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Thursday, April 26, 2012

Would You Give Your All in Sharing the Gospel?

Acts 4:18-20 (NIV) 18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

 The Apostles truly gave their all in sharing the gospel. Most of them were executed for their beliefs. They were all persecuted. Yet, they did not allow the adversity to keep them from sharing.

There are many believers in the world today who are giving their lives for the sake of the gospel. They are being imprisoned and executed. But they continue to share the gospel no matter what threats, imprisonments or observed executions they must endure before they are finally executed themselves.

Why are these believers giving their all when people who call themselves believers in other countries aren't even tithing a tenth of their income? Why will they walk miles through treacherous weather so they can worship with other believers while many others will stay at home simply because it looks like it might rain? Why is it that many of these believers will stand for hours in worship while others vow to change churches if the air conditioning is too cold one Sunday or the pew they normally sit on is taken by a visitor?

These things don't make any sense to me if a person calls himself a believer. How can you stop getting the gospel out to others when their eternity depends upon it? How can you neglect worshiping Jesus when He gave His life for you on the cross?

I know this is not a new problem. I know that the church faced apathy, lethargy and apostasy from the beginning. I know there were people who said they were believers but really weren't. It just seems that those who hold their hands high and worship on one Sunday ought to do so the other Sundays. It seems that those who say that they have given their hearts to Jesus ought to understand that saying that you give your heart to Jesus just words that must be said as an initiation rite.

So, this afternoon our Worship Pastor leads the devotion for our staff meeting. He read out of Amos. He spoke of the Day of the Lord. It was not a great day for those who had trampled the courts of the Lord. They had not been totally devoted to the Lord. He called their songs noise. He did not delight in their offerings. They were at ease when they should not have been at ease. They should have devoted themselves and worked for justice. They should have sought righteousness.

As he read from Amos I remembered what Paul had written to the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

I believe we have so emphasized the forgiveness of Christ that we have thought this forgiveness was a license to do as we pleased. We have thought that our actions did not matter because we were forgiven anyway.

While I do not believe in earning salvation. No one could ever do enough to erase the sin which must be paid for in blood. Yet, I do believe that the Day of the Lord will not be such a positive day for those who have been saved but neglected commitment. I even wonder how many of these people are truly saved. How does salvation come to one who only gives the Lord lip service? I don't think it does.

Those who are martyred are looking forward to the Day of the Lord. They do so because they are committed. Those who are so capricious in their faith have nothing to look forward to. They do not understand it as a day of judgement.

So, I will give to get the gospel around the world. I will share at each opportunity. I will risk imprisonment or persecution for the gospel. I must give my all.

After all, He gave His all for me.

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