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matthew
Member



Joined: 2004/4/22
Posts: 57


 Re:

Todd,

Perhaps I was unclear, you have mised my intent in much of your last post.

Most significantly,

Quote:
I think the answer is clearly "yes." As far as I can tell, fear and wisdom are not requirements for salvation.



I never intended that wisdom was REQUIRED FOR salvation, only that (like works--James 2) those saved have it.

The fear of God is said throughout scripture to be an atribute of those Jews and getiles (like Cornelius) who had a heart that pleased God. The fear of God then could be said to be a result of faith because

Hebrews 11:6
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

speaking of
2 Cor 5:11
'Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade men.'

You said


Quote:
What I get from that verse is that, since they have comprehension of the seriousness of life and eternity, how our temporal choices have eternal consequences, they persuade men in various ways with eternity in mind.

]

That is a GREAT deffinition of evangelism. Perhaps all we need is a clarification of terms.

How do you define evangelism?

As I said previously, I agree that EVERYTING we do in ourselves to try to merrit the favor of God is worthless. However, since we have not been given a spirit of fear, we can be confident that when we step out, God will provide the strength, courage needed. When we fear men, it is either because We do not have faith in God to protect us, or because we honor the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Perhaps I err here, but I have always (since my conversion) been of the opinion that in regard to overcoming sin--fearing men included--we as new creatures have the infinate resources of God to draw upon whenever we would deny ourselves and take up our crosses and follow.

In regard to the God's initiative vs mans, I have heard it said like this, We should act asif it depends on us, but pray like--and understand that--it all depends on God.

For what it's worth,

matthew


_________________
matthew bauer

 2004/6/1 9:47Profile
crsschk
Member



Joined: 2003/6/11
Posts: 9192
Santa Clara, CA

 Re:

HakkaMin,

Very well said!

Words I needed to hear and take to heart. Don't want to skirt the issue in the least, yet probably didn't do a very good job of expressing myself prior.

You are absolutely correct, it is not 'either/or' but 'both/and'. Love the example of Stephen, what a combination, busboy and in at least one final and glorious example, he was the greatest evangelist on the planet at that moment.

I think I was leaning more towards this train of thought:

[i]" And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love."[/i]
Eph 4:11-16

Quote:
What kind of disciples will you make if you are not actively involved in evangelism? Answer: Disciples who are not involved in evangelism. Disciples who don’t reach the lost. They will be molded by what they see in the “mature” discipler’s life and actions … and not just by the discipler’s teaching. They will end up following the example of “non-evangelism.” (And become a very unhealthy – unfruitful – disciple.)


Well said!
Quote:
It’s my experience that we actually put ourselves in a great position to purify our lives and motives when we step out in obedience to those things we might not be “ready” enough to accomplish. The very act of stepping out in obedience puts us in a position of growth. (I presume, of course, that I’m addressing believers on this board who desire to obey Jesus and live holy lives. This doesn’t apply to those church-going hypocrites – mentioned in an earlier post – whose hearts are not bent on following Jesus.)



Think this is what I really needed to hear, though I have heard it before. If we are honest enough, we can find 'excuses' not to do what we should be doing. Personally I am not real big on systems and programs, having a ready made 'speil', but that doesn't mean that I should not be prepared. [i]" Instead, exalt Christ as Lord in your hearts. Always be prepared to give a defense to everyone who asks you to explain the hope you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak evil of your good conduct in Christ will be ashamed of slandering you."[/i]
1Pe 3:15,16

I do also find that there is much to be said about being [b]full[/b] of the Spirit and it is the Holy Spirit that convicts and works through us.

It should just be normative and natural if we are walking in the Spirit, not something we should have to 'work up' in our flesh or be compelled out of guilt. But I still have some work to do and I appreciate your comments brother.

Mike


_________________
Mike Balog

 2004/6/1 14:40Profile
smichael
Member



Joined: 2004/5/23
Posts: 21


 Re:

My friend just had a child and I am sick of hearing about it and looking at pictures of this young perfect person! My son was just married. It is fun to watch them learn to love each other, totally engroused in exploring their new-found emotional intimacey. They are poster kids for marriage. Anyone who thought it was not a good idea should take a look at them.

