Duke University’s Arguments Against A Statutory Second Amendment

Herschel Smith · 22 May 2022 · 14 Comments

The Regulatory Review links a paper by Joseph Blocher of Duke University arguing against state preemption laws that prohibit more restrictive gun control statutes by cities and counties than instituted by the state itself.  The paper is entitled "Cities, Preemption, and the Statutory Second Amendment." He argues: As a practical matter, though, nothing has done more to shape contemporary gun regulation than state preemption laws, which fully or partially eliminate cities’ ability to…… [read more]

Gospel Witness, Suffer Little Children

BY PGF
1 day ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

Matthew 18:1-6, 10, 14

“Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” – Matthew 18:14

In Matthew 18, we find several parables put forth by our Lord Jesus Christ. And, there is the example to the disciples that they should have the humility of a child, the simple faith demonstrated by those little ones that are Christ’s. Indeed, if only we would have such simple, humble belief as a child’s trust toward God; that He is who and what He says.

There is the parable of removing body parts that offend and the parable of the one and ninety-nine sheep. Those are woven through the text in a beautiful display of the grace of God both for salvation and the earnest approach of the believer toward Christ. But, the instruction on treating children in the kingdom is quite valuable and tangible. Jesus sets a small child in the midst and makes several statements for edification about how God views little ones and His expectations for adults in the Kingdom of God concerning children.

It’s not the will of holy Father God that children should perish. We take the meaning to be spiritual death in eternity, although judgment against that generation loomed. There’s not much more significant in the Kingdom of God than showing a little one how Jesus loves them, dying for them that they need not perish, and rising from the grave in majesty, might, and power to be King of all.

Children so readily take to the story, the mystery of the revelation of Christ hidden throughout the ages and to us, blessed beyond measure with life after the cross, and the historical record of the suffering of Christ that we might go free. It’s elementary to create a word picture of Christ the victorious King that little ones will listen to with rapt attention, fascinated. There is no Disney production, no fairy tale, no story of a gallant prince that compares to the level of Jesus Christ fulfilling the thousands of years of prophecies concerning His coming. It’s the best because it’s all true. And to think, as good as the story is now, just you wait until His return!

And so warning, there are the protectors of children to the detriment of the child’s eternal soul. Here’s the problem, the root of the problem is very disturbing in its scope and results among children of the churches; the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit by adults, especially their parents and relatives. We’ve seen several problems manifest from this distrust.

Intensely bothersome are those parents and other relatives that when their child is confronted with the truth of the Gospel, they seek to shield them, petting them, drawing them close as though the Holy Spirit of God or a verse of Scripture were a monster to pollute their mind and corrupt their body. We’ve seen this on too many occasions; it’s painful to watch the ignorance of the adults. The Holy Spirit of God knows exactly what He’s doing. There is no reason to guard children against the sound of the word of God or the story of Christ. On the contrary, these adults risk losing the child to damnation forever.

“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:31

Children are not alone; we all may experience the full range of emotions under the sound of the Gospel, especially the fear that can grip a soul under the pressure of the Holy Spirit about their station in eternal torment.

“But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 19:14

It’s trust, do adults, can they, with their most precious of loves, trust upon unconditional terms that the Holy Spirit knows just the right amount of conviction in each individual child to bring them to Christ? If those children perish in eternity because their parents or loved ones protected them from the fear of God Almighty as the Holy Spirit presses upon them, heaven help them; may their millstone lay lightly (Matthew 18:6).

And we’ve another equally disturbing yet different treatment of children by loved ones. Those convinced beyond the evidence of their child’s salvation, of all ages, but even little ones. As a practical warning, I can coerce a confession and prayer out of just about any child, and so can most adults. Many thousands, perhaps millions of parents, are convinced of the salvation of their loved ones without any basis in fact, prima facie, all evidence to the contrary.

A parent’s hope is Christ indwelling the child. The hope is lovely; hope above measure and never cease to pray, but the reality of the lost child’s soul is what’s paramount if a child remains dead in their trespasses and sin. Please listen to this carefully; children that are saved know they’re saved, and the Holy Spirit in them will confess it, even with reason and evidence, without prompting or help.

Many children, maybe millions, have made a profession of faith, and no man knows their heart; but the Holy Spirit will change them and bear fruit of the Spirit as evidence. The Holy Spirit in the believer continues to convict of sin. This changes the believer’s mind over time; changes their likes, dislikes, and desires of the heart. The believer grows in love and knowledge of Christ, and when it’s genuine, it shows. It’s ridiculous above measure; the proposition that saved children are doing drugs, getting pregnant, watching porn, and going to jail. They’re not saved; they’re just not! People that are in Christ, of all ages, desire the things of God.

How many times have we asked a child how they know they’re going to heaven and gotten blank stares as though they were asked to calculate the proper route of a Mars landing craft? If they are saved, the Holy Spirit in them will testify of Christ, for this is one of His essential functions: He witnesses of Christ through the believer (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit of God knows His own.

Parents, sadly, will begin to prompt their children and coach them to say the right words when the child is obviously lost as a goose. It’s heartbreaking to watch. They’re likely headed to hell. Everybody has a bad day, but consistent ignorance of the knowledge of salvation is – evidence of consistent ignorance of the knowledge of salvation.

Then there is the instance, strange as it may sound, that unless the child gets saved the exact way, under the same verses, circumstances, or prayer as the adult, they are forbidden to come to Christ. It’s weird and hard to understand.

