Present the Gospel Like Jesus Did
by Gil Rugh
The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a gift from God that cannot be earned by any works. Yet, true faith always includes a willingness to turn from sin and surrender to the lordship of Christ. That is the message Jesus preached—and that is the message His servants are to preach.
It is good to constantly remind ourselves that being a disciple of Christ is a serious commitment. It means putting Christ above family and possessions, and it includes counting the cost. Today many people are saying, “If the gospel is preached that way, you’ll drive people away.” However, that is the way Jesus said the gospel must be preached, because it is the truth.
We must be careful that we present the gospel faithfully, in the same way that Jesus presented it. While it is true many people will not respond to the gospel, the elect will.
The gospel is a message of absolute obedience to the living Savior and Lord. Some people who profess faith will want to hang on to their old religious systems or not end immoral relationships. Others will be unwilling to offend their families, yet claim they are Christians because they have believed in Christ. But that is not the gospel Jesus preached. He said that a person must consider those things and be willing to give them up before making a commitment to Him.
When we share the gospel we must be willing to confront sin as Jesus confronted it. Bringing up sin is uncomfortable for most of us, but sinners cannot be saved without realizing that they have offended a holy God.
We must preach to an unbelieving world that there is a living and holy God who will someday judge their eternal souls. If unbelievers are not willing to come to Christ in faith and confess Him, Jesus will deny them before the living God and sentence them to an eternal hell.
People should also know that if they do come to Christ, it might cost them their job, friends or family. Often we are afraid of preaching a works-based gospel, so we don’t tell people to give up their immorality, drunkenness or whatever sins they are living in. Salvation is then reduced to fire insurance, because we imply that people can escape hell while continuing to live godless lives. But Jesus never made those kinds of bargains.
As the crowds following Jesus grew, He made clear that being a disciple meant making Him the number one priority in life. In our presentation of the gospel, in every situation, we must be careful to present the same message Jesus presented.
The heart of this message is the cross. A person must understand that Jesus paid a great cost for our sins and that sin must go. When a person comes to believe in Jesus as Savior and Lord, their life belongs to Him.
The gospel is a hard message to accept. In fact, only those who are called by the Spirit of God will respond to it. But praise God, it is the message that brings life.