Lucia's Blog: 2021-02-14
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Friday, February 19, 2021

OH, THE PRICK OF THE HEART!

 

“... Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.’  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38 And Peter said to them, ‘Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… ‘“   
Acts 2:22-23, 36-41


The Gospel has the power to convict man’s heart about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-8). This puts power in the message, that is, in the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16).  God uses the power of the Gospel to prick the hearts of those lost in sin, producing faith in them (Romans 1:16; 10:17; Acts 2:37-38).  But men must freely choose to obey the Gospel. God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11).  In the book of Acts, many heard the Gospel and were pricked in their heart.  After hearing the Gospel, they were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:22, 37-38; 8:5, 12, 35; 9:6; 10:5-6; 11:14).  The Gospel pricked their hearts.  Thus they obeyed from the heart.   Oh, the pain of correction, the prick of the heart!

"Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?"  (Acts 2:37)


Men inspired by the Holy Spirit preached the Gospel.  The Gospel can open men’s hearts with understanding and discernment rather than by a personal and direct operation of the Holy Spirit like so many in the religious world claim.  The culminating act of heeding the Gospel is baptism!

Jesus did not come to this world, suffer and die on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  Jesus came preaching, 

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). 

He came not to send peace, He said, but a sword and division (Matt. 10:34; Luke 12:51). He called the Scribes and Pharisees hypocrites (Matt. 23:13). He said not everyone that claimed to be His disciple will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 7:21-27).  Jesus challenges us to think and do better, hear His words of salvation, and convict our hearts of sin.  Sadly, many will be offended when they hear His words.
"Many therefore of his disciples, when they heard this, said, This is a hard saying; who can hear it? 61 But Jesus knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at this, said unto them, Doth this cause you to stumble?"  (John 6:60-61


The apostles were concerned and warned Jesus that His words and speech were offensive to the Pharisees (Matt. 15:12). Some were so offended that they “went back, and walked no more with Him” (John 6:66).   

You see, the Truth, the Word of God, has this effect on some who are not honest and sincere of heart, for they love to live in darkness.  But the Truth spoken out of love for God and the souls of men can prick the honest and sincere heart.  Nevertheless, the first sermon preached was hard to hear.  
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men… 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.  37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, 'Brothers, what shall we do?' 38 And Peter said to them, 'Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself… '"  (Acts 2:22-23, 36-41).


Peter’s sermon was hard to hear (Acts 2:22-41).  Would you dare say that Peter had no love in his heart?  Peter loved and cared, even in his sermon on PentecostBut love demands a painful prick of the heart!  

When they heard Peter’s inspired sermon about their participation in the crucifixion of Christ, they were pricked in their heart or cut to the heart (Acts 2:37). You see, the Gospel pricked their conscience.  They felt guilty because they had rejected and murdered the very Son of God!  

Sadly, there are too many today who would rather have their teachers tickle the ears because they love to have it their way (2 Tim. 4:3). Many serve their own belly by speaking smooth words, sugar coating the precious Word of God, giving fair speeches, with no better purpose than to deceive the heart of the simple (Rom. 16:18).  

Jesus did not suffer and died on the cross so that you and I could indulge in sin.  The Word of God must challenge us because that is the only way to prick the heart!  We must allow the Word of God to prick and cut to our hearts to have its effect.  

Thus, we must examine our hearts in the light of God’s everlasting Word.  We must study the Scriptures diligently to make sure that what we hear is the Truth of God (Acts 17:11).  

May we allow the Word of God to prick our hearts to have its effect on us and be pleasing to God and go to heaven.

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  (Hebrews 4:12


Luci



Thursday, February 18, 2021

"YOU NEVER MENTIONED HIM TO ME"

“And he said to them, 'Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.  
Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" 
Mark 16:15‭-‬16


We marvel at the single-minded way that Jesus worked at bringing the hope of a new life to people who were hopeless cases, mired in long habits of sin and corruption. He has shown us the way. Now it is our turn to carry His Message to those marred by sin, redeemed sinners rescuing others still lost and dying in a twisted world of darkness and despair.  


I.   THE GREAT COMMISSION:

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He left His disciples with instructions about going into the world to preach the Gospel.  They were to preach the Gospel to every creature, to every human being, whether king or beggar in the street.  They were to preach the good news to everyone, the lost.  

