Friday, March 23, 2007

Tuesday morning evangelistic smack-down, #24

Psalm 22:6
(“But I am a worm and not a man” – a verse that gives us a picture of Christ…the Psalm starts with “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”)

When the female of the scarlet worm species was ready to give birth to her young, she would attach her body to the trunk of a tree, fixing herself so firmly and permanently that she would never leave again.

The eggs deposited beneath her body were thus protected until the larvae were hatched and able to enter their own life cycle. As the mother died, the crimson fluid stained her body and the surrounding wood.

From the dead bodies of such female scarlet worms, the commercial scarlet dyes of antiquity were extracted. What a picture this gives of Christ, dying on the tree, shedding his precious blood that he might "bring many sons unto glory" (Heb
2:10")! He died for us, that we might live through him! " Ps 22:6" describes such a worm and gives us this picture of Christ. (cf. "Isa 1:18") (from page 73, "Biblical Basis for Modern Science", 1985, Baker Book House, by Henry Morris)

Creeds are nice…but…
“The fact is that the Sermon on the Mount is not in our creeds. As the Apostle’s Creed now stands you can accept every words of it and leave the essential self untouched. Suppose we had written it in our creeds and had repeated each time with conviction: ‘I believe in the Sermon on the Mount and in its way of life, and I intend, Godhelping me, to embody it’! What would have happened? I feel sure that if this had been our main emphasis, the history of Christendom would have been different.” (
E. Stanley Jones, The Christ of the Mount)

Barna’s Latest:
Some population segments are notorious church avoiders. For instance, 47% of political liberals are unchurched, more than twice the percentage found among political conservatives (19%). African Americans were less likely to be unchurched (25%) than were whites (32%) or Hispanics (34%). Asians, however, doubled the national average: 63% were unchurched! Single adults continued a historic pattern of being more likely than married adults to stay away from religious services (37% versus 29%, respectively).

Residents of the West (42%) and Northeast (39%) remain the most church resistant, while those in the South are the least prone to avoid religious services (26%). Sexual orientation is closely related to church status, too: while about one-third of heterosexuals are unchurched (31%), half of the homosexual public (49%) met the unchurched criteria.

Within the various faith communities residing in the U.S., Christians are the most consistent church goers. A majority of the adults (61%) who are associated with a faith other than Christianity had not attended any type of religious service in the past half-year. In fact, people aligned with a faith other than Christianity are two-and-a-half times as likely as self-designated Christians to be unchurched (61% versus 24%, respectively).

Looking at the distinctions within the Christian population, evangelicals are the most reliable church goers: just 1% is unchurched. Born again Christians who are not evangelical also had a pretty formidable attendance record: only one out of every six (16%) were unchurched. However, adults who call themselves Christian but are not born again were by far the least reliable church goers within the Christian realm (32% were unchurched).

Catholics have traditionally been more consistent in church attendance than Protestants. However, in the mid-nineties that trend reversed course, and Catholics have been more likely than Protestants to earn the unchurched label throughout the past decade. Currently the gap between the two segments of Christians is five percentage points, with a higher percentage among Catholics (25% are unchurched) than Protestants (20% are unchurched). More, here.

On Keeping Redhot for the Outgoing Gospel Until the Day You Die
“Even when I am old and gray,
do not forsake me, O God,
till I declare your power to the next generation,
your might to all who are to come.”
(Psalm 71:18)

Trouble-causers (Ajith Fernando):
Of what “crime” were the Christians accused? “These men…have caused trouble all over the world!” (Acts 17:6). Is it true? The original Greek statement from which this is translated can be interpreted several ways. Check out these translations and verses.

  • “Christians turn the world upside down” (King James Version). It’s true. Jesus changes people. Examples: Luke 19:1-10; Acts 9:1-20; Acts 19:18-20; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
  • “Christians upset the civilized world” (William Barclay’s translation [Barclay, Acts, 127]). It’s true. Jesus’ values conflict with society’s values. See Matthew 5:3-10; Luke 6:20-36; Luke 16:15; Luke 18:14.
  • “Christians subvert the whole world” (FF. Bruce’s translation [Bruce, Acts, 323]). It’s true. When the Gospel gets into people they become part of a secret force seeking to undermine and overturn the unjust, immoral principles and practices on which godless culture is founded. See Matthew 13:33; Luke 17:20-21; John 19:36; Romans 12:1-21; 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.
  • “Christians cause trouble all over the world” New International Version). It’s true. Christ’s teachings do not please people who don’t want their selfish lifestyles disturbed. Christ’s claims and ideas are often met with discomfort and rage, which leads to trouble. See Luke 12:49-53; John 15:18-16:4.

Faith question: Are you troubling? Subverting? Turning upside down? Upsetting? Causing trouble all over the world? And these…in the name of Jesus and with His love?

Quite an evangelistic hymn (and it has more than four verses!)
Wesley wrote this hymn to com­mem­o­rate the first an­ni­ver­sa­ry of his con­ver­sion to Christ. The stanza that be­gins “O for a thou­sand tongues to sing” is verse seven of Wes­ley’s orig­in­al po­em. This work first ap­peared in 1740.

O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer’s praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of His grace!

My gracious Master and my God,
Assist me to proclaim,
To spread through all the earth abroad
The honors of Thy name.

Jesus! the name that charms our fears,
That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.

He breaks the power of canceled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.

He speaks, and, listening to His voice,
New life the dead receive,
The mournful, broken hearts rejoice,
The humble poor believe.

Hear Him, ye deaf; His praise, ye dumb,
Your loosened tongues employ;
Ye blind, behold your Savior come,
And leap, ye lame, for joy.

In Christ your Head, you then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.

Glory to God, and praise and love
Be ever, ever given,
By saints below and saints above,
The church in earth and heaven.

On this glad day the glorious Sun
Of Righteousness arose;
On my benighted soul He shone
And filled it with repose.

Sudden expired the legal strife,
’Twas then I ceased to grieve;
My second, real, living life
I then began to live.

Then with my heart I first believed,
Believed with faith divine,
Power with the Holy Ghost received
To call the Savior mine.

I felt my Lord’s atoning blood
Close to my soul applied;
Me, me He loved, the Son of God,
For me, for me He died!

I found and owned His promise true,
Ascertained of my part,
My pardon passed in heaven I knew
When written on my heart.

Look unto Him, ye nations, own
Your God, ye fallen race;
Look, and be saved through faith alone,
Be justified by grace.

See all your sins on Jesus laid:
The Lamb of God was slain,
His soul was once an offering made
For every soul of man.

Awake from guilty nature’s sleep,
And Christ shall give you light,
Cast all your sins into the deep,
And wash the Æthiop white.

Harlots and publicans and thieves
In holy triumph join!
Saved is the sinner that believes
From crimes as great as mine.

Murderers and all ye hellish crew
In holy triumph join!
Believe the Savior died for you;
For me the Savior died.

With me, your chief, ye then shall know,
Shall feel your sins forgiven;
Anticipate your heaven below,
And own that love is heaven.



Post a Comment

<< Home