Monday, December 3, 2007

Way of the Master FAQ's

1.) I have just read The Way of the Master -- and I am scared that I'm not saved.

It is healthy to examine yourself and see if you are in the faith. Once you have repented of all sin (see Psalm 51, 1John 1:9), don't doubt God's promises. Doubt produces fear. It is also a great insult to God--if I don't trust you, it means I think you are a liar.Here's a recipe for success:
Read your Bible every day . . . without fail. Every day.

Value the Word more important than your food (see Psalm One).
Obey what you read.
Develop a tender conscience.
Never doubt any of God's promises.
Obey the Great Commission by sharing your faith (see John 14:21).

2.) Why not tell a sinner of God's love rather than of His Judgment?

Here's a question: How do we know of God's love for the sinner? Only through the Cross. If you study the NT you will see that God's love is almost always in direct connection to the Cross. Herein is love, For God so loved, God commended His love, etc. Prosperity, blessings, etc., are not a sign of His love. If that is so, He loves the rich far more than He loves the poor. So, the Cross is what we should point to to express God's love to a sinner. How can we point to the Cross without making reference to sin? How can we refer to sin, without the Law?

The correct/biblical way to express God's love to a sinner, is to show him how much he has sinned, how wretched he is (to see himself in truth so he or she understands their desperate need of God’s forgiveness) . . . (the Law/God’s wrath/God’s judgment) . . . then give the grace of God. That will reveal the depth of God’s love for the sinner.

Second. When a criminal stands guilty--on trial--it would be a mistake to speak to him of how the judge loves him and how compassionate the judge is. Better for a criminal to see the frown of the judge, so that he will see the seriousness of his crime, and find a place of true sorrow and grief for what he has done. It is then that the mercy of the judge should be revealed, no sooner. This is very important/biblical and we hope this makes sense.

3.) I am struggling with feelings of being unsaved.

There is a wonderful little verse in First John. It says "Hereby we know that we know Him . . . if we keep His commandments." I don't "feel" God's presence. If I lived by feelings, I would conclude that God wasn't with me. This, then is how I know that I know Him--because there is something in me that wants to keep His Commandments. I have a new heart with new desires. Before I was saved, I couldn't care less about loving and obeying God.Do you believe that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved? Do you believe that if you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and cleanse you from ALL unrighteousness? Do you believe that you are a saint (by the grace of God)?

If you don't believe His promises, then you are calling God a liar . . . and there is no greater insult to God than not to believe His promises. See First John.

4.) I have a lust problem.

The Bible says to "guard your heart with all diligence . . . " That means the area of your thought life. If we have a problem with lust, we should be quick to remember that we share that thought with God. That's scary. He is perfect, pure, holy . . . and just. If He considers lust to be adultery of the heart, we are in BIG trouble. That knowledge should send us back to the Cross, where we should confess and forsake our sins.We all have similar battles with unclean thoughts. Be careful what you look at, and what you think about. If you begin to lose the battle in your mind, go somewhere and pray. Confess your sins the moment you become aware of them, and don't let the enemy get a double victory by not sharing your faith or by allowing sin to keep you out of fellowship. Make sure you read the Word every day without fail. That old saying is true: "This Book will keep me from sin (and Hell), and sin will keep me from this Book." Also, be very careful of idolatry. It is easy to change our concept of God so that He conforms to our sins (a god who doesn't mind lust).

5.) What is the place of good works?

Remember that Jesus said that there was no one born of women greater than John the Baptist . . . "But he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater than he." In Christ, your works are pleasing to God. They can't and don't justify you, but you can now make God smile when you do good works, evangelize, love your husband/wife, etc . . . because you are in Christ. The motive for what you do as a Christian isn't tainted by guilt. Love and gratitude motivate your life of godliness. It's like a criminal trying to do something good for the judge before sentence is given. That's an attempt to bribe the judge and pervert justice. But if the judge pays the criminal's fine himself out of his own hard-earned money and the criminal is released on the basis of his fine being paid, he is free to show the judge how much he appreciates kindness. One is an attempt to pervert justice, the other is gratitude in action. One makes the judge frown with displeasure, the other makes him smile.

