Perseverance in the Gospel

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Do you have an unsaved loved one? This episode may encourage you and renew your hope.

 

 

. Welcome to way of the Master where it’s our aim to inspire and equip you in sharing your faith evangelism, I’m sure you’ve heard of that word And for many people, that word is pretty much synonymous with the word death. In fact, for some of us, we would actually rather have death than to evangelize. I mean think about it walking up to a perfect stranger and telling them that they violated the law of the Holy God, that they’re in danger of everlasting punishment that they need to repent and get right with God or worse yet doing that with a family member, Uncle Bart. Oh linda, right. Or even your mom or your dad horrors of all horrors. But you know what, we’re not even gonna talk about that today. We’re gonna talk about that point where you’ve even gotten up the gumption to open your mouth and share the gospel, but that person doesn’t respond well. They reject you or after years and years, they still haven’t gotten saved. Mark spans. Ray comfort. That’s not anything new to any of us here today. I mean, we’ve experienced that we’ve all been sharing the gospel for a long time and a lot of our friends watching today can relate to what I said. What do you do in those situations where you get rejected where people don’t respond well or when you’ve been witnessing for years and years and they don’t get right with God. What do you do? Deal with? Thank you for joining us. We’ll see you next time on the way. The Master, You just gotta know your bible that we’re here to plant seeds. And uh if I plant seeds in the garden, I don’t get discouraged if nothing grows because God is the one that makes the seed grow. So I just gotta make sure I got quality seed and good soil and and God’s faithful. And then that’s a good point. God’s faithful. He’s not just faithful, but he’s also fruitful. Right? We’re not called to be fruitful, we’re called to be faithful. You know, we hear the question asked all the time, how many people did you lead to the Lord? And the answer is really simple. All of them. When I was faithful with the message, I was faithful to bring all of them to the Lord and what he does with them at that point is completely up to him. We cannot save anybody. Fruitfulness belongs to God, faithfulness belongs to us. We’d be faithful. Got to be faithful to bring forth fruit. You know, the revelation for me as a new believer, was that understanding that I’m not the savior, you know? Yeah, I know it was like paradigm shift all of a sudden, but I mean seriously, you know, I think especially when we’re new believers were so eager and excited, it’s like the leopard mark one, you know, jesus touches him heals him of leprosy and then tells them, don’t tell anyone about what I just did for you, right? It’s like sure. And it says he went out. He proclaimed it freely. So that christ couldn’t even openly enter the city’s anymore. And they came to him from every direction and that’s typical of the new believer were radically born again and we realized that other people can be born again. We start sharing the gospel. But I think the subconscious self deception is, it’s our job to save that person. I mean, we’ve all had those experiences where we’ve done it the wrong way in terms of being overly intense, right? I think you’ve had it with 28. I said this is better than surfing’s pray. This prayer And I learned a big lesson is that is that God saves sinners, not me. And I created something like 28 false converts. Guys who’s the letter N. was worse than the first because God didn’t supply what I said, he would that they’d find something better than surfing. I had because my motive was completely different. I came because I was a sinner. I came to repent. They came experimentally to see if it was better than surfing. And so it was a huge revelation to know that God is the one that saves people salvation of the Lord. He makes the sea grow. We plant some one reaps amen. You know, I was administering a few years ago in Kauai, right? Somebody’s got to do it. What sacrifice, what sacrifice I did. I remember I was there inside of a canoe, my wife was in the front where roaring through, going to the waterfall. I was resting in the back. I was resting. But here’s the thing. So I had a guide. He was in another canoe. I had some other friends and some other canoes, but my wife says, hey, you need to share the gospel with our guide. Right? And I said, baby be quiet. I mean I’m here, I’m enjoying my time. I know what needed to happen. My wife knew what needed to happen. I ended up sharing the Gospel with our guide. We get to this waterfall, we’re eating this turkey sandwich. And then I asked the guide when I was all done sharing the Gospel, I said, have you ever heard this message before? And he said up until last week I would have said no, but last week there was a christian musician here that’s shared the same thing that you shared some guy named Jeremy Camp. Now I am here I am in Kauai. I’m from southern California, jeremy camp. The christian singer lives in Nashville and one week from that point in Hawaii, I’m gonna be in Ohio preaching the gospel at a concert where Jeremy camp is going to be performing. So I went up to Jeremy camp and I said, Amen two weeks ago, you were in Kauai, you ate a turkey sandwich. You had a guide, He led you to this waterfall. Dude, what’s up and I go listen, man giving you a hard time because last week I had the same guide that you had. I shared the gospel with him as well. Right? You plant high water. We’ll see if somebody else comes along after us and plants. Uh let’s more water down. God brings the increase. Who knows? Here’s the story. Here’s the point. We don’t