Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Presidential election and Christianity? How do they fit?

Hello everyone.  As I watch the Presidential election coverage and all of it's ups and downs and watched as Facebook is inundated with opinions I have become keenly aware of something.  When it comes to politics in general, but especially the Presidential election, quite often you can't tell the difference between Christians and the rest of the world.  This is a problem.

We as Christians live in this world.  We function in this world.  But we are not supposed to think entirely as if we are of this world.  As Christians we are of the Kingdom of God. We are joint heirs with Christ in this Kingdom. We have a King who cares for the people of his kingdom as a Father cares for his children.  And yet we allow the political cares of this world to impact us in such a way that we live in fear rather than faith.
I heard Mrs. Romney say in an interview that many people she speaks with are frightened in our current economic state and are looking for certainty from the Presidential candidates.  With all due respect.  These candidates are not the answers we need.  Jesus is the answer we need.
We depend on our jobs, investments, insurance, retirement, government subsidies and the political leaders that appear to influence these things to the point that we forget who our source is.

Matthew 6:22-34 is a whole passage about worrying and why we shouldn't do it.  The crux of this whole passage that pretty much sums it up is Matthew 6:23-24 in which Jesus says, "But seek first the kingdom of  God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough  trouble of its' own".

This fear drives us to sin in multiple ways.  As I mentioned above, our mere lack of faith and belief that God is able to take care of us no matter what the world might say is sinful.  The idea that we are able to accomplish anything that will please God without including God in the equation is sinful.  It is sinful because to try to accomplish anything in this life while leaving God out of it defies his commands. Psalm 127:1 says, "Unless the Lord build the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guard stands watch in vain.  In vain you rise early and stay late, toiling for food to eat...for He grants sleep to those He loves". It is impossible to truly succeed in life without God as the author of your success.

This fear also drives us to react and speak before thinking.  It causes us to judge politicians for things that we ourselves are guilty of.  It causes us to speak slander, say ugly unproductive things, and sometimes even hate.     May I remind you that hate is the same as murder in the eyes of God(1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:21-22).  These are all sinful actions that do not glorify God.  Are our leaders held to a higher standard as public figures?  Certainly.  However, what we forget is that as "Christians" we are also.  Except the standard we are held to is not man's standard, IT IS GOD's.  Never should we be allowing others to cause us to forget who we serve and how he would have us treat others.(Mark 12:29-31)  How are others supposed to see Jesus in us if all we are showing them is the devil?

What does the bible say about how we should handle our leaders.  1 Timothy 2:1-3 says, "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone....for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth".

We cannot be a light to the world if all we do is focus on and talk about the darkness.  We must proclaim the hope that can be found through Christ Jesus in every circumstance that his name may be glorified.  We need to be aware of this responsibility not only in the public arena, but also in our homes.  There we are most comfortable.  There we are most likely to say things that are not glorifying to God.  There we misrepresent the truth of the Gospel to our wives and children.  These are our most precious gift on this earth and our first ministry priority.  These are the ones whom we most directly effect.

Romans 13:1 says, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.  The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves".

This brings me to my next point.  GOD IS IN CONTROL!  Nothing has happened nor will ever happen that he has not been ordained by God.  He foreknew it all.  When Adam and Eve sinned, God was not surprised.  When Job lost everything it only happened because God allowed it.  Like Job, when Hitler instigated the Holocaust, it only happened because God allowed it.  God put Pontius Pilate in place knowing full well that he would assist in Jesus' crucifixion.  He put Nero in place knowing he would persecute and martyr many Christians.  It is one of the great curiosities of Christianity.  Man is responsible for their actions and still God is sovereign over it all.  He is always in Control.  As Romans 13 says, He put every authority in place.  He established it.  With that in mind, if we begin talking badly about people in politics, for better or for worse, we are in effect trashing the plan of God.  Remember, many bad things must take place before Jesus comes to reign on the earth and certain people must be in place in order for that to happen.

In Matthew 5:44-48, Jesus says, "But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.  If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?  Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?  Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect,  therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect".

Jesus calls us to rise above fear, hatred, and shame and set an example.  He calls us to follow him.  He calls us to represent Him.   He calls us to trust Him. While we will never attain perfection until we get to heaven, Jesus commands that to be the aspiration of our hearts.. He has enabled us by his Spirit to pursue this and we must obey. He will hold us accountable.
 1 Timothy 1:7 says, "For God did not give us a spirit of timidity(fear,KJV), but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline(sound mind, KJV)".
Philippians 2:12-13 says, "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".
Colossians 1:28-29 says, "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all HIS energy which so powerfully works in me".
Philippians 1:27 says, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ".
2 Peter 1:3 stated, "His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness".

