Memorize To Evangelize

Undoubtedly the Word of God is the most powerful tool that you have in sharing the gospel. It is like a double edge sword able to judge the intentions of the heart. I like to liken the Word of God to dynamite. It is explosive in nature being that it convicts, convinces, and converts. The Word of God is what makes men wise unto salvation. Through out Acts it is said that the word of God grew mightily and prevailed. The importance of the word is highest of all in our evangelistic endeavors. By committing ourselves to the memorization of scripture we can be a handy tool in the Masters hand.

Memorization should be something we strive for and aim to do. In the New Testament when we see men standing up and preaching it is often unlikely that they have a Bible in hand. And yet their command of the Bible was impressive. Peter, in Acts 2, preaches an extensive sermon from multiple book. Here are Peter’s texts.
Acts 2:17-21 Joel 2:28–32
Acts 2:26-28 Psalm 16:8–11
Acts 3:34-35 Psalm 110:1

Clearly memorization was important to Peter. And we could mention Stephen who used 12 different verses to get the gospel out. Just read Acts 7 and you will find that his extensive use of the Scripture to herald forth the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul uses 7 different passages in his preaching in Acts 13. I have to say that I have a decent amount of Scripture memorized but feel my own conviction that I should know more.

The scriptural command to memorize. Memorize can not be found anywhere in the Bible. There is, however, a word used to describe memorization and that is meditation. Here are a few verses.
Joshua 1:8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.
Psalm 77:6 I call to remembrance my song in the night; I meditate within my heart, And my spirit makes diligent search.

Practical reasons for memorizing.

First, memorizing is good for our souls and helps refine our knowledge of God. This is important because we are communicating the Gospel we believe in. If we know it well then our ability to communicate is easier when we have it memorized. Actors and actresses do this in order to play a part well. In fact, often times they have it so well memorized a director can start a place and they can often go to it with ease. Shouldn’t we know the Bible with ease.

Second, memorizing keeps the gospel delivery going. Whether your gospel conversation is with one or with a crowd having verses tucked away in your heart and mind will give a lot to talk about. If you have one verse it is useful to salvation of some but if you have a great many than you can give a great many verses to a lot of people.

Third, memorizing keeps from distractions. There are times when memorizing has kept me able to address an issue that someone has without divergence. Often times people in the gospel will distract you from a topic they’ve started without you able to finish. But when I have had to open my Bible those questions keep me from actually being able to finish the topic at hand. It also can be distracting because you may be looking for a verse while someone else is talking. It might be perceived that you aren’t listening.

Memorizing is key to help you share the gospel with others with ease and skill. Here are some verses to get you started.

Matt. 22:37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment.
John 3:36 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 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation
1 Timothy 3:16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world, Received up in glory.
1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
1 Cor. 6:9-11 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

This is a good start for your ability to share the gospel. I hope that you purpose in your heart to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with someone. Memorizing will make it easier and more effective.

Open Your Mouth for the Speechless

Dear Reader before watching the video at the end of the page please read this post,

In America, the land of the free, we have great privileges to speak our minds and heart without the fear of our freedom being stripped from us. Due to our founding fathers we enjoy the rights that allow us to enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Yet there is a large demographic in our country that keeps us from enjoying those rights. These are the unborn- the aborted. Proverbs 31:8 says to “Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die.” I am doing that today.

This is an open letter to you to consider giving to a great cause. Every year I participate in a walk to support this local charity named the Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC). The PRC helps aid single women who are pregnant and do not have the family and friends to support them in carrying their child to term. They provide to needy women free services such as counselling, pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, pregnancy education, adoption resources, parenting & prenatal classes, maternity clothes, baby clothes/toys, as well as emotional & spiritual support.

The reality is that many women are having abortions. One reason is because they do not know of the resources they have at their disposal. Every year abortions in America remove 1.5 million boys and girls, doctors, geniuses, fire fighters, policeman, and business owners, friends & families are missing from our country because of . Today we are missing 55 million people. PRC helps women in the Portland area to keep their children and give those children the opportunity to enjoy the inalienable rights we all enjoy.

