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BIBLE PROPHECY
A Beginning of Global Governance - #1 in a series
Prophetic Signs that we are in the End Times
The Earth Charter's Spiritual Agenda - #2 in a Series
The New Age Influence at the United Nations - #3 in a Series
Jesus is the Messiah Prophesied in the Old Testament
Like a Thief in the Night - The Rapture of the Church
The Coming War of Gog and Magog, an Islamic Invasion?
Muslim, Jewish, and Christian Prophecy Comparison
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There will be False Christs
Is the E.U. the Revived Roman Empire?
Should We Study End-Time Prophecy?
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Contender Ministries highly recommends Dr. Gary Frazier's new book "It Could Happen Tomorrow - Future Events That will Shake the World".  This is a must read for every Christian, and will be an invaluable guide to the end-times for anyone interested in Bible prophecy.

 

This book will not only inform you, it will inspire you and challenge you to increased evangelistic consciousness, greater missionary concern, and a desire to live a holy life in an unholy age.
    - Tim Lahaye, co-author of the New York Times Bestselling Series Left Behind

Keeping the Faith...From Others (II)


 

Contender Ministries


Some time ago, I wrote an article called “Keeping the Faith…From Others.”  In it, I discussed the propensity of Christians as a whole to stay quiet and keep their faith to themselves, rather than shout it from the mountaintops.  I have felt led to write a sequel to that article, but instead of painting a broad stroke of the brush, it’s time to get personal. 

We’ve received a few emails from people who consider themselves to be Christian, but angrily reject our ministry’s “judgmentalism.”  Consider the email we received from Kathy, who said, “Each person must build their own religious foundation based on whatever means they use to achieve that foundation.  If a person wants to come up to me and learn about Jesus and my faith, I would be more than happy to explain it to them....however, it is not up to me to point fingers at other religions and judge someone else on their beliefs.”  Kathy went on to say, “I believe that it's true that Christianity is the way to God… but who am I (or you, or ANYONE) to tell someone else their fate is based solely on whether they are a Christian???…. Your philosophy on Christianity is very evangelical and condemning.  Mine is private and tolerant.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW

Kathy epitomizes a problem that some Christians have, in that she views her faith as strictly a personal matter, and will not share her faith with others unless asked.  While she acknowledges that Christianity is “the way” to God, she finds it reprehensible to share that way with others.

In the Puget Sound region of western Washington State, we get quite a bit of rain during the winter months (and the spring and autumn months, for that matter).  During the months of February and March, flooding is commonplace.  I remember a couple of years ago seeing a sign on a country highway that said, “CAUTION: BRIDGE OUT AHEAD.”  The bridge in question spanned over a ravine that was 200 feet deep, and the support columns had been washed out.  The transportation department, in their concern for the safety and well being of the motorists, was kind enough to warn us that it would be ill advised to drive over the bridge.  If I followed Kathy’s line of “tolerant” thought above, I would probably find the transportation department’s warning sign to be intolerant and condemning.  After all, just because the bridge is washed out in their opinion, does not mean the bridge should be washed out in my reality.  Obviously, the argument I put forth here is ridiculous.  But just as that washed out bridge is washed out regardless of the motorists’ personal beliefs, so Jesus is the only way to salvation, regardless of people’s personal beliefs. 

We’ve received an abundance of emails from people who said that Jesus’ message was one of “love and tolerance.”  Let’s look at that word, “tolerance.”  According to my trusty American Heritage Dictionary, tolerance means, “The capacity for respecting the beliefs or practices of others.”  If we use this definition, then the people who sent us these emails are only half right.  Jesus did teach a message of love – for all people.  Yet He did not advocate tolerance for everyone’s beliefs or practices.  Jesus referred to mankind as “evil” (Matthew 7:11, 12:33-35).  Long before President Bush used the phrase, Jesus said, “He who is not with me, is against me…” (Matthew 12:30).  And nowhere does Jesus lay out the condition of man and the nature of His gift to us more clearly than in John 3:16-21: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.  Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”  [emphasis added]  Later, in John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  To say that Jesus was loving is to make an understatement of mammoth proportions.  But to say that Jesus was tolerant of other beliefs and practices is to be untrue to the gospel record. 

As Christians, we recognize that Jesus and His apostles shared a very important message with us – a message of eternal truth and consequences.  There is a God, and there is a Satan.  There is a Heaven, and there is a Hell.  Jesus Himself told us that the only way to be forgiven for our evil nature and escape condemnation is through Him.  People have tried for thousands of years to escape that truth by formulating doctrines of “tolerance” for other beliefs and practices.   This belief that all paths lead to God is a lie of Satan.  The truth of sin and salvation as expressed by Jesus Christ is absolute – not relative to the whims and wishes of humans.  How then are we to express God’s love as He has commanded us?  By sharing His message of peace, love, sin, and salvation with those around us (Matthew 28:19-20). 

We all have friends, family, or casual associations that have not accepted the gift of salvation through Christ the Lord.  Sharing the gospel with them can be hard, as it is often construed as being a “judgmental” thing to do.  As Kathy rhetorically asked in her email, who are we to judge whether a person has been saved or not?  Yet this argument has served all too often as an excuse to keep our faith to ourselves.  If we are too follow the Great Commission, we have to make judgments.  We know the plan of salvation as presented in the New Testament.  We must discern whether those around us have accepted Christ’s ultimate gift or not.  If the answer is “no,” then the only loving thing we can do is share with them the absolute and immutable truth of man’s sinful nature and Christ’s loving sacrifice!  Are we to idly watch our friends and family take the wide path to condemnation because we don’t want to appear judgmental?  We can “tolerate” their beliefs and resign them to hell’s fire, or we can love the “hell” out of them.  Our greatest act of love must be to show them God’s love for them, and His intolerance for their beliefs. 

I’ve heard stories of people who have lost friends or been scorned by relatives because they witnessed to them.  Carrying out our Christian duties can, at times, come with a cost.  Yet the cost to us is nothing compared to the cost they will pay for eternity if they do not turn their hearts and souls over to the glorious almighty Savior of this world!  He faced scorn and ridicule during His ministry.  He faced resentment and betrayal from those He came to redeem.  He endured the torture and death that rightfully belonged to us.  He could have backed out, but He didn’t.  Why?  Because He was resolutely intolerant of evil, and uncompromisingly loving and gracious towards us.

Romans 5:12 says “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.”  Romans 3:23 tells us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  And Paul said in Romans 6:23 that, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Sin taints us all.  It stains our souls, and has condemned every single person to death – an eternal separation from God in the unquenching fires of hell.  Yet through Jesus Christ, we have the opportunity to have our sentence commuted.  A pardon is available for all of us, because He served our sentence for us.  This is the greatest and most important message the world will ever know.  To share this message with those we love is to make a judgment about their soul and to show intolerance for their beliefs (or disbelief).  Yet to do so is the only act of love that will matter for eternity. 

Don’t wait for your unsaved friends or family to ask you about the gospel.  Seek them out and share it with them now.  Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.  If the potential costs to us outweigh the potential benefits to them, then we do not love as Christ commands us.  Jesus told us, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).  We can lay down our lives every day as “living sacrifices” for our Redeemer (Romans 12:1).  Are you ready to lay down you life for your friends?  Are you ready to risk the potential discomfort and possible labels of “intolerant” or “judgmental”, if it means that your friend or family member might come to have a saving relationship with Jesus Christ?  I hope so.  His grace is sufficient for us (2 Corinthians 12:9).  Let’s pass it along, and not keep it to ourselves. 

 

 

 


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