You might be thinking.  Gee whiz Josh.  Why so much scripture.  You could have made your point with a lot less.  I gave so much scripture because I want us to see that on this topic as with anything else in our Christian walk that WE ARE WITHOUT EXCUSE!

In third world countries where people must sacrifice everything to follow Christ, everything in those Christians' lives revolves around God, as it should.  He is central and they don't have time to sit around trashing their leaders because they are to busy prayerfully showing gratitude to God, studying the word so as to be equipped, and sharing the Gospel with everyone they come across.  Here in America, we try to make God revolve around everything else.  This has to stop.  God's desire has been and always will be, to be central.  He is the reason we draw breath and yet we give Him our sloppy seconds when it comes to how we live our lives.  This is unacceptable.

Why don't we try putting God first, trusting Him with EVERYTHING, making God our partner in every decision?  Then we would see how eternally inconsequential are all the things that we call important in this world.  We would find that we were loving everyone and praying for everyone, whether we agreed with them or not.  We would find that we are most interested in their salvation because we would have the heart of God.

That is how ALL politics, including this election, and Christianity fit together.  I pray the Holy Spirit moves in your heart in a new way, removing old things, and making all things new.  I pray that we as a worldwide church body will continue to glorify Christ, exalting Him above everything else in our lives.

In Jesus name.  Amen

Love in Christ,


Saturday, September 22, 2012

What is our motivation?

Hello everyone.  I pray all are well.  This post stems from a concern about the state of the heart of many church goers and professing "Christians" today and what their true motivation toward obedience is.  Is it selfless obedience to the word and Giver of life, desiring only relationship with Him?  Or,  is it selfish obedience birthed out of a desire for the gifts and benefits that the word says could come from obedience?

The theme that encompasses Psalm 119  is one of a a love and value for God's word as the source of everything good in the life of a follower of God. The quintessntial vs that everyone quotes here is Psalm 119:11, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."    Joshua 1:8 states that we are to meditate on God's word day and night in order to obey it.  Then you will be prosperous and successful.  Deuteronomy 6:4-9 is known as the Shema in Jewish biblical history.  It says, "Here O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commands that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children.  Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates".

Over the last 18 years I have seen many shifts in focus, teaching, moves of the spirit, and absorption of the contents of the service by the congregation.  Many of the things I have seen have been themes in churches across the country.  Some are, unfortunately, still very strong themes in some churches.  I believe that at times the different contents of the service have been out of balance.

So what do I mean by contents.  Primarily, themes of teaching on giving in relation to prosperity or teaching on the gifts of the spirit and operating in those being a major focal point of much of the teaching and how the service functioned.  Gratefully among many in these movements, including my own church, the topics have shifted back towards the word, the Gospel, and evangelism.  Not that they have gone away completely but that the balance has returned on some level.  However, there are still those ministries whose primary message is man-centered.  Teaching still centers on the benefits of Christianity vs the cause of Christianity, Jesus.

Even, places where the teaching is all together relatively balanced and the word is becoming more and more the focus, there are still those in the body who question the spiritual life of the church because the "gifts of the spirit"  are not operating in the same way.  So there must be something wrong, right?  Not so much. You see, when the gifts of the spirit appeared to be operating more, people were just as lost as they are today because the gifts don't save anyone.  The same is true of prosperity.  Some look at how successful a Christians life is or how strong their faith is based on how prosperous they are.  When the fact of the matter is 1) Prosperity will not save you, nor is it evidence of Salvation, 2) You can't take it with you when you die, 3) Compared to much of the world, many of  the poorest Americans are rich.

One thing holds true, a preacher can teach as much solid, balanced, scripture based material as he is able.  But if a member of the Congregation has the wrong motivation then they will miss anything that doesn't line up with what they already believe.  Whether their motivation  is scripturally accurate or not.  There is enough unbalanced, or just plain bad teaching out there that anyone can find someone to tell them what they want to hear.  This begs the question, "What is our motivation"?  Well, it's Jesus of course, many would say.  Is it really?  The real question is, "What Jesus are you worshipping"?  The Jesus of the bible or a Jesus that you have formed to fit the image of who you want him to be?  If we are not careful we will find ourselves worshipping and being motivated by a Jesus that looks a lot more like us than he does the Jesus of the bible.  So who does the bible say that Jesus is?

