Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Life or No life?

When Lazarus was raised from the dead, how did the people at the grave know he was alive? (I know, I know, tough question!) They saw he had life! The resurrection of Lazarus pictures salvation, as well. It pictures what God does when he gives “spiritual/eternal” life to someone who was dead in trespasses and sins.

Have you ever noticed in some churches, where the church proclaims they have seen 7500 saved, or some other amazing number, that their attendance has not changed one bit? Where are the 7500!? If the resurrection of Lazarus pictures salvation, which it does, what would the people have thought of Jesus if he was like many “soul winners” today? Suppose, after Jesus said, “Lazarus come forth!”, nothing happened. Then Jesus turned to the crowd and proclaimed that Lazarus was alive! They would have said, “I don’t see him!” or, “No one is moving, as far as I can tell, in that grave.” What would Mary and Martha have thought?

The FACT is when Jesus gives life, when God saves a soul, there is LIFE!!!!!! I remember taking a soul winning course as a young Christian. I became very confused during one of the sessions. The session was about how to get your “convert”, (that is all many of these people were: “MY” converts), to church. They stressed going back to the person’s house every week until they finally come. This made no sense to me at all. I did not know much Bible at that time, but I did know when God saved me, no one ever had to beg me to go to church. I had a desire to go. I had a desire to hear preaching. I had a desire to read God’s Word. I truly did not understand why a newly saved person would have to be begged to come to church. Well, the fact is, they don’t. Jesus did not stand outside the grave, begging Lazarus to come out. Nor did Lazarus tell the people, “No, No, please leave my grave clothes on! I like them!”

When a person is saved, God moves in. (Romans 8:9) When a person is saved, God gives life. (Ephesians 2:1) When a person is saved, he is a new creature. (II Cor 5:17) When a person is saved, he desires the Word of God. (I Peter 2:1,2) You can not tell me, based on these scriptures, after a person is saved, his life simply remains the same. I am not saying he will jump out of bed the next day running for the church house. What I am saying, is the scripture clearly teaches us a saved man will begin to desire God. Yes, he might need encouraged, but not begged. Yes, he still has a sin nature, but praise God, he now has a divine nature too.

We do not need to not stop soul winning, but we need to proclaim the gospel in truth. Not allowing numbers to be the emphasis, but truth. Oh, how we need the wisdom and power of God in proclaiming the gospel. Oh, how we need to preach with power (I Cor 2:4,5). How we need to preach “repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”


Jerry Bouey said...

Good stuff, Terry!

If there is true salvation, there will be evidence of it - a changed in desires, a change in purpose, a change in mind, a change in the manner of living. Too many settle for some religious decision, but don't believe in their heart, and as a result are not born again.

When I got saved, it turned my life around 180 degrees - nothing was the same after that.

SoloZealot said...

I remember a young convert a few years ago that gave his testimony. He had a lot of trouble with his new life in Christ. You see, he was very slow to coming around to a changed life. Yes, he did go to church, yes, there was evidence that he was saved. Something was bothering him, and it was that he still had trouble with some of his old sins. One person said to him, that nearly undermined his faith completely, "Maybe you are not saved?" Of course, this was a blow on the head for him because he did trust Christ as his Saviour. "Christ can't save me?" Later on, he testified that he knew that he was saved. He did have a new nature when he got saved, but he did not see it. After he got saved, conviction set in about his sins which he did not have before. Now, as far as I know, he is not a missionary just yet, but in my mind, Lord willing, I know that one day the Lord will call him to the mission field. (I love testimonies, can you tell?)

Terry McGovern said...

I do not think all people grow at the same level or speed when it comes to the faith. However, if one is saved there will be indications. There will be some change in his life. He might not be super Christian in two weeks, but he will begin to desire God.

The trouble today is many have simply made a "religious decision" as Jerry said. Why? Becasaue in our "soulwinning training", we have been trained to get the "decision".

Jerry Bouey said...

Yes, the level of growth will be different - but there will be a difference. Some of the factors will be whether they are now attending a good church, how much they get into and apply the Bible, how much time they spend in seeking God's wisdom and will for their lives - and to a certain extent, how much their past was aimless and without hope, how much they were discouraged or depressed over their sins.

When I came to the Lord, I finally had some purpose, I had newfound guidance through the Word of God, I had forgiveness of sins at last - my whole life had changed; therefore I was running in my walk with the Lord, as some say, "I took off like a rocket." I have seen others get changed in like manner - but all too often when this happens the complacent Christians around them do their best to quench the fervour - which is sad. Others I have seen changes, but it was a walk or even baby steps (to keep up with the comparison), but there was always some change - even if it was just a change in countenance at first and a gradual change in desires. Now there was a hunger for the Word of God, now there was a desire to actually know the Lord and draw closer to Him - not just go through the motions.

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature...