Monthly Archives: July 2013

Could You Prove Christianity to be the Only True Religion?

Could You Prove Christianity to be the Only True Religion?

StudyingtheBible

By Jim Kilgore,   Missionary Evangelist and Church Planter

You are attending an International social event.    There are people from many Countries in attendance.  The host, recognizing the diverseness in the group, posed a remarkable question.  Since we have dozens of religions represented at our event, why don’t we provide each participant with ten minutes to answer the following question: “Why I believe MY religion to be the one and only true religion in the world?”   Eyebrows are raised.  Hearts are pounding.   Minds are racing.    Each was scrambling to determine what they might say to convince such a diverse group that what they believe is THE correct view.

As you scan the room, you suddenly realize that you are the only professing Christian in the room.   The weight of responsibility comes crashing down upon you as you wants to persuade people to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

What would you say?   What could you say to make a difference in defending your faith?   You have accepted these beliefs for many years, but to convince an Atheist, Agnostic, Buddhist, Islamist, Shinto, African Traditional and Diasporic, Chinese Traditional Religion, is quite another matter, you reason.

On July 28, 2013 I challenged those attending our Bible Institute with the above story.   How would they present their case for Jesus Christ to this same group?

What you Could Not say to Prove your case

 Let me tell you what would not be effective.   Merely saying that you believe Christianity is the only true religion because it has the largest gathering of followers in the world.  This may or may not be true.   Some pollsters have the Muslim faith with the most followers, others still have Christianity ranked with the highest number of followers.

  1. Christianity: 2.1 billion
  2. Islam: 1.5 billion
  3. Secular/Nonreligious/Agnostic/Atheist: 1.1 billion
  4. Hinduism: 900 million
  5. Chinese traditional religion: 394 million
  6. Buddhism: 376 million
  7. Primal-indigenous: 300 million
  8. African Traditional &      Diasporic:      100 million
  9. Sikhism: 23 million
  10. Juche: 19 million
  11. Spiritism: 15 million
  12. Judaism: 14 million

Second, you would not persuade anyone by saying that you believe you are correct.  They sincerely would believe they are correct as well.       No, you need more than this.  You need proof.   It does not matter what you or I think, it does matter what God’s inerrant and infallible Word says to be true.

This is why God used Peter to pen the following words to challenge is to prepare ourselves for this type of opportunity.     I Peter 3:15: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear.”     To accurately present Jesus Christ you must be skilled in the use of God’s Word!   God’s Word is that which produces conviction.   It has never be enough to blinding accept anything as truth.  God expects Christians to be able to explain their faith.

This is why God instructed Timothy to write these words in  II Timothy 2:15:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  Knowing both what and why you believe requires great energy, effort, and a laser-like focus.

The way to present Christianity is by prayerfully and powerfully presenting the Word of God.  The Holy Spirit WILL use God’s Word to bring conviction to the hardest of hearts.   I have personally witnessed His marvelous work to bring about the salvation of even the most unbelieving of hearts.

 My challenge to those reading this article is to ask yourself:  “Could I skillfully share Jesus Christ in a setting similar to the one mentioned and feel confident that I could represent the Cause of Jesus Christ in a Biblical manner and possible win some of these people to Jesus?”  Remember, it is the Holy Spirit USING the Word of God that brings conviction. It is He whose ministry is to fully convince fallen man of his immediate need for salvation, and not that of our opinions!  Therefore, we must study so we may be prepared to give our Biblical answers to every man!

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Is Somebody Somewhere Waiting for you?

Written by:   Pastor Abraham Oluwatosin Adeyemi,  Nigeria

Matthew 9:36-38 says , “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”

This passage of Scripture really burdens my heart. Souls are dying every day without hope for eternity. They are going to hell forever! The question is, “what are we Christians doing about it?” We must understand that we may be the answer to someone’s prayer who has been searching for the answer to how to go to Heaven.

