Beloved, do you know what apologetics means? When I first heard someone claiming to be an Apologetic I thought it meant they were apologizing for Christianity. The word actually comes from the Greek word apologia which means “speaking in defense.” All Christians should consider themselves Apologists if they have ever spoken in defense of the hope they have.
Unfortunately, some Christians do not defend the faith purposefully, and without meaning to can do more harm than good. I’ve found the same to be true in many roles in life, such as parenting. If we are not being purposeful parents, thinking clearly and laying out standards and boundaries for our children, they can become confused. When we found out I was pregnant my husband and I set about deciding how we wanted to parent. That purposeful parenting has helped ensure we’re both on the same page and has given our daughter stability and confidence.
I am also a purposeful wife, and like Proverbs 31 depicts so elegantly, I am purposeful in how I run our household. My husband is a Respiratory Therapist, he is purposeful in everything he does at work, with that he is also a full-time student and is able to better balance his school work with his home life and work life. When we fellowship with members of the body of Christ we are purposeful to edify and not tear down. The same needs to be said when we evangelize the lost, our apologetics must be like a well thought out essay.
Today is a day of 144 characters, short, pithy social media posts, written to a generation who typically only reads the title of articles rather than the article itself. How do we give good apologetics to a hashtag crowd? We do it with purpose, we do it in love, with kindness, and mercy towards the lost. There is so much more to apologetics than who’s right and who’s wrong. Christianity is the religion of freedom, for the opening spiritually blind eyes. When Christ told the Jews in John 8:31-33 that if they continued in truth the truth would set them free they were confused. They answered that they were not enslaved to anyone.
This is the attitude of the world, they do not know they are enslaved to sin, they do not know where the depression, anxiety, self-hatred, anger, and fear of death come from. When we tell others about God’s law and about Christ’s sacrifice, we need to remember these two important factors;
Only the Holy Spirit can draw someone to repentance and He blows where He wishes.
Christianity is not on the line, right and wrong is not on the line, the souls of the lost are on the line.
A purposeful Apologetic is a loving, thought-provoking, instructive, kind message given from a prayerful believer to a non-believer in all meekness and humbleness at heart. I encourage you, brethren, do not hide behind a lack of knowledge or experience, equip yourselves, for the warfare is not flesh and blood but against powers and principalities in high places. As always friends be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.
I’m going to take a break for a few weeks from our usual Wednesday testimony to encourage the brethren in a different way. Here recently I stumbled into a conflict within the church that was being handled very poorly by some. As a young believer I was greatly discouraged to see men, old enough to know better, treating elders in the church shamefully, and on social media, for all to see. It sent me where discouragement always sends me, to prayer and study.
God once again encouraged me through His Word, and in my times of praying for these men, I was reminded that they are just that…men. Fallible men will discourage where an infallible God will encourage. And so today I want to talk about a verse that particularly encouraged me during my study. John 8: 1-2
Can you imagine what it must have been like to sit and listen to Him teach? And yet, His earthly ministry was short, eternity is everlasting. This verse encouraged me by reminding me that the things of this world are passing away, the discouragement will come to an end, and eternity will be spent in His glorious majesty. I wonder if we’ll have the chance to sit and hear Him teach? Until then let us hang on every word that was written, for in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh!
One more thing, brethren, slander, and gossip are sins. I’m grieved to see it taken so lightly by so many, let that not be said of you and I. We are to seek peace where it is at all possible. And as always, beloved, be good Bereans and study to show yourself approved!
Beloved, I’m going to discuss something that many others have addressed already. It needs to be repeated, then repeated again, until Christ comes back. The church does not meet on the Lords day to entertain the goats. The church does not meet any day of the week to entertain the goats. John 3:16 is the scripture being taken out of context, for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have ever lasting life.
What is happening in modern churches today is that shepherds are starving the sheep to feed the goats, believing they should bring the whole world in. Rather than expounding Gods Word, exhorting believers, edifying the body, and growing in grace and knowledge, they are busy being ‘relevant’. Why would the church ever feel the need to compete with the world, when friendship with the world is enmity with God? This stems from the desire to have the approval of man rather than the approval of God. It’s also the reason why the back door of these churches are as busy as the front door because the church can not out world the world.
We are supposed to be separate from the world, in it but not of it. The idea of ‘seeker sensitive’ churches needs to be deconstructed. Whom are the seekers? Christ said all those who seek Him will He in no ways cast out. He also said that His sheep hear His voice. Are goats the seekers then? Of course not, the unbelievers filling the churches would sue if they heard a sermon on sin. But Christ told people to go and sin no more, seekers are sheep that know His voice.
What then is the benefit of bringing a mass of unbelievers into a service and entertaining them? They never hear the gospel or repentance, thus they go without salvation. I see two benefits of running a church in this manner, praise for the pastor, and cash in the collection plate. We are called to neither of these ends. Are these ‘churches’ really just the blind leading the blind?
I have a family member who will not hear the gospel or step foot in a church because he believes they are all just businesses making money. This is the danger of setting aside the great commission, to sell our soul and gain the world. In the end, the world will reject them, the gospel is smeared, Gods name is blasphemed, and the sheep go unfed. Please brethren, encourage your pastor and elders to uphold the Word of God and reject the Vanity Fair Church.