always know what God is up to, but we can be confident that God is always up to and we don’t always get a glimpse of what he’s up to. But it’s neat to see that here’s jeremy going before me. And then here I come a week later and then we’re able to talk about it a week after that, persevere. Don’t quit. Yeah, I’m trying to think of what jeremy camp was thinking at that moment. Get the stalker away from me right? But Mark, Mark so beautifully said, I often call it divine convergence. We’ve talked about that in the past where, as the word tells us, you know that in God’s house or vessels of honor and dishonor or in the common house, but related to the kingdom of God, something honorable, some for dishonorable use. But if we if we cleanse ourselves from the ladder where a vessel of honor, useful for the master prepared for every good work. And then we’re told in the word that God also can cause us to as Ephesians two says that we are his workmanship created in Christ, Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. So our good works of evangelism prepared beforehand were prepared for them and they come together at a perfect point in time and space where it’s a divine convergence. We just enter into them and we watched God move and again, that’s the revelation I had. God is the author of salvation. His arm is not short that it cannot save and we get to enter into this. And the key is that perseverance, remembering the Lord is in control, we’re called to be vessels of honor. He’s prepared the works beforehand. We don’t have to muster them up. We’re prepared for those good works. They come together the perfect time and God’s glory. Those divine convergence is not so God glorifying because they couldn’t be instigated by you. You stood back and say this is the mind of God and it glorifies him and expand. You expand your your faith in God and in the and the the same thing. You can do that. Yeah. And Mark, you cited in so many words first Corinthians three where paul is talking about, hey, 11 plants one waters. It’s God who causes the increase and again, that’s where our confidence is, is that God knows how to save. He saved us. It’s not like we’re disconnected from the process of salvation were part acres of it. We experienced it, we know the Lord is able so it comes down to trusting him and and you know, as we’re told in Galatians 69 and let us not grow weary while doing good for in due season. We shall reap if we do not lose heart. And also first Corinthians uh 15 58 where we’re reminded uh to therefore be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. That’s my catalyst for open air preaching always in front of me, be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding the work of the Lord. Beautiful script. That’s right. Your labor is not in vain. God is gonna use it and he’s in control. So friends, we need to convert our energy of frustration and worry into an energy of prayer and trust and rest and joy. God is able trust us. We sympathize with the fact that that it’s hard, it’s difficult, especially when it’s people you love. But God is able, we’re gonna watch a video now that is connected with someone that we all know and love. Our brother Dean Crenshaw when I say his name, we all just want to smile with joy because of how much he loves the Lord and the lost, but it wasn’t always so easy for him when it came to someone in particular that he loved and wanted to see saved. So let’s watch this story. Our brother Dean Crenshaw, My grandfather set up real estate developing firm and developed Crenshaw Boulevard originally and my father was born in 1910. He had this kind of storybook life upbringing and big, you know, mansions, I met all of the Hollywood celebrities and the pioneers of Los Angeles and I grew up hearing all these stories from him. My mom and dad got a divorce when I was 11 years old and that hit me pretty hard and a short while after that, my mom died of cancer. So I kind of hung on to my dad, I was like his shadow and we just became very close when I look back at my dad’s faith and my mom’s faith growing up, my mom was wanting to go to church. My father was resisting, he was one of those, he’d show up at christmas and easter, he’d make sure all the music was over so he didn’t have to sing, he’d come in late and leave early as I grew up. You know, I continued to try to share my faith with him. But one of the things that came up always was, you know, I’d be saying, kind of, hey, you need to give your life to jesus things go better with jesus because that’s what the message pretty much was in the churches that I was going to its life enhancement. He would basically politely tell me, oh, that’s good for you son, but I’m okay, I’m happy as I am basically and I’d walk away scratching my head saying something’s missing here. Ray comfort came and spoke as a guest speaker at my church and he shared that message, Hell’s best kept secret. And that absolutely revolutionized my thinking, my understanding about biblical repentance and true faith saving faith in jesus christ. And I had not really understood that he just made it so clear. My eyes just open instantly out. This is what’s missing, not just with my father, but with everybody, you know. And and and after my mom died of cancer, one of the things that really hit me was I was thinking, I I didn’t want my dad to die. He’s not saved yet. You know, he went in for three different surgeries in his late eighties or early nineties. I don’t remember major surgery and each time I was, my heart was wrenching because I did not want to see my dad not come out of the operating room like my grandmother had, she went in just for a simple uh surgery and she died on the operating table and with his age and all, I was just torn apart. I sent him the letter in 2005 Based on