July 23, 2022
“But know this: difficult times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful...”
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“Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching. For the time will come when they will not tolerate sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, will accumulate teachers for themselves because they have an itch to hear something new. They will turn away from hearing the truth and will turn aside to myths.” 2 Timothy 4:2-4
The term “share the gospel” has been limited to evangelism in our generation. Although evangelism is essential, Jesus called us to “Go and make disciples.” Evangelism originates a disciple, but “discipleship” is the ongoing accountable pursuit of learning to live out the gospel.
It is safe to say we have become dependent on convenience. Our generation yells at the microwave for being too slow. In response to societal trends, so-called “generationally-savvy” congregations have designed ministry paradigms to make the congregational worship experience more convenient and less challenging.
There is nothing wrong with understanding a culture to reach its people. But the greater “body of Messiah” fails in its God-intended purpose when it becomes preoccupied with not offending people. By avoiding the hard truths of the gospel (intended to lead to repentance for those who fall short of God’s standard for believers), the “soft sell” approach is needlessly prolonging the suffering an individual incurs through unrepentance. In seeking to not offend the non-believer, these congregations don’t seem to be worried about offending God, Who desires that ALL come unto repentance. Practically speaking, it takes more energy to pursue cultural relevance than simply teaching the Bible constantly.
The discipleship process of rebuking, correcting, and teaching is not always convenient. People will often hate you for teaching the undiluted Bible. Why? When people become aware of God’s standard, they are confronted with their personal sin problem, and that’s uncomfortable. But rejecting the gospel is not always the unbeliever’s response. Often, they believe. Paul tells us what to expect when we share God’s Word as He reveals it.
“But if all are prophesying, and some unbeliever or uninformed person comes in, he is convicted by all and is judged by all. The secrets of his heart are revealed, and as a result, he will fall down on his face and worship God, proclaiming, ‘God is really among you.’” 1 Corinthians 14:24-25
We must preach the Bible as His Spirit has revealed it to us. And we should trust God to change lives. We cannot be afraid to teach sound doctrine. Anything less is a distraction from the real issues people need to address to grow as believers.
We cannot let fear of rejection discourage us from sharing the gospel. Paul teaches the Church’s lack of effectiveness stems not from our lack of cultural relevance. It’s our lack of passion, persistence, perseverance, and patience.