As always, friends, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.
Breth-ren we have met to wor-ship and a-dore the Lord our God; Will you pray with all your pow-er, while we try to preach the Word? All is vain un-less the Spir-it of the Ho-ly One comes down; Breth-ren, pray, and ho-ly man-na will be show-ered all a-round.
Breth-ren, see poor sin-ners round you slum-bering on the brink of woe; Death is com-ing, hell is mov-ing–can you bear to let them go? See our fa-thers and our moth-ers and our chil-dren sink-ing down; Breth-ren, pray, and ho-ly man-na will be show-ered all a-round.
Sis-ters, will you join and help us? Mo-ses’ sis-ter aid-ed him; Will you help the trem-bling mourn-ers who are strug-gling hard with sin? Tell them all a-bout the Sav-ior– tell them that He will be found; Sis-ters, pray, and ho-ly man-na will be show-ered all a-round.
Let us love our God su-preme-ly, let us love each oth-er too; Let us love and pray for sin-ners till our God makes all things new. Then He’ll call us home to heav-en, at His ta-ble we’ll sit down;Christ will gird Him-self and serve us with sweet man-na all a-round.
American theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) gives his testimony. I love this, reading a testimony like this, from a brother whose gone home to his Lord, makes heaven somehow nearer, somehow sweeter. God has blessed me beyond measure on this Earth, but I can not deny that I feel a great desire for home. I’m also encouraged to see, in reading these testimonies, that we serve a God who is the same yesterday, today, and always, who is no respecter of man. I hope you’re blessed by this testimony beloved, and as always be good Bereans, study to show yourselves approved.
“The first instance, that I remember, of that sort of inward, sweet delight in God and divine things, that I have lived much in since, was on reading those words, I Timothy 1:17. Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever, Amen. As I read the words, there came into my soul, and was as it were diffused through it, a sense of the glory of the Divine Being; a new sense, quite different from any thing I ever experienced before. Never any words of Scripture seemed to me as these words did. I thought with myself, how excellent a Being that was, and how happy I should be, if I might enjoy that God, and be rapt up to him in heaven, and be as it were swallowed up in him for ever! I kept saying, and as it were singing, over these words of scripture to myself; and went to pray to God that I might enjoy Him, and prayed in a manner quite different from what I used to do; with a new sort of affection. But it never came into my thought, that there was any thing spiritual, or of a saving nature in this.
From about that time, I began to have a new kind of apprehensions and ideas of Christ, and the work of redemption, and the glorious way of salvation by Him. An inward, sweet sense of these things, at times, came into my heart; and my soul was led away in pleasant views and contemplations of them. And my mind was greatly engaged to spend my time in readings and mediating on Christ, on the beauty and excellency of His person, and the lovely way of salvation by free grace in Him…
On January 12, 1723, I made a solemn dedication of myself to God, and I wrote it down; giving up myself, and all that I had to God; to be for the future, in no respect, my own; to act as one that had no right to himself, in any respect. And solemnly vowed, to take God for my whole portion and felicity; looking on nothing else, as any part of my happiness, nor acting as if it were; and His law for the constant rule of my obedience: engaging to fight, with all my might. against the world, the flesh, and the devil, to the end of my life. But I have reason to be infinitely humbled, when I consider, how much I have failed, of answering my obligation…
I have loved the doctrines of the Gospel; they have been to my soul like green pastures. The Gospel has seemed to me the richest treasure; the treasure that I have most desired, and longed that is might dwell richly in me. The way of salvation by Christ, has appeared, in general way, glorious and excellent, most pleasant and most beautiful. It has often seemed to me, that it would, in a great measure, spoil heaven, to receive it in any other way. That text has often been affecting and delightful to me, Isaiah 32:2, And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest,…
It has often appeared to me delightful, to be united to Christ; to have Him for my head, and to be a member of His body; also to have Christ for my teacher and prophet. I very often think with sweetness, and longings, and pantings of soul, of being a little child, taking hold of Christ, to be led by Him through the wilderness of this world. That text, Matthew 18:3, has often been sweet to me, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, … I love to think of coming to Christ, to receive salvation of Him, poor in spirit, and quite empty of self, humbly exalting Him alone; cut off entirely from my own root, in order to grow into, and out of Christ: to have God in Christ to be all in all; and to live by faith on the Son of God, a life of humble, unfeigned confidence in Him…
Once, as I rode out into the woods for my health, in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place, as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a view, that for me was extraordinary, of the glory of the Son of God, as mediator between God and man, and His wonderful, great, full, pure and sweet grace and love, and meek and gentle condescension. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet, appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffably excellent, with an excellency great enough to swallow up all thought and conception ó which continued, as near as I can judge, about an hour; which kept me the greater part of the time, in a flood of tears, and weeping aloud. I felt an ardency of soul to be, what I know not otherwise how to express, emptied and annihilated; to lie in the dust, and to be full of Christ alone; to love him with a holy and pure love; to trust in Him; to live upon Him; to serve and follow Him; and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure, with a divine and heavenly purity. I have, several other times, had views very much of the same nature, and which have had the same effects.
