Living like Jesus is the only way

If Jesus is the ONLY way to be right with God, and have any hope of eternal life with Him, then ought we not live in ways consistent with that simple, glorious truth?

Recently my former seminary professor and friend, Dr Tom Schreiner, addressed this in a simple devotional message delivered during the last annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. You can read a version of it here, or listen to the audio here.

Briefly, his main points are these:

First, if Jesus is the only way, we must be courageous. We must not flinch from telling others that Jesus is the only way, even if it means we are rejected by others. … If we live like Jesus is the only way, we will be courageous. We will testify to the truth in Christ. We will not trim our convictions to please others, but in our teaching, preaching, and writing we will be faithful to our Lord.

That leads me to the next point, which is related to the first one. Living like Jesus is the only way also means that we will be humble. Our Lord calls on us to courageously and boldly testify to the truth, but sometimes the way we testify to the truth detracts from the truth. … It is hard for people to hear the truth that Jesus is the only way if we speak with an arrogance that suggests that we are the only way. We must be firm in contending for the truth, but Paul also commands us to be gentle and patient and to proclaim the truth with gentleness to those who disbelieve.

. . .

My third point reveals itself when we draw attention to ourselves rather than the way, Jesus. We aren’t living as if Jesus is the only way if we focus on ourselves in conversations. Like everything else in life this is a matter of spiritual wisdom. There are no formulas here. If you have opportunity, it isn’t wrong to talk about your writing projects and speaking opportunities. In fact, not sharing what we are working on may be a form of false humility. But we aren’t living as if Jesus is the only way unless we obey Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

. . .

Finally, we live as if Jesus is the only way if we are thankful people. As Psalm 36 says, those who know God “feast on the abundance of your house, and you give them drink from the river of your delights.” Believers drink from the living water that Jesus gives us; we feast on the beauty of God; we find him to be our joy, our meat and drink; we are happy and thankful because of his love. We know that there is nothing greater than knowing Christ. Everything else is dung in comparison.

And you know what? People will know, no matter your personality, if God is your portion. That can’t be hidden. It will be evident. And they will be reminded by your joy and contentment that Jesus is the only way.

Amen!

Don’t Be Selfish… Share Christ

Jesus said… (in Luke 8:16-21)
16 “No one after lighting a lamp covers it with a jar or puts it under a bed, but puts it on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 17 For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light. 18 Take care then how you hear, for to the one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away.”

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

“Let us not only think of ourselves. Let us also think of others. There are millions in the world who have no spiritual light at all. They are without God, without Christ, and without hope. (Eph. 2:12) Can we do nothing for them? There are thousands around us who are unconverted and dead in sins, seeing nothing and knowing nothing right. Can we do nothing for them? These are questions to which every true Christian ought to find an answer. We should strive, in every way, to spread our religion. The highest form of selfishness is that of the person who is content to go to heaven alone. The truest charity is to endeavor to share with others every spark of religious light we possess ourselves, and so to hold up our own candle that it may give light to every one around us. Happy is that soul, which, as soon as it receives light from heaven, begins to think of others as well as itself! No candle which God lights was ever meant to burn alone.”
J. C. Ryle,
from his Expository Thoughts on the Gospel of Luke, Banner of Truth, 1986

Small steps to conversion

The wise J. C. Ryle writes:

The first beginnings of the work of grace in a sinner are generally exceedingly small. It is like the mixture of leaven with a lump of dough:

A single sentence of a sermon…

A single verse of Holy Scripture…

A word of rebuke from a friend…

A casual religious remark overheard…

A tract given by a stranger…

A trifling act of kindness received from a Christian…

…some of these things are often the starting-point in the life of a soul. The first acts of the spiritual life are often small in the extreme–so small, that for a long time they are not known except by the person who is the subject of them, and even by them not fully understood:

A few serious thoughts and prickings of conscience…

A desire to pray for real and not formally…

A determination to begin reading the Bible in private…

A gradual drawing towards means of grace…

An increasing interest in the subject of religion…

A growing distaste for evil habits and bad companions…

…these are often the first symptoms of grace beginning to move the heart of man. They are symptoms which worldly men may not perceive, and ignorant believers may despise, and even old Christians may mistake. Yet they are often the first steps in the mighty business of conversion. They are often the “leaven” of grace working in a heart.

