The Daily Bread: Have you felt Defeated?

Have you ever felt defeated? Have you felt like you have lost everything? In Psalm 86, David cries out to God. Were you aware that you can pray this same prayer and it could apply to your own life in our current society? I could certainly make a commentary about the Psalm, but I will not. Instead, I encourage you to read it, and then pray it to God. He will hear your voice and minister to you.

Psalm 86 ~ A Prayer of David

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
for I put my trust in you.

You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
Hear my prayer, Lord;
listen to my cry for mercy.
When I am in distress, I call to you,
because you answer me.

Among the gods there is none like you, Lord;
no deeds can compare with yours.
All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.
10 For you are great and do marvelous deeds;
you alone are God.

11 Teach me your way, Lord,
that I may rely on your faithfulness;
give me an undivided heart,
that I may fear your name.
12 I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your love toward me;
you have delivered me from the depths,
from the realm of the dead.

14 Arrogant foes are attacking me, O God;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
they have no regard for you.
15 But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God,
slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.
16 Turn to me and have mercy on me;
show your strength in behalf of your servant;
save me, because I serve you
just as my mother did.
17 Give me a sign of your goodness,
that my enemies may see it and be put to shame,
for you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.

May the Lord bless you! May the Lord restore you! May the Lord shine His face on you, that you may be saved. (cf. Psalm 80:3)

I pray that God will bless you and forgive you of your sin. Jesus is waiting and wanting to come into your heart. Won’t you seek Him?

Copyright © January 29, 2019. Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Disciple Making in the Local Church

Introduction

The Christian community and local church are responsible for spreading the gospel to unbelievers. Once a new convert comes to Christ, the church is responsible to teach and train them in their walk. An analysis and discussion of the Christian community and local church will reveal the roles and importance of the pastor, local church, saints, and spiritual gifts in God’s plan for being and making disciples of Jesus Christ.

How Are Disciples Made in the Local Church and Christian Community?

According to Putman et al., “The true role of the church is to create biblical disciples in relational environments. Following Jesus and the apostles, we seek environments in which disciples are made not just through public gatherings but especially from house to house.”[1] When someone comes to Christ and joins the church, then he or she needs to be mentored in God’s Word. Christian mentors intentionally invest their lives into new converts through relationships. According to Putman et al., before one can be discipled, three things must change in a person’s life, which are the Word of God, the Spirit of God, and the People of God.[2]

Putman et al. wrote, “Church leaders must also create systems in which biblical relationships are available to everyone in the church. It’s the job of a church leader to both administrate biblical relationship and regularly communicate the need for biblical relational environments.”[3] Pastors must also train their congregation to see the need and have the desire for discipleship.[4] The discipleship makers are to make a commitment as well as the one who is being discipled.

Role and Importance of the Local Church

As mentioned previously, pastors must teach their congregants the need and importance of discipleship. Dietrich Bonhoeffer made it very clear as to the importance of the church, which is the body of Christ. Bonhoeffer wrote, “The body of Jesus Christ is the ground of our faith and the source of its certainty; the body of Jesus Christ is the one and perfect gift through which we receive our salvation; the body of Jesus Christ is our new life. It is in the body of Jesus Christ that we are accepted by God from eternity.”[5]  The importance of the body of Christ must be taught to the congregants for them to understand the reason why we must make disciples. Bonhoeffer also wrote, “Christ’s body is the spiritual temple built from living stones (1 Pet. 2:5). Christ is the sole foundation and cornerstone of his temple (Eph. 2:20; 1 Cor. 3:11); at the same time, he himself is the temple (Eph. 2:21) in whom the Holy Spirit dwells, filling and sanctifying the hearts of believers (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). The temple of God is the holy church-community in Jesus Christ. The body of Christ is the living temple of God and of the new humanity.”[6] The key concept is that the church is the body of Christ. It is the responsibility of the body to share their faith and make disciples. According to Rod Dempsey, “The church must be in the absolute middle of God’s global plan of making disciples…. Jesus first mentions the concept of ‘church’ in Matt. 16:18 when He says, ‘And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the forces of Hades will not overpower it.’”[7] Jesus said that the church must take the gospel to others as mentioned in Acts 9:31, not only in spreading the gospel but teaching scripture so that disciples can be made. This is done by the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Role and Importance of the Pastor

Every member of the body of Christ has a gift. According to Dempsey, Pastors are to teach, train, and equip their congregation in how to share their faith as well as teach God’s commandments and way of life.[8] They are to do this in love. J. Robert Clinton wrote, “Godly leaders display love for truth. They study the written Word to feed their own soul as well as others.”[9] As pastors teach believers, they will grow spiritually and develop their own spiritual gifts. Dempsey further expands on this by stating, “Spiritual growth involves the disciple discovering and developing his or her gift (see 1 Pet. 4:10-11), within the body (community of believers), to its full potential, for Christ and His kingdom. As the individual believer grows and matures, the body becomes healthier. The more parts of the body that are working ‘properly’ (as He intended), the healthier the body becomes. The health of the body of Christ should be a very important consideration for the leaders of a church.”[10]

For the pastor to help the disciple, he must invest time into teaching so that the disciple will develop his or her spiritual gifts, then internalize the teachings into their lives, which in turn will help continually transform their hearts for Christ and the gospel.

