Please notice two things: The Lord doesn´t say, ”If anyone can do His will…”, but “if anyone wills. The second thing is the promise: "…he shall know…." In the Danish rendering it suggests "he shall experience…"
I vividly remember what happened at a meeting once on the west coast of Norway. An elderly gentleman got up and addressed the unbelievers with the following plain words: “If you don´t get saved tonight, it´s because you don´t want to!”
That he repeated twice. A young girl broke down in tears that night. “Yes, it´s because I don´t want to”, she sobbed. However, she came with her "I don´t want to" to Him, who will never, by no means, cast out anyone who´s coming. (By the way that girl later became my wife!)
Now what about you? Oh, I meet a lot of respectable, religious people who do want a little religion and church and song and music, but they don´t really mean business and so they never make a genuine experience with our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, it´s still possible for the honest seeker to pray the old prayer, "Lord, I´m willing to be made willing!" This is a prayer The good Shepherd and the Savior of your lost soul will always hear.
Genuine conversion and saving faith is just acknowledging that God is right and I am wrong. The people acknowledged that. The Pharisees also heard him, but instead of humbling themselves they callously consolidated their self-righteous position and rejected God´s plan for their lives. v. 30.
My grandfather, - Uno Rieper-Holm was his name -, had a respectable auditor who once heard my grandfather preach the gospel in Copenhagen. One Christian woman spoke a few kind words to that distinguished gentleman after the meeting, but he was so angry. According to his wife he afterwards went back and forth in their beautiful apartment and was furious. However, before going to bed he said, “Rieper-Holm was right!” Then soon after he suddenly died.
That made a strong impression on everybody. Another Christian woman suggested that the admission of the convicted auditor was a good sign. She said, “Hopefully it meant that he also acknowledged that God was right.”
Have you acknowledged that too? Have you come to the place where you can honestly say before God, “You are right, and I´m wrong and have always been wrong!” In that case you´ll meet the happy tax-collectors in Heaven some day, saved by His grace and under the wings of His loving plan.
In my early youth in Pennsylvania I came under a terrible bondage without knowing it myself. Those were days without joy. A brother saw me and said, “You have changed, Jorn. You used to always exalt Christ, but now….” He didn´t say that I was exalting myself, but did regret that legalism now marked my “testimony”. The Lord was faithful, however, and revealed my freedom in Christ anew, and the book of Romans became my charter.
Speak well of Christ! You don´t speak well of Christ by just shouting “Jesus” with a shrilling voice all the time. In fact, that may be just one way of speaking well of yourself using the name of Jesus for selfish purposes. The Corinthians did that with the name of Christ (see 1 Cor. 1:12).
To speak well of Christ implies the Holy Spirit´s conviction of your own “lostness” and your happy freedom in Christ alone. This is certainly “the aroma of life leading to life” (1 Cor. 2:16) before a watching and dying world.
We pray, “Our Father in Heaven…” (Luke 11:2). He is not only in Heaven, though, but also “on the earth below” - with you and me.
To live here “below” in joyful communion with Him, is what really speaks to the world making it sometimes say as it said of Israel: “What great nation is there that has God so near to it, as the Lord our God whenever we call on Him?” (Deut. 4:7).
In other words, a practical, down-to-earth testimony of the God who is here below!
A blind, Danish preacher who by the way once held me in his arms and prayed for me when I was a baby, once came home after a trip to Sweden where he saw another preacher who prayed for the sick. He hoped to get his sight back. He didn´t, but still got a special blessing. To his wife he testified, conscious of God´s presence:
“Before leaving for Sweden I had a God in Heaven. Now I also have Him right here in the sitting room!”
The Inevitable Offenses
”It is inevitable that offenses will come.” Luke 17:1
During the pioneering days of New Tribes Mission, starting in 1942, many casualties happened. Their first missionaries were killed in the jungle. Many others died under dramatic circumstances, and many tears were shed. How did the Americans in general react?
The American public rather sympathized with the mission. After all the Second World War was raging, and America calculated with heavy losses. Why should it be different when it comes to spiritual warfare? So they reasoned.
But the Christian establishment was often deeply offended or very critical. NTM had acted foolishly, they thought, and exposed a fine youth to unnecessary dangers. Some were so offended that they branded NTM “The murderer of mission” – a cruel and heartbreaking charge, indeed.
The cause of Jesus Christ is still met with much opposition. The greatest and most indignant opposition however is often of a religious kind. That was certainly the case in the earthly life of our Lord, and it hasn´t changed in 2009. “It is inevitable”, the Lord said.
”Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for in the same way their fathers used to treat the false prophets.” Luke 6:26.
After a fascinating lecture on the integration of our refugees a few days ago in this very town of mine, a gentleman made the statement: ”I´m afraid of Islam!” Immediately a Christian woman from the audience quietly remarked, ”I´m more afraid of the Christians!” Now, her point was not to play down the danger of Islam but to bring to our consciences the challenge of bringing the gospel to our fellow human beings, no matter who they are, e.g. Muslims or other immigrants, you name it. The challenge of the gospel has always been a sore point with the established church. Yes, we are afraid of Islam whose goal is world dominion. The gospel has a world objective too. Satanic forces stand behind Islam. The Holy Spirit stands behind the gospel of Christ. That should thrill us as believers who have no power in ourselves and yet can do all things through Christ. Phil. 4:13. – so “fear not”!
These very days a tsunami wave of Darwinism and evolutionism is washing over us. At times I get discouraged. Last night I thought, this is just too much! However, “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him!” (Isa. 59:19). We say, “We can´t do it. So true, but haven´t you noticed how many times it says in the New Testament “Let us…” It is the voice of The Holy Spirit saying “Let us do it together! Let us together lift up the standard of the gospel! As our American friends would sometimes say, “Let´s gossip the gospel!” We have failed as a church.
Billy Graham was right when he once said, ”The church has become a mission field instead of a mission force!” The muslims shouldn´t be mocked at and ridiculed as we´ve seen the worldly press is doing. We should rather be looking for an opportunity to give them the gospel. The darwinists should likewise be pitied. I don´t think they are happy at all. And I think that even Darwin found himself suffering from an unquenchable spiritual thirst when the noble, evangelistic Lady Hope (a friend of D.L. Moody) saw him a few months before his death. This we don´t hear about however. So let us take courage.
“Let us…” the Holy Spirit says. The law says, “Thou shalt!” The Holy Spirit says, “Let us…”
Wonderful words of encouragement an of freedom! “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and sound judgment!” (2 Tim. 1:7). -jn-
”We are ambassadors for Christ!” (2 Cor. 5:20)
“I never go to see important people – or anyone else – without having the deep realization that I am – first and foremost – an ambassador of the King of kings and Lord and lords. From the moment I enter the room, I am thinking about how I can get the conversation around the gospel…I rarely leave without attempting to explain the meaning of the Gospel unless God clearly indicates to me that it is not the right time for this person….”
The words are Billy Graham´s but they should be ours too. Alas, when having coffee after a church service with a lot of church goers, I often sense an atmosphere of parties, entertainment, noisy laughter and boring, superficial talks about the same things that worldly people talk about. I can´t help thinking “Are these good people really ambassadors for Christ, burning for lost souls? Or are they, after all, worldly church people with just a nice, religious façade without true, spiritual reality?
A non-Christian, in fact an atheist, whom I saw yesterday in another town, told me that his grandparents were pious people belonging to a local Christian mission, but apart from saying grace at their meals they never talked to him in his boyhood about the things of God. Pathetic, isn´t it?
Personally, when talking to people, I prefer an honest non-believer to an dishonest “believer”, don´t you?