Monday, 11 June 2018

 Another soul-damning error is that it's up to us to "close the deal" when we share the gospel with people. Instead of convincing people, that approach tends to drive them away. It also leaves them with the sense that Christianity is an Amway-like religion of "getting" people to join.

So how should we preach the gospel? Jesus modeled how in the fourth chapter of John's gospel. He sat at a well at noon and asked a Samaritan woman for a drink of water. That was highly taboo since Jews and Samaritans hated each other. Jesus then spoke with her about "living water" and she believed in him as the Messiah.

That woman told her neighbours and they too believed in Jesus. John 4:39 (KJV) reads, "And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, 'He told me all that ever I did.'"

Imagine what a failure in communication would have happened had Jesus given her a didactic lecture right from the start. Imagine if he had told her right away that she was headed for hell because she was a sinful woman. Instead, Jesus led her gently into the gospel and she believed him without any verbal coercion.

Another example of gentle leading into the gospel message is recorded in Acts 8:30 (KJV). "And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, 'Understandest thou what thou readest?'"

That Ethiopian eunuch had been reading the book of Isaiah aloud when the Holy Spirit directed Philip to go into the desert. When the man asked him how could he understand the text, Philip explained it. After the eunuch was baptized, he returned home with the gospel. Today's Coptic church is the result of that one encounter.

I'm glad we don't have to "sell" the gospel like it's a lit stick of dynamite. Too many people have ruined the good news of redemption by being belligerent. Our job is to proclaim the gospel, not sell it.

I'll be writing more about this in my next book called You Think You're Going to Heaven? Far too many people have been turned away from the life-giving good news by overzealous Christians who were told they had to get as many people saved as possible. The Holy Spirit is who does the saving, not us messengers.

My next post will be about the unforgivable sin. Far too many Christians have been tormented by this misunderstanding that one single slip can damn them forever. I want to comfort them through what Scripture says.

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