Published on November 12th, 2013 | by Jaycen Saab
How to Cheapen Your Savior
As I look around today and see the state of evangelism, it’s easy to spot well-intending folks shooting themselves in the foot with their efforts. Rather than hold fast to how Scripture says we are to win the lost (Romans 10:17), people resort to trickery and shenanigans. Rather than rely on the power of the message of the Gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16), they attempt to do it in their own power by their own perceived cleverness. And yes, I know the old adage, “God can hit a straight lick with a crooked stick”, but that does not excuse Christians to purposely use any old evangelism they think is relevant at the time.
We give lipservice to God in front of others attributing a conversion to His glory, but deep down have a boastful heart that thinks “it’s all because of me and my works.”
I recently came across a story on the Internet, yes I know you can’t believe everything you see in cyberspace, that I’ve heard firsthand accounts of locally. The story goes something like this. A waiter/waitress looks down with excitement to see a large bill of money sticking out of the check book on the table. Their joy is short-lived as they open it only to find that it is a fake bill with a Bible verse slapped on it telling them how much better Jesus is than money. And to add salt to the wound, there is no actual money there, no tip, nada.
Poor evangelism techniques like this, if you can call them that, brings a couple thoughts to mind as to why I believe we see this.
Yes, the culprit that fuels many a Christian’s sin is pride and self-centered, painless evangelism is no different. Pride causes us to want to rely on our own understanding, our own power, our own intellect. Therefore when/if something pans out (in this case a lost one coming to Christ) we can gloat in our accomplishment. We give lipservice to God in front of others attributing a conversion to His glory, but deep down have a boastful heart that thinks “it’s all because of me and my works.” When the path to evangelism laid by pride is taken to win the lost, it puts us at odds with the very God we are proclaiming to serve and speak about.
Allowing pride to drive our works:
- aligns our position with unbelievers (Psalm 10:4)
- makes us exhibit one of the very things God hates (Proverbs 8:13)
- puffs us up just before our fall (Proverbs 16:18)
Trust in the Power of the Gospel of Christ
Although this one could be attributed to pride, I felt though pride is the root, this is a major flaw in our understanding that causes bad evangelism. How much you truly believe in the Gospel message will directly affect how you witness to the lost and fulfill the Great Commission. This example brings to memory a very sad evangelistic outreach done by a local church here in WV some years ago.
Let me preface this by saying that there are some brothers and sisters in Christ that I dearly love who are walking with the Lord today that were a part of this event. In no way do I mean to slander them or think myself above them. Rather, I put the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of the pastor who was leading the church at that time. He is also a dear brother. However, true love for a fellow Christian is never standing by and going along with someone just because you’re afraid of hurting their feelings forsaking Biblical truth for “Faithful are the wounds of a friend;” (Proverbs 27:6a) and “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).
The event was a typical bait-and-switch maneuver that folks fall victim to in the world all the time. It was a bike weekend at the church, so naturally the bait was a motorcycle, that is a brand, spanking new Harley-Davidson. Friday and Saturday you could sign up and enter your ticket in the drawing. That is the drawing held at the end of the service that Sunday. Oh and you had to be present to win.
Now let me translate this event and others all around we see like it. The church finds something the world can offer (like a Harley-Davidson) that most couldn’t afford and lures folks in with it. Then while they’ve captured the person’s attention and lustful heart (which by the way is interested in nothing but the prize) they will throw Jesus at them and hope He sticks like the pasta an Italian chef slings on a wall to see if it is cooked. And oh by the way, if that person should come to Christ (which they usually don’t) they will spend the rest of their Christian life (hopefully) hearing about the dangers of making idols of things in this world and not to be envious and yearn for such things.
And that wasn’t the worst part…
The worst part for me was seeing hundreds of people manipulated with music and word in an emotional stronghold until they were in tears on their knees. Then like many good churches do, the damnable sinner’s prayer was lead aloud and whoever repeated it was pronounced saved. When in reality, many folks had an emotional experience and walked right back out of the event feeling justified in their sin with just enough morality to soothe their conscience. Some time later, I asked a brother who was the worship leader for the event how many were still in church and serving to which he replied, “None that I know of…” Does 1 John 2:19 ring a bell? Anyone?
The bottom line is that such tragic events as this and the story of folks leaving no tips but Bible tracts disguised as fake money and other man-centered techniques are a direct result of Christian’s lack of true belief in Romans 1:16. It is a denial of Isaiah 55:11. Because if Romans 1:16, Isaiah 55:11, and John 12:32 were a reality in their lives, properly taught from the pulpit, and rightly understood, their efforts would center around Romans 10:17 and not themselves.
As Christians we are called to be imitators of Christ (Ephesians 5:1) and have His power to rely on (Romans 1:16). So why in the world would we want to try to do it in our own power? It only cheapens how our Savior looks to the unbeliever and flies in the very face of God’s attribute of ultimate generosity (John 3:16).
Soli Deo Gloria!