Harry Left The Church
We know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love (Romans 5:5).
Harry had been reared in a Christian fellowship which was very legalistic, narrow and judgmental.
He had never really been exposed to the love and forgiveness of God through faith in Jesus Christ. Thus, when he became a mature man he decided to put all of his "churchianity" behind him. He wanted nothing more to do with the religion that had kept him in bondage, fear and ignorance.
Pastors and ministries must be careful and proclaim all of the truths of God's Word. Paul said to the believers at Ephesus: "For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God" (Acts 20:27, KJV).
Yet we must give heavy emphasis to God's love and the grace and forgiveness available to all people through faith in the great sacrifice of God's Son, our wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
This was the emphasis that God placed on my heart when I first became a Christian and is what drew me to Him. This has also been the emphasis of Campus Crusade for Christ.
While the Bible has many commandments and rules, it is first a love letter from God to the human race, revealing His great plan of redemption, by taking our sins upon Himself and the shedding of His own blood. One of the most moving and inspiring topical studies in the Bible is the "scarlet thread of redemption" from Genesis through Revelation, which tells this awesome story of God's love demonstrated through Jesus' blood.
As we study and grow, we learn that God's commandments are not arbitrary, but are for our own good. They set the important boundaries that we need to avoid trouble and problems.
We must not withhold from people the ugly realities of an eternity without God in hell for those who refuse His love and forgiveness and the penalty of sin, both temporally and eternally, because Jesus Himself spoke of these things often. That can also be a motivator for people to receive Christ and come into the Kingdom.
But let us always emphasize God's great love and not encumber new believers with numerous man-made rules and load them with condemnations. We must proclaim that "there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1, NLT).
If "Harry," mentioned above, had been in a church which faithfully exalts Christ and preaches His inspired Word, the magnet of God's love would have been so irresistible that he would have never left the faith.
Yours for fulfilling the Great Commission each year until our Lord returns,
The late Dr. Bill Bright was Founder and President/Chairman Emeritus of Campus Crusade for Christ, an organization which began as a campus ministry in 1951 and now has more than 27,000 full-time staff and up to 500,000 trained volunteer staff in 196 countries in areas representing 99.6 percent of the world's population. In the past 50 years, Campus Crusade for Christ has seen approximately 6 billion exposures to the gospel worldwide. The film, "JESUS," which Bright conceived and funded through Campus Crusade for Christ, is the most widely translated and viewed film of any type ever produced. Since its use began in 1980, the film has been translated into 839 languages and viewed or listened to by over 5.7 billion people in 228 countries. Dr. Bright was also the author of more than fifty books. Visit campuscrusade.com for more details
Copyright (c) 2003, Bill Bright. All rights reserved. However, readers may copy and distribute this message as desired, without restrictions in number, as long as the content is not altered. Forwarding this e-mail to friends is encouraged. For many evangelistic and spiritual growth materials, visit the Campus Crusade for Christ Web site at ccci.org. See campuscrusade.com for Bill Bright's own materials.