Monday, October 10, 2016

How to Reach Your Neighbors, 2 of 6

Continuing from my first post, as we remember the gospel, here is another reason why all believers are called to joyfully share God’s plan of redemption with the lost world: a love for those who do not yet know Christ.

What does a love for the unsaved look like? It means being willing to lovingly and graciously be willing to offend. According to the Scriptures, the unsaved will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The anguish of the rich man is real (Luke 16:23-24).

Charles Spurgeon wrote, “Meditate with deep solemnity upon the fate of the lost sinner…when you get up early to go to the place where you commune with God, cast an eye toward Sodom and see the smoke thereof going up like the smoke of a furnace. Shun all views of future punishment which would make it appear less terrible, and so take off the edge of your anxiety to save immortals from the quenchless flame.” from Lectures to my Students

Our love for the lost means building relationships, showing grace, loving people, loving their families, sacrificing time and resources to care for them, etc., but we won’t find a painless way to communicate to a person that the wrath of God is upon them. We must love them enough to tell them the truth.

Mark Dever writes, “One thing I have noticed that has declined over the years is a willingness to offend people over the gospel. I have been to many seminars on contextualization, and I’m not opposed to it, but I don’t agree with us translating the gospel in such a way that an unbeliever is not offended. We want to translate the gospel into understandable language, but it doesn’t mean translating the gospel in a way that our hearers will like.”

I’m not saying the indication of your faithfulness is how much you offend people, but I am saying that there is no painless way to tell someone that they’re under the wrath of God. We have to understand what conversion is. Biblically, while we are to persuade, our first duty is to be faithful to present the same good news that God has given to us. God’s Spirit will convert. We can’t make conversions. I think knowing this will make us better evangelists.

More soon. Take care,
Pastor Ben 

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