Category Archives: Sunday School

Sunday School Today: The Mosaic Covenant

When God made a covenant with Israel, Moses was the intermediary.  The covenant is often referred to as the Mosaic Law.  The points of this covenant, which can also be referred to as “blessings and curses” are as follows:

1.  Preamble/Historical Prologue (Exodus 19:1-4)

2.  Invitation (Exodus 19:5-6)

3.  Terms of the Covenant (Exodus 20-23)

4.  Blessings and Curses (Deuteronomy 27-28; Numbers 15:30-31)

5.  Ratification of the Covenant, with blood (Exodus 24)

6.  Sign of the Covenant—Sabbath (Exodus 31:13-17)

7.  Storage of the Covenant (Deuteronomy 31:24-26)

8.  The Covenant Meal (Exodus 24:9-11) (Lusk, 1994, pp. 54-56)

It is important to realize that all of God’s mighty acts of deliverance that resulted in the Israelites’ exodus from Egyptian slavery were all completed prior to this covenant.  Therefore, God delivered them out of slavery by His grace and not by their works of righteousness and uprightness.  In fact, He delivered them out of slavery because of His promise to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Exodus 2:24; 6:8; Deuteronomy 9:5).

However, the Israelites had become deeply steeped in idolatry during their stay in Egypt.  They carried their idols with them when they came out of Egypt (Amos 5:25-26; Acts 7:42-43).  They openly demonstrated their idolatry when Moses went up on the mountain to receive the Law (Exodus 32:1-6).  They did this even after seeing how God overthrew Egypt with the ten plagues and parted the Red Sea so they could pass on dry ground.  They did this even though they saw God overthrow Pharaoh and his army by causing the Red Sea to come down upon them.  Except for their lineage to the Patriarchs, there was nothing about them that would make them worthy of God’s favor.  Therefore, they were saved by God’s grace and mercy and because He is a covenant-keeping God who remembered His promises to the Patriarchs.  Only after these dramatic acts of deliverance did God give them the Mosaic Law so that they would understand how they should live before the King of the Universe, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  Thus, God Himself restored the covenant He made with the Patriarchs when He delivered their offspring from bondage and gave their offspring the land of Israel.

Some Gentiles think they are under the Mosaic Law in this present time.  However, Paul best describes the place of Gentiles prior to salvation by Christ as follows:

11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “Circumcision,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.  Ephesians 2:11-12 (NASB)

But thanks be to God, Paul continues in Ephesians 2:13-22 to show that the only hope for us is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From God’s Covenants and Restorations by Victor Vadney, Desert Willow Publishing.  This material is protected by copyright.


Sunday School: God’s Covenant with Noah

God’s Covenant with Noah

God calls this a covenant in Genesis 6:18. In actuality, God’s covenant with Noah is in two parts. The first part is prior to the flood, and the second part is after the flood.

Part I: Prior to and Including the Flood (Genesis 6:9-8:19)

The Parties Involved:  God and Noah, and through Noah was included his family and the human race. In addition, it included all animal life.

Conditions of Obedience:  Build the ark and gather the animals and provisions into the ark. This was an enormous undertaking that spanned many decades. Noah was completely obedient to God’s commands.

Promise:  God promised that Noah and his family and the animals with him would be saved from the massive flood.

No threat was openly stated.  However, no threat was needed because Noah was faithful to all of God’s Commandments.  Clearly if Noah had refused to obey God’s command to build the Ark, he too would have been destroyed by the flood.  Therefore, this portion of the covenant God made with Noah carried with it an implied threat.

Part II: After the Flood (Genesis 8:20-10:32)

The Parties:  God, Noah and his family, and all animals.

Conditions of Obedience:  God commanded the family of man through Noah not to eat blood and that they must institute capital punishment for murder.

God made the following promises:  “while the Earth remains” (Genesis 8:22), God would not curse the ground again because of man (Genesis 8:21), God would not strike down all the creatures again (Genesis 8:21), God would never again use a flood to cut off all flesh, and God would never use the flood again to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11).

The Sign of Covenant:  The rainbow (Genesis 9:13-17).  The rainbow serves to continuously reassure man that God will not destroy the earth by a massive flood again.

Many people would affirm that God’s Covenant with Noah was a Unilateral Covenant where God bound Himself without any obligation from man.  However, Noah was required to do an enormous amount of work for many years in building the ark before the flood.  This work included not only building the ark, but also preaching to that lost generation in hope that some might repent (2 Peter 2:5).  In addition, the clear command of God after the flood based on the preciousness of life meant that Noah and the family of man must not eat blood.  They also were required to administer capital punishment for murder.  Therefore, it does not appear that the entirety of God’s covenant with Noah was a Unilateral Covenant because God certainly laid substantial requirements on Noah and his offspring.

It is true that God bound Himself to not destroy the earth again with water, and that portion of God’s covenant with Noah and the family of man is unilateral and without expectations on the part of man.  It should be noted that God responded with this promise after Noah freely offered sacrifices after coming out of the Ark.  However, in view of the enormous work required of Noah and in view of the post-Flood commandments, it would seem to be an oversimplification to call the whole of God’s Covenant with Noah a Unilateral Covenant that carried no obligations for Noah and the family of man.  I would prefer to call the majority of this covenant a Suzerainty Treaty because of God’s commands.

Restoration of God’s Covenant with Noah

We have God’s word that he will not destroy the world with a massive flood again.  The rainbow is a sign and symbol of that covenant and God restores and renews that covenant every time He puts a rainbow in the sky.

Moreover, God’s salvation of Noah and his family from Satan’s domain by means of water is symbolic of the salvation from sin that we obtain in the waters of baptism.  Peter makes this clear in the following passage: 1 Peter 3:18-21

 

From God’s Covenants and Restorations by Victor Vadney, Desert Willow Publishing

This material is protected by copyright.


Sunday School Today: Witnessing and Winning

Text from today’s Sunday school session:

How can a Christian lead others to Christ? Winning souls to Jesus Christ is one of the greatest occupations in the world today.  Proverbs 11:30.  Although there are no hard and fast rules to insure success in this work, there are some general principles that will prove extremely valuable.  When you witness, it is spiritual warfare.  Before you go into battle put on the whole armor of God one piece at a time from Ephesians 6:11-18.