I just read an article from a missionary to Kenya in which he described how he traveled by canoe without having a place to sleep, not having toilet nor benches for two days, with nearly 300 people inside the canoe. But after passing through this tedious journey, and had finished the Bible teaching a man walked up to him, and told him the following: “I have been praying for someone to come and teach us the pure Word of God since 1977.” What a great answer to prayer! Is someone somewhere waiting for you in Africa, Oceania, Asia, South America, North America, or Europe to come and present the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

 There are two things you need to consider if you want to be the person that someone is praying and waiting for.
1. You must be willing to Sacrifice.

We have many Christians that want to do something for God, but they are unwilling to sacrifice much for the cause of Christ. If you are not willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ, or for the propagation of the Gospel, you will not accomplish anything for the Lord. What if Jesus Christ would not have sacrificed His life and shed His precious blood for us? We would not be saved and going to Heaven.

You must be willing to sacrifice your time and your money in the service for Jesus. It is Jesus Christ which gives you money and wealth; you are expected to give back to His cause.

I have asked this question many times, “If the Lord blesses you with one million dollars, how would you spend it?” To be honest, and with the help of God, I will travel in Africa and Asia preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What about you? Christians are relaxed about building a fancy building and buying luxury things, but people are dying and going to hell every second of every day!

2. You must be willing to leave your Comfort Zone.

Here comes the real problem. We have come to enjoy all the beautiful things in our countries with the beautiful houses, expensive cars, and a good clean environment. This problem is why so many places are unreached because we Christians have been unwilling to leave our comfort zone to sit is a strange seat. Islam is the fastest growing religion because they are moving around from country to country. Jesus said, “the harvest is truly plenteous, but the laborers are few.” He wants us to see the need to reach the world.

                                     A Missionary Cry
A hundred thousand souls a day, are passing one by one away.
In Christ-less guilt and gloom, without one ray of hope or light.
With future dark as endless night, they are passing to their doom, they are passing to their doom.
They are passing, passing fast away. In thousands day and day, they are passing to their doom, they are passing to their doom.

Jude 22: “And of some having compassion, making a difference.”

Having Done All

By Pastor Randall Glenn Calvary Baptist Church of Crawfordsville, Indiana

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The phrase in Ephesians 6:13 “… having done all, stand” is resounding in my mind. As God knew the hour of the flood, so He knows the hour His Son, Jesus Christ will come to take Christians to their eternal home.
Noah did not! All Noah knew was to do what God had commanded. He did not know the hour of the flood as we do not know the hour of the Rapture. When we look at Noah, we see that having done all, he stood!

Christians need to take a Stand for Jesus Christ

1. There is an IDLE stand
Acts 1:11 says: “…Why stand ye gazing..?” Why are so many Believers standing around gazing when we should be preparing for the return of Jesus Christ? Why are we idle? Have we forgotten the warning that our Savior is coming? We must stop gazing and get busy for God! Having done all to stand in the work.

2. There is the BELIEVING stand

I Corinthians 16:13 exhorts us to “Stand fast in the faith.” Noah had to believe in order to save his family. He had never seen rain or a flood just as we have never experienced the coming of Jesus Christ. However, I believe He is coming, just as He promised!

3. There is the DEFENSE stand

 Ephesians 6:11 “…stand against the wiles of the devil.” The wickedness of man was so prominent that Noah had to face and fight the enemy daily, just as we must. I am certain Satan used discouragement, weariness, ridicule against Noah, but he stood his ground against the Devil.

4. There is the UNITY stand

 Philippians 1:27: “stand fast in ONE spirit.” Noah saved his family. What a task to maintain unity in the family. Working together to accomplish the task was daunting. Our Churches must learn unity in order to accomplish the mission of God. Working together in the Spirit and witnessing what God can do through His people. How sweet it is when a Church is unified for the Cause of Christ!

5. There is the WATCHFUL stand

 Isaiah 21:8: “I stand in the watchtower.” Noah was working while he was watching. Watching for the distractions which could lead him away from his work. Watching to ensure he was doing exactly as God had commanded.

