Bible Think Tank

This site is designed to help you interact with others about God's Word. I further some thoughts we developed during morning and evening gatherings at church. I have my NT translations from the original Greek to English. Also, I have book reviews and other current events.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Inviting People to Receive Jesus

"We beg you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God!"

- 2 Corinthians 5:20

When Paul writes "beg" this is not a request or a invitation. Rather it is an imploring, a pleading, a passion-filled & anxious kind of asking. Let us never forget that we are on a mission. How much hard work goes into our Gospel messages? The Christian life is the greatest adventure in all of human history. Let us awake to our calling! Let us pour our hearts and sweat and tears and prayers into God's harvest! Jesus said "Look! the fields are ready for harvest." Are we, like Paul, living with an attitude of eagerness and busy-ness? Are we imploring people to receive the gift of friendship with God?

The Theological Side of Being Saved

It is important when we talk about someone receiving Jesus that we understand what the Bible teaches about how someone actually becomes born again. This is how the BFC read the Bible
with regard to being saved:

Article 12 - Salvation

12-1. Salvation is the work of God in which He reconciles fallen men to Himself, ultimately removes the consequences of the curse, and bestows upon His redeemed Creation the riches of His grace, all to His glory.

12-2. Salvation is offered in the gospel to all men and is accomplished in all the elect. It is received by grace through faith and the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit, apart from works or human merit. Salvation centers in a person, Jesus Christ, and receiving Him includes the remission of sins on the grounds of His shed blood on the cross, the imputation of His perfect righteousness, the reception of the Holy Spirit, and the impartation of eternal life.

It is pretty clear in these two paragraphs that we believe and teach that it is God who saves men and women, boys and girls. The Bible teaches us that He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). But notice the second sentence of BFC Article 12-2... how is this salvation received? "It is received by grace through faith and the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit." Yes God saves us. When He saves us, He awakens our spiritually dead soul (Ephesians 2:1,4-5) using His Spirit. When He awakens our soul we are born again and He enables us to call on Jesus to forgive our sin and to be our Lord and Savior. We invite and beg people to be saved knowing that it will be God at work in the inner man. We invite them to call out for Him to save them, knowing that as God moves in their heart, He will lead them to call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. If they never call on the name of the Lord, they will not be saved (Romans 10:9-10). This may seem like a lot of high-falutin' ideas, but it is important to see what the Scripture teaches about how someone becomes saved and the relationship between receiving and becoming saved.

Tim Bertolet has a great article on the balance of theology and evangelism here

The Practical Side of Being Saved

Now that we have discussed some of the theological realm, let's talk brass tacks... let's talk practically. Yes, only God can save. He initiates and He orchestrates the entire process. But do not think for am moment that we are off the hook.

First, do not think that the sinner is off the hook for his sin. Paul engages this in Romans 9:19-20. Someone asked "How can God still condemn for who can resist His will" Essentially saying that if only God can save, why should anyone be damned for their sin since they cannot change His mind about who He saves and who He won't save. This is what 90% of Christians say every time they insist that it is me who initiates my salvation. They reject the Scripture, but worse they reject God: the author and finisher of our faith; unknowingly, to be sure, but sadly, they do, for their objection to this truth is right here in the text for anyone to read. No one is off the hook even though only by God's grace someone can be saved.

Secondly, no one is off the hook to be a witness for Jesus. The Scripture is clear in Romans 10:14-15. "How will they call on the Lord unless they believe? Believe unless they hear? Hear unless preached to? Preached to unless someone is sent?" We have been sent. Sadly too many of us don't live like we're sent! In this week's BFC Board of Missions Email, Jack Lasater wrote "the believer who has made this effort should feel that he has pleased God just as much as the person who has discovered the convicted heart ready to trust Christ." But even in our opening verse, 2 Corinthians 5:20, we see the call to be message-carriers.


"We implore you!" Let us invite people to Jesus! Let us call people to receive His Good News! Let's pray with people to follow Him!


Blogger Stone-Saint said...

Looking back on those who made a difference in my coming to Christ, they all boldly professed their faith, without shame, without fear, and with passion. So the question is, how do we a) remove the obstacles of fear and shame in a Christian, and b) how do we ignite that passion for testimony and interpersonal ministry? I think if we can answer these questions, and apply the answers diligently and effectively, we will have won a considerable victory in reaching out for Christ.

10/15/2008 5:41 PM  

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