Tag Archives: Evangelism

As Long as There is Breath

In the ancient lands what often took place was that the people would find a mountain, or if there were no mountains a hill, and they would use that as their capital city and the main place of worship.  They would build a temple to their greatest deity or deities as if to proclaim to all the other peoples around them or traveling through their cities that their god was watching over them.  Jerusalem was no different.  They had chosen Mt. Moriah, the mountain where Abraham had nearly sacrificed Isaac, also known as Mt. Zion to be their temple mountain and capital city (Jerusalem).

They had made a beautiful temple built at the instruction and care of Solomon.  It was one of the finest temples ever built in the ancient Near East.  It glittered in the sun. It shined in the night.  It could be seen for miles away.  It was a magnificent sight to see.  It is understandable why the elders of Jerusalem wept bitterly after coming back from Babylon and seeing the new temple that had been built.

If you have read Micah, you’ve probably noticed that he had proclaimed that the people of Judah were horrid people.  The government was corrupt, the prophets and priests were corrupt, and God was going to judge them.  They would lose everything.  They would be exiled and their lands would be destroyed.  The temple mountain would grow bushes and weeds because it would be torn down and abandoned.

But Micah, like God, loves the people too much to leave them in despair.  “It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,” (Micah 4:1).

This is what we would call poetry parallelism: highest of the mountains = above the hills. Micah’s point here is simply that God’s mountain, Mt. Zion, His house, the temple will be greater than the others. God is establishing His greatness above the other gods.  The palace of God, the temple (both the same word in Hebrew) would be not only restored to its original greatness and popularity, but even greater than it has ever been.  The debate over who has the stronger, more powerful God will be over.  God will be the undisputed champion of the world!  Everyone will know it.  No one will doubt it. People will be coming from everywhere!

That’s what Micah tells us, “And many nations shall come, and say: ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.’  For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem,” (Micah 4:2).

What’s that?  People all over the world, nations, which to the Jewish listener would mean Gentiles were coming to worship Yahweh, the God of the Jews.  In other words, God would not simply be the God the Jews but the God of the world.  His kingdom would be over everyone!  Not in some God created everything so He is the king of everything kind of ways, but people are coming from all over the world and worshiping God because they long to do so!

The word of the Lord is no longer confined to the people of Judah, but is spread all over the world.  It began in Jerusalem, but from there is spread like wild fire to the ends of the earth!  Does that sound familiar?  “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” (Acts 1:8).  By the time everything is said and done we will see what John saw:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb! (Revelation 7:9-10).

What began 2,000 years ago will continue until Christ returns.  There is no limit it would seem to the people who come into this kingdom.  Nations, peoples, tribes, languages.  Think about those who are being persecuted in places like North Korea who have buried Christians alive, Afghanistan where people have put bounties on their own family member’s head because he/she became a Christian. People from those nations that seem like no one would ever believe (and every other nation) will come to know Jesus!  What we generally look at as a lost cause and a hopeless situation will turn around by the very gospel that we hold!  For the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes.  No one is outside the power of God’s gospel.  As long as there is breath there is hope.

Please leave me a comment; I’d love to read what you have to say. If you found this encouraging please feel free to share.

Confidence Sharing Your Faith

John Robinson faced a dilemma. He had constructed a bridge across the Mississippi to connect two cities. It was the first of its kind (at least the first large bridge of its kind). It was made of steel girders and a cantilever form. It looked beautiful. So what was the problem? No one would use it. They didn’t believe that the bridge would be able to withstand the weight of heavy traffic, and who wants to be the one that causes the bridge to collapse? Robinson was incredulous. It was made of steel! However, being the creative man that he is, he went to the manager of a circus that was traveling through and asked to borrow an elephant. It was believed that elephants could “smell danger.” If the elephant found the bridge safe, so would the people. On June 14, 1874, he threw together a make-shift parade as the elephant made its way to Eads Bridge in St. Louis. Sure enough, the elephant crossed the bridge to East St. Louis, as the people followed suit. The bridge was strong enough–powerful enough–to withstand them all.

Why do I tell you this story? Because that’s the way it is with the gospel message. It is like Eads Bridge. As believers, we look at the gospel and see it as beautiful, graceful, and magnificent. We are indeed proud of the gospel. But what we doubt is its strength. So when we have the opportunity to share the gospel with someone else, we tend not to. We tend to shy away from it because we somehow believe that we are going to be the ones to make it crumble. In other words, we’re going to mess things up. We won’t have all the answers. We’re going to stumble our way through. We’re going to offend or mix up terminology. The whole thing is just going to collapse and we made it happen. So rather than fail, and fall with the collapsed bridge, we’d rather just not go there in the first place. This shows a misunderstanding of the weight of our abilities. At the same time, it reveals our distrust in the firmness and strength of the gospel. Thus, we waver.

Read the words that Paul wrote; read them carefully: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes,” (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the power. It is the strength. It is the ability. I am sure that Eads Bridge had its weight limit, but it has been 145 years and it has not collapsed yet. There is no weight limit to the gospel message. It can hold us all (even if we get our words mixed up, don’t have the answers, don’t come off as the brightest bulb in the box). Remember these words: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lets the cross of Christ be emptied of its power,” (1 Corinthians 1:17). Christ has not called us to be the brightest bulb in the box. He hasn’t called us to use perfect words or memorize some gospel presentation. The power is not in the presentation. The power is not in the person’s knowledge. The power is in the gospel. It can and will hold us up. We need not fear our inabilities, but believe in the power of the cross, the power of the gospel.

That being said. . . if you have about 6 minutes, I would encourage you to watch this video from Tim Keller on boasting in the blood. I promise it will be worth your time.