Notes on Evangelism

Dimensions
Relational – Fellowship – Breaking loose from self and connecting to the HEAD who is CHRIST
Existential – Meaning – The final and ultimate drive - need
Aesthetic – Beauty – True Adoration, Worship, and Wonder
Moral – Goodness – Conviction, Holiness, Commitment


Procedures
Infiltration - Measure
Innundation - Volume
Incarnation - View
Indoctrination - Word
Insulation – Defence

Symbolization
Precipitation
Exemplification
Verbalization
Insulation

Symbols of Truth
Confidence – Power
Confession - Expression
Consistence - Integrity
Concern – Significance

Marks of Good Communication
Focussed – to the point, reasonable, cogent
Fervent – passionate, intense, energetic, confident
Followable – simple, clear, explanative, understandable
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Principles of Evangelism

Dimensions

Relational – Fellowship – Breaking loose from self and connecting to the HEAD who is CHRIST
Existential – Meaning – The final and ultimate drive - need
Aesthetic – Beauty – True Adoration, Worship, and Wonder
Moral – Goodness – Conviction, Holiness, Commitment


Procedures

Infiltration - Measure
Innundation - Volume
Incarnation - View
Indoctrination - Word
Insulation – Defence


Symbolization
Precipitation
Exemplification
Verbalization
Insulation


Symbols of Truth

Confidence – Power
Confession - Expression
Consistence - Integrity
Concern – Significance


Marks of Good Communication

Focussed – to the point, reasonable, cogent
Fervent – passionate, intense, energetic, confident
Followable – simple, clear, explanative, understandable


© Domenic Marbaniang, 27 December, 2008
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What Christmas Teaches us about Life



Christmas in the post-War United States


Sermon by Domenic Marbaniang, December 18, 2008
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14)


THE SERIOUSNESS OF LIFE

God would not have become man if He didn't look at life seriously.

The little life that is lived on this planet has eternal ramifications. It is not just about living it here as an old movie song says "Jeena yahan, marna yahan, iske siva jana kaya" - "We're going to live here, die here; apart from this, is there anywhere else to go". Or what the dramatist said in the Tempest about this small little life "rounded by a sleep". That is an Epicurean and Hedonist world-view, a materialistic one. They look at just living the life at present and only enjoying its surface surfs and foams instead of plunging into the eternal depths of its significance.

There is a story of few soldiers on a trip somewhere who loitered around and ended in a pub . After being boozed up to the extent that they swaggered while they tried to get out, they met their general outside. One of the soldiers looked up and asked him (not recognizing him) "Hey bloke, can you tell us where we are" At which the general was thoroughly offended and retorted back "Do you guys know who I am?" This appalled one of the soldiers who blurted out in horror: "We guys are in a real mess now for we do not know where we are and he doesn't know who he is"! The intoxication with the present does blurr our power of right thinking.

One can't just go about without looking at life seriously. There are some who catch up the saying "Life is an ice-cream; enjoy it before it melts". That is a position of irresponsibility and recklessness. The Greek philosopher Socrates said it well that "the unexamined life is not worth living". We need to know why we are here and where we are headed to and what this is all about. That is one reason why the Bible doesn't encourage very much the spirit of jesting (Ephesians5:4) and considers it better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of celebration (Ecclesiastes 7:2). This doesn't mean that life is a gloomy thing. It only means that one must always bear in mind that this life is not an end in itself and that it is a serious walk towards an infinite end (either with God or without Him).


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF LIFE

By His incarnation, Jesus showed that life is significant. It is very important.
There are some who pose questions like "why is there something rather than nothing" and "why did God create this world of problems" or even "why did He create that tree in the garden", etc. The overall answer to all this is that it is so because God considers it to be important and significant and real significance is not a matter of our thinking but a matter of God's thinking. Now, there is a difference between "necessity" and "significance". Was it "necessary" for God to create this world. Obviously, not. He didn't "need" it because He is self-sufficient. But it had a great "significance" for Him for if it was not so Jesus would never have need to become eternally a Man.

There are many things that can be spoken in this regard but space won't permit it. Look for example the beautiful wings of the butterfly, the art of the weaver bird, the care of the sparrows, the agility of the hind, and the the swiftness of the eagle. They talk of perfect design and excellence of art. I can't even imagine that science will ever be able to manufacture anything like a mosquito (tiny and yet complicated) - even if it did the cost of one would be enormous!! Yet, Jesus said that we are more valuable than the sparrows and the hairs of our head are numbered. Do we look at our lives with that importance with which Jesus looks at us?


