To be lost is to be separated from a Holy God. To be alienated from our creator. Lostness is to be dead in sin.
A great picture of lostness is the prodigal son. In this story Jesus makes a comparison to being lost is as being dead. “Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
The son is separated from the father. He is self centered and self absorbent. His sin has broken his relationship between him and his father.
It is ones own sinful nature that makes him/her lost. It is rebellion against God. Just like the son in the story to be lost is to be hopeless. And we are all born lost.
Many church members want to clean people up before getting to the heart issue. They focus on getting people to stop drinking, stop cussing and stop doing anything that doesn’t like a christian. However, if this person is still lost they are like dead people getting their hair washed and a new pair of sunglasses. What is the point? They are dead! I know many good honest, moral people who are kind, who don’t steal, they are good parents and dress nice but they are equally lost as some guy who is behind bars.
Only Christ can bring life.
We are to live Christ, so that we may proclaim Christ. That is the call of every believer, in every circumstance.
But too often, when people say, “Preach the gospel always, if necessary use words,” it’s actually intended as an excuse to not proclaim the gospel—to not give a reason for the hope that is in us (1 Pet. 3:15). They appear, in a very real sense, to be ashamed of Him.
J.D. Greer said it was to say, “Here’s my phone number, if necessary use digits.”
Those who claims the name of Christ must never be ashamed of Him.
If anyone professes Christ, and does many great works, but refuses to proclaim Him, that person is only doing goodwill. And goodwill does not save people from the wrath of God.
Our actions demonstrate the love of Christ working itself out in our lives, but our words proclaim Him. The two, like the greatest commandments, to love the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself, are inseparable. It is our joy both to love Him and others with our actions, and to love Him and others with our words.
How do you motivate church members to increase their interest in spiritual growth?
Preach the Word. Preaching is the primary way that God uses the church to motivate members to spiritual growth.
Cast the vision. Primarily cast the vision through the preaching ministry of the church. And also in the context of small groups, maybe have all ages go through the same curriculum for a season.
Share stories. As a part of creating excitement share what God is doing and has done in the life of other believers.
Set goals. Set out to do a daily Bible reading plan as a church.
Challenge the church to pursue God by spending time in prayer, Bible reading, family worship time, corporate worship. Along with pursuing a lifestyle of transparency and honesty. Encouraging them to grow in the area of giving and stewardship and small group participation. Develop a heart to serve and plug into a ministry. Pursue a non-prejudice heart and grow in boldness to share the gospel. And disciple someone else in the same process.
Encourage them to pick a time and place to develop the habit of spending time with God in their relationship with Him. Start with the right attitude and pray without ceasing.
I’ve seen churches use small groups, campaigns, a series of meetings, sermon series, discipleship classes. Some are more effective than others, but I think it takes a varieties of ways to reinforce the vision and some learn at different paces and with different styles.
I also think mentoring is another way that is effective. Also I believe university type courses with different spiritual level classes can sometimes be effective.
What are some other ways that can help motivation in spiritual growth?
I had the privilege of visiting Passion City Church in Atlanta this past weekend. Before you ever see the campus, you see the hand. This hand was constructed at the Passion College Conference in January. The heart behind it is to raise awareness about the 27 million slaves worldwide. As a worship gathering centered around Jesus Christ moves people to make a difference. This is a result of the live changing gospel.
http://72daysforfreedom.com/ Make a difference and sign the petition here.
What is general revelation?
General revelation is general revelation of God. The beauty of sunrises and sunsets, the majesty of oceans, the magnificence of overpowering mountains down to the delicacy of the flowers and even the complexity of the human body. All of these things point to and reveal things about God and who he is. This revelation has left no one without excuse. We see this clearly in the Book of Romans.
Romans 1:19-23 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things .” (ESV)
I am convinced atheists know there is a God; agnostics know there is a God deep down. Scripture clearly states that they are without excuse, but because they have rejected his goodness and instead of worshiping Him they worshiped His creation. Their hearts became darkened because of their pride.
This revelation is obvious however it is not salvific. Paul shares with us in Romans 10:14 “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?” It is clear and urgent that the Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to be proclaimed.
This is from Justin Taylor’s blog.
“Everything on the main stage at The Gospel Coalition will be simulcast live—including the two concerts. The video and audio will all appear on this page.
I was especially excited to learn that the goal is to have all the audio online within an hour of the session, and that they will also be translated into French, Simplified Chinese, and Spanish. I’m very grateful for TGC investing this extra effort to serve more and more folks.