Role and Importance of Saints

The role and importance of the saints are to “do the ministry.”[11] The saints are the members of the body of Christ which is the church of Jesus Christ. Bonhoeffer states it very well when he wrote, “Since Pentecost, Jesus Christ lives here on earth in the form of his body, the church-community. …To be in Christ means to be in the church-community. But if we are in the church-community, then we are also truly and bodily in Jesus Christ. This insight reveals the full richness of meaning contained in the concept of the body of Christ.”[12] Therefore, the saints are charged with training and investing in others to make disciples. The body of Christ is commanded by Jesus who is head of the church, to take the gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the earth. For a member of the body of Christ to do this, they must be in training by learning and studying God’s Word. Then they can teach others to do the same. We must do this with intentionality so that we can reach others, one person at a time.

One method for saints making disciples is explained by Putman et al, “Many of the churches in the Relational Discipleship Network use this simple blueprint, based on four words. They are Share, Connect, Minister, and Disciple.”[13] To expound on this a little more, Putman et al. wrote, “Jesus shared who he was through words and deeds. When people accepted his message, he invited them to connect with him in relationship. During that time of sharing life together, he taught them the truth about himself. As these disciples grew, Jesus trained them to minister to the lost and to his other followers. Finally, after Jesus rose from the dead, he deployed his followers to disciple others.”[14]

The saints must emulate Christ in their words and actions, share, and invite people to come to Christ. Once people have come to Christ, then we are to associate or connect with new Christians and help them consecrate themselves to God. The next step is to demonstrate service to others as well as delegate disciples to minister to others. The last step is to release the disciple maker to reproduce other disciples. Thus, make disciples who make disciples.[15]

Spiritual Gifts in God’s Plan for Being and Making Disciples

God gives all of us spiritual gifts to perform the ministry in which Jesus has called us to do. According to Aubrey Malphurs, “A Christian, then, could have both a spiritual and a natural gift of leadership or a spiritual gift of leadership plus a natural teaching gift or some other combination.”[16] These gifts surround the believer’s temperament and passion. Malphurs states,

A spiritual gift is a unique, God-given ability for service. Every believer and thus every leader will have one or more of the spiritual gifts, but all leaders will not have necessarily the same gifts nor exercise a gift in the same ministry context. Scripture is clear that all three members of the Godhead are the source of these gifts (Rom. 12:3; 1 Cor. 12:11; Eph. 4:7-11). Finally, the purpose of these gifts is to enable leaders to serve God more effectively, not sit on the sidelines and watch the game (1 Pet. 4:10). The different kinds of spiritual gifts are listed in Rom. 12:3-8; 1 Cor. 12:1-31; Eph. 4:7-16; and 1 Pet. 4:9-11.[17]

God knew what he was doing by giving us spiritual gifts that will help advance the gospel and to make disciples. Although there are many spiritual gifts, which all work towards the glory of God, I will mention three gifts which relate to discipling. They are teaching, leading, and encouragement as stated in Rom.12:3-8. These gifts are necessary in encouraging other Christians and leading them by the teaching of the Word of God. God uses our gifts to assist us in working through our specific ministry in which we were called to do. These gifts will assist us in training other disciples so that they will also discover their own gifts. Without these gifts, we would be on our own struggling in a counterfeit faith. In other words, one cannot have these spiritual gifts unless they were a follower of Jesus Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit. If every believer used their spiritual gift, then the body is edified, people will come to the Lord, the gospel will be spread, and disciples will be made.

Conclusion

In conclusion, it takes the Christian community, the local church, the pastor, the saints, the Holy Spirit, and using our spiritual gifts to make disciples. This involves taking the gospel into our communities, sharing our faith, connecting with new believers, and ministering and teaching them.  This will ultimately lead to making disciples, who will in turn, make disciples. This is not done alone as the body of Christ has many parts and the spiritual gifts bring those parts together, and together disciples are made. Making disciples takes the efforts of all members of the local church. The pastor must teach the Word and lead believers in how to disciple. The believers in the church use their gifts to disciple others. We must become engaged in this process or the church will not reproduce itself. Reproduction is done through intentional relationships. Being a spiritual leader and mentor can help change the lives of the ones we are teaching to be disciples. Earley and Wheeler could not have said it best when they wrote, “When we lead people to Christ, we must stay with them to help them get established in their faith. They can also be carriers of the good news, and the message of the gospel will multiply through their consistent witness.”[18]

Bibliography
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4. Minneapolis, MN: First Fortress Press, 2003.

Clinton, J Robert. The Making of a Leader: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development . 2nd. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2012.

Earley, Dave, and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2010.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is… How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2013.

Malphurs, Aubrey. Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Publishing Group, 2003.

Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E Coleman. Disciple Shift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.

Sproul, R C. The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version. Edited by R C Sproul. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2015.

[1] Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 149.

[2] Putman, DiscipleShift, 149.

[3] Putman, DiscipleShift, 150.

[4] Putman, DiscipleShift, 150.

[5] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4 (Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2003), 213.

[6] Bonhoeffer,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, 224.

[7] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013), 39.

[8] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 41.

[9] J. Robert Clinton, The Making of a Leader 2nd ed.: Recognizing the Lessons and Stages of Leadership Development (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2012), 57.

[10] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 41.

[11] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 41

[12] Bonhoeffer,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, 218.

[13] Putman, DiscipleShift, 153.

[14] Putman, DiscipleShift, 153.

[15] Putman, DiscipleShift, 155-164.

[16] Aubrey Malphurs, Being Leaders: The Nature of Authentic Christian Leadership (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing Group, 2003), 76.

[17] Malphurs, Being Leaders, 77.

[18] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 134.

Submitted to Dr. Morris Baker in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of DSMN500-D03, Discipleship Ministries; Liberty University School of Divinity, April 22, 2018.This paper may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission. Copyright © April 22, 2018, Joseph T. Lee, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights reserved.

