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Sermon No: 18935-God's will and our desires - Part 6



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SERMON TOPIC: God's will and our desires - Part 6

Speaker: Ken Paynter

Language: ENGLISH

Date: 30 April 2017

Topic Groups: DESTINY, SUFFERING

Sermon synopsis: 2 Peter 3:9 God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Jesus' involvement in seeing this accomplished, culminated in His going to the cross and suffering at the hands of those He was desiring to save. What are you and I doing to see God’s will implemented. Do we pray “Thy will be done”? Are we witnesses? Are we prepared to suffer for Christ our Lord? (discomfort etc)
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God’s will and our desires part 6.

God is not willing that any should perish.

2 Peter 3:9.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Jesus involvement in seeing this accomplished, culminated in His going to the cross and suffering at the hands of those He was desiring to save.

What are you and I doing to see God’s will implemented.

Do we pray “Thy will be done”?

Are we witnesses?

Are we prepared to suffer for Christ our Lord? (discomfort etc)

God is not willing that any should perish.

1 Timothy 2:1-4.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

2 Corinthians 5:8-11.

We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.

God is not willing that any should perish.

Luke 9:51-56. Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem.

And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did? But He turned and rebuked them, and said, You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.

See NOTE 1

God is not willing that any should perish.

We are part of God’s plan for the salvation of the lost.

Romans 10:11-17.

For the Scripture says, Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame. For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!

But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, LORD, who has believed our report?

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

God is not willing that any should perish.

How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind

Antony Flew: There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with the insight of Einstein and other noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe.

The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself—which is far more complex than the physical Universe—can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so.

World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.

With every passing year, the more that was discovered about the richness and inherent intelligence of life, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.

Personal Note:

As a Christian, I should always behave in a respectful manner when presenting the Gospel. People who are genuinely seeking truth will like the former atheist CS Lewis, often make the best Christian apologists.

Atheist converted.

1 Peter 3:15. But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

C.S. Lewis.

Lewis is a prime example of a reasonable but unbelieving thinker who was willing to read from all angles and perspectives. As a result of his open inquiry, he became a believer in Christ and one of modern Christianity’s greatest apologists. G.K. Chesterton and George MacDonald were two of the most influential writers to effect Lewis’ conversion. He writes in his autobiography, Surprised By Joy: “In reading Chesterton, as in reading MacDonald, I did not know what I was letting myself in for…

A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading.”

Atheist converted.

Author Dale Ahlquist writes matter-of-factly that “C.S. Lewis was an atheist until he read Chesterton’s book, The Everlasting Man, but he wasn’t afterwards…” Ironically, it was C.S. Lewis’ influential defences of Christianity that would eventually prompt countless conversions to Christianity.

C S Lewis (1898–1963) was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954, when he was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement.

Lewis wrote more than thirty books, including Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics in The Chronicles of Narnia.

To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures

Atheist converted.

Neither of the two variations of the statement under which the book is named is appropriate. Believers continue to misunderstand atheism and delight in ridiculing those who hold such views. No intelligent person can make such a statement except for one who has actually met a god. (I very much doubt that.) Not the pope, not Billy Graham, not Mohamed, and not I, an atheist who is proud to have a mind of his own and who uses it. Claiming not to believe in a personal god is not the same as claiming to know that there is none. It is the belief in the gods created by ancient men and the books that they have written, blindly followed by the masses to this day due to fear or ignorance

Atheist converted.

Ken Paynter

Hi Joe, if I am not mistaken you knew my late sister Michal. When she passed away just over 2 years ago she asked the sister at the hospital for her small Gideon's Bible and tore out the 23rd Psalm which she clasped in her hand as she died. Michal like the rest of my siblings and myself have a relationship with God that is not based on fear or mindless ignorance but love. The purpose of my post was to remind my fellow Christians not to be disrespectful of others when sharing their faith, as there are those who are genuine in their search for truth and the atheist converted makes an excellent Christian especially in our western world where so many profess Christianity but merely follow some rules and regulations that they have been brought up with and have no relationship with God.

