The Biblical Use of Emotional Appeals

Ephesians 4:1 KJV

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,

 

Paul had said in Ephesians 3:1 that he was a prisoner of the Lord Jesus Christ “for you Gentiles”. Here he uses that as a motivation for both his plea and their doing of it.[1]

 

Appeals based on emotional and heart rending circumstances are often criticized in modern Christianity. It is, however, undeniable that:

  • They can be effective
  • They were used effectively by Christ and Apostle Paul
  • Therefore they may be used in a Scriptural, effective and ethical manner

[1] The argument can be made that the “therefore” of this refers the reader to the great doctrinal truths of Ephesians chapter three. I do not deny this to be the case but only add to it that Paul’s mention of being a prisoner at the beginning of chapters three and four must have “hit home” in the hearts of these first century believers to whom Paul originally addressed this letter. Therefore his being a prisoner must have relevance in his “therefore”.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

emotional appeals

Confrontational Preaching

Ephesians 3:1 KJV

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,

 

There is a popular radio talk show host[1] who frequently refers to his audience as “you people”. I have always gotten the impression that it is a derogatory and demeaning phrase; at least in the sense that he uses it.

 

Paul used a similar phrase in the word, “you Gentiles”. He was in prison and it was for the Gentiles. He wanted them to sense the personal responsibility, the weight of effect of taking the Gospel outside of Israel and to them.

  • It had cost him politically
  • It had cost him in his career
  • It had cost him his reputation
  • It had cost him his own blood kinship

 

In obeying the Lord to take the gospel to the Gentiles, Paul had distanced himself (though not of his choosing but theirs) from the Jews, including those Jews who had accepted Christ as Saviour. Though they[2] knew what he preached was true, his preaching it placed a burr under their beast’s saddle. Paul made Christianity uncomfortable for them.

  • His outreach into the Gentile populace had exposed him to great danger and
  • His stand had placed him in the middle of a controversy between the unbelieving Jews and the Gentiles at Jerusalem.

This controversy would lead eventually to his execution.

 

But notice that Paul’s intent was not accusative. Paul was not angry at the Gentiles. Being confrontational[3] was not the same as being hateful or mean spirited. It was direct, intended toward conviction and the sort of personal responsibility that leads to action.

 

This, I would say, is the correct use of preaching:

  • Direct
  • Bold
  • Confrontational and
  • Purposeful

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

[1] I assume he is still popular, I haven’t heard his program in years but see reports with his name from time to time.

[2] The believing Jews

[3] “you Gentiles”

preaching

Understanding Our Victories

Deuteronomy 9:1-3 KJV

Hear, O Israel: Thou art to pass over Jordan this day, to go in to possess nations greater and mightier than thyself, cities great and fenced up to heaven,

A people great and tall, the children of the Anakims, whom thou knowest, and of whom thou hast heard say, Who can stand before the children of Anak!

Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee.

 

I observe immediately that the book of Deuteronomy offers no possibility of Jewish defeat by the Canaanites. It is as if, before the first battle, the war has already been won. Judging from Rahab’s response to Joshua’s spies the conclusion of the war was already decided on both sides. The Canaanite understood they had no hope of winning this war.

 

In the light of this assurance, Israel was to understand that this was God’s battle and God’s doing. They were also to understand that the victory they would achieve was not because they deserved it but because the Canaanite’s did not. Their victory would be an act of grace.

 

This is the foundational truth for outreach and evangelism today. Paul said that he (and by implication we) was a debtor. He did not deserve the grace he had received and therefore owed it to others to share that grace with them. Our place is to reach out to anyone and everyone that God enables us. Whether they respond positively and become saved or respond negatively and remain condemned is a matter entirely between them and God.  The battle is the Lord’s. We merely follow Him.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

humility

What If A Man Is Something?

Galatians 6:3 KJV

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

 

The thought came to mind today, “What if he is something?” Herein lies the problem. The implication of the text is that he is nothing regardless of who he is:

  • The celebrity
  • The athlete
  • The successful
  • The powerful
  • The wealthy
  • The popular

 

Fact is; all of us are nothing. Gill writes, “…he is nothing: of himself; not even as a creature, but owes his being and preservation, and all the mercies of life, to another, even to God; has no grace nor gifts of himself, but what he has received, and can do no good thing, not think a good thought, or perform a good action, of himself, and much less of himself procure eternal life and salvation.”

 

Truly we are prone to deceive ourselves. Even when we are in this world, “something” we are without Christ, “nothing”.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

pride

A License to Sin?

Galatians 5:16 KJV

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

 

Baptists are frequently accused of giving people liberty or license to sin. Our insistence that the Bible teaches eternal security; that once a soul is saved, that salvation can never be lost, has led our detractors to claim that means the saved person can live in sin and still go to heaven. No such thing is true.

 

What we do claim is that the cross is sufficient so that all sin is paid for in Christ. There is no sin for the believer to be judged of because every sin has been judged at Calvary.  To preach a man may lose his salvation by committing certain sins is to preach that the work of Christ on Golgotha falls short of complete perfection.[1]

 

So what about that license to sin? The Bible answers the license with the Spirit.The one who walks in the Spirit has no desire to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. We do not give a soul the license to sin. We give to them the liberty to walk in the Spirit.

[1] (This is also my argument against mid wrath and post tribulation rapture).

 

For more of Pastor McKenzie’s Daily Visits with God go to his blogger page. There you will find archived more than 3000 personal devotions dating back to 2007.

 

eternal security

2 Corinthians 9:4 Be An Example

2 Corinthians 9:4 (KJV)
Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.

None of us like to be judged. Especially is this true when we are being judged concerning what someone else has said of us.

Consider this scene:
Paul has boasted, in his travels, of the generosity of the Christians in the church at Corinth. Paul was so confident that they would give significantly for the relief of the believers in Jerusalem that he had used them to provoke others to do the same.

Now he is making reading to go to Corinth and take up this collection and the thought comes to him, “What if some of those who have heard my boasts come along with me? What if Corinth isn’t as prepared for this offering as I have boasted?

He chooses to send representatives ahead to give Corinth time to be ready lest, Paul says, he “be ashamed.” He specifically placed the shame upon himself and not Corinth should that be the case. He would be his shame, not that he boasted, but that he had not adequately prepared them.

I can hear someone in Corinth saying”

  • Who says we have to make Paul look good?
  • Who cares if others think less of us than Paul boasted?
  • Who says we have to be generous just because Paul has bragged we are generous?

Fact is, none of us care to be held to higher expectations. We don’t like the pressure of others looking at us as examples. We certainly don’t want to be judged for what someone we did not know was looking sees in us.

I think this is the point of the passage. We may not care for it but it is a fact. It is a fact that the Bible acknowledges and instructs us here to bow to.

  • Be an example.
  • Be prepared to be an example and
  • Don’t begrudge being made an example

To my readers:
I would love to hear from you. Leave comments below.

For this and more than 3700 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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2 Corinthians 9:4 Be An Example

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