A. It is of first importance that the soul winner himself be spiritually healthy. He must be constantly feeding on the Word.  He must spend much time in prayer.  He must be yielded to God.  He must confess and abandon any cherished sins.  By thus walking in the Spirit, the Christian will find that the Lord will provide opportunities for effectual witness. This is undoubtedly the Golden Rule of soul winning “Live close to God.” Matthew 4:19. Remember—your life is a continual witness—good, bad or indifferent.

B.  It is a good thing to start each day by asking God to lead us to those whom He wants us to contact.  It is obvious that we cannot speak to everyone we see.  It is also clear that we have no way of knowing by ourselves which souls are “ripe” for salvation, but if we let the Lord lead us, we will work more efficiently and reap more fruit for Him.

C.  Then during the day we should seize the opportunities to speak for Christ. When fellow workers use the Name of the Lord in profanity, for instance, there is often opportunity for a tactful, loving word of testimony.  Religious subjects often come up in conversation—we should make the most of them.  Then again we do not always have to wait for opportunities: we can make them for ourselves.  Worldly men talk freely about politics, the weather and sports. Why should our lips be sealed about Christ, our Redeemer?

D.  Quote the Word of God as much as possible.  Better yet, let them read it.  It is a living Word!  It is the Sword of he Spirit.  Hebrews 4:12.  It has power to reach souls far beyond any words we could ever say.  Every good soldier of Jesus Christ should use this greatest weapon of all. Unsaved men will do everything in their power to stop you from reciting Scripture verses, but don’t stop.  If they say that they don’t believe the Bible, quote more of it.  The Bible teaches sowing and reaping.  There is a time to sow and a time to reap.  It is God that gives the harvest.

If you do not sow there can be no reaping. His Word is the seed, so spread it far and wide. Matthew 13:4-8.

E.  Follow up each contact.  Not many persons are saved the first time they hear the Gospel. Usually they have to be spoken to again and again.  Show a little kindness to them.  Hand them good Gospel literature.  Invite them to attend Gospel meetings with you. Above all, be much in prayer for them.  Do not be discouraged if some are hostile to you.  Opposition is often a sign that they are being convicted by the Holy Spirit, whereas indifference is almost impossible to deal with.

F.  Don’t press for quick decisions.  A false profession is not only worthless, but it may deceive the individual himself, and may do untold harm to the cause of Christ. You be faithful in sowing the seed, and God will be faithful in giving the increase.  John 4:35-38.

G. If you find it difficult to speak to others about the Lord, tell the Lord about it and ask Him to give you strength and courage to witness for Him.  If you really want it, He will give it. Matthew 10:32.

H.  Always carry a good supply of Gospel literature with you.  You can not only pass tracts to those you meet, but can leave them on street cars or buses, in restaurants, or almost any public place.

The rewards of soul winning are tremendous. (1) The present joys of leading a person to Christ are indescribable!  Luke 15:10. (2) How much greater will be the joy in heaven when someone greets you with these words, “It was you who invited me here!” (3) Finally, how incomparable will be the thrill when the Lord Jesus Christ openly confesses you before the assembled hosts of heaven.  Matthew 10:32.

from BBN International, Bible Broadcasting Network



Sunday School Today: Triumph Over Temptation

Note: There was a technical difficulty with the upload of today’s sermon summary.  We apologize for the inconvenience.

Triumph Over Temptation

How does a Christian resist sinful temptations? Whenever a person is saved, a great struggle begins. He still has the old nature; the sinful nature of Adam, which will try to drag him into sin all the time. But he also has the new nature, the life of God, which hates sin and wants to do what is right. The two natures fight against each other continually. The question is which will win. The answer is, “the one you feed.”

Galatians 5:16-17

 16 I say then, walk by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.17 For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want.

Romans 8:5-8

5 For those whose lives are according to the flesh think about the things of the flesh, but those whose lives are according to the Spirit, about the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind-set of the flesh is death, but the mind-set of the Spirit is life and peace. 7 For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so. 8 Those whose lives are in the flesh are unable to please God.

The old nature is incurably bad. It cannot be improved, and it will not be removed until the Christian goes home to heaven. God condemned it when Christ died on the Cross, and He wants Christians to treat it as if it were dead. Don’t encourage it! Don’t feed it! Don’t give it a chance!

Romans 13:14

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.

The new nature inspires the Christian to behave well and to be good. It should be encouraged and fed. This, then, is how the Christian resists temptation—by saying “No” to the world, the flesh and the devil. At the same time he must nourish the new life that is within. Here is a practical suggestion as to how this may be done:

Read the Bible–study, memorize, meditate and obey God’s Word.

Psalm 119:9-11

 9 How can a young man keep his way pure?
    By keeping Your word.

    10 I have sought You with all my heart; 
    don’t let me wander from Your commands.

    11 I have treasured Your word in my heart 
    so that I may not sin against You.

The Word of God helps to keep us from sinning. Be sure, therefore, that you set aside a definite time each day for the reading of God’s Word.

Colossians 3:16

Let the message about the Messiah dwell richly among you, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, and singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, with gratitude in your hearts to God.


Sunday School Today: Christ’s Coming For His Saints

Every Bible student is thrilled to be able to read about events that are still in the future. Only in the Bible is the future revealed. Let’s consider some of these events in the order in which they will happen.

The next event to occur on God’s calendar is the coming of Christ to take His people home to heaven.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, concerning those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve like the rest, who have no hope. 14 Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, in the same way God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep through Jesus.15 For we say this to you by a revelation from the Lord: We who are still alive at the Lord’s coming will certainly have no advantage over those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the archangel’s voice, and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are still alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

This is known as the “Rapture” of the Church. Christ will descend from heaven, the trumpet will sound and the bodies of believers who have died will be raised. Then, living believers will be caught up together with them to meet the Lord in the air.  It will happen in the “twinkling” of an eye.”  Th1s passage of Scripture is the play-by-play account of this event.  Read it slowly and carefully, because it is about you if you know Jesus Christ as your Savior today.

