Monday, February 19, 2018

THE PROOF OF THE GOSPEL

There is a notion that someone believes the gospel or not, but there can not be any evidence of it. In fact the proof of the gospel is integral to the presentation itself. On the Day of Pentecost Peter stood before the people and reminded them of the miracles Jesus had done among them which they knew.
I recently heard Tim Keller tell about a man who told a pastor he would believe if he could be shown airtight proof. The pastor said, “”Read the New Testament.” “Will that show me an airtight argument?” he asked. “No, but God gave us an air tight person.” It is difficult to read The New Testament without being impressed with Jesus.
Peter went on to declare that God raised Jesus from the dead, “and we are all witnesses.”
You may be familiar with Vince Vitale, now the Director of The Zacharias Institute in Atlanta.Vince has a PHD from The University of Oxford. He went off to college as a secularist, believing all truth claims were equal. But there his thinking was challenged for the first time. Someone gave him a Bible and invited him to read it. For some time he read skeptically, labeling things he thought unscientific with “b.s.” But as he came to the resurrection of Jesus and studied a little, learning that the resurrection was confirmed early, publically, by multiple witnesses. The testimonies of the witnesses went against their culture. It radically transformed their lives. They willingly, even joyfully gave their lives maintaining their testimony.
This was too much. How could he explain these testimonies? He made an appointment with the two leading New Testament scholars at Princeton where he was studying. Neither were believers, so he was sure they would explain away this problem. But one of them half-heartedly posed the theory of mass hallucination, which, incidentally does not exist. There is no such thing as mass hallucination. The other simply said, “As an historian, I'm not interested in the question.” What was he to do? While still at Princeton Vince gave his life to Christ.
In Acts 2:32 Peter declared,
“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we are all Witnesses.”
Who were the witnesses included in that declaration? Peter was referring to those believers who were present. That included Thomas who would not believe if he could not touch His hands and side pierced by the soldiers. It probably included James, the brother of Jesus who didn't believe until Jesus rose from the dead. It may not have included Stephen who was later martyred asking God not to count the sin of those stoning him against them, and crying out that he saw Jesus seated by the Majesty on High. It did not include Paul who met Him on the road, and it could not have included all 500 people who saw Him at one time.
But there are still others who are witnesses of the living Christ working in their lives. Are you among them? Has He made a radical difference in your life? If so you too are a witness of His resurrection. You know he rose from the dead because of the difference He has made in your life. Others will see that evidence in you. And that means you know that He is Lord.
Acts 2:36 reads,
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

This is the last of several blog entries taken from a sermon I preached at Crosspoint Church in
, NV. You can find the recording and other good things on their website.  http://crosspoint.org/index.php/2016-06-01-08-45-06/274-now-to-him-who-is-able-listen-carefully
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Monday, February 12, 2018

THE PLAN OF THE GOSPEL

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood and declared the gospel to people from all nations. He got to the heart of it proclaiming the death and resurrection of Jesus. Verse 23 says some significant things about the gospel.
“This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.”
The cross of Jesus was not an afterthought. God was not surprised. The crucifixion of Jesus was in God's heart before the foundation of the Earth. Before you had ever committed any sin, before Adam and Eve turned the human race away from God's plan, a loving God knew what it would cost Him to redeem you, to restore us to fellowship with Him.
This ought to effect the way we look at people God has brought into our lives. Getting a grip on this will give us great confidence in the gospel that we have to share. You can be sure when you begin to interact with someone, that God has already been at work in them. God still loves people even when He knows they will reject Him. He is showing them His grace by sending you to tell them they could turn to Him if they would.
When we share Christ we are joining in God's plan from everlasting to everlasting.

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http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/
http://daveswatch.com/
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Saturday, February 3, 2018

THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL

On the day of Pentecost Peter stood up in the midst of all the people and declared to them the gospel. In Acts 2:22 he described Jesus as,
“A man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know”
Don’t you think that was a strange way for Peter to say that. Wouldn’t you have simply said, Jesus performed miracles? He said “that God did through him.” You need to understand that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem He really became a man. He did not lay down His position as the Son of God. But He laid down His power.  John 5:19 says,
The Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing.”
Ephesians 3:20,21 says something crucial here.
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
What is the power at work within us? It is the moving of the Holy Spirit. And that is the exact same power that was it work in the life of Jesus. In fact in John 14:12 he said,
“Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.”
Now what does that say to us about sharing the gospel? It tells us that the key to sharing Christ is prayer. In John 15 7,8 Jesus said,
“If you remain in me, and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be given to you. This is to my father's Glory that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
Every one of us needs to have a list of the people who do not know Christ, that God in His sovereignty has put us in contact with. And we need to pray for them everyday.
You know what else? Occasionally we have opportunities to witness that we didn't know were coming. Of course that means we need to and can have a consistent daily prayer life. But it also calls us to get into the habit of praying for people wherever we are. You can pray for a hundred people walking through a Walmart store. Have you ever stood in line say at the grocery store you don't have anything else to do I pray for those people one at a time in front of you.
Now some of you are asking, “What in the world would I pray for those people I do not know?” over the years I have Acquired and developed some memory Guides of things that I really do know to pray for people. But I was going in the article without telling you any of them. That is because part of developing the habit of praying for people Wherever You Are is going through the struggle of allowing the Holy Spirit to show you what to pray for people. And He will do that. I wait for that my wife's purging I will share one with you. It is not original with me I have forgotten exactly where I got it. It is an acrostic for the word B.L.E.S.S. We bless people in prayer.
BODY
Right for a person's physical needs.
LABOR
Pray for a person's work, ability, income, and purpose in life.
EMOTIONS
I pray for a hunger for God, and for ultimate peace.
SOCIAL
Pray for their relationships. Pray for a person's marriage. Relationships will be a barrier or an aid to a person's coming to Christ.
And SPIRITUAL
Pray for the Holy Spirit to draw them.
Who knows who God is preparing to use you to bring to Himself?