Hello Ken. Yes, I had the privilege of calling Michal my friend and I respected her beliefs as I do yours. The purpose of my comment was to state that a true atheist does not claim to know that there is no god, only that he or she does not believe in one. An agnostic is simply a fence-sitter, neither hot nor cold as I remember Jesus having said (I stand to be corrected.) Yes, I do accept that your faith may be based on love but neither you or I can claim that we know the truth.

Ken Paynter Joe there is an assurance that a true believer has that is sometimes viewed as presumption and arrogance but I guess you have to have it to know about it. Sadly much of what is called or professed to be Christianity in the western world is fake and far from what's the true follower of Christ is all about. The God I serve promises in The Bible that those who seek Him with all their heart will find Him. Be blessed and thanks for your input

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Kirk Cameron - American actor. Cameron was an atheist in his early teens. When he was 17, during the height of his career on Growing Pains, he became a born-again Christian.

Rosalind Picard - Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT, director and also the founder of the Affective Computing Research Group at the MIT Media Lab, co-director of the Things That Think Consortium, and co-founder of startups Affectiva and Empatica

Hugh Ross (astrophysicist) - Canadian astrophysicist, Christian apologist, and old earth creationist.

Alister McGrath - Northern Irish scientist, theologian, priest, intellectual historian and Christian apologist.

Francis Collins - American physician-geneticist noted for his discoveries of disease genes and his leadership of the Human Genome Project. He is director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Alexis Carrel - French surgeon and biologist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1912.

Lee Strobel - American Christian Apologetic author. He has written several books, including four which received ECPA Christian Book Awards (1994, 1999, 2001, 2005) and a series which addresses challenges to a Biblically inerrant view of Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn - Russian novelist, historian. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970.

Vladimir Putin - current President of the Russian Federation.

Czesław Miłosz - poet, prose writer, translator and diplomat. He was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and in 1980 the Nobel Prize in Literature.

C. S. Lewis - Oxford Scholar

Dr Carl Wieland

Dr Russell Humphreys

https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/ List_of-former-atheists-and_agnostics

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

We do not have to look far to find sin, it is within each and everyone of us. “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,

In such a meretricious age the giant figure of Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerges as a colossus of courage. Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party.

Serving in the Soviet army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War he witnessed cold blooded murder and the raping of women and children as the Red Army took its “revenge” on the Germans. Disillusioned, he committed the indiscretion of criticizing the Soviet leader Josef Stalin and was imprisoned for eight years as a political dissident.

While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery.

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Throughout the 1960s Solzhenitsyn published three novels exposing the secularist tyranny of the Soviet Union and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Following the publication in 1973 of his seminal work, The Gulag Archipelago, an exposé of the treatment of political dissidents in the Soviet prison system, he was arrested and expelled from the Soviet Union, thereafter living the life of an exile in Switzerland and the United States. He finally returned to Russia in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet system.

In 1978, Solzhenitsyn caused great controversy when he criticized the secularism and hedonism of the West in his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Condemning the nations of the so-called free West for being morally bankrupt, he urged that it was time “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.”

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The emphasis on rights instead of responsibilities was leading to “the abyss of human decadence” and to the committing of “moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.” At the root of the modern malaise was the modern philosophy of “rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy,” which declared the “autonomy of man from any higher authority above him.” Such a view “could also be called anthropocentrity, with man seen as the centre of all.”

It is ultimately of little matter whether the sickness that is slowly poisoning the West is given the labels that Solzhenitsyn affixed to it, or whether we prefer to give it the name of secular fundamentalism. The disease by any other name would be as deadly.

Furthermore, this disease is not merely destructive but self-destructive. It has no long-term future.

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Although secular fundamentalist “progressives” might believe in a future “golden age,” such an age does not exist. The future that they herald is merely one of gathering gloom and ever darkening clouds. This fate has ever been so for those who proclaim their “Pride.” They have nothing to expect in the future but their fall.

