Isaiah 64:6

Isaiah 64:6

But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags. And we are all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

Wow, this verse it tough to remember.  I think it is because I have heard so many translations of it…and for a long time I thought it ended at the word “rags!”

Let’s take a look at it and see if that helps us memorize it!  Many evangelists will tell you that this verse should be a memory verse for evangelizing.  The first half basically calls us unclean, and compares our righteousness to filthy rags.  What this is saying is that in God’s eyes, even the things we do which seem to be “right” (or quite possibly do, in a literal sense meet the requirements of the law) are nothing more than a filthy rag to him.  Why is this?  Because our hearts are deceitful and wicked, (Jer 17:9).  Even the things we do that seem “right” are not done out of a pure heart and a love for God.  Our righteousness, when it comes from ourselves is abominable to Him.  Any self-sufficiency we have is downright insulting to the One who holds all things together and provides all.  To believe that we have anything inherent in ourselves to impress God with is unreasonable and, in fact, punishable by death…for it is sin.

Think of the folly of this line of thinking: Do you ever think God looks down at a large skyscraper or a strong weightlifter, or billions of dollars in a bank account and thinks, “Wow, that is impressive!”  Certainly not!  It’s absurd to believe that the Creator of all would be impressed with anything at all that creatures do!  The God that accepts human offerings of sacrifice or religion is an idol, created by the minds of men who deny truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).  Reason with me, please!  If there is a god, he could not be coerced or moved by human will, else he would not be God!  And there is a God – and He is not compeled by men!  He wills and does as he pleases!  (Eph 1:4-5)

How about the second half, maybe that tempers the previous haunting thought a bit…we all do fade as a leaf?  What?  This sounds like we are considered weak, and dying vessels.  Our iniquities (sin, lawlessness) take us away like the wind takes away a leaf.  Think about this, leaves don’t even FIGHT against the wind.  I don’t think I am taking the analogy too far by saying we are no different when it comes to SIN before coming to a relationship with God through Christ.  How powerless we are!  Keep in mind who controls the wind and has power over weather! (Luke 8:24).  Even in Job 1:12,19, you can see that it is the Lord who grants that power to Satan if He sees fit to bring Him glory that way.

What a pride-crushing concept!  How can a man ever please God then?  By being brought In Christ, by the Holy Spirit.  When His righteousness is what shines through us (Mt 5:16, 2 Cor 4:6-7) we cannot help but please Him, because He is perfect, and He is always pleased with Christ, and only with Christ.

A Tribute to my Bride

What can I say? I owe you! Erin, I love you!

Being your husband means so much to me. I can’t do what I do without you!

I go to work, and I don’t worry about my kids. I don’t worry about my house being clean. I don’t worry about my meals being cooked. I don’t worry about the groceries. I don’t worry about our finances, or you running around on me, or leaving me. I focus on work, and can be successful. (Prov 12:4, Prov 31:11-12)

I stay up late reading the bible and writing. I go out late to evangelize. I coach three kids sports…year round. You clean all our clothes, you have them ready and laid out and ironed for us. Snacks packed, bookbags ready for school, lunch packed for work, shirt and tie picked out. You are my treasure, you are my sanctuary in this world that Christ gave me to love and honor and serve. I do not do those things enough for His sake, nor for all you do for me.

You sacrifice what most other women do not. You do not get to go on as many dates or wear as nice stuff. You choose a humble life and attire because of my goals for ministry. You do not get to spend as much time with me since I go out to witness and preach, and you stay home, taking care of my children. You’ve shared your child with me, and I am eternally grateful. I love you so much.

You are a prize, a crown. Your reward in Heaven will be greater than most, because you are putting up with more than many will have to in this world. You did not get a good man, you got a work-in-progress, and I thank you for the patience you’ve shown. I am so grateful for your love, and I love you now and forever. I would marry you again today in a heartbeat, and I’d take every minute we’ve been together and redo them all over again, for better or for worse.

God bless you, Erin. My bride, to whom I still owe a decent honeymoon, I won’t forget, sweetie.

Michael

Judge not, that ye be not judged. Matthew 7:1

Mat 7:1 KJV Judge not, that ye be not judged.

