Saturday, September 16, 2006

How to Save the World

How are we to convert the world to Christ? Read John Wesley's report in his Journal for October 18, 1749. He knew what it was like to receive a frosty reception.

"I rode, at the desire of John Bennet, to Rochdale, in Lancashire. As soon as ever we entered the town, we found the streets lined on both sides with multitudes of people, shouting, cursing, blaspheming, and gnashing upon us with their teeth. Perceiving it would not be practicable to preach abroad, I went into a large room, open to the street, and called aloud, 'Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts.' The Word of God prevailed over the fierceness of man. None opposed or interrupted; and there was a very remarkable change in the behavior of the people, as we afterward went through the town."

The Holy Spirit used the sermon of John Wesley to convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment (John 16.8). He still does so today.

Evangelical Christianity seems so interested in being relevant, cool, and entertaining that I believe we're afraid of offending sinners. But the gospel is offensive to unregenerate hearts!

I don't believe in acting like an arrogant jerk but I do believe that straight and frank preaching (or personal evangelizing) is God's method for saving sinners. As Paul said so long ago:

"For 'everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.' But how are they to call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (Rom 10.13-15 ESV)

Are we so afraid that the world will reject our message--or are we so afraid that the world will reject us?