Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen” (ASV), and then in verse 6 it reads, “and without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.”

The other day some people came by the house to hand out literature on an upcoming (at that time) conference in Dayton. The people (women) were with the Jehovah Witnesses; Anne received them as she was tending to her flowers and garden. They invited her to the conference, but Anne declined. After a little while, the three spoke about the garden and flowers, then departed for wherever they were headed next.

As I reflect on that which these women from the Watchtower religious group did, I reflected on the idea of conviction. I asked myself, “exactly how convicted are we, as members of the Lord’s church, how convicted are we to tell people about Jesus, to speak aggressively about His holy name in a world of sin in which we live?”

False teaching is all around us, but we can hardly know what false teaching is being promoted around us if we don’t know the Lord and His way. How many of us are aware the very word of God that is made available to us, that is preached each Lord’s day is the measurement by which we will be judged? A good many of us know that already. Still, we have a hard time picking up the Bible and reading twenty minutes each day, while we have plenty of time to watch a favorite program or programs. “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:38, ASV). Rejecting comes in different ways. It could be out-right rejection or simply neglect. “For if the word spoken through angels proved stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great a salvation? which having at the first been spoken through the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard” (Hebrews 2:2-3). Instead of putting in effort to understand the Lord’s way, we want to have programming put in effort to entertain us.

I don’t pose all of this to you, as much as I pose these questions and observations to us. I certainly am a person of conviction; I engage people in discussion as often as I can, regardless of location or venue. I do so aggressively. I have not, however, gone door-to-door in my evangelistic efforts. Some may say that is not needed or not as effective as it once was and, perhaps, this is so. Still, I have not done so of late. The Jehovah Witness ladies did. RT

#conviction #evangelism

January 2017 Issue of Christian Worker (Competing Voices)

Here’s a link to the latest PDF issue of the Christian Worker.

Here are the topics you will find:

  • Competing Voices (Cody Westbrook)
  • Bible Passages (John W. Moore)
  • Faith vs. Doubt (Jason Jackson)
  • Compromise vs. Conviction (Kevin Cauley)
  • Sin vs. Repentance (Pat McIntosh)
  • Complacency vs. Fervency (Jon Williams)
  • Selfishness vs. Selflessness (Rick Brumback)

Christian Worker is an edification effort of the Southwest church of Christ in Austin, Texas.

You can subscribe to the email version of the Christian Worker paper by clicking on the publications link on their website and then following the given instructions.

Copyright © 2017 Southwest church of Christ, All rights reserved.

#complacency, #compromise, #conviction, #doubt, #faith, #inner-voice, #repentance, #resource, #selfishness, #selflessness, #sin, #the-power-of-influence, #zeal

Inconsistencies concerning the conviction and correction of a sinner and the Holy Spirit

There are some in the religious world, and perhaps even several within the church herself, who consistently claim that the Holy Spirit convicts the hearts of sinners through means outside of the word of God. Although I believe that most are sincere in their claim, I also believe the majority of those who are sincere are also inconsistent with their belief.

This inconsistency is seen when one person who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a “religious experience” attempts to inform another individual who has been convicted by the Holy Spirit via a differing “religious experience” resulting in a salvation, belief and testimony from a completely different process that their experience was wrong and then they attempt to use the word of God to prove it.

Do you see the inconsistency?

If conviction (salvation) for the sinner comes from a religious experience and not from the word of God alone, then what does it matter if one “religious experience” matches another? Who is to say that anyone’s “experience” is wrong whether we’re talking about Joseph Smith or Charles Russell or Ellen G. White or any TV preacher who calls on people to lay hands on the TV for their religious experience?

Furthermore, the inconsistency of the position is revealed through the very attempt made at correcting the inconsistent “religious experience” by using the consistency of the word of God.

If the word of God is going to be used as the guideline for correcting error, then the very word of God, by default, becomes the standard by which the conviction should have taken place to begin with. You cannot honestly say that a conviction can come by the Holy Spirit operating directly on someone outside of the word of God and then turn around and tell someone their experience of that “direct operation” was wrong because it does not align with what the Spirit teaches through the word – that’s inconsistent!

