The call to evangelize is for every Christian—yet the task still strikes fear in some and excitement in others. No matter where you fall on this spectrum, you’ll be encouraged when you listen to Truth For Life with Alistair Begg.
From the Sermon
What Is Evangelism?Sermon • Includes Transcript • 33:22 • ID: 1495
Our Greatest Motivation to Pray
The Bible is replete with commands like this, urging us to pray without pause. This might sound like an overwhelming expectation, and we may wonder whether we could ever meet it, or even desire to. But perhaps if we see our need more clearly, we will be motivated to pray more consistently.
Our need for prayer becomes most obvious when we understand that our Lord Jesus Christ Himself believed in the absolute necessity of prayer. At the beginning of Mark’s Gospel, we have this account of Jesus: “Rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Even for the Son of God, prayer was important enough business to attend to early and not to allow the demands of the day to intrude upon.
Jesus knew that “he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed” (Matthew 16:21). Even so, in the Garden of Gethsemane we overhear Him praying for the cup of God’s wrath to pass from Him if it is His Father’s will (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). The Son of God clearly knew that He needed to go before His Father. The writer to the Hebrews summarizes it perfectly for us: “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5:7).
Surely it cannot be that prayer was a necessity for Jesus and yet is simply optional for us. If anything, it must be the very reverse! If the Son of God Himself needed to spend time concentrated on prayer to His Father, then how much more does the one who follows after Christ! Prayer is simply too great a privilege for any Christian to ignore and too great a necessity for any of us to neglect. So, ask His Spirit to show you the wonder of prayer and to help you enter into it. When you recognize that there is no end to God’s capacity to help or His willingness to do so, and that there is no moment in which you do not need His help, you will find yourself “praying at all times.”
How is God calling me to think differently?
How is God reordering my heart’s affections — what I love?
What is God calling me to do as I go about my day today?
Prayer for Spiritual Strength
14For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family3 in heaven and on earth is named, 16that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, 21to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Devotional material is taken from the Truth For Life daily devotionals by Alistair Begg, published by The Good Book Company, thegoodbook.com. Used by Truth For Life with permission. Copyright © 2021, 2022, The Good Book Company.
And the Lord shut him in.
Noah was shut in away from all the world by the hand of divine love. The door of God’s electing purpose separates us from the world, which lies in the wicked one. We are not of the world even as our Lord Jesus was not of the world. Into the sin, the folly, the pursuits of the crowd we cannot enter; we cannot play in the streets of Vanity Fair with the children of darkness, for our heavenly Father has shut us in.
Noah was shut in with his God. “Come into the ark,” was the Lord’s invitation, by which He clearly showed that He Himself intended to dwell in the ark with Noah and his family. In this manner all the chosen live in God and God in them. Happy people to be enclosed in the same circle that contains God in the Trinity of His persons—Father, Son, and Spirit. Let us never be inattentive to that gracious call, “Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while until the fury has passed by.”
Noah was so shut in that no evil could reach him. Floods simply lifted toward heaven, and winds helped him on his way. Outside the ark all was ruin, but inside all was rest and peace. Without Christ we perish, but in Christ Jesus there is perfect safety.
Noah was so shut in that he could not even desire to come out, and those who are in Christ Jesus are in Him forever. They are there forever because eternal faithfulness has shut them in, and infernal malice cannot drag them out. God closes, and no man opens; and when in the last days as Master of the house He shall rise and close the door, it will be futile for mere professors to knock and cry, “Lord, Lord open for us,” for that same door which closes in the wise virgins will shut out the foolish forever. Lord, close me in by Your grace.
Devotional material is taken from Morning and Evening, written by C. H. Spurgeon, revised and updated by Alistair Begg. Copyright © 2003, Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org. Used by Truth For Life with written permission.
Not Because of Righteousness
1“Hear, O Israel: you are to cross over the Jordan today, to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, cities great and fortified up to heaven, 2a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know, and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3Know therefore today that he who goes over before you as a consuming fire is the Lord your God. He will destroy them and subdue them before you. So you shall drive them out and make them perish quickly, as the Lord has promised you.
4“Do not say in your heart, after the Lord your God has thrust them out before you, ‘It is because of my righteousness that the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ whereas it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is driving them out before you. 5Not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart are you going in to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and that he may confirm the word that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
6“Know, therefore, that the Lord your God is not giving you this good land to possess because of your righteousness, for you are a stubborn people. 7Remember and do not forget how you provoked the Lord your God to wrath in the wilderness. From the day you came out of the land of Egypt until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the Lord. 8Even at Horeb you provoked the Lord to wrath, and the Lord was so angry with you that he was ready to destroy you. 9When I went up the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the Lord made with you, I remained on the mountain forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water. 10And the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone written with the finger of God, and on them were all the words that the Lord had spoken with you on the mountain out of the midst of the fire on the day of the assembly. 11And at the end of forty days and forty nights the Lord gave me the two tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant. 12Then the Lord said to me, ‘Arise, go down quickly from here, for your people whom you have brought from Egypt have acted corruptly. They have turned aside quickly out of the way that I commanded them; they have made themselves a metal image.’
The Golden Calf
13“Furthermore, the Lord said to me, ‘I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stubborn people. 14Let me alone, that I may destroy them and blot out their name from under heaven. And I will make of you a nation mightier and greater than they.’ 15So I turned and came down from the mountain, and the mountain was burning with fire. And the two tablets of the covenant were in my two hands. 16And I looked, and behold, you had sinned against the Lord your God. You had made yourselves a golden1 calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the Lord had commanded you. 17So I took hold of the two tablets and threw them out of my two hands and broke them before your eyes. 18Then I lay prostrate before the Lord as before, forty days and forty nights. I neither ate bread nor drank water, because of all the sin that you had committed, in doing what was evil in the sight of the Lord to provoke him to anger. 19For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure that the Lord bore against you, so that he was ready to destroy you. But the Lord listened to me that time also. 20And the Lord was so angry with Aaron that he was ready to destroy him. And I prayed for Aaron also at the same time. 21Then I took the sinful thing, the calf that you had made, and burned it with fire and crushed it, grinding it very small, until it was as fine as dust. And I threw the dust of it into the brook that ran down from the mountain.