I have, many times, had a sense of the glory of the Third Person in the Trinity, in His office of Sanctifier; in His Holy operations, communicating divine light and life to the soul. God in the communications of His Holy Spirit, has appeared as an infinite fountain of divine glory and sweetness; being full and sufficient to fill and satisfy the soul; pouring forth itself in sweet communications, like the sun in its glory, sweetly and pleasantly diffusing light and life. And I have sometimes had an affecting sense of the excellency of the Word of God as a Word of life; as the Light of life; a sweet, excellent, life-giving Word; accompanied with a thirsting after that Word, that it might dwell richly in my heart…
Though it seems to me, that in some respects, I was a far better Christian, for two or three years after my first conversion, than I am now; and lived in a more constant delight and pleasure; yet of late years, I have had a more full and constant sense of the absolute sovereignty of God, and a delight in that sovereignty; and have had more of a sense of the glory of Christ, as a Mediator revealed in the Gospel. On one Saturday night, in particular, I had such a discovery of the excellency of the Gospel above all other doctrines, that I could not but to say to myself, ëThis is my chosen light, my chosen doctrine,í and of Christ, ëThis is my chosen Prophet.í It appeared sweet, beyond all expression, to follow Christ, and to be taught, and enlightened, and instructed by Him; to learn of Him, and live to Him. ” Reference
As I mull over what to write about every Tuesday my mind is frequently brought back to the bad doctrine I had taken in for over a decade. Once I was made a new creature, the old man passed away, and remembering my old life seems now like watching a rerun of a show you’ve seen too many times. It’s good for me to remember how easily fooled I was by these false teachers, and gives me a greater compassion for those still being deceived. That being said, my greatest sorrow comes from the Holy Spirit is spoken of falsely.
To what doctrine am I referring to? The false doctrine that ‘believers’ shouldn’t be convicted of sin. As I researched this one the memories came flooding back. This doctrine is like scales on the eyes, wax in the ears, and calluses built up around the heart. I used the idea that all conviction of sin was from the accuser of the brethren. Essentially I was giving credit to Satan for the work of the Holy Spirit, I was a Pharisee. Why did I make this mistake? Because I was fooled into believing that the prayer I said as a teenager meant I was no longer under condemnation. The false teachers of today stand boldly before the goats and proclaim them free from condemnation, and subsequently, from the conviction of sin as well. It’s the lies of the devil! I closed my eyes, plugged my ears, and hardened my heart to the saving work of the Holy Spirit. Then I maligned His name by announcing His work to be the work of the enemy.
What’s the truth though? How do we refute the wolves in sheep’s clothing teaching these blasphemous doctrines? We use scripture. Sola Scriptura is the very doctrine that will save people out of these false teachings. What do the scriptures say? They say that the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus Christ Messiah convict us of sin. All throughout scripture we are being convicted of sin. 1 John is a ringing indictment to all those preaching such false doctrines.
Why are we being convicted of sins? Because God wants to make us feel bad? No. God wants us to repent, to turn away from our sins. The wages of sin is death! We, as truly converted believers, are sensitive to the chastisement of the Holy Spirit. When I am convicted I don’t recoil in anger, I praise God that He is working in me! Friendship with the world is enmity with God. I want nothing to do with the world, I am so thankful that God has seen fit to not only save me but to sanctify me. I am wretched, He is full of mercy.
To conclude beloved, the work of the Holy Spirit to convict sins is to create a bride for the bridegroom that is without blemish. We should be thankful for this work because he who the Father loves the Father chastens. If you are not being convicted of your sins, I would encourage you to work through your salvation with fear and trembling. Take the whole counsel of God! As always friends, be good Bereans and study to show yourselves approved.
This is a warning to the beloved bride of Christ. I’ve recently heard this phrase that reminded me what righteous indignation feels like. Perhaps you’ve heard it?
“You look at the dead letter, I search for the living word.”
This is to say that those of us who rely on the Bible are going by the ‘dead letter’ and those who receive extra-biblical ‘words’ supposedly from God are getting living words.
The warning I want to give you all is to run, don’t walk, run from any teacher or preacher who teaches this blasphemous phrase. The reproaches that are falling on Him, fall on me and I’m grieved to hear such falsehoods spoken of Gods Holy Word. As some have spoken, the very dust on the Bible is gold! Friends, understand that we do not worship a book, we worship the living God who inspired the book. However, every false teaching, or cult, has begun by someone supposedly receiving a word from God that should be held above Gods Word.
Beloved, if we are true followers of Jesus Christ we need to look to Him as our example. To what did He look to, point to, refer to while on Earth? The Word of God. How often did he ask is it not written? If the sovereignty of God in His written Word was good enough for our Lord, it should be good enough for us.
That Word specifically tells us that, though in past times God chose to speak to His people in different ways, in these last days He spoke to us through His Son.
We need to test every spirit, we need to be watchful, sober-minded, and spiritually discerning. This is why I exhort you always, friends, study and pray! Be good Bereans, study to show yourselves approved. Grievous wolves have crept in unawares.