Are You a Luke Warm Christian?

I have not always lived for Christ. I was once a much worse and terrible person, but thank God for His eternal love, that He changed my life forever.

Advertisements

I love the Word of God. I take great comfort in knowing that I am saved from an eternal hell and damnation. I have not always lived for Christ. I was once a much worse and terrible person, but thank God for His eternal love, that He changed my life forever. I was once a lukewarm Christian who barely picked up his Bible to read and embrace Christianity. God changed my heart and Jesus transformed me. I am still a work in progress. I still have a sinful nature, but now I find it easier to resist temptation. If you are not embracing your faith, reading your Bible, praying with your spouse, having a conversation with the Father, then I would say that you are lukewarm and have a casual relationship with Jesus. My regret is that I wished that I had not wasted over 30 years in being a lukewarm Christian!

The Bible speaks of being “lukewarm” as a condition that can separate you from God. In Revelation 3:15-16, “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” These words were written to the Church of Laodieca.

According to RC Sproul, “Laodicea’s water supply had to be provided from a distant source through pipes. The resulting water was lukewarm and barely drinkable. By contrast, the neighboring town of Hierapolis had medicinal hot springs, and neighboring Colossae was supplied by a cold mountain stream. Christ urges the church to be refreshing (cold) or medicinally healing (hot), rather than like the unhealthy Laodicean lukewarm water supply.”[1]

Being lukewarm is unhealthy. Christ would rather that you either be hot or cold, but lukewarm means that you have no real commitment to Christ. You might just be a church attender who thinks they are saved because your Mom and Dad attended church and you are attending the same church. You will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven on your parent’s coat-tails. You do not have an identity in Christ on your girlfriend’s relationship with Christ and her faith.

I once met a young man that was dating a friend’s daughter. The daughter was a committed Christian and was on fire for Christ. He on the other hand had no identity in Christ. I asked him if he had any spiritual belief’s? His response was that he had a relationship with his girlfriend and was trying to find the Lord through her. Although his quest may be noble, she could not save him from his sin. He would never find salvation by only his relationship with the girl. It would only come through an acknowledgement that he was lost without a Savior, he was a sinner, and he could not save himself. He had to acknowledge that Jesus was the Son of God and that only through Jesus, would his sins would be forgiven. He would have to ask Jesus to forgive him, believe in his mind and heart that Jesus died for him. He had to ask Jesus into his heart and repent, meaning to change his way of life. He would have to start living his life as a changed man, on fire for God.

But many may never grow in the Lord because they may never truly have had a real heart change and transformation to live their life as closely to that of Jesus.

Jesus said in verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” This means that Jesus the Christ wants His Followers to be hot, on fire for Him. He wants us to be engaged in our faith, reading the Word of God, praying, and having a full relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Being a Christian is a lifestyle change, hoping and wanting the best for your fellow man and woman. It is truly loving your neighbor as yourself and treating each other with kindness. Being kind to one another is pretty close to loving one another.

Being lukewarm shows no real commitment to God or to our loving Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. Being lukewarm means that you have decided that your relationship with God is not worthy of you spending time with God. You are more or less on the fence, not wanting to offend anyone with talk about Jesus and what He came into the world to do.

Jesus said, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever believes in Him (Jesus), will not perish (die and go to hell), but would have everlasting life (Heaven). For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it” John 3:16-17.

Won’t you consider coming to Christ in a full and complete way, so that the Lord will not spew you out of His mouth for you being lukewarm? Don’t be a Follower like those from the Laodicean Church, who had an indifference to Christ and His holy ways of living. Instead, be all in for Christ, not someone who sways every time the wind blows. Be a committed Christian and live your life for Christ like you really mean it! It’s time to get off the fence and engage the Gospel of Christ. Time is short. When will you fully come to Christ?

References:

[1] RC Sproul, Ed., The Reformation Study Bible, (Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust, 2015), 2310.

Copyright April 2, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, a Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Advertisements

Racism and Hatred: Derived from One Source

Christians, we need to be on our knees praying for the lost, our leaders (regardless of political party), and for the unborn. The war we fight is not a physical war but a spiritual war. We need to practice our faith in love and stop vomiting hatred towards others.

