“I am convinced that multitudes of confessing Christians have been sold a lie when it comes to their eternal destinies. In our contemporary efforts to spread the Gospel to as many people as possible, I believe we have so maligned and manipulated and misrepresented the very Gospel that we have wished to spread. We have formulated the Gospel as a ‘plan of salvation’ and forgotten the Gospel as the power of God for salvation. We have pared it down to the minimalist picture, the smallest picture, and it gets smaller and smaller and smaller into a shrink-wrapped presentation that if one delivers it and gets someone to say the right things back to them, and even pray the right things back to them, then we pronounce them saved and we move on. And multitudes of professing Christians have been told that as long as they prayed that prayer or walked down that aisle and talked to that person or signed that card, that their salvation is complete. And the result is a host of professing Christians, including many people in this room, think that they are eternally saved from their sins when the reality is they are not. And the reason is because we’ve taken the Gospel, the very lifeblood, out of Christianity and we’ve put kool-aid in its place . . .
“. . . Do you think that it’s possible in 20th century – 21st century Christianity that we have taken threads of the Word here and there, pieced them together with our thoughts and our traditions and our external standards and our ideas about what makes us OK with God, put it all together and said, ‘If you do these things you’ll be alright’? I think it’s entirely possible to do that. I think it’s entirely possible that we have done that. You listen to how salvation, the Gospel, is sold today –‘Accept Jesus into your heart’ . . . ‘Invite Christ into your life’ . . . ‘Make Jesus Lord’. None of these are Biblical phrases. None of them. Now that should throw up red flags — that in the most important issue that determines our eternal destinies we are using phrases that are not even displayed in Scripture, shouldn’t it? You will struggle in this Book to find anyplace where someone says, ‘Bow your head, close your eyes, and pray this prayer with me’. You won’t find it. We have taken the Gospel and substituted language and thoughts and practices that are not displayed in Scripture. The reality is that the Gospel confronts us face to face with the law of God, confronts us with the lordship of Christ, confronts each and every one of us with the depth of our sinfulness before God — the necessity of Christ’s death on a cross to take the wrath of God upon Himself, the necessity of His resurrection to provide victory over sin and death and the grave. The Gospel confronts us with the demand to repent, the enabling to repent, to turn from sin and to turn to Christ. Now these are Biblical terms. These are Biblical terms, but modern day evangelism has cast them aside and has built an evangelism on sinking sand that is disillusioning millions of souls. Biblical evangelism involves wrestling with the depth of the sinfulness of our soul, crying out to God because we realize that we have absolutely no where else to turn. Biblical evangelism sees Jesus not as someone who is looking for an invitation, but Jesus is the one who is infinitely worthy of all glory and demands immediate, total obedience — immediate and total surrender. And Biblical evangelism knows nothing of saying a prayer and then going on and living your life like nothing has happened. Biblical evangelism demands radical obedience to Christ.”
January 10, 2011
Which Gospel Does Your Pastor Preach?