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Born Again and Again and Again and Again
(August 21st, 2010; Robert Marino)
Beautiful and sunny was the day. There I sat at my computer rushing through my business emails. All I wanted to do was respond to my client's questions and then rush off to go worship my God.
There I was. Almost finished. I began to get excited knowing that I would soon meet up with my God and soon become one in spirit. I grabbed my gear and rushed off to the most holy temple. I got into my flaming chariot - yes, my ever so humble 1999 Pontiac Transport with rocker panels rusting out below.
I was about half way to my destination and began to get somewhat giddy about being able to walk and run with my God in this most holy place I call Packard Park. I call it holy because it is where my God dwells. As I was about to enter the most holy of holies, I came to a bumpy section of road and meandered through its chaotic richness that rang out in my ears - “you are almost there; you will soon meet with your God.” Every bump I hit reminded me of the vast richness I would soon enter.
Just as I was finishing this short trek, I noticed a woman, a mysterious woman I must say. She was sitting in an area where the children play. She sat in a spot where mothers would rest while they let their children play. Some read books while others talk with the other mothers but this woman of mystery sat there looking off into the distance. I turned quickly back to the road I was traveling and soon was on my plummet down the narrow path to the very inner part of the holy of holies. As I began my descent, the Lord spoke to my much-cluttered heart and said, “Go talk to that woman.” And I reasoned in my heart with such thoughts as, “but I am almost to the inner court where I will meet up with my God.” Just as I reached the inner court, the Lord spoke to me again saying, “Who do you love more? This God or Me?”
At that moment, I had to turn from my God - the God of Dunlop, Wilson, Penn, Prince, Double-Fault, and 60 to Love. Many men were on these prayer grounds worshipping this God with their whole hearts and I waved to them as I passed by. What a beautiful sunny day it was. What a beautiful day? As I ascended up and out of the holy of holies I took a sharp left and headed back toward this woman of mystery.
Now was that colorful enough for you? Did I have you hanging on every word while you sat on the edge of your computer chair? LOL. Okay, now here is the shortened version without all of the kaleidoscopic sense-tingling jargon.
I missed a great opportunity to preach the gospel to one of the guys at the tennis courts the day before when everyone else had left. We sat there for about ten minutes talking about the weather when the Lord was saying, “here is your chance; he has nowhere to go, no hurries.” I kept reasoning things off about four different times until he finally said he had to get going. How sad is that? Everyone thinks I am obedient every single chance I get because I preach hard on obedience and how crucial it is to get this gospel out to a lost and dying world. But that is not reality. I have to choose to obey God every time He demands obedience. That's why it is so important to take up that cross every day before you start your day. God's desires become a more present reality to you throughout the day when you do that. Not only that, if you really want to hear the voice of God, you will have to be obedient when you do hear Him. Think about it. Why should he talk to someone who isn't willing to obey Him when He does?
So there I was. I blew a great opportunity. Now if you were a hyper-Calvinist, you would shrug the rest of this story off and go off and walk in disobedience in sharing your faith but just try not to be a hyper-Calvinist for the next ten minutes. Face it, only 2% of those who say they are Christians share their faith regularly compared to 40% of Jehovah Witnesses that go door to door every single month. And only 2% of young people from 12 years old to 25 years old are born again in this country and I hope to God that those are true conversions. Coincidence? I don't think so. If we are ashamed of our God or more concerned about offending someone, we have lost our saltiness on the earth and it does no good to be here anymore. You have to let your compassion for the lost conquer your fear to speak to them about their lost condition. Will you offend some? Yes. But is it not more important to try to reach them and to be obedient to the One we call Lord?
Anyhow, I felt bad about how I disobeyed that still small voice in my heart that told me to talk to this man the day before. So here I was on my way to the tennis courts today when I really did pass this mysterious woman sitting down in the children's play area at Packard Park in Warren, Ohio and the Holy Spirit in that still small voice said, “Go and talk to her.” I started to reason His voice off again as the day before and went down the steep hill that led to the tennis courts.
Half way to the courts, I got that hyper-Calvinist thought that said, “If she is one of God's elect, someone else will get to her anyhow.” That kind of blows in the face of the Lord telling us to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers and also when Paul said, “How shall they hear without a preacher of the word?” The problem with this mentality is that only 2% of professing Christians in this country share their faith regularly so I knew a lot of disobedience was going on out there and on top of that the average Christian doesn't have a clue HOW to PRESENT the gospel clearly and biblically to someone and many are brought to the Lord (I say that sarcasticly) without any repentance and are now deceived thinking they are on their way to heaven when there was no change that took place in their lives. What a conundrum. That's my new word lately. I am broadening my vocabularic horizons. Yes, I know vocabularic is not a word - not yet.
