I had the opportunity to present the gospel to a couple the other day. I made sure that I presented the gospel and not some watered-down version of what is classified as the gospel. I talked to them about sin, rebellion, holiness, the ten commandments, Jesus and His perfect life, substitutionary death, and glorious resurrection. I spoke about heaven and hell. It took me nearly 20 minutes to get through everything. They had both listened politely, but at the end, as I had expected, neither was moved and neither received Christ.
It wasn’t until a few minutes before writing this (in fact, it is what compelled me to write this), that I realized that while I presented the gospel, I presented the gospel expecting nothing! I was suddenly hit with Paul’s words, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek,” (Rom 1.16, HCSB). I proclaimed the gospel ashamedly. While I believe the gospel with all my heart, I proclaimed it apologetically (and I don’t mean biblical apologetics). I was timid, almost apologizing for having to tell them such good news.
In my head I pictured a young man with a brilliant and sharp sword in his hand going against the fierce dragon. The sword was a fine weapon that could easily slay such a beast, but the young man was too timid to use the weapon effectively. So the dragon remained alive. So it was when I presented the powerful gospel of Christ. With such timidity no dragon of sin would be slain, and no man or woman would be set free from its lair.
I absolutely believe in the sovereignty of God, and I know that God can take my fumblings and make them great. I know that God’s Word does not return void. But I also know that God’s sovereignty and His Word ought to lead us to proclaim it with power and authority. It ought to strengthen our resolve and propel us to speak without shame. God’s sovereignty and Word should give us confidence not cowardice. It comes down to this: do I really believe God’s Word, His promises, His sovereignty, or am I just giving lip service?
“Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable–if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise–dwell on these things,” (Philippians 4.8, HCSB).