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Alistair Begg on Sharing Your Faith

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Here at Parkside, we’re studying Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. In chapter 2, he lays out what we are by nature – sinful, alienated from God, and unable to save ourselves. He then contrasts that with what we have become by grace – alive, raised, and seated with Christ. Both Paul’s direct approach and concise message offer a good model to follow when introducing others to Jesus. Let me encourage you to read the passage.

I mention this because this month our series, Crossing the Barriers, is a topical study on evangelism. We’re called by Jesus to “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel…” (Mark 16:15) and that endeavor is challenging. Striking up a conversation about Christ with friends, neighbors, and colleagues is an intimidating prospect. The Crossing the Barriers series seeks to provide step-by-step help for approaching these discussions so I hope you’ll have an opportunity to listen.

A good way to talk to others about Jesus is the way a beggar tells another beggar where to find bread. Patience and compassion should mark our presentation of the Gospel. It’s important to keep in mind that we were once dead in our trespasses and sins and have no basis for boasting. It is only because of God’s love and great mercy that we are made alive in Christ – saved by grace. Paul writes, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your ow

n doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8). Keeping this forefront in our minds enables us to approach the task of evangelism with the proper sense of humility.

It’s also important to understand that our part is to share the Gospel with clarity and conviction and God’s part is to open blind eyes and soften hard hearts. “Evangelism is man’s work, but the giving of the faith is God’s” (J.I. Packer). A good rule of thumb is to pray, rely on the Holy Spirit to guide the discussion, and then pray more.

This Crossing the Barriers series comes with a comprehensive study guide. It’s very useful in a group setting but can also be completed individually. We’re also making available a resource that will provide further help. My long-time friend Derek Prime wrote a concise (only 60 pages) book (This Way to Life: Discovering Life to the Full) that explains the essential facts of Christianity. It’s a wonderfully compelling overview to share with those questioning these things.


John MacArthur on Straight Answers About Creation

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johnatdeskI spotted a trend in the earliest days of this campaign season. You may have noticed it, too.

Throughout the debates and interviews, the news media kept raising questions designed to shame and embarrass candidates who self-identify as Christians, often leading to some awkward moments. The “gotcha” questions go something like this:

Do you believe that God created humans and other animals in their present form, or do you believe that humans and other animals evolved biologically over time?

Do you believe the earth is 5,000 years old?

Do you believe the Bible story of Adam and Eve is literally true?

The point of that sort of question is clear. Those asking it want to make public whether the candidate thinks scientifically, or submits his or her reason to theology. That’s precisely how the world distinguishes itself from Christianity: You can either be reasonable and think scientifically, or (if you are woefully behind the times) you can do what biblically minded Christians do and cling to doctrine and theology. The assumption is that Christian belief is unreasonable, irrational, and unscientific—a relic of the Dark Ages.

That is the dominant, dogmatic position held today by a large portion of our population, including those in influential fields such as entertainment, business, the news media, and education. As a result, if it becomes known that you believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis 1, you’re likely to be subjected to some questions. Questions perhaps prompted by genuine curiosity—but perhaps motivated by straight-up hostility. You may encounter coworkers, friends, family members—maybe even members of your congregation—who embrace evolutionary theory and relish challenging your beliefs. Or perhaps you or someone you know has been intimidated into silence, convinced that Scripture doesn’t have adequate answers and can’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. Either way, the questions are myriad and not always easy to answer.

Yet what we believe about creation—how we answer those questions—matters a great deal.

If you deny the literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation, you’ve undermined every major doctrine of the Bible, including the sovereignty of God, the inerrancy of Scripture, the depravity of man, and the gospel itself. If Genesis is not divinely, authoritatively, and inerrantly true and sufficient, all moral obligations to God are null and void. It’s no coincidence that fornication, adultery, and homosexuality are being celebrated today. We live in a Romans 1 world where people have suppressed the evident truth about God’s reign as Creator. The result is that God has given them over to their lusts. The unrestrained, disastrous plunge into sin we’re witnessing is both the cause and result of God’s judgment.

Back in 2014, I was invited to preach on the pivotal issue of origins at a conference hosted by a highly respected, Christian-led creationist organization. Because the issues at stake are so monumental, I want to share with you the message I gave.

“Straight Answers About Creation” is a timely lesson that gets to the theological, doctrinal foundation of the creation-evolution question. It will help firm up your confidence in Scripture and your convictions about its veracity, giving you a bold, clear approach to answering the skeptics. I know you’re going to find it encouraging and helpful.


Upcoming Highlights for Truth for Life with Alistair Begg

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Truth for Life - Encore

Encore 2016

August 2-September 2
Scripture: Selected

Turning from sin and turning to Christ are marks of a converted life, but what does life look like after conversion? Encore 2016 brings together a collection of listener favorites from the Old and New Testaments to answer this question. In these messages, Alistair Begg explores how knowing God changes everything. Our relationships, words, deeds, and even our private thoughts are affected by accepting the truths of the Gospel. In addition to Gospel narrative, this compilation provides Biblical guidance on topics such as marriage, longing, submission, discipleship and church membership, showing us that a commitment to follow Christ is a commitment to bring all aspects of our life under His loving authority.

Listen to this series

Truth for Life - Lessons for Life

Lessons For Life, Volume 4

September 5-21
Scripture: Selected

Young men and women entering college or taking their first steps out into the world will quickly find their faith put to the test. Contemporary influences encourage us to “live for the moment” and to “seize the day” without regard for eternal consequences. The pressure imposed by society to thrive in a competitive world can breed broken friendships, disappointments, and lure young adults away from their devotion to Christ.

In Lessons For Life, Alistair Begg challenges us to pursue a different road, casting a vision for a life well-used for God and His glory. Volume four of this series offers practical teaching and encouragement on topics such as personal evangelism, missions, final judgment, a biblical worldview, humility, and wholehearted commitment to Christ and His kingdom.

Listen to this series

Truth for Life - For Goodness Sake

For Goodness Sake

September 22-30
Scripture: Titus 3:1-15

What does it mean to be good? If the Bible teaches us that our good works aren’t enough to save us, why do Christians spend so much time trying to be good?

In his letter to Titus, the Apostle Paul gives us the answer: having been transformed by God’s grace through the Gospel, we are now called to live a life that is defined by goodness in all that we do. In this series of messages, Alistair Begg unpacks what it means to live a good life in the public sphere, in our daily lives, and in our churches.

Listen to this series