Arguments for non-scriptural concepts will definitely come from unbelievers. If we are going to know how to reach the lost, we must be aware of these things. Some of those arguments will be sincere and some won't be. In fact, even the Lord Jesus was confronted by hypocrites and others who asked insincere questions and arguments to trap him, if possible (but that never occurred). See Mt. 22:15-18; John 8:6; etc. When it comes to foolish and stupid questions, Paul wanted Timothy to know something injurious could result from such arguments -- they breed quarrels.
Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. (2 Tim 2:23)
So the quarrels generated from foolish and stupid arguments are something that servants of God, like Timothy, must not get involved with. That is basic for how to reach the lost. The servant of God must protect himself from quarrels by avoiding such arguments. Instead of quarreling he must:
And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. (2 Tim 2:24)
We teachers will have people who oppose us.
Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, (2 Tim 2:25)
What a sad word picture is described of the religious lost! They are deceived and trapped BY THE DEVIL! So just like there are fur trappers, the devil (who is not in hell now), has trapped in a spiritual way, precious souls whom the Lord Jesus died for. The religious lost need to escape their lethal trap and the servants of God can help with that. It is NOT entirely left up to God to sovereignly elect one person over another, who will never have a chance at salvation, as Calvinism teaches. That includes John MacArthur, R. C. Sprowl and other big names! God doesn't want anyone to perish (2 Pet. 3:9) and Jesus shed his blood to pay for everyone's redemption (without any help from Mary, as Catholics want us to believe). The servants of God obey and God does what is needed to benefit people. Positive results occur, IF the correction, rebuke, etc. is humbly received and not rejected by those in need.
and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Tim 2:26)
Timothy ministered to the saved and lost in the trap of the devil. In both cases, what he did and said was to be based on scripture (the Bible). There would also be occasions when Timothy was to rebuke:
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage--with great patience and careful instruction. (2 Tim 4:2)
So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him." (Luke 17:3)
This testimony is true. Therefore, rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith (Titus 1:13).
These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you. (Titus 2:15)The way a servant of God is told to minister varies with the type of person he is addressing. How he delivers the Word is very important, including when he is opposed. Note how Paul's Holy Spirit advice to Timothy parallels what he wrote to Titus, showing among other things, there shouldn't be any joking around:
In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us. (Titus 2:7,8)
Furthermore, NEVER did the Lord Jesus or his apostles ever tell a joke or even smile, much less laugh! Jesus is called many things, including a man of sorrows (Isa. 53:3). He wept over Jerusalem (Lk. 19:41), and Paul served the Lord with great humility and with tears (Acts 20:19). Trying to reach the lost is as funny as trying to rescue people trapped in a burning building. Preach the word with seriousness!
These are all very important truths to know about when pondering how to reach the lost. How to reach the lost begins with Christian love for souls.
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