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Monday, December 17, 2007

Will people be in Hell because of Sin?

I ask in this way, because I believe it has 2 answers. Yes and No. Yes, because of Sin generally. If not for sin, there would not have been a fall, and thus, people will go to Hell because of sin. However, they will not be in Hell because of their sin. Christ died for the sins of the world and thus, they will specifically be in Hell because of their unbelief.

I want to quote "Grace" by Lewis Chafer for a moment (breaking or bending my own rules, but I hope it triggers some biblical discussion).

"....through the substitutinary death of Christ for all men as Sin-Bearer (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:14,19) the ground of universal divine condemntation is now beause of the personal rejection of the Savior who bore the sin. This is set forth in His Word: "He that believeth on him is not condemnted: bue he that believeth not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18); "But he that believeth not shall be damnted" Mark 16:16."

"In confirmation of the fact that men are now condemned because of unbelief, it should be note that when the Spirit of God approaches the unsaved to convince them of sin, he does not same themk or blame them conerning the sins they have committed, instead he convicts them of the one sin only." Of sin, becuase they believe not on me" (John 16:9). So also, Christians are said to be free from all condemtnaion on the sole ground that they have believed on the Savior. (John 3:18. Cf 5:24; Rom 8:1; 1 Cor 11:32; 2 Cor 5:19)"

"At this point God offers but one remedy. That remedy is Grace."

"Men are either utterly condemned under the universal decree of the Judge of all the earth, or they are perfectly saved and safe in the grace of God as it is in Jesus Christ" Quotes are from pages 41-43.

I do not agree with everything Chafer says, but he puts this well in my opinion.

I submit that Christ died for all sin, and that people will only be in Hell if they do not believe in him. But, they will be in Hell because of sin, because with out the fall, we would not need a savior. All sin was put on Christ at the Cross. If we believe in Christ, we have life in his name or "eternal life."

Christ even died for the sin of unbelief. If he had not, we would all be going to Hell. But eternal life is gained by belief in Christ.

Thus, repentance cannot be a condition of eternal life, becuase the sin is already paid for. If we had to turn from it, then it was not paid for. If I must do something to have eternal life, then it is not unmerited, nor is it grace.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Eternal Security and Assurance: True or False?

My experience in India, as well as speaking to missionaries and pastors has convinced me that most who consider themselves Christians in the world, (especially in countries with severe persecution) either believe that you can lose eternal life, or believe in a faith that does not saved. (By that I mean they believe that a person can think they believe in Christ for eternal life, but they decieve themselves or did not believe strong enough, or long enough, etc. They prove they did not believe either because of a life of sin, a particular sin, or not enough good works depending on the flavor)

I would like to discuss the Biblical proof of Eternal Security, or Eternal Insecurity depending on your belief's. Please do not just quote a verse, but give your understanding of it, and please consider the context.

A secondary topic which would only apply to those who believe in Eternal Security is, can a believer know he has eternal life and will be with God for eternity.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The 3 wise men who came to the Birth of Christ

A Traditional belief of most Christians and Catholics are that 3 wise men showed up at the manger, and awed the sheperds with expensive gifts that they brought to Jesus. This has always been a fun trivia question I like to ask people, and I thought since the celebration of Christ's birth is on the horizon, it would be a good one to start with and will hopefully get everyones wits sharpened.

How many wise men came, and when did they show up? Back it up with why you believe it, and with scripture references if applicable.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Glory to God in the Highest! India Trip Overview

God is good. The Holy Spirit was extremely active. Over 1200 people professed faith in Christ over 4 days, and we also were able to hand out tracts and talk to people about Christ coming and going and at the hotel etc. I preached for my first time regarding the difference between faith in Christ and faithfulness to Christ and what the results of each are at a small orphanage where I was probably more blessed then my audience. The childrens singing was heavenly. Rev. Nilbir who was the person who ran the orphanage also ended up being my interpreter. He was wonderful, and God used him so that we could share with those who did not understand Manipuree as he also spoke Hindi. Also, Antonio's seminar (http://indiacampaign.blogspot.com/ ) was just outstanding! He could have easily spread the information over 12 hours or more, but the people were hungry and excited!.