6. There is the PURITY stand

 II Chronicles 35:5: “Stand in the holy place.” To refer to the ark as “Noah’s ark” is technically incorrect. Noah was the employee while God was the Employer. It was God’s blueprint; it was God that supplied the material; it was God that gathered the animals into the ark. It was ALL of God! The ark was the holy place for Noah’s family. The Church ought to be a holy place! God is the Provider and the Protector of His Church.

7. There is the SALVATION stand

 II Chronicles 20:17: “Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.” Noah preached one message all those years and did not waver! He preached the mercy of God which was available to all that would repent. Salvation can only come through repentance of sin, and in asking God to forgive that sin. With genuine repentance, anyone could have entered the ark of God.

We desperately need more Christians like Noah who will be willing to take a strong, uncompromising stand for Jesus Christ!   Will you be what God needs in this day of spiritual darkness and compromise? Having done all, we MUST stand!

COURAGEOUS: Living your Life without Fear

Fearful Woman

 

 

Fears, we all have them.   Some are beneficial; many are crippling.  I am not referring to the type of fear which prevents you from walking up to the Lion’s cage in order to pet it; or to walk in the middle of your major interstate during rush hour.   Those fears are beneficial.

I am Focusing on the Fear of Failure!   If it were not for God using Brother Dave Hyles, I might never of answered the call to preach.  I listened to his message over 30 years ago entitled:  “We must have Revival in America.”  I listened to that message 25 times in a six day stretch.   I had such a fear of failure, that God spoke a different truth to my heart each time I listened.   I finally answered the call in spite of my fear of public speaking.

 

God is Aware of our Fears and has provided the Answer as we Face it

Many are asking silently right now, “Can God REALLY help me?  Will God help me as I Face and Fight my Fears?”   The solution is found in the Bible and in our total submission to doing whatever He wants us to do!  You may be thinking, “I am not ready for this kind of commitment.”  Can you not see that everything you have tried has failed to remove the fears, or even allowed you to operate successfully up to this point?

 

 

 

1.      Revelation of your Fears to God.     The disciples, as we, were commanded by God to spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  However, they faced a real problem, they were frightened.   Just as millions of Christians have this fear of sharing the Gospel, these men, who wanted to, simply could not due to their fear.       Acts 4:29, 31:    And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.    Prayer changed Everything for them!

 

2.      Responsibilities neglected because of your fear.  What responsibilities have you neglected because of the destructive power of fear?   Go ahead and list them.

            a)      I will not teach or preach because of my fear of public speaking.

            b)     I will not attend Church because of my fear of crowds.   My own Mother had a fear of crowds which prevented her from enjoying many people and events.

            c)      I will not share my faith because I am afraid that I will not know what to say or that they may wish to argue with me.  The list could go on, but be specific.

 

3.      Recognition of the power of Love.   I John 4:18 says, “Perfect love casteth our fear.”   What does this mean?   Love is a far greater emotion than fear!    Consider the story I have shared hundreds of times to help people overcome fear.   Love will lead a hundred and something lady, who only days earlier stood on her table-top because she saw a mouse ; will stand between her son or daughter and a pack of ravenous wolves.   Love is the emotion which leads us to do the right thing in spite of our fears. 

 

4.      Review Scriptures on fear to provide you the courage to act in spite of you fears. 

Psalms 56:4;    64:1;     78:53;    115:  11, 13

 

If we will do that which we fear most,  we will have conquered fear!

Facing Your Fears in Witnessing

   “If I only had some courage,” the lion in the Wizard of Oz often said.  Can you identify?  Can you relate to him?  I certainly can.  In both Jr. and Sr. high school I nearly hyper-ventilated during public speaking classes.   God understands how real the emotion of fear is to humans.  He even recorded 365 “Fear Nots” in the Bible to help us Face our Fears.

Recently, a 69-year-old lady contacted me to share her remarkable story of “Facing her Fears” in the sharing of her faith.

This dear lady signed up for my International Tract Challenge: Going Global with the Gospel.” Distributing tracts to people was not something she had been accustomed to doing. She did place tracts in envelopes, but not handing the tract to an individual.