John 1:1 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God".  John 1:14 says, "The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.  We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father full of grace and truth".   So, according to these two scriptures Jesus is the Word.

In John 14:6 Jesus says, "I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to Father but by me".
In Revelation 22:13 Jesus says, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End".
Philippians 2:5-11 says this, "Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who being in very nature God did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant , being mad in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death---even death on a cross!  Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father".

So what's your point Josh?  My point is this.  The bible makes it clear that the Word, not only consists of the letters on the page of the bible but also represents Jesus Christ himself.  The bible makes it clear that Jesus, The Word made flesh, humbled himself to become a servant of God to mankind.  And, that even as he was exalted through his obedience and love toward the Father, his ultimate purpose was that God the Father would be glorified.

Since as Christians, we have Christ on the inside of us through the Holy Spirit, then our primary purpose in existing is to bring Glory to the Father.  Our motivation should be no less than seeing Christ Jesus exalted in our lives by means of us taking the good news of his love and what he did for us to the world.  Just as Jesus did, we must share with the world of their need for Christ, because of sin, so that they will be able to fully appreciate the Gospel.  Nothing else matters.  Nothing else holds any eternal value except the eternal salvation of souls and the Glory of our Heavenly Father expressed in our daily gratitude for sending his Son to take the punishment that we deserve.

Praise be to God, who in all his attributes (Holiness, Justice, Wrath, Love, Mercy, & Grace) loved us enough to give us a pardon for our sin.  Let us not cheapen the sacrifice that was made and the price that was paid that we might have eternal life by making any blessing in this life more valuable than the surpassing greatness of knowing God himself.  Any positive byproduct of your Christianity is worthless if it does not drive you back toward God and his purpose for you which is to make his glory known among the nations.

I happened to be listening to a podcast message by Dr. David Platt, author of Radical and Pastor of  The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham AL, from February 2006.  I have been working on this post for three days but today I happened to hear this sermon by him.  He titled the message "The Ultimate Disconnect" and discussed the disconnect between the blessings of God and the purpose of God.  The purpose of the blessing being to accomplish the purpose of God which is to glorify His name.  If God's blessings don't motivate us towards that purpose then we have missed the point.  It was like listening to the thought behind this blog post on podcast.  I say this not to boast about me or the post but to point out that now almost 7 years later it is still important to God that we understand the connection between his blessings toward us and the purpose for those blessings.  

May your daily prayer be that your heart is drawn closer to him by his goodness and that your life's purpose begins to revolve more and more around God's purpose, the spread of the Gospel to a lost and dying world.

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Love in Christ,

Joshua Newton


Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Persecuted Church

Hello Everyone.  I pray you are all well.

Christian churches around the world have set apart the month of November to remember and pray for the persecuted church through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).  Since November is upon us, I wanted to interrupt the series regarding marriage and draw attention to the persecuted church, aka. "The Beaten Bride of Christ" which is barely an afterthought for many Christians today.

I receive emails from a a number of different resources.  Among them are The Voice of the Martyers, Gospel for Asia, Open Doors Ministry, and Christian Aid.  Let me tell you, we need to pray for the persecuted church around the world.  There is coming a day when we will face persecution in this country the likes of which we have never known.

As an American Christian culture we get concerned when a song is repeated too many times or the service runs past noon or maybe if someone sits in our seat.  And don't dare challenge our religious rituals or even the scriptural relevancy of our beliefs.  Many Christians who don't get hung up on that stuff still live in blissful ignorance of the number of people around the world that are dying for the things that we take for granted.  Many of the great men and women of the bible died defending the Christian faith.  Many unknown men and women of faith are dying every day standing on the name of Jesus.

I believe that God is calling the church to get down to the business of the Gospel here in America and stop trying to please all the people that aren't really interested in true Christianity.  Jesus said that if we are truly following his commands, obeying him, spreading the Gospel that we WILL make enemies.  Even here in America.  We WILL be hated.  We WILL be persecuted.  So if we are not experiencing this then perhaps we should re-evaluate our obedience.

I don't mean to sound like I'm fussing but this is a serious issue that I believe needs a serious tone.  There are enough voices out there babying the mediocre, self-centered, lukewarm, half-asleep Christian culture.  These voices are spoon feeding a milk-laden, man-centered Gospel that does nothing to glorify God.  Instead of challenging the church with the serious meat of the word that will cause them to have growing pains but will cause them to mature, they are singing them lullaby's of Good News, grace without law, that makes them aware of having nothing more than fire insurance.  

