Biblical Evangelism

Evangelism in America has almost reached a point that it is taboo to practice. According to The Barna Group 30% of Christians that are converted in America never seek out to tell one person about their faith. Is it because that they are not truly saved? Perhaps is it because of a false teaching about evangelism? Maybe it is because of a fear that the people will reject them or that the evangelist may seem intolerant of the other person’s belief? In any case, Christians are commanded to go and tell others about what Jesus did and who he is. But just how are Christians to go about doing this? Are they to develop a relationship with people before deciding the correct time and method? What about the outline of the message? Should the gospel presentation start with the creation story and explain about the fall of man? Or, should the Old Testament law be the sole method of introducing the high standard of God? What about the response? When is the appropriate time to ask the person for a decision? When does baptism take place?
According to some Evangelicals such as Ray Comfort, the modern day gospel message has deteriorated and steered away from the biblical practice. Comfort further says that this modern gospel have led to false conversions. Some have even gone so far as to say that the message does not need to be preached but that God has already “picked” who has been saved. Some have stated that the Great Commission was given to the Apostles and that the commandment was never meant to be passed on to the next Christians. The fact remains that the Great Commission is applicable and is expected to be obeyed. Many misconceptions of the gospel presentation can be summed up by a careful examination of the gospel presentation events within scripture. The timing of the presentation, the relationship between the presenter and the hearer, the content of the presentation, the timing of the invitation, and timing of the baptism will be briefly examined in this paper.
Relationship and Timing Issues in Evangelism
In the question of whether or not the evangelist needs to first develop a relationship with the person being evangelized, one must consider the passages in which a relationship was not achieved until after or not at all. Jesus did not develop a personal relationship with the people he encountered but instead presented spiritual things as though it was the most important topic. He intentionally turned the conversation to raise the question in the hearts of the hearers of who He was!
In John 3:1-12 Jesus was met by a Pharisee named Nicodemus. He was obviously a learned man and had power among the Jews because Jesus referred to him this way. However, Nicodemus didn’t want to be seen with Jesus so he met with him under the cover of darkness. The relationship building at this point was merely a coincidental familiarity. They both recognized each other but had no intimate dealings. Nicodemus used the respect that one gives to an authority by calling him Rabbi. Jesus used what he knew of the Sanhedrin and Pharisees and brought up the answer to the unasked question. He knew that Nicodemus was well educated and told him what seemed absurd to lead up to the evangelistic topic. He used being born again to parallel the difference of flesh and spirit.
In John 4:1-42 Jesus had no prior relationship to the Samaritan woman and yet he turned the conversation from the things of this world to the spiritual. He used what He knew about Samaritans and made an opportunity to testify about himself.
Paul’s timing was the same as Jesus. In Acts 16:6-15, Paul was on his way to the river just outside the city gate where he stopped to talk to a group of women. Lydia was in the audience and listened to his speech and became “a believer in the Lord.”
Again in Acts 17:16-34 Paul was being heard concerning his testimony. He was eventually asked a question about the subject matter and he proceeded to relate something familiar to them. Paul used the monument to the Unknown God to tell them about Christ. He again did not wait to begin a relationship.
In Acts 24:1-27 Paul was put on the spot by the High Priest and eventually the Governor. Paul still wasted no time and used the opportunity to tell the Governor, Felix, the reason he is preaching the way he does. It is here that we see that Felix is the one who sends for Paul to listen to the things concerning “the subject of faith in Christ Jesus”.
In all of the above cases, the relationship was never based on a building of a long term friendship first then presented with the gospel. It always began with a finding of a commonality between the speaker and listener. Then the conversation always turned from the carnal to the spiritual. It can be concluded that all encounters of Christians need to start with some type of link between them and the hearer then transition to the spiritual things.
The Evangelistic Content of the Gospel
The content of the gospel is in sorts a finicky subject. The theology and the doctrines of the content cannot be disputed, however, the sections can be picked from. In other words, the hearer of the gospel may not respond best to hearing that he is a sinner doomed for eternal torment. Instead the hearer may respond to the reason that Christ is being preached. Although each part of the gospel such as the unattainable standard of God, is important as any other part of the gospel. The order may not be as important but the exclusion of Jesus who he was and what he did is central and must be included in every presentation.
In Mark 1:14-15 Jesus proclaimed the gospel by stating that the time has come and that they should repent and believe. Jesus was telling his hearers that what they have been hearing about has come true that very day! He didn’t try and get them to have a sense of lostness and hopelessness before he gave them the good news. He simply said that the good news is here. Jesus was the fulfillment of what they were looking for.
Paul clarifies the gospel to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 by saying that what he has told them in the past is not as important as the central message of the gospel. This can be found in the last part of verse 3 and all of verse 4. Christ died for our sins and that He was buried and raised the third day, just as what was prophesied in the Old Testament. Paul had no real outline of evangelism other than his revelation given to him by Jesus. Instead he used the parts of the gospel that the hearers needed to hear at that moment. In 2 Corinthians 5:14-21, Paul expands the gospel message to include the sacrifice of Christ along with the transformation the new believer experiences. He centralizes that it is because of Christ that the sinner is made righteous and that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice because he “knew no sin”.
The evangelistic content of the gospel, no matter how it is presented, must include the person and work of Jesus. The order of presentation is not important but rather it meets the needs of the hearer. In the above passages of scripture the centrality of Christ is the obvious main content and will always meet the need of it hearer.