Most recently, in Virginia we have been faced with accusations against our Governor, Ralph Northam because of a racial picture that appeared in his medical school yearbook under his name. He originally apologized for it, then the next day, he denied that it was him. He then went on to say that he dressed up like Michael Jackson and painted his cheeks black with black shoe polish. He is adamant that he will not step down.

Then the Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax has been accused of sexual assault. This allegedly occurred in 2004 at the Democrat National Convention in Boston according to news sources.

Now our Attorney General, Mark Herring admitted that he painted his face black as an undergraduate in college.

All three of Virginia’s top leaders have controversies that most likely will end their political careers.

In reference to the sexual assault, it is reported that the assault was reported to Virginia Congressman, Bobby Scott, as a #MeToo allegation. It is unknown why this was not investigated a year ago.

In contrast to all of this, there are people who have so much hatred against Democrats and Republicans, that they revert to name calling and distasteful conversation on social media. As Christian’s, we should not be name calling and spewing hatred from our lips. Jesus calls Christians to love the sinner but hate the sin.

The Bible tells us that we should keep our tongue from evil and keep our lips from speaking deceitful speech (1 Peter 3:10). Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Ephesians 4:29, “Do not let unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Proverbs 10:19, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.” Proverbs 15:4, The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.” There are many more, but these are a few to meditate on.

The issue at hand is a heart issue. Many people are angry at leaders, both on the Democratic and the Republican sides. I am not here defending abortion promoters, but I am here to say that the words one speaks against others that do not have your same views can come across as hateful and pushes the unsaved farther from the Christian faith. Name calling will not win souls.

Giving excuses to substantiate hateful speech and comments do not hold water when compared to the Word of God. Calling unsaved people names will destroy any evangelistic opportunities that may come their way. God is aware of what these people believe. Please don’t play God, as if you know best. Anything you do that does not match up with the plumb line in how Jesus has commanded us to live is not godly. There are other ways to change people’s hearts.

Most recently, I read a fellow Christian’s post to a news article in response to the Rev. Al Sharpton coming to Richmond to speak to Virginia Union University students. The fellow Christian posted Matthew 7:15, “Beware of False Prophets.” Someone pushed back with a disparaging remark against Christians only for the Christian to post a disparaging remark back to most likely an unsaved person. Folks, we cannot be speaking like this to people. Proclaiming Scripture and then telling someone to do something that is vile is destroying evangelical opportunity to bring people to Christ. These types of words destroy opportunities and will only close doors to spiritual dialogue which could possibility lead another to Christ.

If Christian people want to take a stand for justice for the unborn and other atrocities, they can do it without hate filled comments of name calling and profanities. Calling an act evil is not name calling. As Christians, we should not get ourselves caught up in the evilness of the world. This is exactly what Satan wants us to be doing. Satan relished in the fact that Christian’s are telling others off with profanities and hurtful responses. Satan is the author of confusion and lies. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it in full.” 1 Peter 5:8-9, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

Christians, we need to be on our knees praying for the lost, our leaders (regardless of political party), and for the unborn. The war we fight is not a physical war but a spiritual war. We need to practice our faith in love and stop vomiting hatred towards others. We need to put on the whole armor of God as mentioned in Ephesians 6:10-18. God will not honor our disobedience which can separate us from a full relationship with Christ. Before we attempt to pull the small speck from another’s eye, we need to look in the mirror and remove the large plank from our own eye (cf. Matthew 7:5). If we want to make a difference for the gospel, then we need to have love for one another and for our neighbor. Racism and hatred come from one source, and that is from Satan. Love comes from one source, and that is God and His Loving Son, Jesus Christ. We have a choice. I choose love. What do you choose?

Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Copyright © February 8, 2019. The Lantern & Shield Times, A Division of Marketplace Evangelism Ministries Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Christ in Discipleship

Jesus gave several commandments. The one that has stood out the most to this student, to help advance the Gospel, was to take the Gospel to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the utmost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). Disciples are to preach the Gospel to everyone, (Matthew 28:19-20), thus teaching the new followers of Jesus Christ to make disciples who make disciples. Without Jesus, then there would be no discipleship. Without Christ, there would only be God and people would still be lost without hope.

