“Mentioning God in conversation isn’t the same as sharing the gospel.”
It’s a thought that stuck with me since listening to one particular sermon earlier this week.
Mentioning God in conversation isn’t the same as sharing the gospel – and it makes sense.
The gospel is the whole picture, the good news, God’s redemptive plan for human history (including the reason we need redeeming). The gospel is the message that God is the holy and sovereign Creator and Lord of the universe. The gospel is the message that we have all sinned against Him. The gospel is the message that we all, having sinned against this infinitely Holy God, deserve to be separated from Him forever in a place of eternal judgment called Hell, but that God came to earth in the person of Christ and took the full wrath of God and the punishment for all sins on Himself. The gospel is the message that Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient to save us from the punishment of our sins, but that each person has to choose for him- or herself whether or not to receive it as a gift. The gospel is the message that the fate of each person’s soul for all of eternity – heaven at peace with God, or hell under His eternal, righteous judgment – rests entirely on their personal decision. And the gospel is the message that, though salvation is a gift that comes at no cost to us, it will completely and forever change the lives of those who receive it as they come under the Lordship of God and enter into a covenant love relationship with Him.
I get it. That was a long paragraph. But that’s the point. The gospel is elaborate, and when we’re sharing it with someone for the first time, we should probably go into even more detail to explain things such as God’s holiness and how His punishment is just, etc. It’s not the same as mentioning God from time to time.
Of course we’ll mention Him. If God is an integral part of our lives – and more than that, the Lord over our lives and love of our lives, then we’re bound to come across opportunities to mention Him. If we’re not yielding to the fear of others, then we’ll follow through when the opportunities arise.
BUT the Lord didn’t commission us to mention Him.
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
He commissioned us to make disciples. Disciples aren’t made by merely mentioning Him here and there. Disciples aren’t made by living good lives that cause others to wonder and disciples aren’t made by smiling at strangers. All these things are very good but don’t make disciples unless they’re followed up with full disclosure of the Good News.
So let’s share the gospel.