John 3: 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
Back last century, there was a TV show named “Dragnet.” The main character was Joe Friday played by Jack Webb. His most famous line was “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts.” Apparently that philosophy needs to be reintroduced into our world. We are getting opinion, gossip, speculation and rumors, and very few facts. Our current day sources of information we once thought reliable have now lost credibility.
Many of us have become skeptical of every word we hear. Many national news reports have become politically biased and designed to create a disdain for one topic or the other. Disagreements among denominations cause some to question the validity of the spoken word. With over 31,000 verses in the Bible, one can usually find one that can be twisted to make a point of view. “Trust” is still in the dictionary but hanging on by a thread.
Many of us have come to believe, the only credibility and reliability lies within the word of God, the Holy Bible. Many false teachers seem to thrive on twisting scripture to make it meet personal notions.
A few times lately I’ve encountered non-believers that wanted to argue one point or other about Bible teachings and/or Christian beliefs. Rather than try to convince them of anything, I’ve learned to say, “I don’t know about that but what I do know is, Jesus died for the remission of sin and was resurrected. Do you believe that?” That usually gives us a point of agreement or opens up a witnessing opportunity. Arguing is usually counterproductive. Discussion is appropriate in many cases if it can be done without anger.
Also the judges of other denominations are overpopulated in this world. They, in most cases, have their facts tangled up and really have no idea what those other denominations really believe. Let’s adhere to the fundamentals of salvation and leave the arguing to others. Arguing really never accomplishes anything except anger (if you can call that an accomplishment).
You and I have both heard, “My pastor is judgmental.” Let me contradict that thought. I can only speak for myself but I would rather be “judged” most any other way than judgmental. Judging is God’s job, not mine. It is my job as an evangelist to promote the Gospel. I am no one’s judge and have no need or desire to be.
Anyone considering themselves to be a judge of someone must consider the words of Paul in Romans 2: 1-3, “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?”
The “feel good” preachers may serve a need for a segment of the population, but that is not the purpose of the pulpit. Listeners need truth and Bible fact, not “filler.” I would much rather hear a fifteen minute sermon filled with usable information that makes me think and stimulate my curiosity to study, than a 30 minute sermon filled with personal stories. A few limited examples, however, can serve a purpose
Our purpose from the pulpit is to preach the gospel of Christ Jesus. It is not to entertain. I was an educator and perhaps a bit of that mind-set spills over here. I have had very positive comments on Bible information sermons. Many have said to me, “I’ve never heard that before. Thank you.” Those were in many cases, people that had been in church for years.
The Bible is full of factual information. Atheists and agnostics question the reliability of information in the scriptures. Numerous artifacts from Bible times have been found by archeologists in Israel and surrounding countries that substantiate Bible stories and characters.
Scientific and prophetic concepts in the Bible verify its authenticity. Information concerning astronomy, photosynthesis, and even nutritional science are contained in the Word of God. Statements of future events such as the re-establishment of the Nation of Israel in 1948 are in several books of the Old Testament.
We cannot beat people over their heads with a Bible. That just doesn’t work with most people. I have a friend that says, “If I wanted to be yelled and screamed at, I’d just stay at home!” We are still working on that one.
1 Peter 3:15 “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,”
The gospel is not a side show or rock concert. Music does not have to burst eardrums or break windows. The speaker is not an entertainer. He is a man believing he is called by God to preach the gospel.
I often use the phrase, “the fundamental of the gospel.” And that is, “Christ crucified for the remission of sin, and resurrected from the dead.” That is the sermon and it doesn’t take 40 minutes to say it. We have found, when working with unchurched people, when they hear that simple explanation of what the gospel really is, many embrace it.
A concept I learned from listening to Billy Graham sermons is to be simple and keep it simple. His sermons were short, simple, to the point and inviting.
Jesus said, “Whosoever believes shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” You are “whosoever. Christianity is really simple: Christ crucified for the remission of sin and resurrected from the dead. Either we believe it or we don’t. “Just the facts ma’am, just the facts,” according to Joe Friday.