Everybody’s salvation testimony is unique; there are as many stories as saved souls. Why would parents care if the child gets saved at an altar, in Sunday School, at home, in a restaurant parking lot, or hanging upside down from monkey bars at the park? If a verse from Genesis three and not John 3 pricks the child’s heart, why forbid them? The word of God brings faith (Romans 10:17). When the Spirit is hot in pursuit of a lost soul, that is the time to strike at the heart with the extraordinary story of Christ, afresh and anew, while sharing Scripture. It’s God that saves souls under the conviction of the Holy Spirit; it’s not locations, circumstances, a parent’s favorite pet doctrine, or bible story; Christ saves!

The ignorance is astounding in each of these instances. It’s not the will of the Father that these littles should perish, and millions of professing adults are working counter to the will of God for the children in their families. It’s shocking to consider what’s happening in heaven’s throne room while relatives interrupt the sound of the Gospel in favor of their predilections!

“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 18:10

If that verse doesn’t bring a tear to your eye, you’re too hard-hearted to reach. What can a preacher, youth pastor, witness, or soul winner do? It makes one want to grab them and scream; your child will burn in hell for eternity, and you’re making it happen! It’s so very frustrating.

“But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” – Matthew 18:6

If you have children, tonight, take them one at a time to bed and tell them of Christ; plainly and with love, share the truth of the Gospel and offer to pray with them.

But, there are great moments in the Kingdom of God; we’ve seen obedient parents wait in prayerful silence while their child hears a thorough explanation of the Gospel. That’s always a blessing. There’s no reason to dumb down the Gospel or try to make it less scary for children. It is scary; hell is horrible. The Holy Spirit does the work, leaving the pure word of truth in their soul.

“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:4

Gospel Witness, Being Organized

BY PGF
3 days ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” – Proverbs 4:26

Don’t go soul-winning every day. Don’t burn out on it. You will lead more souls to Jesus Christ over time by regularly going on a consistent schedule that you can maintain. Going once or twice a week is usually sustainable for most Soul Winners, and this will bring more fruit in total to the glory of God. But of course, none of this is to say that you shouldn’t be aware of exceptional opportunities presented to you during your daily activities.

Planning and being organized within your Bible while sharing verses will help you to stay focused on clearly presenting the case for Jesus Christ.

The best way to start marking a Bible is with a pencil. You’ll be glad you used a pencil to mark some verses lightly. As you gain experience and gain confidence by leading lost souls to Jesus, you’ll see that the Lord will use you to share additional verses, or you may need to adjust your approach.

Practicing aids us in not being a hindrance to the Holy Spirit of God.

After marking your Bible verses in pencil, make a plan in your mind of what you’re going to say and what verses you’ll use. And this is going to sound silly, but practice on an empty chair, or spouse, or friend. Go through the verses explaining each of the central truths that a lost sinner must realize. You can even practice in the mirror.

We don’t want to become a distraction to the lost sinner as we share the Gospel. We want the Holy Spirit of God to capture and maintain their attention.

You will be glad that you practiced. It will help you immensely to remember what to say and keep the conversation on track. And practice is a confidence builder. This way, no matter what questions the lost sinner may ask, you already know your plan, have verses marked, and know what the verses mean to explain them well. This ensures that you can answer questions while knowing exactly what verse you’re presenting. Stay focused on the current point of the conversation that you’re having with the lost soul.

Where The Rubber Meets The Road

BY PGF
1 week, 1 day ago

As much as 40 percent of the energy produced by an internal combustion car engine is lost before the point of tire traction, i.e., where the rubber meets the road. It’s easy to start an organization that’s against something. Dozens of would-be good organizations have been created yet failed because they have no goal. Those called Christians, or conservatives, southerners, nationalists, and others with well-meaning intentions are against the things it’s proper to disdain. Still, with no goal, your organization either fails or becomes a small echo chamber idling on a worthy idea, but no torque gets applied to the pavement of accomplishment.

The firearms rights organizations fail for this very reason. Also, Prolife Inc. is not a movement nor pro-life, merely anti-abortion; there’s a difference. The fact that these organizations are professional money-making machines is secondary; what are their stated end goals, and how do they plan to get us there? You should determine these things before giving money. Failing to do so is a mistake we’ve all made. Wayne has those nice suits, though, doesn’t he? Defending freedom by drawing a new line in the sand over and over again is not a plan. If you want to pay somebody to organize folks of like mind, don’t call it anything other than what it is; a club.

The Left, however, is for something. They will kill you all; that is their goal, clear and straightforward. To rule the world is the call; you’re in the way. They are of their father the devil, mocking God’s plan.

Christ gave the mission to – as nearly as possible, until His return – eliminate unrighteousness by the Spirit of God, converting lost sinners to Him. His goal is to rule the world in His righteousness. The Churches have been coopted and hijacked (that’s another post); they too are lost in a sea of goalless money collecting, failing to teach and prepare you for the commission of Christ. That’s why most Christians can’t see the New Order as an affront to God but instead are told it’s all part of God’s plan. But God’s plan is the reign of Christ!

We’re not against groups of fellows in Christ (Proverbs 27:17, Ecclesiastes 4:12), but the purpose must be to do the will of the Father, for what is a disciple but a doer of the word (James 1:22). Organization is essential, but faith in Christ to execute His mission is much more so.

Switching gears: the wrath of God abides on all who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18); the lost are condemned already (John 3:18). They can no more make a just society than any other ungodly man. When fighting them on their terms, you won’t win; you cannot beat them by their rules. Evil does not cast out evil (Matthew 12:26), but if Christ cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you (Matthew 12:28).

Nor can the church fight the Left by any means other than that as specified in God’s revealed law, the Holy Bible. Creating your own project, outside the will of God, will not effectively save our civilization; the Father Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. He gave us the assignment.

