Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Are We Evangelistic?

Evangelism needs to be an important part of our Christian lives. It is God’s desire that men and women would accept His free offer of salvation. 2 Peter 3:9 states god’s desire; “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Then in Romans 10: 17 Paul tells us that faith comes by hearing God’s word. It is necessary for believers to share God’s word with the unsaved so that they can clearly hear the plan of salvation. God so loved the world that He sent his Son to die on the cross to make salvation possible for anyone who will believe (John 3:16).

Believers need to follow Jesus’ example in loving those who need salvation. In Jesus’ Galilean ministry in Matthew 9 Jesus traveled through the different cities and villages teaching and preaching the gospel message of the kingdom, then in verse 36 we are told that Jesus “was moved with compassion” because they were like sheep with no shepherd. Then in John 4 we again see the love of Jesus as He talked with the woman at the well. She was so grateful to Jesus that she shared the good news with her fellow Samaritans. As a result of her message, the men of the city sought after Jesus. As they were coming to Jesus, He replied to His disciples in verse 35 that the fields “are white already to harvest.” It seems logical to believe that Jesus was pointing to the men coming to Him through the fields and explaining to His disciples that there are many people who need to hear the truth about Him. By implication, Jesus expected His disciples to share the truth with the multitudes. Likewise, every Believer should share Christ’s concern for the unsaved by proclaiming the gospel to them so that they too can experience God’s saving grace.

Peter explains in 1Peter 3:15 that believers should always be ready to share their hope in Christ with anyone who asks. God provided believers with an incredible salvation and hope through accepting Christ as their savior. We should be extremely grateful for God’s grace and share that grace and hope to those who need it most. After all, God expects His children to share the gospel with others. In 1 Peter 2:9 Peter explains that we are God’s special people as believers and because of this fact we “should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The idea behind the Greek word “to shew forth” is to “proclaim.” Believers are to proclaim the Excellencies of God. Our excellent God saw fit to provide salvation and we need to proclaim to others how our marvelous God saved us and will save them too, if they will believe on His Son.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


After the death of Aaron at mount Hor, the children of Israel started on their journey around the land of Edom. V.4 explains that the people were discouraged over taking the long way around Edom. Once again, the people were complaining about Moses’ leadership and the lack of food and water in the wilderness. Ultimately though, the people were complaining against God and His provision and protection. They were upset with Moses for taking them out of Egypt to die in the wilderness. They quickly forgot about God’s miraculous protection. They also despised God’s provision of manna by calling it “worthless” or “miserable” bread (v.5).

Complaining against God was a very serious matter that resulted in God sending poisonous serpents as a judgment against the people (v.6). The serpents bit the people injecting them with lethal poison that killed many and caused discomfort to the rest. For the first time in the wilderness journey the people of Israel actually seemed to genuinely repent of their sin and called upon Moses to intercede for them by asking God to take away the serpents.

God answered Moses by commanding him to craft a bronze serpent to be fastened upon a pole. Anyone who was bitten by the serpents was to look upon the bronze serpent to live. In other words, if the people wanted to survive the snake bites, they had to look in faith to the bronze serpent trusting God to deliver them from the poison. It is interesting to note that God did not immediately take away the serpents even though he made provision for the people to survive the venom. The people had to suffer the consequences of their sin until God decided to take away the serpents. God forgives sin, but that does not mean that He will spare the consequences.

Israel’s deliverance was not through the bronze serpent, but through God’s provision and grace. The bronze serpent became God’s means of deliverance. For some of the people, the serpent would remind them of Satan’s deception in the Garden of Eden (Gen.3). Throughout all of time, snakes have never been in great favor with most of mankind. Ronald Allen notes that the Lord transformed a detestable image of death into a source of life and deliverance. The people were forced to look upon the very thing that represented what was killing them and by an act of faith had to trust in God who controlled life and death.

In John 3 we find the account of Jesus sharing with Nicodemus his need for salvation. In v.14 Jesus references the Numbers account of the bronze serpent. Jesus explains that the “Son of man” must be “lifted up” just as Moses lifted up the bronze serpent in the wilderness for the people to survive the snake bites. What does Jesus mean by this? In order to provide salvation for mankind, Jesus had to be “lifted up” and die on a cross for the sins of mankind. 2 Corinthians 5:21 explains that Jesus became sin for man and paid the penalty for the sins of the one who will believe and accept God’s free salvation. Just like in the Numbers passage, the “curse” became the basis for deliverance.

Based upon the analogy in Numbers 21, Jesus was telling Nicodemus in John 3:14 that he, along with all of mankind, had to look in faith to Jesus to receive spiritual life just as the Israelites had to look upon the bronze serpent for physical life. There was nothing Nicodemus or any man could do to earn his own salvation. Salvation can only come through the Lord Jesus Christ. Physical deliverance in the Numbers passage and the offered salvation in the John 3 passage both were provisions made by God out of His abundant grace. (Romans 10:13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.