HOW TO SHARE THE GOSPEL SIMPLY

Last Sunday’s Chris spoke on the Judgement Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10-15). All believers will one day stand there before the Lord. It is not our sin that will be judged there because Romans 8:1 says “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” But, at the Judgement Seat of Christ all believer’s works will be judged for their value. Did they bring glory to God or self? That which is useless wood, hay, or stubble will be burned up while that which is valuable will be rewarded. but it will not affect a person’s salvation.

With that in mind how are you doing with witnessing? Do you sometimes fail to give out the gospel or be productive for Christ. That is something most Christians struggle with. Dr. Al Mohler uses four words starting with “P” to remind us of the essential aspects of the gospel when witnessing to someone. You can use the four fingers of your hand to remember them easily.

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The first word is PROBLEM. Our index finger points to the problem. We are all sinners and the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23; 6:23). There is nothing we can do to merit the salvation. There is none righteous Romans 3:10-18 tells us. Ephesians 2:1 adds that we are “dead” in your sins which means we are can’t do a thing about it. Dead people don’t do anything. That is a problem!

The next word is PROVISION. Our sin must be dealt with but we can’t do it on our own because we are dead. But God is “rich in mercy” because of His “great love” and wants to redeem us (Eph. 2:4). It is all about Him and for His glory. He has provided a way us to be forgiven.

The third word is PERSON. Christ is the person who died on the cross for sinners. He is the groom who died for His bride the church. He died in our place. That is easy to remember because the third finger is the ring finger speaking about love, engagement, and marriage. Ephesians 5:22ff spells that out clearly. I Cor. 15:1-5 says the “gospel” is about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection for our sins. He did it all. For more on that see the What is the Gospel? video on our home page.

PROMISE is the last word and has great hope attached to it. Christ died but was resurrected and ascended to heaven and promised to come again. He also promised to give forgiveness, salvation and eternal life to all who call on the name of the Lord having repented of their sin. The Holy Spirit has a key role in speaking to the cold heart to bring repentance on those issues and bringing us to life. Repentance is a change of mind and heart about God and our sin. That promise also extends the promises of heaven that are eternal.

Practice this simple four fingered gospel in your SALT group this week. Problem, Provision, Person, and Promise. Got it? See if you can remember the four words and the truth they point to. Then when talking to someone ask if they have heard of these four “P’s” of the Gospel.

Pastor Mark

BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS IN SMALL GROUPS

“I don’t have any friends.” some have said. We live in a sea of people but can feel adrift without a friend in the world. Yet we are a more connected culture than ever before with cell phones, social media, and TV; but it still happens. We may feel like no one loves us even though there are those who do.

The problem is not so much external but internal. One of my early mentors used to say, “To have a friend be a friend.” Jesus was a friend of tax collectors and sinners. It is up to us to take the first step in being a friend.

The early church was structured in a way to help build lasting friendships. Acts 2 says Peter preached, thousands got saved and the church was born. At first they met in the place of worship, the Temple where larger groups could meet and the apostles preached. Later in the day they also met in homes or small groups for fellowship and food. Act 2:46 describes this exciting time. “Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,”

S.A.L.T. Group Meeting

S.A.L.T. Group Meeting

This is why we have S.A.L.T. groups. We meet in the larger church building on the Lord’s Day for public teaching and worship like the Temple was used for. Then our small groups (S.A.L.T. Groups) meet in various homes in the evenings through the week for fellowship, discussion of the message of the day and a little food too. It is the New Testament model. SALT stand for Saints Applying Living Truth.

An important aspect of these small groups is that we get to know other believers and strengthen relationships. Last week we had nineteen folks gathered in our home for a group. Some of us had met for the first time. It was a friendly environment as we joyfully focused on heaven and on not the tent here but the building of God there as in 2 Cor. 5:1. Our relationships all suddenly became closer as “friends” as we were more aware of this eternal truth. It made us better able to encourage other in word and prayer.

Why not become part of a small group this week? Don’t miss out on fellowship and “friendship” that is eternal. These groups are places to build relationships with others. You may not like them but if you love them as Christ did sinners that can change. Groups are also a place to bring those who are struggling, confused about “religion” but are searching. It can help them understand what it means to be born again. Fall is a good time to join a group. If you avoid it you will be missing out.

Heb 10:24-25 “and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.” Note that true fellowship is others oriented.

Group meetings, days, times and locations are always listed on the front of the bulletin or on the home page of our Community. Three groups meet in the Gig Harbor area plus a group each on Peacock Hill, in Olalla and Key Peninsula. Come with a desire to bless others.

