Perhaps we’ve missed something. In all of our efforts to “make church relevant”, perhaps we’ve missed that the gospel itself is not relevant. People do not care when we tell them about Jesus. Why should they?
I was listening to an album called Awesome God put out for kids by Sovereign Grace Ministries on the way home in the car tonight. The one song called Have You Heard? has a line that was particularly thought-provoking.
Okay, so a song for kids was “thought-provoking” for me–call me simple, but I think there’s something to it.
Anyway, the song is talking about the gospel and says, “It tells us that Jesus died for us to save us from our sins.” Nothing terribly original yet, I know. The next line, however, says, “This is the best news that we could ever hear.”
Is it? Is it the best news you’ve ever heard? What do you do when you get good news? When you propose and she says “yes” (drug induced or otherwise)? When you find out you got the job? When you find out your wife is pregnant with your first child? When the offer you put in for the house is accepted?
You tell people! You celebrate! You rejoice! It’s a no-brainer. Maybe you even dance a jig (when no one’s looking, of course)!
But how do we react when we hear that Jesus died for us, to save us from our sins? No wonder the world doesn’t find our message relevant. It’s not.
See, the message of the gospel is water. If you’re thirsty, there’s nothing like it. If you’re belly is already full of fluid so that you can hear it jiggle when you move quickly, you’re not interested.
The problem is that we’re trying to force people to drink when they’re just not thirsty. In our world there’s no such thing as sin. If there’s no sin, and I’m not guilty of it, and it really shouldn’t be punished anyway, then why is it good news (the best news!) that Jesus died for my sins? It’s not.
If our message is to be relevant, so that the gospel can be restored to a place where it is the best news people have ever heard, then we need to start by preaching sin. We need to start by showing people that they are thirsty! They have a need! They are hellbound sinners in the hands of an angry God.
A world that is so incredibly “tolerant”, and a philosophical realm where the ultimate ethic is always “justice to the other’s idea” needs to hear that there is right and wrong, sin and righteousness, judgment and forgiveness. No one is interested in drawing these lines anymore, however.
But we need to. We must preach sin if we are to ever preach a relevant saviour. Forgiveness is only the best news ever heard if people have heard that they need it.