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Sunday, July 21, 2024

How Can I Persuade Snug Individuals to Embrace Christ?

Audio Transcript

A number of many years in the past, preaching was outlined as an act meant “to disturb the comfy and to consolation the disturbed” (Campus Gods on Trial, 102). You’ve heard that definition earlier than of preaching. Disturbing the comfy stays one of many nice challenges confronted by the preacher and the evangelist and all of us who search to share the gospel within the affluent West at this time. As a result of to be comfy in sin, aside from Christ, is the deadliest place to be.

With that concern comes this query from a listener named Matt. “Hiya, Pastor John! As an evangelist, what have you ever finished to try to persuade individuals who have their materials wants met of their want for Christ? I’ve a rich brother who has little interest in the gospel or religious issues. I’ve been praying for him for years to be saved and I simply don’t know the best way to break by all of the comforts of his life that make him really feel assured and warranted and protected.”

This query resonates deeply with me, not solely due to folks I do know who’re outwardly fairly content material and but are misplaced, but in addition as a result of my father was an evangelist who noticed hundreds of individuals come to Christ by his ministry, and he mentioned to me after I was a boy, “Johnny, getting folks saved by the gospel appears to not be the toughest factor in my ministry. However getting them misplaced in order that they know they have to be saved — that’s the toughest factor.” So, this query shouldn’t be new to me. It’s been round for a very long time. I believe it’s not distinctive to our time.

Different Gospels

The factor that this query is getting at is that most individuals don’t really feel any want for a very powerful factor that Jesus completed and affords. And add to that the tragedy that so many Christians, and even some preachers, in our day have altered the message of the gospel in order that the primary factor — a very powerful factor Jesus completed by dying and rising once more — shouldn’t be a very powerful factor being provided when folks share the gospel. Fairly, there’s a relentless effort to make the message match the felt want, which drastically alters the message from one thing infinite and supreme and superb and valuable to one thing temporal and much much less essential.

The prosperity gospel, in fact, is essentially the most egregious instance of this, as prosperity preachers attempt to promote Jesus as a form of magical power in your life that may make issues go higher on this world. However there are much less egregious types of prosperity-gospel distortion, which do the identical factor at a lesser stage, that’s just about infecting the American church. We create alterations of the gospel as we attempt to persuade folks with our personal seemingly innocuous model of the prosperity gospel — by primarily referring to the truth that your psychological state or your marriage or youngsters or funds or well being will enhance should you settle for Jesus.

Loss of life and Judgment

Now, my father was a really comfortable man. He knew the great results of God’s forgiveness and justification by religion and the hope of everlasting life. He knew the great results right here and now of being a Christian. He was a contented, well-rounded, balanced Christian. I feel that’s in all probability why I’m a Christian at this time. I by no means noticed in my father or my mom any purpose to jettison what they have been so authentically modified by. My father wrote somewhat paperback. Most fundamentalists don’t write books like this — and he was one, a really comfortable one. I’ve it on my shelf: A Good Time and How you can Have It.

And but he additionally knew that most individuals thought they have been having time and the gospel would simply get in the way in which. That was the issue. That’s what he needed to overcome. Due to this fact, what I keep in mind most clearly in his preaching is the flame in his eyes of mingled kindness and severity when he quoted Hebrews 9:27: “It’s appointed for man to die as soon as, and after that comes judgment.” Oh, I can simply hear him say it. I can see the look on his face.

“On the backside of all different issues is the issue that we’re underneath the wrath of God.”

Generally we joke and say, “Effectively, two issues are unavoidable in life: loss of life and taxes.” Effectively, that’s not true. Taxes are avoidable. You may simply go to jail. However there are two issues which are unavoidable with out Christ: loss of life and judgment, loss of life and hell. The principle factor Jesus got here into the world to perform was to make it attainable for human beings, underneath the simply sentence of loss of life and hell, to flee that everlasting condemnation and dwell without end, glorifying God by their happiness in him. That’s what he got here to do — centrally on the backside of all different issues.

Fixing Our Largest Drawback

What God despatched Jesus into the world to do was to unravel each human downside ultimately. The issue that needs to be solved on the backside of all different issues is the issue that we’re underneath the wrath of God. That’s humanity’s largest downside. Regardless of how wealthy we’re or comfortable we’re — or wholesome or well-known or sturdy or stunning — we’re all sinners. We’ve got belittled the glory of God by making so little of it, and we deserve everlasting condemnation. Romans 5:9 says, “Since, subsequently, we have now now been justified by his blood, far more we could be saved by him from the wrath of God.” And 1 Thessalonians 1:10 says, “[God] raised [Jesus] from the useless, . . . who delivers us from the wrath to come back.” And Romans 2:5 says, “Due to your arduous and impenitent coronary heart you might be storing up wrath for your self on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment might be revealed.”

That is the issue on the backside, underneath all different issues, and that is the primary downside for individuals who really feel they haven’t any issues and don’t want the gospel: the wealthy, the comfy, the content material; the poor, the comfy, the content material.

So, my father pleaded with wholesome, rich, self-satisfied folks to get up and understand that each heartbeat might be your final, and also you’re not able to face an all-holy God. There’s just one option to be prepared, and that’s to be united to Jesus Christ by religion in him as our Savior and Lord and treasure. In accordance with Romans 8:3, God condemned sin in Jesus Christ’s flesh. That’s, he gave his Son to bear the condemnation of his personal wrath for all who will belief him.

Or in Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the legislation by turning into a curse for us — for it’s written, ‘Cursed is everybody who’s hanged on a tree.’” My father would plead with folks, “For those who don’t settle for the curse that Jesus got here underneath God’s wrath towards you to provide, you’ll have to bear your individual curse in hell.” That’s the one essential message that our comfy, oblivious mates and neighbors want to listen to. There are various different good issues to say; that dare not be uncared for.

Warning with Knowledge and Love

We have to be deeply conscious that it is a message of affection about an act of affection that’s so nice it can’t be exaggerated. Simply earlier than mentioning God’s wrath in Romans 5:9, Paul mentioned, “God reveals his love for us in that whereas we have been nonetheless sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). There is no such thing as a higher love than that God would put his solely Son by hell on the cross to save lots of his enemies from going to hell. That’s the guts of the gospel.

So, Matt, let’s pray that God would give us tears and compassion, not only for the pains and sorrows of this life. Oh my goodness. You learn the information of what’s occurring around the globe, and there’s simply a lot struggling now. Sure, by all means allow us to weep for that, but in addition, might God give us tears for the pain-free folks, the comfy folks, the wholesome, rich people who find themselves blind to what awaits them with out Christ.

God will present you, Matt, when and the best way to give this message as you search to put down your life for others. He’ll. He’ll present you. I’ve seen such warnings — I imply extreme, earnest, tearful warnings, from my father and in my very own ministry — I’ve seen warnings from my father and from me bear the fruit of salvation. Could God trigger our like to abound with nice knowledge in order that we all know how greatest to ship this important message.

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