I haven’t ‘blogged’ for a long time. At least not regularly. But tonight my wife actually suggested it. This is a strange occurrence because we get so little time together anyway. I used to write my blogs on a laptop while riding a bus to work, but my new job is only good for listening to Todd Friel (which isn’t bad); the point is, no typing while driving.
It has been pointed out to me that I can sound ‘academic’ in some of my posts. That is meant in a critical way. I guess when I write posts about theology, I always feel like I need to somehow make it perfect. As if I can counter every potential argument, or lay out every possible cross reference.
It reminds me of Jerry Rediger’s voicemail greeting: “Please leave a brief and detailed message after the tone.”
But what may be lost in the array of amateur theology articles with a Jesuit educated vocabulary (I’ve repented of that if you are wondering), is the state of my heart. It may be clear that I intellectually assent to a lot of good doctrine. It wouldn’t take a CSI to detect that I probably have TULIPs growing in my front yard, or that I can read a page of ‘you might be a Calvinist if…’ quotes and wonder why its so funny. I don’t vote Democrat and I don’t watch TV (except football games) and my favorite book actually is, the Bible. Yep, I’m one of those guys who doesn’t really have a favorite verse, because, of course, all scripture…is profitable.
And can you tell I’m an evangelist? I would post more on the topic but I’m afraid of it coming across like boasting instead of sharing. Am I trying to please men? I don’t know. I think it’s wise to be concerned with others and how I’ll be perceived. But why do I evangelize? It is solely for the glory of God? Is that the be-all and end-all of my faith? Do I rejoice in the salvation of a lost sinner only because of the glory it exhibits of Christ? There have been times I have coldly preached or shared the gospel, without a shred of concern about the hearer. I have preached or spoken with ONLY Jesus as the audience. For that, I must, and have, repented.
Thankfully, that is few and far between. Because the fact is this, I truly love the lost. I was granted, by the grace of God, at a very early time in my walk with Christ, a deep love for people who do not know Him. In fact, I went to such an Arminian, seeker-sensitive, antinomian megachurch when I was saved, that I fit right into the groove. For those of you who don’t know, antinomianism can be loosely defined as ‘grace-abuse.’ These are the people who violate the spirit of grace by presuming it and becoming lawless. They cite the various glorious verses in the bible which speak of God’s grace and how good works cannot save, and they ignore the verses like Jesus telling a number of people, “depart from me, you workers of iniquity. (lawlessness)” The point being, I was really good at going out and inviting people to church and telling them the gospel. I wasn’t shy about it, (or if I was, I hid it well). I was the perfect new convert. I was so excited about what my eyes had just been opened to, I couldn’t imagine keeping it to myself.
I also found that I loved God…A LOT. I, like most Americans, had assumed I had always loved God. I didn’t understand my new affections. I assumed this was how ALL CHRISTIANS must feel about the Lord. So I unknowingly went out and simply offended others. I mean AT CHURCH. I was reading my bible regularly and the Holy Spirit was growing me, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that other people at my church didn’t want to have sin removed like I did! They didn’t even want to call the same things sin. I heard a lot of talk about liberty and grace. Both wonderful, biblical doctrines. But I heard nothing of holiness or righteousness or transformation.
Where was I? Oh yeah, I was talking about how much I love the lost. What I want to share is that I love Jesus Christ more than anything. And yes, bringing him glory through biblical evangelism is one of my goals. Evangelistic success isn’t measured simply by the number of disciples made. But to approach a living, breathing soul with the most important news ever and to have no real concern for that person’s eternity? That’s cold-hearted and not God glorifying, in my opinion. Oh Christ sees your efforts, your creativity and your words, but He is a discerner of your heart as well. He knows if you are truly interested in the people with whom you are witnessing. He knows if you are using the occasion to indulge your flesh, or if you actually despise the lost soul with whom you are professing to be sharing Christ.
I have been there. I’ve talked to people and realized I didn’t care if they got saved. One time, I began to witness to a guy because he kept trying to talk to me on the bus and was annoying me. So I figured, well, I’ll tell him the gospel and then he’ll certainly leave me alone. What a jerk. So of course, God humbled me quickly and allowed me to present the gospel to the man, but also worked on my heart right then and there. By the end I was truly expressing care to the man.
So dear brother or sister, please know that I do what I do out of a great love for a great God. But that isn’t all; part of the outpouring…part of the application of that love for God is a love for His creation. If God does not rejoice in the death of the wicked, why should I? Please do not make the mistake I did and forget your own utter helplessness. Your own utter sinfulness. Your own desperate need for a savior.
Now I’m rambling. I actually had intended to write about how wonderful it is to me that my local church leadership wanted to support an idea I brought to them about sending police and firefighters and other service men and women to a movie for free. I am so grateful…people are so good to me. And I deserve none of it.