Monthly Archives: September 2010

Evangelism 101: Sharing the Gospel Message


There are many different forms of evangelism.  Everything from personal one-on-one evangelism, to open-air crusade style evangelism.  Whatever form you are engaging yourself in, my guess is that you are ultimately looking to share your faith in Jesus Christ.  For some Christians, this comes quite easily.  For others, not so easily.  And I think what separates “the men from the boys” when it comes to sharing the gospel, is ultimately those who are more mature and seasoned in the faith have a better grasp of the nuts and bolts of the gospel message, than those who are still younger in the Lord.  Therefore, when they share the gospel with others, they are generally able to do so in a clearer and more confident manner.

Having been trained in many different forms of evangelism over the years, and having shared the gospel to literally thousands of people, I would like to briefly take a moment and share with you what I believe to be the key points that we should look to share with others when we are engaging in evangelism.  I believe these points to be the “essence” of what the gospel message is, and believe they should take top priority in our minds when we share our faith.  What are these points?  They are the very same points that the apostle Paul said he stressed in his evangelistic endeavors.

“Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand… For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve…” (1 Corinthians 15:1,3-5; NASB)

If we wanted to break this down into simple talking points, the apostle Paul says the essence of his gospel message was this:

  1. Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins and was buried.
  2. Jesus Christ was brought back to life after three days.
  3. Jesus Christ was seen by many eyewitnesses after He was raised from the dead.

While there are many other things that we know the apostle Paul talked about when he preached the gospel message, one might say all of those other points were but commentary to these three points.  Whatever else he said, he wanted to ensure that his audience heard and understood these three things loud and clear.  Therefore, when you share your faith with others, and share your personal testimony, under the leading of the Holy Spirit, I would encourage you to emphasize these three points above all other things.

The love of God, repentance, judgment, etc., while all important topics to talk about, are ultimately subservient to these three points.  If the people you are sharing the gospel message with fail to understand that the thrust of your preaching was about these three points, then there is a good chance you likely failed to make these three points the heart of your message.  And if you did not make these three points your thrust of your message, I don’t care what else you preached about, I can be certain you did not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And in failing to preach these things, your hearers will have no room to receive the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, for you gave them nothing to have faith in.  For the apostle Paul said:

“…if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9; NASB)

If we wish to see men saved, we must give men something to believe in.  Merely convincing men that God loves them, or that they need to turn from their sin, while important things preach about, will ultimately save no one.  For the saving knowledge of God comes through men believing that the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins, and was raised bodily from the dead.  And if they would but believe those things, then they would come to understand that God loves them, and that they need to turn away from those things which resulted in Christ being crucified in their repentance. And from there they would understand the depths and the riches of the mercy and grace of God.

Therefore, in closing, let me just exhort you to take great pains in your sharing of the gospel with others, to place great emphasis upon the person and work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.  If you ever are wondering what you should tell others about when you share your faith with them, tell them about the Christ who was crucified, risen, and seen.  And in doing so, you will find yourself in the company of men like the apostle Paul, who emphasized these truths above all other things.

Advertisements

Giving Your All Serving God


“I want to go to my grave empty, having given my all.”

~Pastor Farrell Lemings, Grace Covenant

I think this is essence of what it means to be a Christian in serving the Lord.  Our Lord has given us so much grace, and so many blessings.  And with those gifts, talents, and abilities, we have a great responsibility as His servants to try and do everything we can to faithfully use and give away the things God has freely given us.  For God has not given us the things we have in our lives so we can simply keep them for ourselves.  Rather, the Lord has given us the things we have so that we might have the opportunity the be like Him, and give our all.

But we can only dare to give, to spend ourselves and be spent by others, if we are living our lives in light of eternity.  Instead of thinking we only have 70 or 80 years, and then we are no more, we must realize that we have eternity upon eternity to live.  For if we think of time only in light of this present life, we will find ourselves handcuffed and imprisoned by time, and chained to our blessings.  And thus, we will live only for this life, and the constraints put upon us in these fleeting years, finding little room for personal sacrifice.  But when we step back and look at life in light of God’s big picture, we will experience liberation from the constraints of time, and find the ability to pour out everything we are and have in service to our King.

