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  • Samuel at Gilgal

    This year I will be sharing brief excerpts from the articles, sermons, and books I am currently reading. My posts will not follow a regular schedule but will be published as I find well-written thoughts that should be of interest to maturing Christian readers. Whenever possible, I encourage you to go to the source and read the complete work of the author.

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What is the Problem?

James Montgomery Boice:

“What is the problem? The problem is that the evangelical movement in America in the twentieth century is shallow. It speaks of salvation, but it does not grapple with sin. And since it does not grapple with sin, there can be no true repentance…. ‘Sin’ no longer means rebellion against God and his righteous law, for which we are held accountable, but rather ignorance or the kind of oppression that is imagined to reside in social structures.” (The Minor Prophets: Volume I, pp. 56-57)

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The “House of David”

Archaeology and the Bible:

In 1993, archaeologists uncovered a 9th century B.C. inscription at Tel Dan. The words carved into a chunk of basalt refer to the “House of David” and the “King of Israel.”

Hard Decisions

The truth about us is hard. We want to proclaim men as generally good; mostly kind and humanitarian. However, the truth is that we are selfish, ungodly, sinners who are by nature the enemies of God. You cannot proclaim a true gospel without facing men with the hard truth. Pastor David Moore writes:

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:17-23 ESV)

In our opening text we see the greatest evangelist of all, the Lord Jesus at work. He is approached by a young man whom the Bible describes in Luke 18 as a certain ruler. He was a professional man, a young lawyer, a highly intelligent young man, no doubt upwardly mobile, bringing all the zeal of youth to his chosen career. But he was also a religious man. He was a seeker. Notice (vs17) he was eager – he came running, he was earnest – he came kneeling and he was enquiring – he came asking. Now what did he ask? Well he asked “Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” On the surface that seems to be a great question, but beneath the surface there is the implication that eternal life can be earned – for he asked “What I shall I do?”

So what did Jesus do for this young man? How did He answer Him? Did he immediately embark upon a seeker sensitive ministry, whereby he could lull the young man into an understanding of the gospel, or was he absolutely up front and honest with the man? Did he present him with an easy gospel or a hard gospel? Well I think you will find that what Christ asked of this young man was anything but easy, and I want you to understand that following Christ today is anything but easy. The gospel is hard. I don’t mean the people who proclaim it are hard, but the message we proclaim is a hard message. It calls for tough decisions to be made and a man who believes an easy gospel is a man who is being deceived. Let me make no bones about it, whilst it is easy to be saved, that is the act of conversion is easy – a simple matter of repentance and faith, the process that leads up to conversion is anything but easy – it faces us with some tough realities and hard decisions about our lives. (“The Hard Gospel”)

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