The truth of the matter is that when it comes to the conviction and correction (that leads to salvation) of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of a sinner, the work of Spirit is accomplished through the consistent guidance of His word and not through the inconsistent “religious experiences” that vary and contradict each other and the word of God itself.

But if your belief is that the direction operation of the Holy Spirit is indeed the mode of conviction and correction that God has chosen, then you would do well to stop saying that the “religious experiences” of others resulting from that direct operation is in error because if there is going to be no consistency then attempting to be consistent is very inconsistent within itself.

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:36-38)

#conversion, #conviction, #direct-operation-of-the-holy-spirit, #holy-spirit, #religious-experience

Thieves With A Conscience by Brett Pertillo

A group of thieves broke into a building and stole computers and equipment.  What they didn’t know at the time was they were stealing from a non-profit organization that helps victims of sexual assault.  Once they discovered this, they felt bad for what they had done.  The following night, they brought back everything they stole in a shopping cart and even included a hand written apology note which said (grammatical mistakes included), “We had no idea what we were takeing.  Here your stuff back we hope that you guys can continue to make a differenence in peoples live.  God bless” (ABC Local).

First of all, it’s ironic that the same people who were sinning called for God’s blessings.  Aside from this, one wonders what was going through these thieves’ minds.  Did they think returning the items made everything OK?  Even though these robbers made a good decision in returning the stolen items, they were the ones who committed the felony in the first place.  Sometimes people misunderstand what true repentance is.  These thieves likely thought they were making things right and repenting of what they had done, even if they didn’t put it in so many words.  However, it’s clear this was not an action of repentance, but just a rare blip on the conscience meter.

What does true repentance really look like?  First, true repentance is a 180-degree turn (Acts 3:19).  A person who is walking towards sin completely changes direction, putting his back to sin, and begins walking towards God.  Second, true repentance is found in the person who is sickened by their actions and is committed to changing his ways (2 Corinthians 7:10).  After sinning with Bathsheba, David wrote a psalm that perfectly displays this point (Psalm 51).

It’s fairly easy to feel and act “sorry” for the things we have done.  Sometimes we will even go so far as to try and smooth things over with those we have wronged.  However, let’s keep in mind that true repentance is about a sincere 180-degree change, feeling guilty, and being committed and determined not to repeat past mistakes.  May we have the courage to repent and turn our backs to sin when the need arises.

from BP’s Fuel For Thought – Brett Petrillo – Bear Valley church of Christ – Denver, CO

#brett-petrillo, #conscience, #conviction, #description-of-repentance, #god, #guilt, #repentance, #sermon-illustrations, #sin, #theft

What I must do to be saved

Though I have already violated the “summary” approach in this post – I thought I would offer this which I preached anyway. The outline is not exactly how I preached it; in fact, I don’t think it is that close, but it is what I intended and it preached even better.

