Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 21 Number 5 May 2019
Page 9

Stay Focused

Thomas Baxley

One thing that has hindered my evangelism in the past is getting sidetracked with questions that are not particularly pertinent. When a person asks a question, I want to give an answer, but that often leads to more questions. So, we quickly get off track and get lost chasing rabbits, which accomplishes very little. Looking at Jesus’ ministry style has helped me see that I don’t have to or need to answer every question immediately or directly. Often in Jesus’ ministry when He was asked questions, He would not answer the questions directly. For example, in Luke 10:26 when a lawyer asked Jesus about inheriting eternal life, Jesus responded by asking him what is written in the Law and how he understood it. At the end of Mark 11, Jesus’ authority was challenged, and instead of answering questions directly, He asked about the authority of John’s baptism.

Since Jesus didn’t feel the need to answer every single question directed to Him, we don’t need to feel like we have to answer every question directed to us either. Often, it is better if we don’t. We will fare much better in evangelism if we don’t. Do not permit extra questions to derail you from your task; don’t get lost chasing rabbits. Stay focused on your task, and after a foundation has been laid, then you can take more time to answer one question at a time.

Greatly Loved

Raymond Elliott

Raymond ElliottThe Bible is replete with the names of persons who found favor in the sight of God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Following are just a few names. We read in Genesis 5:23-24 that Enoch “walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” Elijah “went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11). Thus, these two men of God did not die as Hebrews 9:27 states death comes to all men.

Abraham trusted in God inasmuch he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22:1-18). The writer of the Book of Hebrews (11:17) and James in his epistle (2:21) declared that in God’s sight, he did offer up his son. Abraham was truly a “friend of God” (2:23).

God told the prophet Jeremiah, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations” (Jeremiah 1:5). The angel announced that Mary, who “was betrothed to Joseph,” would “bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20, 21). The apostle John, was, without doubt, “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26). It is written that “Jesus loved Martha and her sister [Mary] and Lazarus” (John 11:5, 36).

There were five men mentioned in the Old Testament who had endeared themselves to God. They were Moses, Samuel (Jeremiah 15:1), Noah, Daniel and Job (Ezekiel 14:14, 16, 18-19). The Lord said that if these men stood before Him and prayed to Him on the behalf of the children of Israel, His people would not be spared because of the depth and darkness of their sin and rebellious ways. These godly men “would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”

Among the five men previously mentioned by the Lord, I want to observe what He said about Daniel. In Daniel 9:20-23, while Daniel was praying on the behalf of his people, Gabriel spoke to him, saying, “At the beginning of your pleas for mercy a word went out, and I have come to tell it to you for you are greatly loved…” (ESV). This expression, “greatly loved,” regarding Daniel is used again in Daniel 10:11 and 19. In Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible, we read:

and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved; or, “art desired” (p); all desire, exceedingly desired; very lovely, amiable, and delightful, in the sight of God, and all good men: or, “that thou art greatly beloved” (q); thus the angel came from God, out of heaven, to show it to him, to make it appear that he was highly in the favour of God, in that he made known his secrets to him.

How wonderful that such an expression should be used for any child of God!

Though our names are not found in the Word of God, we can know with all assurance they are written in the “book of life” (Revelation 3:5; 21:27), provided we have been saved by the grace of God and the blood of His son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9; Ephesians 1:7). How great was God’s love for us? “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16-17 NKJV). “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13). “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). God gave His precious Son to die for us on Calvary’s cross! His love is immeasurable. Praise be to our Heavenly Father, and to the Lamb of God, by whose blood we have been cleansed from our sins (Revelation 1:5)!

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