1 Corinthians 15:51-58

51 Listen! I am telling you a mystery:

    We will not all fall asleep, but we will all be changed,

    52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.

    For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible,

    and we will be changed.

    53 Because this corruptible must be clothed with incorruptibility,

    and this mortal must be clothed with immortality.

    54 Now when this corruptible is clothed with incorruptibility,

    and this mortal is clothed with immortality,

    then the saying that is written will take place:

    Death has been swallowed up in victory.

    55 O Death, where is your victory?

    O Death, where is your sting?

    56 Now the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

    57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory

    through our Lord Jesus Christ!

    58 Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Note the following facts about the coming of Christ.

A.  It may happen at any moment.  Revelation 22:7

B.  Only those who are truly saved will participate.  1 Corinthians 15:23

C.  Not all believers will die but all will be changed.  1 Corinthians 15:51

D.  They shall be like Christ.  1 John 3:2; Romans 8:16-25

Romans 8:16-25

16 The Spirit Himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, 17 and if children, also heirs —heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ—seeing that we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to futility —not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it —in the hope 21 that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage of corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children. 22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. 23 And not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits —we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24Now in this hope we were saved, yet hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience.


Sunday School Today: Witnessing to the Nation of Islam

Our Summer Sunday school session on the study of Christianity, Religions & Cults involves the comparative study of Christianity and its foundational principles to some of the world’s more popular religious organizations.  While knowing the principles of each, it is just as important to know how to witness to those persons who are members of a different religion as to the benefits of Christianity.  Today’s lesson was based upon a reprint of an article from the Winter 1998 issue of the Christian Research Journal.

EFFECTIVE EVANGELISM

Witnessing to the Nation of Islam

by Jerry L. Buckner

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan called for the Million Man March to take place in Washington, D.C., on October 16, 1995, and black men across America responded. The response was so enthusiastic that not even the march on Washington by the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., surpassed the crowds that Farrakhan was able to bring together. Why was the Million Man March so effective? Many saw it as a way the black community could stand together. Moreover, it encouraged black males to stand up and be men in their homes and communities.

The official membership of the Nation of Islam has been estimated to be between 19,000 and 30,000. Others have said they have 60,000 across America. Whatever the case, they have far more influence than their numbers would indicate, as the Million Man March demonstrated.

The Nation of Islam represents a serious threat to the Christian community. The growing presence of the Nation of Islam and their attacks on essential Christian doctrines make it difficult to continue ignoring them. The black church must awake to the challenge. There have been two problems the black church has faced in rising to this challenge: (1) the lack of evangelism in fulfilling its role to the community and (2) the lack of biblical discipleship for church members.

Meanwhile, members of the Nation of Islam have proven themselves to be highly motivated and successful in their outreach efforts in the community. Not only are they encouraging young black males to join the Nation of Islam, but they are also recruiting them from our churches. In addition, they have a strong presence in the jails and prisons. This was how Malcolm X and Mike Tyson were recruited. They are out in the community and on the streets training young black males in their peculiar version of Islam. Should we be afraid of the Islamic threat? No, but we should embrace this opportunity to sharpen our beliefs and strengthen our witness.

BASIC BELIEFS

Many African-Americans, including some Christians, regard the Nation of Islam as a Christian organization that is a positive motivating factor in the black community. A review of their basic beliefs, however, will demonstrate that the Nation of Islam is one of the fastest-growing American cults.

The whole basis of the beliefs or theology of the Nation of Islam is an attempt to answer two major questions: (1) “Who are we as a people?” and (2) “What is sin?” The Nation of Islam denies the essentials of the historic Christian faith. The following list of beliefs includes excerpts from the Nation of Islam’s own writings.

Polytheism. The Nation of Islam is a polytheistic religion. Several references in their literature point to a belief in many gods, and there is reference to a council of 24 scientist-gods who write history. One of them acts as God, while the others do the work of getting the future together for the Nation. Black men are themselves referred to as being gods. “You [the black man] are walking around looking for a God to bow to and worship. You are the God!”1

The Gods Are Not Eternal. According to the Nation of Islam, although the spirit of Allah (God) lives on, the gods are not eternal. “We all know that there was a God in the beginning that created all these things and do know that He does not exist today.”2

God Is a Man. They teach that Allah “came to us from the Holy City of Mecca, Arabia, in 1930. He used the name of Wallace D. Fard.”3 “God is a man and we just cannot make Him other than man, lest we make Him an inferior one; for man’s intelligence has no equal in other than man.”4

“Yakub Myth.” A basic teaching in their belief system is the “Yakub myth.” Yakub was one of the council of 24 black scientist-gods. He rebelled against Allah and the council, causing havoc. He created the white race as a race of devils to strike back at the black race. Elijah Muhammad said that black people are not sinners, but that the white man is at fault for their problems.

The Trinity. The Nation of Islam denies the Trinity. “The Christians refer to God as a ‘Mystery’ and a ‘Spirit’ and divide Him into thirds. One part they call the Father, another part the Son, and the third part they call the Holy Ghost — which makes the three, one. This is contrary to both nature and mathematics. The law of mathematics will not allow us to put three into one.”5 “Making the Son and the Holy Ghost the equal with the Father is absolutely sinful.”6

Deity of Christ. The Nation of Islam rejects the essential Christian doctrine that Jesus is both God and man. Jesus “did not consider himself to be God or a son of God or equal of Him….Jesus was only a man and prophet of Allah.”7 In a four-hour videotape of Louis Farrakhan’s 1994 Easter Service, “The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Imprisonment of Minister Farrakhan,” Farrakhan discusses the crucifixion and relates it to himself, saying, “I am hanging on the cross right now. I’m on Calvary right now and the more I suffer, the more our people are raised to consciousness….you don’t have to look for Jesus. I represent him. I was born to die for you and I love the thought of dying for you.”8

The Holy Spirit. The Nation of Islam denies that the Holy Spirit is God. They view the Spirit as a “spook.”

