The Importance of Evangelism

Recently I had the honor of serving my King in doing my first Open Air, on Rideau Street, in front of the Rideau Center, in Ottawa. I was blessed in having a few guys from Jeremiah Cry Ministries encourage me in doing so! At first the nerves were high, but we prayed that God would give me the words, courage, strength and boldness to step up to the plate and open air preach. The one thing I kept in mind constantly before, during, and after, is that this is for the advancement of the Kingdom of God, and in doing so I’m obeying the command in Mark 16:15 which states, “and he said to them, “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”” Also the fact that all throughout the New Testament we see men of God preaching in the open air! It was an experience that was very humbling and crucifying of the flesh!

Open air preaching, and street outreach in general, has been something I’ve been extremely passionate about ever since I’ve been saved. Although, it’s something I hadn’t been able to push myself into a whole lot until recently, when I had the blessed opportunity to go out with Chris, Kevin, and Mike from Jeremiah Cry! For many who may not know, a few months after I got saved God placed a strong desire in my heart to want to start a ministry that would be used to go into the world to preach the Gospel, and to encourage and equip Christians to do the same! Although still in the early stages, the ministry I started is called Truth Hold. It’s my hopes and prayers that God will grow Truth Hold to become something He uses for His glory, to spread the Gospel all over and encourage Christians to get out there! Just as are my hopes and prayers for this article to do so!

Let’s first look at why evangelism is so important. The first and most obvious reason, is that God commands us to do so (Mark 16:15). Jesus gave us the command to go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature! So to not do so, is to disobey our Savior! To put it bluntly, to not share our faith is to disobey our Savior, and to disobey our Savior is to sin! The next point is well, why wouldn’t you want to share your faith!? After all, we were saved when we least deserved it, when we deserved to spend an eternity in Hell, shouldn’t we want to share the Good News with the world? Let me give you this analogy. There’s a doctor that knows you have a fatal disease, and instead of telling you that you have this disease and telling you about the cure, he simply smiles and says “you’re in perfect health!” Not a very good doctor, is he? The same goes for us. We know all of us have a disease – sin. We as Christians know about the cure for that disease – Jesus Christ. Shouldn’t we be warning as many people as possible about this horrible disease (sin), and how to be free from it (repentance and full trust in Christ)? We most definitely should be!

I’ll give one other analogy that I give to people when they ask why I share my faith. Imagine you have seen a child in the street, and coming full speed at him(or her) was a full sized truck! Would you smile and wave? Or would you scream with all that’s in you, with an extreme sense of urgency saying “MOVE! GET OUT OF THE WAY! THERE’S A TRUCK COMING FULL SPEED TOWARDS YOU!” Or better yet, dive in and push her out of the way! Well, we as Christians know that people are headed straight for Hell if they haven’t repented and put their full trust in Christ alone. So why aren’t more of us warning people with a sense of urgency? We should be out there preaching the Gospel because we care deeply, and don’t want anyone to end up in Hell! It’s very serious, 150,000 people die every day. So many are living in enmity with God, and the wrath of God abides on them! John 3:36 says “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” Romans 2:5-11 describes that those with a hardened heart towards God, are storing up His wrath! Wow. Very serious indeed! We should be warning people of the wrath and punishment that’s to come if they don’t repent and put full trust in Christ, with everything we have!

Do you see the importance of evangelism yet? Remember, in preaching the Gospel, we are working towards the advancement of the Kingdom of God! There’s no greater honor than to be slaves of righteousness, serving our perfect and holy God to advance His kingdom! We were once slaves of sin, but were bought with the blood of Christ, becoming slaves of righteousness! Romans 6:18. George Whitfield once said: “I was honored today with having a few stones, dirt, rotten eggs, and pieces of dead cat thrown at me.” What an honor indeed to serve and suffer for our King!