THE SUBLIMITY OF LIFE

There is an honor and dignity attached to life that comes from God.

We are created in the image of God and in His likeness. The Bible says that God has crowned us with glory. The point behind the Sermon on the Mount is simply that "don't treat anybody with disrespect and do not let anyone make you feel that you are unrespectible before God."

It is sin that separated man from God and made us ignoble, miserable, weak, dejected, sick, and confused. But Jesus came down to this earth when we could not reach up to Him; He took the weak as we were by His hands, took us out of this miry clay and placed us on a rock. He attached dignity to our lives but did that at a cost. The cost was not just His incarnation in which He had to empty Himself of all those divine privileges but also involved the shame of the cross. He endured the shame to give us the joy of a dignified life in the presence of God. He was despised of men and rejected but through this rejection we have found acceptance in the presence of God. Do we live our lives worthy of this dignity with which He treats us?


THE SACREDNESS OF LIFE

Through His incarnation Jesus sanctified the flesh for divine service and prostration.

We are the temple of God and the way was made clear through the flesh of Jesus. All who believe in Him are a new creation.

Obviously, all life belongs to God and is in that sense sacred. But men in their sinfulness have tried to break away from God and desacralize life through a process called godless secularization. They are throwing out the True God out of every human sphere, even religion. Polytheism, monism, pantheism, and such ideologies are in reality atheistic because they throw the real God out of picture and bring in false substitutions. But to those who accept Him as Lord of their lives, He gives the Holy Spirit, the Indweller who gives us access to the Father and makes us a habitation of God.
He dwelt among us; now He dwells in us - It is a sacred experience that we have - something that we should never get just "used to" or take it for granted.

Therefore, the Scripture tells us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God (Romans 12:1-2). This must give us the sense of the sacredness with which we need to treat our own lives and those of others. Do we reflect God's holiness and sacredness through our lives? Does the holy fire burn incessantly on our altars? Are people able to see the Son of God in our flesh - full of grace and truth?

© Domenic Marbaniang, December 2008
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How Do You Deal With Your Brother (Matthew 5:22) - Exposition

But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, “Raca!” shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, “You fool!” shall be in danger of hell fire. (Matthew 5:22)

Jesus points at three ways in which false faith in relation to our fellowmen can bring us in danger of God’s judgment. Matthew 5:22 illustrates these.

1. Irrational Infuriation.  Jesus said that anyone who was angry at his brother without reason[1] was in danger of judgment. There are two forms of anger in the Bible. One is rational while the other is irrational. The irrational form of anger comes from carnal-mindedness and a faulty perception. Rational anger, on the other hand, is just and expected. The difference between the two is simple. The former is purely a passion while the latter is primarily a judgment (i.e. moral reaction against sin). The former being carnal possesses wicked attributes like intemperance, irritability, envy, jealousy, rage, aggression, barbarity, and hatred. To put it the other way, it lacks the love of the Spirit and proceeds from selfish intention. Rational anger, on the other hand, is not based on isolated and self-centered miscalculations; it proceeds from love. It is important to understand that since love is the fulfilling of the law, even anger cannot be said to be lawful unless it conforms to the love of God. The same applies to every other passion. We understand that anger when originating in love will never mean harm to anyone. On the other hand, infuriated anger that has puffed itself up against the individuality and person of someone else is sin.

Short-temperedness and hot-temperedness are not spiritual characteristics; they are self-centered ones. Therefore, the Bible warns against association with quick-tempered ones (Prov. 22: 24). The Bible never tells us to try to adjust with such personality types as if anything labeled as “personality type” must be acceptable; on the other hand, it advises us to stay away from them (see Prov. 21:19; 29:22), not because we do not love them but because their gravitation towards fleshly passion can suck us into their destructive whirlpool. The destructiveness of such disposition intensifies when anger is harbored in hatred and nurtured overtime. Silent anger is only pent up explosives. Any form of anger, therefore, that doesn’t conform to God’s righteousness is sin. Every “personality type” needs to be born again and learn to be Christ-natured. We need to forsake the habit of getting angry over things that are personally annoying. The righteousness of Jesus’ anger is revealed in the fact that He never got angry over things that personally hurt Him but was passionate with regard to righteousness and holiness. His anger was never a passion-driven reaction but a righteous disposition against falsehood, hypocrisy, and crime. There is nothing like a neutral anger. Anger is either rational or irrational

Irrational anger is miscalculation of oneself in relation to God and His world. This means that it is not a mere impulse but an impulse prompted by a noetic condition of misjudgment. In other words, anger that is irrational is so because it is based on false, unreal, and unfounded reasons. Often, a person adamant in his irrational anger attempts to justify it by gathering false reasons around it. The absurdity of this is acute when the angry man starts believing such reasons and aggravates in his false disposition. It is all a miscalculation and a faulty location or placement of faith.

