[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Some thoughts on evangelism...

by Antonio da Rosa

There is a difference between a theological requirement and a psychological requirement. The theological requirement for eternal life is to believe in Jesus for it. But there may be many psychological requirements to get the individual to the point of entrusting his eternal destiny to Jesus. Appropriate and sufficient answers to this question from those we evangelize, "Why should I believe in Jesus for eternal life?" would represent psychological necessities in the lost.

There are many different ways and combinations that Christ can be presented to the lost in order to persuade them that Jesus guarantees their eternal destiny. We must minister to them where they are. Like I said of the Jew (see my post at Free Grace Theology Blog: How I might do evangelism with a Jewish man), it may be well to take him through the OT Scriptures that prophesy about Christ's first advent.

Why would we who are members of GES state that we should not present the cross? The cross is the single most persuasive consideration in our evangelism. But we do not confuse that which brings men to saving faith with saving faith itself. It is abundantly clear that those who oppose the GES have a bitter axe to grind.

Evangelism should not be a rote message, a canned presentation. We are free to discuss those things that would keep the individual from entrusting her/her eternal well-being to Jesus. There is only one way to eternal life: faith in Jesus for it. But there are a multitude of ways the lost can come to believe that they have eternal life through faith in Jesus. We must tailor our evangelistic conversations to the interests and perlexities of those who are party to them. I don't need to present everything and the kitchen sink! Jesus is a prophet, a king, the messiah, a priest, healer and miracle worker. He is the judge of the living and the dead, He is God, man, savior. Jesus is the creator, the lamb of God, the head of the church.

People have heard of some of these things, and they may be interested to know more about some area of Christianity and Jesus.

Here is a quick illustration:

Let us say that a man was both a manager and the owner of a restaurant. But you don't know that he is either. He comes up to you on the street and says, "Do you want a free meal at the posh Brigantine Seafood Restaurant? If you do, just meet me there tonight at 6 and you and another will eat for free."

The restaurant is about 20 miles from your home and you don't want to risk going down there and it turning out to be a joke or fake offer!

You ask the guy, "How can you offer such a thing!?"

He says to you, "I am the manager of the restaurant."

If this statement of his strikes you as truth, then you believe that he is able to give you the free meal.

But guess what? You didn't know that he is also the owner! You were persuaded that he would give you the free meal based only on your understanding to be true the fact that he was the restaurant's manager.

There is no one static way to evangelize. People come to the evangelistic conversation with an array and assortment of subjective personality and psychological factors. We must meet them at their greatest needs that would preclude them from trusting in Jesus for eternal life.

They have their set of issues, curiosities, and interests that they would like addressed. If I address them to their fullest and at that point they are persuaded that they have eternal life simply by faith in Jesus, who am I to invalidate their faith?

Antonio

32 Comments:

  • Antonio: The Apostle Paul gave us a small insight into one of the main problems he experienced in evangelism. As he preached the Cross, he found that the Jews were offended and the Gentiles simply mocked. (1 Corinthians 1:23) Have we any record anywhere of the Book of Acts (where his evangelistic application of John's Gospel is recorded) or in any of his 12/13 epistles where he counteracted that major stumbling block by simply informing his mocking or offended listeners that they could leave that aside for the meantime and simply believe that Jesus guaranteed them eternal life?

    We may assume that the other Apostles had the same problem (seeing they preached the same gospel) and we must therefore ask the same question again concerning them, from the records available in the Book of Acts and their various writings. Failing the ability to produce something, is it not then likely that your school of thought is novel rather than Biblical?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 1:30:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I appreciate your tone here. I see your reasoning. I AM interested as to your thoughts on what Colin Maxwell brings up about the Apostle Paul. God bless you, brother.

    Will you add some clarification:
    Why would we who are members of GES state that we should not present the cross?

