2019-12-05 Our Greatest Fear?

“And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good except God alone.”
Luke 18:19

A friend of mine waded into the deep weeds this morning with a Facebook post challenging everyone’s view of themselves. Basically, he said that no one is good except God alone. He’s right. I think many of us who really dig into the bible will soon discover that none of us is perfect, yet perfection is what is required to enter heaven. This is so radically different than the common perception that one will immediately find opposition, as my friend found out this morning. Yet, he was no fool because he knew that would happen. And, when it does, a conversation can start. Keep in mind that there are bystanders who are listening carefully.

Many won’t believe, but some will. Shall we be silent to please those who refuse to believe? What about those listeners who don’t participate but want to hear? Shall we put it to a vote before we share the gospel?

Or, is the gospel so important that we take risks so that we might reach even one ear that might be inclined to hear these precious words? I think it is.

This doesn’t give us license to be arrogant. However, if we examine the bible closely, we see all the apostles – and Jesus – severely beaten and killed because of what they said. How about the prophets of old? Same. So, clearly God’s standard of being kind to others is different than what most think. After all, God himself sent these folks out to do exactly what they did. Right?

Even so, we would be wise to hone our skills, just as we would with anything. Yes, it’s true that God alone opens ears, eyes, and hearts, but that gives us all the more reason to present the gospel as if we cared enough to be prepared. Anyone who has seen an unorganized presenter can appreciate this.

Why is this important? Let’s face it, no one has all the answers, and sooner or later you will run into someone who will stop you in your tracks and make you look like a fool. A good presenter will know this and be prepared. The first approach is to narrow the scope of the discussion. Second, learn techniques to keep the conversation on track. Of course, you need to know your material well. Christians really have no excuse for not knowing material. After all, the Holy Spirit has given us a huge appetite for God’s Word – the bible. Listen, if we aren’t finding ourselves hungry for the bible, then there is something wrong. And, if we don’t have time to satisfy that hunger, there is something else wrong.

Know your stuff and talk about that. If someone wants to talk about something else, then tell them you don’t know. Don’t try to fumble around trying to answer it. Better to be seen as ignorant than a fabricator. Then, go learn the answers to those questions. You’ll find that there are only a handful that come up regularly. Still, far better to be silent than be slammed by someone who is far more prepared than you. Trust me, atheists and agnostics have done their homework. They are prepared for you. Don’t fight them in their strong hand. Learn how to avoid their favorite punches.

Folks, there are all sorts of places to learn this stuff. I’ve been really intrigued lately by Ray Comfort and Lee Strobel. Both make the presentation of the gospel so easy and simple. Actually, it’s the simple part that amazes me. There are all sorts of online videos available for free. I highly recommend these two because you can quickly master a two-minute presentation of the gospel that you will never forget. Another good one is Todd Friel of Wretched Radio. He does a great job street preaching. Simple, basic, and effective.

Now, please don’t be frightened that some of these guys are street preachers. Learn what they have to say so you can share the gospel one-on-one with people. Or one-on-two. Or to a small group of people. Who knows! Maybe you’ll find God has given you a talent for this. Listen, you don’t have to be an expert to share the gospel. Start with your own story. That’s the proof-in-the-pudding, anyway. You know that by heart. Practice that and have different versions, a two-minute version, a ten-minute, and a 30-minute version. Your testimony is powerful. Remember, Jesus paid for it, and he expects you to share it.

God will not leave you unrewarded for your work, not that you should be looking for reward for what he has done for you. Even so, there is something so satisfying about sharing the gospel that it really is beyond words. You know that the best things in life are those that money can’t buy, right? Well, sharing the gospel has to be at the very top when it comes to interpersonal interaction. God pours his love into those who pour it out for others.

Why do you think some of these people do it? Yes, you can point to wealthy preachers, and, yes, one can legitimately question their true motives. For others, it is simply that they love people so much that they must share the gospel. What a wonderful gift from God that is!

So, folks, I hope one day to hear that one or more of you tell me that this post encouraged you to take some risks. Wouldn’t it be incredible to one day hear that the next Billy Graham read this post? It could happen, you know.

That person just might be you.

Father, we pray that you send workers into the harvest. It is ready. Amen.

Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers

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