I must admit, I struggled with the title to this post. The battle was between using the word final or first. In fact, I changed it a couple of times! However, regardless of whether we want to take it from top to bottom, or bottom to top, the main issue I’m bringing out does not change. This brief post looks at the question of what is seen by those whom we share the gospel with?
Of course, we would all say that we want our audience, whether one or a hundred, to see Jesus! After all, if they do not see or perceive His truth and offer of mercy to them as we share, then they are still far removed from the gospel. However, in our billboard happy and advertising gimmicky society, often the greatest impression is not rooted in words or content, but in visual stimulation. And the more men of our generation spiral downward away from consideration of coherent and consistent content, the more the baser elements of human nature will take the forefront in leading them.
We see it in the eyes and lives of this generation. Many walk around like cows going to a barn or deer to a food plot. Meandering and purposeless lives of men and women who should be exploding in possibilities of productive and fruitful careers and direction. I just recently read a survey where the number of 24-30 years olds living with their parents has doubled since the 1980s. We are seeing a generation dumbed down by video games, anarchist music and the loss of leadership. And while this generation is burning like Rome, much of the church, like Nero, is playing the fiddle of silly games and artificial gimmicks. This generation may walk around purposeless and directionless, but one thing is for certain, they see through the hypocrisy of the modern church! A casual conversation with any of them will reveal this.
The first apologetic to the men of our age is whether Jesus has transformed our life. They will see it, feel it and marvel at it when we share, if we have it. Likewise, they will see it, feel it and be turned away from it if they perceive a show or pretense of realness. We may think this generation is so dumbed down with the foolish things of this world that they are incapable of perceiving anything. However, take the time to engage them and you will be surprised at the level of perception they hold. Many of them have seen what the modern church is peddling and they do not want it! I can’t blame them….I do not want it either, and most of it is foreign to New Testament Christianity.
Our first apologetic, the genuine transformation of our life, cannot be implanted from a book, or from another discipleship class, or from following another superstar preacher. It can only come from a heart which is continually broken over our sin and is willing to lay before the Lord in honest and repentant prayer. A heart which embraces the truth of God’s Word and receives its life transforming message. A heart which understands that Christ did not just come to give me life, but HE IS MY LIFE. (Col.3:1-4) A heart which regardless of how long we’ve been a believer, we are never removed from the knowledge of what God’s love has redeemed us from. (Tit. 3:2-7) A heart which gladly looks at our own sin before we attempt to address the sin of others. (Matt. 7:1-5) A heart which will hear the Spirit’s call and respond, “Here I am Lord, send me!” (Isa. 6:8)
All of these things, and many more, cannot be faked. They are dispositions and issues of the heart which break forth in our conversation and life style. We reveal the transforming force of God’s message only after that same message has transformed our life! Away with shallow words, away with gimmicks, away with carnal techniques.Oh, Lord, give us workers for the harvest whose lives are transformed by the power of the Gospel and whose message will carry the first apologetic, that is, the realness of a transformed life!
Because of His Grace,