I love Adrian Rogers and his to-the-point teaching style. You’ll be blessed with his address to the church and how we need to be gracious one to another.
“So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him; and Lot went with him: and Abram was seventy and five years old when he departed out of Haran.” (Genesis 12:4)
It is not clear from the text just how God made Himself known to Abram when He called him to go to Canaan. The language would imply that there was an audible conversation of some sort—far different from what you and I might expect today. At the time of this calling, Abram was a not then a follower of Yahweh, yet the circumstances of God’s intervention were enough to persuade Abram to uproot his family and start the journey.
Abram’s calling and initial response (Genesis 12:1-5) are analogous to an “awakening,” the initial faith to “see” God (Ephesians 2:8). There were no specifics in God’s promise, only broad terms of blessing.
Abram’s response was all that he knew to do at that time, to respond in obedience (non-resistance) just as the Scripture implies we are to do (1 Thessalonians 2:13; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 1:2-5). Salvation is completely God’s doing; our “work” is never involved (2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 10:8-17). All we can ever do is rebel and reject the drawing that God wields (John 6:44). Damnation is man’s work (John 3:19-21; Romans 1:18-32).
That is why Abram became the biblical example of the faithful (Galatians 3:6-9; Hebrews 11:8-10). The actual moment of Abram’s “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 4:24) seems to have come somewhat later when he “believes God” (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3). Although repentance and faith may come in a rapid sequence, sometimes (especially in adult conversions) the events may be drawn out over time. Either way, it is by “grace are ye saved, through faith” (Ephesians 2:8).
Proclaiming that we are evangelical has taken on a new, unflattering meaning in culture today. While the term was once used to describe those who believed faith required conversion of the heart and assent of the mind, and were devoted to sharing the gospel with others, “evangelical” has come to mean “narrow-minded,” “fundamentalist,” “intolerant,” and “hatemonger.”
Anthony Blair, president of Evangelical Seminary, writes in Christianity Today that it is time to give “evangelical” a new definition. We must offer the world an evangelicalism that is bold, broad, beautiful, and confident.
Stop letting fear get in the way of sharing your faith. Instead, boldly proclaim the kingdom of God!
Blair writes, “Our core proclamation is that Jesus is Lord of all and the divine Lover of our souls. Like the woman at the well, we run excitedly to our neighbors, even (or especially!) those who have marginalized us, and we joyfully invite, ‘Come see a man who knows everything about me… and loves me still.’”
As we boldly share our faith with our neighbors, let it be done with broad love. We are called to be a people of love and grace. Offer this incredible love with a serving heart.
“We cannot with credibility proclaim a gospel of love and grace if we are not people of love and grace. We dare not offer a God of reconciliation and peace if we are persistently unwilling to be agents of reconciliation and makers of peace,” Blair says.
The picture of God’s love that we offer our neighbors is beautiful. As the world struggles in chaos and evil, the beautiful love of God is steadfast.
Blair writes, “God is love, and that such words reflect a deep, painful commitment. His beautiful love permeates a broken world so that we are slowly, sometimes imperceptibly, conformed to his beautiful image.”
What is perhaps the most beautiful aspect of God’s love is its ability to reach us in our darkest times of suffering, pain, and darkness. These worldly things cannot separate us from His love.
As evangelicals, we should not have a lack of confidence, as our confidence comes from the Lord.
“This confidence that is nourished by the realization that such grace has been wonderfully present in those who came before, upon whose good work we today merely add another layer,” Blair writes.
We can do the Lord’s work, knowing that we are capable of doing amazing things for the kingdom through abilities that are not our own.
Crosswalk.com editor Ryan Duncan wrote, “For many people, we will be the closest thing to Christ they will ever see. If we wish them to understand the true meaning of the word ‘Evangelical’, we must first redeem it.”
And we can redeem our faith by being bold, broad, beautiful, and confident in Christ.