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Dec 4, 2014

Preaching the Gospel, Suffering, and Apostasy

Heartfelt truth of the beauty of the Gospel and missions

Yesterday I was asked, “Do you preach the Gospel in churches?” My answer is, “Yes, I have for many years as a pastor and missionary.”
These past few years however I have not been asked to speak quite as much as I used to. The clear reason for this is because while defending and proclaiming the Gospel, I do not neglect the biblical duty of exposing error and naming the names of known false teachers. I never do this to be harsh and unkind, but rather, to lovingly and biblically warn the body of Christ about the dangers of spiritual deception and end-times apostasy.

God’s own mandate through the apostle Paul to all pastors is, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:1-2). The Holy Spirit of God, through the apostle Paul, also warned, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4). This “time” Paul spoke of arrived a long time ago, yet many leaders today fail to see what is going on.

The following sermon was originally titled, “Suffering.” It was delivered during my December 2004 visit to the United States, from the pulpit of the sending church we had previously spent ten years helping to establish. My family and I had been overseas for two straight years as missionaries to Edinburgh, Scotland, one of the most Witchcraft-filled, secular cities in Western Europe, and while home for a few weeks I was asked to share a bit on our missions experience. So I did, with deep conviction and meaningful tears.

While in Scotland, we were immersed in evangelism, church planting, reaching out to scattered Christians, and attending the Institute of Biblical Studies. We also pioneered our SRN apologetics and discernment ministry that helped assist us in reaching out cross-culturally to hurting Christians and non-believers. Through living and ministering in the United Kingdom, we also got a much broader perspective on the dangers of apostasy and ensuing destruction that occurs in churches where pastors fail to heed the clear teachings of Scripture.

In this tear-filled biblical Gospel message, I communicated some of what Christian missions and suffering entail. I also clearly warned our sending church, at that time, of the dangers of apostasy, Emerging Church false teachers (Rick Warren, Marc Driscoll, Leonard Sweet), Roman Catholic and Church of England and Church of Scotland apostasy, and more.

Altogether, I just did what Paul the apostle did, and would continue to do today if he were here amongst us. Paul exhorted the Christian leaders in Ephesus, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:31).

This message was preached ten years ago this month (December 2014). In it, you will get an idea of my love for the body of Christ and for lost souls, and my love for the truth of God’s Word as it is found in the biblical Jesus of Nazareth. You will also understand more about my biblical convictions and here my joy and pain as a missionary communicating Christ’s love and His Gospel message.

In listening to this, it is my hope and prayer that you gain a sense of the scriptural importance of nailing your colors to the mast so-to-speak, for Jesus Christ and His everlasting gospel. We are not in a popularity contest, we are here to serve and glorify Jesus Christ and tell people the truth! Jesus was nailed to a cross and vicariously bled and suffered and died on our behalf, paying the penalty of God's wrath that we deserve to pay for breaking God's Law. He then physically and victoriously resurrected from the tomb three days later, showing that He has conquered sin and death.

Jesus did this all out of love for us, that we might be forgiven of our sins and be saved from the day of God's coming judgment on Christ-rejecting, unbelieving sinners. We should gladly be willing to suffer on Christ's behalf, that His love and truth and gospel message may go forth in the power of His Spirit, to this languishing and dying world.

(Recorded: Dec 2004 / Posted: Dec 2014)

Chris Lawson
Jude 3