What a tough verse to ponder! It sounds simple, but if you’ll bear with me, you’ll see that there must be more to this verse than what appears plain from a simple reading. Out of context, and all by itself, this verse seems to be a command not to judge…but in context, and using legitimate rules of interpretation and sound logic, I’ll show that this verse commands something different, and nearly opposite of that! When I’m finished, we will understand why false converts, false teachers and nonbelievers everywhere are shouting this verse from the rooftops, and you’ll be ready to defend your faith when you are accused of not being Christlike, because you are “judging.”

I. What is Judging?

I looked up judge at www.m-w.com and www.dictionary.com. The best definition seemed to be: “to form an estimate or evaluation of” or “to hold an opinion”. I will ask you to please accept my working definition, “to qualify or evaluate the righteousness of someone, something or some act.” Or, “to determine whether something is right or wrong or neither.” This requires quantification and qualification, as well as a standard with which to compare the measure. I can also judge whether something is tall or short, long or narrow, but that is not the kind of judging that is being discussed here.

Thus, the act of judging is essentially two parts:

  1. Observing or quantifying – This is rarely looked down upon in our society. It is the second step which most people degrade or bring to a low esteem. You can notice several things via observation: the time of day, your spouse’s weight gain, a blemish on your friend’s skin or that someone’s behavior is homosexual, for example. These are observable “items,” if you will. They have quantifiable attributes, such as 8:30PM, 13 pounds, a red spot about 4 mm in diameter and a same sex relationship respectively. Notice no qualification has been made, only statements of fact or measurements.
  2. Qualifying – This is the part so many people have a problem with. But let’s look at what it is. Qualification is the act of comparing the measurement made in step one to a standard and rating the item which was observed. In the example above, 8:30PM, if compared with 8:00PM for a start time of a ballgame would mean, “you’re late!” Of course, if you are asking what time it is and you don’t need to be anywhere until 9, then 8:30PM might mean “early.” Thirteen pounds of weight gain could be a problem or it could be a success story! A red spot on your friend’s skin could be a pimple or it could be a warning to your friend to go to the doctor. Observing that someone engages in same sex relationships, (not just friends, you know what I mean), must be qualified based on some standard, if at all. So to say it is right or wrong is to ascribe to same sex relationships a rightness or wrongness. If homosexuality is inherently wrong, then homosexual relationships ought be “judged” as wrong. If homosexuality is right, then the opposite. Neutrality is also possible, and we’ll cover this.

So judging, in the context that we are discussing, is the two part act of observing some behavior, comparing that behavior to some standard, and ascribing the behavior a value of right, wrong or neither.

II. Is it possible not to judge? Is it judging to even determine that someone is judging in the first place?

What’s the real problem people have? Do people really think engaging in the act above ought not be done? How would anyone ever choose a restaurant, or a babysitter for their child? How would organizations choose which employees to hire, sports team choose which players to fire and universities which students to accept and reject, if not for passing judgment? Clearly, judgment is a necessary and good thing, when used properly. What “non-judging” advocate walks outside on a cold winter day with a swimsuit on? None, because they judged the weather to require warm clothing.

The very act of telling someone else they are judging is a simply an observation. But for the ‘non-judgment’ crowd to cry foul when they see judging is, itself, a judgment. So to qualify someone’s behavior as judgmental and therefore wrong, is a judgment! There’s a pot calling the kettle black, eh? True to Proverbs 26:5, it would be folly for someone to tell other’s not to judge, and then to judge, themselves. You may tell people all you like that they are judging, but to tell people judging is wrong and that they shouldn’t do it, or can’t do it? Well, that’s just hypocritical!

Ultimately, it is impossible not to judge. We survive by making good judgments; many die from bad ones. Men and women prosper financially, success in business and school and relationships thanks in part to good judgment. And we all know someone whose miserable situation is the result of their own bad judgment. We must judge; it is how we determine who we would vote for, who to follow as a mentor at work, who to start at quarterback or tackle and whether to discipline children or reward them!

III. The problem is really: “How do you decide which standard to use for comparison?” and “Why are you judging me?”

Folks, let’s face it, the real problem you have with judging is you don’t like the standards that some ‘judges’ use. I’m the same way. I think slow, overweight men who don’t like getting hit should be in the NFL. Not really, but, for example, I don’t qualify for the NFL…but only by their standards! If you used a different standard, one that put me in the ‘top half’, then I could play! But that’s not reality is it? The NFL’s standard is its own, and they have a right to it, and they’ll adjust it as they see fit based on the number of teams they have along with other factors.

