Monday, April 14, 2008

Sharing the gospel - #6

" ... 18 And I, behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you." Jeremiah 1:18-19

The gospel is not seeker-friendly. There has been a lot of talk the last 10-15 years in churches across America about being seeker-friendly. At least, that has been my experience. Most likely, there has been talk about being seeker-friendly from the very beginning of the church age (I just don't remember that far back).

As I mentioned in #5, the Bible is clear that there are some that are ready to hear the gospel and accept it. But, there is also plenty of scripture that supports the idea that God's word for his people will not be received joyfully by everyone that hears it. The first chapter of Jeremiah is an excellent example.

In this chapter God calls Jeremiah for the first time. He explains to Jeremiah that he has plans for Jeremiah's ministry and that these plans have been known to God even before Jeremiah was born. These plans, however, do not include a warm response. In fact, God tells Jeremiah that the people will fight against him. He can expect considerable resistance - and this from God's own people.

God will not accept excuses. Jeremiah argues, "... I cannot speak, for I am a youth." God immediately responds, "Do not say, 'I am a youth'"

God warns Jeremiah to not "be dismayed before their faces, lest I dismay you before them." The road ahead for Jeremiah is going to be tough. On the one side he can expect resistance from God's own people. On the other he can expect God to be critically watching his every move. Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place!

Finally, if you read the book of Jeremiah, you will see that Jeremiah has very little success. He relays God's word to the Israelites for years with almost no positive response. He continually warns them to change their ways, to repent of their sins, and to get rid of the false idols in their lives. But, they do not listen. And, eventually Babylon conquers Judah and either kills or takes as slaves nearly everyone.

Discouraging? Yeah. It is. But, it's truthful. And, when it comes to the gospel, the truth comes first. And the truth comes with a promise from God, " ... I am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you."

"So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.." - Carl Spackler

1 comment:

Andrew TM Harris said...

Thank you for your message, the 14th was my birthday and I thought I would make a real change this year. Instead of just getting one year older and sitting idly by as unbelievers lost their chance for eternal life, I was going to witness. Of course the first few people I spoke with were "unreceptive" to put it nicely. Your words have reminded me that not everyone is ready, and that I need to wait on God's time for them to be receptive.