Only then can we go to our graves empty, having given our all.  For we will realize we are not living for the moment, but for eternity.  And thus we can “redeem the time” and make the best use of the things God has granted to us.  We can give like no one else, live like no one else, and sacrifice like no one else.  We can live our lives free from the fear of “missing out.” For in the ages to come, we will have more than enough time to “make up” for what we “missed out” on in the here and now.  For we will have been liberated from the chains of this present order, so that we can embrace the life of the next.  Indeed, that is exactly what our Lord did, who “for the joy set before Him” embraced the cross, despised the shame, and gave everything that He had to give.  For He wasn’t thinking about living His life for the moment upon the cross, rather, He was living His life for what was still to come.


A Letter to a Prophet in the Church


Dear Prophet,

I almost didn’t recognize you.  But there you are.  You seldom seem to find a home anywhere within the Church these days.  Not very many people like you, respect you, or look up to you.  You will often eat alone, or at least, with those who are of more humble circumstances.  You have a way with words, but not too many people care for what you have to say.  Indeed, you are seldom asked to preach, and when you do, the pastor often second guesses himself as to the wisdom of why he even invited you to speak to begin with.  But he figures giving you this outlet is perhaps safer than you simply speaking up in the middle of a service.  So, you’ll probably be invited to speak again, but not too often.  And while you carry great joy in your heart because of the Lord, that joy often turns into a burden, as you discover few want to share in the joy you have, and thus, they leave you alone.

Things just aren’t right.  Something is off.  I know.  I feel it in my bones too.  Things were never supposed to be this way, especially in the Church.  And like you, I yearn for reformation and revival.  But guard your heart against cynicism.  There is simply no room for a cynical spirit in the life of a prophet.  For a cynical spirit will simply turn you into a rogue, and will cause you to declare a word from your own thoughts and imagination instead of the word of the Lord.

And while I’m on the topic, remember that in declaring the word of the Lord that you are not to be an innovator in your preaching.  Your task as a prophet is not to declare some startling new revelation or insight.  Your ministry is not to declare when the next revival is going to be, or where it is going to be at.  Your ministry is not to run around and give everybody some personalized word about their circumstances.  Your commission is much greater than that.  For the word God has raised you up for the purpose of declaring is nothing less than the very gospel of Jesus Christ.

So, don’t be jealous over so-called prophetic men who are in the spot light today.  Don’t covet their ministries and try to be like them.  They are well received because they preach everything but the gospel of Jesus Christ.  But as for you, announce to the people their sins, and make much of what you say about what Jesus Christ did on the cross.  Speak often about His resurrection.  And don’t shrink away from declaring that the world and its systems are passing away and will soon collapse, all because our King shall one day come again, and bring everything to a sudden violent end.  For if you labor greatly in these things, then you shall truly be prophetic.

In closing, I would like to leave you with one final thought.  My brother, I know it is easy to get discouraged in prophetic ministry.  But don’t be.  For your encouragement is not to come from the effects of your ministry, or in being recognized by others, but from the fact that your name is written in heaven.  So be of good cheer, and rejoice in the God of your salvation.

I hope these words have helped you,

Jimmy Humphrey


A Letter to a False Prophet in the Church


Dear False Prophet,

I almost didn’t recognize you.  But there you are.  You fit in so nicely at our Church.  You are well liked, respected, and many even look up to you.  You are something of a celebrity.  You easily find company to sit with at Church pot-lucks.  You have a way with words, and never seem to lack anything to say.  Indeed, you are even called on to preach from time to time, and with the response you usually receive from many within the congregation, there is no doubt you’ll be invited to speak yet again.  You can regularly be found in the company of the pastor, and at times, seem to be his right hand man.  A smile can regularly be found on your face.