God has provided clear instructions on how this conquest is accomplished (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8), which is the converted of God sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) unto salvation with the lost, then teaching the converted to obey all that Christ commands. And He left us a goal, put down all ungodly authority (1 Corinthians 15:25), and He gave two sources of power: The Holy Spirit (John 15:25) and the Word of God (Romans 10:17, Hebrews 4:12). And He gave you, as meager as it is, instruction in how to be a man that serves Christ, leads his family, Church, and the body of Christ to serve the Lord God to this end: take and hold ground for our King; Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.

You could mock God and attempt to create an organization that mimics His structure or purpose, or you could do what God said. He is the ultimate source of power and the only tangible way to bring about a righteous and just nation that abides in His Law-word.

Or you could idle and wait for the Left, under the prince and power of this world, to thoroughly destroy your civilization, killing millions, or perhaps billions. Then they’ll shrug their shoulders and claim that it wasn’t real socialism. It’s a lie of the devil that politics can save us; that’s why you’re fully immersed in it; you’ve been led astray by the forces of evil.

The mission of Christ is a fight for the soul of the nation and indeed the world, one individual convert at a time. It’s easy to be against something. It’s hard to positively proclaim to be for something and then execute that mission.

Gospel Witness, Jesus Christ our Lord

BY PGF
1 month ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

There is a funny story about soul winning. A man asks, how can I be saved and one replies just hold on; God loves you. And another man replies, just let go; God loves you. Then somebody comes and opens their Bible showing the man how to have eternal life in Christ Jesus.

Recently, there was the blessed opportunity to share the Gospel with a lost sinner. They ultimately balked at the idea of serving Holy God. When asked, they flat out said no.

We almost always share 1 John 5:11-13 while discussing the nature of the record (testimony) being set forth. 1 John 5 includes what we know we have, a new life now in Christ and life eternal with the Father.

“11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12 He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” – 1 John 5:11-13

You can know that you have eternal life. Many, sadly, confess to a day when they will stand before Christ and find out; the Holy Bible says you can know now, today!

It’s important to note that when sharing the Gospel, the lost sinner is making their covenant with Christ. It’s also important to note that when sharing the Gospel with a lost sinner, we use evangelistic language and substance, allowing the Holy Spirit of God to bring them under conviction for sin and the realization of the need for salvation from death and hell. Telling lost sinners to stop sinning is mostly a waste of time; they need salvation first.

If you have been blessed to lead souls to Christ but did not discuss the things in this post with them, please don’t think you did something wrong. God saves who He will by the manner He chooses, and no two salvation testimonies are the same. Each salvation is personal, from Nicodemus, to the woman at the well, to the Ethiopian Eunuch. There is no formula for salvation; God leaves the perfect intact truth of His covenant with them in the new convert’s heart as the Holy Spirit begins to grow them. But consider discussing the service of God and the authenticity of what you’re sharing from the Bible.

Depending upon how the discussion goes, we share 1 John 5:11-13 very near the end of the conversation if the lost sinner makes it that far. As John does, we can discuss the record of what we have, why, and how we know. By the time we share these verses, the lost have agreed that they are a lost sinner, that God is the judge of their sin, and that they are headed to death and hell being condemned already. They have agreed that Jesus has authority and power over their eternal destination. They have also stated agreement that Jesus died for their sin and rose again on the third day as the satisfaction of their sin debt and proof of the power of Christ to offer new life now and life eternal.

I don’t preach Lordship salvation when I share the Gospel with a lost sinner. But, we always, in one manner or another, as part of sharing these verses with the lost sinner, tell them that God will begin to change them, giving them new desires from the heart outward, that they will begin to be remade into the likeness of Christ, or a son of God. Part of this change that happens after salvation is that we serve Christ in the Kingdom of God. We can state it just like that, or perhaps as, become a son of God to follow the will of Holy Father God or work in the Kingdom of God keeping all that Christ commands. Some variation of this is essential to share, asking the lost sinner, will you serve Christ? Too many Christians have been saved, they claim, but for what they do not know. Service is what Disciples of Christ do.

You can share 1 John 5:11-13 how you feel led, keeping within the truth while evangelizing Jesus Christ as the only Saviour, sure foundation, and way to the Father in heaven. We review the record that we, the lost and the witness, have made, explaining that what we are doing is making a record before Holy God of all that the lost sinner has confessed about himself as a sinner and the futility of works. And also that the lost sinner has agreed upon the only solution, the power and authority of God by Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to save their eternal soul.

If somebody is under conviction of the Holy Spirit, they will not hesitate or reject serving God. Their definition of service, being a lost sinner, especially if raised in religion, may be faulty. It’s essential to tell them that we are not talking about religion (though we are, but not as the world perceives and sadly not as most denominations and cults express) and that we’re not talking about a Church or, again, what they may perceive to be the true church of Jesus Christ. Salvation is personal; it’s a relationship with God, through Christ, the Holy Spirit in us. If they are genuinely saved, they will have true religion and be among the body of Christ. This part of the conversation may vary if the person is a regular Church attendee.

So we review the record of all that’s been discussed, clearly stating that salvation means a change of heart and therefore mind, entering into a life of service to bring glory to the Father through Christ.

We usually share this other verse, that’s in Romans, early in the conversation. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23. Sin brings death, which is what God owes the sinner (wages) for their works of transgressing God’s Law but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Yes, it’s a gift; He’s a wonderful and marvelous Saviour, but Jesus is also Lord, King, and Master of His inheritance, which are the converted sinners one and all, His body, the church. If the lost sinner is under conviction, they will testify about their desire to belong to God, working in the Kingdom, as you discuss these verses.

