Tag Archives: Julian F.

Resurrecting the Blog

Whatever happened to that evangelism blog? Wasn’t it called Good News for Toronto … or something like that? It was, it still is; in fact, it has been resurrected!

My last post was in March of 2010 (yikes! … it was  year of Sabbath rest!). Lots has happened since. Caleb was born (Dec 4, 2010) – Georgie and I love him so much!!! Praise be to God for such kindness to us! I served as Pastor of Lakeview Baptist Church for a year! And well … lots of other stuff too.

Something really cool just happened a couple of weeks ago. My dear brothers and sisters at the Grace Fellowship Church plant in Don Mills hired me to help in the work of establishing the Church! Georgie and I have long-standing friendships with many of them so we are very humbled to receive this mercy – this opportunity to walk in the works that God has prepared for us here (Eph 2.10).

My beloved brother Julian Freeman has invited me to c0-labour with him in the Gospel! I am so thankful to God for him … and I am deeply humbled by this opportunity to assist him. I am so thankful for his friendship and the gift he is to me and to Christ’s Church. May God be pleased to use GFC Don Mills for the praise of his mercy! May God work through us to save many sinners – that they might taste and see that the Lord is good.

My first day on the streets spreading the Gospel of the kingdom was this past Saturday (Don Mills & Lawrence bus stops and surrounding area) … posts coming soon!

The Image of God: An Evangelistic Resource

Julian Freeman just finished preaching a 4 part series of sermons on friendship titled, “Friendship Redeemed.” In his last sermon, he was teaching that delight in God creates delight in friends. One of his points was that we should love people because they reflect God.

Here is the audio version of the clip: Enjoying God in People

Here is a clip of his sermon notes:

Sometimes theology can be misapplied and hinder our love. We get ‘total depravity’ stuck in our minds and all we can think about is how hard these people are to God. But being unable to work your salvation doesn’t mean there is nothing good in you—doesn’t mean that the image of God is totally effaced! Do you see anything in them that testifies to the God whose image they bear? Do they have a creative bent? God is the Creator. Do they have a sense of justice? God is Just. Do they love knowledge? God is all-knowing. Do they have compassion on the weak? God is the protector of the widow and the orphan. These can even be used as opportunity for evangelism. Ultimately, seeing this will help us love people.

So, there you have it – a way to think rightly about the people we preach to:  they are valuable for they are created in the image of God. Also, what we find in this teaching is a practical way to begin a conversation about God: take note of a characteristic of God which you see in another person, acknowledge it, commend it, then tell the person where it comes from (God), and then go from there (who knows . . . maybe go on to magnify how that attribute is demonstrated in the cross of Christ).

I will save any examples (for I have not used this kind of approach before), but I plan to use this method with the right person at the right time and then I will be ready to post about it from experience. I am thankful that my Pastor is helping to better equip me, not only for friendship, but also evangelism (cf. Ephesians 4:11-12).

Levels of Law and Mormonism

Steve F. and I were delighted to have three young Mormons at Steve’s place Friday afternoon. This was our second meeting with two of these missionaries. The topic of conversation: prophets. We talked for about an hour and a half or so, thus I will only share a brief summary with some reflections scattered throughout.

They said that each prophet brings a new law which is a higher level of law. Though they ultimately wanted to culminate our discussion with Joseph Smith and the new law offered by him, the two prophets we talked about most were Moses and Jesus. We spent much time talking about the relationship between the Mosaic Law and the person and work of Jesus Christ, which was a great stage upon which to preach the glorious riches of the true gospel of God’s grace.

I was able to read to them texts such as 1 Peter 1:10-12, Luke 24:25-27 and John 5:39, which all teach that the central role of the Law and the Prophets is to point people to Christ. I tried to explain that Jesus came to obey the Mosaic Law which Israel had broken. They seemed to be riveted on the fact that Jesus came to teach a new law because of the apostasy of Israel; however, they spoke without due attention to the fulfillment dynamic of Christ’s work and ministry. What I found especially interesting was their distinction between what they called higher law and lower law. This distinction is worthy of much attention. Is there such a thing as higher law and lower law? We know that Jesus spoke of the greatest commandments (Matthew 22:37-40) and that he gave a “new commandment” (John 13:34), but have God’s standards changed? What did they mean by levels of law? They did not offer a clear explanation of the different levels of law, but assured us that they will be able to better explain this doctrine at our next meeting.

We talked about God’s standards for a while. I was uneasy with the idea that Jesus came to fulfill a lower law. My uneasiness quickened me to talk about the person of Christ and his perfect work on our behalf. The more I think about the standards of the Old and New Covenant, the more convinced I am that both demand perfection (consider Galatians 3:10 and Matthew 5:48). However, as one of my Pastors (Julian Freeman) explained to me today, though God’s standards are always the same – with greater revelation comes increased accountability. In other words, as he said, “you are only accountable for what has been revealed.” So, since the coming of Christ, who is the fullness of God’s revelation (cf. Hebrews 1:3), there is a sense in which we are more accountable to that standard of perfection, which was not revealed with the same degree of clarity in the past as has now been displayed in Jesus Christ and his New Covenant. When the Mormons spoke of levels of law, they seemed to have another explanation in mind; but I will wait to hear them further on this point.

Though I was unable to explain these distinctions to the Mormons during our meeting, I took the occasion to highlight the glorious work of Christ. Since they had also brought up the topic of the Sabbath (and incorrectly mentioned that it is commanded in the New Testament), I read to them Hebrews 4:10, preaching Christ as our rest. By God’s grace I explained how the Sabbath, the Law, the Psalms, and the Prophets all point to Jesus Christ. I preached that Jesus is the fulfillment of all of these things and tried to help them understand why Jesus said, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” They had explained that this command is a call to hard work. I tried to explain that this statement functions (in context) to help people see their sin, and thus, to look to Jesus as the One who came to live a perfect life on their behalf (not that these commands are not binding on New Covenant believers; they are binding, but only by faith alone in Christ alone by the power of the Spirit are we to heed these commands). Accordingly, Matthew 5:48 functions to point us to fullness of faith in Christ and his perfect work. This passage is not a call to gaining God’s acceptance through Jesus + hard work. This topic of faith alone vs. faith + works was the major point of difference in our last meeting; thus, I took the opportunity to re-preach the truth of justification by faith alone in Christ alone.

Well, that is all I shall share for now. Steve F. and I were both encouraged as we contemplated the perfect work of Christ on our behalf – what a glorious gospel! We enjoyed seeing these men again. They are very friendly and a joy to see. May the Lord help us to continue to love these men and preach Christ to them. May the Lord grant us wisdom to know how to best converse with them to the glory of His Name.