I will go into how I presented the Bible to allow for some feedback and describe some of the responses I got personally. Most of those we witnessed to were Hindu's and Animists, some of whom had never heard of Jesus. This was my first Mission, and truly the first time I had ever focused on evangelism. I did use an evangicube (http://www.e3resources.org/evangecube.aspx). I prayed as I approached each house for God to use me as his tool, and remove any motives I had that were not good. To take away any pride or arrogance and for me to share with humility. Me and my interpreter prayed a lot. We did spent close to an hour with most people, and I always shared my food with them. There is a saying. People do not care what you know until they know you care. They knew we came from America to tell them of this and knew we cared!

I told them I was there to tell them of the God who created the universe. He created the Spirits as well. I briefly describe the rebellion of the angels and their fall to allow for questions about other gods etc. I covered the garden of Eden, Gods love and fellowship with man there, and Eves temptation by the head of the evil spirits, Satan. I explain that a Holy God because of mans rebellion also could no longer have fellowship with man and cast them from the garden.

I discussed how man multiplied upon the earth and that God because of his love for man let them know that he would provide a sacrifice so that man again could have fellowship with God. I usually quoted Hebrews 9:8 here. (at times the Holy Spirit seemed to lead me to add or use different ways to explain things though my overall presentation stayed the same.) I then explained that about 2000 years ago, God sent his son Jesus Christ came to earth. He claimed to be the Son of God and did many miracles to show that he was who he claimed. He spoke the words of God. He said (I quote John 3:16, and John 14:6) I discuss (dramatically) the story of him quieting of the Storm from Mark ( I got goose bumps every time I described this) and one of the signs given in the book of John so that unbelievers believe, raising of Lazarus. I talked about how people followed him and even wanted to make him King, but he refused because they did not know the purpose he came. He told his followers that he came to die but that he would raise again but they too did not understand.

The Religious and political leaders were not happy with the attention Christ received and because they did not believe that he was the Son of God they plotted against him. They sent soldiers to arrest him. I describe the defense of Peter, the healing of the soldiers, (dramatic again) and the fleeing of his followers. I again reiterate that this was why he came. I go into detail of what he went through with the crown of thorns, beatings and whipping the skin off of his back. Some of the people began to cry even before I described the crucifixion. Others did not until they saw and heard him described on the cross.(evangicube picture) I told them that he was mocked. "You saved others, now save yourself." They did not understand that it was for this purpose that he came. To be our sacrifice so that we could be with God forever. I told them that the evil spirits rejoiced thinking that they had a victory.

Usually around this point I would go back to in the garden before the soldiers arrived and describe the prayer of Christ to his Father. "Father, if there is any other way, please take this cup from me" but because of his love for you, ( I would point at each of them) he said "but your will be done" They had no concept of a loving God so this was very emotional for many. I describe the burial, the guards and the Resurrection. How the religious leaders posted the guards, because they knew he had said he would die and raise again, but not because they believed he was the Son of God. Instead, the guards were to prevent his followers from stealing the body. But his followers were afraid and hiding. When he arose, he showed himself to many witness's including over 500 at one time. He told his followers that he had conquered death, and was the sacrifice for our sins. Because he had died for us, we could again have fellowship with God and spend eternity with him. I go over John 3:16 again and explain that by simply believing in Jesus Christ, they receive the free gift of eternal life. I then went over Hell, and explain that God the Father created Hell for the evil spirits, and that we would have gone there because of our sin if he had not sent his Son. That this was the only way he could satisfy his righteousness. A few times I did use Rom 3:23 as well as the verse in the old testament that talks about our righteousness being as filthy rags. I explain that God knows them. Their name, their thoughts and their hurts. I told them that if they believe in Jesus Christ, that God will give them the free gift of eternal life and they will be with him forever.

I then asked. "Do you believe this?" The vast majority would nod or say yes. I could not believe how the Holy Spirit worked! At least one lady started to cry when I told her I was here to tell her about the God who created the universe. Their hearts were prepared.

