It drives me nuts when I see this. There are many Christians – bible believing/born again – who are succumbing to this crazy idea that the Gospel; Christians sharing their faith, is simply argumentative and ultimately unloving. They believe the Gospel is too offensive to just dive into and that it would much more effective to just show others love and hold off on the gospel message. These kinds of Christians will usually quote 1 Peter 3:15 and place specific emphasis on the words “Gentleness & Respect.”
You might have heard something like this before:
“We should know how to articulate the gospel, but loving people is more important.”
What???????????? Loving people is more important than sharing the Gospel? The message of hope. The message of Jesus Christ; that apart from faith alone, in Him alone because of His paying our debt of blood that was owed because of our sins, we would all die and spend eternity in a real place called Hell.
Loving people is not more important than sharing the Gospel. On the contrary, Sharing the Gospel is the ultimate act of Love you can perform.
Penn Jillette (of the magic act “Penn and Teller,”) is an outright atheist. Penn was once given a bible after a show and here’s his comment about Christians sharing the Gospel from a video blog he posted:
“if you believe that there is a heaven & hell and believe that people could be going to hell; not getting eternal life…how much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and NOT tell them that?”
Penn is seeing this matter of sharing the gospel much more clearly than a lot of believers are today. The truth is, you can do a lot of nice things for someone; show them love, pull their weeds, take their trash cans out to the curb for them, help paint their fence, etc. But if you fail to share the Gospel, you have really only succeeded in displaying two things:
How ashamed of the Gospel you really are.
- How much you DON’T Love that person you just did a lot of nice things for.
Here’s a sobering fact for you…The word “Love,” does not appear in the book of Acts. At all. Ever. If there is any book in the bible that has the most accounts of the Apostles sharing the Gospel, it is the book of Acts. And yet, not once do they bring up the word love. Jesus said, LOVE. That is true. Love God and love your neighbor. But when Jesus shared the Gospel, he didn’t tip toe around the issue! He jumped right in. He called the religious leaders vipers who were headed for hell. He called the woman at the well out for being an Adulteress . Jesus told the rich young ruler to let go of the “stuff” he loved so dearly because it was going to drag him to hell. Jesus talked more about hell than anyone else in the bible.
In our contemporary times, evangelists often portray Jesus as a somewhat frustrated, would-be Redeemer who stands outside anxiously awaiting an invitation from someone to come into his life. That’s not the case though. Jesus is giving the invitation and, incidentally, a great model for evangelism in our own lives…
Luke 9:23 – And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”
This is a gospel invitation. Jesus initiates the invitation and He clarifies the terms:
- Cross bearing daily
- and loyal obedient following.
Becoming a disciple of Christ, receiving salvation, forgiveness and eternal life, entering God’s Kingdom calls for and demands self-suicide, a willingness to embrace suffering, persecution and perhaps execution, which is pictured by the torturous cross and does require submission.
All that said, becoming a Christian is not easy; being saved is not easy. But Jesus didn’t let the offensiveness of the Gospel muzzle His proclaiming the truth. The Apostles died for it. Paul wrote, I am unashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God unto salvation. Notice Paul did NOT say, our LOVE is the power of God unto salvation – no. The GOSPEL! That’s the power. Leave that out and you have a powerless love that will only aid you in loving people straight to hell.
Therefore, YES. Love people, but share the Gospel. Loving people is not more important than sharing the Gospel. On the contrary, Sharing the Gospel is the ultimate act of Love.
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