We all like the beauty of children but they exist even before we see them. By the time most women know they have a child their is already a heart beat at 18-21 days. By 6 weeks the child is sucking their thumb inside their mother’s womb. Abortion is ending the life of a child. If we were to face Nazi Germany’s extermination camps again would we stand up for those who were dying. We did as a nation and I hope that you will stand up with me to help mothers make the right choice for their child and their future. Your support can help.
Please consider supporting me as a walker for the unborn. Your money can help here’s how:

  • $10 supplies a variety of help in educating these woman about their pregnancy.
  • $45 provides an ultra sound, after which 90% of women choose not to end their baby’s life
  • $250 provides complete support from pregnancy tests to birth.

The bible says “from my mothers womb you have made me”. And another passage states that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. Psalm 82:3 says “Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy.” May we also put our dollars to help mothers and children.

I hope that you can find it in your heart to give to this cause. Even $10 can go a long way to helping mothers and children. Below is a link to give to my personal total. I want to personally thank you if you do. All donations are tax deductible.

Visit The Donation Site >>

Gospel According to Al: Sharing Your Faith with a Muslim

Al was a gas attendant that I met at a local gas station. In Oregon, there is a law that only a gas attendant can pump gas. This gives opportunity at times to share the gospel with people despite what some as inconvenience. Here was my approach to sharing the gospel with Al.

Al claimed to be a Muslim but was not as strong of a Muslim as some that I have met. But the approach is the same. I like to begin with something that breaks the ice. Do you go to church is great because I don’t mind inviting people to church. Al’s response was I am Muslim. Anyone who responds with a religious based response I like to ask what do you believe? The reason is for most people whether they are Muslim, Catholic, Jew, Jehovah Witness, or any other religion can still mean a lot of different things. So rather than assuming I find out what people believe by telling me and then I know how to bring them the gospel. It saves time and years from know the gospel.

Turns out the Al wasn’t a devout Muslim. He said that he prayed regularly with his parents. I asked what he thought about Jesus to which he wasn’t sure what he believed about Jesus except maybe he was a good prophet. Since what we believe about Jesus is important I like to address this issue.

Begin with the law of God. The first commandment is to Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength and to have no other God’s before him. I believe changing the person of Christ is a departure from this commandment. So I use it to point out there is one God. The rest is our actions toward God based on our beliefs about Him. Since many people try to be a good person, including Al, to get into heaven it is important that we show them the truth about Romans 3 which says that there is none good. Once the law establishes and exposes our evil deeds it is much easier to see that it isn’t works that saves. Whether prayers, attendance to meetings, or simply trying to be a good person is not what God merits a persons salvation.

The requirement of the Law. The law of God requires the remission of sins to be satisfied through the shedding of blood.

Leviticus 17:11 states that “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.”

That is why Jesus Christ was called the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. No sacrifice, no forgiveness. And we can’t continue sacrifices because Christ did it once and for all. Makes the cross so much more wonderful to understand that Christ finished that work for all who believe. So this is where I change focus on whom Jesus Christ is.

The testimony of Jesus Christ. So the belief of a Muslim is that Jesus Christ was a good prophet. If he was a good prophet he wouldn’t claim to be God unless it were true. The reason Christ came into the world was to fulfill all righteousness (Matt. 3:15, Rom. 8:2). Muslims need to see that it is nothing good in them that saves but Jesus Christ’s goodness. So what is the testimony? Here is a few examples.
1) At his birth angels worship. Luke 2:13-14
2) Men worship through out his life- Magi, shepherds, the disciples, the sick, lame, both men and women. (Matt. 2:1-2, Lk. 2:8-20, Matt. 9:18 )
3) He healed multitudes. His testimony was authenticated by the miraculous power that he had. (Matt 4:23-25) The importance of multitudes is that it was undeniable. You would think that if multitudes experienced it and testimony was preached written about these things that someone could state how false it was. But there is no testimony.

The Claim that Sealed His Death. Jesus had many claims but one of the most astounding and controversial is his claim in John 8:58 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” The I Am claim was the same claim that God made to Abraham. This was so offensive that the Jews picked up stones to kill him. Jesus told just a few verse back that “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He… He was crucified and they knew Him to be God in his resurrection.