I would then tell them that I asked them because although God knew their heart and that they had believe I did not and I wanted to rejoice because of my new brothers and sisters in Christ. I explained that at the moment they believed in Christ, God had given them the free gift of eternal life, and that when they died they would go straight to heaven to be with God. That I would see them again. I explained how as children of God they did not have to fear his creations, and that includes spirits. I then would ask them if they wanted to Pray and thank God for his Love and his gift he had given them.

I explained to them that prayer was talking to God and that it could be done with the mouth or in the mind. With the eyes open or closed (though closed helped you focus) and that there were no magic words. I asked them if they would like to to lead them in their first prayer anyway, and all said yes. My prayer followed this guideline.

Dear Father, Thank you for sending Jesus Christ as the sacrifice for my sins, so that be believing in him, I receive the free gift of eternal life. Thank you for your love for me that I cannot understand. Thank you that you let me talk to you when ever I want. Please teach me more about you. In the name of God's Son Jesus Christ, Amen.

When we were done, they were always grinning. Many thanked me for the good news. at least twice people mentioned that they had seen Jesus on TV but that because of what I shared they could believe. I grew so much on this trip. We always left them with some New Testaments, and I highlighted John 3:16. I told them they could read more of what Jesus Christ had done as well as more of the words of God. Many could not wait but began to read even as we were leaving. Some asked us to teach them songs to praise God with.

Before giving them the Bible I would tell them that many people in America paid for me to come to India and tell them about Jesus. When I got back they would rejoice knowing they had new brothers & sisters that they would see in heaven someday, but that I would like to take pictures of them so they would not have to wait. They always laughed or grinned and nodded. We also got their names so that Indian believers could follow up and hopefully plant a church in these unreached area's.

Anyway, I hope this was enjoyable for you to read, and I look forward to what ever discussion or comments this leads to. :) I will post a link to pictures soon in the comments when they are posted. I am sure the comments will remind me of things I forgot, and I will share a few special moments in the comments as well.

Love in Christ,

Trent

Thursday, October 4, 2007

India.

I will be heading to India on my first mission trip on Oct 11th 2007. I have already raised my support, however I would appreciate prayers as we endeavor to bring the gospel to an unreached people. Here is the schedule as we understand it currently. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Team Members

Jon, Kathy, and Jonathan C., Michael C., Beverly C, Antonio Da Rosa., Paige E., Illa F., Tony G., Kathy J., Michell K., Pierre L., Russ M., Carol M., Robert S., Dan W., and myself. (I used initials because I did not ask permission to post their names. Be assured God knows who we are. :) )

Indian time is 12.5 hours ahead of PST

10/10/-10/12 travel from LAX to Calcutta. over 27 hours of actual flight time including a refuel in Tokyo where we have one hour to go through customs and get back on the plane... why ? I don't know. Also a lay over in Singapore. Please pray for safety and that we will not have any major hurdles to overcome as well as the well being of my family left behind.

10/13 Travel to Manipur and in-country orientation. Please pray for our continued Health and Safety as well as team unity.

10/14 Worship with Local Believers as well as being introduced to our interpreters. Antonio will be giving a cram course on Eternal Security to approximately 100 Indian pastors! Please keep this important time in prayer!

10/15-10/19 home to home evangelism and outreach. It will be just me with an Indian interpreter and perhaps another Indian believer who does not speak english. We will be dropped off 10-120 miles away from Imphal and perhaps be the first white person some people have ever seen. Please pray for my safety, and that I will clearly share the gospel with those who have never heard of Jesus. Especially pray for the Holy Spirit to convince them of the Truth of the Gospel. To take away the blinds Satan has over their eyes. There are many animists and idol worshippers there, and spiritual warfare will be present. Pray for God's will to be done.

10/19 Celebration day. Baptisms? New believers will be invited to join us. Please pray for them to persevere in their new Faith as well as their safety, as they can face harassment, beatings, being disowned by their families, and even death.

10/20 begin our trip home.

10/21 arrive back to LAX

Please keep us in prayer!!! I will give an update upon my return.

Love in Christ

Trent

P.S. Please be patient at first as this is my first blog, and it will take me a bit of time to get the hang of it. :)