Summary: We live in a day where we think that in order to be relevant to our culture, we must be like our culture. We live in a day where we think that in order for the gospel to be relevant, we must somehow adjust it to the culture. The gospel has power not becau
WHERE’S THE POWER?
We live in a day where we think that in order to be relevant to our culture, we must be like our culture. We live in a day where we think that in order for the gospel to be relevant, we must somehow adjust it to the culture.
We are relevant not because we are like our culture. We are relevant because we are absolutely different. And our gospel has power not because it is acceptable to carnal men; our gospel has power because it is a scandal to men! (shame/dishonor/humiliation/embarrassment)
Paul is not ashamed of this gospel but his flesh had every reason to be. Imagine for a moment, we’re not talking about a man who comes into the environment of a Bible believing people; we’re talking about a man who comes into the environment of Jewish mythology, to Greek philosophy that contradict the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Every time the Apostle Paul stood up he seems to carnal men to be nothing more than a raving madman. But we don’t see power like that today. Why? Because we support the gospel with the carnal strategies of men. We removed the scandal in the name of love as though we had greater wisdom than God to tweak His gospel here and there so it might be more pleasant/palatable to men. We must choose to be unpopular preachers of the gospel.
Now look at the gospel that we have today. It goes something like this:
Do you know you are a sinner? Then if the person says yes, then the next step..
Would you like to go to heaven? If the person says yes, the next step…
Well then repeat this prayer. And if the person repeats that prayer, then the next step…
Well, did God save you? And usually the answer is something like this, “I don’t know.” And the witness for Christ says, “Well, of course, He saved you. If He didn’t save you He was a liar because He said if you open the door and invited Him in He would come in and He doesn’t lie.”
So we look at sinners and say, “You know you are a sinner, don’t you?” And usually we even say this because we’ve been taught this in seminary, we say, “Well, you know, we are all sinners.” We don’t want to just say “you” because we don’t want people to feel isolated and guilty by themselves.
But we must allow people to feel isolated and guilty by themselves because only in that they will come to see their need for Christ. People must realize that they are destitute and there’s only one Savior and His name is Jesus.
The question is not, “Do you know you are a sinner?” The question is this, “Since you’ve heard me preach the gospel, has God done such a work in your heart that the sin you once love you now hate and the righteousness you once hated and ignored you now desire?” That is the question.
You see, everyone knows they are a sinner. They just don’t realize how heinous and terrible that is. People would always come and say, “I have a new relationship with God.” But I say, “Do you have a new relationship with sin? Because if you don’t have a new relationship with sin, you don’t have a new relationship with God.
Now let’s look at this invitation: GOD LOVES YOU AND HAS A WONDERFUL PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE. Many times this is accompanied by an explanation of all that Jesus can do for the person – fix their life, their marriage, their finances, and their self-esteem. So you woke up to what we know about a sinner – he is self-centered, he’s autonomous, he wants to do his own thing, he has his own dreams and he is in love with himself!
So you walk up to this man and you say, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” And he goes, “What?! God loves me? That’s fantastic! I love me too! Wow! This is wonderful! And you’re even saying that He loves me more than I love me? Now that sounds impossible. How can anyone have such a great love? And God has a wonderful plan for my life? Oh, I have a wonderful plan for my life too! And you’re telling me that if I accept this Jesus he will help me with all my wonderful plans and I can have my best life now?!” YES! “Well, then, I’ll take a God like that. You got two of them?!
Do you know what the problem of this approach of inviting people is? The problem is even when we preach the gospel correctly then we go to this thing of how to invite men that is not biblical or historical, we get them to jump to a few evangelical hoops and say yes to the appropriate questions and we popishly pronounce them to be saved.