There are three facts to know about this Christian lady to appreciate her story. First, she loves the Lord and wants to please Him in all that she does. Second, when she makes a commitment to anyone, including God, she takes it seriously. Recanting on her commitment is never an option. Third, although I do not know her exact weight, she cannot be much over 100 pounds, if that.

On one particular day she had sat down to eat. As she was eating her meal, the Holy Spirit spoke to her heart about giving another customer a gospel tract. She did what a lot of us have done when God speaks to our hearts, she became fearful. I am not certain as to all the emotions which permeated her mind, I can only surmise. What will she think of me? Will she turn me away and embarrass me in some way?

She decided to honor her commitment to God, and bravely walked up to the table in obedience to the prompting of the Holy Spirit and offered her the tract. The lady graciously accepted it. Good experience!

What I believe to be later in the day, she visited a local fast-food drive through restaurant. Again the Spirit of God prompted her to offer the Gospel Tract to the lady at the first window. She looked at this lady who by sight intimidated her. She began to reason with God and herself. “Yes, she is intimidating. But what is the worst she can do TO me? She certainly would not beat me up? She will not yell at me.  Okay God, I will once again Face my Fears and offer her the tract.” As she pulled up to the window, true to her word, she offered the worker her tract. The lady accepted it, scanned the from page of the tract and then leaned out of her window as much as she could and spoke these words. “Miss, I would like to thank you for caring about me and others in passing out your religious material.”

Armed with a huge smile she proceeded to the second window and gave this worker a tract which they also graciously accepted.

Later this same day, God once again spoke to her heart about passing out a tract to a man. Once again the fear arose. She silently prayed and “Faced her Fears” yet again. Again, the tract was kindly received.

Her final comments to me were: “Thank you for the International tract Challenge! God has convicted my heart about witnessing and to continue passing out tracts.”

What is my point? We all have fears in trying new tasks. Yet those that grow in their spiritual lives are the ones that take their fears to God, asking Him to provide the necessary courage to obey His leading and commands.

Fearful Woman

My next article will be on this subject:      How to Biblically Face your Fears.     This will be published on Monday.  In the meantime, please read Acts chapter 4 and take special notice of the verses dealing with subject of fear.

What has been the fear which you have fought much of your life?

www.JimKilgoreMinistries.com

Blessings from YOUR Bible Study

StudyingtheBible

I recently read of a Preacher who was visiting one of his members. The lady of the house was trying to impress him about how devout she was by pointing out the large Bible on the bookshelf and talking in a very reverent way of it as “the Word of God“.   Her young son interrupted the conversation by saying, “Well, if that’s God’s book we better send it back to him because we never read it!”

 

Does this sometimes describe your life?    You mean well; you definitely want to read the Bible each day, but you never seem to benefit from this time.   It is a though you are like an automobile stuck in the snow and the more you press the pedal, the more you spin your wheels without getting you anywhere.

Allow me to share a simple study system I have used for years which will lead you to exclaim: “The Bible is a Blessing rather than a Burden.   It has opened up to me.   I am learning so much.”

 

Focus on the Following and the Bible WILL Bring Blessings

1.      CHARACTERISTICS of God.      In other words, what is this passage teaching me about God?   I read and then record the many characteristics of God from my reading.   The Bible WILL REVEAL God to you as you are looking for HIM!  For example, read Psalm 145 and list the MANY Characteristics of God.   Always bear in mind that once you learn of God, you have a personal responsibility to reflect Him to others.   Romans 8:29;    Ephesians 5:1.

 

2.      LESSONS to Learn.    I am asking the following question constantly:  “What exactly is the Holy Spirit wanting me to learn from this passage?”  For example, from Ephesians 4:15-32 God is teaching me how I am to live a life which is dramatically different from the way I lived and treated people prior to becoming a Christian. 

 

3.      PROMISE to Claim:    I am searching for any promises which God has made to the Christian. 

 

  • Is this promise for me today, or was it a specific promise given to Israel? 
  • Is there a condition attached which I must meet BEFORE God will honor His promise? 