According to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jesus is the reason for the call to follow Him. Bonhoeffer wrote, “…there is only one good reason for the proximity of call and deed: Jesus Christ himself.  It is he who calls.”[1] It is Jesus who calls people to follow Him. Bonhoeffer wrote about Jesus calling Levi, the tax collector, to follow Him. Bonhoeffer writes, “This encounter gives witness to Jesus’ unconditional, immediate, and inexplicable authority. Nothing precedes it, and nothing follows except obedience of the called. Because Jesus is the Christ, he has the authority to call and to demand obedience to his word. Jesus calls to discipleship, not as a teacher and a role model, but as the Christ, Son of God.”[2]  Jesus is the center of discipleship. He is the sole reason that followers are called to become disciples, who then teach others to become disciples. Bonhoeffer continues to write, “Discipleship without Jesus Christ is choosing one’s own path. It could be an ideal path or a martyr’s path, but it is without the promise. Jesus will reject it.”[3]

Followers are called to discipleship. Robert Coleman wrote, “Conversion is the first step in the discipleship process. … Conversion is the beginning of a journey, whereas discipleship is ongoing. In true conversion, a person must commit to following Jesus. The person becomes a lifelong learner, a disciple. Being a disciple is a learning process that never ends.”[4] Putman, et al states that the definition of a disciple is found in Matthew 4:19.[5] There are three attributes in which Putman et al emphases. They are “Follow Me, And I Will Make You, Fishers of Men.”[6] This Scripture is about Jesus calling Peter and Andrew, who were fisherman by trade, to leave their nets and to follow Him. Jesus promises them that he will make the “Fishers of Men,” meaning that he will teach them how to harvest for men and women’s souls. Putman et al describes that the authority of Christ comes when He said to the brothers, “Follow me.” In their obedience to Jesus, they dropped everything and literally followed him. Putman et al wrote, “Though the notion of obeying Jesus is connected to our hearts at some level, this first attribute of a disciple is primarily a mental acceptance of Jesus, understanding that he is now the one in charge of our lives.”[7] There must be a mental acknowledgement, but also a heart change to become a follower of Jesus Christ. This is a requirement that one must believe and then repent from their sins, meaning to change and move away from sin.

Jesus said in the second part of the verse, “and I will make you….” It is this transformation of the heart in which one then becomes a disciple of Christ. It is at this point that the person should be hungry for what Jesus wants to teach him or her. It is through the power of the Holy Spirit that this will occur, through transformation. Putman et al quotes Romans 8:29, “…we are being conformed into the image of Christ.”[8] This is done through the Holy Spirit. Putman et al wrote, “But discipleship, at heart, involves transformation at the deepest levels of our understanding, affection, and will by the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God and in relationship with the people of God.”[9]

The third part of the verse, “fishers of men” means that the disciple will be sent on mission overseas as well as in their own towns and cities. This part is the missionary work. Dave Earley quotes Charles Spurgeon as saying, “Every Christian is either a missionary or an imposter.”[10] A true disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ who has had a heart transformation and is willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead him to where ever God opens the doors. This means that the work of God is at hand and that every Christian convert in the Church are called to be a disciple, who will teach others to become disciples. This is what all true Christians are called to be.

This leads into the final discussion, the three stages of discipleship according to Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey. The three stages of discipleship are Believer, Disciple, and Disciple Maker. Earley and Dempsey expounds on each of these and lists Stage One as a Declaration. It is the conversion of the Believer, which leads him or her to repentance and faith in Jesus.[11] Earley states that there are five steps for Stage One which are that one must make a declaration of faith, that he must repent from his sins and have faith, that he must become a committed believer, he must lay aside all his doubts, and by coming to Jesus, he is saved.[12]

Stage Two is Development. It is the immersion, abandonment, and apprenticeship into ministry.[13] To be a disciple of Christ, one must immerse themselves into a deep relationship with Jesus. This is done by studying of the Word of God as well as through daily prayer. One will also become involved in community and will become engaged with others through Christ. Earley writes, “….it is universally relevant that all disciples of Jesus must immerse themselves into a relationship with Him. He needs to become their premier relationship. As God is to be loved with all their ‘passion and prayer and intelligence.’”[14] Disciples must learn and be teachable. Once they learn what Christ wants to teach them, then they are ready to be sent.

