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How Do I Teach Gospel to My Religiously Indifferent Neighbor?

How Do I Teach Gospel to My Religiously Indifferent Neighbor?

By Paul R. Blake

            Soooo….. I have been blessed an opportunity to speak to my neighbor who is indifferent to the needs of his soul and has no interest in the word of God, what do I say to him? Perhaps the best method of preparing a message for the contentedly indifferent person would be to gather Bible examples of addresses to spiritually cold and erring persons, and compile them into a clear statement designed to goad the uninterested neighbor out of his worldly lethargy. In short, say what he needs to hear in a manner best suited to elicit a penitent response from him.

            Consider what was said in scripture to people content with their own worldly ways. Fashionable Judah wanted the prophets to smooth over the message of God to make it more pleasant; God told them that this attitude would lead them to rougher times (Isa. 30:8-14). The self-righteous Pharisees were told that they were morally inferior to the tax collectors (Luke 18:10-14). The educated Athenians were told that they did not know everything (Acts 17:22-29). The smugly superior, tolerant Corinthians learned that they had embraced a form of moral filth that was beneath the dignity of pagans (1Cor. 5:1-2). The wealthy, sated Laodiceans were made to understand that they were poor and miserable (Rev. 3:17). In each case, those who were pleased to remain in sin were instead made uncomfortable by direct addresses that exposed their moral vulnerability and spiritual poverty.

            What would i say and how would I say it? There are no arcane formulas or incantations hidden away in some seldom read minor prophet that when discovered and used by the personal worker will move the indifferent neighbor to obey the gospel. There is no tract on sale in brotherhood bookstores called “Ten Steps to More Effective Personal Work Among the Indifferent.” There is only the gospel, the same source used in teaching one’s religious, atheist, or Muslim neighbors.

            Just teach him the Gospel, and let the power inherent in it do the work. I remember teaching people how to use an axe to chop wood or a sledge hammer to break up rock. Most try to force the tool to do the work and end up wearing themselves out using it inefficiently and accomplishing less. Instead, swing the axe or hammer trusting the weight of the tool to do the work. Don’t force it; let it do the work. Likewise with the Gospel: just teach it, and trust the weight of the Gospel to do the work. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

            What if we have done our best to teach him the Gospel, and he does not respond? To what extent are we responsible for his response?

            The Gospel is the perfect message communicated by imperfect messengers. In speaking of the words of salvation, Paul said we carry this treasure in jars made of clay, “that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” (2Cor. 4:7 NKJV). Many personal workers assume too much responsibility for the outcome of the message, worrying over whether or not they will use the right arguments incorporating the right words in the right way using the right tone of voice and the right body language in the right setting at the right time, etc. (et ad infinitum). Just be yourself and teach the gospel; let the word of God do the work of converting the soul (Rom. 1:16; Ps. 19:7-11).

            The Lord taught that Christians are to sow; the soil is accountable for how it receives the seed (Matt. 13:18-23). By means of your distinct life, labor diligently to generate an opportunity to speak to your indifferent neighbor, thoughtfully prepare the message you intend to give him, express it to him with conviction and concern, and then allow him to decide whether or not he will convert from indifference to interest. “When you have accomplished your task, go to sleep in peace; God is awake” (Hugo).

 

Test Your Bible Knowledge: Churches of Asia in Revelation

1. The church that harbored a Jezebel _____________________

2. The church that was lukewarm ______________________

3. The church in the “city of brotherly love” ______________________

4. The church that was dead _______________________

5. The church that would have ten days of tribulation ___________________

6. The church that left its first love _________________________

7. The church that tolerated Nicolaitans and Balaamites __________________

Test Your Bible Knowledge: Who Said?

“Is there any taste in the white of an egg?” ____________________

“The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge.” _____________________

“My punishment is greater than I can bear!” ______________________

“Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God.” ____________________

“Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.” _________________

“I thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” ________________________

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