    Are you saying here that GES does not state that? Is this you pointing out that GES has been mischarcterized?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 4:38:00 AM  

  • The issue here is not whether we can move on to another subject if we get stuck or bogged down on the teaching of the Cross. I certainly would, for (if nothing else) it keeps the contact open. The issue is whether we have any right to bypass the Cross and proceed towards securing a "conversion" and leave the Cross behind for another time. Have we any record from Acts and the Epistles where such was done?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 5:23:00 AM  

  • I think Colins case is sound and undisputed and in accordance with scripture. This is where I part ways with some of the GES that seem to be ignoring the importance of what he is saying; nevertheless I am interested in seeing what Antonio has to say. This is where I appreciate the Lordships holding GES's feet to the fire. They seem to have a temptation to waver here or drift away from what is clear in scripture. That has simply been my observation, but I do note that not all the GES'ers do this.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 7:43:00 AM  

  • That is an excellent point, bro. Colin. I am also certain that bro. Antonio will give his reasoned answer soon.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 3:12:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    The preaching of the cross is indeed foolishness and a stumblingblock to many. If someone consciously rejects the cross, it will be almost certain that such a one will not be persuaded that they have eternal life simply through faith in Jesus.

    But let me try to elaborate on the point of this post a little more. The psychological makeup of people is very complex. I want to try to make an example of what I am talking about.

    Lets say I was an electrical engineer and and an industry friend showed me the blueprints and mathmatical formulas and algorithims for a new technology. Let's say at this point, as I look at the algorithims, some things strike me strongly (and wrongly), and a few of those algorithims I certainly and vocally deny that they will work, based upon my engineering experience.

    But then lets say that this peer of mine, whose brainchild this proposed technology is, shows me a line of other technologies that he has created using novel, unusual, and non-conformist methods, each one working perfectly and significantly more efficient and powerful than any comparable technologies now in existence.

    Such a consideration is a powerful evidence that this man's proposed technology in the form of a mere blueprint will work, based solely on recognizing this man's brilliance. Such a deliberation in the mind can move one's psychological makeup from one of certain objection to uncertainty. The consideration of this man's successes and brilliance softened my vocal objection to the algorithims to one of uncertainty.

    But we must see, having been convinced of this man's brilliance, I now am persuaded that this technology will indeed work, in spite of my uncertainty of the algorithims that I once vocally and certainly rejected.

    Lets bring this over to the gospel realm. If I am told that I need to believe that Jesus is God, that became man, and He still remained God, and that He is not only God but the Son of God, and that He died for every sin that the world could and did and would ever commit, and then rose again from the dead... well this is a tall order.

    But let us say that I listened intently as someone talked to me about Jesus' compassion, about His holiness, about His prophetic statements, about His love, about His righteous teaching, and was peruaded from these that Jesus was able to guarantee my eternal destiny, according to many verses in the gospel of John, and I therefore entrusted my eternal destiny to Him, why would you invalidate my faith? Why would you consider me unsaved? I am certainly and fully relying solely on Jesus Christ for eternal life, for my eternal well-being. Why would you consider me reprobate? Have I not done what Jesus has asked to be done? Have I not fulfilled His condition for having eternal life?

    It is very troubling, Colin, that you always come here and bring up peripheral subjects and never really answer the main point of my posts. You did not acknowledge my illustration or the question at the end.

    What is the error of my illustrations?

    Let me ask you two more questions (as if I haven't asked you enough)

    #1

    Why does it matter to you about the gospel? Your belief is that God will regenerate and then give faith, and this faith will necessarily be in the right things, or else they aren't elect.

    If they don't believe your checklist of doctrines, they are merely reprobate and you can try to convince them until kingdom come, but they have been chosen for hell in the all-encompassing decree of God, and any type of persuasions will fall on God hardened ears.

    #2

    Give me some verses that come in the form of a conditional that states that one must believe that Jesus died on the cross for sins with the stated and explicit result of that faith being justification, eternal salvation, or eternal life.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 7:49:00 PM  

  • So, why haven't you guys gone over to my blog and looked at my newest post? If you had, you would have seen the gist of this last comment of mine.

