Friday, September 25, 2009

Presenting the Gospel

In an earlier post, I said that apathy and preaching a watered-down Gospel are two of the biggest problems we have in this country. How should be Gospel be presented in today’s politically correct, “mustn’t ‘offend’ anybody” atmosphere?

First, let me say how it shouldn’t be presented. The in-your-face “You’re going to burn in hell!” approach isn’t very effective, and is quite obnoxious. Just look at how Jesus interacted with people, and you’ve got the best model possible.

“But,” you may say, “Jesus called the Pharisees white-washed tombs and hypocrites. He was in-your-face with them!” Yes he was, to the holier-than-thou Pharisees, but not to the ordinary people. The Pharisees were the fundamentalists of the day who were legalistic, hypocritical, lacking in grace, and prideful. So Jesus was criticizing the religious leaders, but was gentle with the ordinary people he came in contact with.

So how do we present to Gospel? Speak the truth in love. Meet people where they are. Don’t talk down to them. Show respect to them even when their opinions are way off base. Give a good example so that your life is a powerful testimony of your faith – people can spot a hypocrite a mile away. Exude the joy of the Lord in your demeanor and attitude. Point out what the Bible says, not what you believe. What you believe in immaterial – what the Bible says is all-important.

We must present the whole Gospel, not just the warm and fuzzy parts we like. As we progress with someone and gain their trust, we must introduce them to those aspects of the Gospel that some folks might find objectionable but are critical to understanding the role of Jesus as Lord and Savior. For example, the thought of a place like hell is distasteful to them, yet without hell we don’t need Jesus.

Prepare the way with prayer, and let God’s Holy Spirit guide you. Remember that many modern Americans haven’t been brought up in a Christian culture, but in a politically correct atmosphere. They have been brainwashed with PC, humanism, and relativism so that they believe all religions are pretty much alike, all roads lead to God, religion is a crutch for the weak, there is not such thing as absolute truth, and we shouldn’t “offend” anybody by sharing our religious beliefs with them. We have some big hurdles to overcome!

The person may not make a decision, but you have planted the seed. Someone else will water that seed, and then another person may harvest the crop. Don’t be so eager to “close the deal” that you lose the prospect. It’s up to God and it’s in God’s timing, not yours. Remember, you’re God’s instrument of his grace and it’s all about Him, not you.

May God bless you as you are obedient to his call to spread the Good News by word, deed and example.

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