The Third Stage is Deployment, intentional global commissioning. The disciple must be willing to go where Jesus leads him to go. Robert Garrett states, “The greatest missionary in history was Jesus Christ.”[15] Disciples are sent; therefore, disciples must go. David Platt wrote, “Wherever you and I live, we are commanded to go and make disciples there. In light of Jesus’ example, our primary impact on the nations will occur in the disciple-making we do right around us.”[16] But even if the disciple does not go abroad, they are called to take the Gospel to the world within their own towns and cities. Christians can no longer sit on the sidelines and assume that missionary work is not what they were called to do. On the contrary, all Christians are called to be disciples, who make disciples, who make disciples.

The most effective way to accomplish the Great Commission is to multiply. Earley and Wheeler wrote, “When we lead people to Christ, we must stay with them to help them get established in their faith. Then they can be carriers of the good news, and the message of the gospel will multiply through their consistent witness.”[17]

 

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, Volume 4 (Minneapolis: First Fortress Press, 2003), 57.

[2] Ibid., 57

[3] Ibid., 59

[4] 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) 44-45.

[5] Putman, DiscipleShift, 45.

[6] Putman, DiscipleShift, 46.

[7] Putman, DiscipleShift, 47.

[8] Putman, DiscipleShift, 48.

[9] Putman, DiscipleShift, 49

[10] Dave Earley and Rod Dempsey, Disciple Making Is…: How to Live the Great Commission with Passion and Confidence (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 2013) 77.

[11] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 62.

[12] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 61.

[13] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 68.

[14] Earley and Dempsey, Disciple Making Is, 69.

[15]Robert Garrett, “The Gospels and Acts: Jesus the Missionary and His Missionary Followers,” in Missiology (Nashville: B&H Publishing, 1998), 63.

[16] David Platt, Radical (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 198.

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

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.

Garrett, Robert. The Gospels and Acts: Jesus the Missionary and His Missionary Followers, in Missiology. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing Group, 1998.

Platt, David. Radical. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2010.

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.

This material is protected and may not be republished. Paper submitted to Dr. Morris Baker, Liberty University, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the completion of DSMN500-D03, Discipleship Ministries, April 8, 2018 by Joseph T. Lee.

Joseph T. Lee Copyright © April 8, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved. 

Breaking News: Jesus of Nazareth Has Risen from the Dead! The Tomb Is Empty!

April 1, 30 AD: At about 4:30 this morning, Mary Magdalene reports that she went to the Jesus’ tomb and found it open. She peered inside and saw that Jesus was nowhere in sight. His body was gone and his burial cloth was neatly folded up. According to John, “So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”  So, Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.  Both were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.  Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.  Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

John also stated, “But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.  And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.  They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”  Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.  Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”  Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.”

In another eyewitness account, Luke states, “ That very day two of them were going to a village named Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem,  and they were talking with each other about all these things that had happened.  While they were talking and discussing together, Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were kept from recognizing him.  And he said to them, “What is this conversation that you are holding with each other as you walk?” And they stood still, looking sad.  Then one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”  And he said to them, “What things?” And they said to him, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people,  and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him.  But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.  Moreover, some women of our company amazed us. They were at the tomb early in the morning,  and when they did not find his body, they came back saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that he was alive.  Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but him they did not see.”  And he said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.”

Luke continues, “So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So, he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.  They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.”

Jesus appeared to his disciples. According to Luke, “ As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace to you!”  But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have. “And when he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they still disbelieved for joy and were marveling, he said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”  They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.

Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”  Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,  and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.  And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

It is reported that Jesus ascended to Heaven. Look at what our eyewitness Luke says, “And he led them out as far as Bethany, and lifting up his hands he blessed them.  While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.  And they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple blessing God.”

Present Day: Surely, Jesus was truly the Son of God! He did rise again and that is why we celebrate Easter every year. Easter is not about the Easter Bunny, eggs, or candy. It is about the very Son of God, who died an agonizing death for the redemption of our sins. It is about the fulfillment of Scripture. In which God would give mankind another chance by sending His Own Son, into the world, not to condemn it, but to save it.