    It is very interesting! Here is just a little excerpt (How I might do evangelism with a Jewish man)

    In evangelism, we have a targeted goal. We are seeking to bring someone to believe that they have eternal life simply by believing in Jesus for it. Jesus gives promises in the Gospel of John, which is the only book in the canon that has an evangelistic purpose, expressly and explicitely stated.

    Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are not to be qualified by the assent to a myriad of doctrinal truths. If anyone, no matter who they are, or how they come to find the Biblical Jesus trustworthy, puts their faith in Him for their eternal well-being, they will not be let down by Jesus. Jesus' promises in the gospel of John are far too universal and sweeping to invalidate simple trust in Him alone for eternal life, even if misconceptions about Him are present.

    Objections and denials of things pertaining to Jesus can surely preclude one from faith in Him for eternal life. If this Jew can put aside for the moment the discussion of Christ's deity, and Christ's voluntary consent to die, and look in a considerate way at the prophecies concerning Christ's advent in the Old Testament, His miracles, His teachings, His compassionate acts, His righteous and holy acts, and through consideration of these things, become persuaded that Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny through faith, why would anyone consider him unsaved?

    ----------

    Please click on the above link and read the whole thing.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, September 15, 2007 7:56:00 PM  

  • Antonio: Thank you for your reply, although it is deeply flawed on a number of accounts.

    One: that you should accuse me of always coming to your blog and bringing up peripheral subjects, when (in a previous post) you said that you found always found debating with me challenging (or words to that effect.) Two: That it seems that my post about the preaching of the Cross and the ministry of the Apostles in evangelism (and evangelism is the main thrust of your post) should be relegated to being a peripheral matter. Of course, you haven't actually said that, but does it flow from your present allegation, in that it is the sole thrust of my posting. I have no desire here to divide and conquer but other FGers have commented on the worth of my posting. Here I am, my school of thought stigmatised by you, in other posts, as "traditionalist", politely asking for clear Bible references and I get shot down immediately as introducing a peripheral subject. The irony is that you ask for the same yourself in your closing paragraph.

    You write above: "But let us say that I listened intently as someone talked to me about Jesus' compassion, about His holiness, about His prophetic statements, about His love, about His righteous teaching, and was persuaded from these that Jesus was able to guarantee my eternal destiny, according to many verses in the gospel of John, and I therefore entrusted my eternal destiny to Him, why would you invalidate my faith? By compromising on the Cross and relegating it to a non requirement for justifying faith, you practically negate all your talk about His compassion, holiness, love etc. If your friend says to you: "So, I can enjoy eternal life without believing in the Cross - utterly reject the whole idea of blood atonement ("Didn't one of you born again people rightly call it "Cosmic Child Abuse?") - and see Christ's love and compassion as having no basis in the Cross at all?" you would still allow him to believe that he has a saving, justify faith?

    Unsure as to why you should introduce my Calvinism into this post. My words here are not particularly Calvinist as much as old time Evangelical and draw support from those who overall identify themselves as FGers. Since you ask (and hopefully this matter will not be raised again in this post) God brings His decrees about through means and these means the faithful preaching of truth.

    As to Bible verses, 1 Corinthians 1 tells us that it pleases God by the foolishness of preaching to save those believe. It is no coincidence that the very same passage has Paul declaring that he preached Christ crucified. We might ask: "Why Paul, do you preach Christ crucified to sinners when it just upsets your fellow Jews (bit touchy that one) and you make a laughing stock of yourself in front of the Gentiles. ("Best laugh in years, Mate!") Why bother introducing it, Paul? It isn't essential. A man may reject it all the days of his life, oppose it with all his might and strength and still be justified and possess eternal life, without believing it. It only gets in the way at this stage. Why preach it, Paul?" Paul simply replies: "To those of us who are saved [Literally: being saved] Christ is the power and wisdom of God." IOW: We let God dictate the way of salvation and how we should preach. Removing the offence of the Cross will not bring men to Christ. Let God be God. Wee illustrations should never take the place of that which is written.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:28:00 AM  

