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So, What Do You Expect from a Person Who Is Not (Yet) a Follower of Christ?

August 16, 2014


  • What do we know about human nature generally?
    • What usually happens when the curses of Genesis 3:16-19 (especially the part about the need to work hard) are removed and we are enabled to “Maximally satisfy our considered desires”?
    • A “Thought Experiment:” What if Jesus HAD continued to feed and heal the crowds, HAD allowed them to make Him king … and HAD overthrown the Romans? Would the crowds have been satisfied (or would they have remained content)?
    • Why did the Jews of Jesus’ time “miss” the “suffering servant” role of the Messiah?
    • BACKGROUND: During the time of Jesus, every Jew was waiting for the Messiah.
      • In front of Adam and Eve, the Lord said the seed of a woman would crush the serpent’s head (Genesis 3:15).
      • Job said he knew that his Redeemer lives, and that in the end He would stand upon the earth (Job 19:25).
      • Abraham was told all nations on the earth would be blessed through him (Genesis 12:3).
      • Judah was told the scepter will not depart from him (Genesis 49:10).
      • Balaam prophesied of a star rising out of Israel (Number 24:17)
      • Moses told Israel that God was going to raise up a prophet like him, whom God will use to call men to account (Deuteronomy 18:15-19).
      • God told David He would establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Samuel 7:16).
      • Isaiah prophecied of a virgin who will conceive and give birth to Immanuel, which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14).
      • Micah prophecied that a ruler from eternity would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).
      • David prophesied about the cross (Psalm 22).
      • Isaiah prophecied about the cross and the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).
      • Jesus’ geneology lined up with these Messianic expectations.
  • What do we know (from the Bible) about those who are not (yet) born-again?
    • Their spiritual incapacity (1 Corinthians 2:14)
    • Their spiritual/perceptual inability (John 3:3)
    • Their blindness/spiritual darkness (John 3:18-19; Ephesians 5:8)
    • Their nonrecognition of sin, judgment and eternity (Isaiah 28:15)
    • Their avoidance of these spiritual realities (e.g., Felix, Acts 24:24-25)
    • Their lack of spiritual knowledge (Colossians 3:10)
    • Their lack of motivation to seek God (Romans 3:11)
    • Their bondage to Satan (Ephesians 2:2)
    • Their genetic connection to Satan (John 8:43-44)
    • Their hardened heart (Ephesians 4:18)
    • Their intellectual futility (1 Corinthians 3:20-21)
    • Their lack of 3-way conviction by the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-11)
      • The gravity of sin (Acts 2:36-37)
      • The desperate need for Christ’s righteousness (Matthew 5:6; Colossians 3:11)
      • The inevitable judgment
  • Besides, some are simply not chosen/elect. (John 6: 37, 44)
  • So, if it’s that bad, why bother?
  • What is the role of:
    • You and me?
    • The Holy Spirit?
  • So, when it comes to our expectations when we witness/share the Gospel:
    • What should we NOT expect?
    • What SHOULD we expect?
    • How should this affect HOW we go about witnessing/sharing the Gospel?

SpiritualBlindness01Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. Westminster Confession of Faith, 9:3.


Why did Jesus refuse to be a “rock star”?

August 2, 2014

KeepCalmStopSellingGospelStudy Outline

  • Pop Trivia: Who said that their rock group was more popular than Jesus?
  • Background: What is the Great Commission?
    • Matt. 28:18-20
    • Mark 16:15
    • Luke 24:48-49/Acts 1:8
    • John 20:21
  • How are the Great Commission and the Gospel related to each other?
  • Why isn’t the Gospel more “appealing” to nonbelievers?
  • What does John 6 tell us about what the crowds looking were for when Jesus was preaching?
    • The word on the street (6:1-2)
    • The most spectacular miracle (6:10-13)
    • Jesus escapes the crowd (6:14-15)
    • The hunt (6:22-25)
    • Jesus preaches the Gospel (6:26-29)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election I (6:30-40)
    • The crowd’s ad hominem insults (6:41-42)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election II (6:43-51)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election III (6:53-58)
    • Jesus explains the Gospel and election IV (6:61-65)
  • CBC Trivia: Who said “Jesus doesn’t say things for effect. He doesn’t say things for drama.”
  • Was Peter’s “minimal response” to all of this (6:68-60) a “sufficient” faith-response?
  • What, in the Old Testament, may have fueled the Jews’ expectation of an earthly revolutionary-king?
  • CBC Trivia: Who said “It is impossible apart from the grace of God to repent.”
  • Thought-provokers:
    • When Jesus preached and explained the Gospel, what were the “benefits” he emphasized?
    • How did Jesus “under-sell” the Gospel? theBeatles
    • How did Jesus react when is “pitch” was rejected?
      • Why?
  • Why did Jesus refuse to be a “rock star”? 
  • How does the concept of “election” affect our response to the Great Commission?
  • Next week: Why did Jesus say “Don’t tell anyone”?

Evangelism v. “Selling” the Gospel: What’s the Difference, Anyway?