During your talk, if you have not discussed the authenticity of the Bible while sharing the Gospel, these verses in 1 John 5 (or Romans 10:17, faith by the word of God) are a perfect opportunity to do so. After all, John says, this is the record. The Bible and the passages you share are the basis upon which the lost sinner and Holy God are forming their covenant; if the lost sinner doesn’t believe the Bible, they are not being saved at that time, regardless of what else they may say or desire. If the Holy Spirit is upon them, they will confess that Jesus is real, that the Bible is true, the written record is authentic, and that they want to belong to Him in service.

Remember, we’re having a narrow-scope evangelistic conversation with a lost sinner. However, souls get saved over a Psalm (song) or apocalyptic passages such as Genesis 3 and Revelation 20-21, some of which may include symbolism. The Holy Spirit often uses the fall in the Garden and the resurrection of the damned unto the lake of fire to bring fear of God, a conviction for sin, and the need for the one true Saviour, Jesus Christ. But we also count those passages nonetheless to be the record of sin and eternal damnation that God has given us to bring a desire of life and life everlasting through the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ.

The poor fellow who decided against Christ seemed disconcerted and even offended by the conversation and me. He wanted his life cleaned up and straightened out without the pesky bother of a Lord. When they balk, we pray for them, for God to send another messenger, and for the seed to take hold in their conscience that Christ would draw them and call them into His love. It’s important to remember; that we are only the messenger; soul winning is not friend winning. We tell them the truth; their problem is with God if they don’t like it.

You will not win them all, but it’s far and away the better thing to be thorough in showing them the love of God and then let them go away than to make buildings full of lost sinners, some deceived, some falsely converted by easy believism. The object is not ours; the crowns are Christ’s cast at His feet upon the mount of His throne, for the Father is the one that works all in all. God, save that young man’s soul.

“he that winneth souls is wise”

BY PGF
1 month, 2 weeks ago

“But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” – Matthew 13:8

“IT seems to me that there is a higher joy in looking at a body of believers than that which arises from merely regarding them as saved. Not but what there is a great joy in salvation, a joy worthy to stir the angelic harps. Think of the Saviour’s agony in the ransom of every one of His redeemed, think of the work of the Holy Spirit in every renewed heart, think of the love of the Father as resting upon every one of the regenerate: I could not, if I took up my parable for a month, set forth all the mass of joy that is to be seen in a multitude of believers if we only look at what God has done for them, and promised to them, and will fulfil in them. But there is yet a wider field of thought, and my mind has been traversing it all this day,—the thought of the capacities of service contained in a numerous band of believers, the possibilities of blessing others which lie within the bosoms of regenerate persons. We must not think so much of what we already are as to forget what the Lord may accomplish by us for others. Here are the coals of fire, but who shall describe the conflagration which they may cause?

We ought to regard the Christian Church, not as a luxurious hostelry where Christian gentlemen may each one dwell at his ease in his own inn, but as a barracks in which soldiers are gathered together to be drilled and trained for war. We should regard the Christian Church, not as an association for mutual admiration and comfort, but as an army with banners, marching to the fray, to achieve victories for Christ, to storm the strongholds of the foe, and to add province after province to the Redeemer’s kingdom. We may view converted persons gathered into church-membership as so much wheat in the granary. God be thanked that it is there, and that so far the harvest has rewarded the sower; but far more soul-inspiring is the view when we regard those believers as each one likely to be made a living centre for the extension of the kingdom of Jesus, for then we see them sowing the fertile valleys of our land, and promising ere long to bring forth some thirty, some forty, some fifty, and some a hundredfold. The capacities of life are enormous, one becomes a thousand in a marvellously brief space. Within a short time, a few grains of wheat would suffice to seed the whole world, and a few true saints might suffice for the conversion of all nations. Only take that which comes of one ear, store it well, sow it all, again store it next year, and then sow it all again, and the multiplication almost exceeds the power of computation. Oh, that every Christian were thus year by year the Lord’s seed corn! If all the wheat in the world had perished except a single grain, it would not take many years to replenish all the earth, and sow her fields and plains; but in a far shorter time, in the power of the Holy Spirit, one Paul or one Peter would have evangelised all lands. View yourselves as grains of wheat predestinated to seed the world. That man lives grandly who is as earnest as if the very existence of Christianity depended upon himself, and is determined that to all men within his reach shall be made known the unsearchable riches of Christ.

If we whom Christ is pleased to use as His seed corn were only all scattered and sown as we ought to be, and were all to sprout and bring forth the green blade and the corn in the ear, what a harvest there would be! Again would it be fulfilled, “There shall be an handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains;”—a very bad position for it,—”the fruit thereof shall shake like Lebanon: and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth.” May God grant us to feel some degree of the Holy Spirit’s quickening power while we talk together, not so much about what God has done for us as about what God may do by us, and how far we may put ourselves into a right position to be used by Him.”

[…]

“Ye are not under the law, but under grace:” hence you do not obey the will of God because you hope to earn heaven thereby, or dream of escaping from divine wrath by your own doings, but because there is a life in you which seeks after that which is holy, pure, right, and true, and cannot endure that which is evil. You are careful to maintain good works, not from either legal hopes or legal fears, but because there is a holy thing within you, born of God, which seeks, according to its nature, to do that which is pleasing to God.”

-Charles Spurgeon, The Soul Winner, excerpts Chapter 11, https://thesoulwinner.org/

Yes, what he said!