  • Pt.1
    I see a dispensational change in the word “save” from the meaning in the Gospel of John (John 3:17;5:34;10:9) compared to after Pentecost. When the word saved is used in the Gospel of John the meaning is simply to be born again (eternal life). Where as Luke and Peter and Paul never use the word saved apart from the gift of the Holy Spirit. Of course this is always speaking of the word saved in the eternal salvation sense, not simply the saving of the life. Those Jews spoken of in Acts 2:36-40 at the moment they were cut to the heart and said to Peter what shall we do (Acts 2:37). They were saved in John’s sense of the word (born again, eternal life). But in Luke’s, Peter and Paul’s sense of the word they were not saved until by way of the cross repented and were baptized did they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those Palestinians who rejected the baptism of Jesus and John the Baptist, before they were saved in the later sense they had to be in fellowship with God. Then they would be granted the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 7:59:00 AM  

  • Pt.2
    When the Philipian jailer said what must I do to be saved, Paul said believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved you and your household. Saved their means at the core (made alive, eternal life). But it also includes the Gift of the Holy Spirit. We see in places like Romans 5:10 where the word save carries more meaning to it (being saved from the power of sin by Jesus life). All the Palestinians of the Generation that crucified Christ had to come by way of the cross to be saved in the later sense. They had to believe they had crucified their Christ and repent by being baptized. In 1 Cor 1:21 saved there carries not only Paul’s meaning of saved (made alive, eternal life, gift of the Spirit) but saved from the power of sin by way of the cross (1 Cor 1:24 (power) 1:30 (in Christ Jesus). A full salvation includes our death with Christ by way of the cross. Can we simply believe Jesus promise in John 6:47 and be saved? Yes! But a full salvation is being saved by His life by way of the cross,,,,blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 8:00:00 AM  

  • Hi Alvin,

    I am not a dispensationalist of any hue, much less of the deeper dye which you seem to be introducing here. It seems to me, though, that the overall argument from 1 Corinthians 1 still remians unblemished even in light of the various meanings which you -(Please forgive me) somewhat arbitarily - introduce here. However, we need not be diverted from the main element of this discussion i.e. that Paul equated the preaching of the gospel with the preaching of the Cross, looking to God to open the eyes and hearts of those who would otherwise reject it and so be lost forever in hell. No salvation without the Cross.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 8:39:00 AM  

  • Colin you said:
    > Paul equated the preaching of the gospel with the preaching of the Cross<
    I don't believe anyone disputes that! In fact I would be willing to say that we all use the eighth sign of the Gospel of John to proclaim the gospel. The cross is central to the gospel message! It shows how Jesus was able to save us! And the majority will be saved by way of the cross. But that doesn't mean that a person simply believing Jesus promise is not saved (eternal life, made alive,gift of the Spirit). Just as in the Gospel of John not everyone believed because of the eight signs. The women at the well simply took Jesus at His word. If you new the gift of God, and who it is who said to you, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water!
    The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 9:34:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    If these things are weighty to the argument at hand, why then did Paul insist on using the Cross in his evangelism? Evidently, in many occasions it simply wasn't working. It angered the Jews and amused the Gentiles and, if not strictly necessary, it was doing more harm than good.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 10:06:00 AM  

  • If these things are weighty to the argument at hand, why then did Paul insist on using the Cross in his evangelism? Because it showed the power of God and the wisdom of God 1 Cor 1:24b. And that generation of Jews had to be indicted because they had murdered their Messiah by hanging Him on a tree Acts 5:30. This also had to be attested to by the Old Testament Scriptures.
    Evidently, in many occasions it simply wasn't working. In many of the occasions the other seven signs in the Gospel of John didn't work also.
    It angered the Jews and amused the Gentiles and, if not strictly necessary, it was doing more harm than good. You could say the same about all eight signs. Many of the ones who would crucify Him would later believe, so how can we tell if it is doing more harm then good.
    You must remember the purpose of the signs stated in John 20:31. Just as Jesus quoted the Scriptures for evidence of who He was. Paul was proving from the Scriptures the death burial and resurrection. Paul was witnessing to the fulfilled prophecies. Paul was using the eighth sign the same way Jesus did with the other seven to prove Jesus was The Christ the One you could believe in FOR eternal life 1 Tim 1:16.
    Blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 3:55:00 PM  