But something just isn’t right.  Something is off.  You regularly say many things that are right and true.  You say that Jesus is Lord, and I can even drop an “amen” while I listen to you preach.  But while doing so, I find myself a bit troubled.  For it isn’t so much anything you are saying that troubles me per say.  It is the fact that when I listen to you, I never find myself troubled by anything that you do say.  Indeed, troubling words never seem to run across your lips.  I feel quite comfortable listening to you, and in retrospect, that is what troubles me about you the most.  I am troubled for my lack of being troubled while listening to you preach.

You are quite skilled.  You manage to successfully avoid offending or shocking anybody with your preaching.  Jesus and His apostles couldn’t even avoid doing that.  Instead, your sermons are regularly light-hearted and uplifting.  They are even funny, and make me want to be a better me.  But you regularly avoid certain things in your preaching.

Like for instance, you don’t talk about sin very much.  And when you do, you seem to simply gloss over it, or treat sin as if it were just a mere mistake, or something merely holding me back from reaching my full potential.  Sometimes, you even seem to excuse it altogether.  And I’ve also noticed, you don’t talk a lot about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and you almost never mention His resurrection from the grave.  Might Jesus Christ return in our life time?  From your preaching, I honestly wouldn’t know if Jesus Christ is ever coming back one day. And even if I suspected He might come back one day, after listening to you preach, I wouldn’t know what to really expect if He did.

But why talk about such lofty and abstract things?  You are practical, and you want to talk about the here and now.  You want to help people find joy, peace, and fulfillment.  You want to help husbands be better husbands, and wives to be better wives.  You want to help them succeed at work and in play.  You want to help them manage their finances, and help them enjoy the finer things in life.  You just want them to have their best life now, so that they can be all that they want to be!

As you are reading how I describe your preaching, you probably find it an accurate portrayal of what you say and do.  In fact, you probably are scratching your head thinking, “And how exactly does all of this make me a false prophet?”  But you see, that’s exactly what makes you a false prophet.  You don’t even see your preaching as being off.  And being deceived, you can in turn deceive others effectually, because ultimately, you are sincere.  You see, the thing that makes you false is not your contradiction of the word of God, or making predictions that never come to pass.  It’s much more simple than that.  What makes you false is that for all your speaking, you never begin to declare the word of the Lord.  For you are just too busy declaring everything else. 

At any rate, I just wanted to take a moment and write and let you know that I see you.  I hope others will as well.

Jimmy Humphrey


Examining Hebrews 6:4-6


Recently I was engaged in a discussion on SermonIndex.net regarding Hebrews 6:4-6.  In this discussion, I decided to carefully walk through this passage of Scripture, and show what I believe to be the proper interpretation of this passage.  After that, I also gave a quick run down of the rest of the chapter, to provide a slightly larger context in which we can understand the passage.  After you read over these brief notes, I would invite your feedback.  Let me know if you agree or disagree.

Hebrews 6:4 For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit

“In the case of…”
The author of Hebrews, when writing this passage, has in mind actual real people who fit the criteria of the scenario he is talking about. These people are not theoretical individuals. He has in mind a case study involving real people, real faces, real names, and real souls.

“those who have once been enlightened”
In other words, the author of Hebrews has in mind people who were once blind, but began to see.

“AND have tasted of the heavenly gift”
Prior to their tasting of the heavenly gift, these people would have been without the experiential knowledge that is conveyed to one who tastes.

“AND have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit”
These people have also been made partakers (partners) with the Holy Spirit.

Hebrews 6:5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come,

“AND have tasted the good word of God”
These people have also come to have an experiential knowledge of God’s word.

“AND the powers of the age to come”
These people have also come to know something of the new heavens and earth in the here and now. The experience has been nothing less than powerful.

Hebrews 6:6 and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.

“AND then have fallen away”
Though these people have experienced everything as outlined in verses 5-6, that is, having been saved, these people have also fallen away. The word for “fallen away” conveys the idea of turning away from the right path. That is, these individuals were on the right path, but at some point, they deliberately turned away.

