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SHARING THE GOSPEL IS LIKE GARDENING OR PLANTING

During this COVID-19 pandemic lockdown my wife and I were able to plant flowering plants (roses, orchids, etc.) and fruit trees (plums, lemons, cherries, etc) in our backyard garden. Before planting, we have to prepare the soil, dig some holes and bought some potting mix soil with fertilizers. These are all part of the preparation. After planting, we need to water the fruit trees and flowering plants regularly. We need to do some pruning (like pruning of our roses) and removing weeds which will hinder the growth of our plants in the garden. 

In gospel sharing, we need also to prepare the “soil of the soul”, which is the heart. These include developing friendship and trust; asking pertinent and friendly questions to generate interest and curiosity (e.g. “What if Christ were to come right now or if you’ll die tomorrow? Would you know for sure, without any doubt, that you would go to heaven?”);  telling the FISH STORY using the Fish Bracelet to generate gospel conversation ( Henry, one of our Chinese neighbors visited us and saw my wife wearing the FISH BRACELET and asked about it.

My wife shared the Fish Story which started the series of gospel presentations in our home on Thursday evening. Henry subsequently obeyed the gospel in baptism; Rachel Parks attended our worship services at Golden Gate. She saw me wearing the FISH BRACELET and asked about it. I shared the FISH STORY and then invited her to have WE CARE Gospel presentation during the next Wednesday Prayer & Fellowship.

After the Gospel Presentation with my wife, Rachel decided to obey the gospel in baptism. Bro. Marcus Dancer officiated her baptism that evening.);  giving books as gifts like the “HISTORICITY OF JESUS” subtitled “Facts and Evidences for Agnostics, Atheists, Believers and Christians”  and the new book of Bro. John Jeffrey “Jesus Christ” subtitled “The Final Days on Earth Before His Return to Heaven” as a door opener for gospel presentation; praying that the Holy Spirit will touch and move our prospects to become receptive to the gospel.

At WE CARE Ministries, we do visitations and After CARE to help and motivate the new “babes in Christ” grow and mature in the faith. 

Become A Christian

Hear the Gospel

Jesus said, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:20).

The Lord is inviting you into His kingdom. He also said, “I am the good shepherd,” and he is the “door of the sheep” (John 10:711). He invites the lost into the fold of safety, for danger is outside. For the lost, Jesus is the good shepherd that leaves the “ninety and nine” and looks for the “sheep that is lost,” for “the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Mt. 18:11-14).

Jesus’ sheep hear his voice and follow him (John 10:27-28) for eternal life. How do the sheep hear the voice of Jesus? We are “called by the gospel” (2 Thes. 2:14), which is the “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16).

It is by the word of God that faith is produced in the hearts of the lost (Rom. 10:17). 

Hear the gospel!

Believe in Jesus

As the gospel story is read (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), Jesus is shown to be the Son of God (Jn. 20:27-31). Our faith rests in Him.

We must believe that He is the Son of God, sacrificed for our sins (Mt. 16:13-16John 8:24). 

Believe that Jesus is the Son of God!

Repent of Sins

All of us have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and have died spiritually because of sin (Rom 6:23). We must face our sins and repent. Repentance is a change of mind, followed by a change of life, as illustrated in Matthew 21:28-31.

The son “repented” (changed his mind) and “went” (changed his life). This repentance is required before one can be saved (Lk. 13:3-5Acts 2:36-38). 

Repent of your sins!

Confess the Name of Jesus

Jesus warned that we must have the courage of our faith to openly confess Him with the mouth, an oral confession (Rom. 10:10). If we do not have this courage, Jesus will not confess our name as brethren (Mt. 10:32-33). People in the New Testament times confessed Jesus’ name (Acts 4:10-128:37). 

Confess that Jesus is the Son of God!

Be Baptized

Yes, baptism is a Bible doctrine, commanded by Jesus (Mt. 28:18-20Mk. 16:15-16Luke 24:48). Baptism is not administered as a “rite of the church,” as a work of human righteousness or merit, but as an act of faith (Mk. 16:16James 2:17182024).

Regardless of the animosity toward baptism in the denominational world, and in spite of their denial of its place in salvation, it is administered by the authority of Jesus for the remission of sin.Baptism is a burial (Rom. 6:1-7Col. 2:12) in water (Jno. 3:1-5Acts 2:38Acts 8:38). It is for (unto, toward) the remission of sins (Acts 2:38) and is viewed in scripture as involved in “washing away sins” (Acts 22:161 Pet. 3:21). It is understood by Bible students that forgiveness is not in the water but in the blood of Christ (Mt. 26:26-28Rom. 6:1-7).

However, Jesus has placed the opportunity of reaching that blood in the act of baptism. It is at baptism that the sinner met the blood of Christ, that the old man of sin dies, and the new birth takes place (Rom. 6:1-7Jn. 3:1-5). Baptism is a re-enactment of the sinner for what Jesus did for him (death, burial, and resurrection, 1 Cor. 15:1-4). The sinner obeys, in baptism, a “form of the gospel” (Rom. 6:16-18) in that he becomes dead to sin as he repents, is buried in baptism and arises to a new life in Christ (Rom., 6:1-7).

There is no other act of obedience in the New Testament that so fittingly portrays the gospel in our life as baptism. It is an act of faithful obedience (Rom. 1:5Jn. 6:28-298:39), not an act of merit or of human righteousness (Tit. 3:5).

At the time of baptism, Jesus forgives our sins by the power of the blood and adds us to His church (Acts 2:3847). 

Be Baptized now!


Yes, I want to become a Christian!

I want to learn more about Jesus.

The Homeless and the Bible

Photo Credit

There has been a lot of news lately about the homelessness crisis in San Francisco.

Here are a few statistics about this crisis:

The most recent homelessness survey for San Francisco happened in January 2019, according to the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing. The survey found that :

  1. There was a 17 percent increase since 2017 of people experiencing homelessness in the city, that is 8,035 people;
  2. The total number of unsheltered individuals was 5,180. Of the 2,855 people in shelters, 84 percent of them were in emergency shelter programs.
  3. The same agency found there to be a 15 percent overall increase in homelessness within the city, from 2013 to 2019.
  4. Persons with families that included minor children made up 8 percent of homeless residents. Five percent of the total population was under the age of 18.
  5. Young adults, 18-24, accounted for 14 percent of the total, while 81 percent were over the age of 25.

What does the Bible say about the homeless

I am sharing an excerpt of this article to show that heroes of our faith were homeless at one point in their life

Jesus

Jesus spent the better part of three years depending on the charity of others (Matthew 8:20Luke 8:1-2, and Luke 9:58).

In turn, He and His disciples preached the Gospel to the poor (Matthew 5:3Matthew 11:5Luke 4:18Luke 6:20Luke 7:22, and John 12:5) and gave generously to the destitute and needy (Matthew 26:9Mark 14:5, and John 13:29).

What’s more, Jesus didn’t just ‘say’ the words of the Gospel: “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9 NIV). He gave willingly.

So, it’s no wonder that Jesus promised eternal blessings for those who care for the homeless and destitute (Matthew 19:21Matthew 25:31-40Mark 10:21Luke 11:41Luke 12:33Luke 14:13Luke 18:22, and Luke 19:8).

Jesus also warned about eternal losses for those who spurn the needs of the poor (Matthew 25:41-46; see also Proverbs 19:17 and Proverbs 28:27). Later, Jesus’ half-brother, James, echoed a similar stern warning (James 2:1-9).

Paul

Paul experienced homelessness for many years while serving as an apostle (1 Corinthians 4:11).

There is no indication in Acts or his letters that Paul owned a house in Tarsus, Jerusalem, Antioch, or any other city for that matter. Like Jesus, Paul didn’t see the lack of assets, possessions, and wealth as a problem. Instead, he was passionate about giving financial aid to the truly poor and needy (Acts 24:17Romans 15:262 Corinthians 9:1-15, and Galatians 2:10).

David

King David was homeless for years while on the run from King Saul.

David lamented repeatedly, “I am poor and needy” (Psalm 40:17Psalm 70:5Psalm 86:1, and Psalm 109:22).  Yet, in every psalm David penned during those trying times, he reaffirmed his faith in the Lord his God. What’s more, David penned many of the verses listed in points #6-#10 below.

Moses

Moses was homeless after fleeing Egypt.

Forty years later, Moses cried out in prayer on behalf of God’s people (Psalm 90:13-16). There in the desert, God called Moses (Exodus 3:1-6) and told him to return to Egypt (Exodus 3:7-10).

There God used Moses to bring about a great deliverance of God’s people from their oppressors (Psalm 77:16-20Psalm 78:12-14Psalm 78:42-53Psalm 105:26-39, and Psalm 106:8-12).

Thanks to David Sanford for the article.

On Baptism

Photo by Vince Fleming on Unsplash

 WHO SHOULD BE BAPTIZED? 

 All who want remission or forgiveness of sins – Acts 2-38     

 All who want to enter the one body – 1 Corinthians 12:13 

The taught – Matthew 28:19 

Those who believe – Mark 16:16 

Those who receive God’s word -Acts 2:41 

Those who repent -Acts 2:38 

Those who confess Christ -Acts 8:37 

All who want to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit – Acts 2:38 

HOW SHOULD A PERSON BE BAPTIZED? 

Go to water  – Acts 8:36 

Much water -John 3:23 

Go down into the water-Acts 8:38 

Be planted  -Romans 6:5 

Be buried- Colossians 2:12 

Be washed –   Hebrew 10:22 

A birth  –  John 3:5 

A resurrection  –  Romans 6:4-5 

WHY BE BAPTIZED? 

Jesus said to be baptized   – Matthew 28:19 

Baptism is a command – Acts 10:48 

To be saved –  1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16 

For the remission of sins –    Acts 2:38 

To be cleansed  -Ephesians 5:26 

To be regenerated  -Titus 3:5 

For the remission of sins  –  Acts 2:38 

To walk a new life-   Romans 6:4-5 

To answer a good conscience  – 1 Peter 3:21 

To enter the one body  -1 Corinthians 12:13 

To be born again of water -John 3:5 

To get into Christ -Romans 6:3 

To put on Christ –  Galatians 3:27 

The likeness of His resurrection –  Romans 6:5 

To enter the Kingdom of God – John 3:5 

To seek those things above   –  Colossians 3:1 

To not reject the counsel of God   – Luke 7:30 

God operates in baptism  –   Colossians 2:22 

Baptism is part of faith  –   Acts 19:14 

To receive the gift of the Holy Spirit  –    Acts 2:38 

To be justified by God    – Luke 7:29 

Invitation

by Art Madlaing

 As a former Roman Catholic during my elementary grades, a former Methodist during my high school years, a former agnostic during my college years at the University of the Philippines, and now a plain Christian and active Evangelist with the GOLDEN CHURCH OF CHRIST in San Francisco; I would like to personally invite and encourage  our agnostic and atheist friends, our Roman Catholic friends, our Methodist friends; our Baptist friends, our Adventist friends, our Lutheran friends, our  Mormon friends our INC friends, our Jehovah’s Witnesses friends, our born again friends and friends from all other denominations to  seriously search the Scriptures daily like  the noble Christians in Berea (read Acts 17:11)     

I earnestly plead with our friends from the various denominations to seriously obey and follow the invitation of Peter when he first preached the gospel on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem and those who heard the gospel asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?:, Peter answered, “Repent and  let every one of you be baptized  in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of your sins; and you’ll receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (read Acts 2:37-38

I also earnestly plead with our friends from the various denominations to seriously obey and follow the invitation of Ananias through Paul when he said “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized and wash away your sins calling on the name of the Lord,” (read Acts 22:16

Finally, I earnestly plead with our friends to seriously obey and follow what our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ said: “He who believed and is baptized will be saved.” (read Mark 16:16

Remember what I said earlier: “The real tragedy is not that we die with COVID-19; the real tragedy  is if we die WITHOUT JESUS  because we didn’t know, understand and obey the gospel.” 

Jesus Christ said: Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28).  

The wisest King Solomon concluded, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”( Ecclesiastes 12:13-14) 

Today my friends, you have the opportunity to obey the gospel in baptism before it’s too late. You can do it now, come trust and obey as we sing the invitation song “TRUST AND OBEY.” 

*Message delivered by ART GABOT MADLAING during the Virtual Worship Services at the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST in San Francisco, California last Sunday, August 16, 2020, to celebrate his 73rd Birthday. The same message was published in his column “HEALTH & WEALTH” (two-part series) in the weekly Philippine News Today as evangelism and outreach to the Filipino and Asian communities.