Presenting The Christian Message
Know The Plan
How well do you understand God’s message? Studies conducted in the United States indicate that most people don’t have a firm grasp of the Bible’s message—though most think they do. Barna Research Group released a study on July 12, 2000 that was quite an eye opener! Adults were interviewed and asked to state their position on fourteen statements that represented basic biblical positions. They were asked to agree strongly, agree somewhat, disagree somewhat, disagree strongly, or say they did not know. Out of 1,002 people interviewed, only three took a strong biblical position on all fourteen. That is less than three-tenths of one percent! When the group consisted only of people who would be considered born-again Christians, the numbers were not much better. Only one percent of this group took a firm biblical position on all the statements! Consider this quote from Barna’s study:
“In one recent survey we found that almost nine out of ten adults believe they know all of the basic teachings of Christianity very well. But when you explore what they think the Bible actually teaches, as we did in this study, many theological inconsistencies and inaccuracies emerge. Unfortunately, correcting people’s mistaken assumptions about Bible content is made nearly impossible by their self-assurance about their beliefs. Even if they are exposed to good Bible teaching they typically fail to absorb that input because they think they already know it all. Changing the errant theological positions of millions of Americans is a very tough assignment.”
A True Witness
Finding or creating open doors to share the Christian message can be challenging and often takes time. Sensitivity to people’s emotional state, taking care not to offend unnecessarily, kindness, serving and self-sacrifice, etc., are all important. These are all techniques that, when skillfully employed, can build relationships and open doors for our witness. But if the message we share is flawed after building such a relationships and opening doors, we have failed.
No matter how good our intentions might be, we cannot be an effective witness without truth. The teaching in Destiny 101 is designed to provide a foundation which makes our witness true. It is largely based in John 8:14 where Jesus said, “My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going.” The purpose of our witness is to guide others into truth, but like Jesus, we must know where we came from and where we are going. Otherwise we are simply the blind leading the blind. Jesus presented a true witness because His very life and example was based on truth. He said I am the way, the truth and the life. The devil is a liar and the father of lies (John 8:44), but Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). Truth destroys lies in the same way that light displaces darkness.
I once heard that United States Treasury Agents, whose job it is to spot counterfeit money, spend most of their time studying the details of genuine currency, and very little time studying the fake bills. The point is that being familiar with the real thing, makes it easy to spot the many counterfeits. Likewise, in this Kingdom Core Evangelism study, we will focus on understanding the true Christian message. If we are able to convey truth, the errors and misunderstandings will become evident to those who are searching.
Four Aspects of the Christian Message
As revealed by the Barna Study mentioned above, much of modern Christianity has drifted from truth. One of the results of this drift is a focus on getting people to “attend church” instead of on getting people to “be the church.” I often hear comments about reaching the “unchurched.” But our goal is not to “church the unchurched.” Our goal is to win the lost and give them a purpose, and to do so, our message must contain four key components. One of the problems we face, when it comes to winning the lost in our post modern culture, is that people do not know they are lost. Therefore when a door is open to share, our presentation of the Christian message we must start by establishing the need to be found, or in other words, the need for salvation. This is accomplished by the first two aspects of the Christian message.
- First we must establish The Holiness of God and why He has absolute rules such as “The wages of sin is death.”
- Then we must establish The Sinful Condition of Man and what the end result of sin will be.
By contrasting the absolute pure and righteous nature of God with the fallen and corrupt nature of man, a dilemma is presented and the need for salvation is revealed. The hard soil of people’s hearts must first be plowed and prepared to receive the seed of God’s word.
Once a person sees their dilemma and their need for salvation, the third aspect of the Christian message can be presented.
- The Redeeming Work of Christ is the heart of the Christian message. Because of God’s great love, He became a man, paid for the sins of the world, and offers forgiveness for those who trust Him.
The fourth aspect of the message has to do with purpose. Studies have shown that the desire for purpose and meaning in life is high on virtually everyone’s list of priorities. In other words, we all need a cause to connect to.
- The Coming Kingdom and preparing the way for it is the cause. Every soul that is saved and every disciple that is trained is preparation for the coming Kingdom.
God did not save us so we could float on a cloud in heaven for eternity. Ephesians 2:10 says that we were created in Christ for good works. We have a job to do. Let’s get started!