Tag Archives: Gospel

Keep it Simple

I often browse over headlines, sometimes clicking on news articles that catch my attention. I start with with sports and move my way into news. Today as I was scrolling through, a headline caught my eye. It wasn’t one of the main articles; it wasn’t accompanied by a photo. It was a simple line that I almost missed: “Billy Graham dies at 99”.

I will assume that if you are reading this, you know who Billy Graham is… if not, stop reading this and go read something he wrote! Actually, even if you do know who he is, go read him (but maybe wait until after you finish here).

Graham’s international ministry reached millions, and is estimated to have lead to 3 million people putting their faith in Jesus. He wrote over 30 books, prayed with 13 Presidents and preached the Gospel around the world. Though there are numerous reasons that Graham was as successful and well regarded as he was, I think one of the top reasons was that he kept it simple.

The Word of God is both amazingly simple and incredibly complex. It can be fully understood in minutes by children and studied for decades with no conclusion by Phds. But the core message is for everyone and can be understood by all. We don’t need to delve into the minute details and the historical significance of every verse to understand it. Simply put, God loves us and he wants us to love Him.

Everything else flows out of that simple truth. God, since before you were even born, has loved you more than you can even imagine, and, though sin has separated you from God, all you need to do is simply admit that you need His forgiveness and love Him. You don’t have to earn that love. You don’t have to accomplish anything to gain it. There is no gold medal, silver trophy, bronze statue or a list of check marks you need to obtain. It isn’t about what you do; it is about what Christ does in you.

You are never too bad to be beyond His saving grace or too good not to need it. You can never do anything so heinous as to disqualify yourself or so great that it isn’t necessary. He does not compare you to anyone else; your path is unique to you, and all He wants is to walk along it with you.

If you are reading this and you do not know Jesus as your personal saviour, I have one question for you: what is holding you back?

If you do know Jesus, then I encourage you to share God’s message. We all can’t be Billy Graham, but we can all share the simple truth.

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Live to Tell

What if, by just looking at someone, you could see the soul of that person? If you could tell if they were a Christian, would that change the way you interacted with them? Would you tell them about Jesus if you could see they had never met Him?

I wondered this as I was l leaving the mall this past weekend.  I had needed some help in one of the stores and as I was walking out I waved to thank the women who had helped me. I wondered to myself if she knew Jesus. She had been helpful and friendly, much like you would expect from someone with a customer service job. The question just popped into my head: did she have Jesus’ love in her?

Christians are commanded to share the love of Jesus with the world.  My guess is that very few of us tell random strangers about Jesus with reckless abandon. I have rested on being open with my beliefs, living out my faith. I am careful not to use inappropriate language and having never had an alcoholic drink makes for a great starting point when business meetings spill over into the bar, but I fall way short when it comes to evangelizing everywhere I go. Would that change if I had a visual reminder of the danger they are in? Or would I simply pray that someone they know would tell them about the Good News?

When you stop and think about how much Jesus did for us, you would think that sharing it with others would be something we do with enthusiasm. When you stop to think what it means if you die without giving your life to Christ, you would think that we would do everything we could to share the Truth.

Most of us wouldn’t believe just anything some stranger came up and told us. What people do respond to is something they like or something they are intrigued by. So what if we treated every person we came across in a way that would cause them to ask what makes us so joyful, or positive, or loving? What if we approached every interaction with the goal of showing them Jesus? If we live and interact in a way that causes people to ask us, and we are ready with an answer, then we will be able to share Jesus with anyone, even if we can’t see their soul with our own eyes.

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More than Words and Water

As I was researching “the sinner’s prayer” this week, I came across a web article basically saying that the prayer was worthless and that true salvation comes from water baptism. So, I dug a little deeper into that belief to better understand it. In short, they use both biblical references (usually one verse without the context around it) and the absence of anyone actually praying a similar prayer in the scriptures as the basis of their argument.

I disagree with the argument; Romans 10 speaks of belief in Christ as the path to Salvation. Sure, this is one chapter without context, but it is in line with what Jesus said in His teachings throughout the Gospels. This is not to ignore the command “believe and be baptized”; it is just to say that “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8 (italics added)

As I thought about this further, I realized that the danger that the salvation-through-baptism crowd warns about is very true. If you simply pray the prayer and “get saved” are you really fulfilling your part of the deal? Not that we can earn anything from God – we are all woefully short on that account – but there are two commands given by Jesus that we must follow – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” and “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:34-40). “Getting saved” is not the end, it is the beginning.

I am not even close to being qualified as judge or jury; so, I can’t tell you beyond debate that praying “the sinner’s prayer” and then walking away as if nothing happened and not changing anything else in your life would get you to Heaven. I do know that is not what God wants. He wants us to turn away from sin and obey His commands. After your conversion you should be a new person, turning away from your old nature, and trying to live for God and serve others with unconditional love.

Being a Christian is not about a one-time prayer or immersion in water – it is a life; a relationship that God desires with all of us. He seeks us out and longs to commune with us constantly. Boiling it down to one prayer or one act (and then debating the relevance of either) is missing the point. It turns Christianity into simply another religion and diminishes why God “became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”

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