The Evangelistic Invitation
Invitations are sometimes either left out or done improperly. The call to make a decision after the gospel presentation is always found in scripture. The few verses that follow illustrates that the hearer must make a decision at that very moment. It may seem to put them on the spot but looking back at scripture Matthew 13, the devil snatches the understanding up if the gospel isn’t fully understood. Therefore the hearer possibly will remember the encounter and either have a bad experience or continues in this misguidance.
Jesus called for an immediate decision in Matthew 4:17. He said that the kingdom of heaven is near and that they should repent at that particular moment. Likewise, two instances in the book of Acts called for an instant decision to be made. First in Acts 3:11-26, Peter took advantage of the audience’s attention after the healing of the lame man. He called for the crowd to repent and turn from their ignorant ways. The second instance was when Paul was brought before King Agrippa to defend his case found in Acts 25:23 – 26:32. He gives a lengthy testimony and then in verse 27 Paul calls for the king to make a decision. 2 Corinthians 6:1-2 Paul preaches that “now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!” He pleads with the hearers that it is an urgent act.
In each of the above instances the invitation was immediate and given with a sense of urgency. The call was that of the hearer to turn from their way and stop doing what they were doing. They were to repent and do it at that particular moment.

New Believers and Baptism
Baptism and the timing of the act has sometimes lost its scriptural significance. Some churches have taken baptism and demoted it to merely a work that a new Christian must do. Although it is almost always followed immediately after the moment of salvation, the mode is often performed incorrectly. The timing of baptism, according to the instances found in scripture should always follow immediately after conversion.
The passage regarding the new believers in Acts 2:37-47 illustrate that they were evangelized in such a way that they wanted to be identified with this new belief and so the baptism was right after the conversion. The two instances of the Ethiopian Eunuch and the Roman jailer found in Acts 8:26-40 and Acts 16:16-34 respectively both illustrate that the need for an immediate baptism was felt following the conversion.
The sense of urgency was almost as if the new convert couldn’t bear to not be identified with Christ. So therefore the first act of obedience was an immediate baptism. The conclusion to the matter of the timing of baptism is that it is always follows the conversion and repentance.

New Believers Who Prove to be Unfaithful
Ray Comfort is known for his sermon “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”. In it he talks about the false conversions and gives his analysis of the reason this happens. Whether he is right or not, the bible is clear that there will be false converts along with the actual converts. The bible also gives some indicators as to what will happen to them and how to spot them.
The person who hears the gospel and does not make a decision or doesn’t understand it may be unfaithful. Illustrated earlier in this paper, Matthew 13:1-23 tells of the parable of the gospel being sown and the roots not being fully strengthened. Then the devil comes and “snatches” the understanding and the new convert is unfaithful. In this same passage, the cause of unfaithful is illustrated as weeds. The weeds are allowed to grow along with the good grain but burned up at the harvest.
Some new believers became believers for the wrong reasons and motivations. Acts 8:13-25 tells of a man named Simon who used to practice sorcery. He saw the apostles laying hands and the person receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. Simon’s motivation was that he wanted to take part in this and offered to buy the gift of the Holy Spirit. Then Peter rebuked him and told him that it couldn’t be bought and that he needed to repent and pray that his heart would be changed. Simon was even described as being a believer and that he was baptized, yet he was missing the Holy Spirit which indwells all believers.
Not all who were in the early church were true believers. The case of 1 John 2:19, the church was described as having some who left the church. John said later that if they had been part of us they would have remained with us and in the church.
New believers prove to be unfaithful by being deceived and snatched away if the gospel isn’t fully explained to them. Some unfaithful converts have not had their heart changed and become Christians for the wrong reasons. Perhaps for monetary gain or fame like Simon. Unlike the unfaithful believers in 1 John, the faithful remained with the church. What did the local church do? They let them leave because it proved that they did not belong to them and that whatever testimony they had was not valid and couldn’t led others astray.
Conclusion
The modern gospel message and the evangelism techniques have long been debated. The timing of the presentation, the relationship between the presenter and the hearer, the content of the presentation, the timing of the invitation, and timing of the baptism have all been examined in this paper in accordance with the scriptures. The conclusion is that the evangelist does not need to develop an intimate relationship with the hearer before being given the gospel presentation. The appropriate timing of the presentation is always at the present. The content of the gospel must be centralized with Christ and ended with a call for a response. Baptism is always found to follow the conversion and is usually immediate. False converts will always be among the true believers and they need to be sought out and either called to repentance or left out of the church as a testimony.