The idea is when we are in Love with Jesus no one can stop us from talking. When we are in Love with Jesus no one can keep us from touching his hand and speaking to him or of him. Its the love of Jesus that is the most effective evangelistic campaign. That is why it seems new Christians have such an easy time winning the unsaved. They are in love and everyone is going to hear about it. They can't help it. We are old married folks. We have learned to live with our spouse. We need to rekindle the romance with Jesus and light the world on fire. If you love Jesus it will be expressed to your Christian brother. They will know us by our love one for another.

 2004/6/1 14:52Profile
todd
Member



Joined: 2003/5/12
Posts: 573
California

 Re:

Quote:
" It can be quite dangerous to take the commands of Christ to His disciples and relegate them to the “not for us disciples today” pile without very good reason. If this door is opened too wide, think of the commands that might be banished outright. (“… love one another even as I have loved you,” and “…you also ought to wash one another’s feet.”) What’s to keep these commands – spoken only to the twelve – from being lumped into this pile for the same reasons?"

Good point. Let me clarify. It's not that the commands are not for "us" today. But when you say "us" are you speaking of the Church universal or the individual?

Quote:
"If this part of Jesus’ Acts 1 message was heeded by other disciples at the time, might this be an indication that the command in verse 8 is for us as well?"

Acts 1:8
"but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Again, first of all, Church universal or contemporary individual application? Is every Christian required to make a witnessing pilgramage to Israel? Second, I don't read this as a command but simply a true statement. Third, I simply want to emphasize the point that the witnessing will come about after the reception of power from the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 28:19-20
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

Universal or individual?

Not only was Acts 1:8 only spoken to the apostles, so was Matthew 28:19-20.

If we are going to apply these verses today in a general way, musn't it be to the Church universal? Why is this disctinction so important? Because then we have breathing room to be dealt with individually by God and not be burdened under religious yokes. As long as the Church at large is witnessing and making disciples, this mandate from the Lord is being accomplished. Joe Christian may never witness or make one disciple in his whole life and completely fulfill God's will for his life (in theory). Sure, some may hide under such a truth, but it's a truth nonetheless.

Or what if I was even to concede that every Christian has a responsability to direct evangelizm. So how about I go walk down the street tonight and share to gospel with someone and then never do it again for the rest of my life. Have I now fulfilled this requirement? Am I now "ok"? Who is to make the rules as to how much and consistency? What does it take? 10 people in a lifetime? 10 people a week? 10 a day (starting the day of conversion)? Can we go this route without leaving the clear teaching of Scripture and venturing into mans (religious) reasoning?

It seems clear to me that the "Great Commission" can, at best, be seen as a commission to the Church universal, and it is therefore incorrect to make this a rule for each individual. It's a great ideal, but it's wrong.

Quote:
"Even though there are plenty of other New Testament scriptures (already listed in another post) that show our obligation to evangelize the lost."

Hmmm... I think I would agree with this statement in reference to Matthew 28 and perhaps a few others if applied to the Church universal.

Quote:
"It has been suggested that we should obey the first (and greatest) command first, and that the second command will come naturally. Surely there is a relationship between the two, but the conclusion to wait is wrong. After all, the second command is a command. That means we are called to do it … whether we feel ready enough or not."

Agreed. Let me clarify. I do not mean to imply that we are to wait or hesitate concerning the second command. But the command is to love others, which can be done in countless different ways, evangelism only being one of them.

Quote:
"It’s my experience that we actually put ourselves in a great position to purify our lives and motives when we step out in obedience to those things we might not be “ready” enough to accomplish. The very act of stepping out in obedience puts us in a position of growth."

Agreed.

Quote:
"Also – let’s not presume that holiness or purified motives are a prerequisite for being used by God."

Agreed.

Quote:
"In the final analysis, the “one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17) I believe this would include our calling to evangelize the lost."