Let’s look at a more personal type of judgment. Let’s say I am told I am overweight. I may be. And if you tell me I’m overweight, because according to the American Heart Association I exceed their standard and that you are concerned because you care about me, that will likely be taken differently from if you just walked up and patted my belly and said, “maybe its time to take the steps some more!” There’s two reasons for this: reason one is that appealing to a higher authority for your standard will very often be taken with a better attitude because often the person may agree with the standard, or at least they’ll respect the standard; reason two is what the object of the judgment deems to be your motivation for the judgment. If I believe you are judging me because you care about my health, I may be more apt to listen and heed your words of advice than if I just feel mocked or insulted.

Looking at the example above, it is clear that if the American Heart Association is WRONG, then I am not overweight! But how does that affect the idea of judging. Is my friend wrong, or unloving, because they appealed to that standard and pointed out to me how I compared to that standard? In this case, probably not. That is a reasonable standard. And frankly, if they really believed that organizations standards for health are good, for them to point them out to me is helpful and loving. I might disagree with their standard, or I guess I could argue that their measurement is inaccurate, but the truth is, all they did was point out to me factually that I weigh more than the AHA standard. As a matter of fact, my friend did little more than hold up a mirror to me and just allow me to see what they already saw.

My friend may be very wrong, of course. The standard they choose could be a wrong one! Like my NFL player standard I listed above was. But I think what we can see is that the actual act of observing is not inherently a wrong act, (and if it is we’d all be in trouble), and actually judging cannot be a wrong act. The standards we use with which to judge are the points on which so many of us differ. And in many cases, that is ok. I like crunchy peanut butter. So I judge peanut butter based on crunchiness…a creamy peanut butter lover will definitely rate the same jars of peanut butter different from me! That’s ok. But when we are talking about people’s health, people’s eternity and morality and its effect on society, our standards DO matter.

That’s why it is so important to appeal to a higher authority. As in the weight example above. Appealing to the AHA makes the judgment more legitimate. In the case of morality, when people appeal to their own ‘self’ for authority, that carries no weight with other people. If we all judge ourselves by our own standards, then we would all be ok all the time. Most people generally live up to their own standards (or they lower their standards). No, we must appeal to a greater authority. We don’t let people (usually) drive whatever speed they feel like, we set up limits, or standards, to follow, for safety and for the good of society. Every law “on the books” is an attempt by the lawmaker to impose his or her will and morality upon the people who are subject to the law. Don’t try to argue that my morality doesn’t apply to you; that very statement is folly, as you are applying your morality to me in making it.

IV. So then, what ought not be judged…who ought not judge? What was Jesus saying?

Alright, here is where I’ll lose some of you. The very name of Jesus Christ is so offensive to you, you won’t keep reading. Or you’ll roll your eyes and start skimming because you’ve already decided Jesus isn’t worthy of your consideration. That’s your right…but if you ever find yourself quoting the verse Matthew 7:1 to a Christian by whom you feel judged, then you ought to pay attention. It is not only unreasonable, but a logical fallacy for you to deny Christ but try to use His words as suppositions.

Let’s look at this verse in context. Jesus was presenting what was commonly known as “The Sermon on the Mount” when he uttered these words. He was nearing the end of a long sermon concerning sin, repentance, faith and conversion. His particular attack was on the self-righteous, religious people of the day, mostly pharisees. (Matthew 5:20) Jesus finished chapter 6 with an exhortation for the people to seek the kingdom of God, to be content with what God provides. Then he utters “Judge not, that ye be not judged.” Immediately following this statement, he warns the hypocrites of the day that with the same judgment they are passing upon others, they “shall be judged.” From Jesus’ perspective, he is warning the evil doers of the day to stop worrying about what they see other people doing, and instead be more concerned with the sin in their own hearts. You don’t believe me? Keep reading Matthew 7:3-6. Christ’s famous words about the plank in your own eye! So many people have interpreted this to mean that we must not look at the sin of anyone else, but to always and only look at our own. But read Jesus’ words. He says (Mt 7:5 KJV) Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye. (emphasis my own). Note that the command is to get your own heart right with God first, be cleansed of your own sin, be ye holy, THEN you will be capable and spiritual enough to help your brother or friend! (see also, Gal 6:1).