Spheres and Stages of Discipleship

Introduction

New converts to Christianity are not being taught properly in how to become disciples. When they come to Christ, many are left alone to learn the ways of the Lord and what God expects from his followers. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the five stages and four spheres of discipleship. I will identify what spheres relate to the centrality of Christ based on Bonhoeffer’s call to the cross. I will conclude the paper with a summary of what it means to be walking and submitting to Jesus Christ.

The Five Stages of Discipleship

The “Five Stages of Discipleship” is a path of progress carrying the mentee into the direction of spiritual maturity. Stage One: Spiritually Dead, describes a person as defined by Ephesians 2:1-5. According to Putman et al., “these people are dead in their transgressions and sins.”[1] Putman et al. also wrote, “People in this stage have not yet accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior. They may reject God, they may be seeking God, they may call themselves spiritual, they may even claim to know God or call themselves Christians, but there is no true fruit in their lives. They may claim to know Jesus, but they do not have the Holy Spirit living in them.”[2] For the disciple to help these people, they must reach out in love and create honest friendships. We are to answer their questions and help them come to an understanding of their unbelief in love and prayer.

Stage Two: Infant, describes people who are new in Christ. Putman et al. referenced in Peter 2:2-3, as “newborn babies craving spiritual milk so they can grow in their salvation.  People in this stage are spiritually alive by deciding to follow Christ, but unfortunately, this is as far as they have gotten in their spiritual walk.”[3] According to Putman et al., “The key concept is that infants don’t know much. They don’t understand yet what it means to follow Jesus. They aren’t aware of the ways in which they need to change.”[4]

Stage Three: Child, describes people who are growing through the leadership of their pastor or teacher. Putman et al. states, “they are beginning to grow in relationships with other Christians as well. They are beginning to apply God’s Word in their lives and are walking with other growing disciples in their spiritual journey.”[5] In contrast, a child may have been a Christian for many years or can be a person who recently came to Christ. The key concept is Christ needs to be taught to people in this stage, to trust God and be obedient to him. According to Putman et al., “They need to learn to trust God in obedience, doing what the Word says rather than what their feelings tell them to do. As they grow, their lives will become more and more about God. They will learn to do the right things for the right reasons. And they will learn what it means to have a servant’s heart, rather than one that is self-centered.”[6]

Stage Four: Young Adult, emphasizes John 2:13-14, which describes people who are spiritually young adults. This stage does not mean literally that they are young adults, but could encompass any age range and the spiritual maturity of the person. Young adults are involved in ministry to others and are grounded in the Word of God. They are Christ centered in their thinking and actions. They put others first as they attempt to carry out the Great Commission. According to Putman et al., “They need deep, ongoing relationships with people who offer encouragement and accountability. They also need help in determining their gifts.”[7]

Stage Five: Parent is the highest goal and stage to achieve. In this stage, the Christian is now considered a teaching disciple. Spiritually mature people make disciples and are strong in Jesus Christ. They have grown to the point that they can now teach others how to be disciples.

The Four Spheres of Discipleship

There are four spheres of Discipleship. The first sphere is the most important sphere as it is the Centrality of a Relationship with God. Putman et al. referenced the first two chapters of Ephesians as the support for this sphere, which is our relationship with God. This is the hub that holds it all together and unites all the spheres together. Without having a personal relationship with Jesus, all the other spheres are in vain. Putman et al. emphasize the head, heart, and hands in three questions. Does the person who is being discipled have a personal relationship with Christ? Has his or her heart been changed? Does his or her life have evidence of change? Are these people willing to go where Christ is leading them?

The second sphere is Relationships within the Family of God, the Church. Putman et al wrote, “Does the person I am discipling know what the Bible teaches about the church and the importance of his or her relationships with other believers? Are they growing in their love for others in the body of Christ? Are they using their skills to minister to others?”[8]

The third sphere is Relationships at Home. This third sphere deals with the relationship of the family and how we can minister to our own families. Paul addresses this in Ephesians 5 and 6. Paul discusses how the husband is to lead his wife and love her, how a wife should respect her husband, how parents are to raise their children, and how children are to obey their parents.[9]

The last sphere is Relationships with the World. As Putman et al. suggests, Paul addresses how believers are to act in the world. We are to interact with unbelievers in love by living our lives like Christ. We are to be missionaries within our own towns and cities. Putman et al wrote, “He teaches disciples to be ethical and consistent and to live in such a way that even if someone does accuse them of doing wrong, the unbelievers will see their good deeds and glorify God.”[10]

What Stage of Discipleship am I in?

The stage of discipleship that I am currently in is a hybrid between a Young Adult and a Parent. I feel a call of God that I just cannot shake. I go to bed thinking about the Lord and I wake up thinking about the Lord. As Putman, et al. had mentioned John 2:13-14, I feel that I have overcome the Evil One and the Word of God does abide in me. I have seen real change in my life, my heart, and my speech. I am involved in ministering to others and have a zeal, energy, and joy as I serve Jesus through my ministry. I also believe that I am in the Parent Stage. I seek to make disciples and mentor those who are in process of growing in Christ.

