Posts Tagged ‘the great commission’

poor children

 

For I was hungry and you gave Me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me something to drink, I was a stranger and you took Me in, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was in prison and you visited Me.’…(Matthew 25:35)

When the Nepal earthquake hit in April of 2015, it left over 9,000 dead, over 20,000 people injured and hundreds of thousands homeless, as well as displaced in this small area that sits next to China. If our gospel is not Christ centered or shown in such a way that benefits the people equally in such a way that denotes a true and genuine expression of love toward those who are hurting, then we are merely paying lip service about a God that we do not know ourselves, and we become more of a hindrance than a help. Yet that is exactly what has happened in this area not long ago when a disaster took place, which left thousands dead, and even many more with no home. When American missionaries came into Nepal as well as western China to preach Christ, but in the end left little in regards to solving the more serious issues that those who were stricken by the earthquake were experiencing. Yet worse, never actually meeting the desired need of the people, instead, only giving out bibles (no food, no warm blankets, no water – nothing but bibles).

Recently I was sitting with an individual who had been part of a humanitarian relief group for Nepal, who is now back in this part of China, as he began to explain to me his experiences (good and bad) with Christian missionaries from the U.S.. The event which challenged his perspective on American Christianity for the most part was the fact that the only image he saw, as well as the hundreds of others in this little remote village where he was stationed, had been when a large group of missionaries showed up in a large van and began to do “outreach” to the people. At first the people were thrilled that help had come, but instead of help, what came was a form too often seen these days under the guise of “mission work”, where teams would venture into a remote area and preach the gospel, but never actually meeting the physical needs of the people. The people of Nepal, as well as western China told the tale as this large group of U.S. missionaries came into the area that had been ravaged by a natural disaster, and never offering any service of help to restore what had been lost. Instead, they offered bibles. Bibles. Not clothes, or warm blankets, or food, or even bottled water – but bibles. Then, when they finished ministering to the people by handing out the word of God, they left. And with that they were gone.

I asked my friend what did the people do with all those bibles that the missionaries handed them, which were in the hundreds, if not a few thousand? His answer both shocked me, but as I pondered on it later that afternoon, it made perfectly good sense – they burned them. No, the Nepal people, nor the Chinese locals burned those bibles out of some sort of hatred for the gospel, they actually appreciated the care that these well intended (albeit misguided) young men attempted to do. Yet in the end, the people burned their bibles to keep warm during the night.

While there are certainly many good and sincere Christian organizations working in Asia who do have a heart for the people, not just in mere words, but also in demonstration, still, I’ve seen an increase of those who come to Asia with the least bit of desire to work with the people, meeting their needs where they are at, and instead, giving them religion disguised as faith. It never works. The apostle Paul stated it like this, My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. “ (1 Cor. 2.4,5)

Paul not only met the spiritual needs of the people, he met their physical needs as well. It was the same as Christ, who fed the 5,000+ who came to him hungry. How shall we then show the love of Christ if we neglect the very purpose of Christ and God’s message to man if we care not for the needs of the people? We not only reject the commandment of our Lord, we prove that our claim to Christ is nothing more than a false declaration, not merited by a genuine love for others, but a love to be seen and nothing more. If mission work, or even evangelism for that matter is not founded on the central core of the love of Christ, the message of the cross, which is salvation, followed by the demonstration of that same message, then we have failed in whatever purpose we had to begin with, and we’ve become nothing more than a cheap imitation (religious), a counterfeit.

My heart broke today inside as I listened to how the gospel which could have been used to reach untold numbers of people for Christ, become nothing more than a religious symbol of pride and nothing more. Yet as I look at the work my wife and I do here in China, the churches we establish, the lives that are being changed, the children being educated, people who need medicine paid by and from this ministry, it sets us apart from those who only see the lost as a mere symbol of prideful gain, but a people who need to not only hear that Jesus loves them, but see it in action as well. That is what separates those who preach Christ for all the wrong reasons, from those who preach Christ out of a genuine love for them. That’s the difference.

The world out there is not waiting for a new definition of Christianity but a new demonstration.  ~Leonard Ravenhill

From my desk in China,

Christopher

Email: christopher152@gmail.com

http://www.chinamissions.org

 

amusement

“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2:3)

I like amusement parks. Actually, I love amusement parks in general. I love the atmosphere of a place where I can let my guard down in an environment where the moment I walk into a particular park, knowing that whatever problems I might have been facing in the “real” world, is lost temporarily in a make believe world, even if for just a few short hours.