As for the Christian, he has nothing to fear but his falling into the pride of despair. If he avoids becoming despondent and retains his humility, he will receive the gift of hope which is its fruit. Where there is hope there is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

As we await the fall of the latest manifestation of secular fundamentalism, we need to remember that the culture of death is a parasite. It does not give life; it only destroys or corrupts it. Like all successful parasites it kills itself when it kills the host culture on which it feeds. It is not merely deadly but suicidal. It is unsustainable. It cannot survive.

Atheists who converted to Christianity.

An Atheist converts to Christianity.

We do not have to look far to find sin, it is within each and everyone of us. “If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,

In such a meretricious age the giant figure of Alexander Solzhenitsyn emerges as a colossus of courage. Born in Russia in 1918, only months after the secular fundamentalists had swept to power in the Bolshevik Revolution, Solzhenitsyn was brainwashed by a state education system which taught him that socialism was just and that religion was the enemy of the people. Like most of his school friends, he enslaved himself to the zeitgeist, became an atheist and joined the communist party.

Serving in the Soviet army on the Eastern Front during the Second World War he witnessed cold blooded murder and the raping of women and children as the Red Army took its “revenge” on the Germans. Disillusioned, he committed the indiscretion of criticizing the Soviet leader Josef Stalin and was imprisoned for eight years as a political dissident.

While in prison, he resolved to expose the horrors of the Soviet system. Shortly after his release, during a period of compulsory exile in Kazakhstan, he was diagnosed with a malignant cancer in its advanced stages and was not expected to live. In the face of what appeared to be impending death, he converted to Christianity and was astonished by what he considered to be a miraculous recovery.

Throughout the 1960s Solzhenitsyn published three novels exposing the secularist tyranny of the Soviet Union and received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1970. Following the publication in 1973 of his seminal work, The Gulag Archipelago, an exposé of the treatment of political dissidents in the Soviet prison system, he was arrested and expelled from the Soviet Union, thereafter living the life of an exile in Switzerland and the United States. He finally returned to Russia in 1994, after the collapse of the Soviet system.

In 1978, Solzhenitsyn caused great controversy when he criticized the secularism and hedonism of the West in his famous commencement address at Harvard University. Condemning the nations of the so-called free West for being morally bankrupt, he urged that it was time “to defend not so much human rights as human obligations.”

The emphasis on rights instead of responsibilities was leading to “the abyss of human decadence” and to the committing of “moral violence against young people, such as motion pictures full of pornography, crime, and horror.” At the root of the modern malaise was the modern philosophy of “rationalistic humanism or humanistic autonomy,” which declared the “autonomy of man from any higher authority above him.” Such a view “could also be called anthropocentrity, with man seen as the centre of all.”

It is ultimately of little matter whether the sickness that is slowly poisoning the West is given the labels that Solzhenitsyn affixed to it, or whether we prefer to give it the name of secular fundamentalism. The disease by any other name would be as deadly.

Furthermore, this disease is not merely destructive but self-destructive. It has no long-term future. Although secular fundamentalist “progressives” might believe in a future “golden age,” such an age does not exist. The future that they herald is merely one of gathering gloom and ever darkening clouds. This fate has ever been so for those who proclaim their “Pride.” They have nothing to expect in the future but their fall.

As for the Christian, he has nothing to fear but his falling into the pride of despair. If he avoids becoming despondent and retains his humility, he will receive the gift of hope which is its fruit. Where there is hope there is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

As we await the fall of the latest manifestation of secular fundamentalism, we need to remember that the culture of death is a parasite. It does not give life; it only destroys or corrupts it. Like all successful parasites it kills itself when it kills the host culture on which it feeds. It is not merely deadly but suicidal. It is unsustainable. It cannot survive.

God’s witnesses.

Jesus came with the purpose of seeking those who are lost.

Luke 19:10.

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

Do we share that same purpose of Jesus Christ? Do we seek out to save those who are lost?

Remember that Jesus told His disciples to go into all the world and to make disciples of all nations but also to teach them to observe what Jesus taught them.

You will have to seek out the lost intentionally because they’re not likely to come to you so you must go to them.

The role of God’s witnesses is two-fold.

Firstly to urge people to believe, repent and be saved.

