Mark 16:15-16 King James Version (KJV)
15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.King James Version (KJV)
Reaching the lost? Surely, we as Christians know we are to present the gospel and reach out in love towards those who don’t believe. But how? I suspect some of you of course are finding new and innovative ways to get the Word of God out…
But have you ever asked yourself where is the response?
To be sure, the Bible tells us that some will sow and some will reap. In other words, it will take time to see the harvest.
11So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
When we read the verse above we know God has said his Word will not return void. However, like the early missionaries I cannot wonder if we aren’t missing something? Remember their early efforts were more of an attempt to establish Christian colonies, and that years later it became more evident that endeavors to reach the lost in other lands became more fruitful if we studied the various cultures of those we were trying to reach.
What I am getting at here is that I wonder about the United States? Has it not changed culturally to a great degree?
So where do we stand? While recently studying a course on contemporary preaching I was struck with some of the ideas presented. I didn’t agree with everything in the course. The textbook was written by a compendium of authors. However, it was pointed out to me that there are those who believe our society in The United States Of America is in a transition period from modern thinking to post modern thinking.
To my astonishment, I “learned” that JFK was given much of the credit for pushing us into the realm of modern thinking by his well known speech regarding an American commitment to go to the moon and do so rather quickly!
Notwithstanding that J.F.K. had his flaws that were revealed decades later after his assassination, as a child I saw him as a hero. I was a huge fan of the space race! I built model rockets such as the X-15, and to this day I have a diecast collectible of it in my bookcase.
Living through those years I watched as literally millions of Americans became enthralled. It seemed as if science could answer every question and that if men put their minds together they could accomplish anything. Thus, some believe this was if not the very beginning, at least the equivalent of an atomic explosion towards modern thinking which asks the how or why of everything.
Literally, the moon landing inspired mankind itself, and especially Americans towards a can do attitude.
I am now told we are entering a post modern era. Perhaps we have discovered man can’t find the answer to every question by himself? Sadly, neither have we returned to biblical truth so much.
Today’s world is a mixture of varying schools of thought. When the gospel is presented to the modern thinker he or she asks how and why? In addition, much of the newer generation doesn’t already hold to the presumption that God exists.
This means oftentimes if a Christian hits an unbeliever with a barrage of Bible verses they may find the response is simply a shrug of the shoulders and a “So what?”
Now, I’m going to present to you the idea that belief in God is logical, rational, and intelligent.
Isaiah 1:18 KJV…
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
I have made this verse in Isaiah one of the hallmark Scriptures I live by because it reminds me that God Himself is logical. We may not always understand Him, but nevertheless it is true. And, if we study God’s Word over a protracted period we will discover more of His intelligence.
In the past there have been those who have strayed into error because they have left logic out of the equation when it comes to understanding the Word of God.
My point is simple. The approach we take when presenting the gospel message matters!
If I remember correctly years ago I once read of two tribes that missionaries reached out to with the gospel. In their culture cleverness was highly prized.
Upon hearing the gospel they initially thought Judas was quite clever for betraying Jesus!
The missionaries had to find a new approach. It turned out that after warring for and extended period the tribes finally made peace by exchanging the firstborn child of the tribal leaders.
The missionaries were able to use that custom as an illustration to explain Jesus was the “peace child” between God and man. And, they were able to reach them using logic and God’s word.
Point of fact, God’s word is not mumbo jumbo! If we put on the mind of Christ it will change everything and make sense to us.
In 1st Corinthians 9-22-23 KJV…
Paul the apostle…
22To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.
We must as the apostle Paul did, approach the lost literally becoming “all things to all men” insofar as we do all that is ethical in reaching out to the lost. That means approaching them with God’s word and being ready to do so perhaps from a viewpoint to which we ourselves are not accustomed to.
But, what of the post modern thinker? In a way, they seem to be more open minded. Yet they often are currently being led astray by bizzare beliefs such as self decided misdirected self centered declarations that morality itself consists only of their own personal convictions! In other words, morality consists of whatever you think it does and you decide what is moral for yourself.
One can only shake our heads in disbelief. How could that possibly work? Each individual decides for himself? Obviously there would be chaos. And, then there is the matter of subjective truth. I prefer divine truth. No wonder man seems so destined for folly!
In any case, you can readily see the confusion in today’s society that has been wrought by Satan and various other nonsensical beliefs.
We must somehow find ways to approach such individuals in prayer and with the love of God. And, if words fail us we must present the love of Christ in deeds and actions when we are able to do so. We can often begin with by simply agreeing with them that there is more to our existence than just the physical world.
I want to be very clear. I am NOT suggesting we use only substitutes for God’s Word!!! But, rather that we use prayer, God’s love, His Word, and new methods when possible to get the attention of those who literally think differently than we do.
In closing let me say I wish it were not so, but in today’s society much of it has been mentally pre-conditioned against the good news of the gospel.
Never before have so many in our country openly opposed Christianity or the cause of Christ. To those who are dissatisfied with modern or post modern thinking and are yearning for more, I say Jesus is who you need. He is who was meant to fill that emptiness inside. Read John 3:16, Revelations 3:20, and the Bible itself! Do not be decieved.
I heard somewhere the other day nearly 70% of Americans in The United States consider themselves Christian. I wonder how many of that number are only theoretical Christians? Have we come to the place where other nations will need to send missionaries to us to re-evangelize us?