The Testimony of James. Jesus half brother was James. I have two brothers and I know my own sinfulness and they know my own sinfulness. Not in a million years would I or my brothers say that I am God or the other way around. What was it the proof that turned James from doubter to tauter? The proof was in his resurrection. This is all good and fine until a testimony like James. And don’t forget that he wrote a book of the Bible about it. 1 Cor. 15:7-8 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time. What does James say about Jesus? My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with partiality. James 2:1.

The Testimony of the rest of the Apostles. I think that the testimony of the Apostles is astounding. The reason is because right after his death they didn’t hang around believing that Jesus was going to be resurrected. The believed that he was dead some much that they locked themselves in their home for 8 days.

John 20:19
Then, the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
John 20:18-20 (in Context) John 20 (Whole Chapter) Other Translations
John 20:26
And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!”

If you didn’t get this- that is twice we see Jesus coming to them. Both times the doors are shut for fear of the Jews. Both times Jesus speaks peace to you (because of fear). Doesn’t sound like victoriously believing right away to me. And to add to that they ended up going and preaching everywhere. What turns a hiding, fearful, locked in your home disciple to proclaiming resurrection touting apostle? THE RESURRECTION!

End with Repenetance. Anyone, everyone, every belief must repent and believe on Jesus Christ. It is that simple. Turn from your sin and be a doubter, reviler, or blasphemer no longer. Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief.

I think this is a good method to share with the Muslim but it can be a good testimony for anyone you share the faith with. I hope that one day I see Al in heaven believing upon Jesus Christ as His Lord and Savior.

What are your thoughts or approaches? I would love to hear from you and some thoughts about bringing someone to Christ whose a muslim.

National Day of Prayer 2013: It’s Time For Repentance America

According to the law of Congress today is the National Day of Prayer. Men and women from all walks of life are called to pray to their god. But only one God who hears. The LORD, God of the Bible, who is Almighty and Powerful is able to hear and answer beyond what we can ask or imagine. The question is what matters to God in prayer?

Pro 28:9 One who turns away his ear from hearing the law, Even his prayer is an abomination.

The plight of our prayers as a nation can not be said more clearly than this verse. The horrific status of our nation is that we have turned our ear from God and his Law. We have removed the ten commandments for schools and court rooms. We remove laws in our land that once were derived from the scriptures and now have legalized abortion, drugs (in some states), homosexuality, and pornography. False religions are our greatest religions. It is folly to assume that God hears our prayers when we can meet supposed Christian with every other false religion.

Ps. 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, The Lord will not hear.

The reality is that the prayers we need to offer is one of repentance. As most Christians at one time or another have likely heard this passage from Numbers 7:14 which say “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” But rather we are a proud nation focused on fleeing from God while pray while calling for the blessing of God on our nation.

Isaiah 1:15 When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood.

May this verse be a sobering reminder of where we are. May we turn back and repent our sins. May we come humbly to our God and find that he is merciful and gracious to those who turn towards him.

George Washington on this subject

We ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained; and since the preservation of sacred fire of liberty and the destiny of the republican model of government are justly considered as deeply, perhaps finally, staked of the experiment…

Let us conclude with a final closing of prayer from a Puritan Prayer.

Confession and Petition

Holy Lord, I have sinned times without number, and been guilty of pride and unbelief, of failure to find Thy mind in Thy Word, of neglect to seek Thee in my daily life. My transgressions and short-comings present me with a list of accusations, but I bless Thee that they will not stand against me, for all have been laid on Christ. Go on to subdue my corruptions, and grant me grace to live above them. Let not the passions of the flesh nor lustings of the mind bring my spirit into subjection, but do Thou rule over me in liberty and power.

I thank Thee that many of my prayers have been refused. I have asked amiss and do not have, I have prayed from lusts and been rejected, I have longed for Egypt and been given a wilderness. Go on with Thy patient work, answering ‘no’ to my wrongful prayers, and fitting me to accept it. Purge me from every false desire, every base aspiration, everything contrary to Thy rule. I thank Thee for Thy wisdom and Thy love, for all the acts of discipline to which I am subject, for sometimes putting me into the furnace to refine my gold and remove my dross.

No trial is so hard to bear as a sense of sin. If Thou shouldst give me choice to live in pleasure and keep my sins, or to have them burnt away with trial, give me sanctified affliction. Deliver me from every evil habit, every accretion of former sins, everything that dims the brightness of Thy grace in me, everything that prevents me taking delight in Thee. Then I shall bless Thee, God of jeshurun, for helping me to be upright.