  • It is interesting to note that Colin who considers himself the non-dispensationalist is arguing strongly for the whole case of dispensational truth found in the finished work of the cross while the those who consider themselves dispensationalists seem to be arguing against this profound dispensational truth.

    But what do I know. I'm just a truck driver:-)

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 6:21:00 PM  

  • bhedr, your a very insighful truck driver:)
    I believe that a person is born again the same way from Genisis to Revelation. By believing in God's Messiah for eternal life.
    But I believe the rule of life has changed for the believer, he/she is under grace not under law.
    I believe the birth of the Church (the body of Christ) at Pentecost.
    happy trucking:) alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 7:04:00 PM  

  • Thanks brother Alvin. Toot toot! Spoke at ya later on and see you on the flip flop.

    Bhedr

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, September 16, 2007 7:09:00 PM  

  • Hey Antonio,

    I'm new to the blogging community. I noticed your site linked on Jeremy Myers site. I've been discussing with greg and lou martuneac the accusation of a crossless Gospel. Here's what I said, I'd like your thoughts on it:

    "Thanks so much for giving me some in depth answers, but I have to admit that I'm still struggling. If we say that a person must understand the cross, then you must hold to the position that a person can genuinely believe that Jesus saves them from Hell or, as you put it, takes me to heaven when I die, and yet not be saved!

    I have a real problem with that. They still have faith in Jesus as God their Savior, but is God really going to send them to hell because they don't necessarily put two and two together as to HOW exactly he does it. If a person has placed their trust entirely in the divine Son of God to rescue them from Hell, yet does not understand that the cross was what did it, He still believes in the person, while He may not understand his work.

    For example, a child may trust his father to provide for his need for food, even if that child does not understand what his father does for a living to provide it. No one would ever believe that the child didn't trust in his father for the provision of food. How then can God reject that simple childlike faith in Jesus for the provision of eternal life simply because they do not understand the cross, or, how he provides for it? And to say that they aren't believing (trusting) in Him for salvation because they don't know the how, doesn't hold water."

    Thanks for reading Antonio!

    Tom <><

    By Blogger Free Grace Guy, at Monday, September 17, 2007 6:25:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    A mocker once approached me during an open air gospel meeting and told me that he was Jesus Christ. To make a point, I feigned gladness to see him and desired earnestly to shake his hand. As he put out his hand, I gently twisted it round so that his palm was facing upwards and said: "You are a deceiver! There are no nail prints!" A Christ - a Messiah - without the nail prints cannot save sinners. I accept that you are not denying the work of the Cross i.e. denying (like the Jews and Muslims) that the Christ died upon it or (like so many others) its atoning value, but by relegating it so that it is optional to saving faith amounts to a practical denial of it. A man may reject it all his days and even denounce it in the strongest language (in your scheme) and yet still be in Heaven.

    We are not to isolate John's gospel from the rest of Scripture. Neither are we, for that matter, to isolate these various signs which were given within the fourth gospel. The Book is an organic whole, just as the gospel of John is an organic whole. The Christ who turned water into wine in John 2 is the Christ who died on Calvary in John 19 and rose again in the next chapter. It seems to me that it is as if we are watching a kind of video here, where a favourite scene, long before the end, keeps getting replayed and replayed. The turning of water into wine or any of the signs only have a saving message when they are taken in relation to the one great act that made that redemption possible i.e. "through faith in His blood."

    Regards.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:16:00 AM  

  • Tom,

    Thanks for your comments. I would have to agree with them. The logic seems air-tight to me.