Hell’s best kept secret. That message that’s so powerful. Two years later at age 97 he was sick and he was home in bed and he called me in his room one day. I thought, you know, this doesn’t seem normal. He said come in son I’d like to talk to you. And I thought this doesn’t seem normal. And he said, this may not come out as I, you know perfectly son. But I want you to know anyway that I want to become a christian. I want to repent of my sins and I want jesus christ to be my Lord and Savior and we’ll see each other someday. And you know, it was, it was a miracle and I just couldn’t believe it. And I said, Dad, that’s all I ever wanted to hear you say, I just need to know you’re going to be waiting for me when I leave this life and come to heaven. I couldn’t imagine being in heaven without you. And we both hugged and cried which he was not a guy that cried at all either. And he said, I know we’ll see everyone then. And it was fantastic That to me is a greater miracle than Lazarus coming back from the dead because if you knew my dad, he was never going to be saved. He just wasn’t. And and if he could become saved, anybody can. And I it took me 37 years realizing I can’t change anybody. It’s all up to the Holy Spirit. I thank God for that miracle. And now I have faith that anybody can be saved. I can’t even begin to describe the ministry of living waters of how it’s changed my life. And I mean there’s dozens of people that I know now out, you know sharing tracks from Living waters, there’s just such a wide range of materials to help somebody who truly wants to share their faith. You gotta love Dean. I mean what a dear brother. And just to think of the history of his family, I mean that’s a pretty big deal. We all know Crenshaw boulevard, I mean it’s legendary and to think of all that. He went through losing his mom and then his dad being resistant to the gospel. But what a moment that must have been when finally that happened. I’ve experienced that to a degree with different people in my life and it’s almost you just don’t feel like it’s really happening. You know I’ve been praying for so long and it reminds me of the maidservant rhoda, remember when Peter was at the door and it’s like no one would believe her like yeah right there praying for his release, right? She’s like they’re just like whatever she’s seen some vision or something but wow, amazing and powerful and and we’ve all had experiences like that where there’s been someone in our life that we’ve been praying for for a long time and it’s taken a long time for them to come to the Lord. But when it happens it’s glorious. So Mark, you’ve had some stuff. Listen, I met my wife at a restaurant in southern California called Mimi’s cafe and I would go inside the break room and she was not a christian at the time there’s no windows. And this is when smoking was allowed in Russia, which I still can’t believe it. Or on airplanes. Right, right. Like the smoke is gonna stay in that section. Let’s stay over here and not go any further. Right. So I went inside the break room and I would be kind of in the corner, I’d be reading my bible and my wife friend at the time would be smoking cigarettes over in the corner and she would just kind of trip out that here’s this guy reading the bible in public over there and I would just share the gospel with her. And I had a friend that worked there as well that would share the gospel with her. Well I worked there for about a year saving enough money to go away to bible college. And then when I’m at bible college my friend called and said, hey you wouldn’t believe this. But laura became a christian and I’m like what? No way. Right. Like we’re surprised that the message that set us free can set other people free, right, jesus came to seek and save that which is lost. That should be our push as well. So she shared with me, hey, I took her to a bible study and she heard the gospel again and she got saved and I went, this is just the best thing ever. And then I married the woman. Right? So once again, one man plants another person waters God gives the increase. And this is important to know Ray, right? That if we’re not able to get through a complete message, we can fall back on God’s sovereignty and trust that somebody else is gonna come after us. So we can start to go through the law and never get to the Gospel. We can start to go through the law, start to get through the Gospel, never get to the resurrection and trust somebody else is gonna come along. We don’t need to seal the deal. We don’t need to close it. This is up to God. We are just a vessel. As you mentioned in Ephesians, we’re gonna walk in the works, which God prepared beforehand. So if you’re seeking a wife shared the gospel God, the kingdom of God and all these other things will be added. But that’s wonderful. I like what you know, like Ray had mentioned, he said, listen, I purposed in my heart to run as fast as I possibly could after God. And then when I decided that I wanted to get married, I just kind of look to the left and the right and to see if there’s anybody that kept up with me. And then there was a woman, she kept up with me and I asked her to marry me, wow and Mark knowing Laura, the thing that immediately comes to mind is no way Laura sitting in the corner smoking and you know, I mean it’s it’s hard and I love that. That’s one of my favorite things about testimonies. That’s when you can look at that person and say there is no way that was you. But again, it coincides with what we’re talking about God is able, if he’s able to save and transform Someone, we know that he’s able to open their eyes and work in their hearts at his time and in his way, you know, speaking from these 5 17, if any man be in Christ, he’s a new creation and I looked back and Bc and I shake my head, I don’t know that just a completely new person. Yeah, well I’ll have people come up to me after I shared my testimony and they go no way, I can’t see it. It’s impossible. And it thrills my heart because that’s what we want. We want. The the stark contrast from a child of the enemy to a child of God, from someone who was in darkness to someone who’s in light. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been a witness to that very thing with you. Easy or people said there’s no way you were a crip, there’s no way you’re in a gang. I mean because looking at the way you carry yourself, the way you communicate, the way you’re able to use words that we’ve never heard of and then people come up and they start to test you. They started asking about gang signs and who’s in charge of what? You just start breaking it down and people go, well, this guy actually came from sometimes I have to break into my old character, yo what’s up, man? Yeah, well, you know, Oh God took you from using your fists and using your mouth. Yeah, it’s his grace and his goodness and Ray, we still get people that contact the ministry to this day who say they used to mock you in the square as you were preaching and then they got radically born again. Lady threw a banana. Oh yeah, I remember that story a little inside joke. Friends anyway, yeah. And here’s the thing, you know, there are times when it’s persevering in a short amount of time with someone. It may not be over the course of years, but it may be over the course of maybe a conversation whereas you’re talking, it doesn’t seem like it’s going well. And then it changes. We’ve had people who have heard you witness and they were antagonists, they claim to be christians and didn’t like the way you shared, even emailed us about it. And then sometime later they’ll email back and say, you know what I thought about that or I got saved and realized I didn’t know what I was talking about and sometimes it could be in the course of talking to someone over days or a week or what have you remember years ago I was speaking at a camp, It was a youth camp and I had to speak 10 times, it was five days and once every morning, once every evening. So yeah, a lot of speaking. And at the very beginning of the camp I noticed this young man that some people brought big old mohawk about two ft high, black trenchcoat, demonic symbols and crazy metal bands all over it. And I thought, oh man, this is going to be trouble. And sure enough, it was the very first day of the camp. Uh, he’s sitting there and he’s distracting people, I’m preaching and he’s sitting there mohawk waving around, you know, talking to people doing things so Rachel and I began to pray for him that the Lord would open his eyes, save him. His name was Travis and honestly I wasn’t praying with much faith, didn’t have much hope Every day. five days, morning and evening. Same thing distracting, interrupting. Last day the camp came evening preaching my heart out giving the gospel. I give an invitation for people to repent, get right with the Lord. And right after there’s just this dead silence, no one moving. And then all of a sudden Travis gets up, runs forward, collapses in a heap of tears, bunch of kids, get up, run forward again. I preached the biblical gospel and I thought wow, but I didn’t have much faith. I’m thinking, oh this is an act, he’s just trying to get attention. A year and a half later I’m preaching at cal state Fullerton people afterwards standing in line to talk to me and one guy standing off to the side finally comes up, how you doing when we start talking. And and he looks at me and he goes, you don’t recognize me? I’m like, no. And then suddenly it dawned on me is simultaneously as he goes, I’m Travis. He said, God used you that night to change my life. This is a year and a half later, he said, I went back home and I’d run away from home. So some friends brought him with them to the camp. He said, I got back home with my dad. God changed my life my grades at school transformed. I’m now in the worship team at my church and it was, you know, I just broke down in tears and I thought, wow Lord, you are so faithful. Even though I didn’t have much faith, God was faithful, he genuinely saved him and he was bearing fruit. So I wanted to see fruit like you’re saying the fruit of a changed life and you knew personally it’s it’s beautiful to to see that transformation. So the thing is is we, we have to, we just have to rest in the Lord, we have to trust Mark, you’ve had rough times in preaching at times on the streets and how do you press through? What do you do? Especially in the heat of the moment, because that’s when you want to just kind of tuck your tail and run. Because you said something that you didn’t feel was effective or they said something to you that was hurtful or mean or harsh. What do you? Yeah, I’ll tell you. It’s especially like that when we go to the abortion mills and we are pleading with women to not go through with what they’re doing or there’ll be a father, a grandfather, a boyfriend that will be waiting for them. And there they get so angry, right? This this hatred towards us. And what are we saying? Um please don’t kill, Right. I mean, what is our message? We want life, right. The non christians just simply don’t understand the love of a christian. I remember being on a plane with you, Ray several years ago and Ray was sharing the gospel with a psychiatrist, psychologist, one of the two. And Ray said, I care about you. And he goes, what? Well, wait a minute. You don’t care about me. You don’t even know me. There’s no way you can care about me. And what was his inference? He was thinking to himself based upon his own experience, that you cannot love a complete stranger. Somebody who you just met. But God has shed abroad his love in our