I ended last post by stating “I’m not done yet…” and I am not. Before you go on with this blog, I want to ask you to read John 3:1-21. Please read this so you are pretty familiar with the discussion that takes place with Nicodemus and Jesus.
Okay, how would this conversation go in our modern day, gospel ignorant churches? Well, for the sake of time we will have our “modern day” version of the story pick up in verse 4.
Nic: What does ‘born again’ mean?
Evangelist: Well, that is an old word - here is the real question Nic - if you were standing before Christ and He asked you why you should go to Heaven, what would you say?
Nic: Well…that I really want to come in.
Evangelist: Well, if you do, let me tell you how you can know that you know. After all 99% sure is 100% lost. So have you ever sinned?
Nic: I guess so…
Evangelist: Come on Nic - have you ever lied? I mean even when you were little, have you ever lied?
Nic: Yes, I have (with a smile)
Evangelist: Well, I have to, and Jesus died for you because we are sinners. He came to earth and died and is offering you salvation today. Don’t you want to go to Heaven?
Nic: I really do
Evangelist: Then I tell you what buddy, if you want to go to Heaven and turn your life over to Jesus, why don’t you just bow your head and repeat this prayer after me -'Dear Jesus, I am sinner and believe you died for me and I want to ask you to come into my heart and save me. (You got to pause here and make sure Jesus has time to move in). Dear Jesus thank you for coming into my heart, amen.' Now Nic did you mean that prayer?
Evangelist: Do you believe Jesus came into your heart?
Nic: Well, uhh….
Evangelist: Well of course He did. The Bible says “whosoever calls” and that includes you. So if you prayed that prayer and meant it with all your heart, and Jesus didn’t come in, He lied and we know that Jesus won’t lie. So listen, why don’t you fill out this card and come down the aisle on Sunday, and we will set up a time to baptize you – after all, that is the first step of obedience as you begin this journey. (Actually, in Baptist life it is the fourth step because you first have to walk down the aisle pray an incantation…I mean prayer…and fill out a card). Now, you need to write this date down in your Bible because the enemy will want to make you doubt this day and, when he does it, you just go back and look at this date and remember what you did.
Nic: Okay, thank you.
Many will get furious with this little example because they know it is as real in most of our churches today, as was the meeting between Jesus and Nicodemus. No discussion of the reason for a substitutionary death, the demand of Lordship, repentance, brokenness over sin, hatred for self, a desperation for God…. Just get them to pray the prayer, and dunk’em to show we care about souls.
Bash this scenario all you want, but I defy you to show me one encounter Christ had, that is remotely similar to what you read above. Show me one time that Christ, Paul, Peter, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John or Andrew shared the gospel the way many of our modern day “evangelical” schemes do today. If you want to try to twist some verse to justify a weak gospel, post it on the blog with your FIRST AND LAST NAME (sorry, no cowards allowed) and let’s discuss it. If you sense frustration, it is because it is there. Of all the things we can’t afford to miss in our day - too often we have well intentioned people who are armed with a weak, partial gospel presentation that aids men in achieving a false sense of assurance – with no repentance, no change, no submission to Lordship… all the while we send in our merry statistics, may God help us.