“Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will.” - Jonathan Edwards -

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

While it is Yet Today

Hebrews 3:5-19 -- Now Moses was faithful in all God's house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God's house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says,Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness, where your fathers put me to the test and saw my works for forty years. Therefore I was provoked with that generation, and said, They always go astray in their heart; they have not known my ways. As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest. Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. As it is said, Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion. For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

We in the Reformed movement have often been criticized (at times fairly, other times unfairly), for our evangelistic outreach. It is true that at times we in the Reformed movement seem to be infatuated with 'knowledge' to the exclusion of 'evangelistic proclamation', and that is a bad thing. It is important to feed the sheep with God's Word, but we must also be cognizant of the fact that some sitting in our church will be unregenerate, and we MUST tell them that ALL have been commanded to come to Christ, extending the offer of the gospel.

And there is an urgency to this call! I recently had a good friend pass away -- he was a Christian man, and very up front about his faith. He went to be with his Lord last week. His passing just reminded me how important it is for pastors to PROCLAIM the gospel message. Dale seemed to be in good health, and there was no indicator that he would go home one day after we discussed righteousness (which is a whole other post!). Yet, he did not wake up the morning of Thanksgiving, and while I am sure that Dale is in the presence of Christ, what if I had been talking to a person who did not know Christ? What if I had said "I will tell him about Christ on Friday when I see him".

And Dale would be right there with me -- if we could talk to him right now, I am sure that he would say PREACH THE WORD, in season and out.

We sometimes think that we have all the time in the world to just keep 'working' on someone, and so we will come at the gospel in a tangential manner, and 'hedge' our presentation so as to be unoffensive. And yes, that happens in the Reformed and non-Reformed movements. We have come to the place of thinking that places the gospel as a matter of import, but not PRIMARY import, and I think when we have that mindset we have failed to understand the eternal primacy of the gospel.

My brothers, our work is one that has eternity as its perspective, and while it is TODAY we MUST be proclaiming the gospel! Yes, we feed the ninety-nine, but we also go and pursue the one that has gone astray. Yes, our God is Sovereign and will draw His children, but we are to be proclaiming the gospel; He uses the means of the proclamation of the Word for His glory in bringing people to a saving knowledge of Christ!

Proverbs 27:1 -- Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.

Brothers, let us stop worrying about how many seats we fill, and where our ministry is 'going', and let us get back to shepherding the souls entrusted to us by our Over-Shepherd -- WHILE IT IS TODAY!


Anonymous said...

I believe the reason we in the Reformed movement have fallen short in preaching/sharing the Gospel is that we stand so close to the precipice of hyper-Calvinism which tells us the lost will be saved even if we do nothing. I call this the "Little Bo Peep" form of evangelism (you know, "leave them alone and they'll come home wagging their tails, etc." We must guard against this dangerous thinking AT ALL COSTS.

Lord, bring someone across my path today that needs to be saved, so I can share the Good News with them.


Anonymous said...

I thing I meant to say "the ELECT will be saved even if we do nothing."


BugBlaster said...

Amen to this post, Ray.

Ray said...

Gents, I appreciate the comments. I must say that I am saying nothing new -- the men I respect within the Reformed movement feel this way, but I have heard some who are part of a neo-Reformed movement become puffed up in their recent knowledge of Theology.

I can become puffed up just like anyone else, so I am not trying to throw stones whilst safely ensconced in my glass tower. When we become more enamored with what we know that with the Sovereign who knows us, we run the risk of becoming shepherd's with a disdainful attitude towards the common 'sheep'.

1st Corinthians 10:12 -- Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.