Earth Day? God created the earth to be the place where He would make Good Friday happen, to His eternal glory, long after the earth He created is no more. Worship, honor, and serve the Creator, not His handiwork, impressive as it is.
Good Friday? This is the day that the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
“Upon a life I did not live, upon a death I did not die; another’s life, another’s death, I stake my whole eternity.”
Today’s message at the church was a topical one as we get ready for doing outreaches this week. We looked at our calling in Christ’s Kingdom to share the gospel (from Acts 26) and at what is the gospel message we are called to share (from 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). That message audio is here for your listening, in English and Romanian.
Acts 26 We are Called
My video below, filmed this week for Dallas Sunday at Five and for American churches supporting our ministry, is a brief Palm Sunday devotional and ministry update on what we’re doing as a church in Cluj this holiday week.
Today’s “Rightly dividing the Word” – A popular (for some reason) yet entirely misguided quote that circulates in Christian circles tells us to “preach the gospel everywhere you go” and “when necessary, use words.”
Just when it could be unnecessary to use words to proclaim the good news the quote fails to tell us, though. The gospel is the message that Christ died for our sins and rose again, so that all who put their trust in Him alone can be saved. As Christians who proclaim this truth, we should seek to live in such a way that our actions dress that message in an attractive outfit whenever possible, but we could never be so holy in our actions that it would excuse us of our responsibility to proclaim the gospel with words. We can give to the poor, but they cannot be saved by our generosity, so our giving cannot be called preaching the gospel. We can be kind, patient, loving, smiling, forgiving people; but no one under any circumstances could be saved by watching our actions. An answer explaining the reason for our hope will always have to accompany our actions if we will preach the gospel. With the gospel, it is show AND tell. So, as one pastor rightly put it, one could no more preach the gospel without words than he could give you his phone number without digits.
The Bible does not tell us that faith can come by seeing our good behavior, but only by hearing the word of God. God’s word asks how can anyone believe without hearing the word? The answer—they can’t. “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?”
While righteous acts are necessary, please don’t comfort yourself if you remain silent about Christ and the need of others around you to be saved by telling yourself, “I’m preaching the gospel by my actions, and if they want what I’ve got, they will approach me.” It is show AND tell, not one or the other.
So let’s start passing around a new quote: “To preach the gospel everywhere, remember that it is always, every time, without exception, necessary that you open your mouth and use words.” And then, more importantly, a quote from the Bible: “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel.”
Here is the English-language text of a new gospel tract we’re producing in Romanian for Easter outreaches this year. It is designed to share the gospel with those coming from an eastern-orthodox religious background. Pray for the Lord to use it to open eyes in our outreaches on the streets of Cluj, in orphanages, homeless shelters, and parks, where we go to do music, testimonies, preaching, and distribution of these tracts to hundreds of people in the coming week.
(Cover with resurrection picture) Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!
…But why did Jesus die in the first place?
(Inside text with Cross “For you” picture)
Why did Jesus die on the cross?
If we want to go to heaven, the answer to that question is as important as Christ’s resurrection.
In 1 Timothy 2:5-6a the Bible gives us God’s answer: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all.”
There is only one God. The one God who made us is the one God who will judge us and send us to our eternal home. This one God who will judge us is the One we are offending whenever we sin. And we’ve all sinned against Him. For all our lives, when we were tempted to lie, or steal, or mistreat others, we have done so. We all deserve punishment from God. So we all need some way to make Him happy with us. A way to be forgiven for all the things we’ve done to anger Him. Only then can we hope to escape hell, and make it to heaven.
But how can we get God to forgive us? The verse tells us there is only one way. Christ Jesus is the only mediator available between us and God. Christ is the only one who can bring us to God and set us free from His righteous anger at our sins. So we can’t put our hope in prayers to saints or confessions to priests. God has told us there is only one voice He will listen to, speaking on our behalf. The one mediator between God and men—Christ Jesus.
That brings us to the verse’s good news about why Christ died on the cross. He gave Himself as a ransom for us. When He died, Jesus was paying the price we owe God for our sins against Him, so that we could be set free from that debt. Christ was punished in your place for every sin you’ve committed against God. By dying in your place and absorbing God’s punishment for your sins, He paid the ransom debt for you to escape God’s wrath.
After Christ died, He came back to life, proving that He had paid completely for your sins, and that God had accepted His sacrifice on your behalf, as your mediator to God. Now, you can be saved and granted eternal life, by believing this message and personally trusting Christ for salvation. Speak to Jesus now from the heart, believing He died for you and rose again. Confess your sin to Him. Ask Him for, and receive, the forgiveness He has promised. He will make you a child of God. And at the end of this life when God judges you, He will give you resurrection and heaven, just as Christ was raised from the dead. —- “Experimentându-L pe Dumnezeu” http://harul.freetzi.com/
Today’s “Rightly dividing the Word” — Sometimes I have heard teachings like this– “If you are serving the Lord, it is like putting a target on your back, calling you to Satan’s attention, and making you someone he wants to attack; so watch out!” Or, I’ve heard some say, “The devil doesn’t waste his energy bothering someone who isn’t a threat to him.”
Might sound logical to us at first, like so much of what passes for theological talk in a bumper-sticker-slogans-on-the-church-sign age. But it leads people facing struggles in serving the Lord to believe that if they stop serving Christ in a public way, then maybe the devil will leave them alone, and their lives will get easier and more peaceful, if not more fruitful.
But does the word of God say, “Resist God’s calling. Submit to the devil’s desire that you waste your life, and he will leave you alone?” Of course not. In fact, the true biblical formula for getting Satan off your back is exactly the opposite: “Submit yourselves therefore to God,” James says. “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.” –James 4:7-8a
Keep serving the Lord and obeying Him, even when times are tough, and even when the devil is opposing you. When Satan opposes you, oppose him back by obeying the Lord. Then yours, not Satan’s, will be the victory in the end.