Just as I was ready to enter the parking area of the tennis courts, the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me again saying, “Do you love tennis more than me?” About 15 guys were already playing tennis and I waved hello or goodbye to them as I went around the park and went up the hill on the other side. I then drove back to where the woman was sitting and she was still there. As I walked to her, she said from a distance, “You aren't going to arrest me, are you?” Whew, I wasn't expecting that. “What did you get me into Lord?”
Anyhow, her name is Michelle and I would appreciate it if you would intercede for her. I talked to her for about 20 minutes and could have forced her into a prayer for the 6th or 7th time but I think you will find it interesting as to why I hardly ever pray with anyone anymore for salvation and this is possibly the best example as to why I think it is foolish to do so. Even if someone is sincere, we don't know what the foundation of their sincerity is based on. They can tell you one thing while they don't even know their own heart as the scriptures say.
For one, you won't find it (a sinner's prayer) in the Bible anywhere where someone prays a “sinner's prayer” with another individual. In fact, there is no sinner's prayer in the Bible. Now there are prayers of repentance in the Book of Psalms like Psalm 51 but there are no sinner's prayers. The sinner's prayer is a by-product of modern evangelism (the last 30-100 years) that has watered down the truth and led many people to Hell because they were told if you just repeat this prayer after me, you are in as long as you are sincere. Don't get mad at me for telling you the truth. Would it not be better to repent? God is more than able to save souls without our help. He changes the heart. We can never do that. We just need to be faithful to presenting the gospel clearly and not hide certain things as to make following Jesus more palatable. People sincerely don't want to go to Hell but most do not sincerely want to turn from their sins. Yes, a very few come to God in spite of bad evangelism and they walk with God the rest of their lives but that number is 1% to 20% of what we think the modern conversion rate really is. And also, what is walking with God - just going to church on Sundays and giving an offering? That 1% to 20% is really much, much lower when you realize what true Christianity is and not what us Americans THINK true Christianity is.
Secondly, most people will put their faith in the “REPEATING OF” the manmade sinner's prayer and not come to God under His terms of repentance and putting their faith in Christ's blood. I have band-aids here if I stepped on toes a little too hard there. Yes, repentance is part of the presentation of the gospel along with putting faith in Christ's sacrifice.
Lastly, I feel “counting the cost” of what it is to truly follow Jesus should be mentioned in the gospel presentation too. Why? Many people have already left the churches by the millions across America because when things got tough or trying to live for God became hard, or the love of money or deceitfulness of riches crept in, they left the body of Christ with the mentality, “I did not sign up for this; this wasn't in the contract.” But it was my friend. Someone just didn't tell you about this stuff. Jesus said, “Persecution WILL arise for the word's sake”. Jesus didn't hide anything from us. The problem is we preached another Jesus because we were offended of His Words. The gift of salvation is free because you could never earn it yourself. Are you a lamb? Are you without sin? Were you born without sin? No, no, no. You could never pay for your own sins. Christ did that for you. He will clean you up if you come to Him in repentance and He will enable you to walk with Him through persecution and trials and loss but He never hid the fact that you would have to go through these things. Us evangelists have left these things out. Instead, we tell them, “If you come to Jesus, He will improve your life for you and make all your dreams come true.” No, and a resounding no. He will save you from the wrath that is to come if you continue in the faith. Yes, I said, “continue.” Anyone can call Him Lord and turn from Him the next day. I've seen it over and over.
Now for the rest of the story. I get so worked up sometimes, I have to let it out. I really don't like talking about these things but when the Lord gets upset with you for holding back truth, its better to obey.
So Michelle says, “You're not going to arrest me are you?” Here I am. A guy with somewhat long hair, a pair of cargo shorts on that are ripping to pieces and a t-shirt on and she thinks I am going to arrest her. Anyhow, I told her, “No, I just want to talk to you.” I handed her a fake $1,000,000 dollar bill as an icebreaker to get the conversation rolling. She quickly received it as many will thinking it is real at first. Then I asked her immediately a million-dollar question, “If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven?” She stated, “I'm a prostitute and a crack-addict.” When someone is quick to admit their sin, I give them the grace of God first but then I go back and present the gospel clearly and I do not leave out repentance. Many people today think they are a better evangelist than Jesus Himself but Jesus never left out repentance and He presented the gospel clearly as to not MISLEAD someone so I try to do things His way. I asked her if she knew the story of the lady that was caught in the act of adultery. She knew it. She told me that Jesus said, “He that is without sin cast the first stone.” I said, “That isn't all that He said there. He also said, `Neither do I condemn you, now go and sin NO MORE'.” We seem to leave out the end of that verse in our preaching or we glaze over it as if it wasn't in the original writings.
