Posts Tagged ‘Isaiah’

In my 22 years of being a Born Again Christ Follower, I have struggled with the fact that there have not been a whole lot of people that I have led to Christ.  This was something I worked out years ago thankfully but then I lost sight of what I had learned.  In reading David Platt’s book “Radical” with a couple guys from my church, the book has helped me to see that again in clarity and I wanted to share with you some of the insights I have gleaned in this area of life.  I will use Romans 1:16,17 as a template of sorts.

I am not Ashamed

There is a war going on within our reality between spiritual forces.  Satan knows his time is coming to a close so he is doing everything in his power to a) keep those who are dead in sin from seeing the light of the gospel, and b) turn those who are children of God away from the light of the gospel.  As such, to those who are in the former category, the gospel is offensive and debilitating.  It is painful and it is blinding.  It is one of the big three that one is not to discuss in polite conversation (the three being politics, religion, and money).  But this can not be the case.  The gospel is meant to be spoken aloud, to those dead in sin, and those walking away from God.  Christ is said to be offensive and a stumbling block.  Therefore, we who live in such a world that demands comfort and instant gratification must understand that we cannot be ashamed of the gospel.  Yes, it will cause trouble.  But this is the norm, not the exception.  Do not be ashamed.

The Gospel

What is the gospel?  This is a tricky issue in today’s American culture.  There are different variations that different people say you must present differently. This is grounds for another blog post to look at in more depth the gospel.  But in short, the gospel is that I, as a human being, am born in sin, dead to sin, and destined for hell apart from God.  I am so dead in my sin that I am not even able to come to God on my own and I reject God to the detriment of my life, physical and spiritual.  But behold! Christ has come to earth to live, die, and be resurrected so that there is a hope that we may be made alive in Him.  We who once were dead in sin now have a way to come to God and be made new, to be born again and to escape the wrath of God.  This is, in short, the Gospel.

The Power of God

This gospel is not an initiative of man.  This is done through the power of God.  This is who we rely on in the gospel.  The salvation God offers us is a free gift, not just something earned.  This is something me must keep at the forefront of our lives, in witnessing and living.  The gospel needs the power of God.

For Salvation to the Jew and Greek

The gospel is not a respecter of nationality, blood, heritage, or culture.  It transcends all of this and is applicable for all.


Without the revealed gospel, we would have no way to understand who God is beyond His eternal power and divine nature.  This understanding cannot save.  This can only point us in the right direction.  Unfortunately, we suppress this in our sin dead ways.  We take what God has created and in turn worshiped that.  One of my favorite verses is in Isaiah 44:18-20 where God describes a man who takes a piece of wood, used part of it to make fire, used more of it to make bread, and used the rest to make an idol.  We cannot know God apart from what God has revealed to us.

This is important in my struggle because I used to take the responsibility for persuasion completely on my shoulders in witnessing.  I used to study evolution, Catholicism, carbon 14 dating, biology, history, literary theory, textual criticism, hermeneutics, theology, apologetics, philosophy, and anything else that I thought would help persuade people that God is calling for us to cry out to Him.  And when a finely crafted argument (or so I thought) would fail to bring those to whom I witnessed to Christ, I would become so discouraged that I finally stopped telling people about Christ for a good amount of time.

It is not my job to bring people to Christ.  Christ brings people to Christ.  It is my job to tell the people about the gospel.  Paul did not persuade Agrippa.  But Paul preached to him.  That was his job, not to persuade, but to preach.  And honestly, this is such a blessing, to have Paul’s testimony, for if he couldn’t persuade someone, with all of his learning and skills and authority, then I am comforted.

Take heart.  Keep on preaching the gospel in love and humility, praising God when He allows you to see someone call on the name of His Son Jesus, but not growing discouraged if something visible does not occur.  I Corinthians 3:7 “So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.”

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I have found that my descriptions are lackluster and need improving.  I feel as if this stems from my impatience in reading.  As I read, when I come to a section where the world, people, animals, etc. are described, I skim over it in favor of the action sequences and the forward momentum of the plot.  This is a bad habit and one I am trying to rectify.  I am now trying to pay more attention to details, shapes, colors, intricacies, twitches, impacts, frivolities.  I look to the sky and notice how it is not merely blue.  It is a light blue, a thin cover of clouds causing the sun to spread its rays and create a haze of sorts.  I look to the trees and see, not a tree amid a forest, but a tall tree with leaves that are dying yet still clinging with a hopeless strength to their branch.  I see the leaves that have fallen and are in their first phase of being made part of the dirt they lay atop of.  I look to the roads and, instead of cars on a highway, I see swiftly moving cars filled with people worried about gas prices, wondering how much they can get from this one tank, wondering how they will get to their destination on time.  I see metal moving so fast that if there were a collision, there would be tremendous damage.  I see glass glinting in the sun.  I see tires spinning in place.

But then I get board and it makes a scene.  The sun enveloped a cool autumn morning with vestiges of summer warmth, causing the air to rise a bit in temperature.  The breath of man is no longer visible in the air.  There is no steam rising from the lungs of people just living their lives in the elements.  There is merely air, in and out, the manifestation of life to those around.  In the act of breathing, one can also multitask, breathing in the scents of fall, the dirt wet from a cold rain, the leaves that are starting their transformation into soil and nutrients.  The air is stirred by the rapid movement of vehicles on the highway near the tree line.  There are quick movements, split second decisions being made.  They are made from material used to make weapons.  They are a static form of swords, shields, armor.  They can cause the death of a man with no effort.  The world is dying, falling into autumn, only to be covered in winter.  But spring will surely come to resurrect the earth and its inhabitants, a foretelling of the King’s return when all will be made new and nothing will be compared to war or death.  There will only be life and peace. Hope will be fulfilled and there will be not deterred hearts.  The sun will be no more as we live in the light of the Son.  Worship shall come easier as we stand before the God Isaiah glimpsed in the holy temple.  And the seraphim and the cherubim will be hard pressed to match our praise for we have been ransomed where they have been merely created.

So yeah, I’m working on it.




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