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The Madison Record

The gospel is life changing

By Staff
Allen Dvorak
Guest writer
The Marines recruit individuals with the jingle that they are "looking for a few good men." The Marine Corps, of course, will train those whom they recruit, but they appeal to prospective Marines by suggesting that they are already good men; the Marine Corps will simply make them better.
Jesus never called men to be His disciples with the idea that they would simply change uniforms, switching from the devil's army to the Lord's army. He didn't call men to be His disciples because they were already good men and He would simply make them better. He calls lost men to salvation, sinful men to be conformed to His image (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14; Romans 8:29)!
As we preach the gospel to a lost world, we must remember that we are not appealing to men on the basis of the benefit, which they will bring to Christ's church. We must appeal to them on the basis of the good, which Christ can do for them in the way of forgiveness and eternal salvation.
To the extent that we appreciate that distinction, our appeal to the world will be affected. Those who are simply recruiting do not talk much about sin. "Prospects" are assured that they are already good people and will fit right in with the rest of the group. "Why, you're practically a Christian already!" These groups do not want to make people uncomfortable with themselves for fear that they will "join" some other church. Churches who are recruiting spend much time convincing prospective members that they (the churches) have many benefits to offer.
Those who call for men to conform to the image of Jesus will definitely talk about sin. Man must first recognize his need for a savior before he will seek one! Not being schooled in modern evangelism techniques, the apostles operated on this principle and were unafraid to identify their listeners as sinners in need of forgiveness (see Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-15).
If we talk about sin, many will turn away. Their interest in religion is only superficial and does not extend much beyond the opportunity to eat of the loaves and fishes which so many churches are anxious to provide (Philippians 3:18-19). They have no appetite for the Bread of Life (John 6:26-35). Unfortunately, filling their bellies with food and occupying their time with recreation will not do them any eternal good, although such activities will make some churches quite popular.
What a shame! The purpose of religion is not to fill our bellies, but to prepare our souls. The gospel has power to change our lives, to make us better spouses, parents, children, neighbors, i.e., people fitted for association with our heavenly Father. To emphasize loaves and fishes instead of the redemptive message of the cross is tantamount to ignoring a treasure in order to play with the cardboard box in which it was packed!
Our society will continue to deteriorate until churches concentrate on teaching the Bible rather than serving loaves and fishes.

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