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What Are We (Not) Communicating?

November 26, 2013

Why is it so hard to communicate the Gospel? What can we do to help people hear it?

For one thing, we could act as if we believed it ourselves. Sometimes Christians get so bogged down by guilt and fear of judgment, that they forget that the Good News really is Good News: there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1): we have passed from death to life, and are God’s beloved children.

Secondly, we must make sure that people actually hear the Gospel. Sadly, what people often associate with Christians is just legalistic rules and condemnation of anybody who disagrees with them. We do obviously have an obligation to try and influence our law-makers to respect and obey God’s standards – but in a non-Christian country, that is going to be increasingly difficult, and it can’t be our main preoccupation. We mustn’t give people the impression that Christianity is all about being against things, rather than about a living relationship with God through Jesus.

And that leads to my third observation: we must make sure that our faith stays focused on that main issue: a living relationship with God through Jesus. Our faith is supposed to be joyful, not sombre; relevant, not old-fashioned; genuine, not a façade; relationship, not religion. If people think that we go to church simply “because we always have” or “because we like religion” or “because we’re judgmental hypocrites”, rather than because we want to grow in our love and commitment to Jesus, they’re not going to be interested in joining us!

So when we share the Good News of Jesus, let’s make sure we point to the Grace of God – Christianity isn’t about rules and laws but about forgiveness and reconciliation. Let’s make sure we point to Jesus – Christianity isn’t about religious traditions and ceremonies but about fellowship with a living person. And when talking about Jesus, let’s make sure we emphasize the cross and the empty tomb, rather than the Sermon on the Mount and the Ten Commandments. Many other religions and philosophies agree with the moral standards of the Bible – but nobody else has a founder who died and came back to life again, who offers forgiveness and a second (third/fourth etc) chance rather than condemnation, and who invites us to share his life and joy for ever more. We have a wonderful message – let’s make sure we don’t hide it behind our human additions…

 

 

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From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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