Bought by the Blood

April 17, 2007

Randy Newman on evangelism

Filed under: evangelism,Randy Newman — cubsfan1980 @ 2:34 pm

“If we think that the gospel is simply a good deal that any reasonable person would accept, we’ll not only be amazed at how many people turn it down, but we may actually distort the message in the process of proclaiming it. We might strip the gospel of its supernatural and convicting elements, talking about the offer of a free gift, or going to heaven, or living forever, or feeling the freedom of forgiveness, or the need to make a decision as if these were parts of a benefits package. To be sure, these are important components of the gospel message. But without the context of God’s holiness, the horror of our sinfulness, the need for repentance, and the necessity of the cross instead of just a guidebook to better behavior, we’ll terribly misrepresent the gospel. People need to hear the bad news in our message before they can appreciate the Good News. Not only do the minds of nonbelievers need to be persuaded, but also their knees need to buckle.

For years, I presented the gospel using a pen to help illustrate. I wanted to ensure my listeners understood Ephesians 2:8-9…

To explain what was meant by the word gift, I would hold out a pen and tell the person, ‘I’d like to give you this pen as a gift.’ Then I’d ask, ‘What would you need to do to make this pen yours?’

‘Take it,’ they’d say. Everyone go this question right.

But no one, absolutely no one, ever got the point that I was trying to make. I finally figured out why. Salvation isn’t a pen!

Certainly, salvation is free. It is a gift that must be accepted, not worked for or earned. But the reason I’d accept the gift of a pen is different then the reason I’d accept the gift of salvation. I don’t need a pen. I could find something else with which to write. I could even live my entire life without using a pen. I probably already have lots of pens, one that I might like better than the one I’m being offered. I might accept a pen as a token of the giver’s generosity or as a display of friendship.

But accepting salvation is different. If I correctly understand what I’m being offered by the Messiah’s death on a cross, I know that it’s something I can’t live without (eternally, that is). I’m lost without it. I’d dead in my sins. I must accept this free gift to avoid total and eternal alienation from a holy, righteous God. I need to accept such an unspeakably gracious offer with the acknowledgement that I deserve exactly the opposite. So my attitude of accepting the gift is one of humility and repentance…

Confront a prospect with unpleasant truths doesn’t work in sales, but it is essential in evangelism.”

-Randy Newman

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