Covetousness In Politics

June 16, 2017

The Tenth Commandment is, “You shall not covet.”

I’m starting to recognize a lot of covetousness in the public sphere. I don’t think the average Christian has a solid grasp on what covetousness is. I would define it as wanting something so badly that it is a sin, or being willing to steal something, or prompt someone else to steal it.

I went to a Planned Parenthood rally yesterday in Colorado Springs to remind them that abortion is murder with several friends. The Colorado Springs socialists showed up, and they were kind of like Antifa wannabes. One dude covered his face with a bandanna, they blocked the sidewalk, and stole signs.

They said that they want to seize the means of production so that it can be owned by the workers. One young guy said he works 40-60 hours a week for $25,000 and his eeeeevil boss makes hundreds of thousands by owning the company and exploiting him. He covets more free time and money to the point that he wants the government to steal the means of production from the current owners.

Another example of covetousness was a letter to the editor during the last election over the issue of whether the Canon City sales tax should be raised to pay for new roads. A guy wrote that he wants new roads, and the sales tax would be a way for out-of-towners to help pay for them. He revealed his sinful covetousness to the whole town.

I can’t remember the last time I heard a pastor explain this. What if Christians were taught to apply the Bible to their politics and voting? What if the guy who wrote the letter to the editor knew that Christians would immediately recognize his sinful attitude? Why does he feel no shame in expressing his sin in public? Because Christians haven’t taught God’s law.

There are enough Christians in this country that if covetousness in politics was taught to be a sin, very few tax increases would ever pass again. Is covetousness in the voting booth less of a sin than covetousness in day-to-day life?


My First Time Open-Air Preaching

June 24, 2008

When my friend and I go downtown to witness, we usually talk to people hanging around the bars. Occasionally, there is a little rock concert that attracts 100-200 teen-agers. We enjoy when this happens, because we get to talk to some new people. We stopped at the first bar and talked to a guy for a little while. As we left, we noticed that there was a concert, and a bunch of kids hanging out on the sidewalk. My friend asked if I wanted to open-air preach, and I hesitantly agreed. I’ve never open-air preached before.

We passed out a few tracts, and my friend gestured at me to start preaching.

I said something like,

“In John 3, Jesus said unless you are born again, you will not see the kingdom of God. What that means is that we are born dead in our sins, and we must be reborn. You can test yourself to see if you were born dead in your sins by looking at the Ten Commandments. The ninth commandment is you shall not lie. If you’ve ever told a lie, you’re a liar. If you’ve ever stolen something, you’ve broken the 8th commandment, and you’re a thief. Jesus said that if you’ve ever looked at a woman with lust, you’ve committed adultery with her in your heart. If you’re guilty of any of those, you’re going to be guilty on Judgment Day, and you’ll deserve hell.

But Jesus paid the penalty for our sins. If you repent, meaning that you turn from your sin, and put your faith in Jesus, your sins will be forgiven, and you’ll be born again.”

The whole thing barely took 2 minutes, and then my friend started preaching. Part of me wishes I had a recording of it so that I could know what I did wrong. I know I left parts out that I wish I would have included, like the part about Jesus rising from the dead. The other part of me is glad there is no recording, because I’m sure I stumbled over the words, and my public speaking leaves much to be desired, and it’s probably better not to have a permanent record of my poor quality speech.

We stayed there for at least another hour, and had several great conversations. One kid told me he didn’t believe in heaven and hell, and just thinks that you just cease to exist when you die. By the end of the conversation, he seemed to believe everything I told him, but wanted to wait until his death bed to repent. I tried to point out some shortcomings with that plan, but he seemed set on his plan. However, he agreed to read the Bible, and think about our conversation.

In spite of the lack of quality in my proclamation, the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16). While we can debate how effective my attempt at open-air preaching was, I think the Bible makes it clear that it’s the message of the gospel that saves, not the coolness of the person delivering it.

If anyone wishes to disagree with me on this point, they will be joining many other Christians in pointing out how my evangelism is being done wrong—other Christians like the 17 year old kid with a Mohawk, who smokes pot and gets drunk, a kid with a 1 inch diameter hole in his ear lobe and doesn’t know whether he’s born again, and a band member who said the most vile things to a young girl who professed to be a lesbian.