The Gospels are very clear. There is only one way to heaven and that is through Jesus Christ. Look at what the Scripture says about how to be saved:

Romans 3:23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3 – “Jesus said, I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6 – “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11 – “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15 – “And He died for all so that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

John 3:16-17 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

Revelation 3:20 – “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”

It is our hope that if you have been searching for the “Truth” that you would recognize that Jesus is the “Truth.” If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for you and your guilt and sins and you also believe that He rose again in three days to show that He truly is the Son of God, then pray this prayer.

“Heavenly Father, I have sinned against You. I want your forgiveness for all my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again. Father, I give You my life to do with as You wish. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart and live in me. I ask this in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

I pray that many who read this story will come to Christ Jesus and that you will know the saving Grace and Forgiveness only found through Jesus Christ. It is a life style change that will forever change your heart and your life. Once you come to Christ, Jesus will send His Holy Spirit to dwell with you and help to teach you, through the Word of God. Get affiliated with a true Bible believing church and become a disciple of Christ. Get engaged in the Word and develop a relationship with God. I know that God’s Not Dead because I speak with Him daily through prayer and through His Word. Having a true relationship with Jesus Christ is a way of life that I hunger for.

I hope that you find Jesus Christ today! Happy Easter! He Has Risen! He Has Risen Indeed!

Sources: The Gospel of Luke and John, The Book of Romans, 2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Copyright © April 1, 2018. The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review of Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact by Michael A.G. Haykin

Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact. By Michael A.G. Haykin. Fearn, Tain: Christian Focus Publications, 2014, $12.00.

Patrick of Ireland can be purchased through our Affiliate Link at the top of the page through Christian Book Distributors.

Patrick of Ireland: His Life and Impact was an inspirational book about a young man who was born into a well to do family in Britain. At the age of sixteen, Patrick was abducted by Irish pirates in a raid, which took thousands of people back to Ireland or who were sold as slaves. It was in his captivity that Patrick came to Christ and was ultimately released to return to Britain. The author’s theme of the book described Patrick’s life before and after conversion and how Patrick ultimately went back to Ireland and ministered to not only his captors, but the northern half of the country. The purpose of this book review is to illustrate how God can use a man or woman in ministry who may not be formally educated, but is willing to allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide them in their quest to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the utmost parts of the world. Patrick’s impact was profound, not only in Ireland, but the global church.

In the Series Preface, Haykin describes a revised history of early church fathers leading up to Patrick. Haykin wrote, “One final word about the Fathers recommended in this small series of essays. The Fathers are not Scripture. They are just senior conversation partners about Scripture and its meaning” (p. 11). This writer is stating that Scripture is truth and whatever the early church fathers were attempting to communicate, there could be a margin of human error. But whatever they have written cannot be compared or taken as the Word of God.

In Chapter One, Haykin describes the Roman Era and the Romans had been in Britain for roughly 350 years. The Romans had a great influence on Britain, but there was a stiff resistance in three regions; Celtic tribes which would become Wales; Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni; and inhabitants of the present day East Anglia (p. 21). The rebellion almost led to the end of Roman rule in Britain. According to Haykin, “Roman rule led to lavish villas dotting the countryside, built by the Romano-British upper class” (p. 22). The British Church was established sometime in the A.D. 190’s. Haykin writes, “Archaeological evidence from third and fourth century Britain also confirms a growing acceptance of Christianity by the upper classes, a movement that was parallel to what was happening with the rest of the Empire” (p. 26). Patrick of Ireland was born around A.D. 390 of wealthy parents. Haykin states, “His father, Calpornius, was a deacon and his grandfather Potitus was a presbyter. Therefore, Patrick was raised in the church” (p. 30). Although Patrick’s father was a deacon in the church, he was also a Decurion, who was a member of the local town council (p. 31). Therefore, Patrick was born into wealth as opposed to being an everyday citizen. As compared to much of the population, he was heir to wealth. It was when Patrick was sixteen years old, he was abducted by pirates and taken into Ireland. Patrick wrote in his book, Confession, that although he was raised in the church and had heard the gospel from the presbyters as well as his father, he never accepted Christ. He concluded that God was punishing him for his lack of faith and had allowed him to be abducted to go through the trials and tribulations that he faced. As a slave in Ireland, he converted to Christianity and really meant it. Haykin writes, “…Patrick became convicted of his sinfulness—his living in ‘death and unbelief’—and he ‘earnestly sought’ God. The result was his whole-hearted conversion and life-long practice of piety and self-discipline” (p. 36). Patrick had a dream that indicated that he would be leaving his slave master. Somehow, Patrick escaped from Ireland and went back to Britain as a devout Christian. It is estimated for about twenty years, Patrick received theological training. Although he may have received training, he was not well versed in Greek but he did know Latin. He became very astute with the Latin Bible.