From the Valley of Vision a Puritan Prayer.

Fear, Trembling and The Gospel

There is nothing more exhilarating than to share your faith with someone else. The joy of telling them of the grace you have received and to tell they to can be saved by the power of God by faith in Jesus Christ His only Son. Yet I find that fear can have an effect on sharing our faith and often keep us silence. Here is some thoughts on dealing with fear in the midst of sharing the gospel.

I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto salvation for all those who believe for the Jew first and the Gentile also.

Becoming unashamed in the gospel. I will say first that I am not perfect and have not mastered my own emotions as there are a great many times that I tremble. I remember one of the first times I got up to preach open air style. My body was shaking in fear. I opened with this text.

1 Cor. 2:1-4 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

I can’t say that I was that eloquent as I trembled in fear and I find a little comfort in Paul’s words that he trembled.

Here are some things that I have found that compel me to speak. When I look at the book of Acts I notice that in chapter 4:19 that they say “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” The context is that they are threatened. The strange thing is that the Sanhedrin seemed to be more afraid of the people than Peter and John or their jailing. What drove the two disciples to speak is what they saw and heard. Likewise if I believe, if have seen, if I have heard then it is incumbent upon me to speak.

Paul also affirms this. In 2 Cor. 4 he states: It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. What drives him is resurrection and his faith in Christ to save. If you read the whole chapter it speaks about this in persecutions, beatings and seemingly all kinds of difficulties. Yes, he is Paul, but again the glory outweighs the trials.

The cause of fear. I would say what most of our fears are driven from the unknown. We have the idea that our first time witnessing or preaching is likely going to get us hated, jailed, and killed. This might be true but often times it isn’t The Bible says that God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and a sound mind. Fears can be irrational ideas that cause us to tremble. Again I will say I haven’t mastered my own fears. And based on the passages that I posted previous, I can safely say that Paul might trembled a little also. You are in good company with Paul.

Fear can either motivate us to preach or to be silent. In most cases it cause us to keep quiet. I find that I need both my emotions and my mind to be educated by the word of God. I would say that John Mark who fled from serving in the gospel with Paul and Barnabas had fear. Thankfully he came back and was found useful to work of the gospel. So what educates me to preach the gospel. Below are a few verses.

Luke 9:26 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, of him the Son of Man will be ashamed when He comes in His own glory, and in His Father’s, and of the holy angels.
1 Peter 4:16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.
Luke 12:4-5 “And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!
Mark 4:40 “But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”
Phil. 1:28-30 And not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God. For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which you saw in me and now hear is in me.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
Romans 8:35-39 “For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

There are a wealth of passages that we could read on this subject. I hope that these are some encouragement to speak the name of Jesus Christ.

One final note on overcoming fear to speak the name of Jesus Christ. Go with someone. Paul often had people with him. I think much Acts was written with Luke with Paul. And we see in Acts 17:5-6 that Jason was dragged from his for harboring Paul. Having a partner with you can make it a little easier to stand and preach or share your faith.

I hope this is an encouragement to you to share your faith. Be strong and courageous to share your faith. I would love to hear your thoughts and adventures in the gospel.

Sam’s Sad Words: A Short Witnessing Encounter

The other night I met a young man named Sam. He was out with his buddy to enjoy the pleasures of this world. I ran into these two young guys while sharing the gospel in downtown Portland. Neither really had heard the gospel which I am finding more and more regular with young people. I engaged with them by giving a tract that says on one side Ticket to Heaven and on the other Ticket to Hell.

I began with asking if he were to die whether he would go to heaven or not. His quick and immediate response was “Hell.” I replied “How do you know that?” He said; “From the age of 13 I began smoking pot and I do that a lot.” “I see.” This is remarkable because he was likely about 15. “Did you know that Christ came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief? I point this out to you because a man named Paul murdered Christians. I don’t think you have murdered Christians have you?” “No.” The Bible tells us that it is appointed for man to die once and after this the judgement.” I proceeded from there to administer law of God to help revive his conscience to his need for God to save him from hell. After all hell is a real place.

