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Time to Make a Change
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:13-16).
Jesus makes it clear in these verses and others that we are to have a positive influence on the world in which we live. We are to be effective witnesses for Him and seek to advance His kingdom. We are told five times in the first five books of the New Testament to share the Light of the Gospel with others (Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).
During the early days of our country and into the 1800's a different Gospel was preached than what we find being preached in most of our churches today. The 20th Century church has for the most part not stressed the importance of sin and hell. Now in the 21st century, the true gospel is hardly ever heard.
Let me ask you an honest question. Do you preach the love of Christ as a motive for salvation and neglect to hold the individual accountable for his personal sin, letting him know that he is doomed for hell? It is the preaching of sin and the law that drives someone to Christ - not His love. I Corinthians 1:18 tells us " For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness. . . ." Why is it foolishness? Because they don't see their need of a Savior. Why don't they see their need of a Savior? Because they don't realize they have broken the law. All
too often we soft-soap the gospel to avoid being offensive. We bring the love of Christ and a positive lifestyle that is appealing to the individual, but we fail to tell him why he needs to be saved in the first place. Consider the following:
Suppose there is a blind child in your neighborhood. To protect him and keep him safe there are signs every ten yards posting the speed limit at 15 miles per hour. Suppose now that a man has been clocked driving through the "blind child" zone at 35 miles per hour, and with that he draws a heavy fine. Suppose thirdly that unknown to him I pay his fine. I walk up to the man and announce that i have good news for him. His fine is paid. How do you think this man man might react? Probably by saying, "You're nuts. I don't owe any fines." Not only would he think you are a little strange, but he would probably also be offended at being accused of something he did not know he did.
Now imagine this conversation. "Sir, i know you don't know me, but a few miles back you were clocked going 35 miles per hour in a zone that was specifically marked at 15 miles per hour because a blind child lives in the area. I know you didn't see the warning signs although they were posted every ten yards. But I have good news for you. I went to the officer and paid your fine."
If an individual does not know he has committed a crime, he feels as if there is no sentence. It is the law that stops the mouth of the sinner (Romans 3:19). It is the law that shows us that we have sinned. Rom 7:7 makes that clear. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law:" It is of utmost importance that we share the bad news that our friend has broken God's law before we give him the good news that Christ came to save him. Why did Christ come to save him? From his sins (Matthew 1:21). He must see himself as a sinner before he can come to the cross with repentance (Luke 13:3, 5).
There is a huge fall away rate in the 21st century church. The reason - we do not want to offend anyone by showing them their sin. We would rather make them feel good while they go to hell than to tell them the truth. So they pray a prayer and go on their way. Their life never changes and it amounts to nothing more than a false conversion. Don't believe me? Consider the following statistics.
- In1990, a crusade in the Unitied Stated boasted 600 decisions for Christ.90 days later not one "convert" could be found in the churches.
- .An inner-city outreach in Cleveland, Ohio brought in 400 decision cards. The follow-up team found - you guessed it! Not one had stayed by the stuff.
- A Colorado pastor sent an evangelistic team to Russia. They were thrilled when they registered 2,500 decisions. A year later on a return follow-up visit, the team found only 30. That is,1.2% remained.
- In 1995, a major U.S.denomination reported 384,057 conversions. Only 22,983 remained in the churches. Missing were 361,074.That is a fall-away rate of 94%.
I could give many more examples, but I think you get the point. The point is that the new evangelism methods are not producing true conversions. The devil has been quite successful at softening the approach and leaving out the very thing that saves - a confrontation with the law of God. That does not mean that someone is saved by keeping the law. but they absolutely must see themselves as lost before they can be found. This may be a controversial topic to some. Please feel free to email me with any questions that you might have.
With the new year coming we simply must be better at shining the Light upon the deeds of lost men and women. We simply must be salt.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everybody as you witness for our Lord!