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Love and the Gospel

In 1854 a criminal named Charles Peace, who had committed many crimes, was executed. Following him to the gallows was a chaplain reading from a prayer book. Upon hearing the description of the fires of hell, Charles burst out, “Sir, if I believed what you and the Church of God say that you believe, even if England were covered with broken glass from coast to coast, I would walk over, if need be on hands and knees and think it worthwhile living, just to save one soul from an eternal hell like that!”

Hearing this story recently, caused me to ask myself a question: if I truly believe in the Truth of God’s Word why do I not share the Gospel more? For me it has come down to one thing, loving myself more than God and my neighbors.

The Mormons

At the beginning of this year, through a God-orchestrated series of events, I began meeting with two Mormon missionaries. These two young men shared what they believe and I was able to share what I believe and ask lots of questions. In one of our first meetings, one of the Elders asked me directly, “What do you believe happens to Mormons when they die?” He meant to determine whether I believe Mormons are genuine believers in Christ. Sadly, I shrunk back from answering boldly and with clarity. I lost that opportunity to share the Gospel.

I could trick myself into thinking that the reason I shrunk back was that I loved them and did not want to offend them. But, the truth is, I loved me. I was concerned with what they would think of me. I did not want to be identified as one of those intolerant, Bible-thumping Christians.

Repentance followed that meeting. And, several weeks later God gave me another opportunity! This time, by His grace alone, I was able to clearly lay out their standing before God. From the Bible, I showed them that Mormonism does not teach the one true God, Jesus, or Gospel. Apart from saving faith in the triune God of the Bible, His Son, and His Gospel, they will be spending an eternity apart from God in eternal judgment.

As Christians, if we truly believe the Gospel how much do we have to hate someone to not share it?

Or, maybe, we just love ourselves more.

Yes, I know this is not politically correct. It is not accepted in our culture, often even in the Church to declare that the Biblical Jesus is the only way to the Father. (John 14:6) Faith has become an aspect of life where we believe one thing, but affirm something totally the opposite with our words.  I have found that this is a temptation in my own soul.

However, the Bible clearly teaches that the preaching of the cross will always be foolishness to the world. It is offensive. (1 Corinthians 1:18-31)

Jesus was not accepted by his culture, his family, or the religious system. He was instead mocked, despised, and crucified. This is the way He calls His disciples to live. Anyone who wishes to come after Him must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow. (Luke 9:23)

I will choose to follow Jesus. By His grace, I will choose to love Him more than my own life and to boldly declare the Gospel regardless of how the world or even those in the Church think of me because He is worthy. I want to be able to say with Paul, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…” (Romans 1:16a)

As my experience with the Mormons showed, I cannot do this on my own. I am weak, selfish, prideful, and fearful. But God has chosen the weak and foolish things! (1 Corinthians 1:18-30) My sufficiency is not of myself but in Jesus. (2 Corinthians 3:5-6) His strength is made perfect in my weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

I need God to do a work in me. I need a greater filling of His Spirit. I need a greater love for my Lord and my neighbors. God is the only one who can give me what I need. His Word tells me that whatever I ask in faith I will receive. (Matthew 21:22)

I am thankful for each opportunity that the Lord has given me to share the Gospel already. At the same time, I don’t want it to stop here! May this become my way of life.

If sinners are damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.

Charles Spurgeon

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