22“At Taberah also, and at Massah and at Kibroth-hattaavah you provoked the Lord to wrath. 23And when the Lord sent you from Kadesh-barnea, saying, ‘Go up and take possession of the land that I have given you,’ then you rebelled against the commandment of the Lord your God and did not believe him or obey his voice. 24You have been rebellious against the Lord from the day that I knew you.
25“So I lay prostrate before the Lord for these forty days and forty nights, because the Lord had said he would destroy you. 26And I prayed to the Lord, ‘O Lord God, do not destroy your people and your heritage, whom you have redeemed through your greatness, whom you have brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 27Remember your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness or their sin, 28lest the land from which you brought us say, “Because the Lord was not able to bring them into the land that he promised them, and because he hated them, he has brought them out to put them to death in the wilderness.” 29For they are your people and your heritage, whom you brought out by your great power and by your outstretched arm.’
How Great Are Your Works
A Psalm. A Song for the Sabbath.
1It is good to give thanks to the Lord,
to sing praises to your name, O Most High;
2to declare your steadfast love in the morning,
and your faithfulness by night,
3to the music of the lute and the harp,
to the melody of the lyre.
4For you, O Lord, have made me glad by your work;
at the works of your hands I sing for joy.
5How great are your works, O Lord!
Your thoughts are very deep!
6The stupid man cannot know;
the fool cannot understand this:
7that though the wicked sprout like grass
and all evildoers flourish,
they are doomed to destruction forever;
8but you, O Lord, are on high forever.
9For behold, your enemies, O Lord,
for behold, your enemies shall perish;
all evildoers shall be scattered.
10But you have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
you have poured over me1 fresh oil.
11My eyes have seen the downfall of my enemies;
my ears have heard the doom of my evil assailants.
12The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
14They still bear fruit in old age;
they are ever full of sap and green,
15to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.
The Lord Reigns
1The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed; he has put on strength as his belt.
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved.
2Your throne is established from of old;
you are from everlasting.
3The floods have lifted up, O Lord,
the floods have lifted up their voice;
the floods lift up their roaring.
4Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
5Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O Lord, forevermore.
Hezekiah Seeks Isaiah's Help
1As soon as King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes and covered himself with sackcloth and went into the house of the Lord. 2And he sent Eliakim, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz. 3They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4It may be that the Lord your God will hear the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’”
5When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7Behold, I will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumor and return to his own land, and I will make him fall by the sword in his own land.’”
8The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah, for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9Now the king heard concerning Tirhakah king of Cush,1 “He has set out to fight against you.” And when he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10“Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, devoting them to destruction. And shall you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my fathers destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’”
Hezekiah's Prayer for Deliverance
14Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers, and read it; and Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord, and spread it before the Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord: 16“O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19and have cast their gods into the fire. For they were no gods, but the work of men's hands, wood and stone. Therefore they were destroyed. 20So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”
21Then Isaiah the son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning Sennacherib king of Assyria, 22this is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:
“‘She despises you, she scorns you—
the virgin daughter of Zion;
she wags her head behind you—
the daughter of Jerusalem.
23“‘Whom have you mocked and reviled?
Against whom have you raised your voice
and lifted your eyes to the heights?
Against the Holy One of Israel!
24By your servants you have mocked the Lord,
and you have said, With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
to the far recesses of Lebanon,
to cut down its tallest cedars,
its choicest cypresses,
to come to its remotest height,
its most fruitful forest.
25I dug wells
and drank waters,
to dry up with the sole of my foot
all the streams of Egypt.
26“‘Have you not heard
that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
crash into heaps of ruins,
27while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
are dismayed and confounded,
and have become like plants of the field
and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
blighted2 before it is grown.
28“‘I know your sitting down
and your going out and coming in,
and your raging against me.
29Because you have raged against me
and your complacency has come to my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
and my bit in your mouth,
and I will turn you back on the way
by which you came.’
30“And this shall be the sign for you: this year you shall eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that. Then in the third year sow and reap, and plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
33“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it. 34By the way that he came, by the same he shall return, and he shall not come into this city, declares the Lord. 35For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”
36And the angel of the Lord went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 37Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh. 38And as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, Adrammelech and Sharezer, his sons, struck him down with the sword. And after they escaped into the land of Ararat, Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
The 144,000 of Israel Sealed
1After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow on earth or sea or against any tree. 2Then I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, 3saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees, until we have sealed the servants1 of our God on their foreheads.” 4And I heard the number of the sealed, 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel:
512,000 from the tribe of Judah were sealed,
12,000 from the tribe of Reuben,
12,000 from the tribe of Gad,
612,000 from the tribe of Asher,
12,000 from the tribe of Naphtali,
12,000 from the tribe of Manasseh,
712,000 from the tribe of Simeon,
12,000 from the tribe of Levi,
12,000 from the tribe of Issachar,
812,000 from the tribe of Zebulun,
12,000 from the tribe of Joseph,
12,000 from the tribe of Benjamin were sealed.
A Great Multitude from Every Nation
9After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
13Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?” 14I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
15“Therefore they are before the throne of God,
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne will shelter them with his presence.
16They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore;
the sun shall not strike them,
nor any scorching heat.
17For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd,
and he will guide them to springs of living water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
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