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Colossians 2:8-15

I was born in a Christian home. My parents were Nazarenes and that is what I identified as. I really didn’t know what that meant but none the less that was my childhood. One of the distinctions of being a Nazarene is that Nazarenes was part of the “Holiness” movement in the early 1900’s. They branched off from Methodism and into a more Pentecostal and Armenian viewpoint. So naturally my view of salvation was that I could receive Christ but unless I achieved “Sanctification” I could literally lose my salvation and thus having to start over again. Well I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s during the time of the Cold War and nuclear arms race between Soviet Russia and   the United States. I was frightened that during the night while I was sleeping World War III was going to break out. So I had a plan. I knew that I was sinful and if you knew me as a child you would agree. My plan was that as soon as I heard the bomb sirens going off I had roughly thirty minutes to say another salvation prayer to guarantee my passage into heaven. It wasn’t until I had joined the Navy to realize that there was another way to look at this thing called salvation.  Except I could not rationalize science and evolution into the Gospel and since I could not rationalize it, I ignored the issue. The philosophy didn’t fit.

As you are turning to the book of Colossians chapter 2, I want to give you a little background. Paul wrote the book of Colossians while he was in prison.  He was combating a heresy that was creeping into the church. It was known as the “Colossian Heresy”. In order to grasp some of the points Paul makes in his letter, a rudimentary understanding of the basic tenets of Gnosticism is required.  Gnosticism wasn’t a separate religion; rather, it was a philosophy that was blended with components of existing religions.  Apparently, elements of Judaism/Christianity were combined with Gnostic beliefs soon after the Church began; creating the heretical teachings that Paul combats in his letter to the Colossians.  The basic belief was that all matter was evil and since Jesus came as a human. He was both not fully human and only “seemed” that way, OR, he was just an appearance. So Paul starts the letter to them right away by explaining that he truly is writing to “the Saints of Colossae” (v. 2). He then describes that they have already heard the gospel and received it. So we know that they are Christians and they heard the Gospel and that they know who Jesus is. However, there was a philosophy that was being spread around and that was this syncretistic Gnosticism.

In chapter 2, Paul gives one of the best Christological passages in the entire Bible. In the text tonight we will see the warning that Paul gives the Colossian church. Then we’ll see the reminder of who Christ is. And then we’ll see the benefits of being “In Christ”. Let’s start reading in verse 8 and continue until verse 15.

Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ. For the entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ, and you have been filled by Him, who is the heads over every ruler and authority. You were also circumcised in Him with a circumcision not done with hands, by putting off the body of flesh, in the circumcision of the Messiah Having been buried with Him in baptism, you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And when you were dead in trespasses and in the un-circumcision of your flesh, He made you alive with Him and forgave us all our trespasses. He erased the certificate of debt, with its obligations, that was against us and opposed to us, and has taken it out of the way by nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and disgraced them publicly; He triumphed over them by Him.

When I was going through Combat Rescue Swimmer School we had instructors that would tasks the class with seemingly impossible feats. One such was that we were running on the beach in full fatigues and boots and one sailor just happened to glance over at a dried up old dead fish. Naturally the instructor yells “Circle around!” So we circled around staying in formation and he holds up the crusty creature and hands it to the first person in ranks. “We are Rescue Swimmers gentleman! This fish could have lived if we were on time. Now it’s up to you to make this fish live!” he exclaimed. He then tells us that we cannot stop running until the fish showed signs of life. The lesson we learned that day was that we as Rescue Swimmers save lives at the risk of our own being taken. It was in a sense a warning. That is why we received “Warning Orders” when we went on deployments.

