Day: June 20, 2010
Teaching: Reconciling People to God
Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.
If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.
Let’s get started:
As Christians, we have been blessed with every blessing that God has in heaven (Eph. 1:3). One of those “blessings” is that we get to play a vital part in reconciling people to God, who has given us both the service and message of reconciliation.
2 Corinthians 5:18 and 19
(18) All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:
(19) that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.
Verse 18 makes it clear that God has given Christians the “ministry of reconciliation.” To understand that phrase more fully, it helps to know that the Greek word “ministry” is diakonia, and simply means “service.” Sometimes the English word “ministry” is so theologically and emotionally loaded that when we see that we have a “ministry,” we are not sure just what to do about it. From God’s point of view, however, both the word and the action it demands are very simple. God wants us to serve mankind. How? Well, according to verse 18, by performing the service of reconciling them to God. The need for that service is obvious, as each human being is born separated from God and in need of someone to introduce Him to them and point out their need for reconciliation with Him.
In order to perform the service of reconciliation, we need to know what to say to properly direct people to God. That is why God has given us the “message” of reconciliation. The Bible tells us how people become reconciled to God, why they need to be, and how they will benefit if they are reconciled to God. Let’s briefly take a look at these three things.
Going from being a sinner whose destiny is everlasting death to being reconciled to God is easy, but only because someone else paid for it. How easy is it to eat a meal someone else has paid for, or wear clothes someone else bought for you? Very easy. Salvation is easy too, and the following verse sets forth God’s way of salvation today:
That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
By his sacrificial death, Jesus Christ paid the price for salvation, so all a person need do to be saved is recognize that fact by making the resurrected Christ his Lord. But why be saved and thus reconciled to God? Because each human being is born with the sin nature of Adam, and thus is bound to sin, and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). Therefore, at the Judgment, it would be righteous of God to put us all to death. However, by the grace of God, Jesus Christ died to pay the price for the sins of mankind, so if anyone wants everlasting life, he can have it by making Jesus his Lord and thus appropriating unto himself Jesus’ substitutionary death, which saves him from dying himself.
How will people benefit if they make Christ their Lord and receive everlasting life? The obvious answer to that question is that life is better than death, but there is a lot more to it. The world we live in now has been cursed (Gen. 3:17) and is controlled by the Devil (1 John 5:19).  As a result, it is often a very unpleasant place to live. In contrast, the Paradise coming in the future when the earth is regenerated will be a wonderful place to live. There will be no hunger, no sickness, no crime or war, and no injustice. Instead, there will be abundant food for all people; we will have healthy, energetic bodies; the air and water will be fresh, clear and clean; and people will be full of joy.  Anyone who misses out on that life will be sorry indeed, which is why at the Judgment, when unsaved people realize what they could have had but did not accept, they will weep and gnash their teeth (Luke 13:28).
What is the loving thing to do?
As Christians, we have the wonderful privilege of telling unsaved people about the bountiful blessings of salvation through Christ. Call it “witnessing,” call it “sharing your faith,” the point is that you open a discussion about Jesus Christ with people who do not believe in him. And we must understand that doing so is a genuine expression of godly love toward another person. Today, the Devil is doing a good job of deceiving many Christians into believing that it is not “loving” to share your faith with someone, as if that somehow invalidates what the other person believes and belittles him as a human. A well-meaning person might say, “You can’t tell a Buddhist his faith is not true. That’s not loving!” Do not be fooled by such erroneous reasoning. Helping someone have everlasting life is perhaps the most loving thing you could do for him!
It is absolutely not loving to stay quiet while people around you get closer and closer to their death and everlasting destruction. Peter understood this well, and boldly spoke to the leaders of the Jewish religion in Jerusalem. These were educated men with good reputations in the Jewish community. They were ostensibly doing well, except for the “minor” fact that they were unknowingly headed for eternal death. So Peter spoke boldly and plainly to them:
Acts 4:11 and 12
(11) [Jesus Christ of Nazareth] He is “the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.”
(12) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
It is not recorded whether anyone in Peter’s audience believed that day, but I think it is safe to say that some people began to question whether he was right about Jesus. In any case, because of the testimony of Peter and other Christians, and the signs and miracles they did, within a short time “…a large number of priests became obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7b). Let’s expand that translation to show what all it entailed for those priests: “large number of the priests, the leaders of the Jewish faith, abandoned their faith, which would have resulted in their everlasting death, and accepted everlasting life in Paradise, even though for many it meant giving up their ‘good job’ and ‘good reputation.’” Wow! These priests, who could have lived comfortable lives off the tithes of the Jewish people, gave up their good standing in the Jewish community because they preferred everlasting life in Paradise to a few years of fame and fortune on this earth. That’s like Moses, who thousands of years before them “…chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin [in Pharaoh’s house] for a short time” (Heb. 11:25).
Through the centuries, the action of Moses and these priests has been repeated over and over again. First-century Jews converted to Christ knowing it would mean censure and perhaps even torture and death. So have Moslems, Chinese, Russians, and the list goes on and on. Why? Because nothing, nothing at all, is more valuable than everlasting life in Paradise, and that, fellow Christians, is what we have the privilege of sharing with others. Yes, if I were the Devil, I would definitely try to convince people that it is “unloving” to tell someone of another faith that he is heading for destruction. Of course, Jesus did not think so. Many people of his time were idolaters, and he was bold to tell them that only the Word of God is the truth.
Paul followed in Christ’s footsteps, and went from synagogue to synagogue proclaiming to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ (Acts 13:14ff, 14:1, 17:2, 10 and 17, 18:4, 19:8). Paul was so bold that on the Areopagus in the heart of Athens, in the very shadow of the Parthenon, with its gigantic statue of Athena and hundreds of statues of lesser gods, he told the people they should not think that God is an image made by man. Furthermore, he said that God commands all men to repent, because there is a day coming when the world will be judged by Jesus Christ, whom God raised from the dead (Acts 17:22-34). Although many of the people who heard Paul that day scoffed or doubted, there were some who believed. History tells us that those early Christians boldly proclaimed the Word in many different places, and as they did, Christianity spread.
Another thing that has hampered some people from sharing their faith is the belief that we should be in a relationship with someone before we tell him or her what we believe. The fact is that we simply do not know at what point in one’s life he will believe the Gospel message, and there is biblical precedent for sharing our faith with people we do not know, just like Jesus, Paul, Peter, and others did. There is also biblical precedent for sharing our faith with people we do know and are in a relationship with, even though that occasionally ends the relationship.
Read the rest of the article here.
If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.
Thanks for reading.
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