IN DEFENSE OF THE HOPE WITHIN US!
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." But sanctify the Lord in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evil doers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. I Peter 3:13-16
From the time of my salvation experience and subsequent deliverance and baptism in God's Spirit I have been a defender of the gospel of Jesus Christ! There have been many times when I was asked about the gospel of my salvation or someone was trying to water it down or sugarcoat it that I spoke up in its defense.
In my writings I always strive to present the true and un-compromised word of the living God and although it wasn't popular and many have been angered by my messages, I have never backed off of the truth! Many in the churches today are lost, never having heard all of the gospel or they were led in a worthless prayer never being convicted by God's Holy Spirit. I have seen countless parents oohing and ahhing over their children who finally, under duress, walked an isle and prayed a prayer only to see them leave the church and run with the devil, having no apparent change in their life and destined for Hell!
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most important message in the world, the way of eternal life and the deliverance available for mankind's sin to be washed away by the precious blood of Jesus! The gospel has within it certain components that must be obeyed for one to be truly saved, such as conviction of one's sin, repentance, the blood, faith in the death, burial and resurrection and the obedience of making Jesus Lord and following Him!
Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began. II Timothy 1:8,9
HOLD FAST THE PATTERN
Hold fast the pattern (an ideal model) of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. II Timothy 1:13
The apostle Paul, the disciples of Christ and all the martyrs of the past didn't die defending the "Sinner's prayer," the punching of one's ticket to Heaven without conviction or repentance that leads to transformation! They died defending the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
The entrance to eternal life in Christ has been clouded by tradition, doctrine and denomination and for centuries, watered down by false prophets and teachers who want to fill their churches, unconcerned for people's souls and their eternal destiny. It is a travesty to lead someone in a worthless oath when they are not convicted of their sins for the sake of numbers and the righteous judgment of God awaits those who have deceived multitudes with their lies.
Jesus Christ died a horrible death on the cross to wash away our sins, iniquities and transgressions, taking the place that we deserved, and standing in for us who were born in sin and headed to eternal damnation! This message of life cannot be watered down, sugarcoated or made easy for those who wont follow the Lord and the apostle Paul said that if anyone perverts or distorts the gospel, let him be accursed!
For to this you were called because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth", who when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed. I Peter 2:21-24
THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes. Romans 1:16
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the most offensive and convicting message ever preached to mankind, exposing sin and destroying man's goodness to save himself and it is a supernatural message that will transform a sinner into a saint!
At the very dawn of the New Testament, John the baptist preached repentance to a religious crowd coming for the ritual of baptism, who unbeknownst to them was not a religious ritual at all, but a life-transforming death, burial and resurrection to a new life in Christ! John's message was repent and turn away from your sinful lifestyle and be saved from eternal damnation. Jesus preached the same message as well as all the disciples and the apostle Paul!
Imagine these men showing up today in one of our neatly orchestrated church services, perfectly timed to let everyone out to watch the football game, not wanting to offend anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. I think they would be appalled at our anemic attempt to transform someone with a sugarcoated gospel with no power. Now imagine the guest speaker to be Jonathon Edwards who would preach his famous message, "Sinner's in the hands of an angry God!" When he preached this message people cried out for mercy in agony of heart and desperation, holding on to the support columns of the building lest they slide into Hell!
For the wrath of God is revealed from Heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Romans 1:18
Your servant in Christ, Timothy Laughlin