This will be my final post on the wonderful book written some time ago by John MacArthur entitled, Hard To Believe. We have looked at three admonitions or “strategies,” as MacArthur puts it, to remember as we share the gospel. Today, I will mention numbers four and five. Because of the length of the text, I will not post it on the blog, but you can look at it in 2nd Corinth. 4:8-16. To combine the final two thoughts, we can say: We Will Not Seek Popularity AND We Will Not Look At Earthly Success.
It would be absolutely crazy to expect this narrow gospel message to be accepted by the masses. This does not prohibit us from passionately carrying forth the gospel to the masses…to every tribe, tongue and nation…but we should understand that we will be hated for giving the true gospel. Now, it should be understood that if we are going to give the true gospel and seek to please our Lord, that success is going to be found in the delivery of truth - rather than the numbers that respond. This is next to impossible for the modern American church to embrace. In America, bigger is better, health and wealth must equal spiritual blessings. We have an “American Gospel” that, in the majority of the world, it would be openly rejected because there isn’t as much health and wealth floating around - so it can be easily refuted. The rule of thumb is, if I have a gospel that can not be proclaimed in a third world country, but rather it can be proclaimed and understood only in my little corner of the world, IT IS NOT A TRUE GOSPEL.
When I look at John 3 and watch Christ proclaim the gospel message, how different does that look than our modern evangelism practices? MacAuthur says it like this: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; it isn’t just holding up your hand or walking down an aisle and saying, ‘I love Jesus.’ It is not easy, it is not user-friendly or seeker sensitive; it isn’t a rosy, perfect world where Jesus gives you whatever you want. It is hard, it is sacrificial, and it supersedes everything.” If the enemy can’t destroy the church, he will be satisfied confusing her. If we can’t articulate the gospel, we are ineffective for the Kingdom. This will redefine missions, this will redefine grace, justification, the exclusivity of Christ, it is a message that is absent of God’s truth. Therefore it is a message that it is synthetic - it may look like a gospel message but it is a message that is damning.
In closing, read books like Hard to Believe and The Gospel According to Jesus, by John MacArthur…or What is the Gospel by Greg Gilbert, or so many other wonderful books - but by all means we must get this right. Go to The Way of the Master website or view their training materials that do a wonderful job explaining the gospel. If there is anything we must get a firm grasp on, it is the truth of the glorious gospel of Christ!