The so-called Negroes think of God in terms of something without form (spirit or spook) and they believe that His throne is somewhere in the sky….The teachings of Christianity have put God out of Man into nothing (spirit). Can you imagine God without form but yet interested in our affairs who are the human beings? What glory would an immaterial God get out of a material world? We also learn that a spirit is not self-independent; it is dependent upon air, water and food. Without it, the spirit can have no life. So how can a spirit be God?9

The Bible. Although they do make use of it when it does not contradict their own teachings, the Nation of Islam believes the Bible has been tampered with by the white man. “The Bible is now being called the Poison Book by God Himself, and who can deny that it is not poison?…the Book can’t be recognized as the pure and Holy Word of God.”10

Atonement and Salvation. The Nation of Islam rejects the essential Christian doctrines of atonement and salvation. “We know we have a Savior. In 1877 a Savior was born [i.e., Wallace Fard]….A Savior is born, not to save the Jews but to save the poor Negro….A Savior has come to save you from sin, not because you are by nature a sinner but because you have followed a sinner.”11

The Human Race. As we’ve seen, the Nation of Islam teaches a racist doctrine that the black race is divine and righteous by nature. They were the creators of the universe, and they are taught they are black gods.

Heaven and Hell. Members of the Nation of Islam do not believe in the hereafter, whether it be heaven or hell. “I have no alternative than to tell you that there is not any life beyond the grave. There is no justice in the sweet bye and bye. Immortality is NOW, HERE.”12 To the Nation of Islam, heaven and hell are regarded as special conditions here on earth now, not as special places to go after death. “The Christians say, ‘Confess the Lord Jesus Christ or you (who are other than the Christians) will burn in hell forever.’ That hell must not be so hot that one can burn in it forever and never burn up.”13

The Nation of Islam teaches other anti-Christian doctrines besides those that have been cited above. But the examples we have considered are certainly among the most significant and should be sufficient to acquaint you with their theology.

WITNESSING TO THE NATION OF ISLAM

African-American Christians and white Christians have different responsibilities in witnessing to the Nation of Islam. Much can be learned from the Nation of Islam itself. If the church can learn the things that attract people to the Nation of Islam, then they will be better able to witness to those in the group. The success of the Nation of Islam is not so much due to what the they are doing but to what the church has failed to do.

The Responsibility of Black Churches. The black church today has been passive and impotent in addressing racism as a sin. The church must address racism in the black community; if this is not done, then many black youths will be lost to the Nation of Islam. The reason why the Nation of Islam is extremely appealing to black men is because they address white racism and have a leader, Louis Farrakhan, who boldly defends black racism. The church must address these issues.

The church must develop a strong presence not only in the black community, but also in the jails and prisons — especially ministering to young black men. Jesus warned, “I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me” (Matt. 25:43, NIV).

The church must develop economic empowerment programs for the community. The Nation of Islam has a strong economic base and is very good at providing for the have-nots in our society. They have designed a system of economic education and empowerment for the black community. The church can do more than the Nation of Islam in this area, if Christians all work together. The church can develop economic education programs that will have a dynamic effect on the black community.

The church needs to be involved in the communities and clean them up. The Nation of Islam emphasizes eating better, avoiding drugs, alcohol, and smoking. They work on cleaning up the ghettos and slums by getting rid of drug pushers, prostitutes, and other negative elements in the community. The church can also do these things and more.

The Nation of Islam emphasizes a strong family structure — including fatherhood and black manhood. The church needs to provide mentorship and strong surrogate fatherhood to young black men who are without a good male role model. The church can have Christian black males work with young black males in the community in the areas of developing friendships, providing information, or obtaining jobs while helping them with housing and assisting with their educational activities or endeavors. The church needs to have more youth activities. Much can be done to get youth in the community excited about Christian activities.

The Responsibility of White Churches. It is very difficult for white Christians to approach members of the Nation of Islam in an evangelistic way. This is true because of all of the racism that has taken place. As a reaction to white racism, black racism took form. The Nation of Islam’s emergence was a direct response to racism. Nevertheless, even though it is difficult to approach a member of the Nation of Islam, there are things white Christians can do.

White Christians need to take an aggressive stance against racism in America. They need to join hands with the black church to fight against any form of racism, because it is a sin. They need to strategically join together in an evangelistic reconciliation, a Christlike endeavor, in order to break down the barriers of racism. They need to worship together — a black church coming together with a white church, even exchanging pulpits. They can join hands as co-laborers to reach people in the inner cities. The white pastor can preach sermons from the pulpit against racism. Every person who comes to the local church must be received with open arms, no matter what color he or she is.

The white church needs to work with the black church in developing partnerships around mentorship and surrogate fatherhood to black males in the urban cities. One pilot project in Houston serves as an example of successful mentorship. Several white suburban churches joined some urban black churches in an effort to do something about crime in the black community. Their idea was in direct correlation to the fact that most crimes in the black community were committed by young black males who lacked a positive male role model in their lives. The churches provided substitute fathers for many of the fatherless black youths in the city. Results were astounding. Crimes committed by blacks, especially black youths, dropped dramatically. Having a father image made a significant impact upon these black youths.

One thing is certain: We need to develop an agenda for reaching the black community.

Don’ts of Witnessing to the Nation of Islam. Don’t try to convince them to get saved through your own strength. Trust the Holy Spirit to convince them to believe in Jesus. If God could save the apostle Paul, He can also save Louis Farrakhan and members of the Nation of Islam.

Don’t become hostile with the members of the Nation of Islam. They are not enemies to be conquered. They are fellow human beings for whom Christ died on the cross.

Don’t overwhelm them with Scripture. They will not listen if they are overwhelmed.

Don’t use a King James Bible because, according to some Muslims, King James himself translated this version and corrupted it. I recommend using the New International Version or the New American Standard Version in witnessing to them. Don’t use a Bible in which you have written notes or made marks. This indicates disrespect for the Word of God to members of the Nation of Islam.

Avoid all pictures of God, Jesus, or other biblical personalities as white with blue eyes and blond hair.

