Thus says the Lord of hosts,“Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the Lord. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The Lord has said, “You will have peace”’; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’ Jeremiah 23:16-17
Friends, we have been discussing the changing cultural norms in America in this five-part series. We started this conversation by observing that tolerance has been redefined to exclude the original idea of freedom of expression to the now sacrosanct notion of celebrating every behavior as normal and right. This new freedom does not include the freedom to disagree so it is really just freedom to walk in lock-step with the prevailing enlightened ideals of those opposed to historic, biblical Christianity. Clearly this is not freedom in any sane, logical, rational sense but merely Orwellian double-speak.
What does this mean for Christian evangelism? It means that Christians need to sharpen their minds and focus on exactly what it is we are trying to speak to our neighbors and friends. Old techniques of evangelism don’t work for the simple reason that people don’t see anything “good” about the Gospel. For the most part all they hear are do’s and don’ts. This leaves us needing to rethink our approach. In other words why is the gospel good news to those we want to speak to?
It is precisely at this point that the Gospel is most clearly seen as relevant to every culture, time, and place. You see, the problems mankind has wrestled with and sought answers to – namely where is hope to be found, can I find acceptance for who I am, who will love me truly and intimately, and even where can I find tolerance for my views – are all wrapped up in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Hope is found in our new identity in Christ, an identity that He hand picks for each of us as His special creation. Acceptance is found in the unfathomable grace we experience as God accepts us in Christ and declares us holy and just in His eyes. Intimacy is found in the midst of an ongoing love that lifts us up in every circumstance. Finally, even tolerance as the present world defines it is turned upside down as Jesus Christ shows us how to love those different from us and yet remain faithful to proclaim the truth that Christ alone saves.
Friends, don’t be dismayed by the current condition of the American culture. See instead great opportunity to share why the Gospel is great news for everyone. It truly is a transforming truth.