Since I was first saved the notion of sharing the message of salvation from sin and its costs by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ seemed a natural thing. I felt that everyone should come to know this message and to experience the same love and grace that I had come to enjoy. Yet over the years it seemed to become more and more complicated and for some reason I felt I had to make it so.
I would naturally smooth the message down, saying to myself well they won’t understand the idea of atonement of sanctification, speaking in tongues or prophetic messages will freak them out and I can’t mention the thought of the supernatural, the infilling of the Holy Spirit or the return of Jesus in case they think I am crazy.
I don’t know if you have found yourself doing the same. It starts from a very sympathetic impulse. The impulse that you really do want them to come to know Jesus, so you don’t do anything to turn them off. But once you start down that road what you’re really saying is, these things embarrass me which is pretty much the same thing as saying that the Lord embarrasses you. And we have to remember what the scriptures say,
Therefore whoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My Words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man shall also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels. Mark 8:38
Now you may be thinking that’s a bit unfair, after all you aren’t actually embarrassed by the Lord, and you really do believe in all of the above, you simply think it will put people off. Well I agree with you, it would put people off but 1 Corinthians 1:27 tells us the Lord chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. If you believe it but want to keep it a secret, well to me, if I was new to the church and you revealed a load of things you previously kept quiet, I would think you a cult. Let us not be ashamed of who we are and what we believe but more importantly let us not try and do the Holy Spirits job.
See that’s one of the simplicities that has jumped out at me whilst we have looked at sowing. Today farmers use all kinds of pesticides and gizmo’s to improve yields but this cannot be applied to the scriptural example of sowing. In Jesus day a farmer sowed the seeds knowing that more than half would be eaten by birds before anything happened and that maybe only 20% – 30% would grow. Yet what he did know is he couldn’t make anything grow, that was the creator’s job.
That lesson has to be applied to our thinking when we share the gospel. Most of the time it won’t be listened to, when it is, there is nothing we can do to make it change a life. Only the creator is involved in that, and how it grows nobody know but Him.
So we don’t need to try and make our message so that it doesn’t offend or embarrass because we can’t convince people to become Christians, it’s an act of God in their lives.
But am I saying that Jesus chooses who will be saved and who won’t or that becoming a Christian will be forced on some. Well no I am not. When we preach the gospel, which tells people they are going to hell unless they pay the price for their sins, which they can’t so they need to accept that Jesus did, give their lives to Him and make Him Lord of their life, then they have a choice to do that or not. Now the gospel message is actually a very logical argument providing you accept that there is such a thing as Sin which separates you from God; that there is a God and that His son Jesus paid the price for your sin; that by accepting Him as your Saviour and payment for your sin, simply by asking Him, even though you can’t see Him, will save you. Unfortunately most people don’t accept those things and we who have accepted Jesus as Saviour believe them on Faith, which is the only evidence we have. This is where the Lord comes in through the Holy Spirit. As we share the gospel message, providing it isn’t dismissed out of hand and is listened to, the Holy Spirit prompts the listener to make a step of faith, this is the Lord’s involvement. However the person listening has the free will to reject that prompting of God, and although the Lord will not force the person, He has always known whether they would accept it or not.
Now our only involvement in that whole process was preaching the gospel. So we have that simple task to continue over and over again as Paul told Timothy, in season and out of season.
If they come back or not wont be because we didn’t scare them off or attract them, but simply on how they respond to the gospel. So if we want to grow as a church we don’t need to become seeker sensitive, we need to become Gospel orientated.