Don’t use the word “Trinity” because this word often connotes the worship of three gods to the Nation of Islam. You can let them know from the Scriptures that God is indeed one Being, and this one Being exists eternally as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — three persons.

In dealing with the members of the Nation of Islam, remove all offenses except the cross. They view Christian symbols as offensive.

Do’s of Witnessing to the Nation of Islam. Remember your greatest weapon in witnessing is prayer. This is true when witnessing to any cultic group.

Learn to demonstrate love and patience when witnessing. “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35, NIV).

Know what you believe and why you believe it regarding the essentials of the historic Christian faith before you even begin witnessing. Know the original even before beginning to attempt to learn about the counterfeit.

All Muslim groups are different. Know which Black Muslim group you are witnessing to. Share the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as God manifested in the flesh with the Nation of Islam members. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life: No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV). Remind those in the Nation of Islam that according to the Koran, “No true prophet of God can lie.” If that’s true, since they believe that Jesus is a prophet of God, then Jesus told the truth about being the only truth and way to God.

Let the Nation of Islam members know that true righteousness doesn’t come through man’s so-called righteousness, but through the righteousness of Christ’s perfect life imputed as a free gift to those who believe.

Elijah Muhammad told his followers, “The greatest hindrance to the truth of our people [members of the Nation of Islam] is the preacher of Christianity.”14 My message to you is, Keep on being a hindrance and telling them what is right. Be encouraged! There are many who have come out of the Nation of Islam to become strong Christians in the church.

Dr. Jerry L. Buckner has degrees from California Baptist College, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, and San Francisco Theological Seminary. He is a pastor, counselor, lecturer, and the host of the Contending for the Faith radio broadcast on KFAX AM 1100 in the San Francisco Bay Area.

NOTES

1Elijah Muhammad, Our Savior Has Arrived (Newport News, VA: United Brothers Communications, n.d.), 35.
2Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (Philadelphia: House of Knowledge Publications, 1965), 9.
3Elijah Muhammad, The Supreme Wisdom, vol. 1 (Newport News, VA.: The National Newport News and Commentator, 1957), 11.
4Muhammad, Message, 6.
5Muhammad, Message, 1.
6Muhammad, Our Savior, 152.
7Elijah Muhammad, The Supreme Wisdom, vol 2 (Hampton, VA: U.B. & U.S. Communications, n.d.), 80.
8Videotape of 3 April 1994 Easter message by Louis Farrakhan delivered at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, Illinois, entitled, “The Crucifixion of Jesus: The Imprisonment of Minister Farrakhan.”
9Muhammad, Supreme Wisdom, vol. 2, 9-10.
10Muhammad, Message, 94.
11Ibid., 237.
12Ibid., 219.
13Muhammad, Supreme Wisdom, vol. 2, 42.
14Muhammad, Message, 18.

The Christian Research Journalis a publication of the Christian Research Institute, PO Box 7000, Rancho Santa Marguarita CA 92688; Phone 949.858.6100.


Lifestyle Evangelism

A special thanks to Lois Thiessen, our guest for today during our Sunday school and morning worship service.  Lois is presently serving with her husband, Duane, as missionaries in Uruguay with the Christian and Missionary Alliance.  She and her husband have been in service as missionaries since 1979, with the first 23 years of service in Peru before being reassigned to Uruguay.  They are both instructors at the Bible Institute in Uruguay, which prepares persons to enter ministry full-time and plant churches.  Throughout their journey, they have played an important role in assisting many others to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.  Duane and Lois have three children and a new grandchild that was just born this past September.

Here is the transcript of her message to our Sunday school class on November 21, 2010:

I love what I do.  We work in Uruguay, South America, and I can’t think of any place I would rather be than in the center of God’s will.  One of the things that we do with our students in the Bible Institute—and that is our primary responsibility—is to teach them Bible theology, practical ministry subjects, in an attempt to raise up a new generation of leaders and pastors for our Alliance churches in Uruguay.  One of the things they have just recently done in the last three—well, actually it started about five years ago—is a restructuring program of the Bible Institute, and in that, what they have tried to do is that every course includes practical application of what they are studying.  Prior to that, it was basically academic, and then they were to find the way to apply that when they went into their ministry situations in the church.  So, in each of our courses, whether they be Bible theology or practical ministry subjects, we look for ways to take them into a walk of experiencing what we are talking about.  And I had the fun of teaching evangelism.

Now, I have to admit to you that I have never felt that my strength or my gifting was in evangelism, but I believe that scripture teaches that every one of us is a witness to the power of God—and to the changing—the power of Jesus to transform lives.  And that is going to take us into evangelism whether we think about it or not.  But there are people—I would like to differentiate—who have a gift as an evangelist, and that is their primary involvement.  We use the book written by Bill Hybels on Becoming a Contagious Christian—I highly recommend it.  He wrote a second book called Just Walk Across the Room—talking about being willing to move out of our comfort zones, and be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading to people that are around us that are isolated, and be willing to listen and hear their story.  I’ll back up a bit and come back to one of his main concepts, but he starts from authentic Christian lifestyle—that’s our starting point if we expect to ever win anybody to Christ.  Because if our life does not back what we speak, it will just wash out the testimony that we give.  And so we talk a lot about where we are at in our own personal lives.  And then, we walked for a month in a series of homework, and our purpose in the initial homework assignments in that evangelism class was to do the groundwork to earn the right to speak.  You see, so often when we go to an evangelism seminar, or we go to some kind of an evangelism motivational experience or class, the idea is how do we talk the gospel? And so we wanted to start with how do we walk the gospel.  One of the things in an article that I read in a—I think it was a Christianity Today years ago talking about the wonder of it all.  It talked of a 90-year old man who walked with his bible under one arm and his newspaper under the other arm.  And he said my purpose is this—“I read my bible to know what God is doing, and I read my newspaper to find out where He’s doing it.”  As you see the moving around the world and what is taking place in the nations, it speaks to what God said was coming—and he said “the wonder of it all when you observe the world around you, and you see the hand of God at work.”  And so we talk to our students about first observing—and work through not just their values are—what their priorities are and what their evaluation of the problems in our society are—but to begin to observe and see.  And as they would go out and observe their communities, they began to feel what was taking place.  They began to see the materialism that is our priority in the country of Uruguay.  They began to see how much importance we put in education, but how low a priority we put on God or His Word.  And as they began to look at people and see sad faces and troubled hearts, and conflict and division, they began to understand why God reached out to this desperate, desperate world.  And then, they were sent to people to talk and ask questions—ask them what they value, what they see as problems in society, and what they saw as the world that we were leaving to the next generation—and we’re going to end on that point in these twenty-five minutes—because the world that they felt they were leaving to the next generation was a world that was corrupted, contaminated, hopeless, desperate, violent.  And all of sudden you’re saying you’ve got these values of family and hope, and love and harmony—and this is the kind of world we’re leaving?  Then where is the discrepancy?  How come I’m not able to live the values that I hold so dear?  And you know the answers to that.  And as the people began to see how sin takes us down a road that inevitably leaves disaster and destruction around us—what a need there is to get the gospel message out!  But I am very aware, as I move down that road of teaching my students in the classroom that I have to live what I’m teaching.

