Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Honest Preaching

The next few posts will focus on 2 Corinthians chapter 4.  Please take time to read it.

"Therefore, since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart.  Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God.  On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.  And even if our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing.  The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.  For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake.  For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ."  2 Corinthians 4:1-6

There's a lot going on in that passage, but I want to focus on one thing in particular.

When we preach the Gospel we need to preach only the Gospel.  Brothers and sisters, we do not need to use deception or distortion to win souls to Jesus.  The Gospel is powerful enough on it's own.

Sometimes I think we feel we have to sugar coat the Gospel or even our churches to make them appealing.  This is not the case.  Our job is to present the Gospel plainly and then let people respond to it themselves.  We don't need to improve the Gospel.  We don't need the health, wealth and prosperity "gospel"; lost sinners don't need the health, wealth and prosperity "gospel", people need the Gospel of Jesus Christ alone.

But you say, "I don't distort the Word of God.  I don't use deception."

You may not use it intentionally, but I think distortion of the Word of God is rampant.  Walk into a Christian bookstore.  Look at the shelves and see how many verses out of context are put on coffee mugs and picture frames.  We write "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" on our basketball shoes and assume that means we can dunk.  Yet that verse is about being able to be content in all circumstance, including Paul in jail.  We say, "God won't give you more than you can handle" when someone is in a tough time, yet that's not even in the Word.  I think we must be careful not to unintentionally distort the Word.

Some of us use deception without thinking about it.  When telling someone about the Gospel we leave out the hard parts and tell them how great it is.  It is amazingly great, but Jesus wants people to count the cost of discipleship.  We must be honest in telling people the joy of being a Christian AND the discipline it will require AND the opposition from multiple sources they may face.

So, be careful not to distort the Gospel or use deception.  Remember that the Gospel itself is immensely powerful.  Remember it is the Gospel that has changed your life.  Remember, "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made His light shine in our hearts..."  The same Word of God that created the universe out of nothing is the same Word of God present in the Gospel.  It does not need your help; rather you and I are allowed to proclaim it.

And if you are attending a church that uses distortion and deception be a part of it changing or leave.  The health, wealth and prosperity "gospel" will not save the world; the Good News of Jesus and all that comes with it will.

Proclaim the Gospel honestly today.

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