How difficult do you make it for people to come to the Lord? We take such a simple matter and make it so complicated that there is very little attractive about knowing Jesus Christ. We spend our time telling people how they have to change, what they are doing wrong, giving them a list of do's and don'ts before they have even discovered the incredible news of God's love. Instead of conveying the Good News we spend our time condemning the natural actions of sinners, completely forgetting that the Scriptures tell us:
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
While we were still sinners; still! We need to know the Word but we need to understand the simplicity of it for sinners, for the lost, the ones who we have been left here to seek out, to influence for Jesus. Once they have met Jesus and claimed him for their own, the Holy Spirit will begin his work, which they will be glad for, and there will be a transforming instead of a conforming. At the end of his first letter to the Corinthians Paul wanted to make sure that the Corinthians stuck to the gospel. The Word of God is the lamp to our feet, and we need to make sure that we are living and serving according to it:
Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
The only way we are going to reach maturity in Christ is within the written Word of God. Those who have not bothered to study and learn the Word chase after all other kinds of ideas, thoughts and teachings. They use human logic to fill in their learning gaps and they make assumptions; assumptions that lead them away from the truth instead of into it. How can we help others discover the Light if we ourselves are still paddling around in the dark? We have to make sure we have taken our stand on the Word of God.
Paul made it clear what we need to accept in order to have salvation. This is all we need to tell those who are lost. We do not need to get into great theology or discussions about their actions, what is acceptable to God and what isn't. All we have to do is present these things as facts, as what we know and the Spirit of God does the rest. Let me give them to you in point form and you can look them up yourself in 1 Corinthians 15. This is the gospel we need to present as mature Christians to those who are without Christ:
- Jesus died for our sins
- he was buried
- he was raised from the dead on the third day
- he appeared to Peter and the other disciples
- he appeared to 500 followers at the same time
- he appeared to others as well
That's it. It's as simple as that. No need for great arguments. If they want to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour that is all they need to start off with. That is the basic gospel. All the other stuff comes after and is called discipleship. Jesus died for our sins, was buried, raised from the dead and appeared to many people who became his witnesses.
Jesus told us not to cast our pearls to the pigs. It is not as mean as it may sound. How can such an animal appreciated the beauty of pearls? How can those without Jesus appreciate the deeper teachings of the Word? How can they appreciate the wisdom of God? How can they appreciate who he is? They can't, not without Jesus, so let's not complicate it. "Jesus loves you and this is how he loves you, he died for you." Make sure they know the whole story, that he was buried but he wasn't left that way because he was raised from the dead and appeared to many people. If people are not ready to accept this then we have nothing else to offer.
Let's keep the preaching for the saved and the witnessing for the unsaved. The Good News is a simple thing so let's keep it simple.