-given duty.

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Tom Ascol – 4 Truths About Hell

“There is one very serious defect to my mind in Christ’s moral character, and that is that He believed in hell.” So wrote the agnostic British philosopher Bertrand Russell in 1967. The idea of eternal punishment for sin, he further notes, is “a doctrine that put cruelty in the world and gave the world generations of cruel torture.”

His views are at least more consistent than religious philosopher John Hick, who refers to hell as a “grim fantasy” that is not only “morally revolting” but also “a serious perversion of the Christian Gospel.” Worse yet was theologian Clark Pinnock who, despite having regarded himself as an evangelical, dismissed hell with a rhetorical question: “How can one imagine for a moment that the God who gave His Son to die for sinners because of His great love for them would install a torture chamber somewhere in the new creation in order to subject those who reject Him to everlasting pain?”

So, what should we think of hell? Is the idea of it really responsible for all the cruelty and torture in the world? Is the doctrine of hell incompatible with the way of Jesus Christ? Hardly. In fact, the most prolific teacher of hell in the Bible is Jesus, and He spoke more about it than He did about heaven. In Matthew 25:41–46 He teaches us four truths about hell that should cause us to grieve over the prospect of anyone experiencing its horrors.

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Dave Jenkins – A Biblical Approach to the Gosnell Verdict

justice-and-mercy-300x225 Recently, I’ve written quite a lot on the Gosnell case. In my opinion it’s one of the watershed cases of our generation as it has opened many people’s eyes to include myself regarding the horror of abortion. Before this case I believed abortion was wrong but I was mostly silent on the issue other than writing a few articles on it. I now see that even this silence may give the impression that I am not against abortion. I firmly believe pro-choice is no choice except under the most extreme case where a woman’s life may be ended. Even in that situation there are precautions such as a C-section that can avoid that from ever happening. With that said, I am one hundred percent against abortion. This case has caused me to think a lot about this issue as a whole and now that Gosnell’s verdict has come down, I want to offer a word of caution for my fellow brothers and sisters.

As Christian’s we should NOT rejoice over the Gosnell verdict. Christians can rejoice that the process of justice was meted out as the sword given by God was delivered. Yet, I fear many Christians will see this as an opportunity to cheer that Gosnell may be sentenced to death or spend the rest of his earthly life in jail. The reality is Kermit Gosnell is locked in a prison already. There is no way a born again Christian could ever commit the kind of atrocities he committed, and as far as I know he hasn’t claimed Christian faith. There are several reasons why I think Christians should pray for Gosnell.

First, Christians were once enemies but are now friends of God. Christians were once rebels and yet now are saints. Christians were once under the wrath of God but now rejoice because of all Jesus has done in His death, burial and resurrection. A Christian who rejoices over the potential death sentence of a sinner lost in his/her sin has failed to grasp the horror of hell. Hell is a place of eternal and unending punishment, so to rejoice over even just punishment of sinners is wrong. Yes, we can praise God for His justice because He is absolutely holy and He establishes and maintains the means by which that justice is meted out. Also, those who pass judgment on others in whatever sphere will be held accountable by God for how they meted out that justice. Even so, I fear many Christians may use this as an opportunity to point fingers and cast judgment. Rather than doing that, I pray we weep for Gosnell, intercede for Gosnell, and pray God will save Gosnell from the prison of his sin.

Second, any Christian who might be tempted to rejoice over this verdict needs to remember that you were once an enemy of God. That fundamental fact ought to stop you from jeering and cheering, instead leading you to repentance and to pray and intercede for Gosnell. Many people cheered when Bin Laden died because of the horrors he committed. If you are going to speak out against Gosnell and yet withhold mercy towards him, that demonstrates you not only do not understand mercy but also you do not understand the biblical worldview you claim as a supporter of life to adhere to. It is not enough to just be pro-life. We need to ground our thinking on the Word of God and let the Word dictate not just what we say but how we say it.

Finally, to cheer and jeer for Gosnell is to miss the point entirely. Gosnell will not be an isolated case there are other abortion clinics and doctors who have done the same thing. They may or may not be exposed here on earth but their deeds will be laid bare before the Judgment of God’s Throne when He opens up the books to judge the Living and the Dead. Here is the key to approaching this issue biblically: If you say you believe in the judgment seat of God then why are you going to cheer and jeer for those who are going to perish in their sins? Do you honestly believe that is what God wants in the first place? Do you believe Christ is able to save and that hell is eternal punishment and separation from God? Do you believe God is all powerful and able to save through His Gospel? If you answered yes to those questions, then instead of cheers and jeers, fall on your knees in repentance, pray for Gosnell and other sinners like him who are locked in a prison not bound by walls but one that will be a place of unending, unrelenting punishment. Pray and intercede for sinners but don’t cheer and jeer when justice is meted out. While you are praying, ask God to give you boldness to share His Word through the Holy Spirit. Ask God to use you as a vessel to point people to the Savior who saves all types of sinners from sin and grants them new life, new desires, and new affections to the glory of God.

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