That's fine if you believe that and apply it to yourself in some way, but should you allow your opinion to defile the consciences of others? I think many people "think" they are supposed to evangelize in a certain kind of way because they have been taught that by men, not because God has made it known to them.














 2004/6/1 22:04Profile
rocklife
Member



Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323
usa

 Re:

It's good to talk about this stuff, but we must also be doers: Jesus says "why do you call me "Lord, Lord" and do not do the things which I say?" Luke 6:46.

If we truly love God, clean the inside, and the outside stuff will just come. God gave me the opportunity and with being in the Bible as much as I can, Jesus just came out of my mouth. God will grow us and He will use us as His instruments if we love Him and want to do whatever He wants us to 24-7-365.


_________________
Jina

 2004/6/1 22:22Profile
HakkaMin
Member



Joined: 2004/4/12
Posts: 60
Taiwan

 Re:

Thanks for helping to clear up your position, Todd. I think I can better see where you’re headed now. Just a couple of observations, though.

Quote:
It's not that the commands are not for "us" today. But when you say "us" are you speaking of the Church universal or the individual?

Quote:
It seems clear to me that the "Great Commission" can, at best, be seen as a commission to the Church universal, and it is therefore incorrect to make this a rule for each individual. It's a great ideal, but it's wrong.


I still have a pretty big problem with the idea that the commands of Christ to make disciples (evangelize) are for the “Church universal” and not for the individual believer. You didn’t mention why you believe this is true, or what standard of criteria you use to come to this conclusion, so I’ll just plow ahead with some of my reasoning.

First – the wording of Matthew 28:19-20 reveals that the command given here by Jesus is for individual believers. The key word is “them.” “Them” (whoever they are) are to be taught to observe all that Jesus commanded the disciples to do … including, of course, this very command to “make disciples.” So, who is “them?” Church universal or individual believers? Sure seems to me that Jesus is referring to individuals. After all, the apostles are called to baptize “them”, and I’m not sure how that would apply on some kind of corporate scale. Baptize churches? Baptize the “Church universal?” I think Jesus is referring to individual believers who He is calling the apostles to baptize and teach. And, therefore, it’s these individual believers who are to be taught to obey all that Jesus commanded the apostles – including the command to make disciples.

Second – the example of how the apostles responded to this command might help to shed some light on whether they believed it was to be applied to the “Church universal” or to the individual believers. After all, the command was first given to them (and then, as commanded by Jesus, taught to others.) So what do we see? How did these eleven apply this direct command of Christ? The book of Acts and early church tradition seem to indicate that they took this command personally. Doesn’t seem like any of them were saying, “Hey, each of us has our own gifting. If we work together we can corporately obey this command … but that doesn’t mean I have to do the actual evangelism.” We don’t see that seven were actively involved in evangelism while the other four were opting out due to it being a “to the Church universal” command. Acts 4:29 says that these twelve (now) apostles prayed that God they would speak God’s word “with all confidence.”

Act 4:31 - And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

They all – each of them – seemed to take this call by Jesus seriously … and sought the empowering of the Holy Spirit for the very purpose of evangelism. Their testimony – and the example of the rest of the early church believers – shows a people who seemed to feel that they were each expected to reach the lost. Just an interesting observation.

Third – I believe that the burden of proof falls heaviest on the one who takes a command of Christ (or the apostles) and claims that it was only meant to be obeyed by the “Church universal.” Wouldn’t it be much safer to firstly presume that it is meant for us, as individual believers, and then – if necessary (and with clear evidence) – to move it to the realm of for the “Church universal” only? If we are in danger of erring, wouldn’t it be best to err on this side? For example, Paul (in his letter to the Corinthians) commands, “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” Should we take this as a command given only to the “Church universal” or to individual believers? I’d rather start off by presuming that it’s a command for me personally, and then wait for strong evidence to show otherwise. (Though as you can see from my first point, I believer that the evidence is strongly in favor that the Great Commission is a command for every believer.)