6.) I love your teaching about sin and repentance, but doesn’t this fail to exalt the cross?

A man committed what he believed was a petty crime. He didn’t have any money to pay his fine, so the judge kindly paid it for him. Another man committed what he understood to be a very serious crime and didn’t have any money to pay his fine, so the judge kindly paid it for him. Which criminal do you suppose was more grateful to the judge--the one who thought that his crime was no big deal, or the one that saw how serious his crime was? It was more than likely the latter. So it is that those who think lightly of sin, think lightly of the Savior. That’s why it is most important to show sin in its true light—that it is “exceedingly sinful.” When a sinner understands that his sin is a very serious crime against God, His mercy in Christ is seen as an unspeakable act of kindness. The more he understands his sin, the more he appreciates the cross, and the way to make a sinner understand how sinful sin is, is to take him through the Moral Law (the Ten Commandments) because it’s the Law that makes the offence abound. That’s the meaning of Romans 5:10:20: “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound . . . ”Every preacher should have one resolute eye on Calvary as he speaks of the serious nature of sin. He is the kindly doctor, talking with the patient about the seriousness of his disease. He must convince him of the terminal nature of the disease, so that he will appreciate and appropriate the cure. So he thoroughly speaks of the disease, with one eye on the cure he is about to reveal. The cure of the cross is the centrality of the preacher's message. He must exalt the love of God in Christ, and the way to do that is to do what Jesus did, to do what Paul did, what Spurgeon, Wesley and Whitefield did. He must thoroughly expose the blackness of sin so that the light of the glorious Gospel will shine in all its splendor. To fail to speak about sin in depth, is to demean the grace of God in Christ. It is to fail to exalt the cross.

7.) How can I witness to the unsaved when I am depressed?

I would witness anyway. Think of it this way. I have a cure to cancer. How can I give the cure to dying people, when I am feeling down myself? The answer is -- my feelings are secondary. If you have that attitude, I am sure your joy (the "joy of the Lord") will flood back. That joy will then be your strength and sustain you in your trials.

8.) Do you sin as a Christian?

I have sinned since I became a Christian -- but it is against my will. I may take the largest piece of chocolate cake, or let a impure thought enter my mind, but I hate it. However, if I sin willfully, then I am a hypocrite and not a Christian at all. The first Epistle of John makes that very clear. When I am aware that I have done something wrong, I ask for God's forgiveness, and immediately turn from that behavior.

9.) What about those who haven't heard the gospel?

Those who have never heard the gospel will be given justice. People don't go to hell primarily "because they don't believe in Jesus" but rather because they have sinned against God. If they have lied, stolen, murdered, committed adultery, etc., God will punish them -- not because of their ignorance, but because they have sinned despite the light God gave them via their conscience. If you really care about those who haven’t heard about Jesus, take the Gospel to them and tell them how they may be forgiven and be saved from Hell.

10) I have my own thoughts on what god is like.

This is transgression of the First and Second of the Ten Commandments: "I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before Me . . . You shall not make to yourself a graven image of any likeness." You are creating a god in your mind that you are more comfortable with—a god to suit your sins. Man has always made gods to suit himself. My opinion doesn't matter when it comes to God's character. What matters is the truth--and He has revealed what He is like through the Bible.

11) I am afraid of witnessing because I have a fear of not being able to answer questions.

