lesson 3 : the problem with the modern gospel

lesson 3 : the problem with the modern gospel

Postby mrshalfcent on Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:55 am

3L E S S O N<br>
The Problem with<br>
the Modern Gospel<br>
“The trouble with people who are not seeking for a Savior, and for<br>
salvation, is that they do not understand the nature of sin. It is the<br>
peculiar function of the Law to bring such an understanding to a<br>
man’s mind and conscience. That is why great evangelical<br>
preachers 300 years ago in the time of the Puritans, and 200 years<br>
ago in the time of Whitefield and others, always engaged in<br>
what they called a preliminary ‘Law work.’”<br>
Give some deep thought to this lesson, because the<br>
essence of the entire School of Biblical Evangelism pivots on the illustration<br>
given in this chapter. It exposes the motiveof the sinner and reveals the pitfalls<br>
of the modern gospel message.<br>
Q U E S T I O N S & O B J E C T I O N S<br>
“I’m doing fine. I don’t need God.”<br>
Many people feel this way because of the modern gospel message. It says<br>
that Jesus will help their marriage, remove their drug problem, fill the emptiness<br>
in their heart, give them peace and joy, etc. In doing so, it restricts<br>
the gospel’s field of influence. If the message of the cross is for people<br>
Kirk’s Comment<br>
who have bad marriages, are lonely, and have problems, then those who<br>
are happy won’t see their need for the Savior.<br>
In truth, the forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ is for people with bad<br>
marriages and people with good marriages. It is for the happy and the<br>
sad. It is for people with problems and those without problems. It is for<br>
those who are miserable in their sins, as well as those who are enjoying<br>
the pleasures of sin for a season. Those who think they are doing fine<br>
need to be confronted with a holy Law that they have violated a multitude<br>
of times. Then they will see themselves through the eyes of the Judge<br>
of the Universe and will flee to the Savior.<br>
As I began to look at church growth records from around the country,<br>
I found to my horror that 80 to 90 percent of those making a decision<br>
for Christ were falling away from the faith. That is, modern evangelism<br>
was creating 80 to 90 of what we commonly call backsliders for every<br>
hundred decisions for Christ.<br>
For example, in 1991, a major U.S. denomination was able to obtain<br>
294,000 decisions for Christ. Unfortunately, they could find only 14,000<br>
in fellowship, which means they couldn’t account for 280,000 of their<br>
decisions—and this is a normal, modern evangelical result.<br>
The tragedy of modern evangelism is that, around the turn of the<br>
twentieth century, the church forsook the Law in its capacity to convert<br>
the soul and drive sinners to Christ. Modern evangelism therefore had to<br>
find another reason for sinners to respond to the gospel, and the reason it<br>
chose was the issue of “life enhancement.” The gospel degenerated into<br>
“Jesus Christ will give you peace, joy, love, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.”<br>
Something like this is usually said, “You will never find true happiness<br>
until you come to the Lord. You have a ‘God-shaped vacuum’ in your<br>
heart that only He can fill. God will heal your marriage and take away that<br>
addiction problem. He’ll get you out of financial difficulty and be your<br>
best friend.” The following anecdote will illustrate the unscriptural nature<br>
of this very popular teaching.<br>
Two men are seated on a plane. The first is given a parachute and told<br>
to put it on, as it would improve his flight. He’s a little skeptical at first,<br>
since he can’t see how wearing a parachute on a plane could possibly<br>
improve his flight. He decides to experiment and see if the claims are<br>
true. As he puts it on, he notices the weight of it upon his shoulders and<br>
he finds he has difficulty in sitting upright. However, he consoles himself<br>
with the fact he was told that the parachute would improve his flight. So<br>
he decides to give it a little time.<br>
As he waits he notices that some of the other passengers are laughing<br>
at him for wearing a parachute on a plane. He begins to feel somewhat<br>
humiliated. As they continue to point and laugh at him, he can stand it<br>
no longer. He slinks in his seat, unstraps the parachute, and throws it to<br>
the floor. Disillusionment and bitterness fill his heart, because as far as he<br>
was concerned he was told an outright lie.<br>
The second man is given a parachute, but listen to what he is told. He’s<br>
told to put it on because at any moment he’ll be jumping 25,000 feet out<br>
of the plane. He gratefully puts the parachute on. He doesn’t notice the<br>
weight of it upon his shoulders, nor that he can’t sit upright. His mind is<br>
consumed with the thought of what would happen to him if he jumped<br>
without the parachute.<br>
Let’s now analyze the motive and the result of each passenger’s experience.<br>
The first man’s motive for putting the parachute on was solely to<br>
improve his flight. The result of his experience was that he was humiliated<br>
by the passengers, disillusioned, and somewhat embittered against those<br>
who gave him the parachute. As far as he’s concerned, it will be a long<br>
time before anyone gets one of those things on his back again.<br>
The second man put the parachute on solely to escape the jump to<br>
come. And because of his knowledge of what would happen to him if he<br>
jumped without it, he has a deep-rooted joy and peace in his heart knowing<br>
that he’s saved from sure death. This knowledge gives him the ability<br>
to withstand the mockery of the other passengers. His attitude toward<br>
those who gave him the parachute is one of heartfelt gratitude.<br>
Now listen to what the modern gospel says: “Put on the Lord Jesus<br>
Christ. He’ll give you love, joy, peace, fulfillment, and lasting happiness.”<br>
In other words, Jesus will improve your flight. The sinner responds, and<br>
in an experimental fashion puts on the Savior to see if the claims are true.<br>
And what does he get? The promised temptation, tribulation, and persecution<br>
—the other “passengers” mock him. So what does he do? He takes<br>
off the Lord Jesus Christ; he’s offended for the Word’s sake; he’s disillusioned<br>
and somewhat embittered . . . and quite rightly so. He was promised<br>
peace, joy, love, and fulfillment, and all he got were trials and humiliation.<br>