In Mt 7:6, Jesus makes an even greater case for discernment and judgment when He tell us not to cast pearls to swine, or that which is holy to dogs!
Matthew 7:15-16, furthermore, warn us of false prophets…how will we know them? By their fruits. By judging their fruit to be evil! In fact, we are commanded to judge. But the standard by which we are to judge is NOT OUR OWN, (Mt 7:1), it is God’s standard, His Word, His Holy laws and statutes. And we are to judge NOT for the purpose of puffing ourselves up, or for comparison, but for the edification of our brethren. To help others. In order to be able to warn people! Like a loving wife or a good doctor would warn an unhealthy man who is eating poorly. Like a loving mother would warn her son to stop his bad behavior before he ends up arrested. Like a loving friend would warn another person who they see in danger.

V. What can I judge then?

So when a born again believer in Christ preaches repentance and faith, are they judging? Is this the wrong form of judging? Let’s first start by saying that its possible that a person is preaching out of self-righteousness and that they truly don’t care to help others. But let’s assume for this example that we are talking about someone who is truly trying to warn others that there is a wrathful God who will not be appeased by the works of the hands of men. That this God is righteously angry with sinners because the Bible declares it, and that there is a way, only one way to escape this wrath, and that is in Christ. What is really going on here?

Of course, people will err, but this is the goal toward we aim. If the person is a decent preacher or evangelist, with sound theology, the following ought to be true.

  1. The speaker will be aware that it is only by grace they themselves are saved, and that only God’s grace keeps them in good standing with God. (Eph 2:8-9) Humility is the natural result of this knowledge and self-righteousness should be discarded quickly by bible-believing Christians. Jesus spoke harsher to none other than the self-righteous. (Luke 3:7, Mt 12:34)
  2. The speaker will have a heart that loves the things that God loves…and consequently, hate the things God hates. The speaker will love mankind, and wish for others to be saved. (2 Peter 3:9) He or she will hate sin, (Proverbs 6:16-19, Psalm 7:11, Psalm 5:5), and will want to tell people of the terrible damage that sin causes.
  3. And finally, and probably the hardest part, a good evangelist will try to use God’s standards to measure or judge their fellow man’s behavior, in order to show that man the true nature of his heart, that he might repent of his sin. A good evangelist will call another’s behavior what it really is. We use words like lying, stealing, adultery, hatred and blasphemy. We don’t sugarcoat something. We point out the sin of sex outside marriage, and the fact that marriage is only defined as between a man and a woman. We don’t “judge” in the conventional sense. We observe behavior, then compare it to a standard set forth in the Bible. We then allow people to see their true status before God. Naked, helpless, spiritually poor, and headed for judgment. No, my good friend, I do not judge, but God does, and will (Acts 17:31, Heb 9:27). We warn of the judgment to come. Since the beginning, the righteous have been accused in this way, (Gen 19:7,9). And by righteous, we always mean, those who have been made righteous before God, by His grace, through faith in Christ alone.

VI. Conclusion

By all reason, it is clear that it is not only impossible to stop judging altogether, but to even attempt to would be a grave error (in judgment LOL). The act of judging is as natural to humans as any other survival instinct, and we are commanded by God to be good judges. I’ve shown it to be logically fallacious for an “anti-judging person” to actually ascribe to the act of judging a value of “wrong” in that their own argument refutes itself, and is considered “absurd” by academic standards. And finally, it is clear that ultimately, it is not the act of judging that people really abhor…it is the standard that some of us choose to us by which to judge. No one is offended when they are judged “right,” it seems. It is when they are on the “wrong” side that they cry out against any judgment at all. Homosexuals, fornicators, abortionists, idolaters, blasphemers, liars and thieves…they will all be judged by God, whether they like it or believe it or not! (Rev 21:8) as Penn Gillette, a well known atheist comedian said, (paraphrase) “How much do you have to hate someone, if you believe in Heaven and Hell, not to tell them how to avoid Hell?”

So clearly, the most loving act anyone can do is share their beliefs, and share them with reason and logic. Hate my assumptions all you want, I already wrote a blog post about presuppositions! Deny my thesis, but don’t try to argue with the logic; that’s a fool’s graveyard, it’s sound. But at least stop using my Savior’s Words improperly, it’s called perversion and there’s a serious penalty for it as well. (Mt 12:36) Flee the wrath to come, by embracing the loving abundant grace of God, who sent Jesus to die for your sins, if you will change your mind about your sin and put your faith in Christ as your Savior, the only way.