Acts 16:31-33

  1. Every now and again there is an appropriateness to review what the Bible says regarding salvation. It is an important question and one that is not to be minimized at all. To begin, we need to start with Abraham (Romans 4:1-8, 16-22). The kind of faith one finds in this reading is a faith that is much more than an acknowledgement of one’s belief in God’s existence.  It is a conviction and a response (Hebrews 11:6, 1). Because of such a response to God, because of such an understanding that God is the very essence of love, man responds (1 John 4:15-19). Man responds by obeying from the heart that teaching (form of doctrine) that delivers us from sin (ROMANS 6:16-18). Of course, this implies that one has a clear understanding of what sin is and how damning it actually is.
  2. It is likely that you (as an individual) try to do that which is right. You have been raised that way, and you understand its value. When you do what is right you believe there is a reward in such an approach to life. What is that reward? That you believe there is is obvious because you are currently doing it – even if you don’t KNOW what the reward is. You hope it is heaven, but you don’t actually know whether it is or not. The idea of judgment in an eternal hell is as disagreeable to you as it is to any thoughtful person. The Lord has made it clear to each who seeks to understand that doing what one thinks is right in life is inadequate (Acts 23:1).
  3. What the Lord teaches is that man’s ability to KNOW and do what is right must have an origin that is higher than himself (Jeremiah 10:23; Romans 3:23 and 6:23). This is the message of the Lord, His apostles, and each generation of preachers that have since followed. It is a message that is consistent, but one that a great many people refuse to hear. Thus, when the Lord spoke as He did in Matthew 7:13-14, He warned man of the seriousness of the matter.
  4. What must I do to be saved? This brings us to an application of LOVE. Love is that which seeks what is best. We often use it in the context of another, but in this context, we want to understand it in relation to ourselves. Do you love yourself? It is not likely that you even considered the question, much less the answer to the question. That it is true, however, is evident because you will seek that which is best for you in life – we all do it! Well, the Lord has told us about the temporary nature of life and He has made known His love toward us in Christ (John 3:16). The Philippians jailor understood death and salvation. When he dropped down in front of Paul and Silas, he understood enough about that which resided in their heart to inquire of them, especially given what had just taken place. You can be sure that Paul and Silas helped the rough-cut man understand love as seen and lived in Christ.
  5. A person who does understand sin, a person who does understand love will ask the same question the jailor asked. He will ask the question because he knows better than anyone that life with all of its joys has much that is painful, and that pain that is brought about demands a greater explanation than what many give. He can’t seem to DO enough to be saved, to give him some adequate answer that is more than current life. To ask the question, then, is to understand what it means to be saved. Paul told the jailor he must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. This response is similar to Abraham’s response; it is more than an acknowledgment, it is a life-changing response. Peter told those who were present on Pentecost they needed to “repent and be baptized.” This life-changing response is now “not my will be done, but thine be done.”
  6. SALVATION is found only in Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). If you would be saved, then you will submit to His authority, His love, and His commands. If you think He will accept you into the eternal realm without submitting to His authority, you are right. His acceptance, however, will be a pointing to His left (Matthew 25:33, 46).

#conviction, #faith, #salvation

Be a man and answer God

Job experienced an extended time of suffering. He asked God why he was in such misery. His friends said he was guilty of sin. He protested and maintained the fact that he was innocent. Job desired an audience with God so he could speak to Him about struggles. Job stood defiantly before God and sought an audience to plead his case. He demanded a judicial hearing but got far more than he expected. “Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.” (Job 31:35) He said, “Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” (Job 13:3) We may ask for something that we do not really want when we get it. Job was given an opportunity to face God but it was not at all what he expected. Speaking from a whirlwind God said to Job, “Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?” (Job 40:6-9) Job was overwhelmed and humbled. He admitted his own unworthiness and inability to answer.

We might likewise be very humbled if God questioned us. What might God ask us in our hearing before Him?

God might ask us, “Who are you who teach everything but the truth?” God asked Job, “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:2) God doth not charge Job, as his three friends had done, with hypocrisy and living a sinful life. He charged Job concerning his words. He spoke words without knowledge. His words proceeded from ignorance. God could easily say the same thing about all the false teaching of our day. Peter wrote, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.” (2 Peter 2:1) There are many false teachers in this Christian age. They subvert both truth and holiness and bringing upon themselves swift destruction. The sad thing about false teachers is that, “Many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.” (2 Peter 2:2) God might ask us, “Who are you who teach everything but the truth?” Continue reading

#charles-box, #conviction, #evangelism, #job, #self-examination

Illustration: Purpose in Life

Josh McDowell told this great story:

An executive hirer, a “headhunter” who goes out and hires corporation executives for other firms, once told me, “When I get an executive that I’m trying to hire for someone else, I like to disarm him. I offer him a drink, take my coat off, then my vest, undo my tie, throw up my feet and talk about baseball, football, family, whatever, until he’s all relaxed. Then, when I think I’ve got him relaxed, I lean over, look him square in the eye and say, “What’s your purpose in life?” It’s amazing how top executives fall apart at that question.