  • So What Is The Good News?  
It is the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ.
"Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.  3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me."  (1 Cor. 15:1-8)  

Jesus came to bring Grace and Truth to this world of darkness (John 1:17), bringing salvation.  But to receive salvation, we are commanded to do the following. 
  1. We must have the faith to obey God’s terms of salvation.  
  2. We are commanded to strive to live by the perfect Law of liberty, and that includes evangelism.
  3. We are to repent and seek God’s forgiveness and keep being faithful to Him until the end (1 John 1:7-9; Phil. 3:12-14).  

Those who have not yet obeyed the Gospel must obey the Gospel to become God’s children.  That is,
  1. They must bury the old man of sin and wash their sins away in the waters of baptism, for we must die to rise into newness of life (Romans 6).  
  2. After we obey the Gospel, we must share and teach it to the lost, for it is God’s command!  

He who believes and is baptized will be saved, but he who does not obey will be condemned (Mark 16:15-16).  

This boils down to how we treat the lost in this world.  
  1. Are we treating them like Jesus did?  
  2. Are we treating them like the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did?  
  3. Why not stop and think about it, for you will be judged?  
  4. Are we more like Simon the Pharisee or God the Father?  
  5. Do you suppose the Pharisee of Luke 15 would have welcomed or received the prodigal son as his father did? 
  6. What would have happened had you and I been on the front porch to receive this prodigal son?
  7. Would we show compassion toward the one who has repented or show indignation?  
  8. Why is it that unbelievers treat others better than we who are Christians?  There must be something wrong!  
Hence,
  1. We must imitate Christ and treat the lost like friends and not enemies as our heavenly Father would.  
  2. We must make sacrifices to give the lost a chance to hear the good news, the Gospel of our Lord and Savior.

The Gospel is the power of God to save men that they may turn away from their evil ways to God for direction and guidance.  God saves men by the preaching of the Gospel of salvation.  It is the only WAY that Jesus is going to heal the sin-sick soul that is dying.  The Gospel is given into our hands to teach it to all men that they might be saved from their sins.  Every day people are dying unprepared for eternity! 

God has already provided all the means and the Message to save the souls of men, and we must bring the two together (John 3:16; Romans 1:16).  
  1. Can we expect to find favor before God with the blood of the lost on our hands (Acts 20:26-27)?
  2. Is there any other way of hope for a dying world?  What is the condition of the lost without Christ? 
  3. Is there any other place where the lost can turn to? 

For that reason, we must carry God’s precious Message and guide the erring back to Him.  

There are so many lost souls in this world in need of the Gospel to save them.  Look up and see how the fields are already white for harvest!  (John 4:35).  We must lift up our eyes and notice them and approach them the way Jesus wants us to.  The opportunities to teach the lost the Gospel are abundant!  So let us not slip back into our comfort zones, but let us move forward with purpose to seek and find these lost souls.  We must pray to God to lead us to a lost soul in need of the Gospel!  

  • The Grace of God And The Gospel:
"He will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household."  (Acts 11:14)

The Grace of God and the Gospel go hand in hand. In Acts 11:14, Peter spoke to the Gentiles words by which they were saved (cf. 10:30-48).   

"And Cornelius said, 'Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing 31 and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms have been remembered before God. 32 Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ 33 So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.'  34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: 'Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.  44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 'Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?' 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.'"  (Acts 10:30-48)

In Acts 20:24, 32, we read that the Grace of God is manifested to all men through the instruction or teaching made possible only through the "Gospel."  Paul's ministry was to testify about the Gospel of Grace.  The apostles ordained by God carried out this commission beginning on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) when 3,000 souls obeyed the Gospel of the Grace of God (Acts 2:37-41).  The apostles preached the Gospel in Jerusalem and in all Judea, Samaria, and the remotest part of the earth (Acts 1:8).  All the cases of conversion in the book of Acts show the efficacy of the Gospel.

Today as well, we are saved by the Grace of God when we obey the Gospel.  
  1. It is only by the Gospel that we learn how to please God.  
  2. Obeying the Gospel of the Grace of God demands that we fulfill the terms of salvation found in the Gospel.  
  3. To be saved by faith is to attain the mercy of God by obedience to the Gospel of Grace. 
  4. All this has been possible through Christ's blood which was shed in a cruel death (2 Cor. 5:20-21).  
  5. Salvation by faith in Jesus is founded on the Word of God (Romans 10:17) that leads the sinner to obey the Gospel of Christ (2 Thess. 1:8). 
  6. There is no justification without obedience to Christ, which is obedience to His Gospel. 