VII. Epilogue – Determining a standard by which to judge your standard?

For those of you who like extra credit, here it is. How do you decide which standard to pick? I mean, seriously, why should I believe the American Heart Association…why not appeal to an even higher standard? Why should I take your word for anything? The point here is that we all need to appeal to an ultimate standard at some point. If you do not, you always leave yourself open to being wrong. I mean, if you appeal to something that you admit is not an absolute standard or authority, why should anyone believe it’s true? Do you see? It’s essential that there is an ultimate standard or authority. I use the Bible. The Bible works for this purpose because the Bible appeals to NO OTHER AUTHORITY. The Bible declares itself to be the ultimate authority. (2 Tim 3:16-17, Psalm 19:7-12, Psalm 119:103-105). Creation and experience confirm the Bible’s truths, but they do not prove it. The Bible proves itself like a hungry lion proves itself in a sheep pen. It needs no outside help. Deny it all you wish, but what is your standard of truth and righteousness? What is your measuring stick? It is something in you? Beware! (Jer 17:9-10). Is it your friend, or group of friends? What do you think Hitler’s standard was? Stalin’s? Horrifying things have been done by men who make their own standards for judging right and wrong. Only one from an ultimate authority can do. Only God can be that ultimate authority. And only One God is true. Either He is or He isn’t. I take it on faith that He is, and I hope you will too.

Genesis 1:31

Genesis 1:31

And God saw every thing that He had made and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

What a simple verse, truly! But as always, God’s text is packed with meaning, and in this case, utterly under attack for centuries now. Sadly, it is professing Christians who have likely done the most damage with attempts to put meaning here that is not inherent in the text. Notice I did not call those attempts “well-intentioned,” as a truly well-intentioned attempt at interpreting the Bible will start with a biblical worldview and a belief that scripture is the ultimate authority.

This verse follows a pattern of verses in Genesis 1. Once on the first day, twice on the third day, and once on both the fourth and fifth days, God looked upon His creation and calls it (or some aspect of it) “good.” (Gen 1:4,10,12,18,21) During the sixth day, God refers to His creation again as “good,” before He made man (Gen 1:25). But when God declares creation very good, He declares it “complete.” The word used for very has a slightly different connotation than we are used to in English where it is comparative. It is more a description of completeness, or done-ness, to be understood as superlative, exhibiting without reservation the idea of “wholly” or “exceedingly” good, in this case. It is now that we apply proper hermeneutics to infer that sin could not have existed at this point in creation. For creation to be wholly good, by God’s standard of Goodness, sin could not have tainted creation. Since death is the result of sin, we also can know with certainty that no death had occurred, based on properly and reasonably interpreting the Bible.

Secondly, the other pattern that was followed for this chapter was the “evening and the morning were the nth day” phrase. One of the favorite arguments of people who want to reconcile (or compromise) the Bible with evolution and an old age for the Earth is that the Hebrew word Yom, used for day, can also mean a long age. But when have you ever referred to an evening and a morning as anything but a 24 hour day? When have you ever referred to 6 consecutive periods of an evening and a morning as anything but 6 days? You wouldn’t, because it defies reason. God didn’t do this either. God described what occurred, and the order in which it occurred. One reason that He chose to do it this way, I believe, is to intentionally contradict the “wisdom” of man. Evolution and Big Bang theories say the sun came before the earth; dinosaurs (land animals) before birds; and death before man ever existed. Genesis 1:1-31 deliberately and directly contradicts these ideas. Ex 20:11 aids to confirm this. 2 Peter 3:3-7 even prophesies about today’s “scoffers” and believers in uniformitarianism!

Dear reader, God created the world in six consecutive 24 hour days, and then rested. Since the first sin, man had no true rest! God painted a beautiful picture on that seventh day of the rest we have available to us in Christ. If you will give up the strivings of your own hearts, the works of your own hands and lay it all at the cross and follow Him, you can enter that rest spoken of in Hebrews 4:10-11. All those who thirst, come…John 7:37-39.

1 Corinthians 10:31

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

Can a Christian smoke? Should a Christian drink “socially?” What’s “ok” to do before marriage? These are common questions, and they are good questions, for immature believers to ask, that is. How do they relate to the 1 Corinthians 10:31? I’ll try to show how.