In verse 8, Paul is giving the church a “Warning Order”. He is essentially saying that the church has been put on alert. Look at what he says there, “Be careful that no one takes you captive”. This is not a suggestion! To be put on alert is like saying that this is happening and it is real! This active voice that Paul uses is calling not just for the elders of the church, who in fact should know better, but for every Saint to have this discerning attitude as habit.

Be on alert for what? Be on alert so that no one takes you captive as in being taken hostage! Paul is warning them to be careful because they are being taken hostage and they don’t realize it.

How can someone be taken hostage without knowing about it? It’s very subtle and discreet. Paul tells them it’s by philosophy and empty deceit. The philosophy that Paul is referring to is that “Heresy” I told you about earlier. But then he tells them what the basis of this philosophy was. He gives us three marks to which to look for and this can apply to anything.

First, Paul says that it was based on human tradition. The Pharisees were known for their traditions. Jesus referred to them and the traditions. One particular was the washing of the hands. Nothing inherently wrong with washing hands and you should do it often. I am an avid watcher in the bathroom in restaurants, especially, toward servers. I educate those who do not heed the sign that clearly says “Employees MUST wash hands”! But the Pharisees took the washing to another level and brought it in with the rituals. Paul is telling the Colossians that the philosophy they were hearing is not a new philosophy and that they were adding it to the Gospel just like the Pharisees.

The second mark was that it was based on demonic influence. These “elemental forces” were understood to mean demonic. In Galatians 4:3, Paul says that we were “children in slavery under the elemental forces of the world.” The language Paul uses here is more in military terms and literally means “things lined up in a row, such as in an army of soldiers in ranks in a hierarchy.” Naturally our armies do not line up as described here, such as the evolution of war. But the Romans and most ancient armies would take their army and line up in a long line. This was a very intimidating sight. Especially if the numbers were great and that was the idea behind the formations. If you were on a battlefield and saw how many people you had to fight it would affect you. If it worked right it would persuade you into giving up or fight scared.

The third mark was that this philosophy was NOT based on Christ. You can always spot a cult or false teaching by the way it views Christ. “Evil always focuses on demoting Jesus”. I’m sure you can probably think of a few right now that demotes or change the work of Jesus. Maybe you are thinking of one that says that Jesus is only one of the ways. Or, perhaps you might be thinking of one that says that Jesus was only a man and never claimed to be God. I stand here to tell you that Jesus IS who He Says He is. C. S. Lewis once said that Jesus was a lunatic, a liar, or Lord.

Remember, Paul is writing to Christians here. They already know who Jesus was. It is the sly lies that have infiltrated into the church that Paul is warning them about. So, the scene Paul is giving the church of Colossae is that they are being put on warning because this philosophy that has crept into the church. After he warns them of what they are facing he reminds them of who Christ is.

First, we must remember “entire fullness of God’s nature dwells bodily in Christ.” Look at verse 9. When we think of the “fullness” of God we must think of the essence and nature of God. Jesus was, by this statement, FULLY or 100 percent God and FULLY or 100% man. You may say “How is this mathematically possible?” I do not like it when people say “I’ll give it 110%!” That is impossible! You cannot give more than what you can give. My instructors in RSS understood that but required 100% one-hundred percent of the time. Never-the-less Jesus was and IS both wholly God and wholly man.

It is important to know this because if He is “filled” with God’s nature and essence we are “complete” in Him. In verse 10, Paul says that they have been “Filled by Him.” The word used here for “filled” is a nautical term meaning that the ship is “ready for the voyage”. In other words the ship needs nothing else to be able to set sail. There is nothing else we need for salvation! Jesus has already provided it all.

Jesus is the “fullness” of God and we are “filled” by Him because, look what it says there at the end of verse 10, “everything is under Christ’s authority.” This is known as the “Continual Headship of Christ” He is the “Head” over everything! This is another military term Paul uses and it gives the emphasis of the Chief as in rank. Earlier in Colossians 1:16, Paul says that “all things were created by Him and for Him.” If they are His creation He (Christ) is the authority over all.