So I began to bring her through the Ten Commandments since the apostle Paul said, “The law is our schoolmaster that brings us to Christ.” It shows the person how utterly sinful and self-righteous they really are and it shows them how utterly holy God is and that sin cannot dwell in God's presence. Why do you think Satan and his buddies were kicked out of Heaven? I said “Michelle, on judgment day would you be guilty or innocent? You just admitted to me that you are a liar, a thief, an adulterer, and a blasphemer in the eyes of God and you will be judged by His law if you don't have a sin-substitute.” She said, “I would be guilty and go to Hell” but then she said, “I've been saved 5 or 6 times already” - hence my title - born again and again and again and again. You get the point now. Wow, here is someone who had one person tell her she was saved 5 to 6 times most likely because she repeated a prayer with them or she had 5 to 6 different people tell her she was saved because she repeated some prayer with them. This is common today in our evangelism. This is one of many examples I could give of what we run into on the streets. Do you see how hard some of you make it for us guys who go out on the streets? I hope you do. We have to plow the fields again and again.
Anyhow, it was obvious at this point that Michelle never had true repentance if it was even mentioned in these other people's gospel presentations. I told her, “If one is truly saved and the Holy Spirit has come within them, they would start to live holier lives. That is one of the forensic evidences that one has truly been born again.” The conviction of God came upon her. I told her that we can get you cleaned up from the crack cocaine addiction that you have and then you will be able to get a job and provide for yourself. She immediately said that she didn't want to work. Wow, here you have a person that isn't in their right mind. They are so deep into their sin that they rather go to Hell and prostitute themselves so they can have some money to buy food instead of working a regular job. I about broke down in tears but I kept my composure and hid it. So many times in the conversation, I could have easily said, “Just repeat this prayer after me and as long as you are sincere in your heart God will know and He will save you.” But no He won't. Jesus said, “Unless you repent, you will likewise perish.” I'm not going to lie to people anymore. I then told her the story of the prodigal son and how much his father really did love him but the father allowed him to go out and sin against his name and ruin his life. And that the prodigal's father was thrilled when his son came to his senses and came home and that he not only forgave him but he also called for a feast because he was so happy that he came back and was his son again. The angels rejoice when one is truly converted. God will and does allow people to ruin their lives. He gave them free will. He doesn't want a bunch of robots running around saying, “I love you Jesus, I love you Jesus” as if He programmed them to love Him. He wants people to love Him back freely not because they have to.
I then explained to her how much Jesus loved her and how He sweat great drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane because He didn't want to go to the cross. How He cried out to the Father, “Father, let this cup pass from me; if there is any other way to save men, let's do it; I really don't want to go through this; BUT your will be done.” Can you imagine knowing that even as you prayed, one of your friends, Judas, would soon arrive with the authorities and betray Him with a kiss and have Jesus hauled off to be executed and you are completely innocent? Jesus knew He was the prophesied Lamb of God. The Lord will provide Himself a lamb for the sacrifice. As blood dripped from His head from the sheer dread and terror of what He knew that He must go through, the Father set joy before Him.
Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
I believe that scripture reference meant that the Father showed Him the ones that would truly repent and appropriate His blood that He would soon shed for them and that is what gave Him the ability to go through what He did. He then said, “Not my will but yours be done.” Wow!!! If that isn't love and a demonstration of love, people will rightly go to Hell for rejecting His blood-stained cross. Jesus knew man could not go and live in Heaven where only holiness and those who have been made holy dwell. It would ruin it for the truly righteous. He knew He must make a way for them.
I then brought Michelle to the whipping post and explained to her that even as gory as the movie Passion of Christ was, they could not even make it gory enough to really show how much they really butchered Jesus' body with the cat-o-nine-tails. His bones were seen in some areas.
Psa 22:14 I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.
Psa 22:16 For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
Psa 22:17 I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. (You could literally see the bones of Jesus for they had butchered Him so much at the whipping post)
“The Father loves you that much Michelle”, I told her. Then I brought her to the cross. I said, “Michelle, that was the easy part for Jesus. Now they are going to nail Him to a cross and let Him hang up there until He dies. But that is not the worst of it. Now, the Heavenly Father is going to crush His very own Son. Why? For you Michelle. The Father was now going to pour out His wrath upon His Son. He was going to put all of our sin upon Him. Jesus would now become the Lamb of God and also the scapegoat to suffer our shame that was due to us. Michelle, He loves you that much but you must turn from your sins and turn to God (repentance). Then He will clean you up and give you a new heart that will hate sin and love righteousness. He wants to adopt you into His family.