“The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.” – Proverbs 11:30

Gospel Witness, Except Some Man Should Guide Me

BY PGF
1 month, 3 weeks ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

Acts 8:26-35

“32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: 33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.” – Acts 8:32-33

In the conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch, God shows the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) fulfilled in accordance with God’s broader purposes and specifically within its establishment. From the structure in Matthew 28:19, We know that Philip had taken the training of our Lord and obeyed the command to go (“Go ye”), listened to the promptings of the Holy Spirit of God, and shared Scripture with a lost man teaching (“teach all nations”), by the word of God, how to be saved. The Ethiopian believed and was baptized (“baptizing them”) into the faith.

We don’t learn when or where the Ethiopian was afterward trained in the faith to keep all that Christ commands (Matthew 28:20). This instruction is provided to Christians throughout Acts and the New Testament letters; indeed, the entire Bible is for our education. This does happen, sometimes a lot; a soul will be converted as you share Scripture with them, yet did the Lord have other plans for their training and to which group of believers they would attach. Invite converts to Church for sure, but pray for them over the next several days or more, that the Lord would train them up at the place He desires.

In Acts 1:8, all disciples of Jesus Christ are commanded to be witnesses unto the uttermost part of the earth. We are to tell of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In Mark 16:15, Christ’s disciples are told to preach the Gospel to every creature. But it’s Matthew 28:18-20 that has the structure of the Great Commission; to teach all nations and, upon conversion, baptize them into the faith in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Then converts are to be instructed to keep all that Christ commands.

In Acts 8:26, the angel of the Lord prompts Philip where to go. Note that Philip is not given a 3-point outline, interim milestones, and a Church growth plan with a building fund as the measure of success; although, he did get taught by Christ and prepared for the mission. And nobody (if you do find somebody hold on fast) will teach you how to be a disciple; you’ll have to pray and study the Scriptures and try the mission; in this, you will find Christ is faithful. God called the disciples, and they followed, so follow on.

Philip is faithful to go. We can say with assuredness that if you do not pray like you mean it, and study your Bible as though your life depends upon knowing it, and serve in spirit and in truth among a group of serious and committed believers, that the Holy Spirit cannot use you, and may never prompt you to go because you remain an infant in your faith being untrained and unprepared. Many in this condition do, however, hear the prompting of the Spirit of God. But as Matthew 10:32-33 below indicate, they tell God no in their heart because they are not serious about the work of Christ in the Kingdom of God to see the fruit of the greatest reward for our labor, the conversion of souls to the faith.

“32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.” – Matthew 10:32-33

Now to our text. We’ll lightly cover a few verses in Acts to set a framework for being a witness for Jesus Christ within the Great Commission.

Verse 27 of Acts 8: says in part, “behold, a man of Ethiopia.” Here we find the principal reason for Philip to be attending to the mission of Christ in the region of Gaza. The word behold in verse 27 indicates that God has now revealed the purpose to which Philip has been sent.

In verse 29, we see that AFTER he was dutiful to be first at the appointed place and time along the road headed south to Ethiopia, the Spirit prompts Philip to the specific duty he must carry out. How many, God help them; have rejected the initial prompting of God to go, the work remaining undone. If Philip had not gone, how does the Gospel get to Africa? The Ethiopian was a man of great authority. You never know with whom you’ll share the Gospel.

If you pray for the power of the Holy Spirit, attend to preparation by the study of Scripture, and have your heart set to serve and your mind purposed to the task, God will give you teed-up softballs ready to hit out of the park. There is the Ethiopian, reading Isaiah and asking to be shown what it means. That’s what happens to the faithful serving within the Great Commission. Sometimes God will reveal His sovereign power to you who have shown faith to believe that He goes before you. This is a time of celebration in the Spirit and to further walk worthy (1 Thessalonians 2:12 / Colossians 1:10), growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. The reward of faith is a greater faith by the revelation of God to us through Christ, leading to ever more extraordinary service of Him.

So there, in verse 30, Philip asks the Ethiopian if he understands the Scripture, and in verse 31, the Ethiopian asks a great teaching question for us; “How can I, except some man should guide me?”

In verse 35, the word of God says that Philip “began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.” We know where he started but not the course he took or upon what verse he ended, but the Gospel to save, bringing forth faith to the hearer, under the power of conviction by the Holy Spirit of God, is right there in the text he read to Philip.

Not so much technical instruction, but here are a few tips and ideas to help you enter a conversation about God or the word of God and move the conversation forward to Christ crucified for the shedding of blood, remission of sin, and resurrection unto life eternal. The section of Scripture that the Ethiopian was reading is Isaiah 53:7-8. We don’t know what Philip said to the Ethiopian or how he explained this section of Scripture, but if you’ve done the groundwork in prayer and study, the Lord will be faithful to answer. The Lord already told Philip to go, upon which command Philip went. When he arrived at the place, “Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” So why would a Gospel witness doubt the Lord now? Philip went and started talking to the Ethiopian. God will speak to lost souls, bringing their faith unto conversion to life everlasting; we just deliver the good news of salvation.

The Ethiopian desired a “guide” to show him the meaning of the Scripture. This is soul-winning 101; get your Bible open so they may hear the word of God, building their faith (Romans 10:17). A soul winner should be instant in season and quick with the word of God, to start at a question about Scripture or God and preach Jesus Christ. The first thing to do is slow down and read that section of Scripture. Within every passage of Scripture are God’s purposes in judgment, grace, and instruction in righteousness. Philip “began” at the same Scripture. It’s not hard to open the Bible and begin at any section, only for those in earnest desire of God, guided by you, to arrive at the foot of the cross and into eternal life as a born again son of God. This is what Philip did. If you have to move to a different book or section of Scripture, such as Romans or John, then take the lost sinner there to arrive at the cross.