So now we have been warned. We have been reminded of who Christ is. Now we turn our attention to the benefits of being “In Christ”. Let’s look at the benefit of the “Fullness in Christ.” In verses 11 and 12 Paul tells the Colossian church that they were “circumcised with a circumcision done without hands” and that they were “buried with Him in baptism.” These were two seemingly conflicting that give the same conclusion. Circumcision was first given to Abraham as an assurance that God would fulfill His promise and Baptism was an act that reminds others that God will fulfill His promise. But if we look closely we see that the picture that Paul was giving was that in circumcision was the symbolic of the “cutting away” of something that is useless! Only he describes it as a spiritual circumcision “done without hands”. It was a circumcision of the heart. When Jesus was crucified, the sin that he assumed on our behalf was removed or cut away and discarded. In Romans chapters 5 and 6, Paul says something similar in that we are dead to sin through this circumcision.

While the circumcision stands for the death of Jesus and the cutting away, baptism stands for our new life. Baptism always is described as “walking in newness of life”. Being baptized we are symbolizing our new life to those who are observing. Spiritually, it is the work of the Holy Spirit in imparting new life from Christ. It is the new life, being born again, and also described as a new creature and being in the “FULLNESS’ of Christ.

Paul reminds us that not only are we to remember the benefits of the fullness in Christ but also remember the benefit of the Forgiveness in Christ. Verse 14 is perhaps the plainest anyone can give the gospel. First, the condemnation is removed. Romans 6:23 we see that the earnings we receive for our sin is death. We have all sinned and we all are going to pay for that sin. Death is the ONLY payment acceptable. In the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve partook of the fruit they noticed that they were naked. This disobedience was sin. By this act sin entered the world and death followed. The Bible records that Adam and Eve tried to cover their sin but it wasn’t good enough. God Himself had to kill an animal and shed its blood so that Adam and Eve’s nakedness was covered. What a great foreshadow as to what Christ did. Picture that every one of us has a certificate of debt. According to what Paul says here is that God took that certificate and everything that comes with it and nailed it to the cross. That, my friends is FORGIVENESS!

Paul is telling these Colossians that if they have been circumcised and baptized experiencing the “fullness” of Christ and if they remember the “forgiveness” they received because of Christ they can experience the Freedom “In Christ”. Look at the last verse of our text. He, Jesus disarmed these rulers and authorities. These are in reference to the “elemental forces of the world” or demonic powers in verse 8. Again Paul is using a military term here. He is describing something that the Romans would do when they defeated an army. When the battle was over, they would march the captives home. Then, in all pomp they would parade in a show leading with the Generals and leaders who thought up the tactics. Then the brave soldiers would be next with the bravest in front. Then lastly, the defeated would be forced to parade in front of the crowd. It wasn’t done to humiliate the captives as much as it was to show the citizens that they no longer had to worry about the enemy. They are defeated!

What a great picture Paul ends this thought with. First, the church of Colossae was infiltrated with a false teaching. And Paul barely and indirectly addresses the Colossian Heresy. What he does is much like the Secret Service who is responsible for detecting counterfeit currency. They don’t study fake money to be able to spot it. Instead they study the real thing. In fact they study it so well, that if a fake is briefly flashed to them, they could tell it. Imagine, if we study the Word of God like that, we can spot a false teaching quickly.

In this passage Paul spent a considerable amount of time on the person of Jesus. Have you noticed the marks of a false teaching in what you believe? Do they take away or add to the person and work of Jesus? Or, perhaps you now understand that you can do nothing for your own salvation and you are still holding on to your certificate of debt. You are waiting on something else. Don’t wait! Let God nail it to the cross. 

How to take a Cheap shot at Satan Matthew 11:25-30

My family and I love going to local events. Every year here in Saginaw, TX we have what is called “Taste of Northwest”. It is a vendor fair that hosts the local restaurants and businesses and is similar to a carnival. This year was a little less exciting but it is still good to eat dinner from all of the samples.

One particular booth was from a local church. I usually pay particular attention to the church ones to see how they evangelize or recruit for members. This one had a punching buddy (a punching bag that looks like a person) with a red cape around it and horns on his head. When a person would pass by they would say “Hey, take a shot at Satan!” “Punch him out!” Then they would give out some pamphlets about their church. I didn’t have any contact with them so I do not know if there was any evangelizing going on.

In today’s passage Jesus prayed to the Father and thanked Him for revealing who He was to the people. Then he says something like; “Come to me all who are tired and weary and I will give you rest.” Does this mean that after a hard days work that we go to Jesus and He will restore us? Well, He could but in this context Jesus is referring to those that have been battling the BONDAGE of Satan. You see many people think that they have to CLEAN UP THEIR life BEFORE making the decision to follow Jesus. But Jesus says in this passage that it is HE that can and will free us of the bondage and we can REST.