Sphere Relating to the Centrality of Christ

The main sphere relating to the centrality of Christ would be the first sphere, The Centrality of a Relationship with God. This is the hinge pin that holds all the spheres together. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s call to the cross suggests that disciples will recognize their cross in communion with Christ when they begin to follow the suffering Lord.[11]  Bonhoeffer wrote, “Thus, suffering becomes the identifying mark of a follower of Christ. The disciple is not above the teacher. Discipleship is passio passive (passive suffering), having to suffer. That is why Luther could count suffering among the marks of the true church.”[12] Bonhoeffer mentions the Augsburg Confession. He wrote, “Those who do not want to take up their cross, who do not want to give their lives in suffering and being rejected by people, lose their community with Christ. They are not disciples. But those who lose their lives in discipleship, in bearing the cross, will find life again in following the community of the cross with Christ. The opposite of discipleship is being ashamed of Christ, being ashamed of the cross, being scandalized by the cross.”[13] Without Christ in the center, there is no discipleship.

What Does It Mean to be in Submission to Christ?

A Christian who is in full submission to Christ is a person who loves God will all their heart, soul, and mind. Bonhoeffer wrote, “Everyone enters discipleship alone, but no one remains alone in discipleship. … The promise for those who follow Christ is that they will become members of the community of the cross, they will be people of the mediator, people under the cross.”[14] By submitting to Christ, one is accepting the fact that he or she must bear their own cross alone, and yet in community with other followers of Christ. He or she is responsible for their own salvation and walk with Christ. No one can do it for you.

According to Rod Dempsey, “The church exists to spread the gospel and develop the believer to the point where they become missionaries of the movement.”[15] What is the goal of a missionary? According to Dave Earley, “It is to help people be saved. Yes, they may serve them, feed them, clothe them, doctor them, and/or teach them; but it all is with greater purpose of helping them be saved.”[16] Being in submission to Christ is going all in for him. Not only are we to love God with all our hearts, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves as in Matt. 22:36-40. We are then to apply the Great Commission as in Matt. 28:16-20. When we place other’s needs above our own and can also share our faith, then that is what it means to be a disciple of Christ. That is when we are in submission to Christ. Don Howell wrote that disciples are leaders in training. Howell wrote, “Greatness in God’s kingdom consists in imitating the Son of man who came not to be served, but to serve.”[17] That is what we all should strive to do.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the five stages and four spheres of discipleship were described and discussed. The centrality of Christ was discussed using Bonhoeffer’s call to the cross. I discovered I am a hybrid of Young Adult and Parent in the Discipleship process. I have shown what it takes to be in submission to Christ. It is my hope that I will be able to help new converts who come to Christ to become strong in their walk with the Lord through mentoring and setting an example of my own life to them. This study has moved me and I have come to realize my full potential in making disciples who make disciples.

Bibliography

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4. Minneapolis, MN: First Fortress Press, 2003.

Earley, Dave, and David Wheeler. Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 2010.

Earley, Dave, and Rod Dempsey. Disciple Making Is… How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2013.

Howell, Jr., Don N. Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003.

Putman, Jim, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E Coleman. Disciple Shift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013.

Sproul, R C. The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version. Edited by R C Sproul. Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2015.

Notes:

[1] Jim Putman, Bobby Harrington, and Robert E. Coleman, DiscipleShift: Five Steps That Help Your Church to Make Disciples Who Make Disciples (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013) 61.

[2] Putman, DiscipleShift, 61.

[3] Putman, DiscipleShift, 63.

[4] Putman, DiscipleShift, 64.

[5] Putman, DiscipleShift, 65.

[6] Putman, DiscipleShift, 67.

[7] Putman, DiscipleShift, 69.

[8] Putman, DiscipleShift, 87.

[9] Putman, DiscipleShift, 87.

[10] Putman, DiscipleShift, 89.

[11] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4 (Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2003) 89.

[12] Bonhoeffer,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, 89.

[13] Bonhoeffer,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, 89.

[14] Bonhoeffer,  Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, 99.

[15] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013) 42.

[16] Dave Earley and David Wheeler, Evangelism Is…: How to Share Jesus with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2010), 102.

[17] Don N. Howell, Jr., Servants of the Servant: A Biblical Theology of Leadership (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2003), 189.

Submitted to Dr. Morris Baker In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of DSMN500-D03 Discipleship Ministries, Liberty University School of Divinity, April 15, 2018. This paper is the property of Joseph T.Lee and may not be copied or republished without permission. Copyright © April 16, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Who Will Vouch For You?

Last night, I had a very vivid dream. I was taking a class and had to take an exam. I drove my car to different parking lots to sit and study for the exam. I kept getting interrupted and was run off from several parking lots by the attendants. Then I finally found one and really started to get into the study. A security guard interrupted me and got me out of the car, took me inside, and called the police. The police arrived and were questioning me. It was then, I saw a pastor friend and I called out to him and said, “Pastor Jim (name changed as this was someone I really know), will you vouch for me?” He started to answer and then I woke up!

Not many dreams I remember, but this was so vivid, I thought about it for about an hour and then went back to sleep. While I was up pondering about what I had dreamed, it reminded me that when we die and stand before the Judgment Seat before God, who will vouch for us? I know that Christ will vouch for me because He already paid the price for all of mankind. He was falsely accused, interrogated, scourged, flogged, and beaten, tried without proof, sentenced to an unbearable and agonizing death on a rugged wooden cross. He died for both you and me! John 3:16-21 says “For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

So who will vouch for you at God’s Judgment Seat? Will God say, “Well done my faithful servant!” or will He say “I will cast you into the lake of fire because I never knew you?” You have an opportunity right now to get things straight with God. If you are reading this blog, you are alive and can still make a life changing decision. God loves us so much. He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him. You can pray this simple prayer right now from wherever you are. “Dear Lord, I am a sinner and I have done many things wrong in my life. I ask you to forgive me and help me to live a righteous life for you. I believe that Jesus was your Son and He was sent by you to die for our sins and our failings. I ask you Father to save me, forgive me, and live in me all the days of my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

If you prayed that simple prayer, I believe that God has forgiven you and saved you. The next step is to start reading The Holy Bible and also get involved in a local Bible believing church. Many have asked me which translation of the Bible is the best. I have always enjoyed the English Standard Version, New International Version, and the Holman Christian Standard Bible. The main thing is to buy a Bible that you can understand as a new Christian. Probably the Holman or the NIV would be best. Try to spend at time each day in the Word of God (Bible). When you become a Christian, God sends his Holy Spirit to come and help you through your walk. You will learn about all of this in your study of God’s Word.