    Out of curiosity, did they respond to you? And if so, what did they say to your statements?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 1:20:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    The response was that my analogy "was manmade" to which I responded with a demand for it to be answered nonetheless. I admit that it is difficult to say that a person doesn't have to understand the cross, but I just don't see anyway around the John argument, which Goodnight just previously mentioned.

    The fact of the matter is that each book of the New Testament must be interpreted as a separate book first. They were letters and gospels meant to stand on their own. Surely they all fit together, but if one cannot come away from a book written for the very purpose of leading someone to faith in Christ without finding the full content of faith in just that book, then something is wrong with John, and by implication GOD who was guiding its writing. There are allusions to the cross, but it has to be remembered that the primary meaning is what the original hearers would have understood it to be.

    Anyway, I'm going on and on now...thanks for your response.

    Tom <><

    By Blogger Free Grace Guy, at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 4:57:00 PM  

  • Good night
    People are born again the same way from Genisis to Revelation!
    The source of eternal life is the living water!
    With faith it springs up into eternal life!
    Isaiah 55
    1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
    Come to the waters;
    And you who have no money,
    Come, buy and eat.
    Yes, come, buy wine and milk
    Without money and without price.
    John 4
    10 Jesus answered and said to her,
    “If you knew the gift of God,
    and who it is who says to you,
    ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him,
    and He would have given you living water.”
    Rev 22:17
    And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
    And let him who hears say, “Come!”
    And let him who thirsts come.
    Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
    The living water is the knwoledge of "The Christ" the One who gives eternal life. When Jesus said to the women at the well "I who speak to you Am He" Jesus had given her that living water, and with faith sprang up into eternal life.
    I can't imagine anyone who believes in Jesus for eternal life rejecting the cross. Why would they?
    He is the same historical biblical Jesus! I'm not saying that it's not posible because Peter and the rest of the disciples did, but only because
    it did not fit their idea of the Messiah, yet they had received that living water! alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, September 18, 2007 7:22:00 PM  

  • Alvin,

    I agree about consistency in salvation through the ages. From the earliest days, salvation has always been by faith in the blood of the Cross, right from Abel (Hebrews 11:4) through the brazen serpent being lifted up (John 3;14-15) and right through to Paul stating in Romans 3:25:

    Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

    If there is no faith in His blood then there is no propitiation for the sin of the unbeliever.

    There is no need to pit the "water of life" against the rest. It is all there in the gospel, but it comes through faith in the Lamb of God to Whose sacrifice saving faith looks.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, September 19, 2007 8:10:00 AM  

  • Goodnight
    Our most basic need is life.
    Genesis 2:17 "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely DIE."
    Jesus has made atonement for the world, but yet they need to be born again.
    John 1:29 behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the WORLD.
    1 John 2:2 And He Himself IS the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the WHOLE WORLD.
    2 Cor 5:19a that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD to Himself, NOT imputing their tresspasses to them,

    Goodnight the disciples were born again but yet did not believe in the cross. That should prove that the basic need of man is life.
    No one will go to hell because of their sin, they go there because they do not have life.
    Revelation 20:15 And anyone found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.
    A person needs to Know God first! They may come to know Him through the eight signs. The cross is HOW he saves us, but believing in His work saves no one! You must believe in HIM! This is why Jesus didn't preach the eighth sign (the cross) to the women at the well but offered her living water to meet her most basic need! And when a person believes in Jesus as The Christ they have that living water that springs up into eternal life. Then they may come to know all their sin has already been paid for. But in most cases the cross will be the sign that brings them to KNOW God.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:32:00 AM  

  • Forgive me for that misqoute on Rev 20:15 anyones name NOT in the book of life is cast into hell.