But praise God for the fatness of the pitch that Philip received. Isaiah 53 is the prophecy of the torture of Christ, the coming Gospel, fulfilled not long before Philip and the Ethiopian met. Because Philip was trained, prepared, and faithful, he came upon a man who asked; can you show me what the Bible means? If only they were all that easy.

You might object that the Holy Spirit didn’t prompt you to go, but you are without excuse; we are commanded in Acts 1:8, Mark 16:15, and the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 to do this work. If you start this work, God will be with you. And, it’s a blessing. We are so prone to sin there is nothing we could say that would make you serve this way. You have to experience it to see it. You’re missing out on one of the best aspects of life in Christ when you don’t share the Gospel seeing lost sinners come to faith. When the power of the Gospel to convert a soul under the Holy Spirit comes upon a lost sinner, it’s mighty to behold.

So, the Ethiopian got saved, and baptized, then proceeded to carry the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him into Africa. If you’ve been saved and baptized, don’t let that good news go to the grave with you; share the Gospel. This is why Christianity in the west is dying; millions, having heard but refusing to share, are the dead end of a former Christian civilization. Philip was not a dead end.

Gospel Witness – Three Ways to Approach Lost Sinners

BY PGF
2 months ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the other posts in this series.

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” – Matthew 9:38

There are three primary approaches to contacting lost sinners. Witnesses for Jesus Christ don’t win souls by accident; they do it on purpose. These tools will help you grow in confidence and effectiveness while sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Find the way that works for you.

Your knowledge, personality, background, education, and salvation testimony build upon each other to make you the Christian God wants you to become. By adding tools and ideas to your existing knowledge, you significantly increase your effectiveness while being a witness for Jesus Christ. One of the overall objectives of this training should be to incorporate tools into who you already are in Christ Jesus.

By being yourself while talking with lost sinners, you may find the exact type of people who respond to you so that they hear the Gospel and get saved by Jesus.

Holy Father God saves who He will by the workings of the Holy Spirit. Soul Winners simply tell the truth of the Gospel.

“A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps.” – Proverbs 16:9

Your faithfulness in being consistent is a tool that the Lord can use mightily for His glory. Holy God sets divine appointments between a Soul Winner and lost sinners. Being consistent and reliable puts you where God can use you best.

If you are faithful by making yourself available, Father God will appoint lost sinners to hear the Gospel from you; while sharing His message of love and salvation through the cross. One thing you will have to do is be purposeful. Set specific times each week to seek the lost. Make a plan, and stick to it. Be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s guidance after you go.

Believers in Jesus are called to be separate and sanctified. We are to go to the lost, telling them the Gospel, not living among them and being like them. How was Jesus a friend to sinners? By telling them the absolute truth regardless of how it made them feel. Purposefully going and telling people what great things Christ has done for them glorifies God. Try different ways of approaching people to see what works for you; God will bless the efforts.

We suppose there are three main ways we can approach lost sinners.

In our first way, let the lost get to know you over a couple of get-togethers and soon share the Gospel. Invite the lost sinner to coffee or dinner and get to know each other a little. We are not hiding that we are Christian while doing this. Prayer thanking Holy God for a meal is a great way to show the lost sinner that you are a public and caring Christian. And also, during this prayer, we can share the simple Gospel by thanking Father God out loud for Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection so that your guest may hear this necessary and straightforward truth.

Then, on the 2nd or 3rd meeting, get out your Bible and open it up to them, introducing the Gospel by sharing verses that show the truths of why they must have Jesus. This is one way to approach co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates, and other acquaintances.

We are NOT friend-winning. You must get down to business and be direct by having a specific plan to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must tell them the truth about their sin condition even if it hurts their feelings. We must convey to them the eternal consequences of their sin, even if it means they no longer consider us a friend. You’ve been the greatest friend they’ve ever had by telling them the Gospel. If the lost sinner won’t accept Jesus, that’s between them and God. Soul-winning is not friend-winning.

Another way to approach folks is a short five or 10-minute conversation and then bring up the things of God. Introduce yourself, let them get to know you by being friendly and polite, and then talk to them about the Scriptures. What we are doing here is looking for an entry point to bring up the word of God to get our Bible open. Every aspect of life is present in the Holy Bible, so being aware of the Holy Spirit while listening to your new acquaintance is an excellent way to find an opportunity to bring up the things of God. This approach may work well for you.

Again, the purpose is to get down to business, opening our Bible and sharing the Gospel. We’re not doing a Social Gospel Christianity.

“For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2

And thirdly, we can take a much more direct approach, going straight to Scripture. You can walk right up to strangers in public places, Bible in hand, and demand (politely with a smile on your face) to know the condition of their soul as to its eternal station. If they will listen for a minute or the Holy Spirit completely captures them (this does happen, it’s mighty to behold), you can quote Scripture to them about salvation while also offering to show them what the Bible means by that (those) verse(s). Many use this approach when door-knocking in neighborhoods as well.

In this manner, we introduce them almost immediately to the word of God without even stating our name or shaking hands which might sound cold, but it works well with strangers in public spaces such as parks and other gathering areas. Keep in mind that Holy God sets appointments between the witness and the lost sinner.

One term for this approach is called street witnessing. In this way of sharing the Gospel, we are not being aggressive, unfriendly, or abusive in any way. Don’t do damage to the name of Christ. We are kindly and directly showing the truth to total strangers. We never compromise anything about the truth of God. It’s essential to be polite and friendly but firm and never back down from who Jesus Christ is and what comes of a man who rejects Him.