In the United States alone, there are approximately more than 400 amusement parks situated across the country. From parks in Ohio, Tennessee, Florida and California (and many more in other States), amusement parks can be found in almost every part of America. Yet they are also money machines. In 2011, theme parks, amusement parks, and water parks generated a total direct economic impact of approximately $55.4 billion. Nearly 30,000 attractions (theme and amusement parks, attractions, water parks, family entertainment centers, zoos, aquariums, science centers, museums, and resorts) produced a total nationwide economic impact of $219 billion in 2011.(source)

All in all, amusement parks are an economic cash cow. This is why Europe and even China is getting in on the amusement park ride, because they generate hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In 2017, China will have 20 theme parks (not including the new Disneyland in Shanghai) across the nation, all funneling hard earned money back to the Communist party. In essence, Capitalism via entertainment sells, and it sells well.

So with all of the money being made from amusement parks, and other family entertainment, is it any wonder why that now the church is getting involved in the business of thrill rides and fantasy? From the Holy Land experience in Florida, owned and operated by Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), to the latest Christian enterprise called Ark Encounters, where Ken Ham has built a life size replica of Noah’s ark at the cost of over 100 million dollars. This does not include 91 million in the first phase of work that was done several years ago, nor does it include several million in junk bonds that were sold to investors, nor does it include the millions in State revenue tax incentives the non-profit foundation (which is the same group who owns the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky) will receive from the State of Kentucky, nor does it include the estimated billion dollars in annual profits from the estimated 2.2 million visitors in the first year through ticket sales. In total, this venture, like The Holy Land experience in Florida, will generate billions from Christians looking for another attraction, another flesh fix, another amusement for their already candy flavored gospel they so like to enjoy. But what of the spiritual cost?

There is no question that could be conceived today by someone desiring to understand exactly where we as a church are heading, which would garner an answer to satisfy their curiosity other than what is going on with the Western church? Specifically, the American Christian society. Yet here we are, in the 21st century, and still the Western church is struggling once again to find its path that it has sadly departed from – the Great Commission. Startling facts though reveal something more that is trending which should make us all take account of what’s happening in the modern church; Donations to world missions are down to less than 2% in overall giving, the number of missionaries per country is equally lower today than what it was in the 1950’s, which saw one of the largest growths in missionaries being sent, and now the Southern Baptists have announced a 15% cut in foreign missionaries, as well as support beginning 2016 – 2017. This means that less than 4,000 missionaries will be supported world-wide. This means that over 300-500 missionaries will have to either return home, or find another source of financial support. This means that once again, we are seeing what happens when the church trades biblical evangelism for modernism in the form of entertainment, hence “amusement parks”. (source)

The modern church today has an identity problem, it cannot understand who it is anymore. Is it the church which preaches the cross? Or is it the relative church which relies on entertainment and modernism to relay its overall message? Is it the salt and light of the remnant church? Or has it become one which has lost its savor? Either way, what we are seeing right now in these monstrosities known as Christian “theme” parks, are in essence more about who the church is today, and less of who it use to be. The simple truth is, the church has traded substance and truth for wealth and popularity.

There is a crisis in the church today. A crisis of faith, a crisis of identity, a crisis of truth, and unless we begin to once again reject these attempts to merchandise, and ultimately betray who we are in Christ, I fear that the only thing relative for the American church will be a church not of power, or salt and light, but of weakness, lukewarm and powerless because of our gluttony over the sensuality of our world rather than the humility the cross would bring to the church. In other words, the American church has sold itself for money, fun and the desire to be entertained.

How many missionaries could have been sent worldwide from the revenue these parks will and have generated over time? How many bibles could have (but won’t) been placed across the globe, into areas where there is little bibles to show who God is? How many mouths could have been fed (but wasn’t), or backs covered (but wasn’t) all because of the church desiring yet another gluttonous meal of fleshly entertainment? There will be a lot to answer for at the judgment, and many will question why they wasted so precious time building things which in the end had no true bearing on the gospel itself, but wasted every dollar that could have been used (but wasn’t) on world evangelism. Such is the state of the American church.

From my desk in China,

Christopher

Email me at: christopher152@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

China3

For 1 month I will be in China, mainly the southern provinces, from Tibet to Chengdu to nearing Laos as well as Hong Kong evangelizing the Chinese with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don’t know what the future will hold, but I know God is in control and he guides my steps. I will be updating this blog (as possible) as time permits, sharing my experiences, my adventures and what God is doing among the Chinese. Please keep me in prayer and book mark this site and come to it often as I will be updating as I have access through the internet.

Christopher

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judgment day

 

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

 

There was a time when God original creation – man, knew no sin. Not only was he sinless, he was perfect in every way. Actually, the word says that man was created a little lower than God himself (Hebrews 2:7). Man was not only sinless, he was perfect, intellectually wise, radiant, and ruler of the entire planet. Man (Adam) was the ultimate in all of God’s creation, for although God spoke everything else into being, only man did God literally form from the dust of the earth.

When Adam, the first man, walked the earth he did so under the divine authority to which God gave to him, which was all the earth. All because he (Adam) knew no sin. Man was created with such a perfected state that Adam had no knowledge of evil, his very thoughts were perfect, his walk was perfect, his words which came from his mouth was equally perfect, he was in essence the most wondrous being known to have ever been created – sin was non-existent.

