John 16:31 – "You believe at last!" Jesus answered. (NIV)
Years ago, when I ministered to the Scottish fishing village of Dunure, some people stopped coming to church. Eventually, they were asked by a couple of elders about why they had become non-attenders. They replied, "He's too evangelical for me."
I was sorry to see them go, but I also took their criticism as a compliment. I am, first and foremost, a preacher of the gospel, and I see that my work is to express the need for everyone to be saved by Christ. In some areas of the world, this message is not popular, but if ever I were to start preaching according to what's popular, I would have sold my soul to the world.
Even Jesus had difficulty in getting His disciples to understand how crucially and eternally important His gospel message was. He laid everything on the line, including His life, to offer the world the glorious opportunity of being forgiven and being restored to God's love. He was, and still is, an all-or-nothing kind of preacher. The gospel is not just a collection of stories through which we can joyfully meander at our leisure. The gospel takes us to a crucial crossroads in each of our lives, where either we commit our ways to the Lord or we head down our own dead end.
When I heard the criticism that I was "far too evangelical" all those years ago, I wanted to say, "If you think I'm evangelical, you should really listen to Jesus!" When He spoke the truth about God or talked about commitment, discipleship, or even money, Christ never compromised. One day, after we each die, we'll learn that for the last time. The dilemma that faces us on earth is this: Will I learn and accept it now, while there is still time, or will I wait until it's too late?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to overcome our unbelief about You and to settle this gospel question in our hearts for all time. Enable us to get over our discomfort and fears, our mental and spiritual opposition to Your message. Give us the courage to accept Your gospel, and stop us from creating a convenient untruth for ourselves. In Your holy name, we pray. Amen.
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