I am aware of many professing "Christians" who are out there sitting under sound teaching and are still choosing to ignore the teachings and warnings of their Pastors.  They are biblically ignorant and happy to remain that way.  If they read the whole bible over and over they would come to a realization that much of what they believe doesn't hold water.  If they would come to church and their bible reading earnestly seeking to know what God says and not looking for whatever will reinforce their beliefs and forgetting the rest, they might actually grow.

I believe that God is giving America a call to arms spiritually.  In a country where Pastors are being thrown in jail on shaky grounds, based on shallow complaints surrounding assembly and discipline of children, we need to get ready.  In a country where people are told that they can't stand on a street corner and proclaim the Gospel or they might be arrested, to say nothing of the persecution that already exists in some countries surrounding the subject of homosexuality, we need to get ready.  No longer can we sit idly by and keep quiet.  We will be tested.

I encourage you to check out some of these sites listed at the beginning.  It will open your eyes to a whole big world that is not friendly to Christianity.  It will make you all the more grateful for the freedom you have here in America, for now.  And, perhaps it will cause you to ask God to help you get more serious about obedience to Christ in your own life and to begin to pray for those who are suffering or dying daily for their obedience.  Don't allow your callous ignorance to continue.  Make a change today and choose to live a life worthy of the Gospel.

In Jesus name.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

What is REAL family time?

I recently had the pleasure of preaching my first message at a Sunday night service at my Church.  I entitled it  "Are We Really Hungry".  I will post a version of it to my blog soon but I wanted to share a piece from it now in reference to an experience tonight.

In this message I deal with the idea that one of the excuses that we make for not coming to church consistently outside of Sunday morning (namely, Sunday Night) is that we call ourselves having family time.  If we took a poll of what kind of family time was being spent, especially on Sunday's, we would find that the time is often spent watching sports.  There is always the possibility of a family game being played, or a movie being watched.  I make the point that, in the case of watching a sports game, we are substituting passion for an inconsequential, make-believe battle between two sports teams for the time we should be spending preparing ourselves and our family for the very real battle in the spirit realm that wages around us all the time.   Nothing wrong with these times together, but to substitute them, for time spent together in corporate worship I cannot justify.

I make the statement that, there is no more valuable way to spend time with family than by coming together in corporate worship, setting an example for your children and your spouse that will have longer lasting effects than anything else you could do with that time.

This last Thursday and Friday night have proven that point.  My family and I have sat together, not on a Sunday night, but a "valuable" week night worshiping together and sitting under the teaching of the word together.  My wife, 8 yr old son, and 4 yr old son sat in the presence of the Almighty and took part in  services where the only agenda was that of the Holy Spirit.  Where people were saved and set free.  These particular ministers happened to be pastors who also have a worship ministry.  So you have teaching of the word interspersed with worshiping in song.  No rules, no religion, just Jesus.  We were fed together as a family in ways we never could have been sitting together doing anything else at home.  I long to set a lifestyle example for my children that revolves around God.  I pray that this is the beginning of a new way of living life in obedience to God as a family.  I pray that, as they should, our lives will begin to daily revolve around the word and worship, not requiring a church service to create that environment.

Deuteronomy 6:1-9 says this:  "Now this is the commandment-the statutes and the rules-that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son's son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.  Here therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.  Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when your walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates".

Now, why type out all that.  I just wanted to be sure that we see and understand that anyone who thinks you can talk to much about God and his word or involve it too much in their lives is in direct contradiction to God.  This passage is to Israel, however, there are many other scriptures to support the fact that the truths stated here apply today.  That there is Nothing more important than being taught the word of God, reading and studying the word of God, and sharing the word of God with others.  It is of utmost importance.  In fact God's word says that if we want it to go well not only for us but for our children and our grandchildren that we must put God first and obey his commands.

God impressed it upon me during the Wednesday night service to make sure my family was there for the last two nights and I obeyed.  I am so grateful that I obeyed.  There is nothing more gratifying than knowing you are walking in obedience to God.  As a man, a God ordained spiritual head of the household, there is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you have gotten something right in the way in which you have led your family.  I still have a long way to go.

