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PLAY IT AGAIN



Posted: 10/03/06

Play it Again
- By Ray Comfort

Nathan's heart went out to King David. The king had made some bad decisions. Even though he wasn't actually aware of it, he had messed up, and God wanted to help him. David had had an affair, and then he tried to remedy the problem himself. What had happened was unfortunate, and the prophet saw his job as one who was there to help bring some sort of healing to the situation.

He began his message by gently explaining to the king the good news that there was something missing from his life. That missing piece was "real and lasting peace," or as someone once put it, there was a "God-shaped vacuum" in his heart. It was the good news that God had a wonderful plan for the king's life, and that He wanted him to experience that plan.

What the prophet was steering towards was a moment of "decision." Would the king respond to this incredible offer that God had made him, or would he reject it?

To help the king, Nathan psychologically prepared him by telling him what he was going to do. He had said that in a few moments he would want him to respond by coming forward. The prophet had learned that this would help the king move closer to the decision he needed to make.

To help further, Nathan had David and the guards that stood around his throne, close their eyes. This would help to make sure that the king felt a little less self-conscious about his decision when he did come forward.

David, like King Saul, had a personal musician close by, so as Nathan continued to speak, he nodded to the musician to begin to play some appropriate music. Even though the song was very moving, there was no movement from David. Nathan nodded to the skilled performer to play the tune again and then again as he pleaded with David to respond.

To help him further, the prophet let him know that if he did come he had prearranged with one of the king's guards to come forward with him--to stand alongside him in support.

Still the king didn't make a move. Nathan gently reminded him that no one was watching him, and that every eye was closed. He again spoke of the incredible offer God had made to him.

Suddenly, it seemed that David was convinced about this new life that could be his, if he would just respond. He began to move slowly forward, and as he did, one of the closest guards gently took him by the arm and walked with him.

It was a very emotional moment. It was so touching that the rest of the guards couldn't contain themselves. They burst into joyful applause. David smiled slightly at their gesture of support. The guards smiled. So did Nathan. There was great joy. This was what it was all about . . .

Not quite. God hadn't instructed Nathan to talk to the king about a "God-shaped vacuum in his heart," or to talk about real peace, or of improving his life. He was there to reprove a devious murderer who had despised God's commandment and committed adultery with another man's wife. As a married man, the king had burned in lust after another woman, and knowing that she herself was married, he had illicit sexual intercourse with her, caused her to become pregnant with his child, and then as if that wasn't bad enough, he had her loving and faithful husband murdered, and married her himself. He had carefully covered his terrible sin, but as far as God was concerned, his wicked hands were dripping with innocent blood.

What an awful betrayal it would have been if the prophet had reduced the king's horrible crimes against a holy God to insignificance, by talking to him about a new and better life that could be his.

But Nathan didn't pervert the message. He told the king about a man who stole another man's pet lamb and slaughtered it, and when David became indignant, he said, "You are that man!" Then he said, "Why have you despised the commandment of the Lord!" and when David cried, "I have sinned," Nathan then gave him the good news of God's mercy and grace.

There was no mention of a vacuum in the heart, no music to stir the emotions, no deceptive psychological manipulation, no closing of the eyes to make things easier. David was a devious law-breaker. He was a conniving criminal. He was a man who had deliberately violated the moral Law, but God was willing to show him mercy.

It was the king's breach of God's Law that shaped the prophet's message, and it's the sinner's breach of that same Law that should shape our message. We too have the same commission--to "reprove and rebuke" those who have despised God. We are to preach the Word, be in season and out of season, and to "reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine" (2 Timothy 4:2). In the sight of God every sinner is a devious criminal, but neither the Church nor the world will see that as being true without the Law to show sin as being "exceedingly sinful" (see Romans 7:7-13).

The sinner enthrones himself as a king, enrobed in the filthy garments of self-righteousness. He commits adultery in his lust-filled heart. His throat is an open sepulcher. His mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. There is no fear of God before his eyes. He lies, steals, blasphemes and hides murder in his heart--and in doing so he sins against a holy God and stores up His wrath. He has a desperately wicked heart, and a multitude of sins which he thinks his Creator doesn't see. The Bible tells us that God is filled with indignation and wrath, and promises that He will bring tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that does evil (see Romans 2:5-9).

We have such a wicked heart, without the light of the Law we reduce sin to insignificance and trivialize the claims of the Divine Prosecution. The modern message is a betrayal of our commission, and a victory for the enemy. Like the Pharisees, contemporary preachers prefer their traditions to the truth of God's Word. They cling to the security blanket of closed eyes, emotional music, psychological manipulation, misguidedly pleading with wicked criminals about the promise of a wonderful new life in Christ.