~ J.C. Ryle
Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke vol. 2 , Banner of Truth, 1998, 126, 127.

PS: I always enjoy reading Ryle. I find these compact volumes some of the best Christian reading in print today! – pdb

Chilean Miners’ “Jesus” T-Shirts…

Did you notice the T-shirts worn by the 33 Chilean miners as they emerged from the ground? I spotted the name JESUS on the sleeve, and wondered about them. This was a logo for “The Jesus Film Project” (of Campus Crusade for Christ). Apparently the Chile branch of CCC provided a copy of the film (with one of the Gospels dramatically portrayed) to the men in the mine — and later designed and provided these t-shirts when they were requested!

But did you know that on the shirt all the miners chose to wear over their rescue jumpsuits, the front said “thank you, Lord” and the back side quoted Psalm 95:4

In his hand are the depths of the earth;
the heights of the mountains are his also.

CNN’s Religion Blog posted a great piece on the whole story of these shirts — you should read the whole thing. Praise God for this witness and His work of grace in that dark place!

pdb

2 Chilean Miners & others come to Christ!

Read the news: The BAPTIST PRESS web site reports that when 33 miners became trapped in Chile 3 were professing Christians. One of them, José Henríquez, would lead the others in prayer each day. José also got word through a rescue worker to request a pastor visit with the trapped miners.

This brought Pastor Marcelo Leiva, of Vallenar Baptist Church (2 hours away) to the scene. This pastor had a wonderful ministry among the gathered families as well as with the governmental officials, and members of the world press gathered at the mine — leading one miner’s wife to Christ!

[excerpts from October 11th news report] —

When the mine collapsed, three of the miners — including Henríquez — were Christians. Since then, two more of them have made professions of faith.

The wife of one of the miners who became a Christian since being trapped in the mine met with Leiva over the past two weeks and also accepted Christ.

Leiva has had the opportunity to witness to family members, Chilean policemen and foreign press — including a Japanese reporter, Wolfe said. Leiva also wrote down a Scripture portion from Psalms and gave it to Mining Minister Laurence Golborne.

READ THE ARTICLE & see picture of the Pastor at the BAPTIST PRESS site.

Telling Others About Christ In You

If we have anything to tell others about Christ, let us resolve to tell it. Let us not be silent, if we have found peace and rest in the Gospel. Let us speak to our relations, friends, families and neighbors, according as we have opportunity, and tell them what the Lord has done for our souls. All are not called to be ministers. All are not intended to preach. But all can walk in the steps of the man of whom we have been reading, and in the steps of Andrew, and Philip, and the Samaritan woman. (John 1:41, 45; 4:29.) Happy is he who is not ashamed to say to others, “Come and hear what the Lord has done for my soul.” (Psalm. 66:16.)

~ J. C. Ryle

Questions to ask at a class reunion

“Ten Questions to Ask at a Class Reunion”
(a brief article from Dr Don Whitney)

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to classmates you haven’t seen in years. It’s even harder at your spouse’s class reunion, for you may not know anyone there. Take these questions with you to these gatherings and you’ll be prepared to talk with anybody: a long-lost classmate, a classmate’s spouse, even a complete stranger. In addition to school reunions, most of these questions can work in any setting where you haven’t seen the people for a long time, as well as in a situation where you are just getting acquainted. Some of the questions are just for fun, others may open deeper levels of conversation.

How did you meet your spouse?
What are your kids like?
What do you like best about your job?
What do you like best about the place where you live?
Do you have a good church?
How have you changed (other than appearance-ha) since graduation?
What’s been the biggest tragedy in your life since our school years?
How is your life different now than you thought it would be at this point?
Would you go back to our school years if you could?
If you could change one thing about the years since graduation, what would it be?

BONUS QUESTIONS

What’s your favorite school memory?
Who was your favorite teacher and why?
What’s your favorite sports memory from school?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
What was the funniest moment during our school years?
What’s been the most influential book in your life since graduation?
What’s the most important thing you want to accomplish before you die?

Copyright © 2003 Donald S. Whitney. Used by pdb with permission.