There's Nothing More Loving Than The Gospel

God's timing is always perfect.

Needing to recover from a recent irruption of verbal friendly-fire (Christians assaulting Christians), where I was greatly discouraged for sharing the Gospel with anyone the Lord leads me to (family, friends, neighbors, strangers, etc.), the Lord provided me with abundant comfort and strength through His Word, my darling husband, and my oldest son. And as if that weren't enough, my ever gracious Father also provided me more encouragement through soundly biblical and exhorting books*, sermons and articles. One of the articles (below) was shared today, at Ligonier Ministries.

During this recent verbal attack, it was intimated that I was an unloving person because I didn't always seek to first "love" people through acts of service before I "earned the right" to share the Gospel with them.

In our self-indulgent world, love has been desecrated and redefined to mean all that's warm and fuzzy, verses it's true definition, "God is love" (1 John 4:8). And if God is love, then love is holy, it is righteous, it is good (perfectly moral), and it is sacrificial—which is in complete opposition to the world's teaching that love always makes me or you feel good. Sadly, this worldly and defiled definition of love has been largely adopted and happily welcomed by many Christians. And why is this a problem? Firstly, because anyone who adopts the worldly definition of love, is blaspheming God's holy character and causing the unbelieving world to mock and malign God's Word. Secondly, it's a problem because it weakens our spiritual immune system, making us more susceptible to sin and less sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. And lastly, because it makes us unfaithful children of the Most High God, who prefer to rub shoulders with the world (making people feel good), rather than lovingly offend them with the life-giving power of the Gospel.

God is love and He said the best way to love Him and others well is to share the Gospel. After all, didn't our Father God say in John 3:16 that it was His love for the world that He sent His one and only Son to the earth to suffer and die for our sins? And look what our Lord repeats here in 1 John 4:8-10, "Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

"And I, when came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom...that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."
-1 Corinthians 2:1; 5, ESV

During this recent discouraging and burdensome time with believers, most agreed that one of the best ways to share the Gospel (inoffensively) is to share our testimony. What? Unless our testimony includes the Gospel (which, actually, mine does...purposefully), then it's not the's our testimony...which, I'll say again, is not the Gospel. The Gospel is not about us. It's about Jesus.

Dr. R.C. Sproul, explains this biblically and succinctly.

"So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:24–25).

"This statement, 'Give God the glory!' seems positive until we read the remainder of the sentence, in which the Pharisees revealed that they had concluded that Jesus was a sinner and therefore could not have performed the miracle. They were saying that the man should give glory to God, not to Jesus. The man was straightforward with them, saying: 'I don’t know whether He’s a sinner. I don’t even know Him. All I know is this: once I was blind and now I see.'

"With these simple words, the man bore witness to Christ. He testified about the redemptive work of Christ. However, he did not preach the gospel. What am I getting at? In the evangelical Christian community, we sometimes employ language that is not always sound or biblical. You’ve heard the lingo. It goes something like this: 'I plan to become an evangelist so I can bear witness to Christ.' Or sometimes we say, 'I had a chance to witness the other day,' meaning, 'I shared the gospel with someone.' We tend to use the terms evangelism and witnessing interchangeably, but they are not synonymous. Any time I call attention to the person and work of Christ, I am bearing witness to Christ. But that is not the same thing as preaching the gospel.

"More than thirty years ago, I learned the evangelism technique taught by Evangelism Explosion, and I trained more than 250 people in that program and led them through evangelism efforts in Ohio. One of the finest aspects of that program is that everyone who goes through it must write out and memorize his or her testimony. Your testimony is your story of how you became a Christian. I think it’s very important that Christians are able to articulate to other people how and why they became believers. We all should have a prepared testimony, and we should be willing to share it at the drop of a hat.

"But we shouldn’t confuse our personal testimonies with the gospel. Sharing our personal testimonies is not evangelism. It’s merely pre-evangelism, sort of a warm-up for evangelism. Our testimonies may or may not be significant or meaningful to those with whom we are speaking. There are lots of folks who can relate to my story; they say, 'Yeah, I know what he’s talking about because I used to live like that too.' But not everyone can relate to my story. In any case, the gospel is not what happened to R.C. Sproul. God makes no promise that He will use my story as His power unto salvation. The gospel is not about me. The gospel is about Jesus. It is the proclamation of the person and work of Christ, and of how a person can appropriate the benefits of the work of Christ by faith alone.

"We see this from our passage in John’s Gospel. The healed man could say, 'I once was blind, but now I see,' and that was a wonderful testimony. But it was not the gospel. The man could not tell the Pharisees about Jesus’ saving work and about how they could be delivered from their sins by faith in Him. So we need to learn not only our testimonies but the concrete elements and content of the biblical gospel. Evangelism takes place when the evangel is proclaimed and announced to people—that is the gospel."
Ligonier Ministries article by Dr. R.C. Sproul,
11/23/2015, excerpt from commentary on John

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: Repent of your sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Mk 1:14-15). We are all sinners who have broken and are incapable of keeping the commandments of a holy, righteous and just God. Therefore, our eternal crime has earned us eternal suffering—the wrath of God—Hell, where the worm doesn't die, the fire is never quenched and where the Lake of Fire eternally burns without consuming you so that you will suffer for all eternity. But God so loved the world that He sent His one and only Son into the world, not to condemn it because we are already condemned (John 3:16-18), but to suffer our punishment and die the excruciating death we deserve. Christ Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us so that all who repent and trust in His name, will be saved from the wrath of God and be granted everlasting life.

If you're a Christian, you've already "earned the right" to share the Gospel because Jesus Christ already gave you the authority/right to do so as a demonstration of your love and gratitude to Christ for your eternal salvation (Mt 28:18-20). Therefore, any Christian, who isn't prayerfully seeking opportunities to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, no matter how nice or loving they or others think they are, according to God, the only person they're loving, is themselves.

Don't ever allow anyone, believer or unbeliever, deter you from faithfully sharing the Gospel with whomever the Lord leads you to share with.

"If you believe there's a Heaven and Hell and people could be going to Hell, or not getting eternal life or whatever, and you think 'Well, it's not worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward' ...How much do you have to hate somebody to know that everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?" -Penn Jillette, a remarkably talented illusionist and comedian, and self-professed atheist

*The Crook in the Lot: The Sovereignty and Wisdom of God Displayed in the Afflictions of Men, by Thomas Boston (1676-1732)
The Practice of Piety, by Lewis Bayly (1575-1631)
Keeping the Heart: How to Maintain Your Love for God, by John Flavel (1627-1691)