July 23, 2014



  • What are typical “selling” approaches used in business?
  • How are “selling” approaches and techniques often used by:
    • Churches
    • Individual Christians
  • What is “the Gospel”?
  • What is NOT “the Gospel”? (1)
    • The therapeutic gospel redefines the nature of the fall of mankind.
    • The judgmentless gospel denies the final judgment.
    • The moralistic gospel depicts Christ’s work as merely good advice.
    • The quietist gospel identifies good news as a message of personal experience.
    • The activist gospel unites the church around many things that are not the cross.
    • The churchless gospel–neglects the role of the church in the gospel message.
  • What is the Great Commission?
  • How are the Great Commission and the Gospel related to each other?
  • What is the difference between “selling” and evangelism?
  • What is the difference between evangelism and discipleship?
  • Summary: What’s wrong with “selling” the Gospel?
  • Upcoming Lessons in This Series:
    • Why did Jesus refuse to be a “Rock Star”?
    • Why did Jesus Tell People Not to Tell after Performing Miracles? (Parts 1 & 2)
    • Conversational Evangelism, Jesus-Style (Parts 1 & 2)
    • What is the Role of the Holy Spirit in Evangelism?
    • Conclusion: Toward Biblical Evangelism

1. Trevin Wax, Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope (Chicago: Moody, 2011), 14-15.

Love that isn’t Lame-love

April 6, 2014

Elect exiles living the hope22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24for”All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25but the word of the Lord remains forever.” And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25 ESV

  • A “theology” (more properly, anti-theology) of lame-love (examples): Lame preaching about love, lame hymns and songs about love, cliches and catch phrases.
  • The Vertical Perspective: Why a lame-love view of God is false and dangerous (Matthew 18:6; 2 Peter 2):
      • The Horizontal Perspective: Why is a lame-love view toward others false and dangerous (2 Timothy 4:3-4)?


Living the Hope … with Fear

March 22, 2014

Elect exiles living the hope17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:17-21 ESV

Examples of a too-small god? 

From the JB Philips classic, Your God is Too Small (1952):

  • Resident Policeman
  • Parental Hangover
  • Grand Old Man
  • Meek-and-Mild
  • Absolute Perfection
  • Heavenly Bosom
  • God-in-a-Box
  • Managing Director
  • Second-hand God
  • Perennial Grievance
  • Pale Galilean

What does it mean to “Conduct yourself in (or with) fear” (1 Peter 1:17 ESV)?

  • If you pray to a Father who judges men by their actions without the slightest favouritism, then you should spend the time of your stay here on earth with reverent fear. PHILLIPS
  • And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear. KJV
  • Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. NIV
  • If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth. NASB

Four Key Words (1 Peter 1:13-21)

  • Sober: nēphō [G3525] sober in spirit, temperate, dispassionate, circumspect
  • Holy: hagios [G40] Set apart; pure; properly revered as having been set apart
  • Fear: phobos [G5401] fear, terror, and also, respect/respectfulness
  • Ransomed: lytroō [G3084] Redeemed by payment; liberated

Compare and match these words to: both Mark 12:30 and Luke 10:27

  • Heart
  • Soul/Spirit
  • Mind
  • Strength

Of these four, which is the most challenging? Which spiritual disciplines (prayer, confession, Bible study, fellowship with other Christians, worship, etc.) address most closely each of the these?

  • Heart
  • Soul/Spirit
  • Mind
  • Strength

Re-evangelizing ourselves:Re-evangelizing Ourselves


February 15, 2014

ee_Living_the_hope1 PeterLesson 11: Hope-fully

preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set
your hope fully on the grace that will
be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As
obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions
of your former ignorance, 15but as he who called
you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since
it is
written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17And
if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according
to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout
the time of your exile,
         1 Peter

1.        Last Week: Gearing Up (Exodus 12:11; Proverbs 31:17; Ephesians 6:14)

2.        Being sober-minded (“keep sober in spirit”): G3525, nēphō

           a.        1 Peter 4:7, 5:8                                                                                                                         

           b.        Luke 21:34-35                                                                                                                         

           c.        Romans 12:2                                                                                                                            

           d.        Romans 13:13                                                                                                                         

           e.        1 Thessalonians 5:6-8 

           f.        Matthew 6:33                                                                                                                           

           g.        2 Timothy 2:3-5                                                                                                                       

           h.        2 Timothy 4:5                                                                                                                          

           i.        Hebrews 12:1                                                                                                                           

           j.        Colossians 3:2-4                                                                                                                      

3.        The opposite of sober-minded (1 Peter 4:3-4)                                                                                    

4.        Summing up “preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded”                                        

5.        Applying “preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded”                                             

6.        Holiness versus Obedience

           a.        Are all believers obedient children?                                                                                        

           b.        Is being holy in our conduct different than being obedient?                                                   

           c.        What, then, is “holiness”?                                                                                                        

7.        Saved from and to

           a.        Saved from:                                                                                                                             

           b.        Saved to:                                                                                                                                  

8.        The object of our hope

           a.        Defined: 1 Peter 1:9-10                                                                                                           

           b.        Timed: 1 Peter 1:5, 7, 13                                                                                                         

           c.        Explained: Titus 2:11-14                                                                                                         

           d.        Quantified: “Fully” G5049, teleiōs                                                                                          

 Christ with me, Christ
before me, Christ behind me,

 Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

 Christ on my
right, Christ on my left,

 Christ when I lie

 Christ when I sit

 Christ when I
 Christ in the heart of
every man who thinks of me,

 Christ in the mouth of
every one who speaks of me,

 Christ in the eye of
every one who sees me,

 Christ in every ear
that hears me.

from: St. Patrick’s Shield

9.        Next Three Commands

           a.        v. 14 do not                                                                                                                              

           b.        v. 15, 16 you also, you shall                                                                                                    

           c.        v. 17 Conduct                                                                                                                         

10.      Conclusion


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