This is one of several blog entries taken from a sermon I preached at Crosspoint Church in Reno, NV. You can find the recording and other good things on their website.  http://crosspoint.org/index.php/2016-06-01-08-45-06/274-now-to-him-who-is-able-listen-carefully

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

Sunday, January 28, 2018

THE PERSON OF THE GOSPEL

Do you know the central teaching of Scripture? It can be found in every book of the Bible and brings it all together. It is the gospel. “For God so loved the world. . .” “That Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures.” That, “In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself.”
On the day of Pentecost Peter stood and explained what God was pouring out into the world and in Acts 2:22-24 Peter focused everything on the gospel.
Men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.
It is important to understand that Peter did not present the gospel as an abstract concept.
Look at Peter’s words. “Hear these words, ‘Jesus of Nazareth!’”
Jesus is the gospel. If you have never come to know Jesus Christ personally, you need to understand that Jesus Himself is reaching out to you in His incomparable love. In John 14:6 Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life. 1 John 5:20 tells us He is eternal life.
You who are believers need to understand that the gospel is not something you will ever grow beyond. The privilege of knowing Jesus is the wonderful foundation of everything you will ever learn, or need, or enjoy in Christ. Let me point out just one narrow application of this truth. Do you know why the fellowship of the church is so wonderful? It is because Jesus indwells us. You can see Jesus, you can hear His voice and feel His embrace when we get together in the church.
But there are many applications of the gospel in our lives. If we look at the fruit of the Spirit for example. Galatians 5:22-23 begins the list with love. “We love because He first loved us.” The next is joy. At the birth of Jesus the Angel told the shepherds he brought them “Good news of great joy!” Next comes peace. “We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The list continues from patience through self-control. Each of these and every other facet of spiritual growth comes as we understand and apply the gospel to our lives. And the gospel is Jesus Christ. We do not believe in it. We believe in Him.

This and the next few entries in this blog come from a sermon I preached at Crosspoint Church in Reno, NV. You can find the recording and other good things on their website.  http://crosspoint.org/index.php/2016-06-01-08-45-06/274-now-to-him-who-is-able-listen-carefully

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

Monday, January 22, 2018

WAS GOD PLEASED?

I preached Sunday for the first time in over a year. I have some serious health problems and I was exhausted, really before I finished the sermon. When we got home I was thinking with a critical mind about my sermon when my wife asked me if I thought God was pleased with the service. It took me some time to bring my mind into the right perspective. To be honest I needed to sleep like Elijah in the cave before I could properly answer the question. Later in the evening, still very tired although I had slept, I remembered something I said as I began to preach. “God loves us. He has our picture on His refrigerator.” Some of you, like much of the gathered worshippers, are too young to know what I was talking about. But those of you who have grandchildren, knew immediately.
God was thrilled with the service. He loved the music. Most of the people were blessed as well. Our Lord was present in the fellowship. And He spoke through the Scriptures and preaching, despite the weakness of the preacher. He is God, and He still loves His church.

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/

Sunday, December 31, 2017

GOALS, PROMISES, AND PRAYERS

Most of us have grown cynical about New Year's resolutions. But if we are pressed we would admit that they could be good things. Have you ever kept one? If you have, you surely think that was a good thing. But why are they so difficult to keep? I believe the fundamental problem is our approach to resolutions. We make them, and try to keep them in the flesh.
Goals are great things for Christian Believers. But they need to spring from our relationship with Christ. I am intrigued by the title, Habits of The Heart, although I have not read the book. I recently looked it up on Amazon.com. I actually found two items, Habits of The Heart, individualism and commitment in American life, and Habits of The Heart, 365 daily exercises for living like Jesus. The latter has to be better.
But as most of us can attest, even godly goals can be approached in the flesh. It is better to begin with promises. Ask God to direct you to promises He wants you to focus on as you begin the year. You will have to spend serious time reading your Bible to do this right. Then, memorise the Scripture or Scriptures God is directing you to.
Finally, the most important factor in keeping a New Year's commitment is prayer. Don't just say, “I will do this,” or “I will do this if it kills me.” Pray, “Lord, I need You to produce this in my life.” The reminder on your mirror might read, “Father, glorify Your name as You do this in me.”




Thursday, December 21, 2017

Finding Refuge at Christmas

We are more familiar with refugees than we once were. Millions of them are fleeing from war zones, especially in the Middle East. In Luke 2 we see Mary and Joseph finding refuge in the stable of an inn. We too find Refuge in the Lord our God. Psalm 46 begins,
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear though the Earth gives way,
though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam,
though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah”

Monday, I had to put some letters in the mail that I wrote over the weekend. They were important. But I could not find where I had put them. I searched frantically for about an hour praying constantly with diminishing faith. By the time I found them I was pretty frazzled. And I felt like I needed to go through the rest of the day in panic mode and mood. But even though I was running late I forced myself to kneel and spend a little time thanking God that I finally found the letters. As my heart rate slowed the words from Psalm 46:10 came to mind. “Be still and know that I am God.”
I am reminded of Luke 2:19.
“But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”
Let me encourage you to try to take a little time in this frantic season to treasure the wonder of Christmas, pondering what God has done on the earth.

http://thinkinginthespirit.blogspot.com/
http://writingprayerfully.blogspot.com/

http://daveswatch.com/