We have just gone thru Christmas and the new year.
On Christmas we celebrated the birth of Jesus. And hopefully as we join here on the first Sunday in the new year we committed to a new start in our life in Christ.
Have we ever thought of the discipline that Jesus exercised as He endured the mock trials, the beatings, the floggings, the denials, and the pain on the cross? He also experienced the spiritual pain of all our debt to God for the sins we’ve committed and still commit.
Let us start the new year with the discipline we need to follow our Lord. (Romans 6:3-4 WEB) 3Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ, were baptized into his death? 4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Notice that we are baptized into His death. Jesus did not need to recover from His past; but we do. Also notice that we’re not left there. But we are raised to a new life. But we are also called to complete His mission (the salvation of lost souls).
(Matthew 28:18-20 WEB) 18And Jesus came, and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and upon earth. 19Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 20Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the world. Amen.
Are we being asked to do the impossible – to befriend and eventually disciple a lost soul to be a Christian? It can be done – but is not for weak Christians. The book of James outlines the difficulties.
(James 1:2-4 WEB) 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations. 3Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4But let patience have [her] perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
When we set out on a new venture for God, Satan is right there to get us off-track. This where we can get off track and fail to pursue the goal of helping to save the lost. A goal also needs a strategy or an appropriate approach to a possible life-changing series of discussions.
Wisdom comes from God. Wisdom must also be patient and persevere. Commitment of the human will is also needed. Ministry is like carpentry, measure twice and cut once. God holds the ruler and He’s the One we need to consult with frequently. Unfortunately men are a lot alike and don’t read or follow directions. Godly men should know better when it comes to ministry; the most crucial and inexact endeavor we will ever attempt .
(James 1:5-8 WEB) 5If any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all [men] liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given to him. 6But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing from the Lord. 8A man unsettled in his opinions [is] unstable in all his ways.
Mid-course corrections are needed from time to time. But being off-course is failure. Again, prayer is the only way to get back on track. Another aid is other saints. Don’t be afraid to ask; as long as we’re on this side of Heaven we lack full knowledge, but someone else will have knowledge about something we don’t.
Two things to consider.
- A man that you see needs salvation or a man that is weak in his faith
- The area do you feel most comfortable with
In both areas, the non-believer or the weak Christian, men will be more or less comfortable using the Bible. Often your best testimony will be our own experiences.
I’m very uncomfortable with men who don’t see a need to read the Bible. If they have low reading skills, help them find the help they need. Stress to them that this isn’t a problem, but needs to be addressed in order to be able to spot false preachers.
Before I get into specific HELPS, I need to say every man comes at their faith or lack thereof from a different angle. If this becomes a topic in your sessions, run with it. But not to the point where you never reach a conclusion. At some point you need to stop the sessions and shake the dust off of your feet as Jesus instructed.
Your denomination may have guides you can use. It’s important not to use these guides as if they’re scripture. But often the man you’re mentoring won’t have an issue with this. But if a question comes up a Biblical reference can help. If you don’t have an answer simply say you’ll get back to him. Make sure the answer you give the next time when you meet is your own. In this process you’re the one the man trusts and wouldn’t be comfortable with discussing, your sessions with him, with anyone else.
I’m very comfortable using just the Bible. If you do this please look at my page “Bible and Beliefs”. But this is largely in the past. Our society is not into Bible Study as much as it was when I was a young adult. I just pray that somewhere along the line the man finds increasing in Bible Study.
Maybe Not Me
Many times we’ll only be planting seeds. Don’t be discouraged if someone else leads a man you were working with to salvation. This has been me. I’m not a strong deal closer. I have had success in planting many seeds and have led some men to salvation also.
There’s no greater thrill in our Christian life than to have played a part in leading a man to salvation.
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