Jay is the Keynote Speaker and Managing Director for The Starting Point Project. Over the past 29 years, Jay has spoken in numerous churches, conferences, secular schools, Christian schools, universities and various other venues, with audiences ranging from 50 to over 5,000. Learn more
Just how truly committed are we as Christians to Jesus Christ? Do we truly realize the depths of our depravity that he has rescued us from? Do we understand that the wrath God took upon Himself on the cross should have been ours? Are we truly grateful that He has rescued us from eternal damnation we all deserve because of our sin and rebellion against God?
We will all answer ‘yes’ we understand these things and are grateful. But that leads to another question: If we truly understand the power of the gospel, and are grateful for what Jesus has done for us, why are we so reluctant to share the Good News with others so they can also be saved?
Jay Seegert of The Starting Point Project joins us this morning to explore our reluctance to share the good news of forgiveness, salvation and eternal life with others.
Last month we began a 4-part mini-series which will address several aspects of this question. As a reminder, here’s the series overview:
- WHY we should share our faith (Part 1, last month)
- WHAT our message is (Part 2 this article)
- WHO our audience is (Part 3)
- HOW we go about sharing (Part 4)
What is our message?
You would think a question like this shouldn’t even need to be asked or addressed, but I have found we are making a grave mistake if we don’t.
In our everyday experiences, we often use phrases that don’t exactly mean what they are stating, but virtually everyone knows what we mean. For example, if you say doing something in particular is “a piece of cake,” people will know you think it’s easy. Another example would be saying, “Elvis has left the building,” which means the show is over or it’s all come to an end. Imagine, however, if those phrases are used with someone from another culture. They might be wondering what in the world “cake” has anything to do with what you are discussing, or “Who is this Elvis person you are talking about and why is it significant that he’s gone now?”
When we try to convey spiritual matters to the unbeliever, they very well may not know the crucial background to what we are sharing, so it can be very dangerous not to say exactly what we mean and in a way they will comprehend accurately. We need to “be on the same page” (to use another idiom) so we are not saying one thing and they are hearing another.
Let me give you a few example phrases commonly used by Christians when witnessing.
“You need to invite Jesus into your heart.” Doesn’t that sound nice? Maybe, but it’s certainly not biblical. The problem is most Christians know what it’s supposed to mean or represent, but the unbeliever doesn’t and they are the ones for which it desperately matters! A look at the following scenario might shed some light on where I’m headed with this.
Let’s say there’s a person whose life is really quite a mess and they are seeking any kind of solution that might help improve their situation. You meet them and get into a conversation involving spiritual issues and they seem genuinely interested. At some point you tell them, “You need to invite Jesus into your heart.” What goes through their mind at that point? Probably something like this… “I guess Jesus wasn’t really in my heart, but he should be, so OK, come in my heart.” What in the world does that mean? I don’t know and I certainly wouldn’t expect them to truly understand either. This is certainly not the Gospel message we find in Scripture.
The same goes for using phrases such as, “Give your heart to Jesus,” or “Jesus will make you happy,” or any number of other similarly-sounding statements.
So what exactly is our message? The most succinct description is found in the following passage:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
That’s the Gospel message, which has the power to save:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16
Discussed during the second half of today’s program: