Posts Tagged ‘altar call’

This is one of the main questions that many Christians ask and it seems as if it is a minefield. First of all, please read the answer given below from Got Questions

Question: “How can I know God’s will for my life? What does the Bible say about knowing God’s will?”

There are two keys to knowing God’s will for a given situation: 1) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing is not something the Bible forbids. 2) Make sure what you are asking for or considering doing will glorify God and help you grow spiritually. If these two things are true and God still is not giving you what you are asking, then it is likely not God’s will for you to have what you are asking for. Or, perhaps you just need to wait a while longer for it. Knowing God’s will is sometimes difficult. People want God to tell them specifically what to do—where to work, where to live, whom to marry, etc. God rarely gives people information that direct and specific. God allows us to make choices regarding those things.

To hopefully answer this question practically, I will give some scenarios and examples, which I know are not exhaustive, as I do believe that sometimes we can complicate things. I think the principles can be used in almost every area.

Scenario 1 : “I have been praying about dating this person who is not a Christian and want to know what God’s will is”

My Answer: No need to pray. God has explicitly told us in scripture that we should not be yoked with unbelievers so dont try to get God to come down yo your standard. Go up to his. Oil and water will not mix. No matter how much you shake it.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God’s will are explicitly explained in the bible

Scenario 2 I am looking for a spouse. How do I know if they are “the one”?

My Answer: ‘The one” is normally a myth. But God have given us some guidelines. Questions to ask yourself would be things like, are they a Christian? Do they love God and is this shown by their fruits? Do they encourage you to get closer to God or further away from him? Are they interested in prayer and the bible? And last but not least, are you attracted to them? If so, make yourself available and go for it!! Now as you can see, there will probably be more than one person in the world who might fit that description, so I believe that God says, be prayerful and YOU make a choice and YOU pick. Difficulties down the line is not necessarily proof that it wasnt Gods will but can be just God shaping our character and conforming us to Jesus’ image. All relationships will have their ups and downs.

Lesson learnt: There are some things where God has not given us specific instructions, but has given us enough guidelines and principles to work with

Scenario 3: How do I know which school to send my child to?

My Answer: As there is no scripture verse which tells you the exact school, get all the relevant information taking into account distance, reputation, league tables and then again, be prayerful and based on that information, choose a school

Lesson learnt: Again, there are some things which are not explained in scripture at all and are not within themselves sinful and God has allowed us to make our own decisions on those things. I’m sure many of you do not pray everytime you go shopping asking God which products to choose.

We must remember that as Christians, the Holy Spirit is constantly guiding us, and the fact that we may go through some ‘stuff’ is no indication that it was not God’s will. It was God’s will that Jesus should be tempted of the devil, it was God’s will that Jesus suffered and died on the cross, it is God’s will that those who live godly will suffer persecution

Got Questions goes on to say this about God’s will:

Question: “What is the difference between God’s sovereign will and God’s perfect will?”

Answer: When speaking of God’s will, many people see three different aspects of it being revealed in the Bible. The first aspect of it is known as God’s decretive, sovereign, or hidden will. This is God’s “ultimate” will. This facet of God’s will comes out of the recognition of God’s sovereignty and the other aspects of God’s nature. This expression of God’s will focuses on the fact that God sovereignly ordains everything that comes to pass. In other words, there is nothing that happens that is outside of God’s sovereign will. This aspect of God’s will is seen in verses like Ephesians 1:11; where it tells us that God is the one “who works all things according to the counsel of His will” and Job 42:2, “I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You.” This view of God’s will is based on the fact that because God is sovereign, His will can never be frustrated. Nothing happens that is beyond His control.

This understanding of His sovereign will does not imply that God causes everything to happen. Rather, it acknowledges that because He is sovereign, He must at least permit or allow whatever happens to happen. This aspect of God’s will acknowledges the fact that even when God passively permits things to happen, He must choose to permit them, because He always has the power and right to intervene. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Therefore, as He allows things to happen, He has “willed” them in this sense of the word.

While God’s sovereign will is often hidden from us until after it comes to pass, there is another aspect of His will that is plain to us. That aspect is what is known as His perceptive or revealed will. As the name implies, this facet of God’s will simply acknowledges that God has chosen to reveal some of what His will for us is in the Bible. The perceptive will of God is God’s declared will concerning what we should or should not do. For example, because of the revealed will of God, we can know that it is God’s will that we do not steal, that we love our enemies, that we repent of our sins, and that we be holy as He is holy. This expression of God’s will is revealed both in His Word as well as in our conscience, through which God has written His moral law upon the hearts of all men. The laws of God, whether found in Scripture or in our hearts, are binding upon us. We are accountable when we disobey them.