The chief end of man is to glorify God. All of creation is designed to proclaim God’s glory. Even the sin He allows in His sovereignty is used for His good (Rom 8:28). Let us consider to whom Paul is writing this letter: to believers! What is a believer? A believer is someone who has realized their sinfulness and their necessity for a savior. They have been snatched from the depths of eternal hell by our smitten Lord who, by His grace, has chosen them as a people unto Himself. Nothing they did or could have done caused this to happen, it was an act of mercy, (see Titus 3:5)

So what ought the response be to this act of love, grace and mercy? We owe our very lives to God, the Creator and Redeemer! So in what manner ought we live? For Him alone. This is the essence of this verse, (and the entire bible, if you will). Paul’s point above is that EVERYTHING you do ought to be for the glory of God. There are 3 main factors to consider when trying to decide of your proposed act is for or “not for” His glory. (At least that’s how many I’m going to discuss here!)

1. Is it sin? This will immediately disqualify the act. There are obvious sins. Things like activity outside of a man-woman marriage, stealing, lying, cheating, blasphemy and covetousness.

2. If it is not clearly sin, can it become sin? Is it the beginning of a slippery slope? This is where drinking and smoking and drug use fall into play (at the VERY LEAST). These things, in and of themselves, may not be immediately obvious as sins. But against the backdrop of a degenerate American society, where these things are idolized and used for worship and revelry, there is only damage that can be done by participating in these behaviors. I love Todd Agnew’s song, My Jesus where he sings, “If Ephesians says to imitate Christ, why do you look so much like the world?” (Hear it here)

3. Does it add to the Kingdom? Does it point to Christ as Savior? Ultimately, does your act contribute to your ministry, whatever it is? If it does, then great, if it doesn’t, then see questions 1 & 2.

A Christian who is filled with the spirit is ALWAYS glorifying God. We do this ALL THE TIME, if we choose. When you eat or drink, you are generally doing an innocuous, a-moral act, but it can be done with a fervent thankfulness to God and an unashamed outspoken love for the Provider that draws the attention of the lost to Him. Keep in mind that Jesus ate and attended family gatherings and slept. Things that seem unimportant, but He did them all filled with the Holy Spirit and glorified His Father in Heaven CONTINUOUSLY. His example is what we are to follow!

So whatsoever you do, do it all to the Glory of God! Thanks, Matt for Romans 15:5-6 today!

To see an example, check out this blog article about George Whitefield and his zeal for God’s creation in all he did!

The Grace of God – Part 2

You can listen to my teaching,

“The Grace of God – Part 2” in the player below.

This was presented at Berean Baptist Church, Sunday April 18, 2010.



If the player is not working or you would like to download the teaching, use the link below.

The Grace of God: Part 2

John 14:6

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

THIS IS WHY I DO WHAT I DO. Many of you know that I do the work of an evangelist. I am actually super excited because I just received 2 boxes of 10,000 tracts that my church designed and ordered from Custom Tract Source and on the same day, we launched our new improved website, Berean Baptist Church and I got to be a part of both those things. Each of these activities is designed with one ultimate goal: to glorify God by pointing to Christ and His finished work on the cross. Our chief aim is to edify believers and herald the gospel to the lost.

Why do we do this? BECAUSE JESUS IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE. NO MAN WILL COME TO THE FATHER BUT BY HIM. I believe John 3:18 (along with the rest of the Bible 🙂 ), so EVERY person I see I can safely assume they are going to hell! Why? Because we are all born at enmity with God. There is no way other than Christ. So we tell people the truth. If I err and preach Christ and His Glory to a brother or sister, then they shall rejoice! So I am NEVER WRONG to preach Christ crucified. I fear that with all our boldness in our current apathetic culture that some of us today that seriously herald Christ’s Gospel would be put to shame next to Paul or Peter or Stephen. I pray for a heart like God gave those men.

Finally, on a theological note, I want to make 2 points. Point 1 is that God does not hear the prayers of the wicked. (In the sense that they do not have His ear). Proverbs 28:9 combined with John 14:6 make it pretty clear to me. Any unsaved soul can ONLY talk to God through Christ, and the first prayer honored by God of any man is the prayer of repentance and faith in Christ alone. So please, dear Christian brother or sister, don’t ask your unsaved coworker for prayer! You may thank them for well-wishes…but you do not cover their prayers, and you ought not let them believe you see any effectiveness in their prayer, as you can with your brothers, James 5:16. Secondly, I will make the claim that I believe every encounter with the living God that anyone has had since Genesis 1 was through Christ. Hebrews 13:8 – Jesus Christ is and has always been the only mediator between God and man. From creation to the crossing of the Red Sea, to the protection of Daniel’s friends in the furnace to Calvary and today. Praise Him for His character and deeds.