Yet man did fall, sin did enter into the life of man, and because of one man’s disobedience, not only did man lose his rightful standing with God, not only did he fall into spiritual death, man would lose his physical perfection that would allow man to taste death. His failure to obey would cause his ability to live forever. (Romans 5:12)

Sin would now become part of every man, woman and child who would be born from the procreation between men and women. In other words, every person who is now born in the earth, because of Adam’s original sin, would be contaminated because of sin. (Romans 3:23)

It is because of man’s original sin, God cannot look upon man without seeing him in his original state, in other words, because man was born in sin, by sin and because of sin, God cannot accept him (man) without a covering. When God covered Adam and his wife Eve, he took the skin of an animal that was slain, sacrificed so that the first Adam could be covered from his nakedness, which means his corruption as well. (Genesis 3:21)

The very nature of God, initiating the first animal sacrifice so that man would be covered before God, is in fact a preview of the coming Christ and his ultimate act for the blood sacrifice which would be needed for the redemption of sin. This is why God would implement the old testament law of blood sacrifice of bulls and goats, for it was the shedding of the blood of these animals which would cover the nation of Israel’s sins, but it would not forgive their sins. (Hebrews 9:22)

Which leads us to our main question; Can a righteous and Holy God be justified in sending an innocent man to hell? First we need to establish something which is very important, is man born in sin? As I have already demonstrated by the scriptures, man was born into sin. Since man is born into sin, can God overlook sin? Not at all. The word says in Isaiah 64:6 “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”  The word “filthy” implies unclean, impurity. The idea means that man who is born into sin is impure, unclean all because of sin. The word in Jeremiah 17:9 says “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?

Man is born a sinner. Man is born unclean. Man is born with a proclivity to sin and rebel. Because of his error, because of his moral failure, man’s heart, which is wicked and evil, needs to be changed. Due to this natural as well as spiritual failure, man must be once again be brought back to right standing, which can only be done through the cross. For it is the cross which has satisfied the sin debt. (Romans 5:15)

With all of this being stated, can God be justified in sending men to hell who might have never known the love of God? Yes, because in all of God’s creation, he has given man an inner desire to find him. God never places man into position where he is left alone to destruction without ever having come to some knowledge of his existence. When we look at the very act of creation, the universe and all of its splendor, it’s unique design, then we have evidence that something greater than man is at work here – and that something is God himself.

God is righteously and morally perfect (Psalm 18:30). Because God is not only righteous and perfect, he demands that those who are his very creation come to salvation, 1 Timothy 2:4. If God did not send people to hell for breaking His laws, it could be said that God is not just (Psalm 7:11). A good analogy is a court of law with a judge and a lawbreaker. A just judge will always convict the person who has been found guilty. If that judge did not pursue justice for the crime, he would not be a just judge (Deuteronomy 32:4). The fact is, man is not innocent. He is a fallen being in need of redemption.

On the outside it might seem that someone living in the deepest, darkest jungles of Africa, or the high plains of the Sahara, or the quietest part of China who never heard of the gospel, should be held accountable for someone else’s sin. In our world of quick defense, justification through ignorance, many would quickly claim that it is impossible to hold someone accountable simply because someone somewhere across the world was born, lived and ultimately died never hearing the gospel. It’s (in their mind) not fair. But is it?

Every man, woman and child (once that child reaches the age of accountability) is held accountable for their role of original sin, irregardless whether or not they ever accept Christ as savior. The Bible tells us that God has clearly revealed Himself in nature (Romans 1:20) and in the hearts of people (Ecclesiastes 3:11). The problem is that the human race is sinful; we all reject this knowledge of God and rebel against Him (Romans 1:21-23). If it were not for God’s grace, we would be given over to the sinful desires of our hearts, allowing us to discover how useless and miserable life is apart from Him. He does this for those who continually reject Him (Romans 1:24-32).

In reality, it is not that some people have not heard about God. Rather, the problem is that they have rejected what they have heard and what is readily seen in nature. Deuteronomy 4:29 proclaims, “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” This verse teaches an important principle—everyone who truly seeks after God will find Him. If a person truly desires to know God, God will make Himself known.

The body of Christ has one assignment, to spread the gospel throughout the nations (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). We know people reject the knowledge of God revealed in nature, and that must motivate us to proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ. Only by accepting God’s grace through the Lord Jesus Christ can people be saved from their sins and rescued from an eternity apart from God.
Can God, in his divine justice, sentence someone to hell who has never heard the gospel? Yes he can – and he does. Yet the greatest question is, are we willing and ready to take the gospel across the globe so that the name of Jesus is lifted up and people can choose in whom they will believe? That is the greater question.
Christopher
christopher152@gmail.com