Sam’s destination of hell is not as exciting or fun that people think it is. We are desensitized to the concept of hell by its presentation in movies, commercials, music and friends. The idea that it is fine and it will be fun and I’ll see you there is false. The reality is that hell is not Satan’s realm. Hell is not a party where we will see friends. Hell is a place where God is dealing with those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel with fiery judgement. 1 Thess. 1:9. Even Psalm 11 tells that He [God] will reign coals upon the wicked. Not a place I want anyone to desire or want to go. I then plead with them to turn from their sin that they were enjoying and flee to God. Over all the message was well received and seemed to sober Sam up.

Sam and his friend heard the gospel of Jesus Christ that night. They heard the law of God, the penalty that we all deserve, and the grace of Jesus Christ through faith in Him. I pray that Sam is saved as well as his friend. Perhaps I will one day see him in heaven. Please pray for Sam.

Redeeming the Time Through READeeming

Recently I started a book club for our church Beaverton Grace Bible Church. The title of the book club is READeeming Book Club. I truthfully have hundreds of books which having and reading books are two separate things. I haven’t always been the best type of person to go about reading books. I also wanted to find one way to encourage the church to read from saints present and past.

I really would encourage you to read and maybe even start a book club. One of my favorite preachers is Charles Spurgeon. In one of his addresses to the church he said “You need to read. Renounce as much as you will all light literature, but study as much as possible sound theological works, especially the Puritanic writers, and expositions of the Bible.” We could add a whole bunch of different things to light literature like video games, movies, television, YouTube, etc while adding sermons like Spurgeon. This leads me to ask how we are redeeming the time.

Redeeming the time can come in many forms. In this case it is through a book club and reading. You put down the remote and pick up a book a little more. Or perhaps pick up the BOOK (the Holy Word of God) to nourish your soul. Be more hospitable, share the gospel with someone, or even write some. Spurgeon had read the Pilgrim’s Progress over 100 times by the time he died. How do we suppose that happened? It wasn’t by sitting around or doing time wasting activities but by purposing himself to read. Purposing is really what separates those who read from those who don’t.

Other ways to redeem your time is to

  • read you Bible
  • listen to sermons
  • be hospitable
  • pray privately and corporately
  • go to church
  • and share the gospel.

So pick something up to read or do something that will get you and others to heaven. What good godly books are reading? I am currently reading C.T. Studd, Cricketeer and Pioneer. Great read and a gospel encouragement to step out for faith in Jesus Christ. By the way a review of the first book can be found at our Beaverton church sermon archive.

Close To Heaven

A couple of our friends from church recently were married. There is something special that I find with marriage as it reminds me of the coming marriage of Christ and his Church. It really is a picture of Christ’s love for his bride as he laid down his life for her. What a great picture. But this post isn’t about them. It is about two men who worked at the church they were wed at.

After the wedding I have the opportunity to talk to two of these men who worked at the church. Come to find out that neither of them attended church and it soon became apparent that they needed to hear the gospel. Which is shocking to me that men would work in a church but not be part of the church. I think this really speaks to the state of the church that many no longer preach the gospel. Many churches don’t believe in the realities of heaven and hell that we no longer find the necessities to share Christ with those nearest to the church. So here is a tragic reality of churches.

Tragedy 1. People (unbelievers) work with in the walls of the church but never hear the gospel.
Tragedy 2. People attend the church but never hear the gospel.
Tragedy 3. Neighbors to the church have never been evangelized with the gospel.
Tragedy 4. The neighbors of people within the church never heard the gospel.
Tragedy 5. The pastor doesn’t share the gospel.

The first four problem are a result of the greatest problem. The pastor doesn’t preach the gospel. It is clear that the command for pastors is to “do the work of the evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Tim 4:5) Dr. Steve Lawson brings up this issue in his book titled Famine in the Land. He says, “Biblical preaching must always occupy the leading place of influence in the life of any church. At the core of any healthy congregation is a vibrant exposition of God’s Word. Unfortunately, though, many pastors are turning away from the central role of expository preaching and doctrinal teaching. But in so doing , they fail to realize that new converts, first and foremost, need to be taught God’s truth.” The fact is that the two men who I spoke with suffered one from not hearing the word and possibly being converted.