Remember, God loves you so much! The answers to your questions can be found in His Word (Bible). I pray and ask for guidance and usually find the guidance through His Holy Scriptures. May God bless you and keep you!

Joseph T. Lee Copyright © February 21, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Profanity and Foul Language Should Never Be Used

Profanity and foul language should never be used in a public setting whether business or in everyday life. It is offensive to many people. It seems that the liberal left has now become the moral police where they criticize President Donald Trump with using offensive language and yet Trump’s accusers use language that is very similar.

To me, as an American Christian, I find it very offensive to hear people saying my God’s name in vain, GD, Holy S***, MF, Sh**, as well as other foul words. Yet many of those who accuse President Trump has used the very same language. I find it very offensive that any one use that language. If the President did use the language that he was accused of using calling poor countries S*** Holes, then that is unacceptable. That is very offensive!

But folks, here is the problem. When God and prayer have been removed from public schools and the government, and parents are no longer teaching their children the way of the Lord, with Biblical principles, then this is what we can expect. Morals are not being taught because the population does not know what is moral or immoral.

What is really ironic is that the immoral people who may become offended, are being offended by a mirror of themselves. They do not see the huge log in their own eye, only looking at the speck in their offender’s eye. You know, there is a Scripture in the Bible that addresses this, but many may not know the verse because many of the American people have fallen away from God and the Holy way of life. But for those who may want to know, the verse is found in Matthew 7:3-5, “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” What a bunch of hypocrites!

Of course, many say there should be a separation of church and state. But here is the issue for those who use that as there excuse, don’t even open your mouth in accusations until you clean up your own wretched life!

Personally, whenever I hear the President use curse words, I cringe and I do not like it! I cringe whenever I hear profanity used in public and in business. And using it towards employees is a form of abuse and is not acceptable.

Within my own business, if I have a client that uses foul language, I ask them not to use it. If they do not respect me enough to stop, then I do not need them as a client. I don’t want my mind filled with hatred and disgusting thoughts from foul language. Plus, cursing shows the true condition of the heart. For those who love the Old Testament, In Psalm 109:17, a person who delights in cursing will not be blessed. Psalm 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.” Proverbs 15:1, A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”

If the President did call poor countries S#@* Holes, then his words did stir up anger. But for all involved who uses foul language, in order to be respected themselves, they need to have a transformation of the heart and come to Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. One cannot change their own heart by themselves, it takes a spiritual and supernatural conversion only found through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I know personally because Christ changed my own black and offensive heart, who used to spew out filthy words.

Many state that the President has become a Christian. I am not judging him but wonder if this is actually true? The Bible states that we will know a Christian by their fruits. I would apply the same criteria to the President’s accusers. In Galatians 5:22, it says; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.” If one does not have these fruits, I would question whether they have Christ in their heart at all?

We live in a nation where the environment is very volatile and hatred is being spewed from many different fronts. If we are to be united, then I believe that the people need to turn to God and repent of their evil ways. If they don’t, then we will never see peace in our nation. It is like the prince of this world has been released to devour what was once a great nation. This, in my opinion, is why there is so much hatred among the politicians against each other. I have never seen it so ugly in my lifetime. I pray that God will touch the hearts of our leaders and every man, woman, boy, and girl. I pray that people will turn to God. I pray that our nation will be healed.

Joseph T. Lee Copyright © January 17, 2018; The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

 

 

 

 

Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples, Who Make Disciples: Acts 1:8

In Acts 1:8, Jesus gave instructions to His disciples as well as all Christians. He said that we are to take the Gospel throughout Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the world. So, according to Dr. Mark Becton of Grove Avenue Baptist Church, our commandment from Christ is to “make disciples, who will make disciples, who will make disciples.” If that is the case, then according to Pastor Becton, in the Richmond, VA area alone, there are 1.3 million people. Out of that 1.3 million people, 70% have no engagement with any evangelical church. Therefore, over the next 25 years, we need to birth 150 new churches to keep up with the population.

The Richmond, VA area is growing with a diverse population of immigrants from other nations. Many of these people are intermarrying within our own culture. The nations from overseas are now in our area. Considering that there are 70% of 1.3 million people who are not engaged in attending church and are probably lost without a Savior, we must birth many new churches to meet the needs of the population. This will take resources to accomplish this. Therefore, this opens a commitment of all born again Christians to stop warming the pews and get involved in the ministry of their Lord and Savior. There are few leaders and workers in the Church but many attenders. My recommendation is that the Church train these men and women to share their faith right where they are and where they live.

70% of 1.3 million is 910,000 souls who do not know Jesus as their personal savior in the Richmond, VA area. If this number is accurate, we need to do a better job as Christians in sharing our faith. We can no longer depend on just a few to do all the work. This is going to take all Christians to engage in conversation. The largest resource to use is not monetary, but for the Christian to open their hearts and open their mouths to speak and engage in conversations that can change lives.