Chapter Two is titled, ‘One God in the Trinity of the Holy Name’- The Divine Foundation of Patrick’s Theology. Haykin mainly discussed the Trinity and the relationship of the Father and the Son. Haykin wrote, “The one true God is also a Triune being: the Father and his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. Here Patrick broaches one of the most profound truths of the Christian faith. …The Trinity is a revealed truth that surpasses the ability of human reason to fully comprehend it, but nonetheless must be articulated as far as we are able by rational discourse” (p. 46). Haykin states that Patrick was thankful for Jesus Christ’s forgiveness and the help that he has been able to overcome temptation. “Today I can confidently offer him my soul as a living sacrifice—to Christ my Lord who saved me out of my troubles” (p. 50). This last sentence refers to his captivity as a slave. Haykin writes towards the end of the chapter, “At the heart of the Gospel that Patrick preached in Ireland was the Trinity: The Father who planned the work of salvation, The Son who became man and died for the salvation of sinners, and The Spirit who brings home the Father’s plan and Son’s work to sinful human beings and makes them, as the confession has stated, ‘sons of God and co-heirs with Christ’” (p. 58).

In Chapter Three, I Am Bound by the Spirit, Celtic paganism was discussed and how Patrick overcame those rituals by preaching and teaching against them. Patrick had mentioned in his Confession that the paganism was even practiced by the sailors. When he was on the ship sailing back to Britain, the sailors wanted him to do dirty and vile things such as suck the breast of a sailor because according to Celtic tradition, it was a sign of friendship. Patrick refrained from that. Patrick also had no standing in Ireland like he had in Britain, the son of a Decurion (63). The Holy Spirit ministered to Patrick. Patrick had given up his all to be in Ireland as a missionary and Bishop to the lost. Ireland was Patrick’s utmost part of the earth.

Chapter Four, God Has Spoken, discussed how Patrick viewed Scripture. He viewed it as the spoken Word of God. There was no other book that had more authority than the Bible. Patrick linked his life of prayer to that of the Holy Spirit. He prayed several times a day. At one point, he confessed to praying at least a hundred times a day while tending sheep in Ireland. Because he devoted himself to prayer, the harsh living conditions were overcome. Every roadblock that occurred, Patrick turned to prayer to overcome the obstacle (p. 85). Haykin states, “Patrick was not a trained theologian. He was unclear in his speech. He had a lack of education, mainly because of his abduction and early captivity. He had a strong sense of inadequacy and inferiority. But God used him even with all his short comings. God called him to minister to the pagan Irish and it was through the Holy Spirit that he could overcome these adversities” (88-89).

In Chapter Five, An Evangelical Reflects on Patrick, Haykin states that he was fascinated with Patrick. He writes that Patrick was not an Evangelical. Patrick’s devotion was to the Trinity and he had a zeal for missions to the lost. He was obsessed with sharing the Gospel to people who were lost without a savior and who were headed for a devil’s hell. Patrick’s mission was all for the right reasons and not for profit or gain. Patrick’s Latin Bible was the authority and he preached from it. Haykin wrote, “Most importantly, in this regard, because of his own weaknesses, Patrick knew that the Spirit’s work in us is humbling work, showing us that all in the Christian life is of pure grace: a truly Evangelical note—‘if I have achieved or shown any small success according to God’s pleasure, it was the gift of God’” (p. 98).

