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Commissioned by God, In the Sight of God, We Speak

by coie - November 11th, 2010.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

14But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16 to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? 17For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ.    2 Corinthians 2:14-17

I had the privilege of tagging along with my hubby and the other men of Hearts for the Lost (except for one who lives in another state) last Friday.  They were going to a highschool football game to pass out gospel tracts and witness to the kids there.  Honestly, the drive over I was scared that I would be made to witness so I kept quiet and when we arrived, I made myself useful by stuffing the tracts in my jacket pocket and replenishing Matt’s handful whenever he ran low.

It was amazing to see how attentive most of these kids were when the guys started sharing the gospel.  Most had never heard it.  And the ones that thought they had heard it, were surprised when they were told they actually needed to repent of their sins and not just “believe in their heart of hearts that Jesus died for their sins”.

One young man came directly up to one of the guys, holding up a tract and asked, “What do these mean?  I keep seeing them everywhere.”  He was very thoughtful and considered everything that was told to him.  He had never thought about death, what happens afterwards, what sin is, how it affects him, etc.

I was still being a coward, when I heard a group of three boys talking behind me about how much money they had brought and how they didn’t have enough for whatever it was they wanted to get.  I pulled out a million dollar tract and said, “here, think this is enough?”  They laughed, and I started to turn around, proud that I had handed some boys a piece of paper.  Yep, I sure was courageous.  I definitely summoned up and distributed the full power of the gospel as I slipped them a tract and hoped I wouldn’t have to do more.  Meanwhile, Matt started talking and witnessing to the youngest of the group, who looked to be about 10 or 11.

But then I heard one of the other boys (named Ameliano) laugh and say that the tract was sarcastic.  Oh no, I had to do more?  I asked him what he meant and he started reading the line about how “God sent His Son to suffer and die on the cross for you.” and laughed.  I asked him why he thought it was sarcastic.  He asked why someone would have to die for him.  I asked if he read the other side of the tract that talked about the Ten Commandments and sin and how he was guilty.  I asked if he knew what the 10 Commandments were and he didn’t.  So I asked him if he had ever lied (yes).  Had he ever disobeyed his parents (ummmm… only ONCE and that was to get some food).  I reminded him that he had just admitted to being a liar and I was sure he had disobeyed or been disrespectful more than once in his life.  After a bit I told him that even if he had only done one of these things even once, he was guilty of breaking God’s law.  I asked if he thought he would go to Heaven when he died.  He was honest and said no.  But then he smirked and said, “Well, that’s pretty blunt.”

I asked him if it should be any other way.  If I really believed that he would be sent to Hell, shouldn’t I tell him bluntly?  I asked him if any of this concerned him and he gave a mumbled answer about how he just didn’t know, and maybe it concerned him, but is there really a God and every day in science class just messes up his head and and and. . .

I went into the character of God and His perfect holiness.  I told Ameliano that because of God’s righteousness, he could not tolerate or allow ANY sin to be in His presence.  Because of His nature, he HAS to punish any transgressors with an eternity in Hell.

It was starting to click, but it still wasn’t too big of a deal to him.  So I said very bluntly, “You are probably guilty of very gross, disgusting things.  You have done things in secret that only you know about.  Your parents don’t know, nobody knows, but you.  But guess what.  God saw it too.  He sees everything you do and he knows every thought that goes through your head.  One day you are going to stand before God and He is going to judge you for every bit of it.”

At this point, his eyes welled up and he started to bite his lip to keep it from quivering.  I continued to tell him that I was also guilty of gross, disgusting things that I am ashamed of.  I said that I will also stand before God with my sin exposed and that the absolute only hope I had was that afterwards, the only defense I had, was that I was Christ’s and that my sins were paid for in full.

I also told him that being a Christian does not mean that you say a prayer, ask Jesus into your heart and then you are covered.  It is difficult.  People will make fun of you.  It means turning from your sin and loving the things that God loves.  It does not mean that you will never sin, but you will hate sin and repent of it.  You will “abhor evil and cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).  I asked earnestly that he would consider these things, shook his hand and let him be.  Now he is continually in my prayers.  I saw his attitude change as I spoke with him, and I can only hope that God is working in his heart.  I can do nothing more.

7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.8He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9For we are God’s fellow workers.  1 Corinthians 3:7-9a

I love this Paul Washer quote from his sermon, Regeneration v. The Idolatry of Decisional “Evangelism” (Youtube link. You can also search SermonAudio)

We must come to grips with the fact that our Gospel is an unbelievable message. We should not expect anyone to give us a hearing, let alone believe, apart from a gracious and powerful working of God’s Spirit. How very hopeless is all our preaching apart from God’s power. How very dependant is the preacher upon God. All our evangelism is nothing more than a fool’s errand unless God moves on the hearts of men. However, he has promised to do just that, if we faithfully preach the Gospel.

Let us go to Ezekiel 37:1-10.

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and He brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; and it was full of bones. He caused me to pass among them round about, and behold, {there were} very many on the surface of the valley; and lo, {they were} very dry. He said to me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” And I answered, “O Lord GOD, You know.” Again He said to me, “Prophesy over these bones and say to them, ‘O dry bones, hear the word of the LORD.’ “Thus says the Lord GOD to these bones, ‘Behold, I will cause breath to enter you that you may come to life. I will put sinews on you, make flesh grow back on you, cover you with skin and put breath in you that you may come alive; and you will know that I am the LORD.’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded; and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold, a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to its bone. And I looked, and behold, sinews were on them, and flesh grew and skin covered them; but there was no breath in them. Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they come to life.’”” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they came to life and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army”.

I have just described the conversion of men. When you go out to preach you are always an Ezekiel. You are always standing in a valley of dead bones, and behold they are very dry. In the time of Ezekiel there was no technique to bring life into lifeless bone. The marrow had completely dried out of these skeletons, they were nothing but dust. There was no technique, there was no persuasion, there was no power, there was nothing humanly-speaking that could be done to bring these bones to life. That is evangelism. And you do well to learn it now. That is evangelism.

Please pray for the souls of all who heard the gospel that night.

It is God that writes intercession upon men’s hearts. All true prayer comes from Him, but especially that least selfish and most Christ-like form of prayer called intercession—when the suppliant forgets all about himself and his own needs—and all his pleading, his tears and his arguments are on behalf of others.  Charles Spurgeon

2 Responses to Commissioned by God, In the Sight of God, We Speak

  1. Thanks for posting about that, Coie. I loved that quote from Paul Washer.

  2. I second Zoey’s comment.

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