A Woman, a Well and Weird Ideas

February 5, 2008

A friend and I go downtown witnessing in a small town where I live every week. While we obviously care deeply about the eternal souls of those we talk with, our primary purpose isn’t to make friends, but to preach the gospel.

A young man who hangs out downtown complained to his stepfather (who happens to be a pastor) about us, and the pastor proceeded to complain about us in a ministerial meeting my pastor also attended. Thankfully, my pastor used godly wisdom, stopped the gossip, and asked the man to talk with me and my friend directly about his concerns. We agreed to meet with him and explain our purpose and evangelism method.

Throughout the meeting, I felt his purpose was to communicate his point and to get us to change our methods so that we would put relationships before preaching the gospel. 

This pastor insisted adamantly that Jesus always had relationships with those to whom He gave the gospel. My friend asked for biblical examples, and he gave us several; none, in my opinion, were examples of relationship-focused evangelism. For example, he mentioned the woman at the well.

I believe it is blatantly obvious from even a quick read of the passage in John 4 that Jesus did not have a great relationship with the woman at the well before he shared the gospel. First, they had just met. And there are clues in the text that point to obvious cultural barriers, such as the fact that Jews and Samaritans did not associate and men generally did not have friendly relationships with women, who were considered to be low-class.

Here’s a closer look at the conversation.

Jesus is waiting alone at the well, and the first words He speaks to this woman are,

“Give me a drink” (John 4:7, NKJV).

This is a command, and I would say not a very friendly way (at least in our modern American culture) to start a conversation or introduce yourself. Jesus very intentionally was asking her a question that would lead into a conversation about the gospel.

She responded, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”

In other words, “Who do you think you are?”

Jesus replied, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 
The woman said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water?

Translation: Are you crazy?

Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?”

Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

This is where Jesus reveals His omniscience by letting her know that He knows she’s an adulteress. I wonder if Dale Carnegie would recommend this as a way to win friends and influence people.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.”
Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.”
The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” 

The woman was humbled by the law (the seventh commandment), and Jesus goes on to admit that He is the Messiah and explain the gospel. It’s an amazing conversation.

It seems obvious to me that Jesus’ words are a good model for our evangelism. We can come up with all kinds of excuses as to why it doesn’t work. We can rely on modern psychology or follow the trail of postmodernism to find better ways, or we can do as our Lord did.

No wonder American Christianity is in the state it is in when our pastors either don’t know the Bible or choose to rely on the wisdom of men rather than the Word of God.

Proving The Deity Of Jesus On Youtube

January 25, 2008

Jehovah’s Witnesses like to point out that no one has seen God (1 Timothy 6:16), and say that that proves that Jesus can’t be God. There is an interesting way to answer that question, and I made a video and put it on Youtube. It’s about 5 1/2 minutes long; I hope you enjoy it.

My God is a God of Judgment

January 8, 2008

People are fond of saying that God is a God of love. I certainly agree (1 John 4:8), but I disagree with what they generally mean when they say that.

These people often fail to understand that justice is not only integral to God’s character but also essential for His holy love. God wouldn’t be loving if He were not a just Judge who will account for every sin ever committed. If someone commits a horrible crime, we all want to see that person brought to justice. How much more does God want to see justice done?

Consider Psalm 9:7: “The LORD reigns forever; he has established his throne for judgment.” And Matthew 12:36 says, “But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.”

The Bible says that God is angry at sin (Romans 1:18). This becomes apparent when we look at what happened to Jesus on the cross. It pleased God the Father to unleash His wrath on Jesus (Isaiah 53:10), because Jesus took our sins on Himself.

If your idea of God doesn’t correspond with what the Bible says about God, you’ve made up a god to suit yourself. This is called idolatry, and is a violation of the second of the Ten Commandments.

Jesus is the only One who shed His blood for our sins, and He’s the only Way to get to heaven (John 14:6). You must repent and put your faith in the one true God—a God of love and judgment—to spend eternity in His holy presence.

The Emergent Cult

October 23, 2007

Doug Pagitt, a famous emergent church pastor, was interviewed on the podcast (October 13) by Matt Slick, and on Way of the Master Radio (October 22, Hour 1) by Todd Friel. Each host asked seemingly simple questions, and Pagitt answered neither because he didn’t like the wording.

  • Matt Slick asked, “Is Jesus a man right now?”
  • Todd Friel asked, “Where do good Buddhists go when they die?”