What impressed this student the most was that Patrick was not a well-educated person. He had a few deficits such as speaking slowly, not being able to write in a manner that is clear, and a lack of education. Therefore, he was not what one would expect to be as a Bishop of the British Church. One other thing this student liked was that Patrick was devoted, allowing the Holy Spirit to work through and in his life. He preached the Trinity and the Gospel of Christ as a slow speaking, uneducated, man of God, who was guided by the Holy Spirit. This goes to prove that God can use anyone who has a heart to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. God can work through anyone who allows His Holy Spirit to dwell in him. The author thoroughly supported his thesis. This student does not see that his thesis has any weaknesses. Certainly, not everything was known about Patrick because he was born in 390 and died around 460 A.D. Based on what the author knew, this student feels that the author’s thesis stands.

Joseph T. Lee

Liberty University, Lynchburg, Virginia

This Book Critique/Review may not be reproduced or copied without the author’s express permission.

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © February 25, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you hear it?

Can you hear it? Can you hear it? That still small voice. Is God speaking to you? I have heard that voice. I have heard His voice and I want to seek Him in all I do. As a Christian, we are ALL called to share our faith and share the Gospel of Christ to all who will hear. That still small voice will speak to you, open doors for you, if you are willing to TRUST in Christ.

I am currently 60 years old and am about to graduate in May with a Masters in Christian Ministry. I heard that still small voice years ago prompting me to go back to college and earn my degree. Graduating will open many more doors for me in business as well as in marketplace ministry. I hear that small voice saying to “trust me.” God has placed a burden on my heart to minister to people who normally would not attend a conventional church, but would be open to friendship and the sharing of my faith.

I hear that still small voice telling me to get the training I need so that I can help others in the corporate world find faith in Christ through corporate or marketplace chaplaincy. God can use anyone willing to open his or her heart to Him and stepping out on faith to follow His leading. You don’t need to go overseas for ministry. Ministry opportunities are right in your own town or neighborhood!

For years, I have done what I wanted to do. I have ignored the calling. I have lived a Christian life, but was selfish in my own desires. But God has not left me alone. I still hear that still small voice and have finally yielded to it. God continues to place people in my path for ministry. I really do not have to go far to find them. I believe that God wants each of us to just be open to His calling and He will lead others to us in order that we may share our faith with all who will hear and is open to His Word.

Someone recently asked why I could not just skip Graduate School and do this? My answer is that I want to learn The Bible better and how to share my faith in a more accepting manner. I think that in order to do what I hear God calling me to do within the business world, I needed more training. I have a heart for ministry and for people. I go to sleep thinking about it. I wake up thinking about it. It is constantly on my mind. The question is this: “What have I really done for the cause of Christ?” As a Christian, I feel like I have wasted a good portion of my life in what I wanted as opposed to what God has been calling me to do.

At this time, nothing will change, as I am still an independent businessman, sharing my faith with others when the opportunity arises. I am still involved in my work, helping people to secure their financial futures with offering them the protection they need in the event of a disaster. I plan to continue working and running my business as my business is what opens doors of ministry. But the difference now is that I have heard that still small voice very clear and I have yielded to it.

“Can you hear it? Can you hear it? That still small voice!”  Yes, I can hear it! I hear it! My question to every Christian believer is “Can you hear it? Can you hear it? That still small voice!” If you hear it, then what are you going to do about it?

Joseph T. Lee, Copyright © February 22, 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.

It Should Have Been Me

Today, as I think about what Jesus did for you and me, I had an image in my mind. It was of the pounding of spikes, like those nailed into railroad ties. As I closed my eyes, I could see Jesus crawling onto the rugged cross after being illegally arrested, tried in the middle of the night, and early in the morning, sentenced to die a horrific death. They beat him, scourged him with a whip with metal shards imbedded in the ends of the cat of nine tails whip. They beat him almost to death. Then they fixed a thorny crown of thorns on his head and marched him through the streets to the hill carrying that heavy rugged cross. Then that is when he crawled onto that cross and they nailed each hand into the cross beam. I can hear the pounding of the metal in my mind and his anguished screams. They then placed his feet on top of each other on a type of foot platform and nailed his feet together. That is when the Roman Centurions lifted the cross up and jammed it upright into its mount. Jesus hung on that cross for hours. It was a long day and he suffered from thirst as well as most likely congestive heart failure.

As he was dying, he spoke seven times. The first, he cried out to God. “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34).

