FOR THE SAKE OF CONSTRUCTIVE LEARNING … Please watch this brief video and let’s discuss the kingdom approach to the lost:
What were your thoughts while watching this man preach? Was the convicting law and true Gospel preached? Was this the mind of Christ being conveyed?
First of all, when Christian preaching is critiqued, some will offer up the words of Paul in Philippians 1:15-18. Let’s read this passage and then talk about it:
“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: 16 The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: 17 But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. 18 What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” Philippians 1:15-18
The key in this passage is that “CHRIST IS PREACHED.” So, we must ask: Was Christ truly preached in the above video? Was that man truly preaching Christ and the pure Word/Gospel of Christ? Seems to me that very little of the original Gospel was being preached. Seemed more like a self-righteous personal condemnation of those he preached at.
In ministering the Gospel of Jesus, should we be personally insulting and therefore alienating our audiences? Or, should we simply minister God’s Word in His wisdom, love, and concern for those we preach to? The answer to this question is seen in the ministry of Christ and His holy apostles who at times spoke very directly and harshly to certain men and yet never unnecessarily personally insulted people.
“And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. 37 Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; 38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:35-38
It seems obvious that we can conclude that Jesus here instructs us to pray to the Father to send forth a certain kind of laborer – the type that is conformed to His holy image.
God be praised for the “laborers” He is sending forth who like Jesus, are “moved with compassion.” (Matthew 9:35-38; Proverbs 27:5-6) May the LORD bless His people to preach from a contrite, humble heart and not out of our own self-righteousness. Psalms 51:10-13 is the model of fruitful, Christ-glorifying ministry. “The wrath of man (us) worketh not the righteousness of God.” (James 1:20) Poring over Titus 3:5-6 prayerfully every morning will greatly help rid our hearts of any righteousness except CHRIST (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus made it more than obvious that self-righteous religionists will not enter His eternal kingdom (Matthew 23, etc.). Are we casting stumblingblocks before those who need God while pretending to be representing Christ, who gives this invitation?
Are you angry with the wicked? Are you using Scripture out of context for your own self-serving purposes – to justify your unwarranted anger towards the lost? The Bible says that “GOD is angry with the wicked every day.” (Psalms 7:11) But that’s GOD, not you. The LORD told you to love the wicked, not hate them (Matthew 5:38-48). Hatred is sin and all un-repentant haters are hell bound murderers in the eyes of a holy God (1 John 3:14-15; 4:8). You and I are not “Holy, holy, holy.” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8) Didn’t God punish Moses for being unduly angry at His people? Didn’t Jesus warn us about those who are mistreating others and therefore will not be ready for His return? (Luke 12:45-48)
Is the LORD calling us to get our own hearts, dispositions right with Him before we dare approach another sinner?
Could it be that we are shutting up the kingdom of Heaven from men in our ministering? Are we standing in the way of sinners entering Christ’s kingdom?
Rich Brown writes:
“Nonbelievers may react negatively to Christians who try to pressure them into making a decision to trust Jesus as Savior. Our Lord showed us a better way. He patiently taught truth, plainly declared the dire consequences of deliberate unbelief, and invited the lost to come to Him for salvation. He never manipulated or coerced. The scribe who came to Jesus with a sincere question was delighted with the Lord’s answer (Mark 12:28-34). He also greatly admired Jesus, unlike most of his colleagues. All that remained for him to do was to acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and place his trust in Him. The Lord encouraged him by saying, “Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.” We don’t know if the scribe ever took that step of faith in Jesus, but enough had been said, and the decision was the scribe’s to make. We can learn from Jesus’ example. Our role is to speak the truth so that people can clearly see what they need to do to be saved. God’s Spirit does the rest by moving a person to trust and believe Jesus. We can’t make them believe, but we can make sure they hear about Jesus.” Rich Brown
Are we self-righteously scorning others whom Christ came to save?
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.” Psalms 1:1
Here’s Jesus’ invitation to the lost:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Ministering is not about us or our ministry. It’s all about Christ and if our lives are not truly crucified with Christ, the ministering we do will send forth a stinking savor and repel people from being reconciled to the LORD.
“Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death worketh in us, but life in you.” 2 Corinthians 4:10-12
Beloved, the need for the daily cross is so very evidently a need for each of us – out of which will spring forth rivers of living water from Heaven, blessings to those around us (2 Corinthians 4:10-12; Revelation 22:1, 17). When our lives are truly “crucified with Christ,” this will be the guileless, gracious invitation extended to those around us – regardless of how they treat us (Matthew 5:44-48; Galatians 2:20):
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17
The way of Christ’s kingdom is simply “Preach THE WORD” in God’s wisdom and love, out of a crucified, humble heart of concern (Ephesians 4:15; 2 Timothy 4:2) …. Remember how Jesus told us of the 2 men who went up to pray? Remember the guy (whose prayers weren’t answered) who touted all the good things he did? That will not enter glory. Read Luke 18:9-14. 2 Men Went up to Pray
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
The centrality of the cross in our daily lives is the only way to please God in our ministering to others. Poring prayerfully over the divinely inspired words of Philippians 2:3-5 has greatly changed the disposition of this writer.