So you walk up to this man sinner and you say, "God loves you and He has a wonderful plan for your life!" and he goes, "What? God loves me? That's fantastic. I LOVE ME, TOO! And He loves me more than I love me? Well, that's hard to imagine. I'll take a God like that. You got two of them?"
I would not send my child to a vacation Bible school in 99.9% of the Baptist churches in America. Have some teacher that doesn't even understand anything about the gospel of Jesus Christ, ask those little children, 'How many of you want to go to Heaven?' and damn most of them! Harden their heart to the gospel with some silly profession of faith because it was a silly proclamation of the gospel! It brought no genuine repentance, it brought no faith; it's no different than the Roman church that baptizes every infant that is born.
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Right now if this preacher died he would go to heaven. Not because I spent years in the jungles and the Andes Mountains of Peru. Not because of piety, devotion or bible study. Not because of denominational affiliation, baptism, or participation in the Lord's supper. If I died right now, I would go to heaven because two thousand years ago the Son of God shed His blood for this wretched man. And that is my hope.
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You may say, 'God doesn't hate anybody. God is love.' No, my friend. You need to understand something. Jesus Christ taught, the prophets taught, the apostles taught this: that apart from the grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ our Lord the only thing left for you is the wrath, the fierce anger of God because of your rebellion and your sin.
Radical Christians are not people who wear Christian t-shirts. Radical Christians are those who bear fruit of the Holy Spirit...A little boy, Andrew, a Muslim shot him five times through the stomach and left him on a sidewalk simply because he said, 'I am so afraid, but I can not deny Jesus Christ! Please don't kill me! But I will not deny Him!' He died in a pool of blood, and you talk about being a radical Christian because you wear a t-shirt!
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You mark my words: Whenever a cult attacks Christianity, the first place they're going to go is they're going to attack the deity of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; is that not true? They are going to attack His deity. Throughout 2000 years of Christian history, we have had to build walls to keep them out. We have had to fight, we have had to amass arms, we have had to do apologetics, we have had to do it all. It is our purpose and our responsibility to proclaim that Jesus Christ is God.
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I have great assurance when I study my own conversion, when I discuss it with other men, when I look over the 25 years of my pilgrimmage with Christ; I have great assurance of having come to know Him. But even now, if I were to depart from the faith and walk away and keep going in that direction into heresy and worldiness, it could be the greatest of proofs that I never knew Him, that the whole thing was a work of the flesh.
Through the years, I have discovered some essential principles in discerning God's will: First, by God's grace, we must be firmly committed to seeking first the Kingdom of God and His glory. Secondly, we must establish a life discipline of renewing our minds in the Word of God. Thirdly, we must seek godly counsel from mature believers. Fourthly, we must watch for signs of God's providence opening doors and closing them. Finally, we should consider the desires of our heart.
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People say the cross is a sign of how much man is worth. That's not true. The cross is a sign of how depraved we really are, that it took the death of God's own Son. The only thing that could save a people like us was the death of God's own Son under the wrath of His own Father paying the price, rising again from the dead. Powerful to say, this is the Gospel of Jesus.
Men, your primary responsibility in your home, after your wife, is you to disciple your own children. And if you don't do it, you're in sin; you are in sin. And if you turn it over to a Sunday school teacher, you are in sin. And you are to be teaching these children more than just stories about animals that went into Noah's ark. You're to be teaching them about God, about radical depravity, about blood atonement, about propitiation, expiation, justification, sanctification; you are to teach your children!
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We live in a culture bound by sin like bands of iron. Moral stories, quaint maxims, and life lessons shared from the heart of a beloved pulpiteer or spiritual life coach have no real power against such darkness. We need preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ who know the Scriptures, and by God's grace face any culture with the cry, 'Thus saith the Lord!'
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One of the greatest distinguishing marks of false prophet is that he will always tell you what you want to hear, he will never rain on your parade; he will get you clapping, he will get you jumping, he will make you dizzy, he will keep you entertained, and he will present a Christianity to you that will make your church look like a six flags over Jesus.
Again, the moment a person calls on the Lord he is saved. But the evidence is not that one time in their life they were sincere when they prayed a prayer. The evidence of their salvation is ... is there genuine repentance? Is there faith? And do both those evangelical graces continue on in their life and grow?
Are we willing to risk being misunderstood and maligned in order that truth might be told and men might be saved? Identifying a malady and explaining its seriousness are always the first steps to finding a cure... God has ordained that men come to conviction of sin, repentance, and saving faith through preaching. Yet how can the [Holy] Spirit use our preaching if we are not willing to expose sin or call men to repentance?
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Remember when you got into the word and it wasn't because you had a sermon to prepare or you needed to learn some things or there were some doctrinal problems or you knew that to progress as a useful servant you had to continue on in the things of the word of God? Do you remember when you just got into the word because you wanted to hear something from God? You wanted to know something about Him. Do you remember when you just prayed because of Him? Is your heart burning for Him?