Understanding this aspect of God’s will acknowledges that while we have the power and ability to disobey God’s commands, we do not have the right to do so. Therefore, there is no excuse for our sin, and we cannot claim that by choosing to sin we are simply fulfilling God’s sovereign decree or will. Judas was fulfilling God’s sovereign will in betraying Christ, just as the Romans who crucified Him were. That does not justify their sins. They were no less evil or treacherous, and they were held accountable for their rejection of Christ (Acts 4:27-28). Even though in His sovereign will God allows or permits sin to happen, we are still accountable to Him for that sin.

The third aspect of God’s will that we see in the Bible is God’s permissive or perfect will. This facet of God’s will describes God’s attitude and defines what is pleasing to Him. For example, while it is clear that God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, it is also clear that He most surely wills or decrees their death. This expression of God’s will is revealed in the many verses of Scripture which indicate what God does and does not take pleasure in. For example, in 1 Timothy 2:4 we see that God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,” and yet we know that God’s sovereign will is that “no one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).

If we are not careful, Christians can easily become preoccupied or even obsessed with finding the “will” of God for our lives. However, if the will we are seeking is His secret, hidden, or decretive will – we are on a foolish quest. God has not chosen to reveal that aspect of His will for us. What we should seek to know is the perceptive or revealed will of God. The true mark of spirituality is when people desire to know and live according to the will of God as revealed in the Scripture, and that can be summarized as “be holy for I am Holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). Our responsibility is to obey the revealed will of God and not to speculate on what His hidden will for us might be. While we should seek to be “led by the Holy Spirit,” we must never forget that the Holy Spirit is primarily leading us to righteousness and to being conformed into the image of Christ so that our lives will glorify God. God calls us to live our lives by every word that proceeds from His mouth.

Living according to His revealed will should be the chief aim or purpose of our lives. Romans 12:1-2 summarizes this truth as we are called to present our “bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” To know the will of God we should immerse ourselves in the written Word of God, saturating our minds with it, and praying that the Holy Spirit will transform us through the renewing of our minds, so that the result is what is good, acceptable and perfect—the will of God.

John Macarthur touches on the will of God in the following video about taking the mystery out of knowing God’s will

I hope that this has clarified things a bit.

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4Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)

HT: Christianity Post-VHS

One of the most frustrating things I find is talking to a person who has been innoculated. What I mean is that they’ve been bought up in church, they have heard the gospel (or whatever the church calls the gospel these days) a countless amount of times, they know all the church lingo but…….there is no fruit in their lives. They believe that they are a christian but by their fruit ‘you know them’. It is more than likely that they are a false convert.  They have no desire to discuss the things of God, they have no hunger for his word, prayer or fellowship with fellow believers. They have not examined themselves to see if they are in the faith. You try to correct them biblically and lovingly and they get their back up and call you ‘holier than thou’. It can be very frustrating to make a breakthrough (even though I do understand that ultimately, it is a work of the Holy Spirit). This is why I am not a fan of the sinners prayer because I think it gives people the wrong assurance of their salvation.

If you recall, I tried to correct someone in my church who was unrepentedly sinning and also ministering in church (who be the way promptly deleted me from his friends list in facebook). In the end, he was lovingly disciplined by my pastor and he decided to leave the church. I’m sure he said the sinners prayer and was probably baptised as well.

The bible makes it very clear that there if a person professes to be a believer, then there must be some good fruit following. I do understand that many people are at different stages in their christian walk, maybe going through a ‘dry’ period or maybe just immature but I am talking about those who do not fall into any of those categories but who consistently display bad fruit.

These four testimonies represent millions of untold people in America (and the world) who believe themselves to be right with God because they have bought in to an easy form of Christianity that is nothing more than an insurance policy to save a person from hell. Christ’s power is not only to save one from hell, but to change His followers by giving them new hearts and making them more like Him in a lifelong process called sanctification. If you didn’t change, then you are not one of His. Please watch these testimonies and examine your own testimony.

The question is, do you see yourself in this?

HT: Real Truth Matters

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True and False Conversion

I have talked many times about the church birthing false converts.This can be by getting people to ‘just say this prayer’ or botching an altar call. Well I came cross this video where you can see false converts being made right in front of your very eye. How sad this is.

Then I saw this testimony on Natural Systah’s blog of someone who was ‘converted’ under similar circumstances to the above video and came to the realisaion that he wasnt born again at all.There was no fruits of repentance but now after examining himself now, he can now know that he is saved

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True and False Conversion

I posted a segment of this sermon here. Below is a sermon where Paul Washer talks to an audience including some reformed rappers

Originally posted here. Written by William MacDonald.

Street Evangelism (ca 1961) There is a curious problem today in the evangelical [and fundamental] world — one that poses sobering questions for the church and for the individual believer. The problem in brief is this: a great army of personal soul-winners has been mobilized to reach the populace for Christ. They are earnest, zealous, enthusiastic, and persuasive. To their credit it must be said that they are on the job. And it is one of the phenomena of our times that they rack up an astounding number of conversions. Everything so far seems to be on the plus side.