What I want anyone reading this to understand is that I am not chastising you.  I am not that far removed from the disobedient side of this equation.  This is a heart cry.  Please don't let another day pass by without putting God first. Without getting in the word and learning who God is, who you are in Christ and what his plans and desires are for your life.  Please don't let another week pass by making excuses for why you can't be sitting under more teaching at your church than just what you get in the brief Sunday morning sermon.  Pursue God for all that he is.  Creator, Judge, Ruler, Savior King, Father, Lover, Friend.  Prince of Peace, King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

If you don't know Jesus as Savior and Lord then know this. Without Christ we are sinners in the hands of an angry God.  A God that in his holiness cannot even look upon sin.  A God that in his Holiness must poor out his wrath upon sin and sinners alike.  But, this same God that created the universe also created you, and he  loves you enough that he sent his one and only Son to die on a cross for your sins.  Jesus drank the cup of God's wrath toward your sin and experienced separation from God so that you wouldn't have to.  He provided a way of redemption.  He paid the price. He satisfied the judgement that had to come upon sin.

I pray, that if you have been feeling a tug at your heart, while reading this, or prior to reading this.  If you have felt on the inside that God was calling you unto himself.  I would say that now is the time.  The bible says that if you believe with your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord then you are a Christian.  It says that the Spirit of God will testify with your spirit that you are a child of God.  Just know that once you make him Lord, EVERYTHING WILL CHANGE......for the better.  The old you will pass way and a new you will begin appearing.  A you that revolves around Jesus and is led by his Spirit.  You will no longer be enslaved to the desires of the flesh.  If this has happened for you, start studying the bible daily, get in a solid New Testament bible teaching church and start serving Jesus with all you've got.

Let us, whom love the Lord, cease to idolize the things of this world, even our own families.  Let us cease to prioritize anything over selfless obedience to him who saved us from eternal destruction.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Hello All!  It's been a while.  I've missed you.  :-)

It's been so busy here at work, church, and at home that I have been hard pressed to find time to post on my ministry blog.  Gratefully, I have been blessed with 8 hrs at work tonight in an environment that lends itself to personal productivity.  Since my last post I have preached a message at a Sunday night service at my church.  Very scary and exciting at the same time.  I have been interested in doing that for some time feeling more and more of a call to minister the Gospel.  God has been answering my prayers in that respect supernaturally.  Giving me the desires that he has placed on my heart in some respects without me ever saying a word to the necessary people.  As I experience blessings and trials side by side along the way I always strive to remember God's greater purpose for everything in our lives.  This is that his Glory and goodness would be made known to the ends of the earth.  I am so grateful that he called me out of darkness into his glorious light and I pray that if you have not experienced this, that you will soon.

I wanted to bring some thoughts on 9/11, knowing of course that it will be 9/12 when this post goes out. As I do, I would like to clarify that much of this will be a metaphorical parallel vs. actual spiritual judgement on any of the victims of 9/11 since I obviously do not know what the state of their hearts were with God when they died..  As always there is story after story regarding the events of that day.  Stories of horror by the survivors.  Stories of heroism.  Stories of bravery on the part of John Doe people on an airplane.  Stories of bravery among the many emergency and police personnel that day.

I think of how many people in the twin towers were not aware of just how perilous their situation was.  That soon the building would come collapsing down around them.  People milling around on the streets below having no idea of the danger they were in.  As the first tower began to fall and people began to run away, firefighters and policemen were running towards the danger trying to warn and rescue as many as possible.  Even after the first tower fell, with an inkling that the second tower could do the same, rescue workers continued to do their jobs with no thought for their own lives.  The brave souls on Flight 93 who, knowing that they would likely die, thought it important to make sure that they were the only ones who did. Many lost their lives that day to save another.  I would like to think I would have done the same.....Would you?

As Christians, we have a responsibility that we are shirking on a daily basis.  There is a spiritual 9/11 going on around us every day.  Satan is the spiritual terrorist, lurking, waiting for the moment when people are spiritually asleep to strike.  I think it's appropriate considering the metaphor that the bible calls him the prince of the air.   Except, instead of a few thousand people dying, there are millions dying daily around the world.  In our neighborhoods.  In our schools.  In third world countries that God holds us responsible for as if they lived next door.

These are people who do not know the truth.  They do not know that any minute their plane could crash into a building or the ground.  They do not know that any minute their building could come crashing down around them.  They do not know that any moment, their spiritual world could burst into an eternal, unquenchable hell fire!  They do not know that this doesn't have to happen.  That God loves them.  That he sent his son Jesus to experience the hell that we deserve so that we would not have to.