His bitterness is directed at those who gave him the so-called “good news.”<br>
His latter end becomes worse than the first, and he’s another inoculated<br>
and bitter “backslider.”<br>
Instead of preaching that Jesus improves the flight, we should be<br>
warning sinners that they have to jump out of the plane—that it’s appointed<br>
for man to die once and then face judgment (Hebrews 9:27).<br>
When a sinner understands the horrific consequences of breaking the Law<br>
of God, he will flee to the Savior, solely to escape the wrath that is to<br>
come. If we are true and faithful witnesses, that’s what we’ll be preaching<br>
—that there is wrath to come—that God “commands all men every where<br>
to repent: because he has appointed a day, in which he will judge the<br>
world in righteousness” (Acts 17:30,31).<br>
The issue isn’t one of life enhancement, but one of righteousness. It<br>
doesn’t matter how happy a sinner is, or how much he is enjoying the<br>
pleasures of sin for a season; without the righteousness of Christ, he will<br>
perish on the day of wrath. Proverbs 11:4 says, “Riches profit not in the<br>
day of wrath: but righteousness delivers from death.”<br>
Peace and joy are legitimate fruits of salvation, but it’s not legitimate<br>
to use these fruits as a drawing card for salvation. If we continue to do so,<br>
the sinner will respond with an impure motive, lacking repentance.<br>
Can you remember why the second passenger had joy and peace in his<br>
heart? It was because he knew that the parachute was going to save him<br>
from sure death. In the same way, as believers we have “joy and peace in<br>
believing” (Romans 15:13) because we know that the righteousness of<br>
Christ is going to deliver us from the wrath to come.<br>
With that thought in mind, let’s take a close look at an incident aboard<br>
the plane.<br>
We have a brand-new flight attendant. It’s her first day. She’s carrying<br>
a tray of boiling hot coffee. She wants to leave an impression on the passengers,<br>
and she certainly does! As she’s walking down the aisle, she trips<br>
over someone’s foot and slops the hot coffee all over the lap of our second<br>
What’s his reaction as that boiling liquid hits his tender flesh? Does he<br>
say, “Man, that hurt!”? Yes, he does. But then does he rip the parachute<br>
from his shoulders, throw it to the floor, and say, “The stupid parachute!”?<br>
No; why should he? He didn’t put the parachute on for a better flight. He<br>
put it on to save him from the jump to come. If anything, the hot coffee<br>
incident causes him to cling tighter to the parachute and even look forward<br>
to the jump.<br>
If we have put on the Lord Jesus Christ for the right motive—to flee<br>
from the wrath to come—then when tribulation strikes, when the flight<br>
gets bumpy, we won’t get angry at God, and we won’t lose our joy and<br>
peace.Why should we? We didn’t come to Christ for a better lifestyle, but<br>
to flee from the wrath to come. If anything, tribulation drives the true believer<br>
closer to the Savior. Sadly, we have multitudes of professing Christians<br>
who lose their joy and peace when the flight gets bumpy.Why? They<br>
are the product of a man-centered gospel. They came lacking repentance,<br>
without which they cannot be saved.<br>
Q U E S T I O N S<br>
1. What percentage of those making decisions fall away from the faith?<br>
2. What is the tragedy of modern evangelism?<br>
3. What was the result of the first passenger’s experience?<br>
4. What was the result of the second passenger’s experience?<br>
5. What should we be telling the other “passengers”?<br>
6. What is it that the Bible says “delivers from death”?<br>
7. Why should a Christian have joy and peace?<br>
8. As Christians, what should tribulation do to us?<br>
P R E A C H E R’ S P R O G R E S S<br>
Christian Loveless: “Hi, Mrs. Smith. How are you doing? Is Erik in yet?”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “Lunch again, huh? I haven’t seen him come through the<br>
lobby today. He came into work last week with a bad hangover. Probably<br>
the same thing has happened today. How was church?”<br>
Christian Loveless: “It was really good. We had Brother Don Waterdowns<br>
come in and do a series of healing meetings. Hundreds gave their<br>
hearts to the Lord. I’m in charge of the follow-up program. Man, I didn’t<br>
realize how easy it is to get people saved. Lots were getting healed and<br>
people were coming to the altar without even being preached to.”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “What a blessing. We had him at our church too. He advocates<br>
‘friendship evangelism,’ doesn’t he?”<br>
Christian Loveless: “Yes. I like that. It’s what I’ve been using on Erik.<br>
We’ve become good buddies over the years.”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “I like that approach. It’s so much better than shoving the<br>
gospel down people’s throats.”<br>
Christian Loveless: “True. That can alienate them. I’m waiting for the<br>
right time to mention the things of God to Erik; I don’t want to make him<br>
feel uncomfortable. Erik came to one of the meetings, and he really seemed<br>
to enjoy it. That’s the good thing about non-confrontational evangelism.<br>
He didn’t give his heart to the Lord, though. Maybe today he will bring<br>
up the subject. I never do, because I don’t want to offend him. I’m just a<br>
good friend, and I think that’s the right approach.”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “I agree. I’ll call the Third Floor and speak to his secretary.<br>
Perhaps she will know why he’s late.”<br>
Christian Loveless: “Okay.”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “Jeannie, Rose Smith. Is Erik Tuday in yet? Christian Loveless<br>
is here to see . . .”<br>
Christian Loveless: “What’s wrong? Your face has gone pale!”<br>
Mrs. Smith: “I’m afraid Erik died during the night. He had an aneurysm<br>
in his sleep and was pronounced dead at 8:17 this morning . . .”<br>
Daniel Webster stated shortly before his death, “The great mystery is Jesus<br>
Christ—the gospel. What would the condition of any of us be if we had not the<br>
hope of immortality? . . . Thank God, the gospel of Jesus Christ brought life and<br>
immortality to light.” His last words were:<br>
“I still live.”<br>
L a s t Words<br>
“Riches profit<br>
not in the day<br>
of wrath: but<br>
delivers from<br>
PROVERBS 11:4 <p><>< <>< <><<br>
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Re: lesson 3 : answers to questions