Secondly to bear testimony against those who reject God’s Grace and choose to remain in their sin.

Witnesses.

Creation bears witness. Romans 1:18-22.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

2. Our conscience bears witness. Romans 2:12-16.

Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them. This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

Witnesses.

3. God’s Word bears witness. John 12:46-48.

I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. If anyone hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge that person. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; the very words I have spoken will condemn them at the last day.

4. Preachers of the Gospel are God’s witnesses. Acts 4:18-20.

Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.

5. The Holy Spirit bears witness. Acts 5:32

We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

Witnesses.

6. Every Christian is required to be God’s witness.

1 Peter 3:1-2.

Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behaviour of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.

1 Peter 3:15.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.

Matthew 5:16

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.

The Apostles were God’s witnesses.

The Greek word for witness is martur or martus, whence our English word martyr: meaning one who bears witness by his death.

It is only as men and women are empowered by the Holy Spirit that they can be this type of witness for the Lord.

The Apostles were God’s witnesses.

James: Beheaded by Herod.

Philip: He was Imprisoned, scourged and then crucified.

Bartholomew: Killed with a sword or beaten with clubs.

Peter: Was crucified upside down.

Matthew: Was put to death with the sword.

Mathias: Was stoned and beheaded.

Thomas: Was thrust through with a spear.

Simon the Zealot: Was crucified.

Thaddeus: Was crucified.

Andrew: Was crucified on an X shaped cross.

Paul: Was beheaded.

All the Apostles barring John died a martyr’s death and he was exiled after according to tradition, being burned in boiling oil.

North Korea.

North Koreans Christians aren't simply killed for their faith in Christ. They are pulverized with steamrollers, used to test biological weapons, shipped off to death camps or shot in front of children, while newborn babies have their brains pithed with forceps in front of their mothers.

North Korea.

The tyrannical leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un sentenced 33 people to death for the alleged crime of having contact and working with a Baptist missionary. VOICE OF THE PERSECUTED

Tonight more than 200,000 Christians will try to stay warm in horrific North Korean labour camps. The Voice Of The Martyrs

The young brown-eyed girl looked up at her mother. What would she decide? Earlier that morning, the young girl's mother, their pastor, and twenty-six others in her North Korean village of GokSan were bound and taken before a screaming crowd of Communists. One of the guards ordered Pastor Kim and the other Christians, "Deny Christ, or you will die." The words chilled her. How could they ask her to deny Jesus? She knew in her heart he was real. They all quietly refused. Then the Communist guard shouted directly at the adult Christians, "Deny Christ, or we will hang your children." The young girl looked up at her mother. She gripped her and knowing how much her mom loved her. her mother then leaned down. With confidence and peace she whispered, "Today, my love, I will see you in heaven.“

North Korea.

All of the children were hanged. The remaining believers were then brought out onto the pavement and forced to lie down in front of a huge steamroller. The Communists gave them one last chance. "Deny this Jesus or you will be crushed.” The Christians had already given up their children; there was no turning back. As the driver started the heavy piece of equipment, the singing from the villagers started softly. "More love, O Christ, to thee, more love to thee.

http://www.talkamen.com/ article/ the.saddest-story-ever-told-north-korean-prison.camp/ 50199.htm

Eritrea.

Today some 3,000 Eritrean Christians are imprisoned for their faith. Some are in underground and solitary cells whilst some are in 'secret’ prisons for the 'disappeared'. However, most are herded into unventilated shipping containers in the desert where dysentery and infectious diseases go untreated. Torture is routine.

Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, of course, strictly forbids the conversion of any Muslim to Christianity. The penalty for conversion is beheading. Back in 2008, The daughter of a man who works for Saudi Arabia's religious police became a Christian after she joined an Internet chat group. He responded by cutting out her tongue and burning her to death.

Martyrs are God’s witnesses.

Hebrews 11:35-39.

There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.

They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated the world was not worthy of them.

They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith

Martyrs are God’s witnesses.

The truth is that hatred for Christians and Christianity is rapidly increasing, Jesus warned us that these days would come.

Matthew 24:9.