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, September 19, 2007 10:35:00 AM  

  • goodnight
    I would make a comment on your statement:
    There is no need to pit the "water of life" against the rest. It is all there in the gospel, but it comes through faith in the Lamb of God to Whose sacrifice saving faith looks.
    Goodnight if I understand you correct your saying the water of life comes by looking to the Lamb of God by faith.
    I know Jesus uses the example of the serpent being lifted up in John 3:14 but He does not say to look and live,but to believe. The "look and live" if carried over fron Numbers 20 if used, I would understand it as a metaphor as eating and drinking or coming would be for believing. In Numbers 21:7 The children of Israel had sinned against God, but as I read it they are already believers. They said: "We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord. I see the correlation between being bitten and then looking and being healed with looking to Jesus to be healed of sin (by His stipes we are healed).

    I believe we must believe in Him as "The Christ" which I believe John makes clear in (John 20:31;11:25-26;4:25,26; 1 John 5:1a). To believe in Jesus as "The Christ" is to believe in Him for that living water that quenches your spiritual thirst forever. One drink and you will never thirst again John 4:14. The Apostle Paul had believed in Jesus for this (1 Tim 1:16). Eternal life is what the ones at Antioch were rejecting (Acts 13:46-48).
    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, September 19, 2007 8:53:00 PM  

  • Pt.1
    I think this quote from Zane"s new book "Did Paul Preach Eternal Life" will shed light on this topic:Page 27-29
    To be "saved" and to be "made alive" both mean the same thing for the Apostle Paul (see again Eph. 2:5 and the other texts cited above).
    It is true that the divine blessings of "forgiveness" and "justification" occur at the same time that we are "made alive" in Christ. But Paul never uses either term as a functional equivalent for the "saved" / "salvation" concept. Never.
    The reason is simple. Neither term expresses the basic, core idea of the word "saved" when that word is used of eternal salvation. For Paul, the fundamental sense of salvation is always to have, or to receive, eternal life. To be sure, "forgiveness" and "justification" are significant adjuncts of the salvation experince. But they are not it's basic element.

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, September 20, 2007 11:01:00 AM  

  • Pt.2
    God does not forgive spiritually dead people. He does not justify spiritually dead people. It is the born again person, alive in Christ, whom God forgives and justifies. Although new birth, forgiveness and justification occur simultaneously at the moment of saving faith, the experince of regeneration is logically prior to the other two. It is to a new man with a new life that God grants the forgiveness of sins. It is to that same new man that he grants justification " from all things from which [he] could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).
    At the moment of salvation, it is as though God said to the believer: "You are now alive with the very life of My Son, and so all your sins are forgiven and you stand perfectly righteous in My sight."
    In fact, as Paul puts it in Romans 5:18, justification can be described as a "justification of life." As handled by the NASV, his words are: "even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men." But the translation of the Greek phrase here could be better handled as "life's justification." Paul's phrase suggests that life is the true precursor of, and basis for, justification. (That he has eternal life in mind is shown by 5:21.)

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, September 20, 2007 11:02:00 AM  

  • Alvin,
    Thanks so much for your contributions. Hey, can you please email me? rcole@ambt.net.

    I need to ask you something. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:50:00 PM  

  • Alvin,
    I looked on your profile to see if there was an email address and I saw that you were in the lumber business for 30 years! My family has been in that business for 3 generations. It is an old mill-type yard.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, September 20, 2007 1:54:00 PM  

  • Rose, my family has also been in the industry 3 Generations.
    blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, September 20, 2007 2:41:00 PM  

  • I like what you say here. I have often felt this very way!
    And I have seen the free flow of conversation as the Holy Spirit leads to be more effective then the canned approach.
    It is so fulfilling to be present when the Spirit of the Lord reaches out to the lost soul and here you are weak and and imperfect yet the Lord uses you!

    What a blessed partnership and glorious commission.

    P.S. In long term friendships with the unsaved I have seen a little truth at a time coming out in interactions and YES PTL a little acceptance and understanding on their part at a time. I would venture to say that MOST interactions we have opportunity to have are purposed for these small steps rather than the "lay it all out on the table and acceptance" type of conversion

    By Blogger jacinda, at Sunday, September 23, 2007 5:34:00 AM  

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