Who are the Ambassadors?

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“WE ARE SENT not to preach sociology but salvation;

not economics but evangelism;

not reform but redemption;

not culture but conversion;

not progress but pardon;

not a new social order but a new birth;

not revolution but regeneration;

not renovation but revival;

not resuscitation but resurrection;

not a new organization but a new creation;

not democracy but the gospel;

not civilization but Christ;

we are ambassadors not diplomats.”

(Hugh Thomson Kerr)

“Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  2 Corinthians 5:20

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike

INCARNATE – Does Efficiency Mean Efficacy?

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IN SEVERAL BUSINESS meetings, I have listened to varied suggestions on how the worship should be shortened – “use more trays,” “omit a song,” “cut the sermon…”

In all of this thinking, there seems to be the underlying premise that a shorter service is a better service – that efficiency means more efficacy.

Are we rushing through our worship so that we may hasten to feed the poor, to preach to our neighbors, or to lift up the heathen?

No.

We rush so that we may get a tasty, sumptuous meal or so that we can watch our favorite TV program or take a nap or read a secular newspaper, or play golf or go on an outing.

If none of these attracts us, we may rush because we are nervous and have the habit of doing everything in a hurry.

We sing, “Take Time To Be Holy,” but we don’t have time to meditate, to praise, or to listen to the word in a relaxed atmosphere.

There is pressure by more worldly members to “pay our respects” to God in the smallest capsule of time possible.

Movies and TV programs are getting longer, but periods of worship are being compressed.

Why?

Is it because we are so spiritual that we don’t need more time to be holy?

Or is it a lack of appetite for spiritual food?

Do we hunger and thirst after righteousness, or do we fret when the Lord’s Supper takes more time than a newscast?

Time is precious and we should “redeem the time.”

Our periods of worship should be planned so that our worship will be more effective.

Let us take time to be holy – time for more spiritual songs – time for sermons that are long enough to convince the sinner and edify the Christian.

Let us take time to promote activities of the church that will build us up in the most holy faith – time for meditation on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper.

Time for silence – to be still and know that God is with us.  M. Norvel Young

23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.
24 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

25 For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is also to be feared above all gods.
26 For all the gods of the peoples are [a]idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.
27 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and gladness are in His place.

28 Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.
29 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come before Him.
Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
30 Tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved.

31 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
And let them say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
32 Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;
Let the field rejoice, and all that is in it.
33 Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord,
For He is coming to judge the earth.

34 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.
35 And say, “Save us, O God of our salvation;
Gather us together, and deliver us from the Gentiles,
To give thanks to Your holy name,
To triumph in Your praise.”

36 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel
From everlasting to everlasting!

And all the people said, “Amen!” and praised the Lord.  1 Chron. 16:23-36 NKJV

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike

 

INCARNATE – Can a Christian Stray and Be Lost?

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QUESTION:  “Do you believe that a Christian can so sin as to lose his soul?  Is there a passage in the Bible which teaches this can happen?”

ANSWER:  Actually, there are several passages which teach and illustrate this sad reality.  Here is but one example from James 5:

“Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth…”  v. 19a

  • WHOM was James addressing when he said, “Brethren…?”
  • NOTE:  “Brethren, if anyone AMONG YOU…”  Among WHOM?
  • According to this one verse, is it possible for a brother in Christ to wander (“err” – KJV) from the truth?
  • WHAT does it mean to “wander?”
  • The Greek word translated “wander” is planao (pronounced pla-na-o) and means, “to go astray.”
  • STRONGS NT 4105 says, “to cause to stray, to lead astray, lead aside form the rigid way.”
  • HOW is it possible to wander or go astray from the rigid way of truth UNLESS a person has first been in and accepted the truth?
  • Is it possible to wander or stray from a position you have never attained or secured?
  • EXAMPLE:  Simon the Sorcerer believed and obeyed the gospel (cf. Acts 8:9-13).  Was it possible for him to wander/stray from the truth of God’s Word (vv. 20-23)?

“…and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way…”  v. 19b-20a

  • HOW is it possible to TURN BACK to the truth of God’s will if you’ve never wandered or strayed away from it in the first place?
  • If a brother who wanders from the truth is not in a lost condition, then WHY should spiritual brothers attempt to turn him back (cf. Gal. 6:1-2)?
  • WHY attempt to turn an erring/wayward brother BACK to the truth if his soul is not in jeopardy?
  • EXAMPLE:  The Prodigal was a SON (cf. Luke 15:11, 12, 13).  Was it possible for this son to wander/stray from his father and his will?
  • NOTE:  “And not many days after, the younger SON gathered all together, journeyed to a far country (Q – WHAT does the far country represent?), and there wasted his possessions on prodigal living” (v. 13)?
  • WHAT was this son’s condition while he was a) in the far country,  b) wasting his possessions, and c) feeding swine?  NOTE:  “For this MY SON was DEAD and is alive again; he WAS LOST and is found…” (v. 24).
  • WHOM does the father represent in this story?  WHOM does the prodigal son represent in this story?

“…will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”  v. 20b

  • According to this verse, WHAT is a brother’s spiritual condition BEFORE he turns from the error of his way (cf. Heb. 10:26-27)?
  • WHAT did James say about a brother’s spiritual condition AFTER he is turned from the error of his way?
  • If a brother who wanders/strays from the truth is not in spiritual peril, then HOW could James say that when he is turned from the error of his way (i.e., restored – Gal. 6:1) that his soul is SAVED from DEATH?
  • In the context of James 5:19-20, what KIND of death was James referring to – physical or spiritual?
  • HOW can an erring/wayward brother’s soul said to be saved from eternal death if it was never in danger of eternal death in the first place?
  • WHY would an erring brother’s sins need to be covered (cf. Rom. 4:6-8) if it is impossible for him to so sin as to be lost?
  • Is it POSSIBLE for a brother to LIVE in sin (cf. Col. 3:5-7).  “Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, IN WHICH YOU YOURSELVES ONCE WALKED WHEN YOU LIVED IN THEM.”
  • HOW does persistent, unrepentant sin affect a person’s relationship to his heavenly Father (cf. Isa. 59:1-2)?

Thank you for this important question.  Yes, it is possible for a Christian to sin and lose his soul (Mat. 16:26).  The good news is, when he does sin, he can return and be forgiven (1 John 1:1ff).

“God loves you and I love you and that’s the way it’s gonna be!” – Mike