Important Messages

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Will Follow You, But....

Luke 9:57-62: Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, that someone said to Him, “Lord, I will follow You wherever You go.”58 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”59 Then He said to another, “Follow Me.”But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”60 Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”61 And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.”62 But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

What a sobering message Jesus gave to someone who claimed that he would follow Jesus wherever He went. Jesus is essentially saying that a follower of His will be marked by three things:

1. You will be rejected wherever you go.

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

2. Your primary focus in life will be to go and preach the kingdom of God.

“Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.”

3. If you think twice about your commitment to Jesus, you are not fit to follow Him.
“No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Jesus seems to be moving from the end result to the root cause in these verses. The end result is that they will be rejected. The root cause for this rejection is wholeheartedly following Jesus. In the middle, we see that a wholehearted follower of Jesus will be primarily focused with preaching the kingdom of God.

In summary, if you have a complete commitment to follow Christ (v.62) the result will be that you will go and preach the kingdom of God (v.60) and as a result you will be rejected by the world and you will have nowhere to lay your head (v.58).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Hopeful Apologetics

We read through Romans 1-8 this weekend in church and it was a time of blessing. Hearing the pure Word of God and allowing it to minister to me and the rest of the people at our church was refreshing. God revealed many things to me during that time, two of which were somewhat related to evangelism so I wanted to write them down here before I forget them.

God's ExistenceOne of the simplest proofs for God’s existence is the building-builder, painting-painter, Creation-Creator analogy. If you are unfamiliar with that proof, check it out here under the heading “Does God Exist?”. This proof is powerfully summarized in Hebrews 3:4.

As we were reading through Romans we came across Romans 4:17: (as it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations”) in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did;

This Scripture states that everything that has come into existence has been called into existence by God. Most people realize the absurdity of an eternally existent universe and know that it cannot have existed forever. As a result, most everyone agrees that the universe came into existence at some time in the past. With this starting point, you can take someone to Romans 4:17 to show them that God, not some natural mechanism, is the One who calls things that do not exist into existence. It is a Scriptural support to the apologetic of trying to prove the existence of God to an atheist or non-believer.

Hope and Faith
Later on in Romans, we came to Romans 8:24-25: For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

The way this can be helpful in evangelism is confronting atheists or those who believe that “faith” is something contrary to logic and reason and therefore distance themselves from having “faith” or believing in something they cannot see or analyze with their 5 senses. Most atheists are ready to defend their worldview when it comes to “faith” and explain why they don’t have the same type of “faith” as a religious person. However, this verse showed me an alternate approach to the idea of faith with an atheist; a backdoor, so to speak. Rather than trying to get them to admit they have faith, ask them if they have any hopes about their future or have ever hoped for anything in the past. They will undoubtedly say yes. But what is hope? It is a type of faith about a future event or circumstance that you cannot see and has not yet come to pass. We hope for good health, for a good job, for a long life, to get married, to fall in love, to be successful and much more. The truth is that the object of your hope, by definition, has to be something we have not yet seen or known otherwise it would not be hope. It is a type of faith we have in looking forward to a future event. Romans 8:24-25 brought this to my attention during my reading this weekend and I look forward to using this apologetic as necessary during conversations on the street with lost people.