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. Members of the same family will even betray one another to the authorities.

Things are not going to get any easier for Christians.

Jeremiah 12:5.

If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, Then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, In which you trusted, they wearied you, Then how will you do in the floodplain of the Jordan?

Martyrs are God’s witnesses.

Hebrews 12:1-4.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (Not everyone is called to be a martyr)

But we are all called to be witnesses!

The Holy Spirit given to empower God’s eyewitnesses.

Acts 1:1-5. (Author Luke)

Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven.

After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God.

As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.

The Holy Spirit given to empower God’s eyewitnesses.

Acts 1:1-5. (continued)

When they were together for the last time they asked, Master, are you going to restore the kingdom to Israel now? Is this the time?

He told them, You don’t get to know the time. Timing is the Father’s business. What you’ll get is the Holy Spirit. And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.

God’s eyewitnesses.

Luke 1;1-4. (MSG)

So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honourable Theophilus, so you can know beyond the shadow of a doubt the reliability of what you were taught.

One of the criteria used for an apostle was that they had to be a witness of the resurrection.

The apostles were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus:

… the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. (Acts 4:2)

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus… (Acts 4:33)

… Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection. (Acts 17:18)

Witnesses to the resurrection.

When the apostles replace Judas with another apostle the stated criteria is as follows (Acts 1:21-22)

See NOTE 1

Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time… For one of these must become a witness with us of his resurrection.

Paul a witness to the resurrection.

1 Corinthians 15:3-9.

The first thing I did was place before you what was placed so emphatically before me: that the Messiah died for our sins, exactly as Scripture tells it; that he was buried; that he was raised from death on the third day, again exactly as Scripture says; that he presented himself alive to Peter, then to his closest followers, and later to more than five hundred of his followers all at the same time, most of them still around (although a few have since died);

that he then spent time with James and the rest of those he commissioned to represent him;

and that he finally presented himself alive to me. It was fitting that I bring up the rear. I don’t deserve to be included in that inner circle, as you well know, having spent all those early years trying my best to stamp God’s church right out of existence.

God is not willing that any should perish.

Acts 5:27-32.

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name, he said. Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood. Peter and the other apostles replied: We must obey God rather than human beings! The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Saviour that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.

The two witnesses & the 144 000.

Revelation 11:3-10.

And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.... And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire.

When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city

Many ignore God’s witnesses.

Romans 10:16-21-1

But not everyone who hears the Good News has welcomed it, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed me when I told them?” Yet faith comes from listening to this Good News the Good News about Christ. But what about the Jews? Have they heard God’s Word? Yes, for it has gone wherever they are; the Good News has been told to the ends of the earth. And did they understand that God would give his salvation to others if they refused to take it? Yes, for even back in the time of Moses, God had said that he would make his people jealous and try to wake them up by giving his salvation to the foolish heathen nations. And later on Isaiah said boldly that God would be found by people who weren’t even looking for him. In the meantime, he keeps on reaching out his hands to the Jews, but they keep arguing, refusing to come.

God’s Judgement.

Hebrews 10:28-31.

Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, It is mine to avenge; I will repay, and again, The Lord will judge his people. It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

God is not willing that any should perish.

Acts 1:4-8.

You shall be my witnesses....

Mark 16:15.

Go into all the world and preach the Gospel....

Matthew 5:14-16.

You are the light of the world....

Witnessing tips.

Don’t pick green fruit or leave ripe fruit.

Don’t get conceited if God uses you. (1 Cor 3:3-9. One plants, another waters, but God gives the increase.)

Don’t be number conscious, Jesus spent time with one Samaritan women at the well.

Don’t argue (2 Tim 2:23-26) You can win an argument and lose a soul.

Share your testimony, no-one can dispute what God has done in your own life.

Your life must back up what you say, “Practice what you preach”

Jesus told us to make disciples, not converts. Beware of pressing people into saying a prayer that is recited after you instead of flowing from their own hearts.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION

Unless otherwise stated, Scripture quotations are taken from the NIV:

THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB:

New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (http://www.lockman.org)




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