Do you know what keeps most people from getting out there and fulfilling the Great Commission of Mark 16:15? You may be surprised at the answer. It’s a pride issue, which of course is a sin issue. It goes completely against our flesh. The number one reason people don’t get out there is because they’re afraid of what people may think of them! We naturally as sinners, have a pride issue, and that pride issue can keep us from getting the Gospel out there and obeying our Savior’s command. Search deep down, we all have it. What is there to be afraid of though? What matters most is what our God thinks of us, not what man does! Matthew 10:28 tells us not to fear the one who can kill the body, but fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Hell! We aren’t here to please man, we’re here to please God! Romans 1:16 also says “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. . “ It’s sad to say, but when we don’t share our faith in fear of what people may think or say, we’re being shameful of something amazing that has saved us from what we truly deserve – Hell. We have absolutely no reason to be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ!

In our sinful flesh, it’s very easy to get nervous about sharing our faith for whatever reason. But remember what Philippians 4:6 says: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” We’re to be rooted deep in God’s Word and in prayer! When we pray for things that are inside God’s will, He will provide. He proved that with myself, when I prayed that He would give me the courage, boldness, and strength to open air! Does that mean it will be easy? Not necessarily. But He will give us enough of what we need to get it done!

You may say that you don’t know how to share the Gospel. Although open air and one on one’s can get into very detailed conversations on various topics such as evolution for example, all you really need to know are the basics! Sharing your faith can be thought of as consisting two parts. The first is the Law. You need to show people the disease (sin) first and foremost! If you ask someone if they think they’re a good person they’ll generally say yes, which you then can ask them to do a little test to find out if they are indeed “good.” Take them through some of the 10 Commandments. God gave us the Law to show us how corrupt we are, how filthy our hearts are! Ask them if they’ve ever told a lie, most people will say yes. Someone who’s told a lie is considered a liar. Ask if they’ve ever taken anything that doesn’t belong to them, irrespective of its value. If so that makes them a thief. Ask if they’ve used God’s name in vain, explain that’s very serious. It’s called blasphemy and it’s using the breath God gave you to curse His holy name! I usually take them through a 4th one, I tell them that Jesus said if you look at someone to lust after them you’ve committed adultery in your heart. I then ask if they have ever done that. If they answered yes to all (which most people have broken at least 3 out of 4), then by their OWN admission, they’re a liar, a thief, a blasphemer, and an adulterer at heart! Then ask them if God judges them by those standards when they die (and of course He will), will they be innocent or guilty? Most will say guilty, if not, explain that if you break the law, you are indeed guilty. Then ask if they deserve Heaven or Hell. A fair portion will say Hell, if they don’t, explain that a guilty criminal deserves justice and therefore is deserving of Hell!

After you’ve used the Law as a mirror to show them their sinfulness, explain the good news to them – the cure. Explain that God sent Jesus Christ to be fully God and fully man, to live a perfect life that we could never achieve, who then died a brutal death, taking God’s wrath for our sins upon Himself, then being raised from the dead 3 days later, defeating and conquering sin and death! Explain that we have a debt so deep we can never repay it, but that Christ paid our price! All we need to do to have that price credited to our account is to sincerely repent and put full trust in Jesus Christ! It’s really that simple! Don’t be discouraged if you get some really hateful and hard hearted people. Remember that God is the one who does the work in people’s hearts and that we too were once haters of God, and lovers of unrighteousness! We will be hated for His name’s sake, but it’s an honor to be! Jesus said in John 15:18: “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you.”

We’re all running the same race and wanting to bring glory to our God, and fulfill the Great Commission! Mark 16:15 “And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”

Now go out there and serve your King!

Josh Lachapelle

The Only Source of Peace

Georges Pierre, an elder at the church, said in a prayer “Year after year men want peace but ignore where peace comes from.” I really enjoyed this quote because it is very true of our modern society. In our society everyone wants to have a good easy life. When problems come they search for peace in different avenues. Relationships, drugs, wealth, travel, good deeds and much more. Even though four out of five of those things seem good, the sin in it is believing that they will bring true peace. True peace will never come from worldly adventures or materials. I use true peace meaning that people may find some kind of temporary peace or relief in those avenues but will never find the true peace of God which is spoken of in the Bible. Philippians  4:7- “ And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard you hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” NIV (Peace coming from prayer) A peace which is not temporary but eternal. A peace which is not given by man but a peace which is given by God. John  14:27- “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you, I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” NIV

As Christians we have this peace given to us by Jesus. As we live our lives on a sinful earth we will see many troubles and difficulties. The troubles of this world will affect us the same as non-believers but the difference should be our response to those problems. We will not seek out worldly comforts to bring peace to our hearts. We will turn to God and His word with the knowledge that He is in control and He is the source of peace.

