It is a fact that a relationship, a union with Jesus Christ will change your life. It is undeniable that if God the Father grants repentance unto life and saving faith to a person, that person is radically changed by this gospel of grace.
“Therefore if anyone is Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove your heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statues and be careful to obey my rules. ” – Ezekiel 36:26-27
“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” – John 3:7-8
Regenerated Christians are not people who scoff at the commands of Jesus. They are not people who deny the Scriptures’ inspiration, authority, and rule for life. They are not people who hate other believers. Yet this is the “Christian” that our churches produce. I say that because week after week it is the “Christians” who scoff at Christ, deny the Scriptures, and hate the brethren.
They boast that they have been Christians all of their lives. They boast in their confirmation. They boast in having a position of prominence in a campus ministry. They boast in how many times they have read the Bible. One young woman once boasted in the fact she had confessed her sins to a priest that very day at 3pm. They boast in the fact that they will in fact be in a church building on Sunday. They boast in every work, ordinance and deed under the known to man EXCEPT the Cross of the Lord Jesus Christ! And as a Christian, that is to be your only boast!
“For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.” – Galatians 6:13-15
I write the paragraph above the Galatians passage praying that those who have been called by the power of the gospel to new life in Jesus Christ to stand against this apostasy. To contend for the faith once and for all delivered to the saints. We must love these people with the same love that we love Jesus because the deception is widespread and Jesus is able to save these to the uttermost as any whatsoever. We must love them enough to reason from the Scriptures alone to point to Jesus, trusting that it is gospel that is the power of God for salvation. We must preach the gospel to ourselves.
I would dare say that the largest works-righteousness religion in America is not Judaism, Islam, or Buddhism but this counterfeit, apostate Christianity.
Last Friday the crowds picked up in intensity as the first full week of school ended. But that will be nothing compared with the first home football game weekend, Sept. 3-4. If you have lungs and have a desire to reach the lost, please consider joining us in Athens.
Quickly I will share about an encounter I had on Friday with a student named Abigail. She walked up to me while I was holding the cross and asked what she should be ready for (the cross says “Are you ready?” on it). The bars had let out at this time and it was clear she had been drinking, but the fact this question was asked and she didn’t immediately mock led me to believe she could be under conviction. I asked her if she was ready to stand before Jesus Christ when she died. Her friends tried to pull her away but she wanted to stay, so she told me Jesus knew her heart and she would go to heaven. For the next probably 25 minutes (it seemed like an hour) I pleaded with her from the Scriptures to examine her life according to Jesus’ standard.
She boasted in Jesus knowing her heart. She boasted in reading her Bible everyday and praying. She boasted in having a Christian parent. None of these things will cleanse her of her sins and declare her righteous to enter into the joy of her Master. None of them. There were times where she be admit to living an evil life, but there was no brokenness. Around 3am we ended the conversation and she started to walk home.
At this point, I would like to offer up some counsel.
First Point – Throughout the conversation this young lady was extremely flattering. She told me I was radical Christian, that I loved the Lord and was a good person, that she loved what I was doing for Jesus, etc. These comments were demonic and designed to entice my flesh. She was an attractive girl and Satan knows my weaknesses. But thanks be to God, we have the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture warns of such flattery (Proverbs 5:3) and I was praying at various points of the conversation for him to protect my heart and mind. He did.
Second Point – At the end of the narrative I mentioned that she started to walk home. I did not want her to walk home alone (especially after a guy was hovering around the corner checking her out who, when we asked her about him, she did not know) and so I followed after her. I thought to get my phone but did not take it. Not smart! Even with the noble intention of walking her home, there would be no witness to vindicate me if someone (or even she) brought a false charge against me. Even bringing my phone would have given me a way to call someone. Ugh, not smart! Bobby charged down Clayton St. to go with me to walk her down to her apartment.
So, in point two, I failed. I acknowledge that. Sure enough, at the end she leaned in and wanted to hug me, but I had to move her arms to the side and just shake her hand. What if he hadn’t been there to see that? There was apartment security in the basement deck.
Please pray for us as we continue to labor. Pray for the following people:
Dee (heard a lot of truth, and I mean a lot
Jay (“God-fearing” but did not know the gospel)
Jared (says he believes in Jesus but denies deity of Christ/exclusivity of gospel)
Brittany (took a tract, friend Karen took her away)