“it is impossible to renew them again to repentance”
These people are now entirely without any hope whatsoever. Hope is impossible for them. A hope to what? To get them back on the narrow path that leads to life. They can no longer “renew” themselves. There is no “again” for their faith. Having deliberately turned away from the right path, they can no longer turn to the right path. Thus, they cannot “again” experience “repentance.” Repentance being that “change” of heart and mind that always accompanies saving faith. Here we have a picture of a man who had experienced all the things of verses 5-6, but has deliberately now, turned his back on Christ.

“since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame.”
This is the reason why there is no possibility of them finding repentance again, and getting back on the right path of faith. To attempt to do so is like trying to crucify the Son of God all over again. And God simply will not have that.

Then the author of Hebrews in verses 7 & 8 goes on to give an analogy of this entire thought: If the ground drinks rain from heaven, and yields fruit, it is blessed. But if the same ground drinks rain from heaven, and produces thorns and thistles, it is cursed and, “ends up being burned.” Far from using this analogy as many do to somehow soften the exegesis of verses 4-6, this illustration is only used to reinforce the terror of these verses.

Which is why in verses 9-12, the author of Hebrews has to become very pastoral and say he is believing the Lord for better things regarding these people. For he had undoubtedly scared them to death in his manner of speaking. So much so that even some of you have been terrified after reading a passage like this. Indeed, some people have been so terrified over the meaning of this passage, that they have resorted to changing its meaning altogether to avoid its dreadful implications.

And, instead of leaving them feeling as if they were hanging on the edge of a cliff, with the dreadful fear of falling away and becoming apostate (as some people actually had done in the past), the author of Hebrews exhorts these believers to become imitators of those who didn’t fall away, but instead, persevered with endurance, and finally, inherited the promises of God. And indeed, these believers need not fear this thing for themselves, for though it could happen, why should they find any reason to turn from God? Just look how at how awesome He is! For when we keep our hope in Him, that hope becomes an anchor to the soul, and will keep us from going anywhere but where we are. (vv. 13-20)


The Sum of All Things


Learning to think like Jesus Christ thinks– that is the sum of what it is to be a follower of the Lord. Only when we apprehend the mind of Christ, and learn to think what Christ thinks, can we say what Jesus would say and do what Jesus would do.

So long as we think our own thoughts, we will speak our own word, and act out our own lives. But in doing so we will forfeit the life of Christ within us, and fail to be the people He would have us to be. And if we cannot be the people He would have us to be, the world will perish in its darkness, as it lacks the witness it needs to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

We must wash and renew our minds, beginning first and foremost with the thought that Jesus Christ is King.  And once we start thinking like Jesus, we can live only as Jesus can live.  We will live fruitful and abundant lives, reflecting the power and life available in the kingdom of God, as citizens of a heavenly rule, adhering to a holy law.

Indeed, the failure to think like Christ thinks is at the heart of most of our failing and troubles.  When our minds think like a world that is not under the rule and reign of Christ, we will act like a world that is not under the rule and reign of Christ. In a word, we will act mad. Troubles we were not created to experience will be ours in abundance, instead of living the life Christ created for us to abound in.  Our marriages will fail, our finances will crush us, and we will know no peace, all because we’ve failed to seek the Lord with all our hearts, and to think like Jesus would think, and act like Jesus would act.

Recognizing these things then, let us diligently seek to discover the mind of Christ, absorbing ourselves in His word, and applying it to our very lives.  For this is the sum of all things, and what it means to follow Christ.


Welcome


Welcome to ChristThinks.com.  The purpose of this blog will be to offer regular reflections on various Biblical topics and world happenings in the light of the teachings of Jesus Christ.  The essence of each post will be to explore what “Christ thinks” about anything and everything, so that you and I can be disciples who are fully engaged in discovering Biblical truth, and applying those truths to our lives.

Be blessed,

Jimmy Humphrey


%d bloggers like this: