Q1 : When evangelizing, is it necessary to preach the law to the unconverted before announcing the good news to them?

 

We preach Christ crucified

 

We preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 1:23-24

 

We want to share with you the Good News that Christ Jesus came into the world to rescue sinners. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23

 

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

 

All wrongdoing can be described as sin. Whether you go against your conscience, deliberately disobey a law, or choose to ignore God’s offer of rescue from His wrath.

 

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. Romans 1:18-19

 

For God “has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead." Acts 17:31

 

Jesus the Messiah (or Christ) was born in Israel more than 2000 years ago. He lived a perfect life yet was killed on a Roman cross. Three days after His death he came alive again. The Bible explains that this Man, Jesus is able to rescue us from the power and penalty of Sin. Every human being is doomed to die and then to face God’s judgement. No-one will be able to claim to God that they lived sinlessly or even innocently. At that judgement it will be too late to accept God’s offer of mercy. We are told to get right with God in this life. Whether born into the Jewish faith or any other religion, or no religion at all, we are each responsible for our wrongdoing and are subject to God’s wrath and punishment.The Good News is that God has shown His love for us. He is willing to accept us through faith that Jesus suffered and died in our place and that He came alive again (demonstrating that He didnot sin). God has set Jesus Christ as our Judge and Saviour. We are judged by the standard of His life and everyone falls short of that. But we are rescued by His death if we turn to God and admit our wrongdoing and trust in what Jesus has done for us.

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Romans 5:8-10

 

Q2: Is God able to act on earth without prayer and the works of Christians?

 

Prayer

 

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. Romans 8:26

Prayer seems a strange thing when we recognise that God is all-powerful and acts according to His own Will.

 

Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9

 

So much of prayer is a matter of discovering God’s way of thinking. This begins with an act of repentance that turns our minds to God and opens us to His Spirit. We learn to pray God’s Will. This does not alter what God has planned to do but helps us become part of His Will rather than victims or mere spectators. We are able to participate in the battle. We are able to withstand the wiles of the devil.

 

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. This is my command: Love each other. John 15:16-17

 

Praying in Jesus’ Name correlates to having God’s thoughts. Our prayers will be connected to bearing fruit, loving one another. Such prayers are personal and sacrificial.

 

Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, Ephesians 6:19

 

Prayer for other people, for difficult situations, for oneself, is all wrapped up in concern for God’s Will to be done. We do not pray for our will to be done.

 

I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone--for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

 

Prayer is not just asking for things but includes the whole range of conversation we ought to have with God. Praise, worship, thanksgiving, intercession are all to be included, especially listening and seeking God’s Will. The Lord Jesus spent a great deal of time in prayer with His Father. Surely, we must understand that this was a conversation in which God’s Will was revealed.

 

Jesus gave them this answer: "I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:1 9

 

So Jesus said, "When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me. The one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases him." John 8:28-29

 

The Lord Jesus fulfilled God’s Will, He did not shape it or try to manipulate it. It is the privilege of Christians to discover and move in God’s Will too. God does not need us or our prayers – we need to know God.

 

On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation." Luke 22:40

 

The very act of praying for oneself (and each other) is an act of submission to God’s Will. There may be some conflict of understanding when it comes to problems of health or other suffering. Should I pray for healing? Should I ask God to protect me from harm? There is no problem in these but, truly, they are part of the same thing: seeking God’s Will.

 

But I think it is necessary to send back to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker and fellow soldier, who is also your messenger, whom you sent to take care of my needs. For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.

Philippians 2:25-27

 

God was in this experience of suffering and serious illness. The result was God’s mercy. Epaphroditus was restored. No doubt prayers of all kinds were made. Paul does not mention that – only that God showed mercy.

 

When the Lord Jesus healed people, He did not pray for their healing but rebuked the disease or demon. Sometimes He simply laid His hand on a person or spoke a word. No doubt the Father’s

Will had been made clear beforehand. It was the ministry of the Messiah to heal and deliver God’s people.

 

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. James 5:13-15

 

This passage links prayer and healing directly but is in a context of believers and eldership. However, it is clear that pray was made to seek God’s Will and, where sin was involved, there needed to be confession. This leads to a very difficult question about the relationship between sickness and sin.

 

Further thoughts on Law and Grace

 

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. 1 Corinthians 2:2-5

 

Christ has been crucified. In His death all humanity died – judged, condemned.For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

 

Here, I believe Paul is showing that the slate has been wiped clean. The condemnation now rests on those who do not have the Son as Saviour.

 

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. John 3:18

 

The letter to the Romans shows that the Law has no effect on people in Christ. It also shows that the Law condemns and brings with it a curse. This might suggest that some address to the Law is useful in preaching the Gospel. Perhaps people need to know they are sinners through declaring the ten commandments. However, Paul does not detail the Law but points out that both Jew and Gentile judge others and in doing so condemn themselves because they are guilty of the same sins, faults and errors.The message of Christ Crucified demonstrates God’s wrath on humans. It declares His righteous judgement.

 

And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death,because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. Acts 2:21-24

The key thought of the Gospel is what we do with Christ Jesus. God has raised Him from the dead. He alone can save us; He alone is our judge. We are judged by Him and through Him. His life is our condemnation. Faith in Him, His life death and resurrection is our justification

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