I hate watered down Coca-Cola. I despise tea that is weak. I loathe mashed potatoes with too much milk in it so that it is runny potatoes.
So, why do I feel like I have to make the cross and Jesus' love for people so much less than what it is? Why do I apologize for offending people when talking about their sin? Why do I go soft when asking them if they are afraid of dying without God's forgiveness? How do I fix this in my evangelism? The answer: go to Jesus, see what He can teach us about evangelizing seekers.
In Luke 18:18-30 Jesus has the model "Seeker" come up to him and ask him the "perfect" question. A young Jewish ruler comes running and kneels before Jesus (Mark's Gospel) and asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life? Sounds like the perfect prospect for baptism, doesn't it? He wants to know how to receive eternal life.
The young ruler even calls Jesus, "good." Everyone knew that only God was "good." So did this young ruler infer that Jesus just might be God? If he does, will he follow Jesus?
When Jesus asks him about keeping the Law this young ruler doesn't miss a beat, he responds by saying he has kept all of the commandments. Jesus isn't surprised by this comment, He sees it coming, and so without letting this young ruler off the hook He goes after what really is at the heart of this young man. He knew the young man to be rich and tells him to go sell it all and come follow Him and be like the disciples -- men who gave up everything to wander around the Judean countryside following Jesus.
That was the proverbial line in the sand. The young man turned and left. He had never measured himself against the first commandment - Thou shall have no other gods before Me. This young man was bowing down to the idol of wealth.
This young man looked, sounded, and acted like the perfect "Seeker" that every church wants. But, Jesus showed him his heart and exposed him. He had a superficial heart. Jesus was never interested in superficial hearts who only worship on Sunday.
So, why does the church obsess over "seekers?" Why do we continue to add to our numbers those who have never professed Jesus as Savior? Why do we think that the more entertainment we can provide the more people will want to follow Jesus? Why do we have to bask the cross in neon lights, loud drums, and amazing feats of daring? Why do we apologize when sharing the gospel? Are we embarrassed to make people feel uncomfortable under the penalty of their guilt?
We need to boldly profess the Gospel!
We must not be afraid to share the whole ugly truth about sin, death, and damnation. Jesus has not asked us to water down his gospel.
"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the Holy angels." Mark 8:38
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