Finally – I understand your desire to protect the church from legalists who place a “religious yoke” on the necks of the unsuspecting. Great desire. But don’t forget that the true commands of Christ are a “yoke” as well … a (delightful) responsibility that we dare not lighten or disregard. I don’t have time to deal with the problem of these legalists who add their own requirements to what the Word of God actually says. Important topic, but maybe not here and now. I just want to stand strong in encouraging us all to see the Great Commission as a command from Jesus that applies to every one of us as individual believers … believers who delight to do His will.



_________________
Gregg Dennington

 2004/6/2 10:01Profile
smichael
Member



Joined: 2004/5/23
Posts: 21


 Re:

Here's a different way of looking at evangelism.
What is evangelism? It is helping people be born again. They have new spirits birthed by the Holy Spirit that are of God which make them offspring of God.

Jesus came to gather a family together for God. The First Born of many Bretheren. The Bible calls the church, The Church of the First Born. We are a new creation. The world has never seen a human vessel and soul with a Spirit that is all God.

In Genesis everything is declared to produce after its own kind. Our God is a God who believes in increase.

Jesus cursed the fig tree because it did not produce.

We are not all called to operate in the office of evangelist. Just as not every person is not a doctor who delivers babies. Many will have children and, or impart into the lives of young people. It doesn't matter what we think. Look at it from God's perspective. What does He want?

 2004/6/2 14:47Profile
matthew
Member



Joined: 2004/4/22
Posts: 57


 Re:

smichael,

I agree that we should always attempt to see things as God sees them (not that we ever could perfectly, but a paralell far beneith) however, I am concerned your conclusion is in error.

Quote:
We are not all called to operate in the office of evangelist. Just as not every person is not a doctor who delivers babies.



This is a false analogy, you cannot equate evangelism with an occupation. Nowhere does God command people to be doctors or deliver babies. The case is different with evangelism.

Regarding what God wants:

2 pet 2:9
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance

God wants everyone to repent.

I won't spent the time (or forum space) to again redo all the work that others have done previously regarding our responsibility to evangelize...from God's perspective there are many going down the broad road needlessly. A penalty has been paid which far exceeds what they owe...but...

Romans 10:14
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?

but for what it's worth,

matthew


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matthew bauer

 2004/6/2 15:28Profile
matthew
Member



Joined: 2004/4/22
Posts: 57


 Re:

I just realized I said:

Quote:
...from God's perspective there are many going down the broad road needlessly. A penalty has been paid which far exceeds what they owe...but...



Forgive me for claiming God's perspective...I have no right or ability to say "here is how God sees this"

Rather, from the perspective of what I know scripture to say...

matthew


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matthew bauer

 2004/6/2 15:31Profile
imjnp
Member



Joined: 2004/5/5
Posts: 3


 Re:

The church (each believer) has two main responsibilities. These two are the main purpose for the church.
First one is to "love God." As we all know Jesus said this was the greatest commandment. Learning to Love God is as endless as eternity. The second, (as important as the first) is to love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40). As a believer we have two different "neighbors." One being my fellow believer. Scripture calls me to love them, and think of them more than myself. We have over 36 "one another" commnadents to follow concerning my relationship with other believers. My other neighbor is the unbeliever.

My relationship with the unbeliever is limted. God warns me to aviod any deep dealings with them. But I am to show them such compassion and respect that they will ask me why I have so much hope. That, it combination with the way I love my fellow believer, I hope God uses to bring the unbeliever to salvation. God might also ask me to use my mouth also. There are those times that we need to share what Jesus has done for us. Remember that when you became a believer the living truth became part of each of us. That truth longs to be revealed to others.

We all desire joy in our faith. We look for it in worship style, preaching, activites with-in the body, and so on. But joy in the believer will never reach the desire I long for till we particapate in the suffering for the unbeliever. John knew this very well. For he writes to us in IJohn 1:1-4, that even though he saw, touched and felt Jesus, his joy would not be complete till he shared Jesus with others.

Just some thoughts..
jnp

 2004/6/2 16:48Profile





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