If we are living a Godly life and love Jesus then the Bible says that we will be hated by the world. John  15:18 – “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” NIV This could be bad news if God left us alone and abandoned us. We know however that God does not do that and though we will have troubles in this world, God has overcome this world and will be with us and in Him we have peace. John  16:33- “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

In Acts 16, Paul and Silas are thrown into prison. Their response to the situation? Praying and singing hymns to God. After being beaten and flogged that is the response they had. They had true peace in their hearts because of their faith in God. Let us have the same faith and remember to not turn to worldly comforts for peace. As believers in Christ we are to turn to Him and have faith that He is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah  9:6) and the only source of peace. In the good times and the bad times let us always find our peace in our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us also spread the good news of Christ and that He is the only one who brings true peace to the non-believers who try to ignore Him.

Let Your Conscience Lead You

The sin troubled conscience

For most of us who grew up in the 60’s we probably all have heard the statement let your conscience lead you, a statement made famous by Walt Disney, by one of his animated characters Jimminy Cricket. A healthy conscience certainly is useful to lead the way, but not because a cartoon figure tells us, but because God has installed a working conscience in all of us at creation. While the fall of Adam affected every human faculty, including the conscience, it still remains functional and continues to be the means to guide our behaviour. Insofar as a conscience does not define standards, the Bible does. Nevertheless the conscience aligns itself to personal values the individual may follow. God alone can set morality. Yet man’s rebellion against the moral norms has led to a cultural shift from emotional inhibitions to a society that feeds on emotions and feelings, which have left behind a divinely prescribed value system to a frame of reference largely based on relativity “where feeling good about it” has become the criteria for determining personal standards and values. The shift has been dramatic and has been the cause for social alienation, numerous divorces, and perverted lifestyles. The concepts of responsibility and accountability have suffered greatly due to man’s insistence to dismantle the foundation of God’s moral laws and replace it with his own. It is no gross exaggeration to say that those who have made choices that run contrary to the laws of God have reaped disastrous consequences. David is a prime example of this. He let his lust trump his otherwise imperial behaviour and, while his life lay in ruins, his defiled conscience condemned him for his evil. Yet David’s moral compass was pointed in the right direction since he underwent a great deal of guilt and emotional pangs. So it did exactly what it was designed to do! Under the present circumstances, when someone becomes a Christian it commonly involves a retraining of a poorly conditioned conscience since knowing who Jesus is has radical implications on our heathen value system. However, this was not the case with David. He knew both God and His law. He had broken His law and had felt the effects of his sin. Notice the effects of his conscience in Psalms 51: 8, 10, 11, 12. The trouble today with many is that they ignore their conscience which may lead to a hardening. This explains how sociopaths and psychopaths who exhibit anti-social behaviour can commit such heinous crimes and feel no remorse whatsoever toward God and society. These individuals have ignored the prodding of their consciences for so long that it no longer is being heard or felt by them. Yet just because guilt is not acknowledged does not mean that guilt does not exist. The measure of guilt is never measured by the corresponding feeling that normally should accompany it. In the book of Jeremiah the prophet had seen the infidelity of God’s people and concluded that they refuse to be ashamed. (Jer. 3:3) It seems guilt no longer was pressing on their collective conscience as a nation. Continue to ignore your conscience long enough and those alarms bells may cease altogether, and may be no more useful to you than if you were to remove the connectors to your censors on your vehicle. It is a dangerous position to be in when you no longer feel remorse over personal sin. While personal guilt can be defined as that which a person incurs when a law is violated, conscience is the instrument that God has installed in man to sound the alert whenever a violation occurs. Our conscience acts like a transmitter of right and wrong to the rest of our being. Guilt was real enough for David as it was sufficient to bring emotional trauma into his life. Though David had remained silent to his evil for a year, under Nathan’s counsel, he sought to deal with his sin and accompanying guilt. Thus David did the right thing for he attributed his offences as directly affecting his relationship to God and repented.

