If you were to be awakened at 3:00 AM and asked, “How can I be saved?” would you be able to give a crisp, clear answer, roll over and go to sleep again without missing a beat?
Well, doubtless, it will never happen. But should it happen—how about it? How well would you do?
Few things can be of greater importance to you as a believer than being able to explain the Good News to someone else. Perhaps, in your case, it may be that you aren’t really a Christian after all, and need to know and believe it yourself.
I’m not going to set forth a statement of the sort I’m discussing in this blog. Rather, I want to point you to the several blogs in which I have already done so in the past (see the Archives). Here, I simply want to urge those of you who are saved to be certain that you can explain the Gospel to someone else. Too often, in these vague theological times, Christians—who once could do so (at 3 AM even)—have become confused by the nature of the confusing material that is published. If you find yourself among that hapless bunch, it’s time to rethink carefully exactly what you would say. For starters, let me suggest that you begin by reading the early verses in 1 Corinthians 15. They might be of help. But, regardless of where you begin, if you are fuzzy—please begin! How tragic that true believers have become vague about the most important message of all time!
“What do you mean by, ‘Yes?’”
Just what I said—Yes.
“But you can’t possibly mean that.”
Yet, I certainly do!
“Did you hear me correctly?”
“But I asked you whether or not you knew you were going to heaven when you die. How could you possibly give an unequivocal ‘Yes?’ Suppose you do something that so displeases God you won’t deserve to go to heaven?”
An agnostic? Well, I can see how this is at least a tenable position for an unbeliever. After all, Paul wrote about the impossibility of such persons to understand or welcome the things of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians). If your eyes are closed and you admit it, as the agnostic in a sense does, so be it. That’s respectable. But an atheist? Now, he’s a different kind of cat. Who can make such an untenable boast as that there is no God? The Psalmist answers, “The fool has said in his heart ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).
Why is an atheist a fool?
In answer, let me simply suggest one reason: no one knows enough to be an atheist.
If, for instance, God is a spirit, how would you be able to ascertain His whereabouts or non-whereabouts? You can’t see or feel a spirit. As of late, even with all of our electronic marvels, I haven’t yet seen a spirit-detector for sale. How can he know that there is no God?
Secondly, supposing he was able to go everywhere in search of God, how would he know that God wasn’t just one jump ahead of (or behind) him? To make the affirmation with any reasonable basis for it, he would have had to be everywhere at the same time to discover that God wasn’t there. But, of course, that would mean he is omnipresent and omniscient (and probably omnipotent) to be able to be there. But then, if he were all of these, he’d be God—and hardly be an atheist.
Now, I don’t want to let the agnostics off too easily. There are two kinds of agnostics. One doesn’t know, and one who doesn’t care. I don’t have much respect for the second. He doesn’t care enough to find out so he can tell his children whether there is or not. Shame on him. The other kind doesn’t know, but it troubles him immeasurably. He should keep on seeking: “Seek and ye shall find.” There’s hope for him.
From the way some people talk you’d think that there was a passel of them. But the fact is, there is only one.
“Only one? Only one WHAT?”
Only one way to God. Namely, His way.
“OK, but perhaps His way is varied and inclusive.”
What on earth are you talking about?
“You know—it’s like a wagon wheel; all the spokes run toward the center, which is God. Just so, His way would be varied so that all religions lead to Him.”
Certainly! If that were true then God would be either 1) confused or 2) deliberately confusing us!
The point is simply understood if you know anything about various religions. The problem is that those who think your way don’t know what they are talking about.
Well, we’ve had another hatch—it seems like a large one too.
“What are you talking about?”
Our annual hatch of Ladybugs.
Yes, Ladybugs, of course. It’s the season around here.
“What is the problem with that?”
Nothing. Ladybugs do good—they eat aphids, etc., which, in turn, ruin your roses.
“That sounds like a plus—why are you complaining?”
In his Pentecostal sermon, among other things, the apostle Peter urged, “Be saved from this twisted generation” (Acts 2:40). What did he mean? Wasn’t he preaching that they should be saved from hell? What’s this about the present generation?
Of course he was concerned about their eternal welfare.
Then what did he mean by these words?
Peter knew and believed the words of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Olivet Discourse, when He spoke about the terrible destruction that was to come upon the Jews in Judea and Jerusalem. He knew that the terrible curses of Deuteronomy were about to descend upon that generation, as Jesus predicted. And, to be sure, forty years after he warned them, this dire event occurred.
Those were the words that greeted me when I looked at the weather report today. There’s hardly a less unlikable report possible.
Those are also the words that might readily be applied to the attitude of those who resist the things of God. How must He consider such an attitude on their part?
It doesn’t take much to make us miserable; it takes God a lot—He is slow to anger. But even though this is true, eventually, His anger does fall upon those who resist him and His truth. But it will hardly be a freezing up on His part. One of the words for such anger means “extremely hot.” Another from a different angle, has a background of snorting out one’s wrath. Whatever the background of any given Word for His fury, the colder people become toward God and His Word, the hotter His anger waxes toward them. And, someday, His patience will come to an end and that wrath will fall.
Are your attitudes toward Him frigid? Or warm?
This is the year for celebrating John Calvin’s birthday. I have been re-reading his letters and am amazed once again at the amount of time a busy writer, preacher, and Protestant apologist spent doing pastoral work. The letters are filled with concern for the average man on the street to whom he was ministering. Things like bringing people into contact with one another who had been displaced by persecution, helping select brides for church members, dealing with church disciplinary matters, writing letters of comfort to bereaved or persecuted persons, spending time at Diets representing his community, taking part in the affairs of Geneva, dealing with drunkenness, wayward church members, those who were fearful, anxious and dying, and instructing other preachers in how to counsel members of their congregations. All of this—and much more—fill his letters, showing his loving care for his flock.
Speaking of fishing . . .
I was—in a recent blog.
“Oh, yeah. I remember—that new twist thing.”
As I was about to say, speaking of fishing, it’s difficult to determine just which lure, at which place, at what time of day, a certain kind of fish will go after. Fishing is a science.
“Not the way I fish.”
How do you fish?
“With a bobber and a worm on a hook. Works every time—I can just lay back and wait for a Sunny or even a Bass to take it.”
“What’s the world coming to?” Ever heard that one?
Of course. By the way, what is the world coming to?
It’s coming to an end—that is, the world as we now know it.
What does it mean to come to an end? Will everything go out of existence?
No. No. I said “the world as we know it.” Always look for qualifying words.
OK. OK. I will. But what do you mean?
I mean that according to the book of II Peter, God will melt things down, burning up man’s filth that he leaves behind. He will then refashion out of the molten elements a new world “where righteousness is at home.”