Unfortunately, she wasn't ready to give it all over to God. She was in love with her sin. Do you see now why it is so important not to think that just having someone repeat a prayer doesn't save them? Another thing we like to do is rush people into a commitment with God that they aren't ready to make. They have not counted the cost yet. The Chinese are wonderful people; they are ready to die for Christ the day they make a commitment to follow after God. America has a bunch of spoiled people that thinks God owes them something and that He is so forgiving that He is going to wince at sin on the Day of Judgment. We better get back to reading our Bibles. If we truly believe what it says, we need to start acting like it.
You can read below here about Jesus' love and what He went through for mankind and paid the price for our sins. You talk about a long prophetic utterance written centuries before it happened and it happened just as it was spoken forth. Wow.
Isa 52:13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high.
Isa 52:14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:
Isa 52:15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.
Isa 53:1 Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Note: The Jews thought Jesus was being punished by God for blasphemy yet what was really going on was Jesus (Yehoshua) willingly became our sin-substitute sacrificial Lamb that takes away our sins if we turn from our sins and accept His sacrifice for our sins.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Note: Here Daniel prophesies about the Messiah being “cut off” for His people. Messiah was to come first to die to redeem man and the second time He will come with a rod of iron and reign as a king. I don't know why many Jews can't see how these prophesies all line up together. I will do a teaching on the 70 weeks (= 490 years) of Daniel's prophecy one day to explain the perfect timeline given to Daniel of the future events of Israel along with Christ's sacrifice, and then the abomination of desolation that would take place in the Time of Jacob's Trouble.
Dan 9:26 And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isa 53:10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
Isa 53:11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.
Isa 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Jesus was not only the sacrificial lamb of God but also the High Priest according to the order of Melchisedek that would carry His own blood up into the Holy of Holies in Heaven and sprinkle the mercy seat.
God actually already had a plan to redeem man all the way back in Genesis 3:15. This is called the protoevangelium and is the first prophetic word we are given about a Savior. TRUE Christianity is the only way to God because it is the only means that has a Savior. All other religions and philosophies out there has `man' trying to earn his way into Heaven by good works. Read John 14:6, Ephesians 2:8,9 and Titus 3:5 for the truth.
Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee (Satan) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it (Christ Jesus) shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Many will try to enter at a different door and the Lord will say, “Depart from me, I never knew you, ye workers of lawlessness.”
Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
We all have broken the commandments. Just read them in Exodus 20 and be honest with yourself.
Rom 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Heaven);
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement, or satisfaction, specifically towards God. Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him.
The Father has done all that He is going to do. The ball, and I'm not talking about the tennis ball, is in man's court. Will man turn from his sins and accept the Son and His ultimate sacrifice or will he reject the Son and therefore reject eternal life? Just as Esau rejected (sold) his birthright to Jacob for a mere bowl of lentils, many will cast themselves into Hell by rejecting Christ Jesus' sacrifice for their sins and for holding onto their love of sin. But God is not mocked for whatsoever a man soweth he shall also reap. If man sows corruption he will reap corruption. For it is appointed for man to die once and then the judgment.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter. This is straightforward stuff. God loves everyone but we cannot throw away His holiness and we need to quit watering down the truth.
This is for all the ministers of God out there if you are truly called. We all need discipled in some areas. There are a lot of sayings that we have in Christianity that are not necessarily true. One such thing is “God doesn't call the qualified, he qualifies the called.” Although there is some truth in that statement it is also far from the truth. Paul would not have told Timothy, his spiritual son, to study to show thyself approved if this modern statement were true and Jesus would not have spent 3 to 3 ½ years training his apostles if all we had to do was be called. Remember, these twelve men were trained by the SON of God on a daily basis and one still turned out to be a devil. Judas created a Jesus that didn't exist in scripture - a Jesus that he wanted to overturn the Roman Empire at that time. He was ignorant of the scriptures of what Christ must first do. We in the body today have spoken so much about the love of God to people, that almost everyone on the streets that we talk to that aren't born again think they are going to Heaven just because God is going to forgive them “anyhow” because He is so loving. Why do we bother preaching then? They need to see God's holy nature and also that He is not a corrupt judge that will wince at sin on judgment day.
There is a training period.
A breaking of pride
Understanding the Word
Teaching it properly
Why else would we sit under teachers every week at church? Yes, availability is needed but we need to start getting qualified too. Learn how to evangelize and present the gospel clearly without watering it down and we will help you and your church do that. If I have a heart attack, I sure hope that my wife doesn't call my dentist to work on me. I don't want a pair of dentures put in when I need a few stents and maybe a heart valve replaced - that's for sure.
I hope I wasn't too hard. I never mean to be. The truth does hurt though and this is part of my call to preach about those things that most in the church will not mention in a sermon. There is almost ZERO correction in our churches today and that is why we have so much false doctrine and many going into cults now.
If anyone would like to share a comment or have one of our evangelists come to your church and teach you how to properly present the gospel, contact me.
The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sir William Penn Scribbles II)
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