Deborah and Heather had just finished lunch. It had been a long time since they had been able to get together, but they both always enjoyed it when they did. Deborah wondered if this time she would be able to talk to Heather about Christ. She looked for an opportunity to talk about her faith, but somehow “religion” never seemed to come up. Nor did she attempt to bring it up. Secretly, she was intimidated by the prospect of talking to Heather. She seemed so “together.” She had a great job, a fun social life, and was a reasonably “nice” person. Deborah wondered if Heather really needed Christianity.
If we are honest, many of us have had thoughts like Deborah’s. We are sometimes reluctant to discuss the gospel with our friends who seem to be so nice and “together.” So we keep quiet, waiting for a crisis in their lives, a time when they might really “need” Christ. But this was not the attitude of the apostle Paul. In his letter to the Romans, he made it clear that he was not ashamed of the gospel. He knew that it was the power of God for the salvation of all who believe (1:16). If Paul could make such a bold proclamation to some of the leading citizens of the world’s most powerful city, why are we so afraid to tell our neighbors about Christ! Part of it is the growing skepticism in today’s society about religion. But Rome was as worldly, immoral and pluralistic as any American city today, and Paul was not ashamed. This was because he knew that only the gospel of Christ could solve man’s
That’s still true today. As Leighton Ford has said, “20th century man may live in a new culture, but his basic anxieties are still
ageless…Philosophers…have spoken of three types of human anxiety: the anxiety of death, the anxiety of guilt, and the anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness. What is more relevant to such anxieties than the Gospel?” (The Christian Persuader, World Wide Publications, 1988 reprint, pp. 131-132). We must never forget that everyone needs to know Christ, no matter how “together” they appear, for Christ alone is the answer to man’s greatest anxieties and needs.
Billy Graham has often said, “We are not ready to live unless we are ready to die.” Death is indeed a great mystery. For many, the finality of death is a frightening prospect. We try to shield ourselves from it, hoping in medicine or technology, but the certainty of death is still as real today as it was 2000 years ago. Only in Jesus Christ can we experience freedom from this fear. Christ’s resurrection proves that there is victory beyond the grave. He promises that whoever lives and believes in Him shall never die (John 11:26). That is a tremendous truth. For Christians death is not the end, but the beginning. How freeing that would be to those who do not know Christ. Death is indeed something that everyone ponders, and the resurrection of Christ is the greatest answer to mankind’s biggest question.
No one likes to feel guilty. In fact, the words “I was wrong” are some of the most difficult words for many of us to say. Being guilty before God is even more difficult for many people to accept. Instead, people would rather believe that they are basically good and that God will “grade them on a curve.” But denying our guilt before God won’t make it go away, in spite of what many are saying. Scripture makes it clear that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”(Rom. 3:23). Forgiveness is at the heart of the gospel, and when understood, it’s the most wonderful part of our faith. Our guilt before God is real, but Christ came so that we might have forgiveness (1 Jn. 2:2). Always remember, the gospel is indeed “good news.” It offers forgiveness of sins and freedom from the very real guilt of mankind.
Man can live for days without food and water, but he cannot live a minute without any hope. Unfortunately, in our fun-oriented,
experience-driven culture, many people place their hope in the wrong things, and are left with an empty feeling inside. We are told to go out and seize the day, be all that we can be, but what we become is burned out, frustrated people who are more aware of our own shortcomings than our accomplishments. The problem with living for the moment is that it can’t offer us any long-lasting hope, We try to fill an infinite need with finite things. Blaise Pascal, the French philosopher, wrote in his Pensees about this empty craving for happiness. “This he tries in vain, to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite..object; in other words by God himself” (Penguin Classics, 1966 trans. & reprint, X., 148, p.75).
God made us to enjoy an eternal relationship with Him. Without this relationship, life can leave us with a sense of hopelessness. As Christians, we can often take for granted the hope and peace that come from a relationship with God, but this is a hope that those apart from Christ do not have. Like Paul, we must earnestly desire to bring the hope of Christ to a world without hope.
We need not be ashamed of the gospel. It may seem like it does not answer “real world” problems, but that is only because we have a faulty definition of the “real world.” Paul’s confidence came from understanding that everyone has a real need for Christ, even if they don’t feel that need. They need the forgiveness, hope and assurance that only Christ can give. We need to be confident in sharing God’s powerful salvation with them.
(The above information was published by COMMONGROUND)
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