You can walk up to people and ask them about their eternal station. You can ask: Are you going to Heaven? Or, Who is Jesus to you? Or, Do you know where you will spend eternity? Etc.

The lost may seek to get rid of you by simply stating that they are saved. We don’t accept that answer; follow up by asking what it means to be saved or asking them to explain how that happened, politely but firmly; their eternal soul is on the line.

When approaching the lost in this manner, having a verse or two of relevant Scripture committed to memory is helpful.

It is the job of the Christian to warn everybody that they face the wrath of God and that they have to believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. Pray while asking Holy God to order your steps in service of Him as a Soul Winner; prayer can undoubtedly be considered a tool of the Soul Winner.

“When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.” – Ezekiel 33:8

“Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul.” – Ezekiel 3:19

Gospel Witness, The Operation of God In Salvation

BY PGF
2 months, 3 weeks ago

Note: This post is tagged Gospel Witness and Notes on John as it falls into both categories.

“7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” – John 16:7-11

Dispensationalists have succumbed to a lazy wait for the rapture approach to the ordinances and commands of Christ. One bad thing happens in the news, and they declare that we’re out of here any minute now, so why bother telling people about salvation in Christ Jesus. Many of them are useless in God’s redemptive plan.

Calvinists suffer from the same problem, but the reasoning is different. They think that if a person is predestined to salvation, why should they bother to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. These are also useless in God’s redemptive plan.

Jesus is speaking (Above) to His disciples about the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Verse 9 is significant. The Holy Spirit convicts the lost sinner of sin for not believing on Jesus. This brings the lost sinner to realize their need for forgiveness from sin, which can only come by God through faith in Jesus Christ.

When a soul gets saved: it is given by the Father to the Son (John 6:37), Jesus died for them (Revelation 13:8, many others), saved them (Acts 4:12), and the Holy Spirit convicts them (John 16:8-9 above) when you (Mark 16:15) relate the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) bringing belief by faith through sharing scripture (Romans 10:17) with the hearer. I know that seems backward but hang in there.

“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:11

The Father isn’t suddenly surprised when you share the Gospel with a lost sinner, and neither is the Son. You don’t convince anybody of their need for salvation; the Holy Spirit does. Those being called already have the Holy Spirit bearing on their conscience (lay up earnest prayers for them about this); Jesus already died for them, and the Father has already given them; the witness, that’s you, comes along and tells them the truth.

Some are full of fear, having fallen into the hands of the living God (Hebrews 10:31); others are just starting to hear from Him (John 3:9) while He makes them aware. They hear the Gospel from a witness; maybe they turn God-ward at that time, or perhaps you plant another good row laying down the seed that Holy God is using to build their initial faith, bringing conviction of their need for Christ. Then another perhaps sows more seed onto the good ground of their heart (Matthew 13:8), and another reaps.

Although there is no formula for salvation, it’s good to know God’s workings in the councils of heaven to understand the operation of God in salvation. We’re telling you this, not as an intellectual understanding, but that you might both pray in this knowledge and that you would be walking in the will of the Father as you share the good news of Christ Jesus. Don’t be discouraged by seed planting that is evidently (to you) without fruit. The Word of God does not return to Him void, but it prospers wherever He sends it (Isaiah 55:11). Folks have all kinds of testimonies, and myriad things may happen to bring awareness of God to a soul, but behind it all, the Almighty in three persons is doing as they will.

“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” – John 6:37

Here are a few verses that explain the same essential things. All those given by the Father shall come to Christ. The first thing in the salvation of a lost sinner is that Holy Father God gave him to the Son for an inheritance (Psalm 2:7-8). Then, Jesus saves his soul because the Son knows all things whatsoever the Father has given Him (John 3:35). See also Matthew 11:27.

Jesus continues in John 6:38-40:

“39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” – John 6:39-40

Jesus has ascended back to the right hand of Power and sent the Holy Spirit for several purposes, one of which is to reprove men of sin, which for the lost sinner means conviction of the heart and conscience for their sin. “Of sin, because they believe not on me” – John 16:9 from our text at the top. This conviction brings the lost sinner to his state of need for forgiveness.

Then, the lost sinner hears the Gospel, which is the good news of God’s way to be forgiven for sin, bringing salvation from the wrath of God, which, without Jesus, abides on all men (John 3:36). Further, He brings eternal life by the resurrection, “…I will raise him up at the last day.” The spiritual new birth is a type of the resurrection to come.

All disciples are witnesses for Jesus Christ. It’s not the only thing Christ’s disciples do. Still, we are commanded to do it under the Great Commission in Mark 16, Matthew 28. Right before Christ ascended, He told His disciples that the Holy Spirit’s arrival was imminent, and after that, they were to be witnesses of Him to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8).

Maybe they’re saved, but when somebody claiming to be Christian will not witness for Jesus Christ, they declare before the throne of the Almighty and among men that they are, in fact, not Christ’s disciple. They may be a good Church member, or they may be a religionist of a type or even have some standing among a group of believers. But he also may have climbed up some other way (John 10:1) into the sheepfold. Those that belong to Christ Jesus hear His voice (John 10:27), and they know Him (John 10:14) that has commanded us to spread the good news of salvation unto all the people of every nation.

Without a growing body of Christ, the church is withering. Look around; there are more lost sinners than ever and fewer true converts. This situation is having a severely negative impact on your civilization. Your eschatology or teachings of your Church fathers have no bearing from which to derive an excuse for being a lazy or phony Christian. Go and make disciples.