Then a thief who was also being crucified asked Jesus to remember him. And Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). “Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother” (John 19:26-27). Then Jesus cries out again, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34)

Then Jesus, while suffering and in anguish spoke, “I thirst” (John 19:28). They placed a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished;” and he bowed his head and gave over His spirit (John 19:29-30). Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46)

As the Roman Centurion looked upon Him, a great earthquake occurred and the Temple Veil was torn into. The Centurion said, “Surely, this truly was the son of God!” Then I realized that the Centurion was me in my dream and I awoke thinking that I am unworthy to even carry Jesus’s sandals because I am guilty. He took my blame and my sin and yet I had been forgiven by His mercy and grace. I stand looking up at that cross weeping for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He took my place on that cross. It should have been me.

Copyright © February 12, 2018, The Lantern & Shield Times LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Is Time Running Out?

Just last Fall, I had the pleasure at singing at my Mother-in-law’s funeral. Now I know what most of you are thinking? How can I say that I had the pleasure singing at her funeral? Although her physical body was in the bronze casket, her spirit was already with her Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus. I was honored having been asked to sing by both my Brother-in-law and my Wife.

Her funeral was beautiful. Her life of Christ was celebrated and it was disclosed that she touched many lives. The service started with the pastor giving the prayer and then I got up to sing Mom’s favorite song, “How Great Thou Art.” While leading in congregational singing, I looked out at each face and saw many grief-stricken faces. Then I wondered, if these people really understood where Mom was?  I wondered, would the Holy Spirit open a Divine Appointment for me to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to many of her friends and family who may not really know Jesus as their personal Savior? I came prepared to present the Gospel of Christ to whoever will have opened their hearts to hear.

Mom had a special relationship with God. You see, she was a Believer and she loved everything about God. She wanted more than anything to see her entire family come to Christ. She prayed for them that they would become Christians. But she did not have any control over individual decisions about coming to God. As a matter of fact, a man, woman, boy, or girl cannot get into heaven on the coat tails of their Mom or Dad, Grandma or Granddad. One cannot be saved by osmosis. What this means is that many people believe that because they are in association with family, wife, husband, brother, sister, boyfriend, or girlfriend; that they are Christians. This is farthest from the truth.

So how does one become a Christian? Here are some Bible Scriptures that will help someone to understand what it is to become saved. And let me explain also, when one prays to ask Christ into their lives, unless they really believe it and open their heart for a heart transformation, then God will judge them for their insincerity. Therefore, here are the verses that I want to share with you about Salvation through Jesus Christ.

If you have a Bible, turn to these Scriptures and read these out loud for full understanding:

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

Romans 6:23. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

John 3:3, “Jesus replied, I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Romans 10:9-11, “If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe with your heart, that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. With the heart, one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth, one confesses, resulting in salvation. Now the Scripture says, No one who believes on Him will be put to shame.”

2 Corinthians 5:15, “And He died for all so that those who lived should no longer live for themselves, but for the One who died for them and was raised.”

Revelation 3:20, “Listen! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in.”

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, will have eternal Life.

John 3:17, “For God did not send His Son into the world, that He might condemn the world, but the world might be saved through Him.”

This is my invitation to you. If you have been running from God all of your life and thinking that you have more time or that you can make a commitment to God later, you may not have any time left. Once you die, there are no more opportunities for forgiveness. That is it! You will have sealed your fate eternally by not accepting Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. When I looked on every grief stricken, ashen face, I saw your anguish and you did not know what your tomorrow was going to bring! So why not come to Christ? Why not make the commitment before it is too late?

If you want to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior right now, then get down on your knees right where you are and bow your head and ask God to forgive you of all your sins. You could pray a prayer like this:

“Dear Heavenly Father, I have sinned against you. I want forgiveness for all of my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for me and rose again. Father, I give you my life to do with as you wish. I want Jesus Christ to come into my life and into my heart. This I ask, in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

If you have done that, then I want you to get involved in a Bible believing church who will start to mentor and disciple you to help with your new conversion to Christ Jesus. I hope and pray that you have prayed that prayer and have asked Jesus Christ into your heart. May God Bless you and keep you.

This material may not be published, broadcast, or rewritten without express written permission.

Copyright © January 27, 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.