Therefore,
  1. We must share the Gospel with the lost. God has commanded us to do so (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15-16; 2 Tim. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 3:15).  
  2. We must share the Gospel with the lost, for it is the power of God to salvation (Rom. 1:16).  
  3. We must share the Gospel with the lost, for by doing this, we show the lost that we love their souls and don’t want them to be separated from God eternally (Col. 1:28).  
  4. We must share the Gospel with the lost because we have compassion for them and don’t want them to perish.  

When the Gospel is taught and is believed and obeyed, it is God’s power to save and transform men: men like Saul of Tarsus, the worst sinner of that day, and of course people like you and me!

Since the Gospel is God's power to save men, we must pray fervently to God that He might send us to those who are diligently seeking Him and want to turn away from the wicked way.  I was one of those souls who was found when I was diligently seeking after God!  I was taught the Gospel by someone who reached out to me.  We must pray for God’s help that we may find these precious souls.  They are desperately waiting for us to teach them the good news!  We must pray to God to use us in whatever way He can to lead us to a lost soul that he might be saved through the Gospel of Christ.  

Paul instructed Timothy, saying,
And what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”  (2 Tim. 2:2)  

That harmonizes with the Great Commission as recorded in Matthew  28:19-20.  Jesus wants Christians to teach people everywhere about their need to obey the Gospel to become children of God and be saved.  But to teach others the Gospel, we must study the Scriptures (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:15-17).  It is the responsibility of every member of the Lord’s church.  God will judge us on the final day!  The Great Commission begins with the Word, the Gospel.  God never said to wait for the lost to come to us.  He has commanded us to go to them.  There is no need for fear or intimidationGod has not given us the spirit of fear but of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).  When Jesus sent the apostles, He assured them, saying, 
Teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  (Matt. 28:20)

CONCLUSION:

There is a beloved hymn called “You Never Mentioned Him to Me.” It is a song that forces us to consider the consequences of not speaking to warn the wicked.  The song should move us to teach the lost!  The words stress our need to get busy in the Lord’s work of sharing the Gospel with the lost, for there is a coming day of judgment when before the bar we will stand.  "The bar" is often used poetically to refer to God's judgment that we must all face
"Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God."  (Rom. 14:10)  

And though we know that many will be lost, we still must teach the Gospel so that no one on that day will be able to say to us, “You never mentioned Him to me,” and then go into the everlasting fire (Matt. 25:41).  We must help others prepare for judgment so that they will not have to hear those words, "Depart from me.”  (Matt. 7:21-23)

The Gospel can guide the lost to Christ (Acts 11:14).  Every Christian must mention Christ and what He did to redeem us.  We must labor in sharing the Gospel so that none may say on that final day of judgment, "You Never Mentioned Him to Me."  

What will we do, how will we feel, if at the day of judgment some lost soul should cry in deep despair, “You never mentioned Him to me?!”  

If on judgment day, we find ourselves having not obeyed the Great Commission, having not tried to teach lost souls the Gospel of salvation, what do you suppose our Lord will say to us?  If you know the lost need to hear and be taught the Gospel, have you mentioned Him to them?  God is interested in our souls and the souls of our families as well.  Therefore, we must open our eyes and see the harvest! The harvest is plenty, and there is much labor to do!  

“You Never Mentioned Him to Me”

When in the better land before the bar we stand,
How deeply grieved our souls may (will) be,
If any lost one there should cry in deep despair,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

O let us spread the word where’er it may be heard,
Help groping souls the light to see,
That yonder none may say, ‘You showed me not the way,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

A few sweet words may guide a lost one to His side,
Or turn sad eyes on Calvary;
So work as days go by, that yonder none may cry,
"You never mentioned Him to me."

 The chorus,
"You never mentioned Him to me; 
You helped me not the light to see."
"You met me day by day and knew I was astray, 
Yet never mentioned Him to me."



May we understand that the Great Physician is here among us to heal those who are woefully ill.  Our great Shepherd seeks those who are lost and gently restores them to the flock.  And so we should approach those He brings into our path in the same graceful manner as He did with gentleness, humility, and a servant's heart.


Luci