There seems to be question in the hearts of believers in the church today? The question essentially revolves around the idea that it is unloving to talk about sin to the unbeliever because they will not learn the love of God.
The question was posed like this on Facebook… “I want to ask a serious question as a believer. If other people don’t even know the god that we are supposed to be showing them in love and by our actions how is telling them that the life they choose to live is wrong? I’ve never been one to tell someone that isn’t a believer that they’re doing something that is a sin against god. How else are they supposed to fall in love with him? When I wasn’t a Christian and someone told me something like that my honest answer was, “go to hell!” Another time I saw it posed like this… “I want to ask a serious question as a believer. If someone doesn’t even know the God of the universes love, the love that we are supposed to show by our lives and our love, who are we to tell them what they’re doing is wrong? Isn’t it his job to convict our individual hearts in his own way? I never understood why Christians thought it was our job to tell other people what they’re doing is wrong. I’d really like some answers, as a believer myself, because I feel in my heart that it is wrong and not right.”
Because it is believed to be unloving to address the sin because that is the job of God, the church then should stay away from the culture wars. If it is indeed unloving to point out sin, then the church has no voice in the issue of gay marriage, abortion, legalizing drug use, promiscuity, violent video games, divorce, or the other myriad issues that challenge our world today.
Let me pull out the essential questions that are being asked and the assumptions that are being made. There is first the assumption that we are only supposed to proclaim love through our actions. Because of this assumption, the question is asked “how can it be loving to tell people they are wrong?” The assumption is that God will tell people of their sin. Because of this assumption, the question is asked “isn’t it wrong to tell people their choices are sinful?” The assumption is made that our message to the world is that God is love. Because of this assumption, the question is asked “How is the world supposed to fall in love with God if we tell them about sin?”
The outcome of these assumptions and questions is the idea that if people would only fall in love with Jesus, God would deal with the sin and thus the message of the church becomes one of “see how good God feels – try it and you will like it too.”
Our definition of what we are to tell the world should NEVER come from how the world likes or dislikes our message. Our definition of what we are to proclaim must come from what the Bible says we are to proclaim.
The idea that living a life of love with Jesus is enough to draw people into a relationship with Christ is false. When we believe that lifestyle alone is enough, the Gospel becomes merely another method of social justice and moral goodness. Indeed, we are told that faith comes from hearing the message proclaimed. We MUST use words and proclaim the Word of God to the world in which we live. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”" (Romans 10:14–15, NIV84) Why is preaching the Words of the Bible so important? The Scripture itself tells us “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1, NIV84) It is this very Word that Jesus became: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NIV84) And Jesus Himself pointed out that He fulfilled the Word and expected that we would teach all of the Word. “”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:17–19, NIV84)
Paul demonstrated and taught us how to preach.
We preach the Words of God with the power of God. “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1 Corinthians 1:17, NIV84) “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:21–24, NIV84)
We preach the message of the cross with a demonstration of the Power of God. “For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Corinthians 2:2–5, NIV84)
We preach the Gospel including the recognition of our sins and the need for Christ’s death. “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. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” (1 Corinthians 15:1–8, NIV84)
Jesus taught those who followed Him what to say.
Our ministry is to proclaim fully the message of the Kingdom of God. After we proclaim with our words, we establish the Kingdom through actions. “As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7–8, NIV84)
The first group that Jesus sent to preach was the twelve. They went and preached that people must repent.
“He appointed twelve—designating them apostles—that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.” (Mark 3:14–15, NIV84) “Calling the Twelve to him, he sent them out two by two and gave them authority over evil spirits. These were his instructions: “Take nothing for the journey except a staff—no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra tunic. Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town. And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them.” They went out and preached that people should repent. They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.” (Mark 6:7–13, NIV84)
After Jesus rose from the dead, He reminded His followers to preach repentance.
“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”" (Luke 24:45–49, NIV84)
The early church in Acts also preached the need to repent. People were called to repent and prove their repentance by their actions.
“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.” (Acts 2:38–41, NIV84)
“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19, NIV84)
“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him. “We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen—by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”" (Acts 10:38–43, NIV84)
“”So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.” (Acts 26:19–20, NIV84)
Jesus came to bring the good news, but it came with the message of repentance.
“Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”" (Luke 5:31–32, NIV84)
“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’ But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, ‘Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.’ I tell you, it will be more bearable on that day for Sodom than for that town. “Woe to you, Korazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted up to the skies? No, you will go down to the depths. “He who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”" (Luke 10:1–16, NIV84)
“I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”" (Luke 13:5, NIV84)
So what is the Gospel Message we are to proclaim to the world today? It has not changed in over 2000 years.
We proclaim who God is. We declare His holiness, His power, His authority. We declare that nothing unclean can be in His presence. We declare His love and His justice.
We proclaim who we are. We declare that we are created by God to live in relationship with God. We declare that our sin separates us from God and that we have become powerless to cleanse ourselves of our sin.
We proclaim who Christ is. We declare that He is God and man. We declare that He is the sacrifice for our sins, that He died for us and rose again forever breaking the power of sin. We declare that He is Savior AND LORD!
We proclaim the need to respond. Each one must decide to accept and enter into a relationship with God as God has made a way or to reject it. We proclaim the outcomes of each choice. To those who repent and believe, there is LIFE and the promises of God and the loving relationship that we were created for. To those who reject the message, there is judgment.
This has been presented many ways. Here is a tool to help you.
Because I Care!
If you were die today, are you sure you would go to heaven?
You can know for sure! The Bible says, “These things were written to you… that you may KNOW you have eternal life.” 1 John 5:13
The Bible says there are four things you need to know to have a new life, an eternal life!
All of us have sinned.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23
Sin Separates us from God
“For the wages of sin is death, (separation from God) but the gift of God is eternal life in
Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
God loves us and Christ died for us!
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
We must turn from our sin, invite Christ into our heart to take control.
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:13
To accept Jesus as your Savior, believing, pray this simple prayer from your heart:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner, and I believe you died for all my sin. I am asking you now to come into my heart and take away all my sin and save my soul. I believe by faith that you are hearing my prayer right now and I am trusting you as my only Savior to take me to heaven when I die. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Ingrid Hansen has published several books available on Amazon.com.
More information can be found on the main website ingrid-hansen.info.