Hugh Grant, the famous British actor said one time: “I don’t believe in truth. I believe in style.” Such statement is downright foolish and extremely dangerous to one whose life hangs in the balance between heaven and hell. It seems that Hugh no longer knows how to separate fiction from reality, being in the film industry for so long a time.
Truth is what sets us FREE, more so Biblical truth about salvation. Every preacher of the gospel should never say “I believe in style” and downgrade truth to oblivion. One who does that may not be a real servant of God but a servant of himself or worse of the evil one.
Here are some points in the matter of presenting the gospel.
There must be a CLEAR PRESENTATION of the GOSPEL – We’re all aware of the parable of the wheat and tares. Tares appear similar to wheat until harvest time makes it apparent which is genuine and which is not. Sometimes the presence of professing, nominal Christians is the fault of a FAULTY, MUDDLED, UNSCRIPTURAL PRESENTATION of the gospel. Here are some NEGATIVES in contemporary presentation of the gospel.
- The gospel is not about self-esteem or feeling good about yourself. Joel Osteen made a very unscriptural statement when he said: “Britney Spears is not a sinner; she’s just confused.”
J.C. Ryle correctly assesses today’s messages when he said: “There is a common worldly kind of Christianity in this day, which many have, and think they have enough – a cheap Christianity which offends nobody, and requires no sacrifice – which costs nothing, and is worth nothing.”
The gospel should point out that we are SINNERS. The proof of that is that we all die. Romans 6: 23 states: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” As one t-shirt says, “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” The mortality rate in the world is still one out of one dies. It’s still 100 % death rate.
- The gospel is not JUST about “God is love.” We must also state that our God is a HOLY GOD and that if we stumble at one point of the law, we have broken the entire commandment as James states in the Scriptures. Yes, our God is a God of affection and compassion, but He is also an avenging God and a God of justice. Hence, His holy demands must be satisfied and only Christ’s atoning sacrifice can provide FORGIVENESS for us sinners.
- The gospel is not JUST about Jesus wanting to be our FRIEND. Mark Dever states: “You see, Christ isn’t just our friend. To call Him that as His supreme title is to offer Him “faint praise.” Christ is our friend, but He is so much more.” He is Lord, Savior, Master, God and many more. To accept Christ as Savior, but not as Lord will not bring salvation to our souls, because Lordship means that we SURRENDER our entire lives for Him to change and mold into His likeness.
- The gospel is not about MORALIZATION (Values formation)
The messages that EXCLUSIVELY talk about values and virtues ONLY are messages other than the Good News of Christianity. They are half true at best, and they are dangerously untrue when they are relied on as the Christian gospel.”
Let us learn some lessons in history. Before Nazism came into place, we find a century before, a BRAND OF CHRISTIANITY that may have contributed to the success of NAZISM.
Mark Dever describes it this way: “It was not a Christianity of absolute truths from an absolute God. It was a compromising, MORALIZING, relativizing kind of Christianity offering a gospel that could be shaped by human hands and human thoughts.” If one takes away the CROSS from any message, it has strained out the CENTRAL and DEFINING message of the gospel.
Now, on a positive note, we should be able to hear in our messages the following LANGUAGES of the gospel as found in the Book of Romans, the Book of Ephesians and elsewhere in the Scriptures:
- Economic language – we are REDEEMED (bought out of slavery)
- Relational language – we are RECONCILED.
- Legal language – we are JUSTIFIED (declaration of exoneration – “not guilty”)
- Military language – Christ DISARMED “the (wicked and evil) powers and authorities”
We need to note that for salvation to take place, the PATH of FAITH and REPENTANCE are ABSOLUTE NECESSITIES (Acts 20: 21).
Faith means FULLY RELYING on Jesus’ sacrifice as the means to salvation. It is not TRUSTING A LITTLE in OURSELVES and a LITTLE in God. It is trusting COMPLETELY on God and God alone.
EPH 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Repentance means a CHANGE OF MIND; it doesn’t mean changing yourself because that would mean that salvation is by GOOD WORKS, which is false. It means changing your mind about sin, from something that you enjoy to something that you now HATE. You implore the HOLY SPIRIT to take full rein of your life, so that you are fully surrendered to God for Him to effect changes in your life.
Having said all of these, let us then be extra careful in the way we present the Gospel, because the lives of people hang in the balance and we do not want to be accountable in mishandling truth. Let us fight for the primacy of truth in our pulpits and in our personal witnessing that a genuine harvest of souls might take place.