These are fundamental questions. Appropriate, biblical answers reveal a basic understanding of the gospel. Slick’s question is one you don’t hear every day, but it should be something that any Christian can think through and then respond. I would say that if one can’t answer Friel’s question and explain why, it’s doubtful he or she is born again and headed for heaven.

Pagitt told Slick his question was weird and worded strangely. He hemmed and hawed for a while but never gave a straight answer. My response: Of course Jesus is a man. He was physically resurrected and ascended into heaven and is fully man and fully God, sitting at the right hand of the Father.

When Friel asked his question, Pagitt responded that he didn’t like the question because he doesn’t believe heaven is a real place. After jockeying over the wording of the question for a few minutes, it morphed to, “What happens to the soul of a good Buddhist after they die?” Pagitt decided that he or she would be reconciled to God, ending up in the same place as Christians.

This pastor’s words show a fundamental misunderstanding of the gospel. I don’t believe Pagitt can claim to be a Christian any more than a Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness. Nevertheless, he’s probably just as desperate to claim the title of Christian as people in those cults. I suspect that every emergent is in his own little world, and each of the church’s followers believes different things. However, I think they need to be evangelized just as much as any other cult. Doug Pagitt is truly a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

What tool has God given us to reach those who have completely butchered the Bible but still think they’re Christians? The law is a tutor to bring us to Christ (Galatians 3:24). It shows us the exceeding sinfulness of our sin (Romans 7:13), teaches us what sin is (Romans 3:20), and stops our mouths from trying to justify ourselves (Romans 3:19). When someone understands God’s justice, and is concerned about their standing, they’re ready to hear the true gospel. The Holy Spirit will convict them of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8), and is the only one who can cut through all the misunderstanding, and save people from an eternity in hell.

“Christian” Sissies

October 18, 2007

I’ve had the same conversation with Christians over and over and over. Each time I’ve had this conversation, I’m more convinced that these people would rather make friends with the world than stand for the truth; but, James 4:4 says friendship with the world is hatred toward God. These Christians say that we shouldn’t:

  1. Open air preach 
  2. Use the law in evangelism
  3. Our evangelism shouldn’t involve actually speaking to anyone

Whether someone as an individual Christian should open air preach is between them and God. If you don’t feel the burning desire to preach the Gospel, that’s fine. But to say that someone else shouldn’t open air preach is the height of presumption. Some who have open air preached include: Moses, Elijah, Sampson, Samuel, Ezra, Nehamiah, John the Baptist, Charles Spurgeon, William Tyndale, John Knox, Paul, Peter, and Jesus. Of course the objection there is that these guys lived in a time when they couldn’t go on T.V. and our modern society is so different than it was then. But the Bible says that “the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). Don’t you want your unsaved loved ones to be confronted with the living and active word of God as often as possible? Does it say that it’s only as sharp as a sword when it’s delivered in a certain format? The power of the message isn’t in the preacher, but in the Gospel and the word of God.

The second objection is that we shouldn’t use the law in evangelism, because it’s confrontational and makes us sound like big meanies. I’m sure Jesus would have benefited greatly from your course in friendship evangelism. He repeatedly used the law to convict people of their sin (John 4:16-18, Luke 18:19-20, Matthew 5:17-32, Matthew 15:1-9), as did Peter, Paul and the others. Jesus’ methods produced terrible results—He was crucified. If only He had been obedient to the Pharisees, He could have avoided that torturous death. The results were similar for the apostles, and much of the early church. Supposedly, the apostle John is the only one who died of old age. Why do we expect different results from our evangelism? Did Jesus ever say that living a life of obedience would make you popular?

A third objection I’ve heard repeatedly is the old adage about always preaching the gospel, and when necessary, using words. Of course we all know what verse that is: Madeup 4:7. The Bible actually says, “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14). How can anyone understand the Gospel by observing our actions? Preaching is necessary, and really is accomplished through words.

Most people are friendly and open to talking about eternity and what the Bible says. Of course it can be scary to witness to someone. Paul was scared at times as well (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). All men have fear at some point; the question is how do you react? Do you overcome your fear through Christ who strengthens you? Or do you make excuses, and give in to sin and cowardice? Remember that all cowards will have their part in the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). Are you a Christian or a sissy? You can’t be both. If you’re a sissy, I would ask that you please don’t try to drag the real Christians down with you through constant criticism and second guessing.