Who is going to tell them?  WE MUST!

IF you have true faith.  If Jesus is truly LORD of your life, then you must tell the world.  You are the fireman, or police officer.  You are the spiritual rescue worker running into that hellhole of a building to tell all those souls they are going to die for eternity without Jesus.

Can you imagine, what would have been said by people and media if all of the rescuers had sat idly by and done nothing on 9/11,   If they had either not seemed to care at all or worse yet said, my life is more valuable then theirs and I am not going to sacrifice it on their behalf.  They would have been eaten for breakfast by the media.  They would have lost their jobs and probably been shunned from their communities.  No one can imagine a firefighter sitting in his truck doing nothing beside a building in flames as families scream out the window for help.  That would be a travesty.

I would submit to you that if we sit by as supposed Christians and coldly watch the world around us die a spiritual death with no concern for their eternal destination that we are just like that firefighter.  He would be fired and possibly arrested for neglect.  I would suggest that if we lack concern for the lost and compassion for those in need that we are in danger of being eternally fired as well.  Or Rather that this lack of conviction in these areas would be evidence that we were never eternally hired to begin with.  The fruit of a true christian whose Savior is also Lord will have these qualities:  concern for the lost and compassion for those in need.  If we do not have these then we are lacking evidence of our true salvation.

I would invite you to read several passages. In John 15:13 Jesus says, "Greater love has no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends"James 1:22-27 speaks of not just hearing the word but doing what it says.  He goes on to say that true religion involves taking care of widows and orphans and keeping oneself from being polluted by the world.  James 2:14-24.  In this passage James speaks to the fact saying you have faith is not enough.  Faith without works is dead.  You must have works as evidence of that faith.  Works that are full of compassion for the lost and those in need.  Matthew 25:31-46, regards Jesus separating the sheep from the goats (saved from the unsaved) and he relates it to acts of compassion for those in need.  Matthew 7:15-27, speaks of good trees bearing good fruit and bad trees bearing bad fruit.  It also states that those who put God's word into practice are the ones who have evidence of a solid foundation in their salvation. And of course Matthew 28:18-20 which is known as the Great Commission from Jesus to the disciples.

Does this mean that works earns us salvation?  Absolutely not!  Salvation is a free gift from God, by grace, through faith that we are incapable of attaining on our own Ephesians 2:8-9.  All of those other verses clarify the fact that we are not saved to simply sit around and continue enjoying the sinful nature.  We are not saved to a life that does not look any different than the life we were leading before we "prayed the prayer".  We are a new creation in Christ, old things have passed away, behold all things have become new(2 Corinthians 5:17).   If we are truly saved then, while our works do not save us, our Christian works will be an evidence of the overflow of Christ in us.  We will not do these things because we feel obligated to in order to be in right standing with God....that is impossible.  No, we will do these things because we love Jesus and our heart will be to do what pleases him.

So, if you are unsure of your salvation but you long to be sure then get in the bible and cry out to God to save you.  The bible says that the Holy spirit will testify with your spirit that you are a child of God.  That you will not need to be afraid and that you will be able to overcome the sinful nature because you are now led by the Holy Spirit.(Romans 8:13-16).  If you are convinced that you are a Christian and you are not actively pursuing the clear will of God for your life that is in his word for every disciple then I implore you to get in the word and begin crying out to God to place his desires in your heart.  Then you will find yourself as one of the firemen who is running into the burning, collapsing building telling the people of their need rather than the one sitting by doing nothing.  You will find yourself having a difficult time ignoring those in need as you become acutely aware of all that God has blessed you with.

In all this, know that God is not asking you to do this under your own power.  It is Christ who saves you and Christ who keeps you.  It is Christ who empowers you unto growth and transformation.  As Philippians 2:12-13, says, "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose".

 I would encourage you to double-click on the title of this post in your email.  It is highlighted in blue.  It will take you to my blog page.  There you will see a picture of someone who is most likely lost.  This comes from a ministry called Joshua Project whose sole purpose is to keep us aware of how many people groups out there are still without the gospel.  I invite you to double-click on that picture and check out the site.  Ask God to give you a heart for the lost and dying around the world.  They are in the billions.  Then ask him to give you a heart and compassion for the lost right outside your front door.  Be a courageous deliverer of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are currently dying in the spiritual 9/11 that burns around us every day.