“Well, I was interviewing this fellow the other day, had him all disarmed, with my feet up on his desk, talking about football. Then I leaned up and said, ‘What’s your purpose in life, Bob?’ And he said, without blinking an eye, ‘To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.’ For the first time in my career I was speechless.”

What a great answer! Clearly, this was something Bob often thought about and actually lived. Put yourself in this interview for a minute. What would you have said to this executive headhunter? Would you have an answer or would you fumble around trying to think about the right thing to say?

Many times we as Christians have been told about the purpose of life. The problem is, we don’t take it literally. We may know the right answer, t we don’t actually think it and live it. Can something really be our purpose in life if we rarely think about it and don’t live it? Certainly not.

Bob had it right. Our purpose in this life is to get to heaven (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Matthew 7:21-27; 1 Peter 3:21), and take as many with us as we can (Matthew 28:19-20). Let’s not just know, but actually LIVE the purpose of this life, “To go to heaven and take as many people with me as I can.”

by Brett Petrillo, via “The Daily Bread” e-devotional, Bear Valley Church of Christ (Denver, CO), 4/3/2012

#conviction, #illustrations, #purpose, #purpose-in-life, #spiritual-purpose

Illustration: Conviction

Wesley Britt was a 6-foot-8-inch, 312-pound lineman for the Crimson Tide (University of Alabama)…

He was one of 22 football players nationwide chosen to the Playboy All-American team.  With the honor came a free week at the mansion, the opportunity to meet Hugh Hefner, and a chance to be pampered by real-life Playboy bunnies.  And, yet, Wesley turned it all down.  He said, “Initially, I was like, ’Yeah, I’m going to take it.  It’s a great honor.  But, after thinking about it for a while, I decided this is not one of my goals.  I put God first, and I set my goals for Him.  I talked to God about it, and I felt it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

KneEmail: “According to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (Phil. 1:20).

THOUGHT: How is Christ magnified in you?

via KneEmail e-devotional, ed. Mike Benson, 1/31/2007

#conviction, #illustrations

Illustration: Service, Activity

“In the battle of life it’s not the critic that counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of a deed could have done it better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotion, spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows in the end the triumph of high of achievement; and who at worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who have tasted neither victory nor defeat.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

What about us?  Are we involved in the Lord’s work?  Are we “in the arena” in the local congregation, or are we the critic standing on the sideline?  Brethren, let’s “get in the arena”!!!

#action, #activity, #conviction, #illustrations, #service

“You’ll be a man, my son.”

I never think of what a real man is without thinking of the beautiful poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling. In high school I had to memorize it. In later life we bought the print, had it framed and gave it to our son for a gift. It is too long to insert here, but if you have never read it I think you would enjoy it. It is easily found on the Internet.

#boldness, #character, #compassion, #conviction, #judgment, #moral

What Is A Real Man?

The Nudge is asking what a real man is.

A real man is:

1. A man with deep convictions.
2. A man of boldness.
3. A man of character and integrity.
4. A man who does not fear reprisals.
5. A man who is not willing to compromise.
6. A man who is willing to suffer for the cause of Christ.
7. A man of grief and compassion.
8. A man who is not afraid to proclaim God’s judgment.
9. A man who is not afraid to rebuke sin.
10. A man who is not afraid to speak out on morality and ethics.
11. A man who has a never-give-up attitude.
12. A man of the Book.

See article:

My Thanksgiving holiday was great except for my terrible cold and my sore right foot due to a bout with gout. No matter – God is still good and still reigns over the affairs of men!

#boldness, #character, #compassion, #compromise, #conviction, #ethic, #fear, #grief, #integrity, #judgment, #moral, #proclaim, #reprisal, #sin, #suffer

The final test of a leader is that he le…

The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on.

Walter Lippmann, American journalist, author and public philosopher (1889-1974)

#conviction, #leader, #test

Conviction is worthless unless it is con…

Conviction is worthless unless it is converted into conduct.

Thomas Carlyle, Scottish historian and author (1795-1881)

#conduct, #conviction