hearts so that we can love the unlovable. And here’s Ray, pleading with this doctor to get right with God? And this guy cannot understand the fact why Ray would care listen, regardless of the way we get treated, whether we get pats on the back or where we get things thrown at us while we’re preaching, we must not give up because God has chosen the preaching of the gospel to save people. How will they hear unless a preacher is sent? That’s not a rhetorical question. You need to answer the question. If not you, then who? And if not now. Well then, when, when is the right time to speak up? I say today, the truth will set you free. And that doesn’t mean it’s gonna be comfortable when it does. So you need to look into that mirror and realize you need to get cleaned up and only christ can do that. Yeah. Amen Ray everyday or weekday for 12 years in the square in New Zealand Huntington’s beach. You’ve been going now for 10 years over 12 years at the courts when we would all go out and preach across from our ministry. We did that for 2.5 years every weekday morning and we couldn’t believe it was such a God. It was amazing. And you’ve preached all around the world. And those are just the times where you’ve done it in a consistent manner. But you’ve wanted to give up at times. I’m sure in terms of what you felt by way of response and what people are doing. And I know our friends are watching and thinking what has kept this man ticking for 400 years now. It’s it’s not tired of it, but tired in it. You can become wearisome preaching for two hours and then people throwing stuff at you and saying, get out of here, whatever and all we want to do is get them safe from hell and find everlasting life. Their deepest heart’s desire is what you seek for them and they hate you for it. But the thing that motivates me, it always has motored me is the high octane fuel of gratitude. It’s always there. If you’ve seen your sin realize you deserve hell and God’s given your hair and you’ve seen the cross. God’s love expressed in you, gratitude explodes according to your insight into how much God loves you and how much God loves you revealed and how big a sinner you are, he that’s forgiven much the same loves much. So I’ve got this endless fuel of gratitude that just never stops me wanting to move. And if you haven’t got that, it’s like pushing a car instead of pushing the accelerator. I love what you’ve said for years, what I can’t express in words, I’ll express and works as far as gratitude to the Lord and that’s such a beautiful thing and it’s just so important to remember that, you know, God’s ways are not our ways what might seem like a closed door could be a most open door. People don’t typically respond with joy and excitement when you share the gospel with them. Most people are prideful. So they’re gonna respond with with a heart and heart and with resistance. But hanging in there And not giving up is really the key. 37 years, dean waited for. His dad has nothing to God. Yeah. You know, dated Lords 1000 years to us and then how long? 37 years is like 15 minutes or something. So we must never be discouraged. You know that God is faithful to keep his word. And the effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Amen. Yeah. You know, as a new believer, I immediately thought that all my friends who used to join me in most things that I did would radically join me when it came to salvation. I thought, oh of course I’m gonna get saved, you know? And and I went with that kind of attitude as I shared with him and I’m like all right, here we go. And it was like, no, I mean really, I lost all my friends and you lost your acquaintances, That’s a good point. Yeah. And so I continued to pray for them And it was 17 years later, 17 years later were one of my friends who was one of my closest friends finally called me up one day and said, man, I got questions for you about God and it was awesome. I started spending every week with him, I started kind of disciple in him even though he wasn’t a believer yet, but just sharing the word with him and sharing the gospel and one day he repented and he got right with the Lord and I got to baptize him. It was the most beautiful thing in the world. In fact that dear friend of mine appears in one of our episodes from the way the master remember the one we did with the plane uh, with with you and Kirk on the airplane. Why Christianity? Yeah, he’s the one who was holding the Yeah, my friend eric yeah, he was holding the briefcase with the money in it. So again, that’s another testimony to the faithfulness of the Lord. Mark. You put prayer requests every week and to the ministry with the same names on it. And every time I see them my heart fills with joy and I’m reminded Mark is trusting that God is able to save and friends. That’s the message today. We all want to quit. We all want to give up. You heard about how often Ray has preached the gospel and how he has done it at times when he’s felt that discouragement. But it’s that gratitude that fuels us Lord. We were lost. We were blind. We were headed to hell and you intervened and saved us. We’re so grateful that no matter what happens, we’re going to continue to proclaim the Gospel because you’re able to save so friends. Thank you for joining us today. Remember get out there and proclaim the Gospel for the glory of God. We hope this episode of Wave the Master has inspired you to share the message of eternal life. You can watch our award winning movies such as the Atheist Delusion freely on our website, where you’ll also find articles, videos, and audio messages, as well as books, Dvds, gospel tracts and other resources to help you share your faith biblically and effectively make sure to visit Living Waters dot com today.

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