Such folly is perhaps the greatest deception of the last days. It is to do the work of the enemy, by planting tares alongside the wheat. An unbiblical Law-less gospel will almost certainly produce lawless converts--"workers of iniquity" who the Bible warns will be cast out of the gates of Heaven into the waiting jaws of Hell (see Matthew 7:21-24).

A forsaking of biblical evangelism has left our churches looking and acting just like the world. This has happened because our pulpits have reduced the glorious gospel of God's grace to a 30-minute low budget infomercial, peddling the Word of God as a competing product for life enhancement.

If you have been trusted with a pulpit, or if you are someone who cares about the lost, please stop this insanity. Don't think of the use of the Law as a "method," or look for "results" as a legitimate criterion to measure its worth. Our churches are filled with misleading "results." The impressive numbers are the product of unbiblical methods. The use of the Law brings the knowledge of sin... Jesus and Paul used it, (see Luke 10:17, Romans 2:20-24). Ask the question "Is this principle biblical?" and if it is, instigate it, and then leave the numbers game up to God.

Adapted from, The Way of the Master (Bridge Logos Publishers).

Distributed by www.worldviewweekend.com

By Ray Comfort

Email: email@livingwaters.com

Click here for bio and archived articles

Disclaimer: Worldview Weekend, Christian Worldview Network and its columnists do not necessarily endorse or agree with every opinion expressed in every article posted on this site. We do however, encourage a healthy and friendly debate on the issues of our day. Whether you agree or disagree, we encourage you to post your feedback by using the feedback button.

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READER FEEDBACK


Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/20/06 06:58:03 PM Age 50, TX
This I do know: In the past 100 years or so, the church in the United States has gotten into a spiritual mess. Ray Comfort has been one of the very few Christians of our modern day who has exposed the errors of the church. It takes enormous courage to take a stand for biblical evangelism. For instance, Ms. Jewell contends that Ray is wasting his time and talent. I disagree. Since Ray has been teaching biblical evangelism, people have been getting radically and soundly saved through godly sorrow. Their fruit of thanksgiving bears witness to that. If we keep silent about modern methods that are being used, more false converts will be added. I dont think anyone wants that. For everyone who opposes what Ray Comfort is saying: If you earnestly seek God about this, you will not be able to deny that there is something seriously wrong with altar calls. Just look around---the church is so much like the world.



Re: Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/17/06 05:36:45 PM Age 27, TX
To the thoughtful person who accused Mr. Comfort of having no heart for the lost...Do you sincerely believe that our society's values are so upside-down that EVERYTHING we regard as wrong, they regard as right? The secular universe still regards back-sassing your mom, hitting your brother, bullying, and breaking each other's toys as wrong. When you put it in terms of the sins a person committed as a child, it's a little hard to say "they don't know any better." Trust me, kids (and adults) are smarter than you think. So, to remind someone that he is a sinner and to call him to repent is NOT less effective than the "nicey-nicey" approach of "God has a wonderful plan for your life!" If anything, the latter approach is deceptive; God's plan for the unsaved is "eternal damnation."

Re: Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/09/06 04:05:07 PM Age 50, TX
I do not have the eloquent style of delineating points as you do. Nor do I have enough knowledge of the Bible to counter many things you have written, but this I do know: In the past 100 years or so, the church in the United States has gotten into a spiritual mess. Ray Comfort has been one of the very few Christians of our modern day who has exposed the errors of the church. It takes enormous courage to take a stand for biblical evangelism. Its not a we versus them mentality. Its light versus darkness, and, as long as the modern methods are being used, the more false converts will be added. If you earnestly seek God about this, you will not be able to deny that there is something seriously wrong with altar calls. Just look around.



Re: Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/09/06 03:54:07 PM Age 50, TX
Dear Ms. Jewell, I do not have the eloquent style of delineating points as you do. Nor do I have enough knowledge of the Bible to counter many things you have written, but this I do know: In the past 100 years or so, the church in the United States has gotten into a spiritual mess. Ray Comfort has been one of the very few Christians of our modern day who has exposed the errors of the church. It takes enormous courage to take a stand for biblical evangelism. Its not a we versus them mentality. Its light versus darkness, and, as long as the modern methods are being used, the more false converts will be added. If you earnestly seek God about this, you will not be able to deny that there is something seriously wrong with altar calls. Just look around.

Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/08/06 12:24:58 PM Age 45, NJ
Ray hits the nail on the head!!! People are not being reached for the LORD because people already have a comfortable life, why do I need Jesus, they ask! Telling them this is a lie! Actually life gets harder, especially when one accepts the Lord as their Saviour. But the point is not to get all their troubles taken away, it's to get all their sins taken away! The Law point people to Jesus. Jesus is the reason why the Abrahamic covent was started in the first place, to point to the cross! Thank you Ray for finding and publishing this once forgotten important aspect of why we need Jesus in the first place!



Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/07/06 10:02:42 AM Age 42, CA
I had to reread Mr. Comfort's article to clarify his point or what I think his point is. I agree that "altar calls" are not Biblical but I also believe that they are not wrong to conduct, as long as it is clarified that it's not scriptural but more symbolic or not told that if they don't do it they will not be saved.

Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/06/06 11:28:22 PM Age 56, GA
Amen, Dr. Comfort. My God continue to bless you for your courage to speak the truth in love.



Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/06/06 04:48:02 PM Age 64, MS
First of all, I want you to know that I enjoy your TV program "Way of the Master" very much and have been helped by the commentaries in the "Evidence Bible," plus the commentaries/articles on this web site. I use the Evangelism Explosion gospel outline through the power of the precious Holy Spirit to witness every week, but I am encouraged by your witnessing program. Regarding your article about the Biblical basis of altar calls, I don't believe any of us should "judge" what goes on at the altar, standing at the pew, on bended knee at the foot of the bed, at a friend's side; whether eyes are closed or opened, music is playing or horns blaring, people are near or no one is near--that is between the person and God. We sow the seeds, and the Holy Spirit of God brings in the harvest. Sadly to say in the parable of the seed sower, only 20 percent of the seeds fell on good ground and grew healthily. If only one lost sheep is saved eternally through the power of the Holy Spirit during His many witnessing experiences through me, it will be worth it all--the Shepherd and the angels in heaven are elated. God can reach people through sermons, books, tracts, music, one-on-one witnessing, and varied gifts--let's not put Him in a box. I think we all have room to let God further mold us into a vessel that His precious Holy Spirit can bear kindness, gentleness, and patience with people who don't respond to God's calling in a uniform way such as on the streets of NYC or at an altar; but we must be unified through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as He is the only Way to the Father, the only Truth, and the only Eternal Life. I praise God for how He uses you in a mighty way, but we all have room to be less critical and judgmental and kinder and more gentle in areas of dispute such as whether or not to eat sacrificed meat. I think we have greater problems to pray and write about than whether altar calls are Biblical. With love in His glorious name, Evelyn

Re: Re: Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/06/06 04:18:48 PM Age 52, VA
Yep. I've seen the same. I was a "counselor" at a church revival when a friend of mine "responded" to an emotion driven session by coming forward. While talking to him he said this is the 4th or 5th time that he has come forward. About a year ago I was introduced to Ray Comfort's material and the light bulb clicked on. He emphasized that the Bible says that we are to offer the law to the proud and grace to the humble. Now when I present the gospel I offer the law first. If the person remains proud, (i.e. not broken and repentant) I go no further. If however they are convicted of their sin and are driven to repentance then I tell them the good news of the cross.



Re: Play it Again
Posted On: 10/05/06 07:38:11 PM Age 41, NA
Many Christians today have a dichotomized worldview of life. In fact, one person told me he us called to evangelism but not discipleship. We can see that evangelism was not even stated in the Bible, but discipleship is stated clearly (Matt 28:18). Just as King David covered up his sin, all human being including Christians are prone to their fallen nature. It is true Christians are redeemed and is a new creation, however, we have accumulated lots of lies which need the continuous meditation of God's Word to digest and let the Truth erase this lies. This is a life-long process. As I grow older, I no longer cares about what people say, I want to see what they do. Many Christians "leaders" hid themselves in pulpit and write books, but they are not fulfilling the work of God. They think that by throwing teaching and books out, lives will be changed, but the fact is people make decision emotionally and then justify it intellectually. In fact, there is a American Senior Pastor of a growing Church who is very gifted (preach very well, write songs and really pastoral and a leader), left his wife and children to marry an Muslim lady because she is a daughter of some high government officials. So my prayer is to see more Christian WALK THE TALK. Even pastors and Christian seminary teachers, prophets, etc...need to be with the unbelievers and be a light and salt, not hiding behind pulpits telling people to do it. It is through Faith in Action, that we get challenged, renewed and find the relevancy of God's Truth in our life. A Calling is a calling for your life, but we still have responsibilities in regards to God's Will (Matt 7:21).

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