Postby mrshalfcent on Thu Mar 04, 2004 4:59 am

The letters “S/A” indicates that the question is to be self-answered; these<br>
are questions where there is no right or wrong answer, or where an<br>
opinion is requested.<br>
L E S S O N 3<br>
1. Between 80 and 90 percent of those making decisions for Christ fall away<br>
from the faith.<br>
2. Around the turn of the century, modern evangelism stopped using the<br>
Law to convert souls and drive sinners to Christ, and instead chose to attract<br>
sinners by using “benefits.” Life enhancement is now the typical drawing<br>
card to bring someone to Christ.<br>
3. He was promised the parachute would improve the flight and all he got<br>
was embarrassment and humiliation. He became disillusioned and bitter<br>
toward the person who gave him the parachute, because he was told to<br>
put it on for the wrong reason.<br>
4. Because the second passenger knew the parachute would save his life, he<br>
didn’t notice its weight on his shoulders or the fact that he couldn’t sit<br>
upright. He was able to withstand the mockery of the other passengers<br>
because he didn’t put the parachute on for a better flight, but to escape<br>
the jump to come. Everything paled in comparison to the horrific thought<br>
of having to jump without the parachute. He had gratitude toward those<br>
who gave him the parachute.<br>
5. We should be telling people that they have an appointment with death<br>
that they will not miss. They have broken God’s Law and will face Him<br>
on Judgment Day. Unless they repent and put on the Lord Jesus Christ,<br>
they will be under God’s wrath.<br>
6. According to Proverbs 11:4, riches will not help us on the Day of Wrath;<br>
the only thing that can deliver us from death is righteousness.<br>
7. Christians have joy and peace in believing because we know that the righteousness<br>
of Christ will deliver us from the wrath to come.<br>
8. If we have “put on the Lord Jesus Christ” for the right motive (to avoid<br>
the wrath to come), tribulation won’t make us lose our joy and peace. In<br>
fact, it should cause us to cling even tighter to the Savior.<br>
<p><>< <>< <><<br>
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