Friday, October 19, 2007

The Simple Gospel

by David J. Stewart | May 2005

"Not With Wisdom of Words"

(The Gospel doesn't need our help)

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." -1st Corinthians 1:17

I recently received an e-mail from a man inquiring how to witness to a Roman Catholic. He said he had a friend who was really having a hard time with the matter of "works" not being necessary for salvation. I shared with him the Bible's teaching on salvation, stressing that salvation is "by grace through faith" and NOT of works (Ephesians 2:8,9; Titus 3:5). I also shared with him Galatians 2:16...

"Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." -Galatians 2:16

He e-mailed back again, saying that "his friend" needed "proof" of exactly where the Catholic religion teaches that "works" are mandatory for salvation. I responded by referring him to the Vatican II documents of the Roman Catholic church, in which the Vatican requires baptism into the "Catholic" church, holy communion, and the keeping of the seven sacraments to go to heaven.

The man responded by saying that the Lutheran religion also requires Baptism and Holy Communion to be saved, and then he accused me of failing to expose them as I had the Catholics. I responded by assuring him that I DO expose the Lutheran religion and sent him the link to my false religions page.

The man e-mailed me again, claiming that his friend absolutely would NOT accept my innuendos and needed "proof" that the Bible didn't require works to be saved. He quoted me several verses such as Luke 13:9..."And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down." He tried to defend the heresy that "works" are necessary to salvation with such Scriptures. The Bible does NOT contradict itself, hundreds of Biblical references teach us that good "works" are a sure road to hell (Isaiah 64:6).

After e-mailing back and forth several times, the gentleman became belligerent and it was apparent to me that he was more argumentative than hungry for the truth. At this point I realized that he probably didn't have a friend and was was just wanting to defend his false religion. I remembered his first e-mail which he had sent to me asking for help witnessing to his Catholic friend. Then the Holy Spirit reminded me of the following Scripture...

"For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect." -1st Corinthians 1:17

Whether the man was sincere or not didn't matter to me at this point...either I was trying to use the WISDOM OF WORDS to convince an unbeliever, or the man was sincerely trying to use the WISDOM OF WORDS to win his unbelieving friend to the Lord. Either way, it wasn't going to work. The Bible teaches that the GOSPEL (God's plan of salvation for mankind) is the power which saves a person, not our own eloquent words...

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." -Romans 1:16

I kindly wrote the man back and explained 1st Corinthians 1:17 to him. I explained to him that the way you witness to a Catholic is the same way you witness to anyone...with the GOSPEL (1st Corinthians 15:1-4). We are ALL sinners deserving of hell-fire, Jesus Christ (the Son of God) paid for our sins with His blood, Jesus DIED, Jesus was BURIED, and Jesus ROSE from the dead for our justification, all we need to do to be saved is to call upon Jesus in faith, believing that He is the Saviour, and asking Him to forgive us of all our sins (Romans 3:10,23;5:8;6:23;10:9-13).

The way to witness to ANYONE is to just present the simple and plain truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. If a person doesn't want to be saved after having the simple Gospel presented to them, then they don't want to be saved. There is no wisdom of words to convince the skeptic of the truth, the gospel is what it is. If a man will not obey the simple gospel, then he will not listen to the wisdom of words..."lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."

I sometimes forget this Biblical principle and find myself arguing religion with people. To date, I have never known a religious person to come to Christ as a result of debating beliefs. But I have seen some religious people come to Christ right away when they heard the plain gospel. A person who wants to be saved WILL trust Christ immediately, you do not need to argue anything with them. A person who wants to DEBATE religion has already rejected Christ and is now defending their unbelief. Even if you prove them dead wrong, they will still hold to their unbelief (Mark 7:6-9; Luke 16:31). There are people all over the world who want to argue religion. We do NOT need to debate with them, but rather just keep giving them the simple Gospel of Jesus Christ. The POWER of God which brings salvation is the GOSPEL itself, and not our cleverly worded arguments.

There are billions of people in this world who have never heard the Gospel, many of whom would happily trust Christ, but we are too busy arguing religion with conceited fools. Oftentimes we erroneously think that if we could just word our presentation a little differently that perhaps we might be able to win a hardened unbeliever to the Lord. God does NOT want us to try to win the lost using our own Wisdom of Words, but rather with the plain Gospel of Jesus Christ. If they won't accept God's free gift or eternal life from just hearing the Gospel, then there is NOTHING we can say to make any difference. All we can do at this point is to love them, having compassion towards them, never giving up on them, but also NOT getting into heated futile debates that go in circles and waste precious time.

So I say to you my dear reader, let's focus on the Gospel itself, and let the power of God take control.

Ye Must Be Born Again!

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