Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Preaching the Gospel to Every Creature

Jesus said it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to be saved. Have you ever wondered why that is? Jesus also said that he came to save sinners and not the righteous. Yet, the Bible tells us that there are none righteous ... no, not one. Is this a contradiction?

When I first learned how to witness about my faith to other people I learned that before a person can get saved, they have to get lost. Now, we know that every human is born lost, and so, no one has to "get lost" first. But they do have to come to realize that they are sinners in need of a savior. Many, many people in today's world think they are righteous enough to satisfy God. They honestly do not believe they have anything to be saved from. They are "righteous" in their own eyes. For people like this, salvation comes only through great difficulty. It is difficult because the person does not think (at least at the start) that they need it.

I notice in the Bible, that almost all of the encounters Jesus had with those who were rich and powerful did not go well. On the other hand, there were people who seemed to be extraordinarily tender to the message Jesus preached. They were the people who knew they were sinners. Jesus spent a great deal of time with them. When people wanted to accuse Jesus he was accused of being a "friend to sinners." He included a tax collector and a zealot among his personal disciples. He preached to the publicans, the prostitutes, the drunkards, the unclean ... all those the religious establishment wouldn't touch. And the religious leaders hated him for it.

The good news of the gospel is that God saves sinners. He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die as a substitute for sinners, so that every sinner who comes to Jesus, believing who He is and what He did for them personally, would be saved from God's judgment and be clothed in the very righteousness of Jesus Himself. But ask "who comes to Jesus?" The ones who know they are sinners and who stand in need of a savior. The sinners.

If we want to see people come to Jesus ... if we want to sin souls like Jesus won souls ... if we really want to adopt Jesus' own methods of evangelism ... we need to be found among the sinners. There are no shortage in our day of prostitutes, drug addicts, gang bangers, alcohol abusers, and others who would never be touched by the religious "Christians" of our day. But someone who has the eyesight of Jesus, who looked on the crowds and was moved with compassion, needs to be willing to carry the life changing message of faith in Jesus Christ to them.

It is hard to do it. The sinners will not love you for being straight with them. You may be abused and rejected by the very people you are hoping to see saved. The religious people around you will not like you either. First, your faith in going to the lost is a rebuke to their empty Christianity. Second, they will call you a "friend of sinners" and try to shun you and exclude you from their religious gatherings.

Being a friend of sinners will cost you. It may cost your reputation. It may cost you money. It may cost you your position in your church. In some cases, it may cost you your life. Don't go into this kind of activity with rose colored glasses on. Count the cost, as Jesus said.

For me, I am not ashamed of the label "friend of sinners." The Lord who carried the sins of this wretched sinner in his own body to the cross for me ... he wore the same label. That is exactly what they called him too. So let them call me a friend of sinners. It puts me into the very best of company. When people look at you and examine your Christianity, what do they call you? There are worse labels to be called than to be a "friend of sinners." Don't you think?



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