“If evangelists were not supported, then many people would never have an opportunity to hear and obey the gospel. Those who live the gospel know this. Diotrephes’ behavior, however, was disrupting the evangelistic function of the body of Christ because he was threatening Gaius and others who supported the preaching of the gospel. In contrast to living the gospel, he was doing evil by obstructing the evangelistic function of the body of Christ.” —Roger Dickson
“Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.”
What Paul preached came from God. It alone is true. Therefore, it cannot be modified in any way. Whoever changes it stands under God’s condemnation, because he gave it to save.
Is what the Bible says the only truth about God and plan of redemption? Yes! No other book, no other message, carries the divine stamp. Philosophies and theologies are useless to save.
The people who fuel bad ideas are often the very people trying to destroy them. Experts will argue against a bad idea until they are blue in the face and then get exasperated when people continue to believe them. But they fail to realize they spent 90 percent of their time discussing why a bad idea is false and only 10 percent explaining how a good idea is true. In other words, they gave the bulk of their time and attention to a bad idea.
What is someone more likely to remember? The thing you spent 90 percent of your time talking about? Or the thing you spent 10 percent of the time talking about? Experts wonder why people continue to believe bad ideas, but fail to realize that they are giving bad ideas far too much airtime.
Thus, we get to one of the key features of debunking wrong beliefs:
The best thing that can happen to a bad idea is that it is forgotten. The best thing that can happen to a good idea is that it is shared. Don’t waste time explaining why bad ideas are bad. Instead, explain why good ideas are good.
Spend your energy explaining why good ideas are right, not what bad ideas are wrong. Do not fan the flame of ignorance and stupidity. Spread intelligent ideas.
Thus, it is better to pour your energy into good ideas and let bad ideas fade away. —James Clear
Is there something to apply here to the preaching and teaching of the gospel?
I recall a teacher, in a course on denominational doctrines, saying that the best way to refute a false teaching was to put forth positively what the Bible teaches on the subject. I forgot much of what we studied in that course, but that principle has always stuck with me, even in moments when I didn’t practice it in the best way.
“After calling the apostles back, they had them beaten. They ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, then let them go.”
Acts 5.40 CEB
From the beginning, the faith encountered opposition. The gospel challenges vested interests by calling all to repentance and offering Christ as the only way.
What now? When persecuted (or to avoid it to start with), do we keep quiet to keep from rocking the boat? Or do we proclaim Christ as fervently as ever?
“Paul replied, ‘I pray to God that whether in a short or a long time not only you but also all those who are listening to me today could become such as I am, except for these chains.'”
The apostle Paul used his time before King Agrippa, when he was supposed to offer his defense, to proclaim the gospel. He was open about his purpose to save others.
Do we spend our time making friends before proclaiming the gospel, thinking that we must build relationships first? Or are we open about our purpose, to teach others how to be saved?
Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
(1 John 3:21-22 ESV)
Возлюбленные! если сердце наше не осуждает нас, то мы имеем дерзновение к Богу, и, чего ни попросим, получим от Него, потому что соблюдаем заповеди Его и делаем благоугодное пред Ним. (1-e Иоанна 3:21-22 Russian)
O LORD my God, hear the prayers of every person who has faith enough to cry out to you in praises of thanksgiving and sincere requests. Thank you dear Father for the easy availability of your Scriptures that contain the greatest treasure on earth – the keys to eternal life through faith in your beloved Son. Help all the Transformed of the earth to live in such a righteous manner that the gospel message will remain the most attractive story in print. Give us lucid minds so that we will retell the great story of love over and over to people who are in need of salvation and hope that never dies. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
David Binkley, Sr. Gospel Minister
“For you yourselves know, brothers and sisters, about our coming to you—it has not proven to be purposeless.”
1 Thessalonians 2.1
When the gospel is preached, God brings forth fruit. The truth is not without effect. Paul recalled the conversion of the Thessalonians. His work among them was the best answer to critics who charged him with disinterest or hidden motives.
How does our work show our purpose and motives? How can you be sure that the gospel will bear fruit?
“Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went” Acts 8:4.
This statement has always run counter to what I’ve observed in the my two decades of ministry. If evangelism is to happen, then every factor in people’s lives have to be perfect. After things are going well in the marriage, with the kids, with finances, at work, and with friends, then life is stable enough to think about telling someone else about Jesus. But, as long as even just one piece of our life’s puzzle is out of place, then we shrink back into ourselves to lick our wounds and figure it out.
Guess how often Satan is going to make sure that you have a struggle going on if it will keep God’s people from preaching the gospel? Always.
Not Christians in the first century! Like coals of a fire when a large log is thrown onto them, they spread and catch onto other tinder. How frustrated Satan must have been during the early decades of Jesus’ church! Nothing he threw at them worked; those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.
How could that be us again? We tell of other things that are important to us. The gospel must become important. Our faith must grow.
Are you telling the gospel?
“Now those who had been forced to scatter went around proclaiming the good news of the word.”
All except the apostles were forced to leave Jerusalem because of the persecution launched after Stephen’s death.
The Good News is what got them persecuted, but because all the saints understood that they had been give a mission by the Lord, they continued to proclaim it.
Christians must try to teach Bible truth and correct “those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:24-26 NKJV). Those who contradict Bible place themselves in opposition, and need to “know the truth,” because some are not “straightforward about the truth of the gospel” (Galatians 2:14 NKJV). They are ensnared of the Devil and need to “come to their senses,” or be sane, again! The Devil’s doctrine “captivates,” but knowledge of God’s truth, frees a person to do God’s will.” Repentance is that change of heart that will make the difference. God “now commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 NKJV).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.
“Now it was for this very purpose that the gospel was preached to those who are now dead, so that though they were judged in the flesh by human standards they may live spiritually by God’s standards.”
1 Peter 4.6
God’s standards are to suffer in the flesh and finish with sin (v. 1), to do his will (v. 2), and to refuse the pressure of what non-Christians desire (vv. 3-4), on whom judgment will come (v. 5).
What is the purpose of the gospel?
“Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus the city treasurer and our brother Quartus greet you.”
Hospitality in the New Testament is a missionary function.
How can you use your home to further the gospel?
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (2 Corinthians 5:18-19)
Все же от Бога, Иисусом Христом примирившего нас с Собою и давшего нам служение примирения, потому что Бог во Христе примирил с Собою мир, не вменяя людям преступлений их, и дал нам слово примирения. (2-е Коринфянам 5:18-19 Russian)
O LORD God, I call upon you, my strength, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer and dear Father in heaven in whom I trust for eternal life and for daily sustenance. Thank you Lord for making it possible for the gospel message to reach from Jerusalem to America where it found its way into my heart. Those people who faithfully did their work as ministers of reconciliation brought me hope of everything that is good in this life and the next to come. Be with everyone who works fervently and wholeheartedly to carry this message of truth. Help us to realize fruit from our labors, but if not, may the planted seed bear fruit that sprouts up into eternal life. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
David Binkley, Sr.
Gospel Minister, Cedar Key FL
Often when we speak of spiritual threats, we’re mocked or ignored as alarmists. Yet, when someone of great importance and special insight speaks, we should certainly listen and heed their warnings. Continue reading
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father? They said to Him, ‘The first’” (Matthew 21:28-31 NKJV). Jesus shows the difference between saved and lost. The first son refused to do his father’s will at first, but “regretted” his decision, changed his mind and obeyed. The second son represents sinners who say they believe, and may even claim they have obeyed, but actually have a “faith only” attitude: without works! Which son has obeyed? “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16 NKJV).
This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.