Many of us; myself included make the gospel so difficult that if we had heard ourselves in our unregenerate state would not have come to repentance and faith through what we preach; in many instances we wouldn’t have even understood what we were saying. This has weighed heavily on my heart and mind a lot lately. The gospel is vast and the study of the gospel can go on all of our lives, but what a person needs to know to repent is so simple that a child should be able to understand it.
I didn’t come to faith in Christ through the grand preaching of a reformational preacher; I came to the Lord while reading a book many of you probably have spoken against, but have never actually read, “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren, yes you heard me correctly. Since that time I have grown in the Lord and have seen that many things about the purpose driven church movement are wrong, but the Lord did use this book and the simple gospel message in it to bring me to repentance and faith.
Here is the scenario, I knew before reading the book as all men do; that I was created by God and had sinned against God, but I did not believe the gospel, and probably didn’t even understand it. I had heard somewhere before that Jesus was God, and had died for our sins, but inwardly I feared condemnation, and comforted myself in my sin. Here is the simple gospel message that I heard in that book, which was instrumental in bringing me to the Lord.
“The Bible promises, ‘To all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.’ Will you accept God’s offer? First believe. Believe God loves you and made you for His purpose. Believe you’re not an accident. Believe you were made to last forever. Believe God has chosen you to have a relationship with Jesus, who died on the cross for you. Believe that no matter what you’ve done, God wants to forgive you. Second, receive. Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior.” (The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren, chapter 7, page 58.)
Wait a minute you might say, he didn’t say repent and believe. You’ve got to say repent and believe. If you are saying that, you my friend have fallen into a methodology and not a biblical model. Take for example the Lord’s Prayer, is the Lord’s Prayer the only way you can pray or is it a model for prayer? You know the answer, it is a model prayer; the Lord used this model prayer to teach His disciples how to pray. Listen to these words; “Receive Jesus into your life as your Lord and Savior." In other words capitulate, or repent. Had he said repent and believe over 11 years ago, when I read this, I would not have even known what he was talking about? I would have either had to stop reading, and look up the word in a dictionary, or continue to read and miss the entire meaning. The Lord was drawing me to Himself at that time, where I was at that moment; I would learn and come to understand more lofty terms later on, as I grew in the Lord, as a new born child in the Kingdom of God. Had the author said repent and believe it’s doubtful that I would have come to repentance and faith reading that book. Since the Lord was drawing me to Jesus at that time He would have used something else to draw me to Christ. The Lord used the words written in that book to meet me where I was at that moment.
So what am I saying? Humble yourselves and meet people where they are. The gospel is incredible, and we can spend eternities of eternities studying it and never have all knowledge of the gospel; but at the same time the gospel is so simple a child should be able to understand it. Oh you preachers of righteousness come down off your lofty towers and meet the people in the street. The gospel means good news!
In Luke chapter 18 Jesus tells a story about two men, one a Pharisee who thought of himself as righteous and the other a tax collector who did not. I find it so fitting, that story, is immediately followed by this one. “And they were bringing even their babies to Him so that He would touch them, but when the disciples saw it, they began rebuking them. But Jesus called for them, saying, "Permit the children to come to Me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." (Luke 18:15-17)
Mike Peek a slave of Jesus Christ
Here is a short excerpt from my stop light preaching yesterday with the cross. Preaching about the Narrow way on Broadway in Tyler Texas.