But the problem is this: The conversions do not stick. The fruit does not remain. Six months later there is nothing to be seen for all the aggressive evangelism. The capsule technique of soul winning has produced stillbirths.

What lies at the back of all this malpractice in bringing souls to the birth?

Strangely enough it begins with the valid determination to preach the pure gospel of the grace of God. We want to keep the message simple — uncluttered by any suggestion that man can ever earn or deserve eternal life. Justification is by faith alone, apart from the deeds of the law. Therefore, the message is “only believe.”

From there the message is reduced to a concise formula. For instance, the evangelistic process is cut down to a few basic questions and answers, as follows:

“Do you believe you are a sinner?”
“Yes.”
“Do you believe Christ died for sinners?”
“Yes.”
“Will you receive Him as your Savior?”
“Yes.”
“Then you are saved!”
“I am?”
“Yes, the Bible says you are saved.”

At first blush the method and the message might seem above criticism. But on closer study we are forced to have second thoughts and to conclude that the gospel has been over-simplified.

The first fatal flaw is the missing emphasis on repentance. There can be no true conversion without conviction of sin. It is one thing to agree that I am a sinner: it is quite another thing to experience the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit in my life. Unless I have a Spirit-wrought consciousness of my utterly lost condition, I can never exercise saving faith. It is useless to tell unconvicted sinners to believe on Jesus — that message is only for those who know they are lost. We sugar-coat the gospel when we de-emphasize man’s fallen condition. With that kind of watered-down message, people receive the Word with joy instead of with deep contrition. They do not have deep roots, and though they might endure for a while, they soon give up all profession when persecution or trouble comes (Matt. 13:21). Many have forgotten that the message is repentance toward God as well as faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

A second serious omission is a missing emphasis on the Lordship of Christ. A light, jovial mental assent that Jesus is Savior misses the point. Jesus is first Lord, then Savior. The New Testament always places His Lordship before His Saviorhood. Do we present the full implication of His Lordship to people? He always did.

A third defect in the message is the tendency to keep the terms of discipleship hidden until a decision has been made for Jesus. Our Lord never did this. The message He preached included the cross as well as the crown. “He never hid His scars to win disciples.” He revealed the worst along with the best, then told His listeners to count the cost. We popularize the message and promise fun.

The result of all this is that we have people believing without knowing what they believe. In many cases they have no doctrinal basis for their decision. They do not know the implication of commitment to Christ. They have never experienced the mysterious, miraculous work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.

And of course there are others who are talked into a profession because of the slick salesmanship techniques of the soul winner. Or some who want to please the affable, personable young man with the winning smile. And some who only want to get rid of this religious interloper who has intruded into their privacy. Satan laughs when these conversions are triumphantly announced on earth.

I would like to raise several questions that might lead to some changes in the strategy of evangelism.

First of all, can we generally expect people to make an intelligent commitment to Christ the first time they hear the Gospel? Certainly, there is the exceptional case where a person has already been prepared by the Holy Spirit.

But generally speaking, the process involves sowing the seed, watering it, then sometime later reaping the harvest. In our mania for instant conversion, we have forgotten that conception, gestation, and birth do not occur on the same day.

A second question — can a capsule presentation of the gospel really do justice to so great a message? As one who has written several gospel tracts, I confess to a certain sense of misgivings in even attempting to condense the good news into four small pages. Would we not be wise to give people the full presentation as it is found in the Gospels, or in the New Testament?

Thirdly, is all this pressure for decisions really Scriptural? Where in the New Testament were people ever pressured into making a profession? The practice is justified by saying that if only one out of ten is genuine, it is worth it. But what about the other nine disillusioned, bitter, perhaps deceived; en route to hell by a false profession?

And I must add this: Is all this boasting about conversions really accurate? You’ve met the man who solemnly tells you of ten people he contacted that day and all of them were saved. A young doctor testified that every time he goes to a new city, he looks in the phone book for people with his last name. Then he calls them one by one and leads them through the four steps of salvation. Amazing enough, every one of them opens the door of his heart to Jesus. I don’t want to doubt the honesty of people like this, but am I wrong in thinking that they are extremely naive? Where are all those people who are saved? They cannot be found.

What it all means is that we should seriously re-examine our streamlined capsule evangelism. We should be willing to spend time teaching the gospel, laying a solid doctrinal foundation for faith to rest on. We should stress the necessity for repentance — a complete about face with regard to sin. We should stress the full implication of the Lordship of Christ and the conditions of discipleship. We should explain what belief really involves. We should be willing to wait for the Holy Spirit to produce genuine conviction of sin.

If we do this, we’ll have less astronomical figures of so-called conversions, but more genuine cases of spiritual rebirth.

Recommended further reading: “St. Francis… A Sissy?” by Ray Comfort.

Photo Credit: Photograph “Street Evangelism (ca. 1961)” by Sherlock77 (James).

HT: WordnVerse

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