Repentance is our only proper response

David speaks in unmistakeable terms about his personal sorrow and desire for restoration. He calls on God to cleanse me vv 7, to hide your face from my sins and blot out my transgressions vv.9, to create in me a pure heart and to renew a steadfast spirit within me vv.10, to not cast me from your presence vv.11, and restore to me the joy of your salvation vv12. This was no tentative, meager, half-hearted attempt at confession. Instead his inner self was left devastated. David stood fully convicted. So aghast was his soul, that he feared that God Himself would depart from him vv.11. This was a proper response in every way. Who would admit to such devastation in our day? Today’s confession of sin sometimes sounds more like what happens in school when we make mistakes on our school reports and become upset with ourselves for having made wrong choices. To the contrary, real repentance proceeds from a broken and contrite heart and takes into account that all sin is against a Holy God, and that His law has been violated and that we are at odds with Him until such time that we have admitted and repented of our sins and have been restored into His good grace once more. Anything less than that is not acceptable before God.
Yet today we live in a culture that teaches us that guilt feelings are inherently destructive because they undermine a persons self-esteem. Increasingly society is not wanting to tell people that their behaviour is wrong because they might be made to feel guilty. There is nothing more paralyzing to the human psyche than unresolved guilt; yet our culture placates people into thinking that the problem lies outside of themselves and that they are not at fault. In man’s attempt to deal with guilt, man seeks to to liberate himself of God and His Ways, for man chooses not to recognize personal sin and accountability. It should not surprise us that we aggravate the situation further when we seek our own autonomy. It should be noted that autonomy from God is really the essence of sin. To seek freedom from God means we are left to choose our own means to settle our guilty consciences. Nowadays sinful issues are often referred to as addictions and diseases and behavioral problems are seen as an over-sensitive ego, poor socialization, failure to live up to one’s potential, poor surroundings but hardly ever identified as sin. And herein is the problem: leave God out of the treatment and restoration process and what will result from this are all kinds of faulty impressions and ideas to fix man’s problems. The cure for David’s sin does not lie outside of himself, but well within reach, as he does not require a sex therapist, but rather needs to repent and return to God. David understands his fallen nature and knows that the remedy is found in God alone. David can bear the guilt no more and calls on God to remove his sin.