Gospel Witness, What Soul Winning Is Not.

BY PGF
2 months, 4 weeks ago

Note: Tagged Gospel Witness with the others of this irregular series.

Soul-winning is not discipleship, witnessing is not apologetics debate, and being a witness for Jesus Christ is not fishing for new Church members, nor is it a class about Church, denomination, or religion.

We are not wasting time on unfruitful theological discussions with the lost. As interesting as those may be, they need salvation first. And Gospel witnessing is not entering into apologetics discussions which may be fun but are unfruitful for the lost sinner. Filling lost sinner’s heads with Bible knowledge and wowing them with your theological prowess is not soul winning. They need a straightforward salvation plan.

Never argue. Your debating skills are not Holy Spirit conviction upon a lost soul. If you feel the need to argue, you have difficulty expressing specifically what the Scripture says about a point. It would be best to search the Scriptures to share better that particular concept that leads toward faith in the lost sinner. Lost sinners need to hear a clear presentation from Scripture showing their need for Jesus Christ.

Soul-winning is not discipleship.

Both distinct missions seek the growth of the body of Christ. Soul-winning aims to grow the number of true converts, while discipleship seeks the development of individual believers in their depth and breadth of maturity in Christ.

“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” 2 Timothy 2:2

Discipleship seeks to plant the sure foundations of the Christian faith in the infant (immature) believers by imparting doctrinal truth to them. Teaching infant Christians so that they mature in Christ is also a mission-specific command of Father God.

Discipleship seeks to have the body of Christ grow upwardly, that is, laying a sure foundation so that individual Christians grow in the faith and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ and all that He commands by His word. This gets done by the faithful teaching others (all nations) that are faithful to do all that Christ commands. (2 Timothy 2:2 and Matthew 28:18-20)

Fruit of Spirit is not the fruit of the Christian.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23

You want this fruit to show forth in all you do, but it’s not yours; it is evidence of the Holy Spirit transforming you into meet for the Master’s use.

Many untrained Christians claim the fruit of the Spirit is their fruit as a Christian. They owe Holy God an apology. The fruit of the Spirit is His fruit in you. The fruit of the Christian includes sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bringing in the Lord’s harvest, so souls get saved to the Glory of Holy Father God. And, He wants us to bear much of this fruit.

Fishing for Church members is not Gospel Witnessing.

“Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27

At times, you will have to flat out tell some lost sinners you contact that you’re not talking about religion or Church. Fishing for Church Attendees and Soul-winning is not the same thing. Nor are we telling lost sinners to straighten up and fly right. They need salvation in Christ Jesus; that’s what lost sinners need. At the end of your talk with the people you contact, you can invite believers to Church.

The church is the body of Christ. It’s a body, a living organism. Any organism that is not growing by multiplying and reproducing is dying. How does one increase the body of Christ? We do this by sharing the Gospel as the Father makes converts through faith in Jesus (John 6:37), as the Holy Spirit brings conviction for sin (John 16:9) to the conscience of the lost sinner.

Filling a building with lost sinners is not the mission Jesus gives His disciples. But that’s the instruction the head of those corporations learned in CEO school called seminary college.

Fishing for new church members is not soul winning. The church is the assembling together of believers (Hebrews 10:25).

“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” Matthew 18:20

Gospel Witness, You Can’t Fail

BY PGF
4 months ago

Tagged Gospel Witness with the others of this irregularly posted series. Tools for witnessing here and here.

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” – John 12:32

The kindest thing you can do for a lost sinner is to be pointed and direct about their eternal soul’s condition and need for salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The conversation is truly between the lost sinner and the Holy Spirit of God under conviction; they must come to Christ by faith on their own. We don’t lead lost souls into a false sense of salvation. We are merely a messenger of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Many folks who fear sharing the Gospel don’t understand that you are not even responsible for the outcome of the conversation. Soul winners tell the truth, pointedly and plainly, so that God may use His sword, which is His word, to bring a lost sinner to the cross of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit speaks to the lost person’s conscience, while God uses the Bible verses you share to bring their faith. Your fear is unfounded; you tell people that the Bible says x, y, and z, and they agree or don’t. It’s between them and God.

He is faithful. If you begin this service to God, He will be right with you, teaching and guiding you. You will see the miracle of the moment of salvation as God saves those that He would.

The nicest thing a Christian can ever do is to tell a man that his sin has offended God, that for his sin, he is found guilty before God, who is the Judge, that for this guilt of sin, not sins but that he IS a sinner, he is condemned already to suffer death, and eternal wrath abides on him. But Jesus Christ already suffered that wrath for him upon the cross of Calvary, taking all the man’s accounts and settling them with Holy Father God, that on the day of judgment, God would see Christ’s purchased possession; a forgiven son of God who has been made joint heir with Christ in His kingdom.

Be a man, tell them with concern, but don’t hold back from the ugly truth of it all; the lost sinner is God’s enemy. But be ready, for those called of God will ask, how so? You must be prepared to show them to besiege God for forgiveness admitting guilt, and asking for life and life eternal that they may enter into the Kingdom of God and of His Christ. There’s no formula; belief by faith that Jesus paid it all upon the cross, plus and minus nothing.

Even when you “fail,” you don’t fail. Every contact made, every demonstration of outward faith to a lost sinner, every mention of the name of our Lord Jesus, every verse of scripture shared is a seed very well planted. God will nurture and grow those seeds in the lost sinner as He sees fit. God leaves His word’s pure and holy truth in the lost sinner’s heart. It’s impossible for you to fail, for God works in the hearts of men to bring them to repentance, not you; it’s God Almighty.


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