This Christianity is not a cultural thing. It is not something that should be just a small part of your life; it is not something that you do on Sunday... Christianity is not about you being just like the world all the time and then coming to church on Sunday. If that is your Christianity... you are not Christian.
Sunday morning in America is the greatest hour of idolatry in the whole week. Why? Because most people who are even worshiping God, are worshiping a God they don't know. They're worshiping a god that looks more like Santa Claus than the God of Scripture. They're worshiping a god that is a figment of their own imagination. They created a god in their own likeness and they worship the god they've made.
[The 4 spiritual laws and sinner's prayer] is not the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that methodology and envangelism has done more to hurt this country than every heresy introduced by every cult combined. Millions of people in this country whose lives have never been changed believed themselves born again because we have so reduced the gospel of Jesus Christ that it means now nothing more than simple decision that will only take five minutes of your time.
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We have taken the glorious gospel of our blessed God and reduced it down to four spiritual laws and five things God wants you to know, with a little superstitious prayer at the end; and if someone repeats it after us with enough sincerity, we popishly declare them to be born again. We've traded regeneration for decisionism.
How could we have such a low view of the gospel of Jesus Christ that we have to manipulate men psychologically to get them to come down and pray a prayer? ... How many times have I heard evangelists say, "It'll only take five minutes."? No my dear friend, it will take your life""all of it!
Oh, that God would raise up missionaries. I don't wish the same things your parents want for you. They want for you security and insurance and nice homes. They want for you cars and respect. I want for you the same thing I want for my son, that one day he takes a banner, the banner of Jesus Christ, and he places it on a hill where no one has ever placed a banner before, and he cries out, 'Jesus Christ is Lord,' even if it costs my son his life.
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You say, 'Well, I love secular music.' Let me just share something with you: I don't care. I'm not going to go there; this is what I'm going to tell you: It doesn't matter to me whether it's secular or Christian. My question is, what's being said in those words? Because if what's being said in those words contradicts the will of God, you're violating His will, and you're loving it.
You love to listen to the very things that nailed your supposed Master to the tree?! Come off of it, man! Become a hellion, give yourself to demons, run wild; but don't come in here saying you're a believer and playing that game! You want to dance with the devil, then dance all night long! But don't come in here dancing with Christ for a moment, and then go back out there and share your love.
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The church is in trouble-that's what they say anyways. The problem is most of what they call the church is not the church, and the church is not quite as in trouble as everybody thinks. As a matter of fact, the church today is absolutely beautiful-she's glorious, she's humble, she's broken, and she's confessing her sin. The problem is what everybody's calling the church today isn't the church. Basically, by and large, what's called the church today is nothing more than a bunch of unconverted church people with unconverted pastors.
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How dare we, all these stupid evangelists walking around telling men after they've made some little prayer that they need to write their name in the back of their Bible, and put the date and if the devil ever comes to them, they need to show him that. That is Roman superstition, it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. You see, we've turned the gospel into a flu-shot.
We have taken that truth, that if you truly believe and you confess Christ even if it costs you your life ... we have taken that beautiful truth and reduced it down to, "If you pray a little prayer before a bunch of people in a church in America, you can be guaranteed you were saved if you think you were sincere."
The differing opinions regarding the gospel are often categorized as different variations of the same truth, or coming at the same truth from different angles, or even emphasizing different aspects of the same truth. This fails to recognize that the different 'variations' are often altogether different gospels. The Reformed gospel is completely different from the Roman Catholic gospel; a faith-based gospel is in direct contradiction to a works-based gospel; a truly evangelical gospel stands in contrast to an ultracharismatic gospel.
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There is no such thing as biblical dating. If you're dating, I don't care who you're dating, you're out of God's will. If you're a young man and you're dating, you're out of God's will. Period. You can come talk to me about it later, you can be mad if you want. But that's just the truth. There's no such thing as recreational dating. There is biblical courtship, there is no recreational dating.
I want to submit to you tonight that this country is not gospel-hardened; it is gospel-ignorant because most of its preachers are. And let me repeat this: the malady in this country is not liberal politicians, the root of socialism, Hollywood, or anything else; it is the so-called evangelical pastor, preacher, and evangelist of our day. That is where the malady is to be found.
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In modern day evangelism, this precious doctrine [of regeneration] has been reduced to nothing more than a human decision to raise one's hand, walk an aisle, or pray a 'sinner's prayer.' As a result, the majority of Americans believe that they've been 'born again' even though their thoughts, words, and deeds are a continual contradiction to the nature and will of God.
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The question is not whether you would like to pray this prayer and ask Jesus to come into your heart - after all, you know, the handle to your heart is on the inside and if you do not open it Jesus cannot come in. My friend, Jesus is Lord of your heart and if He wants to come in, He will kick the door down.