Rational anger, on the other hand, proceeds from the righteousness and love of God. It sees things the way God sees them, with the eyes of truth and true faith. It is neither clouded in sight by ego-mania nor ruled in feelings by carnal promptings. Therefore, it never violates the love of God. When the Scripture tells us to be angry but not sin (Eph. 4:26), it doesn’t mean to say that we can be angry as long as we do not sin, as if anger can be isolated from disposition and faith. It means to say that we must avoid any form of anger that is flesh-induced; such anger finds no respite till the lust is fulfilled. It intensifies in hatred and choler and can cause injury to self and surrounding. Rational anger, on the other hand, conforms to God’s principles of thought and action and is not fickle as the badly informed, lustfully-prompted, and illogically plotted anger.

Ephesians 4:26 can be better translated as saying “Do not be angry and sin,” which is a command against sinfully-disposed and fallaciously grounded anger. Such anger should neither be suppressed nor repressed (far be its being expressed); it must be divested of its ire by the power of God’s Word and the love of the Spirit. One gets angry with something in heart and mind. How one is disposed towards one’s fellowmen and what one believes about them is therefore important. Anger, as stated earlier, is not isolated and neutral. It is always associated with some kind of belief and disposition. Hastiness in condemning someone and hatred are examples of sinful anger in the same manner as false accusation and murder are sinful. Anger that is prolonged and seeking sinful satiation invites judgment and can never be justified. It also can never submit to the righteous Law of God since it is carnally-inclined. Therefore, the Scripture says that the wrath of man (or carnal anger) doesn’t act out the righteousness of God (Jas. 1:20).

Though we have spoken of infuriation here, any form of emotion against our fellowmen that doesn’t flow from divine love is irrational and dangerous. Therefore, Christians must guard their heart against all such evils of false faith and disposition.

2. Downright Devaluation. Jesus said that to call someone Raca (or a worthless and useless person) is to be in danger of the Sanhedrin. Of course, an abusive person is sooner or later dragged to the court. But even if he may escape it, he can’t escape the Tribunal where God is Judge. Jesus said that we will be judged for every idle word that we speak (Matt. 12:36). Words are idle when they are segregated from truth and proper intention; proper intention, because truth cannot be separated from the end to which it leads the believer and the believer must conform to truth’s proper intention in order to be true. Therefore, what we speak and with what spirit we speak something is important. To call someone Raca means to label him as worthless and useless, a labeling which man is not authorized to make; for it is God who creates man for His own purposes and it He who judges man. It is devaluation of someone’s value in one’s own sight. This devaluation is not just disparaging but also a confession of something that is not validated by God. Secondly, it evinces a derogatory disposition towards the other that is also expressive of self-pride. A man of faith in God will never call another person as essentially worthless because He believes in God and the perfection of his creation. Man is not born worthless in nature; it is his actions that determine the worth or worthlessness of the kind of life he is living.

The human way of considering worth is with respect to self-profit. Relationships are valued with respect to whether they are profitable to them in some way or the other. Carnal Christians boast of higher links and connections with VIPs and desire to be like them and be seen around with them. The pharisaic attitude seeks human recognition for its religiosity and spirituality. This reveals that their value systems are not according to the righteousness of God. Therefore, Jesus said that what is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God (Lk. 16:15). It is when we treat individuals with respect to their value before God and heaven that we really begin to relate properly in our faith to God. Faith separated from love has no value since it is love that gives value to faith. Therefore, the Word says that “if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1Cor. 13:2, ASV). The verses following the above statement give a description of what true love is. One can clearly see the unselfish and unfading nature of love here. It is important for us to understand that God doesn’t so much appreciate the office of the priest or the family background of the Levite as much as he values the kindness and love of the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:33). The Good Samaritan need not relate to him. He could have argued that the Jews deserved such fate for treating Samaritans as outcastes. He could also have argued that spending time and money of such a stranger was wastage of time, money, and energy since he was not going to profit anything thereby. But this man of love didn’t saw it the way the other Samaritans or Jews saw it. Neither historical grudge nor personal ambition could nullify the spirit of love that flowed from a perception of the bruised man’s personal value as a human being chosen and fashioned by God’s own hand. He was, therefore, willing to spend what he could to care for him. It is a deep conviction of human worth that precedes any true ministry of God. One can’t love or serve God unless one respects and loves his fellowmen. This aesthetic consideration is pivotal for all heavenly acceptable relationships, communication, communion, fellowship, and also for a true worship of God.

