Argentina 2012 Journal – June 9

Chapter 11 is next with John MacArthur’s “Jesus as Lord: Essential Components of the Gospel Message.” If you see the endnote, this is already material that was published prior to this volume (came out in The Gospel According to the Apostles; not mentioned but also showed up in Nothing but the Truth). Looking through the material in the first book, there’s material there that relates it more to the issue of Lordship salvation and even gives a word to how to evangelize children, which is not in this chapter I’m reviewing. (In case anyone is aware of my trying to work on a College Reader for Christian Students, the chapter in The Gospel According to the Apostles would definitely be in there) Two quotes I think help summarize the rest of the chapter:

Ignorant sinners need to be instructed about who God is and why He has the right to demand their obedience. Self-righteous sinners need to have their sin exposed by the demands of God’s law. Careless sinners need to be confronted with the reality of God’s impending judgment. Fearful sinners need to hear that God in His mercy has provided a way of deliverance. All sinners must understand how utterly holy God is. They must comprehend the basic truths of Christ’s sacrificial death and the triumph of His resurrection. They need to be confronted with God’s demand that they turn from their sin to embrace Christ as Lord and Savior…

The form of the message will vary in each case. But the content must always drive home the reality of God’s holiness and the sinner’s helpless condition. Then it points sinners to Christ as a sovereign but merciful Lord who has purchased full atonement for all who will turn to Him in faith. (p.152)

What follows is a listing of 22 truths that get into the heart of the Gospel message, with Scripture references. One wouldn’t think you would have to memorize every single passage in order to be effectively sharing the Gospel, though it wouldn’t hurt to work towards that.

What I very much appreciated is being overwhelmed with how much Scripture speaks to how a sinner can be brought into reconciliation with God again. There is no doubting what is called for in calling a sinner to new life in Christ. There is no doubt about who God has revealed Himself to be, who man is, who Christ is and what He did while on earth, and whom we are to give our allegiance to. I think this also is a chapter that would be good to read with people in your small group or a group of friends and devote time talking it over with each other. How can you incorporate aspects of this chapter in conversation with friends who do not know Christ? What would be a helpful point to draw out with people? And then, actually role-playing a conversation with different types of people responding. Perhaps…

The next chapter is “Starting the Conversation: A Practical Approach to Real-Life Evangelism” by Jim Stitzinger III (actually, most of this chapter came from the Evangelism workbook Grace Community Church came out with a number of years ago). He highlights the priorities of personal holiness, relentless prayer, and Gospel memory (using the same outline I have been blessed to know and pass around to other believers, as well as go over with my small group). The overall theme of this chapter is intentionality. We must be intentional in our conversations with those we know who do not love Christ. From which group your friends fit in (no knowledge of the Gospel, some knowledge, extensive knowledge), to how you engage in conversation with them (taking interest in their interests, listening, and asking questions). This is very hands-on material, and can immediately apply the next time you speak with someone (family member, neighbor, co-worker, friend, classmate, etc.). What was very helpful was its lack of gimmicky-ness. It isn’t a stale formula you adopt and expect certain results to come about, but a real flexible approach that focuses on the person you’re speaking with, and yet does not give ground on the truth of God. I would recommend both chapters to challenge the way many of us share the Gospel normally (ask questions that will solely put people in a corner, or listen but not really listen so you can get to the Gospel; believe me, they can see that happening).

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