Mercy the cure for a troubled conscience

Divine mercy is always the first respondent on the scene of a troubled conscience when true repentance has been demonstrated. Mercy relieves the grieving soul from distress, and prevents further aggravation and pain. God’s mercy attends to David’s self-inflicted wounds. Actually, mercy had already begun its work at restoring David’s troubled soul well before his initial cry for help. Nathan the prophet was sent for the express purpose to confront David over his predicament. In Ro.2:4 it says Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? There is a wealth of mercy at our disposal in Christ. Charles Spurgeon makes this observation, “Time was when a man would have to work for years to earn enough money to buy a Bible. There were times when he could not have earned one even with the toil. Now the Word of God lies upon your table and you have a copy of it in almost every room of your house. Is not this a boon from God? This is the land of the open Bible, and the land of the preached Word of God. In this proves the richness of God’s goodness. Do you despise the wealth of mercy?…Is this a small thing?” The kindness and mercy of God is not a small thing as illustrated in David’s restoration to grace. And to think that David had for seventeen years enjoyed an unbroken time of prosperity and peace. His main threat to his kingdom was not the enemy outside of his kingdom, but within himself. He had built concubines in direct violation to the law of Moses and had fed his own sensual indulgence. One afternoon he rose from his afternoon sleep to view Bathsheba from his perch from within his palace, took her for himself, another man’s wife, then to cover up his sin, had her husband killed by ordering his commander to put him on the front lines of battle. He succeeded but in a moment after years of religious ardor, his life fell into disarray. Now less we think that God’s forgiveness and restoring grace makes everything well again, understand that mercy does not skip pass sin’s consequences as though evil deeds have no residual effects. There are moral lessons to learn here. In the aftermath of David’s sin, Bathsheba’s child from this illicit affair became sick and died. Two years later David’s son Amnon violated his sister wherein he was killed for it by another brother, Absalom. In part Psalm 41 and 55 speaks of David’s pain during this episode and the accompanying distress brought on from Absalom who sought to unseat his father as king. These things were the natural outgrowth of David’s sin. Mercy removes the blot but does not necessarily make everything new again. Though mercy is much needed, all that we tarnish in life is not instantly changed to gold.
David speaks in positive terms above his restoration, in Ps.51:12 joy and a willing spirit, in vv.14 that my tongue will sing of God’s righteousness, and in vv.15 to declare His praise. In verse one there are three different terms for mercy. The first one typifies the kind mercy that a creature has for its young when it moans over it. The second, is unfailing love and liberally applied, and the third usage expresses a deep and tender compassion. Jay Steman comments, “God is not a penny pincher. He does not dole out bits of mercy, drop by drop. No. He pours it out. His are abundant mercies. When God forgives, He forgives beyond our utmost imaginings.”
Psalm 51 is a good reminder what can be done for a wounded conscience. Hopefully, we will also see the need to do as David had done and look to God for relief and restoration, especially in our worst moments.

A Cheerful Heart

Readers are familiar with our articles which bring hope for the future, especially for all those who walk with Him “by faith and not by sight”. Today, our focus is on THE CHEERFUL HEART.   Consider for a moment, what is the opposite of a cheerful heart? You will agree with me that a cheerful heart is not the same as a sorrowful one. As Christians  we have been called by Jesus to rejoice, even though we live in a chaotic world, to be a blessing for those who live around us.

What is a Cheerful Heart Like?

The Bible tells us that a cheerful heart is a good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)

The word “heart”, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, occurs over one thousand times in the Bible, making it the most common anthropological term in the Scriptures. It denotes a person’s center for both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activities; sometimes it is used figuratively for any inaccessible thing.

Jonathan Freeman affirms “people generally agree about what they mean by happiness. It is a positive, enduring state that consists of positive feelings including both peace of mind and active pleasures.”

What Is The Source Of Our Joy In The Heart?

Can we seek true joy in what we see, hear and feel, when everything around us appears so transient? No. According to the Bible, especially in I John 2:15, we are not to love the world where the cultural, economical, social and political system tends to turn people away from God.

Were going to discover the real source for joy in the Bible. In John 15:11, we see before Jesus left this world to rejoin His Father in Heaven, that He made a great promise to His followers. Hear what He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that MY joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. … (KJV).

Some may use words like, joyful, merry, happy, …etc. to express what is felt in the soul, and some consider that those who experience fun and laughter generally are those who are happy.    However,  without Jesus as Savior there can be no real, permanent joy.   This can only happen when a sinner opens his heart to Jesus.  An extraordinary change takes shape in our lives when we accept the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven and the promise of eternal life is ours. We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit comes and indwells us.  Since the Holy Ghost remains in us, He produces joy as one of the fruit of the Spirit.  We read in Galatians 5:22,23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.  In the context of chapter five, a clear contrast is drawn  between fleshly sinful desires and the Spirit`s desires. A Christian is to live his life by faith, he is to please God and as such he will assess for himself if that same joy from God`s Spirit is indeed found in his heart.

Now even when we face troubled times, we can rejoice in the Lord. For example, in Acts 16, the apostle Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi.  As they were worshipping the Lord, at midnight, an earthquake caused the prison doors to open,  freeing them to pursue their gospel ministry even further.

How wonderful it would be for you who may be far from God to experience real joy by responding to the claims of Christ and receive the gospel. Oh, come to Jesus and you will experience a cheerful heart and be found among the names written in the book of life.