The message I gave to these men is one of repentance and faith in Christ. The sad thing is that these two men reminded me of the men on the cross next to Jesus. Both heard the words of Christ and yet only one was saved. These men at church were close if you will to heaven and yet both were so far away. One had parents who attended the church and the other had no church background. Seems strange that these men who worked inside the church hadn’t really heard the gospel. I hope that no one ever comes to a church I attend let alone work at one and yet not be saved. Even 1 Corinthians 14 tells us that the uninformed coming into the church should hear and be saved. So why isn’t it happening. Perhaps the gospel is some unintelligible sound to those who come and hear.

The Sins of Hophni and Phinehas

We all have our favorite books in the Bible. 1 Samuel is one of them for me. My wife and I have been reading it lately and there were some interesting things that I noticed in my reading of it. I notice a few things looking at 1 Samuel 2-4. In particular the works of Hophni and Phinehas.

There sins were great in the eyes of the LORD. “The sin of the men was very great before the LORD, for men abhored the offering of the LORD.” It was in regard to the meat that Hophni and Phinehas wanted to get the meat before the fat was burned. But instead they took it by force. Ignoring the commands of the Lord that: “‘This shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall eat neither fat nor blood.(Lev. 3:17)” Or that the person who eats shall be cut off from His people as Lev. 7:22-27 mentions. They defiled the worship of God and the sin offerings.

They didn’t wear an ephod. Levites were to wear ephods as perscribed in Exodus 28. Which in verse 18 says that Samuel was wearing. What!? We might think that the ephod was such a simple issue but it was God’s prescription for worship. Wouldn’t we want to come and worship God according to His standards and commandments. God makes a big deal out of it when He says; “Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be My priest, to offer upon My altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod before Me? And did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire?” This speaking of Aaron.

Too little, Too late. That is the response of Eli the father of Hophni and Phinehas. He did rebuke them but how mild. No my sons! Really the rebuke and then a stoning would have been the appropriate response. Here is what God thought of his rebuke. “For I have told him that I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knows, because his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them Of course God is often gracious is there is a repentance.(3:13)” But Eli had little care it seems for his sons. Instead his response was “It is the LORD. Let Him do what seems good to Him. (3:18)” I think the appropriate response would be LORD have mercy with fasting and sackcloth.

The implications to me is sobering. That we should not only be careful of our own soul but the soul of our children. Eli didn’t restrain his children and instead let them continue in their sin. Let us not lend a blind eye or sit back while our kids sin but rather deal with it no matter how terrible the sin is.

How To Find A Good Church Part 2

Since we have a good frame work for looking for a church based primarily out the Bible there are some practical steps to attending a church. Whether you have been out of a church for a while or simply looking for a new one we have should have motivation to get into church. Hebrews 10 says “let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, 25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” This seems to me a good motivator that assurance in part comes with the desire and consistence of attending church.

  • Look to the internet. A lot churches have a website. Find out what they teach from a doctrinal statement if they have one posted. This really should be what matters to us the most. What do they believe about the Bible. This should come before anything else.
  • Looking through the phone book. Although I think this is becoming an obsolete to some level there are still great methods to finding a good church.
  • Talking with the pastor about things that matter.
  • Attend a service Sunday and a mid week. I say this because then you can get an idea of the church if it isn’t apparent during the first visit.
  • While attending have some conversations with people. Are people looking to be holy and serve God? Simply put that the church is trying to obey God’s commandments.

Questions to Ask Before Visiting

That is if it is possible to ask either by phone, email or person. Now you may not have the opportunity to do so but you can find out a lot about the church by talking to the Pastor.

  • What is he teaching on this week?
  • How would he tell someone to go to heaven. The pastor should be the person who can describe this the best.
  • Is everyone going to heaven? If he gives room for people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ’s only work then find another church.
  • Does he believe in a literal creation? Now there is a lot that can be said about this but Hebrews 11:3 tells us that “By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible. We give up ground on Genesis then what other areas are we going to give up.
  • What is his personal salvation? I think this is just important because it falls in line with the previous about who is going to heaven. I think he should have a good idea about his own conversion. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 1 Timothy 1:15.

I live in Beaverton Oregon and attend Beaverton Grace Bible Church. If you live in Oregon and are looking for a church that is seeking to learn God’s word and obey his commandments then come visit the church. If you have questions feel free to email me here.

More Help on Finding a good church