For 5 years I was the pastor of Trinity International Church in Strasbourg, France. I created this blog with those people in mind. In mid-November 2018 I will become the Senior Pastor of Word of Life Church in Coon Rapids, Minnesota. The focus of this blog will therefore shift, but I pray that people from the blogosphere will continue to find it helpful wherever they might be found.
The churches' websites includes recorded sermons for those who are interested. Click the links below to access them.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Biggest Problem We Face

There are a myriad of problems facing the world today. They keep the news industry in business as we seem to go from one crisis to another against a backdrop of global warming. But what is the greatest problem we face?

It is not global warming.
It is not terrorism.
It is not North Korea.
It is not obesity.
It is not the status of the EU.
It is not GMOs.

It is sin.

That is the stark reality. The fact that each person must face a God and give an account for their lives. And each person is guilty of sin. And the good and just God must punish sin. He has decreed that the punishment for sin is death and eternity in hell. We have a bigger problem than the earth's temperature rising a degree or two: people are heading for an eternity in hell. That is the backdrop of the drama of our days. The other problems are real, but their significance is minor compared to the bigger issue of our guilt before God.

Jesus solved the problem by offering his sinless life for our sinful life. He took the punishment for our sins so that all who believe in him are forgiven and set free from the guilt and shame that comes from sin. I hope that you have found that freedom that comes from the gospel.

But let me remind you for a moment that there are others who have not given their lives to Christ and are still on the road to hell. As Christ-followers, one of our primary tasks is to be witnesses to the gospel. It is not optional. In fact, to neglect that responsibility is negligence of the worst kind! So let me challenge you to make being a witness a normal part of your life.

Be completely sold out to Jesus. We've seen from our study of 1 Peter that followers of Jesus should be different that those who do not know him. This does not mean that we wear ugly clothes or out-of-date hair-styles. It means that we say no to sin and live lives of love. This lifestyle flows out of being radically committed to following Jesus.

Do not be ashamed. Paul wrote, "I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes." There is nothing to be ashamed of! I recently talked to someone who actively shares her faith and she simply said that she brings up Jesus and church early in her relationships with people. They are not taken by surprise that she is a follower of Christ. Remember, as we share the gospel we are helping people avoid hell and discover the true reason that they exist: to have a relationship with God. If a blind person was walking toward cliff, would you warn them? Would you be afraid that they might get upset with you for objecting to the direction they were walking? Such is the situation for those around us who do not know Jesus: they are walking towards a cliff and are in danger of dropping down to hell.

Think much about the gospel.  The reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus has huge implications for life. We need to think about it. We should dive deep into its glories and be filled with awe and what Jesus has done. Then we need to share it with others. Can you share the gospel message in a brief but powerful way? Can you talk about what Jesus means to you? Spend some time thinking and writing about these things so that you will be better prepared for sharing your fatih.

Pray for opportunities to talk about Jesus. The Holy Spirit is already at work. Ask Jesus to show you where to invest your time and energy. Ask Him to give you "divine appointments" to talk about Jesus. Ask Him to use you to reach those who do not know Him. Then be bold in sharing your faith. Remember, Jesus can take what you say and use it in another person's life. Be a witness and let the Spirit do the rest!

As followers of Jesus, we need to be concerned with the problems that are facing us. Poverty, human trafficking, and injustice are important. But let's make sure that we do not neglect the most important issue of all. We have the gospel. Let's not keep it to ourselves!

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