Many times, in the past, I have referred to William Fay’s “Share Jesus Without Fear” as a tool to learn how to share your faith. This is an excellent tool that even the beginner or new Christian can learn and accomplish without any reservation. Sure, we will need monetary resources. All ministries need money as resources to function. But we are going to need human resources to go out into our neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and marketplaces; to live a life of Christ incarnate. We are to Share Jesus Without Fear when the Holy Spirit opens Divine Appointment opportunities. If you are a Christian, and you never, ever, opened your mouth to share your faith, then I would say that you are out of our Lord’s will. It is not an option but a commandment to make disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

This is why I started my ministry, Marketplace Evangelism, in order to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the area and the marketplace. I am a tent maker, meaning that I go to work every day. I listen out for Divine Appointment opportunities where people are searching for help and an answer. I never, ever, force my faith on anyone. But I strive to live my life in a way that is pleasing to God and I try to treat people with compassion and forgiveness. If members of congregations would do the same, they could make a huge impact with the leading of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

Churches need resources, but the most important resource needed are the followers of Jesus Christ to ante up and kick in! Kick in like men and women going to war against the evil one. Our battle will not be physical, but spiritual. But many Christians are complacent with attending church on Sundays and then leaving, never thinking about the mission during the week. Many will continue to leave all the heavy lifting work to a very few. But this is not what Christ has commanded of us! Therefore, it’s imperative that men and women learn to share the Gospel so that others will come to Christ.

References:

The Victory Hour. Television. Directed by Mark Jenkins. Performed by Mark Becton. 2017.

Fay, William, and Linda Evans Shepherd. Share Jesus Without Fear. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1999.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © January 13, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is Prayer Mandatory or Considered a Supplement to the Christian Walk? Part 1

Is prayer mandatory in the Christian walk or is it supplementary? I know many Believers who are not comfortable with praying in public. I personally like to pray silently, but there are times I must take the lead and model prayer for others. We often see people requesting prayer via social media and others state that they will pray for them. But do they really pray? This article is geared to sharing some Scripture and some points in how we should be conducting prayer and how prayer does affect our walk with Christ as well as others.

I most recently wrote a short paper on a Personal Prayer Analysis. I did some simple research of the four Gospels and found the following:

“Upon investigating the Scriptures in the four Gospels, where Jesus revealed an approach to prayer, this student used a Bible Gateway word search engine of the words pray, prayer, and praying. The result returned twenty-eight verses or passages. The descriptions were given as the following seventeen topics: Pray for Enemies, Pray Alone, Pray All Night, Early Morning Prayer, Keep Watch, Humble Heart, Exorcism Prayer, Baptism, Pray in Secret, Lord’s Prayer, Children, Faith, High Priestly Prayer, Temple is House of Prayer, Temple Prayer for all Nations, and Forgiveness. Of these topics, two references were found for Pray for Enemies; Four references were found for to Pray Alone; two references were found for to Pray All Night; three references were found for to Keep Watch; two references were found for Temptation; two references were found for the Lord’s Prayer; and three references were found for Faith. The remainder topics had one reference each. Of these references, what stood out the most was to pray often such as all night prayer, to pray in secret, to pray alone, to pray for our enemies, to keep watch or else we will be tempted, to have faith in what we ask, to come to the Father like a child, and if we do not know what to pray, Christ gave instructions by example with The Lord’s Prayer” (Lee, 2017, 4-5).

Of the twenty-eight verses and passages, the following chart was constructed to determine what Scriptures referenced prayer and for what subject.

Description Reference Description Reference
Pray for Enemies Matthew 5:44 Pray in Secret Matthew 6:5-6
Luke 6:28    
Pray Alone Matthew 14:23 Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:9-13
Mark 6:46   Luke 11:1-4
Mark 14:32    
Luke 9:18 Children Matthew 19:13
Pray All Night Matthew 26:36
Luke 6:12
Early Morning Prayer Mark 1:35 Faith Matthew 21:22
Keep Watch Matthew 26:41 Mark 11:24
Mark 14:38 Luke 18:1
Luke 21:36 High Priestly Prayer John 17:1-26
Humble Heart Luke 18:10-14
Temptation Luke 22:40
Luke 22:46 Temple is House of Prayer Luke 19:46
Exorcism Prayer Mark 9:29 Temple Prayer for All Nations Mark 11:17
Baptism Luke 3:21 Forgiveness Mark 11:25

 

“As this student researched and read through all the Scriptures, he realized that his own prayer life needed an overhaul. Although he prays, it is not often enough. For instance, Jesus said in Matthew 6:5-6 that when we should pray, we should not pray to impress others as depicted in verse 5, but to go into our room and pray to the Father in private and in secret. This student does not spend enough time praying. While Matthew 26:36 shows Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, He told His disciples to sit while he went to pray. In verse 27, He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and he began to pray. He prayed for an hour and his disciples could not even keep their eyes open. But the indication from these passages is that people should pray, in private, or even with two or three other Believers, so that they are seeking God during times of trouble. As Jesus was facing ultimate condemnation and crucifixion, his disciples could not seem to pray because of their weakness. In this student’s own life, he strives to pray and stay faithful in prayer, but has been found weak in his practices” (Lee, 2017, 5-6).

How can one start a prayer life? Look at part of my conclusion from this short paper.

