Tips for Proposing the Gospel

Daily Devotional: Day 155

“So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.  And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved” (Acts 28:23-24, NKJV).

IActs 25:10, Paul appealed to Caesar Augustus. Consequently, per Roman law, Paul was sent to Rome to have his case heard by the Emperor himself. This is the background to today’s Bible passage. Shortly after arriving in Rome, Paul sent for as many Jews as he could invite, welcomed them to his own rented house and shared the Gospel with them. Based on today’s Scripture passage, we will identify four tips for sharing the Gospel.

Tip 1.  When we share the Gospel with people, we should be ready to adequately explain it, testify about it and persuade people about it. While speaking to the Jews about Messiah, Paul did some explaining, some testifying, and some persuading. This approach is based on sound reasoning from the Scriptures which allows the light of the Gospel to be revealed.

Tip 2Being familiar with the Law and the Prophets will come in handy when we minster to people about Christ. Paul persuaded the Jews from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets. This tells us that Jesus is in the Law and the Prophets. In other words, He is in the Old Testament scriptures. To be effective witnesses for the Gospel, we need to study, not just the New Testament, but the Old as well. 

Tip 3If we have to spend hours or days or weeks to explain the message of salvation to people, it is worth it Paul shared the message from morning till evening. He had a sense of urgency, but he was in no rush to get people ‘saved.’ The message of salvation is the most important message Jesus entrusted to us. We need not rush through it as it unfortunately happens today with the ‘sinner’s prayer’ or ‘salvation prayer’ and ‘altar call’ Christians have invented.

People deserve to understand the details and the implications of what they are being invited to accept, and we should make time for it. If we can spend weeks preparing for summer picnic, we certainly can make time to explain the Gospel message to those we are inviting to believe in Jesus. Let’s offer people time to reflect on the message we deliver, pray about it, process it, be convicted by it, verify what we’ve said, ask questions, and give feedback. This is the approach we see in the New Testament. 

Tip 4The Gospel is proposed, not imposedSome people believed Paul, others did not. You should not ‘push’ people to believe anything. You should not employ any form of manipulation (emotional, psychological or spiritual) to make people sign up for your message. Don’t do anything to interfere with people’s free will and intelligence. Those who accept the message, have them baptized, and help them to mature. Those who don’t accept, let them go. It’s their right. 

May the Lord equip you with wisdom for proclaiming His message! Amen.

For further study: John 6:28-69

The Truth We Don’t Want to Know

Daily Devotional: Day 103

“Then the messenger who had gone to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, ‘Now listen, the words of the prophets with one accord encourage the king. Please, let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak encouragement’” (1 Kings 22:13, NKJV).

One day, Ahab, king of Israel, requested king Jehoshaphat of Judah to help him go to battle against the king of Syria. Ahab wanted to reclaim the Israelite territory of Ramoth in Gilead. To be sure that God approved of his decision, he gathered 400 prophets to advise him. All the prophets assured Ahab that God was with him and that the battle would be won. But there was one prophet whose advice Ahab was reluctant to seek. His name was Micaiah.

Let’s back up a little. The 400 prophets lied when they said that God approved of Ahab’s battle plans. They told the king what he wanted to hear not what he needed to hear, i.e. the truth. Ahab had already made up his mind and the 400 prophets did not wish to upset or discourage him with a different message. They wanted also to be in the good graces of the king. Moreover, a deceiving spirit had come upon the 400 prophets. Upon the insistence of king Jehoshaphat, however, king Ahab sent a messenger to bring in Micaiah. Our Scripture reading today captures what the king’s messenger told Micaiah. The messenger’s only job was to summon Micaiah to the king’s palace. But notice how he pleads with Micaiah to agree with the 400 prophets. He told Micaiah that it would be in his [Micaiah’s] interest to let his “word be like one of them [the 400 men], and speak encouragement.”

Today’s Bible story tells us something very important about our relationship with God and the truth. Just like Ahab, at times our mind is made up about what we want or what we believe. Yet, to feel reassured, we want God and the people around us to be on board and tell us what we want to hear, which implies that we’re interested in agreement, but not necessarily the truth. At times we want God to adjust His will to ours. But that is not how God works. God cares about truth, not our feelings.

Truth is beautiful and liberating, but it does not always align with what you want. At times God’s Word will shake up your traditions, your theology, your beliefs, or your lifestyle. It might even disrupt your plans and make you upset. Micaiah spoke the truth from God and it upset Ahab. The 400 prophets, however, told Ahab what he wanted to hear; he gladly followed their advice, went to battle, and got himself killed. 

Lesson: Sometimes the very thing you don’t want to hear is the only thing that will save you. Therefore, seek the truth above all things, even if it puts you in the minority and even if the truth hurts your pride. 

Prayer:

Dear Father, the truth of your Word is all I want. Through the Holy Spirit, guide me into all truth, and let not my personal feelings get in the way of obeying your truth. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.

For further study: 1 Kings 22: 1-39