And so I’ve asked God to give me people in every age group that I can be sharing the gospel with.  When I was about 13, I asked God to help me to remember every stage of my life so that I would never get to be one of the adults that forgot what it was like to be a kid.  And so you see I can’t live without getting down on the floor and playing with children, because I remember what it felt like to be four and five years old.  And I can’t live without frolicking in a swimming pool, or playing games with eight to twelve year olds, because I remember how much fun it was to have adult friends that would do that with me.  And I can’t stand looking at new mothers without getting involved in their lives, because I remember what it was like to have young children—and people who said, “enjoy it—they’ll grow up soon enough,” and you’re just tearing your hair out because you don’t know what to do next.

And so God has given me friends in all those different ages of life.  And I want to tell you a story about one of them because it overlaps with the story of our students in the Bible Institute.  One of our pastors and his wife had difficult times in their family situation.  Their son, who was not really living for the Lord, was in a very critical motorcycle accident at the age of eighteen.  He was in intensive care for a couple of days and then passed away.  His sister, who had been buddies like that with him just turned against God—against the church—and couldn’t understand why God would take her brother.  And she started to walk down a road that took her to hardness of heart.  She made a bad choice in her marriage decision, and (there was) a lot of conflict in their home—separated a couple of times but kept coming back together—and longing for a child.  But eight years passed, and she had no children.  Her parents prayed for her, the church was praying for her—and God gave her the gift of a child—the ability to conceive.  And she knew that it came from God.  I had tried to get to know that girl.  Her Mom had asked me to see her because the daughter and I lived in the same city—the mother lived farther away.  And the one time I met her, she was so culturally courteous to me that I knew a door was being slammed in my face.  But I thought God will bring the time when I can get to know her on a different ground.  Just a few months after that baby was born, the baby had bronchitis, and the mom also had bronchitis.  She took an antibiotic that she had an allergic reaction to, and the doctor thought they were going to lose her.  She got a strong wake-up call that she was not in control of her life—and that she needed to recommit her life to God.  She wanted her baby to live, and she wanted to live to enjoy her baby’s life.  And her Mom phoned me and said, “you know, Jackie’s not doing well—do you think you could just go and visit her?” I didn’t know what kind of a reception I would get that day, but as the door opened, she just threw herself into my arms and burst into tears, and I thought, ‘Well, this is different.’  And that was the beginning of a friendship.  And that day she was so sick, she took me right into her bedroom.  She hopped into bed and I took care of the baby—and we talked.  And tears rolled down her face as she talked about her battle with God and her battle with the church, and her desire now to bring up her child in the faith of God—to bring up her child to know the Word of God, but an inability to know how to come back.

And so we started a journey together, where I took her hand and we started walking back together.  She had met three women in prenatal classes, and they became friends and would get together maybe once a month.  And she started inviting me to that group.  Now, listen to the composition of this group—one of the girls is a graduate from our bible school—well, actually she was in our last year at our Bible Institute, but she had a baby together with these girls.  Another one—her Mom and her brothers and sisters had gone to an Alliance church in a small town outside of Rivera, but she had chosen to live with a fellow, have a baby, and was far from God.  The other one had been brought up Catholic (and) had no desire to have anything to do with God.  But these four girls came to love each other.  And that was four years ago, and we still meet together.  And two of those girls now are following God—the one of them, she and her husband are in one of our church plants helping in the teaching program.  The other one is still quite resistant to spirituality, but very open to love.  And so, in each of the times we get together, when it’s at my house, we do a little teaching activity.  The moms and the kids decorate cupcakes together.  The last time they came in(to) my home, they drew their hands and they drew pictures of what their hands do together.  And then they drew their feet, and they drew pictures of where their feet go together.  And then I talked to them about how as moms we’re models, and they (the children) will follow us whether we go bad or whether we go good.

And then I talked to my evangelism class, and I say ‘what are you doing to listen to people’s hearts? How are you loving on the next generation in order to reach them for Jesus Christ?’  And so as the evangelism students went out, they listened as they interviewed people.  And I said ‘you are interviewing—you’re not preaching.’ And as they listened to hearts of people who said, “I didn’t know you cared what I thought.”  Interesting—we go so quick to speaking and so slow to listen—they began to get a passion to see God work in the lives of their family and their friends and their neighbors and their workplace.

I mentioned the other day that one of the women went into a bank after we had talked about how to steer normal conversations into spiritual themes.  And as she put her money down to pay a debt in that bank, she said to the banker, “I’m so glad that somebody has paid a debt much larger for me.” And the guy said, “Really? Tell me about it.” All she did was talk the guy’s language.  She entered his world and began to share a little message—a little tiny bit of the gospel.  And she said, “I had a debt so big of sin and Jesus paid that debt for me—I don’t ever have to pay it.”  And then she came back to class and she says, “but then I didn’t know what to say!”  And I said ‘that’s why we’ve got a few more classes yet,’ and we kept on going.