3. Careless Calumniation. The third caveat is against one who calls his brother a fool. The word “fool” used here (Gk. moros meaning a morally unwise person) is a title of slander used to vilify someone. The Bible forbids bringing a false accusation against someone or judging others. The sinfulness of such unbelieving labeling is evident in the ancient and modern characterization of people on the basis of essential differences. For instance, Hindu philosophy says that different humans are made of different qualitative elements which are basically three Sattva (light and noble), Rajas (red and passionate), and Tamas (dark and evil). Similarly, astrology and the so called sciences try to attribute to humans characteristics based on time of birth, physical structure, etc. It is considered by many that people are born with essentially different natures which are unalterable. For instance, people are born as thieves, villains, ruffians, or as nobles, heroes, and good men. The Bible, however, tells us that God made man upright but they have sought out many plans and inventions (Eccl. 7:29). In other words, men become wicked and evil not because of the natures with which they are born but because of a willful commitment to the path of evil action. The Bible also tells us that God fashioned men’s hearts alike and clearly perceives all their works (Ps. 33:15). Obviously, it is the uniformity of man’s moral condition that makes moral judgment possible. If men were essentially born with particular natures then there could not be a single law equally imposed for all. This was discerned aptly by the Hindus who delineated different laws for different castes of men. However, the Bible sees all as equally answerable to the righteous Law of God. Therefore, any belief-system that endorses the valuing or discrediting of anyone based on a theory of essential dispositional differences is unbiblical. Of course, such belief-systems lie at the background of most aesthetic evaluations and are not always manifest on the screen.

Racialism, casteism, and communalism should not even be named among Christians. Racial arguments are invalid before God because racialism is by itself and in itself false. God created all people groups from one man Adam (Acts 17:26). Of course, this doesn’t mean that the tradition and faith of a particular culture has no effect on its members. Yet, all such influence is not necessarily imposed by the culture. It is only voluntarily agreed with. That is one reason why reformers have been found in most of the world cultures. Christians must let go their former way of thinking or the hold of heathenish ideas over their view of mankind. The Egyptians looked down at the Israelites with contempt since they considered nomads and shepherds as ignoble. But God looked on the Israelites with favor. We need to possess the divine perspective.

Does this mean that we must look at people as essentially good and not evil? Not at all, for good and evil are not essential characteristics of men; they are relational characteristics. It is only God who is essentially good and goodness has its source and finality in Him. Since all beings are contingent on God, therefore, good or evil can only be predicated of men with reference to their conformity or opposition to the nature and disposition of God, which is indicated in the fruit of the Spirit as mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 as being love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The Scripture says that against such there is no law (Gal. 5:23); therefore, walking in the Spirit also means to crucify the flesh with its passion, to not become conceited (arrogant, snobbish, and puffed up), to not provoke or irritate one another, nor envy anyone. All slander, false accusation, contempt for others, envy, and hatred must be replaced with the fruit of the Spirit. If this is not done, one falls into false pride and false practices.

Thus, it is only by connection to God’s truth that one finds true beauty and dignity. If “beauty is truth, truth beauty,” as Keats said[2] or as the Hindu mystics announced saying “satyam shivam sundaram”, then true aesthetic understanding is only obtained by looking through the eyes of divine truth. Obviously, a self-centered man cannot see true beauty for his blinded by his own lust and self-conceit and, like a black hole, twists even the light for its own selfish purposes. This is why men lacking spiritual wisdom are experts in Scripture-twisting (2Pt. 3:16). A self-centered heart is a dark and a cold pit that knows nothing of God’s truth and His love. Its emotion is lawless, its values abominable, and its behavior demonic (showing pride, ego-centricity, and rebellion). But a heart that is filled with God’s love and His Spirit is blessed by God.

© Domenic Marbaniang, Nov 30, 2008





[1] The word eike translated as “without a cause” is not found in latest texts.
[2] John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” from Fifteen Poets (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1960), p. 359.

