Wednesday, December 2, 2015

GOD IS NOT MAD AT YOU

Picture Quotes
Kingdom of God (pt. 7)

God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.



This statement is often used as a way to open the door of conversation with someone to hopefully present them with the gospel message. In that place, it probably works for the majority of those who use it. (Personally, I’ve never used that opener.)

The first part of the statement is true.

God does love you. (John 3:16)
You personally, and you plurally.

The second part is probably debatable, but now is not the time nor is this the place for such a discussion.

But once the door is opened, what is the message? What is the gospel? What is it that we want to share with the other person?

As stated previously, the word “gospel” means “good news.”

We are supposed to be sharing “good news” with others.

The systematic approach, which assumes everyone you will be talking with thinks in the same fashion, starts out with bad news.
  • God hates sin.
  • God punishes sin.
  • Everybody sins.
  • You have sinned.
  • God sends sinners to hell.

Then we break the good news to them.
  • God has provided a sacrifice for your sin.
  • Jesus is the sacrifice.
  • Accept Jesus, and escape punishment.

Lay a guilt trip on them, then promise to take away the guilt if they will buy what you are offering.

Classic sales approach.

Is this an effective approach?
Somewhat.
It gets people to say “yes” to Jesus.
And we get a notch in our belt for another “win.”

However, because of the weakness of many so-called Christians over the years, this particular method has come under scrutiny. Many now claim that it produces “head Christians” only. That is, nothing has really happened in their heart to change their lives, because they were approached with only a mental logic to produce a mental decision.

Kind of hard to argue against that one.

But, let’s be perfectly clear.
NO approach will “work” if the Holy Spirit is not first involved in the process.

If the pre-believer has not first come under conviction by the Holy Spirit (John 16:8), then nothing of any value for the kingdom will happen. This action of God upon the heart usually results in a question—“What must we do?” (Acts 2:37)

When that happens, the rest is easy.

Yes, without that kind of question put before us, we do not know the state of a person’s heart or conscience before God. That is the reason many of these methods have been developed—to find out.

What if there were an easier way?
What if we could skip the condemnation part and go straight to the good news?
Would that be pleasing to God?
Would people be more likely to respond?
What if we simply said,
“God’s not mad at you.”


Instead of thinking this is just another hare-brained idea Hill has come up with, let’s go to the Word.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (Jhn 3:16-17) 
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Rom 5:10) 
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2Co 5:18-21)
 Let’s look at that last section from the Message translation:
All this comes from the God who settled the relationship between us and him, and then called us to settle our relationships with each other. God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you. How? you say. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God. (2 Cor. 5:18-21)
 Finally,
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Rom. 2:4 NLT)
(all emphases mine)
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