-Pastor Mark

WHY WE CELEBRATED

Recently I’ve been thinking that anniversaries are a good thing to remember. Some hesitate to do this because of cost, busyness, or fear of conflict. But Nancy and I have come to the conclusion these milestones are worth celebrating. For example there were many feasts in the Old Testament that celebrated God’s blessings; they were a reminder to the next generation. In the New Testament we have both baptism and the Lord’s Table that cause the church to look back and remember what Christ did for us in redemption and look forward to His return.

2019 has been our 50th year of marriage. So Nancy and I decided to celebrate all year. We did a lot of little things along the way like going out for ice cream…”After all this is our 50th anniversary year,” I would say. We also took a major trip to Switzerland where we saw God’s wonders of creation and lots of Christian history too (See my earlier blogs). Then in June we spent a week in our old lighthouse keepers quarters where we lived shortly after getting married. It was a year of celebration that culminated when our kids threw a great 50th anniversary celebration for us. All of our global family came for the event. We were overwhelmed as you will see in the pics below.

All of our 8 children and spouses and their children and children’s children came together in a rare opportunity for this amazing picture. We are so thankful for the quiver full God has given us!!

All of our 8 children and spouses and their children and children’s children came together in a rare opportunity for this amazing picture. We are so thankful for the quiver full God has given us!!

With all that in mind here are some reasons why I think Christians should celebrate these kind of milestones in their lives.

First, celebrating is a good reminder to us of God’s providential workings in our lives. Looking back it seems obvious to us God’s unseen hand brought us together while we were seeking Him.

Nancy and I met in our junior year of high school around the time I had come to salvation and during my mother’s long illness which God also used. I do recall praying for a Christian girlfriend. Nancy also had prayed earlier about whom she might marry some day. Suddenly we met and it was obvious we were on the same page. Watch the video How It Began during our high school days. Our son Nehemiah put it together.

Second, celebrating 50 years together is a great opportunity to encourage others since only about 7% of all married people get that far. While our celebration was about us, we also wanted it to be instructional about marriage to others. We wanted to honor and give glory to Christ who changed our lives early on. We desired to encourage each to keep growing in Christ and allowing Him to bring growth and change in our lives. He alone can make what relationships we do have wonderful and more productive for Him than ever before. Seek Him.

Our big anniversary party was secretly planned by our children in advance; we were only to show up no questions asked. As the date approached I was struck with a painful pinched nerve condition making it very difficult to walk. Therefore the 1961 song Stand By Me in the video above became meaningful to us as Nancy stood by me for 50 years and literally in recent days when I was down. We rest in the fact the Lord planned it all and was standing with us.

The good news today is that I am improving slowly. Doctors are in hopes things will likely resolve in September. I am now able to walk better and don’t need a wheel chair. But we still need your prayers. Thanks :-)

Last, celebrating was a good opportunity to have our immediate family all together and for them to realize in a deeper way what God had done. Having our eight kids with their spouses and all of our 29 grand and great grand kids in one place is no easy task. But, they will remember this long after we are gone. We also pray they will continue to spread the good news of Christ as Lord and Savior in their lives as well.

We were privileged to have our picture taken surrounded by all of our precious grand and great grand children. Can you count them? They were all created in the image of God and we even know all their names. :-) But, what a riot trying to get them all to sit quietly. :-)

We were privileged to have our picture taken surrounded by all of our precious grand and great grand children. Can you count them? They were all created in the image of God and we even know all their names. :-) But, what a riot trying to get them all to sit quietly. :-)

Marriage is not easy but we are responsible to do our best. We have vows to remind us of the covenant between us and God and each other. Unfortunately that covenant is largely discarded in our secular millennial culture. It may seem outdated but is intensely practical and necessary.

In Genesis 2:24,25 God seems to be officiating at Adam and Eve’s garden wedding as He speaks about leaving parents, cleaving or committing to each other and lastly of become one flesh physically. Unfortunately the order is often jumbled today or there is no commitment at all. However, seeking the Lord to make changes, repent, and start over right is possible. May we all seek to have a godly home that is worth celebrating about down through the years.

Thanks again to all who came and all who were there or had a part in the event. Special thanks to our own kids for their part in the celebration and their words of appreciation.

NOTE; Join us Sunday for worship. We’ll also meet a new young missionary couple, the Coopers, who will take time to tell us of their future work in Peru.

Pastor Mark

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