I do not believe that we have to battle Satan at all. Yes the Bible says that we have power over scorpions and snakes but the source of this power does not come from us. It comes from Jesus but I do not think it is actually us but rather Him working through us. Remember when the disciples came to Him and said that they had a hard time getting rid of a demon? What was Jesus’ reply? “This type can only be done with prayer and fasting.” Prayer and Fasting are the two acts that we can do to refocus our source of strength, God. So is teaching people to hit or battle Satan biblical? I do not think so. I believe that our job is to “GO” and “TELL” people about Jesus. The fight between Satan and God is handled by God. Although we can be used by God to do this it is not our mandate.

Kind of freeing huh?

Fire Insurance Matthew 11:16-24

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:16-24

Back in the 90’s there was a controversial archaeologist who claimed many finds that “proved” the Bible to be accurate. His name was Ron Wyatt. One of his claims was that of finding Sodom or Gommorah. As you can see form the picture that it burned from sulfur pellets that rained from heaven. It was a pretty bad situation as you can read it in Genesis chapter 19. The men are described as intentionally and continually sinning against God.

If we look at how the world is today, do not we see “sinning” against God willfully, intentionally, and continually? We live in the world after the revelation of Jesus Christ. Sodom and Gomorrah was before. How much worse will God punish those of today?

In today’s passage, Jesus is making the point that all of the miracles that He performed in Chorazin , Bethsaida, and Capernaum did nothing to sway them to repentance! He them proceeds to tell them how bad it could be. Picture this! You are sitting with your family and in an instant it starts raining “FIRE PELLETS” everything starts to catch fire; the house, the fences, crops, even the ground and the drinking water. Pretty bad huh? Jesus said that that will not compare to the destruction that is coming. It would be more tolerable for Sodom than for them.

Shouldn’t his put the “Fear of God” in us? Shouldn’t we get motivated and tell people? Of course we should. We need to stop living in spite of God but live FOR God.

Announcing the One the Only the…Matthew 11:1-15

Today’s Reading: Matthew 11:1-15 I occasionally love cheesy movies. OK I admitted in earlier posts that I like the old black belt theater movies but now I’m going a step further and saying that I love goofy, dumb, no sense, cheesy movies like “A Knight’s Tale” with the late Heath Leger. My favorite character is Geoffrey Chaucer played by Paul Bettany. The running theme is that he is the flamboyant herald to the Knight Von Leichtenstein. He is envied by the antagonist’s herald who tries to outperform him at the jousting events. Heralds were very important in those days. It was them who would announce the coming of the sovereign. When the sovereign was heralded by the herald everyone stopped and paid their respect by bowing or getting low to the ground. In today’s passage it would be appropriate to tell the story from a perspective other than Jesus but still highlight Him. John the baptist is in prison at this time and he is feeling a little unjustified. Remember this is the same John who was Jesus’ cousin and “leaped” in the womb when his mother Elizabeth was around the pregnant Mary. (Luke 1:41) The same John who ate locusts and honey while living in the desert. This is the same John who wore camel skins for clothes. Also the same John who was foretold that he would  be the forerunner to Christ. He was also the one appointed to baptize Jesus. He was put in jail because he was the one who told Herod that it is wrong to “be” with his brother’s wife. While he was in jail he probably was at an emotional low. (Ya think?) He probably experienced doubts about what he heard about Jesus. He probably wanted a vindication of what he was teaching was true. So John sent some of his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if he IS the Messiah or should they seek another. Then Jesus replied to the disciples and instructed them that “Go and report to John what you hear and see the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news. And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.” Then He goes on to add that those who went to see that which was in the was greater than what they expected. It was Jesus’ own herald, the one who was prophesied about by the prophets – John. When we go to evangelize we are in a sense heralds. We are commanded to “proclaim” that the Messiah has come and is coming again. Can you picture if we heralded the coming Messiah like Chaucer did in the movie mentioned above?

The Hidden Golden Rule Matthew 10:40-42

Today’s Reading: Matthew 10:40-42

I like to run occasionally  Very occasionally and when I run my favorite part is about half way when the water station is there. I don’t necessarily like trying to drink the abnormally small cups of water but rather watching the other people trying to drink theirs.

When you go another state whether for vacation or for visiting family do you go to another church? How well do they treat you? Good I hope. In this passage Jesus is trying to tell His disciples that He represents the Father and they represent Him. So they should act like it but also they should treat those who are also Christians.

How well do we fit this? Do we treat all Christians as representatives of Christ? Do we ACT like representatives of Christ?