 

4.      A COMMAND to Obey?    

 

5.      BIBLICAL  PRINCIPLE    I am very interested in discovering God’s unchanging truths.   An example of a Biblical principle can be found in Galatians 6:6-8.   This is the principle of Sowing and Reaping.  No matter what Century, Continent, or Country you live in, this truth will apply to you.  You and I WILL reap exactly what we have sown, whether it be good or bad.

 

6.      APPLICATION:        If I just read the last verses in Matthew 28:18-20 my application might look something like this:     

 

  • I need to share my faith with Carolyn, Janelle, and Linda by Saturday because God wants me to witness and He definitely desires them to go to heaven.

 

  • James 1:22 says: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  So I make a commitment to making an application from my Devotions.

 

  • In my Blank Devotional Sheet it looks like this:                                                                                                                                             I need to: ______________________________   BY _______________      Because  ____________________________________.

 

7.      MEMORIZATION:      Write out one or two verses you want to memorize this week.

 

 If you would like to order this very helpful Bible Study Guide, which you an print off each day for your Personal Devotional time, it is a great tool to keep your FOCUSED on your Bible Study.   It also provides you with a permanent record of your time with God.

To place your order, please go to:  www.JimKilgoreMinistries.com  and select the Store Icon and you will receive your Bible Study Guide with-in 24 hours delivered directly to your email account.

Boring Bible Time? Simple Steps to Transform Your Bible Time from Endurance to Enjoyment!

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A 2012 survey found 90 percent of churchgoers had a strong desire to please and honor Jesus Christ with their lives.  However, when asked how often they read their Bible, the following answers emerged: 

  • 19%  responded “Every Day”
  • 18%  said “Rarely or Never”
  • 25%  specified they read the Bible “a few times a week”
  • 14%  said they read the Bible “Once a Week
  • 22%  said “Once a Month” or “A Few Times a Month.”

This past week I was asked by 10 – 12 Christians to teach them how to study their Bible.  They were all trying to read their Bibles daily, but felt frustrated with the results.  Their minds were continually drifting; they could not remember what they read; they did not feel as though they were growing.    

Does the above describe your “private time” with God and His Word?

 

 If so, it does not have to remain this way.  There is hope.    There are several good ways to read one’s Bible that are very effective.  However, I will share a way in which I have studied my Bible for years during my Personal devotions.       

This method is not earth-shattering, but it is a simple, structured method that keeps me focused on reading and recording certain facts during my Bible time.  It is offered here to you to lead you enjoy rather than endure this daily time with the inerrant, infallible Word of God!

 

1.      I start with a time of Prayer.   I use the acrostic PRAY to keep me focused.

 

  • Praise God for Who He is and for What He has done for me!  At times I will even sing a few hymns or choruses.
  • Reflect upon my sins and Repent of each one God reveals to me.  Psalm 51:10 says, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
  • Ask God to meet the needs and desires of others and then for myself.   Matthew 7:7encourages us to ask of our Father:   “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
  • Yield myself to God’s will.    My attitude is, “Father, show me what you expect of me and I will obey.”

 

2.      As I read, I pause several times to Meditate upon what I am reading. 

      

   I practice the following three steps during my time of meditation:

 

  • I VISUALIZE:   This is where I place myself in the passage or story which I am reading.  I see myself as part of the crowd.

 

  • I PERSONALIZE:   For example, if I just read John 3:16:  For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”    Here is an example of how I personalize this great verse on God’s love for the world.

For God so loved the world (ME), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (that if I) believeth in him (that I) should not perish, but have everlasting life.

  • I SCRUTINIZE:    Look for the second part of this article coming in a few days.

 

 You have some solid steps to transform your time alone with God this week.   I ask that you use each phase I listed in this article.    However, you will NOT want to miss the Scrutiny stage as it reveals what I search for every time I read my Bible each day.  I use this method regardless of studying for a message or for my personal devotional time.  

The Bottom Line:  I enjoy this time; I am engaged during my Bible study;   and I benefit each day!

 

 

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