The language of the evangelism I’ve always known hasn’t always sat well with me…but as I’ve been repeatedly told. “I like the way I’m doing it wrong better than the way you’re not doing it at all.” Anyhow, I think I am finding a way to express the Gospel in such a way that I can be at peace with the message…and I think that’s important, because if you’re not convinced it is hard to be convincing. The way we always expressed it seemed more like a threat than “good news” and I think that what we have to share really is good news….to all men. So I say, why bully people, with a threat that is an insult to our loving Father’s nature and intentions? I don’t see Jesus doing that.
I happened to be in a church service this week and the speaker was giving a “gospel” message, in the course of which he said, “You can become a child of God. You simply have to pray this prayer….etc….and you’ll know that if you die…you’ll go to heaven” It struck me that what bothers me is this very rudimentary start point of the message.
I thought of verses that I had recently noticed in chapter two of the book of Ephesians. The first two verses speaks of “sons of disobedience…(the careless, the rebellions, and the unbelieving, who go against the purposes of God)” (AMP)
I noted in the margin….Sons nevertheless….
Verse three speaks of, “children of God’s wrath, and heirs of His indignation.”
Again I noted in the margin…..children and heirs nevertheless…
We often sing songs about “We’re all God’s children …” etc. and since it’s only a song, we don’t get into trouble, but should we genuinely believe that ALL are God children…we would be told…NO…only those who choose to accept Him are His children. (this is spite of the fact that God clearly states in John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you,”) So I think we should be able to accept that we are ALL God’s children. If not His….then whose? He created us….He calls us His children….and so I think the message…the good news is…. “You ARE a child of God.” As far as I know…the devil nor anyone else ever created any people, so we are all children of Our Father. (John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.)
So I guess I might say (when mounting my soap box)…something like… “God has sent me to tell you that YOU ARE His beloved child and you are living a life beneath what He has provided for you. He wants you to come home…He wants you to receive your inheritance. He wants you to align yourself on His side and against the lie that you have believed, which has kept you in bondage.”
The prayer we should pray is “Thy kingdom come…Thy will be done…by me…in me…through me…and in the whole world. Let me have a role in bringing it to pass.” By means of this prayer…which Jesus taught us to pray….we are saying, “I’m aligning my will with the will of God….My Father….and acknowledging my real identity as His child.”
I like how Neil Anderson says, “What you do, doesn’t define who you are… who you are determines what you do….” I might not have quoted that just right…but the point is that it is important to know that you are a Child of God, because this important knowledge will bear fruit in your life. You will begin to act and live out of your identity as a child of God. You will be enabled to grow out of your carelessness and rebellion and live out the truth of Acts 17:28 “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;..”
Dallas Willard speaks about a “bar-code religion.” He says, people have been told that they just need the right bar-code…you pray a prayer…you get your bar-code and then you just forget about it. Your place in Heaven is reserved and that’s really all that matters. But Father wants His Children to grow up to be like Him…. It’s not just Hell avoidance….that’s just a threat….it’s not the good news…it’s bullying…it’s soap sales.
The good news is, “Father loves you and He wants you to come home. You are His child and although you may be in rebellion… He is the kind of a Father who will never let you go. He created you and He loves you. You are His workmanship and ‘He who began a good work…will be faithful to complete it.’ Come easy and live a blessed life…or be prepared for a long hard road at the end of which…you will find Him waiting.”