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Winds of Change

‘Days have changed’ said an elder.
Crafty change takes a stealthy stride.
And even before the eyes could wonder
Supersonic change does steal the ride.
Neither allowing to predict nor ponder,
Another change soon whizzes by.
‘It’s Future Shock,’ said Alvin Toffler.
'Inevitable process,’ said Harvey Cox.
‘It’s last days,’ said Paul the apostle --
On winds of change the world now rocks.
We’re living ‘midst lights and thunder,
Camera truths and lusty lies.

The tower of Babel looms sublimely higher,
Now built of neither brick nor clay.
Floors of fantasy built one upon the other
Defy the heavens in total array.
But Babel comes tumbling down asunder
And men depart as flurrying flies.

Lie is a multi-headed monster,
Unsatiated, ever-seeking some new
Fancies to placate its infernal hunger,
Spinning changes and choices not few.
As insatiable desire flares up stronger,
The hurried heat is its death-sigh.
This world of wars, wishes, and woes
Now finds in it her most fearsome foes,
Lawless winds of change on fire
Burn this world with venomous desire.
But rough winds corrode mind’s apt power
To tell the difference between truth and lie.

Truly, a vision for change t'wards the good is noble.
One must leave the wrong for right;
For fanatical falsehood breeds contagious trouble,
And falsehood can't with falsehood fight.
Fanaticism is a blind surrender
To unchecked views that might one day die.

But, truth’s unfrightened by bullet or ink;
Neither does it rot nor stink;
But while men’s fancies expand and shrink,
Truth’s eye will never wink.
The wise take courage to stop and think
How change changes by the brink
Of eternity, another world to link
That’ll bring to the just living waters to drink.
Icons, Idols, Images now fall and crumble
Before God’s own Son and our True Life

© Domenic Marbaniang, 2008
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Inner Reality and Outward Mask

In one of his letters to Indira Gandhi, Nehru distinguished between privacy and secrecy. The terms should not be confused. Much of privacy is regulated by cultural demarcations. Privacy relates to modesty and decency. Secrecy relates to discretion. Privacy is ruled by external culture, secrecy is governed by inner understanding. Shame is opposed to modesty and occurs when privacy is violated. Fear or anxiety often accompanies exposure of secrecy. There is a healthy aspect of both privacy and secrecy. Privacy of our dressing room and secrecy of military strategy, for instance. However, when secrecy tries to cover inner foulness by means of a false masquerade, then the secrecy and privacy are means that are abused. The affront of dignity that conceals inner immodesty is hypocrisy. When the internal fails to accord with the external, inner confusion, delusion, or overt rebellion is bound to occur. Fear conceals inner reality and brandishes a fake glowing face as long as social ties seem necessary. Anonymity breeds evil by deindividualization and dehumanization (see Zimbardo). Shame and fear are thus related. The only thing that can bring accord between the internal and the external is confession. The confession of mouth and an inner brokenness...faith is heart brings healing. Hypocritical Christianity exists because culture exists, because society exists, but more because a sense of the need for acceptance exists. The fear of rejection compels secrecy to guard inner vileness. Privacy can only guard modesty. Where modesty is destroyed secrecy steps in to cover immodesty. Unless the sinner throws away his false coverings, God can neither wash nor clothe him. But the will is imperfect so repentance is a vague point. Repentance needs strengthening. It can only be strengthened by confession. One should stop covering up by means of arguments. One must submit in obedience. Lord have mercy on me the chiefest of sinners! May sin be abominable in my eyes, may your love be supreme, for love is purity and holiness. Forgive me Lord and cover me! If the outward mask is broken, the inner vileness will be revealed. But let it be so for your cleansing waters of grace and mercy to flow in irresistibly and wash my sins away. One can't wear the robe of righteousness over a body of sin. It is only a body redeemed and sanctified by His blood that can don the fair garment. May JESUS reign!

Domenic Marbaniang, 03 June, 2008
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Relationships

Acceptance – Accepting the relationship
Rejection – Rejecting the relationship
Barricading - Raising walls thru words & actions that prevent unwanted relationships or relationship types.
Channelling - Putting up turners of words & acts that channel relationships into ones as desired, instead of blocking them off.
Repelling - Using words or actions against advances.
Crushing - Destroying present relationships.
Warfare - Entering into a negative relationship with someone with whom there was no relationship earlier.
Union - Joining in meaningful relationships.
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Let There Be No Division – Audio Sermon by R Venkata Rao Paulus (1979)

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Text: 1 Corinthians 1:10
Speaker: R. Venkata Rao (Paulus)
Year: 1979
Place: Meghalaya
Language: English with Translation into Khasi
www.christiancharity.in
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