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February 2008 Newsletter

Andy Stanley Says We Must Earn…
What a great time it is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ! It just continues to amaze me that when we go out with a mind and heart open to reaching the lost, God places people right in front of us with open hearts of their own. I always get excited as I pray for opportunities to share my faith, and how God provides those opportunities. Why does He do that? He is faithful.

I was reading an article from the USA Today newspaper
( http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2007-10-10-christians-young_N.htm), and I noticed a quote that intrigued me. Andy Stanley, a pastor here in Atlanta, said,

“If we were able to rewrite the script for the reputation of Christianity, I think we would put the emphasis on developing relationships with non-believers, serving them, loving them, and making them feel accepted, only then would we earn the right to share the gospel.”

One thing I do now when I hear quotes from Christian people is to see if the quote can be backed up with Scripture. One pastor told me one of the mistakes we regularly make with Christians is that when we listen to them we put our guard down instead of putting our guard up. We implicitly trust people, but with so much false teaching going on, we really shouldn’t trust anyone. We must make sure what they say is backed up by the Bible.

Andy states above that only after doing certain things for lost people do we earn the right to share the gospel with them. I have been hearing this a lot more lately that we must earn the right to witness to people. The only problem is that I cannot find that teaching in the Scriptures and that is where we must go to find truth.

Jesus speaking in Mark 16:15 states,

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Where in this verse, or anywhere else in the Bible, does it tell us that we must earn the right to share our faith? Once you are a Christian, you have the right. We are compelled to share the gospel with the lost. We know hell is real, and it is our responsibility to try and stop all people from going there.

When Jesus tells us to follow Him and He will make us fishers of men, He means it. When Jesus says He came to seek and save those who are lost, then it is also our responsibility to do the same.

When Jesus witnessed to the woman at the well, did He get her water first before He earned the right to share the gospel with her?

When Jesus was talking with the rich young ruler, did he help him with his stock portfolio before He shared eternal truth with him?

And what nice things was Stephen going to do for the people that were stoning him, because he was telling them about seeing Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father? Should he have asked them if he could wash off their rocks first, before they threw them at him?

When the Jews were having Paul arrested in Acts 21 and Paul got a chance to preach to the crowd, should he have handed out skittles, given away free concert tickets, or washed their cars before he shared the truth of Jesus Christ with them?

Hogwash and balderdash is all I can think of. One more time we are being duped by what people say instead of listening to what God tells us. As one guy said, if you were at the World Trade Center on September 10th, and you knew all those people would die the next day, what would you say to them? It doesn’t seem like to me that you would have had a lot of time to get them to like you, or to do a bunch of nice things for them. If you really want lost people to love you, then give up Christianity and go and find another faith to believe in. 2 Timothy 3:12 says,

“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

Persecution goes with the territory when a life is committed to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some lost people like you and some don’t. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Are you pleasing the Lord Jesus Christ with your life because He is the only One you need to please in your existence down here.

On my plane flight tomorrow, how am I supposed to earn the right to witness to that person? Am I supposed to pour his drinks for him? I have the right commanded to me by Almighty God to witness to him or her and you can be assured I will pray for that opportunity and I will take advantage of that opportunity.

Paul states in Ephesians 6:18,19:

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,”

Paul is not praying for boldness to go and do nice things for someone today. He is praying that he will have the boldness to tell someone the truth about the whole counsel of God, eternity, sin, heaven, hell, repentance, and the judgment of God.

Click on the link below. It is a short video called A Letter From Hell:

http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=1b5bd6e3e034d00b4f73

You may not have time to do nice things for people just so you can try and earn the right to share the gospel with them. You have already been commanded to witness to people (Mark 16:15,16 and Matthew 28:18–20). Make sure there are no letters from hell postmarked with your name on them.

And by the way, how can you keep the most important thing in your life away from someone that you know? That would be the definition of selfish. Please be selfless in the coming days as you reach the lost, and not selfish.
Until the nets are full,

P.S. A friend of mine sent me a video link to his son speaking:
http://www.godtube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=1ea09912e5f05c5999d7
You have got to watch it. No, not the part where he mentions me in the beginning, but listen to his voice. Watch his eyes. Look at his countenance. That is a twelve year old boy so passionate about reaching the lost and serving the Lord Jesus Christ with his life. Looks to me like there is some great parenting going on there! Come on adults out there, don’t let 12 year olds lead the way! But let’s do make sure we have a bunch of young people ready to fill our shoes if we die and go home some day soon.

Updated February 5, 2008