OceanSide church of Christ
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Does It Matter How I Teach the Gospel?
by Dalton Gilreath
A young boy went off to college to start his new life away from home. It didnít take long for him to realize just how expensive college could be. So, he wrote this letter to his father:
$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. I $imply can't think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.
Clearly, he was hinting at something. Here was the
I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.
There are times when we must discuss things with someone that might not be comfortable. It could be asking someone for help like this young man, or telling someone something we know he or she doesnít want to hear. Oftentimes we decide to throw out hints instead of really saying what needs to be said. We hope they pick up on them and sometimes they certainly may. However, with spiritual things we cannot have this attitude.
When it comes to the salvation of someoneís soul, a hint is not enough. We are not commanded to go out into this world and throw out clues of Godís saving message. We are to tell others exactly what that plan is and what changes they need to make. As we have been studying in Bible class, Stephen is a great example of someone who didnít ďbeat around the bushĒ as we often say. Stephen told the people about the specific sins of their ancestors as well as their own faults during the present. He knew they wouldnít like what they were going to hear, but that didnít stop him from saying what they needed to hear. Stephen was not being ugly to them and nor should we ever be rude to someone about their salvation. There can be no doubt that Stephen was speaking with love in his heart. However, he didnít pretend that their soulís condition just might be at stake. He could have hinted at their sin many different ways, but he didnít. Keep in mind that everyone is different. Therefore, different people are going to respond differently to the same message. As we get to know individuals we begin to learn where they are spiritually: whether near or far from God. We learn what their struggles are and how concerned they may or may not be about making their life right with God. Jude discusses this idea when addressing how to convert fallen Christians back to God. He writes, ďAnd on some have mercy, who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.Ē (1:22-23 ASV). In other words, if the person is on the fence we must be sure that our words are filled with compassion.
However, there are some cases when a soul might be more stubborn and with several attempts they show no plans to repent. Jude explains in such cases we must save them with words of fear. That is, we must remind them of where their soul is headed if they donít change.
In any situation, we must be bold and say what needs to be said for the sake of the hearerís soul. This is just scratching the surface on the importance of not only teaching the Gospel but how we teach it. Prayer is a valuable asset when trying to find the wisdom of how to present the message of salvation to a particular individual. May God help each of us to boldly proclaim His Truth out of love and compassion for the souls of others, and if the time comes, to also be able to save others with the fear of our Lord. --Dalton