I remember when one of the missionaries from Montevideo came up and he shared what they were doing to try and build bridges into a community that is very resistant to the gospel—the upper middle and the upper class people in the city of Montevideo—less than one percent Christian.  They have been brought up in an agnostic, atheistic environment—very humanitarian, philosophical, (and) materialistic—but God—He’s not even a blip on their computer screen.  He doesn’t enter their life.  They aren’t out seeking Him, and the only way to begin to let the gospel enter into that community is (that) they did what we saw Jesus did—was to move into those communities and live among them—become a part of their life.  Go to the places that they go—be involved in activities that they are involved in.  And begin to look for those bridges that will permit them to share their faith in Jesus Christ.  They’re living authentic Christian lives—they’re loving those people to Jesus, and earning the right to say why they are the way they are.  And so, Tom came up to talk to our evangelism class and talk about relational evangelism—lifestyle evangelism, not evangelism as an activity where we say, “well, from four o’clock to six o’clock tonight, we’re going out to evangelize.” No—he said where your whole life you live intentionally, and every opportunity—every door that opens that crosses your path, you walk through it in the power of Jesus and share your faith when He gives you the opportunity.  And one of the guys was just sitting there visibly agitated. And he’s quite a verbal guy, and I knew that any minute, something was going to blow—and I wasn’t disappointed.  Just a couple minutes later—poof—out it came!  “Just a minute,” he said, “what you’re saying takes too long!”  And Tom said, “Yeah, it takes time.”  But he said, “You know, when you go in with an aggressive form of evangelism into that area, they just turn it off.  A barrier goes up, and there’s resistance.”  And Luis, the student said, “I’ve just kind of always thought that my responsibility is to get the message out there,” and he said, “you tell them that Jesus came, He came to save them, that they’re sinners, they want to accept Him, they can—then I wash my hands of them.  If they don’t want it, I’ll go somewhere else and talk to somebody else.”  And he said, “But you’re talking about building a friendship and a relationship.”  And Tom said, “What did Jesus do?”  “Awww!” he said, and then I could see he was kind of moving (but) Tom kept talking. And finally, Luis—he’s looking for another out.  And he said, “Well, I don’t know.  Maybe that works in Montevideo, but I don’t think it works in Rivera.”  And I said to him, ‘I sure hope it works, Luis, because that’s what I’m using with my neighbors and with my friends like Jackie.’  Looking for those bridges—those little times that they invite you into their world, that they invite you into their realm of thinking.  And you move in like Jesus did and you begin to look for cues that relate to the gospel.  And so, Luis said, “Well,” a little bit agitated, “maybe.” Funny, when we took him into reading a couple of chapters in a book called The Church of the Irresistible Influence written by Robert Lewis about a church in Little Rock, Arkansas that began to look for ways to build bridges into the community.  Every chapter of that book is introduced by a real-life bridge story.  Some of them fell apart because the foundation wasn’t adequate.  Some they said could never be built, and (yet) they were built.  And they used that as a jumping off point to tell about their experience in growing in relational evangelism.  And as they read the last two chapters of that book, I might have known—my objections came from Luis, and he’s kind of agitated again in class after reading these two chapters, and he said, “Well, I think that works in the United States because you guys got money there, and you’ve got the money to do these programs there.” And I said, ‘Luis, I’m not talking about how big the program is—I’m not talking about how much money they put into it.’  I said, ‘One little church started with one idea, and then it mushroomed—it grew, and it went to other churches, and a community got involved.’ I said, ‘Take the principles and apply the principles.  Don’t look at the dollar signs and try and get that amount of money to work with.’ When Luis graduated, he went back to the church that he had been born and bred in as a Christian, and he became one of their strong leaders in that church.  That church has now started small groups in the community, and Luis is one of the leaders in a home, reaching out to neighbors.  And Luis’ understanding now—it’s all about relationship.

You see, God is in relationship.  He is a triune God.  He’s called us into relationship with Him.  And He calls us to live in fellowship—in relationship in the body of Jesus Christ.  And you know, when I’m on that road to heaven, I want to take as many people as I can with me through the door of heaven.  And God is giving opportunities to do that.

One of the classes, as they had the opportunity to finally get to the point of being able to share the gospel in an organized way, and just see what peoples’ response would be—out of nine students, six or seven of them shared their faith that week—three of them led someone to the Lord.  These are people that don’t have a high (level) academic training, but they have a heart for God and a passion for people.  And as I mentioned in the message the other night, that class—we didn’t even need chairs that day because they were just walking on air when they came into class.  And one of the students said, “I didn’t know that sharing my faith could be so easy.”  But she did it with somebody that she knew in an environment that she knew with an example that she had learned that she was secure in.

One of the examples we use is the example of marriage.  You see, when Duane (her husband) told me that he loved me, it was one of the most exciting days of my life.  And when he proposed marriage, I couldn’t believe it!  And when I walked out of that restaurant after he had proposed marriage, I could have gone the rest of my life saying, ‘Do you know what? Somebody loves me!’  I could have gone the rest of my life saying, ‘Somebody invited me into (a) relationship.’  And I could have basked in the warmth of that love without ever making a response.  But that would have been really stupid.  I mean, he was offering me to come into a relationship with him, but it required a response on my part.  It required a yes or a no.  And I think you figured out what I said.  I said yes, and then, not only did I have the offering of that love, I had all of the benefits—the privileges of that relationship.  And when we go out to share our faith in Jesus Christ, use the example of marriage and say, ‘Do you think someone would be stupid enough to say “no”? I’ll just enjoy the fact that someone said once, “they love me.”’  Well, God has said, “He loves me.”  And I could go all through life going, ‘God loves me.’ Isn’t that wonderful?  And there are many people in our culture here in the states that bask in the knowledge that God loves them without ever having committed themselves to a personal relationship with Him.  They need to respond, and we need to be the ones to give them that opportunity to respond.

And so our students walked into that experience, and began to see it wasn’t a hard thing—it was a fun thing, it was an adventure to go through an open door and give someone the opportunity to not just bask in the knowledge of God’s love, but to enjoy the privileges of that love because they said yes to Him.  One of things our students struggle with, and I think we struggle with back here in the United States, is not all of us are evangelists in terms of our way of thinking of evangelists.  But Bill Hybels in his books takes us into a very interesting chapter to evaluate ‘what am I like?’  ‘What has God made me like?’  And he talks about six different kinds of evangelists.  I want you to listen and think which one fits me.  You’ve got Peter, the proclaimer.  He was the perfect choice for the day of Pentecost.  He got up and preached to a multitude, and three thousand people accepted Christ.  That was my idea of a typical evangelist.  But scripture doesn’t stop there.  There’s Paul, the one who would sit down with intellectual groups, and he had an apologetic approach, where he would reason with them and he would start from where they were.  ‘I’ve walked through your cities; I’ve seen your altars to the gods that you worship, and I’ve seen one to the unknown God.  He’s the One I want to tell you about.’  And so he moved in an intellectual approach of apologetics—a defense of the faith, and an invitation to think about it.  There was the Samaritan woman who couldn’t express what just happened but she went to a whole village and she said, “Come and hear someone talk who told me everything about my life.”  Now that town didn’t need to be told about her life—they knew her lifestyle.  And they wanted to know what this guy was like.  And the town went out to hear Jesus because of the invitation of that woman, and they spent two to three days listening to his teaching and it says that many people believed in that town because of the change in that Samaritan woman’s life.  The blind man, I love that guy, they called him up before a council and they said, “Explain to us what took place.” And he goes, “I can’t explain it.  All I know is that I was blind, and now I see!  Doesn’t that make sense to you?”  He gave a personal testimony of a transforming change in his life.  He couldn’t give all of the theological arguments.  He didn’t know what the process was, but he knew the change and could express what the change was.  Uh—there’s one more in there I’m missing.  Dorcas was a woman who did acts of service—they had such a profound impact on her community that the people were lined up crying when she passed away.  And God gave that woman life to continue doing acts of kindness, which spoke of His love and transformed people in that neighborhood.  Oh, yeah, my favorite one—this is the guy I like—Matthew.  He had a party.  I love to have parties.  I love to have people come in and have fun together because I think life should be fun.  And it should be an adventure.  And I think that, in the midst of that, we should find Christ.  He’s the one that gives us joy—life and life abundantly.  And Matthew said “Hey you guys, come on over.  Listen to this guy I met.”  And they celebrated—they ate together.  And they got to know somebody who changed their lives and their ways of thinking.  So who do you identify with?

I want to end with what is my desire and my testimony in life, and I’d like to challenge you with this.  Psalm 71—I had always taken it as my mother’s psalm as she came to the end of her life.  My mom passed away last June, and this year it’s become very evident to me—I’m now there, and it’s my psalm.  Listen to these words and you’ll know why.  Verse 17 and 18 of Psalm 71:  “Since my youth, O God, you have taught me.  And to this day I declare Your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God.”  Listen to this, “Until I declare Your power to the next generation, your might to those who are to come.”

I like being with people of my age, too, but my heart’s passion is to be with people that are younger than me—to be with people that are coming up behind me.  My desire is to turn over a world to them, or at least a corner of the world, that looks different than what we hear on the news every night. I want to turn over to them the potential for peace, for joy, for love—for meekness, for self-control—in a world that is totally out of control.  And as I meet with my moms and their little kids, I love on those little kids.  The one whose mom is resistant to God—she sat with the other three little children when they were three years old and listened to the Christmas story as I used the little figures that my mother-in-law made for me out of plastic and wool.  And we told the Christmas story and how Jesus came to give us life.  And a year later, that little four-year-old saw a Christmas Nativity scene.  And she said to her mom, “Mommy, just like at Lois’ house.”  The bible says that a little child will lead them; and so I’ll love on those kids and I’ll love on those moms.  That mom lost a baby (a) short time ago, and when I went to see her, I took her a rose and I said to her, “This rose will only last for a couple of days, but it’s a thing of beauty.”  And I said, “God put life in you, and that life only lasted for a couple of months but it brought joy and beauty as you waited for that little one.  And now, the flower is wilted.  The bible says that little child is in the presence of the Lord.  And you live without that presence with you, but never lose the joy of the beauty of those few months of expectancy.”  Find ways to make bridges into your community.  Find ways to touch the generation that is following you.  Someone said to me in a church that we were in these two months, and I’m coming to an end, we were sitting with some of us older generations, more my type, my age group, and one of them said, “You know, the young people in the church—they never come to us.”  I said, “You know what—we’re the adults here.  We’re the ones that should be going to them.”  You know, I understand that sometimes we don’t feel comfortable with them, but we’re the ones that have been through life—we’re the ones that have something to say and to share.  We’re the ones that need to make bridges into their world and say, “Do you know what?  God is powerful.  He transforms our lives.  I see life in you.  I want to pray for you.  I want to know what happened this week.  Who did you talk to?  Who hurt you?  Can I pray for you?”  You know, it’s not their responsibility to come into our world, but as we move into theirs, they will come into our world.  They’ll open their lives and they’ll tell us what’s happened.  The other day, I went up to a couple of kids in a church.  We were at a potluck, and I said to them, “What is it that you love about your church?”  You know what they told me?  “We’re not a group of people here—we’re a family.”  I thought, ‘Nobody paid them to say that.’ Nobody told them they were going to be asked that question.  That came out of the bottoms of their heart.  And I thought, ‘what a tribute to that church.’  They feel love—they feel accepted—they feel like they have a part.  When the kids are running around and noisy, what is our reaction?  When the music isn’t our style, what is our reaction?  We need to move into their world—build bridges into their world, and love on them.  And let them see through our life how much God loves them.

One of the pictures we used in one of our seminars was of sandbags in a war.  Sometimes we forget in the church—we forget in our families, we’re on the same team.  We’re fighting on the same side.  We’re on God’s side, and we’re going to have victory as we fight together.  There’s an enemy out there who seeks to destroy and to kill and to rob, but as we work together, he (Satan) will not prevail.