“In conclusion, this student must become more disciplined in his approach to prayer. He must find a private and quite place away from technology to pray. When praying, he will start using The Lord’s Prayer and then continue to have a conversation with the Father. He must come to the Father like a child and have childlike faith. He must have a humble heart and pray for not only his forgiveness, but to pray that he will forgive others for any wrongdoing in which they have done to him. He must pray for his enemies. He must pray to keep watch so that he will not be tempted by the ways of the world or distractions from prayer. He needs to become more disciplined to get up early and pray before others rise and the day starts. At times, when he needs to get closer to God, he needs to search Scripture, pray, even if it’s all night, so that he will seek God first in his life. This regimen must be done alone, so that he will have that intimate and personal relationship with his Father. He can no longer use the excuse or procrastinate because this intimate relationship with God is needed in his life. Fasting will also be incorporated as this will bring the student closer to God. He will strive to pray multiple times each day and it should start early in the morning” (Lee, 2017, 6-7).

Now that we have discussed prayer and the types of prayers, let’s get into what John MacArthur et al. states about prayer. Donald G. McDougall states, “Prayer by individual Christians, by Christian leaders, by the corporate body of the church, by small groups, and by men are all necessary. The content of prayers should focus predominately on ultimate spiritual battles with the forces of evil rather than on the mundane affairs of everyday life. A right purpose and a proper attitude should determine the matter of prayers” (MacArthur, 2005, 144).

McDougall states that God’s people need to learn to pray. McDougall reminds us that to get a remedy for problems, you must pray. Look at James 4:2, “You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.” Look at the latter part of the verse, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” Prayer is quite the remedy (MacArthur, 2005, 145).

McDougal continues, “At the very root of it all is the need for each believer to realize that prayer is foundational; prayer is not supplemental. Believers need to pray more, to pray more often, and to pray over many more issues. The reminder to Israel in 2 Chronicles 7:13-14 is just as applicable today as it ever was. If we are to experience the blessings that only God can give, we as God’s people must humble ourselves and pray” (MacArthur, 2005, 146).

In conclusion, to set up prayer time, one must know how to pray as well as what to pray for. Jesus gave us a model prayer, which is called The Lord’s Prayer. Here is the prayer:

 

Our Father, who are in Heaven,

Hallowed be your name.

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day, our daily bread,

And forgive our trespasses and sins,

As we forgive those who trespasses and sin against us.

And lead us not into temptation,

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

And the power, and the glory,

`                 Forever.

Amen.

The above prayer is an excellent prayer to start with and then start to pray for other things that will glorify God. Please look at the prayer guide and determine what you are to pray for. Read the associated Scriptures and follow the leading of the Lord Jesus in prayer.

This is the beginning of a series of articles, which are meant to help those with determining what and how to pray. The best way to start a prayer life is to read Scripture and then start a conversation with God, through prayer.

Bibliography

Lee, Joseph T. “Personal Prayer Guide.” Rawlings School of Divinity, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA, 2017.

MacArthur, John. Pastoral Ministry: How to Shepherd Biblically. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc., 2005.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © December 28, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Imagining John Lennon’s Nightmare

Christmas is over, and that means that New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.  I’m not really into New Year’s Eve anymore.  I used to enjoy it, but no longer.  It’s not because I’m getting older, but because it has become a holiday for promoting Secular Humanism.  It’s not the parties and drunkenness that makes New Year’s Eve a decidedly humanistic holiday.  Heaven knows that there’s always a party happening somewhere—and there’s nothing inherently wrong with having a good time every now and then.  The problem is that the secular media has made John Lennon’s anthem “Imagine” the mandatory song announcing the beginning of the new year, and that the new year should embrace the dream of Secular Humanism. This is observable since over the last couple of decades one of the first songs everyone sings after midnight—if not the very first song sung—is no longer “Auld Lang Syne” (aka: “As Time Goes By”) but Lennon’s “Imagine.” If you actually listen to and think about what the song actually says, then you will also realize that if what Lennon imagined is ever achieved that the world will become a living nightmare for devote Christians everywhere.

The first line of the song simply asks us to “Imagine there’s no heaven.”  Lennon wasn’t asking us to imagine that there’s no galaxy, instead he was asking us to imagine that the place where God dwells no longer exists.  In other words, he wanted everyone everywhere to stop believing in God. And instead of a place called Heaven, he wanted us to envision that above us is “only sky.” Moreover, he believed that all we really needed to do in order realize his utopia of a godless universe was to simply begin imagining that God no longer exists. It is clear that envisioning life without God is what Lennon had in mind since he also asked us to imagine that Hell wasn’t real as well. As we all know, Hell is the domain where God eternally relegates all that rejected him during their earthly lives. And having imagined that God, Heaven, and Hell no longer exist, Lennon wanted us to imagine all humanity “living only for today.”  Don’t worry about what God promised would occur in the future, don’t even worry about the future, just live for the moment, that is what John Lennon hoped everyone would imagine.

Before unpacking the rest of the song, we should be reminded that the Lord Jesus Christ was committed to promoting the reality of Heaven.  His entire message could be summarized in his proclamation: “Repent, for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4.17).  Moreover, while training his followers on how to pray, he first wanted us to understand that Heaven is where God is, praying that “Our Father who is in Heaven, holy be your name” (Matt 6.9ff). The Lord also taught us that our hopes and prayers should always start with “Your kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” While the Lord exhorted us to faithfully imagine and look forward to a world in complete submission to the will of our heavenly Father, Lennon wanted us to imagine God doesn’t exist, that we are by ourselves, that we are accountable to no one; consequently, we are living only for today, existing only for the moment. There is no reconciling what John Lennon wanted everyone to imagine and what Jesus stated is true now, as well as what will occur in the future. They are diametrically opposed to each other; consequently, they are mutually exclusive. You can’t have both; you can only have one at the sacrifice of the other—so much for harmonious diversity between what Lennon wanted and what Jesus will accomplish.