If you learn to use the Moral Law (Ten Commandments) in evangelism, you will find that there won't be too many questions because you will be dealing with the conscience, rather than the intellect. By that I mean, if you get a man to admit that he is a liar, a thief, a blasphemer and an adulterer at heart, "hypocrites in the church," Darwin's theory-tale, etc., become non-issues. Study how Jesus dealt with questions in Luke 13. He didn't spend much time at all on them, but took the sinner back to the fact that he has to face God on Judgment Day. To learn how to use the Law in Evangelism, go to our free audio lessons page, where you can listen online to several of the messages out of the 16 message audio set (available on CDs). We have created The Evidence Bible specifically to answer this fear. The Evidence Bible has answers to over 100 of the most common questions and objections about Christianity. You can see these answers in our free online resource called "Answers to 100 Questions from the Evidence Bible” To build up your courage, you may also want to consider reading God Doesn't Believe in Atheists.

12) Do you believe in "Once saved always saved?

"Unfortuantely, when commenting on the subject of eternal security, many books and sermons from respectable men and women of God, seem to be evidently silent on the subject of true and false conversion. This is in spite the fact that it is incredibly relevant to the topic of eternal security. The New Testament deals with this in great depth. It tells of Judas' profession of faith (he was in truth a thief, and was referred to by Jesus as a "devil"), and relates the parables of Jesus about the true and false "believers" sitting alongside one another. It speaks of Demas, who forsook Paul because he "loved this present world." As such, he revealed himself to be an enemy of God--"Whoever is a friend of the world is an enemy of God.”In one book, the author referred to a pastor/friend who was found to be "romantically" involved with another woman. The pastor had made his mind up to divorce his wife and marry the woman. I presume he means that he had been committing adultery. Instead of challenging the man as to the validity of his faith, and therefore warning him that "adulterers will not inherit the kingdom of God," he spoke of the man's "loss of rewards." We do believe in eternal security for a true convert. He puts his hand to the plow and doesn't look back, because he is "fit" for the kingdom (Luke 9:62).Those who are fit for the Kingdom are not hypocrites as was Judas. The true convert is eternally secure in his faith, because his faith in Jesus is genuine rather than false.However, if a man steals, lies, kills, rapes, hates, lusts, covets, commits adultery, etc., and calls himself a Christian, he would be very wise to examine himself and see if he is "in the faith." The Bible makes it very clear that hypocrites will not inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. If a man has no understanding of true and false conversion (in his ignorance), he may make a calculated decision to forsake a few future eternal rewards and trade them for the immediate and temporary pleasures of sin. His confidence is in an interpretation of scripture that may have eternally tragic repercussions. We think that teaching on true and false conversion would clear the air when it comes to the contentions between two opinions that so often divide the Church. It would bring closer together those who say you can lose your salvation at the drop of a sinful hat, and others who think that Christians can get away with murder and still be assured that they are saved, because they once professed faith in the Savior. For more information, freely listen online to "True and False Conversion" from the 16 message audio set (available on CDs).

13) I was just wondering what the best way to witness to someone is who doesn't believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

It really doesn't matter if someone says that he doesn't believe that the Bible is the Word of God (or that they don't believe in Hell or Judgment Day). If we have rightly used the Law (the Ten Commandments -- to bring "the knowledge of sin"), we merely say, "It doesn't matter that you don't believe the Bible. You still have to face God on Judgment Day, and you've admitted that you are a liar, a thief and that you have committed adultery in your heart." His conscience will afirm the truth of the Commandments, and the Word of God (regardless of his or her lack of belief in it) is faithful to bring conviction throught the power of the Holy Spirit.We then, gently (in love), explain to him that if he walked on a freeway, saying that he didn't believe in trucks, his unbelief wouldn't change reality.
© 2006 The Way of the Master. A Ministry of Living Waters Publications
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Timm said...

I've never actually ventured into the FAQ section of the website. That's some good stuff.

I think I will also post number 12 on my blog, as that is something we discuss often over there. WOTM explains it more clearly here than I've ever been able to do on on the site.


pastorbrianculver said...

I agree Timm,
I have been to that site hundreds of times and never really have ventured onto the FAQ's link. I think there is a lot of good information on there that we can tend to forget about. Plus, it is good to have this knowledge when we get out reaching the lost!