To make his point even more polarizing, Lennon exhorted us to imagine there is no “religion.” Now I also wish that there weren’t so many false religions throughout the world. But that is not what Lennon wished for; instead he wished that there was no religion at all. Regardless of how you feel about some religions, the vast majority of them essentially teach us one fundamental truth, which is that God exists and that we are accountable to Him. Say what you will about some of their specific teachings; nevertheless, our world is better off because of this essential truth that virtually all religions promote. And it is this foundational truth that Lennon wanted everyone to imagine doesn’t exist.

What is most disturbing about Lennon’s imagination is that he believed that humanity could live “life in peace” if everyone else would stop believing in their religions, which requires that Christians stop believing in Heaven, stop believing in God, and stop following the Lord Jesus Christ.  As a matter of fact, for Lennon it is we who believe in the kingdom of Heaven that are the ones who prevent world peace and global harmony from being achieved.  Lennon’s chorus asserts precisely this, suggesting that “You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.”  Did you get that?  Lennon believed that it is we who worship God and believe in Heaven that are the ones who prevent the rest of the world from living in global unity. Lennon thought that in order for world harmony to be experienced Christians are the ones that need to stop believing in the Lord Jesus Christ and what he clearly taught about God, himself, and sinful humanity. It is we, therefore, who have to abandon Jesus and join all Secular Humanists so that the world can experience global tranquility.  And Lennon extended this satanic invitation through a simply little ditty that Rolling Stone once listed as the 3rd greatest song of all time.

Now that I am older I have become a light sleeper, and one of the things that easily wakes me are nightmares. I used to sleep so hard that I couldn’t remember any of my dreams—good or bad, but those days are gone, and now I am easily awaken by an occasional nightmare. John Lennon’s song “Imagine” inspires people to believe in a worldview that in reality is a hellish nightmare rather than a dream. And as more and more people uncritically embrace his vision, then the gospel will become increasingly offensive to them. Lennon’s song “Imagine” is for Secular Humanists what “Just As I AM” is for the church. This New Year’s Eve take a moment and watch how many people sing along with Lennon’s hope for the world. Then think about what the world will be like if it starts accepting and acting upon Lennon’s imagination. What if the secular world actually begins to view Christians as “bitter clingers,” as hateful people who refuse to relinquish to their archaic Bibles, their mythical religion, and their dead Jesus?  What if they begin to view us as the ones that are the real impediments to their hope for world harmony? You may find that hard to imagine, but I don’t, not for a moment. The fact that the song gets any airplay at all is a bad omen. Once more and more people start believing that Christianity is what keeps humanity from experiencing global tranquility, then devote followers in the Lord Jesus Christ will find themselves in a nightmare that is the logical endgame of Secular Humanism, which will be hell on Earth for everyone.

Monte Shanks, Copyright © December 27, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

His Unspeakable Gift

We are in the amazing season of Christmas; celebrating the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God with us. The creator of all, the very Son of God took off His royal robes and stepped from the throne room of Heaven into the womb of a peasant girl. Instead of a myriad of the Heavenly Hosts, His birth was witnessed by lowly animals in a borrowed stable. He was delivered into the calloused hands of a carpenter and placed in a rough manger of hay. He chose to go from His place of unlimited glory and power to the pain and poverty of man. Stepping from the infinite to the finite; the Lamb of God clothed Himself in human flesh and began the painful path to the cross where the perfect Son of God would become sin for me; trading His purity and righteousness for my filthy, sinful rags so that I would never have to pay my own sin debt. The agony of the cross cast an ominous shadow over the manger as the Christ child lay sleeping that first Christmas night. His gift of life is offered to kings and beggars alike; calling us to humbly turn our hearts in wonder and thanksgiving toward the star over Bethlehem as we kneel before our Savior and Lord; born to be crucified so that we may have eternal life. How can we do anything but fall to our knees in humble praise and worship; thanking Him for His unspeakable gift?

Pamela Lee Amick,Copyright © December 25, 2017, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.

Grace Through Faith

I once knew of a man who stated he was looking for God but he could never seem to find Him. He struggled with how to find God and he wanted what others had, he just could not seem to find it. The reason he could not find God was because he was dead in his trespasses and his transgressions. He thought that he had to find God through works. Let’s see what Paul said about that.

If we read Ephesians 2:1-10, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”

We cannot save ourselves. We cannot know God without first knowing His Son, Jesus Christ. It is through the loving GRACE of Jesus that we can have a relationship with God. Look at verse 5, “by grace you have been saved.” Not by our works.

The natural state of all human beings is spiritual death. This condition is universal; both for Gentiles (v2) and Jews (v3). The natural state of all humans is that we walk in active rebellion against God. It is because of God’s great love towards His followers in which we have forgiveness only found through Jesus. Sinners who are apart from Christ are in a hopeless condition. Only faith, not works can bring acceptance with God. It is only when the sinner recognizes that he cannot save himself is when he will hopefully believe in Jesus and turn his heart and mind over to Christ. Once he or she surrenders their life to Christ, that is when grace is granted and a relationship begins with God through Christ. In verse 8, “For by grace you have been saved through grace. And this is not by your own doing; it is the gift of God.” It is through Jesus Christ that this relationship begins.

© Copyright December 24, 2017. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC.